5 Steps to an AWESOME Garage Sale

I wrote about our family’s BIG life change HERE.  We are in the process of MAJORLY downsizing!

We just had our second garage sale this past weekend and have donated a lot to Goodwill.  Making decisions on what to take with us and what to store is exhausting, but we decided to only get a 5 x 10 storage unit, so paring down is a must.

This year we have sold over 12K of ‘stuff’!!  I know right?!  We still have one more vehicle to sell too.

5 steps to an awesome garage sale

Step 1:  Take everything out of the garage.

{Set your pride away and look like the ‘junky’ house for a day…..}

We made 3 piles on our driveway.  One to take with us, one to store & one to sell.  We had plenty to have the sale by ourselves this time, but usually we go in with other families to make it a BIG sale. 

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Step 2:  Price and put on tables to store in your garage.

I have found this to be the easiest way to set up quickly the morning of the sale.

I also got free boxes from my grocery store.

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I like to price low.  I mark a lot $1 or $2.   I take what’s leftover to Goodwill so I price to sell.  The less stuff I end up with, the better!

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Step 3:  Advertise

I put an ad on Craigslist listing our big things for sale to drive traffic and a notice on Facebook for all my local friends.  We bought sheets of posterboard in yellow at the Dollar Store and cut into fourths.  Then wrote Sale with an arrow.  Use all the same color and the same message.  The more simple the better.  When people are driving they just need an arrow to follow and the color lets them know they are following the same sale.  I don’t like to put the day and time on the signs because then I am not locked in to that.  I can open and close when I want.

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Step 4:  Money Table

I got $75 in cash from the bank; $45 in fives and $30 in ones.  This gave me plenty for change.  I have a card table set up at the top of my driveway to take the money.  This way they have to go through it all to get to me.  Just a way to bring your ‘customer’ in all the way to your sale. {do not leave the money unattended!  I always had one of my kids with it if I had to leave}

Step 5:  Have a FREE spot.

I had two free spots.  One at the end of the driveway and one at the top by the money table.  People LOVE this!!  When I see someone looking at one, I tell them there is another by me so they have to come through everything for sale to get to it.  This way they tend to buy something too.  The second day of the sale, I put out a lot more because it made my Goodwill pile less.  Believe me.  It will go FAST!

Those are my tips to a successful sale!  Do you do the same?  Or do you have tips to add?  Leave a comment to let us know.

Have a great day,

Claire

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House Cleaning 101: Schedule

Welcome back to my ‘cleaning girl confessions’ part 4: schedule!

In case you missed the other 3…here ya go.

Routine

Tools

Products

I get asked a lot what my cleaning schedule looks like.  Well…if you remember, I confessed HERE my feelings about cleaning.  So the answer, for me, is whatever is easiest, fastest and works with my family at the time.

To be a little clearer, there are 2 different schedules I have used.  Both have worked for me and my family at different times.

The first cleaning schedule I have used was when my boys were little.  This worked well for me because I was at home a lot.  Especially when my 2nd son was born because he was sick all the time his first year.  I don’t think we went anywhere!  lol

It looked like this:

 

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*Of course there was the CONSTANT pick up of toys and stuff.  Not to mention the dishes.

The next schedule I started using when the boys were school age and old enough to help and I still use it today.

I made a daily list of chores for myself and for the boys.  At this stage in life, I find that I do NOT have large blocks of time to clean.  So I needed to adjust in order to stay on {semi} on top of the house and sane.

It looks like this:

Daily {mom}:  Dishes, Laundry, wipe down shower  & general pick up

The boys load the dishes each night and I unload each morning.  I put in one load of laundry in the morning and usually sometime that evening I finish it.

Daily {boys}:  Dishes, Bathroom, Garbage, Dinner,  Sweep & Vacuum

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The boys rotate on these jobs.  They each have 2 for the week and then switch.  This keeps it ‘fair’ and gives them an opportunity to learn them all. 

This works super well for us to at least keep the household running semi-smoothly.  Sometimes ‘daily’ just does not happen.  That’s ok.  We still know what our job is for the next day.

