Back To School: Buying Name Labels

 It’s no secret that I love to label.  I have dedicated much of my life to ensuring everything and every place in our home is labelled!  Labels ensure items find their way home.  This is never more true than all those items that leave your home to visit school, Kindy or work each day!

Pencils, scissors, socks, and books.  If it is leaving your house, LABEL IT! If you LOVE it LABEL IT!

With a new school year ahead now is the perfect time to stock up on name labels.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN LABELS 

QUALITY.  This for me comes before everything else.  Labels are one of those items where you really do get what you pay for.  There are many label companies out there these days but don’t scrimp on quality for the sake of saving a few dollars.  A good label can last for many years, buy it cheap and you may have to buy it twice, costing more money in the end.

Look for labels that;

  • Are Dishwasher Safe (For lunchboxes)
  • Are Washing Machine Safe (For Clothes)
  • Come in various sizes.
  • Are Laminated (paper labels are just not durable)

PRICE.  This is where it pays to be organized.  Finding a great price does not neccessarily mean finding the cheapest. Make a list of the type of labels you will need.  Savings can be found by purchasing a value pack that includes a variety of label sizes and type that best suits your needs. You can buy a cheap pack but if it’s full of labels in sizes you don’t need and doesn’t include a number of the ones you DO need! 

DESIGN.  I am going to be looking at these labels A LOT.  They may as well look good.  Also for younger children, having a particular picture or theme to the labels, assists non readers to identify which items belong to them. E.G My shoes are the ones wit the airplane picture.  I also like to get a variety of colours in my pack to help with colour coding!  I know it is a bit OCD but in the past I have used different colours for different days of the weeks or to even to help identify the left and right shoe (Red for Right, Lime for Left) By putting two matching colour labels

BEFORE YOU BUY ANYTHING. 

DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Check with your school what needs to labeled.  Some classrooms, especially in the early years have communal pencils,  crayons and even scissors.  These items often don’t need to be labeled.  However, some times it also pays to label everything just the same as at least you are in with a chance of unused items being returned to you at the end of the year.  Ask the class teachers or even parents who  have been at the school before. 

CLOTHING AND SHOE LABELS.  Don’t forget to include clothing and shoe labels.  Have you ever tried to work out whose black velcro shoes belong to who in a see of 25 pairs of identical shoes? Clothing labels generally come in either the stick on or Iron on variety. In my experience although the stick on labels are obviously much easier to use, the iron on ones do last longer. 

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT

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 I make up a big table.  If you think I love a good label, you haven’t seen me with a table! Just in word I create a label to track what we have purchased, what we have received, what kind of book cover we will need and what kind of label we require for each item.

By doing this I can easily workout how many of each item, we need and make the most of value packs.

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mini labels, the best option for fiddly pencils and crayons

 This year we needed LOTS of Mini Labels.  EVERY pencil, text and crayon was required to be individually labelled. In past years we have required lots of regular name labels and book labels.  I also made another table for uniforms.  With two children in completely new uniforms this year I needed to stock up on clothing and shoe labels. 

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and so the production line begins!

So who do I use?  This is actually my fifth year of using Stuck On You.  At first when Master O went to child care I choose them because they were cute.  After seeing how durable they were I continued to buy them! I have even bought Little Miss A a few before, not that she has ever really needed a label! 

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Master O chose the Robot themed Designer Book Labels

 

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Little Miss A loved the Sweetie Pie range.

 I must admit, throwing myself into the preparations for Back To School has taken my mind off the fact that my Little Miss A, who has never been away from me, is going to KINDY!!!! 

So are you a labelaholic?  Got your labels sorted for this year?

WANT TO WIN A $25 Stuck On You Gift Voucher? 

We are giving away 2 x Stuck On You Gift Vouchers! Just Enter via Rafflecopter below!

 

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DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by “Stuck On You.” I have received products in return for my honest opinion and review of their great products!

