Spring and Fall Cleaning Do Not Toss It, Recycle It

Spring and fall, being the mildest of the four seasons, are the perfect times for cleaning. When done in the spring, it allows you to avoid the profuse sweating that comes with trying to keep house in the summer. When done in the fall, it allows you to go into hibernation for the coming cold. They both offer preparation for the extreme seasons, as well as the peace of mind that goes with having a spotless and organized space free from clutter.


Let’s go through a couple of handfuls of steps you can take to de-clutter your home, and make it presentable in both seasons and beyond.

  1. Curbside Pickups for Clothing

Do you have bunches of extra clothing that you no longer wear? In most neighborhoods, organizations will do curbside pickups. Check deep in your closet and garage for clothes you haven’t worn in years; you can box them up and place them on the curbside. Similarly, you can go the extra step and schedule a pickup by the Salvation Army or do an internet search for a local organization in your city/town.

  1. Trash Pickups Can Be Scheduled

Whether you’re doing spring or fall cleaning, one thing’s for certain: there will be a lot of garbage. By this, we don’t necessarily mean trash (although there will be that, too), but things for which you no longer have any reasonable use. Do you have a 20-year-old deep-freezer that’s on its last leg? It may be time to chuck it. Call a garbage pick-up service; many will do it for free 2-3 times a year.

  1. Check for Nearby Resale Stores

If you’ve got clothing that you no longer wear, but they’re still in very good shape, don’t put it out on the curb or throw it away – check for a resale store. You’d be surprised how much gas money you can walk away with by selling them trendy clothing in good condition. It’s a better deal than keeping them tucked deep into your closet space, anyway.

  1. “Freecycle” Your Stuff

Freecycle is an eBay-like site – sans the bidding – on which you can put useful items that you no longer use. During your spring or fall cleaning, you may come across some Sterilite storage containers gathering dust, or a bike for which you have no more use. Similar websites for these kinds of things are Let It Go and OfferUp. Set your low price, and watch it get scooped up.

  1. Gather Your Home Goods

For this one, we mean, specifically, appliances, furniture and other mainstays of the average house – for which you have no use. Try to only consider gently-used stuff in this case, otherwise they go in the garbage pick-up heap (think 10-year-old couches; nobody wants those). An excellent option for donation is Habitat for Humanity – find one of their Restores and make an inquisition.

  1. eBay – Of Course

The King of auction sites has been around for decades; now, things are easier than ever to sell with the eBay app on your mobile device. You can list things quickly and efficiently even as you clean; no need to make a list and sit down later at your workstation to painstakingly list every attribute. Alternatively, you can go through the eBay Giving Works program if you want to make a contribution to a charity even as you’re selling.

  1. Shred, Shred, Shred – Communities Do It Together

If you have a Housing Association, then you may already be familiar with this relatively new development: the community shredding event. People in the neighborhood get together at these free events to shred their credit cards, bank statements, etc – any document that could be used to perpetrate identity theft.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, you will an announcement for a shredding event tends to come out around tax time – April or roundabouts. It’s a good way to significantly reduce the probability that you become a victim of identity theft as a result of improperly-disposed of statements.

  1. Electronics Disposal

We’ve all seen them: warnings on the back of a compact disc player or battery that it must be disposed of properly. Contribute to the wellbeing of the environment by recycling your old electronics that you find during spring or fall cleaning. In fact, you can do it for free at Best Buy, Staples, or other participating store – all you have to do is drive there and drop off your electronics. If they’re in pretty good working shape, you might even be able to trade the stuff in for stuff in the store, or for store credit.

Spring and fall cleaning can be as cathartic an exercise as it useful. Hopefully the above gets you off to a good start – good luck this season.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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Ten Life Hacks for an Easier Morning with Kids

Ten Life Hacks for an Easier Morning with Kids

School days can be exhausting right? From hurrying to get the kids ready and off to school in time, weekdays can be very stressful. The following hacks will make your mornings’ less stressful. You might even find that morning before school becomes enjoyable with these routines.

  1. Rest and Rise at the same time

One life hack for a less stressful morning is to get your kids on a regular schedule. If you put them to bed and wake them up at the same time every day then mornings will be pretty much a smooth ride. If they are still hesitant to wake up in the morning then it may be worth investing in cute alarm clocks for kids.

  1. Play some music

To help smooth the waking up process, try playing your kids’ favorite songs. Choose a playlist with all their favorite songs ranging from quiet songs to songs that are more energetic and play it while they get dressed and perform other grooming activities. The music will help motivate them and ensure it remains as part of your morning routine.

