Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mom Tips - For Around the House, #5

I so enjoy the little "mom tips" that I've come across in life - those little things that I've learned from my mom, or a mom friend, that just make life a little nicer.  Things that make the "daily-daily" just a little easier, or make me smile a little more, or maybe will be a time saver for me.   
I'm not referring to the bigger projects like de-cluttering or re-organizing, (although those definitely make me smile)!  But just the small  things - the "mom tips" that aren't in the self-help books, they're just life-experience things that I've gotten from a mom with experience under her belt.  Well I'll share with you some Mom Tips for Around the House, #5; I hope they bring a simple breath of fresh air to your regular every day patterns!  *smile*

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ Unusually large amount of laundry to face - If you have an unusually large amount of laundry to do in a day, consider the approach I discovered this morning. Instead of getting out all of the hampers and sorting ALL of the clothes at once in to colors/whites piles ready to be rotated through, which completely clogs up our very small hallway by the laundry room, I instead am taking from one hamper a colors and a whites pile and starting with those - but leaving all the rest of the laundry in the other hampers until I have more room on the floor for more piles. Then every time I put a load in to the washer, freeing up a space on the floor, then I pull another load amount from a hamper so that's ready for me to wash. Unloading one load amount at a time until it's all gone through. And I'll have our laundry folders today (our two oldest daughters) fold clothes one basket at a time as I have them dried and ready. (They know it's a big day, and we just have to do what we have to do today to get caught up).

~ Need writing utensils to stand up strait -  For years I have been trying to get the few writing utensils that I use all the time to stand up strait in my desk/counter top organizer but they were forever falling down side ways and disappearing underneath things where I couldn't find them!  Finally it dawned on me to cut a 4-5-inch long piece off of a paper towel roll and tuck it down inside the holder where it would hold up my utensils invisibly.  Works beautifully!  *cheer!*

~ Don't smell the sugar  - I've been really trying not to eat sugar for a while now in an effort to lose the baby weight I've needed to get off.  But I found it especially hard when serving something like birthday cup cakes to the kids when I had to smell the sweetness and it made my mouth water!  Now this may sound silly, but I discovered that if I just breathe out my mouth and not smell the sugar I'm serving, then my mouth wouldn't water for the dessert and I was really fine with passing it up!  *laugh*

~ Keeping my pen handy - I am forever needing a writing utensil during our homeschool hours as I'm correcting school work and helping the kids; however I cannot afford to set down a ball point pen for one second when I need my hands free because we've had the little and middle kids even pick up that ball point pen and do permanent damage to our furniture or mark on the walls, etc.  So if I didn't have a pocket handy (often) I was carrying around a ball point pen every where I went.  It finally occurred to me one day that I should have a lanyard for my pen to hang around my neck!  I tried a couple of stores that carry lanyards but my pen wouldn't clip on to the end.  So I decided to use some pretty glass beads the kids had bought for me from Michael's Craft Supply store, and ask our 6-year-old daughter if she would like to string them for me.  She loved to, but when I used elastic cording it eventually broke (even when doubled over, and of a heavy guage).  I tried cotton string, but that got severed, too, and also broke (yes, leaving beads everywhere both times).  My husband suggested using some of the parachute cord string he had (from making manly bracelets for he and our sons) and that has worked great, with a key chain clip (also found at Michael's) attached to the cord so that my pen clip can't sever it.  I think one could also use fishing line if the beads are string snugly enough that the fishing line would never touch one's skin and risk cutting them if it were pulled on.  I feel like a well-prepared and even decorative mama now!


~ Making a to-do list more efficient - This is an idea that I had published once in Marriage Partnership Magazine.  *smile*  For 15 years I have simply organized my 8x10-inch To-Do list in to three groups, "Call", "Do", and "Go".  This way when I have a little time to get something done off of my list I don't have to waste that time reading the entire list trying to determine what I have time for at that moment!  *laugh*  If it's a good time to make a quick PHONE CALL then I can glance at my list and choose from the ones listed.  The errands I have to run I don't need to think about until the weekend when I GO shopping, so I don't need to spend time reading about them during the week.  Mostly I just look over my DO list and quickly choose something from there that can be done in those 5 or 10 free minutes I have to use right then.  Quick, simple, and doesn't waste my time.  *smile* 

(click to enlarge)

~ Coffee filter uses - Who knew?!  This is an awesome list of 27 great uses for coffee filters which my dad just sent to me!  You can buy 1,000 filters, even the large ones, at the Dollar Tree!  Here you go!
 * Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave, to catch splatters but still allow the dish to "breathe".

* Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome; coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.

* Protect your good dishes by separating them with a coffee filter between each dish.

* Protect a cast-iron skillet.  Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

* Filter broken cork from wine.  If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

* Weigh chopped foods.  Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.

* Hold tacos.  Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

* Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot.  Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes. 

* Prevent a popsicle from dripping.  Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.

* Apply shoe polish.  Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.
* Recycle frying oil.  After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with coffee filter.

* Cut out strips for waxing eyebrows. 
* Straining soup stock with them.

* Prevent spilling when adding fluids to your car.

* Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.

* Use them as a spoon rest while cooking, and for cleaning up small counter spills.  

* Filter rain water for drinking.

* Use them to hold dry ingredients when baking, or when cutting up fruit or veggies; saves on having extra bowls to wash.

* Use them to wrap Christmas ornaments for storage.

* Use them to sprout seeds.  Simply dampen the coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a plastic baggie until they sprout.

* Use coffee filters as blotting paper for pressed flowers.  Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put them in the pages of a phone book.

* Use as a disposable "snack bowl" for popcorn or chips, etc.

* Soak all the grease out of fried bacon, french fries, chicken fingers, etc. by putting a few coffee filters in a plate and placing the food on them.

* Keep a few in the bathroom for stopping bleeding from razor nicks.  Tear off a tiny piece and apply.

* As a sewing backing.  Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering or appliqueing soft fabrics.

* To absorb or prevent odors, put baking soda into a coffee filter, enclose it and insert into shoes or a closet. 

* Cut out paper snow flakes for windows or to hang from the ceiling.


Blessings on your creative efforts at home!

Lots more Mom Tips for Around the House!  *cheer!*
Mom Tips - For Around the House, #1
Mom Tips - For Around the House, #2
Mom Tips - For Around the House, #3
Mom Tips - For Around the House, #4

You also might enjoy reading my related posts:
Mom Tips - For Children's Things, #1
Mom Tips - For Cooking, #1 
Mom Tips - For the Car, Organization & Preparedness
Mom Tips - For the Kitchen  


  1. Love all the coffee filter ideas :)

  2. I too love the coffee filter ideas! As usual, I have a slightly off topic question.

    What is your stance on alcohol? Do you drink wine, beer or hard liquor. I can't imagine that you and Bob are partying it up with brown liquor and loud music, but you never know. The wine/coffee filter tip made wonder, do you guys drink?

    Just curious.

    1. I used coffee filters in a colander to strain tea leaves when my tea bag busted during seeping -same idea as the cork in wine problem. As an add-on to KL's question, if you avoid drinking alcohol directly, are you opposed to using it in cooking (sauteeing, sauces, etc. where the alcohol cooks out)? Me too, just curious. Oh another mom tip that saves my sanity is to put scotch tape over the speakers of noisy kid toys. Some are just SO loud and annoying, and possibly damage their hearing too. :(

    2. I agree, I'm curious to see what your stance on alcohol is. And I know this is way off the subject, but I'm also wondering if you vaccinate your children.

    3. Well, that's a big question about alcohol. *chuckle* No, we don't choose to drink any alcohol at all. I know that Jesus drank wine, but that was not of the same alcoholic content as it is today. And I know that scripture says Do not get drunk, but does not say Do not drink. But if one doesn't drink often then even a little alcohol can compromise one's judgement/reflexes, etc. The Bible also speaks a lot on being above reproach and not causing someone else to "stumble" by our own actions, and when Christians drink and others see it it certainly cause others to stumble in their own success at staying alert and sober. So we really see no benefit at all at consuming alcohol, and only great harm. My extended family has extensive alcoholism issues, so I've never seen good in it at all, only brokenness and pain.

      Whenever I've been on leadership teams for churches or ministries there was always a no drinking policy - period. For these reasons mentioned above. So I figured, if that is the best way to live when being a model in leadership, why shouldn't I live the rest of my life like that as well? Why compromise and live to a lower standard just because I'm no longer working for the church? So, we simply don't consume any alcohol at all.

      I do cook with cooking wine, however, as it adds great flavor; but the alcohol cooks out of it so it doesn't matter regarding that.

