Three Steps to Spring Cleaning


It has been a long, cold winter, but spring is officially upon us. Now that the weather is warming up, the sun is shining, and we all make our way out of winter hibernation, you’ll want to straighten up inside so you can enjoy a guilt-free spring and summer in the great outdoors.

Here are three easy steps to ensure a great Spring Clean!

Clean Out

Start by purging anything you don’t need. All that extra clutter can make your home feel dirtier than it is. Create space in your home for the things that you actually use by getting rid of the things that you don’t.

We’ve written about this before. There is a very simple way to purge: Piles!

Pile 1: Trash

The trash pile consists of things that are broken or damaged that cannot be reused or sold. Think about those things that you’ve thought about getting repaired or reusing, but haven´t–it´s time to part with them.

Pile 2: Sell/Donate

This pile is for things that are in good shape, but you do not want or use anymore. These can be sold in a yard sale or donated to a local organization for a tax write off. Most of us have more than we could ever need. Have some good will and donate those things to someone who could benefit from them.

Pile 2: Keep

This pile is only for those things that you cannot live without. Things in this pile make you happy and are meaningful or useful to you. It should not go in this pile if you have not used it in the last six months.

Clean Up

After you have made your piles, get rid of the trash, have a yard sale, or donate the other items. Then, you’re only left with one stack.

Make sure that everything in the ¨Keep” stack has a place. De-cluttering your home before you clean is essential to increase cleaning efficiency. If you are constantly picking up and organizing as you are trying to clean, the cleaning job will take much longer than necessary and can seem discouraging.

If necessary, invest in organizational storage to help create more usable space in your home. Under the bed storage, closet organization, or new shelving could make a huge difference in how clean and organized your home feels.

Clean Deep

After you have de-cluttered, it´s time to deep clean. We’re talking move the furniture and scrub the baseboards kind of clean. A deep spring clean will involve the regular nook and cranny cleaning, but also includes things like window washing, ceiling fans, air vents, wiping down walls and ceilings, as well as cleaning rugs and upholstery.

If that isn’t something that sounds fun to you, we can definitely help. Call today to get your hassle free quote from our professional cleaning staff.

Quit the Clutter


I’m sure you’ve seen the quote, “Collect moments, not things.”

In a 2012 study conducted by UCLA, findings concluded that more than half of mothers are overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in their house–so much so that they find it too difficult to even deal with. In a DecluttrMe article, they explore this study and the term “stuffocation.”

Are you suffocated by the amount of stuff in your home? If so, it may be time to de-clutter.

Many people don’t know that here at The Cleaning Crew, LLC., we offer organization services. Our professional organizers can help you evaluate your belongings and the storage options in your home or office. We can offer advice on maximizing your space with the most appropriate storage solutions and help you organize your belongings in a manner that supports the easy flow of your lifestyle. We can also help with the process of removing excess belongings if necessary.

You can call us today at 541-601-6236 to schedule a free estimate. While you’re waiting for our organizers to arrive, here are a few tips and tricks to get you started.

Getting Started

Sometimes, you just have to start purging. Many of the items in your house are there “just in case” or simply because you are too busy to clean them out. Set aside a day or a weekend that you can knock things out and feel accomplished. You can get started with this awesome list from Organise My House that has 101 things you can throw away right now without feeling guilty.

Once you have started, it will get much easier. As you are de-cluttering, it helps to divide your items into piles. This 4-Pile Strategy  is specific to clearing out a closet, but will work for just about anything.

Make four piles:

  1. Keep
  2. Unsure
  3. Donate
  4. Trash

If you aren’t sure how to determine which pile to put items in, PopSugar has a great list of 8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter. If you were shopping right now, would you buy this? Do you have something else that serves the same purpose? Have you used this in the last year?

Following Through

Once you have completed your piles, follow through with donating or trashing the items in piles three and four and reorganizing the items in pile one. The items you placed in pile two should be boxed up and looked at again in about a month. Anything you haven’t used or don’t feel tied to should be donated or trashed. They also suggest that if you are keeping something simply because of sentimental value, take a photo! Then, you can keep it forever without taking up too much space.

If the items in your home seem to be taking over and you aren’t sure where to begin, let our professional organization team help out. Don’t waste any more time stressing…Call us now at 541-601-6236.

Cleaning with Lemons: 7 Safe, Fresh, and Effective Recipes


Lemons! Forget pricey toxic household cleaners. You have all you need to clean your home sitting in your fruit bowl! Lemons are Nature’s Sunniest House Cleaner. Cleaning with lemons is simple with these 7 fresh and effective DIY recipes! 

Cleaning with Lemons: 7 Safe, Fresh, and Effective Recipes from The Cleaning Crew, LLC.

Cleaning with Lemons Recipe #1

All-Purpose Lemon Cleaner

Cleaning with Lemons, All-purpose Lemon Cleaner, Lemon House Cleaning Recipes

Via Live Simply
–> Make an all-purpose kitchen cleaner with this easy DIY recipe.  This recipe is great because the vinegar and lemon combo has some superhero germ-killing properties in addition to being a great all-around cleaner. –> Click Here!


Cleaning with Lemons Recipe #2

Lemon Glass Cleaner

Cleaning with Lemons, Lemon Glass Cleaner, Lemon House Cleaning Recipes

Via Doterra Blog

—> Make this easy Window and Glass Cleaner and you just might have to put up a warning sign for pigeons! Take a 16oz spray bottle and add 8 drops lemon essential oil or 2 table spoons lemon juice.  Fill the rest of the bottle with equal parts vinegar and water then give it a shake. –> Click Here!


Cleaning with Lemons Recipe #3

Refresh Your Cutting Boards

Cleaning with Lemons, All-purpose Lemon Cleaner, Cutting Board Care

Via The Cleaning Crew LLC.
–> Clean your wooden cutting boards plus remove stains from butcher block counter-tops Before the wood grain has the chance to absorb stains and before you reach for the sandpaper, try this easy DIY stain removal recipe. –> Click Here!