Planning School Lunches

 

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Bento Lunch from Meet The Dubiens

When Master O started Kindy, we became all kinds of desperate to develop a plan of attack for lunch boxes.  I suddenly felt overwhelmed by the restrictions of what he was allowed to take, what he would actually eat and providing variety. After some trial and error we developed a printable plan to ensure variety, organisation and that he was getting a great combination of proteins, calcium, grains, fruit and veggies.

So just like we plan meals in this house we also plan what is going into the lunch box each day for the week ahead.

I have shared our planning template before but here is another sneak peek.

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FREE LUNCH BOX PLANNER DOWNLOAD

 

 

At the bottom of this plan is also a few lines to add your shopping list too.  I print this out in A5 size so I can fit two plans to an A4 sheet of paper.

On the Lunch Box plan this week:

Grains;

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Nutri Grain (dry in a small container)

Tuesday, Thursday – Meusli Bar

Plus the grains found in wraps and bread rolls 

Proteins;

Monday, Wednesday – Ham (with Salad in a wrap)

Tuesday – Chicken (Chicken Parma bread roll) I buy those little bread rolls from woolworths, they are a little bigger than a dinner roll.  I keep them in the freezer and heat for about 6 minutes before making them.

Thursday – Boiled Egg (as a snack)

Friday – Pork (Home made hot dog with sausage leftover)

Calcium

Monday,  Wednesday – Squeezie yoghurt

Tuesday – Diced Cheese

Thursday and Friday – Tzatziki Dip (With Carrot, Celery and Bread sticks)

Fruit and Vegies

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Strawberries and Diced Apples

Thursday – Vegie Sticks (as above with dip!)

Tuesday – Cherry tomatoes (with the diced cheese on toothpicks)

The Ham and Salad Wraps also have Lettuce/Carrot /Tomato/Cucumber on them!

Left Overs For Lunch

Where possible I tie this plan in with our Weekly Meal Plan.  For example, Monday night we are having Chicken Parmiagina so the left overs will go on a bread roll the next day.  Wednesday night the menu consists of Lamb Souvlaki, the left over tzatziki is a great as a veggie dipper in the next days lunch box! Thursday night we are having a bbq so a left over sausage becomes Friday’s Hotdog. 

Hidden Heros

Adding a simple salad on to the ham wrap means my reluctant regular salad eater devours carrot and cucumber! By getting creative with the cherry tomatoes and cheese cubes on a toothpick skewer, he is getting antioxidants, calcium and protein!

Want to get those lunches organised? 

 Download the BLANK LUNCHBOX PLANNER and get planning! 

While your there you will find some lunchbox plans already created for you! 

Happy Lunching!

 

 

 

Creating a School Storage Station – Part 1

I must admit this is not my first School Station.  Master O is about to start his third year at school!  Please don’t ask how that makes me feel! 

Our first station looked like this.

 

This area was set up especially for Prep – Grade 1.  

The drawers worked brilliantly, although his bag was a bit squashed in that bottom drawer I absolutely loved having those two top drawers for homework folders, library bags and everything that came along with going to school!

I also loved the Basket on top for our School File It Folder and storing notes.

But then…..once he got to Grade 1, the homeowrk increased, and once he changed schools, it increased again.  This area was simply too distracting for homework.  It also meant I had three sets of stationery areas.  One in the playroom, one in this area and one in the study for myself.  So we moved Master O into my study.  We set up his desk and noticeboard and stationery across from me in the study.  In general though come homeowrk time we all sit at my desk together!  I have a huge L shaped desk and three chairs.  Little Miss A sits across from me and does some phonics practice, drawing, cutting or experimental writing.  Master O sits next to me so I can talk him through what he is doing.  He is a very self sufficient and independent learner but I love to know what he is learning at school and the best way to do this and to be involved in homework.  The big desk is also great for doing projects (which seem to take up so much room and get bigger each fortnight!)

