5 Cleaning Life Hacks – Tried Tested & Reviewed

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I tested five popular Cleaning Life Hacks and here you can read about my personal experiences on if they worked (or not), how to make it work better and if I would ever use them again. Hopefully my experiences can help save you time, money and frustration. Hey, it might even motivate you do clean the things you have been dreading because, well like me, you would rather be doing other things.

 

Microwave Cleaning Hack

Hack: Microwave a large cup or bowl of water until it boils for a few minutes. The steam will help release the junk stuck to the microwave.

Result: WIN! Think left over sticky saucy orange chicken splatter that is a pain to get up. Some hackers have added a few slices of lemon or vinegar to help with odor and sanitation. Next time I may experiment with the lemon slices.

 

Freshenup Baseboards

Hack: Use a dryer sheet on surfaces like baseboards for dusting

Result: Meh, it’s OK. I tried this with both fresh unused dryer sheets and used ones, since they are a bit softer. If you are going to sit/squat/kneel to clean the baseboards, might as well just do it the old-fashioned way with a cloth or brush and hot water. One of the advertised added bonuses of using a dryer sheet, is that it will repel future dust from sticking. I found that to be odd, especially when using a fresh new dryer sheet at it left a tacky film behind.

Bonus tip: Use an old used dry dryer sheet to remove deodorant off clothing without leaving behind any residue, or wetness like a damp cloth would.

 

Sock up the Blinds

Hack: Use a cotton sock to clean or detail window blinds

Result: Win – IF you are just doing a touch up or light maintenance. Otherwise it’s a great tool to aid in cleaning, but you will also need something like a vacuum to get the dust off the sock. For me, it works ok, I just leave the regular house vacuum running to remove the dust bunnies from the sock when it gets a little clumpy.

 

Can of Blow Out

Hack: Use Canned Air (like you see at the office supply store) on hard to clean items such as air vents and window sills.

Result: Fail. Did it move the dirt and debris? Yes. Did it get all over the place requiring the use of safety goggles and a vacuum? Yes. I tried this on a pesky vent in the bathroom, and I ended up with bunnies all over the room. I had to get a step stool to even reach. At that point, I might as well have removed the vent, took it to the sink, cleaned it, and put it back. If this was an outdoor cleaning activity, I say go for it. Inside, not so much.

 

Scrub and Soak

Hack: Use the kitchen sponge to scrub the sink before tossing in the trash

Result: Win! This works great, especially if you have a sponge with one side that is a scrubber pad. This works with the sponge heads that attach to the soap dispenser, or the standard rectangle sponge. Before you go to toss it in the trash, use it to scrub down and around the sink. I have a stainless-steel sink and have not noticed any scratches or marks. Probably due to the excessive use, and the scrubbing portion is softened a bit. This is a great last hurrah for your soapy little helper.

 

Have you tried an of the hacks that failed for me? Please comment below on what you did to make it a win. Hopefully these little life hacks will help save you time, and money. Stop back next week when E shares her top outdoor cleaning products.

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E’s 5 Favorite Cleaning Products and Hacks

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This week E is sharing my 5 favorite cleaning products and hacks to make your cleaning routine easier. What I like about all of these is that they are inexpensive to buy and you probably already have them in your house.

Dawn Dish Soap

I love Dawn dish soap for a couple reasons.  One is because it is a biodegradable product.  It is a less expensive product than other biodegradable soaps.  I also like it for its versatility.  It can be used for more than just washing dishes.  I like to mix it with white vinegar to clean windows or mirrors.  I also use the same mixture and add in some lemon scented essential oil and use it as a shower cleaner. Vinegar is a great all natural cleaning product too.  I will cover the multiple uses of vinegar in a future post.

Microfiber Towels

I picked up a few microfiber towels at the dollar store about a year ago, and I absolutely love using them in my bathroom.  I use them to wipe down the counter top, faucet, and mirror on a daily basis to keep the bathroom looking clean longer.  These microfiber towels really keep everything streak free.  I really hate having streaks on the mirror or the polished chrome faucet (I am a little OCD about this of late).  You can also check out these microfiber towels  as well.  These actually work better than the ones I got at the dollar store, and they cost less.  These also work great when wiping down the front of the oven and the dishwasher.  I don’t have any stainless-steel appliances, but I am betting these would work great on stainless-steel.

Magic Eraser

I love, love, love the Magic Eraser.  These are especially nice to have for cleaning the stove top and the outside of the refrigerator.  For the stove, it works great on cooked on oil that maybe wasn’t cleaned off from the last time you cooked.  In all your haste to clean up you forgot to wipe down the stove, and now grease and oil has become baked on.  The Magic Eraser will cut through the oil with a little help from your favorite cleaning product to you use on the stove.  Weather it is soapy water or 409.  They also work great on the fridge.  My fridge is white and has that ridged look to it so dirt gets in all the little spaces and simply wiping it down doesn’t get in the crevices.  The Magic Eraser gets in there and takes all the dirt off with little effort.

