Interest Rate on Home Improvement Loan

The interest rates on home improvement loans are determined on the basis of the credit score of the borrower and the loan repayment terms. These loans are available for homeowners who are not having sufficient cash to make some necessary internal or external home repairs or improvements in their homes.


Lending Institution & Interest Rates

Interest rates that are applied to home improvement loans are also dependable on the lending institution. In simple words, different lending institutions offer to differ interest rates on home improvement loans. These lending institutions include banks, credit unions like Riegelwood Credit Union, private lenders, or mortgage brokers.


Purpose of Repairing or Improvements in Home

Purpose of home repairs or improvements also holds great importance. If a homeowner wants to fix up, buy or sell their property then they are likely to qualify for lower interest rates via the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.


203(k) Program by HUD

The United States Department of Housing and Development offers a loan program for homeowners who have purchased a home that requires necessary repairs. This program is 203(k) that comes within the FHA insured program. The FHA guarantees reliable funding that is provided by traditional lenders. To provide this lending, such lenders must use the loan rates that are set forth by the federal government.


Borrowers with Bad Credit

Borrowers that are having bad credit are more likely to get higher interest rates, but there is a limit to this increase in interest rates.

If a borrower is carrying a too low credit score then their loan application will be rejected before reaching higher rates.


Variable Rates on Home Improvements Loans

Interest rates that are charged by FHA may also vary. Variable interest rates are applied being fixed for a determined period of time. After the completion of that predetermined period, interest rates are changed either they become lower or higher. Another limitation that is applied to variable interest rates that are carried on home improvement loans is that these rates are allowed to be adjusted regardless of how high and how low they are. Borrowers who take use variable rates home improvement loans are either real estate agents or other people who only intend to live in their home for a short time period after the completion of the home repair.


Check Your Credit Score

It is recommended to potential borrowers to check their own credit score prior to applying for and getting quotes for the rates for home improvement loans. Try to get the most accurate quotes from the lender because of the more accurate quotes the better loan deal and the fewer closing funding problems. Borrowers can request a free copy of their credit report from all the three credit bureaus. There is no charge for a copy of credit reports. Borrowers should check credit reports for errors and if they find any mistake in their credit report then they should get these mistakes corrected by taking appropriate measures. If the credit score is not in good standing then borrowers should work on immediate credit repair or raise methods.


Landscaping With Herbs

Each year, a species is chosen as Herb of the Year. For 2005, oregano received that honor. This plant is among the top ten culinary herbs.

When the word oregano is mentioned, the one that comes to mind is the common or ordinary oregano (Origanum vulgare). Yet, there are actually several subspecies or hybrid types of oregano.

All of the oreganos prefer a sunny, dry, well-drained spot. They do best in a slightly alkaline soil.

Common oregano or wild marjoram (Origanum vulgare subsp. vulgare) is a perennial herb. It grows wild in the Mediterranean area and Asia, especially at the higher altitudes. The hairy, purplish stem arises from a creeping rootstock. Like all the members of the mint family, this has a square stem and opposite leaves. The surface of the egg-shaped foliage is uneven due to the presence of sunken areas. Blooming from July through October, oregano produces purple blossoms that are typically two-lipped like other members of the mint family. This species is hardy to about -20 degrees Fahrenheit. This plant is easily grown from seed or cuttings, and may also be divided.

So far as its many culinary uses are concerned, common oregano is a favorite for tomato sauces, grilled meats, and fried vegetables. It is often found in pizza and other Italian dishes. Used to a less extent in Greek, French, and Spanish cooking, it is most common in Mediterranean cooking.

In addition to its many culinary uses, oregano has long been a favorite medicinal herb—especially among the ancient Greeks and Asians. Oregano contains thymol, an ingredient that can help loosen mucous and relieve symptoms of the respiratory system.

Oregano has also been the source of a natural dye. When they’re in bloom, the tops of the plants are cut and used for a reddish-brown dye. This herb was used for aromatic purposes as well. People would rub the foliage over wooden furniture, which gave the item a nice scent.

