10 Ways to Conquer Clutter and Simplify Your Life

New year, same old mess? Curb your family’s clutter quirks with these 10 simple organization tricks.

It’s the season of fresh starts, which means it’s the perfect time to rejuvenate your home organization strategy. Spoiler: It’s not as hard as you think! In fact, these stress-reducing tips will help you solve some of the most common home organization woes — simply and with minimal effort.

1. “I can’t find it!”

Cutting clutter is an obvious starting point for resolving this issue. Having too much stuff can make it hard to locate items you need. Favorite shirts get lost in a crowded closet, the perfect spatula hides in the overstuffed kitchen drawer, and necessary tools float to the bottom of an unsorted toolbox.

But getting organized may be easier than you think. Let’s take those tools as an example. The garage can be one of the messiest places in the house, but this simple and easy starting point will help you get it under control.

  1. Hang a pegboard, and install some hooks.
  2. Using a marker, draw an outline around each tool to indicate its location.

You’ll have a tool organization system that not only keeps you organized but also alerts you when the tools are missing. Plus, organizing is contagious — once you start, it spreads rapidly throughout the house.

2. “I left home without it (again).”

Have you ever walked out of the house and forgotten the birthday card for your friend? Left the set of directions to your niece’s wedding on the printer? Or failed to retrieve the receipt for returning the vacuum you purchased last month?

If only we could remind ourselves about these things before walking out the door.

Whether the front door or mudroom is your jumping-off point each morning, you can set it up for total success. Create an organizing system with pockets that hang on the knob or over the door to hold items you’ll need before you leave for work, school or events.

A simple door organizer usually costs under $15 either in stores or online.

3. “Did you wash my soccer uniform?”

The laundry room is often the nemesis of an organized house. Here’s a laundry system that will restore household harmony and save you time: Get each family member their own laundry basket, and label it.

Rather than placing the clean laundry on the stairs or couch and watching everyone walk by without picking up their clothes, ask them to pick up their personalized basket in the laundry room.

There will be no lost items or mix-ups — and no more blaming you.

Photo from Zillow listing.

4. “Do I have to do everything?”

The kitchen is the pulse point of most homes. It’s a high traffic area that everyone uses all through the day. We open our mail here, study for school here, use the computer here, pile our stuff here — plus, it’s where the food is!

Dedicate one part of the counter to be set up for daily routines, like a lunch-making station. Stock it with paper towels, wraps, baggies and a cutting board. You could also make a coffee and tea station, equipped with supplies like filters, strainers and sugar.

If you create an organized space for your family to make their own lunches or coffee drinks, your life is easier. That’s called delegation.

5. “Where’d I put the phone number for the doctor’s office?”

Another tip for the kitchen is one that can save a life: a household manual, in either a physical or digital form. You can create this in just a few minutes, and it costs you nothing.

To get started, grab a binder and three-hole punch, and put all your vital information in the binder. This includes emergency contact info, the name of your family doctors and vet, school rosters, alarm codes, medications and dosages for the kids, caregiver names, the location of your wills — anything you’d need someone to know in an emergency.

When you have a minute, make it digital. But start with step one: Simply gather important information in one place, and keep it contained.

6. “I can’t corral these crazy cords!”

Phones, chargers, remotes and mismatched cords are always scattered throughout the house. The shortcut for pulling everything together? A central charging station.

A charging station hides cords, keeps all electronic items together and can even blend in with your furniture.

7. “There are toys all over the place!”

Many parents’ biggest home organization issue is the kids not picking up their toys.

The solution here might be as simple as teaching your children organization skills early on and making it easy for them to put things in their place.

Here’s one idea that will allow you to shift from frustration to elation:

  1. Use bins to hold the toys. Each bin should hold toys of the same type.
  2. Find a picture of the toys being stored in each particular bin. For example, if you have dolls and stuffed animals in one bin, attach a picture of dolls and stuffed animals to the front of it.

Photo from Zillow listing.

8. “Can everybody please clean up after yourself?”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone could clean up their own mess in at least one communal room? Does your bathroom come to mind? Make this a reality by creating a system that works fairly universally.

Get each person in the house a toiletry caddy. Just like at summer camp or in a college dorm, put names on the caddies, and store them on shelves in the bathroom or, if space is really at a premium, ask folks to carry their caddies back and forth from their bedrooms.