Cleaning with Lemons Recipe #4

Lemon Polish Copper & Clean Mineral Build-up

 

Cleaning with Lemons, Lemon Polish Copper, Lemon Cleaner Mineral Build-up, Lemon House Cleaning Recipes

Via The Kitchn
–> Here’s how to clean copper naturally with just lemon & salt! Cleaning your kitchen copper is easy. No need for harsh chemicals or special solutions when all you need are two natural ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen! –> Click Here!


Cleaning with Lemons Recipe #5

Lemon Garbage Disposal Ice Cubes

cleaning with lemons, lemon garbage disposal ice cubes, lemon house cleaning recipes

Via Redefined Mom
—> DIY natural garbage disposal cleaner. Clean up sink smells with these DIY Garbage Disposal cleaning cocktail cubes. These are so easy to make, and you will LOVE the fresh sent of lemons in the air.–> Click Here!


Cleaning with Lemons Recipe #6

Lemon + Salt Scouring Scrub

cleaning with lemons, lemon and salt scouring scrub, lemon house cleaning recipes

Via Hello Glow
–> Freshen up your sink and tub with this scrubby, lemon-scented paste. When the tub gets those gross rings or the sink looks stained, use this recipe for a little extra scrubbing and whitening power. Click Here!


Cleaning with Lemons Recipe #7

Rosemary and Lemon Foot Soak

 

cleaning with lemons, Rosemary and lemon foot soak , lemon house cleaning recipes

Via A Bird Sleep

—> Rosemary and Lemon Foot Soak This soothing foot soak is a must-have for anyone on their feet all day long. Fill a shallow bowl with warm water, add the rosemary infused hot water, (recipe below) and pour in a 1/2 cup of Epsom salt. Mix up and relax! Relax. Seriously. You deserve it!    Click Here!

When life hands you lemons, what other Lemon-based solutions do you make?

7 DIY Home Hacks and Home Storage Solutions


Our homes can become cluttered without us realizing it. This is especially true during the transition from winter to spring. Generally speaking, we’ve spent more time inside our homes during the winter. We have accumulated more stuff during the holidays. And the motivation to get stuff done is typically lowest during the winter months. But if your lack of space is becoming a real problem then it might be worth looking at storage containers for rent. With Spring on the horizon, we’ve put together a handful of super handy DIY Home Hacks and Home Storage Solutions to help keep our homes organized and clutter free. And of course, it is always fun looking at the different DIY products others have done and learning more about DIY from places like https://howtohome.com/.

DIY HOME HACK #1. Eliminate Paper Clutter Forever!

DIY HOme Hacks and home storage solutions

Via Design Sponge

—> Clipboards! Any desk is bound to get messy at some point, but there are certain items that you need to have within arm’s reach 24/7. These DIY gold and acrylic clipboards keep papers and notes all together and easy to access. Click Here!


DIY HOME HACK #2. DIY Clothes Pin Scarf Holder

DIY Home Hacks scarf holder

Via Sally Ann

—> Scarf Holder! Scarves are easily tangled, lost, or damaged and organizing them can be a pain. We are always looking for ways to organize our plethora of scarves. We’re pretty sure you can think of a dozen other brilliant ways to use this clever clothespin holder. Click Here!


DIY HOME HACK #3. Organize The Mail

DIY Home Hacks moss mail holder

Via Design Sponge

–> DIY: Nature Office Organizer. Bring nature in—along with your mail! Try this DIY home hack with a simple, mossy mail organizer. Click Here!


DIY HOME HACK #4. DIY Book Shelf

DIY Home Hacks invisible shelves floating book shelf

Via wikiHow

—> Floating Bookshelf! The age of the dark, foreboding wood bookcase is over! Forget those hard to move pieces of furniture that take up too much space. Get back to the simple life with this super-cool concealed shelf. It’s an easy AND literal bookshelf. This DIY home hack creates bookshelves by using bookends as floating bookshelves. Click Here!

5. DIY Food Storage

DIY Home Hacks glass food jars

Via Ella Claire Inspired

—> Glass Jars: Banish all commercial packaging for a clean, natural effect. You don’t need to hide your baking products behind pantry doors when they’re stored so beautifully. Easy DIY home hack –> Click Here!


DIY HOME HACK #6. Easy DIY Magnetic Knife Strip

DIY Home Hacks magnetic knife strip

Via Turning It Home

—> Magnetic Knife Strip! Proudly display your collection of knives and keep them within reach. After all, this is a work-space and chefs need their tools handy. Click Here!


DIY HOME HACK #7. Under Your Sink

DIY Home Hacks under counter organization

Via Martha Stewart

—> Tension Rod Storage! Who knew your housecleaning products could look so cool? Conquer under-the-sink chaos and clutter with the help of a humble little tension rod. Suddenly housecleaning and storage doesn’t seem so daunting. Click Here!

Which of these hacks are you planning to use in your home? Chat with us about your favorite storage solutions in the comments.

As always, if you would like help with your organization projects, contact us today. Our team of trained professionals would be happy to help give your space the organization treatment!

Start the conversation here:

541-601-6236 info@thecleaningcrewonline.com

5 Strategies for a Successful Summer Break


5 Strategies for a Successful Summer Break

School’s Out for Summer!…Now What??!!

5 Strategies for a Successful Summer Break with Your Kids

Everyone gets stoked for Summer Vacation to arrive! However, that joy can turn sour in a heartbeat when parent or kid expectations aren’t met or if you forget to install ducted air con. Kids seem to want a free range, carte blanche, “do anything I want when I want to” existence, while parents generally can’t hack that kind of mindset. Before those smiles turn upside down, and your summer gets away from you, use these 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer Break. Start here, then adjust as you go!

