Desperate Housekeeping for busy mums and dads

From one mother to another

Archive for the category “Household”

New blog! Hope to see you there!

Hi all!
As some of you know, I recently launched a new blog: Expat Mum in Luxembourg.

At the begining, I thought it would make sense to maintain both blogs, with separate themes, but quickly I figured it out that my themes are always around Family Life and Kids.

So, I decided that the new blog will be my new online ‘home’, with new and fresh ideas. As for the Desperate Housekeeping for Busy Mums and Dads, I’ll start to gradually migrate the best contents into the new blog as well.

Hope to ‘see’ you at the ‘Expat Mum in Luxembourg‘ blog and, please, don’t forget to “Follow It”.



Saving Strategies 101 – #2 Organizing

Lesson #2: To Organize


Hello all!
This post took me a lot more time than I though, as I was really willing to write something usefull as well as simplified, so then everyone could easily follow. And don’t give up! πŸ˜‰

So, the first lesson of these Saving Strategies focused ‘Decluttering’ as THE very first task to be accomplished if you are determined to simplify your life and skip wasting more money than you need.

Lesson number two will focus on the key details of your organization: the ‘Inbox’, the ‘Family & Household Handbook’ and the ‘Declutter Basket’ as well as other essential tools to organize your home.

The Household Inbox:

If you want to start to simplify your household management, you would definitely have to set up some sort of a household inbox.

This isn’t more than one box that serves as the primary holding spot for all kind of correspondence, papers, bills… Basically, all kind of papers waiting to be sorted out and organized into a filling system as well as papers waiting for some kind of action (bills to pay, letters to answer…)

I crafted my own using an empty cereal box. Yes, a cereal box! πŸ™‚ Very easy, cheap and environmental friendly! πŸ™‚

You should designate a convenient spot in your house, where you can actually find it easy to use whenever you arrive with new ‘papers’ to put somewhere. Personally, I find it easier to keep it by the entrance or in your home office, if you have one.

The Household Filling System:

Next step is to start organizing everything you throw into your Household Inbox. You should establish at least one day per week to do this task as it would be much more time-effective.

You should at least have the following categories which can be distributed into one or more file folders:

1. Personal Information (originals or copies from all important documents: passport, ID Card, health insurance card, social security card, immunization book,…)

2. Financial Records (Account statements, credit card, loans…)

3. Housing Records (all house-related records and statements, appliances warranties and manuals…)

4. Medical Records (insurance information, immunization books, eye exams, dental records…)

5. Employment records (contract, income statements, benefits…)

6. Income Tax (receipts gathered from current year)

7. Others (any other ‘homeless’ important papers to keep)

The Family & Household Handbook:

Please note that some of the information I’m going to recommend you to keep in this handbook is also referred in the Household Filling System. Why? Remember that the Household Filling System is the permanent record for all information. On the other hand, the Family & Household is something precious you keep with you all the times, or most of the times.

1. Personal Information: this would include copies from all the personal info you should have on hand all the time. In my opinion, this should include at least: copies from the ID Cards, Social Security and Health Insurance, copies of banking cards in wallets and bank emergency phone number, Emergency Info (primary contacts, doctors, allergies and blood types)…

2. Family Calendar: this should be The Family Agenda for all important meetings or things to remeber. Consider to have: family and friends birthday calendar, monthly calendar, weekly calendar with meal planning and todo-lists…

3. Home Management: this should include info from your house insurance, car insurance, paying bills, home inventory with serial numbers… This section should also include the cleaning checklists and stain removal guide.

4. Meals and Menus: this should include grocery list, grocery price book, grocery store aisle directory, home grocery inventory, weekly meal plan, recipes…

5. Contacts: This would include important e-mails, phone numbers and addresses from family, friends, doctors, bank, house insurance, car insurance, vet…

6. Others: I personally use this section to write ideas, from blog posting, to recipes, or even kids activities. There’ll be always something to write down!

