Tuesday, 1 May 2012



Home Management Tips

Have you ever wondered how it's possible for some people to work a full-time job, raise three kids, have an active recreational lifestyle, and still maintain a well-run household they're never ashamed to show to others?

The answer is that they've learned to follow a set of principles that help them stay on top of their household chores and responsibilities. They know that if they let themselves fall behind, it will be many times harder to catch up than it would have been to stay caught up.

This system of household management is outlined on this site, along with many other articles and tips to help you learn to manage your home efficiently and economically.

Quick Tip: Clean Only What Needs Cleaning

Something that a lot of people do when they think about getting organized is to make a schedule for themselves and their household. A common mistake is to make scheduled cleanings mandatory. The truth is, if you want to save time and be as efficient as you can with the running of your household, most cleaning should only be done on an as needed basis.

Cleaning to a schedule wastes time and effort that could be better saved for those things that actually need to be done.

If your floors are clean, skip the sweeping and choose to run a dust mop under the large furniture.

Have a few spots on your kitchen floor? Get a washcloth, get down on the floor and wash them the same way you would wash your counters. There’s no need to mop your entire house or even an entire room if spot mopping dirty spots will freshen your floors and save you half an hour of time you can use to clean toilets, dust baseboards, or clear counters and tabletops.

Many of the cleaning tasks that people put off can be done in place of these everyday tasks that can be skipped when they aren’t necessary. Things like clean baseboards, clear counters, and shiny glass can give a house that spotless look that most people so desperately want.

Neatness also pays huge dividends when it comes to making a house look cleaner with less effort.

More Time Moms Family Organizer 2012 Calendar

The More Time Moms Family Organizer is available for 2012. This wall calendar is a best seller for a reason, and that’s because many moms have been using this calendar to manage their homes and family for years.

Each calendar page has big squares for plenty of room to write in events, activities, meetings, notes, or just about anything you need to put on paper. The calendar is a spiral bound wall calendar with a pocket. It’s generously sized at 11" by 15" closed and a large 22" by 15" when it’s open. (See image to the right for an idea of what you’ll find inside.)

You get 16 months with this calendar so you have all the information you need at hand.

Let your kids write in due dates for big projects and you can keep up with their progress. Write in appointments and to-do lists.

Having a calendar is a great choice for a busy family, and it makes managing your household so much simpler. Although you can debate the pros and cons of paper and computer based calendars, there’s no doubt that when you’re trying to keep everyone informed and allow everyone the ability to pencil in their own events and schedules, a centralized paper based calendar is just about the easiest solution available.

Stick it on the wall or keep it laid out on a counter and you end up with the ability to tell at a glance what needs your attention on any given day. Everyone in your family will appreciate the simplicity of a paper household calendar.

Home Management is Easier with the Right Tools

When it comes to home management, it doesn’t matter if it’s cleaning the floors, paying the bills, or managing your family members’ weight, everything is easier when you have the right tools.

For household cleaning, tools can cut down the time and effort it takes to clean and organize.

When paying your bills, using a bill pay service that you set up once so that you can then just type out your payment amount and click send is the best way to minimize check writing duties. Services like Mint, for which I’ve recently discovered a new appreciation can make keeping up with your budget easy and motivate you to control household spending.

Managing your weight is also easier with the right tools. Things such as my calorie log sheet let you keep up with your daily food and calories and everyone’s heard the story that even keeping a simple food log is the best way to control eating and bad food choices.

Skimping on tools to save money up front isn’t always the best long term strategy. Many household cleaning tools cut down on the amount of time you need to spend cleaning up. A good calendar system can make managing your family just that much simpler. Money management software or online bill pay can save you hours every month of going through your checkbook and manually checking your household expenses against your budget.

If you spend less time cleaning up and managing your household and family, you have more time to lead the kind of life you dream of living.

With that in mind, go out and buy some tools to make your life easier!

Can You Save Money with Extreme Couponing?

I’ll be frank and answer quickly.

