How to Clean Your Mattress in 4 Easy Steps

We vacuum our floors and mow our lawn, but when is the last time you cleaned your mattress?

On average, a mattress has a lifespan of seven to ten years. Over that timespan, your mattress becomes soiled with bacteria, allergens, dust mites and bodily fluid.

Dust mites are a tiny bug that are invisible to the bare eye. These pesky creatures are known for feeding on tiny flakes of human skin and producing allergens that we inhale when we sleep. For individuals that are prone to allergies, these little pests might be the trigger. The average used mattress is home to anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million dust mites. Yikes!

Your bed should be a place you are recharged and restored, not a place that makes you sick. For a piece of furniture we spend 27 years of our life on, it’s ironic we take better care of our floors.

Want to keep your mattress safe and sanitary? Here’s how to do that in four easy steps:

 

Wash your sheets!

Experts recommend washing or changing your sheets every week. Yet, most Americans only change the covers once a month! That’s a lot of time for dead skin cells, sweat and love juices to get left behind. 

When washing your sheets, avoid jamming too many in the washer at once. Not only does overloading the washer machine harm your appliance, but your laundry doesn’t come out as clean. That’s because when a washer is jammed packed it’s harder for the detergent to move around and get the job done. You should also avoid washing your sheets with other items to prevent tangling. As always, wash with similar colors.

As a rule of thumb, make sure to check the label for washing instructions; however,  cotton sheets are normally okay on any cycle. Be sure to choose the appropriate soil level of your sheets, but beware that over-washing your sheets can cause them to wear out faster.

While any water temperature will do, it’s recommended you wash your sheets in warmer water during flu season to reduce the amount of allergens.

Air it out

One of the main reasons our mattress is a breeding ground for dust mites and bed bugs is because it is a warm, moist place where these pests thrive. Gross, but true. Not only will keeping your mattress dry help eliminate the threat of bugs, it also helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

Stripping your bed helps remove the moisture dust mites need to thrive, causing them to dehydrate and die. Airing out your mattress daily will keep your bed in tip-top shape.

To air out your mattress, you don’t have to do any heavy lifting. Simply pull off all the linens and protectors and let the mattress breathe. Take it one step further and open the blinds of a nearby window to let the sun dry out your mattress even more.

Allow your bed to breathe for at least a couple hours each day before making it.

Use a mattress protector 

Another great way to prevent moisture build up is to use a mattress protector. Mattress protectors act as a shield the repels sweat, bodily fluids, and accidental spills. Think of your mattress protector as an extra shield between you and your body. Protectors are also good for preventing the build-up of bacteria which start as our own dead skin cells. 

When looking for a mattress protector, you’ll want something that covers 100% of the surface. While some protectors come in the form of a fitted sheet, use an encasement that zips on for optimal protection. If you sleep hot and often wake up with a case of the night sweats, opt for a waterproof protector for an extra layer of protection.

To keep the health of your mattress top notch, find a protector that is machine washable. You won’t want your shield against the imminent bacteria getting soiled.

Other benefits of mattress protectors include helping stabilize your body temperature and prolonging the lifespan of your mattress.

Vacuum it 

Another great way to clean your mattress is to run the vacuum over the surface. Although it may sound weird, this is a great way to collect and dust or dead skin cells that might linger otherwise. Doing this every three months will keep your mattress’ hygiene in good standing.

Sleep is integral to our overall health and wellness, and our mattress is the performance tool to getting our best sleep. So we need to make sure we are taking care of it.

No matter how clean we think we are, our mattresses naturally break down and get soiled overtime. If you have noticed a sag developing towards the middle of the bed or you wake up with aches and pains, it may be time to go shopping. Even if you don’t see tangible evidence of degeneration, a mattress over a decade old is most likely not as sanitary as you think.

However, you can use these four tips to help you optimize the lifespan of your mattress.

4 Steps to Removing Toxic Chemicals From Your Home

Did you know there are 500 to 1,000 toxic chemicals lurking in your home?

That’s right. Toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, asbestos, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), flame retardants and BPA are found in a number of common household items including, paper products, paints, bathroom cleaners, water bottles and many more.

Although exposure to small doses of these chemicals may not be harmful, in combination or in large amounts, these toxins can cause a number of irritations to our body. This includes impacts to our respiratory, circulatory, reproductive, cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems. 

In fact, chemical off-gassing from household products, cigarette smoke, air-borne allergens and viruses can promote “sick-building syndrome,” which causes symptoms such as headaches, Eye, nose, and throat irritations, dry cough, irritated skin, and nausea to name a few. 

Just as we detox our bodies from sugar or caffeine every once in a while, it is beneficial to detox your home on occasion.

Here are four quick ways to minimize the amount of toxic chemicals in your home:

 

Add Plants to Improve Indoor Quality

Not only are plants the perfect touch to any interior, they can actually improve indoor air quality. 

Plants improve air quality by removing toxins from the atmosphere. A study by NASA found that indoor plants absorb harmful toxins lingering in the air through their leaves and roots and act as a sort of air filter removing carbon and increasing oxygen levels. 

Some of the best plants to add to your living space are ferns, golden pothos and aloe vera.

Consider the products you bring into your home

Although “going organic” is a hot trend these days, it’s not a bad idea.

Be picky about the brands you use. Check what is used to make the product and where they are made. You should only purchase from brands that clearly disclose what materials are in the products. 

Many brands are catching wind of how important ethically sourced, organic materials are to customers. One example of an environmentally sound and transparent brand is Leesa Sleep

Leesa Sleep is a Certified-B corporation which means they meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. Their product is made in the U.S. (which holds the highest standards for product development) and built with Certi-PUR foams. This is just one example of many brands joining the fight to become green.

As a rule of thumb, here are a few tips when it comes to shopping for non-toxic household items: 

  • Shop for biodegradable household cleaning products that disclose all ingredients used and don’t use fragrance

  • Avoid aerosol spray cans

  • Avoid spraying pesticides - address the root of the problem instead, (i.e., not leaving food out)

  • Buy non-PVC paint

  • Shop for BPA-free plastics

  • Cut back on cans

Vacuum the house regularly

One of the most common places for toxins and allergens to lurk is in dust. This makes it important that you dust and vacuum the house regularly.

One study conducted by the NRDC, found that 90% of dust samples collected contained toxic chemicals. In fact, the study found roughly 45 different types of chemicals across five main chemical classes. Some of these chemicals include phthalates, flame retardants, fragrances and environmental phenols.

All this to say, when detoxing your home, one crucial step is to clean.

 

Install the proper protection

There is no way to 100% detox your home. In order to stay safe from potential pollutants in your home, take these precautionary measures.

  • Install CO detectors to notify you when this harmful gas is present in your home

  • Have your water tested for lead

  • Always ventilate while painting or refurbishing to let toxic gases escape

  • Get a shower filter. This will filter out any impurities in your tap water that could turn to gas at room temperature.

 The average American spends 90% of their time in their home. It’s time we take care of it and the things we bring into it.

 

Tips For Using A Robot Vacuum To Keep Your Home Extra Clean

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As technology marches forward, we find ourselves with more and more new ways to clean our home. Take robot vacuum cleaners, for instance, They are one of the latest high-tech devices that are designed to make our lives easier. And while they aren't perfect, and won't replace your upright completely, if used properly, they can keep your home cleaner and ease your workload.


Use this technology to your advantage and up your cleaning game like a pro. Here are a few tips to use your robot vacuum cleaner and get the most out of it.

Know your home before buying

Before you buy a little robot friend, take a good look at your home. Check out all of the nooks and crannies. Think about your home from the robot's point of view. If your sofa has a low clearance on the bottom, you'll need a thinner robot to get under there? Does dust collect in the corner of your room? If so, you may want a model that is designed to get into corners and clean them. These models usually have one right-angled edge. Can it fit between chair legs?


Is your home very large? Then you'll want a robot vacuum cleaner with a larger battery capacity so it doesn't run out of steam in the middle of the job. Smaller homes will be compatible with a smaller battery capacity. Are your floors mostly hardwood or carpet? You'll want a robot that specializes in your floor type. Some are good for both, while others excel at one or the other. There are even models that can clean and mop like these from Gadgetreview. As you can see, it pays to know your home before you buy.

Do a brief cleanup ahead of your robot

As I said, these robots haven't completely eliminated cleaning for us entirely. Not yet. So they work best with a floor that is cleared of the obstacles that our family tends to throw around. Clothes, bags, and other obstacles should be cleaned up so that your little worker bee can roam freely and do its job.

Keep your robot clean

Keep your robot in tip-top shape by giving it a thorough cleaning every so often to make sure that dust sensors and other electronics are clear and everything is working properly. This will make sure that it serves you in your home for a long time.

Empty it often

Empty your robot's dust bin often so that it can always pick up more. Because as you know there is always more to suck up. If you let it run with a full container of dirt, it is just moving around and doing nothing.

