His & Hers To Do List { Free Printable }
With both My Love and I working outside the home full time, carting two kids to various activities, running errands, making meals, spending quality time with the kids and squeezing in a little time for each other or ourselves, our home sometimes usually suffers from neglect.  Dishes pile up in or around the sink, floors are covered with a crumb carpet, mountains of laundry take up valuable space on the couch, toy land mines make it impossible to walk through common areas, etc.  Does this sound at all familiar or are we the only ones?
 
The problem is that after a long day, we are pretty exhausted and the last thing My Love or I want to do is spend another hour or two cleaning up.   But, if we don’t tidy up, the problem gets worse because now there are more dishes, toys, laundry, etc. to deal with.  Then, there is the whole issue of frustration and resentment if one of us works on cleaning up and feels the other isn’t really carrying their weight or if one has an expectation that the other will take care of completing a task that just doesn’t get done.  
 
We used to argue about why the house was a mess, who was responsible for what, who’s spent more time cleaning, who dropped the ball, etc .  But, we wizened up recently and decided to divide and conquer by assigning tasks.  We made a list of what needed to happen regularly to keep our house tidy and then divided up the work.    
 
 
You guys know I love to make lists so, naturally, I made a fun little His & Hers To Do List to keep us on track.
Our To Do List
 
To make sure that we addressed everything, we sat down and created a comprehensive list of the things that needed to get done.  Then, we spent the next week adding to and editing the list to make sure we didn’t miss anything important.  Then, we went through and assigned tasks and timelines.

This wasn’t a you take one, I take one type of deal.  It was more of a ‘what do I usually take care of and does it make sense for me to continue doing it’ scenario.  For example, My Love does the yard work.  I sometimes help in the garden, but for the most part, he trims the bushes, fertilizes, makes sure irrigation system is working properly, etc.  So, it made sense for him to take on the yard work.

We also took into consideration how much time each item would take so one of us wouldn’t be more overloaded than the other on daily or weekly tasks.  The only exception is the yard work.  Depending on what needs to be done, that can take up more time than the other tasks.  And in those cases, I help My Love with some of his designated to do’s to compensate for his time in the yard.

 

In looking at our list, you may think that loading the dishwasher and washing dishes is the same thing, but we don’t run our pots, knives, cutting boards, measuring instruments, etc. in the dishwasher because it can damage them and/or shorten their lifespan.  So, our dishwasher is used for dishes, cups and silverware.  And I, the human dish washer, take care of everything else.  Also, you might notice that we don’t have clean bathrooms, mop floors or dust on our list.  That is because we hired a house cleaner to help us with those tasks once a month when I went back to work after having Lovebug.  It is such a huge help to have those things taken care of so that we just have to maintain them.

Suddenly, our house was routinely tidy and we weren’t arguing about the mess anymore.  We know what is expected and what the timeline is and generally we’re able to accomplish the daily tasks in 30 minutes to an hour.   Plus, we are usually getting things done at the same time, after the kids go to bed, so it gives us time to chat.  Not an ideal ‘date’ but with two kids and busy lives, I’ll take what I can get!

Don’t get me wrong, things still get away from us from time to time and we try to keep things flexible and step in for one another when necessary. But for the most part, creating our His and Hers To Do List has really simplified our lives.

And because I love you guys so much, I’ve made this cute His and Hers To Do List a free printable!  You can print it and fill it out or open it in an photo editing tool and add your to do’s on it.

Free Printable Mr. & Mrs. To Do List
 

How does your family keep your home tidy?  We are definitely open to suggestions to make our lives easier!

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10 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
This post contains affiliate links.  But, all opinions are 100% mine.
 
Happy Earth Day, everyone!  Isn’t EARTH the greatest?  No seriously, it provides us with food, water and oxygen so we can sustain life.  Without it, we would literally cease to exist and I think that we all take that for granted sometimes.  
 
So, in honor of Earth Day, I thought I’d share with you some of the things our family is already doing as well as some new ideas we are implementing to reduce our carbon footprint.  All of these things are easy to do and most of them cost little to nothing to implement!  So, they are little effort with huge impact!  Hooray for a healthy planet!
 

