Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meal Planning! Save Time Save Money!


Save time, save money and save your sanity.

How many times have you stood at the refrigerator staring at what’s inside trying to figure out a balanced meal?

Staring and staring and not coming up with anything better than crescent rolls stuffed with onions and pickles.

Stop driving yourself crazy at meal time and plan out your week with specials.

Restaurants do this to stay on a budget and to save time, and we can learn a thing or two from the way they prepare for their dinner rushes.

Each Sunday, scan your paper for sales and coupons. If you see that ground beef is on sale along with green peppers, make meatloaf one night.

Make your menu out for the week. Of course you can hop over to my friend, Robyns blog:

WHAT'S COOKING? She has delicious and easy recipes over there to give you inspiration and a change of pace! Be sure to try her Taste Of Home winning recipe for Pasta Primavera!

Once you have your menu written out, its time to clean out your refrigerator. Believe me it’s so easy to get to the store and wonder, “do I have eggs at home?” Of course you buy them just to be safe and when you get home you find a dozen eggs. Now you just spent money unnecessarily.

So the fridge is clean, and your menu is written out. Go through and figure out what ingredients you will need for each recipe. Be sure to check that you don’t already have something hidden behind the box of cereal in the pantry. And prepare your grocery list. Monday morning, go shopping. Get it done and out of the way for the rest of the week. Yes, your produce will stay fresh for the week. Remember that now you have at least 5-7 days worth of groceries and meals. Just because you wrote down meatloaf on Monday and chicken on Tuesday doesn’t mean that you have to stick to those days, you can easily switch it up. Be sure to have at least one light and easy meal planned. Soup and sandwiches are fine for the days that you’re really busy. You may even want to make extras just to keep in the freezer for super busy, or just plain lazy days!

When you get home from the store, washing all your produce before putting it away will save you a lot of time when its time to cook. You can even chop some things up and store them in the fridge for when you need them. Anything you can do ahead of time will save you time in the long run.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Eating Together As A Family


Having dinner as a family is important. With so many schedules and time constraints I know this can be a challenge. But the benefits are so important. Studies have found that sitting together as a family for a meal is a simple, effective way to reduce the risk of youth substance abuse and to raise healthier children.

• Compared to teens that have frequent family dinners, those who rarely have family dinners are three-and-a-half times more likely to have abused prescription drugs or an illegal drug other than marijuana.
• Girls who have five or more meals a week with their families are one-third less likely to develop unhealthy eating habits, which can range from skipping meals to full-fledged anorexia or abusing diet pills.
• Parental influence and involvement is an important tool in preventing substance abuse. Regularly sitting down for a meal with your children is one way to connect with them and be involved with what is happening in their lives.

If sitting together really is impossible because of conflicting schedules there are still some things you can do. If your kids come home late from football practice, you and your husband can and should still sit with them while they have their meal. Sit down with a cup of coffee or dessert while they eat and talk with them. Use the same concept with your spouse. If he/she tends to come home 3 hours after you and the kids have had dinner, you can all sit with them at the table while they eat. Give the kids a nighttime snack while Mom/Dad is eating their dinner.

Talk with your children at the table. Discuss their day. Have each member of the family share their favorite part of that day and what was the hardest part of their day. Information and knowledge is power. Knowing whats going on in our children's lives is part of our job. Turn off the television. Get rid of distractions that take away from the discussions at the table. Talking to our children is important, but listening is just as important. Make the time special. Make it a time everyone in the family looks forward to. Here's some more tips to get you started.

Set a pretty table. Show that this is important to you. Use dishes, not paper plates. Set the table properly. This is a good time to teach your children how to set a table the proper way. You would be surprised how many kids have no clue what side of the dish a fork should go on, or where to place the drinking glass.

To set a basic table, you will need a dinner plate, glass, knife, fork, spoon and napkin. Heres a quick look at a casual but proper place setting.

