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How To Prevent Lost Items and Improve Organization With Name Labels for Kids

The daily chaos of school and extracurricular activities can turn any parent into a detective, constantly on the lookout for lost items. From backpacks to water bottles, kids have a knack for misplacing their belongings, causing frustration for both parents and little ones. In this whirlwind of confusion, high-quality name labels emerge as the unsung heroes, ensuring that lost items find their way back home and promoting a sense of organization in the midst of chaos. 

Preventing Lost Items

Every parent has experienced the sinking feeling of realizing their child has lost something valuable. It might be a favorite jacket, a school textbook, or a cherished toy. Apart from the financial burden of replacing these items, the emotional toll on both the parent and the child can be significant. Lost items can cause stress, disrupt routines, and lead to a sense of disorganization, especially during the busy school days.

High-Quality Name Labels

High-quality name labels act as tiny beacons of hope in the world of lost items. These labels, often made from durable materials like waterproof vinyl or iron-on fabric, are designed to withstand the wear and tear of a child’s daily activities. Unlike generic labels or markers that fade away after a few washes, high-quality name labels stay intact, ensuring that your child's belongings are easily identifiable.

Preventing Mix-ups and Confusion

In school settings, where multiple children might have similar items, high-quality name labels play a crucial role in preventing mix-ups and confusion. A well-labeled lunchbox or a backpack stands a much better chance of finding its way back to its rightful owner. This not only saves parents from constantly replenishing lost items but also teaches children a sense of responsibility for their belongings. 

Promoting Independence

When children know that their items are clearly labeled, they gain a sense of independence. They can confidently identify their own belongings, which is especially important in school environments where personal responsibility is encouraged. This independence not only boosts their self-esteem but also instills a sense of organization and orderliness from an early age.

Customization and Personalization

High-quality name labels, including innovative options like name stamps for clothes, provide an invaluable solution to the age-old problem of lost items. In the whirlwind of childhood activities, these labels emerge as unsung heroes, offering parents a sense of peace and assurance. The beauty of these labels lies not just in their durability and functionality but also in the myriad ways they can be customized to suit a child's unique preferences.

Cost-Effective Solutions

While high-quality name labels might seem like a small investment, they are incredibly cost-effective in the long run. Consider the cumulative cost of replacing lost items throughout a school year. From clothing to stationery, these expenses can add up significantly. High-quality name labels drastically reduce the frequency of these replacements, saving parents both money and the hassle of constantly replacing lost items.

In the whirlwind of childhood activities, high-quality name labels offer parents a sense of peace. The knowledge that their child's belongings are clearly marked and easily identifiable provides reassurance. It's a small but powerful tool that promotes organization, independence, and responsibility in children while saving parents from the frustrations of lost items. Investing in high-quality name labels is not just about preventing lost items; it's about instilling valuable life skills and fostering a sense of orderliness that will benefit children throughout their lives. So, equip your child's belongings with these tiny yet transformative labels and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a well-organized, labeled life.


How to Create a Relaxing Environment for Your Home Office

Working from home is ideal for people who don't want to deal with long commutes and expensive parking. However, household life can also provide a lot of distractions and create stress. Making your home office as relaxing and stress-free as possible may increase your overall productivity when working remotely. Here are some tips on creating a relaxing environment for your home office. 

Bring Some Greenery into Your Office

Indoor plants are wonderful additions to any home office: They improve air circulation and make the room feel more alive. Succulents and succulent hybrids have become popular features in office spaces because they are visually appealing and require less care than traditional plants. 

Be sure to research which plants might be best for your office by considering their natural lighting requirements and their maintenance needs.

Add Soothing Aromas

Scents are very effective at evoking specific emotions. Having soothing smells in your home office may help you stay calm and alert as you work. Scented candles are traditionally used for this purpose. However, placing a scent diffuser or an electric wax warmer in your office can provide a soothing fragrance without the need for a flame.

If you are growing tired of one particular scent, don't feel afraid to switch it out. Or, if you start to experience nasal fatigue and you cannot smell the scent anymore, sniff some coffee beans to reset your olfactory system. 

Stay Organized and Clutter-Free

A cluttered office can feel overwhelming and cause more stress in your work environment. Not to mention, searching through piles of papers for the documents you need wastes precious time. Keeping home office furniture clear of clutter and all of your files organized is essential for relaxation and productivity. 

Though it may seem like a hassle, reviewing your files every couple of years to get rid of ones that are no longer useful is incredibly helpful in reducing the possibility of future clutter.

Generate Ambient Noise

Having peace and quiet can be relaxing for some people. For others, it is distracting because it allows the mind to wander. If you are someone who thrives when working in coffee shops and cafes, it may be beneficial to purchase an electronic white noise generator or a tabletop fountain to provide ambient noise in your office.

For many people, background noise is stimulating enough to keep errant thoughts at bay without diverting them from the task at hand. It is certainly worth a try to introduce some soundscapes if you feel that this applies to you. 

Ensure That Your Office Chair Is Ergonomic

There is nothing more disruptive to productivity than an uncomfortable office chair. Discomfort caused by a lack of ergonomic support can be quite distracting by prompting you to shift periodically in an effort to find a more comfortable position.

