How To Clean Your House In 15 Minutes

c7300c400a736a2d72e524d4257af52c

Have you seen these little quotes posted all over Pinterest and Facebook?
It seems like the days of covering your couches with plastic and cooking dinner in an apron and pumps are long gone. Not only are clean houses no longer the social norm, they can seem impossible to achieve!

I would love to say that I spend my entire day playing in the yard with my kids and working on crafts together, not even thinking twice about the housework. I would love to say that we have so much fun that we don’t even see the mess and that the special memories made that day are all that really matter.
I would love for that to be our life- but that’s easier said than doneReal life balancing household responsibilities and family time is hard!

In fact, I actually find that my family; husband and children included, are the MOST stressed and UNhappy when our house is in disarray! My house is by no means clean all of the time! But, I wish it could be! When our house is organized and tidy and everything is in it’s proper place I find that the atmosphere in our home is much more peaceful and it is THEN that we actually have quality time together!

When my kid’s playroom is clean and organized my children will play for hours, yes I said HOURS without so much as a peep! It makes sense if you think about it! How fun is it to play with a tea set if you can only find one cup and no other pieces? How fun is it to play with a train set if most of the cars and track are missing? When all of the toys are in a box in it’s complete set- it is much more appealing to play with!

It’s not just the kids who enjoy a home that is mess free! Think about how it feels to walk into your home after an exhausting day only to trip on scattered shoes at the front door while trying to hopscotch your way around a mess of toys on the floor, only to plop down on your couch and get a transformer in the behind! Or, my personal pet peeve; waking up to a counter top and sink full of dirty dishes.

While I agree that it’s important to take time to enjoy your children and prioritize family together time, I think a little balance is in order! On most days, there really are enough hours in the day to do both! I know I just lost a few of you there! I’m not talking about having an immaculate house that is sparkling clean from top to bottom. But, I do think it’s possible to achieve a home that is tidy- MOST of the time! I also think that as important as it is to spend quality play time with your kids, it’s also important for your kids to see you taking care of the home! Even better, it’s important to include them in the household duties! After all, real adults have to take care of the things they have right?! And that’s an important lesson for kids too! πŸ™‚

A few months ago I started a new system in our home and it has been a total game changer!
It’s the 15 minute blitz!

One way that I stay on top of keeping my house tidy is by practicing the 15 minute blitz EVERY night!

What is the 15 minute blitz you ask?

Every night after my kids are asleep, during the time I most want to sit down and relax with a book, or a show, or social media, instead I implement the 15 minute blitz!

I take 15 minutes and clean up/tidy my main floor as fast as I can! Once 15 minutes is up- I stop. Even if I didn’t do every single thing that there is to be done. I stop and call it a day. 15 minutes doesn’t seem like a long time but you will be SHOCKED at what you accomplish in that short time! It is so much easier to relax in a tidy room and it feels so good to wake up and start the day in a tidy house!

There are a few rules:

1. You must do this faithfully every night. If you don’t- you will get too far behind and your mess will become overwhelming.

2. You have to work straight for 15 minutes without stopping and without any distractions. This means no stopping to check phone messages or chat with your spouse. πŸ™‚ During this 15 minutes you are in the zone! You need to make every minute count!

3. You have to work FAST! You can take your time with everything else all day long, but during this 15 minutes you need to bust it like your mother in law is around the corner and will be at your doorstep in 15 minutes! πŸ˜‰

*TIP*- Start the blitz in your main living area- kitchen, living room dining room. Even if bedrooms or other parts of the house are a little messy, keeping the main living area tidy helps to create a peaceful atmosphere.

Why does this work? Sometimes you can look around at a mess and feel overwhelmed! You can feel like you don’t have time to get it all done which makes it tempting to push it off for another day! But we all know that this is the quickest way to build a mess mountain!

There will be so many nights when you don’t want to do it and you will try to convince yourself just to skip it! Don’t do it! Push through! You can do anything for 15 measly minutes!!