Give it a good place to charge

You'll want to place the charging dock in a flat and easily accessible area, preferably somewhere in the area that requires the most cleaning so that it can always get to it and charge up. And keep the charging dock clean and free of dust.

Allergies

If you can, get a model that is AAFA certified or otherwise helps remove allergens. This will life life very nice if you are an allergy sufferer.

Be patient & Relax

Sometimes it might seem like it is not hitting the area that you want it to clean the most, but just relax, it will get there. There is a method to the way it roams about your home. It really does know what it is doing.

Sure, your robot vacuum cleaner doesn't do all of the work in your home but take advantage of the job that it does do and make sure that you find some time to kick back and chill as you watch it do it's duty nearby. You’ll love it and may even find that it has a personality.


Cleaning Tools Needed for Keeping Your Home Clean and Fresh

When it comes to keeping your home clean fresh, it can definitely be a challenge. How do you know if you’re cleaning things correctly? Is the time you’re putting into the clean worthwhile? What about all that money? These are common questions and are good to ask. Many often end up wasting time and effort into making sure their home is clean when, in fact, it’s surprisingly not.

If you’re looking for some ways to ensure your home stays clean and fresh, you’ll want to check out this article. You’ll find some of the top cleaning tools you can invest in to help you. To find out what they are and how they can keep your home clean, keeping reading.

Best Cleaning Tools to Keep Your Home Clean and Fresh

Vacuum Cleaners

Vacuum cleaners are one of the most important cleaning tools to have in your home. They aren’t only versatile, but can be hypoallergenic as well. This means if someone in your household has severe allergies, you can help prevent them from happening with these helpful tools. Vacuums also tend to come with accessories, like furniture dusters and stair cleaners, which you can use to clean off difficult surfaces. If you’re looking for cheap vacuum cleaners you can check out shark vacuum models.

Microfiber Cloths

Microfiber cloths are the perfect way to help clean up messes. They can absorb many particles so you don’t have to worry about anything being left behind. This is unlike popular paper towels which often leave behind some things so you need to use a lot of them. You can also reuse microfiber cloths without problems. When you’re done cleaning, simply throw them into the washer.

Brooms

A broom is always handy to have. It can sweep up many messes and prevent them from spreading around in your home. This tool also doesn’t require electricity to run which means you can use it anytime and anywhere without issues. Brooms also tend to come with dustpans. You can use these pans to help clean up any messes you sweep up quickly.

You’ll also find that brooms are very affordable, so you can easily invest in a few for your home without fear of breaking the bank.

Toothbrushes

You might be surprised to learn that a toothbrush is not only a great way to clean your teeth, but your home as well. Toothbrushes can get into small crevices which can help to clean sections in your home better. This means they can scrub off hard-to-remove mold, dirt, and other grime that could end up collecting in certain areas.

Steam Cleaners

Steam cleaners are helpful as they can sanitize areas, like hardwood floors and carpets, well. This way, you can be sure that harmful germs and other particles aren’t lingering around in your home. To learn more about these home-cleaning tools you can check this guide.

Keeping your home tidy and fresh can be a challenge. Dust can easily collect and messes can occur, even after you just cleaned up an area. Because of this, it can end up being overwhelming and daunting to clean your home up. However, there’s no need to feel this way anymore thanks to the cleaning tools mentioned above. These tools are versatile, affordable, and come in many different options. This way, you have a variety of choices to select from so you find something that matches your preferences perfectly.

If you’re looking for cleaning tools to help keep your home clean and fresh, be sure to keep the ones mentioned above in mind. They are not only helpful to have on hand, but get the job done right.

A Minimalist’s Essentials to a Clutter-Free Home

If the thought of a perfectly uniform, well-organized pantry or a completely bare countertop gets you excited, then you might be a part of the minimalist revolution. According to Dr. Andrea Umbach, author of the book The Decline of Stuff: Millennials are Going Minimalist, younger people have found great value in less, and we’ve tossed out (or never even considered) the second car, the holiday decorations and the general clutter in favor of experiences, travel and entertainment. For minimalist millennials or anyone else who values total order, it’s best to have as little stuff as possible. But you still have to live, right? Here are the bare essentials for living in a minimalistic, clutter-free space without sacrificing style or convenience.

 

1.     The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up—The No. 1 New York Times best-seller is all about learning how to use the Japanese KonMari method to simplify, organize and store. Author Marie Kondo (inventor of the KonMari method) explains how categorizing your belongings and keeping only the things that “spark joy” can help revolutionize the way you shop for and keep your things. The step-by-step guide promises to help you organize your home once and then keep it organized forever so you never have to do it again. If you’re getting anxious just thinking about adding another book to the pile—we feel your pain—borrow a copy from the library or a friend so it’s out of your hair as soon as you’re done.

2.     A Cordless Vacuum Cleaner—Clutter and cleanliness go hand-in-hand, and there are few scenarios where you can outright eliminate the vacuum cleaner from the rotation. With that being said, you can certainly minimize its effects on your space and stress levels by selling or donating your old sweeper and upgrading to a cordless vacuum cleaner. These products eliminate the dreaded cord knot that seems to inevitably form in the closet in between uses. They’re also amazingly sleek, good-looking and minimalist in their own way, and prevent trips and falls while sweeping.

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3.     A Cable Management System—Cables…they’re unruly, ugly and sometimes impossible to manage. Not to mention, with minimalism comes a wide variety of cordless products, but all of those products have to charge. So, the one place in your home—probably next to the bed—is often teeming with messy, tangled cords that never seem to stay neat, no matter how much you untwist, untangle and uncoil. A bedside cable organizer is the perfect way to get rid of that nightstand cable clutter that nags at you and keeps you up at night! We’re crazy about the Glow Lighted Cord Organizer from Cord Buddy.

 

4.     Magnetic Drawer Strips—Did you know that you can buy handy little magnetic strips that you can use to line the sides of your drawers? Stick them in the junk drawer to catch rogue nails, razor blades, screws and pins or place them in the drawer of your vanity to neatly house your nail clippers, tweezers, small scissors and safety pins. We love this approach to drawer organization because it takes clutter out of the main drawer compartment up onto the sides, allowing you to take full advantage of the primary space and keep it permanently organized. Strip magnets are also great for the office, craft room and bathroom.

5.     Bins, Canisters and Tubs Galore—Some of the most important things to have on hand when you’re trying to get a particularly messy or cluttered space under control are a wide variety of containers. Try baskets for the kids’ toys, designated canisters for all your dried foods in the pantry, extra fridge bins that help you segment and organize food and drinks and small bins to hold all of your extra odds and ends in the office or craft room. What’s so great about having a never-ending supply of containers is that they can store each other and they can help you sort through things for your keep, donate and sell piles. Perfect for when you’re going through your home using the KonMari method.

6.     Shelf Dividers—Have you ever noticed that your dresser drawers or the linen closet tend to transform into one big pile of stuff over a couple of weeks if you’re not constantly tending to them? Shelf dividers are specifically designed to help maintain your perfectly folded piles of towels, sheets, tablecloths, clothes and whatever else you want to keep in a neatly stacked pile. If you love the look of beautifully stacked clothing and linens and are a sucker for a neat, tidy drawer situation, then you’ll definitely want to pick up some of these essentials.

7.     Closet Organizers—Even the most diehard organizers know that the closet is one of the places in the home that tends to get out of control, partially because it’s just so easy to slack, let messes accumulate and then (quite literally) close the door on the problem. You can use an over-the-door organizer to make great use of the often-ignored space on the back of your closet door. Choose one that works for whatever things you need to organize, like your shoes, sweaters, jewelry or handbags. There are styles available for just about any storage need and design motif. For a versatile option that can handle a range of different jobs, check out this one from The Container Store.

 

Don’t Let Organization Add to Clutter

 

When you’re looking for products to eliminate clutter and help organize your things, it can be stressful if you aren’t sure if you’re going to use the things you buy. The last thing you want is to purchase something with the intention of it helping you clear away junk, only for it to add to the ever-accumulating unused pile. Remember that minimalism is an effort of trial and error, so give yourself patience in understanding what you need and what you don’t. If possible, buy from stores with flexible return policies so that you can take something back if you don’t think it will get used.



Tips on How to Keep Your Children and Pets From Damaging Household Furniture

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When you have kids and pets, keeping your furniture clean and damage-free can be a full-time job. From spots and spills to scratches, scuffs and tears, there are a lot of ways to ruin a sofa, loveseat, recliner or even your dining room furniture.

You can do your best to train your pets and teach your kids to be careful, but let’s face it: Accidents happen. The good news? There are several ways to protect your household furniture from accidental damage. Whether you need to save your sofa from an over-active pup or you want to protect your favorite chair from a precocious toddler, here are a few tips on how to keep your children and pets from damaging household furniture.