Those are my favorite cleaning product at the moment.  A couple of my favorite cleaning hacks of late are:

Cleaning your Walls

This sounds so strange, but once you try this out you will fall in love with this hack too.  I saw it on Pinterest (I love to Pin things, but seriously who has time to do any of them when you have a preschooler.  OMG! I just googled the cut off for Toddler and I now have a preschooler and not a toddler…gasp!).

Anyways, I saw this on Pinterest and thought, “OK, I can actually use this one.”  And so, I tried it out in my bedroom and wow I dusted my bedroom walls in like 7 minutes flat!  I was amazed how easy it was.

All you need is a broom, a hand towel, and a rubber band.  Place the towel on the bristle end of the broom to cover all the bristles and put the rubber band around the broom to hold the towel in place.  Now you can dust you walls.

Clean Microwave with water and lemons

There is no special item needed or trick to cleaning your microwave and keeping it clean.  All you need is some water and some lemons (and the lemons are optional.  They are more for scent than anything else.)  I usually put 2-3 cups of water in a microwave safe dish or glass measuring cup.  If you want a lemon fresh scent in your microwave you can add a few slices of lemon to the water too.  Set the microwave to 5 minutes, and wait.  When the time is up let the steam from the water continue to work for you by letting it soften any food debris that is on the inside of the microwave.  After letting it cool down a bit inside you can remove the dish of water, and using a wash cloth wipe down the inside of your microwave.  Everything should come off easily.  If you have any stubborn spots repeat the process.  This is a safe way to clean your microwave without using any harmful chemicals in the appliance where you cook your food.

Something I have been meaning to do while writing all of these posts is to create a cleaning caddy to keep everything in one place that I can carry from room to room.

 

Do you have any favorite cleaning products or hacks? Please share them in the comments, so we can all learn easier ways of cleaning. We all want to spend more time with our friends and family enjoying life!

We hope you are enjoying this series on our favorite cleaning products and hacks.  Come back next week to read about more cleaning hacks from Christine.

All Things E and C Affiliate Sharing Disclosure

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Christine’s Top 5 Cleaning Products

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Please see here for our Affiliate Sharing disclosure. YAY Amazon!

We kicked the month off with two of our top home organization and cleaning posts. We continue this month with additional spring cleaning life hacks, tips and tricks. This week I share my top 5 cleaning products. I try to use these five products as often as once a day or once every three months. Being able to keep up on daily items, or limit the time needed on daily items, allows more focus on those pesky “Spring Cleaning” tasks that need more focus. Some of these products might be standards in your home, and some may be new to you. I added links to amazon for packaging reference, or quick ordering. Click the teal header for each product and it will take you to Amazon for customer reviews and other feedback too. Cleaning is not my favorite, of anything it’s my least favorite. Some of these products allow me to cut the cleaning time down so I can go back to doing things I prefer, like being with family, or watching Harry Potter movies.

 

Kaboom Toilet Cleaning System

This has to be one of my absolute favorite household cleaning products! I have tried several of these “leave it and forget it” type toilet bowl cleaners and this is by far the most effective with the least amount of odor. Only a slight bleach smell for a day or so. This is a system that you put into the tank and replace little bleach tablets every three months. The tablets cleans the bowl with every flush, making it sparkle with little to no effort. Now, only if it cleaned the entire throne……

Kaboom Foam

There are very few products that do what the loud fast paced shiny commercials say they do. In this case, this Kaboom product does too. In the shower, spray it on and as the foam starts to do its’ work, you can see it lifting dirt and loosening up soap scum and mildew. To help aid in cleaning, I will use a scrub brush or a magic eraser. This foam is a great product for showers, tubs and surfaces that have ick attached to it (like the shower walls). I wouldn’t recommend this for surfaces such as a counter top, but inside the sink is perfect. There are a few versions of the foam, ones that turn color, or have a less strong odor. Some of them do have a very strong cleaner scent, be sure to have on a fan or the door open.

Magic Eraser

These little rectangles of brilliance pack a lot of cleaning power in such as small space. I do want to share they are incredibly abrasive, do not use them on softer surfaces that can scratch, like a Corian countertop or laminate flooring. Paired with the Kaboom foam, cleaning the bathroom shower and tub are a breeze with little effort and not a lot of scrubbing. The erasers are also awesome for outdoor patio furniture and hard stone countertops, making them very versatile. I have seen stores sell erasers in kits with erasers focusing on bathroom, kitchen and outdoor in one box. I noticed the difference in erasers was size and scent, such as lemon for kitchen and unscented for outside.

