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Tips For Eco-Friendly House Cleaning

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Cleaning your home is a never-ending battle. With so many people living there, it seems like you’re always picking up, vacuuming, and more. That’s all right, as the benefits of having a clean house make up for it.

However, modern cleaning supplies are often full of harmful, even toxic chemicals. And despite the fact that they disinfect surfaces, what are you leaving behind when you use them? That’s why there’s a growing movement in the U.S. for environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Read on to learn what to use instead of chemicals and how to keep your air clean this winter.

Don’t Wait For Spring Cleaning

Springtime is a great time for cleaning because people have been cooped up all winter, but fall is also a great time to clean — before winter weather keeps you stuck inside for several months. has a great checklist of cleaning for fall.

For the inside, clean the common rooms first like communal bathrooms and living rooms. Start at the top and work your way to the floor, including vacuuming and, if necessary, carpet cleaning with eco-friendly materials. For the outside, wash the exterior windows, put away garden hoses, and clean patio furniture or outdoor toys before storing them in a shed or basement.

But cleaning doesn’t just mean disinfecting or getting rid of dirt — it can also mean decluttering and getting rid of unused belongings. Doing this in the fall is great, as you’ll be more organized and prepared for the approaching winter holidays.  Redfin has a great page with tips to help declutter, including what’s best to donate to different organizations like animal shelters or thrift stores. After all, reusing is a great way to be environmentally friendly.

Cleaning Without Chemicals

Being eco-friendly means avoiding harsh chemicals whenever possible. Thankfully, there are many natural ways to clean your home. Wellness Mama explains that you can make a scouring powder by mixing baking soda, salt, and Borax. Another all-natural cleaner is mixing vinegar with citrus peels. Let this sit for a few days then dilute it with water in a bucket or bowl. Use it to clean floors or disinfect surfaces.

Use baking soda on your oven to get rid of stubborn, burnt-on stains. For drains, pour some baking soda and white vinegar down the drain, then cover over the drain with a kitchen towel. Let this soak in for a few hours before rinsing them with hot water.

Keeping The Air Clean

Since you’ll be inside so much this winter, it helps to find an eco-friendly way to clean the air. That means skipping the aerosol sprays or chemically-laden scented candles. Instead, buy some plants.

As Greatist explains, plants act as filters by taking in carbon dioxide and even particulates swirling around in your home’s air. Then they replace both with oxygen. Some of the best plants for this include spider plants, peace lilies, ferns, and snake plants. Plus, these are typically easy to care for inside your home, helping them last longer in case you don’t have a green thumb.

If you want really want a scent in the house, you can also create an all-natural air freshener. In a saucepan, add water, a sliced lime, and some thyme. Then set the pan on a low simmer and let the evaporation make your house smell wonderful.

Skip Chemicals And Have A Clean Home

Our ancestors lived without spray bottles filled with harsh chemicals, so why can’t you? Stock up on some baking soda, vinegar, and citrus to make your own eco-friendly cleaning supplies. Once you’ve decluttered the house and added some plants, you can get some fall cleaning done so your home is ready for everyone this winter.

Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional?

(Photo Credit: Pixabay)

(Photo Credit: Pixabay)

A homeowner’s ingenuity can truly be both an asset and a hinderance to a home, as well as those who live in it. To be self-reliant in one’s own home is a source of pride, and as we all know, the learning process never stops. On top of that, it’s never fun to have haughty plumbers, electricians, or handymen jack up their labor prices because of your lack of expertise. 

For both big and small jobs, labor costs have escalated in recent years. Those high costs are a tremendous burden for homeowners, especially new homeowners who are just getting their feet under them. Most comprehensive guides explain how choosing the right projects, doing your own cleanup, and dealing with the right contractor can be pivotal in saving big during your next job on your home.

However, do it yourself (DIY) can also occasionally be a viable option for you, given the right circumstances. If you are questioning whether to do a job yourself or hand it over to a professional, continue reading.

Do It Yourself?

Before deciding whether to do a job yourself, consider the following:

  • Do you have the necessary skills? More importantly, does the job involve skills that require a permit (these will absolutely need the attention of a professional)? Try talking to others who have tried the project before. Extra opinions will be valuable to you.
  • Ask what the costs will be for a professional to complete it. When considering a contractor’s costs, think about the portions of the jobs you can do. Then, compare the contractor’s cost with the cost for the DIY project.
  • Evaluate both pricing options and the skills necessary to complete the job.

Obviously, a job completed yourself will result in far less money spent. Still, you should always consider the amount of skill needed. Some high-skill jobs, like electrical work, involve processes that require permits. In other cases, big jobs not done correctly can ruin your home. For instance, many major plumbing jobs can easily spring water leaks which can collapse a home over time.

Cleaning Up

Aside from actual work on a given job, most of what makes contracting labor so expensive is the extracurricular jobs involved with it. According to GoErie, you can save close to $200 per day by volunteering to remove any extra material left over from contracting jobs. However, always be sure of what the material is and whether it needs special care.

