Decluttering the Garage’s Lawn Equipment Area (And a TORO SmartStow Lawnmower Review)

Freeing Garage Space with TORO SmartStow Lawnmower at

Father’s Day was Sunday. This year, Hubby got a new mower! Toro happens to have a really cool one that takes up significantly less storage space AND we needed a new mower AND it just so happened to be Father’s Day.

Translation: This is a sponsored post for Toro that came at just the perfect time!

This was the Lawn Equipment Storage (etc. etc.) section of our garage.

Before Picture of a VERY Messy Section of My Garage at ASlobComesClean

Scary, huh?

Way back in there, you can see the mower we had been using. It was borrowed, and was a TORO. We borrowed it when our other one died. Hubby loved it, and was therefore ecstatic when he found out he was getting a TORO of his very own.

But his new one, the Toro Recycler with SmartStow has a special feature. It can be folded up and stored standing upright, taking up significantly LESS space. LESS storage space.

And that part makes ME happy.

In my head, before I actually went out and looked (really, really looked) at the space, this was going to be a simple matter of taking out the old, borrowed, space-taking mower and replacing it with the new, compact one.

But to get the old mower out, I couldn’t ignore/avoid-moving all the other stuff other junk.

Really. I couldn’t. No matter how hard I tried.

So I decided I might as well declutter that space. It was as good an opportunity as any to clear my Slob Vision and tackle a corner of the garage that I generally ignore.

What I purged:

Junk Pulled Out of the Garage at

Top Left: Kitchen Cabinet Doors that I totally believed I’d use to make something cool. Behind those, the kitchen vent I kept for some strange reason when we got a new one. Those things are in the Donate Pile now.

Top Right: The Thing I Don’t Want to Talk About.


It’s a crazy contraption I bought off a random website after finding mouse poop in the garage right after we moved into this house 9 years ago. Hubby communicated his skepticism about this item non-verbally when I bought it. Hubby’s raised eyebrows and smirky mouth were right. It was a VERY stupid purchase.

Bottom Left: A kiddie rake. Our kids are big enough for big people rakes now. (And they no longer view raking as a game.)

Bottom Right: An edger given to us by someone who tried to sell it in his garage sale. We couldn’t get it to work. But we kept it. For, like, four years.

After clearing the junk in the garage

Ahhhhhh. Fewer things, and less ground surface covered.

Mama’s happy about that. Daddy’s happy about his mower.

So what does Hubby think of the Toro Recycler with SmartStow? He really loves it. While my own favorite feature is the shiny redness, he got a little more specific.

  • It’s easy to start. No priming (I think that’s what he called it) required. Just pull the start cord.
  • The gas cap is attached. No losing possible. Evidently, this has been an issue in the past . . .
  • It’s very easy to adjust height.
  • There’s a place to hook up the water hose on top so you can wash off the blades without awkward positioning.
  • It’s self-propelled. My 13yo is most excited about this. The old one wasn’t, and he’s in love with this feature.
  • It is specially designed to be stored upright and takes less floor space in the garage. (Hubby doesn’t care about this feature nearly as much as I do, but he does think it’s cool.)

Toro Recycler with SmartStow Review at - Easy to Stow for Garage Organization

And here are Hubby’s thoughts on video:

(If you can’t see the video, click here.)

And, as promised in the video, a more realistic, panned-out view of the result:

More Truthful After Picture at

Right. This was just a small chunk of the work needed. Unfortunately, my kids have talked me into having a garage sale to get rid of their old bikes and SO much more. I’m thinking of ways to get out of that . . .

And in case anyone notices the big difference in winding-up techniques of the green cord vs. the orange cord, the orange cord was wound by Hubby. The green by me. Yes. I have issues. Never even noticed until I saw it in the photo.

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post. Toro provided us with the mower and I’m being paid for my time creating this post. All experiences, opinions, messy garages and lame cord-winding techniques are mine.

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Using DrinkBands to Reduce Dirty Cup Clutter (Review and Giveaway!!)

Need a solution for dirty cup clutter Review of Drink Bands at

NOTE: This giveaway has closed, and Brittani A. was the winner!

Summer starts in less than a week!!


Can you tell I’m excited??

Oh, how I love summer. I love pretty much everything about it, but it does present some challenges.

Swim towels everywhere? Magically disappearing flip-flops??

How about using up every single drinking glass in the cabinet before 2 p.m. because we can’t remember whose is whose so everyone just grabs a new glass every time he/she is the slightest bit thirsty??

Yes. That’s a real problem in our house, especially when four of us are home all day every day.

It was easier when we used plastic cups and could designate a certain one for each person.