The history of oregano is an interesting one. Young Greek and Roman couples were crowned with the herb. If it happened to be growing on a grave, the ancients believed that it would ensure happiness of the deceased one.

Greek oregano (Originum vulgare hirtum) is considered by some experts to be a hybrid of the ordinary oregano, while others see it as a subspecies from Greece. Originally native to Greece, it is now commonly found in other parts of Europe. It has become naturalized in the Middle East as well.

This low growing perennial has fuzzy, gray-green aromatic foliage. Compared to the other oregano species, this one is coarse looking. The lower leaves have long leaf stalks. From June through August, the white blossoms open in terminal clusters. These are pollinated by various insects, including butterflies, moths, and bees. The seeds ripen from about August through October. This is hardy to USDA zone 5. Basically, this plant requires the same growing conditions as the common oregano.

So far as flavor is concerned, this is one of the strongest, most aromatic of the oreganos. It can even have a faintly bitter taste. The plant has a high oil content. In fact, this is high enough to irritate sensitive skin. Essential oil is extracted from this plant.

Like the common oregano, this plant has many medicinal uses. It should never be used by pregnant women. Historically, this was used in parts of Europe during medieval times to treat poisonous bites, hysteria. People also used it as protection against witchcraft and illness. Some people with sensitive skin may find the plant causes irritation.

Other uses for the various kinds of oregano

A number of cookbooks and herbals have suggestions for using the different species of oregano and other herbs. “Edible Flowers From Garden to Palate” by Cathy Wilkinson Barash was published by Fulcrum Publishing. Readers will see why this title was nominated for the Julia Child Cookbook Award, given by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. The dishes are beautifully presented with nearly three hundred innovative recipes that are easy and fun to make. There are complete profiles for nearly sixty different herbs and flowers with complete instructions on how to grow and use them. The author explains how to harvest them at their peak of flavor and store them properly.

“Aromatherapy in the Kitchen-Fragrant Foods for Body, Mind and Soul” by Melissa Dale et al from Woodland Publishing features over eighty-five recipes made with aromatic ingredients, including oregano. The authors have included various dishes that can achieve different purposes, including comfort foods, ones to inspire romance, and soothing recipes to relax and renew the body, mind and soul. Alongside each recipe, a box contains folklore and highlights about these fragrant plants.

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Principles of Rhythm in Garden Design

This is the fourth in a series of articles about the principles of design.

Of all the principles of design, most people will probably find rhythm the easiest to understand. This is because rhythm in the visual arts is very closely related to rhythm in music.

According to the “Handbook for Flower Shows”, “Rhythm is achieved by having a dominant visual path of line and or color through design, making design appear to be alive”.

When creating a musical composition, rhythm is achieved by repeating a pattern of musical notes. This repetition creates a musical line which flows through the air. In a garden, the visual notes are static but they are experienced like music as we move through the garden.

This series of articles is mainly focused on floral design, because are usually less complex than gardens, so it may be easier to understand how the principles of design apply, but rhythm in garden design requires fewer artistic tricks. It is really only when a garden is not designed to be physically moved through that it needs to be artfully composed like a painting or floral design in which the viewer’s eyes are lead along a dominant visual path.

While a garden, like music, is more naturally alive than a painting or floral design, poorly designed gardens often lack rhythm or have uninteresting rhythms. As in music, hitting the same few notes over and over will create a rhythm, but the result will be boring or even maddening.

This is not to say that formal gardens lack interesting rhythms. When people think of formal gardens, they often picture flat parterres. The patterns of these parterres create rhythms similar to oriental carpets. They have an immediate appeal, but they quickly bore many people. The most effective formal gardens contrast their sunny parterres with shady woodlands. These woodlands usually have straight paths which echo the formal patterns of the parterres. Some gardens do have informal paths in the wooded areas but such an abrupt shift tends to disrupt the garden’s rhythm. It is like suddenly moving from Bach to Wagner. In my garden the paths become increasingly informal as you move from the formal areas towards the paths winding through the natural forest which surrounds my garden. This is an example of how gardens are closer to music than floral designs are. It is just about impossible to have that much variety in a floral design – you would have to decide on whether you wanted formality or informality. The formal part of my garden is over an acre and I live on 15 acres of natural forest. In a suburban backyard you will have limitations similar to a floral design – too much variety will disrupt the garden’s rhythm, but if you can move through your garden, you can still have quite a bit of variety as long as the transitions are smooth.