There are many smaller household tasks that can qualify as DIY, especially jobs that revolve around cleaning. These include seasonal cleaning of gutters atop the home and the scrubbing of moderate amounts of mold. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to have gutters and downspouts cleaned in Dallas is $124-$206 and takes five hours to complete. With the right tools and a little research, performing cleaning and maintenance tasks such as this helps you save on costs.


Should you as a homeowner decide to undergo a DIY project, the biggest concern about the job should be your own safety. You may be attempting to save a bundle on labor costs, but all that can become meaningless with enormous medical bills following an accident. Live wires, glass-filled insulation, and falling ladders are all potential obstacles.

Almost all DIY jobs involve some act that could put you in danger, so it’s important to consider how you might encounter injury during the job. In some cases, issues with safety may remove the DIY option entirely.

DIY is a great way to save money on otherwise costly home projects. Before deciding whether to perform the job yourself or hire a professional, make sure to consider if you have the skills to complete the job and how much money you’ll actually save, and always take your personal safety into account.

Caring For Your Granite The DIY Way

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Granite kitchen countertops are a popular choice for many proud homeowners. Not only is granite a beautiful material to look at but it is also extremely durable and requires reasonably little maintenance. If you are looking for a material that can easily withstand high temperatures and resists a variety of stains when properly sealed, then granite is definitely the material to opt for. Although granite has plenty to offer it can, like any other countertop, exhibit signs of wear and tear after time making it imperative to care for your granite countertop in the correct way.

Sealing your granite properly will prevent it from soaking up liquids such as cooking oil, water and wine and although it can be rather pricey to reseal periodically it will contribute significantly towards extending the granite’s lifespan and boosting its appearance and give your home a clean and shiny appearance.

Caring for your granite must become a priority and cleaning your countertop will keep it sparkling and reduce grime buildup. How you clean it is very important as certain acidic materials can do your countertop more harm than good. Many store-bought granite cleaners are also very expensive which is why you should consider making your own, cost effective and perfectly safe granite cleaner.

Homemade Granite Cleaner

There's no need to feel overwhelmed at the thought of making your own cleaner. It is easier than you think and the ingredients are readily available in most households. You can also adjust the basic recipe as needed to suit your own preferences by simply reducing or increasing the amount of alcohol and experimenting with differently fragranced essential oils.

The Recipe

In a clean, dry spray bottle of your choice simply mix together the following:

  • ½ cup of rubbing oil
  • 6 drops dishwashing liquid
  • 2 cups water
  • 10 – 20 drops of essential oil (you can pick any scent you like with sandalwood and lavender both being popular choices)

Simply shake to mix and you are ready to go. Spray the liquid onto your countertop and gently wipe with a soft cloth such as those made from microfiber. Your homemade cleaner is also safe to use on other surfaces and appliances around the house because of its gentle nature.

While you are experimenting with homemade cleaners to find one that works best for you just remember to steer clear of the following:

  • Household cleaners that contain harsh materials such as bleach, glass cleaners and domestic degreasers that can eat away at the sealant.

  • Bathroom cleaners as they may contain abrasive substances that can scratch your granite.


Granite kitchen countertops are a long-term investment and with the proper care can last for many years. Granite is not a product that requires hour upon hour of maintenance and with just a small amount of effort you can ensure that your kitchen looks its best all the time.

Insane Breakfast Making Machines That Actually Exist

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5 Genius Products for Making Breakfast

Americans love the various ways breakfast can be made and the flavors they can create with a few simple ingredients and a little know-how. Some people enjoy coffee and toast with their eggs, others love a good omelet and waffles. Here are five products that cook your entire breakfast with a single machine. 

Breakfast Burrito

Burritos are one food that you can tailor to breakfast, lunch and dinner. This Breakfast Burrito Maker streamlines that process and creates a place where you can warm the tortilla and cook the eggs to your liking.

Breakfast Sandwich Maker

The manufacturer of the Burrito Maker knows that people enjoy breakfast in many ways, so they also created a Breakfast Sandwich Maker. Whether you prefer a bagel, English muffin or a biscuit sandwich, this machine accommodates your love of bacon, eggs and cheese between bread of any sort.

Waffles and Omelets

Moving away from the breakfast to-go products, this machine goes a step further than your average waffle maker to create omelets as well. The Breakfast Express Waffle/Omelet Maker cooks a waffle and omelet at the same time, so you can serve hot food without leaving one to warm in the oven as the other cooks. If omelets aren't your thing, you can cook sausages or pancakes with this machine.

Master Toaster

From the simple toast and butter to eggs on toast, bread warmed to a crunchy golden brown is a huge part of breakfast. While most homes have a toaster or toaster oven, many do not have this Smart Breakfast Master Toaster. This little machine toasts your bread and cooks your eggs at the same time, and it can make poached, boiled or fried eggs. One great thing about the fried egg option is that the egg comes out in a square shape, perfect for a breakfast sandwich.

Breakfast Station

This is a mini diner for your kitchen, complete with retro styling. The 3-in-1 Family Size Breakfast Station brews up to four cups of coffee, toasts four slices of bread and sizzles eggs or bacon all at the same time. If you only have a small space, this might be a great way to get your toaster and coffee maker into one spot and cut down on the number of appliances you need. The addition of the griddle means you can think outside of breakfast and consider lunch or dinner options for this product.

