The Original Homekeeping Schedule

Does this sound familiar?

Homekeeping wisdom at its simplest:

That’s right – from the Little House on the Prairie books!

Though our modern day conveniences don’t require us to churn our own butter or beat our clothes on a rock (praise, you Lord!), the basic premise is the same:  having a regular housework routine helps our households run more smoothly. 

Here’s mine:

  • Monday – laundry, laundry, laundry; plan weekly menu
  • Tuesday – music lessons, errands while I’m out
  • Wednesday – mop, usually more laundry
  • Thursday – clean bathrooms, take out garbage and recyclables
  • Friday – wash and change sheets, vacuum
  • Saturday – finish laundry, look over homeschool lessons for the week
  • Sunday – rest, water plants
Hmmm…laundry related chores three days a week. Maybe Ma and I aren’t so different after all!
This doesn’t include the stuff I do every day, like cook, wash dishes or sweep the crumbs off the floor…add in teaching mornings Mon-Fri now that school has started up again.
Do you have a regular household routine? What tips and tricks do you have for getting (most) everything done around the house?
Published in: on September 10, 2011 at 9:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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End of Summer Closet Cleanout

You’ve probably heard before that we wear only about 20 percent of the clothes we have 80 percent of the time.


I put my new full-length mirror to good use and decided to try on every.single.thing in my closet – everything – to see if it fits and if I still like it.

That was a very telling experience.

I got rid of anything that:

  • didn’t fit anymore
  • was uncomfortable
  • wasn’t flattering
  • I hardly ever wore
  • wasn’t the right color
  • I just plain didn’t love
I also made sure that every item left could work with at least two other pieces of clothing I already owned.
That left me with this:
Several pairs of pants and jeans, a few skirts, some tops and a jacket. A number of which were designer – the Banana Republic denim skirt, Ralph Lauren dark wash jeans that looked great about 12 pounds ago, the dress pants with the funny back pockets that added girth, etc. Almost all were thrifted or from a garage sale.
It didn’t take me that long to do either – just about one hour broken up into two parts.
Then I noticed something:  my closet breathes a lot easier now and so do I.
It’s easier to find things and I seem to be wearing more of my stuff.
A few days later, I did the same thing with my purses and shoes. Anything that I never carried or that hurt my feet was gone – even my beloved Enzo shoes – and suddenly I had enough room for all of my shoes without crowding.
That’s a far cry from me contemplating buying another shoe rack just to hold them all!
How about you? Do you wear everything in your closet? Or, could you bless someone else by donating what you don’t love or wear?
Published in: on September 8, 2011 at 8:09 am  Comments (2)  
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Form vs. Function

Alternate title:  “Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so practical”.

A few months ago, we had to buy a new washer. Since getting our old one fixed would cost nearly as much as buying new, we went on the hunt for a good deal. We ended up buying this:

Consumer Reports had good things to say about it as did my Sears-repairman father. And we’ve been very, very happy with it.

Fast forward to last Friday.

Old dryer now making very strange noises. Tom actually propped the front legs up on books so that it wouldn’t be so noisy! Getting it fixed wasn’t an option. So again, we went on the hunt.

How I would’ve LOVED to bring home this guy and set him right next to our washer:


Wouldn’t they just be so sweet together?! Swoon.

<evidence of getting older is getting excited over a new dryer>

There was just one problem. He was $809. Actually, he was $909 because we have a gas hookup. Yikes.

So the question then became…do we really have to spend nearly a grand to get something to dry our clothes?

More research, looked at Consumer Reports, more talks with Sears-repairman father’s work buddy who repairs washing machines and dryers on a daily basis. We ended up buying his less good-looking, but ultra-reliable cousin instead:

It is essentially the same capacity and similar features as the more handsome fellow, however this one was $300 less after the special Labor Day pricing.

$300 buys a lot of peanut butter and jelly, if you know what I’m saying.

It all came down to this…do I really want to spend $300 more just so it will look nice next to our washer?

Our answer was no. Call me crazy, call me practical or frugal. I am – and have been – all three.

After everything is said and done, I’m happy with our decision. And I’m even more grateful that we didn’t have to buy it on credit.