You may even develop neck and back pain over time from improper sitting postures. For this reason, it is crucial that your chair is designed to promote beneficial sitting habits, eliminating unnecessary pressure from areas of the body that are prone to strain.

The home environment presents its own unique challenges to working efficiently. Creating an office space that is calming to the senses can promote productivity and alertness without resulting in burnout. 


An Untapped Goldmine: 5 Items You May Find Lying Around Your House That Are Worth a Small Fortune

When you’re looking to make fast money or just to do a little bit of decluttering, you might be surprised to learn that you may have an untapped goldmine in your home. That’s right, you probably have a few items lying around the house that can fetch you more than a pretty penny. Check out this list of five things you just might have that can give your income a light boost.

1. Toys
Whether you are a parent or not, there is a good chance that you have a few toys around the house. Most people who have children in their lives undoubtedly have some playthings somewhere, and if you’re lucky, you just might be able to sell them for some extra money. For instance, selling Transformers toys can be more lucrative than you think. Other options include popular movie franchise toys, vintage toys, and even happy meal toys.

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2. Clothes and Shoes

You may be surprised at just how much you can make by putting gently used clothing and shoes on consignment. There are many types of consignment shops. Growing in popularity are online based shops that sell authenticated high-end merchandise, including accessories like purses and belts. Millennials are known for being frugal, so there is quite a large demand for quality second-hand things. Vintage never really goes out of style, which means your clothes from the 1960s and 1970s can be just as popular and sought after as something more modern or high-end name brand.

3. Electronics
Electronics, old and new can prove to be very valuable. Things like calculators, cathode ray monitors, PC laptops, game consoles, cameras, VHS tapes, and VCRs can be sold for more than you think. Although many of these things may seem obsolete, there are people who break them down for parts and metals. Other people are collectors and are looking for nostalgic electronics from yesteryear. Some folk have taken excellent care of their record players, CD players, game consoles and other items and are looking for games, records or tapes to use.

4. Precious Metals
Almost everyone has jewelry that is either damaged or unwanted. You can turn your useless jewelry into cash. To make the maximum profit off of your unwanted rings, watches, necklaces and more it helps to know the current value of the precious metals you have.

5. Old Music
They say that music is a universal language. And in many respects it certainly is, which is why you can make a small or a not so small fortune on your old vinyl records, CDs, cassette tapes and 8-track tapes. With the emergence of digital music and the ability to digitally store your music, it makes a lot of sense to upload your hard copy music and sell it. This is an especially good idea if you’ve got some special editions, signed covers or otherwise notable albums.

You’ve heard the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Well, this is certainly true when it comes to some of the things you may have sitting around the house. Extra money can come in many different shapes and sizes, so when you’re combing the house for things you can offload for a profit, be sure to keep an open mind. You may be surprised at what’s right under your nose and just how much someone will be willing to pay you for it.


Tips for maximizing space in the home

Do you ever feel like you do not utilize the space in your home properly, leaving a feeling of clutter and crowding? Here are some simple tips for maximizing space in the most common area in your home.

1. The Kitchen 
To maximize your work space in the kitchen, it's important to be imaginative and invest in clever, space-saving storage ideas. A great idea to save space is to invest in integrated appliances - appliances that fit seamlessly into cupboards, therefore saving space around the kitchen. Integrated appliances can be expensive to be and often require a full kitchen re-do, but you may be able to place your appliances into existing cupboards to save money and space. The thought of hanging your pans and utensils from hooks around the kitchen may strike you as being a tad old fashioned, but it's an excellent way to save space; pans take up a lot of cupboard space, so by hanging them up, you'll be able to save yourself an entire cupboard for additional storage.

2. The living room
A great way to save space in the living room is to do away completely with hefty TV stands and install your TV on the wall. Corner sofas are another great space saving techniques; they make use of corners that would otherwise be left bare and unused.

3. The bathroom
Saving space in the bathroom can be tricky; after all, there are a lot of essential items - such as baths, sinks, showers, and toilets (check out this Toilet Review Guide) - to fit in and finding additional space to use can be a challenge. Corner sinks and vanity units are an excellent idea to save space; they are specifically designed to sit in bathroom corners that would otherwise go on used and are a great space saving technique, you can take a look at some examples here. Rounded bathroom furniture is another good thing to invest in; unlike convention, rectangular shaped furniture, rounded furniture has softer edges, and is usually slightly smaller in size than other types of furniture. The softer edging helps to create the illusion of more space, and the rounded edging fits in better with smaller bathroom styles. Shower curtains are another clever storage area.

If you have a combination bath-and-shower (a great space saving solution in itself), a shower curtain is definitely better than a glass door; they're easier to move, and can be pushed back to create the illusion of space around the bath area. Glass doors are more fixed, and can look clunky and in the way. Shower curtains can now be bought with pockets in them, giving you handy storage space for items such as sponges and shower gels; you can use it to store bath items that would otherwise be kept in messy rows around the bath, thereby freeing-up space around the bath.