  • A simple centerpiece, salt and pepper along with any other seasonings or condiments your family enjoys is a wonderful finishing touch.
  • Placemats or tablecloths are also a pretty and easy extra.
  • Place the dinner plates one inch from the edge of the table. If there is a pattern in the middle of the plate, make sure that it is right side.
  • Place the knife on the right side of the plate, blade inward, one inch from the edge of the table, handle end of knife at the bottom. Make sure the knife is next to the plate, not underneath the plate.
  • The tablespoon is placed next to the knife, also one inch from the bottom of the table.
  • The fork is place on the left side of the dinner plate one inch from the edge of the table, making sure it is also next to the plate verses underneath the plate.
  • The napkin is folded in half and placed next to the fork with the crease farthest away from the fork.
  • The glass is placed directly above the knife approximately one inch.

Centerpieces can be simple or elaborate, or fun and festive. Table setting themes are easy with seasonal items and seasonal napkins. Seasonal salt and pepper shakers can be purchased inexpensively. A bouquet of flowers, a ceramic object, pinecones, a toy, leaves, fruit, and almost anything else can be used as a centerpiece. Let your children take turns at picking out centerpieces or creating them! Children love making simple placemats from construction paper to go along with a theme. They can be colored, painted, or stamped. This is something the little ones can do while you prepare dinner.

When my children have friends over for dinner, almost all of them ask "do you eat like this every night?" They are amazed that we have dinner at the table, that its a homemade meal and that they actually enjoy it. I've had some of their mothers actually call me and ask how I do it with all the different schedules and time frames of everyone in the family. Simple I tell them. I make time. I am not Martha Stewart, don't get me wrong. We don't have to have a full dressed turkey dinner every night. We can even make a pizza night fun and memorable. Set your good china and stemware on your dining room table instead of the kitchen table. Get out the cloth napkins, pour gingerale into your stemware and light some candles. Pizza served in the dining room can be a fun and easy treat for your family. Its all about making the time and the effort. Sure its easier to grab some take out, set out some paper plates and call it a meal. But its not special, and its not going to create any lasting memories for your kids. Just a little more effort on your part and it will make a big difference in what our kids remember when they are older, and what they will continue on when they are parents.

Don’t let your kids just grab a plate and go to where ever they want in the house. Sitting together for a family meal is becoming a lost tradition. This is a great time of year to start getting back to the table. With the colder weather we can prepare good comfort foods, and gather around the table to share our days and to create tradition and memories for our children.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Organizing and Storage for your Kitchen!


So much stuff, and so little place to put it! This week, lets really try and purge and organize our kitchens. It’s the heart of the home.

We’ve gotten under the sink and threw out the stuff that had made a home there for several years, and we got into the refrigerator and cleaned and organized that. This week lets concentrate on storage space. What storage space you say? Trust me, you have plenty! You just need to look at things a little different, and you need to purge some junk.

Do you have a back hall closet? Do you really need it? Really? Don’t just answer yes without thinking about it. I had two closets with one off the kitchen. I didn’t need two closets so I turned one into a pantry. I simply bought some shelves and started loading them up. Presto, I had a pantry. So maybe you don’t have an extra closet. How about your cupboards. Are they organized efficiently enough? Have you looked at different shelving you can add? Or dish racks to store the dishes upright instead of flat. How about hooks to hang the coffee mugs on?

Quick Tip: if you have a service of 12 dishes, and a family of four, store the rest of the dishes on a higher shelf. Don’t waste space, use it. Now that you only have four dishes on that shelf, put the dinner glasses near them. Make the shelf close to the dinner table to make setting the table less of a chore. Keep your silverware near there also. It took me about six different times of reorganizing my kitchen cupboards and drawers before I finally found the perfect set up. When we first move into a home, we think we know where we want to put things, but really, we don’t know the flow of the kitchen yet.