Invisible Glass

The name of the product helps identify this is a glass cleaning product ta-da! Invisible Glass is an aerosol foam like the Kaboom, but for your mirrors and windows. The foam in this case, is just like the Kaboom, helping to loosen the stuff from the glass surface and leave behind a sparkling clear streak free clean. All you do is spray the foam and wipe away, with either a microfiber cloth or paper towel. It’s perfect for getting water marks and tooth paste off the bathroom mirrors, shine up the glass shower walls after the other foam cleans it. Amazing on windows, especially ones that have a layer of dust on them – the foam really gets to work.

Clorox Wipes

We all have these laying around the house. Why? Well, because they are everyone’s favorite and they work amazingly well on all surfaces all the time. Hence why the made my list. I have a canister of these in every room that would need sanitizing and cleaning. They are extended to other places that I need to keep clean too, such as the RV and work office. The wipes also come in a variety of scents and room focus, such as kitchen or bathroom. They are widely available from the dollar store to mega stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. I have noticed they are ok on glass surfaces to get stuff off, but leave a terrible streak. Be sure to have the Invisible Glass handy to polish everything up to make the place sparkle and shine.

I hope this post helped you discover new products or new ways to use everyday product you already have on hand. Next week Erika will share her top five cleaning products for even more helpful resources and a fun read. What is your favorite cleaning product? Please share in the comments below!

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How to Have a Clean House and Still Spend Time with Family

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Hate to Clean?  Yeah, me too.  I think most of us hate to clean for the simple fact that it takes hours to clean an entire house, and only 2 minutes to be destroyed by our kids, family members, and pets.  I don’t know about you, but my time is limited and precious.  I don’t have 2-4 hours every Saturday to clean my entire house.  I want to spend that time being with family and friends or to just sit on the couch and be lazy.  My mom and I are always saying to each other…we really need to clean more often or we need to clean this Saturday and when Saturday rolls around we find ourselves sitting on the couch being lazy watching TV and playing with my son.
One way that I have found to keep up on my cleaning is to break it down in to tasks each day so I am not spending one large chunk of time just on cleaning.  I spend maybe 10-30 minutes a day on different cleaning tasks.  I have created a cleaning schedule that works for me.  You can find a free printable of it here.  Once you figure out what works best for you create your own schedule and follow it going forward.
I have tasks that need to be completed daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonally on the cleaning schedule.  I have the items spread out across all 7 days.  I don’t do any “cleaning” on Sundays as this is our one true lazy day of the week. (SSShhhhh…we don’t even get out of our jammies most Sundays)  I assigned months to the seasonal items so they can stay in a rotation and I am not stuck doing these tasks all in one weekend since they tend to be larger tasks.  I also don’t want to be outside in the garage in the hot summer months.  It helps to lay out all the things that need to be completed and assign months accordingly.  This is also how I planned my daily schedule.  I wrote down all of the main cleaning items like mopping, dusting, vacuuming, etc. and then arranged them into the days of the week based on what works best for me.
You will notice I have the same task on my daily schedule every single day.  Clean off the island.  This is our collection space for all things that could possibly be left somewhere.  Mail, purses, keys, cups, lunch bags, pens, paper.  You name it, it gathers and hangs out on the kitchen island.  I don’t know about you but I do all of my meal prep, cutting, sandwich making for the kiddo on my kitchen island.  I can’t stand having it cluttered with the previously mentioned items, so I try to de-clutter and clean it off daily.  Don’t get me wrong there are days I just say oh well I don’t feel like moving any of it so I slide it as close to the edge of the counter as I can go about my business.
Try making a schedule that works for you and plan your cleaning tasks and chores in a way that works best for you and your family and put somewhere you will see it daily and check it off your to do list each day.  I promise it feels so good to mark off a task at the end of the day and to have cleaned something.
Don’t forget to print out the free printable and please leave your cleaning tips and tricks in the comments for all of us to try out and learn from you.

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De-Clutter Challenge That Can Make You Money!

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declutter-challenge

 

De-Clutter Challenge That Can Make You Money!

We all have closets, cubbies and spare rooms with items we no longer want or need. Here is a fun challenge to declutter your space and possibly make money or even better, make a difference. The quote “someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure” is never more true when it comes to a simple declutter session. Be sure to have a box, or storage bin handy, you will be surprised at how much stuff you decide you no longer need.

Here is a reminder list of simple places to start to declutter. After you cleared your clutter and have a box of stuff, read further for the money making suggestions.

De-Clutter The Closet:

Will you wear it in the next 6 to 12 months? If no, put it in the box! This applies to old t-shirts, and casual items you have cluttering up your closet. Take a closer look at your shoes too. Are those pair of designer heals you bought at a clearance sale, but never wore taking up space they don’t need to? Do you have handbags that are out of style or no longer fit your needs? Do you have diaper bags that you no longer need or use?  This doesn’t have to apply to the little black dress or blazer you keep on hand, unless it’s terribly out of fashion and a size you don’t plan to wear again.

