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Declutter Your Life This Spring!

Easy Ways to Declutter Your Life

Yes, I enjoy spring cleaning. Am I weird?  I LOVE sprucing up our home…cleaning, reorganizing and de-cluttering.  Ahhhhh! Spring just brings this out in me.

You don’t have to do your spring cleaning all at once. It’s too overwhelming when projects are overwhelming there is a good chance it won’t get one.

Just take one task at a time, maybe even just one a week, and by summer you will feel decluttered and fabulous.

Tip #1 – Pick one room at a time.

My husband and I just had this conversation.  We think it will be much easier to take it one room at a time, versus having a massive Spring Cleaning marathon (especially with kiddos).  It’s a lot less overwhelming this way…and we like that we’re not just waiting until the weekend (which is our sacred family time) to clean.

Tip #2 – Tackle your “junk” drawer.

Everyone has one, right?!  When I want to feel cleaning “accomplished,” and I only have a few minutes, I start with my junk drawer.  It’s amazing how much better I feel when it is cleared out.

Tip #3 – Clean up your makeup.

Anyone else out there a makeup junkie?  I have lots of different makeup in lots of different bags.  And multiple makeup brushes.  Spring cleaning is a great time to clean out any old makeup, wipe out your makeup bags, and clean your makeup brushes. I found these great makeup brush cleaning tricks from Pinterest…cleanmama.net to be exact.  Check it out!

Tip #4 – Go through closets and dressers.

I scan my closet and drawers…and my kids’ closets and drawers…and grab anything that is too small, too worn, or past it’s “season.”  I bag ‘em and donate them. Involving your kids is a great way to show them that their gently loved clothes can go to other kiddos that can still use them and appreciate them.

Tip #5 – Toys, toys, and more toys.

If your kids’ toys are taking over your home (like my kids’ “treasures” are), it’s time to weed out toys that your kids have outgrown…and donate them to others that can enjoy them.  I wrote a blog about great service project ideas to do with your kids - check out #4 in this blog for ideas of how to work with your kids on cleaning out their toys…and how they can help others!

Tip #6 – Clean out your “to-do” pile on your desk or counter.

Paper piles.  Ugh.  Even though I try to stay organized with my stacks of papers, sometimes you just have to take the time to file, recycle or finally get around to doing those “I’ll do them later,” action items. You’ll feel better, I promise!

Tip # 7 – Your car…need I say more?

Hmmm…Cheerios, smushed granola bars, crumbs, toy parts, Kleenex, dried baby wipes, coupons…ugh.  Now’s the time to give the inside (and outside!) of your car a little facelift.  Take out your carseats, vacuum the gross ickys, clean your carseats, and pick up any trash.  Wash the outside of your car (kids love to help!), clean windows, and shine your tires.  Make this a family activity, or simply splurge on a deluxe carwash at your local carwash place.

Tip #8 – Organize your email inbox.

Now’s a great time to clean out – and file – your electronic “to-do’s.”  Today, it seems like everything is online.  So why not take this opportunity to organize, file and clean your email inboxes?  This task may take longer than the others…so I try to spend just 10-15 minutes a day.

Tip #9 – Clean out your pantry and refrigerator.

This is one your kids can get in and help with.  Take everything out, look at expiration dates, and toss anything that needs to be cleaned out. Wipe down shelves, disinfect, and organize the remaining food.

I’ve also found that having a “kid-friendly food” shelf or drawer has been awesome!  I put all of the “nut free” products here that they can have at school.  It makes it so much easier to make snacks, lunches, and even for the kids to “grab and go” themselves.  I’m all about making things easier!

Tip #10 – Get your kids involved.

Cleaning doesn’t have to be a punishment!  Turn on the timer, turn on the music, give each kid an age-appropriate job, and everyone pitches in and cleans until the timer beeps.  I explain to my kids that part of being a family is that everyone contributes to taking care of our home.  Most of the time, my kids are happy to each have a “job.”

What are your Spring Cleaning tips?  Do you dread it or enjoy it?
Share your easy ways to declutter your life!

How to Organize Your Kid’s Artwork

how to organize your kid's artwork - 2

Hi, my name is Christy.  And, my kids’ art projects are taking over my home.  Can anyone else relate?  Piles, stuffed folders, pictures plastered on walls, doors, bulletin boards…oh my!  I knew I had to clean up and go through all of these precious little “treasures.”  Here are my tips for how to organize your kid’s artwork. 

I knew my “art wall” was getting out of control when my laid-back husband told me that our kitchen walls were being taken over by random kid projects, coloring scraps, pipe cleaner creations, and paper plate animals.

I defensively looked at my beautiful walls, filled with…okay, well they were plastered with multiple art projects galore.  Every inch of space was maxed out.  As much as I loved each and every picture, I admitted it was a little out of control.

So, I came up with a couple of solutions that seemed to help me get more organized and less cluttered.

