Category Archives: Cleaning

Post-Vacation Cleaning Made Easy

Vacations are great: finally — a week alone when you and your family can relax and spend quality time together. At the beginning of the trip, you’re feeling relaxed and euphoric which lasts a couple of days…until you start thinking about returning home. You know that dreadful feeling — the one you begin to feel as soon as you start packing up your belongings and continue to feel even when you’ve returned home from the trip.

The overwhelming realization of all the chores and items on your “to-do” list hits you. No matter where you go —beach, mountains, big city, overseas— there seems to always be a ton of cleaning up to do. But the situation doesn’t have to be so stressful! Here are some tips on how to make your post-vacation cleaning as easy as choosing your next dream destination!

Clean Before You Leave

Spending a little time planning before you leave can be something you thank yourself for later. One simple way to ensure an easier time of returning home is to clean before you even leave. Creating a clean, organized and decluttered space to come home to is such a relief and makes for an easy transition.

  • Before you leave for vacation, wipe down surfaces and sweep the floors to make sure there aren’t spills or crumbs that can attract unwanted houseguests (critters and bugs) while you’re away.
  • If you’ll be gone for more than 3-4 days, check out the food in your fridge, and throw out any that could potentially go bad and spoil before you return.
  • Take out the trash and clean any dishes to minimize the possibility of attracting bugs.
  • Lastly, spend as much time as you can picking up clutter and tidying your spaces. Wash your sheets and make the bed so you have clean sheets upon your return.
  • Also, put away clean clothes, pick up dirty ones and put them in the hamper. The last thing you want to come home to is a dirty and cluttered space — it just adds to the stress of unpacking and getting back to the real world!

Packing Smart

The post-vacation laundry piles can be massive, depending on the number of people who went on the vacation, how long you were gone, and what activities you did.

  • One tip is to pack all the dirty and clean clothes separately. If one suitcase contains everyone’s dirty clothes, it makes it easy to unpack this one right outside the laundry room and distribute the clean clothes in the other suitcase. If you only have one suitcase, pack a white trash bag for dirty clothes. This’ll help separate the clean clothes from the wet or dirty clothes.
  • When you return, any wet clothes should be immediately removed from the suitcase to prevent mildew, which can occur easily and quickly.
  • When packing your bags back up to return home, make sure you really think about what clothes are dirty. If there’s a chance it may be slightly dirty it’s probably a good idea to throw it in the “to-clean” pile. Sometimes you may just want to wash everything—as much of a pain as that may seem to be—so that nothing is dirty or germy and being brought back into your home.

Dust Upon Your Return

When activity levels in your home are low, more dust can settle due to lack of movement; this can lead to air becoming stale.

  • If you dust as soon as you return, you’ll maximize the overall cleanliness of your home.  Even if you cleaned the whole house before you left, dust can and will settle over the surfaces of your space. Dusting and doing other cleaning chores like vacuuming are best done as soon as you have time.

Vacations are meant to be relaxing, calming, and a nice break from reality, so there’s no reason your home can’t be that same sanctuary when you return! Try these tips to make post-vacation cleaning easy so that all that remains are the happy memories and a healthy home!

 

What Happens to Your Carpet If You Don’t Vacuum?

Carpet serves many beneficial purposes in your home, like providing warmth and comfort, reducing noise, adding style and design, and improving your indoor air quality. This means that proper care for cleaning and maintaining your carpet is very important. If you think that skipping vacuuming is an easy way to save you time and effort, think again! The Carpet and Rug Institute posits that proper vacuuming is the easiest and most effective way to keep your carpet clean. Not vacuuming can lead to a dirty, unhealthy home, and it takes a major toll on your carpet! For a happy, healthy home, vacuuming is a necessity!

Still not convinced? Here’s exactly what happens to your carpet if you don’t vacuum.

Vacuuming works by removing all of the tiny particles, like pollen, dust, dead skin and pet dander that becomes interwoven in your carpet’s fibers. That trapped dust and dirt causes your carpet to appear dirty and unclean.

