Posts Tagged ‘ organizing ’

23 Spring Cleaning Secrets Revealed

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

A recent Parents poll shows most moms spend 15 hours or more each week sponging, scrubbing, sweeping, and vacuuming. To help slash that time, we enlisted the help of our editors, as well as cleaning experts, to deliver clever tricks and products for every room in your home.

In December, I sent 22 editors home with more than 30 of the latest and greatest cleaning supplies on the market. I assigned everyone a mission and they each went home to dutifully vacuum pet hair from carpeting, scour bathroom grout, steam hardwood and tile floors, wash windows, and scrub stoves—hey, we’re not above manual labor! Every sponge, brush, vacuum, and scum-busting solution was put to the test and if our real moms and dads weren’t impressed, we cut it from our list.

To see which products shined, check out our room-by-room guide to spring cleaning:

Your Kitchen
The room that’s the heart of the home is also its most mess-prone. Food prep plus eating is a recipe for sticky counters, gritty floors, and crud everywhere else. Here’s how to cut kitchen cleaning time in half:


Your Living Room and Bedroom
These spaces have a lot in common: soft, comfy furniture, plush carpeting, and personal clutter. They also share the cleaning challenges of upholstery stains, dirty carpeting, and dust. Use our tips for tricky messes:


Your Bathroom
Make the place where your family gets clean spotless. Tackle soap scum, mildew, stained grout, and more:


Find The Best Vacuum for You
We tested the latest vacuums to find the right tools for your home’s carpet, tile, and wood. Find out which is right for your family:

 

Household Chores During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Household Chores During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Household Chores During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?

 

Which family space do you need the most help keeping tidy? Let us know in the comments!


Image: Dad and daughter vacuuming by Stephanie Rausser

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Get a Look at Erin Condren’s Fall Stationery Line

Friday, September 27th, 2013

There isn’t a mom out there who doesn’t understand the importance of time. Between chauffeuring kids to school and running household errands, it’s a wonder you keep it all together.

Momtrepreneur Erin Condren aims to make scheduling your life a little easier and, dare I say, fun. Just two years after the birth of her twins, she founded her own custom stationery company, creating everything from her signature Life Planner to personalized iPhone cases. Now her site has become a go-to resource for busy parents wanting some organization with flair.

I recently had the chance to preview Erin’s fall collection; my three favorites are sure to shed stress from your routine AND let your family’s style shine.

1. FUNctional Family Organizer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A dry-erase clipboard will help you remember important contacts, goals, even meal schedules for the week. Add in the chore chart as well as magnetic notepad for groceries, and nothing will escape you.

2. Gold Edition Life Planner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erin’s classic planner got a regal upgrade. Gold foil stamps dot the cover inside and out while a new elastic band holds everything in place. Along with her trademark colorful spreads, it’s a total score!

3. Lunch Box Set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The straight edges of this lunch box and container assortment equal easy washing. Plus, the decorative faceplate doubles as an emergency card while your child’s at school (just fill out the personal info on the backside).

Erin’s motto is all about making more time for play in life. With these products in toe, there’s no reason you can’t start living a little yourself.

SAVINGS ALERT: Her new holiday card collection is half off for a limited time. Who says you can’t “’tis the season” early?

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Going “From Frazzled to Focused” for Father’s Day

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Busy dad's plannerEditor’s Note: In a post for an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month. He will be offering different advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart from this series.

As a dad and a pediatrician who has worked with families of all types and sizes for more than 30 years, I want to tell you about a great book written for moms that dads should read, too. After all, why should moms be the only ones who know the secrets for turning chaos to calm?

From Frazzled to Focused: The Ultimate Guide for Moms Who Want to Reclaim Their Time, Their Sanity, and Their Lives is written by Rivka Caroline, a Florida-based time management and organization expert who juggles seven kids, a speaking and consulting career, and graduate school. I discovered this book when the author asked me to review it for a possible endorsement because of my own time management book, No Regrets Parenting.

I loved Caroline’s book, and endorsed it with this quote: “From Frazzled to Focused is a brilliant blueprint for recapturing minutes, hours, and days otherwise lost to inefficiency and disorganization. This book will change your life.” Yes, it’s that good. But notice nowhere in that endorsement do I mention moms — or, for that matter, dads. This is a really wonderful book for moms and dads because efficiency, effectiveness, prioritization, and systemization are gender-neutral goals. This is not a book full of platitudes and bumper stickers. Instead, it’s a concise, organized, and focused 180-page playbook with an action plan for achieving, de-cluttering, and systemizing your work and home life.