4. The bedroom
Considering all the things we have to find room for in our bedrooms, it's a good thing that there are some clever storage techniques out there. If you aren't fortunate enough to have a bed that comes complete with storage drawers, you can improvise by investing in a sliding shelf for under your bed to store bed linen and other items. Under-bed storage items are a great way to save space, and help you to utilize room that you already have in your room, but otherwise go unused. If you store items under your bed anyway, an under-bed storage unit can help to make your room look tidier by hiding items that may otherwise poke out from under the bed.


How To Make Downsizing Easier

Downsizing is necessary for a number of reasons; whether you’re making the switch to a smaller place due to money issues, a desire for simplified living, or moving to a new city, moving your family into a home with a much smaller amount of square footage isn’t always the easiest of tasks. Make the transition easier on you and your kids by following these downsizing guidelines.

Finding a New Place

When you’re hunting for a new place, especially if you’re going to be renting, make sure you don’t jump on an apartment just because its square footage is smaller. Make sure the limited space is designed well and conducive to your living habits, especially if you have children. Often downsizing is due to money limitations, but signing your name on the lease simply because it fits into your price range is not advisable, especially if you want to make downsizing as painless as possible. Use listing sites like that allow you to input various filters so you can narrow down your choices. Don’t let desperation to find a home let you speed through the process; view multiple homes, and don’t land yourself in a terrible landlord situation (or fall for scams) just because you’re anxious to move—if something feels off, it probably is. Something to keep in mind during this process: if a landlord asks for sensitive information, always request he or she use a service like MySmartMove to ensure your SSN and bank info doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, and make sure you have enough money in a savings account to cover the rent for the first few months.

Perform an Inventory

It’s going to be an extensive and time-consuming process, but the first thing you need to do is take a detailed inventory of everything in your current home. Go through the new apartment or house you’ve found and take exact measurements of the floor and wall space. Compare it to the dimensions of your current home, and determine how much you’ll need to get rid of. You need to have a comprehensive understanding of all of your belongings, and determine the things that will be coming with you to your new, smaller space, and the things you can leave behind (by selling, donating, or throwing away). Make three different lists: one of the things you can get rid of, the things you can hypothetically live without, and the things that must come along with you. The things you decide you can get rid of can be sold in a garage sale, donated to a worthy cause, or find their way into a local dumpster. You’ll want to refine these lists a few times; it’s simply amazing how much of an emotional attachment we can have to physical items, but simplifying your life means getting rid of items we might have previously thought were absolute necessities. Look at your list of must-haves again and again, and see if the essentials are actually necessary for your life and your new space.

When it Comes to Selling

If you do decide to sell off the belongings you decide you don’t need, you will find yourself with an excess of cold hard cash that you wouldn’t have had otherwise, especially important if your downsize efforts are due to monetary concerns. You can decide to host a good old-fashioned garage sale, post your items on a common website like Craigslist, or use eBay to get rid of the things you no longer need. If you’re looking to sell designer items, use a site like Tradesy, where you can find buyers willing to spend quite a bit on any designer pieces that are still in great condition.

Make Smart Storage Choices

When it comes to working with limited space, organization is your best friend. Before moving in your new space, nail down which storage solutions you’ll take advantage of. Use vertical storage options to take up the least amount of floor space possible, purchase furniture with hidden storage containers, and utilize space under the bed and behind other furniture pieces to keep your belongings sorted. Stick with decorations that incorporate clean lines to avoid the appearance of clutter, and intersperse sentimental items sparingly throughout the house to incorporate personality without causing decorative chaos.
If you’re facing a downsizing transition, make it easier on yourself and your family by incorporating these tips into your moving process and learn how to live with less—it will change your life in a more positive way than you could have ever imagined.


One Simple Step To Keeping Your Kid's Room Tidy

Do you ever feel like you have to keep nagging repeating yourself over and over again for your kids to pick up their toys? Although William does not have a ridiculous amount of toys, it's not unusual to see them everywhere they shouldn't be. It got me to thinking about ways we can eliminate some and keep his room nice and neat. I came across an old plastic storage bin and the light bulb appeared. I told William that he can pick out his favorite toys and as long as they fit in the bin, (with the lid closed) he can keep them out. I had to assure him that the remaining 4 baskets/bins of toys would be neatly tucked away in his closet and he can swap out toys every month or so. I also let him keep all of his LEGO stuff as long as everything stayed in a container. So far this has worked out beautifully. 

It is easier for William to keep his room tidy and there is no guessing where his mini Spider-Man or Buzz Lightyear toy is "hiding". I don't know why I didn't think of this before! I never have to get on him to keep his room clean. Works for me! Find more great tips, visit ParentsNeed.

Kid's Room Interior Design Guidelines

There are quite a few ways you can help work on room design if you have kids, but you will need to keep quite a few things in mind when you work on said designs. Kids will need a special place where they can sleep, play, study and generally have fun while being connected to their room. To make that work you will need to have a creative and practical solution that will serve a purpose for your kids and yourself when the time arrives:

• One of the more important parts and choices of what you need to do will be the colors of the walls you can choose as well as those of your ceilings and other smaller colors. You can make use of the softer hues and colors out there to make studying and sleeping far easier and free of distractions.