The bathroom stays organized, and there’s an automatic tidying-up system built in after every visit.

9. “I have no place to really relax.”

Clearing clutter can create a peaceful home — away from overstimulation and the demands of our external world.

Take that idea to one room in particular: our bedrooms, which are meant to serve as a sanctuary for rest and romance. The piles of laundry, books and magazines living next to the bed nix any possibility of a calm and relaxing experience.

Let’s get the laundry and closet into a workable system and put a cap on the number of books and magazines in your personal space.

You can start to create a peaceful space by:

  • Getting rid of clothing you don’t need anymore. Box it and store it, sell it or give it away.
  • Going through all the books on your bedside table (or floor), and selecting just one to read. Store the others in an alternate location. Keep just this month’s magazines on your table, and either relocate, recycle or donate the rest.

Photo from Zillow listing.

10. “I don’t have time to get organized.”

One of the top reasons for not getting organized is lack of time. It seems we devote all the energy we have to work, family, school, volunteering and other commitments.

While many of us dream about alphabetized folders and color-coded sheets and towels, the fact remains that there is often little time in the day to organize or even clean.

The best way to manage this issue is to reduce — and then repeat after me.

  • Reduce. Eliminating clutter is the No. 1 thing we can do to create more time for ourselves. When there’s less clutter, we spend less time cleaning it, less time putting it back where it belongs and less space storing it. Take just 10 minutes today, and eliminate 10 items you no longer really need.
  • Repeat after me. Here’s a mantra for you: Avoid perfection at all costs. Don’t get too hung up on the details. Your home doesn’t need to be perfectly organized every day. Sometimes “good enough” is all you need.

 

Posted by Dorothy The Organizer on Zillow

The Impact of Homeownership on Family Health

The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled ‘Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study confirmed a long-standing belief of most Americans:

“Owning a home embodies the promise of individual autonomy and is the aspiration of most American households. Homeownership allows households to accumulate wealth and social status, and is the basis for a number of positive social, economic, family and civic outcomes.”

Today, we want to cover the section of the report that quoted several studies concentrating on the impact homeownership has on the health of family members. Here are some of the major findings on this issue revealed in the report:

  • There is a strong positive relationship between living in poor housing and a range of health problems, including respiratory conditions such as asthma, exposure to toxic substances, injuries and mental health. Homes of owners are generally in better condition than those of renters.
  • Findings reveal that increases in housing wealth were associated with better health outcomes for homeowners.
  • Low-income people who recently became homeowners reported higher life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and higher perceived control over their lives.
  • Homeowners report higher self-esteem and happiness than renters. For example, homeowners are more likely to believe that they can do things as well as anyone else, and they report higher self-ratings on their physical health even after controlling for age and socioeconomic factors.
  • Renters who become homeowners not only experience a significant increase in housing satisfaction but also obtain a higher satisfaction even in the same home in which they resided as renters.
  • Social mobility variables, such as the family financial situation and housing tenure during childhood and adulthood, impacted one’s self-rated health.
  • Homeowners have a significant health advantage over renters, on average. Homeowners are 2.5 percent more likely to have good health. When adjusting for an array of demographic, socioeconomic, and housing–related characteristics, the homeowner advantage is even larger at 3.1 percent.

Bottom Line

People often talk about the financial benefits of homeownership. As we can see, there are also social benefits of owning your own home.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

The Impact of Homeownership on Educational Achievement

The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled ‘Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study confirmed a long-standing belief of most Americans:

“Owning a home embodies the promise of individual autonomy and is the aspiration of most American households. Homeownership allows households to accumulate wealth and social status, and is the basis for a number of positive social, economic, family and civic outcomes.”

Today, we want to cover the section of the report that quoted several studies concentrating on the impact homeownership has on educational achievement. Here are some of the major findings on this issue revealed in the report:

  • The decision to stay in school by teenage students is higher for those raised by home-owning parents compared to those in renter households.
  • Parental homeownership in low-income neighborhoods has a positive impact on high school graduation.
  • Though homeownership raises educational outcomes for children, neighborhood stability may have further enhanced the positive outcome.
  • Children of homeowners tend to have higher levels of achievement in math and reading and fewer behavioral problems.
  • Educational opportunities are more prevalent in neighborhoods with high rates of homeownership and community involvement.
  • The average child of homeowners is significantly more likely to achieve a higher level of education and, thereby, a higher level of earnings.