Don’t be stuck into what you started with. You can move things. Try something new. You may be surprised to find a way that works much more efficiently, and wonder why you didn’t think of it before! Now back to your storage. Really do you need three electric can openers? Do you even need one? I got rid of my electric can opener a long time ago. Big waste of space. Use a hand held one. I think they are a lot easier too! Big stuff doesn’t have to go into the bottom cabinets. We automatically just put them there. But if you only use your pasta machine two times a year, why let it take up valuable space. Put it in the pantry, the garage or even the basement. I keep my two large sauce pans in my pantry. While they will fit in my cupboards, they take up too much room and are bulky. So think about other areas that you can store rarely used items. Look for different racks and storage ideas at places like bed bath and beyond, or my favorite, the container store! Check out the ads on the right for some great savings. Next to any shoe store this is my favorite shopping place!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009



Under the kitchen sink. Scary I know. Go through and get this done and you'll be on your way to getting the rest of the kitchen spic and span for holiday baking and cooking!

What’s under your kitchen sink? Dried out sponges, and rusty cans of some unknown spray? Well time to open the doors and get it all out ladies.

  • Start by removing everything.
  • Wipe down the inside with a damp rag and a good cleanser.
  • Remember to do the walls and the insides of the cabinet doors too.
  • Before putting anything back in put down a rubber mat that can easily contain spills and dirt. Next time you clean in here, you just have to pull the mat out, scrub it down, rinse it off and put it back.

Now you have to decide what is going back in there. Keep things you use on a daily basis like dish soap and cleaning products there.

Other things like ant spray, or draino should go on a high shelf out in the garage. Keep the area for things you use on a regular basis only.

I keep my garbage on one side and my cleaning products on the other. The cleaning products are in a neat caddy with a handle that I can easily grab and go. I also keep my dish soap there. A small planter is used to hold sponges,scrubbies and rags. That’s pushed to the back since it’s not needed every day. Some over the door shelves make a great place for your sponge/dish scrubber and other things you use more than once a day, or just for some extra storage space.

Be sure to wipe everything down well before you put it back. If you have things in there that have not seen the light of day in a year, throw it out. Its either never going to get used, or is not any good anymore anyways.

Be sure to have child safety locks on your cabinets with cleaning supplies.

Post the poison control hotline on the inside of the cabinet in case of an emergency. (1-800-222-1222)

And remember never ever ever store food and cleaning products in the same cabinet!


Before we can begin to clean our kitchens we must first rid ourselves of the junk and clutter. Start with emptying out your cupboards onto your kitchen table. Only do the cupboards that hold dishes, glasses, and bowls to start. Don't make the mistake of dumping the entire contents of all the cupboards at once! You'll be overwhelmed and never get through it!! Start with one cupboard at a time! Go through each item. Either store, give away or sell duplicate items. You do not need 4 sets of measuring cups! Throw out old, broken, chipped, never used stuff. Store items that you do not use every day. If you only use your mix master during the holidays than store it down in the basement. Don't take up needed cupboard space if possible! The same thing goes for your counter items. Do they have to go on your counter? Are they taking up space that could be used for prepping and cooking? Remember that the more stuff on the counter, is the more stuff to clean, and cluttered counters never look pretty!

Vacuum and wipe down the insides of the cupboards.

Now is the perfect time to reorganize.

Before you start putting things back into the cabinets, be sure that this is where you want them to go.

Place things in cupboards near to where they will be used. For instance, glasses should be near the sink, dishwasher or table. Spices, near the stove but not right next to it. Cooking utensils should be near the stove. Your dishtowels should go near the sink, etc. You get the idea!!

Now only put back into the cupboard what you absolutely need. If it’s broken, chipped, or never used, throw it out or find a new place for it.
Continue doing this with all your cabinets and then move onto your drawers. Try and only empty one at a time, so not to overwhelm yourself.
Once you’ve cleaned and organized the cabinets and drawers you can begin to clean.

Here’s a checklist of chores that should be done

Chore Check List

Garbage Pail~ Give your pail a good scrubbing with hot soapy water on the inside and out. If the weather permits, do it out on the lawn with the hose.