To keep our bedrooms fairly clean, each boy has a laundry hamper in their closet for dirty clothes, a garbage can (very important for teenage boys) and my youngest has toy bins for easy pick up.  Deeper cleaning like dusting and vacuuming get done when we have time and I ask them to do it. 

I really don’t have a schedule for dusting, windows & other jobs.  Honestly, I take care of those randomly when I have time.  Over the years I have had to let go my idealistic view of how my house should look.  It brought on too much guilt!  It just does not work for our family at this life stage.

This concludes the 4 part series of House Cleaning 101.  What part did you like best? 

I would LOVE to hear about your schedule in the comments below! 

Happy Cleaning,

Claire

 

         

 

 

House Cleaning 101: What products do I use?

Hello and welcome back to my ‘home’ here!

Today I am going to share Part 3 in my House Cleaning 101 series.

house cleaning 101

Go HERE to read part 1:  My Routine

Go HERE to read part 2: My Favorite Tools

In my early cleaning business days, I used a TON of products.  Like a lot!  I had a different cleaner for everything.  Here is a picture of what I used to use and bring to a clients’ house.  I had a ton more in my cupboard too.

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As you can imagine this can be a bit costly to buy so many different products.

Then, I noticed another problem.  A serious problem! 

I was getting headaches, fatigue and just general ill feelings every time I cleaned a client’s home. 

Needless to say, it took me quite. a. while. to connect the dots and realize I was poisoning myself with these cleaners.  I really did not have much experience with any other way to clean at the time and just thought there were no other options.  So when I finally clued in to linking how I was feeling to the products I was using, I started researching.  I found out that the products in the picture above were filled with toxic chemicals like hydroxide, phenol, ammonia and formaldehyde.  Say what?!   

I looked at home made cleaners and store bought ‘natural’ cleaners.  I think I tried them all?!  Here is what I experienced:  the home made ones did NOT clean as great and as fast and easy as the toxic ones.  (In a business, I needed to look at my time and cost per hour.)  Many included vinegar and honestly, I did not like the smell nor did my clients.  Then I learned that vinegar will erode your pipes!  Can’t have that!  Sooo on to the store bought ones.  I found them to be expensive!  Plus many are not ‘natural’ like they claim.  Not good for me either. 

At this point, I was seriously thinking that I would be forced to close my business.  I did not want to feel sick any longer.  As a cancer survivor, I also realized that environmental toxins are not something I was willing to risk with me or my family.  Then one day, I found Bonnie over at House of Grace.  I am so honored to say that she is now my friend and because of her sharing her stories, I took a chance with the cleaning products from Shaklee that she was offering.  Sounds silly, but this single step changed my life!  They are inexpensive, natural and most importantly, non-toxic.

Here is a picture of the products I switched to and currently use in my own home.

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Just 3 products!  They are in concentrated formulas so these last a long time.

Basic H:  I use this on windows, glass, woodwork, countertops, floors, shower, tub.  I also use it to clean my car, get stains out of clothes, a stain remover, removing ink or crayon, wash my dog and my produce!

Scour Off:  I use this on my white sink, soap scum, oven and stove top.

Basic G:  I use this disinfectant on my toilet, countertops, door knobs, shower.  I also use it to take away athletes’ foot and in the laundry with soiled sheets.

So there you have it!

My 3 favorite products that save me time and money and my health.

What do you think?  Have you experienced poisoning from your cleaners?

Happy cleaning,

Claire

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House Cleaning 101: Routine

Ever wonder how professional house cleaners get in and out so quick and efficient?

I owned and operated my own house cleaning business for over 10 years and I picked up

a few tips and tricks along the way.  Lucky you…I am going to spill it all! 

Since there is so much information this will be a 4 part series.

house cleaning 101 

1.  Routine

2. Tools

3. Products

4. Schedule

So today I will share my cleaning routine to keep it fast and easy! 

I am a busy mom of 3 boys and I work at home.  So, just like you, finding the time (and the desire)

to clean my house is a challenge. 

