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styleberryFAQs | Household & Organization

Soooo…did you get a chance to stop by the Amy Atlas Blog??! I am so flattered by the nice things she said & so very much appreciate the feature! If you are ever in need of dessert inspiration, look no further!! Amy is your gal. She is the creator of the dessert table…and she never disappoints. If you are here because you found me there, HI! To see the full article, just click here: Beautiful Baby Shower Guest Dessert Feature.

SO back to the FAQs I promised you all. I’ve got a couple more topics to cover, but household stuff seems to be top of the list when it comes to questions. I like to keep an organized & effectively functioning home & today you will find a load of my resources at your fingertips. SO enjoy! & as with all the FAQs…if I missed something–let me know in the comments! I’ll answer! ;)

Do you have a home management routine (i.e. Laundry day, vacuum day, crafting day, blogging day, bill paying day, workout time, etc…?)

Nope! I just have a daily routine. As for the cleaning, I just try to keep up daily–& have the house at a baseline tidy/clean so all I do are touchups. All cleaning is done while caroline is awake (she helps) & I think it is important that she sees me clean. The exception is the bathrooms & I usually do those during naptime. I often do use chemicals on those, so I keep her away from them.

We have regular weekly activities on set days, so I work my extracurricular activities & errands around those things to save gas money. On a daily basis, most crafting/baking is done in the afternoon during or after naptime.

I always blog late at night. & my posts are always “scheduled” to post in the morning on their own, so I don’t ever manually do it. I usually don’t even turn on my computer until naptime at 1. I’ve been blogging more recently, but given some current “neglected” areas of my life, I am pretty sure I am going to be going back to just three days a week. I just can’t do it all! Or everyone gets cranky! ;)

What’s typical a day like? Would you please do a “day in the life?”

I did one! You can see it over on The Domestic Wannabe. ;) I used to do 10 on 10. Did you like those? I never got a good response so I quit doing them…but it was pretty much an iphone snap series of one day out of our month. Is there interest in me bringing that back? Hmm.

Daily, we have a pretty simple routine:

Wake up.
Leave the house. (gym/playdate/activity/errands)
Return for lunch.
Activity time. (bake/craft/read/play)
Cook dinner & Eat dinner. (she pulls up a chair & does something at the counter the entire time I am cooking)
Play outside.

Do you have an all natural detergent you use to wash clothes?

After lots of experimentation, our favorite is Seventh Generation Free & Clear. I have been using Budda Bunz dryer balls, but I’d still like something more, as my clothes are feeling a little “crunchier” than I’d like. Any suggestions?

And what about dishwasher soap? Any all natural suggestions?

I use & love the Method Smarty Dish Non Toxic Tablets, in unscented. I found that anything scented made the silicone of caroline’s sippies smell & that bugged me. As you can see…we have an unscented theme going here…clean has suddenly started to smell like “nothing” instead of fruity smells! Except my dish soap is Method’s Clementine. It smells yummy. :)

What products do you use to clean?

I use vinegar & water on the floors & for a lot of random cleaning jobs. & I use method on pretty much everything else–EXCEPT wood. The method wood cleaner really did something weird to my coffee table. So I still use Pledge for that. But I use Method antibacterial surface wash, surface cleaner, tub & tile scrub & daily shower. I still break out the windex & clean the potties with chemicals. I have this terrible habit of using the costco kirkland bleach wipes on my counters…I just love them. I should really make my own with the method antibacterial cleaner. Have any of you done this? Want to share your system??! I need some inspiration.

How do you organize your craft supplies?

I have them in tupperware drawers in a couple of locations. I have some have some in my utility room & some outside in the garage (which is right next to my kitchen, where I always craft). When we built our home we built a wall of extra cabinets in the kitchen & I keep a lot of my supplies in there, too.

What about organizing craft ideas, either for you or Caroline – do you use Evernote?

I use pinterest to gather ideas. & find others floating around the internet & in magazines. Any keepers I add to Evernote & tag with “kids crafts” and/or the holiday that they are for.

How you organize the regular weekly meal options….I think you said in the post something about rotating the regulars and had a photo of your cabinet…can you show more on how you put/choose the weeks meals?

Yes–this was my old system.

This is my new system:

step 1: pull up master list in Evernote (*hint, if you put as asterisk [*] in front of anything, it automatically moves it to the top of any alphabetical list, so my master recipe list is called “*master list” in the recipes folder.
step 2: roll through it. what looks good? what ingredients do I have left from last week to use? what recipes call for similar ingredients so I don’t waste anything? anything new I want to try? I select five recipes or so.
step 3: add ingredients I need to Grocery IQ.
step 4: make a list on the fridge chalkboard of what our options are for the week. (this was the project I deleted the how to images for….but it’s just a vinyl chalkboard that I used an exacto knife to design into something pretty. it came as a result of my hubby’s constant “what’s for dinner” questions that were driving me nuts. Now I just point to the board & tell him to pick one!)
step 5: cook through them. I usually just make what sounds good that day. OR what has ingredients that need to be used the quickest.