Try it for a week and see what you think!!
Do you have any tips for keeping your house clean? I would love to hear your tips! πŸ™‚

Happy Cleaning!
XO, Pam

http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com

It’s Not The Colour That Counts!

When you are decorating your house or decorating for a party do you always know exactly what you are looking for? I find that I sometimes do, thanks to the inspirations of pinterest, but often I just have an idea of the general “look” I am trying to achieve and then I hunt for pieces that I think fit into that look. I was recently chatting with a friend of mine who is re-decorating her main living area. She was showing me a beautiful blue-ish pillow she had found that was the inspiration for the accent colour she planned to use in the space. She was talking about her frustrations in trying to find other items like frames, mirrors, clocks, etc that would match the blue in the pillow. The uniqueness of the shade of blue in the pillow made it stunning, but it also made it very difficult to match. She said to me, “You always seems to find the perfect things to match in your house. Where do you find everything?” My reply to her was to let her in to one of my favourite tips/tricks! The truth is I don’t always find things to match my decor! I PAINT EVERYTHING! I never shop based on colour! I always look at the shape and overall “look” of an item and if I love it, regardless of it’s colour, I buy it! This comes in especially handy for me because I love to shop thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales! If you spot a beautiful second hand piece, there are not going to be colour options. Have you ever been shopping and spotted something you love and thought “Oh I wish that came in such and such colour?” If you can master your spray painting skills, (which is actually quite easy) you can make anything look great in the colour of your choice!

Here are some examples of items I have loved, but weren’t in the colour I loved! I should use the word “colour” lightly…I almost always paint things white! Is white a colour?!

This clock was brown when I found it at Homesense. I loved the look of the clock but really needed white to match my decor. I taped off the face of the clock and spray painted it!
FullSizeRender-26

I found this gorgeous frame at a garage sale! It was originally a mirror but the glass inside was shattered. The frame was originally a forest green, but as you can see I sprayed it gold. I am using this piece as part of the decor for my daughters gold and blue themed birthday party. After the party is finished I plan to spray it white and add a chalkboard in the middle. This frame cost me $5! FullSizeRender-27

This is another piece that will be used for my daughters birthday! My daughter LOVES glitter so when I saw this cute cake topper at Hobby Lobby for $1.99, I had to get it! As I mentioned before the colour theme for my daughters party is gold and blue. This seven was originally sparkly silver. Once again, I painted it and added gold glitter and it turned out great!
FullSizeRender-25

This is another garage sale find! This white frame was originally gold and had a very dated print in it. I sprayed it white and then lightly sanded it. I love the way it turned out! This frame cost $15.
FullSizeRender-23

When it was time for my son to move into a “big boy bed” we transformed his room into a beach theme. The main accent colour in the room is a dark navy blue. I loved this little sign but the outer frame was a peachy colour so I just taped off the inside and spray the outer edge blue!
FullSizeRender-24

A few years ago I was looking everywhere for a tall lamp like this in white. The only ones I found were completely unaffordable! I found this lamp (originally black) at Target for super cheap so I scooped it up and sprayed it white!
FullSizeRender-28

I found this mirror at a thrift shop for $7. It was originally gold and really dusty. I took it home, gave it a good scrub and painted it white! This is one of my favourite pieces in my house! It is so unique!
FullSizeRender-29

This shelf had a lot of alterations! When I was decorating for my son’s beach theme room, I was looking for a shelf for a small wall area in his room. After searching high and low and not finding anything that was quite right, I ended up making this shelf. This shelf was originally a dark wood stain. I painted the shelf with a white wash paint to make it look “beach-y.” Then, I found these cute nautical looking hooks. The hooks were metal and had a gold rusted metal look to them. I painted the hooks and had them screwed into the shelf. I love the way this turned out! It’s so cute!

