Spring cleaning can be a beast. Just the thought of getting everything tidier and cleaner — whatever shape your home is in now — can be so overwhelming, it can be hard to know where to start. So we reached out to household cleaning expert Dana K. White for some help. (She gets us! Hallelujah!) We asked Dana: If there is just one thing you absolutely must do when it comes to spring cleaning, what is it? Dana’s answer: Look up! If you do nothing else at all this spring, be sure to look up and knock dust down to the ground. This one...Read More
Tag: household chores
I tend to get headaches when I use strong chemical cleaning products, especially when I’m cleaning a small space, like my bathroom, which is why I really do favor green cleaning products under one condition: they have to work. And since it’s time for some spring cleaning around my house (actually, let’s be honest, it’s way past time for that) I’m excited to have had the chance to test out a ton of green cleaning products lately, and put together my favorites. Besides keeping the chemicals out of our home and our air, it’s nice to be able to give the...Read More
With six people living in my house, there are days when I feel like all I do is laundry. And that the baskets of dirty clothes just keep piling up. (Stop the insanity!) But there is one quick laundry tip has changed my life in a good way: My family quit using laundry baskets. Instead of tossing their dirty clothes in the baskets in their room, then spending a day lugging them up and down the stairs, sorting, and washing them, my kids now put their clothes straight in the washing machine when they change after their showers each night. After a...Read More
Is there anything worse than finding mouse droppings in your house? Oh, right. There is: Finding a palm-sized wolf spider in your kid’s bed. Ask me how I know. Luckily, I’ve found a company that makes all-natural pest repellent, which means you don’t have to burn your house down and move to a different country thanks to some unwelcome creature finding its way into your home. It’s called Stay Away, and it really works. Stay Away makes several different products, each crafted of all-natural, botanical, kid- and pet-safe ingredients. Whether your latest enemies are rodents, spiders, moths, ants, or beetles...Read More
If you’ve already watched all the Rio Olympics replays and you need a little entertainment, here’s our newest Spawned episode. On this episode on Spawned with Kristen and Liz, we tackle the topic of life with mess. How do you deal with your kids’ messy rooms? What do you keep clean and what do you let go? Do you have the yearly celebratory dusting schedule like Kristen and Liz? You can listen right now on Soundcloud or through the player below, and make sure to subscribe to Spawned on iTunes so you never miss an episode. We’ll be back every...Read More
My husband has a habit of calling our household cleaning supplies “chemicals” — as in, “Where are the chemicals to clean off the kitchen table?” It kind of drives me crazy because it sounds so harsh. But, of course, he’s right. So recently, I’ve started using the new Force of Nature cleaning system which I had a chance to try, and let’s just say, I’m a new covert. Force of Nature is part science lesson (I’ll get to that later) and part all-natural cleaning solution consisting of nothing but water, salt, and vinegar that you can use anywhere in your home, on anything. Toys and...Read More
An honest review of Marie Kondo’s newest book, Spark Joy: Does it light a fire or lack a certain spark?
It was with immense excitement that I ordered Marie Kondo’s newest book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. After all, it’s been a year since I wrote about her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, and put it to the test in my own home. Turns out, my post on whether her Konmari method of decluttering will work specifically for parents ended up being one of the most popular posts of 2015 on Cool Mom Picks. I guess “tidying” is a hot topic among us parents. Go figure. As for Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy, while the...Read More
Web coolness: Oscar party ideas, Oscar nights alternatives, Quidditch in the Himalayas, and one very important birthday.
