7 Effective Tips on How to Keep Bugs and Pests Out of Your Garage

Infestation is a common problem. No matter what kind of property you own, you will face this kind of issue sooner or later. This can lead to even bigger problems when left unattended. However, pest infestation is a preventable kind of problem. Take initial steps now in order to prevent this from happening.

Here are seven tips to help you in keeping pests and bugs out of your garage:

• Clean your garage completely. The garage is a warm and dark place that makes it an attractive area for pests. All those little leftover crumbs left on tires or whatnot can bring in pests like roaches and rats that will never leave. The first step in ridding and preventing bugs and pests is to clean your garage completely. Start cleaning your garage from bottom to top. Ensure every corner is covered. You may need to take out everything inside to take a fresh look at your garage. Use a fan to dry up wet areas as this may also attract bugs.

• Fill the cracks. Inspect your entire garage. Check the walls, roof interior or windows for cracks and holes. This can be pathways used by bugs or pests in getting into your garage. You can also look out for droppings, chew marks and other signs of current infestations. Find all the cracks and holes and fill these up. Consider replacing the threshold and the weather stripping in your garage as old and worn out ones might let pests easily. You may want to reinforce it with some new frame material.

• Be organized. This is the time to take a serious look at your garage and rethink how you’re using it. Are you using it a storage space aside from keeping your vehicles? Do you have sports equipment and trash inside? A cluttered garage is usually the main culprit of infestation. Keep your garage organized with some smart shelving. Store your items off the ground to keep it clear at all times. Invest in plastic containers if you’re keeping animal feed in your garage. Make sure that it is properly sealed to prevent insects from feeding off these items. Keep your trash well-contained and sealed tightly to prevent rodents from chewing them.

• Keep your garage door closed. This is a simple task that most people forget doing. This simple advice almost always keeps pests out, especially for larger ones like rodents, raccoons, or squirrels. Don’t keep your door open for too long.

• Use pesticide sprays or powders. Remove current infestation in your garage by applying organic pesticide inside and outside of your garage. This can also help in keeping out pests. Prioritize those areas that can be used as entryway for pests and bugs. Make sure that you follow instructions for whatever repellent you use. If you have problems with bigger pests, then it might be best to call a pest control company to help you.

• Put traps. Although using pesticides work, this might not be enough. This is why traps can be a good reinforcement in catching pests that break through your garage. Lay out these traps where you can easily check them so you know when these need to be replaced. Check your traps often as you do not want decomposed pests in your garage.

• Regular cleanup and inspection. Cleaning up your garage regularly is key to maintaining it. This is effective in keeping pests out, as well. Regularly revisiting if your garage is organized is essential. You may do it once or twice a year to ensure that your garage is in good condition and that there are no new infestations. This keep your garage organized as well.

Written by Kristy Jones of A Click Away Remotes.

Spring Cleaning With Essential Oils

I am always looking for ways to eliminate all toxic chemicals from my home by replacing with more natural cleaners like essential oils, vinegar, baking soda and even fruits like lemons and oranges. Not only is it better for your families health but it is better for our environment. Check out these awesome Spring Cleaning With Essential Oils ideas from Shannon Wallis with HireHouseCleaner! Shannon has got some great ideas that I am excited to try!

 

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Cleaning Your Kitchen

Oven. To magically do away with burned-on food and carbon deposits, make sure to heat up your oven first and spray it with white vinegar second. Add a tablespoon of tea tree essential oil. Once you do this, add some salt to the treatment. Unplug the oven and let it sit until it’s cool. Next, scrub the affected areas using a wet towel. If that doesn’t work, go for baking soda. Repeat all the steps from above, just be sure to replace the salt with some good old baking soda.

Cutting boards. No matter if your cutting board is made of plastic or wood, there is one wondrous cleaning solution for it: it’s called a lemon. All you want to do is cut a lemon in half, rub it on the surface and leave it for a few minutes. To double the power of lemon, consider sprinkling the board with coarse salt. Let sit, rub again and rinse off. This will not only do away with germs and grime, but also with bad smells. Needless to say, you can also add lemon essential oil to both disinfect and deodorize your cutting board. Add 15-30 drops of lemon essential oil to a spray bottle filled with water and spray the board. Leave it to work for a few minutes, scrub off and rinse.