1. Maintain a Schedule & Set Limits for Happier Kids

The first of 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer Break with your kids is to maintain a schedule while setting consistent limits.

No need to be a strict dictator here, but experts agree: kids do better when there’s some structure to their worlds. Tennis lessons is a good way of giving your children something to do during the summer as well as give them consistency, if you are interested in finding out more, check out what type of tennis lesson are you looking for? There are a few other games that allow your kids to be active and enjoyable, an example of this is something like Pickleball, a game that has the elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. With it’s growing popularity there are a few places online that can help get them started with the best pickleball paddles and instructions to start playing the game, teaching them a new game would be a great way to give your kids consistency. Consistency helps manage expectations for both kids and parents. Parenting expert Dr. Laura Markham writes on structure:

Research shows that kids get stressed during the school year from academics, homework, the social scene, and all Set a schedule - 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer Breakthe activities. They really need time to chill and relax. But they also need structure, meaning they need their day and week to have a shape — so they know what to expect. For instance, every morning after we play, we do errands or pick up the house together for an hour, and after lunch we have reading time and then quiet time. Every afternoon we run through the sprinkler or go to the pool.

With the abundance of screen-driven entertainment these days, “screen time” can be a parent’s “easy button.” Computers, smartphones, iPads, and game consoles abound. But research from The American Academy of Pediatrics, suggests eliminating screen time for children under 2 years old and advises limiting daily screen time to one to two hours for older kids. What to do? Setting consistent limits seems to be the consensus top tip, according to GreatKids family blog. Other top suggestions include:

  • Use technology (DVR, apps, passwords) to monitor and control screen time
  • Set a consistent family viewing time
  • Keep media out of kids’ bedrooms

For a more comprehensive look, check out their 9 Secrets for Managing Your Kids’ Screen time by clicking here.

Technology can be an effective motivational and behavioral tool when used correctly. Empoweringparents.com outlines the guidelines for using technology as a consequence or reward.

2. Outside Adventures!

Our second of 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer Break is to get outside and take in some adventures with your kids!

Yes, get them playing in the back yard. Yes, take them to the local park. Yes, hit up those microadventures - 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer Breakplay dates. Yes, go on family vacation. But YES, YES, YES, open their eyes to a bigger world and bigger experiences. Summer is prime time to take them on a hike into the woods, to the top of a mountain, through a creek, over some sand dunes. Travel and explore a neighboring town. Travel as much as you can this summer. For some helpful tips on traveling with kids, check out our blog from last week.

Family travel expert Debbie Dubrow has been there and done that when it comes to family travel. She emphasizes the challenges, the solutions, and rewards of traveling with your kids in her blog Deliciousbaby.com. Read her article Why Travel by clicking here.

One father gave his 3 & 4 year old daughters a “travel experience” of a lifetime and documented it here:

While that “travel experience” may be extreme for some, be pro-active in sharing big experiences with your kids, no matter how little they are!

Allistair Humphreys, one of National Geogrphic’s Adventurers of the year, has coined a new term: “microadventures.” While Alistair has walked across India, biked around the world, and rowed across the Atlantic, his most recent passion is to encourage microadventures among those who living within the 9 to 5 structure. Grand, months long adventures may be out of reach for the majority of us, but a weekend microadventure isn’t. Here’s a short piece he did on microadventures for CNN:

His new book is called Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes. His other adventure books are available on his website.

Brett & Kate McKay run The Art of Manliness website, and after reading Alistair’s book on microadventures, decided to take an 8-week microadventure challenge – with their two young kids. Click here to read about their experiences. Their conclusion:

What turned out to be the most surprising thing about my 8-week microadventure challenge was how unchallenging it was! Breaking out of my routine and doing a tiny expedition each week required very little effort, time, or money at all; the barriers I had imagined to executing such outings turned out to exist only in my mind. That included a worry that Gus and Scout wouldn’t take to some of the activities, and I’d have a pair of whining kids on my hands. Instead, they loved getting out more and exploring, and I learned, as I seemingly have to again and again, that they’re more resilient than I sometimes think.

3. “Go Away – Read Some Books”

Summer reading plan - 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer BreakNumber 3 on our list of 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer Break is to explore new books!

“I would say read! Read, read, read. In books there is a world of information just waiting to be discovered. The person who does not read has no advantage over the person who cannot read.” ~ Dear Abby

Aha! Parenting nails it:

Books open the imagination, make time disappear, and give kids a wholesome alternative to screens. (Reading is also highly correlated with school achievement.) Reading to your child develops a love of stories and books, which is what starts them wanting to read on their own. For more on helping your child learn to love reading, click here. For a starting list of great books to take to the library with your child, click here.

4. Tie Up Loose Ends to Stay Organized

Coming in at 4 of our 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer Break is Home and kid organization.

Staying active and creative will result in lots of loose ends. Here’s what to do with them.

Cords, cords, and more cords. Whether it’s your home entertainment center, or you have grandchildren or nieces and nephews visiting, managing cords can be a regular struggle.

  • Cord organization - 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer BreakStart here: Separate Power from Everything Else. Route power cables in one direction and all of your audio and video cables going in another direction. It helps with cable management, but it also decreases the sheer bulk of cables. In addition, it simplifies your task if you need to swap something out or test a connection. Grab yourself a few sturdy, plug-rich surge protectors like the Belkin Pivot Plug. Separate out all of the things you need to be on all the time from the things that can be easily powered off. That way even if you have a device that prefers to stay on standby and never really powers off, you can save energy by flipping the switch on the surge protector.
  • Label Everything – You might think that is common practice, but the fact is most people just don’t label the cables connected to their TV, receiver, consoles, and other gear. Grab a cheap, personal label maker and label both ends of your cables with the cable type and the device it’s connected to. That way you don’t even have to look at the connector, and you’ll always know which end to disconnect to pull out a cable you need to test or replace. Do the same with your power cables. No label maker? Grab some tape and a sharpie!
  • Tie Down, Hide, and Organize Those Cables – Once you have the right cables, have your cables labeled, and have the right gear to make the most of your home entertainment center, the last step is to set it all back up as cleanly as possible. Fun cord organization - 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer Breakusing binder clips, coiling and zip-tying slack when you need to. Velcro strips can all help conceal your cable clutter.