No. You don’t save money with extreme couponing. You spend fewer dollars, sure, but you don’t end up with money in the bank, and you won’t because extreme couponing is predicated on spending money.

You cannot coupon without being a consumer and buying things.

Sure, you might have a haul that ends up putting money in your pocket on occasion, assuming you’re one of the rare extreme couponers who spend 40 to 60 hours a week researching deals, hunting down coupons, clipping or buying coupons, pre-ordering large numbers of items from select stores, and then shopping for hours on end.

In that case, you could end up with dollars in your pocket and in your bank account. For the rest of the hard-core couponers, even they don’t actually gain money from couponing.

The thing is, most couponers have serious skills that could be used to earn way more money than they’ll ever not spend because of couponing.

The average 60 hour a week job is going to pay at least $40,000 a year and that’s in the low pay parts of the country such as the deep south. Even the best extreme couponers end up with about $25,000 to $35,000 of products that they didn’t spend any money to get in a single year.

Also, let’s not forget that when calculating up the value of their items, most couponers like to talk in retail value, when in reality, anyone can carry a store reward card around with them and take 20-40% off their bill with absolutely no couponing efforts at all. It’s disingenuous to claim all those savings from couponing when no couponing was necessary to get those discounts.

The trade off doesn’t make a lot of money sense. A $1,000 a month grocery bill is quite a bit higher than the average and that only comes to $12,000 annually. If you can earn $40,000 a year working, spend $20,000 a year on groceries and toiletries, with $20,000 being an unusually high expense for most Americans, you still come out with $20,000 in the bank.

Real savings, for that day down the road when you need cash instead of another 30 boxes of dry noodles.

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Vacuum

When you’re cleaning floors and furniture, it always helps to have a tool that makes it easy to clean. The Shark Navigator Lift-Away vacuum cleaner as seen on TV vacuums carpet, hard floor surfaces, and also acts as a canister vacuum. It’s portable, powerful, and versatile. The Navigator Lift-Away also has a 5 year warranty, making it a pretty special vacuum cleaner.

Buy The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Vacuum 

What makes it even more special is that it’s a "No Loss of Suction" vacuum with swivel steering that has anti-allergen technology.

The Lift-Away vacuum comes with several attachments: 24" crevice tool, pet hair turbo power brush, onboard crevice tool, dusting brush, and a large accessory bag.

Also, this vacuum is nicely portable with its light-weight detachable canister.

It’s quite a bit cheaper than a comparable Dyson vacuum too.

If you want the Shark steam mop, you might prefer the deal on the Shark website because you’re essentially getting the steam mop for about $30 dollars. However, if you just want the best price on the Shark Navigator Lift-Away vacuum cleaner, then Amazon has the best price and the product is Prime eligible so members also get free shipping!

Get Neat and Tidy with Cargo Naturals Stationary Boxes

Start the new year off with a little organization. You want your house to be neat and tidy when you have visitors? Try using these lovely stationary boxes around your house.

These stationary boxes stack for the ultimate in neat and tidy. Hide anything you want in them, but they’re perfect for putting away those papers that invariably find themselves floating around your house, with no place to go.

These Cargo Naturals stationary boxes are available in several colors, meaning they can match nearly any decor.

How Can You Use Stationary Boxes To Neaten Up Your Home?

As A Holding Place For Your Incoming Mail
Instead of dumping your unsorted mail on your counter, place it inside one of these neat boxes. Take one day a week to go through your mail, pull out anything you need to file away permanently, throw out the junk, and pay your bills. Instead of spending precious time each day sorting and filing, you save time and effort by doing it once a week.

As A Place To Store Memorabilia
When your children bring home art or keepsakes home from school, place it in a stationary box for safe keeping. Use a different box for each school year and each child. You’ll build up a wonderful collection of memories that will stack tidily onto a shelf. (These particular stationary boxes are acid free for safe storage of memorabilia.)

