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    How to clean porch decor.

    July 26, 2021 8:15 AM by jennifer.thomas

    Monday, July 26, 2021

    How To Clean Porch Decor | Schlage

    These tips will show you how to clean porch décor for a healthy and beautiful home, inside and out.

     

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    Do you know how to vacuum? Shining a mirror isn’t too tricky, either. When it comes to cleaning your home, most of us have the basics figured out. But outdoor cleaning can require a slightly different approach. How you clean patio furniture and with what soap – do you even need to use soap? – might be less obvious. These tips will show you how to clean porch décor for a healthy and beautiful home, inside and out.

    Patio Furniture

    Why

    Even if you cover it when it’s not in use, your patio furniture can collect all kinds of dirt, pollen, mold and mildew and what is that other gunk? Obviously, you don’t want to sit in that. Cleaning your outdoor furniture regularly can also help keep it in good condition. Natural materials like wood or wicker can break down more quickly if not properly maintained.

    How

    Power washing and store-bought cleaning chemicals often get rid of most of the grime. Sometimes you’re looking for a cleaner that’s a little kinder to the environment or gentler on your belongings, though. Apartment Therapy recommends a homemade all-purpose cleaner of white vinegar, water and a detergent-based foaming hand soap. You can also use dishwashing liquid instead of hand soap. Mix one-part white vinegar to two-parts water and a few pumps of soap.

     

    Use a sponge, soft-bristled brush or cloth dipped in the mixture and start scrubbing. The vinegar will help break down any mineral deposits –the same as when you use a vinegar/water mixture to descale tea and coffee makers – as well as remove mold. That foaming soap tackles just about everything else. When you’re done scrubbing, rinse it all down with clean water. The same cleaning solutions and method can often be used on planters, too.

    When

    You want to give a hardcore cleaning to your patio furniture at the beginning and end of the season. We also recommend minor spruces at regular intervals. This is one area where it really pays off to stay on top of things. One smear of bird poo is a lot easier to clean than several weeks of it baked on by the summer sun.

    Doormat

    Why

    Why clean your doormat? Because if it does what it’s supposed to do, it’s full of all kinds of mud, grass clippings and allergens, and fleas and ticks from pets and wild animals. When you wipe your feet, a clean mat does a better job of keeping all of that where it should be – outside your house.

    How and When

    Each week, or maybe whenever you mow the grass, shake out the loose debris that’s collected in your mat. You can also smack the mat on a hard surface and use a vacuum or hand vac to get at the dirt that’s really taken hold. Each season, whether you use your mat to collect snow and salt in the winter or pollen in the spring, rinse your mat with a garden hose. You can use a mild dish soap if there are stains or any particularly stubborn spots that won’t come clean. If you notice an odor, sprinkle baking soda on your mat and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before vacuuming.


    Light Fixtures

    Why

    Dirty light fixtures can make your porch or walkway look darker and dingier than it really is. By cleaning the glass surround, you’ll keep everything looking bright and safe.

    How

    Safety first. Turn off the circuit breaker to your outdoor lighting. This will help prevent shocks if you have to disassemble any of the components and if you’re using any kind of liquids. You can also cover the sockets with masking tape to help keep water out of the electrical components.

     

    Dust away any loose dirt, dead bugs, spider webs and birds’ nests. You can use a disposable duster, but an old paint brush also works well. Soak the glass globe and other removable parts in a bucket filled with warm water and dishwashing liquid. Then use a soft cloth and the soapy mixture to wipe down the rest of the light fixture, taking care not to get the sockets wet. Rinse and dry everything thoroughly before reassembling.

     

    For an extra shine, you can use glass cleaner on panes and shades, and a non-abrasive car wax to most metal surfaces. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations first, though, to avoid damaging the finish.

     

    Don’t forget to clean the bulbs. When they’re cool, simply dust them to remove pollen, dust and dirt.

    When

    Like a lot of our porch décor, lighting can be cleaned seasonally. Depending on the weather in your area and how exposed to the elements the light fixture is, you may want to clean them more often. At the height of bug season, frequency is your friend.

     

    Door Hardware

    Why

    We all learned the importance of disinfecting frequently touched surfaces during the coronavirus pandemic. There isn’t much that’s touched more frequently than door knobs, levers and handlesets. More than just keeping your home looking nice, cleaning door hardware is also about keeping your family healthy and reducing the spread of germs.

    How

    How you clean your door hardware will largely be based on the materials and finish. For Schlage door hardware, make a simple mixture of water and mild soap. Gently wipe the surfaces with the mixture, then use a clean cloth and water to remove any remaining soap. Immediately dry your hardware with a clean towel. Avoid submerging your hardware in liquid of any kind and skip harsh cleaning solutions, which can damage the finish. Get more details on our blog, How to properly clean your smart locks and door hardware.

    When

    Our best advice, however vague, is regularly. If you rarely use your front door handleset because your family’s main entrance is through the garage, you can probably go longer between cleanings there. But if you have toddlers with jam-hands or someone in your household has been sick, it’s hard to go wrong with cleaning your door hardware more often.


    Window and Door Screens

    Why

    The reason you have screens for your windows and doors is the same reason you need to clean them regularly. Those screens trap dirt, pollen and insects before they get in the house. Cleaning can help them stay in good repair as well as keep the view nice so you’re not looking through a bunch of spider webs all the time.

    How

    For those bigger, seasonal cleanings, remove the screens from the window or door and lay them flat on your porch or in your garage. Use a vacuum with the dusting attachment to remove loose debris from both sides. If you’re cleaning screens that can’t be removed, use a disposable duster instead, then vacuum anything that dropped into the framing.

     

    You can then use a solution of household ammonia and water – a 1-to-3 ammonia-to-water ratio – and a sponge or soft-bristled brush to wipe away remaining grime. Get the entire screen, including along the edges. Spray clean water from a garden hose to rinse the screens, but be gentle. High-pressure cleaning could bend the screens so they won’t fit again properly. If you don’t have a convenient hose or can’t use one because the screens are still in the window – you obviously don’t want to spray into the living room – simply use a clean cloth and water to rinse.

     

    For in-between cleanings, try this hack from The Kitchn: a lint roller. Work from the outside, if possible, where the dirt and gunk is the greatest.

    When

    Screen doors should be cleaned at least twice a year. Time it around when you use it most often, like the spring and summer. Clean them once at the beginning of the season and again at the end. Window screens, especially if you open the windows regularly, should be cleaned more often, about once per week to help keep dust, pollen and grime out of the house.

    Door Wreaths

    Why

    A front door wreath covered in dust and dirt hardly looks inviting. Cleaning it will keep it looking fresh and beautiful. It will also prolong the life of your wreath so can include it in your front porch décor rotation for years to come.

    How

    Decorative wreaths can be made of so many different materials – vines, evergreens, plastic, foam, burlap – and include décor that’s just as varied, so you might have to do a little trial and error to find a method that’s effective and won’t cause damage. Many designers recommend using a hair dryer on a low, cool setting to blow the dust and dirt away. Stand about a foot away to keep it from knocking off any delicate decorations. You can also use a microfiber cloth to dust your wreath, especially if it has artificial silk flowers.

     

    For wreaths made of grapevine or twigs and that don’t have fragile décor, you can use a vacuum with handheld attachment to remove dust and dirt. Some say you can wash twig wreaths in warm, soapy water before letting them air dry on newspaper. This can be helpful if it collects a lot of grime from the road. However, remove all decorations first as faux flowers, ribbons and the like usually are not water resistant.

