How To Clean Dirty Shoes…The Easy Way

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As I’m sure is the case with most kids, my 3 years old gets his shoes so dirty so fast. One day they look brand new, and the next day they look like they’re three years old too. I know he plays hard, but I also like him to look like we didn’t find his shoes in a dumpster.

The easiest and best way to clean the plastic part of shoes is by using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser! You may have heard this before, but it really does work. Try it. I took my son’s filthy Converse shoes and did a quick 5 minute job of scrubbing them late one night before he started preschool and they looked amazing! I could have spent a little more time getting in the grooves, but I actually didn’t care that much, so I didn’t. They looked good enough and by good enough I mean pretty darn good! Imagine how much better these shoes would have looked if I had thrown them in the washer first! On this pair I actually used the Mr. Clean Bathroom Magic Eraser because it’s what I had. They all work ridiculously really well!

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So, if you have a pair of shoes that are still in good condition, but are all dingy and dirty, pick up a Mr. Clean and give it a go! Any cleaning tips to share? Visit The Extraordinary Everyday Adventures of a Wife and Mom on Facebook!

*All opinions in this post are entirely my own. I have not received any compensation for this post. 

The Easy List of Chores Your Toddler Can and Should Do

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Most of the time, when a toddler wants to “help” the go to instinct is to roll our eyes and accept the fact that whatever we’re doing is going to take three times as long and still probably not be done correctly. This list of chores won’t get you out of the times when your tiny human will want to be your special helper, but it will give you some ideas of what your toddler CAN and SHOULD do at home!

I don’t like to give my toddler chores that have to be done in a certain way, such as folding laundry or “organizing” anything. Instead, I choose to give chores that can be completed easily and are truly a help to me!

1.  Clear the table after meals– Chances are, if you’ve got a toddler, you’re not usually eating on fancy China or beautiful and heavy ceramic dishes. Have your child carry their plate and silverware to the counter or sink and then come back for additional items. They can carry the salad bowl to the sink, put napkins in the trash, and even put condiment items back into the fridge. It really helps decrease the amount of trips I have to make clearing the table!

2.  Put away clean silverware– You probably want to take away the large knives, but otherwise, what a fun game it can be for your toddler to match where the spoons, forks, and butter knives go! Show them where wooden and serving spoons go too and just keep expanding the amount of items they are in charge of putting away.

3.  Clean up their toys– There are plenty of times during the day that I put away my childrens’ toys. I don’t think it’s realistic for toddlers to put everything away all the time, but I do think they need to help clean up toys before getting new ones out, before leaving the house, and before going to bed at night.

4. Wipe down the table and bathroom countertop– Give your child a wet rag or paper towel and give them the task of wiping down the table after a meal, the bathroom counter, or a coffee table they may play on. Even if you have to wipe the table after them, it’s still showing them that they will be responsible for cleaning the mess they made while eating.

5.  Put dirty clothes in their hamper– This shouldn’t really be considered a chore, but since most children tend to leave their clothes EVERYWHERE, it’s a good one to work on, even if it just means that YOU don’t go around the house and collect their dirty clothes, they do!

6.  Dust– Give a kid a feather duster and watch the excitement!

This list is what we try to have our toddler do fairly regularly. Of course, it doesn’t happen every single day, and most of them definitely do not happen without having to remind and tell him to them. I think that’s ok! It’s important that he begins to learn what is expected. Every time he does something automatially, I know it’s working!

I’d love to hear what you have your littles do for chores!

KonMari Cleaning Method for People with Children

I’ve heard a lot about the KonMari method for cleaning your house. It pretty much talks about how to purge and live more simply. How we don’t need to have so much stuff.

I completely agree and I always try to purge when I can. When I think about the amount of crap that comes in our house, it truly makes me cringe. It’s no wonder it’s so hard to keep things neat and tidy. With toys, mail, clothes, groceries, fast food/coffee/soda shop drinks, and everything a toddler brings home such as rocks, sticks, and pinecones, it’s really a wonder that our house isn’t worse!