As A Hiding Place For Your Paper Piles
In your home office, use stationary boxes to keep piles of papers under control. Some people need piles, but if you want to have your piles and a neat home, hide them away in pretty stationary boxes.

This suggestion isn’t for the faint of heart, but the truth is, sometimes you can’t organize every part of your life. Why try? If you want a neat home, all the time, you’ll sometimes find yourself making sacrifices between true organization and neatness. This can be one of those times. I promise not to tell on you.

Manage Your Finances With Software

Let me state right away that I don’t use Quicken (one of the most popular personal money management software programs available). Not because the product isn’t good, but because I started using Microsoft Money back in 1994 and I’ve never wanted to import all my financial records into another file format. I tried it once and it wasn’t fun; I didn’t finish the task, and I decided then and there I wouldn’t try it again until I absolutely had no other choice.

That day is coming. Microsoft has officially discontinued the Money program and I figure I have a few years before I can no longer install the version of Money that I own onto another computer.

When I do finally switch to another home finance program, it’ll be Quicken. I believe it is always better to have my files stored on my computer and not on a server far, far away, except as a backup. I won’t be using internet based software to keep my home finances up to date. I prefer to manage my money right here where my computer resides.

All that said brings me to my point. I can’t go back to using pen and paper for my checkbook, nor any of my other financial records, such as my home inventory, my budget, or my cash flow forecast.

Quicken Deluxe is an easy to use, reliable software solution for managing your household finances. It will allow me to continue to manage my home finances in the way I’m used to managing them (or micro-managing them if you want to be honest).


5 Quick Tips for a Romantic Bathroom

Do you love the look of a romantic bathroom, especially when it comes time to soak in a bath?

These quick tips will give you ideas to help you make your bathroom as romantic as you can stand it.

1. Soft finishes, in the form of soft rugs and fluffy towels, can take the edge off a bathroom filled with hard surfaces such as porcelain fixtures and ceramic tiles. Pick fabrics and rugs with soft pastel colors and patterns for a truly romantic feeling.

2. Intricate shelf brackets on bathroom shelves can give you a simple but effective way to increase the romanticism of your bathroom. Spray paint them in shiny chrome or soft white or cream and top with a delicate scalloped wood shelf painted in a soft creamy pastel.

3. Use fabric covered boxes in a stack of two or three for eye appeal. Make sure you use soft colors and ribbon or fabric trims. This is also good storage space for your bathroom supplies, like extra soaps, cotton balls ,and Q-Tips.

4. Hanging a glamorous chandelier over your bathtub or in the center of the room also adds a romantic touch to your decor. If your electrical wiring setup doesn’t allow for this kind of fixture, just hang a chandelier that uses candles. Or put a delicate crystal lamp with a romantic shade in your bathroom. Dangling crystal teardrops will add a perfectly romantic touch to almost any simple shade.

5. Display softly colored bath salts, soaps, and lotions in your bathroom for some more visual oomph.

Romantic has never looked so good!

Going Natural with Home Management Tips

Lately, I’ve begun to realize the benefits of going natural with foods. I created A Natural Food Diet to showcase how much eating naturally had helped me. Today, I am going to start focusing on going natural with my household.

That means that some of my suggestions about products to use will probably be changing as I create new articles for this site. Considering some of the things I’ve learned lately, in the pursuit of trying to feel better, be more energetic, and create a good environment for my family, I can only think it’s a good thing! Some of the regular chemicals we use in our households are dangerous and scary, and I’m ready to find alternatives that work.

I’m also migrating to natural fabrics and materials in my home furnishings and household supplies. I am not a fanatical kind of person, so the truth is, I might not always choose the 100% natural alternative; however, each decision will be based on my analysis of all the facts I have on hand.

Is the product dangerous, or are the dangers unknown at this time, or has the product been proven safe over the many years it’s been in use?

Is the manufacture of the product sustainable over the long term?

These questions and others will feature prominently in my buying decisions.

I hope you’ll enjoy to new direction of future home management tips on this site. Let me know what you think. I’m leaving comments open.

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