De-Clutter The Kitchen:

You can never have too much space in a kitchen. Real estate is priceless when it comes to countertop and cupboard space. Revisit those small appliances you have since upgraded, and ditch the older one. At one time we had four coffee makers, and I don’t even drink coffee! I also noticed I had a lot of décor and seasonal items I no longer use, or had missing parts to it. We all have that kitchen drawer with gadgets that were gifted to you, or that you might have needed at one time that you simply don’t need anymore. Throw it in the box!

De-Clutter The Garage:

Often times the garage can be a dumping ground for old items we don’t know what to do with, or plan to fix later. The garage can also be a collecting place for seasonal items such as decorations you no longer use, or have been replaced with newer versions. We had several strands of outdated holiday lights that we slowly replaced with LED versions. Before we knew it, we had a box of lights that needed to be disposed of, that were taking up space.

Take a moment to assess stuff that could be broken. These could be a gem of a find to someone who has the time and tools to repair it. You might be surprised at the number of duplicate tools or yard work equipment you have. An old rake, or even smaller gardening tools you no longer need, that are just taking up space.

De-Clutter The Spare Room:

Take a look around. Do you have random furniture that is no longer wanted and outdated room décor, outdated lamps and throw pillows? These odds and ends can take up a lot of space, and can make your home look cluttered and dated. Similar to the kitchen, these rooms can be the collecting place for printers and other office equipment that are either outdated or you have since upgraded. It’s time to put the old ones in the box! Keep in mind some items may need to be recycled properly, and in the case of a computer, will need to be wiped of all your personal information before selling or donating it.

Books and even magazines, can be of value to some. Books can be a source of clutter especially with e-Readers and smartphones. I found I had books 1 and 7 from an anthology series, I ended up with the entire series on my e-Reader and no longer needed the paper versions. Now, I am able to help one or more folks complete their paper collection!

De-Cluttered, now Make Money

Making money from your items can take as much or a little effort as you care to put into it. Options to make a profit range from Facebook groups to eBay to donations for tax benefits. Keep in mind, the time invested doesn’t always result in the profit returned.

Online stores such as eBay are great places for the selling of high end fashion items with little to no wear, such as those designer high heel shoes you just decluttered. Remember that old e-reader you found in the spare room, Perfect! Check to see if your version is eligible to trade in at Amazon with their buyback program. You may even have a collection of items that were gifted to you or were an impulse purchase that you will never use and are still in the original packaging. These never used items are perfect to sell with all kinds of online options, such as eBay, Swip Swap, Facebook communities, and Craigslist.

Local communities can be great resources for larger items you don’t want to pay to ship such as furniture, kitchen and office appliances or even larger appliances.

Did you find a bridesmaids dress in the declutter challenge? If so, there are web sites and Apps specifically designed to help you sell a specialty dress that you will never ever (regardless of what the bride said) wear again.

Garage Sales can be a total hit or miss, but can prove to be a fun and profitable use of time. Get your neighbors into it too. That makes eating donuts at 6AM on a Saturday morning a little more bearable. Leverage sites such as your communities group Facebook page, post an ad on Craigslist and advertise as a community sale (check with your Home Owners Association for restrictions) to bring in additional traffic.

I store unsold items back in that box or storage bin to keep them together and stored out of the way. This box becomes my colleting bin throughout the year as I declutter, and follow a cleaning schedule. When the time comes, this box is handy for the next sale. At the end of the year, if there are still items left over on the box I will donate them and start the new year with a fresh and empty storage box, ready to be filled up again.

If the selling options aren’t for you, or you simply don’t have the time and resources to sell your items, donate them to a local charity, shelter, school or church. Do something good with the things you see as clutter or your no longer needed clothing, furniture and appliances to make someone else’s life a little brighter. In addition to doing an act of kindness, you may qualify for a tax benefit. Keep the donation receipts and make notes of the items donated. When it comes time to file taxes your accountant or tax software may need details of the goods donated.

 

Now that your home is free of clutter, check in next week when Erika brings us a post sharing tips and tricks with a FREE printable schedule to keep your home organized and clean.

 

Do you have a routine or system in place to keep your home clutter free? Share your tips and tricks in the comments section!

 

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13 Items You Will Want to Pack for Your Next Road Trip

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I am used to going on short 2-4-hour road trips that don’t require a lot of planning since we typically have the same destination.  However, this summer I am planning a much longer road trip to Colorado to visit some family.  It is about a 16 hour drive not including stops along the way.  We plan on taking our time and making it a 2-3-day trip there and a 2-day trip back home.  In-planning what I need to consider packing I am running through a lot of scenarios.  What if someone gets sick or what snacks should we bring on a longer road trip?  What music and movies do we need to bring?  Do we rent a car or put all of those miles on our vehicle?  All types of scenarios are running through my mind as I begin to plan this new adventurous trip ahead.