    When

    Before you pack away a holiday wreath at the end of the season, give it a good cleaning. That way, when it’s time to decorate again next year, it should only need a light dusting and sprucing up. Depending on how exposed it is to the elements, you also may want to dust it about every week or so while it’s on your door.

     

    No matter what you’re cleaning, check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Some materials and finishes can be damaged if you use the wrong cleaning solutions, cloth or force. In some instances, improper cleaning can void the warranty on a product, so doublecheck before you get to work. If you don’t know the manufacturer’s recommendations, test your cleaning methods on an inconspicuous spot you won’t notice if things don’t go well.

     

    When your patio or deck is well maintained, your porch décor can really shine. Find how-to guides to get the most from your porch décor at the Schlage blog. There’s also loads of inspiration to get you started on Pinterest and Instagram.

     

     


     

    Get ready to return to work with these 7 productivity tips.

    July 20, 2021 8:15 AM by jennifer.thomas

    Tuesday, July 20, 2021

    7 Productivity Tips To Return To Work | Schlage

    Use these 7 productivity tips to get ready to return to work.

     

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    If you’ve been working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, those first few days (or weeks, if we’re honest) back at the office can be a challenge. These seven tips will help you ease your way back into a routine, put you in the right frame of mind and set you up for a productive, successful day.

     

    The best way to start your day right is to actually start preparing the day before. A bit of planning reduces the rush and chaos of the morning so that you’re less likely to forget something, get stressed or bypass your healthy habits like eating well and working out.


    1. Quit While You're Ahead

    Call it quits at the end of the work day when you still have a little something left in the tank. We know it can be hard when you’re used to giving every last ounce every single day, but walking away before you’re totally run down will help you be more productive in the long haul. It’s a key step to avoiding burnout. Stop when you know what your next steps are, such as “Proofread sales document in the morning,” a technique known as building a bridge to the next day. Make a short list of must-do tasks – it could be professional or personal jobs – and then clock out.

    2. Pack and put it by the door

    Pack your briefcase/purse/gym bag/lunch box/diaper bag/kids’ backpack the night before. Anything you’ll need for the next day should be ready before you even roll out of bed. You’ll be less likely to forget something important and feel less stressed looking for a missing homework assignment or lost keys 10 minutes after you were supposed to have already left.

    This can also help you stay committed to your healthy habits. When your gym bag is ready, there are fewer excuses to skip your workout. When you have a lunch box stocked with meals, snacks and water for the day, your body will thank you. It’ll be easier to fight off those junk food cravings, you’ll have fewer headaches when you stay hydrated and you just might find you have more energy to rally throughout the day.

    Whatever you pack, put it by the door, either in your foyer or next to the garage entry door. DIY a stylish grab-and-go station with a bench, hooks for keys and bags, a small landing strip or any of these DIY entryway projects.

    3. Get to bed at a reasonable time

    When you get enough sleep, you’re more focused, less irritable, have higher levels of energy and, in general, healthier. Proper sleep has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, obesity and stress, among other illnesses. After you’ve packed your bag(s) and put it by the door, do your best to get to bed at a reasonable time. Especially if you’re restarting a commute – like when returning to work after COVID – factor in the extra time you’ll need for your drive. And don’t forget to account for the extra emotional energy required to deal with traffic, construction and those commute-related headaches.

    If it helps, use smart home technology to get you to bed. Create a Bedtime Routine with Alexa so that a single request triggers a series of events – dim the lights, play relaxing music or white noise, lock your door. Instead of you running all over the house, you can settle in and start to unwind. If you don’t want to connect all your devices, that’s fine. You might still find a smart light bulb that adjusts brightness and color based on the time of day, a smart alarm clock or similar gadgets for the bedroom.

    4. Make your bed

    Many productivity experts recommend making your bed first thing in the morning. There are a lot of reasons for that, but for our purposes here, it’s all about giving yourself a quick victory. Making your bed doesn’t take a lot of time and a quick tidy provides an immediate sense of accomplishment. Any fast, simple task works. It could be wiping down the bathroom counters and mirror, taking out the trash or unloading the dishwasher from the night before.

    5. Get an assistant

    Just like you created a Bedtime Routine, make one for the mornings. This one could turn on lights, play more energetic music or, if you have compatible devices, start the coffee brewing before you’re even out of the shower.

    You can use a voice assistant to set morning reminders, too. Schedule an alarm so Alexa or Google will tell the kids it’s time to come to breakfast or leave for the bus. Sync your voice assistant to your calendar so it will remind you of important tasks for the upcoming day, whether it’s that you have a meeting at 2 p.m. or that you need to water the plants.

    6. Make a motivating playlist

    All of a sudden, you have to commute again. That means traffic, rude drivers and what might now feel like lost productivity time. Create a motivating playlist or download an uplifting podcast so you arrive at the office feeling empowered and ready.

    7. Spruce up your workspace

    Once you’re back in the office, do your best to make it feel more comfortable. Before you even open your email or check your messages, tidy up – dust, disinfect, blast the crumbs out of your keyboard – and decorate. Add some artwork or photos that lift your spirits. Indoor plants are also a great way to add a bit of positive energy to your workspace. Varieties like pothos or succulents are good if you don’t have a lot of natural light.

    After putting in a full day of work at the office, you’ll need a place to relax and reconnect, both with yourself and your loved ones. Find more ways to turn your home into the sanctuary you not only need, but deserve, at the Schlage blog.

     

     

     

    How to make your hollow core doors look expensive when you're on a budget.

    July 19, 2021 7:15 AM by likhika.routray

    Monday, July 19, 2021

    Hollow core door makeover ideas | Schlage

    Quickly give your home a more elegant and modern touch without breaking the bank when you try one (or more!) of our favorite DIY hollow core makeovers.

     

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    Nearly every home has at least one – boring, flat-panel hollow core doors. Quickly give your home a more elegant and modern touch without breaking the bank when you try one (or more!) of our favorite DIY hollow core makeovers. It might look like you spent a fortune on upgrades, but you’ll know better.

    1. DIY Beadboard doors

    Beadboard doors work for almost any style of home. Get this simple tutorial from The Shanks, who used beadboard wallpaper to achieve the look they wanted. At one-third of the price of actual beadboard, it’s worth thinking about.

     

    Brittany, the Pretty Handy Girl, used molding and beadboard panels to dress up the hollow, flat doors of a rental property. She opted for panels instead of wallpaper to stand up to the rigors of rentals.

    2. Panel doors for every budget

    This step-by-step tutorial from Jenna Sue Design Company takes a plain slab door and turns it into a five-panel door. It looks like a million bucks but only costs $12! The black paint gives her doors an extra luxurious appeal, too. For a flawless paint job, be sure to check out these door painting tips and tricks.

     

    When we found this next DIY update for a flat-panel door, we literally gasped out loud. “Just $3!?” Originally Worn takes “budget” seriously by using boards for lattice fencing – hers cost just 17 cents per foot – to create panels.

