It takes one to know one. Never before has a saying rang so true as when I became a mom. I never truly understood the sacrifices my mom made for me (and still does) until I joined the club as well. I took for granted the times her only meals were the scraps I left behind, the way she worked her schedule to include one weekday off for us each week, and the trips to the museum that became part of our routine.

Although I try to recognize her as much as I can, I never give her the credit she fully deserves. Even now, as she gives me advice on my kids and my home, I sometimes brush it off and pretend I don’t need the tips. However, as time passes, I find myself implementing her advice more and more. They are small tips, but they are enough to stick with me. Plus, when I use them I always think of her—whether she knows it or not.

Convert household items for multiple purposes


Use a towel to transport laundry without a basket. Open the towel, place laundry inside. Then wrap it by folding the corners in and twisting them up. Repurpose old socks to clean blinds. Spray with vinegar or your chosen cleaner. Then, put the sock on your hand and clean by grabbing and wiping each blind.

Waste not

Everything you use has multiple functions, even disposables. Paper towels from drying your hands can clean your counters and then the floors afterward. Dish brushes should rotate from cleaning dishes, to sinks, to bathrooms, and finally to outdoor purposes like shoes, bikes and other sporting equipment.

Take shortcuts

Use the air-dry function on things that “can’t be dried.” This will give them a head start on the drying process. Just remember to stay close by so that the items do not stay in the dryer for too long.

Cover up


We spend a lot of time cleaning our bathrooms, but we often forget that germs can be airborne as well. Each time you flush, microscopic particles of waste spray into the air and could reach items or surfaces nearby. Keep your toothbrush in a container or medicine cabinet, if possible. Wipe down the sink and countertops regularly. Close the toilet seat completely before flushing.

Add vinegar

Use for everything from cleaning to deodorizing to flavoring. Mom’s favorite uses: Mix vinegar with dish soap and mouthwash for a non-toxic jewelry cleaner. You can also deodorize smelly laundry by adding a cup of vinegar to your wash.

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