 

Some of the things I know I need to ensure we have are the following:

1.       Music

You want to ensure there is music for everyone.  You don’t want to only bring a playlist that you like but your other riders don’t. You will be stuck in a car for long hours at a time.  You want to make sure everyone is as happy as possible. 

2.       Movies and DVD player

Ensure you have a portable DVD player with you so that the kiddos or other adults can enjoy a movie when they get tired or cranky.  This usually indicates someone needs a much-needed nap.  This is a good way to help relax your kiddos and allow them some downtime.  Road trips can be exhausting even just sitting there in one place.

3.       Snacks and Water

You want to be sure to bring snacks and other food like fruit or protein like hard boiled eggs or meat stix.  Good options for a road trip are string cheese, go-gurts, chips, nuts, crackers like little fish (mess free for the most part), bananas, apples, and grapes. Be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water!

4.       First Aid Kit

Be sure to bring a first aid kit.  As you are out and about at rest stops, exploring on a hike, or at the hotel overnight you never know when someone will fall and scrape their knee or get a splinter or a bug bite.  You want to be prepared since you are not in your normal surroundings at home. 

5.       Baby Wipes

What would I do without my baby wipes.  Since having my son, I don’t go anywhere without baby wipes.  These are especially handy while on a road trip.  You can wipe hands clean when they want a snack in the car.  Clean up a little after a hike or when you get sticky hands from handling that sticky piece of candy. 

6.       Electronics Chargers

Be sure to bring all of the chargers for your electronic devices.  There is nothing worse than forgetting your DVD player charger and the little ones want to watch a movie and the device dies in the middle of the movie.  Can you say major melt down ahead?!?  Do NOT forget the chargers.  You also don’t want to have a dead cell phone.  These are our lifelines and without them we cannot function.  They store our road trip maps and itinerary, our list of contacts, it is our GPS system, it is our fun time with Facebook, Instagram, and Candy Crush. 

7.       Games and Toys

Be sure to pack some new games and toys for the road trip.  These will be a surprise and something new for the kiddos to enjoy.  This will help in a bind when you hit some heavy traffic or have to take an unforeseen detour extending the travel time in the car.  As kids get cranky or bored with sitting in the car come up with some new car games together.  If that doesn’t work pull out a new activity book or toy they can enjoy.

8.       Garbage Bags

Pack some garbage bags and then add a couple more just in case.  As you eat your snacks or use your baby wipes you will need somewhere to put the garbage.  I always bring grocery bags with us since they are the right size.  Then I ensure to put a few all around the vehicle so they are handy from any seat in the car. 

9.       Carsick Kit

Be sure to bring some extra garbage bags for anyone who may get sick on your trip.  You wouldn’t want anyone getting sick and having to worry about the interior of your car.   I would recommend buying some Dramamine as well to prevent motion sickness in anyone who tends to have it in your family.  Also, pack some hand sanitizer and of course you will have your baby wipes handy too.

10.   Toilet Paper

Pack a couple rolls of toilet paper.  You may need to make an unexpected pit stop along the highway and you don’t want to be unprepared for those times.  You can also use the toilet paper for runny noses, etc. if needed.

11.   Ice Chest

Pack a small ice chest with some water, fruit, and lunchmeat.  You can have a roadside picnic or some protein as a snack.  Or you can make some quick sandwiches while staying on the road.  In my opinion fruit is best cold so I like to keep it in the ice chest. 

12.   Road Trip Apps

Load up your phone with some fun road trip apps that will make your trip that much easier.  Two that I use are Roadtrippers and Gas Buddy.  Some other apps that I have heard about and plan on checking out before my summer road trip are TV Food Maps and INRIX.

13.   Medications and Eye Glasses

Be sure to pack your medications.  You don’t want to go on a week-long trip and not have your medications with you.  I use a make-up travel bag to store all of our medications.  I suggest also bringing cough medicine and Motrin or Tylenol for the kiddos too.  You never know when a fever will occur and you don’t want to have to try to find a drug store in the middle of the night in a strange city. 

 

I hope you find my list of recommend road trip items helpful.  Please share your must pack items for your road trips in the comments.  We can all learn new tips, tricks, and hacks before we set out on our adventures this summer. 

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Camping Life Hacks – What Works and What Doesn’t

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There are a ton of awesome Life Hacks for just about anything. Here are my top 5 Camping and RVing hacks I have given a try (at least once), and if they actually worked or not. Some of these may seem simple enough, and we have adopted a few of them into everyday life – such as the frozen water bottle hack. Read on for my results of the tried and tested ideas, so you don’t have to waste your time or effort. This is just a small handful of solutions, if you have a favorite please share in the comments!!