Here are some of the things we’ve liked reading around the web this week. We hope you like them too. (There are so many this week!) Cool Mom Picks turns ten this week! Today’s the last day to enter to win 10 really amazing giveaway gifts — and it’s easy. Good luck! A magical Quidditch match in the Himalayas (above). These photos by Anshu Agarwal are a fun way to start the day. Get ready for the Oscars with 12 easy Oscar party ideas and a feast of easy Oscar party food recipes . Funny cheat sheet to the Oscar-nominated movies. Timely: What it’s like to...Read More
I like to buy natural cleaning products and supplies as much as I can. In fact, I follow my mom’s mantra and use vinegar and water only on my hardwood floors. It’s partly because I get headaches when I walk in the door and my house smells like a hospital ward, and partly because I know that breathing in a lot of harsh chemicals just isn’t good for us, so I’m always glad to discover a new company that makes eco-friendly cleaning products that actually work. Mrs. Jones’ Soapbox is one of those, and it’s a great find. Related: 2 fabulous new natural laundry products that actually work I admit I...Read More
Between my kids’ basketball schedules and after school activities — not to mention their homework and trying to figure out what to cook for dinner — I’ve found that it’s getting harder for me to keep track of it all. There have been times when I’ve asked, Has anyone fed the fish . . . this week? I know I’m not alone here, which is why I’m really happy to have discovered the Membo reminder tool, a handy little gadget from Dreamfarm that I think a lot of parents could use. Related: Free labor! A helpful guide to chores for kids by...Read More
Sometimes we agree on topics, sometimes we disagree, and sometimes we just figure it out as we talk it out. Sometimes, it’s all three! Which is in part why we think you’ll really enjoy this week’s discussion on the Spawned podcast about kids’ and chores. How do we get our children to do more around the house? Should we pay them or offer other incentives? What do the experts say? And do Kristen’s kids really clean the toilets? Because, whoa. Liz is impressed. Plus, we have a fun discussion about the insane names we mayyyy (ahem) use for other parents in our phone’s address...Read More
With four kids in the house, you can probably imagine the amount of cleaning and vacuuming and picking up (oh, the picking up) that needs to be done on a daily basis. That’s also why you can bet my kids each have their own list of chores. I’m a firm believer in getting kids involved from an early age because not only does is it a huge help (free labor!) but it teaches kids important lessons about responsibility. As our friend Asha from Parent Hacks says, “Frame your kids’ chores as move-out skills. No one wants a roommate who...Read More
With a houseful of kids with sensitive skin, I stick to my free and clear laundry detergents and skip the boosters, fabric softeners, and stain sticks just to be safe. But after discovering these two new natural laundry products, I’ve enjoyed clothes and towels that are softer, smell much nicer, and have fewer, if any, stains. Hooray! So I couldn’t wait to share them, should you also want some cool natural laundry detergents. From the folks at B&N Laundry, I’m loving the felted goat milk stain stick (above). Yes, I know that sounds totally bizarre, but wow, it really works well! This family-run company discovered that goat milk...Read More
With daylight savings coming up, I know I’m not the only one itching to open up windows and start spring cleaning the house from top to bottom. So I decided to try out the popular Konmari method of organization from the book by Japanese sensation Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, if a little reluctantly as a parent. All I can say is, this book has rocked my world. And soon will rock my entire house. However there are some aspects that parents should be aware of. Related: The best of the eco-friendly cleaning...Read More
We’re always looking for ways to save time and money grocery shopping, especially during the holiday season when we’re all feeling stretched thinner than usual in every way. We’re spending more on holiday gifts and family travel, and even on household groceries for all those relatives coming to visit. Some longer than others. (Just kidding, we love you relatives! All of you.) Because every minute and every penny counts for us these days, we’re really happy to be working with our newest sponsor hiku, a very cool new gadget and app combo designed to streamline your grocery shopping list and save you tons of time. Let’s just...Read More
11 essential cleaning tips before your holiday party. Whether you’re a neat freak or a “hide everything in the closet” kind of person.
It’s that time of year when pretty much everyone is entertaining. And yeah, we all know how to run the vacuum and wield a toilet brush (or hire someone else to do it, if you’re lucky), but as the resident Cool Mom Picks neat freak, I’ve got a few pre-holiday party cleaning tips and tricks that I’ve picked up over the years to help you get the place in even better shape. Don’t worry — they’re simple, and they’ll actually make your job easier. [Editor’s note: We like that because uh, not all of us around here are neat freaks...Read More
It used to be that you couldn’t find funny reusable grocery bags. Back when we started seeing them blow up for the first time, if anything at all was printed on them, it was usually some chest-beating statement about how super eco-friendly you are–pretty obvious considering you’re carrying a reusable grocery bag. Also, is a message on a bag really going to shame people into changing their habits? Eh, probably not. Well, now we’re seeing more and more reusable grocery bag that are less preachy, and more downright funny. Here, 10 of the funniest ones I’ve found that will give you (and your fellow shoppers) a giggle while you...Read More
I admit I never used to be much of an air freshener person. For years, nice candles did the job. But with kids and pets and did I mention kids? Yeah. I’m a convert. That said, I am super sensitive to scents, and I don’t want to spray my home with chemicals trying to simulate the smell of a pina colada or a pumpkin pie. However if I buy fancy boutique stuff, it kills me to catch the kids playing with it. Which they do. I figure our friends at Method Home know that too, because they’ve just expanded their line to include...Read More
When you’re a new parent, chances are you’re doing a lot of laundry–like, never-ending loads. So it might as well smell fabulous, right? Well, you laundry snobs (like me) are in luck because the laundry mavens over at The Laundress have launched a fresh new look for The Laundress Baby Collection, their eco-friendly line of allergen-free detergent, fabric care, and home cleaning products that is safe for baby and will make those ho-hum chores a little more luxurious. And did I mention allergen-free? Big deal when you’ve got babies. It was my first time test-driving this admittedly luxe cleaning line and I have...Read More
As parents, one of our favorite things about the web is the ability to find so many cool–often free–printables for kids of all kinds that make us all look like crafty geniuses. They’re especially abundant this time of year, as back to school printables help make back to school time easier, more organized, and sometimes just more fun. So in this installment of our Back to School Guide, we share some of our very fave back to school printables, with gratitude to the awesome designers who put their talents to work for all of our benefits. Of course one thing you...Read More