      And Katie, about vaccinations - another huge topic, and one that I've honestly not even wanted to take on yet *chuckle* (I know, weird with everything else we've taken on here at LFOP). As of a little less than 2 years ago we no longer vaccinate the children at all. I got a lot more information about it from our chiropractic/naturopath doctors, and from online and books. And we'll never do it again. But sadly we did for our children up until that point. Thankfully we haven't had any detrimental effects as a result.

    4. Thanks Erika! Another thing I have been wondering is if you've ever experienced baby blues or postpartum depression...and if you have, if you'd write a post on that. (My, I'm being a demanding reader today!) Blessings.

  3. Manly bracelets for him and the boys (not "he") ;-)

    As for laundry, if you have more than one hamper, why not designate a hamper for white and one for colors? Then you never have to sort the laundry (or at least not nearly as much).

    1. This is what I do too. Well, I do one hamper for "hot" and another for "lukewarm" - I hardly ever wash on cold, only real fragile things. The kids don't always now what goes in which, but the sorting is just a quick check before throwing a load in the machine. Works beautifully :)

    2. You could even put a picture or drawing of what goes in each hamper for kids who can't read or are too little to understand.

  4. Honestly I'm amazed that you sort laundry at all. I never sort, just wash in cOld and hope for the best. It's never been a problem.

    1. Well hot water disinfects/sanitizes for things that have urine on them, underwear, or smelly bath towels, etc. But it can also cause bright colors to bleed.

    2. I forgot about the pee pee factor with little kids. Our youngest is 5 so that's not such an issue.

      To be honest my husband has done laundry for many years. I imagine he takes care of running colors and that kind of thing. What little laundry I do is always unsorted and (usually) pee free.

    3. I rarely sort my laundry either! The pee clothes, bedding & towels always get washed in warm/hot but everything else gets washed in cold. If I have something that is brand new and looks like the colors might bleed, I will be more careful... but otherwise, it all goes in together! [I must add the disclosure that I STILL do not have a good laundry system in place, so I may not be the best example to follow! LOL.]

  5. I have two hampers in the main bathroom, whites and darks. For the bedroom hampers my husband has a system where he washes each person's clothes on a certain day.

  6. Would you like to follow/subscribe to my blog? It's about my life as a mother to a large family (nine kids!). It's fairly new but i'm going to be posting about my life, how I run my home, helpful tips for mothers, and more. That would be greatly appreciated, as i'm trying to make it more popular. Thanks! I'll be sure to follow your blog, as well. The blog URL is www.thecastanedaclan.blogspot.com

  7. Thanks for all these tips! I have a package of coffee filters from Costco and I have found many new uses for them. As for laundry, we have a family closet for the 7 of us. IIt's in our bedroom and I have found it keeps the younger ones from pulling clothes out of their dresser when I'm not looking! I built laundry basket dressers and we have four of those, each holding three baskets. I use those instead of dressers for our children's clothing. When they are older, I will put them in their closets and they use them for sorting their own laundry.

    Also, I wanted to tell you I tried your recipe for zucchini patties and my whole family loved them! Here's a tip: I like to prep stuff ahead of time in the kichen as much as I can, so I prepped seveal batches of thezucchini mix and placed in bags in the freezer along with instructions on adding the liqhid ingredients. When time to make the patties, I can't stand to get my hands messy shapiing the patties, so I use my ice cream scoop and then press it down in the pan. They are so tasty!

    Another way I prep ahead is when I come home from the grocery store, I like to dice up a bunch of veggies (onions, peppers, carrots, celery, whetever I have) and put them in separate bags in the freezer. I organize the bags in plastic shoeboxes placed in the freezer. This makes scrambled eggs in the morning or soup for dinner so much easier for me! My five children are pretty young still, (7,5,3,2,4mos) so i don't have a lot of "helpful" help in the kichen yet! Have to make any shortcut I can! I've even made mini bagel sandwiches with scrambled eggs and cheese and froze them to be taken out for times we have to be out of the house early in the morning..would love to hear any more time-saving tips you or your readers may have!

  8. hi i use salt to stop colours from running in new clothes that aren't colour fast and then no problems with washing altogether. I wash in cold water and use either table salt and have used rock salt in the past - whichever is on hand

  9. Hi Erika, if it's not a secret could you please share where you purchased you mail sorter on your kitchen counter with picture frames in them. It's very lovely and it's exactly what I'm missing in my kitchen to prevent chaos of important papers just lying around in one spot. I would appreciate it. Thank you.



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