• You can keep your kids art around or some family oriented photos as well to fill the empty space on your walls, as well as possibly the ceilings too if you have what you think will work. You can work on this by yourself or you can combine your cleaning efforts by asking your kids about what they would like as well.

• You could get some chalkboard paint to make an art corner where the kids can draw and paint without worrying about making a mess. It will take some painting and thorough house cleaning, but in the end it will be a job well done and your kids will have a chance to enjoy a creative outcome you can rely upon.

• There is a great way to make your very own reading corner or even a gaming area, but you will still need to work hard on it if you want to make it last a long time. Make sure you have a nice set of seating spaces to work with and it will pay off quite nicely.

• You may need to consider using a set of organizers for potential school supplies, textbooks and so much more. Kids will often figure out the details themselves, but you can help them out to make cleaning after them easier to handle as well. Boxes for toys, as well as other organizing items will make it fun instead of some unbearable chore.

• Improving the storage capacity of your home and using a mirror to create the illusion of space will make things easier to handle. This will also serve to allow the kids to be able to see themselves and to have fun while you work on things together.

• You will need to also work on rooms that allow kids to move unimpeded as they go about their day. Ask some questions about potential design solutions so they can enjoy it. Kids will are shorter than grownups so that means you will have a great chance to use smaller and shorter pieces of furniture that would fit their size and needs more accurately.

Read more helpful tips and advice on:


6 Efficient Cleaning Tips for the Holiday Season

The holidays are a wonderful time of year. It's the season for family, food, friends and high spirits. Maybe you're planning to host a few overnight guests during the winter, or perhaps you're throwing a holiday party. Either way, it's likely that you'd prefer a sparkling clean home for everyone to enjoy in time for the celebrations. Here are a few tips to follow to have the holiday cleaning process be an easy, stress-free, and cheerful part of your festivities. You can also take a look at beezzly as well.

Preemptive Strike - Clear the Clutter

Before you get started cleaning, we recommend taking this opportunity to rid your house of unwanted items that have accumulated over the years. If you can make time for this, take an extra day before you dive into the cleaning process and clear your home of any excess clutter. You probably have a closet with some unwanted possessions that no longer serve you or a box or two or items you've been meaning to drop off at the donation center. Purging junk is an easy way to reduce the stress of cleaning while providing you with a more orderly, elegant home. You would definitely need to look for a company that can provide a dumpster rental in your location in the event that you have larger items that you won't be able to sell and need to dispose of. After all, it happens, and not everything can be donated or repurposed.  

According to a study done by the Princeton University Neuroscience Department*, evidence suggests that the nature of our environment (i.e. cluttered versus uncluttered) directly affects our ability to focus. A messy environment can hinder our ability to concentrate, process information, and can cause susceptibility to distraction. On the other hand, a clean, organized environment can promote brain function, increase our focus, and help reduce stress.

If you aren't ready to start taking stuff down to the Goodwill just yet, then you can at least begin organizing your home. This can be as simple as going through your house and putting things back where they belong; if something doesn't have a designated spot, go ahead and make one. These actions will help prep and clear your mind for the cleaning tasks ahead.

Make a Plan of Action

Preparing your home for guests or parties can be an overwhelming process, especially if you leave everything to the last minute. If you take a few extra moments and plan your cleaning assault in advance, it can save you loads of stress and time. Rather than diving in and mindlessly scrubbing without a game plan, set aside a couple of minutes to strategize your attack. It's an investment that pays off with more efficient progress down the line.

Step 1 - Perform a quick walk through of your home. Take note of all the things you notice that you want to wash or spruce up. Next, begin visualizing all the places you'd like to be clean and the extent of their desired cleanliness. Write down all the different areas and rooms of your project and their individual cleaning tasks.

Step 2 - Depending on how many days you have before guests arrive, break up the chores by area, then break down the areas into their separate tasks. Afterward, assign each area and their task a day to get cleaned. We recommend starting this at least a couple of days and up to a week before your holiday shindigs begin.

Step 3 - Schedule the tough projects and the things that don't need frequent attention, such as deep cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, or washing window and shower curtains, for the early days in your plan. Schedule the tasks that require more consistent attention, such as mopping the floor, vacuuming, and cleaning the toilet bowl, for the later days on your timeline.

Create a Backup Plan

Things don't always go as smoothly as we hope, and sometimes, we just run out of time to do everything we set out to. While you're creating your action plan, highlight the areas and tasks that can be on your 'essential list,' things that are critical for you to accomplish. This list serves as a resource if you do run out of time and only can get to a few, necessary items. This way, when you reach the 11th hour before the holidays, you can revert to your crucial items and clean those most important areas, without any extra panic or wasted effort.

For your priority list, think of where your guests are likely to gather or spend significant time. For example, when preparing to host people over the holidays, you'll remember that folks tend to congregate around the food. A few key things to clean in your kitchen will likely be essentials. So, create your list of areas and then highlight the imperative tasks. Using the same example, if you wanted to cleanse your oven, but you’ll only be using it for baking a few items, it likely won't make the cut. In contrast, the refrigerator will be something often accessed by guests and anyone who's using the kitchen, so it’s reasonable it will be on the priority list.

