So, you know how you sometimes you have to really mess stuff up before you figure out that there was a better way to have done it? No? Then this post isn’t for you. These 30 Mom Hacks are for those of us who try so damn hard to get things right only to find out afterwards that there was a much easier way to do it.
There are so many occasions where I choose the most difficult way to do things. Not because I want to. Oh no, that’s not it. It’s simply because I just don’t know how else to do it until I have messed up.
Like the time I made a birthday cake that just didn’t rise. I learned afterwards that baking soda needs to be fresh to work and that could have saved me hours of time and wasted ingredients.
Or the time I tried to make slime. Last month my daughter was begging me to make some ,Begging me. If you have a child under 18 years, then I’m guessing you were plagued with the same question: “Pleeeeeease Mom. Can you make slime?”. So I went out and spent a small fortune on scary chemical products only to not use them.
#1 They are bad for us
#2 They are bad for the environment
And No. I’m no proud for having caved in and bought the copious amounts of PVA Glue now sitting taking up space under my sink. And it was only after I did this that I found out that you can make an natural ingredients that is simply brilliant! Worth making even if your child isn’t on the slime bandwagon. It’s so awesome!
So, on that note of learning something new before having to figure it out (the hard way) for ourselves, here are ….
A dustpan is a quick and effective way to sweep up those annoying little toys . Especially Lego. And craft supplies. Oh, and marbles. We went through a marble craze in our home one year – whilst we still had crawling babies around the house too. So I was paranoid about the little ones popping them in their mouth. It still gives me cold sweats just thinking about it. It would take me ages to go about picking up every little thing off the carpet. The dustpan trick helped me get this done in a flash. It worked perfectly until I bought a really fluffy mat for my lounge. The small toy bits would get wedged inside the fluff – only to be discovered by walking barefoot at 3am or by a crawler whose nose is always 2 inches from the floor.
That’s when I supercharged my cleaning efforts with the Vacuum. They are the BEST! It’s quick and easy to use and you don’t have to plug it in or spend half an hour cleaning it.
My daughter would get so frustrated when her toys hair or fur would get matted. Her inner OCD (we now know it was always an issue) would drive us all batty. Til I discovered this trick that works well on dolls hair and also fluffy toys fur. Get the dolls hair looking like when you first bought it home the store with this easy to make ‘DIY Doll Hairspray’. Mix 1 part fabric softener with 2 parts water. Pop some in a spray bottle and let the kids give their dolls a ‘hair treatment’. Comb it through and let it dry. I keep spray bottles for all sorts of emergencies.
I know we don’t intend this to happen, but some days, no matter how vigilant we try to be, the kids may get a little sunburned. Soothe accidental (because let’s face it, it’s always accidental) sunburn with extra virgin coconut oil. Just apply to the areas that are looking a little red. Coconut oil soothes and moisturizes the sunburn to stop the itch and reduce peeling plus the anti-inflammatory properties of the coconut oil decrease swelling and help with the pain. This is my favourite product to keep in my bathroom. Yup. My bathroom. Not the pantry. I tend to use it more for health related issues rather than in my cooking – just because I personally don’t like the taste of it in cooking. But don’t tell anyone.
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older or maybe it’s because I just don’t brush my hair as much since having kids, (let’s go with the second one), but my hair gets really frizzy. I went through a stage of straightening my hair with a hair straightener but it was really drying it out and the ends kept splitting. I started using coconut oil on the ends and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s brilliant. It adds shine and nourishment to your hair that I just haven’t been able to get even using a combination of ‘salon products’. If you doubt me on this, please give it a go. Smooth frizzy hair with a little coconut oil. Rub a little onto your fingertips then rub through the ends of the hair. Don’t apply to scalp to avoid an oily look if you are heading out. On the weekends though, I brush it through my hair and leave in overnight for a deep conditioner. Then wash it off in the morning. You are going to love it!
When I was growing up I remember my dad having all sorts of different colored shoe polish for different colored shoes. Save yourself all the fuss with this One Ingredient Shoe Polish.
