Making Back-to-School Rule

Going back to school is always a trip on the struggle bus. This year it’s time to reclaim your “Parent of the Year” status with some organizational techniques that may keep those wheels going round and round more smoothly. Even in the midst of morning madness these helpful hacks will be sure to keep your family on the right track back to school.


MB_0058_17JulyB8_1-outfits

We all know that feeling wrestling a child into clothing or having them dress themselves. Whether it’s your child, little brother, babysitting Sally Screamer down the street, it is a long drawn out fiasco. Then you have to tempt them with corn dogs and pudding snacks to comply. The least we can do is make sure an outfit is completely put together before the battle goes down. Get a small five shelved stand or bookcase and simply place and entire outfit from hair ties to a set of shoes on each shelf in accordance with each school day. This will save you so much time searching for tiny socks that match when you could be making your mid-morning margarita. Then you don’t have to worry about if the laundry is done because you know at least the kid has clean clothes for the entire week.


MB_0058_17JulyB8_2-lunch

Lunches can be a pain to make in the morning. Especially with attempting to make breakfast and make sure everyone is getting ready in time. In order to save a little time, create a lunch organizer in your pantry or fridge. This can be separate sections of fruit cups, cheese sticks, pudding snacks, chips, prepped popcorn or snack bags, and bite-sized veggies that you can grab and throw into a lunch box to complete a well-balanced meal. Less mess, less stress.


MB_0058_17JulyB8_3-backpacks

Print or write your own backpack checklist. Kids will have fun checking off their new school supplies. In the evenings, have each child go through a backpack checklist to make sure they have all their necessities for success. Select a specific place for all backpacks to set so they are all together and ready to grab and go as they leave for the day. This may be a given but little habits can save big time.


MB_0058_17JulyB8_4-organize

Set aside a file for specific paperwork that the kids bring home from school. They can place the report cards or field trip releases in the file so that you can go through them all at once and always have it together. It also ensures that the kids don’t forget their papers and that you don’t forget to sign them. It’s a win-win for both busy parties. Now you can rule over the dreaded back to school.

 

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Keep your Cool

You love blasting your AC. I know it. We all do. But then you get your paperless billing statement and want to hide it from your spouse because they might cry. You don’t want to see them cry. When they do you are not sure if you should comfort them or put on armor because war is coming. That’s why we have a few helpful pointers on how you and your significant other to keep your cool mentally and physically.


MB_0051_17JulyB6-1-curtain

A more inexpensive investment would be to purchase some blackout curtains. Most heat throughout the day comes in through windows creating a greenhouse effect in the home. Simple changes like having heavy curtains, shutters, and keeping blinds closed can lower your average home temperature by up to 20 degrees. If you are home during the day and need some natural light then just keep the westward and eastward windows covered which is where the sun hits hardest.


MB_0051_17JulyB6-2-compressor

The AC unit is the most abused, blamed and neglected appliance in our possession. To save from wanting go out and kick it, try cleaning it instead. Once upon a time, my family was miserable. We blamed the AC for not being big enough for the square footage in our house. My savvy uncle goes out to look at the unit. It was COVERED in thick pollen. I mean one would think we painted it yellow. No air was able to enter the unit thus unable to enter our home. We shop vacuumed the entire thing and, like magic, we had AC again. Dirty air filters just like two inches of pollen also prevent efficient air flow throughout the house. Changing the AC filters regularly and maintaining a debris free unit can be cost effective ways to ensure your family doesn’t have a meltdown.


MB_0051_17JulyB6-3-insulation

Maybe you’re doing all these things already and need a stronger tactic. Maybe your home is older and you haven’t made repairs on it since you bought it. A good start is to check the insulation. Insulation is the best defense to protecting a home’s temperature. Experts say if there are visible floor joints in the attic then it is time to replace the insulation. To begin you can get an energy audit. A professional will come out to inspect your home for air leaks, check your furnace and water heater to make sure it is working properly, and look for any insulation issues. From there you will have a better understanding of what you should address.

These are just a few of the numerous things you can start to prevent a heat stroke or mild heart attack at the sight of your energy costs. We are just looking out for your health and hospital bills.

 

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The steps to make an old bathroom new again!

1. Clean the grout.
Whiter-than-white grout will make your bathroom look like new again. We promise. There are plenty of grout cleaning methods out there, or you could just use this Miracle Grout pen. Easy.

2. Think about storage.
First, declutter (you don’t need four hairbrushes, OK?) and then have a think about the way you use your bathroom. Where do you cleanse? Do you apply makeup and perfume here, or in your bedroom? Once you’ve had a think, strategize your storage. It’s simple, but planning your storage ensures you’re using your bathroom effectively.

3. Invest in extra storage.
Got a spare bedside table or stool lying around? Use it in the bathroom as storage.

4. Arrange a candle shelf.
There’s nothing more luxurious than a whole cluster of candles lit at once. If you have a spare shelf, or a window ledge, arrange a line of candles (varying shapes and sizes work best) along it. This works especially well if you want to hide ugly frosted glass or cracked tiles.

5. Use old or mismatched teacups, vases and bowls as bathroom storage.
They’re perfect for makeup, hair ties and cotton balls, among other things.

