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9 Practical Tips for Avoiding Illness at Home This Winter

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HealthySavings #CollectiveBias

9 Practical Tips to Avoiding Illness This Winter #ad

With four young kids at home, it sometimes seems inevitable that someone is going to bring home a sickness and it will run rampant through the family. And medication, doctor’s visits, missed days at work and prescriptions just cost money that I’d rather be spending somewhere else! Fortunately we’ve been avoiding illness or at least nipping those coughs and sniffles quickly with a few easy tricks. Simple things like removing shoes before coming into the house, changing out of school clothing right away, hand washing and not sharing cups go a long way towards not spreading sickness. Walgreens is my go-to for all my winter stock-up items including Centrum® Silver® for Men or Women and ChapStick® Total Hydration.

9 Practical Tips to Avoiding Illness This Winter

9 Practical Tips to Avoiding Illness This Winter

Wash Your Hands

A no-brainer, right? Frequent hand washing is an ideal way to keep germs from transferring. Kids need LOTS of reminders for this one though. Wash your hands immediately upon coming home, before you touch anything. Wash your hands before cooking or eating. And certainly, wash your hands after using the toilet, coughing or sneezing.

No Sharing!

No sips from someone else’s cup or straw! No bites using someone else’s fork or spoon! Want to share an apple? Cut it in pieces so you aren’t biting from the same fruit. Eliminate the “Is this glass mine?” issue by giving each family member a labeled cup (either personalized with their name or with a particular image) so they won’t get mixed up.

9 Practical Tips to Avoiding Illness This Winter

Remove Your Shoes

With a crawling baby in our house, keeping the floors clean is important to me. But even if you don’t have a little one on the floor, you’d be shocked to see how much dirt comes in to the house on the soles of your shoes. We remove our shoes every time we come inside. In fact, we don’t even keep the shoes inside the house anymore. They are all stored in bins on a shelving unit in the garage. We put our shoes on when we leave the house and wear slippers or socks inside during cool weather. Keeping shoes outside eliminates transferring bacteria onto the floors and helps keep the carpets looking new as well.

Change of Clothes

Another way we eliminate transferring of germs is by changing our clothes when we come home. When our kids have been at school or playing at the park, we have them take off dirty clothes, bathe and change into clean clothes. We don’t want germs that linger on clothes transferred to sofas, carpet or bedding! Dirty clothes are moved into the laundry room daily.

9 Practical Tips to Avoiding Illness This Winter

Daily Cleaning

A daily cleaning doesn’t have to take long. We are able to tackle the basic jobs in about 30 minutes a day and have a very clean house. For most of our cleaning tasks we use distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle, Castile soap, baking soda and microfiber rags. Distilled white vinegar inhibits the growth of mold, mildew, and some bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella…plus it’s really inexpensive! Be sure to empty trashcans daily if a sick family member is filling them up with used tissues.

Wipe Down

Think about the hundreds of times things are touched in your home before they get cleaned. Use your vinegar spray to moisten a damp microfiber rag and wipe down doorknobs and light switches. Appliance handles, remote controls, cell phones and tablets too! Shake your computer keyboard out over the trash to remove crumbs and dust then carefully wipe the keys. Don’t forget to clean the mouse!

9 Practical Tips to Avoiding Illness This Winter

Launder Linens & Towels

I wash sheets and pillowcases once a week, blankets every two weeks and comforters once a month. When we have someone who is under the weather, I have a more frequent routine of changing of their pillowcase and I refresh it every day, especially if they have a runny nose or cough (who wants to sleep on a snotty pillowcase, ewww!) Remove and wash sofa pillows as well if your family uses them to rest their head. I also change out the hand towel in the bathroom daily and if someone is already sick, they should use their own hand towel.

Quarantine

Despite all your efforts, sometimes someone just comes down with a resilient bug. To avoid illness from running through the family, move swiftly to contain it and quarantine the sickie!

