Has laundry become a dreaded chore in your household? Does it seem like there’s a never-ending mountain of dirty clothing and linens waiting to be washed and put away? Here are a few tips that might help a number of situations:
I know this might be a controversial topic for some people, and they would never dream of doing so, but I’ve been mixing colors in the wash since I was responsible for my own laundry (let’s say its been more than two decades). Through my own experience, I’ve learned to wash new colorful items separately - like a pair of dark jeans, red pieces, etc. Other than a couple little incidents where I overlooked an item, I haven’t had a problem with my clothes. While I haven’t personally used them, I’ve heard from others that color catcher sheets might be helpful and useful if you're concerned about dye stains.
Pare Down Products
Do you feel like your laundry area houses as many products as the shelves at the store? Don’t sweat it - many of us can relate! Through experience, I’ve come to realize we don’t really need ALL of those products. If you want to seriously pare down and reduce digging through products, consider just detergent and a spot stain remover. Fabric softener and dryer sheets contain oils and wax that coat the fibers of fabric, and reduce the absorbency of towels. To add fluff, try a few clean tennis balls in the dryer. Concerned about static? A ball of tin foil is a simple, effective way to keep your clothes from clinging.
Remove Clothes From the Dryer and Put Away ASAP
I suggest incorporating this habit for one main reason: to reduce the wrinkles in your clothing. I don’t know about you, but I very rarely, almost never, iron - and I know I’m not alone! As they say these days, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” Striving to get that clothes out of the dryer and put away while it’s still warm helps keep the wrinkles out. I’ve admitted before that I don’t particularly enjoy house chores, and so I adopt a “get it over with” attitude with tasks that need to be done. Putting clothes away immediately crosses this chore off the to-do list so that we can hopefully move on to something a bit more enjoyable.
Designate Containers to Gather Dirty Laundry
In some households, laundry feels like it's taken over parts of the house. Consider a basket or hamper for each member of your family, and place it in the easiest spot for them to gather their clothes. Where do you typically get dressed? Maybe the most logical place for you is near your closet. Does it make sense to keep the basket in the bathroom where you shower? I like to suggest a place that will make it simple for each person to maintain this habit and keep the clothing from spreading.
Believe it or not, kids can help with laundry - even pre-school aged children can get involved! A 3-year old (and older) will tend to feel included, like they’re really helping their family when they get to do “adult” things, and therefore, motivated to continue. Tasks like sorting clothing into categories, matching socks, folding small towels, and putting their own clothes in appropriate drawers might be good places to start. Increase responsibility, like putting shirts on a hanger, as your children develop more dexterity or show interest.
What’s the most frustrating part about your laundry routine? Or, have you mastered laundry in your household? I’d love to hear about ways that you make it work!
With the school year in full swing, it might seem like kids’ papers and artwork are starting to take over the house, especially if you’ve got a budding Picasso with abundant offerings. You might have been saving things over the years and now that your children are grown you’re wondering, “now what?” No matter your situation, I’ve got a few ideas to help you get it all organized! The most important thing is to keep what feels best for you, and have easy access to your memories for later.
Carve out a space for incoming papers, and set limits on how much to keep.
I’ve suggested a small file box like this one from the Container Store, and where you house it is up to you. It could be near the entryway if your child has their own spot in the mudroom, or near their homework space. Really, the easiest location that makes sense for your family is the way to go. Depending on your child’s age and what they’re bringing home, you can set up 1-3 hanging folders in the box. One for art, one for school work, and the other for permission slips/notices for parents to take a look at. Or no folders at all. The less complicated the system is, the more likely it will be implemented! It’s best to make it part of their routine when arriving home each day. When this small box fills up, it’s time to sort through and make some decisions.
Share it with family and friends: turn art into greeting cards.
Have a birthday, holiday, or other special occasion to celebrate? Your child will likely be more than happy to gift a piece of art. This can be especially fun when going to a classmate’s birthday party. You can encourage them to choose from their collection, with the option to spiff it up some more with a To:/From:, some extra stickers or other fun embellishments. It’s a win/win/win - children feel important when they’re involved, the receiver of the card feels special with a unique card, and it’s one less piece of art you have to deal with later.
Make a digital photo album to share with friends and family.
Keeping the physical copies can feel like a burden, especially if there’s a large volume of art or other projects that you or your child don’t want to throw away. It can be as easy as snapping photos using the Google PhotoScan app, and making a digital album out of the photos. They can be stored in the cloud, shared with loved ones, and your child will still have access to their hard work. Scale up and use a higher quality scanner if you prefer.