Recruit Helpers

One of the most effective ways to get cleaning done fast and efficiently is to enroll the others around you in assisting. Your family is a great place to start. Another benefit of having a gameplan, in this case, is you can easily assign different tasks to family members for each day and split up the work in an organized fashion. Another option is to get a maid service to help out at home. Sometimes we just don't have the time or energy to clean and need all the help we can get.

Maintain Your Environment

Once you begin executing your cleaning plan, it will be much easier to keep your home clean. The challenge is to make upkeep a habit. For example, if you've thoroughly cleaned your kitchen, but continue to create crowded, untidy countertops every time you use it, without putting things away, this can accumulate and make the room feel sloppy. Make it a habit to clear your counters immediately after they get cluttered, not to mention any other messes you create. Rather than letting things build up and create an additional big cleaning project, this practice will maintain cleanliness with minimal effort.

Invest in Some Quality Green Cleaning Products

Creating a spotless home doesn't require a lot of fancy products to get started, you only need a few things. In fact, you could probably get away with just one or two. Invest in a couple of quality green cleaning products. Not only are you helping the environment but you're eliminating any harsh chemical residues leftover from standard cleaning products. Your guests and family will appreciate knowing their health and well-being is taken care of at your home. Mrs. Meyers makes an eco-friendly countertop spray and an all purpose cleaner, both in a lovely range of scents. But don't let a lack of ingredients stop you from getting started on cleaning. A solution of water and vinegar can work wonders with efforts such as mopping floors, wiping countertops and even creating streak-free, clear windows.

With the holidays fast approaching and everything to do to prepare, a thorough house cleaning can easily get overlooked. If you can remember to follow this plan in advance, it will help you manage your tasks efficiently and accurately, while significantly reducing the stress of the job. If you need some extra assistance, visit our for a green, house cleaning service. Lotus Cleaning Services is an eco-friendly maid service, and we would love to give your home the care it deserves to get it sparkling clean in time for the holidays.

This guest post was provided by: 
Author: Lotus Cleaning Team
Author/ Company Bio: Lotus Cleaning Services is made up of dedicated home and office cleaning professionals, that have used green practices to serve San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and their surrounding areas since 2006.

Organizing Your Kids’ Closet to Foster Independence

Teaching your children how to care for themselves is an important part of their physical and emotional development. Learning how to brush, wash, and get dressed every day is a big step that requires lots of help from adults. One of the best ways to teach children how to do these everyday tasks themselves is to make their environments accessible and familiar. Here are some tips for creating a bedroom closet that will help your little ones help themselves during their daily dressing routine.

Make it accessible

Most furniture companies now produce child friendly beds, dressers, and wardrobes that sit lower to the ground and allow for maximum accessibility. Built-in closets, on the other hand, aren’t generally fit for purpose when it comes to kids. Set up your own closet with clothes rails, shelves, and storage bins that are lower and easily reached by your children. Make sure any bins are open so your kids know what goes in each space, or choose clear or wire baskets so they can see directly into them from the sides.
via Modernize


After you’ve set up your child friendly closet, affix labels to each shelf and/or bin to help your kids remember which items of clothing go where. For younger children, large print labels with photographs of the type of clothing work best and can be made easily at home. If, like us at Modernize, you like to take your organization a step further, create sections for each day of the week. This way, your kids can choose outfits ahead of time and save you time in the morning. 

Keep it tidy

Probably the most important part of a functioning, independence-building kids’ closet is cleanliness. Finding clothes in a disorganized, cluttered space is next to impossible for adults and will feel positively overwhelming for children. Because kids grow so quickly, regular reorganization of their closet space is a necessity: make sure to remove clothes that are too small, out of season, or no longer worn for one reason or another. Encourage your children to put away their own clothes after they’ve been washed, and remind them to keep the space the way they would like to find it. 
via Modernize

Set a routine

In addition to keeping a regular cleaning schedule, it’s a good idea to encourage your kids to choose their school or activity outfits the night before. If you’ve set up day-of-the-week hangers or shelves, put these outfits in their designated spaces, or hang them on the door of the closet so they’re ready in the morning. After you’ve completed this task together a few times, your children should get the hang of it and hopefully repeat the exercise every day. This routine is not only great for your children because they get to choose their own clothes (within reason, of course), but also great for you because you will save yourself a regular morning struggle of choosing outfits. 

Guest article courtesy of Kaitlin Krull. 


Are you moving? Here are some great tips from Unpakt

Moving can be expensive—from movers to insurance to down payments—the bill can add up quickly.

