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How to Clean Hardwood Floors

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How to clean hardwood floor || Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner & Swiffer Sweeper || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com When we purchased our home in Gaylord, I was beyond excited to have hardwood floors. They look great and are so much better for people who have severe allergies, like my husband. After we moved in I realized I had no idea how to properly care for hardwoods. I was afraid that I would ruin them. Now I know that it's not so bad if you've got the right tools.

This post contains affiliate links. This means, if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive commission. 

Everyday Care

No matter how recently I've cleaned, there is always, dirt and dog hair. So, typically everyday I sweep the hardwoods. And, let's be honest, life happen and stuff spills. If it's a dry spill, like flour or cereal, we'll sweep or vacuum it up. For liquid spills, we do our best to it soak up and use a damp rag if it's something sticky. Just make sure you don't have anything liquid sitting on your hardwood for very long! As you probably already know, wood and liquid don't mix well. Over time it can severely damage the planks, and you'll have to replace it.

For a while I was using the Swiffer Sweeper with the wet mopping pads for those spills, but I haven't repurchased them in a few months. I don't know if they are really needed if you're cleaning up after messes as soon as they happen. I've also learned that if you diligently clean spills right away, you're floor will remain looking fresh and clean. This will save you time in the long run, because then you don't have to constantly deep clean your floors.

Deep Cleaning & Added Shine

A couple times a month I want to get a deeper clean and polished shine, and I use my Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner. This stuff is amazing! Plus, it's GreenGuard Gold certified, meaning it's environmentally friendly and is even considered safe for sensitive individuals making it acceptable to use in schools and healthcare facilities. Knowing that, it makes me feel good about using it in my own home.

First, I'll sweep or vacuum the floors. Then, I'll put a dry rag on my Swiffer Sweeper, spray a light mist of the floor cleaner, and go over my entire floor. I have read reviews of people who say if you use too much it will leave a film on your floor. I personally haven't had this problem. You really don't need to use a ton anyway, as a little goes a long way.

If there is a hard-to-remove spot, I'll use a rag and a little more floor cleaner and scrub it out. I guess it's not really scrubbing, because you don't need a ton of elbow grease to get those tough spots out when using this cleaner.  Bing, bang, boom! You've got some super-shiny hardwoods.

Do you have any helpful tips for keeping your hardwoods clean? Leave a comment!

This post contains affiliate links. This means, if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive commission. 

Planner Options for Every Budget

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This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of the product links with an asterisk (*), I’ll receive compensation. Let's be serious, mama needs a new pair of shoes :)

Getting your days organized can be challenging. If you're new to the planner world, the options could even become overwhelming. I thought I'd help you out! Below are different types of planners for every price point (even free!). For each type of planners I'll provide an approximate price range, explanation, and examples. So, if you're looking to get into the planner game, keep reading!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of the product links with an asterisk (*), I’ll receive compensation. Let's be honest, mama needs a new pair of shoes :)

Free Printables (FREE)

Some people have shared free versions of planner printables online. Most of these free downloads do not contain dates, which could see as a good or bad thing. Someone may like not having the date, because you can use the same document year after year. However, some people may not like filling in the dates every day, week and/or month. If you're looking for a free, printed option and are okay filling in the dates, then these are probably a good option for you!

My Free Planner Printables: I definitely have a preference for free planner printables - mine :) You can download them from the Products section of my website.

Free Printables on Pinterest: There are definitely more planner printables you need to pay for out on the internet and there are free versions. Luckily for you, I have created a Pinterest board that has a few different options for free printables. Check it out and see if there is one you like!

Electronic Calendars (FREE)

I personally love using digital planners. They work great for me as my long-term planning, and back up in case I don't have my binder or paper planner. However, for some reason, I can't get myself to completely give up my paper planners yet. Maybe one day I will, but until then, these two are options I like to use to supplement my other organizational tools.