Many people think that you can’t have as much horticultural variety in a formal garden as in an informal garden, but this isn’t true. The strong geometric patterns of a formal parterre will give your planting beds rhythm even though the plantings are a riot of color. The same riot in an informal cottage garden will usually require subtle color transitions such as lots of gray foliage or lavender flowers (lavender is a great “blender”). This is because the paths in a typical cottage garden are so modest that they don’t give the garden much of a visual line, so rhythm has to be established through the use of color.

If you are using color to establish rhythm in a garden, a limited palette is much easier to manage than a riot of color. Picture a cottage garden of soft pink, lavender and white, accented by brighter pink and rose-red. Without the stronger colors, the garden’s rhythms would be pleasing but rather boring. By using the stronger colors like notes of music, you can easily give this garden delightful rhythms that never fail to please.

Another advantage that gardens have over floral arrangements is that in a reasonably mild climate, you can have blooms throughout the year. This allows you design a garden to have rhythms that change from week to week as one plant begins blooming while another stops. Picture a cottage garden with lots of lavender blooms throughout the year. This garden could have a pink and rose-red theme one month and yellow with orange at another time of year.

You could create rhythm by selectively thinning a grove of bamboo, so that as you move through it the individual culms are like notes in a subtle piece of music. Water can also be used to enliven a garden. At the Villa Lante, begun in 1573, water from an aqueduct is lead through a series of fountains beginning at the top of a hillside. The entire garden is formal in structure, although the hillside is softened by a dense planting of trees.

You want to have a garden with good rhythm and customized to your needs? Contact Portland TT company and their professional staff will be in touch with you for more details.

Roofing – Stripping the Old Shingles

Before the roof stripping begins, take a roll of tarp or poly/plastic and spread it out on the ground to collect the dirt and nails that fall off the roof just below the work area. But most importantly, adopt a safety attitude about the job and the height factor. This mental thought will help the worker/workers anticipate hazards before it becomes a potential for an accident.

Pick a spot about halfway point along the roof and face towards the ridge of the roof; take a shovel and start prying and lifting up the old shingles along the tabs with it. The shingle nails will tend to pop up and out as pressure is applied to the shovel. You will notice that as you push in and pry up the rows, the shingles next to and above it will pop up too. Work in small sections at a time. To avoid back pain, bend your knees as you work the shovel into the shingle courses. Use care and caution when stripping the shingles around the furnace vents and roof jacks to avoid damage.


Continue along to the left and right and then proceed up the roof till you reach the ridge cap. Be careful as you walk on the stripped shingles because it might slide down. Pick up and throw the shingles down into a container, (truck box, trailer box, dump truck box…) on the ground that has been assigned for all of the scrap. Once that has been done, sweep the granule deposits from the old shingles off the exposed roof plywood.  You will also notice that some shingle nails are still embedded into the plywood even after the top half of the roof was stripped of shingles. As long as the roof is swept clean of dirt and debris, the nails can be pulled out after the whole roof has been stripped. But pull out nails that may cause a tripping hazard.


To start stripping the lower half section of the roof, again find a convenient location, stand facing down the roof and pry the shovel into the rows from the top. Use the push in and lift method with the shovel as you work your way along and down the rows. Have a broom handy to sweep the granules as you work your way down to the edge of the roof. Do not walk on the granules because these marble-like grains may cause one to slide off the roof when walked on. As you strip the shingles, keep a clear path in your way to walk up, down, and sideways and avoid walking.