When you don’t vacuum, those particles accumulate and pile up; they may even get deeply embedded into your carpet’s fibers. This causes discoloration of your carpet, which will make your carpet always appear dirty! It’ll also cause your carpet to be unhealthy, since it’ll be a home for allergens that can get kicked into the air and trigger allergy and asthma symptoms.

Loose particles, when not removed, will not only discolor your carpet, but also wear it down quicker. When carpet is walked on, the dust and dirt trapped in the fibers can get shifted around and actually end up cutting and damaging the carpet fibers. This decreases the lifespan of your carpet, meaning you’ll  have to get it replaced earlier—and that gets costly.

Not vacuuming leads to your carpet getting worn away every time you walk on it. And when you think about how many times a day you or a family member walks across it, you might just be convinced to run out, buy a vacuum and use it non-stop (if you haven’t done so already!).

Lastly, if you don’t vacuum, your carpet can become infested with dust mites and become a potential health hazard. Every day millions of pieces of hair, fur, pet dander, bugs, bacteria, dust and other allergens fall and get trapped in your carpet. If left there, they’ll only multiply, increasing how dirty and germy your carpet really gets, especially if you have pets or kids who bring in germs from outside !

This buildup of dust, dirt and bacteria can be a significant health hazard for you and your family, and even more so if your family includes allergy and asthma sufferers.

If you don’t vacuum regularly, you’re potentially damaging your family’s health, your carpet and your home. Frequent vacuuming is the key to maintaining the carpet’s look and feel, lifespan, and healthiness. The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends vacuuming high-traffic areas once a day, medium-traffic areas twice a week and low-traffic areas once a week. When you vacuum go over the area multiple times in different directions, don’t skimp out on the corners and crevices of each room. Vacuuming efficiently, frequently and effectively allows you to live happily in a healthy home—and with great carpet too!

Clean The Machine! 5 Tips for Cleaning Your Vacuum

Your vacuum cleaner does a good job of cleaning your home—picking up dust, dirt and other allergens trapped in the carpet’s fibers—but what about the cleaner itself? How often do you think to clean that? If your vacuum isn’t properly maintained and cleaned, its efficiency can be heavily reduced. So it’s important to clean your vacuum in order to extend its lifetime, and enable it to clean better and run smoother. In case you haven’t thought about how exactly you’d clean your vacuum, here are our top 5 tips to get your cleaning machine back in tip-top shape!

**The very first thing to do before any of these tips, is to unplug your machine to avoid any damage or harm to yourself or your vacuum! **

Empty the Canister/Bag

If the bag or canister gets too full, the vacuum can actually stop picking up dirt from your floors — meaning your hard work of vacuuming will be for nothing. Whether your vacuum has a bag or a canister, it’s important to empty it. For the canister or bag, just empty the content into a trash bag; if the bag is disposable, throw it away. You’ll want to do this step somewhere you don’t mind a possible mess, like on a patio or in your garage, because as you empty it, the contents may accidentally end up on the floor. If your vacuum does have a bag, try to never let it get more than about half-full before emptying it. Keeping your vacuum’s bag or canister at a good level is important for the cleanliness of your home and your vacuum cleaner!

Cut Hair/String from the Bottom

It’s almost inevitable (especially in a home with pets, children or long-haired women!) that your vacuum will pick up its fair share of hair or string. Small pieces can easily get caught in the wheels and brush roll, making them harder to turn and roll as they go over surfaces. This means that the machine is not doing as effective of a job as it could—which is not good news for you! Use scissors (nail scissors are small and work the best to get in the tight spaces) or a seam ripper to remove anything caught at the bottom of the vacuum. Once all is removed, your vacuum can function at a much better rate.

Disinfect the Bottom

You may have never heard of disinfecting your machine, especially the bottom. Sure, disinfecting the handles or anywhere germy hands could’ve touched is important. But the bottom of your vacuum can actually be covered in bacteria, which makes your home unhealthy. The bottom is the part that goes all over the floors of your home, and any germs or bacteria on the floors will then be transmitted wherever your vacuum goes next—which is most likely everywhere in your house! To disinfect it, pour rubbing alcohol onto a cotton pad and wipe down the bottom of your vacuum cleaner multiple times. This is especially important if there have been obvious signs, like someone getting sick on the floor or pet accidents.