Bottom Line

People often talk about the financial benefits of homeownership. As we can see, there are also social benefits of owning your own home.

*The next two Thursdays, we will report the study’s findings on the impact homeownership has on civic participation and a family’s health.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

10 Thoughtful Holiday Gifts the Entire Family Can Enjoy

Mark three, four or even more people off your list at once with these gifts the whole family will love.

It’s always a challenge to figure out the perfect gift for a friend or family member, but it’s even more of a puzzle when you’re trying to pick a holiday gift for the whole family.

Family gifting is becoming more common as holiday celebrations get bigger and bigger. It’s a great way to honor the holiday spirit without breaking the bank or going crazy trying to figure out gift ideas for each family member. A family gift is meant to be something that the entire family can enjoy together. And with the holiday so close, we wanted to give you some last-minute ideas that you could easily organize without ordering anything online.

1: Movie Night

A gift card for Netflix is something that the whole family can enjoy together for months. You can choose different denominations depending on how many months you’d like to gift. Pair the certificate with a basket filled with a few different types of popcorn and boxes of movie theater candy.

Gift: Netflix Gift Card, bestbuy.com
Pair With: Snack + Candy Basket

2: Socks For All

Gift a bright, colorful pair of holiday socks for everyone in the family. You can choose coordinating colors and designs so that everyone can wear them together on Christmas. Also include gourmet hot cocoa mix or a selection of holiday teas.

Gift: Tommy Hilfiger Fair Isle Socks, macys.com
Pair With: Gourmet Hot Cocoa Mix

3: Board Games

Rustic White Photography, LLC

Rustic White Photography, LLC

Choose two or three games based on the ages of the family members. Classic, go-to games that usually work well are Jenga, Pictionary, Clue, Monopoly or Scrabble. You could also try finding games at your local thrift store and bringing five to six retro board games as a gift.

Gift: Retro Board Game, target.com
Pair With: Assorted Holiday Dessert Basket (for Game Night!)

4: Mobile Printer

Though the kids might steal it away, a wireless mobile printer is a great family gift. These printers allow you to print pictures directly off your mobile phone or tablet. They’re small enough to toss in a bag, and they’re lots of fun to bring to parties (or even to break out and use on Christmas Eve!).

Gift: HP Sprocket Photo Printer, bestbuy.com
Pair With: Batteries + Photo Paper Packs

5: Shopping Membership

Another gift that will keep giving the whole year is a membership to warehouse clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club. These stores offer great discounts on bulk items, but you can’t shop there unless you’re a member. Pair the gift with a classic Costco bakery item.

Gift: Gold Star Membership, costco.com
Pair With: David’s Cookies Butter Pecan Meltaways Tin (via Costco)

6: Pizza Night

Put together the makings of a fun, homemade pizza party for the whole family. Pick up pizza dough, fresh mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce and toppings like fresh tomatoes or prosciutto. Pair it with a pizza stone or a pizza cutter. For an extra fun presentation, stop by your local pizza place and see if you can buy one of their large boxes. You can cover up their logo with a piece of paper and write your own note on top.

Gift: 13-Inch Pizza Stone, bedbathandbeyond.com
Pair With: Chef-Inspired Basket

7: Do Good

Through organizations like Global Giving, you can purchase gift cards that allow each recipient to go onto the site, choose the cause that speaks most to them and make a donation. It’s a lovely gesture and a great way to teach kids about the power of generosity and giving.

Gift: Donation Gift Card, globalgiving.org
Pair With: A Gift That Gives Back

8: Jump-Start a Vacation

Airbnb

Airbnb

The gift of travel is one of the most amazing presents you could give a family to enjoy together in the coming year. A gift certificate to home-sharing site Airbnb would be a great way to help jump-start vacation plans, allowing the family to choose any spot in the world to enjoy their time away together. If you know there’s a specific place that they would like to visit, you could even include a travel guide book for that city or country.

Gift: Airbnb Gift Card, airbnb.com
Pair With: A Fun Gift for Travel Lovers

9: Steel Fire Pit

Daniel Pratt, 2013, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Daniel Pratt, 2013, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

This fire pit would be a great gift for a family that has a beautiful outdoor space to enjoy. Pair it with firewood and a s’mores kit, including marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars.