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Find the Perfect Romantic Gift Idea

How Couples Can Celebrate Love With Special Presents

Most people put much thought and consideration into the gift that they select for their partners. Valentine’s Day, birthdays and anniversaries often call for special and romantic gifts. A perfect and idealistic gift will capture the heart of loved ones and draw a couple closer together. It will add passion and love to the gift giving experience. While many people want to give romantic gifts, they often are uncertain where to find the perfect special present for their mate. Check out some of these awesome ideas to get the romance flowing!

Gifts for Her

When looking for romantic gifts for a wife, consider items that pull out emotions from the heart. There are many options to discover when shopping. Consider items that profess the love to her in writing. Women love men to be open and public about their feelings. Many of these gifts can be found on websites with a basic search. There are numerous items can be personalized with the couple’s names. Products include pillows, puzzles and jewelry boxes. Ifb you want more gift ideas, click here.

Gifts for Him

Men are slightly different when it comes to romance. They prefer gifts that are typically a little more private in nature than shouting out love in a crowded room. A customized CD is great way to show a husband that he is special. However, in some cases, the perfect romantic gift for him is actually a gift for her. Consider sexy lingerie for a romantic night.


Romantic Anniversary Gifts

Anniversary romantic gift ideas remind the couple of their wedding day. There is nothing more romantic than taking a trip down memory lane and cherishing all of the times that have been spent together. A photo storybook is a great way to accomplish this. Consider making a story book of life together. A photo collage is also a wonderful way to create the perfect photo from all the memories.

Valentine’s Gifts

There is no better time to be romantic than Valentine’s Day. The day calls for the utmost creativity and romance from a gift. Who doesn’t find romance in a message in a bottle? Personalize a letter of love and tuck it away in a bottle.

Give careful thought to the personality of the loved one and what would mean the most to him or her. Think about times and items that bring out emotions and recapture them with a gift. When it comes to romantic gift ideas, the options are endless as long as they come from the heart.

How to Mix and Match Furniture

Figuring out how to use mismatched furniture can be a daunting home decorating project. Here are some ways to mix and match seemingly unrelated furniture.
Furniture for the home often turns out to be a collection of random pieces: a combination of inherited or second-hand items, pieces from an earlier apartment or house, and some brand-new items. It may seem impossible to arrange this hodgepodge in a way that makes sense and creates a cohesive interior design, but luckily there are options. Here are some basic ways to effectively use an assortment of furniture.

There are a few basic elements that should be taken into consideration when figuring out which pieces to use: line, color, and materials. These elements can be used or adapted to suit the collection of furniture.

  • Lines. The “line” of a furniture piece refers to the shape or style of the item. It can range from the clean, basic lines of a more modern or contemporary sofa to the decorative trim of an ornate dining chair from the Victorian era.
  • Color. Color is another attribute that can unite a collection of furniture. A traditional dining room table with an assortment of vintage dining chairs looks natural if the wood or stain on each item is the same.
  • Textiles. The textiles used in the furniture is another element that, combined intentionally with other pieces, can unify a room of random furniture.

When deciding whether a certain set of pieces will work together, think about the above elements as they apply to the pieces. If two pieces have similar lines, for example, they will likely work well in the same space–even more so if they are both painted white or have cushions from the same color family.

Here are some examples of unmatching furniture pieces, and how to use them in the same space:

  • A traditional tufted armchair and a modern cube bookshelf. While the lines of these pieces may differ, color may be an easy place to find common ground. Try slip-covering the armchair in a neutral tone like beige, chocolate brown, or white. Match the bookshelf to the slipcover, either with a fresh coat of paint or by strategically-placed accessories.

  • An antique blanket chest and a sleek platform bedframe. The worn appearance of a second-hand blanket chest may look odd next to a clean dark brown or white platform bed. Capitalize on these pieces’ similar lines and suit them to each other with a few minor adjustments. Try painting the blanket chest to match the bed frame, or unify them with textiles. Place the blanket chest next to a bedroom windowsill and arrange some throw cushions with similar colors to the bedding to create a makeshift window seat.
  • A basic futon sofa and a large vintage footstool. A plain beige or brown futon and a footstool with a patterned cushion don’t appear to have much in common. A simple addition of some throw pillows may solve the issue: pick out one or two colors from the footstool and make cushion or pillow covers that match. The similar colors will pop out against the neutral futon and unite these pieces.