I digress!  So those handy drawers moved into the study and I took them over as my own as my desk has no drawers in it.  So we went through the last part of last year with a great space for homework but no specific place for storing school stuff.  

and that my friend is where we are at!

What do I need this space to do?

  1. Contain School Items
  2. Be easily accessible and at a childs height but alos be neat and tidy
  3. Be flexible in its arrangement for different children’s needs

1. So what do I need our School Station to contain;

  • School Bags
  • School Hats
  • Homework/message Folders and Planners
  • Library Bags
  • School File It Folder
  • Artwork Folder (Miss A)
  • Sheet Bag (Miss A)
  • Individual timetables/schedule

After careful thought I don’t want it to contain school shoes.  School shoes and especially Kindy shoes have a habit of coming home full of sand.  So they can stay in the garage! 

How do I want to contain it so its neat and tidy, flexible and easily accessible?

  • I think I need a combination of baskets, shelves, drawers and hooks.  
  • I dont want to hang the school bags.  We have had bad luck with hooks in this house and I dont want any more damage to my walls.  
  • I also want the end solution to be flexible.  I am still thinking about moving this station to the study so whatever I use I want to be able to relocate it easily.  As they get older they can also then move it to their own bedroom.  
  • It has to be able to be configured in different ways for different children.  Because my children are quite spaced apart in age (3+years and 4+Years) they are always going to have very different school needs.  By the time Baby #3 starts school Master O will be starting High School!  So I think each child needs their own station.  Master O’s will need to be able to hold sports equipment and Little Miss A’s, a sheet bag for Kindy.
  • It can’t be too tall.  Little Miss A needs to be able to open and close everything herself. 

After writing all this I am automatically thinking of my old friends IKEA Expedit and Trofast.  The fact that the Trofast has both drawers and shelves and comes in a variety of heights has me thinking it may be the answer!  Although the frames are both a similar price,  it is much cheaper to buy the Trofast drawers and shelves (around $5) than buying baskets or drawers for an Expedit (between $10-20).  

 What will work in the space? 

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 4.59.37 PM So this is where I am thinking.  It is where everything else organisational is located and would make the space feel complete.  I do worry as this space is at the opposite end of the house to the garage (where we enter the house) and the study (where we do homework).  But for now I think its worth a try!  

So let’s get planning!!!! 

I am such a visual person that I had to literally piece it all together in pictures.

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 I will go into more detail tomorrow but you can start to get the idea! 

The Family Launch Pad

We finally finished off our Launch Pad!  Just in time for school to go back! 

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As you can see we used what we had 

  • A 2 x 4 IKEA Expedit Unit
  • The Bird Fruit Bowl (on the top) – Reject Shop a few years ago
  • A Tin Container – Reject Shop a few years ago

and bought a few new bits

  • 8 x Medium Trofast Containers from Ikea
  • Vinyl Labels form Etsy.

The space consists of three main areas.

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  1. The Errands Box
  2. The Everyday Station
  3. Storage Baskets

1. THE ERRANDS BOX

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This our go to place for all kinds of lists, notes and items that we need to take with us when we go out.

Receipts of items that need to be returned, the latest sale item I want to check out, our shopping lists and to do lists.  We check this box before we leave the house.  I fill out our shopping list as we run out of items and as this area is right next to the kitchen it is super handy!

2. EVERYDAY ITEMS

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 5.52.32 AMWe have had this space happening for a few years now.  It is our household go to spot.  Runny Nose?  Wipe your face? About to go outside? Everything you need for going out or even staying in is here.  By having all of this in the one spot it makes getting ready to go out quicker and if I am busy in the house and the kids need something they know exactly where to find it. 

3. THE STORAGE BASKETS

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This is probably the most important area of the whole “Launch Pad” 

We now have EVERYTHING organised, labelled and stored in the one place.

On the top Left to Right.