Get the papers bound into a book.
This is a good option for people and families who prefer to keep the physical copies. Simply put the projects/art in an order that makes sense to you or your child, and send it off! The fastest and most inexpensive option would be to get the paper spiral bound at Staples, FedEx Office, or even better - your local copy shop. If you’re looking for a hardcover book, 4everbound can bind all your original papers into a beautiful keepsake. Another option is to go with a service like Artkive - you send the pieces in a box, they’re professionally photographed, and turned into a beautiful hardcover book. Artkive is a great option if you’ve got large, bulky pieces like posters and really want to get the volume down. The photos are available digitally as well!
Do you have a child in school? If so, is there a sudden paper overload, or are things under control? What methods do you use to display their masterpieces at home? Share in the comments down below!
Can you believe it’s already the middle of August? Some of us are gearing up for September - back to school shopping, finalizing schedules, and savoring the last moments of summer. It's quite an adjustment going from slower-paced, easygoing days to more regimented schedules full of activities, sports, and other commitments. Getting ready in the morning can sometimes feel like a whirlwind - who’s driving where, what are today’s activities, what to wear, and what’s for lunch? Being prepared with easy-to-pack lunch options saves tons of time in the morning, reduces stress, and helps us get out the door in a breeze!
With a decade as a teacher under my belt, and many years as a student before that, I’ve developed a weekly habit of planning and preparing easy go-to snacks to accompany leftovers, a sandwich, or salad. Please be advised that I am not a nutritionist - therefore, not qualified to give nutritional advice. This routine is what I’ve found works best for myself to fuel my brain and body. I encourage you to figure out what combinations of food work best for you, and I hope you’re able to take a little inspiration to put your own twist on them!
Packing a lunch box in this way requires a bit of advance planning and preparation, but in my opinion, is so worth it. Having one less thing to worry about in the morning leaves time and energy to tend to anything else that might come up. I usually take one day a week to think about the next five days or so. How long will I be out of the house? Am I heading to a fitness class or other activity before coming back home? Then, I’ll plan my grocery shopping trip with the items I’d like to eat to match those activities. Usually, I pick 5-6 different seasonal fruits and vegetables and rotate those throughout the week. When I get home from my shopping trip, I’ll spend 30-60 minutes chopping and organizing the fridge and cupboard for easy packing later.
These snacks and variations of them sure do come in handy mid-morning or mid-afternoon, and help keep my energy levels steady. And the best part? They’re all no-cook, so every morning I just pack and go. I try to stick to a basic formula and make different combinations from there: a fruit or vegetable, some protein, and healthy fat. My job requires physical movement and brain power, and I’ve found this works best for me.
Hummus and Veggies
If you want to feel fancy, we can call this one crudités, which simply means “assorted raw vegetables, which are typically served with a dip.” That dip can be anything you like to dress up those veggies. I love hummus, and that there are seemingly endless flavors offered at the grocery store so I never get bored. Favorite veggies to dip include carrots, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, broccoli, and snap peas. Feeling like just eating appetizers for lunch? Add cheese and crackers! Having 3-4 of these veggies cut up and ready to go also makes it easy to put together a salad, or all together in a wrap for a fresh, hearty sandwich. I’ve even used the veggies to make a super easy stir fry for dinner when short on time.
This is another option with seemingly endless combinations that I rarely tire of. I typically buy a quart-size container of plain yogurt, no sugar added, so that I can make it any flavor I want via toppings and mix-ins. I like to add combinations of nuts, seeds, granola, berries, mashed ripe banana, a dollop of jam, or maple syrup. I don’t add these all at once, but typically go for a crunchy item with fruit to sweeten it up and round it out to my taste. This could also work if you’re short on time for breakfast, or as a nice dessert.
Apples or Bananas and Peanut Butter
I’m pretty sure I went an entire school year eating this as a mid-morning snack. And for good reason - I find apples and bananas travel well (sometimes bananas get smooshed so be careful), and there’s minimal prep involved besides having them on hand. I’ve found a spoonful of peanut or other nut butter with fruit can really keep my brain and body going with steady energy. Don’t like peanut butter or have an allergy? Try a different kind of seed or nut butter that you prefer. There are times when I switch to almond butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon, and it’s truly decadent!
If you’re looking for a little bit of lunchbox inspiration, I hope I’ve helped spark some ideas! What are your go-to lunchbox snacks to keep yourself or your family fueled? I’d love to hear from you.