BOOK ORGANIZATION IDEAS

  • Book organization - 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer BreakFloating shelves provide a great way to display books and provide easy access
  • Book organization - 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer BreakMulti-Purpose Bookshelf: A shelf like the Oeuf Mini Library can hold books as well as toys. Its utilitarian form is easy on the eyes, too.
  • Book organization - 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer BreakA Wall bench and bookshelf automatically creates a cozy reading area and provides both a space to read and extra storage for books.
  • Book organization - 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer BreakStacked cubes: A custom book area with plywood cubes created this set-up with differently sized boxes for differently sized books.images-1
  • Baskets: It can be as simple as finding a large basket or two to hold all of your child’s current favorite books.

Creating a SUMMER ARTS & CRAFTS AREA keeps your kids organized
Craft organization - 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer Break

The key to keeping a somewhat clean space with kids is to have a very clear organization for their toys and arts and crafts. When kids feel they can actually put away their belongings quickly, it can be a game.

As far as arts and crafts are concerned, here are some solutions that are simple to implement:

  • Mom’s Crafty Space has an Upcycled Montessori-Styled Crayon Holder Tutorial. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s also a good exercise for color sorting.
  • I heart Organizing made an art caddy, using chalk paint, so it can be personalized by the kids to their taste.
  • Cheeky Kitchen‘s pantry organization includes a shelf for arts and crafts, and a fun use of tin cans with simple labels.
  • A Bowl Full of Lemons brings us the over-the-door shoe organizer as arts and crafts organizer.
  • One Orange Giraffe designed a Portable Art Studio, including an essential craft bucket with pockets around it. Brilliant!

Make a Summertime Activity Caddy!! Art caddy - 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer Break

Check out @BetterHomes Storage Kit Ideas

Utensil caddies are a great size for far more than just utensils! The divided portions of the caddy are great for keeping markers, crayons and color pencils in their respective sections! Canning jars are perfect for odd shaped crafting items and can be tucked into the caddy along with scissors, paint, glue and wiggly eyes! The end result is something that can be tucked up on a shelf in a bedroom or pantry and can easily be snagged and carried to the kitchen table or floor to work on creative crafty projects!

5. Focus on Fun

Our last stop in our 5 Strategies for a Successful Summer Break is to focus on fun!

Parenting experts agree that what kids most remember is the feeling they had from a period of time, not so much the detail of every event. If the summer structure they remember is that they had fun during self-directed play, but parent-initiated activities were mostly about chores like clean up, they’ll remember the summer as a bummer. Making the focus of parent-directed (or grandparents) summer activities intentionally fun, while keeping age-appropriate responsibilities part of your schedule, will keep you sane and your kids happy!

Becky at CleanMama.net details how she keeps even her young children engaged in age-appropriate housekeeping chores, while not overwhelming them.

What other tips do you have to create a successful summer break with your kids? Share it by leaving a comment below!

Shine,

Karen & The Cleaning Crew

Family Travel Tips


The Organized Family Traveler

Keep Organized for Your Summer Travels!

Over The Hill & Through The Woods

First of all, congratulations to any and all newly-minted graduates! Well done – now go on and reach for those stars!

For you, and for many many families, this post will find you shouting, “Summer Vacation Ahoy!” No doubt there are summer trips ahead, and thus, it’s time to get organized!

Travelling, though exciting and exhilarating, can induce anxiety and stress, especially when children are involved! Whether your’re traveling alone, with a single partner, or with a large family, stash these family travel tips in your travel arsenal to master the art of reducing travel stress.

 

PACKING FOR YOUR SUMMER TRIP

Clean Your Room BEFORE you Pack

This may be the last thing on your mind while in the throes of getting ready for a trip, but this may be highest on the list of family travel tips experts recommend. If the laundry is done and put away, all belongings are tidied up, and the bed is made before packing commences, it allows for more streamlined item selection. It’s easier to identify and choose favorite articles of clothing, and to check specific clothes off a packing list. We are also less likely to forget things we need, and it’s easier to pack on a neatly made bed than a messy one. Plus, everyone loves to come home to a clean house! Too busy or stressed? We can help with a one-time cleaning, regular cleaning service, or with home organization.

 

Roll With It, Baby

Most travel experts recommend rolling clothes instead of folding. By rolling up each article of clothing, your clothes stay less wrinkled and often take up the least amount of space. We’ve also come across a packing method called bundling, where you wrap your clothing around itself, with your most wrinkle-proof things in the center. One Bag, a website devoted to packing efficiency, seems to swear by it!

Another space and time saving idea is the Pick and Roll Packing strategy. The concept? PICK each day’s outfit BEFORE-HAND, then ROLL each outfit as one bundle (undies, socks, pants/shorts/skirt, & shirt). This makes organization and decision-making on the road and at your destination much much simpler! This is incredibly helpful with youngsters who can’t choose their own outfits yet!

In addition, if you’re on a multi-day road trip, you won’t have to lug in ALL your luggage each night – just your overnight kit and your ROLL for the next day. Brilliant!

 

ROAD TRIPPIN? HOW TO KEEP IT SANE!

Keep a trash bag in the car!

This may seem like the biggest no-brainer in the history of mankind, but we’re amazed at how many travelers don’t do this! Whether it’s a simple plastic bag, a recycled container, or a fancy auto trash can, put something within your reach to throw out your trash, and the floorboards don’t count! A few options for different applications:

Summer Travel Tips

Help Your Kids Visualize The Trip

 

Make a Travel Timeline

Let your children visualize your trip with this simple and fun timeline craft. Have your children draw pictures that represent each city or state that you will be traveling past. All you will need to pack in the car to make your own time line need is string, a hole punch, makers and paper clips.