1.  Use Reusable Grocery Tote Bags

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Do you have a mountain of plastic grocery bags in your home?  I hate to admit it, but we do.  We own reusable grocery tote bags, but unfortunately, aren’t always in the habit of bringing them to the store.  So, I’ve started leaving the reusable bags in our cars so we always have them on hand.  No more excuses for using the plastic grocery store bags!  

2.  Use reusable produce bags

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There are a couple ways of doing this.  You could invest in these reusable bags (above) so you avoid the plastic produce bags at the store or you could simply reuse the plastic ones the store provides by washing them out and using them again.  This is something new we are implementing in our home.  Eventually, I’d like to invest in the mesh bags above, but for now, we will reuse the plastic produce bags that we already have in our house from previous shopping trips. 

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3.  Wash and reuse Ziploc freezer bags
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Growing up, my mom used to wash and reuse Ziploc Freezer bags and I never gave it much thought until recently.  It occurred to me a couple months ago that she is a genius for doing this because (1) it reduces waste and (2) it saves money!  This is another new thing we are doing in our house.  
 
4.  Compost
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We have been composting for a couple years now and couldn’t be happier.  We started with a single barrel compost tumbler, but learned the hard way that a Dual Compost Tumbler is much more effective.  The dual system allows you to have one side that you are actively composting while the other side has useable compost.  What do you do with compost?  Well, we mix ours into the soil for our garden.  It’s full of nutrients and is absolutely lovely!  

 
This is one of the most expensive suggestions on my list, but in my opinion, it’s worth it.  So, if you can afford it and are interested, take the plunge!  I was a little intimidated by composting at first, but it is so easy to do with these bins!   Our local Costco brought in a dual compost tumbler for a pretty reasonable price so we scooped one up to replace our old one.  But, we ended up keeping it so we have three bins to work with.  🙂   You could also compost without a bin (free, except for some tools).  Here’s a great tutorial for composting without a bin.  
 
5.  Grow an herb and/or vegetable garden
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My Love and I didn’t start out with the greenest thumbs, but we quickly learned a lot about planting and maintaining a garden.  We started with some herb boxes in our apartment but put in a Square Foot Garden when we bought our house so we could maximize the herbs and vegetables in our garden.  The book is fantastic with lots of information about when to plant different things, how much sunlight and water plants need, etc.  

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There are tons of benefits to growing your own herbs, vegetables and fruits…  (1) You know what you’re eating because you are controlling what goes on and in your garden, (2)  you are saving money because produce can be pricey where seeds and plants have much higher return on investment (3)  you can harvest what you need and not end up wasting anything and (4)  you aren’t purchasing items that are packaged in plastic!  

 

6.  Recycle

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This one is pretty obvious.  Most, if not all, cities offer a recycling service.  For some, you have to sort the items, but we’re spoiled where we live and can just dump it all in one bin.   

7.  Print on both sides 

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This is a super quick and easy way to reduce paper waste.  Just change your printer settings to have your printer print on both sides.  If you don’t have a printer with dual side print capabilities, you could just feed the paper back through to print on the back.  It might take a little more effort, but hey, you’ll be saving trees!
8.  Unplug electronics when not in use
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Did you know that some electronics continue to use electricity even when they are turned off and/or are not on the charger?  It’s true!  TV’s, cell phones, phone and computer chargers, etc. all continue to siphon power even when the electronic is turned off!  By simply unplugging devices that aren’t in use, you can save electricity, which not only saves the planet but also saves you money!!  For larger electronics, like TV’s and gaming units, you can plug them all into a power strip that you can power off when not in use.  For chargers, just unplug them when they aren’t charging devices.  Not only does this suggestion not cost you anything, it saves you money!!  
9.  Use CFL‘s
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CFL bulbs use up to 75% less energy and last longer than traditional batteries, which means less waste!  So, next time you buy light bulbs, consider switching to CFL’s if you don’t use them already.  

10.  Use gift bags instead of wrapping paper

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Most wrapping paper is not recyclable and ends up in land fills.  So, instead of purchasing wrapping paper, consider switching to gift bags.  They accomplish the same result and they can be used over and over and over again.  Which means – no waste!
 
There are so many ways to reduce your carbon footprint and be more green, it can be overwhelming.  But, you don’t have to completely change your lifestyle and/or go to extremes.  Every little bit counts, so implement the changes that work for you and your family and that you can maintain long term.  That is what we did and once we form new habits, we research and incorporate new ways to reduce our impact on the world.
 
