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How to Have Fun While Doing Your Chores

We all have chores and sometimes we need a little motivation to get them done. Here are 8 ways to make your chore time a little more enjoyable and have more fun!

  1. Play music.
    Put on your favorite tunes and jam out while you work. My usual go to is contemporary musicals and singing like I’m on Broadway! And I always win the Tony Award when I’m done!

  2. Listen to a podcast.
    You can find everything in podcast land! You can learn stuff, be entertained with comedy or horror stories, catch up on the news, and more! My podcasts of choice are “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” (a silly news trivia show) and “Ask Me Another” (a word game/trivia show). I love to listen to people playing and play along while I work!

  3. Get some “reading” done.
    No time for actual reading? Listen to audiobooks while you work. You could get wrapped up in a story or you could put on a non-fiction book and keep your mind growing (my personal preference)!

  4. Cheer on your favorite sports team.
    As a huge Cubs fan, I love to listen to Cubs games while I work. We all know baseball is suuuper slow paced, so it’s an easy thing to have on in the background and tune and out of. Plus it can make your work go much faster when you’re listening to a close game!

  5. Get Nostalgic.
    Turn on your favorite movie/TV show from your past while you work. - You know, the one you know well enough that you can see what’s happening without actually watching it! Personally, I’m obsessed with Friends and know every episode by heart, so you can almost always find me listening to Friends and working on chores!

  6. Bring a friend.
    Enroll a friend into helping you so that you get to have friend time while you work. You can talk, catch up, make each other laugh AND get stuff done. (This works with talking on the phone with a friend while working too! Just make sure your friend doesn’t need you to be 100% listening and focused on them at that time. If they’re telling you something really important or personal and they hear clanging of dishes in the background… that doesn’t exactly scream best friend of the year award.)

  7. Make it a game.
    Turn each chore that you’re doing into some sort of game. See how fast you can get it done and race against the clock, or challenge yourself in some way while you work. Sometimes I like to see how efficiently I can load the dishwasher (i.e. how much can I fit in the dishwasher). I also like to race the clock on chores I do often to see if I can consistently get faster at doing that one thing!

  8. Give yourself a reward for getting it done.
    Decide on something you want to buy, love to do, or have been thinking about for a while, and use that as a reward for getting your chores done. For instance, when you get all the laundry folded and put away, you get to go get a pedicure! If you get dishes done every night before going to bed for a week straight, you get a shopping trip at IKEA. If you get the lawn mowed and yard work done, you get one hour of uninterrupted rest time. You can do this a lot of different ways and it’s especially helpful to complete a chore you’re not very excited about doing.

BONUS TIP:

What’s the best way to make chores fun?? Just don’t do them! Hire someone to get your to-do list done and use your time for what you actually want to be doing. Spend more time with your family, get caught up on your work so you’re not stressed, go on a nature walk, read a book, volunteer for a good cause, or go hang out with your friends. Whatever it is that actually brings you joy and fun in life, go do that instead of spending your precious time on chores. I happened to know someone that can help with that! :-D

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Scarcity Isn't an Option

Scarcity is a yucky feeling that comes up any time it feels like there isn’t enough - enough time, enough money, enough food, enough attention, enough of anything. Scarcity is based in fear and doubt, and is basically just the worst. Lately, I’ve had some of opportunities that I could have easily (and in the past would have) chosen into scarcity. Last week, there was a drawing for a big raffle that I was just sure I was going to win. I made a vision for the day of the drawing. I heard my name being called out when I envisioned them drawing the winner. I looked for signs that I had the winning ticket. I planned what I would do with the money when I won. I said prayers. I gave thanks for all I had. I truly thought I was in a place of abundance (a mindset of more than enough, based in love and faith - basically the total opposite of scarcity). I was so ready to win and receive the blessing of that raffle money. I know this might sound so silly but I was just sure I was going to win! And then…. I LOST! I couldn’t believe it. I put on a happy face and distracted myself for the rest of the raffle party. I cheered for the winner… but inside, I was devastated. I wanted to question every ounce of faith I had. I wanted to tell myself things like “See you never win anything. Dreams never come true. You’re such an idiot for thinking you’d win…” And then I was like WAAAAIIIIIITTTTTT! These thoughts are coming from scarcity and there is just no space in my world for that!!! Living is scarcity is just a disgusting downward spiral that feels like poop the entire time. If I was truly in abundance like I thought I was, then i would know that the money (or anything else for that matter) that I thought I was going to receive from this raffle is coming to me from another source or several other sources. I would know that losing this raffle doesn’t mean loss or lack. There is plenty of money out there in the universe. And I would know that when in abundance, I can truly celebrate someone else’s amazing win because them winning doesn’t mean I lose. I mean it does in the typical sense, but it doesn’t mean I lose in the bigger picture. I got to donate to a fantastic cause and be part of a super fun celebration. So losing the raffle wasn’t actually a loss. It was a win in getting to be part of something fun and charitable, and it was a great reminder that a scarcity mindset is not an option for me. I will always choose abundance.