Apple's iCloud Calendar: To date, I'm an Apply iPhone gal. I love my phone, and I have tons of reoccurring reminders on my phone (Twitter chats, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.). This calendar is amazing and syncs with so many other calendars. I have this calendar set up to show my reoccurring events, work Outlook calendar, and personal/blog Google Calendar. I absolutely love that it pairs perfectly with them, and I always have this information in my phone as my "just in case" in almost every scenario.

Google Calendar: This thing is awesome! I love using to plan my personal life, and to keep track of blog posts and newsletter I'm planning on to getting out. I've also heard of it being extremely helpful for small businesses who don't have software like Outlook. It can be used on Macs and PCs, as well as sync with Androids and Apple devises.  Plus, it's free!

Bullet Journals ($10-20)

This planning technique has become huge recently. I love the idea of it, because it's simplified and constant but you still get to be creative. However, I just can't seem to find the time to design my monthly, weekly and daily pages every time. Then, I seem to find myself losing track of things. Maybe this planning technique will work great for you, and I don't want to leave it out. So below are two highly recommended bullet journals. Since, I haven't personally used them successfully, I won't be leaving a description. BUT! Feel free to check them out yourself :)

Leuchtturm1917 A5 Notebook*

Moleskine Classic Notebook, Large, Dotted*

Downloadable Binder Pages ($10-25)

There are tons of amazing bloggers and graphic designers who make their own printable planner pages for the year - dates and all. They normally have all kinds of helpful toolkits and are a perfect addition to a home base binder. These are perfect for someone looking to organize their day, and are willing to carry around a binder. Some day I hope to have time to make some of my own. Until then, here are a few great ones that I personally love!

Just a Girl and Her Blog's Simplified + The Intentional Life Planners: The writer of this blog offers a planner and home binder with tons of helpful documents to get organized. Check out her page for more information as to what's included.

SecretOwlSociety's Ultimate Life Binder on Etsy: This is a super cute planner set that keeps showing up on my Pinterest page. I haven't tried it myself, but I love the look of it.

Budget Planners ($10-35)

You want to check these out if you're new the the paper planner world, and don't want to be filling in dates or designing your own bullet journal. These are great options for someone looking for something that's cheap, but is still cute and practical.

Eccolo Planners*: I adore these cute planners. I've heard they can be found at places like TJ Maxx and Marshall stores, but you can also find them online. They're a great, budget alternative to the designer planners.

At-A-Glance Planners*: These planners are available everywhere. They have some basic, black options that are fairly inexpensive, as well as some with fun colors, prints, and sayings. They're a great option if you're looking for fairly inexpensive planners, and you can find them almost everywhere.

Designer Planners ($55-65)

Looking to upgrade your planner to something durable, useful and amazingly cute? Then these three options will be perfect for you! The name brand planners are amazing, and have the best of the best when it comes to covers, bindings and paper. However, you are going to have to pay a pretty penny. BUT! If you're using it every day, then it's definitely worth it.

Simplified Planner by Emily Ley*: I have used the daily version the past two year for organizing tasks, and managing my daily to-do list. I love using this in conjunction with my Apple calendar and blog organization binder. It's a beautiful planner that helps simplify your days (hence the name). This is the planner I take with me everywhere, and it's extremely durable. The daily version of the planner itself is fairly thick, but the cover and pages are top quality. Also, the main reason I prefer the daily Simplified Planner to the other designer planners is that it only contains the basics for each day (to-do list, meal planning, notes, and hourly breakdown), and I can use additional organization items (electronic calendars and project binders) for the other aspects of my life.

Day Designer*: A highly-acclaimed alternative to the Simplified Planner is this one. Personally, I have never used it, but I have heard great things. The designs are so sophisticated, and this planner is extremely similar to the simplified planner. There are some small differences in the layout for this planner for the daily layout when compared to the Simplified Planner. You may prefer the Day Designer if you're looking for a planner that has a little more built-in planning tools in one place.