Wash the Canister

Not only is it important to empty the canister of its content, but it’s also important to clean the insider of the canister itself. Canisters can easily get dirty from dust, allergens, dirt and other stuff it picks up and stores while you clean. If you’re able to detach it, wash both the inside and outside in hot, soapy water. If not, at least take a wet cloth and wipe down the inside and outside of the canister. Either way, make sure you fully dry it before putting it back, including every little crack and crevice. If it’s not thoroughly dried, mold can grow inside your vacuum — and you definitely don’t want that in your healthy home!

Clean the Attachments

It’s also important to clean the entire vacuum as a whole and its attachments, which include filters, and other accessories. Wipe down the outside of the vacuum with a damp cloth. Don’t skip over any part or small piece of the vacuum including buttons, the handle, and cords. Change or clean any of the filters on your machine according to the directions in the manuals that came with your vacuum. Filters are important to keep clean so that your home can stay clean as well! Lastly, wipe down and clean all attachments, even if you rarely use them. You can do this with a damp cloth, and maybe even disinfect them if you find it necessary. When your vacuum cleaner and all of its parts are clean, your vacuum can run much more effectively and efficiently—leaving your home a cleaner and healthier space for you to live in!

 

How to Deep Clean Your Most-Used Kitchen Appliances

The most used room in your house is none other than…your kitchen! You and your family spend countless hours there: talking, crossing paths, preparing meals and eating—so it’s no wonder you sweep, mop, and scrub so hard to keep it clean. But what about your kitchen appliances? How often do you work to keep those clean? It may be that you overlook the grease, dried food and other spills and stains…but that shouldn’t be the case.

It’s important to deep clean—and keep clean! —your kitchen appliances; after all, that’s where you prepare and store your food. The best way is to clean any messes on your appliances as soon as they happen and to clean regularly, but there are times when they’ll just require a good, deep clean. So here are tips on how to deep clean your most used kitchen appliances for a happy, healthy kitchen!

Stove

Stoves can be very messy — getting buried beneath old, forgotten food spills and grease stains. The first step to clean it is to remove the grates, which you’ll clean separately. Fill your sink with warm water and dish soap and let the grates soak. Then, using a soft brush, scrub the stains and dry the grates well (especially if you have grates that tend to rest easily).

Next, spray vinegar in the area under the grates and scrub to remove those dried food spills. Be careful not to get the electric starter wet though! For those stains that are a bit tougher, use a baking soda paste (water and baking soda mixed) and scrub it onto the stains. Wash the mixture away, dry it, and place the grates back on.

Microwave

Messes in the microwave can easily happen when heating up and cooking food. If there are small stains, use warm water and soap to scrub them away. For the bigger messes, first remove the turntable to clean. Scrub it in dish soap and water (or 2 parts baking soda and 1-part water for really stuck-on stains) and dry completely.

In a microwave-safe bowl, place water and slices of lemon and heat it on high for 3-4 minutes, depending on the level of gunk in your microwave. Let it stand another 3 minutes once done so that the steam can work its magic. Lastly, use a sponge or rag to scrub the food right off. Most likely, the steam will have done the work and there won’t be too much scrubbing to get a fully clean microwave!

Oven

Cleaning an oven in a safe way does take a bit of work and elbow grease; however, it’s worth it to keep a spotless oven. First thing to do is to remove oven racks, thermometers, or anything else you have in your oven. Then, mix together 1 cup of baking soda with enough water to make it a paste. Coat the inside of your oven—not overlooking any cracks or crevices—with this paste and let it sit for at least 12 hours or overnight. Remove the paste with a damp sponge or cloth.

If there’s still some paste lingering, spray vinegar on it; this will cause it to fizz and then you can remove all the paste. Lastly, use a damp cloth to finish wiping the whole inside of our oven and replace the racks back. The oven can be easy to keep clean if you remove spills when they’re warm, which makes it easier to remove, and use careful baking/cooking habits (such as bigger pans, tin foil, etc) to not let food splatter or spill.