 

 

Use Travel Organizers – You can find these everywhere – and for good reason. They flat-out work at helping keep your car well-stocked and organized. Keep one in your trunk for groceries, shopping bags, and sports gear. Hang one on the back of the front seat filled with your kids stuff: sippy cups, books, toys, and other essentials they need for a car ride.

 

Food Travel Kit Summer Travel Tips

Food Travel Kit – Using a tackle box or a similar box with dividers, raid the kitchen and assemble this snack kit before your next road trip. It will turn a simple snack into entertaining fun!

 

 

Car Organizer Summer Travel tips

Ultimate Car Organizer

Organizing Junkie has great tips for corralling art supplies, DVD player, wipes, and snacks all in one handy place. There are some great printable picture packing lists the kids can use to get ready for the trip.

SUMMER TRAVEL INCLUDE LIFT OFF?

Summer Air Travel Tips

And….We Have Lift Off!

Wherever you go, Pack Light! Watching children carrying and moving around with multiple and heavy suitcases is stressful. You’ll be going through check-in lines, security, pushing strollers, rolling carry ons, plus managing the kids – and no one will be offering to help you. Do yourself a favor and pack light!

From Head to Toe – Wear slip-on shoes and nothing too metallic – you’ll be thankful when you get to security. Simple clothing is best, especially if you have to use the bathroom while holding a baby. Bring or wear a sweater since airplanes tend to be cold.

Don’t Forget to Take Care of You – When flying with kids it’s easy for adults to focus so much on their kids that they forget to make sure they have a few things that help reduce their stress (food, books, tablet, etc.)

AIR TRAVEL TIPS FOR KIDS

No one wants to be THAT family. You know, the family with the screaming baby, the tantrum-ing toddler, or the demanding diva. While you certainly can’t make a guarantee against these scenarios, with these family air travel tips you can certainly increase your chances!

Here are a few highlights to whet your appetite. There are whole blog sites dedicated to this topic, so use this guide as a primer and a springboard.

Air Travel Tips for Kids

Friendlier Skies

Use Backpacks not Rolling Suitcases – for you carry-ons. For young kids, especially, it’s difficult to navigate narrow aisles and sharp corners with a “wheelie.” Most kids can carry a backpack with everything they’ll need for the flight.

Always check in and confirm your seat assignment online before you leave for the airport. Definitely print boarding passes & put them in your carryon! Set a calendar reminder on your smartphone to remind you the moment they become printable!

Most airports have of wide-open spaces. Use these areas to encourage your kids to get some wiggles out. The time between checking in and boarding is not a time to “sit still.” They’ll be doing that on the plane! Wear them out if possible! Many airports now have family-friendly play areas. Identify them & use them!

For family vacations where you are not going to be in your own vehicle, you will want to consider a car rental service like e-mietwagenkreta who have a whole range of cars to suit families of any size. They operate in Crete and can deliver your car to a convenient location, be that your hotel or the airport.

Air Travel Activities for Children

Endless Possibilities

Airborne ActivitiesKeep the kids busy on long trip with a DIY Portable LEGO Kit and Activity Cards. A great idea for those times where you have to wait.

Debbie at Deliciousbaby.com is one of the country’s most influential family travel gurus. Here’s her “Top 10 Tips for Keeping a Toddler Busy on a Plane:”

  1. Go on a scavenger hunt through the airplane magazine. On each page, pick one item that your child has to locate. For older children, hand them the magazine and say “can you find a picture of an airplane?”
  2. Put some fun pictures onto your digital camera (you’re carrying it anyway). Good candidates are pictures of the people and places you are going to visit or pictures of a recent adventure (like the zoo). During the flight, you can relive the fun and tell stories about where/who you’re visiting.
  3. When the flight attendant delivers drinks, ask for a cup, a couple ice cubes, and a straw. There are endless games with this combination. Ice is fascinating to toddlers in and of itself, and you can teach them to swirl it on the bottom of the cup, or catch it on the straw (airplane ice usually has a hole in the middle). Watch that the ice doesn’t end up in their mouth though (choking hazard).
  4. Teach yourself some new finger rhymes (e.g. “where is thumbkin”) before you go.
  5. Get your children playing with the neighbors in front of and behind you before the plane takes off. (Peek-a-boo and kiss-blowing are hard for even the most stoic travelers to resist). Your seat-mates will be a lot more understanding if your children have a difficult time later once they’ve seen them at their cutest, and you never know what fun entertainment they’ll come up with.
  6. Extend snack time by challenging your child. “What is the is the smallest bite you can take” or “see if you can eat just one at a time (tricky for little fingers). Pack your snacks in Tupperware & the packaging becomes a toy when the snack is done.
  7. For young toddlers, screwing and unscrewing the top on a plastic water bottle is great fun (watch carefully as small tops are a choke hazard). Ask the flight attendant to bring you an empty bottle if you’re not carrying one.
  8. Learning how to fasten and unfasten an “old fashioned” seatbelt, jacket zipper, and snaps or buttons on their clothing (or a carryon bag) can keep them occupied for a long time
  9. Have your toddler help you make up fanciful stories about what you will do on your trip. For young toddlers, they might choose between two options, while older kids will be able to fill in parts of the stories.
  10. Three words: Barf bag puppets

We highly recommend her site for ALL KINDS of great family travel ideas. Check it out by clicking here. Debbie’s also summarized all her family’s best travel tips. Click here for the list.

FAMILY CAMPING TIPS

Family Camping Tipps

Enjoy an Unbeatable Sunrise!