Garbage bin. Empty your garbage bin and sprinkle baking soda all over the inside of the item. Let it sit for half an hour. Scrub any marks or stains. Rinse off and let dry. Sprinkle a few drops of essential oil to keep germs at bay and to deodorize it.

Countertops. Countertops are a very specific issue to deal with. According to Professional Hire Cleaners Battersea  the cleaning product you need to use largely depends on the type of material they are. But if you want to skimp over expensive store-bought versions for your deep cleaning routine, here is what you can use. The simplest recipe combines 50% white vinegar and 50% water in a small spray bottle. Add lavender and lemon essential oil for super, duper cleaning powers. This cleaning solution is great for a variety of countertop materials. However, do not use it on stone, granite and marble as it may have the opposite effect. For these surfaces you want to use cheap vodka or rubbing alcohol. Again, mix with water and add an essential oil of your choosing. Apply on the surface and wipe off. Be sure to dry well.

 

Cleaning Your Bathroom

Tub and shower cleaner. Combine a few dabs of liquid castile soap, 10-15 drops of rosemary, thyme or tea tree essential oil and some baking soda. Apply the paste onto the tub and rub with a sponge. You might want to scrub the toughest grime using a toothbrush. If there is mold and mildew, try pouring white vinegar directly onto the surface and let sit.

Toilet. Start by sprinkling baking soda into the bowl. You need a generous amount of the white powder. Follow up with a few drops of tea tea essential oil. It has antibacterial powers and it will deal with germs and bacteria that your toilet bowl harbors. Last but not least, pour about ¼ cup of white vinegar into the bowl. It will make a reaction with the baking soda. Scrub and flush.

Sink. Apply a paste of baking soda and plain water to the sink. Let it work for about half an hour and scrub away the grime. If that doesn’t do the trick, leave the paste to work overnight.

 

Cleaning Everything Else

Glass. Fill a spray bottle with 4 parts water and 1 part vinegar or lemon juice. Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and shake well. Lastly, add lemon essential oil. A few drops will make do. Spray on mirrors and windows. Wipe down with a cloth working from the top to the bottom.

Floors. Again, go with white vinegar. Add a few cups of white vinegar to a bucket filled with water. To make your solution smell better and for those wondrous antibacterial properties, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Option 2 is to use a few dabs of regular dish soap in place of vinegar. Stir well.

And this is how you can spring clean your home using essential oils. Not only will your items be germ-free, but they will smell great.

Check out these related posts: Easy Microwave Cleaning, Cleaning Sippy CupsFrom Skeptic to Believer and Getting Started with Essential Oils

Clean Safely and Effectively!

Thieves Household Cleaner is one of my favorite Young Living products! It’s all natural, non toxic and safe for pets and children. We use Thieves cleaner for everything from our toilets to our kitchen sink and everything in between. 

Check out this awesome graphic for ideas on cleaning your home!!

Thieves Cleaner is a staple in our home

It wasn’t until I started really educating myself and using Young Living products that I realized just how many chemicals I was exposing my family to. I have been able to eliminate 90% of my toxic chemicals with just Thieves Household Cleaner! So not only am I saving money because Thieves Cleaner should be diluted with distilled water but I no longer buy any of the old toxic cleaners I was using!

I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it now! Let me know if you need some.

YL Thieves Cleaning in the Kitchen

For more information on getting started with using Young Living click here and additional information on how we chose Young Living can be found here! 
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Disclaimer: This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

OCD Mom Confessions and Tips

OCD Mom Confessions and Tips

I read this We can’t be friends. by Dugans Inchoots blog post last week. It doesn’t at all explain how my house looks but MANY of my friends were sharing it on FB so clearly it resonated with them. This was what I wrote in response to my friends and family:

“So this has been shared a lot today in my feed. I just want to say that when you come to my house it will be orderly (most of the time), everything has it’s place, things get returned to their place when they aren’t in use, and we clean often. However I love all my friends no matter how their house looks. When your at my house I might clean up after you but it’s not to be rude it’s just in my nature. When I am at your house I will make my kids clean up after themselves (I’ll fold your laundry or do your dishes if you’d like me to, just ask). It’s all a part of who I am but I don’t judge any of my friends or family based on the way they keep their home AND I certainly don’t expect anyone to run around cleaning before I come. Just know that my house will most likely be clean when you come, not because I ran around cleaning for your visit but because it’s in my nature to keep it this way. We CAN all be friends, we just have to accept and embrace our differences!