Solution #1 – Organize your art wall

I found these cute little artwork wall organizers at Target (my home away from home!), pictured above.  I took every precious masterpiece off of our kitchen walls and doors…and picked four to keep in rotation, per kiddo.

I hung up the organizers on our designated “art wall,” and now switch out my daughter and son’s art and school projects every couple of days.  This keeps everything a little more tidy…and still proudly displayed!

Solution #2 – File the “keepers”

As much as I wish I could keep every project, coloring page, painting and worksheet…there is simply not enough room.  Each week I go through all of my kid’s schoolwork and art pieces from the week. I pick the “keepers” - you know, the really special ones.  The ones that are memorable and/or extra adorable, represent milestones, are made just for you, and so on.

I either display those or file them in each kid’s school box.  Yep, I have made a school organizer box for each of my children.  So.much.easier.

I pick out what I think the grandparents would like and set that aside.  Then…SHHHHHH…I recycle the rest.  Without guilt.

Solution #3 – Artkive

Artkive is one of my favorite apps ever – and is free!!  You can upload pictures of your kid’s artwork and school projects and store it on Artkive’s site.  Here’s the cool part – you can organize the artwork electronically by child, year in school (or chronological age), date/month/year, plus you can add a description of their creation.

You can also make and save a list of email addresses, and then choose to send a picture copy to your family and friends with your kid’s latest masterpiece.  All of the my kids’ grandparents love getting these fun emails!

Another option?  With Artkive, you can actually print a book of your all of your kid’s artwork – organized chronologically.  Be still my heart!

What are your kid art organizing secrets?  Do you have any tips or tricks?
Please share below!

Your iComfort Questions ~ Answered

Disclosure: I am a part of the Serta blogger program to help educate people on their iComfort products and received a complimentary mattress to facilitate firsthand reviews. All opinions on the iComfort are 100% honest, and my own! 

sertafaqs

I have been blogging about our fabulous Serta iComfort mattress for over 2 1/2 years now. As a result, the other day I was looking at my Google Analytics and realized there there were a lot of iComfort questions that landed on my blog. Some of these questions I have addressed, but others I haven’t, so I wanted to do a post on iComfort FAQs and answers to questions people want to know about this mattress.

This post is based on my own personal experience sleeping on our iComfort Prodigy mattress as well as answers that can be found on the Serta Ask the Experts FAQs page.

If you have any other questions not mentioned in this blog, please feel free to leave a comment or email me (Jennifer)! Here were the top questions:

Does the iComfort bed sleep hot? 

I have talked about this topic a lot, and addressed it in this recent video as well. In my opinion, our iComfort mattress does not sleep hot, at all.  My husband is a very warm sleeper and he has had no problems sleeping hot on our iComfort. Their Cool Action Memory Foam is designed to let the memory foam breathe, so heat does not get trapped.

Is there an iComfort Break In Period?

With our iComfort, there was no break in period. It was as comfortable the first night as it still is 2 1/2 years later. Of course, it does take a little time to get used to sleeping on a new type of mattress, but we only noticed beneficial differences right out of the gate.

Do you have to flip the iComfort mattress?

No, it is a single sided mattress.

Can you wash the iComfort mattress cover? 

No, the cover is not meant to be removed and washed. From night one, you should use a mattress protector to protect your mattress.

iComfort Reinvention Review 

There are newer models that hit the floors last summer, called iComfort Directions. The iComfort Directions models have four new and exclusive features you can read about here on the Serta website.

My husband and I sleep on the original iComfort. We have the iComfort Prodigy model and love, love, love. it. Click here and here for my past iComfort Prodigy mattress reviews.

Split King vs. King for Serta Adjustable Base?

We have a king mattress (one mattress) we use with the Motion Perfect Adjustable Foundation. If you want to know what I think about our adjustable base, click here. Best invention ever.

Our king base is split, our mattress is not. There is also the option with the king base to purchase 2 Twin XL mattresses to push together on separate bases. With one mattress, you have to use the bases together (either both elevated or not) at the same time. With separate twin mattresses, you are able to operate each base and mattresses individually.

In my opinion, I prefer the king mattress (one king mattress.) My husband and I use the base together. We are both either reading and watching TV at the same time with it elevated or we are sleeping at the same time.  If you think you would want to use the base/beds separately at different times (i.e. one person would be reading elevated while the other is sleeping) the 2 Twin XL might be a good option. You just have to ask yourself how you see yourself using the adjustable base.

Can you attach a headboard with the iComfort Adjustable Base? 

Yes, there are headboard brackets made specific for each iComfort model. We use a headboard with our iComfort Adjustable Base.

Can you use a bedskirt with the iComfort Adjustable Base?

You can, but the bed skirt can and will move when you adjust the base, so it will have to be readjusted. We don’t use a bedskirt with our adjustable base. If we decided to in the future, I would probably opt to get one custom fit, as it is not a standard type of mattress base.

Is iComfort worth it? 