Designing a cohesive living space with a variety of furniture types and styles does not have to be a headache. Taking the elements of line, color, and textiles into consideration will help create a stylish room that looks pulled together.

Furniture and Your Personality

Finding the Furnishings That Fit Your Style

Our surroundings say a lot about who we are and what we are like. The furnishings we choose for our homes and offices often delightfully reflect our personality styles.

There is an old saying that pets and their owners look alike. The same adage can be used when speaking about people and their furnishings. There are many different styles of furniture. Like us, they can be modern or old-fashioned, religious or irreverent, formal, semi-formal, large, small, elegant, or even downright shabby! They usually have interesting histories, reflect their times, and often pass their characteristics down to their successors.

Gothic Style

The Gothic style of furniture that we see in antique stores today is mostly a result of the Gothic revival of the early 1800s. A very early form of the Gothic-type can be found in ancient Roman architecture. The style was reborn in France, in or about the 12th century, as a religious art form that was reflected in furniture, architecture, paintings and even eating utensils.

In the 1800s, the Gothic design form was re-introduced by an architect named Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, who had been trained to create illustrations of Gothic buildings for publications. Mr. Pugin fervently believed that the Gothic style was the only style that should be used to reflect Christianity in architecture. As gothic style became increasingly popular, Pugin also designed gothic furnishings for the home, religious, and office use.

Gothic style furniture is strong and heavy, opinionated, and stately. It’s hard to move, is made of stern stuff and ages well. It’s just a little bit scary looking, too!

Arts and Crafts (Mission) Style

The arts and crafts (or missions) style was a late 19th century/early 20th-century design revolt against the pretentious Victorian era, with its heavy Gothic influences. The architect Philip Webb introduced the plain and simple style which emphasized clean lines and honest handiwork. Machine labor wasn’t entirely discouraged in the manufacture of the furniture, but good old-fashioned hand labor was preferred. Dovetail joints, not nails, were (and still are) used to fasten furniture parts together. Mission style furniture enjoyed a revival in the 2000s.

Arts and Crafts furniture are honest and hard-working. It is unpretentious, clean, and scrupulous. Arts and Crafts style lives by the Boy Scout code (clean, thrifty, honest, trustworthy, etc.). You can trust this style of furniture to give you firm support.

Art Deco (Modern) Style

Boop Boop Be Doop! This famous (or infamous) style of architecture and furniture design was the hippy movement of its time. For the most part, style, not substance, was the important element of the Modern movement. Mass production of furniture by unknown, unnamed factory workers rapidly churned out this wildly popular style; the craftsmanship was not nearly as important as salesmanship. The hallmark of the Art Deco furniture style was its use of geometric angles. It existed between the two World Wars as an exciting and brand new kind of style, and it is still admired and used today.

Art Deco furniture is fun and free-wheeling in a slightly old-fashioned sort of way. Art Deco likes to rebel against tradition and have its own way. Art Deco doesn’t mind shocking the sensibilities a bit, but it means no real harm by it.

Deconstructionism Design

Deconstructionism architecture and furniture design is exactly what it sounds like — an attempt to deconstruct the designs of the past and set a new standard. Deconstructionism furniture often requires a second look to establish its purpose. If the form is supposed to follow function, deconstructionism missed the memo. A sofa may or may not look like a sofa. The guess is all yours.

Deconstructionism is irreverent, avant-garde and unpredictable. It is not always what it appears to be, but it is usually secure and steady beneath its unusual facade. Deconstructionism may want to shake up the way the world thinks, but its heart is in the right place. Deconstructionism just wants to have fun, but in a more up-to-date way than its older cousin Art Deco.

Furniture Personality Style

Furniture makers and architects are artists who tend to lend their personality traits to their creations. People who buy furniture often gravitate towards a furniture design style because something in what the designer was trying to impart speaks to them, too.

