SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks











There are 4 residents in the House of Cheaptitude who wear socks on a somewhat regular basis. There’s also one who eats them, but that’s another post.

Somewhere between the wearing and the washing, I usually end up with a bunch of mateless socks.

I have tried several strategies over the years. I used to keep a cute wicker basket with all of the socks, and then I’d sort them while watching The Real Housewives.. Eventually I came to the conclusion it was easier to fold as I go and just leave the mismatched ones in a basket.

The basket is too big for the number of socks I usually end up with, and I had a better purpose for that basket. So now I have 2 little utility baskets – a white one for white socks and a blue for colored socks. Much better, but the baskets are usually full.

I think the dryer eats sicks, too.

Then, one day on Pinterest, I saw the most adorable laundry room organization. One thing that caught my eye was the random sock board. There are several versions, apparently, and all super-cute. And I’m always looking for ways to improve my utility room.

The sock thing stayed on my to-do list most of the summer. There would have to be a cheap way to do it or it wasn’t happening. Finally, Grizzly cleaned out his truck and there was a perfect board! Being married to a painter, I found a container of off white paint and gave the board a coat. Then I marked the length I wanted and gave it to Papaw for cutting.
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I decided to use some vinyl lettering left over from a science fair poster.
image After I figured all of that out, I started working on placement.
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It didn’t look quite right. I kept working with the letters until it looked good.

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And because I have so much green scrapbook paper, I got a little creative.
image I glued everything in place. Then I added a couple coats of decoupage.
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image And the finished product:
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Now it hangs on the wall over my dryer. It only holds 8 socks, so it’s definitely more decorative than functional. But it’s fun and cute!

How do you deal with missing socks?

~ Katie

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{February 22, 2013}   Weekend Projects
Mt. Washmore

Mt. Washmore (Photo credit: Birdies100)

It’s Friday! It’s sad how forward I look to my weekends lately.  It seems, though, that’s the only time I can get anything accomplished.

Last weekend was a dead loss. I got very little done, which makes me a bit blue.  Some of my projects have been pushed off to this weekend to make up for it.

  • All of my grades are in the computer already – not necessarily a good thing, because most of my kiddos chose not to turn in their assignments. But it frees me up some. I still need to plan for next week, and write some tests, but that shouldn’t be too time-consuming.
  • My kitchen needs some serious attention.  A week of competition prep has left a disaster in its wake.  And my sweet hubby forgot to bring home dishwasher detergent.  I so don’t want to leave the house that I am considering hand washing the dishes.
  • I do plan to do the computer swap, tonight, so that I can clean the kitchen. It’s funny how that one thing keeps me from even going in the kitchen.  It has to get done. DONE – Ok, so it was this morning…..
  • The ugly stool.  Ah, me….
  • Mt. Washmore is calling my name, pretty impatiently.  I’ve been wearing clothes that I haven’t worn in quite a while – and adding some to my “donate” pile as I realize how truly awful they look on me.  Something isn’t right with the dryer right now, so I’m hesitant to even fool with it.  But it has to be done.  Have I mentioned how desperately I still want a clothesline?
  • My bedroom needs straightening, as does my bathroom.  Somebody has been rained out from work most of the week and leaves a mess behind.
  • I have to call Jeepnmom tomorrow and see how she and Mechanic Man are faring.  Poor thing – she’s jacked up her back and he has double pneumonia!  I know she’s going stir-crazy.  I halfway anticipate a call from her at 5 AM, telling me to clean a drawer.  (Note to Bec:  I’ve been drinking coffee since three this afternoon, will be up late, and already have a plan for the next drawer.  Wait till 7 your time, please!)
  • Work on my management binder.  I’m preparing everything on the computer so that when I have ink, I can just print it all out!

It’s a long list but I’m thinking not as ambitious as usual.  How does your weekend look?

~ Katie



{January 5, 2013}   Making Progress

2:30 Saturday…I’m sitting on the couch with “reality” tv playing.  Mt. Washmore, freshly cleaned and piled in baskets, stares at me as I drain my third pot of coffee so far today.  The kitchen isn’t clean by a longshot.  The living room is a wreck.

But I see progress.

My utility room is straightened.  I’ve organized the cabinets in there.  The tops of the appliances are clean.  And my old friend, Precious, gave me a brilliant idea for my nonfunctional dryer: store my orphan sock baskets! Woo hoo!  Easy access when I’m emptying the working dryer!  (thanks, girl!)  I repurposed a cake pan lid to line the bottom of the cabinet underneath my store-bought detergents (Scent-Away for hunting clothes) and moved my Kleenex stockpile to the hall closet, along with some random candles, empty plug-ins, and store-bought room sprays (thank you, amazing coupons!)  A few cleaning things have relocated to the cabinet under the kitchen sink, which is still pretty organized.

All that is left in the utility room is to pull out the appliances and clean from behind them (ugh), which for some reason takes the power of She-ra.

