Saturday Project: Spring Forward

thDon’t forget that this weekend is the time to “Spring Forward” for most of us in the USA. Set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed tonight! This is also a great time of year to do some tasks that don’t get done regularly.

Check batteries in all smoke detectors. If you do not have a battery charge tester, replace all the batteries. Also, do a fire and tornado drill with the family. Be sure that everyone knows where to meet, and multiple ways out of the house from every room, especially the kids bedrooms.

Take this time to clean your bathroom vent fans and air returns. The covers often build up dust and grease, which can restrict their performance.

Check all your furnace filters and replace if needed. Make a note in your calendar to do this every month.

Finally, clean out your dryer lint. Even if you are emptying your lint trap every load, there is still lint clogging up your dryer. You can find instructional videos on YouTube for opening your dryer and really cleaning all the lint out. Just google your make and model and how to videos. Also, clean or change the vent hose than runs from your dryer to the wall. Get as much lint as possible out of the piping from the wall to the outside air release. You can do that from both the wall side and from outside your house. You can extend your vacuum hose by securely taping a wrapping paper tube (or several) to the end of the hose. Just make sure you use heavy-duty duct tape so that you don’t lose the hose extension in your wall.

The good news for many of us buried under snow or dealing with colder than normal temperatures is that this clock change means that Spring cannot be too far behind! Enjoy your extra morning vitamin D and sunshine!


Homemade Non-Slip Hangers

DSCN4326My wonderful husband went to a national store on his own and scored me 4 new shirts for $8 each. They are super stylish, nautically striped with a boat neck. I love them and him for getting them for me for no reason at all (not a birthday or anniversary or anything!). But when I started hanging them up, nothing would stay on the hangers. These didn’t come with the clever little hanging straps that somehow always manage to be showing when I wear a top with them. After fidgeting with the shirts and hangers for several minutes I remembered something I saw somewhere about using hot glue to add texture to the hangers to hold wide necked shirts. I really wish I could remember where I saw it to give the truly clever person props, but alas I have no idea. Even if it was on Pinterest, the odds are it wouldn’t take me to the original link anyway, so thank you mystery person.

Here is what you do. Get your cheap plastic hangers out and heat up that glue gun. Starting about the middle of the side of the hanger (mine had handy open hook areas) paint a curvy line with your glue gun. Add a slightly thicker dot of glue at the end. Let them cool. Viola! Non-slip hangers for all those fashionable wide-necked shirts and slippery fabrics.

TIP  – If you did this on plastic hangers, should you get rid of the shirts, you can easily peel the glue off the hanger and return it to its original state.

Solving the Case of the Missing Sock

AAAAC9LZF1wAAAAAAYyAYgEveryone has it. A bin or pile of single socks, whose mates somehow disappeared between the hamper and the dryer. Where do all those socks go? Here is a simple solution to the problem. Purchase a small mesh laundry bag (like the one pictures which we got 3 for $1 at the dollar store) for everyone in the house. When socks are put into the laundry hamper, they go in the mesh bag. The bag, socks still inside, goes into the washer and dryer (unless you hang laundry to dry, which means the socks have to come out on the line). When you go to fold laundry all the socks are still in the mesh bag, eliminating the lost sock problem!

Patching Jeans II

Yep, a second post about patching jeans. The way my kiddos seem to tear through knees requires a lot of creative sewing to keep coming up with new ways to make the jeans wearable. Plus they have learned that this is a great way to personalize their clothes, so now they have requests about patterns, shapes, and stitches!

DSCN4006Step 1: Make the basic patch. I cut pieces of off old jeans that are still good and use these as the base for patching the kids clothes. These mostly come from the lower legs of my husband’s old jeans as that is usually the best material left. Cut this good denim into a circle that will cover the entire knee area. Think of the way a suede patch is on the elbow of a jacket. This is what you are going for.

DSCN4005Step 2: Reinforce patch and add a pattern. Using scrap fabric (i.e. “good” parts of a shirt that has been ruined) cut a circle the same size as your denim base. I tend to use blues, reds, and yellows for the boy, and purples, pinks, and teals for the girls as these colors match most things in their wardrobes. Using fabric glue, attach the decorative fabric to the denim base. Allow to dry 24 hours before continuing.

DSCN4004Step 3: Attach the patch to the jeans. I use fabric glue for this. Make sure you get it good around the edges and give the glue 24 hours to dry.

Step 4: Embellish! Depending on if you have boys or girls, the shapes might change but I usually stick with hashes, stars, and twinkles. You can use embroidery thread for this or if you are like me and never have that around, just quadruple up the thread through the needle. Use a pencil to draw on any shapes you DSCN4002don’t feel comfortable doing free-hand with thread. Secure everything well with knots on the back. I also add a dab of fabric glue over the knots to help hold them. The embellishments look cute and also act to hold the patch in place.