9 Practical Tips to Avoiding Illness This Winter

Last year as soon as we noticed that my son was coming down with a stomach bug, we immediately kept him separated from the rest of the family. This meant, he stayed in bed with the door shut so he could get plenty of rest. We kept him well-hydrated and I changed out and washed his bedding daily. So the illness wouldn’t spread, we didn’t allow the other children to go into the room. And each time I went in to help him, I would immediately wash my hands afterwards. We avoided anyone else catching the bug, hurrah!

Eat Well & Take Your Daily Vitamin

Oh sure, the holidays are coming and that means rich foods and extra dessert. You can still indulge on those special occasions but continue to fill yourself with healthy greens and lots of fresh fruit the rest of the time. I’m all about sneaking in the leftover greens into my breakfast smoothies. I just freeze the greens and stuff a handful into the blender cup. Add in almond milk and frozen fruit (I like pineapple, bananas and cranberries) and you won’t even taste the green stuff!

9 Practical Tips to Avoiding Illness This Winter

I stopped off at Walgreens last week to pick up Centrum® Silver® for Women to give to my mom. Recommended for women 50+, Centrum Silver for women now has higher levels of Vitamin D3 (which is a preferred source of Vitamin D).

9 Practical Tips to Avoiding Illness This Winter

9 Practical Tips to Avoiding Illness This Winter

With an aunt who was recently diagnosed with osteoporosis, I appreciate that Centrum® Silver® for Women is specially formulated with nutrients to help support bone strength in women. *Use as Directed. Check your store for temporary price reductions as the prices are changing each week (it was on sale during my visit!)

9 Practical Tips to Avoiding Illness This Winter

While I was a Walgreens I also stocked up on more ChapStick® Total Hydration. Here in SoCal, we move from sunburned lips in summer to dry lips in autumn from the hot winds and I was desperate for moisture! ChapStick® Total Hydration can be used everyday like “Skincare for lips™” to help moisturize and soften. *Use as Directed. I got two, one for my purse and one for my bedside table to apply before bed. What am I kidding though, my husband will probably snag both!

9 Practical Tips to Avoiding Illness This Winter

How will you be prepping your family for avoiding illness this winter? Consider stocking up now on Centrum® Silver® for Men or Women and ChapStick® Total Hydration at Walgreens during their sale!

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

When you’re organized, things just seem to run more smoothly!  Nobody needs to panic when they can’t find something because it’s been established ahead of time that every item has a place. Organizing solutions do not have to be expensive and there is no reason to hire “experts” or purchase pricey dividers or shelving units. It does take time though, arranging items to the best benefit and use of your family. But it will be all worth it when someone asks you, “Where’s my red hat with the white polka dots?” and you’ll know exactly what to tell them so they can find it!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Organizing Solutions that Work for Your Family

There are 6 of us in our 1000 square foot home. Yep, that’s a tight fit and every inch counts. Since adding our newest little one, we’ve been organizing and streamlining the house now to make room. We’ve always done pretty good with keeping stuff to a minimum but some of our stuff is necessary and it’s all about finding the most practical way to store it in a budget-friendly way!

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

These are my top 12 organizing solutions!

When we moved in four years ago I had things pretty well organized but over time our needs changed and I hadn’t rethought certain areas. I knew that we could do better and get them even more organized and streamlined. I took a good look at each space I needed to reorganize and made notes. In rethinking some of these spaces, I knew that I could move things there into other locations or even get rid of them completely.

Weed it out

Before you even start to organize, you have to decide what you’re going to keep and what needs to go.

Remove the contents of a drawer, bin or closet and go through each and every item.

Toss out, recycle, donate or place in a garage sale pile…whatever you need to do to minimize. Go through medications, lotions, nail polish, and other household items frequently to toss what is expired or give away what isn’t being used. Add this task to your calendar once each season and it won’t be such a laborious project.

I keep a small basket or fabric box (less than $5 each on Amazon) inside my kid’s closet for donation items. As they outgrow their clothes, I place the items in the basket and when the basket is full the contents are given away.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

We make use out of our closet by keeping overstock items and medical needs clearly labeled in bins and drawers.

Get Rid of the “Junk Drawer”

We don’t have one. We don’t need one because in our small home, there is no room for a “junk drawer”…everything has a place!