Part of why I’m drinking coffee and watching Bravo TV.

The problem with cleaning a room is that another room takes a beating.  My kitchen is the next room past the utility, so guess where things landed in the de-cluttering process?  Thankfully, I filled another donation bag as well as the waste basket.  But the kitchen counters still took a hit.

Monkey 1 unloaded the dishwasher for me and I’ve already started another load.

I put away everything from one countertop and wiped it down.  All I need to do to that counter still is restock the towel basket and empty the dish drainer.

Things left to do:

  • Clean out “junk” drawers
  • Clear counters
  • Clear table
  • Clear top of fridge
  • Wipe down surfaces
  • Sweep floor
  • Mop

I’ll get to it.  I may even post “after” pictures.

I’m realizing my house may not be clean by the time I go back to school.  But I’m making progress.  That’s got to count for something.

~ Katie

 



It’s 9:30 in the morning on a Saturday.  Grizzly is out hunting down dinner.  The monkeys are still tucked snug in their beds.  I’m on my third cup of coffee, a load of laundry is drying, I’ve already made a batch of laundry soap, and I have projects on the kitchen table (clearing out space to continue to re-purpose the hall closet project).  I look around myself and think, “What a hot mess!”

Because in my projecting and tackling Mt. Washmore this week, things are out of place.  Christmas still hasn’t made it to the attic.  There is laundry to put up.  There are dirty dishes in the sink.

Who lives like that?  Ugh!

I go back to work on Monday (didn’t win the Lottery over the break, darn it) and I hate going back to school with a dirty house.  The monkeys did a nice job in their bathroom the other day so it’s down to maintenance in there.  The spaces bugging me most now are the kitchen and utility room.

My utility room is a small, tight, cramped space.  Over Thanksgiving Break, I organized the pantries, which are part of the utility room.  All I need to do to them is some re-stocking.  There is a cabinet over my functioning dryer that needs organizing, especially since I’ve repurposed a new container for my laundry detergent (yay me!) and the top of the dryer is a wreck.  My functioning washing machine is part of a stackable unit (the dryer doesn’t work) and on top of the non-operational dryer, I need to go through the Laundry Fairy’s collection and put things away from up there.

My kitchen is pretty well organized the way that works for me.  So it’s just a matter of cleaning at this point.  The only organizing I need to do is in the “junk” drawers, which I’ll tackle one drawer at a time.

It sounds like a lot, but I bet I can get everything done in just a few hours.  And then I can go back to my projects.

What will you tackle today?

~ Katie

*Side Note*

Yesterday, someone accused me of hoarding (the same person who taught me Cool-Whip bowls make good cereal bowls.) I do NOT hoard.  I REPURPOSE.  My projects today have been a cute pencil holder from a Ball Jar Craft Kit using an old can and I repurposed a snack mix container to hold my laundry soap.  They’ve turned out really cute and USEFUL.  I’ll post pics later.

I’m sticking my tongue out right now, by the way.



{January 5, 2013}   Organization: Orphaned Socks

Round basket mandelette

 

The other day I discovered a blog that addressed one of my big time-sucks:  Mt. Washmore.  I’ve started involving the monkeys in the laundry process and am proud to say they collected a hamper-full of clothes today during a ten-minute tidy and they sorted the entire mess themselves.  Monkey 1 now knows where the laundry soap is located and how to operate the washer.  He also knows how to transfer a load to the dryer.  This shaves about fifteen minutes off my chores already.

 

This lady’s blog addressed some other laundry simplification strategies.  For example, after drying, she stacks clothes according to their final destination before folding.  Too cool.  And in her laundry room, she has one of those plastic drawer set-ups and uses two of the drawers for sock orphans.  I love this idea but I am space-challenged in my utility room.

 

Enter waste-not, want-not, use what you got!

 

For a few years, I have thrown socks into a pretty wicker basket while processing laundry.  Then, once a week, usually on a Sunday while catching up on my DVR shows, I sort socks and the orphans return to the basket.  That evening, socks are in some semblance of order, by color, or style, or what grey is on the foot (toe and heel, whole bottom, none).  Unfortunately, the monkeys scavenge the basket through the week, not caring if their socks match exactly, and it’s a mess by the time I get back to it.

 

It’s not working.

 

I’m about to try something new with my orphaned socks.  Instead of the one wicker basket sitting in the middle of my living room, I have two medium-sized utility baskets.  One will be for white socks and one for all the others.  My plan is to stick these in my repurposed hall closet.  When I’m putting towels and linens away, I can pull these out and situate socks.

 

I guess it’s still not ideal, but at least it’s a little more organized.

 

Do you have a Mt. Washmore monster?  How do you tame it?

 

~ Katie

 

 



English: Monkeys in a barrel

The other night, cruising the web, I found a really neat blog (of course, I cannot for the life of me recall what it was!) that dealt with running a home more smoothly.  This lady has several children and she home schools them.  It sounds, from her blog, as though all of the kids help around the house.  The thing that caught my attention was LAUNDRY.