Hats, Drink Bottles, Lunch Boxes, Lunch Bags

On the bottom Left to right

Emergency, Bags, Organisation, Handbag

The top ones are pretty self explanatory.  On the bottom the Emergency box holds torches, power leads and a tool kit.  The bags container holds our recyclable bags.  Great to use for show and tell items, extra library books, returning tupperware! 

The Organisation box is my special little box of supplies!  I have a secret love for its contents! 

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 6.02.28 AMIn my handbag I keep a clear little bag of tricks.  I always have in it

  • Breath mints
  • Hand Sanitiser
  • Band Aids
  • Tissues
  • Baby Wipes
  • Paw Paw Ointment
  • Insect Repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Panadol
  • Deodorant

This little bag has been the best organisational tool EVER.  It means wherever we are I am prepared for anything! Birthday Parties, the beach, the park, shops, the school run. Of course the only way I can carry all this, without looking like Mary Poppins, is to have everything in travel or mini size.  Whenever sample/mini/travel sizes are on sale I buy a few and keep them handy in this storage container.  Before going out I check my bag to see if anything needs topping up. The best place for these items are the dollar stores.  Big W also has a huge range of miniatures! 

and the last box is for my handbag!  I desperately needed a home for my little mint beauty and this seemed like the most logical place! 

The only thing not in this spot is our swimming gear.  We just have too many towels, togs, swim shirts, goggles, flotation devices and bags for this area, so for now that lives in the laundry. 

But what about the school gear?  School bags and hats and library bags?

I assure you they have not been forgotten and are getting a little place all of their own!

I will share our plans for them tomorrow!

 

Meal Plan and Shopping List Template

Although the house is a bustle with Christmas elves and activities, normal life must continue!

That includes doing the grocery shopping! 

I did say many months ago I would share my new meal plan and shopping list template so here it is!

This may not be suitable for everyone but this is our go to list and template that suits our family! 

You can now find this template in my ETSY SHOP

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Simply follow this link to purchase. 

MEAL PLANNER AND SHOPPING LIST

Creating a Stockpile – Preparing for a Baby

There was a time long, long ago, in a life now so unfamiliar, when we lived with two comfortable full time incomes.  Oh how I miss those days and at the same time wonder what on Earth we did with all the money!  It appears the more you have, the more you spend.  

Luckily for us, around the time we were trying to have our first baby, I had a lovely friend who had just had her first baby.  She told me about how she had stockpiled items in preparation for going onto one income.  For her it was her expensive make up and hair products.  She didn’t want to feel like she could not afford them, once the baby arrived, so she stockpiled enough to get her through the whole year.

What a great idea! That was it.  I was hooked.  Although stockpiling for us was originally a means to survive the first year of one income and not go without, 7 years later on one or one and half incomes, it is so much more than that.

So why stockpile

For Convenience.

Master O was delivered via emergency c-section.  This combined with the complete sense of overwhelm with my first baby, meant I only left the house for the first 6 weeks if it was absolutely essential.  I couldn’t drive, I was struggling just to move around and get up and down our stairs, and I had a spewy, refluxy, difficulty to breastfeed baby.  My STOCKPILE saved me!  I had enough toilet paper, nappies, wipes, sanitary items that if I needed to, I could just stay home.  My stockpile meant I never ran out of anything essential, causing a mad dash, at an inconvenient time, to the shops.

To save money.

These last minute dash to the shops cost money.  You often end up not only paying extra for the item at a corner store but more than likely you will grab a few non essentials at the same time (any one see that great deal on chocolate) When I stockpile I have a “stockpile” price.  I do not add anything to the stockpile unless it is a really good sale.  A good sale depends on the item.  Cleaning/Toilet Paper/Pantry Staples the go to guide is 50% off or 2 for 1.  Anything less than that (20% off etc) and you will find it at the price in another few weeks.  For nappies and wipes, I buy in bulk so a great deal is $27-29 a box or $13-15 a box of wipes. 

