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Covid Cleanout

Hey, hey!

While we are staying home for the good of our friends, family, and neighbors let’s take some time to clean out our spaces. That can look like whatever you want it to look like.

Need to declutter?

Need to actually clean?

Need to reorganize?

Need some structure?

I’ve got you covered. For each weekday (M-F) in the month of April I will post a graphic like this one on Little Red Stool Organizing’s Instagram and Facebook accounts. It will simply be an area in your home as a suggested area to work in. In the caption of the post I will list a few simple spaces within that area if you need a smaller space. Leave a comment on Facebook or DM me on Instagram with a photo of your finished spaces! #covidcleanout

Let’s cheer each other on and have some fun in our very own spaces!

Here is the complete list, as promised, complete with dates.

April 1 – home office
April 2 – linen closet
April 3 – coat closet

April 6 – master bath
April 7 – master bed
April 8 – master closet
April 9 – entryway
April 10 – junk drawer

April 13 – guest/kid bath
April 14 – guest/kid closet
April 15 – guest/kid room
April 16 – dining room
April 17 – garage

April 20 – play room
April 21 – sunroom/porch
April 22 – family room/den
April 23 – car
April 24 – attic/basement

April 27 – pantry
April 28 – fridge/freezer
April 29 – kitchen
April 30 – laundry

Meal Planning Template Bundle

Take a trip in your mind back to January 2020. Everything was fresh. All things were possible. Perhaps you made a list of things you wanted to do this year. Some goals or trips or ideas. I made a list as well. One of those things was to provide a Meal Planning Template for you!

Meal Planning is a simple task that can make or break your week!

Here’s a little jingle I like to use:

Plan what you eat
Buy what you plan
Eat what you buy

On those busy weeks when I don’t want to have to even make dinner, much less have to think of something to make, a meal plan has come to the rescue. I just look over at my list and see what’s for dinner. Done!

In this meal planning bundle I’m providing 4 pages.

Weekly Meal Planning Sheet (bonus sample sheet)
Weekly On Hand and To Buy Sheet
Meal Ideas Sheet

Weekly Meal Planning Sheet
This sheet has spaces for you to fill in breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for each day of the week in chart form. Some of you are new to this whole meal planning thing so I’ve also provided a sample of how to use the weekly template.

Weekly On Hand and To Buy Sheet
This sheet lets you write down in one space what you already have on hand. Writing these things down can help in two ways.
1) You can write down what you have and do some meal planning from that list. For example, if you have a lot of pasta on hand and some tomato sauce you may want to make a baked ziti.
2) You can write down what you have that your meals call for. For example, if you found a recipe for herb crusted chicken and zucchini boats, you would write down everything you already have for those recipes.
That leaves the rest of the sheet for you to write down what you need to buy that you don’t already have on hand.

Meal Ideas Sheet
Do you find that you frequently eat the same meals? Get into a meal rut? Want to try new things but just keep forgetting? The Meal Ideas Sheet provides a space for you to write down your favorite meals as well as meals you want to try. Use this sheet to refer to when planning your meals for the week. For example, your family loves baked chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans but would also like to try Tikki Masala. Writing both of those in their respective spaces on this sheet will remind you to try Tikki Masala.

Click here for the meal planning bundle I promised.

How to Clean Your Entire House, Top to Bottom

UPDATED: I wrote this article before the pandemic of COVID-19, coronavirus, was upon us. This article is by no means meant to sanitize or disinfect but how to clean your house.

Spring cleaning is upon us! That’s the time of year when we do the baseboards, back splashes, and grout cleaning. We get into the cracks, corners, and crevices where things have been sitting but we haven’t had time to get to them.

Instead of giving you a major list of all the spaces that could possibly be in your home, I’m going to give you a quick list of how to tackle your house for the times you aren’t doing those deep cleans. Doing your weekly cleans will help to minimize the amount you have to do in those deep cleans too!

A while back I came across someone who cleaned differently than I did. You see, I was going into each room and cleaning it then going to the next room and cleaning it. She was cleaning the entire house all at once. She cleaned by surface instead of by room. Cleaning the entire house instead of room by room has been a much more effective use of my time. It seemed so counter-intuitive when I started as I used to always clean room by room. You are working top to bottom: think “ceiling to floor” as well as “top floor to bottom floor.” Then you are working left to right: starting in a corner of the house and working left to right or clockwise depending on the layout of your home.

Here’s what it looks like in my home.

Step 1: TIDY
Put all things away, including dishes. This can happen more easily if you have a mostly tidy home. Go ahead and do the dishes first. Then the stack on the stairs, on the table, and by the door. If you are keeping up with these things daily it shouldn’t take much time at all.

Step 2: DUST
Using whatever tool you’d like, dust your home starting in one room working around from left to right. Be sure to pick up those knick knacks to get the tops of shelves and the mantle. Less knick knacks, less picking up and less dusting.

Step 3: MIRRORS
A quick spray, a thorough wipe, and on to the next mirror until all the mirrors in the home are cleaned. (This is not sponsored but I love a good Norwex glass cloth. Just use water and wipe. Beautiful!)

Step 4: COUNTERS & SINKS
Let the kitchen be first, clear the countertops, spray the counters and sink, wipe, and replace items to the counter. Move on to the bathrooms doing the same: clear, spray, wipe, replace.