Just apply a dab of olive oil to a soft cloth and start polishing! The olive oil works to add shine and makes a brilliant leather conditioner too. Kids Shoes looking a little dull and dirty? This is a perfect time to test this hack out.
Since turning 40 (it hurts to even say it), I have definitely noticed the extra lines and the changes to my skin quality. Long nights, sun, sick kids and general Mommy life can take its toll. For an instant skin conditioner, rub a little coconut oil onto your skin after your shower. Your skin will thank you for it. Within a few minutes it feels softer and after a few days you will seriously be coming back here to thank me for this one. I always choose for the Extra virgin coconut oil only because it’s the one I have always used and I get great results and even the best coconut oil is far cheaper than any of those ‘God knows what’s in them’ commercial beauty products.
Use a Shoe Organizer to sort pretty much anything. Hang an over-the-door shoe holder/organizer to keep craft supplies, fluffy toys, cleaning products, herbs and spices and pretty much anything you can think of neatly organised. It is great as a behind the door first aid kit or hanging on the side of your fridge as a herb ‘cupboard’. You are only limited by your imagination on this one. Oh yes – you can also use it for shoes.
Use hooks wherever you can for a cleaner, more organised home. This is the best Mom tip ever. Stick Hooks everywhere to reduce the clutter in your home. Hang wet towels on hooks behind the bathroom door, hooks for kids school bags, hooks for outside swimming gear, hooks for jackets, hooks for hats… you can never have enough. I personally prefer the ones that screws to the wall or the back of the door. You know they aren’t going to fall off in the middle of the night. Our home needs real tough kid proof fixtures because chances are someone will think it’s a good idea to swing off it.
Maybe its just me but this one really cam in handy when my kids were little. My girls would wake up with the tiniest sound. Which is weird because they both slept right through the sound of their baby brother crying. If you’ve got wood floors that always seem to squeak when you’re trying to sneak down the hall and not wake the kids – then fix the problem with a quick dusting of baby powder. Just sprinkle some onto the pesky area, and sweep it into the cracks with a broom.
Use your phone to take a quick family pic when you go on a family outing to a busy place. Hopefully you never have to use this, but if a kid goes wandering or gets lost, you have a photo of what they look like and what they are wearing to find them quickly. We were at the beach a bout two years ago when my friends son wandered off. The beach was packed and it took us around 40 minutes to find him. The scary thing was that even though we had been with the family all morning, none of us (including the Mom) were 100% sure about what he was wearing which made it really hard to pick him out of the crowd. Eventually we did find him. He was OK, but the Mommy was a mess.
School lunches can be a pain in the ass to make every morning. I actually have two tricks I use to make this a little easier:
A. Get the kids each a lunchbox with compartments so you don’t have to wrap anything – I know I keep going on about them, They still look like new and they go through the dishwasher.
B. Keep a lunchbox planner on the fridge so you never get stuck wondering ‘what to pack in lunchboxes’ ever again.
I know you’ve heard this trick before. But have you actually tried it? Use scrunched up newspaper instead of paper towels to wipe windows and mirrors after cleaning. The newspaper leaves a streak free finish just like the pros. This is one of those – you have to try it to believe it kind of hacks. The shine effect is awesome!
Use a can opener to cut open plastic packaging. Oh my goodness I really hate plastic covered things. I know hate is a strong word, but I do. It is so annoying when products are blister packaged in this finger cutting, hard and crappy plastic. It’s bad for the environment and bad for you. In the event you come across it – and I know you will – use a can opener to cut it open and save your fingernails and band aids.
Keep your bathroom smelling clean and fresh by adding a few drops of essential oil (I’m loving Eucalyptus at the moment) to the inside of your toilet paper roll – the cardboard bit. This sends a fresh smell into the room every time someone spins the toilet roll. And also means no more bathroom fresheners falling into the toilet. My plumber husband sees a fair share of blocked toilets caused by careless flushing of bathroom deodorizers.
