If you're feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to begin, try starting with a simple project that will take less than 15 minutes. You could wash the dishes in the sink and wipe down the counters, making your kitchen immediately appear to be less cluttered. Or, try giving your medicine cabinet a makeover: trash expired medications and arrange bottles by height or product type. Knocking out a small project will give you a boost of motivation and get you on your way to household harmony.
Did you just find out that you have company coming over for an afternoon visit? Here are a few speedy cleaning tips to get things straight and tidy when you're in a time crunch:
Back to School
You've gotten used to those long, lazy summer days filled with trips to the pool, parties, and popsicles. But soon the kids will be headed back to school, and you dread the chaos and confusion that await you. It doesn't have to be that way! Use these tips to get organized before and during the school year, and kick back to enjoy those last few weeks of summer vacation.
-Complete physicals, eye exams, dental check-ups, and immunizations during the summer before doctors' offices are booked up.
-For younger children, especially those attending a new school, walk them through the school and show them where their homeroom is, or where to go the first day.
-Buy school supplies early for your children. The easiest thing to do is buy the pre-packaged supplies that are bagged and labeled with your child's school/grade on them.
-Clean out your child's closet before going back-to-school shopping. This way you'll know what needs to be replaced or updated and you'll refresh your memory of what he already has. For older kids, wait to shop for clothes until one week after school starts so they can see what fashions they like this year.
-Designate a space in your home where kids can dump their backpacks, jackets, books, and shoes - preferably in a container like a large basket - so the clutter doesn't spread all over the house.
-Create a homework station for each child. This well-lit, quiet area should include a large work surface and supplies. Have your kids study at the same time, in the same place each night to foster good study habits.
-While the kids are doing their homework, do yours. Sign permission slips, review assignments, and check school websites for upcoming events.
-Start a family calendar to track after school activities, sporting events, and PTO meetings. A two-month dry erase board works well, or use a wall calendar stashed on the inside of a kitchen cabinet.
-Put websites for schools and activities in your internet favorites to save time.
-Print off the school lunch calendar as far out as possible. Go grocery shopping for breakfast, lunch, and healthy snack foods in advance. If possible, plan your children's lunches one week at a time. Your morning routine will be much easier if you pack a lunch the night before or put lunch money in your child's backpack.
-Pack non-perishable lunch items and stage them on the counter the night before. In the morning, add cold foods from the fridge.
-Pack lunches after dinner before you clean up the kitchen. That way you only have to clean up once!
-When books are checked out of the library, mark their due dates on your calendar to avoid paying overdue fees.
-If your kids will be riding the school bus, ensure you know where and when they will be both picked-up and dropped-off. Practice walking the route with them once or twice, even if you plan on escorting them to the bus stop each day.
-Label school supplies with your child's name. Use pre-printed labels to make this process faster.
-Color-code each child's belongings. With a red backpack, binder, notebooks, and lunchbox it will be easy to tell whose is whose.
-Lay out outfits for entire week. Use a hanging "day of the week" closet organizer with one compartment for each outfit.
-Use a stair basket to collect kids' belongings. Then make them responsible for putting things away. Slip in good things from time to time, like allowance, so they are motivated and excited to do it.
-Build 20 minutes into your bedtime routine to get ready for the next day. Spend 10 minutes picking up belongings and putting them away in their proper place. The next 10 minutes can be used to pack backpacks and lay out an outfit for tomorrow.