I love this question, because I understand it. An iComfort mattress is an investment, because it is a really high quality mattress. But when you think about how long you can sleep on a mattress if you take care of it (sometimes up to 10+ years), and look at how much TIME you spend IN your bed (like a third of your life!), then YES, it is absolutely worth it!  I didn’t pay for our mattress, which is something I am very grateful for, but now that I have the experience sleeping on Serta’s iComfort memory foam, if we were in the position to have to purchase a new bed in the future, I would definitely save my money and would purchase this bed over again, because YES, it is sooooooo worth it.

Again, please feel free to email me or comment with additional questions!

Memory Foam Mattress Myths

This video is all about memory foam mattress myths and the misconceptions people can have about memory foam beds.  We “bust that myth” by featuring three common memory foam mattress myths based on our experience sleeping on our iComfort Sleep System by Serta memory foam mattress.

If you are in the market for a new mattress, please click here to check out another video on Mattress Shopping Tips.

And I have some…

…E X C I T I N G    N E W S !  !  ! 

Coming up later this month Serta is providing an iComfort mattress by Serta (up to $5,000 retail value!) to GIVEAWAY (woooooo hoooooo!) so you will want to watch this video and find out more about the blissful mattress you might be sleeping on come 2014!

Stay tuned and thanks for watching…

Disclosure: I am a part of the Serta blogger program and received our mattress complimentary to facilitate firsthand reviews, blogs and videos. All opinions are 100% my honest, genuine ones. And they are all my own. I am also compensated for my time and participation in the program. I love working with Serta. Amazing company with amazing products.

My Secrets to Getting Organized This Fall

Secrets to Getting Organized This Fall 1

This week, I want to share some of my secrets to getting organized this Fall…it’s hard to stay on top of things when life gets hectic. About a week ago, I noticed my piles of papers were growing taller, my car was starting to look like we lived in it, and our homework area was getting out of control.

Time to get organized! Here are some things that work for us. Would love to hear the ways you keep your family organized too!

Tips for Fall Organization:

1. Put a large open laundry basket in the trunk of your car.

This is where all of our kid activity “stuff” goes.  Shin guards, soccer balls, required hair ties, extra socks, whatever. We organize (okay, dump) it in the laundry basket so that it’s 1.) Not rolling around. 2.) Easy to find. 3.)  Easy to carry anywhere, if needed.

2. Pack at lunch bag full of snacks for the car and bring an empty grocery bag for trash.

My kids always equate being in the carseat to being hungry. With my family schedule, we’re sometimes in and out of the car all day long so I pack a lunch tote full of snacks and stick in an empty bag for trash. Same with water. Each kid gets an iced water bottle that they work on all day.

3. Make a special folder, box or place for your child’s school artwork.

To cut back on the piles, I take a picture of it and store it electronically, so that it will live “forever.”  Special pieces go on our art wall and rotate in and out. Others go in their special “art folder/box/cupboard.”

Then, once a quarter I go through the art and decide what to keep, what to give to family, and what to (gulp) recycle. There. I said it. I have to, or these art project files get out of control!  And, I’ll always have the electronic pictures.  There is an awesome app for this called, “Artkive. Check it out!  You can organize the artwork electronically by child, grade and age.

4. Organize your kid’s workspace.

My kindergartener now has homework!  So I’ve cleared out a homework space for her, including a little caddy with crayons, markers, safety scissors, a glue stick, tape, and pencils.

I’ve organized stickers in one tubberware bin, craft “fixings” in another, construction paper in another drawer, glue sticks, glitter paint and tape in another…you get the idea.  This makes projects, art and homework time much easier…on both of us.

5. Clean out your wardrobe.

It’s (sort of) starting to feel like fall. Invest an hour or two and go through your closet and drawers, as well as your kids. Move out your summer stuff and move in your fall stuff.  It will make things easier on crazy mornings to grab and go.

6. Have each of your kids fill a bag of toys or clothes to donate.

At least once a quarter, I ask my kids to pick five toys (each) to give (donate) to another kid who would enjoy them.  This concept can be a little difficult for young ones to grasp, but I find that having them pick the toys themselves versus me picking them helps tremendously.

Then, I’ll take time on my own after they are in school, napping or asleep for the evening, to go through anything else that needs it.  Weed out the too small clothes and toys stuck in the bottom of toy bins. De-cluttering is so therapeutic!

7. Make a “kid friendly shelf” in your pantry.

Whatever your kids eat, I suggest making room in your pantry (or a separate drawer) for their favorites.  This makes packing lunches a LOT easier.  Or nabbing snacks on the go.

This is especially important for our family, because both my kids are at schools with “no nut” policies, including food that has been manufactured in the same facility as nuts.  It is very important for me to always pack nut-free lunches…by having everything organized on one shelf, I can easily grab and go.

What are some of your favorite tips for staying organized this Fall?  Share below!

Photo credit:  
http://www.wylio.com: “Fall Foliage,” Jack Newton, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/