FullSizeRender-31

I found this dresser on Kijiji. I LOVED the shape of this dresser. It was painted jet black with a really bad paint job so it was being sold for $40! When I asked my husband to pick it up for me, he thought I was crazy! “What do you want to do with THAT?!” he asked. I was pretty confident that it could be transformed with a few coats of chalk paint and some new hardware! Plus, it was such an awesome deal I just couldn’t pass it up! The end result speaks for itself!
FullSizeRender-30

As I was looking around my house to find items to post as examples,I realized just how many things I have painted! I tried to choose a few different things to provide a variety of examples, but I could have posted many more! Painting is a cheap way to get the exact look you are going for and it’s fun too! πŸ™‚

Share your own painting DIY in the comments! I would love to see them!

XO, Pam

http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com

If you would like to see more posts like this one, click in the top right hand corner to subscribe! πŸ™‚

A Tale Of 7 Cities…

10698483_4722341751901_9009939255541508122_n
We were nearing the end of my husband’s music tour across Eastern Canada when I received a text from a friend about how jelous she was of my “glamorous” life. When you are traveling to 7 cities in seven days, spending nearly 38 hours in the car with a 3 and 6 year old, “glamorous” is not the first word that comes to my mind! πŸ™‚ We had run out of juice for my son’s cup and he was crying (mostly from exhaustion) and begging for his cup. We decided to pull off the highway and run into the nearest grocery store. We spotted a Zehrs, pulled in front of the door, and I hopped out. My husband asked me to hurry as he was running late for soundcheck in the next city. I ran through the store, grabbed the juice and a few other snacks and headed to the cash. There were only 3 cash lines open and all of them had substantial lines. I chose the one that looked shortest and tried to patiently wait my turn. After what seemed like an eternity it was finally my turn! I dumped the contents of my basket onto the belt and retrieved my debit card from my wallet. I quickly figured out why the lines were moving so slowly. The sweet cashier was a chatty one! She started to tell me a story about her neighbours ex daughter-in-law and the custody battle she was involved in. I was begining to feel like her story was never going to end, when my total popped up and she asked for $24.50. I swiped my card and started gathering my grocery bags. “Sorry Ma’m, but your debit card is declined” she announced. “What?…that’s impossible” I thought, “Greg assured me we had money in our account!”. It must have been a glitch. I swiped the card again and waited..it was still not working! I could feel my cheeks getting hot as the eyes of the impatient man behind me were staring mercilessly at me. I had no cash or credit card with me. I had just waited all this time in line and I knew my three year old was likely still crying in the van. “You could try redeeming points from your PC Plus card” the cashier suggested. I had never done that before but it was worth a try! To my amazement I had just enough to pay for my entire order. Thank you Lord! (apparently the gas station where I had filled up our van had a security breach with their debit cards and all cards used that day were compromised and immediately deactivated.) I grabbed my bags and ran out to the van. “What happened to you in there?” my husband questioned “I thought you were going to be quick?!” We peeled out of the parking lot and within good time arrived at the city where his next concert was being held. My husband dropped us off at the hotel and he hurried over to the venue.

I loaded my shoulders with all of our bags and guided my two children up the elevator and into our hotel room. I set some toys out for my kids and retreated to the bathroom. I was longing to wash my face and flat iron my hair in peace and quiet! πŸ™‚ I was in the bathroom for 15 minutes when my children started calling for me to come out and “see something”. I opened the door of the bathroom to my children shouting “surprise!” “We decorated for your birthday!” They had toilet papered the entire room. I tried not to look upset as I scanned the room. It was not my birthday and this was not the kind of surprise I was hoping for! We cleaned up the “party” mess, and decided to head to the hotel pool for a swim. The kids excitedly put on their bathing suits, grabbed their water wings and took the elevator down to the pool. When we arrived at the pool a lifeguard was sitting at the door and informed us that the pool was closed for a private swimming lesson. My kids started to cry. “I have a fun idea!” I suggested, “Let’s go back to the room and order some room service!” (When you are alone in a hotel with 2 kids and the pool is closed, your idea of “fun” gets pretty creative!) We took the elevator back up to our room, ordered some room service and were settling in for the night when my 6 year old daughter asked if we could go to Daddy’s concert.