     

    Create the illusion of raised panels and banish dull, flat doors with this quick and affordable tutorial from Lowe’s. With just a few supplies and a bit of time, you can create a classic look you'll enjoy for years to come.
    If you’re up for a project that requires a bit more advanced tools and techniques, we have something for you, too. Jenna Sue is at it again over on Remodelaholic. She updated this old, synthetic closet door by adding veneer and authentic details. Say hello to a beautiful, rustic new look.
    You can also check out This Old House’s detailed tutorial on adding panel molding to dress up a hollow core door. We’re talking a transformation from slab door to grand entranceway.
    When an all-new garage entry door proved to be too expensive, Simply Beautiful by Angela used plywood left over from another project to turn a flat door into a three-paneled masterpiece. Add to that a Schlage Accent lever with Camelot trim in Aged Bronze finish, which matches the other hardware and fixtures in the entryway, and this space went from drab to character-filled at very little expense.

    If cutting and trimming and molding and measuring is more than you’re looking for right now, take a page from Seeking Lavender Lane’s book. They used drop ceiling tiles to give that same paneled look with hardly any tools.

     

    3. Plank Doors

    Panels aren’t the only way to add architectural detail. Beth at Home Stories A to Z gave her boring hollow core doors a lift with a herringbone detail. And because she affixed the wood to the face of the door, it successfully covered the cheap-looking panels that were already there.

     

    My Happy Simple Living chose vertical planks to give their hollow core doors a stylish makeover. Because you’re adding thickness to the door, there are a few adjustments you’ll need to make to the jamb, but we’d say it’s worth it.

     

    4. Glass Details

    Remodelaholic showcased yet another great way to rejuvenate a hollow core door by adding glass. With some elbow grease, you can not only improve the look of the door but also add some light and beauty to an entire room. It’s the perfect opportunity to incorporate decorative glass into your home.

    Once you have the glass, you can dress it up even more. Instead of investing in stenciling, frosting or etching though, try this faux stained glass hack from Lovely Indeed.

     

    Hanging a mirror on a hollow core door can be trickier than it sounds. You need the mounting brackets to be secure and strong enough to fully support the mirror and keep it from cracking. Home Guides has tips for that. If you’re looking for extra detailing, Young House Love shows how to frame out your mirror on a hollow core door.

     

    5. Dutch doors

    What could make a door feel more different than turning it into two? Angela at Unexpected Elegance gives you a step-by-step guide to turn that slab door into a Dutch door. Be sure to choose the right hardware for your new entryway.

     

    6. Upholstered Doors

    Fabric isn’t just for couches and dresses. Upholstering your door is a great way to incorporate your favorite pattern into a room. If you love the Granny Chic style, this could be for you, too. The Interiors Addict showcased a monochromatic large floral-patterned fabric on this hollow core bedroom door.

     

     

    How About Orange gives a variation on his hack for dressing up a hollow core door. They applied the fabric with cornstarch and water. This temporary solution is ideal if you constantly change your mind or live in a rental.

     

     

    Upholstery nails, whether you apply fabric to your door first or not, can also add stunning detail. There is some debate over whether this works better on solid wood doors, but Design Sponge shows you can achieve a bit of glam with nail-head trim. They used this detail in their 1910 home and we can definitely see it working in an Art Deco or Hollywood Regency-inspired room.

     

     

    7. Stick-on Fun

    While we’re talking about unusual places for traditional materials, what about wallpaper for your doors? Your favorite wallpaper pattern, a peel-and-stick variety like Little Vintage Cottage or even contact paper can create a whole new look.

     

    There’s no need to limit yourself to just patterns or certain colors. Choose a mural decal to create the illusion of a scenic vista or an all-new room. Because sometimes the dream of a secret bookcase door never dies, no matter how old you get.

     

    8. Pet doors

    This one might not make your door look expensive, but it will have Fluffy feeling like a million bucks. Add a pet door, perfect for hiding litter boxes in closets, with this tutorial from First Home Love Life.

    9. Creative inserts

    We saw with that cat door that cutting out portions of a hollow core door is pretty simple. Use the same idea and add an insert. Driven by Décor replaced part of these closet doors with corkboards. Molding adds a bit of extra sophistication both above and with the faux panels below.

    10. Sliding barn door

    In her ongoing adventures of creating a home one project at a time, Christina Maria repurposed the hollow core door in her kitchen in a truly unique way. Using some imagination, careful planning and little know-how, she turned it into a sliding barn door – adding privacy while taking up minimal space.

    11. Painted Beauties

    If you’re thinking those sound great but more than you want to take on – project burnout is a real thing – then keep it simple. Rain on a Tin Roof shows us how striking a pantry door of all things can look with black paint and new hardware.

    Consider different types of paint, too. Design Sponge used chalkboard paint, then drew architectural details on the door to make it look as if it had columns and molding. You don’t have to be an artist to pull this off, though. Try chalkboard paint on a child’s bedroom or playroom door and let them flex their own creative muscle. Or try it on a kitchen pantry door and use it to make your grocery list or as a command center.

     

    Some geometric details or a mural can also spruce up a hollow core door. HGTV shared a tutorial for this bold and beautiful project. Although it already had some simple paneling, the colorful update would look equally beautiful on a plain flat-panel door, too.

    12. Easy Updates

    Dream Green DIY took on an approach even easier than simply painting. We’d say that Schlage lever is a huge improvement over the scratched and dinged knob originally on the door. How’s that for an elegant upgrade without a major commitment?

    Vintage Revivals shows how a door upgrade doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing commitment. Replacing all the doors in the 80s house wasn’t in their budget, but they wanted a new look to fit their updated bathroom. The final decision? Add faux paneling and go with a bold golden paint just on the door’s interior. That kept the view from looking mismatched in the hallway, but still allowed for a needed style boost.

    No matter how you give new life to your hollow core doors, remember that a refreshed set of door hardware can help complete the look. Visit the Product Selector tool on Schlage.com for help finding the perfect look for your doors. And don’t forget to find us on Pinterest and Instagram for even more inspiration.

     

     

    How to hang a stylish and secure porch swing.

    July 16, 2021 7:00 AM by jennifer.thomas

    Friday, July 16, 2021

    Nursery Decor Ideas | Schlage

    Check out these tips for installing a porch swing and get out and enjoy your front porch.

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    Can we just say how much we love that porch life is making a comeback? In their early days, porches were the center of people’s social lives, a chance to chat with passersby and get all the town gossip, hear about your family’s day and relax. We’re seeing that again and if you’re as eager to get in on the action as we are, you’re going to need somewhere to sit while you soak up the sun and news. Check out these tips for installing a porch swing.

    Choose a safe location

    We most often think of porch swings as being at the front of our homes where you can see all the neighborhood happenings, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you want more privacy or the view is better, the backyard might be a better option.

     

    No matter what you decide, just make sure your porch joists and beams can safely hold the weight of the swing and its occupants. Similar to needing a structurally sound door frame to improve the security of your home, you need joists free of rot, cracks and other damage to keep your porch swing securely anchored.

     

    Whether hanging a traditional two-person swing or a larger swing bed, you’ll need a 2x8 joist or 4x4 beam. If your joists aren’t deep enough to support a porch swing, you can reinforce them with 4x4s using these instructions from Home Depot.

     

    Also consider whether you want to face the yard or inwards. Hanging your swing perpendicular to the road or yard can give you greater privacy. Regardless of which way you face, you can always add outdoor privacy with porch curtains or screens like we see below.

     

     

    Choose your hardware

    You’ll want either steel chains or rope to hang your porch swing. Chains tend to be more durable, but rope might complement your home’s style better. If you prefer the durability of steel but not the appearance, you can also disguise the chains by winding rope or other material around it. The porch swings below use rope as a purely decorative feature rather than for bearing weight.