Pet and Child-Proof Your Furniture With Covers

Using furniture covers is the best way to stop spots, spills and stains in their tracks. While this idea may bring back memories of those sticky plastic covers your grandmother used to protect her furniture, there are several modern options that are more stylish, convenient and comfortable. Slipcovers work well for busy families, as they are easy to put on and stay in place. And when they get dirty, you can just take them off and throw them in the washing machine.

Blankets and throws work well, too, especially if you just need to cover certain spots. If your cat’s favorite place to nap is on the back of your recliner, for example, putting a throw there will prevent scratches and help your chair stay fur-free.

Reconsider Bare Wood

While you may love the look of bare wood, it may not be the best furniture option if you have pets or small kids. Teaching your dog not to chew sounds great in theory, but sometimes, even well-trained dogs mess up. And no matter how many scratching posts you have in your home, your cats may still decide that the legs of your chairs are way better.

Bare wood furniture can easily be damaged by kids, too. Whether they decide to color on it or manage to scratch it when playing with their toy cars, there is a lot that can go wrong. If you do choose wood furniture for your home, make sure it is finished, as to make it a bit easier to clean. You may also want to look for hardwoods that are less susceptible to damage than lower-quality wood.

Choose the Right Upholstery Fabric for Your Furniture

Color and style may be your primary concerns when shopping for new furniture, but if you have kids or pets, you also need to consider how well the upholstery will stand up to abuse. For many families, microfiber works well.

It comes in a wide range of colors and styles, and it is made from 100 percent polyester. This makes it extremely durable and resistant to damage. It’s easy to keep clean and doesn’t hold odors like some other fabrics. If you are a cat owner, your favorite feline may be less inclined to scratch microfiber than other fabrics, because it doesn’t make that satisfying ripping sound.

If you are in the market for something a bit more luxurious, leather furniture is a good choice as well. A top grain leather sofa is exceptionally soft and breathes well, making it suitable for all climates. It’s also durable and, when a protective layer is applied during the tanning process, resistant to stains. Most spills can just be wiped away with a damp cloth, and you can maintain your leather furniture simply by applying conditioner twice per year. The one downside to leather is that it can be scratched by pet claws. Keeping their claws neatly trimmed helps, though, and many minor scratches can be buffed away.

Invest in Furniture for Your Two- and Four-Legged Kids

There isn’t much you can do to keep your kids and pets off your nice furniture all the time, but you can buy pieces just for them to help minimize the amount of time they spend on yours. Pick up a high-quality dog bed for Fido, and buy kid-sized furniture for the little ones. When you give your dog a nice orthopedic bed, he will be less likely to spend all of his time curled up on your couch. And what kid wouldn’t love having their very own recliner or kid-sized sofa?

When choosing furniture pieces for your kids and pets, buy products that offer good quality to ensure that they will actually be used and stand up to some abuse. You may also want to look for features like stain-resistant coatings and removable, machine-washable covers.

Set Boundaries

If you have an heirloom piece that has been passed down for generations or another prized piece of furniture, there is nothing wrong with making it a kid-free and pet-free zone. If you don’t want your kids and pets messing up the bed in the guest room, keep the door closed and make it clear that the area is off limits.

Teach your kids to behave appropriately on furniture. Don’t allow food or drinks on the sofa. Designate one specific chair that the dog is allowed on, and keep the others pet-free. Establish rules and boundaries that work for your family. It may be hard at first, but with firmness and consistency, it is possible to create rules to protect your furniture.

Conclusion

Kids and pets can take a serious toll on household furniture. From spills and stains to scratches, holes and more, they can cause several types of damage. Fortunately, there are several ways to protect your household furniture and help extend its life. By following the tips listed above, you can keep your furniture a bit safer no matter how crazy your household may be.

7 Awesome tips to keep your home clean and organized every day

Cleaning and organizing your house can be a dreaded task sometimes, especially if you have a full-time job. However, coming home to a clean place can do wonders to your mood. That Is why you should take a bit of your time each day to put things away or dust off certain areas. It is true that a clean house equals clear mindset, so you’ll be able to relax and peacefully enjoy your free time at home.Here are some great tips that’ll help you start off on the right foot.

·      Start by making the bed

·      Daily dusting is easy

·      Keep the kitchen counters clean

·      Put items in boxes to control clutter

·      Tidy up bedrooms in the morning and in the evening

·      Clean up the living room before going to bed each night

·      No shoe rule in the home

 

Start By Making The Bed

 

Try to make your bed as soon as you wake up in the morning. This small task will make you feel productive and you’ll be coming home to a tidy room after a long day at work. Even if you don’t have a lot of plans for the day, by making the bed you’ll be left with a clean-looking and organized space. With this habit, you’ll make every day a fresh start.

 

Daily Dusting Is Easy

 

Try to pick a room or a certain area in your house to quickly dust off every day. This won’t take you more than 10 minutes, and by doing it every day, you are maintaining the cleanliness in your house. It is better to do this every day then wait for all the dirt and dust to accumulate. In the contrary, it can become frustrating to deal with all at once.

 

Keep The Kitchen Counters Clean

 

Clean your kitchen as you go, or wipe the counters quickly after you finish dinner so that you are left with a nice-looking kitchen in the morning. Keep it clean and free of unnecessary clutter so you won’t have to deal with it when you are hungry and in a hurry to make a meal.

 

Put Items In Boxes To Control Clutter

 

Whenever you catch a glimpse of random items scattered around your home, pick them up and put them where they actually belong. If you see a dirty coffee cup from the morning, put it in the sink. If your dirty clothes are laying on the floor or thrown over the chair, put them in a hamper. Small things like this can make a drastic change to the overall look of your house.

 

Tidy Up Bedrooms In The Morning And In The Evening

 

Try to free the nightstand from anything you put there the night before, and fold and place your pajamas where they belong. Before you go to sleep, don’t throw the clothes on the floor or In some random place. Put them on a hanger or throw the dirty ones in the hamper. You won’t wake up grumpy when you have a clean and organized space around you.

 

Clean Up The Living Room Before Going To Bed Each Night

 

Living rooms can get pretty messy, especially with big families or when guests come. You are left with cups, bowls with snacks and pillows everywhere. Try to start by arranging the pillows, picking up things from the floor and then putting the dishes in the sink. After that, quickly wipe your coffee table and you’re done!

 

No Shoe Rule In The Home

 

You have probably noticed how much dust can be accumulated on the floor or even on the couch by walking around the house in dirty shoes. Try to avoid this by enforcing a no shoe policy inside. This will prevent different kinds of germs and dirt from spreading around your home and you’ll do less sweeping and wiping on daily bases.

 

Enjoy The Daily Routine Of Cleaning And Organizing

 

If you try to keep all of these tips in mind, your house is surely going to look clean and organized every day. It is easy once you get a hang of it and make it a daily routine. You’ll be able to enjoy your home much more without having to worry about the mess. You can save these tips and incorporate them in your home once you buy your own place.

 

Author Bio:

As the Founder of New Street , Robert is passionate about optimizing the customer experience. He is a stickler for real-world business results. Rob has developed deep insights into the market and an insider perspective of what homebuyers are looking for these days. When he’s not helping New Street clients, he’s probably catching a run while purposefully ignoring the stop signs. Follow robertj.ca on Instagram.

7 Tips To Maximize Garage Storage

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Keeping your home and garage tidy can be challenging and the number one reason for this comes down to one simple thing. Stuff. We live our lives and we accumulate stuff. So it's no wonder we are always running out of space. Some of this "stuff" is important, some of it just makes us happy so we keep it around. We accumulate things and they add up. Especially in our garage, it seems.

In one journal called “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors,” researchers from UCLA studied 32 middle-class, dual-income families from Los Angeles over a four-year period. Their findings showed that the more cluttered a home, the more likely people are to be depressed. So garage or home, many of us have some de-cluttering to do.

No matter how much garage space you have it is never enough. But we can help you maximize your space and reclaim some square footage with a few simple tips. Get ready to say goodbye to the clutter and hello to some organization.

1- Look Up.

There's usually one place that is overlooked when it comes to garage storage. Look up. That's right, your ceiling can be used for storage to free up some much needed space. In fact, ceiling storage systems are very popular right now. There are many DIY tutorials online to help you do it yourself or you can buy a system and have it installed. If it's on the ceiling, it is out of your way and that is an amazing space-saver.


2- Use the walls to your advantage.

If you aren't using your garage walls to store things like shovels, garden rakes, lawn chairs, bicycles and the like, you are really missing out. With just a few wood boards you can make simple tool racks that will hold all of your large yard tools and accessories. Believe it or not, you can even hang really large items like wheelbarrows. Some people also use peg boards to hang up many other tools on their walls. Take a look around your garage. If you have these sorts of things strewn about the floor, you NEED this.

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3- The more shelves the better.