Here are a few of our favorite ideas & resources:

  • Use a blow-up mattress for your kids to sleep on. You won’t need to worry about stones if you tent camp and it takes up very little space once collapsed in the car making pack-up a breeze.
  • Don’t buy ice. Use jugs of drinking water. Freeze them and put them into the cooler. As it melts you have cool water to drink – and your food stays cool.
  • Let’s face it, the highlight of every day while camping is the campfire at the end of the day. If you’ve ever struggled to get a fire going. You’ll appreciate these awesome fire-starter “pods”. Keep your dryer lint and fill a cardboard egg carton with the lint. Pour wax over it. These pods will even start a fire in a drizzling rain!
  • Bring activity bags. These bagged activities are perfect for the slow-paced days where you hangout all morning around the cabin or campsite. The kids can grab one bag and go make something nifty.
  • Add some comfort to tent camping with foam floor pieces. They are durable, comfy, and easy to assemble/remove.

There are so many benefits to traveling – even when factoring in the extra challenges of traveling with kids! So, get out there and have a fantastic summer exploring this beautiful world – both near & far!

Cheers,

~ Karen & The Cleaning Crew

Have a travel tip of your own? Leave a comment below & tell us about it!

 

Make Your Bathroom a Clutter-Free Zone


Have a really tiny bathroom space? Or, a tiny budget? Our friend Kathryn at Do It On a Dime, has these suggestions:

Expand Storage Capacity of under-sink CabinetsBathroom-Pull-out-Shelves

Take advantage of all the room under your sink (and save yourself some stooping and reaching) with sliding drawers. Check out Living Locurto‘s super-smart ways to organize under the sink.

hanging basketConsider the Ceiling

If your quarters are tight and space is already limited, look up. Take advantage of vertical real estate by hanging a multilevel fruit basket for additional storage. When placed in the shower, the open rungs of the three-tier hanging basket allow loofahs and bath toys to dry over the tub. Or suspend the basket in an unused corner and stock it with lotions, treatments, and scented sachets. An idea that might keep your bathroom better stocked is to make sure you have the best home energy quote to save money. I hear Money Expert provide a fantastic range of quotes that should save you money.

Don’t Hide the T.P.tp

Two conundrums you’ve probably experienced: 1. You’re in your bathroom and you realize you are out of toilet paper. 2. You’re in someone else’s bathroom and you realize they are out of toilet paper. (Do you uncomfortably search your host’s cupboards or sheepishly go ask for help? Skip scenario one at least and always keep ample rolls in a nearby urn, bin, or basket.

There’s no end to Bathroom Organizing Ideas! These are meant to give us a kick start.

Do you have more bathroom organization ideas to add? Leave a comment below!

* BONUS RECIPE: SUPER DUPER TUB SCRUB *

bath

Along with a little scrubbing power from a sponge, we love this simple and effective Tub Scrub. It leaves tubs and sinks sparkling clean and does a great job removing soap scum.

  1. 1 cup baking soda
  2. 4 tablespoons water
  3. 2 tablespoons liquid castile soap (We like Dr. Bronner’s Fair Trade & Organic Castile Liquid Soap)
  4. Add baking soda to a glass container with a lid.
  5. Add castile soap and water, stirring until it’s toothpaste consistency.
  6. Using a wet sponge, work this cleanser into tubs surfaces, letting it sit for a few minutes
  7. Rinse with hot water.

If you don’t use all the cleaner in one use, you can save it in a covered container. If it dries out, just add water until it forms a paste again. You might even free up enough space to add some extra furniture to your bathroom. I hear that a friend decided to Buy Oak Bathroom Furniture Here and was not disappointed.

Have Bathroom Organization Tips of Your Own to Share?

Add a tip or two in the Comments section below!

Tips To Refresh and Organize Your Bedroom


bedroom #1
Research continues to pour in supporting the need for consistently good sleep and rest (7-8 hours per night, according to most research). And your bedroom is the epicenter of that endeavor. And, since it’s where you start and finish your day, you need it to be a space free of stress, anxiety and tension. Ideally, it should be a refreshing oasis that helps focus our minds and bodies toward restfulness.

This week The Cleaning Crew is looking at simple and effective ways for refreshing and organizing your bedroom. Don’t think of it as needless pampering — you probably NEED it more than you know!

OK, let’s start with a couple of housekeeping items, i.e. chores. Here are a couple that may actually make more of a difference in your mood and attitude than you expect!

Surprise! Making Your Bed EVERYDAY Makes Your Day Better!

Maybe our moms were more on point with this one than we (or they) knew! People study all kinds of things these days, and making one’s bed is now one of them. In these studies they found that making one’s bed as a daily ritual is associated with:

  • better productivity
  • sticking with a budget
  • and greater HAPPINESS (what?!)

That’s right. Making your bed on a consistent basis helps make you a happier person. Who knew? Most just associate it with doing a chore! You can read some of the research here.

Cleaning & Refreshing Your Bed: How to Deep-Clean Your Mattress

Maybe you don’t like the way your bed looks though, this might be a contributing factor to you not wanting to make your bed. If this is the case then it might be a good idea to get a new bed. Why not check out something like this high gloss bed to give you a better idea of what you could get. Another thing you could do is just make sure you wash your bedding. Of course everyone knows to wash their bedding on a regular basis, but how about the actual mattress? When was the last time you cleaned your mattress? Or has reading this made you realised that you are long overdue a new Leesa king size mattress? If you aren’t sure how to go about cleaning your mattress, here’s an oft-overlooked cleaning task that should be part of our regular cleaning routine.

sheets What You’ll Need:

  • 16-ounce box baking soda
  • Essential oil
  • Vacuum cleaner

This simple combination of baking soda and essential oils will deodorize, eliminate moisture and kill dust mites in your mattress. Essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender or wintergreen essential oils have the added benefit of safely and effectively remove dust mites as well as being naturally antibacterial. If you’ve just bought a new mattress, it’s important for you to care for it, if you’re not sure how, read this mattress care guide.