Happy Earth Day!!
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DIY Decorative Closet Storage Boxes

Over the holidays, My Love and I spent some time getting our closet organized.  He went through his clothes and pulled out items that could be donated.  While I spent my time, making better use of the space.

One shelf, in particular, needed serious attention.  It would start out stacked with neatly folded clothes but would quickly turn into a dumping ground for anything and everything.  And any time I would go to grab something from the shelf, I’d have to spend five minutes digging through clothes to find what I was looking for.  It was really inefficient, messy and a complete waste of space.  (Sorry I don’t have pictures of the before but I’m sure you can imagine what it looked like.  Just think messy teenager bedroom, but on a shelf.) 

Eventually, we plan on installing a nice closet system.  But, that project isn’t high on our list right now.  So, the goal was to make the closet more functional by using more vertical space with closet storage boxes, while sticking to a budget.   But, it had to look nice too!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t loving the storage options I was finding…  The ones with cute designs were out of my budget and the ones that were the right price were… well let’s just say functional and leave it at that.   So, I decided to grab some plain canvas storage boxes with lids and pretty them up with some fabric paint.  I just love how they turned out!!

Here’s how I did it:

Materials:

Large Canvas Storage Boxes
Tulip Fabric Paint – I used turquoise, sunshine yellow and white
Sponge Pouncer Brush Set
Painters Tape

Step 1:
Using the sponge pouncer brush, I stamped polka dots onto the front of my canvas boxes and allowed them to dry, per the package instructions.  I made one turquoise, one yellow and one multi-colored (turquoise, yellow and white) box.Step 1
Step 2:
Using the same sponge pouncers, I stamped the front of the lids until they were evenly coated to coordinate with the polka dot boxes.Step 2
Step 3:
To make the striped boxes, I used the width of painters tape to space out the lines evenly. Step 3

I continued up until I had the front of the box lined with tape.
Step 4
 

Step 4:
Using the sponge pouncer, I stamped the canvas with paint until the fabric was evenly coated.Step 5
Step 5:
Then I removed the tape, while the paint was still a little tacky.  I left the lids of the vertical striped boxes the natural color.Step 6
Here’s the end result.  Don’t you just love the colors!?!  I am smitten with my new beautiful and functional closet!    (Sorry about the lighting.  We get next to no natural light in our closet and the lighting we do have is a bit of a joke.)Step 7

 

It makes me so happy to walk into my closet and see these fun pops of color instead of piles of clothes!  The best part is that using the vertical space allowed me to move clothes from another shelf in my closet into these cute boxes, which created even more space for….

Jewelry organization!!Step 8

 

Since I had essentially cleared another shelf by moving clothes into boxes, I decided to use the vertical space above the shelf for a new jewelry display.  I had outgrown my existing jewelry frame so it was the perfect time for a change.  I simply covered a large cork board with simple but decorative fabric (there are tons of tutorials available online) and used push pins to hold the necklaces in place.  I attached the cork board to the wall with some command strips.

Step 9

Then, I picked up a couple storage bins from Ikea and used them to hold bracelets, rings and other small pieces on the shelf just below my necklace display.  The bins come white, so I used the same sponge pouncer brush to add some big yellow polka dots and the eraser at the end of a pencil to make the small turquoise polka dots to the bins.

I am so happy with my new closet organization.  I love having everything I need to get ready in the morning in one place, neat and organized.  The bright pops of color make me so happy, which is a great way to start the day.  Plus, it is so much quicker and easier to find what I’m looking for, which is super important during the busy morning rush!

This post contains affiliate links.  But, all thoughts and opinions are mine.

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My maternity leave is coming to an end as I’m headed back to work tomorrow.  As my start date drew near, I looked around my closet and realized that there was a lot of clothing that either didn’t fit right, the material looked ragged or the clothing was a style that I no longer liked (sad to admit, but I still had some clothes I wore in college!).

Knowing that we’d have to establish a new morning routine, I didn’t want to waste precious time looking around my closest frustrated that I “didn’t have anything to wear”.  So, I decided to take back my closet.  
I started by going through all of my clothes.  I tried on every item I own to see how it fit, how the material looked and if it would be something I felt I would actually wear.  I did the same with my shoes.  Pregnancy not only did a number on my body but on my feet too!  My Lovebugs are worth it though!
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I set the clothes and shoes that didn’t make the cut into a box that I’ll drop off at a donation center.   They might not work for me but hopefully someone else can make use our of them.