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Never Leave Things on the Roof

So the other night, I was driving one of my theatre students home from rehearsal (I choreograph for a high school drama program in my free time) and after the 15 minute drive to her house and about 30 min of sitting in the car and talking to her about life, I go to reach for my phone to call my hubby and let him know I’d be home soon. When it’s not in my normal jacket pocket, I go to my Apple Watch to ping it so I can hear where it is. And what do you know, my watch is showing me that it’s no where near me.

Thankfully, I have the watch with the data plan so I call my hubby and I ask him to get on Find My Phone to look where my phone is because I’m guessing I left it at the high school on the stage. He is like “duh Sarah you’re calling me.” and I was like “duh Tom” (my hubby) “I’m calling you from my watch.” So he looks it up and he’s like “It’s at the intersection of Neil and Curtis” (two major roads in our town). I was like “Well that doesn’t make sense, how could it be there?? Oh maybe it died and that’s the last known location, because I did pass through that intersection to take my student home.” So I pull into a parking lot to start digging through my rehearsal bag and my work bag.

Tom says “Sarah, I’m telling you, its in the intersection… like in the road. And it’s not dead, I am pinging it right now.” And I’m like “Tom that makes no sense. I didn’t open my window and throw my phone out into the street, so how would it be in the middle of the road?!” And he’s like “well that’s where it is.” So I drive to the nearest parking lot, and I’m like “Tom, tell me where to walk” and he says “Get out of your car and walk straight into the street and you will find your phone.” So at 10:00pm, in the rain, I get out of my car and I’m running around this major road (watching for cars obviously. Don’t worry, Mom!), and then I hear it pinging!! I finally find it, laying there in the middle of the road, AND IT IS TOTALLY FINE. My screen protector is a little roughed up and my case has a tiny crack, but otherwise it is completely fine.

The phone gods were definitely on my side that night.
Moral of the story… Never leave things on the roof of your car. lololol

Thank you to Apple for making a watch that can make phone calls, thank you to Speck for making a phone case that protected my phone so well, and the biggest thank you to my hubby, Tom, for putting up with my sassiness and navigating me to my phone!!

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A Different Kind of To-Do List

Thanks to having the privilege of knowing and working with many Keller Williams agents (Thank you, Manda!), I learned how to use a 4-1-1 to manage all the tasks that I get to do in order to move forward on my bigger goals for the month and the year. I sit down every Monday morning and fill out my 4-1-1 for the week, and since starting that about 6 months ago, combined with having an accountability partner to check it every week (Thanks, Susan!), I’ve been able to accomplish a lot more in a smaller amount of time. By using the 4-1-1, I cut down on a lot of the “Gee I have so much to do, where should I start…” time. I put 5-10 things per week on my 4-1-1 to get done, depending on how much open work time I have that week, and then make sure that Susan is there to check me on it at the end of the week. Check out the link below to the actual 4-1-1 and the people behind who created it! The podcast by them is also fantastic!!! And feel free to contact me if you’d like to know more about how I personally use the 4-1-1!

https://www.the1thing.com/resources/your-411/

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Getting Ahead of It

I used to be a horrible procrastinator. During high school and college, it was almost like I lived for the pressure of waiting until the last minute and then pulling the all-nighter to finish something. As I get older though, I’m finding that I definitely need my sleep (lol) and I really do not enjoy any unnecessary stress or pressure. There are enough things going on inside my head with all the goals I want to accomplish that I don’t need any added stress in there taking up valuable headspace! The things I want to achieve will also be more doable when I get ahead of it.