There are a million reasons to stockpile but for me these are the two biggest!  I focus on stockpiling different items in different months, but generally we stockpile;

  • Pantry Staples (Rice, Pasta, Sauces, Juice, Long Life Milk)
  • Cleaning Supplies (Sprays, Dishwashing Liquid and Tablets, Blue Loo, Toilet Cleaner, Toilet Spray)
  • Laundry Supplies (Washing Powder, Softener, Stain remover)
  • Baby Goods (nappies, Wipes, Baby Bags)
  • Household Goods (Batteries, Lightbulbs, Garbage Bags, Insect Repellent)
  • Personal Hygiene (Soap, Bath Gel, Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, Shampoo, Conditioner, Deodorant, Bubble Bath)
  • Handbag Items (Wipes, Hand Sanitiser, Tissues, Band Aids, Sunscreen)

Right now, our focus is on Baby goods.  Mainly because those new babies need a lot of stuff and we have none of it! 

NAPPIES

I looked back at my children’s weights over time.  Master O reached 5 kgs at 5 weeks, and Little Miss A reached 5 kgs at 10 weeks!  What a difference!  So I figure if I stock up on enough Newborn nappies for 7 weeks I should be right. I am using Huggies Nappies as an example. Newborn nappies are unisex so they are easy to purchase regardless of wether you are finding out the gender of your baby!

Newborn – For weights up to 5 kg – 108 in a box

Newborns use on average 8-10 nappies a day!!!! In the first few weeks it is closer to 10 then tapers off! 

So 8 nappies a day, 7 days a week for 7 weeks = 392 Newborn Nappies! 

Our hospital provides nappies and I will be there for at least the first four days so I’m going with…..

3 boxes of newborn nappies = 324 Newborn Nappies

THAT IS A LOT OF NAPPIES! 

But wait!  Realistically you could get away with 2 boxes as once they reach 4 kgs you could purchase Infant nappies. Because I really want at least a 2 month stockpile, I am covering all bases and also going to grab a box of Infant Nappies.  Unfortunately Infant nappies come in either boy or girl specific nappies,  but rest assured most major supermarkets will swap your nappies free of charge WITHOUT proof of purchase! Just ensure the box has not been opened! Handy if like us you dont know the gender of your baby until birth!

So our Nappy Stockpile will look like this 

3 boxes of Newborn Nappies = 324 Nappies (7weeks)  (we can always swap a box of the Newborn for a box of Infant size if we dont use them) 

1 box of Infant Nappies = 96 (2 weeks) 

TOTAL = 420 Nappies!!!!

A stockpile price for nappies is about $27 – $29 a box.  They are often reduced at both Woolworths and Big W and at target during their baby sales.  I do not buy bulk nappies unless they are on SALE!

NAPPY BAGS

But there is more to nappy changing than just nappies!  We are also stockpiling  Nappy Bags these were no where near as popular when I had Master O but seriously the best invention ever.  They are often scented and especially great for when you are on the go!

So we need at least 420 Nappy Bags!  

I grab a few extras as some require DOUBLE BAGGING! Nappy bags generally come in boxes and I find the cheapest and best ones are from the Dollar Stores! 

WIPES

You can NEVER EVER have enough baby wipes!  We still use them in our house, car, bags without any babies in the house!  For Kids and Adults we buy the Aldi brand in bulk or the Woolworths HomeBrand.  They are a similar price.  I also buy small packs form the dollar stores for my handbag and glove box!

For babies I have always used Huggies wipes.  They have never irritated my babies and are by far the strongest and most effective!  Which is especially important in those newborn nappy days! Huggies Wipes, like the nappies are also available in Bulk boxes.  

These packets are sensational as they act as refills for the handy boxes.

Woolworths and Big W often have great sales on wipes and you can get a bulk box for as cheap as $13- $15.