     

     

    You’ll also need eye bolts, screw eyes or hooks to attach your chains or ropes. Bolts should be at least 1/2” in diameter. Screws should have a threaded shank at least 4” in length to hold everything together securely.


    Whatever you choose, make sure all your hardware is graded for the appropriate weight and outdoor use. Marine grade rope at least 3/4" thick is ideal for porch swings since it holds up to a variety of weather conditions.

     

    Measure

    Unlike most porch furniture, you need to consider clearance when installing a swing. DIY Network recommends at least four feet in front of and behind the swing to avoid damaging your home or rocking into furniture or bushes. As much as we love the look of this next swing, we hope they have some bumper pads behind.

     

     

     

    How high should you hang a porch swing? Most experts say 17” to 19” off the floor. To a certain extent, you can adjust that according to you and your family members’ height. Nineteen inches might feel a little high for the short-legged crew.

     

    Be creative

    When we think of porch swings, most of us picture a traditional farmhouse style like Grandma used to have. It’s hard to go wrong with those. But don’t be afraid to think outside the box. An extra-wide swing or swinging porch bed is perfect if you have lots of room and are ready to lounge in style.

     

     

     

    If you have a small porch, try a swinging chair for one.

     

     

     

    Or double it up so no one is ever left sitting on the steps.

     

     

     

    Even if you choose a traditional porch swing, look for one with a bit of a unique twist like this one that not only uses ropes for the supports but also on the backrest.

     

     

     

    And have fun with cushions, throws and other décor to add your personal touch and extra comfort.

     

     

     

    When summer is over, don’t think you have to pack everything up. Porch swings also look fantastic in those indoor/outdoor spaces for fall or spruced up for the holidays. This is porch décor you can use all year long.

     

     

     

    Porch swings and seating are just one part of turning your home into a haven, for both yourself and guests. Find more ways to upgrade your outdoor space and improve your curb appeal at the Schlage blog. And if you’re thinking about building your dream porch, we have you covered there, too.

     

    15 storage ideas to stay organized when you have a new baby.

    July 15, 2021 8:00 AM by jennifer.thomas

    Thursday, July 15, 2021

    Nursery Decor Ideas | Schlage

    These 15 storage and organization hacks for new parents are just what you need to stay organized.

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    When you bring a new baby home, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. But if you plan ahead with proper storage and organization, it can help you adjust to your new routines more easily. These 15 storage and organization hacks for new parents are just what you need, whether you’re trying to keep the home clutter-free or your mind focused.

    1. Choose soft storage

    When Baby starts to get more mobile, you’ll want to limit the number of places they can bonk their heads. Instead of a hard bin for storage, looks for soft-sided baskets, such as those made of cloth or seagrass.

     

     

    2. Choose self-serve storage

    As Baby becomes Toddler and eventually Kiddo, they’ll start being more independent. Choose low toy bins and hang shelves at kid height. Not only will they be able to get what they need without bugging you every 30 seconds, but they’ll also be able to clean up after themselves better (theoretically).

     

     

    3. Make a pegboard wall

    We see this DIY hack for craft rooms and garage workspaces all the time. It’s also great for Baby. Two of the things we love most about this – besides storage, of course – is that it’s customizable and versatile. Paint it to match the color scheme of your nursery, no matter how traditional or out there it might be. Also, as Baby’s needs change, you can easily change the configuration to work better for you.

     

     

    4. Use a dresser as a changing table

    This is a great way to upcycle a piece of furniture you already have or get cheap at a secondhand shop. Not only will you have someplace to change Baby’s diapers and get them dressed, but with the dresser drawers, you have plenty of room to store anything you might need – extra diapers, wipes, towels and blankets, spare footie pajamas, you name it.

     

     

    5. Use all the space

    Whether it’s in the nursery, the laundry room or anywhere else in your home, take advantage of every nook and cranny for storage. That includes the walls, up near the ceiling and below other furniture. Put a skirt on the crib and then slide under-the-bed storage trays down below. Hang a tension rod near the laundry room’s ceiling for instant and out-of-the-way drying space.

    Use a hanging shoe rack inside a closet door to hold all those tiny clothes and toys. You could also use one inside the pantry to stash tiny bottle parts and other food-related accessories. Floating shelves are another great way to use wall space for storage, whether it’s for books, linens or all those wipes and baby powders near the changing table.

     

    6. Seriously, use ALL the space

    If you’re hanging coats and dresses in a closet, you’re probably using all the space, top to bottom. But with tiny baby clothes, there’s a lot of wasted real estate in a typical closet. To maximize the storage opportunities in your nursery, try one of these ideas. Hang a closet organizer for instant (and temporary) shelving. Install a tension rod about waste height to have multiple racks for hangers. Put a small dresser inside the closet. Or really customize it with built-in shelving.

     

     

    7. Divide your drawers

    Just as closets are designed for adult-sized belongings, most drawers are designed for larger clothes. If you want to keep Baby’s dresser organized, use drawer dividers. The smaller compartments will help you keep track of tiny socks, those adorable little onesies and other pint-sized accessories that are always rolling to the back where you can’t find them.

     

    8. Turn a bookshelf into a storage bench

    If you dream of cradling Baby bathed in natural light, flip a sturdy shelf like the IKEA Kallax and turn it into a window seat with storage nooks below. You’ll love the multifunctionality of this piece for stowing away toys, linens or anything else you need handy but want underfoot.

     

    9. Prepare to do loads and loads of laundry

    The amount of wash you have – little clothes, blankets, bibs, burp cloths, towels of all sizes, cloth diapers – is about to expand exponentially. Having an organized laundry room will help ease the burden. Quality hampers, maybe on wheels, are a must. A DIY over-the-washer counter is a great worktop for folding and sorting so you aren’t dragging clothes and clutter all over the house.

    And don’t forget storage. A cabinet that you can shut securely is important for keeping Baby away from detergents and other potentially harmful items. Choose something that’s compact and serves multiple functions like this one, which also has a fold-down ironing board and hooks. Take advantage of the slim space between appliances with skinny rolling storage.

     

    10. Think outside the box

    Sometimes the best storage solutions are right under your nose. Lots of families have hung towel holders beneath shelves. This gives you another place to line-dry those little clothes as they come out of the wash. You can also hang baskets from hooks on the towel racks to store any number of things. This keeps them within reach without taking up counter space. Try this in the nursery, laundry room, bathroom and kitchen. 

     

     

    11. Amp up the kitchen storage

    Babies come with all kinds of do-dads, especially when it comes to feeding them. Try bins to help corral all those bottles, pump parts and accessories. If you’re going to keep them in the cabinet, they don’t have to be fancy, just functional.  On the other hand, if you think you’ll end up storing them on the countertop, look for a solution that you also find attractive.

    HGTV star Mina Starsiak Hawk took this into consideration when designing a forever home. “I know babies have all the gadgets and the bottle warmers,” she told TV Insider. “So when I did my kitchen layout, I had a cabinet that literally sits right on top of the counter and has outlets inside of it. So, you can leave things plugged in and close the cabinet, so your counter doesn’t look cluttered.”

    12. Remember attic storage

    This is where you’re going to put everything you don’t need on hand right away. Whether it’s clothes that are too big right now, toys they’ve outgrown and you’re holding onto for Baby #2 or items with sentimental meaning, have a plan for storing them safely. Try airtight and waterproof containers to protect them from bugs, moisture and other damaging pests.

