Are Kids Sabotaging Your Cleaning?

I have three boys, they have all at one time or other (or all at the same if I’ve been unlucky) tried to sabotage my attempts to keep the house in order … here is how I cope.

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Bathrooms: Are you cleaning these?

Bathroom cleaning is a hot topic in TeamTOMM. I promise they aren’t as scary to clean as people think and if you make sure that you approach bathroom cleaning with a little and often mindset then you will always be on top of them!

But bathroom cleaning is a bit more than the loo and the sink, so I thought I would write a handy little list just as a reminder of the most forgotten areas of the bathroom when it comes to getting them looking all sparkly and shiz!

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Top 5 things you might be forgetting to clean in the kitchen!

You’ve set your timer and you’ve blitzed your kitchen whilst listening to the TeamTOMM cleaning playlist (available on my Youtube channel) but have you cleaned these?

The crumb catcher in the toaster … where the raisins from your fruit loaf go to die.

The seal around your fridge and freezer … often neglected, but so satisfying to clean!

The cutlery drawer tray … I don’t know how it gets so dusty in there!

The extractor fan filters … mine can go in the dishwasher!

The kitchen cupboard kickboards … when was the last time you get on your hands and knees and gave them a good scrub?

There you have it … next time it is kitchen day spread the cleaning love between these five!

Life Hack! Organise Your Bag … EASILY!

Those of you who follow my social media pages will know all about the TeamTOMM Tip of The Week! Members of TeamTOMM will throw their life and cleaning hacks at me so I can cherry pick the awesome ones and bring them your way! Well, this one was so so so so good that I had to give it its own little place on the blog to remain forever! It was actually put forward to me by Amy who is one of the lovely moderators for our TeamTOMM Facebook Group. Thank you Amy … I feel this will be a game changer for many!

Amy …. over to you … 

The ever so lovely Amy.png

I am currently sat at the local swimming pool, watching my six-year-old son in his lesson (which means having to throw him a thumbs up every single width he swims), whilst entertaining a toddler (we are currently playing with a Millennium Falcon fashioned from blocks with Chewbacca) and my nine-year-old is giving me the low-down on who has fallen out with who whilst she is going through my bag looking for snacks (because my kids LOVE snacks) and completing a word search.

This is just one afternoon in the week. Almost every other afternoon involves this scenario but the roles my children play are flexible and carried out in a variety of different public places. They enjoy an after-school education and social life I could only dream of!

Why am I telling you all this? Well, because Gemma asked me to if I am completely honest! The reason she did so was … I am able to leave the house to go to any of these activities normally within a few minutes. With all three children. On my own. Gone. Out of the house.

My secret? Plastic sandwich bags!

I understand I owe you an explanation…

My beloved changing bag died when my youngest was only one. This doesn’t sound overly dramatic but my late mum had sourced an out of stock bag-of-my-dreams changing bag for me many moons ago and I loved it (so much it is in my loft as I cannot throw it away!) and I held on to it until it died a slow and painful death. I knew I couldn’t replace it and instead turned to the arsenal of bags I already owned to use as alternatives.

However, there were days when I was going out shopping and didn’t need the giant oversized changing bag with me anymore; there were times I got to go out-out with friends and no children, times I was taking just the toddler to playgroup and times like today where I was channelling Mary Poppins. I didn’t always want the same bag, and I didn’t always need everything with me but I needed a quick and easy method of transferring from one bag to another with ease and cleanliness. I struggled with this even prior to having children. My work bag was constantly found with mouldy fruit, thrown in with healthy intentions, at the bottom never to be seen again!

Hence, plastic sandwich bags!

It is so simple and so easy but was a light bulb moment for me.

I have packed and ready at any given time three extra-large plastic sandwich bags:

  • Easy entertainment items (currently a small pencil case stocked with colours, a small colouring book, a word search book, some small plastic blocks and a couple of figures)
  • Changing necessities (currently a spare outfit for the toddler, two nappies, wipes, antibacterial hand gel and tissues)
  • Snacks! (cereal bars, raisins, dried fruit and emergency lollipop – this stops my toddler’s meltdowns in seconds!)

When I am about to leave I choose my bag, add the plastic bags I need for that moment and throw in my phone, keys and purse and am out of the door!

I have everything I need within them, even the plastic bags themselves are useful for rubbish or for bad nappies or if the outfit change is needed, I have a waterproof method of getting the wet outfit home. I make sure I refill upon returning home and that way I am ready to roll. Playgroup: bag 2 only. Swimming lesson: bags 1, 2 and 3. Cinema trip with eldest two: no bags needed! And as they are plastic bags and not boxes they can fit almost any shape and size bag.

So there you have it. Not rocket science, but plastic bags in my bag were a game changer to getting out of the house ready for almost anything.

Selling Your Home? Read This First!

If you frequent my blog on the regular then you will already know that I don’t think we should all be living in picture perfect show homes. Because quite frankly it isn’t practical. I think a family home needs to enjoyed and it needs to be functional.

Well, the one time this does not apply is when you are trying to sell your house. This is the ONLY time when your home needs to look pukka 24/7!

…Apart from if Tom Hardy is popping by for a cuppa of course. Then it also has to look pretty good … or the Queen … or Jason Orange (Mike if you are reading this you are still my fave!)

Home staging …selling a lifestyle … wafting Nescafe around before you show viewers your house … I am not going to tell you to do this … you have heard all that before.