Dump out your junk drawer and find a home for each and every item there. Batteries? Get a bin for them and store them in a desk. Pens and pencils? Keep them in a cup within easy reach. Mail? Deal with mail as it comes in the door, recycling or filing as necessary.

A mesh desk organizer (Amazon for less than $10) is a great place to keep some of these “junk drawer” items you need close at hand.

Label It

I had a label maker for over ten years and used the heck out of it until it recently died. I just splurged and bought a new Brother P-Touch Label Maker(less than $23 on Amazon) and have been going (slightly) overboard with labeling everything in the house.

However I will note that nobody has been asking me, “Where’s the XYZ” because everything is so neatly labeled for them now! I do recommend investing in a label maker but you could also purchase stickers and label boxes with a Sharpie as well.

Organize drawer contents and sort into “like items”. Add a label on the outside to remind family to put things back where they belong!

Labels on book shelves help young readers organize their picture books, chapter book and coloring books.

Sort important paperwork into 3-Ring binders and then add a label to the side for easy access.

Get it Off the Floor

We’d all love to get those fancy professionally sized closet organizers, right? But boy, are they pricey!! We found a more reasonable solution in metal shelving units. They are intended for the garage I think, but we like to think outside of the box.

Since some of these tall Steel Wire Shelving Unit (under $40 on Amazon) can be customized for shelf height, they are perfect for placing in your closet. We simply keep the units as two shorter racks instead of assembling into one tall rack.

Things sitting on the floor can pile up and add to the clutter. Look at what you have on the floor and figure out where you can put it so it’s off the ground.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

Hang it Up

I have a hook in the hall closet with a pair of scissors so everyone knows exactly where the scissors are (instead of tossed in a random drawer). Backpacks go on hooks in the garage. Tired of seeing the bath towel laying on the floor because your little one can’t hang it properly on a towel rod? Install a hook! We were limited on wall space so my husband hung bath towel hooks for the boys on the end of the bunk bed and that works perfectly because they are completely out of the way.

An Over The Door Hook is invaluable (and under $15 on Amazon) and can make use of space, especially in a bathroom for towels.

No need to put holes in the wall. Command Wire Hooks are removable quickly but stay up well, even with heavier items. I buy the variety pack and find clever uses for them all over the house!

Beautiful Baskets

With drawer space at a minimum I keep my clean kitchen towels at the ready by folding them and keeping them within arms reach of the sink in this neat wire basket. I also have Wire Basket Organizers (less than $15 for two on Amazon) like this on the back of the toilet for hand towels.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

I don’t have room in the kitchen for my cookbooks so I keep them organized in a pretty basket under the foyer cabinet. They are still easily accessed and don’t take up precious counter or cupboard space in the kitchen.

Before you buy baskets new, check out your local thrift store. This is a fantastic place to find inexpensive baskets and you can always spray paint them for an updated look.

Shelving is King

Use all the space you can on shelves by maximizing with wire shelving units. We use these in the kitchen to make use of extra space for plates and bowls. In the pantry for canned foods and boxes this Small Kitchen Helper Shelf really helps maximize space (for about $7 on Amazon).

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

Using wire shelving to make extra space for plates and bowls.

Use individual shelving in the closet to take advantage of tall ceilings. If you can, always go UP and take advantage of the space you have. We have small closets but they have tall ceilings so I bought expandable shelving units. This allows me to safely stack items higher and use up all the space available.

Box it Up

LEGOS. Oh yes, my friend. Let’s get all those tiny bits and pieces boxed up so that you only pull them out of the box intentionally when you’re ready to play. We also have Leapster games and the Leapster unit all in one box together.

Seasonal clothes and blankets don’t need to take up space in the closet. We load up plastic bins or use Ziploc Space Saver bags to store these items in the attic or under the bed.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

With a new baby, I had been given some wonderful hand-me-downs. I wanted to keep track of what I have so I went through the clothes and placed the sizes together into Clear Storage Boxes.