    13. Organize your schedule

    Baby brain is real, and it doesn’t go away right after you give birth. Try using a family command center to keep track of everyone’s schedules and manage your sanity. This is also helpful if you have friends and family stopping by to help you get settled. Leave them instructions, give them a place to drop the mail they picked up for you and more, and keep it all in one place.

     

    14. Get a dry erase board...or at least a marker

    Like the family command center, this is all about leaving and keeping track of important messages. Apartment Therapy suggested using a dry erase marker to leave laundry instructions on the washer door, right where helpful hands can see it. Especially if you feel like the grown-ups are merely ships passing in the night or your sleepy brain is feeling forgetful, a dry erase board can help you get organized.

    15. Make portable storage easy

    There are two ways to look at this. First, put your in-home storage on wheels or choose bins and baskets with handles. This will make it easier to move items from room to room or to scooch them around for cleaning. Common suggestions include using a Raskog cart from IKEA as a mobile diaper station, cloth totes for toys and, like we said earlier, clothes hampers on wheels.

    Second, think about organization that you can take with you when you leave the house. This could be your diaper bag, a car seat organizer or stroller storage. For your diaper bag, choose one with compartments or get a bag organizer, and take inventory regularly. Replace any supplies right away so you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice. You don’t want to be away from home when you realize you don’t have extra diapers.

     

    As you start to organize your home for Baby, remember these safe and stylish childproofing tips. And if you’re looking for DIY projects when you’re expecting, the Schlage blog has you covered there, too.

     

    WFH in your backyard with the perfect tiny office.

    July 13, 2021 8:00 AM by jennifer.thomas

    Tuesday, July 13, 2021

    Nursery Decor Ideas | Schlage

    Still working from home? Here’s what you need to know for your backyard tiny office.

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    You don’t need us to tell you that a lot of things, including how we work, changed during the coronavirus pandemic. With more people facing the reality that working from home could become permanent, now might be the right time to jump on the auxiliary dwelling unit (ADU) trend. Here’s what you need to know – plus some Instagram inspiration – for your backyard tiny office.


    Take advantage of backyard offices

    Privacy became a hot commodity in the time of COVID. What are the other advantages of a backyard office?

    • Eliminate distractions: Whether it’s the kids asking for snacks (again), someone else on another video call or that pile of laundry staring you down, getting out of the house to a dedicated work space can improve focus and productivity.

    • Improve relationships: Many have found that when they aren’t constantly crowding each other, their relationships are less strained. An ADU can provide important physical distance and alone time. Because there is a such thing as too much quality time.

    • Find balance: The change in scenery can help you make the mental break from the workday and shift your mindset so you’re fully present for your family. In the absence of a commute, that short walk can do wonders to start reclaiming some work-life balance.

    • Get outside: Working remotely outdoors offers a range of potential health benefits such as lower blood pressure and anxiety, better creativity and problem solving, and more vitamin D from natural sunlight. Throw open the windows or include a small patio in your backyard office plans.

     

    Plan before you build

    Now you’re sold on a backyard office. What do you need to make it a reality?

     

    • New construction vs. conversion: Will you convert an existing garage or shed? Or will you take advantage of the growing number of companies and specialty contractors to build something brand new?

    • Professional help: It’s possible to build some of these structures yourself, especially if you’re converting a garage. You may still need a pro for some projects, though, such as when installing electricity.

    • Local regulations: Follow your city’s zoning and permit laws. If they allow building a new structure, there may be regulations about size, proximity to the main house, whether it needs its own address and more.

    • Long-term opportunities: Will you use this ADU for something else – a yoga studio/home gym, in-law suite or rental property, for example – when you no longer need it as an office? Plan with the long-term future in mind so you can include features like plumbing you don’t need now but might want later.

     

    Mix in multipurpose furniture

    Just as if you were designing a small space in your primary residence, you want to choose multipurpose furniture for your office ADU.

     

    • Light hacks: A stylish mirror can make the space feel larger and reflect more light, which might be especially important if you’re converting a garage with smaller windows.

    • Storage: Storage that rolls out of the way when you don’t need it makes the space more flexible and convenient. A bench seat can be a comfortable place to read through documents or take a coffee break. With shelving underneath or storage inside, you have a flexible piece that’s functional and stylish.

    • Wall hangings: Hooks can also be surprisingly multipurpose. Not only are they ideal for that spare cozy sweater, but you can also use them to hang baskets for office supplies and other odds and ends. Use them to easily hang artwork and beautify your workspace. You can attach your hooks directly to the wall or on a peg board for even more design flexibility.

     

    Be energy efficient

    Because of its smaller size, it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep your office ADU energy efficient.

     

    • Materials: Even with a smaller footprint, you still need to choose your materials wisely. A smaller A/C unit that doesn’t drain tons of energy from the grid will still be a letdown if you don’t have good insulation or if the windows and doors let it drafts.

    • Soundproofing: Many of the things you do for energy efficiency, like insulation and quality windows, can also help with soundproofing. This could be especially important if you need to block out road noise or barking neighborhood dogs.

     

    Remember power and internet

    Electricity might not be at the top of your priority list for a meditation space, but it certainly is for an office.

     

    • Plenty of power: Your new workspace will quickly lose its charm if you have to run back to the house every few hours to recharge your laptop. Remember enough outlets not only for your computer and phone, but also for anything that else – a coffeemaker, smart speaker – that makes the space more comfortable.

    • Strong WiFi: You could run an internet line directly to your backyard office or, depending on how close it is to the house, invest in a WiFi extender to provide a connection that reaches your private workspace.

    • Think ahead: Remember your future plans. If you hope to turn your ADU into a rental property, for example, make sure that whatever electricals you add have the juice to safely run appliances like a mini fridge.

     

     

     

    Stay secure

    You need to protect your computer and other devices in your new home office. You might even have confidential documents to keep under lock and key.

     

    • High-quality locks: Your office ADU is a great place to try a Schlage smart lock or electronic deadbolt. Not only are they among the most secure locks available for residential homes, but they have the added convenience of you not needing to carry a key. What better way to start your work day than to walk out to the yard with your cup of coffee, punch in your unique access code and immediately get down to business?

      Plus, when you choose a connected smart lock like the Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt, you can control your lock remotely through a compatible app. That means you can check that your office is locked, even if you’re already in bed. And if you did forget, simply lock the door through the app, no need to wander out in the dark and rain. You can also receive notifications if there’s a disturbance at the door, giving you even greater peace of mind that everything is as it should be.

    • Motion sensors: Motion-activated lights on the outside of your ADU or a camera that records when it senses activity can also add to your security. You might choose a camera or security system that connects to your WiFi or mesh network so that you can receive videos and other notifications on your phone, no matter where you are.

    • Reinforced windows: Similar to securing a door with windows, consider using reinforced glass or a security film to existing windows. A film can make it especially hard for intruders to shatter the glass and gain entry.

     

    These tips cover the essentials. But once the must-haves are under control, think about your home office décor. A beautiful space that’s comfortable and welcoming will make going “into the office” that much more enjoyable. Find more tips and inspiration for your WFH space at the Schlage blog.

     

    Ready to nest? Ideas to help you find your nursery décor style.

    July 12, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Monday, July 12, 2021

    Nursery Decor Ideas | Schlage

    You're expecting! If you and your partner can’t decide on the décor, try these nursery design ideas.

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    You’re expecting! You can’t wait to get all those adorable little clothes, fun toys and, most importantly, decorate the nursery. If you haven’t been dreaming about it already, or if you and your partner can’t decide on the décor, try these nursery design ideas.