Laundry

Mt. Washmore can be overwhelming for anyone.  I just went foundation shopping with Perkilicious and she was saying that she really needed to wash laundry before we go back to work next week.  So laundry even qualifies as “single girl problems.”  With my family of four active individuals, laundry can quickly get out of hand and for sure takes a big chunk of my few free minutes.  Grizzly works in construction and changes clothes at least twice a day.  Summertime, 100+ degrees?  Forget about it.  The monkeys wear uniforms to school and often change when they get home.  Monkey 2 rolls around in the dirt with her four-legged bff, Jasmine. Laundry is never-ending at my house.

The blog I found had some neat strategies.  This lady’s kids process their own laundry!  They each have their own basket.  Each family member is assigned a laundry day.  They wash, dry, fold/hang and put their clothes away!  I think she helps the littlest monkeys.  How cool is that, though?

So yesterday I snatched Monkey 1 up by his ear and took him to the bathroom hamper.

“What are we doing in here?”

“I’m going to show you how to sort laundry,” I told him.

“Why do I need to know how to sort clothes?”

So much for buy-in.

I stood my ground, though.  He sorted his clothes from his sister’s and then separated lights from darks.  We moved on to the utility room and I showed him where I keep the laundry soap, how to measure it, and how to start the washer.  I explained to him that since we use powdered soap, we let the water run a little and start dissolving the soap before we add the clothes.  He needed a little help distributing things evenly, but he actually had a look of accomplishment on his face when we closed the lid!

Not so much when I told him it was time to dry his load of laundry.

“This is taking a long time,” he complained in that whiny twelve-year old voice I’ve come to know and love.  I told him that by shaking out the clothes and putting them neatly in the dryer, things would dry more quickly and not be quite so wrinkled.  He was less than impressed but continued to shake the clothes out.

By the time it was time to actually fold clothes and put them up, the monkeys were on their way out the door for their New Year’s date with Nana and the ladies and I was a little frustrated with the process myself.

Is my adventure in Monkey participation over?  Not by a long shot.  Monkey 1 knows his way around the washer now, with some guidance, and tomorrow is another day.  Even the little bit he knows now is a time-saver for me.  Next, we will work on folding, hanging, and putting away.  He won’t like it, but I imagine he’ll get it figured out.

Vintage Wicker Laundry Basket Large Oval No. 3



{November 22, 2012}   Never-Ending Love and Laundry

If you’re addicted to the smell of Gain, this post is not for you.

If you don’t mind spending $10+ on a bottle of laundry detergent, this post is not for you.

I’ve never been one to spend much money on laundry soap – except when the monkeys were babies and I spent a small fortune on Dreft and All Clear for their itsy bitsy baby gear.  None of us have particularly sensitive skin, so it’s not been a problem to spend $1.59 on off-brand, dollar store soap for our dirty drawers.

Over the past few years, however, my $1.59 soap has risen to over $4 per bottle.  I allow myself to spend $50/week at the store, and doing 2 loads of clothes each day, laundry soap was taking a bite out of my budget.  My Rhonda Belle encourages my endeavors in cheaptitude (she calls it frugality) and told me she’d begun making her own laundry soap for her HE machine.  And she gladly shared some.

And it worked ok.

Until I checked the pits of my DH’s t-shirts.

And I went back to my now high-dollar off-brand soap.

But I loved the idea of each load only costing a few cents in detergent.

And I opened the trusty old laptop and visited my friend Google.

There are probably as many recipes for laundry soap as there are users of laundry soap.  I decided early on that liquid soap would not work for me, not only because of storage concerns (huge batches – 5 gallon buckets!) but also the gross-out factor (I kept reading “consistency of snot”).  I found that most recipes called for about 3 ingredients, 2 of which I had no problem finding at my local grocery.  The third item I found at my local Kroger (not my favorite store) and cleared their shelf.  Following is the recipe I use for my family:

Katie’s Laundry Soap (1-2 tablespoons per load)

Because the Fels Naptha has been difficult to locate, I have changed to Ivory, which is easier to grate, easier on the skin, much cheaper, and doesn’t have the strong smell.  During the summer, because DH works outside, I also add some of the faux OxiClean from Dollar Tree.  There are no added perfumes, so if you like your clothes to smell a certain way, maybe add some essential oils to your wash.  It’s also easier to grate the soap if you unwrap it and let it dry out for a few days.  I keep lavender scented in my dresser drawers, so that may be an option for you.  The boxes of Borax and Washing Soda will make several batches before you need to buy more.

This powdered detergent could be stored in Tupperware or whatever container you have that seals.  Mine fits well in an old ice cream bucket.

This recipe is not the only one, or even the best one.  It works for me. I encourage you to snoop around the web and see what you find.  Explore, experiment – and let me know if you find something cool!

 



et cetera
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