Refrigerator

You may not realize just how dirty your fridge is because you never see it empty without food. But considering it’s where you store a lot of your food, especially the produce, it’s important to keep it clean! First, clean and clear out your fridge, being very strict on the food-purging. Throw away any expired food, or almost-expired food that you know you won’t finish before the date. Once your food is picked through, put everything in a cooler for the duration of the cleaning. Next, make sure you unplug and turn off your fridge so that it’s safe to use water in it to clean.

Remove any shelves or drawers and wash those separately with warm water and dish soap (in the sink or a tub). Then, make a baking soda and water mixture consisting of 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 quart of water. Use a cloth dipped into the mixture to wipe the inside fridge down from top to bottom, making sure to get all the crevices and every inch of space. Dry with a cloth and replace your shelves, drawers and lastly, the food. This will ensure your food stays fresh in a clean fridge for a healthy kitchen!

Dishwasher

Last, but certainly not least, you expect your dishwasher to wash your plates, cups and silverware…so why not keep it clean too? To start, pull the bottom rack out as far as it will go to have better access to the drain. Then, clean all around the drain, removing the filter, and wipe the blades as well. Place 1 cup of white distilled vinegar in a container on the bottom rack and ½ cup of baking soda in a dish on the top rack. Run your dishwasher on its normal cycle, and then let it sit for 20 minutes after it has finished. Remove the containers and let your clean, fresh dishwasher continue to wash your dishes!

 

 

5 Ways to Remove Allergens from Your Home

Allergens are everywhere in your home. In fact, many homes have multiple types of allergens—usually more than 3—lurking in every crack and crevice. While you may be thinking that this surely isn’t the case for you, or it doesn’t affect you that badly, allergens can actually be harmful to your health and can trigger the smallest of asthma and allergy symptoms. Whether or not you believe allergens are a problem in your house, removing them is one way to ensure a happy, healthy home for you and your family.

Locate The Trigger(s)

Before you can remove any allergens, it’s important to know the main triggers that give you grief. There are actually different steps for removing different types of allergens. For example, if pet dander is the main cause then you want to consider not getting a pet, getting one that doesn’t shed a lot, or regularly grooming your current pet to reduce the amount of pet hair and dander.

Other possibilities for triggers are mold, dust, dirt and pollen. To know exactly which allergens are causing the pain, you can get an allergist to test you for allergies , or you may be able to tell based on when and where the flare up of your symptoms occurs. Once you have located the source, you can clean smarter to remove those allergens. And follow the tips below to better reduce and remove allergens from your home!

Ventilate Your House

Having a well-ventilated home can significantly reduce the amount of allergens and allergy triggers. If the humidity in your area isn’t severe, then open windows and turn on fans as much as you can. This allows allergens to be removed from the home naturally. If pollen is a major problem for you, then purchase a pollen-proof screen for your windows—this will trap the pollen from being caught inside of your home.

In the kitchen, when cooking, turn on exhaust fans to remove scents, smells and particles that could stir up symptoms. In the bathroom, turn on exhaust fans, especially right after a shower, in order to reduce the dampness which will reduce the possibility of mold and mildew. Ventilation, whether from fans, windows, or something else, will help keep your home clean and allergen-free!

Clean Filters Often

Air filters work really well to remove dust, dander, dirt and other unwanted particles from your home. But that doesn’t mean you can forget about cleaning and changing filters! If they get too piled up with dirt, their effectiveness will wear off and they’ll no longer be helping to clean your home’s air—something that you definitely do not want to happen! Most air filters can last anywhere from 4-6 months without being changed or cleaned (depending on the type of filter you have and the conditions of your home). However, if you have pets or someone in your household has bad allergies or asthma, you’ll want to clean the filters once a month. Also, if you keep the rest of your home pretty tidy and clean, then you’ll need to change your air filters less. Regardless of your situation, changing or cleaning your air filters often will help remove those pesky allergens from your home!

Use Green Cleaning Products

This one may surprise to you, but it makes sense: oftentimes normal store-bought products are full of chemicals and scents that can heavily trigger your worst allergy and asthma symptoms. And you’re using them everywhere in your home to clean it! Green products not only reduce the chemicals in the cleaning, but they’re also better on the environment and your home! Green cleaning products are actually designed to preserve human health and environmental quality. You can find many of these in the store or easily find recipes online for a DIY green product. Something as small as using green cleaning products in your home can make a big difference in reducing allergens!