He’ll be delivered on Thursday which makes me happy. Needless to say, trying to teach two eight-year olds in a laundromat didn’t sound too appealing!

Sometimes choosing form over function makes sense. But this time function won out.


Published in: on September 6, 2011 at 10:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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A simple grocery list

No doubt, you’ve all heard the tip about making your own pre-printed grocery list to save time at the grocery store.

I’ve done that. Many times, many versions, in fact.

For some reason, I still just grabbed a plain piece of copy paper to write down what I needed.

It was clumsy (the paper was in another room), but it worked.

Then I noticed these:

Pre-printed grocery lists plus space for a weekly menu plan at the bottom. It’s even magnetic, so it hangs perfectly on the side of our fridge. There are 52 pages – perfect for a once a week shop – and are cute to boot!

I can’t believe the difference this simple little tool has made. When I run out, I just check the box or write the item in and take that page to the store with me. I note the quantity I need next to the item, and star anything that I have a coupon for. And I know it’s a good system, because my husband even wrote down that he needed coffee, yea!

Yes, I could probably create something equally as cute in Word, but this was a simple solution that only cost $6.

Is there something you do regularly around the house that’s been bothering you?

Take a few minutes to think about some possible solutions. Pick the simplest one and then just start. You may find that your new solution makes a regular household chore a little bit more pleasant:)

Published in: on September 3, 2011 at 11:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thoughts on cleaning with kids (or a husband for that matter)

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”

-Phyllis Diller, Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints, 1966


Well said.

Published in: on September 1, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  

Good news, bad news

The good news:

He’s cute.

the kid and the cat

The bad news:

He had a little accident.

the cat, not the kid

Bad kitty. Bad nameless kitty.

The good news?

I learned that 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar added to the wash gets out the smell of cat pee.

If you need me, I’ll be in my happy place…

Published in: on September 1, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Poor, Poor Fern

This fern, she needs some love.

Water once in a while would be nice, too.

Oh, she looks pretty good from afar, but up close…

not so much.

Just taking this picture caused lots of dead leaves to fall to the floor. Oh dear.

I thought ferns were supposed to be easy care?

But good ‘ol Fern here is a bit, shall we say…fussy.

Then I noticed this

“Mist a couple of times a week.”

Hmmph. How did I miss that?

Will she make it? Only time will tell if a twice weekly date with a spray bottle can bring her back to live.

Until then, poor Fern lives in the corner of my dining room, sad and lonely.

Hold on, Fern, hold on.

to be continued…

Published in: on August 19, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  

13 Best Back-to-School Organizing Tips

This post comes from the ultra-talented Maria Gracia of Get Organized Now. I receive her free weekly newsletter and am also a fan of her monthly organizing checklist. Though not all of the tips in the following article apply to our family because we homeschool, there is a lot of organizing wisdom that I thought I’d pass along to all of you. Enjoy!

Where did it go? Why was it so short? I’m speaking of summer vacation and getting back into school. Each year it seems to go by more quickly.

Here are our 13 best back-to-school tips to make it a fun, relaxing, productive, and organized school year.

1. First Things First.

Schedule all the medical tests and immunizations first thing as required by your child’s school. As school opening nears, the doctors are going to have less and less appointment times open.

2. Check for Clothing.

Try on outfits from last year to see what still fits. Make any needed purchases now. If your child wears uniforms, place your orders now so they arrive in time.

3. Work out Lunches.

If your children don’t have school luncheon programs, sit down with them to work out a healthy schedule of meals you can brown bag for them that they will eat and enjoy. Prepare lunches the night before if possible so your kids can grab and go.

4. Start School Bedtimes Now.

Start having the children go to bed earlier by 15 minutes each night. When school starts, they won’t be sleep deprived from being up too late.

5. Get Organized for All the Paper.

Make an individual file folder for each child so they can put any paperwork for school inside, specifically schedules and paperwork that need to be signed and returned. If there are little ones, help them place their paperwork into the folder. It would be a wonderful good habit to start if your kids are just starting school.