Step 5: TOILETS, SHOWERS, & TUBS
Start with putting cleaner on each of these surfaces in the entire home. By the time you get to the end you are ready to clean the first surface you put cleaner on. Don’t be afraid to use some good elbow grease to be sure to get those hard places. The more often you clean these areas, the easier they are to clean.

Step 6: SWEEP & VACUUM
I’m a fan of sweeping hardwood, laminate, and tile. There is just something about moving a broom across a floor that I love. And the lines a vacuum makes on carpet? Yes, please! A good rule of thumb here is for every person that lives in your home, that is how many times a week you should sweep and vacuum. Just you? Easy, once a week. You and a roommate? Twice a week should do it. You, a spouse, 2 kids, and a dog? 5 times a week. At that point, a once over every day would be a good habit to build.

Step 7: MOP
Find the best product for the type of floor that you will be mopping, get a good mop, and go to town! This is another area of the home that is easier the more often you do it. And remember to spot mop when there are big spills.

I hope this simple 7 step process helps you to get through cleaning your home in a more efficient way. It sure has helped me.

What other tips would you suggest?

Board Games You Can Play Via FaceTime

While the majority of us are practicing social distancing by leaving our homes only when necessary we could use some creative ways to interact with others. Here are some games you can play via FaceTime or other live interactive video chats. This is not sponsored in anyway, just my little brain and some photos from Amazon.com.

This first group can be played even without the actual game.

  1. Pictionary
    The Game Gal has an easy way to play without the game. Even the kids can participate with this one. If they can’t read yet but can draw, just have someone else whisper the word to them.

2. Guesstures
Okay, this is really charades. Totally playable without the boxed game. You can play similarly to Pictionary. Instead of drawing the word or phrase, you act it out.

3. Scattergories
This is one of my favorites because I love words. Sure it would be easier to play this game with the categories and special die but I found this category generator and everyone can just write down their answers on a piece of paper.

4. Bingo
It won’t look the same if you don’t have a set like the one pictured but there is a free bingo sheet builder that can make it super personal as well. For the traditional version go to the Classic 1-75 Bingo link on the left.

The next batch are games that you will want either one game total or one game for each household playing.

5. Trivial Pursuit
There are so many different versions of this game! You’ll need one house to have a version. To be a little interactive, if each house has a standard die to roll, each player can at least roll their own turn even if someone else is moving their piece for them. What a great way to use your brain too! I’m thinking for our older kids here!

6. Battleship
Both players will need their own game but it will be played the same way as if you were sitting together! “You sank my battleship!” will be yelled from houses across the world! 😉

7. Guess Who?
This classic game will be so fun to play on FaceTime! Both players need their own boards and then it’s all “does your player have glasses” and “does your player wear a hat” for the rest of the game.

8. Apples to Apples
This one will take a little bit of creativity and a set of cards at each house playing. Several people in each house and maybe even several houses playing together would be the most fun with this game.

9. Boggle
This was a favorite of mine with my grandparents. One household can have the game and everyone can write their own words wherever they are!

10. Word Games
I have no image for this but think back to your summer camp and road trips.

  • The Picnic Game
  • Two Truths and a Lie
  • 21 Questions
  • Last Letter – using categories, go back and forth saying a word in that category that begins with the last letter of the previous word (ex: category “states,” Georgia – Alabama – Arkansas)
  • Song Lyrics – hum a song (or play on a kazoo!) until someone guesses
  • Never Have I Ever
  • Only Rhyme – go back and forth using only words that rhyme

I hope this helps you and your loved ones stay connected while also staying safe and helping to keep our community safe as well.

What games are you playing? What is one of your favorite games?

What’s a Walkabout?

Years ago I asked my client to take the things we had put in a specific box to their homes around the house. They were items that we found in one area that she wanted to keep but that didn’t belong in that area.

As she picked up the box she said, “I’m off on my walkabout.” And the term was officially coined. I’ve changed it to also be used as a noun, and thus, the walkabout bin/bag/box was born.

As you may have gathered, then, a walkabout is a bag that is used to hold any item that you want to keep but that doesn’t belong in the area you are working in.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you are working in your pantry. You’ve pulled everything out, have sorted like with like, and are making decisions on what you want to keep, toss, and donate. You pick up your son’s favorite toy car (that he’s been looking for for weeks, by the way). YES, you are keeping that toy but NO it doesn’t belong in the pantry. So this play toy goes into the walkabout bag. Then you find an important receipt, a hair tie, and that other flip flop. All things you decide you want to keep, but not in the pantry. Into the walkabout bag they go.

After you have gone through all of the contents of your pantry, it’s time to do your walkabout, taking each of those items to their appropriate home. Sometimes these items will go into a pile until you can deal with those areas (you can’t actually do it all at the same time) and that’s perfectly fine. The goal here is to stay on task and finish the pantry.

The walkabout bag prevents the “I got nothing done today” distractions that come from taking each individual item where it belongs each time you find something that you want to keep but belongs somewhere else in the house. (Even that sentence got me distracted – haha!) Again, the goal is to stay on task. When one area is done, you can move on to the next!

Go tackle a drawer or two with your trusty Walkabout bag by your side!