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
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
If you’ve got kids and pets, you know how hilarious the combination can be. That’s why there is no shortage of cute kids and pets YouTube videos that…oh, we may watch on a loop from time to time, even when our kids aren’t around. C’mon, the dog singing like a toddler! So cute! But as much as we love our human babies and our fur babies (yes, we went there), we’re not big fans of the messes they make on their own, let alone when they’re together. That’s why we’re thrilled to have rounded up these videos on behalf of...Read More
Keeping a house clean when you’ve got work and kids and pets and all of the things can be a pretty ominous task if you think of it all at once. However if you can break it down, and tackle a single chore or maybe even a couple of smaller tasks when you’ve got a free 10 minutes in your day (or evening), you’ll be amazed at how much better your home can look, and how great it can make you feel. (We aren’t the only ones who experience clean counter zen, are we?) We’re thrilled to be teaming up with our newest sponsor Pyoure, a...Read More
Let’s be real: kids’ room clutter is the gift that keeps on giving. And it’s not just kids’ bedrooms that are problems — we always find the need to declutter our entryways, the kitchen, the bathroom, the garage, the area around the TV, every corner of every room…you get it. And if you live in a smaller space (hello, city living), the clutter can seem ten-fold. So we’ve been looking for some easy ways to declutter kids’ rooms, which makes for a perfect summer project, as you get a respite from all the classwork and art projects coming home each day. We spoke with Emma Gordon,...Read More
In case you missed them, here are 5 tech tips, tricks, and ideas we featured this week on Cool Mom Tech that we think are pretty awesome. 1. If you’re hitting the road for spring break, read these essential tech tips for traveling with kids. 2. Waze just added a feature that’s a big deal for anyone who spends any time in the car. 3. Our cool free app of the week is perfect for spring cleaning season. (Even if you get the kids to do the cleaning!) 4. A 15-minute trick to get your home office organized. 5. These brilliant smartphone...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
I fully admit that home organization is the bane of my existence. If you’re a hard-core reader of this site or a listener of the Spawned podcast then you know that while Kristen is an avid purger, I’m what I like to think of, fondly, as a Nostalgic Hoarder. It’s like not you’re going to find me one day, buried under 25-year old newspaper clippings, old coffee cans and pounds of cat hair. But I do have trouble getting rid of my kids’ early doodles (they’re so sweet!); birthday cards from every relative ever (maybe my kids will want...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 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
What’s all-natural, odorless, has a bajillion uses, and can even clean up that two-year old cat barf that’s ossified under the couch? Answer: the last cleaner you’ll ever buy, Mamas. Really, it’s that good. We’ve covered oodles of the best natural cleaning supplies to keep all those icky chemicals away from your family, but Branch Basics is truly extraordinary. Made of all-natural ingredients including minerals and enzymes from seed-bearing plants, Branch Basics arrives in a concentrate that you can customize to your cleaning needs. Just add water to the handy spray bottle, which is clearly marked with dilution levels...Read More
When spring hits around my house, that means time to clean and kick the clutter, which isn’t such an easy task when you’ve got four kids running around. As much as I’d love to scrub the baseboards and wash all the windows, that’s probably not going to happen. But I can tackle my basic spring cleaning checklist I’m sharing here, that will still give us a fresh organizational start to the new season. 1. Organize those toys: Go through toys and books, or better yet, have older children go through themselves and sort them out into keep, donate/sell, and...Read More
As the happy owner to a sweet black lab who was once abandoned on the streets–and as a former animal rescue volunteer–I have a soft spot for any initiative that helps unwanted animals live a happier and healthier life. This weekend, you can help those furry friends too by buying items you already need for your home. It’s so easy, that even those of you who normally sneeze when you come to my house can get in on the action. From now through Sunday, March 24, buy any of the method cleaners from Soap.com, and they will donate 15%...Read More
Spring sunshine and open windows are wonderful…until we suddenly see the dirt and cobwebs that have been comfortably lurking in corners all winter. Here are some of our favorite ways to handle spring cleaning safely, especially when we all know babies and kids will be touching pretty much everything. Our newest favorite counter cleaner is all natural and so safe that you can lick it–which I did. There’s a lot to like about iGozen, from its many uses around the house to the fact that it comes in adorable little powder packets in a handy storage box that...Read More
If you’re worried about scary chemicals around the house, you’re going to love the new organic cleaner so safe that you can use it to wash fruit, shine the counter, or wipe out your dog’s ears. Or, yes, even lick it. And I know, because I totally licked it. For the record, it had no taste, which is kind of crazy considering the smell of most of my cleaning products. That says something right there. iGozen is an organic household cleaner made from 100% natural calcium particles straight from the ocean. It arrives in tidy packets all in a...Read More
Every square mile of our oceans has an average of 46,000 pieces of plastic swirling around there. It’s killing nearly one million sea birds a year that swallow it, and another 100,000 turtles, dolphins, whales and sharks. I don’t know how to say it any other way, but that’s disgusting. So I’m so delighted to see that none other than Method is doing something good about it. For more than a year, Method has worked with volunteers from Hawaiian environmental groups to scour local beaches and collect (by hand, no less) more than a ton of plastic. With help...Read More
Even though my fellow Cool Mom Picks Editors have tried and loved the eco-friendly Honest products, I’d yet to give them a whirl myself. So recently, I had the chance to test out a couple of their newest natural cleaning products for home use, and I have to say, I’m pretty impressed. And not just because I think co-founder Jessica Alba and I should be BFFs. Honest Oxy Boost Around my place, we just live with clothes with stains because I’ve yet to find a bleach stain and odor remover that isn’t loaded with toxins. I live in sensitive skin...Read More
Take three crumb-dropping kids, a big shedding dog, and a house without air conditioning, and you’ve got one mama who breaks out in a sweat just thinking about vacuuming. But lately, this chore hasn’t required me to do too much more than push a button. Like its predecessor, the previously reviewed Neato XV-11, the new Neato XV-21 robotic vacuum is a suction powerhouse with a motor that lets you know it means business as it revs up like a diminutive jet in my living room. No, it will not achieve lift off. What makes this newer Neato XV-21 so ideal...Read More
You know how sometimes, when you’re walking down the sidewalk, you can smell someone’s laundry in the dryer? I’ll admit it–I love that smell. And I’ve missed having it at my own home, since I gave up the high-chemical detergents and started making my own. Good news: one of our favorite brands, Mrs. Meyer’s, has melded the natural with the deliciously-scented, and it smells like bluebells. I’ve been to the Mrs. Meyer’s headquarters, so I’ve seen firsthand how hard they strive to make their products biodegradable and as natural as possible, without phosphates or other harmful chemicals. Having participated...Read More
I had never given much thought about the old canister vacuum I used for years and years: It was a fair little vacuum with a dust-belching bag that I never remembered to replace, and a “retracting cord” feature had stopped retracting years before. But once my mother bought me a Dyson upright, like so many Dyson fans, I was converted immediately and never looked back. Can Dyson tempt me back to a canister with their latest offering? And, if you are still living in the dusty world of vacuum bags, is this the vacuum that will get you bagless? The...Read More
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