One of the most important organization items you should use is a set of very usefull printables:
– ‘Monthly Calendar’ to hang in some place visible for everyone;
– ‘Do Not Forget List’ to hang in the back of your front door. This way you wont forget anything before leaving home;
– ‘Cleaning Checklists’ from Keep-It-Simple Method

So, the next lesson will focus on the How-To’s for each of the organization items. From the DIY of the Household Inbox to the printable checklists.

Hope you enjoy! πŸ™‚

Saving Strategies 101 – #1 Decluttering

Declutter should be THE Word at your home from now on, if you want to simplify your life and spend less.

Declutter means to get to know everything you have inside home all the time, and more important, being able to actually find it! πŸ™‚

You can easily find on the web several methods and recommendations on this theme. In this post I’m sumarizing the tips that worked best for me.

The first step to start the decluttering task is to keep in mind this will take some time. So, if you don’t want to find yourself giving up at the begining, I do recommend you to define for example 15 to 30 minutes a day for declutering. It doesn’t seem much, but believe me, it will definitely work best rather than trying to do everything in the first day.

Then, you should find 3 empty boxes and label them with ‘Trash’, ‘Give Away’, ‘Organize’.

Now, you should choose the room or a cabinet you want to start decluttering. Once more, I suggest you start with the smallest one for the same reasons as mentioned before…

THE Rule is to keep asking yourself the same questions: Did I use this object during the lat year? Am I planning to use it in the next few months? Is it needed for legal purposes? If your answer to these questions is NO, then you should consider to throw it away or give it to someone in need. It’s up to you to choose the right box! πŸ™‚

One common mistake is to go shopping for boxes and cabinets before the decluttering with the excuse of having somewhere to keep your things when decluttering. Please DO NOT do that. You can’t possibly know what you’d really need before knowing what you already have inside your home. At this moment, you should stick to the three boxes you already have. Keep it simple!

And what about you? Any advices to share with us? It would be great to hearing from you! πŸ™‚

Lesson number two will focus on the key details of your organization: the ‘Inbox’, the ‘Household Handbook’, the ‘Family Daily Planner’ and the ‘Declutter Basket’ as well as other essential tools to organize your home.

Saving Strategies 101 – Getting Started

Today I’m starting a new series of posts regarding Saving Strategies at Home. Personally, I believe that even when you think you’re saving in everything, you can always find something more with a little imagination! So, let’s use our imagination! πŸ˜‰

I’ll divide these series of posts into simple lessons we could easily introduce gradually into our day-to-day life. So, grab your pencil and start taking your notes. At the end, I’m gonna ask for your contribution as well! πŸ˜‰


The first lesson will be on ‘Decluttering‘. Keep tuned!! πŸ˜‰

Grocery Shopping with Kids

20121226-152818.jpgGoing to the supermarket with kids can be quite a challenge! However, if you have no alternative, you can take some advantage of it and even get some fun. Let me tell you my little secrets! πŸ˜‰

1. Set date and time
-The earlier you go, the easiest it gets… Go as early as you can as it won’t be too crowded.
-Avoid meal times, not only because of your kids routine, but also because it will make you buy more than you need…

2. Master your supermarket
-Design (even if mentally) a map of your usual supermarket and aisles. This step is crucial to avoid last minute going backs…
-Prepare in detail your grocery list by aisles (don’t forget to attach a list of best prices for each item of your list).

3. Teach & Learn
-Make a kids-friendly grocery list by adding some photos to each item. Allow your kid to find each item. Ask some questions about it as you go through the aisles.

4. Bribe, why not?
-Is there anything in your list that actually is your kids favourite sweet? Put this item by the end of the list and let them think they will only get it if they behave… πŸ™‚
-Have some sweets in your bag, just in case!

5. Have fun
Is there an empty aisle? Make a little cart run with your kids, they will love it, and so do you! πŸ˜‰

What about you? Any other ideas about making the most of you grocery shopping with kids?

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