Fortunately, packing supplies do not need to be added to your list of expenses. Actually, you may already own some of the best packing materials around—you just didn’t realize it yet!  Unpakt, a price comparison site and online booking tool for consumers searching for a reputable moving company, put together a list of household items that can be used for packing:

Sandwich Bags – These can be used to hold hardware from disassembled furniture and appliances. They are also ideal for toiletries—if something leaks during the move, a sandwich bag will prevent other items from being damaged.
Towels, Socks, other Clothing Items – Towels can be used to wrap plates, serving platters, vases, or breakable décor. Make sure you keep one out to pack  n your overnight bag though!  Balls of socks can be used to fill open space in boxes of breakables. You want items secure, so they do not bounce around. Rather than using packaging peanuts or other costly products, use socks. Longer socks can also be used to wrap glasses and stemware. T-shirts, tanks, and sweaters can also be used to wrap breakables. A nice soft sweater or sweatshirt is ideal to line the bottom of the box. This will provide cushioning in case the box gets roughed up during the move.

Beer Boxes – There are three reasons to use beer boxes. First, they are heavy duty and can hold a lot of weight. Second, they have handles on the side, which makes them easy to carry. Third, you get to drink the beer to empty the box! If you’re not into drinking a case of beer, head to a liquor store and see if they will give them to you for free.

Drawers – With the exception of clothes you do not necessarily want movers peeking at, most clothes can stay in your dresser drawers. Simply cover them with Glad Press’n Seal. If you plan on doing this, make sure the moving company doesn’t have rules about handling unboxed items.

Twist Ties – Use these to stop cables and cords from getting tangled.
Other household items that can be used as packing supplies include trash pails (after a thorough clean!), suitcases, Rubbermaid containers, baskets, underbed storage, gym bags and backpacks, trash bags, and hampers.


Homemaking tip | Cook dinner early

I have been a homemaker for over 19 years now and I LOVE my job! I have met a lot of new wives and even new homemakers over the years and they ask me for advice on how I keep everything together. Aside from having my planning book, I do a lot of things at unusual times. I cook dinner (yes dinner) before 11:00 AM during the week. I know you are wondering why I do that. I find that when my husband is at work and the kids are at school, I get so much more done. By the time school lets out and my husband gets home, I am not trying to rush and exhaust myself by having to figure what to make for dinner at 5:00 or 6:00 in the evening.
By cooking my meal in the morning, I save myself the drama and can enjoy my family at dinnertime, stress-free. What I do is cook my meal and pack everything up in containers. I let it cool down for about 20 minutes and I place it all in the refrigerator until later. This also allows all of those good flavors to set in and the food tastes even better than it would if it came straight off the stove. I also don't have to worry about washing dishes, pots and pans at night. It really helps out a lot and I pack any leftovers up for my husband to take for lunch the next day.

Homemaking really comes down to time management. I like to get most of my "work" out of the way before my crew gets home. It gives me more time to focus on things they may need me to help with or just to have a more relaxed evening. A more relaxed mother and wife makes for a happier household!

If you have any homemaking tips you would like to share, I would love to hear them!
Shelly, Mom Files

A must-have for any parent | How I stay organized

I have been a stay-at-home mom/homemaker for over 18 years. One of the most important parts of my job is organization. I have to keep up with all appointments, school events, activities, sports, bills and everything else in between. I have found the best way to keep it all together is with an organizer. I specifically use one that is made for students. The reason why is the layout goes according to the school week. My life revolves around the kids so my calendar needs to do the same. Student organizers are also a lot cheaper compared to the traditional ones you find in the office supply stores. Those can run you $20 or more!
I bought mine at Target last year right at the start of the school year for about $8. I found out that if you wait until about the second or third week after school starts, they go on clearance for 50% off and eventually 75% off. I love the size of this one because it is big enough to write everything in, but small enough to throw in my bag if I need to. My husband has one and so do the girls. We all can't live without it! Since the last month of the organizer is July, I have to make sure to get a new one soon. I have tried putting appointments and events in my iPhone but I more prefer the old-fashioned method of writing it down.

How do you stay organized?
Shelly, Mom Files

How to Organize Your Recipes {guest post}

This guest post is courtesy of  Instawares restaurant supplies and equipment company.

Whether you're a home cook who takes pride in preparing recipes that have been handed down in your family for generations or a professional chef with a reputation for creating innovative new dishes, your recipes are the key to your success in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, many cooks tend to be disorganized when it comes to maintaining their recipe file.

Instead of desperately paging through recipe books or shuffling a stack of index cards and magazine clippings the next time you want to prepare that special dish, why not organize your recipes into an efficient system so you can always lay your hands on the recipe you want in an instant?

Gather Your Recipes

Before you can organize your recipes, it's crucial that you compile all of them in one place.  Empty your recipe boxes, gather your cookbooks, grab your magazine cutouts and locate your Internet printouts.  No matter where your recipes are at this moment, do what you have to do to get them all in one place, preferably your kitchen table or computer desk.

Assemble Your Supplies

To organize your recipes, you'll need a three-ring binder, enough sheet protectors to contain all of your recipes, plain copy paper, scissors, a glue stick and a color copier or printer/scanner with copying capabilities.  Feel free to jazz up your recipe book with sheets of colored paper, paper with borders, scrapbook-style embellishments and photos of food that you've prepared in the past.

Sort  Your Recipes by Category

Create several piles and sort your recipes into categories.  Meats, poultry, main dishes, casseroles, vegetable dishes and desserts are just some of the categories you can use.  If you're stumped as to which categories to create, choose one of your favorite cookbooks and follow its layout by copying the categories contained therein.