This goes with using your walls smartly, but it can't be overstated. The more shelf space you have on your walls, the more space you free up in your garage. Better still, make them deep cabinets so that they can hold more. Corner shelves are a great addition as well. That way you can use the reclaimed space for cool things like workbenches and more.

4- Get that big ladder out of your way

Yes, you can even hang your ladder from either the ceiling or on the wall. Ladders take up valuable real estate in your garage when they aren't in use. Then when you do need it, it is always at arm's length.

5- Buy the right tools.

Half of the battle with keeping your space organized is buying the right kinds of tools and hardware. Look for a lawn mower that folds down for more compact storage or a telescoping ladder that collapses down to nothing. Buying smartly designed items helps stop a storage problem before it begins.

6- Keep those tools in one place.

The larger the toolbox, the more tools you can keep in one place, rather than having them take up room all around your garage. You will want to get one with wheels so that you can move it easily.

7- Label Bins

If you are using bins to store your various odds and ends, make a clear and easy to read label that you can read from the outside so that you know which one contains the "Christmas Decorations", "Winter Clothes" etc. This will save you a lot of time sorting through bins.

These are just a few examples of how you can maximize your space and we all need to because let's face it, the stuff just keeps on coming. A more organized and clean home just makes us feel better.

A Pet Parent’s Guide to Removing Household Pet Odors and Stains

Pet Odor Cleaning

As any pet parent knows, accidents happen. And all too often, those accidents result in nasty odors and unpleasant stains. Whether your favorite pup didn’t make it outside in time or your cat brought home a “present” and left it on the couch for you to find, it is important to know how to deal with disgusting messes to keep your home looking and smelling great.

While there isn’t a whole lot you can do to prevent your fur babies from making messes, there is a lot you can do to keep your home from looking and smelling like a zoo. Check out these helpful tips for removing household pet odors and stains.

Find the Source

Stains are usually easy to detect, but sometimes, determining the source of an unpleasant odor is a bit trickier. Follow your nose or use a blacklight to detect urine stains. When using a blacklight, turn off the rest of the lights in your home and shine it in all areas of the room. Because urine contains fluorescent molecules that glow under blacklight, you’ll be able to detect even old, dried stains. Once you have identified all of the stains and messes, outline them using chalk. This will help you remember where everything is — even those invisible dried urine stains.

Cleaning Washable Items

Start with washable items — like throw pillows, blankets and sofa cushion covers. Soak soiled items in an enzymatic cleaner. There are several types of enzymatic cleaners on the market, and they are formulated to eliminate unpleasant odors at the source rather than covering them up. If you have never used the product before, do a spot test in a conspicuous area first. Carefully read the instructions on the bottle and follow them closely to avoid damaging the item.

After soaking, wash the item in your washing machine as usual. For best results, air dry. If the stain is still visible or there is still an odor after the item is dry, repeat the process. Once the item has been washed, keep it away from your pet, if possible.

Tackle Your Carpets and Upholstery

If you are dealing with a fresh, wet mess, soak up as much as you can using paper towels and newspaper. Don’t scrub, as this could push the stain further into the fiber. Instead, use a blotting motion or put down a thick layer of paper towels and newspaper and stand on it. Repeat until the spot is barely damp.

Use clean, cool distilled water to rinse the area, then remove as much of the water as possible either by blotting or with a wet-dry vacuum. Next, apply an enzymatic cleaner. Read and follow the instructions to ensure the best possible results and to prevent damage to your carpet or upholstery. Once dry, use a blacklight to verify that the area has been thoroughly cleaned. If it still glows, repeat the process. If it doesn’t glow but there is still a visible stain, try a high-quality carpet or upholstery cleaner.

Eliminate Messes on Walls and Bare Floors

When you are dealing with a urine or another type of pet mess on your bare floor or a wall, start by soaking up fresh stains right away, then clean using an enzymatic cleaner. If the wood on your floor, baseboard, wall or furniture is discolored, the paint or varnish has been damaged. In this situation, you may need to remove and replace the damaged layer of paint or varnish. Talk to someone at your local hardware store to find the right products and learn how to tackle the project.

What Not to Do

When it comes to dealing with pet odors and stains, knowing what not to do can be just as important as knowing what to do. For starters, avoid using steam cleaners to treat urine odors on upholstery or carpet. The heat can set in the stain and odor by bonding the proteins to the man-made fibers. It’s also best to avoid strong cleaning chemicals, like ammonia. In addition to potentially causing damage, these products typically fail to eliminate or mask odors, and they can actually make your pet more likely to return to the scene of the crime.

If you are dealing with a stain or an accident on your tufted leather sofa, you need to be especially careful during the cleanup process. In most cases, it’s best to not use anything more than distilled water and a soft cloth to clean leather furniture. If you do need to use something a bit stronger, use a cleaner that is designed specifically for use on leather. Be sure to test it in an inconspicuous area first to ensure that it won’t cause any damage. Don’t ignore messes and accidents. No one ever wants to clean up a hairball or puddle that their pet left behind, but the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to eliminate the odor. Dealing with messes right away also helps prevent stains.

Making Pet Stains and Odors a Thing of the Past

With a little know-how and the right products, getting rid of pet stains and odors is a breeze. Whether your pet has had an accident on your favorite chair or has decided that a corner in your bedroom is the perfect spot to urinate, the tips and tricks listed above will help you get rid of the stains and smells.

Once you’ve cleaned up, train your pets to stay away from certain areas. If your pet is soiling indoors or is getting sick more frequently than usual, it could be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Cats commonly urinate outside of the litter box, for example, when suffering from things like urinary tract infections. If your pet seems to be having more accidents or getting sick more often than usual, you may need to consult with your veterinarian to get to root of the problem.

7 Tips To Making Space In Your Garage

Introduction

It happens to the DIYer, the craftsmen, the survivalist, the soccer dad (or mom). Your tools begin piling up, scrap parts stacked to the rafters and your garage is cluttered to say the least (2 cars??). The garage is still a special place in every home. We have focused on reclaiming space in your garage. Here are several tips on making space in your garage.

1. Pass On Valuables To Family Members

In general your stored items are there either because they have monetary value or a cherished memory. If you’re ready to clear up some room but not interested in selling items that is understandable. You’re not alone. With that in mind giving cherished items or valuable items to close family is always a great option to allow a family heirloom to be properly displayed or provide income to a family member that sells items online. You can open space at home while helping those close to you.

With a cherished memory you may consider passing them down to close relatives. If the item means something special to a brother for example, giving the item to a child of theirs may be a great option. If the gift is more personal you may want to consider getting it professionally restored prior to gifting it. This will ensure the gift last for generations to come. 

2. Utilize Tool Cabinets

If you’re creating projects in the garage and tools are being lost or left around then a tool cabinet becomes a must. If you are able to find a cabinet specific to your tool set brand or style that is great. Otherwise, we strongly recommend a more open tool cabinet and some shelving rather than specialized as it will be better at storing general items.

Your tool cabinet itself will ideally be organized but it doesn’t always have tool. Just having the ability to clean the garage by piling in tools into the cabinet is a huge benefit. It would be ideal to store each tool in a specific spot of the cabinet to be able to find it easily, however, it is still easier to find than somewhere in the entire garage. Many have special drawer inserts or hangers for specific hand and power tools.

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 3. Have A Yard Sale

The classic solution to making space with the bonus of earning cash is a yard-garage-parking lot sale. Yard sales are still popular and a great way to engage with the community. If you are more introverted you may also consider a virtual garage sale by selling items on online marketplaces as long as they are able to be shipped or you are comfortable with a local pickup (stay safe!). In the end you may be surprised to find out how valuable your old items are.

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4. Install A Ceiling Storage Unit

This recommendation may require the most resources to implement but also offers an incredible return. If you’re able to store items from the ceiling or a loft above you have nearly doubled your space. This space is great for sporting equipment such as skis, kayaks and more. If your garage is high enough you may also consider implementing ceiling shelving to hang things from. This will allow you to store other items that may need to dry after use such as outdoor sleeping bags.

5. Adjustable Wall Shelving Or Storage Cabinets

Utilizing wall space to store items will allow you to have so much more in so much of a smaller area. While heavy items will have to remain below, other items such as tools, boxes, electronics and more can be stored. Storage Cabinets with doors will discourage insects and dust from affecting finer items (and keep prying eyes out). This will also make finding items easier when a project or task comes up.

6. Remove Old Items

We have covered items with monetary value, items with cherished value but some items simply have no value and need to be removed. This can be extremely difficult for many. You should first ask, “Does it work?” If the answer is no, is it worth being repaired? If the answer is no again, then this is an item to remove. Will this item ever be used in the future or have monetary value? If not, we have more room to clear out some usable space. If you’re ever wondering about possible monetary value, then we recommend looking up similar or exact items selling on the internet.