Whether at home or at work, these From Frazzled to Focused guiding principles and recommendations apply to all parents:

  • Switch from doing it all to doing most of it (and know that’s okay)
  • Lack of time is actually a lack of priorities
  • 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of your time and effort
  • Work expands to fill the time available for its completion
  • Create a “to don’t” list
  • Streamline your home and your head
  • Avoid decision overload

You’ll learn when to “do,” to “delegate,” and to “delete.” And deleting some of the items crowding your thoughts and your desk may be the most important paradigm of all for many of us. You’ll come to recognize that “practice makes good enough,” that perfection isn’t the be-all and end-all. This realization is really liberating.

Dads can particularly benefit from Ms. Caroline’s advice for systemizing, and her supermarket analogy is spot-on: When you go grocery shopping, you put more than one item in your cart at once so you’re not constantly driving back and forth to the store. Get ahead by always thinking, “What can I do now that will make things easier later on?” Batch your tasks, and block out chunks of time for doing them — returning phone calls and e-mails, paying bills, and filing should be done in batches, not piecemeal as the e-mails or bills arrive. Although the second half of the book is devoted to specific spaces in your home, taking control of those spaces isn’t just mom’s work; dads live in those spaces, too. Both Mom and Dad can use the principles in this book for equally effective rethinking of the workplace and the work mentality.

So, with Father’s Day approaching fast and the usual panic setting in about buying yet another necktie, take this message from Caroline’s book to heart: “Last-minute problems are a lot easier to take care of when they aren’t actually happening at the last minute.” Get this book for Dad. Do it now, while you’re thinking about it, so you don’t have a last-minute problem on June 16.

Happy Father’s Day!

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart is Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. He is the author of three books for parents and families, including the recent No Regrets Parenting, a Parents advisor, and a contributor to The New York Times Motherlode blog. Visit his blog at noregretsparenting.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@NoRegretsParent).

 

Image: A busy daily schedule book via Shutterstock.

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Share Your Best Mama Tip!

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

23912994_8a0b5eb062 Got a great tip or trick that makes your life easier? Tell us about it and you could be featured in Parents magazine!

Whether it's a surefire way to get your picky eater to eat her veggies, a simple organizing solution, a clever way to keep kids busy on long car-rides, or the perfect go-to present that's a hit with every child, we want to know our readers' best nuggets of homegrown advice! It can be about anything—so go on and share! To add yours, go to our new community site. We can't wait to read your amazing tips!

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Share Your Best Mama Tip!

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

CLINICAL BOX It certainly doesn't feel like summer in NYC yet, but if you're lucky enough to be in warmer temperatures, you may be getting a whiff of the fact that your regular deodorant isn't getting the job done. The latest odor-attacker out there is BAN Clinical Defense Roll-On, $7. It claims to work better than the other clinical-strength deodorants you've seen in drugstores because it uses a technology that eliminates two stress-related odors—spicy odor and s-odor—instead of just masking them. Give it a roll and let us know what you think.

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For the Love of Greeting Cards

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

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I miss mail—real mail. I really do. As much as I appreciate electronic birthday cards (especially someecards.com) and Facebook messages, I miss ripping open that brightly colored envelope, not knowing if I'll laugh out loud, if I'll be $25 richer (fingers crossed), or if I'll need a tissue to wipe my tears.

We've nearly abandoned the art of sending cards because other methods of communication are much faster and easier. But check out Jackcards.com, a website that makes sure you'll never forget an important event again, from birthdays to anniversaries to holidays.

JackCards.com has thousands of cards to choose from, for every recipient and all occassions (3 adorable kiddy ones picture here). You pick the right ones for the right dates, and when the time comes, Jack Cards will mail you the card to sign and send! That way, you still can add your own personal handwritten touches. And get this…the card comes stamped, addressed and ready to send off. Ah! Genius! Membership is free and cards start as low as $1.50.

Now, there is no excuse for not sending a birthday card! (And by the way, mine is January 30th.)

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Would You Wear This Wrist Wallet?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Animated_banjee
They say necessity is the mother of invention, and these new wrist wallets that landed on my desk are being promoted as an extra set of hands for busy moms (or dads). They’re called Banjees. A comfier alternative to a bulky, heavy bag? Sure. Cooler than a fannypack? Questionable. What do you think?

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Tags: , | Categories: Shopping & Gear

This is Flat Out Cool!

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Ribboniron
Ok, if you are NOT a hardcore crafter, just skip this post because I fear you will deem us crazy if you read on. Fellow crafters, listen up—here is a compact contraption that can take your projects to a new level.

Check out this ribbon iron by Pebbles, Inc…yes, a mini flat-iron that will smooth out your creased ribbon for crafting. This tool is perfect for ribbon that is packaged around a piece of cardboard or for the scraps that you find crumpled at the bottom of your drawer. Keep this little guy in your crafting bin, and save the trip to the laundry room for the dirty jobs. (Mini ironing board not included.)

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Tags: , , , , , | Categories: Crafts, Solutions