    Gender neutral nursery ideas


    If designing a gender-neutral nursery is important to you, check these out for inspiration. Looking at popular posts on Instagram, we found you’re most often to come across paint schemes in green and yellow. You’ll notice in these nurseries from @homestyle_at_7 and @justsimplyjessica that although the greens are dramatically different – a dark almost hunter green in one and a softer dusty shade in the other – they’re still completely adorable. 

     

    In addition to gender-neutral colors, many of these nurseries focus on nature and animal themes to complete their look. What kid wouldn’t love to be surrounded by their favorite plants and animals?

     

    Traditional nursery ideas

    Traditional nurseries are the perfect choice if the rest of your home’s architectural style can be best described as “charming and full of character.” They’re also ideal if you have family heirlooms you plan to use in your nursery décor, such as an old crib or classic quilt handed down from your grandmother.

     

    We noticed a lot of wallpaper in our research, particularly in traditional baby rooms. There’s no need to cover every inch off wall space, but an accent wall with a classic print is a great focal point to help pull the rest of your furniture and accessories together.

     

    Mid-Century Modern nursery ideas

    It’s not too hard to create a Mid-Century Modern look in the nursery. These moms- and dads-to-be took their inspiration from the 1950s and focused on colors and classic furniture to stay true to the style. One of the upsides of a Mid-Century Modern baby room is that it can be cute without seeming too childish. Try this look if you’re looking for a new level of sophistication.

     

    The slim legs on the cribs and dressers are classic Mid-Century Modern style as are the darker wood finishes. The goldenrod walls and dark green crib in the @morgancaddellphoto nursery are also key characteristics of Mid-Century Modern.

     


    A comfy chair is a must-have for a nursery. Just think of all the time you’ll spend rocking and feeding Baby at all hours of the day and night. Few furniture pieces scream Mid-Century Modern than the classic Eames chair, although they’re more commonly seen in studies and living rooms. Fortunately, though, @theohheygirls shows that it can also fit beautifully in the nursery.

     

    While very different from the Eames chair, the curved back and arms of this rocker help keep it true to the era. We also love @lovelyladythings’ choice of turquoise blue for this room.

     

    Coastal-themed nursery ideas

    Whether you live seaside or just wish you did, a coastal-themed nursery is another great way to combine kid-friendly whimsy with a touch of grown-up style. Opt for natural materials like sisal, distressed-looking woods – think driftwood-inspired finishes – and colors in the blue and green family.

     

    While a highlight of @jensgatheringnest’s nursery is that woven jute rug, remember to use similar natural materials for accessories like baskets. They’ll help you keep your home organized with a newborn in the house, and when Baby gets more mobile, the soft-sided storage will be less of hazard if they trip and fall into it.

     

    Wall art can also really bring home the nautical theme. We’re not sure which we love more, the simple waves in @tsecalligraphy’s nursery or the sailboat wallpaper in @oh.eight.oh.nine’s.

     

    Boho modern nursery ideas

    Bohemian modern style, with its focus on natural materials, artisanal accessories and slightly funky aesthetic has been a popular home trend for some time now. It’s no surprise then, that we see it quite often in Baby’s room, too.

    If you’re looking for that one-of-a-kind crib, look no further than @arrowsandbow. The entire bed looks to be made of materials like jute and bamboo, woven and latched together in a simple yet decorative style.

     

     

    There are so many highlights in this @meganmolten nursery that capture a clean, Boho feel. Light woods and fabrics, not to mention the fringed light fixture are beautiful details. Plus, those oatmeal-colored linen and cotton shades not only look gorgeous but because they’re also cordless are a great way to childproof your home and help prevent choking hazards. 

     

    Best colors for nurseries

    The sky’s the limit when it comes to the colors you choose for your nursery. While looking at popular nurseries on Instagram, we saw a full rainbow, from the super colorful, like these from @jens_den09 and @quirkybubba, to monochromatic.

     

    Despite being just black and white, this nursery seen on @houseofrounds is anything but boring. The different prints on the curtains, bedding, rug and throw blankets add for visual interest in an otherwise neutral color scheme.

     

    If you’re looking for some middle ground between ultra-colorful and monochromatic, take a page from @thejessstyle. The varying shades of blue give the room some extra life despite it actually being just two colors.

     

     

    A final note on color. One combination that continued to pop up in our research was pink and gray. Some leaned toward the neutral and simple, like the predominantly gray nursery shown by @cheriekayhome, while others embraced the glam and frilliness that might be perfect for the little princess in your life.

     

    Outfitting your new little one’s nursery is perhaps one of the most exciting parts of nesting. Once you know what look your hoping to create, see which DIY projects for growing families can help you pull it off. And don’t forget to add some of those important nursery items to your baby gift registry. Find inspiration, how-to’s and more on the Schlage blog.

     

    Home improvement projects to complete in July.

    July 6, 2021 8:15 AM by jennifer.thomas

    Tuesday, July 6, 2021

    June home improvement checklist | Schlage

    Use this guide to the most important summer DIY and cleaning tasks.

     

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    Vacation season is in full swing, but there are still a few projects you can do around the house. Use this guide to the most important indoor and outdoor home improvement tasks you can accomplish in July, as well as a few ideas to help you start planning for the future. Be sure to download the July home improvement checklist, too.

    Indoor home checklist

    Most of your home maintenance opportunities are outside this time of year, but these indoor tasks can help keep you and your family safe.


    • Check safety devices and replace batteries. This includes smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well as fire extinguishers, radon detectors and smart locks. Make sure they’re still working and install new ones as necessary.

    • Reseal countertops. If you have a porous natural stone countertop like marble, granite or quartz, you want to seal them regularly to prevent staining. Your countertop material will dictate how often you should reseal it and with what materials, so do your research beforehand. We usually think of kitchen counters with this DIY, but don’t forget your bathroom and laundry room.

    • Care for pets. Especially if you’re spending a lot of extra time outside with your furry friends, make sure they have easy access to water and shade. Some animals have a harder time regulating their body temperature naturally and you don’t want them to overheat. DIY a dog water station for your porch, make them a comfy bed and plant non-toxic plants for a bit of shade. July is Dog House Repair Month, too, so go wild and celebrate with some pup-friendly reno.

    • Care for pets’ toys. While you’re sprucing up Fido and Fluffy’s home base, take some time to clean their toys. It’s probably been a while and let’s not even think about the germs that have been passed from slobbery jowls to chew toy. Cleaning pet toys can sometimes be as simple as popping them in the dishwasher, but follow the manufacturer’s instructions to be safe.

    Outdoor home checklist

    Put on some sunscreen. It’s time to spruce up your curb appeal in ways that will make your home safer and more comfortable.


    • Reduce landscaping fire hazards. As grass and other plants dry out during droughts, the risk of fire increases. Remove dead brush from your yard. If you’re using an outdoor fireplace or firepit, take extra care to avoid jumping sparks and have an emergency water bucket nearby. Of course, follow your area’s fire regulations and warnings, too.

    • Save water. When a drought hits, it’s tempting to water your lawn a little extra. If you do, run the sprinkler before dawn or after the sun sets. That will reduce evaporation, more water will reach the roots and you’ll conserve water. Mulching can also help keep the soil from drying out too quickly. If you’re ready to take more drastic measures, replace your grass with something that’s more drought tolerant like stones and hearty groundcover.

