Are you ready to go strawberry picking: tips you can't miss

Are you ready to go strawberry picking?

Strawberry season is here.  Are you ready to go strawberry picking?  If you are planning to pick your own strawberries, here are a few tips that will make your trip successful.

Strawberry Picking: Plan Ahead

Before you go picking, you’ll want to do the following things:

  • Call ahead to confirm berries are ready and to determine the picking hours.
  • Plan to go early in the morning.  If you can, go as soon as they open.  The saying “The early bird gets the worm” is true for strawberry picking.  You’ll have a better selection of strawberries, since the rows won’t be picked over.
  • Wear old clothes.  You might get a strawberry stain.  It usually comes out in the wash, but just in case…

What to Bring When Picking Your Own Strawberries

  • Water: You’ll be thirsty after picking.
  • Cash: Many small farms do not have credit card machines.
  • A change of shoes: I like to wear flip flops.  I can take them off right after picking, and they are easy to hose off when I get home.  Other pickers like to wear socks and sneakers.  Whatever you decide, just bring a change of shoes.  If you step on a berry, you won’t want to track it into your car.
  • Clean up supplies:  Baby wipes or wet face cloth in plastic bag.  You will want to clean your fingers after picking.

Picking Your Own Strawberries: Tips for Picking in the Field

Usually, only certain rows are open.  Try to pick a row that no one has picked in yet.  It will make picking much faster.

Since you pay by the pound, you’ll want to pick clean.  That means, do not pick the stems.  Pick the strawberry where the stem meets the berry.  Leave the whole stem behind, so only the green leaves stay on the berry.

Be sure to look in between the strawberry bushes.  Many people simple pick along the edges where you can easily see the berries.  By looking in between the leaves, you’ll find lots of berries.

It’s okay to eat a few strawberries while you are there.  After all, you want to know if the berries are sweet and tasty.  Just don’t overdo it. 🙂

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost to you, but Running A Household will receive a commission.

After you Finish Picking Strawberries

You’ll want to get the strawberries home and into the refrigerator.  I like to transfer mine into a colander, so that there a few holes to allow air in. I also cover the top of the colander loosely with plastic wrap.  This keeps anything from falling into the strawberries.

Are you ready to go strawberry picking?

Lastly, it’s important to have a strawberry huller.  This handy tool allows you to easily take the leaves off the berry.  You can certainly cut this part off with a knife, but you will take off too much of the strawberry.  With a Strawberry Huller, you will only take off the leaves, and keep the rest of the strawberry to eat.

Enjoy your strawberries!  There’s nothing quite like eating strawberries that were just picked.  🙂

Here are a few additional articles you may enjoy reading:

Summer Meal Ideas

How to host a simple cookout

Time Saving Tip: Shop Local


Household Checklist for June

Household Checklist for June

The month of June can be a busy time of year.  We’re here to help with our printable Household Checklist for June.  We’ve also included checklists, printables and detailed information for the projects you need to tackle this month.  So let’s get started.

Household Items to Handle in June


  • Finish Spring cleaning (first day of summer: 6/21)
  • Prepare for summer storms; update emergency supplies


Maintain vegetable and flower garden / weeding

Backwash pool filter

Power wash siding on house

Clean out gutters

Apply Step 2 Fertilizer for lawn

Apply Grub Preventer to lawn

Things to do

Locate and attend local farmer’s market

Go strawberry picking

Schedule swimming lessons and camps for children


  • Balance checkbook
  • Budget
  • Finalize vacation plans

Meal Planning

  • Host or attend Father’s Day celebration
  • Plan July 4th cookout
  • Plan birthday parties in July


Details on June Projects

Here are some specific details on our June projects.  Just click on the link below to read more.

How to drain water from a pool cover

Tips on How to Drain Water from a Pool Cover

Helicopters from Silver Maple

Silver Maple Trees: It’s a Love-Hate Relationship

House Sitters Checklist

House Sitter’s Checklist


How to host a simple cookout


Are you ready to go strawberry picking?