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For the clothing that was left, I turned the hangers around with the intention of turning them back as I wear each piece.  This way I will be able to really determine what I am or am not wearing.  I had a few items that were on the borderline of meeting my criteria and I decided to hang on to them for a while longer to see if they were keepers.  Using this approach, I’ll be able to see what has and hasn’t been worn over the course of a year and donate any items that aren’t being used once that year has lapsed.
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This all sounds easy, but in all honesty, it was kind of a difficult exercise.  It forced me to be really honest with myself about my post baby body and what clothing did and did not work for me.  Some clothing I was pleasantly surprised with while other clothing made me cringe a little.   But, I’m glad I did it.  Trying on all my clothes and clearing out my closet allowed me to take inventory of what I have and what I need.  Which meant that I had earned myself a shopping trip!  
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I hit the stores with a checklist in my mind (ok fine, I wrote it down) of what I needed to round out my wardrobe.  I still have a few staples that I’d like to add to my collection but shopping with intention made the trip a lot more enjoyable.  Plus, it makes it easier to keep my eye out for sales and/or items I’m looking for.  
In the meantime, getting dressed in the morning has been a lot easier.  I know what my options are because I love everything in my closet.  My clothes fit right, they look good and I feel good in them.  I don’t know about you, but that makes a huge difference in how I start my day.  And every little win counts when you are heading back to work after having a baby. 
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Lovebug got an awesome chest of dress up costumes for her birthday last year.  It was full of different  dress up outfits that she added to the few costumes she already had.  Plus, she added the Rapunzel Wedding Dress as well as an Elsa dress to her collection at Christmas.  
We were storing all the costumes in the chest she got on her birthday.  But, lets just say that the chest wasn’t the best storage solution for all the costumes she had accumulated.  Here’s how they were (we’ll call it) “organized” before. 

I know, really functional, right?  Something had to be done.  

I knew I wanted to hang a clothing rod so that the costumes could be hung between the wall and our Expedit shelves in the play room.  But, I didn’t want to damage the bookcase.  One trip to Home Depot with the hubby and we figured out how to do the project.  Here’s how the dress up corner looks now:
Dress Up Costume Organization
So much better, right?  The best part is that it has been up for over a month and Lovebug has been so good about hanging her costumes up after she plays with them.  So, it’s completely functional too!
Here’s how we did it:


Materials:
Wooden rod
Paint (optional)
Saw
Tape Measure

We started by clearing out the corner between the shelf and the wall.   The space was about 30 inches or so wide, the perfect home for costumes.   
Then we painted the wooden rod white to match the bookcase and other furniture in the room.  

We opened up the packet of plastic closet pole sockets and stored the screws for safe keeping.  The closet pole sockets won’t get damaged in this project so we wanted to save the screws for future use.

Then we attached two command strips to the back of each side of the pole sockets.  We decided to use two command strips on each side for stronger support.  (sorry the picture is blurry!)

Then, we attached the back side of the command strips on each pole socket so they looked like this:

Next we used the tape measure to determine where to hang the pole sockets.  We double, triple checked the measurements to make sure the pole would be level.  We also made sure that the height would be suitable for Lovebug.  Then, we pealed the backing off the command strips…

… and attached the pole sockets to the wall and bookshelf.

Next, we measured the length between the two pole sockets and cut the wooden rod to size.

The wooden rod fit nice and snug between the two pole sockets and our dress up costume corner was done with no damage to the wall or shelf.  It will live here for as long as our Lovebugs enjoy dressing up.  Once they grow out of dressing up we can easily remove this addition to the play room. 

Lovebug helped me hang up the costumes and we used the dress up chest to house the accessories for her costumes (tiara’s, wands, jewelry, etc.).  It fit perfectly under her costumes.  Nice and tidy!

SO. MUCH. BETTER!
It makes me so happy to come into the play room and see the costumes hanging up nicely instead of tossed in or near the chest.  Such a big impact for a project that cost less than $10!!  I love it when things work out exactly the way you have it in your head!  
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