Frozen Water Bottles as Ice-packs

Hack: Freeze potable water in their original containers, any size for your cooler

Result: WIN! This is a fantastic idea! This keeps you from having to purchase and store freeze packs. Water bottles come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes from a round gallon or a square gallon. This is awesome, allowing options depending on the shape and size of your cooler. This keeps your items nice and cold. Then when you arrive, you have your drinking water handy too. Saves on space to store and transport your drinking water also. At my house, we have a dedicated handful of smaller 16 or so ounce bottles that we keep in the freezer at all times. This way they are small enough to go into any cooler and enough of them fill the space as needed. I have lucked out in that none of my bottles busted the caps while in the freezer, but just make sure there is enough room to keep it from doing so.

Pre-mix Pancake Batter in a Squeeze Bottle

Hack: Pre-mix all the ingredients for Pancake batter and transfer and store in a squeeze bottle with a lid for use at a later time.

Result: FAIL! Such a total and complete FAIL! If you have done this successfully, please share HOW! The pancake batter expands and though I only filled the squeeze bottle half way, it soon was like a science project and erupted all over the place. I’m not a quitter, so after I cleaned up the mess from transferring from the mixing bowl to the bottle, then the explosion mess – I went on to try this theory out. It continued to fail after I got all the batter in the silly bottle. The opening wasn’t large enough, and it looked like I was trying to make Pancake Picasso Art, and not the intended blobs of golden goodness. I eventually cut the opening more, and it still wasn’t a large enough for the volume of batter to flow. I ended up just taking the top off and dumping it out of the bottle neck opening. What a mess.

Pool Noodles for Everything including the Pool

Hack: Cut Pool Noodles to size to cover sharp edges and anything that someone could run into, trip over, or bonk their noggin on

Result: Brilliant! For just a buck or two, these are a must have for any outdoor trip. For RVers, these are perfect to cut to size, and make a slit in. Then snap onto the edges of a slide/pop out and even awning arms. For tent campers, these make for fantastic markers on tent strings to keep folks from tripping on them. For all outdoor activities, it’s nice to have these on hand for when you are near water for their intended uses, but also to protect any sharp edges you did or didn’t foresee having to deal with. And who can resist a pool noodle sword fight?!

Johnson & Johnson Lotion as Mosquito Repellent

Hack: Lotions from companies such as Johnson & Johnson or Avon’s’ Skin So Soft act as a Mosquito Repellent

Result: Meh – Fail. I didn’t notice a difference. Of anything the mosquitoes moved to an area that didn’t have any lotion on, such as my legs that were covered with pants. If you have a sensitivity, or age restriction and want to use this option…. You are better off just staying in side. I have found other non spray or non lotion solutions such as the bracelets and candles.

Foam Floor Tiles

Hack: Connect Foam Floor Tiles to line the tent or areas that you need a soft landing for

Result: Win – This is a great idea, even in an RV or developed camp site. In the tent, it made areas around the sleeping bag easier to get in and out of.  I put them under the bag too, just for the added comfort. Especially in a tent when walking around in socks or barefoot, it helps to avoid the annoyance of stepping on twigs or little rocks, or if you have a little one crawling and rolling around. In the RV, we have a set that I use for areas that don’t have carpet and when I need to get on the ground. That could be for any reason, a repair, loading and unloading, and the occasion when I might want to do some yoga indoors. They come in a variety of colors, and they all lock together to make a footprint for the space you need.

 

Hope this article helped save you some money, effort and time trying out various hacks, purchasing or better yet, not purchasing items to test out these hacks. I hope to try out a few more this summer and look forward to reporting the findings back to you. If there is a Camping Life Hack you want Erika or I to try please let us know. If you have a Camping Life Hack you know works or doesn’t work, feel free to share in the comments below!

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Erika’s Pre and Post Vacation Routines

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My family likes to take short weekend trips or longer road trips if we have the vacation time and budget to do so.  Before each trip, I like to make sure things are organized, cleaned, and in order before leaving the house especially since I have a dog/house sitter come over to stay at the house to take care of our fur baby Gracie.

Some of my Pre-Vacation routines to be organized are:

Clear off all flat spaces in the Kitchen

I always like to leave the kitchen clean.  Before leaving the house, I ensure the island, counters, and table are free of any debris or items that should not be on them.  I completely clear off the island and the table so that it is cleared off for the house sitter.  She can keep it up as she stays and any messes she makes are easy to clear before we return home. 

The only items I keep on the counters are the Keurig, coffee pods, and my utensil crock and knife crock where I store all of my large cooking spoons and my knives.  I also have my dish rack on the counter so any dishes that need hand washing can be air dried. 

 

Clean and Put Away all Dishes

I always make sure all dishes are either put away in their respective cupboards, and I always make sure all the dirty dishes are put in the dishwasher.  By doing this I can ensure the house stays free of smells from dirty dishes, and makes it so nice to come back home to a clean kitchen.

 

Clean the Bathrooms

I really like to clean the bathrooms before leaving on a trip.  It is a nice feeling to come back home and have a clean counter, sink and toilet.  I always clean everything off the counter, wipe down the mirrors and clean the toilet.  I also ensure the shower is cleaned really good too.  I tend to use these times for a good deep clean of the bathroom.