Place Your Recipes in Sheet Protectors

Sheet protectors offer the perfect way to store your recipes for use in the kitchen.  If you happen to splatter or spill something on the pages, you simply wipe it off and the recipe remains untouched.  Recipes that are smaller than 8-1/2" x 11" can be glued to sheets of copy paper and inserted into the sheet protectors.  Place one or more on each page according to your preference.  If you have recipes in cookbooks that you turn to often, copy them or scan and print them so you have them at your fingertips without having to page through one or more cookbooks to locate them.

Organize the Recipes in Your Binder

Since you've already sorted your recipes by category, it should be easy to place them in your binder in an orderly fashion.  Once you've placed them in the binder, use a simple word processing program to create a table of contents or an index that lists all of the recipes your binder contains.  Now when you're ready to prepare a special dish, you'll easily be able to flip to the appropriate page and get to work.

While organizing your recipes may seem like a time-consuming project at first glance, the time you save by being able to find your recipes easily will pay off in the long run.  Not only will you be an organized cook in the kitchen, you'll have your very own personalized cookbook and that's something any cook should be proud of.

Shelly, Mom Files

Spring clean and turn your clutter into cash!

Did you know the average consumer has $7,000 worth of unused stuff in their home? In fact, according to an annual clothing Resale Report from thredUP, the average family has $1,318 worth of used/outgrown clothing to sell alone. That's a lot of money that can be put towards future goals for your family or even retirement.

Whatever it is you'd like to sell, below is a list of new tech services that make it truly easy to spring clean while turning that clutter into cash. Best part? You don't have to wait for someone else to buy your stuff like you do on Craigslist or eBay. Just pack up those unwanted goods, ship 'em off, and watch the cash roll in.

· online consignment to clean out children's closets and turn outgrown clothes into cash. Order a thredUP bag, fill it with kids' clothes and earn up to 40% of the resale value. thredUP consignors inspect every item and resell only the best clothes.

·  EcoATM: an automated, self-serve kiosk that quickly evaluates and buys back used consumer electronics directly from consumers for cash. It's like a magical money robot. Find an EcoATM location near you.

· sell your home furnishing directly to Chairish. Users simply submit furniture details online, and Chairish takes care of payments while insuring white glove shipping. Chairish's curation team approves every listing to ensure the best furniture quality for buyers.

· we've all heard of Cash for Gold, but there's another option for your once loved jewelry. Gold fellow will even take broken jewelry!

· type in the ISBN and Book Scouter will search all the sites that are currently paying for used books to give you a quote. It's like having a book broker!

· gift card exchange that helps you trade in gift cards you aren't planning on using, for cards you will use - or for cash.

· instruments are often pricey to ship, and you probably won't make much selling them on craigslist. UsedInstrumentBuyer gives you a quote upfront and ship it for free.

· luxury designer resale - all online. Perfect for the Louis Vuitton bag that needs a new home.

· want someone to do your spring cleaning for you? TaskRabbit helps you find local people to run your errands– like help you sell heavier stuff such as kitchen appliances or home fitness equipment in the garage on Craigslist.

· a selling portal perfect for bigger ticket items like TVs. Best part? With every item you sell, they'll make a donation to a classroom in need.

**This information was sent to me via email and I thought the resources would be valuable. 
Shelly, Mom Files

Does organization have you down?

Are there myriads of beauty products overflowing your bathroom? Is there a ‘junk drawer’ you can’t even begin to organize? Does the simple thought of the papers on your desk stress you out? Schick Intuition is here to help! With the launch of Simplicity Project, the brand provides professional advice from Organizational Expert Jill Pollack on easy ways to keep things simple in just a few short steps! Just visit Schick Intuition on Facebook for more!


 Jill says: ·
“Designate a drawer or shelf as a home for purses and wallets, cell phones and chargers, sunglasses and loose change.”
“Categorize and store like items / like uses together; Hats, Gloves, Scarves, Cooler, Blankets.”
“Get belongings ready the night before for quick and easy access in the morning. Try placing items by the door to shorten and simplify your routine.”
“Make sure to schedule time for yourself that is nonnegotiable. A Skype chat with an old friend, a yoga class, a massage.”
To simplify your beauty routine, Jill recommends using Schick Intuition, the only 2-in-1 razor with a moisturizing conditioning solid surrounding four ultra-thin blades to achieve the closest shave possible. Schick Intuition offers women the ultimate multi-purpose beauty accessory in one easy product, available now in three new, limited edition handles!

Schick Intuition razors are so great because they come with a handy hanging holder and there is no need for shaving gel. Shaving legs in the shower is so much easier! I just love how smooth my legs feel.

For additional simplicity tips from Jill visit Schick Intuition on Facebook and click the ‘Simplify and Save’ tab. There you have the opportunity to take our Simplicity Personality quiz and receive up to $4 off Schick Intuition products!
Shelly, Mom Files

Why didn't I do this sooner?