Gift: Steel Fire Pit, homedepot.com
Pair With: Homemade S’mores Kit

10: Rock Band

If the family you’re buying for loves video games, then this Rock Band set is perfect. Everyone can take turns being a rock star and choosing their favorite songs. Set it up on Christmas Eve so everyone at your holiday dinner can join in on the fun.

Gift: Rock Band 4 Bundle, bestbuy.com
Pair With: Gifts for Music Lovers

 

5 Home Repairs to Make Before You Host a Holiday Gathering

This is no time for major updates, so stick with simple tasks to make for a festive celebration.

Hosting a holiday gathering can be a lot of fun, but perhaps a bit intimidating, too. You want your house to look its best, but now isn’t the time to undertake any major updates.

Chances are, you’re busy enough just preparing for the event. So, focus on just the areas of your house where your guests will spend time.

Whether you’re a first-time party host with a few jitters, or an old pro looking for some new ideas, these tips will help you ensure that your home is ready for any gathering.

Light the way

The sun sets early this time of year, so it’s important to make sure the entrance to your home is clean and well-lit.

Courtesy of Bill Fry

If you have a large front yard, try to focus on just the front entryway and the path leading up to it. Install porch lights, or replace the bulbs on existing lighting. Cut back any shrubbery that is obstructing the walkway.

On the day of your party, open the blinds on the front windows so your guests can see into your warm, festive-looking home as they approach. It’s a great way to create a sense of welcoming anticipation.

Pro tip: The easiest possible way to create instant lighting for walkways and paths is with the solar lights that you just stick into the ground. The sun does the rest of the work!

Take care of the bottom line

Our mothers used to say this, and it’s true: If your floors are spotless, they make your whole house look cleaner.

Even if you’re unable to do an in-depth house cleaning before your gathering, you will certainly want to make sure that all floors have been cleaned before that first guest steps over the threshold.

Pro tip: If you have carpeting, clean the carpets a minimum of three days ahead of your affair to make sure they have dried fully.

Brighten up your bathroom

If you’re bothered by grimy-looking grout in your bathroom, try this easy, inexpensive, and non-toxic method to get rid of it nearly instantly: Just spray on some full-strength hydrogen peroxide, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then wipe clean. That’s it!

Next, add some flowers, holiday decorations, or pictures on the wall to further spiff up your powder room, and it will be ready for your guests.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Pro tip: Instantly de-clog a slow-moving sink drain with a Zip-It. This inexpensive tool looks like a giant zip-tie. You just work it down into the drain to pull up hair clogs — all the other gunky stuff will come up with it.

Tune up kitchen appliances

Your kitchen appliances will be the workhorses of your holiday party, whether you’re hosting a full family dinner or a cocktail party. You want them to be fully functioning and ready for action.

Make sure all stove burners are working. Now’s the time to clean the oven if you haven’t done that for a while.

Clean out the refrigerator, and make sure that both the fridge and freezer are running at their optimal temperatures.

Make sure your dishwasher is in good working order. You can clean it easily with a dishwasher cleaner that you run through a cycle.

Pro tip: Sharp knives will make easy work of preparing the big meal. Make sure all your kitchen knives are newly sharpened, and also check the batteries in your electric carving knife, if you have one.

Make your space kid-friendly

If you make your home welcoming for children, you will ensure that their parents have a great time as well.

If you happen to have kids that are the same ages as your young guests, you’re in luck. But if not, consider adding some considerate touches that will make parents more comfortable, and alleviate kid boredom.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Turn a spare room or an upstairs bedroom into a private nursing/changing area for a new mom.
  • Toddlers and younger children will want to be near their parents, so a good idea for them is to set up a corner of your living or dining room with toys, books, a tablet for watching cartoons, and some comfy pillows or throws.
  • One of our favorite strategies for older kids is to turn the dessert course into an activity. For instance, you could bake a huge batch of sugar cookies in holiday shapes, and then put out different colors of icing to let kids (and adults) go to town with decorating their own cookies.

Pro tip: If you don’t already have children, or if yours are older, don’t forget to kid-proof your space. Put away anything expensive, breakable, or unstable. Do some baby-proofing, if necessary. This way you and the parents can relax and not have to worry about safety hazards.

Hopefully these ideas will take some of the worry out of holiday entertaining, and ensure that you and your guests can relax and enjoy each other’s company this season.