Dust and Vacuum Often

Last, but certainly not least, is the classic cleaning task of dusting and vacuuming. Probably the most effective way to banish dust, dirt, pollen, dander and other allergens is to keep a clean home by regularly dusting and vacuuming. Both of these eliminate allergens from your home; however, when done together, they seriously remove lots of allergens. The key is to do them together, correctly and often. Always dust first before vacuuming, so that particles you knock to the ground can then be sucked up by the vacuum.

Also, when you dust, use a damp cloth, which helps trap the dust as opposed to simply dispersing it back into your home. Vacuum over the same area multiple times in various directions for the best clean. You should vacuum and dust at least once a week—with a quick vacuum during the week if needed. By dusting and vacuuming often, your home will be tidy, clean, healthy and—the best part of course— free of allergens!

 

 

 

 

Green DIY Cleaners

Because cleaning is such an essential part of having a healthy home, it’s important to have the right cleaners to do the job; –ones that will clean while still being safe for the environment, your home and your family. Despite your use of a wide variety of soaps, sprays and scents, your store-bought cleaning supplies could still be toxic. For a safer alternative, here are simple and safe green do-it-yourself cleaners to make any space in your home clean and healthy!

All-Purpose Cleaner: All-purpose cleaners are usable on any hard surfaces like counters, floors, sinks, and tables. Mix 2 cups white distilled vinegar with 2 cups of water and 20-30 drops of essential oil (optional) and pour into a spray bottle. To help boost the cleaning power for those tough battles with dirt, microwave the mixture until it’s barely hot.

Laundry Detergent: Since your washer is supposed to get your clothes clean, why not feed it the best cleaning solution to do so? For this detergent, mix together 1 cup of soap flakes (can be made from your favorite bar soap using a cheese grater), ½ cup washing soda, and ½ cup baking soda. Use 1 tablespoon per load or 2 for particularly dirty laundry loads.

Air Freshener: You want your home to not only look clean, but also smell fresh. But sometimes those air fresheners you buy just aren’t doing the trick—plus they’re adding chemicals to the air inside your home. The good news is that there are some simple at-home tricks to use. Indoor plants help absorb odors, as will mixtures of either baking soda and lemon juice or vinegar and lemon juice placed in small dishes around the house. While you’re cooking, heat 1 tablespoon vinegar mixed with 1 cup of water on the stove to help absorb smells from your meal. Lastly, for a general good smell in your home, you can simmer water and a spice such as cinnamon on the stove.

Carpet Stains: Whether it’s from pets, children, or just daily living, there are bound to be stains on your flooring. Add an equal amount of white vinegar and water (depending on how much stain remover you need) into a spray bottle. Spray the areas and let it sit for several minutes. Then, wash the spray away with a brush or sponge.

Windows: Windows get streaky from mother nature’s wrath, so it’s nice to keep them clean and shiny. To do so, mix together 2 tablespoons white vinegar and 1 liter of warm water in a spray bottle. Once you have sprayed the window, use either a black and white newspaper (no color!) or a cloth to wipe and clean the window. If possible, try to not clean the windows when the sun is shining through them so that streaks are not left behind.

Toilet Bowl: To clean your toilet bowl of stains, rings or just a regular necessary clean, mix ¼ cup baking soda with 1 cup of vinegar. Pour this into the bowl and let it soak at least 30 minutes to give time for the cleaner to work. Then scrub, wipe and flush to leave your bowl very clean.

Disinfectant: Every home needs a good, general disinfectant especially for areas like the kitchen or bathroom. Mix together 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol, 1 cup water, 1 cup white vinegar and 40 drops of essential oil and pour it into a spray bottle. This way the bottle will be ready to disinfect whenever and wherever the situation calls for it.

 

5 Secrets Hotel Maids Know That You Don’t

If you want advice on how to do something, you go to the professionals—after all, they should know best, right? You go to a mechanic for car advice, a lawyer for legal advice, a chef for cooking advice…so why not go to maids for cleaning advice? Maids clean thousands of hotel rooms a year, so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about efficient and effective cleaning. While your house may not look exactly like a hotel room, these cleaning tips can be applied to any space in your home. Here are 5 secrets hotel maids know that you don’t— but you certainly should!