Microwave~ To get the stains off the inside of a microwave put a quartered lemon in a bowl of water on high for five minutes. Grime then wipes off really easily and the oven smells fresh too.

Refrigerator~ Clean the inside, outside, underneath and top of the refrigerator. Don’t forget to vacuum the coils in the back and to remove the plastic grill in the front and scrub with soapy water.

Stove~ Clean the stove and oven. Pull it out and clean the sides, the back and underneath. Remove all the knobs and throw them in the dishwasher. You can put your drip pans and burner rings in there also. If you have a self cleaning oven set it and let it get to work. If you don’t, clean the inside of your oven. If you don’t want to use a commercial brand cleaner, try a homemade one. Baking soda and water made into a paste and a little elbow grease should do the trick. If your racks are very dirty, try throwing them into a large garbage bag with a cloth that’s been soaked in ammonia. Set it outside overnight and wash well in the morning with soap and water. They should sparkle. Don’t forget to clean your exhaust fan. The screens can be tossed into the dishwasher too.

Dishwasher~ Scrub the outside. The inside can be cleaned by simply wiping the inside down with mineral oil and then letting it run a full cycle with dishwasher soap. You can get the grooves and hard to reach areas with an old toothbrush!

Now is the time to give your small appliances a good cleaning too.
Toaster~ Give it a good scrub. Empty and clean the crumb tray. If your keeping it on your counter, think about placing it on a decorative tray to catch the crumbs. I myself keep mine in a bottom cabinet on a tray. Less junk on your counter means less cleaning!
Blender~ Just add a ½ tsp of white vinegar and fill ½ way with hot water. Turn it on and let blend clean!
Coffee maker~ Fill the reservoir with white vinegar and run it through a full cycle. Repeat the cycle two more times with plain water.

Cabinets and drawers~ Clean the fronts of your cabinets and drawers. Don't forget to wipe down the tops of the doors too. Give the hardware a little shine too.
Light fixtures.~ Clean all the light fixtures in the kitchen and replace any needed bulbs.
Floors and woodwork.~ Clean the floors and the baseboards. Get into the corners really good!
Walls~ Don’t forget to remove any pictures you may have up. Clean the walls using a bucket of warm water soapy water and a sponge mop. Lay an old shower curtain on the floor where your working to pick up any drips.
Washables.~ Wash all your potholders, kitchen rugs, and aprons.
Countertops~. Be sure the counter tops are empty, and scrub and rinse well. Before putting things back onto the counter, scrub them and decide if you want to keep them up there. If you only use it occasionally you will be better off storing it.
Clean your windows and screens
• inspect your fire extinguisher

Monday, September 14, 2009


The holidays are approaching quickly. You don't want to spend time deep cleaning the dining room when you have 20 guests coming for Thanksgiving dinner. Your going to be busy doing other things! Get it deep cleaned now, and then stay on a weekly schedule of dusting and vacuuming and you'll be all set for hosting holiday dinners! From the chandelier to Grandmas china were going to clean it up and let it sparkle.

What to clean:

Chandelier. This is a great trick. You don’t have to remove all the crystals and clean them by hand. Put a plastic sheet or old shower curtain on the table and cover that with an absorbent towel. Now pour 4 Tbs of ammonia into 2/3 of a glass of white vinegar. Dip each individual crystal into the cup until it’s totally immersed. Let drip dry. If you choose to remove them, lay down a towel in your sink, fill it up with hot water and a little white vinegar. Let them soak, and give them a good rinse and polish with a soft cloth. Many people neglect this task, but it makes a huge difference when its done. Be sure to wipe down the rest of the hardware of your chandelier also.

Polishing your dining room table. The reason to polish your table is to bring out its luster, but to also remove deposits like smoke, grease, dust, etc. A great homemade furniture polish is 3 parts olive oil and 1 part lemon oil. If you don’t have lemon oil you can use 1 tsp of olive oil and 1 cup white vinegar. Apply with a damp cloth. Be sure to clean the legs of the table well and all the chairs too. Get a pretty fall center piece for the table to brighten the room.