A quick label on the outside of each will let me have the next size up within easy reach. Once she’s used up all the clothes in the bin, I can remove the label and re-purpose the box.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

The expandable metal shelving unit makes it easy to take out just the one thing you need. Clothing has been organized into boxes for the future.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

Like Items Together

We have a lot of books (I used to work at a bookstore!) but I hate how the small paperbacks were mingling with the tall picture books because they never sat nicely on the shelf together. I found these inexpensive plastic Book & Magazine Organizers and they are perfect for holding paperbacks. I use them on the shelf next to the taller books as a sort-of “book end”.

Consider buying bins or boxes to hold other like things, like summer items. All the bathing suits, sunglasses, and beach hats would then be in one, easy-to-find location. Here, we have one soft bin for hats, one for blocks and one for coloring books.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

Contain It

Our bathroom counters are quite small and there’s no room for clutter. We keep only the soap dispenser and toothbrush holder on the counter (which makes it easier to clean as well).

Under the sink, we have a colored container for each child that holds their personal toiletries. Each child’s toothpaste, drinking cup, deodorant, face wash, etc is in their own container. My daughter has a separate bin for her hair brush and accessories.

I have two-tiered Mesh Cabinet Baskets under my bathroom sink that holds things like lotion, make-up and razors. One basket holds hair styling products and another large bin holds tools like the blow dryer and flat iron.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

Throw it in a Bin

Target frequently has plastic bins for $3 in their Dollar Spot section. They are nice for items that can be tossed in, like winter hats or gloves, sunglasses or random toys like cars and action figures. Set them on a shelf or even inside a drawer to section off and keep small items (like socks & underwear) from getting lost.

In the kitchen, we store breads in a decorative Wooden Crate on the counter. If you don’t want to purchase bins or crates, keep your old shoe boxes and decorate them with wrapping paper for neat and tidy closet or drawer storage.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

And open bin within a box keeps things organized and contained.

BEFORE (left) – Clutter of random stuff on the top shelf.

AFTER (right) – Stackable bins hold seasonal items like sun hats and winter wear. In anticipation of sharing this room with the new baby, I had made bins for art supplies and electronic cords to get my daughter in the habit of putting these items up and out of reach.

Organizing9-before  Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

BEFORE (left) – The fabric hanging unit with daily outfits was a good start. I moved the two-drawer unit in to hold pajamas and socks but items like tights, sunglasses, hair accessories and underpants were mixed in and it was hard to find items.

AFTER (right) – Rearranged top shelf with addition of bins for seasonal items. Added a small bin to the daily outfit unit so she can choose which accessory matches without having to dig in another larger bin.

Deep drawers with pajamas now hold smaller bins for tights, sunglasses and other hair accessories so everything is separated. A separate bin on top of the drawers holds underpants.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces  Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

Bulky Items Out of the House

Whenever possible try to use a space outside of the house, like your garage, storage shed or attic. We simply don’t have the kitchen cabinet space to hold our large slow cooker or stand mixer, so we store them in a cabinet in the garage.

Yes, you could keep some items on the kitchen counter but this can create a lot of clutter and makes it harder to properly clean the counter tops. Since we also shop at Costco quite a bit we tend to have a lot of bulk items. Bring in only what you need into the house and store the bulk of it elsewhere.


What are your favorite organizing tips? Share below in the comments!

 

5 Easy Party Preparation Tips & FREE Printable #HostingHacks @Costco #ad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HostingHacks #CollectiveBias

Easy Party Preparation Tips & FREE Printable #HostingHacks @Costco #ad

Preparing for a party can be exhausting! Lots to do and so much to remember. Parties are 90% prep and only like 10% actual party, right?! And when time is tight, nobody wants to forget important things on the “to-do” list and have to make any extra errand runs. I’ll share with you my sure-fire, easy party preparation tips and #HostingHacks, including a free printable pre-party prep list that will have you saving time (and money!)

1. Buy in Bulk

You do not want to run out of toilet paper or dishwashing detergent on the day of a big event. Costco is our go-to store for bulk items, especially Procter & Gamble cleaning products. We stock up and store items in the garage so we very rarely run out of important every day items. It’s the perfect place to pick up everything from your cleaning supplies to your party appetizers.