A few years ago, a very good friend (shout out to Bill Utnage) taught me what it meant to “get ahead of it.” Bill is the master of getting ahead of it. Getting ahead of it means having a far enough looking vision that you’re planning ahead for what is coming, thinking through those details, and making sure that all the ducks are in a row as far in advanced as possible. It means that when you think about things that “should” get done, you do them as soon as possible, rather than waiting just because you can wait. It means that you get help when needed and that you make decisions in a timely manner so that you don’t get stuck in “analysis paralysis.” This idea of getting ahead of it has helped me to grow my business at a much faster rate, and more importantly to raise my level of integrity. When I say I’m going to do something, I want people to know (and my subconscious to know) that I’m going to do it. While I’m not perfect 100% of the time, I have come a long way thanks to the concept of getting ahead of it.

One area I’ve been focusing on lately is around my own house. Because my schedule is regularly very full, our own household chores can sometimes fall behind. Recently I was thinking about how I could get ahead of things around my house to make my life easier. Growing up, we always did laundry in our house on Sundays. So that’s what I’ve always done as an adult, but sometimes that could mean several hours of changing loads, folding, and putting away on a Sunday. And what if I’m out of town on a Sunday? Then it falls behind even more! So in the mindset of getting ahead of it, I’ve started doing many smaller loads throughout the week. It doesn’t take much time to throw a load in in the morning or after I get home, and then because the loads are smaller, they are very quick to fold and put away. Then by the time the weekend rolls around, the laundry is all already done and I have more free time to enjoy!

Another area around our house that has been recently improved by getting ahead of it is dishes. Our dishwasher does not (and has never really) worked, and so we do all of our dishes by hand. If we let them pile up throughout the week because we’re “busy” or “tired” or whatever other excuse, then we get to spend several hours over the weekend getting them caught back up. If we just wash our dishes once a day (or even better wash them as they’re as used), it goes so much faster and the house feels 10x cleaner and calmer.

These things might be common sense to some people, but to me they weren’t. Thanks to Bill, I now think much farther out and can anticipate when it will benefit me to put in a little more effort up front and make my life way easier down the road. My future self loves this.

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Spring is coming!

I am so over winter. Like big time. So I’ve been thinking about spring and summer, and trying to remember what it feels like when it’s not -45 degrees! Here’s my plan for a big spring cleaning once the weather warms up! (Feel free to add other things you like to do for spring cleaning in the comments!!)

1. Clean out the garage

Pro tip: Organize everything into different areas of your garage (things to get rid of, different types of things you’re going to store in the garage - like holiday stuff, sports stuff, etc) and then put it all away at once, so you know each type of stuff has its own area that is big enough to hold all of it!

2. Deep clean the carpets.

Pro Tip: It’s super easy and affordable to rent a carpet cleaner from your local grocery store or hardware store. No need to own one! Remember to allow time for the carpet to dry before putting everything back and walking on it!

3. Clean out the fridge.

Pro Tip: Throw out old food AND wipe down all the surfaces. Use the back of a knife to scrape off anything stuff to the shelves.

4. Wash pillows and comforters.

Pro Tip: Make sure to check and follow the instructions on your pillows for how they should be washed. Different pillows need different things.

5. Wash windows - inside and out.

Pro Tip: For streak-free windows, use half vinegar and half water. Spray, wipe down with paper towel, then wipe again with another clean, dry paper towel. Bonus tip: Carry a backpack with you while doing the outside of the windows to hold the cleaners and paper towels, then tie a plastic bag to one of the straps of the bag for an easy place to put your dirty paper towels as you use them! (And do this one before it gets buggy outside!)

6. Deep clean the washing machine.

Pro Tip: The clean cycle doesn’t always do the trick. Try adding half vinegar, half water in your detergent dispenser and running the machine on a heavy duty cycle with a high temperature.

7. Deep clean the inside of the oven.

Pro Tip: Just like the washing machine, the self-clean mode on the oven doesn’t always do the trick. Easy Off is good stuff. Spray it in the oven all over and then let it sit for about 20 minutes. Then go back in with 409 and wipe the whole thing down. Repeat the process until it’s clean!