We were planning on having a quiet night at the hotel, but when my daughter suggested we venture out, I thought “why not?” After all, the church he was singing at was suppose to be “just across the street”. The automatic doors in the hotel lobby slid open and we stepped outside. It was now quite dark. I looked directly accross the street and didn’t see the church. “It must be just a ways down the road” I thought to myself….but which way? Should I head left out of the hotel parking lot, or right, or straight ahead? I decided to go with my instincts which was to head to the left. Now anyone who knows me well, knows that my “instincts” when it comes to geography are disastrous and to add to the adventure, this night, we were in Montreal! Every sign we read was in French and unfortunately my French is limited to ‘bonjour’ and ‘au revoir”. πŸ™‚ As we walked I told my daughter to keep an eye out for any building that may look like a church. I was wracking my brain trying to think of the name of the church, but I just could not remember. How hard could it be to find a church? We were walking for about 15 minutes when my 3 year old decided that he was too tired and needed to be carried. I slung him onto my back and continued searching for the church. As we neared the end of the street and had travelled further and further from the hotel, I started to feel as if we were going in the wrong direction. “Let’s turn back honey”, I suggested to my daughter. “I think we need to walk back to the hotel and go the other way”. By the time we got back to the hotel, we had been walking for 30 minutes. We started out again and this time in the opposite direction. I saw a large building at the end of the street that I thought must surely be the church. My son was whining about being tired, my arms were numb from carrying him and I was getting really hot and sweaty! After walking for another 15-20 minutes we reached the building at the end of the road. It was not the church. “Ok guys, I’m sorry but we are just going to have to head back to the hotel. Mommy can’t find the church” My daughter was upset and she pleaded, “But Mommy, we’ve walked all this way! We can’t give up now! Can we pleeeaase walk just a little further?” And so we did. We walked…And we walked and we walked some more. We were zigzagging up and down each street with no luck. Finally ahead in the distance we saw an illuminated cross: the church!! We made our way towards it, just praying that it was the right one! My daughter started jumping up and down with excitement! “We found it! We found it!” As we entered the doors, the French speaking ticket collectors asked to see our tickets. I was certain that my lack of French would be my undoing in this moment. “I THINK we should be on the list?” I replied. I gave her my name and she started to scan her list. “Sorry madame, you aren’t on the list” she replied.(thank goodness her english was better than my french!) We cannot allow you to go in. My daughter started to whimper and I, of course did not bring my wallet so I couldn’t even buy tickets. I could hear my husband singing in French from the auditorium! I tried to explain to the girl that we are usually on the list and that there must have been some mistake. “Okay”, she replied. “Have a seat on that bench over there.” A bench? What a glorious sight! My back was throbbing and my arms were numb from carrying my son. I was HAPPY to sit for a bit. It wasn’t long before one of the organizers met me at the door, apologized kindly and brought us in. We had made it! We were guided to a beautiful ‘green room’ and re-united with my husband and the night turned out to be really fun!

This trip was just the begining of a year that will be filled with many roadtrips and adventures! Anyone with young children knows how difficult it can be to travel long distances in the car with your children! I spent quite a bit of time in preparation for this trip! A little bit of preparation and organization can dramatically alter the experience you have when travelling with little ones! My husband and I have travelled with our kids since they were babies and I have learned a few tricks to help make the experience enjoyable for everyone!

Tip #1- Prepare Car Activities

* One of the best purchases we made was a dual screen dvd player for the car. Sometimes everyone just needs a little quiet time in the car. I found some really great children’s DVD’s at the dollarstore!
-bush-7-twin-screen-car-portable-dvd-player--3-p-2
* Treat Baskets- I purchase all of my children’s favourite treats and package them in individually portioned packages. That way when they start to get hungry or need a little treat I can easy pass one back to them.