I’m always going through toys and throwing away bits and pieces that don’t work, aren’t played with, or came in any sort of “happy meal.”

Why keep things around that we don’t love or need!? I am someone who is in love with bins and baskets and I’m on a never ending search for new ones. I guess I wouldn’t need so many if I didn’t have so many things to organize!

You can read more about doing the KonMari method in a household with children here in a great article I found!

It’s time to get your sanity back! Happy Cleaning!

How To Get Your Toddler To Clean Up Their Toys

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Do you struggle with getting your littles to clean up their toys? In our house, we try to always clean up toys at the end of the day. Yes, throughout the day we try to do the whole, “clean this up before we take out something else” thing, but by the end of the day, there’s always toys out. It’s not a big deal. Houses where children live should have toys out. Organized and neat, maybe contained in one area, but out. I feel like when someone walks into my home, it’s ok if they can tell we have children. Anyway, every night before bedtime we make sure the living room and bedrooms are cleaned up so when we wake up the next day we can start fresh again! But, sometimes it can be difficult to get a toddler to clean up their toys. Shocking news, right? It’s not that he’s not a good cleaner. It’s not that he doesn’t know how to pick up toys. It’s that doing everything else in the world except cleaning up toys is far more fun at that moment in time. Until he heard two new words…TOY EATERS.

One evening as we were coaxing my three year old to clean up, I casually said, “You don’t want the toy eaters to get them!”  His ears perked up and he followed up with a giggly, “What?”

I told him that when he’s asleep, the toy eaters come and they eat any toys that aren’t cleaned up and put away. The excitement (and small bit of real concern) of it had him diligently working on getting his toys cleaned up and he went to bed knowing that his toys were safe from the toy eaters! It was almost like he was a super hero saving his toys from being eaten.

We don’t say it every day, but when he’s having a particularly difficult time getting toys cleaned up, I just remind him about the toy eaters and it works again. Occasionally, he will even bring it up when we are cleaning. Oh, and if you’re sitting there thinking, “I don’t want to lie or use scare tactics to get my child to clean!” Really? Santa, the Tooth Fairy, Elf of the Shelf, the Easter Bunny, the list goes on and on. You say “lie”, I say “magic!”

*A few additional tips for getting toddlers to clean up…
1. Clean with them. If you are cleaning along side them, it helps them see a good example and they also see the job done quicker when everyone pitches in!
2. Be specific and verbalize exactly what they should clean next. If I tell my toddler to “clean up your toys” he doesn’t know where to start. If I am with him (see #1) and I tell him, “Ok, now pick up your fire truck and school bus and put them on the shelf.” He is focused on a specific task and he gets it done!
3. Make it a game! -Insert Mary Poppins singing A Spoonful of Sugar- But really, how can you make cleaning more fun? Any cart or wheel barrow that can be filled with toys is awesome! Just today, my little guy filled up his small plastic wheel barrow with his billion cars that were all over the living room and wheeled them to the bin where they belong! On his own!

Good luck getting your toddler to clean! And share any tips that work for you!

 

How Do You KEEP Your House Clean?

Cleaning the house is fine. I mean it can be a little bit difficult when you have children, or a dog, or a husband. But still, it’s fine. It’s the KEEPING it clean that really gets you. If you missed my post about cleaning routines you can read it here. You can also get a copy of the cleaning routine I created and {try to} use each day.

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Then I found this post from simplemost.com and it made perfect sense. The 12 Habits of People with Homes That Are Always Clean. Twelve…I guess I can try to make at least half of those work for me! Seriously, shooting for all twelve seems like I’d just be setting myself up for failure. I get it though. There are just some things that IF you can do them every day, your house stays so much neater.  I always tell my husband that cleaning and straightening are two different things. If the house is straightened up, meaning toys and clothes are put away, the sink is empty, counters are clear, etc., then it just looks and feels so much better. It’s ok if there’s some dust bunnies, but just having the “stuff” cleaned up makes a huge impact. How many of these twelve do you do?