8. Clean out the cabinets.

Pro Tip: Check all expiration dates and reorganize the remaining food in to “like with like” categories. Go through your kitchenware and get rid of anything broken or extra that you don’t need, and organize the remaining items into “like with like” categories as well. Then wipe down all the cabinets inside and out, and finally put everything back in cabinets according to where you are in the kitchen when you use it. Make it as easy as possible for you to use and access everything in your kitchen.

Happy spring cleaning! Let’s hope spring gets here soon!!

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How's Your Progress?

Did you make 2019 goals/resolutions? Have you already forgotten about them? Or are you totally crushing it? Whether it’s time to get back on track or time to take it to the next level, these 5 tips can help you on your journey to getting your goals.

  1. Remind yourself why this goal was even important to you in the first place.

    There was some reason that you decided this goal was important to you. Get back to the mindset you had when you set it. What would this goal bring to your life? How would it make your life better? If you know why it’s important to you it will be so much easier to push forward when things get hard.

  2. Get some accountability.

    For me, accountability is the main reason why I get stuff done. I might want something done and I might know why I want to do it, but I am a million times more motivated when I know I have to answer to someone because I hate letting people down. Finding a good accountability partner/group has two parts to it.
    First, figure out what your “support language” is. How do you like to be held accountable and supported? Are you the type of person that wants a cheerleader to cheer you on? Or are you the type of person that needs some tough love to get things done? When you get stuck and you’re not moving forward on your goals, do you want to be asked questions or do you want to be given suggestions?
    Second, find someone or people that are committed to meeting with you regularly and are committed to actually holding you to doing the things you say you’ll do. Then share how you like to be supported and find out how they like to be supported.
    Now you’re ready to hold each other accountable! ** Note: this is very difficult to do without drama with someone who is very close to you (a parent, a spouse, a sibling). Use your best judgement when deciding if that relationship can handle the weight of holding each other accountable to goals.

  3. Visualize the end result.

    We have these goals because they are things we want to happen but haven’t been able to do yet. (If we already had them, they wouldn’t be our goals!) So that generally means that these goals are outside of our comfort zones and we don’t really know how they feel to accomplish them yet! The usual default feelings about things outside our comfort zones are feelings like scary, uncomfortable, awkward, risky, etc. If we just focus on those feelings, we will never get anything done! No one wants to feel those things! So instead, we can visualize what it will feel like once we’ve actually accomplished these goals and they are the are now inside our comfort zones! Think about the goal as if it’s already done. How does it feel? Exciting, satisfying, triumphant, peaceful, adventurous, fabulous… Focus on whatever feelings excite you and make you want to get moving! You can even write these words on a piece of paper and post them on your bathroom mirror so you see them every day!

  4. Set a risk/reward.

    This is where things get serious. With your accountability partner/group, tell them your risk and/or reward for getting things done, whether that’s for completing one step toward the goal or for the achieving the overall goal.
    The risk/reward should be something separate from the natural risk/reward of doing it or not doing it. So for example: if your goal is to create $10,000 additional in income for the month of February, the natural reward would be getting the $10,000 and the natural risk would be not getting that money.
    You can set an additional risk and reward that could help motivate you. My personal go to risk is if I don’t accomplish ____ then I cannot text for the entire following week (or if I need extra motivation, an entire month). I do not like calling people and really prefer texting, so the thought of having to call everyone definitely makes me get moving. For rewards, I usually utilize things I’d like to purchase but would normally feel guilty spending money on as my rewards - a new pair of shoes, an apple watch, getting my nails done, etc. Sometimes I’ll also use an upcoming trip or time with friends as a combo risk/reward. If I get ___ done, then I get to go have fun with my friends. If I don’t then I have to tell them I can’t go when they’ve already been planning on me going and now I’m letting them down. (Yuck.)
    You know what you like and dislike, and what will motivate you to actually take action. Make sure your accountability partner(s) get to know what the risk/reward is and help make sure you actually follow through on them!

  5. Get leverage.
    Finally, when you have a goal and don’t have the time to dedicate to it (decluttering closets, eating healthier foods, etc), it’s time to explore the option of leverage. Just because this is your goal, doesn’t mean you have to do all the work. You can use leverage - things/services that make your life easier - to get things done more quickly and more easily. There are tons of options for leverage these days like meal prep delivery services, dog walkers, organizers, personal trainers, or your favorite friendly local personal concierge! :-D Get some help and get things done!