I really meant what I said and clearly I am still friends with all of you who do have toys on your floor or dishes in your sink. (I also want to add that I am not making light of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at all. I really do have OCD, not because my house stays clean but because I used to count things, touch things a certain number of times, etc to help me cope with anxiety. Since having four children I have had to let go of many of my OCD tenancies to make my life more manageable and enjoyable for my family.)

Anyhow I got a lot of ‘Likes’ on my post as well as some friends asking for a little help or tips from me to help them organize their house. I thought I’d start series where I share my biggest OCD mom tips and tricks. I can’t promise you’ll become OCD but I can hope that you’ll take some tips away from this to use in your home.

TOP TIPS:

Prioritize! – Decide what area of your home you would like to keep organized most of the time. Then decide what areas can have organization but would be okay to have children playing in with a mess.

Multitask! – I am the queen of multitasking, just ask my husband he’ll complain for hours on end how I hold a conversation in person while reading a book and yelling at the kids to stop fighting. You must learn how to juggle a couple things at once to get your home tidy in a timely fashion without wasting time making lots of trips around the house.

My challenge to you is… to make a list of room of your home. On the list decide one area/thing in each room that needs your attention to organize/re-organize. 

Also keep track of how much time you actually spend cleaning each day for an entire week. That will help you decide if you aren’t already multitasking how much time you might be able to save in the future.
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8 Quick Moving Tips

8moving tipsWe are moving across the city this month. I’ve moved 5 times in the last 8 years (and TONS as a child growing up in the Navy). We’ve moved long distances to just across town. NO MATTER how far you are moving it is never easy or quick. Here are some tips for anyone moving.

8 QUICK MOVING TIPS

1. Clean as you pack. (Only applies if you need to clean the home you are in before moving out.)
2. Use a different color packing tape for each room to make moving in easier. **Thanks to a reader for this great tip!
3. Sort as you pack boxes. Keep a donate box and a throw away bag handy so you don’t move clutter to your new home.
4. Schedule carpet cleaners and any other services to come the last day of your move to ensure you have everything out.
5. Use towels to pack around breakables. Kitchen and bath towels must be packed too, might as well use them around breakables!
6. Pack a suitcase for each family member with a few days worth of clothes, pillow, and kids lovies. (This depends on how long the transition is between you move. Even moving across town you’ll have a few days where you will be packed and not unpacked it all yet.)
7. Buy paper plates, plastic silverware to use whole transitioning during the move. I’m all for saving costs while moving but honestly this is one cost that will help your sanity making it priceless!
8. Pack cleaning supplies last so you can clean right up until the last day. You won’t want to purchase new cleaning supplies just to clean out or in while moving. Keep the essentials handy!

Keeping your stress level down is hard when moving but if you can find simple things to keep the move as easy and simple as possible it will help your stress. Have any other quick moving tips you’d add? I’d love to hear them!
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10 Hidden Storage Ideas

As as a mom to four kids and a full house of 9 people I am always looking for new ways to store our belongings so that we don’t feel over crowded or over ran by our stuff. The nice people at Zillow are sharing 10 Hidden Storage Ideas to help me and other families get creative with storage needs for our homes!

10 Hidden Storage Ideas

By Tali Wee of Zillowstorage

Photo Courtesy of Zillow Digs

In this materialistic day in age, it’s common for homeowners to possess far more stuff than they need or appropriately fits in their homes. Short of seeking a larger house, these overcrowded homeowners often resort to renting storage units after filling their attic spaces, sheds and garages. Multipurpose storage is a trending method for hiding less than attractive belongings.

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Forget wire shelves and space-consuming cabinets; consider these 10 secret storage concepts that won’t detract from a home’s design.

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Ottomans

Kick back and relax with the help of this smart improvement. There are a variety of storage ottomans available for purchase at large retailers around the nation. However, this is an easy do-it-yourself project. Either build or buy a wooden box, cover with batting and finish off with custom fabric. If using a patterned material, make sure that the removable top lines up with the rest of the piece. Then store as much as will fit in the hidden interior of the ottoman.

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Hidden Pantry

Even the skinniest spaces can be fit for hideaways. Create a sliding pantry in between traditional cabinets to keep dried goods and spices. Sliding pantries are similar to drawers only narrower and taller with rows of shelves. The entire set of shelves pulls out like a drawer and then stows away to hide all the contents.  Although small, this option frees up space for bulky items like pots and pans that need larger spaces.