Prepare to Clean

In order to clean a lot of rooms in a short amount of time, maids have to be prepared for the tasks ahead of them. They corral all their tools together in their carts and basket. You might not have a fancy cart lying around, you can round up all of your supplies in a caddy, basket or some other storage unit. With your cleaning tools all together, it’ll be much easier to tackle any cleaning task. Also, clear out all the clutter first before you start on a room. Clearing beds, counters, surfaces and floors first will not only make you feel like you have accomplished a lot in a small amount of time, but it’ll also allow for an easier cleaning. Preparing is one way to ensure a thorough clean and a healthy home!

Vacuum Before Mopping

Mopping’s a great way to clean floors in both hotels and homes; however, if there’s dirt, dust, hair or other particles on the ground, mopping can make one mess even messier. Wiping dust and hair with a mop will not effectively remove those things; in fact, it could make them more difficult to remove from the floor. If you don’t vacuum up the dust and dirt, then when you mop, you’re basically dragging dirt around all over your floor—quite the opposite of what you want! So before you start mopping a floor, make sure you vacuum or sweep in order to pick up all the dirt particles on the floor. This allows for a better and deeper clean of your home!

Vacuum the Opposite Way

While we’re on the topic of vacuuming, it’s important to mention a secret that hotel maids do all the time. Contrary to what you may’ve been told, you actually want to vacuum yourself into a room. Many people believe they should start in the farthest corner of the room and vacuum themselves out of the room; however, maids say that you should vacuum yourself into a room and then vacuum yourself out. When you vacuum yourself into the room, you’ll be going over heavily used areas. Then, when you vacuum yourself out of the room, you’re going over the most used/walked on areas twice. This ensures a definite clean!

Whack the Drapes

Drapes and curtains can be magnets for dust particles. You can use the brush attachment on your vacuum to clean the drapes; however, vacuuming them does not fully clean all the nooks and crannies where dust could be hiding. Instead, give the drapes a good whack with a hand towel. Doing so will loosen the dirt and dust onto the ground where you can then use your vacuum to clean. Also, using a towel is strong enough to be effective without tiring your arm out trying to remove dust from the drapes. Whacking all the drapes from top to bottom will remove all dust, dirt and other unwanted particles, making it easier to keep a clean and healthy home!

Let the Cleaner Do the Work

Whether you use store-bought or home-made cleaners, they’re one of the best things to use when doing a deep clean. The whole purpose is to aid in cleaning, so let it sit and do the work! When cleaning surfaces, spray them with the cleaner and then move on to a new task, letting the spray sit. When you come back and wipe to clean, the set cleaner will have done most of the work of removing dust and dirt. All you have to do is wipe away to finish the cleaning off. For example, when cleaning the bathroom, spray the toilet, shower, tub and counter, then move on to cleaning cabinets, mirrors and the floors. The cleaner that you let sit on the surfaces is at work while you are—so at the end of it all, you have a clean and healthy home!

Project Garage! Tips on Organizing Your Go-To Storage Space

Garages are great: they’re the perfect storage space of a house, where you can always find exactly what you’re looking for…or not! Has your garage become so messy, cluttered and disorganized that you can barely use it? Things might tend to get stuffed and piled in every corner, leaving you with a daunting mess to look at. When this happens, there’s only thing to do…Project Garage! Check out our tips on organizing your go-to storage space for a fully functional, clean and organized garage.

First Things First

Before you tackle this huge organizational plan, there are a few basics to keep in mind. First, this doesn’t have to be a solo person project! Enlist the help of your family, friends or neighbors to make this project simpler. (Make a deal that anything you put in the “donate” pile, helpers get first pick!) A garage clean-out probably isn’t a single day project either, so a little patience will go a long way.

Next you’ll want to clear everything out — yes, everything! The only way you’re going to clean and declutter efficiently is if you actually know what all’s hidden in there. Once you’ve taken everything out, start making 3 piles — keep, donate, trash. Be smart here: if you didn’t even know the object was in your garage, or you haven’t used (or thought about it!) in a while, you may want to consider donating or trashing it. Once you have all the items you’re keeping, it’s time to move on to step 2.