DIY Bleach Gel

IMG_2672_copyI love portable stain treatments and removers because we are always on the go and we are messy. However, I very much dislike the cost and the added chemicals that we don’t need. Simple solutions that do the job well are my choice. So I was very happy to stumble and their instructions for making your own gel bleach pen. All you need is a cleaned-out school glue bottle (or something similar), corn starch, and bleach. Follow the easy instructions to make your own bleach gel!

Product Review: FlipFold

FlipFoldLaundryFolder_lYou may have seen FlipFold on The Big Bang Theory as Sheldon carefully folds even his socks in it. Or you may have seen them in retail establishments, helping keep the clothes looking neat. The FlipFold is a great laundry tool. At our house, folding shirts has always been an issue. For some reason, I was the only person who could fold a shirt neatly. I got tired of the fighting and ordered the FlipFold (adult and junior sizes).

This product is easy to use  – our 4-year-old can now fold shirts neatly. The older girls are now fighting over who gets to fold the laundry. After two weeks of use most of our clothes have cycled through the laundry and everything is now neatly folded. I love it because clothes are less wrinkled and easier to put away and keep drawers neat. The kids enjoy folding the laundry using the FlipFold.

I would highly recommend the FlipFold, especially for homes where there are a lot of kids, or where kids help out with laundry. The cost is generally under $30, and deals can be found through sites like and

(The Organized Wife received no compensation for this review.)

Room-by-Room Organization: Laundry Room

Alas, we are to organizing the laundry room. A room where you likely spend more time that you wish. But having an Laundry Roomorganized laundry room (or space) and an organized process for doing laundry can greatly reduce your time investment in the process.

TIP: Don’t be afraid to get the kids involved. By age 9 all my  kids can do all the laundry!

For the basics, check out Organizing the Laundry Room. Once you have the room organized, create a laundry schedule that works for your family. Ours hasn’t changed much in 10 years. Why? It works!

When you have the room organized and the schedule established it is time to take on some other organization and money-saving laundry room projects. Consider line drying all your clothes. It will cost you a little time, but save you a lot of money. To make up for the time spent line drying clothes, check out the 7 Time-Saving Tips for Doing Laundry. For fun and whimsy (because every room needs a bit of whimsy) consider adding a ladder on which to hang clothes to dry.

Once you have the room looking and running the way you want, jump into the money-saving ideas of making your own laundry soap  and fabric softener. And check out these tips for getting stains out and making your own stain remover.

Patching Jeans

09-12Regular readers know I am all about saving money. At our house, we patch clothes, sometimes many times, before we consider getting rid of them (often into the scrap pile to patch other clothes!) Previously I have written about ways to patch clothes with denim. But what if you want to patch the jeans instead of turning them into patches for other clothes?

Adventures in Dressmaking has a great tutorial for how to patch blue jeans. I have used this technique and it works, while also giving your jeans that great “used” look that so many people pay a lot of money for these days.

Laundry Schedule

In a family of 5 with three active (code for messy) kids, we make a lot of laundry. I get a lot of questions on how to keep up with it all. The answer is simple…a schedule. Here is a great laundry schedule and distribution of labor for families

Distribution of Labor for Laundry:

Mom: Deals with stains, Starts washer, fluffs line-dried clothes, ironing, putting away parents laundry, helps kids as needed

Oldest Child: In charge of hanging to dry and folding clothes, underwear, putting away their own laundry

Middle Child: In charge of hanging to dry and folding towels, linens, socks, putting away their own laundry

Younger children: gathering dirty clothes, putting away their own laundry  

Laundry Schedule:

Monday – Darks

Tuesday – Whites/Hot water items

Wednesday – Towels

Thursday – Bed linens

Friday – ironing, mending

Saturday or Sunday – one load as needed for special items (swim suits & beach towels in the summer, scarves & hats in the winter etc.)

Product Review: Woolzies Dryer Balls

Recently I was provided with Woolzies Dryer Balls and asked to use and then review them. These balls are 100% wool and designed to be used in the dryer as a natural fabric softener. The site says that they will last for 100s of loads and reduce drying time by 25%. Of these benefits I was most interested in the natural fabric softener part. Because we line dry most of our laundry things often have a “crispy” texture. We generally throw things in the dryer for 10-20 minutes to fluff the clothes.

Upon using Woolzies I noticed that the laundry was much softer. I would definitely recommend these dryer balls as natural fabric softener, especially for line-dried laundry. This was a great solution. Not only did the clothes get softer, but we also noted that it took only 5-10 minutes to fluff instead of the usual 10-20.

For the purpose of this review, I dried several loads of laundry straight from the washer. Loads generally consisted of 5-8 beach towels, sheets, or jeans and pants. Things dried in 45 minutes on high heat, which is a time savings of about 25%, which is what Woolzies advertises.

Overall I am pleased with Woolzies and would recommend using them, especially as a fabric softener to those who line-dry clothes.