Confession:  I actually do NOT like to clean!  :0 

This may sound strange since this was my business for 8 + years, but it is not my favorite thing to do.  However, I am good at it and I will say it is much easier to clean other peoples’ homes than mine.  In my own home, I get sidetracked easily by other projects that get in the way of my actually cleaning, therefore making it longer. 

Does this happen to any of you? 

The other obvious reason is at a clients’ home, there are no children, husbands or other people to get in my way for the next 3 hours.  As a mom, I am sure you can dream along with me of all the possibilities of 3 hours alone to get your work done!  Pure heaven. This is the part I loved about my business.  Time alone to actually complete a task and then walk away.  Satisfaction.

Here is the routine I use when tackling a cleaning job or task.

1. Start in the bathroom

Why?  Because I like to get the toughest job done first while I have my energy to do the best job.  Plus it’s my least favorite. Yuck!

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I showed you HERE how I clean the shower.

2.  Clean top to bottom

This means I dust first from the ceiling down.  That way the dust falls to the floor which is the last part I clean including vacuuming.

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I showed you HERE how to clean your tv safely.

3. Use as little water as possible.

cloths and sponges

I spray and wipe down/clean with lots of microfiber cleaning cloths.  Trust me. 

This will save you loads of time! 

I spray and wipe down as I go around each room.  Not only is this quick, but it is more sanitary.  Water just moves the germs around. 

Plus when it dries it leaves water spots.  Cleaning dry will give everything a nice shine.

4. Move knickknacks one at a time.

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I spray on the counter/shelf next to it, then use one hand to wipe with my cloth and the other to pick up each item as I go. 

Much faster than clearing it all once and then putting back.

That’s it!  Just 4 steps for a quick routine. 

For those of us who actually live in our homes Winking smile, we know that there are a few things that get in the way of quick cleaning.  Stuff (clutter, toys, paper) and people.  If this is running your household, try getting rid of some stuff.  Seriously, the less you own, the easier it is to clean.  As for people, well…don’t get rid of them! 

But we will talk about family in the schedule post. 

I am so excited for you all to try these few simple steps to getting your house under control. 

I would love and welcome any of your house cleaning tips, too!  Please share in the comments!

Join our Facebook community HERE where I share even more cleaning tips.

Happy cleaning!

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get clean starter kit

 

 

 

PS.  Do you have my daily Cheat Sheet Yet???

 

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Tips for the WAHM ~ work at home mom

I love being a work at home mom (WAHM)!  My business allows me to set my own hours around

my family’s schedule which is my first priority.  However, I actually struggled with this role a bit. 

Until I set a few boundaries, I felt the need to work all the time.  So stressful and not efficient! 

These are the tips I have gleaned to separate my home and work life and create a more peaceful,

efficient, and productive business.

1. Create a schedule. 

And stick.to.it.  I look at my week to determine how many hours and when I would work then block it in. 

I only change it if something comes up with the kids that I need to be available for, but not if I have a

friend who wants to meet for coffee.  I do that during other hours.  I also schedule hours that are for family only. 

I turn off the computer and give them my attention.This will greatly decrease the mom guilt! 

2.  Determine your work space.

Some are blessed with a home office.  I am not, so the kitchen table gets transformed. 

I keep a bag that I lovingly refer to as my ‘portable office’.  My most favorite place to work is at the coffee shop! 

I find that if I am at home I am tempted to do other things like housework.  Going somewhere else eliminates those distractions.

work at home mom portable office

3.  Keep a list of business activities that need to be done.

I keep a notebook for this because if you are like me, I remember things at strange times and then forget them. 

So writing it down is key!  Then when it is ‘work time’ I know what I am supposed to be working on.

4.  Dress for success

Dressing in sweats with my hair in a messy bun daily makes me feel sloppy, sleepy and less motivated. 

It really is amazing how a good hair day with cute clothes on makes a difference in how I feel and my attitude. 

Try it and watch it happen for you, too!

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5.  Be flexible.

As I write this, I am working.  But my kids are also on Spring Break.  Since Friday is my regular work time,

I just took the kids to an indoor jungle gym with wi-fi.

To me, this really is the best part about being a WAHM.  So cool!

These are tips that I am always working on to stay on track.

Give a shout out if you are a work-at-home mom, too.