 

  Make the Beds and Tidy the Bedroom

Before leaving the house for a few days I ensure I tidy up the bedroom and make the beds.  It makes for such a nice home coming when everything is orderly and clean in your personal space.  I don’t always make my bed in my haste to get out of the house for work each day, but I sure do enjoy the clean feeling I have when my bed is made. This is why I ensure it is made before going on vacation. 

 

Some of my Post-Vacation routines to stay organized are:

  Put away all contents in Luggage

We all know that after a vacation you need a vacation from your vacation.  To help keep things in an organized fashion throughout the house I ensure to put away everything in my luggage and put away any other items that need to be put back in their space.  I have to do this before I sit down and get lazy and recover from the past days while away from my comfort zone of my house.

Put away items in bags and ice chest

When we get home, we put away all of the items in the kitchen that we have in any bags we had for snacks or items that don’t go in the ice chest.  Things like bread, chips, and fruit.  I empty the contents of the ice chest and put everything away, dump any water and ice and let it dry outside.

 

Laundry, Laundry, and more Laundry

As I put away our items from our luggage I gather all of the laundry that needs to be washed and begin doing laundry before we do much of anything else.  We tend to have more laundry while on vacation so I get started on it as soon as possible.  I like to have it all washed and put away by the following day if not by the end of the night we return from our trip if we get back home early enough.  Luckily there is only 3 of us so we can usually get it done the same day.

 

If you like to have an organized home and continue to have the relaxed vibe from vacation, be sure to have your home cleaned and organized before leaving for vacation.  Share your tips and tricks to keeping that vacation vibe going once you return home.

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The Cs Top 5 RV and Camping Must Haves!

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Please see here for our Affiliate Sharing disclosure. YAY Amazon!

Last month E and I shared a few things that we love. This month we will focus on the products and hacks that make spring travel more enjoyable and simple. I will kick it off with my top 5 RV and Camping Must Haves. Many of these you can pick up at most retailers. In this post are links to the products I purchased on Amazon, or something similar for you to take a peek at. We hope this will help make your travels just a little bit more fun.

Telescoping Broom or Stick Vacuum

Depending on the storage space and electricity available to you, a Telescoping Broom or Stick Vacuum is a must have. This will help to keep your tent or RV free from sharp rocks and keep your fuzzy socks from getting yucky. I have  this broom and love love love it. It folds down small making it easy to store, and based on what I need to sweep, I can use it as a full-size broom, or a smaller duster, by how much you expand the collapsing handle. A Stick Vacuum is also a nice space saving option if you have the space, electricity with a generator or sure power. One of the best vacuums out there is  this Dyson .

Ice Maker

The place we frequently park our RV can charge quite a bit for bagged ice, and on busy holiday weekends they often run out. We get a TON of use out of  this funky looking little machine. Many of these ice makers churn out a trey in as few as 7 minutes. This means you can make several pounds in a few hours while running a generator or on sure power. In our case, this has easily paid for itself. When not camping it’s also a nice to have during house parties!

Insulated Cups

The Yeti type tumblers are incredibly popular now, with several sizes and accessories to choose from. There are a few camping selling points for these. They have water tight sealing lids with straws to keep the bugs and dust out, keep beverages ice cold or piping hot for several hours, easy to keep clean, fit in cup holders, have handles as add on accessories and are available in all price ranges. The competition to the Yeti brands are popping up all over the place. We have both Yeti and Ozark Trail brands and they both work just as good! You can even get them personalized with your name or company logo or favorite pop-culture characters on laces like Amazon and Etsy. Or to keep track of yours with the solid colors that are perfect for spring such as these .

Wipes for kids even the furry ones

Camping or Glamping it’s easy to get just as messy. Having wipes on hand make life so much easier. All kinds of wipes should be in your travel kit. Disinfecting wipes are perfect for picnic tables and surfaces you need to keep clean. Disposable baby wipes are brilliant for keeping hands clean and even wiping dust off your face. If the pup is along for the ride, make sure to stock up on wipes for them too. This will keep dust off their coat and paws, ensuring they don’t track all that dirt into your sleeping and living space. If they do, good thing you have that broom!

Cloth Storage Bins

The key to a successful trip is being able to find everything you packed, and have it be stored in an easy to access way. When you have limited space, collapsible storage bins like  these can be a fantastic system to use. They can be easily stored when not in use, or be used around the house too. In our RV we have a multitude of sizes for the pantry to keep things from rolling around. We also use them out on the counters once we are parked for things such as TV remotes, when we hit the road, the bin goes in the cabinet and we don’t lose any remotes. Glamping can be hard work! HA

I could go on and on about the products I have found to make camping and RVing a fun adventure. It’s the simple things that can make a weekend or weeklong trip go from messy, to simple and organized. This allows you to focus on the important thing – Having Fun!