Here’s the step-by-step:
  1. Open the box of baking soda and add 10 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Close the box and give it a good shake to distribute the essential oil and break up any large clumps.
  2. Sprinkle the baking soda over the bed, using the entire box. Now it’s time for a mattress massage! Rub the baking soda mixture into the bed, which really gives your mattress a deep cleaning. Let the baking soda and essential oil work its magic for at least an hour.
  3. While you’re waiting, toss your bedding in the wash, and fluff duvets or feather beds in the dryer. Wipe down the walls around your bed and the bed frame, creating a nice and clean sleeping area.
  4. After an hour, vacuum the mattress, working slowly to ensure all the baking soda has been removed.
  5. Along with freshening your bed, the mixture helps lift dirt and residue while wicking away moisture. And giving your mattress a good vacuuming sucks away any lurking dust mites, which makes everyone sleep easier. Make the bed, and you’re ready for some serious slumber.

Furniture Refresher – Restore Shine to Your Wood Furniture

dresser

In addition to tending to your mattress, how about your bedroom set? If your bedroom furniture is constructed of wood, it may be due for some freshening up. Here’s why and how.

Wood loses its shine for two reasons: it gets dirty and it gets worn. Oil, dirt and any number of other things can build up on the surface of wood. If it’s not removed regularly, it can create a build up over the surface of the wood and make the wood dull.

  1. The first step is to clean your wooden furniture. Vinegar is very effective at cutting grease and removing grime. Plus, it’s all natural and non-toxic. Start by using undiluted white vinegar on a sponge or cloth to wipe down your furniture.
  2. Next, in a small mason jar mix one cup of mineral oil and three drops of pure lemon essential oil.
  3. Dab a bit of the mineral oil mixture on a soft cloth or sponge and rub it into the entire surface of the furniture. If your wood is very dry, you may need to do this twice. Let the oil sit on the furniture for at least five minutes.
  4. Using a clean rag, gently buff the furniture, wiping away any excess mineral oil. The wood should be smooth to touch – not tacky or sticky.

Ideally, you should repeat this process about once a month to keep your furniture looking its best.

Next, let’s turn our attention to some organizational tasks. How our bedrooms are set up and organized contributes significantly to how we feel when we’re in them.

Consider Your Paint Choices – What are the Best Colors for the Bedroom?blue

Many bedrooms never move beyond “off-white” on the color wheel. Or, maybe you bought a home recently and inherited a bedroom color that’s not sitting quite right with you. Changing your bedroom paint is one of the bigger bang for your buck changes you can make?

But, what color is best? Glad you asked!

Again, research indicates that color of our surroundings has a significant effect on the psyche. Soothing and softer hues are generally recommended, but bright colors don’t have to be banished. On the contrary! Our friends at HGTV.com have a few simple guidelines to follow when looking at new colors for your bedroom. Read through them here.

Nightstand Organization

Nightstands tend to collect lots of clutter: books, charging cables, magazines, pens, water bottles, etc. However, the rule of thumb for your nightstand is: the fewer the items the better. If you like to read before you go to sleep, pick one or two books that you most want to read. Make sure not to layer or stack things. We feel more peaceful when things are unobstructed and there is space between things. Stay diligent in de-cluttering your nightstand by sticking with just a few essentials. Add to this list of essentials very deliberately and carefully:

  1. A tray for smaller items like glasses, watches, rings etc.
  2. A box of tissues
  3. A small lamp

computer in bedroomTechnology in the Bedroom

Surveys indicate that a massive number of people sleep with their smartphone (or laptop or tablet) either next to the bed or actually IN the bed. However, research suggests this is a really bad idea. Huffingtonpost.com cites 7 really good reasons to eliminate the smartphone from the bedroom. Read the article here.

Follow These Tips for Getting Technology Out of the Bedroom

  • Set up a charging station somewhere other than your bedroom, like the kitchen or a home office. Plug in the cords in a way that makes it inconvenient to move them around, so that you really need to make an effort to charge your devices somewhere else.
  • Designate a time each night to retire phones and tablets to the charging station. Start with doing it right before bed, but consider doing it an hour or more before bedtime. Having time to unwind with your spouse is beneficial outside the bedroom as well.
  • Buy or dig out an actual alarm clock so you don’t have to rely on your phone’s alarm to wake up in the mornings. Browse Amazon’s selection of alarm clocks here.
  • If you or your spouse like to read before bed, start bringing physical books into the bedroom instead of a tablet or e-reader. If you’re dying to read your latest Kindle find, discuss guidelines before carrying the device to bed. Consider turning off Wi-Fi so you’re not tempted to check email or Facebook “just for a minute.”

Is There a TV in Your Bedroom? Ditch It Now

Removing the television from your bedroom will result in better / more sleep. Not only does television in the bedroom keep us up later at night, but there are also studies that indicate watching television before bed actually disrupts sleep cycles.

Illumination Inspiration
bedroom-lighting

Choosing the right lighting in bedrooms is important for relaxing and rejuvenating the human spirit. Use these tips to bring your bedroom some much needed illumination inspiration. Check out Remodeling 101: Bedroom Lighting Secrets by Janet Hall

Well, there you have it! Clearly there’s more to consider, like freshening up your bedding, pillows, and art work. This surely this will get you started! Then branch out as you can.

Remember, if the need for a professional arises, The Cleaning Crew has home organization specialists that can transform your bedroom in a flash. Give us a shout:

541-601-6236 or email us: info@thecleaningcrewonline.com

Next week we’ll be looking at some bathroom organization ideas!

Til then, Shine On!

~The Cleaning Crew

PS. What steps have you taken to make your bedroom a more restful space? Leave a comment below!

10 Kitchen Organization Tips and 7 Kitchen Organization Products (Everything Has A Place!!)


When Everything Has a Place, It’s Easier to Put Everything in its Place.