I am going to tell you a little fun fact. When I was younger we moved home ELEVEN TIMES! No my parents were not in jobs that took them all over the world and required us to relocate often. We stayed in the same town in Manchester. But they loved to buy houses that were basically falling down, do them up and then move on. So I watched my mum get a house ready for sale ALOT and it has sunk into my bones.

Now that I am a grown up I don’t move that often … I have sold three houses. But all of them sold on the day they went on the market, so I think I picked up some good tips from my rolling stone mum.

Here is what I do when I am selling a house

Photos

  • Firstly I get ready for the photos. If possible try to arrange for the photos to be taken by the agent on a sunny day. A day that doesn’t have giveaway seasonal weather. Have you seen a picture of a house for sale on Rightmove that has snow in the garden and you are looking at it in June? … total give away that the house has been on the market a long time … you start to wonder what is wrong with it. Bad vibe alert! So go for the standard “could have been taken any day of the year” weather if you can.
  • When the agent comes to take photos you must do these things … they are not negotiable .. don’t look at me like that!
  • Make all the beds REALLY WELL!
  • Get rid of as much clutter as you can. I don’t care if you hide it behind the shower curtain just stash it somewhere so that it doesn’t show up in the photos!
  • Make sure your cushions in the living room don’t look like pancakes … plump and then plump again!
  • Buyers look at pics of kitchens the most … kitchens are important because they are very expensive to replace, so clear as much stuff off the surfaces as you can and shine as much stuff as you can.
  • Turn on the lamps, in every room. Trust me.
  • As with the kitchen, your bathroom is mega important. Clear away all shampoo bottles and half squeezed toothpaste tubes. SHINE THE MIRROR and make sure the towels look neat and fluffy!
  • Look around your home. Anything that is killing the light and airy vibe needs to be dealt with.

Get Ready For Viewings

  • Ok so the pics look awesome and it has gone on the market. Do not I repeat DO NOT wait until you get your first viewing before you prep your home. Sometimes you will have very little notice that someone is coming round. Be your future friend and prep now!
  • Declutter and then declutter some more. This is the perfect time to have a cull. It will make your life easier when you do come to move, as you will already have had a massive sort out! Remembering of course that some buyers will look in airing cupboards and fitted wardrobes to check out the storage … so don’t cram everything in there!
  • You want your home to look inviting but you also want potential buyers to be able to imagine living there. Try and remove any niche items that you might have … I’m thinking evidence of weird hobbies, strange stuff on walls, a life-size cut out of Donald Trump … that sort of thing. I once looked around a house that had tea cups stuck to the ceiling. I shit you not!
  • I want you to think SMELL! You want your home to smell fresh. Your buyers want your home to smell fresh. You need to get rid of stale cooking smells, smelly dog odour, and evidence of smoking. Open the windows DAILY. Wash pet bedding at least once a week. Wash out your pet bowls after each feed … no excuses. Stale pet food stinks! Don’t cook mackerel.
  • I know you have heard it before but the outside of your house needs to look good. Weed the path, mow the lawn and put some flowers by the front door. you don’t have to be Alan Titchmarsh. Some nice flowers and a neat path is all you need.
  • Talking of flowers … buy some, put them in a nice vase and put them somewhere prominent. Kitchen table, the hallway. It makes your home looked loved and adds to that fresh feel. Flowers give off good vibes!
  • Back to the kitchen .. keep it clean. Wipe down the hob when it gets splashed and make sure that the kitchen is viewer ready every single day. Yes, it is a pain in the bum but the kitchen can make or break the deal!
  • Same with your loos … clean them properly! I looked around a house once and let’s just say that the loo had been used and hadn’t been cleaned (vom). Same with showers and glass shower screens … these need to be shiny! Look bottom line is no one wants to think about using a loo that has been frequented by someone else so that loo has to look brand new! Little mantra for you there!

Showing Someone Around

  • If parking is a problem then take your car somewhere else so that the space where you would usually park is left free for the potential buyers. If you have a drive leave plenty of room for their car.
  • Try and have the house as empty of people as possible. If a family of four are looking around and you, your partner and the kids are in the living room it is going to look crowded … bad vibes! Buyers like space! Send the everyone to the shop for milk or something.
  • Don’t have your washing machine whirring away. Buyers like quiet.
  • When you are showing someone round PLEASE don’t follow them all over the house and say things like “This is the kitchen” … it is pretty bloody obvious! They don’t want you breathing down their necks, it will make them feel uneasy and make them want to leave! Leave them to it. By all means, point out stuff that you think is important but then leave them to wander around at their leisure, while you busy yourself pretending to hang out the washing or weed the borders. If you are Tom Hardy then feel free to follow people around … they’ll love it!
  • Second viewings … are actually more important than the first! This is when they will really start to have a good look around. You have them hooked so follow all the advice above and if you see the tape measure come out you are on a winner!

Happy Selling ❤️

Want a Natural Way Get Rid of Ants? … Cinnamon!

So it is that time of year and there have been loads of questions on the Team TOMM Facebook Group about ants.

As you can imagine lots of TOMMers have little ones and pets running around so they need effective and natural ways to stop the crawlies in their tracks!

Lots of people have suggested cinnamon (sprinkle it the places where you see the ants) and lots of people have had success with it.

Appears that ants don’t like cinnamon and it deters them.

Plus your house will smell like a bakery …. winning all round I say.

 

 

How To Make Your Home Smell GOOD!

First impressions count! It doesn’t matter how long you’ve spent scrubbing on your hands and knees .. if your home has a nasty pong then all your hard work will go unnoticed.

Here are my top tips to make your home smell goooood