What are your favorite tricks and tools? Please share in the comments below. Be sure to check back next week when E shares her next post!

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5 Things That E Loves

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Last week C shared a little more insight into the simple things in life that bring us joy. This week I bring you the things that I love.  There are the staple obvious sources of joy, family, friends…food. In the past 6 months between the two of us sharing social media posts, pins, and blog posts you may already know some of this about us. These are the fun kind of blog posts where we get to explore a little bit more about ourselves and get to share ourselves with you! Here are my top 5 things that bring a smile to my face, and I can never have enough.

 

Cubed Shelving

I don’t know how I survived the first three years of life with a child without these cubed shelves.  I don’t have a very big house so my sons toy room is essentially the living room.  I originally started out with just your standard size toy box.  This worked for about the first year since we didn’t have many toys while he was so small.

Once he hit a year old and got toys for his first birthday the number of toys grew exponentially!  The volume and size of the toys was not expected for a one year old as this is my first child.  I started to buy organization bins from Dollar Tree to put his toys in.  I found myself having to buy 2 or 3 more every few months just for his cars.  (My mom has a bit of a problem buying him cars every week and sometimes every day.) At one point, all he could talk or think about was his cars from the Cars movies.  Now we are all about Monster Jam monster trucks.

This past Christmas I bought 2 sets of cubed shelving and the cloth bins that fit inside each cube.  I have all of his monster trucks in one, Cars cars in another, hot wheels in a third bin, and miscellaneous vehicles and small toys in the remaining bins.  Any vehicles or toys that don’t go in a bin either sit on top of the shelves or in his toy box.  The cubed shelves look so much nicer than all of those plastic primary colored bins all over the floor.  I love them, and wish I had bought them a long time ago.

 

Sriracha Sauce

I don’t know about you, but I love spicy food.  And I love my Sriracha sauce in or on almost anything.  I especially love to put it in soups or on any dish that has meat and veggies mixed together to “spice” it up a little more in the flavor department.  I don’t know if you recall, but few years ago, there was a shortage on the peppers that are used for making Sriracha sauce.  The sauce had a shortage nationwide.  I was so worried I wouldn’t have my Sriracha sauce anymore I think I bought 5 bottles of it…just in case…and to get me through the shortage.  I think the absolute best item to put it on is egg rolls.  Egg rolls to me are pretty bland and don’t have enough flavor for my liking.  I put a good squirt of the sauce on each time I take a bite.  OMG! My mouth is watering just writing this…so sorry for digressing!

If a cold or allergies have you all stuffy and you can’t breathe out of your nose.  Just grab yourself a bottle of Sriracha sauce and squirt a good amount into a bowl of chicken noodle soup and you will be cleared up in no time.  Please beware that this sauce is really spicy if you are not a big fan of spicy food.

 

Blankets

I too am a native Arizonan like C is, and for whatever reason I love to have a blanket on the couch at all times too.  I like the soft, coziness they provide while sitting on the couch drinking my coffee on a Saturday morning, or while watching a TV show.  Even during the HOT Arizona summers, I still have an afghan on the couch.  These aren’t as warm as a blanket but I just need something on my legs or to snuggle up with.  I really like The Big One from Kohl’s, but I also like these too.

Target Dollar Spot

Can you say OMG so Cute!  This is how I feel every time they restock the Target Dollar Spot.  If you do not know what this area is, it is right when you walk into the store near the shopping cart area.  They have items as low as $1 up to $5.  I love shopping this area because you can find some great teacher gifts, or small gifts for co-workers or friends and family.  I find a lot of good finds for reward items for my son.  It helps to motivate him with trying new foods, or when he was potty training.

Last week they restocked with Easter and St. Patrick’s Day items. The items I really loved this time ere the ceramic lanterns, glass cake stand, and glass carafe.  I also picked up some mini pots with seeds to plant for my sons Easter basket.  It is a good way to get him outside and in the dirt planting some food we can grow and eat.

When they had the valentine’s items out in January/February I picked up some coffee cups with silicone lids for teacher gifts.  They were $3 each!

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes

I am very sensitive to the smell of different perfumes, chemicals, and cleaners.  They flare up my asthma so I am not able to just grab a bottle of cleanser and clean the kitchen or bathroom.  I have to be pretty selective in my choices.  But I did find a solution with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.  I am able to use the original and lemon scented wipes.  I use them to clean the bathroom mostly or my desk at work.  If I need to spot clean my bathroom counter or the entire bathroom I know I can use 2-5 wipes and be done.  When cleaning my desk at work I usually only need to use 1-2 wipes and I know my desk is free of germs and anything contagious like cold and flu germies.

 

What items or places do you absolutely love?  Share your loves in the comments.

Let us know in the comments what type of posts you would like to see here on our blog site.  We want to share content that you enjoy too!

Please see here for our Affiliate Sharing disclosure.

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