I also have a mini stockpile of items like bath wash and nappy cream.  I am waiting to trial these items on our baby before stocking up on them incase our baby has sensitive skin.

So there you have it an introduction to STOCKPILING! Don’t worry there is much much more to come! 

Do you stockpile? 

 

The School File It Folder

Before the new school year has even begun, my house is rapidly filling with 2014 paperwork! With a child starting Kindy for the first time we have a mountain of lists, notes and forms that all need coralling and controlling.  Lucky for this mumma I am now somewhat experienced in containing school paper clutter.  

When Master O first started school I needed a quick and easy solution to filing and contianing the paper that came home with him.  SO I created…..

School Folder 

Step 1. Gather Your Supplies

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I found these cute coloured “Marbig – Vivid” folders at Big W!

You will need

  •  A4 Ring Binder (one with an insertable cover and spine works best for decorating! )
  • Extra wide Tabbed Dividers
  • Plastic Pockets
  • Scrapbook Paper (Optional)
  • Labelmaker (Optional)

Step 2. Create a Cover

School File It Folder

School File It Folder

You will be looking at this folder a LOT, so why not make it pretty!  Little Mis A chose a cute sheet of Scrapbooking Paper from Spotlight.  12 x 12 Scrapbooking paper makes the perfect cover as it the perfect size!  

Cut about 3 cm’s off one side to create the front cover and use the offcut for the spine!  Add the date and your child’s name and your ready to go!

Step 3. Create Dividers

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The dividers are whats make this folder functional.  Extra Wide tabbed dividers work the best as you can still view the tabs when the folder is closed making access easy.  Although we have had a school folder before the same sections didnt really apply to Kindy.  Some ideas are

  • Calendars and Rosters
  • Class Notes
  • Rules and Regulations
  • Lists (Uniform/Books etc)
  • Newsletters
  • Fees
  • Receipts
  • Certificates/Awards
  • Photos
  • Reports
  • Artwork
  • Special Days (Excursions/Celebrations)

If you are creating a folder for school you might also want to add sections for;

  • Tuckshop
  • Excursions/Camps
  • Specialist Lessons 

Simply use a labelmaker (or your neatest handwriting!) to create labels for each divider tabs.

Step 4.  Fill!

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I use post it notes to help categorise the papers I already have. Then simply amke a divider for each category!

Time to say goodbye to the random paper piles! Firstly fill each category with plenty of plastic pockets, you dont want to be searching for more half way through the year.  Now categorise your papers and start adding!

Step 5. Extras.

I also add a large clear plastic envelope with velcro closure into the front.  I keep all of the kids name labels inside it!  I am also on the hunt for some specific “certificate” plastic pockets!

End Of The Year.

At the end of the year, I go through the folder and cull whatever we no longer need and add reports and any other end of year extras to create a School Memory Folder.  It is so nice to be able to grab a folder and look through everything your child has accomplished and experienced during the school year! I have even thought about creating a Project Life school album with all the folders contents! 

Be warned having a folder doesnt ensure you will always be on top of the paper pile!  You need a system! 

THE SYSTEM

First there is a system. 

  1. READ. Check for notes DAILY.  Check bags, lunchboxes, communication books and if you can the school website.
  2. WRITE. Write down ALL DATES immediately.  We write them on our family calendar and in my Erin Condren Life Planner.  Be sure to write in your diary a) when the note needs returning AND b) when the event is taking place.
  3. ACT. What do you need to with this information?
  • Does it need returning?  If it does, fill it out and put it back in their school bag immediately!
  • Do you need it for future reference?  File it away in your “SCHOOL FILE IT FOLDER”
  • Do you need to tell anybody else about the event?
  • Organise different pick up arrangements or a day off work?

 And now you are ORGANISED!

You have a storage place and a system to help you manage the school paper clutter! 

Cleaning Schedules – Living and Dining

 Yesterday I shared this picture on Instagram. 

