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oh, that’s why there is a manual

September 29, 2011

A couple of things that have been helping me lately:

Now that my boys have after school activities that put us home at 6:30 and starving, I decided I need to come up with some pre-meal planning so we don’t eat out every night!  This means cooking a part of the meal mid-afternoon and doing as much as I can to be ready for serving it later. One of the biggest  ideas I had was to pull out my oven manual and actually READ IT about delay start.  This means I can program the time for my oven to turn on and have it ready and hot when we walk in the door. Major help!

Another manual I read (this isn’t common for me, really) is my washing machine. I know we have talked about smelly towels in a front loader and one of the suggestions I read about online was to put my machine on the wash cycle once a month.  I think this has made a difference since I no longer have smelly towels! (that, plus Borax) Check your manual out and see how easy this is. I keep a post-it in my laundry cabinet that I write when I run it and it helps me aim for doing this once a month.  It has been over a year since I have been doing this and it’s simple.

Last tip: – my mother-in-law got me into this- I use a black sharpie on many things in my kitchen.  I mark the date when I open spices, when I open any jarred food – mainly applesauce, pasta sauces or marinades as those shouldn’t stick around opened forever in the fridge. Most recently, I added the date to the top of my dish scrub brush as I don’t want to keep those around too long!

Do you have any housekeeping tips for me?  I love learning this stuff!  For instance, does anyone have an idea how to make your disposer smell good?  I have tried slices of lemons, but I need a new idea. Thanks!



  1. Jenny permalink
    September 29, 2011 8:39 pm

    Thanks for the tips! For the disposal, while it’s turned OFF, wrap your hand in a few paper towels and while the water is turned on wipe under the black rubber guard. You will be amazed at all the gross slime that is under there!

  2. Christina permalink
    September 29, 2011 9:06 pm

    Try Plink pellets for your garbage disposal. They are superconcentrated balls of lemon/orange smelling stuff that you put in the disposal while running. I think I picked them up at Bed, Bath and Beyond a while ago, but you might be able to get them at the grocery store.

    I label stuff in my fridge too–especially leftovers. I use masking tape and a sharpie and write the date we ate the food on it. I think it’s better than the smell test to decide if something needs to be thrown out.

    For my front-loader, I found a machine cleaner right next to the bleach at Target. (I think it’s confusing since it’s made by clorox and looks like a small bleach bottle) It’s made for a front-loader and recommended to do monthly or so. I also try to leave the door cracked a bit when I’m done with all my loads of laundry so it can air out.

    When the kids were littler and there socks were microscopic, I put all of one kids’ socks in a lingerie bag to wash/dry them. That way, I knew they would all be there at the end. 2 kids=2 bags

    My daughter takes 1-2 water bottles to school everyday and I’m always wondering how to get the tops and interior-straws clean. I dug out my old basket for putting baby-bottle nipples and put the straws in the holders on the side and the tops of the bottles in the basket. Since we do dishes at least once a day, we just rotate the bottles she takes to school.

    A neighbor suggested this to me to help control the mountains of stuff KG and early elementary kids bring home. I used to put everything in a big, plastic underbed storage and wonder what I would do with it later. Now, I have a 3″-3 ring binder for each year of school. When something comes home that is “binder-worthy” it gets the date on it, 3 hole punched and put in the binder. Presto! No more stacks and stacks of papers. My daughter is in 1st grade and I even went back through the KG year and pulled stuff out–took me 30-45 minutes to get it put together.(Probably threw away about 1/2 the stuff I had collected) My kids have loved going through and looking at the “books” together. If we get similar items and since we can’t keep everything, I also have a 11×13 mailing envelope labeled with the address of Grandparents who live far away. Things that don’t go in the binder have the date written on and are placed in the envelope. When it’s full, it gets sent. That way, they get to see a little bit of what the kids are doing and how they are progressing, and I don’t feel guilty about throwing things away.

    I’m always thinking of things that need to get done at random times and wonder how I’m going to remember–like what should we plant in our garden next year, who to invite to a birthday party, I need to make car appt, etc. I found small spiral notebooks in the stationery section of Target, about 3×5 inches and keep it in my purse. That way, if I think of something, I can jot it there. I have an app on my smart phone that can make lists, but then I forget to look at the app…

    My Dad made me a recipe binder. Using the clear sheet protectors that go in binders, I just put the recipe in the sheet protector. I’ve taped old cards in, or recipes that I have gotten off the sides of boxes. It’s much bigger than a recipe card and easier to flip through than a card file. Also, they don’t get dirty since they are protected by plastic. I also make sure we like the recipe before it goes in the binder. It’s set up by appetizers/chicken/beef/soup/dessert, etc. Have also used this method to create a “work-out” book of ideas I’ve torn out of magazines–section for arms/legs/abs, etc.

    I’ve also found getting rid of stuff to be very helpful in getting organized. However, sometimes the process seems too overwhelming. So, I’ll set a timer for 20 minutes and work until the timer rings. It keeps the process from becoming overwhelming

    Since I just threw out unopened taco shells that expired in 2008, evidently I don’t have any ideas for the pantry :)–Maybe I could use the aforementioned sharpie to write expiration dates on the boxes before I put them away??

  3. September 30, 2011 8:08 am

    Be sure to flush the disposal every time you use it. We have a tendency to use the disposal, and turn off the faucet at the same time we turn off the disposal. Running the water longer will flush the small particles out of the device and help eliminate odors.

  4. Kim Schwartzenberger permalink
    September 30, 2011 9:42 am

    I was given the tip of putting a peach pit in the disposal. The sound is horrible but it really works. It is the only thing that got rid of the odor.

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