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Book Covers

Want the classic charm of a library without sacrificing valuable shelf space? Cover the front of wooden drawers with book bindings as if the books were stacked together on a shelf. Visitors will assume that the hidden storage is merely an impressive collection of novels.

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Mirrors

Valuable jewelry and other keepsakes are best hidden away from potential burglars and young children. A free standing mirror is an elegant decoration and doubles as a storage piece. Install hooks for long necklaces and shelves to house delicate trinkets.

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Under the Bed

Rather than buy a mattress frame, why not build one? Customize it by creating sliding drawers for under-the-bed storage. Keep shoes, accessories or linens in this space to de-clutter closets.

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High Shelving

Consider displaying books and décor close to the ceiling. Aside from being a great design aspect, raised shelves in between beams keeps less-needed objects up and away from the general living space. Include a ladder to give the room the feel of a lofted getaway.

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Stairs

Don’t worry about tripping over toys and shoes on the staircase anymore. They can be safely hidden inside of the risers when fitted with drawers. The stairs are a great way to mask storage, just make sure to keep the drawers closed! Additionally, consider utilizing the space under the staircase for a coat closet or pull-out cabinets. This is a great alternative if the home is lacking a mudroom or wardrobe. It’s also a great place for winter gear and extra blankets.

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Wall Safe

Mask a wall safe with an electrical outlet plate or a painting anywhere in the home. This is a great way to hide away cash and other small valuables that shouldn’t be left out for strangers to see.

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Built-Ins

Window seating is an envied feature of many homes. Not only does it add a touch of sophistication and country style to a home, it can be a great place to stow extras around the house. Enjoy the cozy nook while hiding away blankets and pillows in the lift-top seats.

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Under the Cabinet

Ever notice the wasted space between the bottom of kitchen cabinets and the floor? Rather than stacking trays all the way above the cabinets, simply install ultra-thin drawers underneath. This keeps flat items out of the way, yet accessible for last minute entertaining.

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Rather than clutter the home with bulky furniture, enhance organization with these creative solutions that won’t disrupt the atmosphere of a home.

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My Purse Essentials~

Whats in your purse?

I got not one but TWO NEW PURSES with my birthday money in August! I was thrilled because I wanted some pursed I could use for fall. As I was cleaning out my old purse and putting everything in my new purses it got me thinking about what other ladies put in their purse. So I thought I’d start by sharing what is in my purse.

I’ll start with my “every day” purse. This goes with me every where. Here is a list of what I have in it:

  • Two pairs of sunglasses (because I am always misplacing them).
  • My wallet that houses all of my cash, change, cards, etc.
  • A pack of gum…I don’t actually chew gum very often but it’s great bribery for my preschooler.
  • Two hair clips of different types because you never know when you need to throw your hair up.
  • Mints…these I love and use often.
  • Chapstick- A MUST!
  • Blog Business Cards (have never given one out but I have them handy if ever I need to LOL)
  • Medicine- Tylonal, sinus meds, allergy meds and stomach ache meds all for emergencies.
  • Sanitizer
  • Tampons and Panty Liners (I’m not pregnant there for I need them!hehehe)
  • Bandaids and little Wet Ones
  • Too many lip glosses to count…it’s an addiction really, I never wear them but I buy them pretty often.
  • Car keys clip onto the loops of my purse because I miss place those often and this has saved me from having to call a lock smith.

My "Every Day" purse

My “date night” purse which I use for date night with the hubs or ladies night out. Or really anytime I am just going to be out for a couple hours without kids.

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Chapstick
  • Wallet (which is the only thing I have to throw in from my Every Day Purse)
  • Two Lip glosses
  • One Pair of sunglasses and small pack of mints (not pictured…forgot they were in the little pocket of this purse)
  • Tampons & Panty Liners (for obvious reasons)

My Date Night Purse

Both bags stay packed and ready. I just swap over my wallet to whichever I am using and go! Now I am curious…what is in your purse??

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And the adventure begins…

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We decided to split our 14-20 hour drives in half by staying the night half way. So from Texas to Georgia we are stopping in Louisiana. On our drive from Georgia to Ohio we are staying in North Carolina. Then on our way from Ohio to home we are staying in Tennessee. Having 5 kids under 8 in the van with us we knew that we couldn’t push them much past 10 hours before we’d start to get major meltdowns.