I have a pretty good mental note of what is in the freezer. I don’t cook freezer meals–it’s just not my thing. I only keep soups or meat in there & I can usually remember when I need to pick meat up since it has become so routine & I know the rate that we go through it.

Do you use a dayplanner/home management binder or other gadget to stay organized?

My secret to efficiency is my iPhone. I have EVERYTHING in there. EVERYTHING. I do still have all my old pre-iPhone paperwork in binders in my utility room. Things like product manuals & household appliance stuff. But moving forward, I am paperless.

Do you keep a lot of paperwork or are you on a paperless filing system?

We are as paperless as we can be. & we back up to both & a time capsule.

Paper or smart phone or computer?

iPhone & sometimes computer. RARELY paper. I hate paper.

Favorite apps?

Here’s what I use on a daily basis:

  • Evernote: (wrote about it here) This is my lifeblood. All of my recipes are in here. I draft blog articles in here. I keep articles I find useful. Medication data. Product manuals for household appliances & electronics. Craft tutorials. Inspiring room designs. & a zillion more things…
  • Grocery IQ: (wrote about it here) This has lists for all the stores I go to in town. Every time I think of something I need, I add it to the appropriate list. Then when I am there, I don’t forget anything.
  • Notes: I keep track of every dollar I spend in here & keep a tally of where I am in my budget on a weekly basis.
  • iCal: (wrote about it here) Syncs with my computer–has all birthdays & the calendars of each family member.
  • mSecure: holds all my passwords so I have them all at my fingertips whenever I need them.
  • BabyConnect: I use this for the medical/milestones tracking only. I keep track of all of caroline’s important milestones, growth statistics (it charts them for you on a curve), vaccines & medications/dosing. I like to have all of this information with me at all times.
  • Camera+: (wrote about it here) my favorite picture app.
  • iBooks: now officially addicted to reading on the iPad.
  • Pinterest: need I say more? (wrote about it here)

& non-dailies, but often:

  • Around Me: finds anything close to you, using your GPS location. You can enter search terms to be specific.
  • Crossfit Daily: for quick access to crossfit workouts.
  • Park Finder: This app uses your current location to locate parks in the vicinity & rates them
  • KENS5: has great radars for the local weather
  • CNN: sends me push notifications for headlines throughout the day
  • Sirius/XM: I use this to listen to my favorite stations at home (alt nation & coffee house)

Favorite organization tips/tools?

Keep it simple. I don’t like a lot of stuff or tools to get the job done. Just a few good resources to keep me on track.

Oh, and get a good case for your iPhone (or smartphone) so you don’t run the risk of losing that hugely valuable tool. I just got a new case for mine & while I thought I’d simply like it, it turns out I LOVE it. SO I am going to plug it: Otterbox Commuter for the iPhone 4. It’s got a silicone sleeve to weather the drops, but it is still covered in hard plastic so I can slide it in & out of my bag pockets without it sticking–and it keeps the silicone from stretching out. I like how it feels. I like how it looks. I like the otterbox reputation. & I feel like my very valuable investment is protected. I highly recommend! (& mine is very much hot pink, not purple like the website shows)

What kind of budget system do you follow?

It took me YEARS to figure out that my brain works on we weekly system. The way we work it in our house is we set an amount (after all pretty static monthly expenses are accounted for–mortgage, utilities, savings etc.) that is left to cover everything that I have to buy to keep the household functioning. I have “x” amount to spend a month. I can do whatever with it, but it must cover groceries, car maintenance, gas, pet expenses, personal care, caroline’s activities etc. For me, dividing up this lump sum in to a weekly amount makes the most sense in my head. I start my week on Saturdays–and from Saturday to Friday I have “x” amount to spend. I keep track of it by logging each expenditure in my notes app, and then enter all my receipts in Quicken, where my hubby has built a monster of a financial database for us. He loves that stuff. So I leave it to him. I spend 95% of it…& he charts and graphs & allocates. It works for us!

& I think that covers the basic questions you all posed for me on household management! What did I miss? Have these FAQs been helpful for you?

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • Beth - Fun post! You can just use some of that handy white vinegar in your dryer (I mix a few drops of lavender essential oil with mine b/c I don’t love the idea of my clothes smelling like vinegar). I learned this little tidbit from this great little green cleaning book I have.ReplyCancel

    • -shawna- - awesome awesome awesome. There is never a shortage of vinegar in this house! ha!ReplyCancel

  • Lacee Curtis - YOU’RE AMAZING!!! I found your blog this weekend through google and I’m in love with your style. You are super creative and an AMAZING mom! I was searching layouts for blurb books and it brought your blurb book up. I have been agonizing over my books for years now, I’m happy with the blurb look, I just don’t know where to start, what layouts to do, I know this is really lame, but do you have any suggestions? I can’t decide if journaling should be in my book, only photos, big photos, only my favorites? should I have it in order from Jan – December??? HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!!!! laceecurtis@gmail.comReplyCancel