Your walls and wallpaper. Clean walls and baseboard. If you have wallpaper in your dining room you can clean it as long as it’s not untreated paper. If you’re not sure, test a small spot in an inconspicuous place before beginning. If the color didn’t fade, run, bleed or disappear than you can wash it.
When washing wallpaper, start from the bottom and work your way up using warm water and a bit of hand dishwashing detergent on a well wrung sponge. Use as little water as possible. Rinse with a clean sponge dipped in cool water and then dry with absorbent cloth.

Your china cabinet. Thoroughly clean your china cabinet by removing all items, wiping the shelves and drawers out, and shining each piece before replacing it. While it’s empty is a good time to get behind it and clean the floor and baseboards. Don’t forget to clean the top and the glass doors.

Windows and curtains. Vacuum all your window treatments. If you can take them down and wash them do so. If they need to be dry cleaned bring them in. Check for local companies that will come right to your home and steam clean them for you. Clean your windows, the window sills, storm windows, and screens.

Floors and Rugs. If you can, get your rugs steamed cleaned. Either hire a local company or rent a steam cleaner. Concentrate on traffic areas and any stains.

Step back and admire your hard work! Now your ready to decorate for fall. Add a pretty autumn centerpiece, some warm fall colored candles, and get ready for the holidays!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fall Cleaning The Bedrooms

Here is a list of tasks that should be completed for each bedroom in your home. Even though the weather may be warm during the day right now, the nights are already getting cooler. Now is the time to get your bedrooms all toasty warm and clean for the cold winter nights. Where is your down comforter?
  • First before you even begin to clean anything. Get rid of the clutter. Go in with a garbage bag for the junk and a box for donations. You can’t properly clean a room if it’s a cluttered mess!
  • Strip the beds and vacuum the mattress. Remove the mattress and vacuum the box spring. While the mattress is off, dust and clean the slats that the mattress rests on. Return the mattress back to the bed only flip and turn it from its original position. Vacuum the new top. If you can get behind the bed, vacuum and dust well there. Move all the dressers away from the walls and vacuum and dust good behind them.
  • Dust and clean all the baseboards in the bedroom. Don’t forget the tops of the closet doors and the tops of the door frames too.
  • Remove the heating vents and cold air return vents in the room. Get your vacuum down as far as possible and clean them out. Wash the vents in hot soapy water and clean well. Replace them making sure that they are on tightly.
  • Wash all the walls of finger prints and smudges and marks.
  • Clean all the windows, inside and out. If you have removable storm windows, get them cleaned and install them now. Clean out the tracks in the windows of all the dust and grime.
  • Now is the time to get out the winter and fall clothes if you have them stored away. Go through the summer clothes from this year. If you didn’t wear it, get rid of it. Pack up the rest for storage. Leave out a few outfits for the remaining warm weather we have. Prepare three baskets, one for dry-cleaning, one for donating, and one for mending. Get those clothes set for storage ASAP.

  • Get into the closets and empty the floors. Remove everything and dust and vacuum your closet well. Get into the corners and the shelves and wipe down all the walls. You don’t want moths, beetles or spiders invading your clothes.
  • Clean out the insides of your dresser drawers also. Remove all the clothes, vacuum and wipe down all the drawers. Replace clothing neatly and place summer clothes in appropriate baskets or directly into storage.
  • Do all these steps in each bedroom this week. It will take a little more time than your usual cleaning but you will feel fabulous when its all done.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fall cleaning the bathroom

Before you start to clean your bathroom, be sure to do a good declutter and re-organization!! Get rid of all the junk! The 5 brushes, old tubes of lipsticks, and other useless junk you don't need or use! Create baskets for each family member. Fill each basket with what they use daily. When its their turn in the bathroom, they just retrieve their basket and put it away when they are done. Its much easier to keep track of things this way also. When someone is running low on something, have it be their responsibility to let you know!! Keep your counters clutter free! The less you have on there, the less you have to clean. Keep it simple and down to one decorative item. Better yet, decorate with something that will be used. Such as bath salts, cotton balls, Q-tips, etc, in pretty apothacary jars!