Party Prep Ideas & FREE Printable #HostingHacks @Costco #ad

A few days before your party, do a quick inventory. Make sure you have enough laundry detergent for cleaning your holiday table linens and that the bathrooms are well stocked with toilet paper. Need drinking water bottles, soda or coffee? Butter for the rolls and flowers for the table setting? Costco has it and you can get it all for your party in one place without running around town.

2. Clean early

At least a few days pre-party do your top to bottom deep cleaning. This is the perfect time to take a look at doors, door frames and light switches. See any grimy spots that a sponge just isn’t getting rid of? I love that Mr. Clean Magic Eraser takes off those dirty spots and scuffs quickly and without any damage to your paint or walls. And Swiffer quickly gets rid of all the dust laying around. So easy a child can do it (so save yourself the time and give one of them to the kids!)

Party Prep Ideas & FREE Printable #HostingHacks @Costco #ad

In addition to the regular housekeeping, there will be extra party items that will need to be cleaned. Launder your table linens a few days early. We use cloth napkins and placemats every day and I appreciate how Tide Advanced Power detergent removes stubborn food spots (even when one of my kids set blueberries on the cloth napkin and it left purple spots behind!) Toss in bathroom hand towels so you’ll have plenty to stock in the guest bathroom and your kitchen dish towels too.

Party Prep Ideas & FREE Printable #HostingHacks @Costco #ad

Pull out the good silverware and glasses and wash them. Some dishes can take the high heat inside the dishwasher and others may need to be hand washed. We have tried lots of detergents for our dishwasher and none work better than Cascade Advanced Power Gel.

Party Prep Ideas & FREE Printable #HostingHacks @Costco #ad

3. Party Prep

Plan where guests will store their coats & purses during the party. If it’s the closet, make sure there is plenty of space and lots of empty hangers. If it’s a bedroom, be sure that the bed is made and guests can just lay their items on the blanket.

When you have lots of extra guests in the house, the bathroom has a rotating door. Keep a stack of clean hand towels on the sink and plenty of toilet paper on a shelf or the back of the toilet for guests to replace the roll as needed. Refill the hand soap dispenser and place air freshener in a prominent place. A clean and well stocked bathroom makes my guests more comfortable and nobody is left to hunt for any supplies.

Party Prep Ideas & FREE Printable #HostingHacks @Costco #ad

Once you have everything clean and ready, you can decorate for the season. A bouquet of fresh flowers is not only pretty, they smell lovely too. Cluster the entire bouquet into one vase for a showstopping centerpiece or place flowers into individual vases around the house to spread the joy.

4. Last moment tidy

All the cooking we do in preparation for a party makes a big mess in the kitchen. Clean it all up quickly and neatly before your guests arrive. If you don’t have time to wash all the pots and pans, either load them into the dishwasher to deal with later or fill the sink with hot, soapy water and soak them. A quick clean up allows you to clean up yourself with a fresh outfit and make-up before guests see you disheveled!


The party prep doesn’t end when the doorbell rings! You still have a few things to maintain while guests are present. I like to assign jobs to my family members to help so that I’m not the only one maintaining things and missing out on the festivities. Assign one person to greet guests at the door and hang up coats. One of us keeps an eye on the bathroom through the night to make sure it’s tidy. Another of us clears dirty dishes and cups from the sitting areas and takes them into the kitchen. One person makes sure that the trash is taken out frequently so the receptacle is never overflowing. If we work as a team, we can all enjoy the party and still make sure our guests are well served.

5.  Check the bathrooms

Frequently check the bathrooms to make sure they are in proper order. I hate going to a party and the toilet paper runs out and I’m left to hunt for more in the cabinets. Or the hand towel is sopping wet, yuck! Check that there is enough toilet paper on the roll, plenty of hand soap and change the hand towel yourself several times through the evening.

Party Prep Ideas & FREE Printable #HostingHacks @Costco #ad

Be sure to print out my free “to-do” list that discusses more easy party preparation ideas so you don’t forget a thing!

Easy Party Preparation & Pre-Party To-Do Checklist


How will Costco help you in your pre-party planning for your next holiday bash? Share with me in the comments!

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