Erin Condren*: This planner is extremely different when compared to the other two designer planners. First, there are tons of cover options and you can personalize it with your name. Second, the days are broken down by morning, afternoon, and evening. This would be perfect for someone who is looking to organize large chucks of time, and doesn't need to keep track of what is happening each hour of each day. Finally, there are also tons of cute stickers and stamps you can buy online (especially on Etsy) for this planner. They're so fun, and the make planning seem so fun and exciting every week.

Step Into My Office

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Okay, so it's not quite an office as it is the corner of one of our spare rooms, but I'm very proud of this little corner. It's so nice having a place for all the miscellaneous things I use for my website. I even have extra storage for paperwork, which is oddly satisfying while also uncomfortable. It's amazing what having a little corner to yourself can do. I absolutely love it!

Don't forget to check out the reset of the photos below!

Living with Less

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This time last year we were climbing threw boxes upon boxes of stuff we never used in our storage room. We knew moving in with family over 150 miles away meant we were going to be putting the majority of our things in storage. I remember looking into that room, and being overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we had. Let's be serious, I didn't even know what was in there! That's when we made the decision to downsize our belongings. We did it like we were ripping off a bandaid: so quick that we didn't feel the pain until it was all over. In the few weeks we had to pack everything up for the move, we were able to reduce what we owned by half. And. It. Felt. AMAZING!

Where to Start

Make a list! If you've read my other posts, you know I love to write stuff down. This is no exception. When we were moving I made a list of all of the major problem areas I needed to downsize - storage room, office files, clothes, kitchen stuff, etc. This made it easy to focus on one room at a time, and we could do it together as a team. That made it a lot less stressful, because I didn't have to worry about what my husband thought about this item or that item.

How We Did It

The one thing that really helped keep was to make piles, so I could visually see what it was going to keep, donate, and throw away. You could also have separate bags, boxes, or totes, too.

My goal was to never have the Keep pile be the largest one. This made it more of a short-term game for me. It also made me feel like I could stop whenever I needed to. So, instead of downsizing all my clothes, which is very overwhelming, I'd only focus on a couple drawers in my dresser at a time. A few minutes/hours/days later, I'd work on a couple more. Then, within a week I had gone through all of our clothes, and could check that off the list.

Since would only work on one room at a time, we’d try to only spend a few days on it and work on it together. If I wasn't sure if something was a Keep or Donate, I could ask Jay. Something that really helped us was if you picked it up, you had to decide what was going to happen to it. We didn't have a "I'll make a decision on that one later" pile. You made the decision then and there.

After we had everything separated into piles, we had to get rid of our Donate and Throw Away piles. We took the clothes and housewares to the GoodWill down the road from our house. For the car-sized throw away pile, we called 1-800-GOT-JUNK. For a small fee they came and loaded everything up from that pile. They sort through everything and determine what can be recycled or donated, and will dispose of the rest. Honestly, they were a life-saver, and I would recommend anyone who is doing a lot of downsizing gives them a call.

Ways to Maintain It

For me this process was addicting at first. Once the "newness" of it all wore off it got more and more difficult to keep it up. Now that we have cut our belongings by half, I do find myself forgetting to go through everything regularly. There are a few things I do throughout the year to help though.

Every winter I try to do a better job organizing our house, and take the time to go through our stuff again. I mean, if I'm going to be cooped up in the house, might as well be productive, right?! For example, I refolded all of our dresser clothes using the KonMari folding method. This meant I had to go through everything in the dressers, and you can bet your socks I found a couple bags worth of clothes to donate!

Also, you need to learn to tell friends and family "No Thanks" when they offer things that you don't really need, and ask yourself, "Do I really need this?" when you're shopping. I've found that this really helps reduce the number of "Misc." boxes we have stored away.

Now don't feel like I'm saying you can't treat yourself to something new. Instead, when new things come in, old stuff goes out. Your child got a dozen cool presents for their birthday? Well, happy birthday, kiddo! Now take the time to help them go through their toys and find at least a dozen toys they don't use anymore to donate to kids who would love to play with them. Maybe you're buying yourself three new shirts for work. Good for you! Now donate at least three that you don't wear anymore. I found this to be the best way to keep up with this process all year long!