7. Organize Remaining Items

You’ve come to the home stretch. You have used the best possible means to remove material from your garage. You have added storage space using cabinets and more. You only have to organize the remaining items to finish clearing that garage. This final step will allow you to access things easily and quickly.

If you have any questions or comments on how to make space in your garage, please let us know. Every project and consideration is different, and we would love to hear about yours!

 

Author Bio

Edward Flanagan is the founder of Edward’s Enterprises, a licensed general contractor that has been improving homes and providing retail maintenance in Southern California since 1996. Their services include junk removal, packing help, light demolition and hauling. Edward currently divides his time between Camarillo and West Los Angeles and loves the 405.

9 Things in Your Home You're Forgetting to Clean

9 Things in Your Home You're Forgetting to Clean

Cleaning can be time-consuming and tiring, and few people among us enjoy all that scrubbing and scouring. It can be tempting to simply walk the vacuum cleaner around, wipe down some surfaces, straighten a few pillows, and call it a day. However, there are many benefits to performing a full and thorough clean at least once a month. Getting into those nooks and crannies you usually ignore and spending a few hours cleaning out those forgotten crevices can be incredibly satisfying. It can also prevent the buildup of dust and mold, which can harbor bacteria and viruses if left for long periods of time, and release allergens into the air.

Here are nine often overlooked items in your house that could benefit from a good cleaning, to maintain their functionality and keep your household healthy.

  1. Dishwasher

You wouldn’t think that dishwashers could get that dirty - after all, they’re self-cleaning, aren’t they? Unfortunately, this simply isn’t true, as food debris can collect around the filter over time, creating a scum that’s just perfect for growing bacteria and mold. Removing and cleaning out the dishwasher filter, before running a cycle on hot with a good dishwasher cleaner, will leave everything looking and smelling fresh in no time. The great thing about this is that it takes minimal effort, and you’ll quickly see a difference in how well your dishwasher performs once it is clean.

  1. Ceiling Fans

If your house has a ceiling fan, you probably don’t think much about cleaning the top of it. After all, it’s out of sight up there, so who cares if it’s a little grimy? Ceiling fans are, however, a dust trap, and can collect a thick layer in no time at all. These dust particles are then dislodged every time the fan is in motion, showering you and your family in allergens and settling on other surfaces in the room. This fan inevitably makes the rest of the room dirtier, and creates more cleaning work for you to do! Grab a step ladder and give your ceilings fans a wipe down at least once every few weeks, to decrease your workload and reduce the number of airborne allergens in your home.

  1. TV Remote

You may not think it, but your household TV remote control is a hotspot for bacteria, and it is commonly overlooked when it comes to cleaning. Germs can easily build up in the crevices of remote controls, which are then transferred to your hands every time you change the channel. Giving all remotes a wipe down with disinfectant or an antibacterial wipe once a week can significantly reduce the number of harmful bacteria lurking between the buttons, preventing you or anyone else in your family from getting sick.

  1. Light Switches and Door Handles

Also, often handled, but rarely cleaned, light switches and door handles can become filthy over time. You may not think it to look at them, but these are often coated with a layer of microscopic germs that are invisible to the naked eye. When these are transferred to the hands, they have the potential to make their way into the mouth if you eat without washing first, and you may not think to if you’ve touched nothing more than the kitchen door handle. Giving all switches and handles a once-over with an antibacterial wipe every week can help to keep your household germ-free, which can improve the overall health of your family members.

  1. Pillows

You may be on top of changing your sheets regularly, but have you ever thought to wash your actual pillows? Over time, pillows can become full of dust, dead skin cells, and dust mites, which is bad news for anyone with allergies. Putting them on a hot cycle in the washing machine twice a year, and drying them out on a low heat, can help to keep dust mites and germs at bay.

  1. Toothbrush Holder

Whether you have a wall mounted toothbrush holder, or you simply keep your brushes in a glass by the sink, you probably don’t think too much about cleaning it regularly. However, toothbrush holders are often damp, and in the humid environment of your bathroom, it can be easy for bacteria and mold to take hold. Considering how often you put your toothbrush in your mouth, this is the last place you want to have a buildup of germs! Washing your toothbrush container with hot water and disinfectant when you clean the rest of your bathroom can reduce your chances of picking up any illnesses from your brush.

  1. Washing Machine

Another frequently neglected item is the washing machine, as you probably assume all that hot water and laundry detergent does the job for you. What you may not realize is that laundry can accumulate germs fast when left in the machine, even if it’s only for short periods of time. Remembering to quickly transfer damp laundry to the dryer can reduce bacteria buildup, and cleaning your washing machine once a month or so can prevent germs from taking hold inside the drum. Running a hot cycle with a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda is a quick, easy and effective way of keeping your washing machine clean.

  1. Shower Curtain

Your shower curtain is the ideal breeding ground for mold and mildew, as all that humidity creates the perfect environment in which to grow. Fortunately, keeping your shower curtain clean is as simple as putting it in the washing machine every few weeks, where the detergent will kill off any germs or spores that may be living in the folds.

  1. Under Appliances

If you are in the habit of simply giving your kitchen countertops a quick wipe down after use, you may be neglecting to clean beneath your appliances. Crumbs can quickly accumulate underneath appliances where they can become moldy. This mold is not ideal in an environment in which you routinely prepare food, so moving everything out of the way for a thorough clean once a week is advisable. It may seem like a hassle, but it’s worth it to keep stomach bugs at bay.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning these often-overlooked household items may seem like a lot of extra work, but many can be dusted and disinfected within a few minutes without adding significantly to your workload. This cleaning can improve the overall health of your family members, and increase the longevity of your household appliances, saving you plenty of money in the long run.

 

 

 

 

 

7 Habits to Keep the House Clean with Kids and Pets

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We all wish to have a squeaky clean house that smells good and shines throughout the day, but keeping a perfectly neat home that too with kids and pets isn’t an easy task. Of course, you can’t spend the entire day organizing things, but you can always develop certain healthy habits that can help prevent messes and eventually reduce the time and effort that goes into cleaning. So for those who are fed up with the tiring chore, here are seven habits that can make cleaning effortless and even fun for you and your family:

Put Things Away After Use

Stacking things in every corner of the house makes the task of de-cluttering and organizing strenuous and challenging. Developing the habit of putting things in the allocated spaces can help cut down the amount of time needed to clean.  So instead of throwing your coat on the chair, make the effort of placing it in the closet or the laundry basket. Similarly, put your shoes in the organizers set up near the entrance- these small habits will make the difference between a messy and a tidy house.

Use a Timer

To stay on top of your cleaning keep track of time using a handy tool such as a stopwatch or a timer. Decide a 10 or 15-minute slot during the day when you can consistently clean without any disturbance then set the timer and get working. Continue cleaning until the timer beeps; this will help you develop the habit of fast-paced cleaning. If you have extra time choose as many slots as you can without stressing yourself. Remember the goal is to get things done on time so don’t set targets that you won’t be able to follow or longer durations that might slow you down.

Follow a Cleaning Routine

In a house with kids and pets, there are multiple cleaning chores, and we can’t handle all of them at once. Instead of panicking (which I understand can be difficult) set your priorities; pen down the most crucial task that can be done in the available time and schedule the others for a later time. I have never been a fan of making lists, but once I started listing and prioritizing; I felt focused and had better control over things.

Fix specific times for particular tasks, for instance, load the clothes into the washer first thing in the morning to avoid the dirty laundry from piling up. Similarly, don’t leave the dishes after dinner for the next day, run the dishwasher after everyone is done and you will have a clean kitchen. You can

No Dirty Paws or Shoes Allowed Inside the House

Whether it’s your kid’s shoes or your furry companion’s paws, both can be a means of tracking dirt and mud inside the house, and in turn, your floor will require frequent cleanup. The best way to prevent it from getting messy is by assigning a dedicated spot at the entrance to take off the shoes. As for the dogs that keep coming in and out, keep a towel to wipe their paws or a paw mat at the doorstep. You can even dip their feet in water after returning from a walk outside to ensure that all dirt is removed from your pup’s paws.

Clean Up “Accidents” Quickly

Cleaning up messes made by your kids or pets immediately can help save a lot of effort and time. Keep the require supplies and cleaners handy and get in action when you spot an accident. For pet messes on carpets blot the area using paper towels and use a vinegar & water solution followed by baking soda to get rid of the smell.

This prompt cleaning approach works with all tasks, so keep organizing and putting things away as you go and you will notice that your house appears a lot less messy at the end of the day.

Look For Easy and Smarter Ways to Clean

Instead of working harder, look for smarter ways of cleaning up. Invest in the correct tools and supplies, for instance, get a vacuum with powerful suction to get rid of pet fur from your house. You can create some powerful cleaning agents yourself using ingredients from the kitchen. However, if you want to buy commercially available cleaners then get a few and see what works best for your house. Stick with these specific ones only as using ineffective techniques or products can significantly increase the time required for cleaning up.