Posted by See Jane Drill on Zillow

5 Steps to a More Organized Home for Back to School

This A+ plan will have your family ready to greet the first day of school with a smile.

As if summer isn’t crazy enough, the transition to school can make home life even busier and messier. Schedules are a mix of school activities and the last-hurrah-of-summer, and the house is strewn with important school papers and wet beach towels. Here are a few tips to help you organize the chaos this year.

Clean the fridge out (and off) and restock

Shutterstock ID 266450780;

Shutterstock ID 266450780;

Clearing the front of the fridge of summer camp art projects and already-happened wedding invitations will signal a new season and leave room for important phone numbers and all those A+ papers your young scholars bring home.

Then, clean out the refrigerator, tossing all those picnic leftovers, and get it ready for quick breakfasts, packed lunches and after-school snacks. Anything grab-and-go is sure to be appreciated, especially during the first few weeks of school while your family is still getting used to the new schedule. A basket of fresh fruit by the door is also handy.

Take stock of closets and clothes

Courtesy of California Closets.

A new first-day-of-school outfit is a childhood ritual. But before you add to your child’s wardrobe, take stock of what they’ve outgrown during the summer months. And don’t forget the weather will probably be changing soon. See if your kids will be needing any new warmer clothes for the coming season.

A clean and organized closet and dresser will make getting out the door in the morning easier for everyone.

Similarly, catching up with laundry and creating a laundry system if you don’t already have one will keep your life running more smoothly.

Create a scheduling center

This is Mission Control for the family, so it should be in a central place in your home, such as the kitchen or entryway. You’ll want to keep a calendar, filing system, address book, notepads for taking phone messages, and plenty of pens, since they always seem to go missing.

This is also where paperwork should go to be sorted and put away, or signed and sent back to school. Create a system for paperwork and scheduling the family so Dad isn’t slated to tee off with his co-workers at the same time he’s supposed to chaperone a field trip.

Make mealtime easy

Meal-planning will save you time and money — not to mention protect your sanity when you’re running home from work and PTA meetings.

To keep the grownups fueled, set up a coffee station in your kitchen where they can grab a to-go mug easily.

Create a menu, and make a master shopping list to prep for the week. That way, you’ll know exactly what to make when everyone’s hungry, and you won’t waste ingredients.

Shutterstock ID 117974122

Shutterstock ID 117974122

Keep a list on your fridge to remind you of the week’s menu. And when inquiring minds ask what’s for dinner, you can direct them to the menu.

Prepping a few extra meals to throw in the freezer now will ease the busy first few weeks of school, too.

Tackle the mudroom and entryway

School brings with it a lot of paraphernalia: backpacks, lunch bags, gym bags, artwork, and library books. The mudroom or entryway will be the drop-off point and can quickly become a disaster without a system.

Courtesy of California Closets.

Are shoes taken off here? If so, make sure everyone has a designated spot for their shoes. Same with coats and backpacks.

Lunch bags should go in a specific place, or back to the kitchen to be cleaned out for the next day.

Establishing these routines at the beginning of the school year will help them become engrained so by the time winter, with its extra layers, and spring, with its muddy boots, come along, you won’t be pulling your hair out.

While the transition will take some getting used to, having solid systems in place in your home can help you ease the stress, and focus on the enjoyment of an exciting new school year.

Get more home design ideas to keep you inspired.

Posted by Natalie Wise on Zillow

9 Budget-Friendly Staycation Ideas for Families

Just because you’re staying home doesn’t mean you can’t have an adventure.

Disneyland, the beach, camping, Grandma’s … just a few of the many places your kids would nominate as a vacation destination this summer. But staying home?

B-O-R-I-N-G.

So, how do you sell a staycation to your little rascals? Oh, and not spend a ton of money? Fill it with fun and adventure.

Look for activities that are simple to pull together and entertaining for all ages — bonus points for those with educational benefits.

Check out these nine kid- and budget-friendly ideas — and a few tips from a frugal mom — that will make your summer staycation just as lively and memorable as any trip.

Camp out in your backyard

Pitch a tent, pull out the camp chairs, and roll out those sleeping bags. It’s time to go camping – in your backyard! This just might be the quintessential summer staycation experience that every kid should have.

Study the local flora and fauna; practice wilderness skills; roast marshmallows over a fire pit, grill or in the microwave; tell scary stories; spot constellations in the night sky.