I’ve been using this little trick for years. Summer gets really hot here, so an icy cold water bottle encourages the kids to keep hydrated well as keeping lunchboxes cool. I didn’t even know this was a hack until a friend came round and loved the idea. Feel free to take this one and make it your own. Simply fill your child’s water bottle 1/2 full with water and then freeze overnight. In the morning fill it the rest of the way for cold water all day. I use the water bottle for my kids. It comes in different colors so everyone in the house is clear on which one is theirs.
You know you have that odd hack that you use way more than you think you will. This is the one that seems to come up a lot in our home. Unsticking stuck zippers. My grandmother actually showed me this when I was about 8 years old. You can get a stuck zipper moving again by rubbing a little candle wax over the zipper’s teeth where it’s stuck. This will lubricate the zipper parts and help them slide against each other correctly. Now that you know this little trick, you can’t unknow it. And you are going to shocked at how often you use it.
If you have just passed through the learning to tie show laces” stage of your childs life – or if you are just about to go through it – then you will appreciate this tip. If your child’s shoes laces keep coming untied during the day, lip balm can provide a quick fix. Rub a bit of lip balm onto the knot using your finger. This provides a little extra friction and stops the know coming untied.
I like to use fabric band aids on my family members simply because they stay stuck. But then comes the time to take them off. That can be fun (extreme sarcasm used here). Remove a tough sticky band-aid by saturating it in oil. You can use baby oil of vegetable oil it doesn’t matter, but make sure that the stuck band aid is soaked through with oil. An oil soaked cotton wool bud does a great job. This little trick is also a great way to remove temporary tattoos and all kinds of stickers.
Again. An odd little hack you will find yourself using more than you thought you would. Stop a popsicle drip with a cupcake liner. Cut a small hole in the center of a paper cupcake liner, and slip it up over the stick to the bottom of the popsicle. The cupcake liner will catch any the drips and keep clothes clean.
Sweaty soccer boots or musty sneakers pushed under the bed can really hone. And that smell doesn’t just stay under the bed. Get rid of Shoe Odors with this clever little trick used by Moms for decades. If you have bad-smelling shoes, place a few dry tea bags inside each shoe to absorb the smell. You can get a little fancy with fragrant teas (peppermint smells amazing) but regular teabags work fine too.
Stop buttons from falling off and keep threads from running by simply painting a bit of clear nail polish over the threads.
For about a year our iron didn’t have a plug on the end. I still don;t know why. But it wasn’t a problem because did you know you can use your hair straightener to quickly iron collars or take a few wrinkles out of school shirts. Finally a reason to use my hair straightener gain.
Freeze a wet sponge inside a plastic bag for a DIY ice pack. Great for cooling down hot kids at night and it won’t drip everywhere. These are cheap and easy to make and stack well in smaller freezers.
You know how annoying it is to try and find the end of the sticky tape? Try this. Use a bread tab to mark the end of a roll of tape.
Feeling a little teary? We all have those days or moments but sometimes you just don’t want to actually have the tears flowing right at that time. For some Sciency reason, you can stop tears from falling by chewing. Either chew on a piece of gum or pretend to chew on gum. Either way, this will stop the tears flowing. I cry over everything – sad movies, happy movies, prize giving, hugs, goodbyes, school drop off, grocery shops … you get the picture. I chew a LOT of pretend gum.
Instantly Erase Highlighter marks from just about anything with a little lemon juice. If you’re in a hurry, you can just wipe the actual lemon over the stain. Try this ! It’s a little like magic!
Use a piece of pool noodle around a door to stop it slamming on little fingers.
Clean plastic toys in the dishwasher to remove germs and nasties – especially after a bout of sickness in the house.
Keep your smartphone water tight at the beach or when you are using it to occupy little ones with sticky fingers (and let’s face it – they always have sticky fingers). Put your phone in a sandwich bag to keep it safe. You can still use it. It is just clean when you get it back.
Keep a well stocked first aid kit – always. I know that’s an obvious one, but if you haven’t done it yet, make sure that your first aid box is well stocked with essential items. It’s a Mom’s most essential toolkit.
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Cary - Clean Eating with Kids