I would love to hear any tips you have! 

Looking forward to your next visit,

Claire

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***Messy Bun photo credit to Katie Brockmeyer.  Thanks girl!***

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Mail Order: 3 Easy Steps

mail order

I am at constant war with my abundance of incoming paper flow.  

Here are 3 steps that I did to help reduce it.

1.  Eliminate

We use online bill pay and got rid of hard copy statements as much as possible.

You can also reduce junk mail clutter through an opt-out at directmail.com

2.  Manage

Design a station that works and then use it.

I seem to always be looking for ways to improve this!

Currently, I am using an open file box with folders for each member of the family, mail, to file, church and business. 

This works pretty well and I keep it on our busy kitchen counter.  This is the spot where we all seem to ‘dump’ our daily stuff. 

Going through the filing the papers each day keeps it from piling up too much.

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3.  File

Our main filing is kept in a different room.  Once a week, ok…once a month, usually, I go through our kitchen file

station and file away the important papers to keep.

So how about you?

How do you manage the paper flow in your home?

Tell us in the comments below.

Thanks for the visit!

Claire

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How to Clean the TV Safely

Since owning my own cleaning business for over 10 years, 

I have gotten many questions about how to dust and clean the TV. 

Using the wrong product can actually RUIN it! 

One of my clients was using Windex and it left streaks etched in the screen :0  

So here is:

how to clean the tv

Step 1

~ Brush gently with Swiffer Duster to remove some dust

Step 2

~ Spray Basic H Window cleaner on window cleaning cloth

Step 3

~ Wipe on TV going side to side buffing it as you go.

That’s IT!

The two must-haves, in my opinion is the type of cleaner and cloth you are using. 

The wrong one will ruin your tv!  AVOID Windex!!  Amonia is BAD for your TV.

If you have streaked your tv, don’t despair …yet.  After using Basic H a few times, it

actually lessened the streaks dramatically for my client.  Not completely gone, but so

much better that he is able to use the tv again.  Give that a try before you buy a new one.

Before I found Shaklee, I used just water with a VERY expensive window cloth. 

Since switching, I have found that this window cloth is SUPER inexpensive and works better. 

Also, using a bit of Basic H (only 1 drop diluted in 16oz of water) helps repel the dust to keep the TV cleaner longer.

 

Happy Cleaning!

Looking forward to our next visit,

Claire

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My Favorite Packing Tips

I recently got back from a dreamy girls’ spa trip.  You can read about that HERE.

Four glorious days in sunny Mexico to lay by a pool with a good book. 

To make our travels easier we decided to not check in any luggage and

bring a carry-on bag.

Wait?!  What?!  ONE SMALL BAG??

Yep!  We made it happen and now I get to share with you all.

pink luggage

Here are My Favorite Packing Tips.

1.  Choose clothes that will mix and match. 

I chose neutral bottoms with more colorful and fun tops.  Same for the shoes…

white and black sandals were all I needed to match my outfits.  To decide what to bring,

I lay everything out on my bed to see how they go together.  I always seem to start with

more than I need and then narrow it down from there.

2.  Roll your clothes, instead of folding. 

Then place in suitcase starting with the largest to smallest pieces.  I had heard this

before, but this was the first time I actually did it.  I could not believe what a difference it made! 

It really did take up less space.

3.  Wear your ‘bulky’ clothes on the plane. 

Even though we were going to a sunny place, we wanted our tennis shoes so we could workout

{ok…maybe just go for a pretty walk before breakfast}.  So we wore our jeans, tennis shoes and

sweater/sweatshirt on the plane.  Saves a lot of room!

4.  Bring and use all those ‘sample’ toiletries products you have saved. 

I keep a small stash of these for when I travel.  They meet the airline guidelines for liquid sizes and

take up less space than my big bottle stuff.  

5.  Pack a plastic bag to bring home the dirty clothes in,

but be sure to roll them too.

There you have it!  5 EASY steps to hopefully make packing your bag a little easier.

This trip was to a sunny place and swim suits, shorts & flip flops do not take up a lot of space.

However, this Friday I am going to a business conference and I am attempting the same thing.