DVD Organization

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I love clearing out clutter. It feels so good to get rid of things and make more space. The whole feel of a room can change just by getting rid of some unneeded things. The problem is that sometimes I get into a “but what if I need it?” phase. Well, 99% of the time the answer to that question is, “you won’t!” One of the best organizational things we’ve ever done was organizing our DVDs by getting rid of all the DVD cases. What took up way too much space on shelves can now be stored in a small plastic container! It’s so simple and you’ll feel so free after you toss all those big cases into the trash!

It’s so simple…

Step #1 – buy a lot of paper CD sleeves-enough to fit all your DVDs and some extra for new ones

Step #2 – buy a plastic container/tote/box that will fit the DVDs and still allow you to close the lid

Step #3 – Put all your DVDs into the paper sleeves and place in the box standing up so you can flip through them easily

At first, I worried it would take forever to find the DVD I wanted…this is not the case. We store ours in alphabetical order and we have children’s DVDs separate from regular DVDs. It is so quick and easy to flip through the sleeves and either browse or find exactly what I’m looking for.

Take the plunge and clear out that clutter! It feels so good!

Leave a comment and let me know if you do this or if you have any other great organization tips!

*I do not use this DVD storage method for our Disney Classics that come out of the vault on BluRay and DVD. I feel it’s best to keep those in the original case so they’re complete. I don’t know why, that’s just what I do.

Cleaning Routines

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I always thought having a weekly cleaning routine would help me stay organized and man, was I right!  After being married and owning our own house for over ten years, you’d think I would have gotten around to making a cleaning routine a little sooner than a few months ago. Knowing that I have a certain set of “chores” to get done on any given day is what really keeps me sane. I no longer go down rabbit holes of cleaning where I start in one room doing something simple like dusting and before I know it I’m working in the garage!  It’s really a waste of time to not have a cleaning routine.

We decided to break up our list by room instead of by chore. So for example, Monday is kitchen day.  Fridge and pantry get straightened up and wiped down. Cupboards get a once over to make sure everything is where it belongs after your toddler pulled out all the containers and then threw them back in…you know, the usual. Or maybe you rearrange to make things more functional? I don’t know how much time you have.

I love knowing that each day is assigned to just one area (for the most part). Wednesday is bathrooms and I know that’s all I need to focus on.

Yes, there must be an everyday section, too.  Even though you may think you don’t need to see the everyday stuff because you do it ALL the time, like dishes, laundry, and wiping the countertops, it makes you feel like you accomplished something. It matters that you do them every single day. Multiple times a day.  That’s the point of the list!  Everything you do and have to do gets broken down into small manageable chunks. It keeps you on top of things and then when someone comes over unexpectedly you’re not immediately thinking, “Ugh, I hope the bathroom is clean!” It is! Because you keep up with it! (And that means less stress!)

We’ve even found examples online of lists that are for monthly and yearly household chores such as changing the air filter and shampooing carpets. Making one of those that fits our needs is next on the to-do list.

My biggest piece of advice is to type up your own list. I have a million things to do. I don’t want weeding through the list of chores to be one of them. If I don’t have a formal dining room, I don’t want to see anything about a formal dining room on my list. I should be able to cross off everything each day because it all pertains to our home and our needs. (IF I get to it all…some days the list looks more like suggestions to which I say, no thanks, not going to mop floors today! And that’s just fine.) Also, we really do cross off things once they’re completed, but since it’s a weekly list we don’t cross off the items in the “everyday” area.

To help you get started, here’s our cleaning routine…Weekly Cleaning Routine2

Just the basics. Remember, it’s supposed to help you keep your house clean, not stress you out!

Do you have a cleaning routine? If you have any great cleaning routine tips leave a comment. I’d love to hear them!

Now, go and create the cleaning routine of your dreams! (Too much? I guess you could just print mine and cross things off…)

Happy Cleaning!