If you have made tons of progress or you’re still just starting on a goal (or starting over), YOU CAN DO THIS! Get going and know that you’re life is going to be so much better for pushing through and making it happen!

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My name is Sarah and I am a goal maker.

Every where you look right now there are reminders of all the New Year cliches - “New Year, New You.” “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?” “I’m going to eat healthy this year!” “I’m going to declutter this year!” “I just made my vision board!” - All the the things people say when the magic date of 1/1 rolls around and the opportunity for a fresh start arrives.

And then there are the people that are totally skeptical and cynical - “No one keeps their resolutions.” “Vision boards are lame.” “There is nothing special about the start of another year.”

Well, I’m going to be totally honest and vulnerable, and own the fact that I AM A GOAL MAKER.

I love goals. I thrive on setting goals and getting rewards for them. So you better believe I have a 2019 vision board and I have a long list of 2019 goals. There is a part of me that almost wants to hide that because it feels so lame and cliche to say, but I love goals and I love the start of a new year. I love the possibilities it brings and the hope I have for an amazing year.

The thing is - I don’t just set goals at the start of the year. I set goals all year long. And I have an amazing mastermind group that helps me achieve them. We have a call every week and hold each other accountable to achieving the things we say we want. The other three people on my call are inspiring, positive, and don’t let me get away with anything (even though I’m so adorkable). When I say I want something, they will ask me questions about it, they push me to move forward on it when I’m stuck, and they celebrate with me when I achieve it.

There is nothing quite like setting a big goal and then actually making it happen. If you’re not a goal setter - I encourage you to start. Pick something small to start, like drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day, or go through one closet in your house and pick out 3 things to donate by the end of this month… Start somewhere. Make sure you have people in your life to help hold you accountable that won’t let you get away with backing down or slacking (and someone that you will listen to the feedback they give you). Tell people your goal. Write down your goal. Visualize yourself accomplishing the goal. Feel what it will feel like when it’s done. It may seem cheesy or lame, but believe me, its worth it. Even if you think you have the perfect life, there is something in your heart that you would like to change or have more of or improve. Once you realize that you can and will actually achieve the things you desire, you will be unstoppable. There is so much empowerment in making a promise to yourself and keeping it.

If you’re already a goal maker, then say it loud and proud! Own it and help other people make goals and achieve them too!

And if you’re a goal maker that has never quite completed a goal - just remember, the value is in the journey. I’ve totally been there too, and not quite achieved what I had hoped. Here’s what I’ve figured out - Look at all you’ve learned from what you have tried to do in the past. Release any negativity (if you have any) around not quite getting there. Chances are, you got closer to that goal than you would have without it. Set another goal (or the same goal if it’s still something you desire) and go for it again! You know what they say - “New Year, New You!” :-D

My name is Sarah, and I am a goal maker AND a goal getter. Join me in all the cheesiness of the New Years cliches, and make some goals and start living your best life too!

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Need Gift Ideas? I got you.

Still making your holiday shopping list? Here are some ideas for gifts in case you still have that one person on your list that is hard to shop for!

Personalized Tervis Cup
I love Tervis cups (not sponsored by them or anything, just love them). They are durable and easy to clean. They don’t sweat when you have a cold drink on a hot day. They are fun and come in a whole bunch of sizes with different kinds of lids and straws. Add the personalization component and you’ve got an excellent gift at a very reasonable price.

Placemats
You can never have enough placemats. They come in all different fun styles and colors, and are very practical. These are especially good for a gift for a hostess when you’re attending a party at someone’s house!

Your Favorite Book
There are some books that impact us deeply. Give the gift of that book to someone else so it can improve their life as well!

Stance Socks
These are the best socks. They are fun, come in lot of different styles and cuts, and do not rip easily. (Again, not sponsored by them, just love the socks.) You can easily find a pair for anyone since they have Disney, sports teams, and a whole bunch of other themes!

Massage/Spa/Pampering Time
Rest and relaxation for the body is something that most people do not give themselves. Giving that gift to someone is thoughtful and probably more needed than most tangible items we could buy for someone.