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  It is of our Weekly Cleaning Schedule.  Due to bad health, we haven’t used it for a while. Our house and us as a family have been just surviving o and if the bench got wiped down and the floor vacuumed that was a huge bonus.   But this week I am desperately hoping to get back into routine and to stop letting the washing pile up and the dust accumulate.  By doing just a little each day, I find the house always seems a little tidier and cleaner. I love lists and routines so it was only appropriate that our house cleaning should have one too!

 Being sick has also made me realise that sometimes I need more specific lists of exactly what each job entails.  This helps if I need to get a cleaner in, or hubby is doing the job or even if the kids want to help!  They love to check it off the list!  So here is our a little more specific list for the first zone of our house, the Living and Dining Room.

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 This is one big open plan space.  Although it gets a tidy throughout the day I love to have one day a week where it gets a little more attention.

Wipe Down Couches:  We have WHITE leather couches.  People thought we were crazy getting them with young children, but seriously they are the easiest thing to keep clean!  Being leather you can simply wipe off a spill and I have even managed to scrub off lipstick and pink pen, thanks to Little Miss A’s artistic endeavours.  Being white means that they are colourfast.  If I have to scrub in a particular area, that area doesnt become faded, because it is white!  I simply wipe down the couch with baby wipes!!!  I also love Method’s Leather spray and once a month we give it the royal treatment with a leather care kit we have.

Wash Cushions:  If the weather is good (unlike yesterday!) I give our decorative cushions a wash.  I always look for covers that are removable and machine washable as grubby hands and faces love our cushions!!

Dust Wall Unit:  This one the kids love to help with!  I have a whole assortment of micro fibre cloths and they love to choose a colour and dust the unit!  Just be sure to watch them with the precious breakables!  Learnt that one the hard way!  Oh and they have a tendency to set up their own little displays including our current “Smurf Stampede”!

Wipe TV Screen:  At the moment I am using Glass spray but I would love for someone to recommend a great product for screens!

Declutter Magazines:  The magazine rack has a habit of attracting junk mail and brochures that do not need to be kept longer than a week!  

Dust and Wipe Down The Buffet:  Yet again a microfibre cloth and then a spray with Method “Wood for Good Daily Spray.”  Then Monthly I give it a good polish with Method “Touch Wood”

Dining Room

This is a quick one!

Wipe Down Chairs:  We have a kind of suede chair seat that I wipe over with a dmap micro fibre cloth.

The Table Runner gets thrown in the wash with the cushion covers and the table gets a clean with the “Wood For Good” 

I also love to use this time to give my decor a little rearrange!

All up this take me less than 40minutes!  Especially if I have little helpers!  We turn the music up and get cleaning!  

For more details on our Cleaning Schedule

or to download the FREE PRINTABLE check this out….. 

Cleaning Schedules

Under The Kitchen Sink

There are some parts of our home that seem to be harder to keep organised than others. Under our Kitchen Sink is one of them!  We had a bit of a makeover this time last year but after a year of living and using it is was shambles!

So what I have learnt….

1. Limit the number of cleaning products.  

It is easy to get overwhelmed by a miscellaneous assortment of products.  I have 4 every day sprays (on the top shelf) with a fifth occasional wood polish.  From Left to Right – Dishwashing Liquid, Daily Granite, All Purpose and Daily Wood. Naturally they are all Method products.  

Daily Granite –  for our black granite bench tops. Never have they been left so sparkly clean without any residue! If you are anything like me you clean your kitchen bench about 10 times a day!

All Purpose – I use this for the stove top, appliances and cupboards.  It is an oil and grime fighter! This one is a new “flavour” and smells incredible!

Daily Wood – For our dining room tables.  We have a small breakfast table and then a lunch and dinner table that get a good work out!  

Dishwashing Liquid- In a handy pump bottle as you can see we love it!  I hand wash lunchboxes, tupperware and kids plastics. 