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Guest Bedroom Renovation

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This room has been my little project over the months. Fixing little things here and there. The last thing I wanted for this room was a new dresser, which we picked up a little over a week ago. I absolutely love this room, and wanted to share the final product with you!

The first thing we did was replace the part of the closet wall they removed. Lucky me, my hubby knew exactly what to do to fix that mess. While that was going on I used my electrical skills t0 replace the light with a ceiling fan, and took down all the wallpaper. Then, I took over the wall situation and (horribly) mudded and sanded the seams and holes. Once that was all set I painted the walls and trim, cleaned the floors, and then we brought in the furniture.

Free Budgeting Worksheets

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Keeping track of your budget can be difficult. I personally find it easier to write everything out, because then I can see everything in one place. So, I made these budget worksheets, and I wanted to share them with you. These are free to download and print. Enjoy!

Need to save money, too? Have you started an Emergency Fund? Check out these free printable worksheets with 4 Ways to Save $1,000 In A Year!

Organizing a Tiny Bathroom

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Our main floor bathroom, is extremely small... Like teeny, tiny. Don't get me wrong. It's not the smallest bathroom I've ever seen, but it sure is tiny for the main bathroom in the house. We do have a second bathroom upstairs, but that's used mostly as a guest bathroom and storing anything we don't need day-to-day. So, we made some minor changes to this bathroom to make every inch a little more functional, and I wanted to share them with you.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of the product links with an asterisk (*), I’ll receive compensation. Let's be honest, mama needs a new pair of shoes :)

One of the first things we did was rip out the second medicine cabinet and add two shelves above the toilet. This small change was a major step to making this bathroom a little more functional, since now we can store some towels (and my makeup :)) in the bathroom now. I bought the pre-made shelves and brackets from Lowes, and the project cost less than $50.

Last month I bought plastic shoe drawers, and put them under our sink. I also have a metal file box, which is where I store my hair styling tools (straightener, hair dryer, curling irons, etc.). These drawers have been helpful to store things that we might not use every day, but we still need easy access to like extra q-tips, nail clippers, thermometers, and first-aid items. I love these little guys. It's super easy to find things under our sink now. I would definitely recommend the ones with the drawer over one with a lid, because it makes getting into the ones on the bottom a lot easier. Plus, I really like being able to use the vertical space under the sink, which makes the part of me that wants to use every square in of our house efficiently very happy.

Taming The Jungle

Since the weather has been nice the past few weeks, my husband and I have taken on the daunting task of taming our back yard (or as Jason calls it, the Jungle). The photo above was taken in August when we moved into the house, and there were bees, spiders, snakes, poison ivy, and much more hiding in there. Needless to say, we do not want it to get that bad ever again. So, we started early, and have put a lot of blood and sweat into this backyard so far. We were even able to recruit family and friends to help one weekend. Ironically taming the backyard started with clearing out the front yard.

Jason started by removing a bunch of overgrown ground cover along the driveway and a fence that was falling down. We're going to replace most of this area with grass, but the part along the house has a beautiful weeping cherry tree, and I wanted to keep that here. So we moved daylilies and hostas from the jungle into this area, and added some lava rocks.

The daylilies were already quite large, so I started transplanting them all around the house; we even started giving some away, because there's so many. Our goal is to have as many daylilies and hostas transplanted, so we don't have to worry about killing them with weed killer and we can put down grass in the jungle area. I am still amazed at how many we have left to move. Once I got a decent amount of daylilies moved, we got some help to rake the area and look for the hosta that were just starting to sprout. We've found about 10 plants, but they're each 12-24 inches in diameter. Since there's so many and they're so big, we're still deciding where they're going to be moved to...

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The weekend we had people over to help my mom and I started planting vegetable seeds in cardboard egg cartons, and Jason built me a raised garden bed. I'm really excited, because seedlings started to poke through about a week ago and now I have at least 3 seedlings of each plant! I'll definitely keep you posted on how my first garden goes throughout the summer.