  1. Establish a routine

Establishing a routine means doing all the activities on your routine in the same order every day. This ensures that your kids can adapt to it quickly and will put up less resistance with time. A visual checklist is a big help and it will help your kids check off their tasks with enthusiasm.

  1. Organize the Bathroom

Disorganized bathrooms lead to a waste of time in searching for the toiletries you need in the morning. To avoid time wastage, ensure your kids’ bathroom is organized so that they know exactly where their toiletries are. This blog has helpful tips on how to organize your kids’ bathroom.

  1. Make a healthy and quick breakfast

Making breakfast does not need to take up an hour of your time. Look at these recipes for easy and healthy breakfasts that you can make for your kids. After making a quick breakfast, there will be enough time left over to handle other tasks and your kids will be full until lunch.

  1. Pack Lunches the previous night

Making breakfast and lunches at the same time in the morning can make your kids run late. Instead, try packing school lunches the previous night. Read these tips for simplifying the process of packing school lunches.

  1. Arrange school outfits the night before

You can have an easier morning by letting your kids help pick out the outfits they want to wear the next day. Lay them out so that your kids can dress immediately after showers saving time. If your kids are still too young to eat without dirtying their clothes, you can wait until after breakfast to change them but having outfits already picked out lightens your burden.

  1. Organize your mudroom

Another life hack is to organize your kids’ backpacks, shoes and books neatly to avoid the confusing and time-consuming search in the morning. If you do not have a mudroom then create an area to organize these essentials to prevent those “I can’t find this” moments from your children with storage solutions from stores like Costco or Target.

  1. Incentives

You may call it incentives but it is bribery regardless of how you look at it. Incentivize your kids to finish their morning routine early by offering a reward such as ice cream after school or a glass of chocolate milk. Kids are different and you should use their likes to motivate them. They will be motivated and you will spend less time micromanaging them.

  1. Wake up Earlier

While these hacks may smooth your mornings, there is no magic that allows you more hours in the morning. If you are regularly late, confused and stressed out, try waking up even half an hour earlier. Use the extra time to prepare for a school day without the kids or wake up everyone earlier to get an early start on the day.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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How to Inexpensively Organize Your Pantry

Getting your pantry in order has many benefits that extend beyond the organizational appeal. For starters, it facilitates cooking – now, you can find everything easily! This is definitely one of the more useful DIY projects that can reap big dividends for the overall appearance of your kitchen and cooking area.

Before you begin, it’s worth taking a minute to look over the entire space; this way, you’ll have an idea of the food storage solutions that you’ll be getting from Walmart or Target. With further ado, check out this list of organizational tips on making a pantry you can be proud of!

Civilizing Your Pantry

Right before you begin, keep in mind that you want to organize your pantry in a manner that makes maintenance easy – you should be proud of your handiwork in the months and years to come. This isn’t the kind of thing you should need to do every few months, so let’s get it right the first time:

  1. Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Your very first official act in pantry organization is fairly straightforward: get to cleaning! All those Ziplock bags and tuna cans that are strewn about need to be brought to heel. Take this opportunity to go through all of your canned goods, in fact, and search for the ones with an expired use-by date – if you’re anything like us, you certainly have at least a handful.

Additionally, throw out any cans that, although the date might render them okay, you are certain you won’t be using. Diets and preferences change, and you may no longer be a fan of canned salmon (for example). The point is to obtain as much space as possible, and render the remaining spotless.

At this point, you can start grouping all the similar foods together, and making a note of any plastic (or other) storage solutions you want to pick up to section off the space more economically.

  1. Ideas for Pantry Organizers

A tentative budget for rectifying your pantry is ~ $50 – you can get a lot out of it if you shop at the right places. Consider a combination of storage bins usually used for fabrics, as well as mason jars and generic pantry organizers. Whichever you choose, make sure to have keep an aesthetic consistency as a constant throughout; you don’t want to mix and match different styles for your pantry – otherwise it will look disorganized even when it’s technically organized. Whatever you do, try to avoid mismatched packaging/storage!

On of the primary reasons you might want to favor Mason jars for storage is the ease with which they can be labeled, as well as the sturdiness of the glass against meal moths. There’s also, of course, the fact that they are perfectly transparent. With a marker, you can label the type of food (if necessary), the date you put it inside, and a more readily-readable expiration date. The jars will run you between $8.99 and $10.99 for a dozen of them – which, depending on the size of your pantry, may be all that you need.

Other Pantry Storage Solutions

Pantry organizers just may be the best things since sliced bread. These wooden pull-out drawers can make mincemeat of your pantry space, conveniently sectioning off large areas for similar foods. The fact that they are pull-out reduces the chances that cans or stored goods remain in the back of the cabinet for years at a time; all but forgotten.