Plan a Layout

Mostly everything you do is better if there’s some sort of plan, idea or list behind it, including organizing your garage. It doesn’t have to be a perfect interior design sketch, but having a rough drawing of your storage space and where everything is going can be useful. One important thing here is to find a place for everything! If you can’t find room for something, really think about whether it’s necessary to keep.

If it is, find a spot for it by removing other things or getting more storage; if no, then get rid of it. Something that’s really helpful in planning out your organization is to group all your items on your garage floor. Put the gardening tools, sports equipment, tools, etc. together so you see exactly what groups and items need to be stored away. Now that you have a plan, time to put it into action!

Smart Storage

Because your garage is meant to store items (and even cars…who knew!), it’s important to utilize the maximum storage possible in whatever space you’re working with. Using the wrong storage containers, size or shape can lead back to a messy piled up garage that’s not capable of fitting everything you need it to. Shelving — whether metal racks, doored cabinets or homemade wooden planks — is an important and necessary part of storage. If your garage allows you space to put shelving racks, then do so because you can place many items on one storage space. This is also a good way to group like-items together.

Workbenches also come in handy because they double as both a place to store tools as well as a workspace. They can be bought and installed, or even made from scraps you have around your home (just search the internet for tons of ideas). These workbenches provide drawers, hanging space, cabinets and cubbies to give you great storage. (Bonus: they don’t take up a lot of space!)

Another big way to maximize the storage space in your garage is to utilize vertical and ceiling room. The walls and ceiling are taking up room in your garage so if you don’t use them, it’s just wasted, empty space. Instead hang shelves, pegboards or crates on the walls; you can also hang hooks and racks from the ceiling. Then you can hang big items like bikes from ceiling racks or on vertical metal poles. You can place hanging tools on the pegboard, and sports equipment in wall crates. It’s best to place items you don’t use very often in ceiling storage to provide room for more frequently used items.

Label it All

At last! You’ve decluttered, grouped and organized everything you possibly can and you’re left staring at a neat, clean and organized garage. You did it…but there’s still something missing. Just this one simple task can really put the cherry on top and maximize all of your hard work you just did. Label everything! This may seem tedious, but once everything has a label it’ll make future use of the garage much easier. Labeling allows you to find things quicker down the road and it’ll keep your garage tidy because you know how and where to put things back. After you’ve labeled everything (even things that may seem silly like basketballs or bike helmets), take a step back and admire your hard-earned organized garage space!

 

 

5 Smart Tips for Containing Pet Hair

If you have pets, you’ve probably experienced—and most likely drowned in—mounds of pet hair. The downside to having your loving fur companion is the amount of hair they leave behind everywhere they go. But this doesn’t have to be the case. You can’t stop your pet from shedding, but you can take these simple measures to lessen the pile-ups that cause your home to appear messy and dirty. Here are 5 smart tips for containing pet hair that will leave your home fresh and clean—pets and all!

Brush Often!

The biggest thing you can do to eliminate some of the fur is to brush your pet often—don’t neglect your grooming duties! Just taking a few minutes each day to brush your furry friend can significantly decrease the amount of shedding that occurs.  Make sure you brush your pet outside or in your garage so that what you remove from their coat doesn’t end up back in your house—the exact place you don’t want it! Brushing your pet everyday may seem tedious, but it can make a huge difference in keeping your home clean!

Cover Furniture

Pet shedding is inevitable unfortunately, and oftentimes you cannot control where they sit, lay down or roll around—a.k.a. where they leave their fur and hair behind. Cover the most common furniture, pillows, and other spaces that your pet uses with a slip cover. These are easy to wash and keep your actual furniture and home clean and fur-free! If you don’t want to use a slip or couch cover, you can even place a blanket or towel down on the furniture instead. This will at least contain your pet hair to certain areas that are easier to clean than say your couch or favorite lounging chair.