  • Begin by removing everything from the bathroom. Take out all the rugs, the shower curtain, garbage pail, anything on the vanity, the hamper, and take down your blinds or drapes.
  • Wash drapes and bathroom rugs.
  • Remove the rubber mat from the tub/shower. Scrub the mat on both sides, rinse well. Most rubber mats can also be machine washed with bleach then hung to drip dry.
  • Spray down your shower/tub with your favorite cleaner and scrub well. Use a stiff scrub brush, or a tooth brush on the grout. If grout is mildew stained, try using a bleach pen to clean. Using car wax on tiles will leave a shine and help prevent water spots. If you prefer to use natural ingriedents for the tiles, you one part vinegar to 4 parts water, or stronger if needed. Rinse with clear water and buff dry with a soft twoel or coth to prevent streaking.
  • Sinks and Faucets. Clean these with your favorite products.
  • To clean a soap dish, put it right in the dishwasher
  • Toilet Bowls. Clean the interior with a commercial bowl cleaner, sudsy water, or mild cleanser, using a toilet bowl brush. Scrub all interior surfaces, especially the inside rim of the bowl and the trap. To disinfect the toilet, pour 1 cup of bleach into the water. Let stand for about 10 minutes; flush. Wipe down the exterior of the tank, bowl, and base with a sudsy cloth or sponge. Do the same for the seat(both sides), the cover, and hinges.
  • Mirrors. Clean the mirrors with your favorite cleaner.
  • Light fixtures. Clean all the light fixtures and change any bulbs that are needed.
  • Walls and baseboards. Clean walls with a warm water. If there is a build up of hair spray, simply use rubbing alcohol. The rubbing alcohol also works to get the hairspray off the mirrors and other surfaces. Wipe down all the baseboards with a damp sponge. Be sure to wipe down the towel holders, toilet paper holder, light switches and outlets too.
  • Remove heating vent cover and clean well in hot soapy water with a scrub/wire brush. Use your vacuum hose to get as far into the vent as possible to clean it out.
  • Windows. Clean the inside and outside of the windows. Clean the tracts and also the storm windows if you have them. Don’t forget the window sill and the top window sill.
  • Floors. Vacuum floors really well. Then mop with a vinegar/water solution.
  • Cabinets. Wipe down all the fronts of the cabinets, and drawers. Polish the hardware. Open the doors and drawers to get any accumulated dust on the edges and in corners.
  • Wipe down the bathroom door, and the top of the bathroom door.

Now your ready to put it all back together. Before putting the same rugs and shower curtain back up. Check some sales to see if you can getsomething new and seasonal at a good price. Or maybe just a new soap dispenser, or guest towels. Get the room ready for company and for the holidays. Now reward yourself for a job well done. Enjoy the fruits of your labor with a relaxing bubble bath!




Print this list out and hand it to your honey! While were getting things clean and cozy, they need to get things safe and maintained!


This is the list for the husbands to get accomplished this month!

  • If you have a pool and haven’t closed it up yet, now is the time!
  • Call a heating contractor for an annual furnace checkup and cleaning. If you have a gas or oil fired furnace, have the contractor check carbon monoxide emissions and examine the flue for leaks, which can send carbon monoxide gas into your home. If you have a gas-fired furnace, open the fire door periodically through the heating season when the flames are visible. They should be blue. If the you see yellow at all in the flame call your contractor, as the air/gas mix is incorrect and needs adjusting. Be sure the filters are changed often, depending on use.
  • Wood burning Fireplace. Check the flue for obstructions such as leaves or birds nests. On a sunny day, use a mirror or flashlight to look up the chimney through the open damper. If you see blockage, call a chimney sweeper. You should hire a chimney sweep at least once a year to clean soot from the flue and inspect it for cracks. You want to be assured that no flame will find its way to your houses’ framing through a crack. Also be sure that caked soot, which can cause a chimney fire is cleaned.
  • If your fireplace has warm air circulators embedded in the firebox walls, vacuum the ducts at the beginning of each heating season. Have any cracks in the firebox and hearth repaired!
  • If you have a gas fireplace, be sure to have a carbon monoxide monitor nearby, and check the batteries often.
    Cover the outside air conditioning unit to prevent rusting.

