• Check out Chief Family Officer's Valentine's Day Pinterest board for fun crafts, party ideas, recipes, and more!
  • Recently read and enjoyed: The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People's Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin
  • Enter for a chance to win a Mystery Box Full of Goodies!

  • Becoming a Flybaby again

    A few years ago, I turned to FlyLady.net to help me keep my house clean, but then I got pregnant and was pretty much incapacitated by morning sickness. I never got back on track with the FlyLady system. But I never stopped receiving the emails either.

    Lately, I’ve been wanting to keep a cleaner house. The house is okay but not great, and I feel like the kids are old enough now that I can do more. But it’s hard to get started.

    Enter FlyLady. In my previous incarnation as a Flybaby (as she calls her followers), I had pretty good success. My biggest complaint was the number of emails she sends out every day, so I took someone’s suggestion and subscribed to the daily digest email instead – now I get one email that contains all of the previous day’s emails, keeping my inbox clutter-free.

    I haven’t adopted the FlyLady system as a whole. But I love the concept that you can clean your house 15 minutes at a time. Just having that mindset again has me keeping the house as a whole cleaner, and I’m constantly thinking of how to make the house less cluttered and easier to clean – whether it’s getting rid of things or simply moving them around.

    If you’ve been struggling to keep your house clean, I highly encourage checking out FlyLady for some ideas and inspiration.

    Being home is at least as hard as being at the hospital

    We’ve had major issues with meds (one of which needs to be given every 4 hours), so I continue to be exhausted, both mentally and physically. Posting will continue to be extremely light – and quite possibly, more Twitter-like than regular posts.

    In the meantime, I want to give a shout out to Zout. I got a bottle last year when it was there was a mail-in rebate offer, and it’s done a fabulous job getting all of the bloodstains out of bedding and clothing. My technique is to spray the stain, throw the clothes/bedding in the washer, and soak on cold water for anywhere from 15 minutes to hours. Then I run a normal wash cycle with detergent on warm (but our “warm” tends to be cold rather than hot). When the clothes/bedding come out of the dryer, you’d never know there was a bloodstain.

    And on a related note, baby wipes do a great job getting bloodstains out of carpet. My friend K. says they work really well on vomit, too (of course she had to find that out the hard way).

    Works for Me: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

    I remember when the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser first came on the market. Marc immediately bought one to use on all of the dark streaks that had accumulated on the white walls of our house. I started off a skeptic, but was an immediate convert. It worked amazingly.

    And it’s just gotten better over the years. I received the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Extra Power to try out, and it works great. It removes marker, crayon, dirt, and even stuff you can’t identify. I use it to scrub my stove, and it gets off the grease.

    My only complaint is about the tiny white bits that come off when scrubbing a rough surface. But they’re a small price to pay for a clean surface 🙂

    Find more Works for Me Wednesday tips at Rocks in My Dryer.

    Works for Me: Clean during bath time

    I have to admit that during the last few months, I’ve been finding it harder than ever to keep a clean house. But earlier this week, I suddenly realized that I could at least keep the kids’ bathroom clean by scrubbing it while they’re in the bath. It seems obvious enough, but for some reason had never occurred to me (partly because Marc and I had been trading off on bath time duty). The last few days, while the kids have been in the bath, I’ve been standing at the sink, scrubbing bath toys with a sponge and soap, something I thought I’d never have time to do. It doesn’t help me get the rest of my house clean, but it’s working for me.

    For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, head over to the fabulous Rocks in my Dryer.

    Reduce junk mail and spending with Catalog Choice

    A while back, I read several articles on eliminating the delivery of catalogs with CatalogChoice.org. The system is simple – you register and fill out a form, then Catalog Choice forwards your request to discontinue delivery of the catalog to the merchant. It takes a few weeks for the request to kick in – you can’t even re-submit your request for 10 weeks.

    But the fabulous thing is, it works! For most catalogs, anyway. A few of the catalogs I submitted are listed as “not participating,” apparently meaning they won’t accept an opt-out request from Catalog Choice. Catalog Choice does provide a number I can use to call each merchant, but I haven’t bothered yet.

    Even with the handful of catalogs that won’t honor my request, I’ve noticed a marked difference in our mailbox. There’s a lot less mail, which translates into a lot less shredding. I don’t waste nearly as much time tearing out labels and flipping through the pages out of curiosity.

    And I’m less tempted to spend money, too. There’s a good article about the impact of advertising on spending at Get Rich Slowly, and it applies perfectly to this situation. Perusing catalogs would make me think about all the things I could or might find handy, especially at a sale price. But if I never see the items at all, I’ll never think to buy them. So eliminating catalogs eliminates a lot of temptation.

    If you haven’t sign up with Catalog Choice yet, I encourage you to do so. It’ll eliminate stress and clutter from your life.

    Money Saving Tip: Tint Your Windows

    I love our house, and I especially love its location. But if I could change one thing, it would be its orientation to the sun. You see, in the summer, our house gets full sun on the east side in the morning, and full sun on the west side in the afternoon. It’s utterly devastating – without air conditioning, the temperature in our house would be over 90 degrees on the hottest days when it’s 115 degrees outside. Needless to say, our air conditioner works overtime on such days, and it shows on our electricity bill.

    But things could be much worse. A few years ago, after we’d lived in our house for a couple of years, we had our windows tinted. Under our homeowners’ association rules, we couldn’t go that dark. But even the mid-level tint that we chose has made a huge difference.

    The window tinting cost $600 about four years ago. That first year, I estimated our savings at $300. I haven’t done the math since, but I assume our savings have increased with the rising cost of electricity. So tinting our windows has saved us over $1200 and counting.

    If you’re looking to reduce your cooling costs and the temperature in your house rises due to exposure to the sun, I encourage you to look into window tinting. Most of the house maintenance and improvement research falls on Marc’s shoulders, and we had the work done several years ago. So I don’t remember much about the experience anymore. I do recall that Marc found out what we needed to know online, then contacted several installers. We had one consultation, during which we picked the tint we wanted and the man (owner? sales manager?) took measurements. Then it took about a day for the man who actually applied the window film to do the work (we had every single window and our big sliding glass doors done). It was worth every penny!

    Image credit: Amazon.com – Maximum Heat Control Window Film (affiliate link).