But I decluttered those. (Not that we haven’t collected more since then.)

I am a big fan of using glass glasses. Grown-up glass glasses. I firmly believe I can taste the difference as an ice-water connoisseur. But, as one of you commented recently on that post . . . pretty, matchy-matchy glasses present their own problem: they all look the same.

As someone who believes every single time that she’ll remember exactly where she placed her glass, but then questions herself every single time and therefore grabs a new glass every single time, it’s a real issue.

So when DrinkBands offered to sponsor a post and a giveaway, I thought it was a great time to try out their solution for this exact problem!

They sent me a set of 9 DrinkBands. They came in a cute little case, which I’m keeping to avoid having the extra ones scattered around the kitchen.

Drink Bands Review and Giveaway at

They look like the plastic bracelets you’ve probably seen, except they say “That’s my drink!” and come in a set with all different colors. We have bracelets, but we generally end up with six of the same color. You can purchase them individually for around 2.00 apiece or in the set like I got for 15.95. (That’s also the set you could win in the giveaway below!)

I chose the colors that were the same as our Magic Bands from our Disney trip in December. Everyone remembers that color, so it worked well for us.

I went ahead and put them on glasses in the cabinet. “Ummmm, Mom? Why are there bracelets on our glasses?” was a good reminder to explain the new system.

So how is it working so far?

It’s working well. There are two of us who are the worst use-at-least-three-different-glasses-each-day-because-we-have-no-clue-which-glass-was-ours offenders.

I’m one of them.

For me, I’ve been using the same water glass for two days now.

The same ONE water glass. This is big. I started to put it in the dishwasher and then thought, “No. I want some icewater now, and I can keep using it for another day anyway since it’s just water.”

For the woman who can go through six glasses without even thinking about it, this is really good. Like back when I had a big plastic cup I knew was mine and only mine, that little orange band at the bottom of the glass serves the same purpose.

And the kid who takes medicine more than once a day has stuck to his green banded glass instead of filling (literally) the countertop with used glasses. He actually told me he’s been consciously trying to use his designated glass. It really does make a mental difference.

One Cup instead of Three

Yay for that!

And they are dishwasher safe. (Though I’ll be moving the band down since there’s some dishsoap residue in the indention on the glass that’s under the band.) We’ve tested that. Not sure how they will hold up over the long term going through the dishwasher, but they did great on the three or four washes we’ve done.

Tips: Have your kids decide if they like the positioning of the band by gripping the glass before they pour something in it. Once the bands are on, they’re secure. They can be adjusted, but if you try to adjust them while there’s liquid in the glass, a mess will likely definitely happen.

They’re also good for designating water bottles in an icy cooler that can cause marker to rub off!

Edited to add: I didn’t realize that you can personalize the bands!! Have your names or nicknames put on the DrinkBands!!! They’re only 2.50 each when personalized!! How cool is that?

I love that this company is owned and operated by a family with five kids of their own! Yay for entrepreneurial families who come up with smart solutions!

Ideas for giving these as gifts:

  • for Grandma who hosts the grandkids over the summer and gets a little frazzled because she long ago outgrew the random-plastic-cups-from-random-kids’-meals stage of life.
  • for the mom who is having her third or fourth (or fifth or sixth or more) baby and who would appreciate the acknowledgment that bigger families present their own fun and unique challenges.
  • for the awesome friend who lets her home be your vacation destination and embraces the awesomeness of having LOTS of kids in the house.

Go check out this pack I got and the camo pack. The winner of the giveaway will get to choose between those two packs! Oh, and if you go ahead and purchase one of those, but then win the giveaway, you’ll get a refund!

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below sharing your biggest summer cleaning challenge.

Prize details: The winner of the giveaway will choose between a set of 9 drinkbands in various colors valued at $15.95 or the set of 5 Camo ones valued at 10.50.

Giveaway details: One winner will be randomly chosen from the comments on this post. will provide the prize and will ship it directly to the winner. Winner will be contacted via the email that is entered upon commenting (but which is not visible to the public). Once contacted, the winner will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. One entry per person. See all giveaway policies here. Comments must be left on the post itself. Emails and Facebook comments will not count. This giveaway will end at 9 p.m. Central time on June 9, 2015.


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My New Fancy-Schmancy Toilet and #SqueakyCleanBath sponsored by The Home Depot

This post is sponsored by The Home Depot.

My New #SqueakyCleanBath Toilet from The Home Depot - a sponsored post at

When we were looking for houses, the number of bathrooms wasn’t a concern. I always clicked “2 or more” on the real estate website search. I’d never lived in a house with more than two potties, so I didn’t see it as something I needed. When this house had an additional half-bath, it was a bonus.