    • Repair or replace fences. If your fence takes direct, intense sunlight, you might notice that it’s starting to change colors or warp. Fix cracked boards, re-stain it if necessary or upgrade to a fencing material that holds up better to the elements in your area.

    • Clean porch lighting. There’s a good chance that the bulbs have attracted and zapped a few bugs during the summer. Remove the remains, dust away cobwebs and wipe down any remaining dirt. It will help your curb appeal and let more light through.

    • Make some shade. There are lots of way to get a break from the sun. In our June home improvement checklist, we recommended porch curtains or a privacy lattice. Of course, you can also plant trees, install an awning on your deck or add a patio table umbrella.

    • Add exterior home security. July is usually a good month to find deals on home security cameras. Take advantage of the discounts and upgrade your security. Cameras are popular for front porches to deter package theft and to see who’s at the door as well as near the garage. You might also consider one for your pool, a backyard gate or even indoors if you want to keep an eye on pets or kids while you’re out of the house.

    • Add even more exterior home security. A new deadbolt, either mechanical or smart, is an excellent place to add more home security. You might also want to add a security system. Whatever you choose, look for ways you can connect all your devices. Some smart locks are compatible with doorbell cameras and security systems to make protecting your home even easier.

    For the future

    There’s still plenty of time left in the summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start dreaming about the future.


    • Start planning to sell. Selling your house in winter is easier than you think. Sure, you approach curb appeal differently and mudrooms become bigger selling points when the temperatures are lower, but the market will likely be more in your favor, too. Use this time to declutter the house and have a garage sale with unwanted items. Decide how you’re going to tackle home improvement projects to improve resale value and call for mover estimates. Use the Schlage Moving Checklist for more tips.

    • Prepare for college days. If you have a child moving into college dorms this fall, start a list of what they might need. Think of it like packing light for a vacation. Half of what you want in your suitcase – or dorm room – won’t fit. Make a list, refine it, set a budget and keep an eye out for good deals. Use this guide for decorating small spaces to get you started.

    For the greater good

    Try these ideas to serve your community while having a ton of fun at the same time.


    • Host a block party. This is a great way to meet your neighbors and build a stronger community. You’ll be more likely to keep an eye on each other’s homes, improving security, when you know each other better. They might also have that power tool you’ve been hoping to borrow. Plus, who doesn’t love a fun block party?

    • Celebrate Independence Day. Put out the flags, decorate your porch for the Fourth of July, enjoy some fireworks, but don’t forget to give back. Volunteer at a local fireworks show or festival, or send a care package to a member of the military.

    In case you missed it

    You can still catch up on a few DIY and décor projects you might have missed.

    • Set up a swim station. Baskets and racks for wet towels and swimsuits can help keep your gear and your home from getting mildewed and smelly. A tray to collect sandy or damp footwear will also help protect your floors.

    • Paint your home’s exterior. Paint cures better when temperatures are higher. Take advantage of the predictable weather, but be smart about painting in the heat, too. Like any outdoor DIY project during the summer, start early in the day and take a break when it gets too warm.

    Time to buy

    It’s Christmas in July! This tends to be a good month to find deals on all kinds of items you need for the house. Here’s what Consumer Reports picks as the best purchases to make in July.

    • Appliances: Dryers, washing machines, dehumidifiers, microwave ovens, ranges, refrigerators, dishwashers, steam irons, grills

    • DIY: Paints, wood stains

    • Electronics: Home security cameras

    • Home goods: Strollers, insect repellents, sunscreens

    Need more ideas for DIY projects to tackle over the summer? Get inspired at the Schlage blog or Pinterest.

     

     

     

    Toddler activities for when you bring home a new baby.

    July 5, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Monday, July 5, 2021

    Toddler activities for when you bring home a new baby. | Schlage

    Keep older siblings entertained and stimulated when you bring home a new baby with these toddler activities that will ease everyone into the new routine.

     

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    You’re no rookie. You’ve done the “newborn parent” thing before. But what if you’re now balancing an infant’s needs with those of an older child? Try some of Schlage’s favorite activities to entertain a toddler when you bring home a new baby.
    Toddler and baby brother at home.

    1. Assign them baby-related tasks.

    When you give your older child a baby-related job, you’re addressing two issues at once. You’re keeping them busy, obviously, but you’re also helping them to adjust to your newborn. When you ask your kiddo to bring you a fresh diaper, sing songs to the baby or draw pictures to decorate the nursery, they’re less likely to feel left out and may bond more closely to the new addition. Make them feel like mommy’s little helper and everyone wins.

    2. Give them blocks.

    If you’re older child is a builder, they’ll love this. Aside from stacking towers for hours, here are a few ideas to help entertain your toddler. 

     

     

    • Draw shapes on paper and have your child fit blocks or tiles in that shape. They’ll stay busy and practice building spatial awareness at the same time.

    • Use larger blocks to create a maze in the living room. They can do this themselves and run through it, or you can build the maze for them to try to find their way around.

    • Whether it’s blocks or Legos, have them practice stacking and counting. Shake things up by giving them specific goals such as “Stack five red blocks” or “Try making a tower with the smallest block on the bottom and the biggest on top.”

    • Play block bowling. They can build towers as big as their imaginations, roll the ball and repeat, probably for longer than you thought possible.

    3. Make some instruction cards.

    Write simple instructions on notecards to get your kiddo up and moving. The directions can be tailored to your child’s age. Think: “hop on one leg,” “walk like a gorilla” or “find an object in the house that starts with C.” You can also put the directions on blocks and turn them into instruction dice.

     

    4. Create and activity tub.

    Fill a basket, box or tub with your child’s favorite activities. If you make it easy for them to carry, it becomes a self-service entertainment caddy to-go. It could be filled with coloring or activity books, tracing paper or other crafting materials, magnetic letters to play with on the fridge, dolls, whatever keeps their attention.

    If you’re breastfeeding, many experts recommend making this a “nursing basket.” In other words, add some excitement by only letting your toddler to play with these items when you’re breastfeeding. In fact, many of the ideas on this list are perfect for more independent play when you’re nursing.

     

    5. Practice sensory and fine-motor skills.

    Your older child might be at an age when they’re working on fine-motor skills. Create simple games to help them practice and keep them busy while you’re with Baby. Give them a handful of rubber bands and a canned good, then ask them to put the bands on the can and take them off again. It doesn’t sound like much, but especially if the bands are multicolored, it’s a cheap and easy activity to entertain your toddler.

    Pipe cleaners are also helpful. Your kiddo can build things – pipe cleaner spiders are always a classic – or weave them through a colander or wiffle ball.

    Making a sensory bin for your little one is super simple. Get a container or tub of some kind. Something with a lid can contain the mess between playtimes. Add the filler of your choice – rice or pasta, bird seed, sand, scraps of fabric, plastic coins. The goal is to pick something that’s going to help them understand the five senses and develop language and play skills. For an outdoor experience, check out our blog on planting a sensory garden for kids.

     

    6. Play interactive games.

    If you’re looking for ways to play with your kiddo, even while breastfeeding, many recommend interactive games where you can stay on the couch. Sing your toddler a song that requires them to act it out. “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” or “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” for example. You can also play a game of I SPY or Simon Says.

    7. Play a scavenger hunt.

    Getting outside can be huge for maintaining your own sanity. Get out of the house for a bit and let the kiddos burn off a bit of energy (also known as fending off the crabbies). A scavenger hunt works in either your backyard or the local park. Create a list of items for them to find – an acorn, a bird with yellow feathers, a leaf as big as their hand – and let them run around on the hunt. You might plan a special treat to reward them for checking all the items off the list at the end.