It just dawned on me a few days ago that William's bedroom is a lot bigger than my office. Both rooms are next to each other and they used to be the girls' rooms before William was born and then they moved into bedrooms downstairs.  He only goes in his bedroom to sleep at night. How did I let a little kid get the bigger space? He doesn't even have that much stuff! It is also the one room in the house that is coldest in the Winter and warmest in the Summer. A light bulb went off in my head. I grabbed the girls and we switched rooms. Yep, I kicked the boy out of the big room with a full-sized closet and put him in a smaller, cozier room. Would you believe that now he wants to hang out and play in his "new room" all day long? It was a very smart move. It took me 3 1/2 years to think of it but at least it's done. I am loving my new office space and William is enjoying his new bedroom. We both win! :)
Shelly, Mom Files

HERSHEY®’S Track & Field Games | Giveaway

Winner is #17 John S.

Now that winter is slowly winding down and the weather is warming up this is the perfect time for families to get up and get moving! It's important to encourage your children to be active so you can help them gain an appreciation for a healthy lifestyle at a young age.

Since 1978, The HERSHEY®’S Track & Field Games has helped more than 10 million children get active and learn valuable lessons such as sportsmanship and hard work. Now in its 34th year, HERSHEY’S Track & Field Games hosts thousands of boys and girls, ages 9 to 14, in nearly 4,000 North American communities. They will compete this spring and summer in track and field events ranging from the standing long jump and softball throw to a variety of running and relay races – and all at no cost of entry. All you need is a pair of shoes!

To program culminates each year with the HERSHEY’S Track & Field Games North American Final Meet in Hershey, Pa. Held each year in August, the North American Final Meet hosts 450 outstanding young participants in a fun and exciting, all-expenses paid weekend trip to Hershey. During the weekend, participants tour the world’s largest chocolate factory and visit Hersheypark amusement park, among other exciting activities.

To further encourage physical activity among kids and families, Hershey is teaming up with the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program to collect old, worn-out athletic shoes to be recycled into Nike Grind, a material used in creating athletic and playground surfaces, as well as select Nike products. Program participants will be invited to bring used athletic shoes to state and provincial meets, which will then be recycled into Nike Grind. A HERSHEY’s Track & Field Games playground will be awarded to a participating local community as part of the program’s work with Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program. Since its inception in the early 1990’s, Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program has recycled more than 25 million pairs of athletic shoes into Nike Grind.

To learn more about HERSHEY’S Track & Field Games, and to find a local event in your area, please visit I checked out my area and there is one at my daughter's high school!
To help get you started you can enter to win HERSHEY’S Track & Field Games prize pack, which includes a drawstring backpack, visor, water bottle and rubber band shoelace stoppers.

Mandatory: To enter just leave a comment sharing how you keep your children/family active. Be sure to check out the site to see if there is a track meet in your area.

For additional entries: *Please leave a separate comment per entry method for each entry to count.

~ you can "like" Momfiles on Facebook
~ share this giveaway on Facebook (once daily)
~ follow Momfiles through Google Friend Connect
~ sport the Momfiles button on your blog
~ Follow Momfiles on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway (twice daily):
Get active with a HERSHEY®’S Track & Field Games prize pack from @momfiles and #myblogspark

Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on March 31, 2011 at 9:00 pm EST. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Good luck!

The Hershey Company provided me one prize pack to keep and one to give away, as part of the MyBlogSpark program

Shelly, Mom Files

It's tax season

Well it's that less than fun time of year- tax season. We have a pretty decent system of keeping up with our paperwork throughout the year to make it easier to file. I guess there still seems to be so much else we have to gather to ensure we are getting as much money back as we can as well as being thorough. I have thought about doing our taxes ourselves but I get all scared that we will mess something up. We just go up to the same place we have for years (a mom 'n pop's spot) and just pay them to do it correctly. I have always had friends and family tell me how easy it is to do yourself but there are just some things I am not willing to mess with!

So what about you? Are you one of the brave people that does it yourself or are you a wimp like me?
Shelly, Mom Files

Lieutenant Shelly is in the building!

It's the first week in August and this means it's time to get conditioned for school! I have the kids getting up at 7 AM this week ...NO EXCUSES. They better enjoy it because next week they have to be up by 6 AM and then the following week it goes to 5:45. I am so mean too. I walk by their rooms making noise to be sure they are awake. Haha!! They can be all the mad they want but they will be grateful when school starts back that they are used to getting up at the crack. Like I said, Lieutenant Shelly is in the building! ;)

Question: Do you have any special things you do in preparation for school?
Shelly, Mom Files

My inbox is immaculate

I am a frequent Facebook/Twitter user and I have noticed almost daily the status updates of friends talking about their email inbox. It is astonishing to me that so many have over a thousand email. Some even in the upwards of 5,000. I get into a panic if mine even goes to 20. I have a tendency to keep an immaculate inbox. I have folders that keep email in particular categories and I do a folder cleaning every few months just to not let them build up with a bunch of useless trash. I also keep my Smart phone on my 24/7 so that my new mail never builds to more than about 10-15 unread messages. I can say that I have a very well organized email system. Now if only my office and house can be that way....

Shelly, Mom Files
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