Last weekend Jason and I did the most strenuous thing yet: pulling out over 150 square feet of patio pavers that were hiding in the jungle last summer. There were soooo many! We've had a few ideas of how to use them, but I'm pretty sure they're going to stay next to the deck until we get grass back there. We definitely don't want to move them any more than we have to.

No matter how much blood, sweat and tears goes into this backyard, it will all be worth it. In the end, this is what makes a house a home.

What yard work have you started already year?

Making a Cleaning Schedule

Making a cleaning schedule has changed my life! I have been super stressed about cleaning, and feeling like I was spending my whole evening and weekend cleaning or worrying about not having time to clean everything. So I went to Pinterest to see what others were doing for their cleaning schedules. Most of the ones I found had a list of every day chores (some  broke it down to morning and evening), another list for with a chore for each day, and a third list of things that don't need to be done every single day or week. I like the idea of a cleaning schedule, because if you miss a day you'll do it next week and the other areas of your house are still staying clean. It's been great having it as a check list before I walk out the door in the morning and when I get home at night. There's no worrying about what I'll clean, and when I'll get to it.

Making My Schedule

I took schedules and ideas from 3 or 4 different cleaning schedules to make my own. Since I work full-time I wanted to split up my morning items and my evening items, so I didn't get overwhelmed when I'm trying to get ready for work or trying to wind-down for bed. Also, I only wanted to spend an extra 15 minutes in the morning for the chore of the day, because I knew I could fit that in my current morning routine. Next, I wanted to make sure I vacuumed at the beginning of the week, because if we have people over or we're working outside there tends to be a lot of dirt tracked throughout the house. However, Buddy sheds a lot and I don't want to have people over on the weekend and have dust bunnies made of dog hair everywhere. So I added a quick vacuum on Thursday when I mop to make sure there's not a bunch of dog hair around my house. Another thing I did to make this schedule better for me is doing a load of laundry each day (wash it in the morning, dry it before dinner, and fold and put it away after dinner). I did this because I was trying to do laundry only on the weekend but we always seem to be gone or have people over and it wouldn't get done. Then most of our clothes would be dirty, and it was really overwhelming to wash, fold and put away 2+ weeks of clothes in a day.

Making Your Own Schedule

The best way to pick a cleaning schedule that works for you is think about your day. You might not find the perfect cleaning schedule for you online, but making a cleaning schedule is super easy to do yourself. Start by finding out what other people are doing (eh hem... Pinterest). Maybe you don't like the idea of the daily chore being all over the house, but would rather designate a room a day. Or maybe you are waaaayyy better at doing all your laundry all in one day (unlike me) and you can choose a day to do laundry. It's honestly super easy to make a cleaning schedule in Word or Publisher, and you can make one that fits your home's decor. Honestly, I'm sooo happy I took the 20 minutes to make my own, because it has saved me from a ton of stress!

Do you have a cleaning schedule?

My Growing Love of Candles

 

_DSC1418.2A few months back we had a terrible storm in the Lansing area, and power was going out in neighboring towns. In perpetration to lose power I rounded up the handful of candles I owned and lit them as daylight faded. Hours later we decided we should go to bed, and made sure to set alarms on our phones in case we lost power over night. As I went to blow out the candles I realized only 1 remained; the rest I had burned through and had to be thrown in the trash come morning. As I threw them away I was sadden because I loved the warmth our home had while they were lit. 

Since then I have been slowly collecting some candles, and my favorite by far was a house-warming present - Harvest Gathering by White Barn. We have found ourselves leaning toward candles with the warm, spiced food scents (like pumpkin and apple pie). The reason I'm writing this post is because I'm looking for some help... What candles should I get? I've heard great things about Bath and Body Works candles, but I haven't been out there yet and I don't know what scents I should try. Other than that, I don't know where else to look for candles.

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