6. Take Advantage of Back-to-School Sales.

Pick up those great sale items at the local discount stores while the sales are on. There are usually school supply lists in the local stores that carry school supplies. If you’re not sure what to get yet, get the basics–folders, pens, erasers, etc. You can always add the teacher’s requested items later and do a quick, last-minute shopping trip.

7. Going to School Out of Town?

For college bound students, it is more intense to remember things–especially if they will be straying far from home. Make a list and check it twice. Keep in mind that, usually, dormitory rooms are not large! You have to shop smart and find items that have multiple uses whenever possible.

8. Create a Homework Zone.

Determine where each of your children will be doing his or her homework, and how soon after school that homework should be done. Work these details out before school starts, so your kids know what you expect of them. Determine the rules now and write them down. For example, no television and no radio during homework time.

9. Put a Large Family Calendar on the Fridge.

Assign each family member a different dry-erase marker. Each person is responsible for filling in school schedules, after school activities, events, etc. Mom and Dad, please check regularly to ensure there are no conflicts, or to determine how to work around a conflict if necessary.

10. Don’t Forget about Breakfast.

Mornings can be hectic. Work out what you and your family will eat for breakfast the evening before. Have at leave 5 possibilities, so there’s a different, healthy choice each weekday.

11. Make a List of Photo Opportunities and Get Your Camera Ready.

I always try to get shots of the first school day outfit, a teacher/child shot, etc., my daughter and her friends, etc. If you’re a scrapbooker or you love photos, being prepared for these moments is key.

12. Team Up.

Find friends and neighbors whose children go to the same school as your kids. See if you can work out carpool arrangements–you drive the kids one week, your neighbor drives the kids the following week.

13. Aim to Arrive Early.

For at least the first week or two of school, aim to arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the bell. Especially for younger children, this will give the kids a chance to get acclimated before the majority of the students arrive.

By Maria Gracia – Get Organized Now!™

Want to get organized? Get your FREE Get Organized Now!™ Idea- Pak, filled with tips and ideas to help you organize your home, your office and your life, at the Get Organized Now!™ Web site,

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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15 Minutes to a Clean and Pretty Nightstand

What’s lurking in your nightstand drawer?

Here’s what was in mine:

Clockwise from top left:

  • orphaned command strip
  • lip balm
  • ribbon bookmark
  • tooth fairy pillow – containing three teeth! All together now “Ew…!”
  • my first Bible, dated 1982
  • neosporin
  • anniversary card from my husband
  • missing button from our duvet, patiently waiting to be mended
  • more lip balm
  • alarm clock (which I don’t need because I have two boys that wake me up very early every morning!)
  • another missing button from our duvet
  • hand sanitizer
  • eye cream
  • heel stick
  • more neosporin
  • cotton gloves from the dollar store (which I wear after I slather my cracked hands with neosporin in the winter)
  • hair band (not the 80s kind – the kind that holds my oft-worn pony tail)

Yikes. A good clean out was way overdue.

So while I was at it, I thought I would make it not only organized, but pretty.

Enter scrapbook paper. Oh, how I love thee!

I flipped the drawer over and cut the paper to fit,

flipped the drawer back over, inserted the paper and then put back only the things that I love or use:

Ahh, much better. And it took less than 15 minutes to do.

For extra credit, I even dusted the top and put only the book I’m currently RE-reading on it (A Mother’s Heart by Jean Fleming, which is excellent in case you were wondering). All other books are stashed in a basket underneath:

Hmmm…now I’m off to make my bed!

Published in: on August 15, 2011 at 9:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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An Accidental Collection

A  recent conversation with myself…

Me:  “Do you collect jars?”

Me: “No, why do you ask?”

Note the massive collection of clean, empty jars living under my kitchen sink.

Hmmm…guess it’s time I put some of those jars to good use and made some blueberry jam.

Freezer jam, that is.

All that other boiling, filling and sealing really, really intimidates me.

Like I still have memories of my mother in her mustard yellow long-sleeved jumpsuit (um, don’t laugh ‘cuz jumpsuits are supposedly all the rage this season) in the basement wiping the sweat from her brow as she canned a seemingly unending amount of tomatoes that I never ever remember us eating.

Stay tuned!

Published in: on August 9, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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