It always seems so difficult to fit everything you want to take into your luggage, but here are some Heloise Hints to help you make more efficient use of the space and that means you can take (and bring home) more:
1. Place the heaviest items on the bottom of suitcase, meaning when the bag is picked up.
2. When packing shoes, store sole-to-sole, with the heel of one shoe meeting the toes of the other. Don’t waste the space inside the shoes; tuck stockings, hose and underwear there.
3. To prevent clothing from wrinkling while in transit, roll items instead of folding.
4. Pack only travel or trial-size toiletries! Don’t take the big bottle of shampoo!
5. Attach a business card (or note) with a contact or cell number inside the luggage, in case it’s lost. Of course, you should have a tag on the outside too.
Your children’s must-have tech devices do get a messy workout with all those dirty, sticky fingers. So here’s the quickest way to get off the gunk:
TO CLEAN: The best way for children to clean a cell phone is by using an alcohol based wet wipe, but not on the screen. This at least will remove the surface gunk. For gaming equipment, unplug first and wipe down with a microfiber cloth. For the controllers, use a bit of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab to clean.
TO SAVE: Dust the devices weekly and try to keep soft drinks and food away from them. But if water or soda gets into any of these pieces of equipment or they are dropped, make certain the children let you know, so they can be dealt with ASAP!
If your children take lunches to school, the lunchbox or bag will inevitably get dirty and smelly. Here’s how to remove the bad odors:
TO CLEAN: Lightly wet a paper towel with a bit of household vinegar or sprinkle some odor-neutralizing baking soda on it. Place inside the lunch bag or box overnight. Next morning, wash and dry well. To air out, always leave the top open.
TO PREVENT: Have your children keep their lunchboxes clean by tossing out uneaten food or wrappers every day. A simple napkin can wipe off the inside surface.
Your kids’ backpacks will end up being disgusting during the school year. Everything it seems will be crammed inside and left like it’s a portable garbage bag. Use these hints to try to keep it clean:
1. To get rid of the dirt that you see on the backpack, brush off with a dry brush or vacuum with the upholstery attachment. The brush attachment on the vac is my new favorite Heloise Hint! Try it on dusty clothes!
2. Turn the backpack upside down over an open newspaper to eliminate debris and contain it. Then wipe the inside with soap on a moistened sponge, rinse off, and then air-dry. Store backpacks in a dry area, so mold doesn’t grow.
3. Never soak the entire backpack in water because it can damage the surface coating. If the zipper gets stuck, use a piece of candle to run along the teeth or use a fabric silicone spray that won’t stain the material.
4. To prevent a backpack from getting dirty, assign one day a week (Friday or Saturday) for your children to empty everything from the backpack. Make sure they unload food leftovers and debris. No smelly, rotten fruit or sandwiches to stink up the backpack, or the corner it gets thrown into.
Getting everybody ready for school in the morning can be such a crazy and stressful time. Here are several hints to make it calmer, so hopefully it goes a little more orderly:
1. Before bedtime, make sure your children gather all their school papers and put them into their backpacks, so they won’t be looking for them in the morning.
2. Set the breakfast table before you go to bed. Put out dishes and dry cereal.
3. Make lunches over the weekend. Freeze sandwiches (without mayo or mustard, lettuce, etc.) and then just pull them out in the morning and finish off.
4. Get your older children to decide what they’re going to wear the next day—before they go to bed. For smaller kids, you can choose the outfits and lay them out at night.
Getting your household running efficiently can be a daunting task. Here are a few Heloise Hints to help wrangle your children’s extracurricular activities in some sense of order, which will help everybody save time and energy:
1. Put a basket on a table near the front door to put your children’s papers that might need a signature and that have to be returned to school.
2. Place a bin in each child’s bedroom to dump/hold all the things they bring home from school, books, etc.
3. Have a specified rack or large plastic garbage can designated to hold all sports equipment.
4. Contain all old school papers and drawings by giving each child their own folder to store them in.
Here’s my easy way to help organize your house. Take just 5 minutes or touch and deal with ONLY 5 things a day to deal with clutter that can build up. To deal with items that are not in place, take these 5 steps:
1. File It—Paper work, bills or coupons have piled up. Sort and file them.
2. Forward It—Items/objects that are scattered about, and not where they belong, should be taken to where they do.
3. Fix It—Gather all items that need to be repaired and get them fixed.
4. Fill It In—Forms, school permissions, insurance, bills that have to be completed, do so ASAP.
5. Forget About It—Toss it, pass it on, donate to charity or remove to the recycle bin.
If you have unexpected children coming by after school, you can whip up these favorite kid snacks in a hurry. Here’s the short-cut Heloise recipe:
1. Make rice cereal treats faster simply by melting miniature marshmallows in this no-cook recipe.
2. Mix the rice cereal with the melted marshmallow cream. Butter the pan and press the mixture into it.
3. If your children like it a bit cool, you can put it into the refrigerator or even freezer for a short while. This is a favorite Heloise Hint with busy parents. So try to keep some rice cereal and marshmallows on hand, even if you have to hide them!
With the new fall school year looming; Mom and Dad may feel like it is managing the family circus in overtime. With all the school and sports activities, play dates, sleepovers and more going into full swing, you can enlist your children to be more organized. Here are some simple ideas:
1. Use it or lose it. Teach your children to put away or organize the items they love and use. If they are bored with a toy or game or have outgrown clothing, they can lose them. You can donate to a charity or toss out these unwanted and/or broken items.
2. Right stuff in right place. When your kids use the bathroom or are in the kitchen or living room, whatever they take out, they need to put it back in it right place. Show them where things are stored or go in your home, so they know.
Also, give them plenty of shelves or storage bins to contain their stuff.
If you realize the leather shoes you have in your closet are not comfortable, you can stretch them a bit. Here’s what to do.
1. To stretch leather shoes a little, use a shoe stretcher and a shoe-stretch spray, which you can find at shoe-repair shops.
2. Apply the spray inside the shoe, and add a stretcher, if you have one.
3. This may not work, so the take shoes to a shoe-repair shop that has a stretching machine. Especially if you love them! It’s worth the money.
4. To prevent this problem. Never buy shoes (especially man-made) that are too tight or too small, which may be tempting, particularly when they are on sale. But they will never fit properly or be able to be stretched enough to be comfortable.