Assign Responsibilities to Every Member of the House

Approaching cleaning as a practice where each member of the household participates can have multiple benefits. When everyone else around you is working, it acts as a source of motivation, and you somehow don’t feel upset about working anymore. Set aside an hour each day when you decide to bless the home by handling one major chore. Assign age-appropriate responsibilities to your kids as well; this can play a significant role in teaching them life-skills such as self-efficacy and boost their self-esteem. Begin by asking them to clean up their toys or make the bed. If you feel your children are old enough then assign them pet-related chores such as helping with bathing the dog, cleaning the parrot’s roomy cage, putting the cat’s toys away, etc.  Reward your kids after they complete the allocated tasks.

As much as these habits can help, the most important thing is to relax and tell yourself that you can't be perfect all the time. Focus on the problems that cause 80% of the mess, and hopefully, you will be able to stay on top of these chores.

 

Author Byline:

Danica Boyd is a bird enthusiast and nature lover. She has been keeping pet birds for several years and now has tons of practical experience in caring for birds. She writes for the team behind https://www.birdcagesnow.com/.

7 Tips to organize your small living room to look royal

Are you looking for ideas that can keep your room cozy and aesthetically pleasing? Have you been searching for the ideas? Then this article is exclusively designed for you. Organizing your small living room will make a quite difference, it will make your living room to be appealing, attractive and extremely beautiful- it can serve as a veritable space for relaxation.  Below are 7 favorite ways you can make it to look really royal:

Use neutral colors for a small living room

 Try as much as you can to use neutral colors on your furniture upholstery, ceiling, floors, and walls. People subscribe for neutral colors or palette, because it creates a calming environment and imparts instant sophistication. If your small living room is not well beautified with neutral colors, it won’t make them attractive. You are strongly advised to do everything humanly possible to ensure your living room is beautified with awesome neutral colors.

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Select small-scale furniture

If you really want to make your living room to look royal, then you will never go wrong by selecting furniture that will dominate the space or overpower the room. Choosing a sofa with a tightly upholstered back and thin arms is much more preferable than the one with a multi-cushion back and substantial arms.

 

If you have a small space, then you can do without a couch, instead you may choose four chairs with a coffee table or a loveseat. When you want to select chairs, try to look for armless chairs, because they won’t take much space unlike the ones with arms.

 

Keep a stylish carpet at the center of the living room

Keeping a stylish carpet in the center of your living room will truly beautify your room, and thereby make the living room to have a dramatic and cool look.

 

Do not forget the side table

 Your living room needs a nice side table- adding a side table will truly make it to look attractive, and beautiful. Also, please do not forget to put a decorative lamp and other beautiful accessories around the side table.

 

Give a good window treatment to your living room

Make optimal use of the window curtains; if you have small windows, then try using window blinds. Let your window curtains be long so that it will be easier and safer for them to touch the floor of your living room.

 

Install smart lighting

You need to time to choose good lighting; let the lighting be hung or attached to the walls from above, so that it can effectively and efficiently save room on floor space.

 

Decorate with miniature paintings

Sometimes in interior design, we see how wall arts are not fully treated well; often times they are seen by some people as an afterthought. We are here telling you that you shouldn’t be so, because you will miss out lots of amazing design. If you select thoughtfully, you will see that that appropriate wall art can perfectly provide for all your room.

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Decorating your house with miniature paintings will create a harmonious interior and will surely mesh with the space in your living room. One of the smartest decisions you can make today is to design your interiors. 

Our best advice is that you should be looking for a wall art and try as much as you can to get a wall painting you love. Choose the paints that will match your décor of your small living room. This is good, and we are confident you will never regret engaging in this.

Conclusion

If you meticulously follow the ideas discussed in this article, you will achieve multiple benefits. Do all you can to make your living room to be beautiful, look really appealing and awesome. Please don’t forget these ideas; use neutral colors for a small living room, select small-scale furniture, Keep a stylish carpet at the center of the living room, do not forget the side table, give a good window treatment to your living room, install smart lighting, decorate with miniature paintings and lots more.

 

Author Bio:

Perfect Agent understands just how important it is to have a committed and experienced real estate agent in the process of selling or renting a property. It helps customers find, compare and choose a real estate agent to sell or rent their property. Also offer the best service in the real estate industry by connecting customers with top performing real estate agents.

6 Tips For Keeping Your Carpet Super Clean

Stains and messes can easily become a huge problem on carpet. As a result, you'll have to pay extra attention to ensure it stays in good shape. The good news is that there are plenty of tips you can use to help keep the carpet clean. Consequently, problems won't be able to build up and force a carpet replacement that could be costly and time consuming.

Regular Cleaning

The most important tip to make use of is regular cleaning. This includes vacuuming and giving your carpet a good steam cleaning on a regular basis. You can consider this maintenance for your carpet, ensuring that dust and other bits of debris don't build up.

As a result, your carpet will be more durable and likely have a longer lifespan overall. While regular washing might seem like more work, it's still going to require a lot less effort than some other flooring options such as hardwood. If you are looking for an affordable machine, TheHouseWire provides an interesting review about the best carpet cleaner to use at home. If you love the softness and warmth of your carpet, then regular care is well worth it! If you are looking for

Blot, Don't Rub!

Accidents can happen, so it's important to know how to handle any spills that show up in your carpet. The first thing you'll want to remember is to avoid rubbing the stain. While it might seem like rubbing is the ideal way to scrub out a stain, it can actually make the problem worse.

What tends to happen with rubbing a stain is that the stain substance ends up getting spread to nearby fibers that it wasn't on before. In addition, it can be rough on the carpet and result in the fibers losing durability before they otherwise might. Try blotting instead!

Try Hydrogen Peroxide

From time to time, the messes on your carpet can include blood. Oftentimes, this can be due to a small (but messy) accident. Many worry about being able to get blood stains out of their carpet, but don't fear! There is a solution.

When it comes to blood stains, hydrogen peroxide is key to resolving the problem. Start by using a gentle cleaner to get the majority of the stain up. Then, add hydrogen peroxide to the remaining stain and it will work to dissolve germs and eat away at any remaining blood in the carpet.

Try Shaving Cream

If you're looking for a substance that can handle just about any carpet stain, try out shaving cream! This isn't an option many people think of, but it's a great choice for the vast majority of carpet stains that can occur.

For tricky stains, you can add some shaving cream to the blemish and then allow it to rest for about 30 minutes before blotting it up. This should work to remove the stain, but you can also try using a little bit of vinegar afterwards to make sure every bit of the problem is resolved.

Begin Away From The Door

When you're cleaning the carpet, it's a good idea to begin in the area farthest away from the door. You can also choose to work your way toward another room, so that you have somewhere to go while the carpet is drying where you won't have to step on the newly-cleaned carpet.

In addition, it's a good idea to make sure that you work in a straight line. That way, you'll be able to make sure that every inch of the carpet is covered. Furthermore, it's wise to take it slowly to do a thorough job rather than rushing through it.

Try a Portable Spot Cleaner

Portable spot cleaners are an ideal way to handle the occasional stains that can show up. This little handheld tool adds the power of a motorized brush to ensure the entire stain gets lifted up quickly. You also won't need to worry about dragging a large carpet cleaner into the room for one little spot.

If you select a tool that avoids heat as a method for cleaning, then it will also be less likely to cause damage to your carpet. Whether it's a pet stain, coffee stain or something else, this type of small cleaner can be an ideal solution.

Conclusion

Overall, there are plenty of ways to keep your carpet clean and handle stains that can occur in your carpet. By following these tips, you'll have an easier time keeping a clean carpet and cleaning out any stains that do happen to occur.

Just remember that depending on the kind of carpet you own, you may need to tailor some of these tips to work better for your specific carpet. If you're getting a new carpet, or recently got a new carpet, you can also talk to the contractor or an employee from the company you purchased it from to get some tips.

 

5 Tips For Delightfully Decorating Your First Condo

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More and more people are choosing condos for living these days and if this is your first time owning one, maybe you’re in search of some inspiration when it comes to decorating it. It’s true that condos are very easy to maintain and they make a great living space. You’ll just need a couple of fun ideas to spruce yours up. Here are a couple of just such inspiring ideas.

 

Only Keep What You Need

A clutter-free space is the best environment to live in. A clean and open area with just a few necessary belongings is the way to go. In order to achieve this, try letting the size of your condo dictate the amount of stuff you have. If your bachelor or one bedroom condo is on the smaller side, consider keeping less stuff around so that space feels more open. The best way to achieve this is to have a place for everything. If a certain area becomes cluttered, then you’ll know it’s time to go through those things and get rid of some. You should try to make this a habit and you won’t need to worry about clutter anymore.