Words of Appreciation
How often do we stop to tell the people we care about how much we actually love them and all the great things about them? Write out a card or create some sort of homemade gift that truly tells people the greatness you see in them (thank you Klemmer and Associates for teaching me to do this).

An Experience and Time Together
To some people, the most valuable gift you could ever give them is just time together. Find an experience that falls into the interests of the person you are buying a gift for, and have that experience with them. For example, have a beer lover in the family? Get tickets to a beer tour around a city for them and go with them!

Amazon Gift Card
While it can feel a little impersonal to give a gift card, it is also fun to receive the gift of opportunity to get something you’ve had your eye on but weren’t willing to buy yourself. A gift card is fun and allows the person to get exactly what they want, especially from Amazon!

Sarah Mohr, Personal Concierge Gift Certificate
The one thing we can’t get more of in life is time in each day. Give the gift of leverage so your loved ones can enjoy the time they have while they have it!

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Quick Prep for Unexpected Holiday Guests

Tis the season for holiday celebrations, and that might mean a holiday celebration that you didn’t expect at your own house! It might be something your spouse forgot to tell you about, or a drop in guest, or even a last minute gathering you decided to have… but in any case, you have to get ready for your party and you have to get ready fast!

Here are some things you can do with only 30 minutes prior to people arriving to get your house ready quickly for holiday guests:

Remove the clutter. (5 min)

Pick a room with a door in the house that guests do not need to be in. Get a laundry basket or tub, and go around the house and gather up any clutter that’s on tables or counters. Clutter makes a house feel much more dirty than it may actually be. Take the basket(s) of clutter and put them in the room with the door and shut it.

Clean the bathroom. (10 min)

Do a quick wipe down of the sink, mirror, and toilet in the bathroom guests will be using, as well as a quick swipe of the toilet bowl. (See my blog post about cleaning supplies for what to use. http://www.sarahmohrpersonalconcierge.com/news/2018/11/29/these-are-a-few-of-my-favorite-cleaning-supplies) Take out the bathroom trash and do a quick vacuum or sweep of the bathroom floor. A clean bathroom is a must for guests.

Dishes (5 min)

If there are just a few dirty dishes, do them quickly. If there are lots, load them up in a tub or basket and take them somewhere else - to the garage, to the laundry room, or where ever they are out of the sink and out of the way.

Clean the Kitchen. (10 min)

Wipe down the counters and stove top, and then wipe out the microwave. Do a quick sweep or vacuum of the floor.

At this point, you’re probably approaching the 30 min mark. If you have any extra time, you could vacuum/sweep the rest of your floor, and maybe do a quick mop of any hard flooring.

No matter what, when your guest arrives, forget about trying to make your house perfect and just be present with your guest. We are blessed to have friends and family in our lives, and get to enjoy the time we have with them!

Bonus: Other Holiday Prep Ideas:

The next time you’re at the store, look for some easy-to-store gift and meal ideas that you can have on hand when an unexpected guest arrives. Frozen appetizers that you can unfreeze and heat up quickly will last in your freezer and are an easy go to when needed. You can also buy small things like small house goods (towels, magnets, fun kitchen gadgets), small snacks that last for a while (teas, chocolates, jams), or even gift cards in small amounts, so that you have a quick gift on hand if you need it. I also like to stock up on cards every once in a while too so that I have a last minute birthday card or holiday card if needed.

And if you don’t want to or can’t do any of these suggestions, call us and we can help you get that to-do list done before your guest arrives too! ;-)

Make this holiday season fun and joyful! You got this! :-D

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These Are a Few of My Favorite... Cleaning Supplies!

One to-do list we frequently complete for clients is cleaning, which has allowed us to try many supplies and form strong opinions about them! Here are some of our favorites right now at Sarah Mohr, Personal Concierge! (Full Disclosure: We are not endorsed by any of these products. We just like using them!)

Best for Dust:
Swiffer Duster Wand/Pledge Spray
This is a toss up between the Swiffer Duster Wand and Pledge. It depends on what type of result you’re looking for. The Swiffer wand allows you to go much more quickly. You can get into small spaces and easily get around frames and knick knacks; however, some of the dust seems to settle back onto the surfaces. Pledging surfaces removes more dust, but definitely takes longer. Also not every surface can take Pledge - like TV screens or some finishes on tables… So definitely use caution when spraying Pledge!