    8. Make a match.

    Whether it’s a store-bought set of flashcards or something you craft yourself, keep Big Brother/Sister busy with some memory games. You can get more creative my having them sort and match other items like pasta – spiral, shells, elbows – fuzzy pom poms of different colors and even socks. Because why not trick them into helping you with the laundry?

    9. Read together.

    Reading together, no matter how old they are, is a great way for everyone to bond, stir the imagination and learn new things. If they’re too young to read themselves and your hands are full while feeding Baby, ask them to hold the book and turn the pages for you. If they’re old enough, ask them to read their favorite story to you and their younger sibling.

     

    10. Tell stories.

    Tell your older kiddo about when they were a baby or make up a tale with your kids as the main characters. Get them more involved by making it a choose-your-own adventure. “And then they came across a …” and let them fill in the blanks. 

    11. Have group snuggle time.

    Many experts recommend having snuggles with everyone, particularly while you’re breastfeeding. Hug your older child on your free side during feeding time so they feel loved and included, and have a relaxed little chat with them. This could be a good time to find out how they’re adjusting.

    Your home is a fantastic source of entertainment for your child. Find more ways to keep them busy and engaged at the Schlage blog. Check out these fun crafts for kids of all ages and activities to teach little ones DIY skills.

     

    How to host a sustainable Fourth of July party.

    July 2, 2021 6:30 AM by emily.bailey

    Friday, July 2, 2021

    Sustainable fourth of july ideas | Schlage

    Try these 15 ideas when you’re trying to be green for the red, white and blue.

     

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    Usually when you hear “celebrate responsibly,” it’s a warning against overindulging. That’s 100% true, but don’t forget to celebrate in a way that’s also environmentally responsible. Not only is it possible to have a sustainable Fourth of July, it’s also easier than you think. Try these 15 ideas when you’re trying to be green for the red, white and blue.
    Potted succulents with American flag

    1. Shop local

    When buying party fare, start at the farmer’s market. Purchasing goods made locally and organically reduces your carbon footprint. Fewer waste is created when goods are produced without the use of chemicals and fertilizers, use less packaging and don’t need to be transported long distances to the store. Shop for fruits, vegetables, even meat and condiments like BBQ sauces and salsa.

    2. Choose less packaging

    Food packaging creates an amazing amount of waste. When possible, swap out heavily packaged and prepared items for those that use less. For example, buy a head of lettuce and separate vegetables instead of a bag of salad, and use your own cloth produce bags to tote it all home. Or shop at stores that let you use your own containers for things like nuts and coffee beans.

    3. Eat less meat

    While we’re talking about food, consider going heavy on the veggies at your Fourth of July party. Plant-based foods put less strain on the environment compared to meat production. You could go totally meatless – there are some good veggie burger options out there – or simply keep the meat you do purchase to a minimum.

    4. Be realistic about how much food you need

    When planning your menu, consider how much food you’ll really need for your family and friends. You don’t want to run out, but if you habitually end up with three packs of hot dogs left over after a party, this is the year to pull back and reduce food waste. You might also choose dishes that save and reheat well later in the week.

    Grilled vegetables

    5. Grill wisely

    Grilling is second only to fireworks in terms of creating air pollution on the Fourth of July. Choose your grilling fuel wisely. Electric and propane grills are your best options if you want to reduce emissions. But if you have a charcoal grill, look for sustainable briquettes.

     

    When grilling vegetables, seafood and other foods that can drop easily between the grates, use grill mats or baskets instead of disposable alternatives like foil.

    6. Choose to reuse

    Single-use items like plastic cups and paper plates can make throwing a backyard summer party easier on you, but it won’t be easier on Mother Nature. Choose items that can be used more than once, like washable plastic plates or traditional coolers instead of Styrofoam, or that are biodegradable. The area where you can make the biggest difference is in cups, plates, silverware, napkins and food storage. If you’re going to a potluck, you might even consider a reusable container your hostess gift. At the end of the party, just tell them to enjoy their new casserole dish rather than trying to track it down before you leave. Again, easy for you and this time, easier on the environment.

    7. Cover your food

    You understandably want to keep bugs out of your food. Use nets instead of covering dishes with foil or plastic wrap. We also like this cupcake liner hack for preventing bugs getting into your drink. Make it greener by using silicone wrappers you can reuse. It will cost a bit more, but you’ll be able to use them for future parties, too. You might even come out ahead financially in the long run in addition to putting less waste in the landfill.

    8. Drink smart

    July is one of the hottest months, which means you’re going to need plenty of drinks. Instead of countless bottles of water and plastic cups, opt for reusable containers. Prepare pitchers with water or other beverages. Mason jars make sturdy, reusable glasses. Plus, they scream summer. Cozies can help guests keep their drink cold. You might even gift guests with an insulated water bottle to use at the party and then take home with them later. That’s a party favor that also favors Mother Nature.

    9. Reconsider your fireworks show

    We know the idea of not having fireworks is a hard pass for many people. If that’s you, choose perchlorate-free fireworks that are biodegradable and made from environmentally friendly materials. But if you’re neutral on the flashy show, just skip them. You’ll be doing your part to improve air quality, not to mention avoiding scaring pets and local wildlife.

    Patriotic dog in front of white fireplace

    10. Apply environmentally friendly sunscreen

    Sunblock is important for protecting your own health, but some contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Look for sunblock without oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can harm water life.

    11. Repel insects naturally

    When mosquitoes start biting, it’s tempting to douse yourself in repellant. Many insect repellants can be hazardous to the environment and your own health. Choose all-natural varieties or turn on the fan. Consumer Reports found that an oscillating pedestal fan was more effective than even citronella candles for keeping mosquitoes at bay.

    12. Rely on natural lighting, even after dark

    Fourth of July parties often go late into the night. Keep the yard lit with solar-powered lights and lanterns instead of plugging into the grid or lighting candles that could potentially release toxic chemicals into the air.

    13. Recycle decorations

    There’s no rule that says Fourth of July décor has to be only for the Fourth of July. Dig out the Christmas lights and use them to make the deck feel more festive for an evening party. Decorations that you used for Memorial Day can be repurposed now. Even that generic blue tablecloth can look seasonal with red dinnerware or a vase of red, white and blue flowers.

     

    This is a great opportunity to do a holiday craft with the kids, too. Let them decorate flower pots, Mason jars or lanterns, tablecloths or anything else you already own. With some red, white and blue paint, maybe some star cutouts and whatever else their creative minds can dream of, you’ll have perfect and unique décor in no time.

    Young boy playing in water outside while wearing patriotic glasses.

    14. Compost food scraps

    Hopefully you cut back on the food you bought so you don’t have a lot of leftovers, but if you do, compost as much as possible and let it feed your garden in a few weeks. Don’t forget about the food scraps from when you cooked, too. Vegetable peelings, shells from your deviled eggs and some coffee filters can all go in your compost bin. Did you make macaroni salad? Use your spent pasta water to give your plants a drink.

    15. Pick up your trash

    At the end of the festivities, whether you celebrated at home or a park, pick up your trash. You don’t want to harm wildlife or have debris getting caught in the waterways.

    Doing your part for the environment is an everyday goal. Try these tips for making your home more energy efficient daily or these suggestions for remodeling your home sustainably.

     

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