 

Brighten Up The Place

In order to have a bright condo, you should pay attention to wall color, drapes, rugs and furniture as well. Try mixing up neutrals and darks with brighter colors on your walls. Add a couple of mirrors around your condo to allow the sunlight to bounce off of them. For example, you can place one large mirror across from the window, or hang a couple of smaller ones around the condo. Light bulbs can brighten a space if you choose them wisely. Namely, you should base your decision on the lumens and not wattage; this is because lumens are used to measure the overall brightness, while wattage is the amount of energy a light bulb uses.

 

Try Drapes

Give your condo some warmth and style with drapes. If you want your space to stand out, choose solid and sharp-colored drapes. Dark drapes can block unwanted sunlight, whereas sheer white drapes let a lot of sunlight in for a brighter space. Choose neutral drapes for a warmer, calmer space and tall ones to make a condo feel bigger. In order to brighten a room with dark-colored walls, hang pastel drapes as they can soften the overall vibe. (For more inspiration and ideas involving drapes, check out some of the interior design solutions used in Square One Condos.)

Make A Small Garden In Your Balcony Area

Having some greenery around your living space really does miracles for your mood. A few minutes spent around plants can really clear your mind and give it a boost. You can transform your balcony into a small garden by choosing your plants wisely. Start by smaller and low-maintenance plants like Pothos or Aloe. When your plants get too tall, simply cut them to the length that you consider ideal. You can add a coffee table to put your plants on or even a chair, depending on the space you’re working with. You can also plant some edibles like strawberries, cherry tomatoes, lettuce or other leafy greens.

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Choose Accessories To Decorate Your Condo

With just a little bit of creativity, you can decorate even a smaller space with appropriate accessories. You can hang up bookshelves on the walls to save up space and stock them with not just books, but decorative objects and pictures as well. Use clear chairs or a glass-top table in your dining room to visually expand the space. Make a cozy corner where you can enjoy a good book or a cup of tea. Another idea would be to simply add an armchair with a comfy cushion or a blanket over it. Also, consider placing colorful hampers around the condo to serve as storage units for umbrellas, hats or kids’ toys.

 

Conclusion

Any condo can become a stylish and inviting environment to live in with the help of a few simple DIY ideas. A balcony garden, brighter space or a clutter-free area become easy projects with the help of ideas listed above. Try one, several or all of them and you’ll see how your condo will transform from a good living space to a great and inspiring one.

The Best Mops For Every Floor

Mops are a key tool that no homeowner can live without, yet it can be surprisingly tricky to find the best mop for every type of floor. Too many people end up using the wrong type of mop to carry out different cleaning tasks, and finding that it doesn’t produce the best results. Even worse, some people use a mop that hasn’t been cleaned properly, pushing it from room to  room and moving the dirt around.

Knowing the different types of mops available and the different functions that they are best suited to is key to getting your home and floors as clean as possible, so this is our basic guide to the best mops for every possible kind of floor – you’ll be amazed at the difference!

Cotton Mops

A classic cotton mop may be the first thing you think of when you hear the word “mop”. Made from heavy cotton, this mop is best used for a single clean up operation of spillages or fluids since they are capable of soaking up a large amount of liquid. They are also very affordable, and so can easily be disposed of when worn out, although they aren’t necessarily the most economical solution since they will need replacing fairly frequently.

Blended Mops

A blended mop can be spotted by its stitched bottom. This type of mop is best saved for heavy household tasks which require plenty of absorbency since it can easily mop up large spills without any difficulty. The advantage of a blended mop is that it is not only very absorbent but also more long-lasting than a standard cotton mop. It can be cleaned many times before it has to be thrown away making it a more economical choice. Perfect for use on vinyl floors or linoleums, a blended mop is a staple for every bathroom and kitchen.

Flat Microfiber Mops

The benefit of a microfiber mop is that it is perfect for low moisture household cleaning tasks. Ideal for use on quarry or ceramic tiles that have grout lines, this type of mop requires very little liquid to get the job done, and this is vital for tiles where keeping excess moisture to a minimum is necessary. Although a microfiber mop costs more than a standard cotton mop, it will be lighter and easier to use, and is also more economical since it can be washed countless times and re-used. If you have the right handle to fit to your mop, you can also use it to clean tiled walls too thanks to its wide cleaning path and light weight design. Remember, when you wash your microfiber mop, you need to launder it in a separate wash from other fibers and cottons, and you should also avoid using fabric softener, high temperatures and bleach when washing since they could damage the mop’s fibers, shortening its lifespan.

Steam Mops

If you’re ready for a high-tech solution to your cleaning problems, a steam mop could be the answer. Designed to be easy to maneuver and lightweight to use, steam mops use electricity to heat water inside its canister to an extremely high temperature in order to get your floors hygienically clean. If you want to be sure your floors are absolutely spotless and free of bacteria, a steam mop is the solution, and because they leave very little moisture on the floor, it will take very little time to dry. Even better, steam mops are suitable for use on all kinds of hard floors, including laminates, hardwoods, linos and tiles, so they are a multi-functional option for any home. You can find out all the information you need to know about choosing the right steam mop to suit your needs on https://steamclean.reviews/ - an essential resource for anyone who needs to select a model to fit their budget.

 

Cleaning and Downsizing Tips to Make the Process as Smooth as Silk

There are many upsides to downsizing.  Moving into a smaller, more manageable home can ease your maintenance burdens, which means freeing up time and money for enjoying your golden years.  However, the actual process can feel pretty painful in some ways.  Here are some tips for making your move as smooth as silk.

Start eliminating “stuff.”  While it may feel like you should find your new home before deciding what to keep and what to part with, it can be such a time-consuming process that you’re better off starting earlier.  On top of reducing the amount of items you own, you also have the emotional issue of eliminating belongings.  You can gather some supplies, such as a few boxes and some tape, and take your time working in sections.  My Move recommends considering the influence of weather when you are deciding where to work on sorting and organizing.  Some of the toughest areas to cull are greatly affected by weather conditions.  Your garage, workshop, basement and attic probably accumulated a great many things that will bring memories forward, such as hobby- and holiday-related items.  Choose mild days when you can spare some time for focusing on those areas.

Clean out.  You should make only two piles when doing your sorting - “yes” and “no.”  You can go back through your “no” pile later and divide items by giveaways, garbage and items to sell.  Avoid keeping duplications of the same thing.  Assess your old or worn-out furniture; you may have bulky items that are better off being rehomed.  If your mattress is older than 7 to 10 years, it’s probably at the end of its life cycle.  You might decide it makes the most sense to keep it until it’s time to move and buy a new one for your new place.  Check online mattress reviews for your best buying options.  To help with your smaller decisions, one idea is to ask yourself if you would replace each item if it were lost.  If you have items you wouldn’t replace and aren’t worth your time or trouble to sell, consider putting those things at the curb in a box labeled “free.”  Excess spatulas, plastic cups and such are not likely to be worth your gas to take to a charity or thrift shop.  If you want, you can send a monetary donation instead, and you’ll likely be surprised at how quickly those things are snatched up from the roadside. 

Find the right place.  When deciding on your smaller home, there are several factors to consider.  HGTV points out location is always a big player for homebuying.  Consider the proximity to shopping centers, public transportation, major highways, and medical care.  This is your opportunity to support your lifestyle in new ways.  For instance, you may wish to be close to tennis courts, grandchildren or a dog park.  Write out your priorities, then think of whether you prefer a house or condo for your future.  A one-level home with easy landscaping chores and maintenance-free siding can mean easier upkeep for your senior years, or you may choose a condo to pass the burden of care onto others.  USA Today recommends researching association fees relating to potential choices so you aren’t in for any financial surprises.  

Cleaning up.  Once you find “the one,” you’ll have even more work to do.  You need to box up the remainder of your belongings, clean your old house top to bottom, and move into the new place.  Cleaning in and of itself can be a major undertaking, and while your home is for sale, you want it spotless.  An online cleaning checklist can keep you on track, or you may wish to hire pros to manage the work.  When it comes to packing your things, be sure to label boxes clearly with room and contents.  Many seniors hire senior move managers to assist with the process, or you can recruit friends and family for help. 

By starting early, you can make downsizing much easier.  Sort and prioritize carefully.  There are many benefits to downsizing, and you’ll enjoy the best results with a thoughtful and organized plan.

5 Home Improvement Hacks for Summer 

By Emily Young

Bringing warm weather and long days, summer is the perfect time to tackle home improvement projects. You don’t need to worry about sleet or snow derailing your plans, and you can take advantage of the extra hours of sunlight.

Some homeowners schedule major renovations for the summer—like remodeling the kitchen or landscaping the backyard. But you can make positive changes to your house even if you don’t have a lot of spare time or money. These simple summer hacks will help you create a happier, safer, and more comfortable home.

 

1. Clean Out Your Clutter

When you open the shades and emerge from winter hibernation, you start to notice how much stuff has accumulated over the last few months. What you need is a good summer cleaning, especially if you’re planning to host any backyard barbecues or overnight guests.