Home Decorating Tips for Small Living Spaces

Home decorating tips for small living spaces

Selecting small space furniture and decor can be the most vexing challenge in creating your small living space. Your space should be functional and stylish as well as easy to live with.

Use Multifunctional Furniture

dining table that doubles as a workdesk

Although it can be tempting to look for small furniture pieces to ensure that they will all fit, it is actually better to choose larger pieces that can do double duty. Is a desk and dining room table necessary or could you combine these areas with a statement making table that allows you to host the whole family for dinner and, on a separate occasion, give you more than enough room to spread out your work space?

An open book shelf as a room divider can give structure to an open room by defining the space while allowing light to pass through and gives extra storage.

Increasing Storage Space in a Small Living Area

sectional sofa chair for small homes

In a small living space you need to be more cognizant than ever that everything needs a place. Tidiness is key so there is no such thing as enough storage space.

Look for furniture that offer hidden storage so you can free up that limited closet space for the things you really need in there.

For example, Ikea offers small scale sectionals that convert into sofa beds and even including bedding storage under the chaise section as well as over-sized chairs that unfold into single beds, again with available storage space underneath to hide the bedding.

Utilize Vertical Space for Storage

hanging shelves for small living spaces

You might be amazed how much larger your space can feel by leaving as much of your floor showing as possible. Consider floating shelves or a wall-mounted TV instead of bookshelves or a credenza that sits directly on the floor.

Mount cabinets and shelving right up to the ceiling. In a tall closet you might consider raising the bar for hanging clothes above your head to allow enough space beneath it for a second one.

Don’t Overlook Design in a Small Living Area

home decor for small homes

Window draperies can feel like they encroach on space but they also warm up a small space and make it cozy. Use tie backs to ensure they stay in their place. Ensure there is an oversupply of lighting as this will expand your space. Utilize bright over-head light or floor lamps, mixed with warm table lamps, task light over work surfaces and strip lighting in open shelving or under cabinets to create interest.

Candles and mirrors used as decor will additionally help with creating the illusion of space. Use mirrors opposite windows to reflect the outside view, inside.

Choosing the right furniture and decór can make living in a small space cozy and just as comfortable as living in larger spaces.

The Best Way to Clean Contact Lenses

Many people are afraid to try wearing contact lenses because they have heard horrific stories about people getting eye infections and even going blind and the contact lenses are often blamed. The truth is that contact lenses are a safe and an effective method of helping your eyesight and almost all infections are not the result of the lenses themselves but, caused by incorrect cleaning of the contact lenses.

Cleaning your contact lenses is a straightforward and easy procedure but, it does require you to follow specific guidelines to ensure that you keep your lenses and their case as bacteria free as possible. By consulting with your optometrist and following these few simple steps you should be able to wear your contact lenses with no worry of infection to your eyes.

Clean Your Case

Even a single drop of water sitting in your contact lens case can house hundreds of bacteria. That is why it is essential to clean your contact lens case daily and make sure it is completely dry before putting your inexpensive contacts back to where you keep them. The best time to clean your case is immediately after removing your contact lenses for the day. Pour 3% hydrogen peroxide inside the case and rub it for several seconds, then let it sit for about 30 seconds. Rinse thoroughly in hot water and turn upside down on a clean towel to air dry throughout the day. When you are ready to remove and clean your contacts at the end of the day, your case will be clean and ready to place them in.

Cleaning Your Contacts

Correct way of cleaning your lens caseThere are two systems available for cleaning your contact lenses: the two-way system and all-in-one system. While many people prefer the all-in-one system because of its convenience, the fact of the matter is that the two-way system does a much better job of removing bacteria from your lenses than does the all-in-one system. For that reason, the two-in-one system offers the best care for your lenses and the best protection for your eyes.

The first step in the two-way cleaning system for contact lenses is the disinfecting of the lenses daily. This is done using a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Studies have shown that rubbing your lenses for 20 to 30 seconds removes more bacteria than soaking alone. Try soaking your lenses for a few seconds then rubbing them for 20 or 30 seconds and then dipping them again for another 20 seconds or so. This should remove most, if not all, the bacteria on your lenses.