Blank Calendar July 2015

It’s Time to Organize and Plan Your Summer Calendar

Yellow and orange tulips

Spring Cleaning Checklists

Summer Storm Approaching

Summer Storms – Checklist

Pool Cleaning Checklist - Running a Household

Pool Cleaning Checklist

Scotts Step 2

It’s Time to Put Down Your Step 2 Fertilizer

flower and vegetable seed and plant checklistGarden Shopping Checklist: Track your seed and plant purchases

Grilling Tools in Kitchen Drawer

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Seattle Market

Summer Meal Ideas

printable grocery list by department

Grocery List by Department – Make Grocery Shopping Easy and Efficient

Beach Bag

What’s in Your Beach Bag?


Printable Household Checklist for June

Just click on the link below for a printable copy of our Household Checklist for June:

Household Checklist for June Household Checklist for June

By scheduling time to handle these items in June, you’ll be sure to keep everything running smoothly in your household.


Can’t Keep Chlorine in Your Pool? Tips to Remove Phosphates

Does it feel like you keep adding chlorine to your pool?  Or does it seem like you can’t keep chlorine in your pool?  If so, your pool may contain a high level of phosphates.  We’re here to explain phosphates as well as tips to remove phosphates from your pool water.

What are Phosphates and Where Do They Come From?

Phosphates are an ingredient found in fertilizer.  Phosphates can also come from organic matter, such as decayed leaves in your pool.  Another source of phosphates is cosmetic products from bathers.  Some pool products meant to descale your pool even contain phosphates.

Can’t Keep Chlorine in Your Pool?
Signs of high phosphate level in pool water

  • Slimy walls
  • Cloudy water
  • Algae grows back quickly
  • Chlorine seems to disappear from pool instantly
  • Water testing shows high level phosphates

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost to you, but Running A Household will receive a commission.

How to Remove Phosphates From Your Pool

Step 1: Have the phosphate level in your pool water tested. 

Phosphate levels should be below 100 ppb (parts per billion) or 0.100 ppm (parts per million).  You can have your local pool store run a test, or you can purchase your own Phosphate Test Kit.

If phosphate levels are higher than 100 ppb, a phosphate remover called Phos Free Pool Cleaner can be purchased.  This comes in a three liter bottle.

Read the application instructions to determine how much phosphate remover you need.  Our pool is 16 x 36, and our phosphate level required us to use 32 ounces.

Step 2: Balance Your Pool Water

We made sure that our pool water was balanced first, with the exception of the chlorine level.  So that means our alkalinity, ph, and calcium hardness were at the correct levels.  We also added our three-month algaeside to prevent any further issues.

Our pool store representative recommended holding off on shocking the pool until our phosphate levels were reduced to close to 0.  Otherwise, it’s like throwing money away.  All of the shock you put into your pool will simply disappear.  To drive the point home, he told us to just give him $20 if we felt like shocking the pool!

Step 3: Pour the Phosphate Remover around the entire pool.

The instructions on our phosphate remover product recommended that we pour the phosphate remover around the edge of the entire pool.

Also note that the filter will need to run for 24 hours, so plan accordingly.  You will want to be around while the filter runs, so that you can bump it when the pressure rises.

Step 4: Vacuum up any phosphate remainder

Phosphate remnants look like gray or white matter floating at the bottom of the pool.  You will need to vacuum this matter and remove it from your pool.

Can't keep chlorine in your pool

Gray matter in pool after phosphates removed

Step 5: Backwash the pool filter

It is important to backwash the pool filter after vacuuming, and install fresh Dichotomous Earth (D.E.)  Backwashing will remove the phosphates from your pool, and prevent them from reentering the water.  We even took the opportunity to crack open our filter to clean the fingers.

Step 6: Re-Test the Phosphate Levels

Next, have the phosphate levels tested again.  If the levels are above 500, repeat the steps again.  Otherwise, your pool will not hold chlorine.  Since removing phosphates requires you to test multiple times, you may want to save a few trips to the pool store and purchase your own Phosphate Test Kit.  We like this kit because it provides you with a color coded strip so that you can see the phosphate level:

Clear test results means there are no phosphates in your pool.  The higher up on the blue scale you go, the more phosphates you have in your pool water. This kit also allows you to test up to 100 times. Hopefully you won’t need to test that many times, but it will certainly save you a few trips back and forth to the pool store.

Step 7: Shock Your Pool

Once your phosphate levels are close to zero, it’s time to shock the pool.  As you now know, if the phosphate levels are too high, your chlorine will disappear.