You’ll get all the fun of camping without the long drive or gross campsite bathrooms.

World culture day

Immerse yourself in a different culture for a day. Pick a city, country, or area of the world that fascinates you and your children.

Explore the culture by making decorations or outfits, following customs, and using typical language phrases. Make a meal from the country, play traditional games, and learn fun facts from library books or websites.

“If you live in a city or metropolitan area, you can recreate any number of cultures,” explains a Pittsburgh mom and budget blogger at Femme Frugality. Femme created a “Parisian experience” in Pittsburgh by visiting museums and cathedrals, checking out a bridge with love locks, and dining at an outdoor cafe and French restaurant — all within her hometown.

Get your chef on

Have a budding Jamie Oliver or Rachael Ray on your hands? Let your little chefs put their skills to the test with a fun “Top Chef” style competition. Introduce a mystery ingredient, work in teams, and see what you can come up with.

If competition isn’t your style, simply head to the farmer’s market or grocery store and pick out a unique ingredient and see what your family can come up with to use it in a dish.

Have a sweet tooth? Have a bake off and create your favorite cookies, cupcakes, or cake. Share the goodies with friends and neighbors, too.

Family carnival

Create your very own town fair, and bring your friends and family members in on the fun. Serve up classic carnival food like corn dogs, french fries, funnel cake, and cotton candy.

Set up DIY games like ring toss, cake walk, Plinko, corn hole, balloon darts, a fishing hole and more.

Ask guests to bring a game or food item to share the work.

Finish off the night with an outdoor movie by stringing up a sheet and using a projector.

Learn something new

Expand your horizons by learning something new. Take an online course onCraftsy.com to learn a new skill or craft; figure out how to play an outdoor game like bocce ball or croquet; practice a different language with books from the library; or hit the zoo to learn about a new animal.

Femme’s trick is checking out homeschooling blogs; they are a great resource for fun activities that also have an educational component.“Prep materials and gather ideas ahead of time to prevent the typical summer educational slide and avoid ‘I’m bored’ comments,” she advises.

Build a fort

Wrangle up all the cardboard boxes, blankets, chairs and pillows you can muster andbuild the ultimate playhouse or fort.

Construct tunnels with boxes (bonus if you can snag a large refrigerator box); create ‘rooms’ with blankets and chairs; and arm your fortress by building a pillow moat. Play princesses and knights or just snuggle up in your cozy den and watch a movie — don’t forget the popcorn.

Keep the fun going into the night: Add twinkle lights and have a sleepover in your new castle.

Cool down with water play

Hot summer day? Cool down by making your own backyard into a mini water park.

Break out the sprinkler and burn off some energy by splashing around. Fill the kiddie pool and hop in with your little ones, or wage a water balloon or squirt gun fight for an afternoon that’s guaranteed to cool you off and make you feel like a kid again.

Live in an apartment or don’t have the water gear? Head to your local splash pad or community pool. To save money, look for free or discount promotions at the pool or water park.

Find your inner Van Gogh

Arts and crafts are a great way to get those creative juices flowing, make fun memories, and create cool pieces to treasure for years to come.

Tie-dye some plain T-shirts, create your own playdough using flour and salt, make beaded bracelets, or try your hand at loom weaving.

Keep things simple by drawing with some sidewalk chalk, building a birdhouse out of Popsicle sticks, or simply getting messy with some finger paint.

Not sure where to start? Find age-appropriate crafts by checking out Pinterest or kid’s craft blogs for inspiration.

Plan a treasure or scavenger hunt

Make like a pirate and go on a treasure hunt. Set up a string of clues for your kids to follow that lead them all around the house, yard, and even the neighborhood. Make up your own clues or check online for clever rhyming ones or location ideas.

End the hunt with a fun prize, which can be anything from a chest full of faux gold doubloons, a long-desired toy or trinket, or a plate of fresh cookies or cupcakes. Add a dash of extra fun by dressing up as pirates or explorers.

Whether you have a lot of free time or a little, a chunk of change to spend or a limited budget, there are plenty of fun staycation ideas to make your summer special.

The key is getting creative, thinking like a kid, and employing the resources that you have at your fingertips. Your kids will remember the magic of experiencing little moments and everyday things with you — and not how much money you spent.

Posted by Erica Sooter on Zillow