One carry-on bag.  Wish me luck!

Do you have any other tips on packing?  Please share with us!  I am always looking to improve this.

 

Looking forward to your next visit,

Claire

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How to Clean the Kitchen Sink Naturally

Waking up to a clean kitchen sink makes me happy!  

I feel like it starts my day a little more peaceful.

Here is how I clean my kitchen sink:

1. Daily spray it down with Basic H in the degreaser formula.

2. Scrub

3. Dry it with a microfiber cloth.

4. Once a week (or more if needed) I clean it with Scour OFF

    to get it nice and white again.

I also made a video HERE

how to clean the kitchen sink naturally

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Here are a few facts about Scour Off

SAFE
✔ Nontoxic
✔ No chlorine bleach
✔ No toxic fumes

POWERFUL
✔ Rivals Ajax® Powder Cleanser with Bleach and Comet® Disinfectant
Cleanser with Bleach in the removal of kitchen grease and grime*
✔ Cleans toughest cooked-on food from ovens and barbecues
✔ Removes rust

GREEN
✔ Natural mineral abrasives
✔ Biodegradable surfactants
✔ No dyes
✔ No phosphates
✔ Recyclable packaging
✔ Safe for septic systems and graywater

Surfaces for use

• Sinks               • Stovetops
• Tile                  • Ceramic tiles
• Grout               • Porcelain sinks
• Ovens              • Baked enamel
• Ovenproof glass

To deep clean my sink, I put this paste on a sponge or microfiber cloth and rub down my sink.

Then I rinse it off.

That’s IT. So easy!

To give it that brand new look, I also wipe off the excess water with my microfiber cloth to dry the sink.

Here are a couple before and after pictures from friends who love and use Scour Off.

kitchen sink b & a

house of grace kitchen sink

We LOVE the Scour Off paste!

What about you?  Do you love a clean sink in the morning, too, like me?

Happy cleaning!

Looking forward to your next visit,

Claire

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The Real Dirt on Clean: Part 2

4 simple ways to get clean
Your home should be the safest, healthiest, cleanest place in the whole world.
So we’ve put together some pretty easy things you can do to make your family safer and your home healthier.
And, as it turns out, what’s good for your home is good for the earth and everyone else on it, too. So let’s make our
homes healthy. Let’s clean our hearts out. Let’s Get Clean.

1. Get the dirt.

Educate yourself about what you bring into your home.  Check out the chemical list in PART 1

2. Have a clean-for-all.

Put on the gloves and get rid of the nasty stuff in your home. Responsibly, of course. Your
local waste collection service has guidelines for proper household hazardous waste disposal, as well as collection
sites for things like paint, batteries, and cleaners. Whatever you do, please don’t toss this stuff in the garbage.

3. Welcome healthy into your home.

Commit to carefully considering everything that crosses your doorstep.
Here are some safe, healthy things to have in your home:


• Cleaners that are truly cleaner. Get Clean offers product choices that are: nontoxic, natural, biodegradable,
concentrated, and hypoallergenic. To learn more, please visit HERE 

• Fresh air. Open your windows to reduce indoor air pollution.

• Essential oils. Use these instead of air fresheners.

• Plants. Besides being nice to look at, they can absorb harmful gases and help clean the air.

• Organic cotton bedding. Avoid standard bedding treated with chemicals.

• Floors made of recycled and renewable resources.

• Healthier paint. That new paint smell can be as nasty as it smells. Choose low VOC paint instead.

4. Clean up our collective home.

Make the earth healthier for all of us who call it home by using these things in yours:

• Compact fluorescent lighting. They last a whole lot longer.

• Energy Star-rated appliances. Save money and energy.

• A low-flush toilet. Replace the largest user of water in your house. Ultra low flushers cut water use by one-fifth.

• Low-flow showerheads. Same pressure. Less water.

• Your flicker finger. Turn off lights and appliances when you’re not using them.

• Gray water system. Install one to recycle used household water for your lawn.

• Tankless water heater. Save money, energy, and space in the broom closet.

 

Leave a comment to let me know how you are getting your house clean!

Looking forward to our next visit,

Claire

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