Still having water issues?  You may want to work with your local pool store to test the water.  They have the technology to perform tests beyond the standard homeowner tests.

Happy swimming!

Easy Way to Clean Plastic Patio Furniture

Easy Way to Clean Plastic Patio Furniture

Are you looking for an easy way to clean plastic patio furniture?  Look no further.  We have two solutions for you.

Option 1: Easy Way to Clean Plastic Patio Furniture

In this example, we have two white plastic lounge chairs.  They stay outside for the winter, due to the lack of shed storage space.

Easy Way to Clean Plastic Patio FurnitureThis year, the patio chairs were looking especially dirty.  I decided to pull them onto the grass and attempt to clean them.  I usually have resin patio furniture cleaner on hand, but must have run out.  So I opted for some simple liquid dishwashing soap and a sponge.  Here’s what I did:

Step 1: Wet the chairs with water

Step 2: Put some liquid dishwashing soap on the chair.

Step 3: Wash the chair with a sponge.  In our case, I didn’t have to work hard at all to get the grime off.  In fact it was so easy that our two young sons offered to help.

Step 4: Rinse with water.

Not bad for a quick cleaning, right?  If your patio furniture is very dirty, you may need to purchase a product made especially for the job.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost to you, but Running A Household will receive a commission.

Option 2: Easy Way to Clean Plastic Patio Furniture

If your patio furniture stains are not coming off easily, then you may need to try another cleaning product like Scotts Plus Oxi Outdoor Cleaner which attaches to your garden hose.  It is made by Scotts, the same company that distributes lawn fertilizer.  It is safe for lawns and surrounding plants, and contains no phosphates.

If you prefer not to attach a bottle to a garden hose, they also make the same product in a spray bottle: Outdoor Cleaner Plus Oxi Clean Rtu Liquid.  This comes in handy if you only have one or two lawn chairs, and just want to do a quick cleaning.

One additional tip:  This Scotts Cleaner is also sold in concentrate.  You’ll notice that the two products we listed above are RTU which stands for Ready To Use.  If you have a lot of cleaning to do, you may want to consider the concentrated version which needs to be mixed with water before using.

Overall, cleaning should be an easy process.  Our motto is, “If you’re working too hard to clean something, then you’re not using the right cleaning product.”

Happy cleaning!

Here are a few additional articles you may enjoy on our website:

How to drain water from a pool cover

Tips on How to Drain Water from a Pool Cover

Helicopters from Silver Maple

Silver Maple Trees: It’s a Love-Hate Relationship

Leaf Rake

How to Remove Leaves from Pool Cover


Ideas for Organizing Ball Caps

Are you looking for ideas for organizing ball caps or hats?  We’ve looked into several ways to keep ball caps organized. Check out these three systems to see which one works best for you.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost to you, but Running A Household will receive a commission.  Thank you for supporting our website.

Organize Ball Caps with an Over the Door Cap Rack Organizer

Organize Ball Caps Over the Door

This one is simple.  Just open the box and hang the Cap Rack Organizer over a closet door.  This one holds up to 36 hats!

Organize Baseball Hats with Hooks

Ideas for Organizing Ball Caps: Hats on hooks

This Coat and Hat Rack has six hooks, and keeps everything nice and tidy.  It also comes in a black or wood finish. Installation is fairly simple, but you’ll need a few tools like a ruler to measure, and a screwdriver to hang it securely.

Store Ball Caps in Bins

Hats in bin

While spring cleaning, I added this feature to our mudroom.  It’s a simple over-sized bin which sits on top of our ClosetMaid Stackable Shoe Organizer.  This system really works for us.  When we come home, the boys can simply take off their hats, and leave them in the bin.  When we are ready to leave, the hats are right there by the door. We love the deep size of this bin, and it comes in many colors which you can see here: ClosetMaid Bin

Closetmaid Bin

Right now, we have about 8 or 10 hats in the bin, but we could fit many more.  It’s spring, so many of them are baseball caps.  In the fall, I’ll take out the caps with football teams on them.  The baseball themed caps will go in a box stored in the coat closet.  Pretty simple, right?

Happy organizing!

Other articles you may find helpful:

How to Organize the Shoes in Your Entryway

Solutions for a Small Dining Room