Enlist help from friends or family, and lead a day of decluttering. If taking on the entire house is too intimidating, start with just one room. While sorting through items, ask yourself, “When was the last time I used this? Do I need it still? Does it make me happy?” Separate everything into distinct piles: Keep, Donate, Recycle, and Throw Away. Take discarded items to the trash or a secondhand store immediately, and revel in how open and light your home feels.

 

2. Go Greener

An energy-efficient home is not only good for the planet but also good for your wallet. Even if you’re not ready to install solar panels or switch to low-flow faucets, you can still implement beneficial green upgrades in your house.

Install a programmable thermostat so you only run the air-conditioning when people are home. Updating your house’s insulation helps it stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Replace drafty windows and broken shutters, and swap out incandescent lightbulbs with long-lasting compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). You’ll make your home more ecofriendly and save on your monthly energy bills.

 

3. Boost Security

Home security is always a priority, but it’s even more of a concern for travel-heavy times like summer. Before you leave on a trip, you want to know that your house is in good hands and that everything will be there when you return.

Think about what will give you peace of mind while you’re traveling. Do you need a straightforward alarm system with window and door sensors? Are you interested in surveillance cameras or 24-hour professional monitoring? Do you want complete remote access to security controls? Research home security systems, then find and install the best one to suit your needs.

 

4. Enjoy the Outdoors  

It’s a typical summer dilemma: you want to spend more time in your backyard, but it’s too hot during the day, and bugs are a nuisance at night. Instead of letting your home’s outdoor spaces go to waste, look for ways to solve the problems that keep you inside.

Create more shaded areas. Plant trees along the perimeter of your yard to provide natural shade, or add a wide umbrella, awning, or pergola to cover your patio furniture. If you have a larger budget, invest in a screened-in porch that protects guests from both the elements and the bugs.

For additional relief from mosquitoes, try a combination of outdoor deterrents. Set up circulating fans to keep the air (and the bugs) moving. Dispose of any standing water that could become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and place citronella candles or lanterns in strategic locations throughout the yard.

 

5. Give Your House a Makeover

After enduring months of winter weather (and perhaps years of wear and tear), your home’s exterior could use a little TLC. Freshen it up, and you’ll notice an immediate boost in your curb appeal.

Grab a sturdy ladder, a pair of work gloves, and a garden trowel, and clean out all the debris that’s accumulated in your gutters. This job is best done in warm, dry weather, and your future self will be grateful during the next big storm.

Next, hire a professional—or if you’re confident in your DIY abilities, rent equipment—to pressure wash your house. Pressure washing can rinse away unsightly layers of grit and grime on siding made of wood, brick, aluminum, steel, and traditional stucco. Do a deep clean of the outside windows with a bucket of hot soapy water, a squeegee, and a chamois. If your exterior is due for a complete facelift, replace the siding or touch up the paint.

This summer, savor spending time at home, both inside and out. Complete just one of these home improvement hacks, and enjoy the rewards for the rest of the coming year.

6 Airbnb Bathroom Essentials Often Forgotten by Hosts

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(This blog post is targeting customers looking for rental/airbnb cleanings).

Although extremely rewarding, running Airbnb businesses is a time-consuming job. If you want to be a successful Airbnb host, there are certain tasks such as setting the right price that will require considerable time and careful consideration. Luckily there are other tasks such as getting the bathroom of your Airbnb listing ready that requires less time. That being said, furnishing your bathroom with all the right essentials can be just as important in determining the success of your Airbnb business.

Even though your guests might not be spending that much time in the bathroom, it is still a sacred space after all that Airbnb hosts should give the necessary thought too. The bathroom should boast all the essential items that guests will need during their stay. If you do not know what you need to add to your bathroom to make sure that all your guests have a truly comfy stay, here are the top six Airbnb bathroom essentials that are often overlooked by Airbnb hosts.

 

Get hooked on hooks and shelves

There are certain things in life that you can never have enough of - hooks and shelves fit this category. Enough shelves and hooks are for sure a must-have fixture for any bathroom.

Make sure that there is a hook next to the shower so that your guests will be able to get their towel after they have enjoyed a refreshing shower. Also, be sure to add a hook behind the bathroom door as your guests will want a place to place their wet towel and clothing.

Shelves are just as important! Your guests will need a place where they can place their personal items such as a loofah, facial cream or facecloth.

 

Foot towel

One great (and inexpensive) way to sweep your guests off their feet is by including a foot towel in your bathroom. Apart from the great impression it creates, it will make sure that your guests' stay is even more comfortable.

One of the most unpleasant experiences is to be greeted by a cold tile floor after you have enjoyed a warm shower... When that happens, your guests will definitely notice that you failed to pay enough attention to the finer details. Also, when you remember to add a foot towel, guests will not grab the closest towel to dry their feet. So, it is really a win-win for both guest and host!

 

A small trash bin

Hosts many times forget to include a small trash bin in the bathroom. It might be small (and for sure not a focal point), but it makes it a lot more convenient for your guests. Your trash bin should definitely have some type of liner to make it easier for your guests to take out the trash if your house rules require that they do. Ideally it should also have a lid to offer the necessary discretion.

 

A disposable toothbrush and small tube of toothpaste

So, your guests are all dressed and ready to hit the sheets only to discover that they have forgotten their toothbrushes and toothpaste at home. Let us be honest, it has happened to everyone at least once.

Not all your guests will use the toothpaste and disposable toothbrush that you have placed in the bathroom, but it is still a very easy way to make a great impression. After all, when it comes to being a professional Airbnb host, it is all about the finer details and extra attention.

 

First-aid kit

All the sightseeing and walking that your guests will be doing might just lead to a headache or a blister or two. So, your guests will be extremely grateful to discover that you too have walked the extra mile by providing them with a first-aid kit. After all, you will only be too grateful that a guest grabbed a Band-Aid instead of your new white luxurious Egyptian cotton towels.

 

Air freshener

Another bathroom essential that will come to the rescue of your clients is an air freshener. One easy way to make sure that a romantic weekend remains romantic is to include a can of air freshener in the bathroom. Many times guests are traveling with a loved one and the last thing that any guest wants to discover is that there is no air freshener at hand when it is already too late…

Lastly, always double-check that you have communicated to your Airbnb guests that these bathroom essentials are in fact there for them to use. There is nothing worse than a guest thinking that the toothbrush which you have placed there for them to use is instead a used one that your cleaners forgot to throw away. Luckily, with the help of Airbnb vacation rental software like AirGMS, you can automate your guest communication so that a specific message about these bathroom essentials gets send to your guests after they have checked in. So, there is no real reason why any misunderstandings should occur.

 

How to Find a Pet-Friendly Cleaning Service

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With pets in the house, maintaining hygiene can be a difficult job. No matter how hard you try to keep your pets away from ticks, fleas and dirt, bathe them regularly and train them, there will be days when you come back to find “accidents” around the home. Even if you maintain a strict cleaning regime and use the right products & tools, it is always best to get the professionals to come in once in a while and give your house a complete clean-up. Most pet-parents do want to get professional help, but they have a hard time finding pet-friendly cleaning services that are efficient and affordable at the same time. Even if a company does advertise to be safe for your pets, how can you be sure? What exactly does one need to look for in such companies? These are questions that might puzzle you so keep on reading as we discover the answers to these queries.

How to Find a Cleaning Service?

Thanks to the technological advent we can now quickly look up for cleaning services in our area. You can try searching on websites such as Yelp or even use Facebook as various companies today have active social accounts. Once you have shortlisted the ones you like, it is now time to get answers to the essential questions.

What to Look for in an Efficient Cleaning Service?

Some companies may ask you to remove your pets from the house for a day. It indicates that the products they are using may be harmful to your pets or their staff may not be comfortable working with pets. A service that is safe for pets will have experience in working alongside all sorts of animals from dogs to cats, fishes, birds and even reptiles.

When choosing a service, inquire about the kind of products they will be using. Certain chemicals can be poisonous for pets if ingested so make sure they use products that are free from such toxic substances. Here is a list of the contents that need to be avoided:

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Formaldehyde used in household cleaners
  • Perchloroethylene used in carpet cleaners
  • Phenols
  • Phthalates
     

Ask What Tools or Machines They Will Use

Also, check if they are equipped with the right tools and machines. For instance, a significant problem for households with pets is dander. It can get into the carpet and settle in the fibers which becomes difficult to remove using a regular vacuum cleaner. To clean the carpets thoroughly and reach all the dander in the carpet a vacuum system with High-Efficiency Particular Air (HEPA) filtration is required. It not only removes all pet dander but also keeps it out of the environment during vacuuming.

Be sure to check if they use eco-friendly and biodegradable cleaning solutions as these are in most cases safe for pets.

Before finalizing the deal get them to visit your home and meet any pets that they might have to look after, in case you won’t be able to stay at home when they come.

AUTHOR BIO:

Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.