2. Get rid of packaging and replace with reusable storage.

I take all the dishwashing tablets out of their packaging and empty them into this tin.  We use Method “Smarty Dish” tablets. It keeps them out of sight of little eyes and means I can declutter 3 packets into one tin.  Great for buying in bulk.

3. Containerise.  

I use some small plastic baskets from Kmart to hold all of our cloths and occasional use items like gumption, leather cleaner etc.  I also use one for our “wipes”

4. Keep the items you use daily at arms reach.  

This helps to ensure they are easy to put back into the right place! The ones you only use occasionally can go on the bottom or at the back and if you havent used it in the last 6 months THROW IT OUT! 

5. Enter our METHOD Giveaway.

So you too can throw out the rest of your cleaning supplies! 

Enter via Rafflecopter below and tell us

What is under your Kitchen Sink?  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a giveaway. Method supplied me with the products mentioned in this post.

Managing The Family Finances – Part 3 – Saving Money On Your Bills

 It’s time to get on track with the family finances.  If you are following this series you will now have….

1. Done Your Homework – Using bank statements you have outlined the amounts coming in and going out of your accounts. You have also sorted these items into categories (Non negotiable, and recorded the frequency of the payments (Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly, Quarterly)

2. Created a Family Finance Folder – This is where you will “file” away all family financial papers, particularly, bills and receipts. This folder is sorted into categories such as Rates, Mortgage, Electricity, Phone, Internet, Insurance. It is best to have one section for each separate category for example, a separate section for each type of insurance (Health, Life, House, Car) You will see why this works best in the next step!

You are now ready to……..

GET YOUR FINANCE FOLDER  ORGANISED!

Family Finance Folder Form

Family Finance Folder Form

  • Print out the FAMILY FINANCE FOLDER FORM (Above).
  • You will need one for each category of your folder.
  • Glue this form on the inside of each divider in the Family Finance Folder.
  • Record on the top part of the form “the details” for each company. This includes the company name, phone number, your account number, policy name, phone pin numbers and internet passwords. By doing this, each time you need information about that company or need to correspond with them you have everything you need in one place. If you don’t have all of this information, don’t worry as we are about to fix that!
  • The bottom “Correspondence” section is for you to record, any correspondence with the company. This includes any phone calls or emails sent or received.

NOW ITS TIME TO SAVE MONEY!

  1. Ring Each company.
  2.  Firstly check all the details are current and ask for your customer number or any other information you don’t currently have on your FAMILY FINANCE FORM.
  3. Now ask them to give you a deal! Literally that’s what you need to ask.
  • Is this the best deal for me?
  • Have you got any better deals seeing as though I have been a loyal customer for “x” amount of years?
  • My circumstances have changed and I want to save money but stay with your company, what do you suggest?

Companies want to keep business and you will be surprised with how quickly they will offer you savings!

Also consider: 

  • Is your package negotiable?
  • Does it still suit your needs? (Do you really need all the Foxtel channels? Do you use STD calls or do you need less data allowance on your internet)
  • Can you package multiple items to save money ? (E.g Car, Health and House Insurance or Phone and Internet)
  • Can you commit to a longer term plan in order to save money?
  • Have you seen a great deal at another company? Many companies will price match their competitors.

This week by doing this I halved our Foxtel bill and realised we were hundreds of dollars in CREDIT with our rates.  I organised to have that amount refunded to us so I could use it to pay off our credit card!  When any money is in Credit it is earning them money, not YOU! How we got in Credit?  We paid more than the required amount by paying fortnightly via direct debit instead of quarterly as the company suggested.  Over the period of 2 years we saved over $600!!!!

By recording the details of this on the correspondence form you have all the information you need in case of disputes, errors in payment and to remind you to call again in 6 months to check for more deals and SAVE MORE MONEY!

Any other tips for saving money on your bills?