Best for Glass/Mirrors:
Vinegar
Mix 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water to clean mirrors and glass. Spray the surface with the mixture, wipe it down, and then wipe with a clean dry cloth. Boom. So clean.

Best for Overall Bathroom Cleaning:
Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Grime Fighter Spray
The bathroom can be one of the hardest places to keep clean in the house and this cleaner does a surprisingly good job especially in the shower. Bonus- it has a very pleasant smell!

Best for Shower Metal and Glass:
Bar Keepers Friend Liquid Cleaner
Water stains on metal and glass can be one of the most frustrating things to clean in a house. If you don’t stay on top of wiping these surfaces down every time they get wet, you will get water stains, and the longer they stay there, the harder they are to remove. Bar Keeper’s Friend to the rescue! This magical product removes water stains without a ton of effort and restores shining metal and glass in the shower, kitchen or anywhere else. Put some of the liquid cleaner on a rag, scrub the water-stained surface, and then spray with the vinegar/water mix and wipe. Wipe one final time with a clean, dry rag, and your surface is sparkling clean!

Best for the Toilet Bowl:
Clorox Bathroom Wand
Say goodbye to your gross bathroom brush. These disposable cleaners attach to a wand and make cleaning super easy. These are a must have.

Best for the Kitchen:
Formula 409 Multi-Surface Spray
This cleaner can cut through any kitchen grease and really most stains. If another product isn’t cutting it, 409 comes to the rescue almost every time!

Best for Stainless Steel:
Weiman Stainless Steel Wipes
These wipes are the answer for stubborn finger prints on stainless steel. Wipe the appliance with one of these wipes, then follow with a clean, dry cloth. IMPORTANT NOTE: Always wipe stainless steel with the grain of the steel. If you don’t follow the grain you will scratch the stainless steel. (Thank you, Beth Culkeen, for teaching me that!! :-D )

Best for the Floor:
Libman Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner Spray
This floor cleaner does a great job of removing stains, smells great, and can be used on any floor type including wood and laminate. It doesn’t leave a sticky residue but does leave a sparkly clean floor! The best part is that Libman is based out of Arcola which is in Illinois near Champaign!

Best Mop:
Libman Freedom Spray Mop
This mop is awesome because it’s like a Swiffer mop but better. You can fill the spray holder with whatever cleaning solution you prefer and you can reuse the cleaning pads up to 100 times. The neck swivels so its great for getting into all areas and getting under and around furniture. LOVE IT!

Best Vacuum:
Shark Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe
This is a really tough one. Dyson has always been a favorite, but Shark has recently upped it’s vacuum game. The lift-away deluxe is super lightweight and can be used in several different ways. Many shark vacuums also have lights on them which really helps to see and catch dirt. Many models (including the Lift-Away Deluxe) are less expensive than Dysons and still do a very good job (if not better).

Other Favorite Household Products:
- Friendship Sheep Wool Dryer Balls: I recently switched to using these instead softener. They are reusable and don’t have a ton of chemicals in them. I put some essential oils on them before I throw them in the dryer, and the clothes come out soft and smelling awesome. (Shout out to Bryan and Kayla Banks who had these in their house and showed me their awesomeness!)

- Ikea Sponges: This is kind of weird, but I really like Ikea’s sponges and Swedish cleaning cloths. They last a long time and they are inexpensive.

- Target Brand (Up&up) Garbage Bags: They are strong and durable, and it’s very easy to pull the handles out to tie them when they’re full. (I have a hard time getting the ties pulled out on other brands, which I find annoying.)

Do you have a product or method you love to use around the house? Share it in the comments!

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IF by Rudyard Kipling

A friend introduced me to this poem a few years ago and it has gotten me through many challenging times. I don’t read a lot of poetry but I do know I love this one. Have a read and see how you feel about it for yourself.

IF by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
or being hated, don’t give way to hating;
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise.
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make your thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken - twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, and stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools.
If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings and never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you except the will which says to them “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with kings nor lose common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, if all men can count with you but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And - which is more - You’ll be a man, my son!

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