Ants, Raisins & Coins – Oh My!

By Laurie Martin

Clean Kidz

Due to my struggles with infertility, I was the last of my friends to have a child.  However, I did uncover one benefit: hand-me-downs.  I cannot fully express my gratitude for all the burp cloths, onesies, clothes, bibs and toys that have been passed down to me over the past few years.  I am grateful for these recycled gifts because I secretly have a hard time justifying spending money on items my child will quickly outgrow.  Gently used clothing and toys not only saved me money, but also a lot of time.

Carson Tate, the owner of Working Simply called me soon after my daughter was born and asked me if I wanted her daughter’s Britax car seat.  Carson was having a hard time finding a place willing to accept the carseat as a donation, so instead of throwing it away, she thought of me. And of course, I was thrilled.  She was relieved it was going to a good home and I was excited I didn’t have to buy a brand new car seat!

My daughter still used an infant bucket seat because she was not big enough for the Britax car seat, so I stored the car seat in my garage for the next few months.  When she was ready, my husband set about the installation process.  That process soon came to a screeching halt when he saw what was behind the seat cushions.  After glancing at some unidentifiable objects, he made one suggestion: get a new seat.

In the days following, I happened to drive past a company called Clean Kidz on my way home.  Right away I noticed that Clean Kidz cleans strollers and car seats.

I googled Clean Kidz contacted the company, and introduced myself to Lee Phillips, one of the owners.

Clean K-1

I told him the situation and he said,  “No problem.”  Just a few days later, he was in my driveway, ready to clean!

Who would have guessed what we found inside a seat that looked perfectly normal on the outside.

Clean K-2

But once the covers were removed, lots of hidden and unidentifiable objects began to be revealed. Including raisins, bugs, and pocket change.

Clean K-3

5 Simple Steps in the Clean Kidz Process!


Step 1-Remove the cover and shake all the contents out of the seat.

Clean K-4


Clean K-5

Step 2-Set up the cleaning station!

Clean K-6

Step 3-Use an industrial steam cleaner to wash the seat, the cushion, the straps, and don’t forget-the buckle!

Clean K-7

Step 4-Finish cleaning the skeleton of the seat

Clean K-8

Step 5-Check out the transformation!


Clean K-9


Clean K-10

The seat cleaning service did not end here!  Lee also taught me how to install the new clean seat!

Clean K-11


Clean K-12

It was a great day.  I recycled. I reused. And I supported a local business.

Now, I am using Clean Kidz to clean my stroller and car seat every 6 months.  You never know what finds its way into such a small space.

Clean K-13

A special thanks to Carson Tate for letting me tell this story and for Clean Kidz for a shiny,clean car seat!

Simplicity & the Whole Tulip 2015 Pantry Cleanse

Simplicity organizers and the Whole Tulip partnered together help take the overwhelm out of pantry disorganization. The New Year is all about clearing out the old to make room for the new! It was time for a fresh start with a pantry cleanse. Beeland Voellinger was our winner and she has written about her experience…

Pantry Cleanse Winner

   Before Simplicity and the Whole Tulip arrived I was feeling completely frustrated because I could not find what I was looking for when it was time to cook a meal and I continued to buy some items over and over because I could not find them in the pantry.  I found myself organizing the pantry in a way that I thought everyone could understand, but inevitably I would find the peanut butter stacked on top of the soup cans and the bread crammed next to the dog food.  I don’t why it bothered me so much but it certainly didn’t bother anyone else in my family.  I like to think that I can be easy-going and flexible, but the pantry was driving me CRAZY!  What I thought would be obvious to my mother, husband and two children was obviously not obvious at all.  I had all of my pasta, rice and quinoa in a clear basket next to the raisins, Craisins and dried cherries in a clear basket.  Why couldn’t my family get it?  I guess it was because I didn’t know the power of a label-maker.  Who knew the words “pasta” and “dried fruit” would make such a difference between an unorganized pantry and one that was filled with boxes and bins neatly labeled and organized in a way that everyone could read and understand where to place things when unloading the groceries and where to look when trying to plan the next meal.


Center-Before Pantry Cleanse

Pantry Cleanse Before

Pantry Cleanse Before

I thought the Simplicity ladies were professional and efficient in every way.  They didn’t judge my family or me when they saw several boxes of Cheerios with torn bags and boxes wide-open or the cans of Vienna Sausages that someone (not me) bought and hid in the back left corner of the pantry.  This was A HUGE project for me to tackle on my own and so I was really happy that Simplicity was there to help guide me towards organizational bliss! It was such a relief working alongside these women who threw away everything that had expired in the pantry, took care of the trash, helped me find a new spot for the recycle bin, dropped off hundreds of plastic containers without lids to Goodwill, wiped down my empty shelves, swept my pantry floor, and yes, labeled every bin, basket and shelf.  I’m so grateful Simplicity helped me gain control of one thing-my pantry.






When Adri and Carolyn of the Whole Tulip arrived, we hugged and headed to the kitchen for what I thought was going to be an embarrassing confession of my failures in the kitchen.  I have known these ladies for a long time.  Carolyn lived across the street from me for a few years and Adri’s son and my daughter were in the same class at school.  I read their blog, have attended their classes, and tried their recipes and enjoyed a tour of Whole Foods with them with it first opened in Charlotte.  I knew them and they knew me, but it was different meeting them in my kitchen. Not for one minute did I feel intimidated or nervous sharing my struggles with figuring out how to feed my family in a healthier way.  We shared stories of our journeys to find peace and balance as mothers, daughters and wives, we discussed going dairy-free and gluten-free, ADHD, behavioral therapy, organic vs. non-organic, Juice Plus and food allergies.  They are a fantastic resource of information to both my family and me.

What do I miss since the pantry purge began? Nothing at all. I was a little sad to throw away the Aunt Jemima syrup, but I am hoping my family will be bigger than the problem and just try the pure maple syrup sitting on the shelf now.

I think the nicest surprise going through this process with Simplicity and the Whole Tulip is that I now know that I don’t have to face these challenges by myself. Instead of avoiding a project like organizing the garage or planning my next meal for my picky children, I now have great resources who can help guide me in the right direction.

It’s amazing how less really equals more. Cheers to a fresh start!

– 2015 Pantry Cleanse Winner, Beeland Voellinger