6. Have coloured tiles that aren’t exactly your cup of tea?
Instead of trying to change the tiles themselves (a major overhaul), why not work with the colour? Paint the walls a complementary shade and just roll with it. Pink tiles would pop on dove grey walls. Bright yellow looks great with navy. Peach tiles will pair well with minty green. Painting the walls is far easier than changing the tiles. And if you hate it? Just paint over it with white.

7. Give your towels new life.
This is simple but it’ll make a difference. For old, hard towels, add ammonia or white vinegar to a wash, and indulge in towels as fluffy as marshmallows.

8. Add greenery.
Potted or hanging plants are unexpected – but beautiful – in bathrooms. Use a bathroom ledge or a pot stand, or hang from the ceiling.

9. Go minimalist.
Clear off your vanity, and swap your shower toiletries for clear, label-less bottles. There’s something lovely about not seeing product names and labels everywhere.

Quick and permanent fixes for scratched wood floors!

THE PROBLEM:

High-heel dent
THE FIX: If the heel left an impression without breaking the surface, you can steam it out. Fold a damp dish towel into quarters and lay it over the dent. Set a hot iron on the towel and turn on the STEAM function. After about a minute, check your progress. The steam should cause the wood to swell and even out the dented portion. If necessary, sand smooth and refinish to match the surrounding area. Warning: Steam can turn some floor finishes white, so test this method on a hidden part of the floor first.

THE PROBLEM:

Doggie nail marks
THE FIX: For shallow pet scratches, rub a small amount of tinted paste wax directly into the spot with a clean, soft rag. Let the wax dry, then buff the scratch and the surrounding area so that they blend seamlessly. If your floors have a darker stain, use a paste wax formulated for dark woods, such as walnut.

THE PROBLEM:

Dragged-credenza gouge
THE FIX: For a deep scratch that reveals bare wood, use fine-grit paper, working with the grain, to sand the scratch. Rub mineral spirits over the sanded area to pick up any fine dust. Using a plastic putty knife, fill the scratch with stainable wood filler. When dry, carefully sand away the excess with fine-grit paper. Stain to match your floors, then reseal the spot with polyurethane.

Selling or just decluttering this Spring? A storage space may be your answer!

You might think the easiest way to declutter your home is to shove everything into the closets. Bad idea: Anyone who tours your home is going to check out the storage spaces, and disorganized, overstuffed closets only serve as evidence that your home is lacking. Opt instead for a storage unit to house the things you won’t need while your home is on the market. The general rule? Get rid of a third of your stuff. “If you don’t use it every day, store it,” says Justin Seeby, principal at the Graham Seeby Group with Keller Williams Intown Realty in Atlanta, GA. Holiday decorations, baby gear, seasonal clothes, that bread maker you’ve never used — they can all go into storage. Bonus: If you choose a portable unit, it can be transported to your new home, making moving day a cinch.

Pro tips that will up your cleaning game!

#1 Efficiently remove soap scum.

That soap scum that’s such a pain to remove? Scrape it off with a plastic putty knife. It will take half the time it would take to rub it off with a sponge. To prevent future build up, switch to synthetic liquid or gel soaps, which are less likely to form scum than bar soaps. It will save you from future scum-scraping — and you’ll still come out squeaky clean after a shower.

#2 Quickly dust.
Cloths remove dust okay, but you can save a lot of time with a feather duster. These dusters are really efficient — especially for cleaning blinds, pictures and hard to reach areas. They’re also great for routine dusting or to quickly clean a room before company comes. If you have heavy dust buildup, you may need to use a cloth or vacuum; otherwise, it’s a quick, effective approach to get that light film off of surfaces.

#3 Get shiny stainless steel.

While stainless steel is beautiful, efficient and stain-resistant, it’s also quick to show smudges and fingerprints. One way to clean and maintain it is by pouring mineral oil on a cloth and wiping it across your countertops, sinks and other surfaces. Mineral oil repels water and increases resistance — preventing sticky materials from attaching to the steel and cutting down on your future cleaning time.

#4 Remove smells from the disposal.

To quickly clean a smelly disposal, drop lemon or orange peels down the drain. Run the disposal for fifteen seconds with the water going at half-pressure, then drop some ice cubes in the disposal and turn it on again. Turn off the disposal, put the stopper over it and fill up your sink until it’s about half-full. Pull out the stopper and let the water flush out the disposal for a fresh scent.

#5 Streak-proof your windows.

A paper towel and window cleaner doesn’t always cut it. If your windows are small, use newspaper to clean the glass and avoid streaks. If your windows are particularly large, the best approach is to use a squeegee. This cuts down on time and helps you reach the edges where a lot of dust can build up.

#6 Vacuum in half the time.

To cover the most amount of carpeting in the least amount of time, utilize the central outlet in your home. By plugging your vacuum cleaner into the central outlet, you save time on re-plugging it — time you can spend continuing to vacuum. If your vacuum has a particularly short cord, add an extension cord and hold it as you vacuum to avoid sucking it up.

#7 Make use of magic erasers!
Magic erasers are considered “magical” because they can clean almost any surface, from floor to ceiling. Magic erasers can be used on laminate, tile and wood — and they can get rid of everything from stains to grime to crayon marks. Using magic erasers can sometimes slash your cleaning time in half, if not more.