  • Weatherproofing. Weatherproof all the doors and windows in the house. Sealing leaks saves dollars! Don’t forget to check for drafts behind electrical outlets and light switches. You can easily seal them with expanding foam, which comes in a spray can.
  • Check gutters for blockages. Scrub the gutters and downspout surfaces with a stiff scrub brush and water. Inspect the inside of the gutter for signs of wear. Patch even the smallest pinhole before it grows. After you clean the gutters you can cut the time down next time by installing gutter guards. You can find them at any hardware store.
  • Lawn maintenance.
  • For the final mowing cut low, and rake up the cuttings. This discourages insects and bacteria that thrive in the tall blades during the winter. If you intend to reseed, do so in the fall, unless you live in the southern states when that should be done in the spring.
  • Replace batteries in all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors

And anything else your wife needs done, do so with a smile!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fall Cleaning the Coat Closet!


I thought I would start out with one of the easier seasonal cleaning tasks. This will get us into the groove of getting the rest of the house up to snuff for the winter months and holiday season that is so close by!

It is that time of year when we need to get the heavier coats, sweaters and hats and gloves together. A place for the boots and scarves and mismatched mittens! Its also a great time to go through and donate all the warm coats you can. Times are tough for many families. And its getting colder and colder for the many homeless. Help out by donating those warm coats. Even if they have broken zippers or a split in a seam, many agencies will still take them and fix them before giving them away.

To begin with, start by completely emptying the closet of all its contents. Get in there with the vacuum cleaner and clean the walls, corners, floor and shelves. Then use a solution of water and mild soap or white vinegar to wipe the entire area down. Don’t forget to wipe down the pole, and then wash or vacuum the floor.
Before putting anything back into the closet, decide what you are going to keep.

If your Childs winter coat was getting a little snug, its not going to fit next year, get rid of it. If you have coats and jackets that need repaired zippers, or buttons sewed on, decide if you’re going to do this or if it will still be needing repair next year. If you don’t have time to repair them yourself, take it to the dry cleaner, most do simple zipper repairs. What else did you have stashed in that closet? Is it the best place to store it? Does it have a different home and somehow found its way there? Put things back where they belong. Throw out things that haven’t been used in the last year. Chances are its either junk or something someone else could use. Store the spring jackets and accessories somewhere else. If you lack a lot of storage space, try the vacuum sealed packs, there are special made ones just for coats. Then store away. Keep in the closet, winter coats, and umbrellas. Hang a plastic shoe rack that you can store a pair of slippers in to put on when you take your shoes off. You can also store more than just shoes in the pockets of these, such as flip flops, garden gloves, keys, camera, flashlights, etc. Have basket that hold mittens, gloves, hats and scarves for each family member. Invest in heavy wooden hangers. Throw out any wire hangers, and plastic broken hangers. The wooden ones will last forever, keep the closet looking neater, and hold up to heavier coats. A small shoe rack on the floor is perfect for the family to keep their shoes nice and neat. Put it on top of a small rubber mat to catch the dirt and water. It will be easier to remove the mat to clean then have to clean the whole floor. On the shelves if you have them, is a good place to store extra large appliances you don’t use daily, like the mixer or blender. If you have a large closet, you can store TV trays, your vacuum cleaner, board games, envelopes and stationary, phone books, blankets for picnics or fireworks, etc. Use your imagination and use the space wisely. Keep it clean and tidy by keeping on schedule and keeping good habits!