If you don’t have any that came with your cabinet set, then you can spend a bit on a set of food storage canisters from OXO for $49.99. This, ultimately, of course depends on your budget – you can get a handful of them at this price, which should be more than enough for any but the largest pantries/set of cabinets. These will put you over budget if you set it at $50, however; but you can always shop around.

Make space for baked goods in with clear canisters or BPA-free plastics with an air-tight seal. These will ensure that flour and sugar remain fresh for an adequate length of time; as well as facilitating inspection of the contents. A white top for these containers is best, so that you can quickly see writing that denotes the important dates (when you bought it, when it expires, etc).

Lastly, you might find it useful to dedicate a smaller drawer space to all of your cooking spices. If your house is anything like ours, you’ll be learning about the benefits of new spices all the time – and will want to add small bottles of them to catapult your cooking to the next level.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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6 Unique Gift Wrapping Ideas

Six Unique Gift-Wrapping Ideas

The art of wrapping gifts happens to be one among the things having a great start but then gets worse over time. One will not only use the wrapping papers on heavy rotation but also fall short of incredible ideas in a short time. Due to this concern, many people end up relying more on gift bags than they should. Therefore, great ideas to transform the gift-wrapping lives of such individuals are necessary.

This year, you expect to make even the least valuable gifts to look uniquely-sterling. The process can never be simplified further than the following outstanding ideas meant to transform the whole wrapping process and make all gifts eye-striking.

  1. Nametags Done Creatively

Source: Man Made DIY

It is not uncommon that few people would recycle the wrappers they had before. If you are one of them, then you have to use a plain paper to wrap your gift, and write on top of it the name of the receiver in a flaring way.

You need to use an Xacto knife and a stencil to dexterously cut out target-letters from a printed paper or a newspaper and glue them on your package. If this process is a tedious one for you due to the long time you will consume, then you can alternatively get stick letters from the nearby craft store and save all the time you would otherwise spend cutting the letters from newspapers. Eventually, the final piece you will get is an incomparable one regardless of the method used, as long as every detail is emphasized and unmatched clarity is employed throughout the processes!

  1. The Black and White Technique

Source: Going Home to Roost

This is a trick that is fast-growing and many people all over the world are fast-adopting it for the efficiency it offers. You only need a black craft paper, which your gift should be wrapped in, and then a white paint pen is used to write the names of the recipient on it. With this method, you will indeed use the shortest time possible and still manage to bring out the elegant look it deserves. However, the short length of time you will use means you employ meticulousness on every detail to make the work quite a masterpiece in the end.

  1. The Colored and Patterned Bow with White Paper

Source: Perfectly Imperfect Blog

It is the favorite for many people due to its explicit elegance. It has a clean appeal owing to the white background. When you add the brightly-colored bow, you will have a gift that is eye-catching for its beauty. You can enhance its specialness by using the simple tricks of the boldly colored satin or patterned bows.

  1. Using Natural Means

Source: Apartment Therapy

You can use little effort to acquire the highly-coveted brown-wrapped packages that bear a spring of evergreen, which identifies it with nature. Creativity is all that is needed here, and when you use your fresh foliage to enhance the look, it will turn out both appealing and unmatched at the same, and the people who look at it will love the work put in the process as they appreciate nature as well. Even though the cost put in the process money wise is negligible, the receivers of these gifts will hardly forget your creativity and they will keep appreciating the unique presentation you did for quite a long time.

  1. Stacking the Packages

Source: Interesting Stuff

One may be having several parts to their gift, and it is highly advisable to make them all look like one gift instead of dealing with each of them as a separate entity. When you apply this trick, it will eliminate the bulkiness of the entire package and as well as add some unimaginable pomp to it. You can use tricks such as the Snowman and Santa stacks or any other applicable stack bearing the same model through the entire package. When done correctly, it will put smiles to many faces that will behold the sight, especially under the trees. However, you should know the process requires a little more effort as compared to the aforementioned ones, but it is all worth the hassle.

  1. The Use of Holiday Decorators

Source: Hometalk

The idea of using the holiday decoration-enhancers to beautify your package is quite a lovable one. These include the lights, the tiny ornaments, and candy canes. All these add some little but an extra value to the appeal of your package. The package will be attractive from both the inside and outside, and it will indeed match the merry-making occasion! Also, it will create a serene appeal by the way it looks even to those who are not meant for the present, and they will all leave at the end of the day with the memories of your strikingly-appealing piece of art lingering in their minds.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

 

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