One of the fun ways we kept the kids from asking “Are we there yet?” every five minutes was with a banner I idea I got from The Dating Divas. I used the free printable to add major cities and state lines along our route for each of the four trips we are making. When we went through an area that I had written on the printable cards we had a little mini celebration and talked about what are we are going to drive through next.

For my banners I just took ribbon I had on hand, cut the papers out, wrote out 10 spots from start to finish along each major road trip, then stapled the papers to the ribbon (they have a spot to hole punch them but I was worried little ones would mess with them so instead I stapled). Then in the van I tied one end to the front ceiling handle and one to the rear handle so it is visible to everyone in the car. I also printed a full map of our entire 3300+ mile road trip so the kids can see how far we are going/have been already! I made all of my banners ahead of time and stuck them in a ziplock to tie up when we needed them (since we will be staying 5 days in Georgia and 5 days in Ohio and not doing our trips consecutively).

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Don’t forget to check out my other Road Trip Tips!!
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Road Trips: Packing Efficient for Big Family (Final Part in my Road Trip Series)

road tripI have changed the way I pack significantly over the years. I like to be able to pull each person’s clothes out for the day in a jiffy so each child can get dressed and ready for the day. I also have found that I like the kids bathroom essentials with my bathroom essentials so I can easily get to them all at one time for morning or night routines.1-IMG_4620

For this trip we will be making overnight stops on our drives so I have one medium duffel bag that is an overnight bag while the other bags are for our longer stays in Georgia and Ohio. The other medium duffel is for my younger two kids and the suit case is for hubby and I (in this case it is just mine so I added the kids sweaters and all of the bathroom essentials to my bag).

For each child I set out 7 outfits, 7 socks, 7 underwear, 4 pajamas, and 2 swim suits. Each outfit along with a pair of socks and undies goes into a ziplock bag. This saves me time when we get to our destinations and it saves room. I put all pajamas in one ziplock and both swim suits in a ziplock for each child. My four children share two different bags but it includes everything they need for an entire week, including diapers, wipes, and night time pull-ups.1-clothes-002

On the bottom of my older boys duffel bag I pack all our beach essentials; towels, swim shoes, sunscreen, hats, swim diapers, and a flattened bag. Then in the top portion is my boys clothes.1-IMG_4613

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The only other bags we have are these…

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Just the kids Busy Binders, gaming device bag, a couple bins with new road trip games/toys, and then our food for the road (which will be in a small cooler but is not pictured here).

Now we are off on our Road Trip Adventure! First stop is Baton Rouge, LA followed by Georgia to see family! Follow me on Facebook and Instagram to keep track of our road trip journey!

I will try to post as often as possible over the next two weeks about our trip plus I have some GREAT scheduled posts coming up too!

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Revamping Chore List for Summertime

 I admit that summer time is usual pretty casual around our house. I try not to overbook our days with extracurricular activities so that my kids can stay up a bit later, sleep in (haha, never happens) and spend our days finding new ways to enjoy time together. To avoid getting too laid back with our daily routine and chores over the summer I decided to revamp the kids chore list.

To start I searched for online programs that would help me generate a chore list I could either print or keep track of online. I came across Handipoints! It was exactly what I was looking for!

I signed up. Then inputted daily and weekly chores for each of my children. I sorted them so the daily chores are on the top of the list in order of what I’d like them to complete in the morning followed by the chores that should be completed in the evening. Last I put the chores that the kids will only do once, twice or three times a week. Some of the weekly chores will be rotated through the month so each child will take a turn doing each task on their week.

I printed them, put up a poster board with clothes pins to hold each child’s list, then strung a string to a marker on the wall in our play room.IMG_3882IMG_3885

At the end of the week I can pull their lists down, input their completed tasks on the Handipoints website. To keep track of how many points they earned.

Then lastly the kids will be able to earn things like “a new book”, “icecream treat”, “putt putt golf”, and more. We don’t normally reward our kids for things they should already be doing but our children really do a good job of making sure they keep our house in good working order so we’ve decided that a little extra something here and there this summer well deserved.

There are also many worksheets available on Hanipoints. They will be great to print and use for summer bridge schooling at home and while we travel!

Do you have a chore chart for your kids? Are chores harder or easier to keep up with in the summer time at your house?

**I am in no way affiliated with Handipoints. I’m just a mom sharing a cook site I found to help other moms streamline their life!**

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