If we were to search for another house now, though, my requirements might be different. I have learned to LOVE having 2.5 bathrooms. Love.

I love being able to point visitors to The Guest Bathroom instead of The Kids’ Bathroom that Guests Can Use. For someone who stresses over cleaning (especially BATHROOM cleaning!), it’s so nice to have that designated space.

And since it’s a half-bath, a five-minute wipe-down can have it ready pretty quickly.

But . . . sometimes I count on those five-minute wipe-downs for a few too many weeks before I realize I need to do a deep clean in there. (Especially when the five-minute wipe-downs are done by my kids.)

So, when I was invited to join The Home Depot’s Squeaky Clean Bath program, I was glad to have the motivation (and supplies) to deep clean that half-bath so it can be ready for whomever needs it!

But I didn’t clean the toilet. I just got rid of it.


I got a new toilet!! My teenage-self would have been embarrassed at the joy I feel over this. Seriously. That old, wobbly, wiggly-seated, hard-to-flush toilet is gone. Out. The plumber who installed my new one took it away. I never even saw it again after I let him into the house.

Each member of the family has properly welcomed the Optum VorMax into our home. We all like her him it. It’s taller than normal, which is good for our guests who aren’t as young as they used to be.

It also is “high-tech” with features that are supposed to keep it cleaner.

Hmmmm. A toilet that stays cleaner? I was skeptical at first, too. We’ll have to see how that plays out in the long run, but here’s what makes it different. First of all, it flushes differently. The entire bowl gets flushed with a single gush of water (coming from one hole) that forcefully goes through the entire bowl. See?

Photo of Vormax Flushing System - a sponsored post at

AND, the rim is different. It doesn’t have the icky, hard-to-get-to part. It’s all one continuous piece.

Have you ever thought your toilet was clean and then bent over and caught a glimpse under the rim? It’s scary. This doesn’t have the under-the-rim part. For research purposes, I watched one of my other toilets flush. Water comes from under the rim all around the bowl. There’s a gap there where the water comes out, and it’s the gap that gets nasty. On this toilet, the flushing-water ONLY comes from that one hole. This means the “rim” doesn’t serve the same purpose. Since it’s all one continuous piece, it can be completely scrubbed and there isn’t a part that you can’t get to to clean thoroughly.

Can you see the difference in the flush above?

A prettier toilet!

And this potty is just so pretty!!!

I was so excited about my new toilet that I while I shopped at Home Depot for Scrubbing Bubbles products for this project, I also bought paint!

Let me explain. About four years ago (at least), I got a crazy idea to paint the bathroom a horrible color. Actually, my idea was to paint it a pretty color, but it turned out horrible. I realized half-way through the job that I hated the color and that one quart of paint wasn’t anywhere near enough for coverage.


A shiny, new toilet is a great reason to finally deal with my paint-color mistake. After Christmas (sorry, Christmas-time guests), I’ll use the entire gallon I bought to re-paint the bathroom in a much more subtle color. I’ll share pics when I’m done.

It is harder to hide my bad paint job now with my new toilet! at

I was motivated by the idea of the new toilet. But the reality of the new toilet (and the fact that its shape reveals my lame attempts at painting behind the old toilet) is really motivating me now.

Using Scrubbing Bubbles to Get a Squeaky Clean Bath Sponsored by The Home Depot at

I got the sink and faucet squeaky clean with the Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner (lemon-scented), and used Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaner to make the most of that VorMax flushing system.

Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Gel - A sponsored post at

The gel sticks, and when the flush-water hits it, the toilet gets “cleaned” with every flush.

I really love anything that does the work for me, so I don’t have to grunt and sweat and groan as much to get the bathroom deep-cleaned and keep it less germy.

I think it’s important to note that I was surprised at the cost of the Optum VorMax. It wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be when I heard about its fancy-schmancy features. If you need a new toilet, it’s definitely worth looking into that one. The plumber said he’s been installing a LOT of them.


Other Scrubbing Bubble products in the picture above:

Disinfectant Scrubbing Bubbles® Aerosol 22oz

Scrubbing Bubbles 32oz Foaming Bathroom Cleaner

Scrubbing Bubbles Mega Shower Foamer

Connect with The Home Depot in all these places:

The Home Depot (website), The Home Depot on Twitter, The Home Depot on Pinterest, The Home Depot on Facebook, and The Home Depot Blog


The Home Depot partnered with bloggers such as me for their Squeaky Clean Bath program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. The Home Depot believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. The Home Depot’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.






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