    • -shawna- - ::blush:: thank you! my best advice is to keep it simple. I prefer all pictures & kept mine to about 8 different page layouts for consistency. My preference in picture books is to have simple layouts & not a lot of variety with lots of big pictures. I think it looks more professional that way. Less is more! I do Jan-Dec. I like it chronological like that! :) Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Shannon - Hi Shawna- I have a great recommendation for you on the laundry dryer sheets that are chemical free and work like no other! email me at if you want the info and how to get them. you will love them!ReplyCancel

  • Erin W. - Hey Shawna! Glad you posted on this topic. I’ve been meaning to ask if you’ve ever heard of Melaleuca? They are a Inc 500, worldwide wellness company that sells natural, safe, and ton-toxic stuff for your home and personal use. Over 350 products, everything is super effective, cost comparable (or cheaper!) and smells great! I recently started referring people to this awesome company, they don’t advertise, but rely on current customers to spread the word. You just set up an online account where you shop every month and it’s delivered to your door, very easy! Trying out their products was the best decision I’ve made in a long time and a big relief off my mind when it comes to Logan and the chemicals/toxins he is exposed to! If you want more information, I’d love to share with you or answer any questions! I’ve been thinking for a long time now about how much you would love some of this stuff! :) My email is

  • Mrs. Bicuit - Shawna,

    I was so excited to see this post! (It was the one I was most anticipating of your FAQ). You did not disappoint….thanks for even more inspiration!!

    I vote to bring back the 10 on 10.

    And I love that chalkboard idea! (I’m going to have to steal it.)

    I do have a question that I was just thinking about over the weekend. I’ve been reading the Everyday Food magazine (on your recommendation) and I’m wondering what you do with your old ones? Do you keep them to look back at (and if so…how do you store them?) Or do you just clip the ones you like into evernote?

    I’m a long time evernote user and a new pinterest person…still haven’t figured out which one to clip things to and where.

    Also, would love it if you would share with us (in a future post) your master recipe list…I’m always looking for new ideas for dinners!

    Thanks once again…great post!

    • -shawna- - I find the recipes I like online & clip to evernote, tag with “to try” then recycle the paper copy! I am no longer a magazine hoarder like I used to be. WHEW! I clip things to evernote that I KNOW I want to try–right after I pin on pinterest so I don’t forget. My master list is such a hodge podge of years of cooking! :)ReplyCancel

  • shannon - I never thought about using Evernote to do my recipes, I have to check that out further in my free time!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly B. - This was the post I was anticipating most….thank you for sharing! :) And I vote to bring back the 10 on 10….I really enjoyed those posts!! :)ReplyCancel

  • Jacqueline - I’ve got a question! When do you find time for the less frequent cleaning tasks? Things like dusting molding/baseboards, cleaning windows, etc. How do you work those things into your cleaning schedule?ReplyCancel

    • -shawna- - honest answer: when they get so bad I can’t take them anymore. ;) I do them while caroline is awake, usually on their own since they are labor intensive!ReplyCancel

  • Sara - Try vinegar as your laundry softner in the wash. I’ve found it makes my clothes super soft and I don’t smell the vinegar in the clothes at all. Is there anything vinegar can’t do? I can even use it with my fuzzi bunz.ReplyCancel

  • thalla-Marie - have you considered

    • -shawna- - yes, we’ve used & had a few issues with it. I don’t like how you cannot budget using your own categories. :[ it sure is convenient though!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - Shawna,
    I just wanted to tell you that you are a great inspiration. You are a fantastic, thoughtful, involved mommy, a wonderful homemaker, excellent photographer and amazing person. I, in a nonstalker way, strive to be a more like you. Although with an 8,7, and 13 month old and another on the way I do not always succeed the way you do. Keep up the good work Momma!!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - Love the pink of your iPhone case! Ugh, I wish there were more cute cases for Android phones. But there’s such a variety of them, I guess I can understand why the market isn’t as strong. Anyway, your case seems a lot like the one I got for my new smartphone, the Incredible 2. It’s made by Casemate: Love mine too! :)

    Love the FAQs! Excellent format!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - This post was perfect.

    Question: How do you recommend we capture your recipes in Evernote? (still navigating my way around) I can see the content is protected as to not highlight and clip as a pdf… is there an option to print? I want to make sure to keep the content together as you intended with the branding…. just want to add some yummy things to evernote.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - I think I figured it out… was trying to use the elephant on the top right not the browser. It works now. :)ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - Hi Shawna!

    I’m wondering, is there an app that you used to make your to-do list? Or do you have a written to-do list?

    You’re such an inspiration! I love reading your blog & how health conscious you are!


    • -shawna- - I usually just write it out–but I often use the notes app on my iphone!ReplyCancel

  • Jamie - Um, yeah… where has this blog been all my life? Haha… I love your blog, can you tell? I found it through your viral pin about losing baby weight, and I haven’t stopped browsing around since I got here! Just had to comment because of that last paragraph on this post regarding how you budget your weekly amount to spend on pretty much everything – thank you for writing that – I have been struggling for months with our budget, and trying to get my spending under a certain amount, but I can’t ever seem to keep track because I am always trying to categorize everything! Having one big amount to work with is SO much easier, simpler, and thanks to you, I finally see the light! :)ReplyCancel

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