* Lap Desks- I purchased lap desks for each of my kids! They are awesome for the car!! The lap desks help the kids to colour or play with toys without trying to balance it on their lap. Most of the lap desks come with a built in cup holder which is great for crayons or markers so that they don’t roll away and onto the floor.I got mine at Chapters but I think most office supply stores have them as well.
lapdesk

* Gifts- I also always purchase a few dollarstore items and wrap them for each child. I reserve these for the really kookie moments when the kids have tired of watching movies and are starting to get on each others nerves, and yours! πŸ™‚ I pass a gift back to them which contains some type of “busy work” activity. Of course you can just buy little activities and not wrap them but there is something extra special and exciting for kids when you wrap them! πŸ™‚ Some examples of items I wrap are: colouring books, sticker books, puzzles, dvd’s, simple crafts, glow sticks for when its dark, flashlights, etc.
photo-16

* Leap Frog Tag Reader- My sister bought a leap frog tag reading system for my daughter a few years ago and they are awesome! The reading “pens” read stories aloud to your children as they turn the pages of their books. Each page also has learning games where kids have to find certain shapes and colours. The Tag reading system brand new is pretty pricey but I found an additional one for my son at a second hand store for really cheap! You can find them on kijiji and ebay as well.
photo-35 copy
The trick to a smooth long car ride is to keep the kids busy with a variety of activities. I rotate between watching a movie, colouring on the lapdesks, using their tag readers, and opening and playing with their little gifts. This system has worked wonders for us!

Tip #2 Orgainze, Organize, Organize!

* One of my favourite travelling tips is to be organized with your packing! I purchased a variety of totes from the company 31 Gifts, and they are amazing! I divided everything into separate totes to keep it organized. It is much easier than piling everything into one large suitcase and having to dig to the bottom, making a mess, every time you need something. I have one tote for car toys, one tote for activities for the kids to use during the concert, one tote for first aid/medicine, one for hotel toys, one for toiletries, make-up, snacks, etc.
photo-35 copy 2photo-35 copy 3
This is one of my favourites! It contains all of my makeup and hangs conveniently on the back of the bathroom door. Everything is displayed so nicely and with easy access. Something about walking into a hotel bathroom with copious bottles of face, hair, and make-up products littered across the counter gives me anxiety! This is the PERFECT solution for that! To make things even easier, I purchased duplicates of all of these products. This is my “travelling” make-up bag. I keep this packed all the time and use different make-up when I am home so that I do not have to continually pack and unpack. It’s always ready to go! Throw it in the suitcase and done!

If you are interested in purchasing organizational gear click on the link below and it will direct you to my wonderful consultant Natalee. She has awesome ideas and helps you to get the best prices possible for your organizational needs! πŸ™‚
https://www.mythirtyone.ca/natalee/

Tip #2- The ZIP AND SHIP method.
This method of packing was introduced to me by watching this link

and has since been perfected by my sister. I love this method for many reasons!

The Method:
– Purchase large Ziploc bags
– Go through your closet and drawers and decide which outfits you will need for your trip and put each outfit into a pile. For example, if you are going on a 7 day trip, make 7 piles on on your floor- one for each day. In each pile you should have the top and bottom you will be wearing, a pair of socks, a pair of underwear and any accessories you will need for the outfit. (jewellery, belt, ect)

-Label each ziploc bag with a sharpie with the date the outfit will be worn.

– Put each outfit into a designated bag.
-Squeeze the air out of the bag and zip it up.

– That’s it! Easy Peasy!
– You will be AMAZED at how much more you can fit in your suitcase this way! I am convinced that this is THE MOST efficient way to pack!
– You don’t have to worry about anything spilling or leaking in your suitcases since everything is individually packaged.
– You don’t waste any space in your suitcase packing things you don’t need or won’t use. Everything you pack has a purpose!
– It makes getting ready once you arrive at your destination completely mindless!
– It’s husband proof!:) On those busy mornings trying to get out of your hotel room, just give your husband a child, the bag marked with that date, and he has everything he needs to fully dress your child! Question and confusion free! :o)

We are blessed to be able to travel as a family! The more fun and enjoyable you can make it for everyone, the more you will WANT to do it! Honk if you see us on the road! πŸ™‚ XO

Pam

cleanlifehappywife.com