You then rinse them with the neutralizing solution and put them in the clean case to keep fresh throughout the night.

Other Things to Consider in Keeping Your Contact Lenses Clean

Besides simply properly cleaning your lenses there are a few other things you will need to consider keeping your lenses as bacteria free as possible. First, before putting your lenses in your eye, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, rinse well and dry. Second, only handle your contact lenses with the tips of your fingers, and if one should fall on a countertop, table, or floor, it is always advisable to reclean your contact before putting it in your eye.

Don’t continually take your contacts out and put them on in the course of the day. Repeated handling of your contacts is bound to accumulate bacteria. If your contacts are uncomfortable enough that you feel the need to remove them regularly, it is best to leave them out for the day and wear your glasses giving your eyes a chance to rest.

You should also refrain from wearing your contacts if you have a case of pink eye or other eye condition as in these cases you are not only increasing the risk of spreading bacteria, but also slow the healing process.

Contacts are a wonderful alternative to glasses and provide you with the look you want at an affordable price. Keeping your contacts as clean and as bacteria free as possible will allow you to wear your contacts with complete comfort and confidence day in and day out.

Keeping a Clean, Organized Home When You Have Small Children

Do you have CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome)? You have small children, but it is driving you nuts to see a chaotic mess throughout the house. Yet, you do not know how to schedule the time into your day to clean, do laundry and cook dinner. You watched “The Stepford Wives,” and you see they did it, so why can’t you? It is not that hard to keep your house company ready. With a few tips to guide you and a little bit of organization, you will be the envy of the playgroup.

Designating a play area will keep kids from messing the living roomDESIGNATE A PLAY AREA

If you have small children, then you probably have toys all over your house. They are most likely in the parents’ room, the bathroom, the living room, the kitchen, and other hidden places where you have not stepped on yet. Gather all of the toys and confine them to one area. If you have a room that you do not often use, such as a dining room, then pack up the fancy table and make that play central.


Do not try to clean everything every day. Designate certain days for specific chores. For example, you can clean bathrooms on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and vacuum on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Depending on the amount of laundry your family uses, you can do laundry on specific days or even a load a day. If you maintain your chores, daily, you will not seem so overwhelmed every day.


Clean the kitchen as each meal ends. This will ensure that you have a neat and tidy kitchen all day long. Immediately after breakfast, it may be tempting to plop down on the couch and watch ‘Regis and Kelly’, however just wash up the cereal bowls first and wipe down the countertops. This way each meals dishes and mess will not pile on top of the next meals.


If you do meal planning and cook dinner early, then you will not feel overwhelmed at 4 pm when your son needs help with homework, and your other children are fighting over a Lego. Sit down and write out a plan for the week. It can include 4-7 meals, depending on leftovers. Stick the calendar on the fridge and then everyday look to see what meal you have planned for that day. When your kids lay down for a nap or if they are quiet for a few minutes, start dinner early. There is nothing wrong with throwing the meatloaf in at 11 am. This means by 5 pm, you just have to warm the food up, and dinner is on the table in less than a few minutes.

Giving kids chores will help them become more responsibleHAVE KIDS HELP

If you have toddlers and preschool children, let them help you around the house. Children love to help and making them imitate mom or dad will do wonders for their self-esteem. Buy your child a child size broom, sponge, and bucket and let them follow you around the house. Put a sock on their hand and let them dust. This way you are getting chores done, while they are staying out of trouble.


If your children take a nap during the day, use this free time to your advantage. This is the time to mop floors, vacuum, and do other things that you cannot do when you have little feet behind you.


Do not stress yourself out with trying to keep the tidiest house on the block. Your friends and family know you have small children, so they do not expect your home to look like a museum. I know as a mother that I would rather sit on the floor of my messy house and play Barbie with my daughters than have a spotless house. Just enjoy the time that your children are young because it goes far too fast.