Use Rugs

Just as the covers protect your furniture, rugs can protect your carpets from getting massive hairball clumps. Buy machine-washable throw rugs so that they’re easy to clean. Place these rugs on the common lounging spots of your pet or places you’ve noticed the most fur accumulating. Place rugs or mats by the doors and any entrances from the outside. This will help trap any hair caught on their feet, and will protect your home from the dirt and other things they track in from the outside.

Clean Often

Despite your best efforts, pet hair will find its way into your corners, carpets and couches. Cleaning your home often will get rid of the huge pile-ups you find and reduce the overall amount of work you have to do each time. At least once a week—and possibly more if you have lots of pets or a big super-shedder—sweep the floors, vacuum the carpet and pick up the hair from other furniture and crevices. By cleaning often, you’ll feel less overwhelmed by your pets shedding because your home will look tidier and cleaner!

Quick Removal

Remove recently shed hair as soon as you can. Newly shed hair is much easier to clean off of any surface, whether it’s sheets, couches, floors or even your dog’s bed. It’s easier to clean because it hasn’t worked its way into the thread, fibers, or upholstery where it can get trapped and build up. The longer your pet’s shed hair stays where it is, the more often it will get walked on, sat on or moved around, which leads to tougher cleaning and more hair than you desire. So to fix this, try to clean your pet’s shed hair as soon as you can to ensure an easier clean and a tidier home!

4 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Clean with Your Vacuum

When you think of chores, cleaning or your to-do list, it’s likely that vacuuming is one of the first things you think of. Vacuum cleaners are considered a cleaning staple for households, but there’s so much more to vacuums than the standard usage. Here are 4 things you didn’t know you could clean with your vacuum that will give your home a complete clean, transforming it into a healthy, happy space for you to live.

Dusting

Vacuums have long been known for their ability to pick up the dust and dirt collecting in your carpet’s fibers.  But did you know that vacuums can be used for the rest of your dusting too? Using a vacuum is actually more effective in cleaning because the particles end up in the canister or bag, as opposed to settling all over your recently-cleaned home.

To use your vacuum for dusting purposes, just attach the soft brush attachment to the end of the hose and go over any surface you’d like, such as tables, bookshelves, and windowsills. Vacuums can even help you dust areas or items that you would’ve never thought of or that are difficult to reach, like baseboards, light fixtures/lamps, and window covers (blinds, curtains, shutters).

Appliances

While the actual vacuum unit can’t reach up to clean the kitchen appliances, your hose and attachments sure can! Long gone are the days of removing all the appliance’s pieces, scrubbing, and wiping with a paper towel to clean crumbs and food bits stuck in your microwave, stove, oven and fridge.

Using the crevice attachment, you can easily fit your hose into the small spaces of your stove or fridge shelves to clean the debris. This saves you the hassle and frustration of wiping and re-wiping spilled scraps. And while you’re at it, you could even suck up the crumbs on your counter too! Just make sure whatever appliance you are cleaning has cooled down first, and then vacuum away!

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Bathroom

You can’t clean every inch of your bathroom — because the vacuum won’t clean your shower or your toilet! However, it can still be quite useful. You’ve probably seen it:  your bathroom can collect a lot of sticky dust and lint, and any attempt to wipe it down with a paper towel can actually end up smearing that grime around even more.

To save you from this distress, simply use the soft brush attachment (attached onto your vacuum’s hose) and wipe down surfaces, counters and walls of your bathroom. While you may have to use a cleaner to clean the stains and messes, using your vacuum cleaner to wipe down and tidy up the space makes the process much quicker and easier!

Windows

If just the thought of taking your windows and screens apart for cleaning makes you want to run away screaming, then your vacuum is just the thing you need. As odd as it may sound, giving your windows a quick vacuum every now and then will actually clean them better and in a much faster way! Oftentimes, homeowners seem to overlook the filth and dust on their windows because they’re such inconvenient places to clean. If you’re using a vacuum to clean often, then it might not be necessary to take apart your whole window, spray it down and scrub like a madman.

To clean your windows, use your hose to vacuum the screen, windowsill (a lot of filth can build up in the windowsill between the screen and glass), and windows. With a fresh view outside, your home will certainly be looking and feeling clean and tidy inside—all thanks to your vacuum!