Everything has a place. This is the number one organization tip.  If you just abide by this rule, everything else will come easy when it comes to your disorganized home.  So this means that every item in your home has a place, or home base that it belongs in. The hair dryer is in the drawer in the bathroom.  Books belong on the bookshelf.  The trick is putting them back, and putting them back right after you have used them.  One such clutter forming place is the kitchen.

“The kitchen is the one room of the home that all family members use every day – yet so often it is one of the most inefficient rooms in the house.  Who wants to cook when you can’t find what you need? Life in the kitchen is much easier when you can find what you’re looking for and you know what food is in the cupboard or the pantry!”

– Karen, Owner of The Cleaning Crew, LLC

Here are 10 tips that may help you create an enjoyable kitchen:

  1. Neatly stored items take up less space
  2. Organize your kitchen so that the every day dishes, silverware and glasses are close to the sink and/or dishwasher
  3. Coffee mugs…how many do you really need??? Think about those you use most often and how much space the rest consume
  4. Square and rectangular containers take up less space than round
  5. Go through cupboards and pantries once per year and toss what has not been used in a year
  6. Don’t purchase products in bulk unless you have a place to store them
  7. Small appliances you use often should be accessible – relocate appliances to hard to reach places that you do not use often
  8. Put canned goods with canned goods and boxes with boxes, etc. Break each down by category, such as fruits, vegetables, soups, beans, pasta, snack foods, etc…
  9. Install slide-out drawers in cupboards to easily access pots, pans, plastic containers, etc…
  10. Can’t install slide out drawers? Use clear glass or plastic boxes that can hold similar items, such as pasta, rice, snacks, baking goods – this way you can pull them all of the shelf at one time

With just a few hours of time and some products to help you organize – you’ll be well on your way to a kitchen that you can enjoy spending time in. It’s amazing the number of kitchen organizing products to help you control kitchen clutter – too many to mention all of them here.

7 Favorite Kitchen Organization Products

  1. Turntables – Found in a variety of sizes, materials and colors, turntables are one of the best ways to organize bottles, jars, cans, spices – or anything that you do not want to get shoved to the back of the cupboard.
  2. Tea Bag Storage –Try a basket or container for your favorites teas and impress your guests
  3. 3-tier Expanding Shelf – Never sure if you have tomato soup on hand when you want a grilled cheese sandwich? Use an expanding, tiered shelf to solve the mystery. It’s like having a set of bleachers for your canned goods and spices.
  4.  Drawer Double – Maximize the space in your drawers with a drawer double. It’s adjustable to fit the width of your drawer and has individual compartments. It’s perfect for use in a kitchen junk drawer – who said your junk drawer needed to look junky? It also works well in the drawer that contains all of your kitchen utensils.
  5. Grocery Bag Holder – Not only useful in the kitchen, but also a must for the laundry room if you use grocery bags to clean out the litter box! They also are useful in the bathroom under the sink. Mount on insides of doors, pantries or on the wall – or purchase the one that sits on a flat surface.
  6. Packet Storage – Excellent for quickly being able to put your hands on sauce, soup or drink mixes! They come in a variety of sizes and can either sit on a shelf, or some can be affixed to the door of a cupboard or wall in the pantry.
  7. Lid Holder – Do the plastic lids from your storage containers drive you nuts because you’re never sure what to do with them? Install a door mounted plastic cover holder and never wonder again where the lid is to your container. If this product won’t solve your problem, simply use one of the larger plastic containers to store the lids in.

Last but not least, be sure to take an honest look at what you are currently storing in your kitchen. Ask yourself; “when was the last time I used this?” “Will I ever use it again?” If the answer is “I can’t remember” or “No” then it may be time to let it go and make room for what you use everyday.

And let us know if we can help!

 

9 Tips for Organizing Your Closet!


We’ve all seen those “dream closets” and wished they were ours. However, it’s easier than you think to make your glamorous closet dreams a reality.  Here are a few organizing tips.

  1. Clean it out – The key to a clean organized closet is as simple as keeping out clutter.  If you haven’t worn something in over a year, get rid of it. Chances are, you won’t want to wear it anytime soon.
  2. Consolidate shoes – Use baskets and adorable boxes, placing the ones you wear the most at eye-level and placing all your prettiest boxes on display.
  3. Install plenty of hooks – Purses can take up a lot of shelf space. hooks are a great way to hang bags and backpacks.  Put them on the wall behind an open door for added storage space.  You can purchase hooks and knobs in a variety of colors and styles, so have fun with it.
  4. Use scarf and belt hangers – They now make hangers that are built to store scarves and belts.  They save shelf room and hang nicely next to pants.  The scarf hangers especially add an extra pop of color to your closet.
  5. Use uniform hangers – If you have a hodgepodge of hangers, it can make your closet look unnecessarily sloppy.  Purchase hangers that grip clothes and take up minimal room.  Having your clothes all hanging on the same level, the same distance apart will give the appearance of organization.
  6. Organize by sleeve length or color – However you choose to sort your clothes, do so.  If you always keep the same three sweaters in the back of your closet, you’ll forget all about them.  Put them with the rest of your tanks so when it’s cool outside, you have plenty of options to choose from.
  7. Purchase cute storage – Try woven baskets with cotton lining to store items like clutches, gloves, hats and coin purses. They’re a great way to separate items without cluttering up your closet.  Linen bins are a great option to store underwear and camisoles.  A beautiful jewelry box can also be a fantastic investment piece.
  8. Paint it a bright color – Painting your closet in a bright hue can go a long way.  Your closet will seem large and cheery and you’ll be excited about keeping it organized and cute.  Keeping a mirror and/or chair in your closet can make it your own personal hideout.
  9. Utilize cork board – Lining a wall or back of a shelf with corkboard is a cute and functional way to utilize and organize space.  You can also use pushpins as places to hang necklaces or bracelets and earrings can be pushed into the cork as well.
Check our more ideas on our Pinterest board and get started today!

 
Follow The Cleaning Crew, LLC’s board Organization and Storage on Pinterest.