Crisp Clean Winter Scents to Make Your Home Smell Good (That Aren't Candles!)

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Winter is a time to bundle up in front of the fire, throw on a sweater or relax under a soft blanket. One of the best ways to enjoy the warmth of home during this season is to fill your home with wonderful scents and smells. While there are many ways to find the perfect candle smell, consider creating your own home scents without the candle.

Brewing a Potpourri

Winter and the holidays often go hand-in-hand, and the smells of this time of year can bring you back to old experiences and great memories. One excellent way to bring in some holiday cheer as you make new memories is to create your own potpourri. You can simmer a recipe in a pot on your stove throughout the day or use a small crockpot on your countertop. It is as simple as gathering the ingredients and adding them to simmering water. One classic holiday potpourri includes cinnamon, orange, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla. Some people also enjoy a recipe that incorporates apples, cinnamon, and cloves.

Scented Pine Cones

Cinnamon scented pine cones are often a hallmark of the winter months. For some, cinnamon is not the smell they are going for, but they love the idea of scented pine cones. You can easily collect your own from your backyard, find a favorite essential oil scent and spray the oil onto your pinecones. The bonus of this method is being able to choose the type of smell and the intensity of aroma by the amount you spray. It is a wintery take on the room diffuser.

Pine Sachet

If you love the smell of Christmas trees and miss it once the holidays are over, consider filling your home with that scent throughout the season. Choose a fresh cut Christmas tree that is a Fir tree (Balsam, Fraser or Canaan) these smell the best. Once the season is over and you are removing your tree, harvest the needles and dry them. Then you can sew them or tie them into a sachet and have that fresh tree scent all winter long. Crinkle the sachet in your hands to freshen up the smell every so often.

Sage Wreath

For a truly wintery wreath in your home, build a sage wreath with fresh leaves. The icy green color of the leaves is a beautiful addition to your decor with a lovely scent. Using a styrofoam wreath shape for its base, you can pin or tie an abundance of sage around the wreath. The leaves will shrink as they dry, so the more leaves, the better coverage. Top it all off by adding a bow and hanging it in your favorite spot.

3 Awesome Products to Help You Sneak Some Sleep

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Humans are endlessly ingenious; we are constantly finding ways to solve problems, make life easier and streamline cumbersome processes. With a fast-paced lifestyle, it can be hard to find time to get the sleep you need. Here are three great inventions to help you catch a few extra winks at the office or on a spur-of-the-moment weekend visit with friends.

1. Guest Tent Bed

If you are visiting friends or hosting a house guest, it can be hard to find a comfortable bed and the bedroom-like privacy you need at the end of the day. This tent bed by Campeggi inflates into a convenient air mattress and has a structured tent for privacy. Whether you are sleeping in a friend's living room or sharing an extra bedroom with someone, you have a comfortable place to call your own. You can throw it in your car for those unexpected stays or store it in a closet for your overnight guests.

guest tent bed

2. Desk Hammock

In the careers of 21st-century desk jockeys, there are always projects that require late nights and long weekends. If you are working on a big deadline and need a few moments to rest your eyes, consider this desk hammock for a quick nap. Named Schnap by its creators, the hammock secures itself underneath a desk or table and installs in a snap. It can easily be stored in a drawer or shelf until the next late-night project.

desk hammock

3. Ostrich Pillow

For travelers who know what an airplane nap feels like, the Ostrich Pillow is an excellent way to make your trip more comfortable. With a pillow, a head cover and holes for your hands, this fun product can make catching a few zzz's a calming experience. Take a nap on your tray table; it cradles your head, masks ambient sounds and keeps you warm. It can also work well for a quick nap in the office, and there is no assembly required.

Sleeping on the go is never as comfortable as curling up in your own bed. With these products handy, you might find more comfort and a more restful sleep than you ever expected when you are away from home. 

Ostrich Pillow

Better Ways To Care For Your Home.

So, you’ve just cleaned your home thoroughly. Think that’s enough? Well, think again! Our homes can fell into disarray really quickly and need constant maintenance. The good news, however, is that this can be done little by little, even if you don’t have much time to clean every day. Here’s how…


1)    Keep cleaning supplies stored throughout your home.

Especially if your home is quite large, dragging cleaning supplies around can be a real pain. Instead, keep a stash in a few key locations throughout your home. This way, if you need to quickly wipe down or dust surfaces, you have everything at hand! Also, it eliminates the need to deep clean your home quite as often.  


2) Use rugs and runners.

In high traffic areas, you will find that there is often an accumulation of dust and dirt. An easy way to clean these areas is to place rugs or runners down and simply vacuum these every few days when time is tight. In addition, this saves wear and tear on the carpet or wood surfaces underneath.


3) Always have a doormat at each door: inside and outside.

You would be surprised at the amount of dirt that is collected on doormats! If you have a doormat at every door, both inside and outside, the amount of dirt that will enter your home will be greatly reduced, meaning…much less work for you!


4) Set your dining table: permanently.

Want to prevent your family from using the dining table as a repository for general items such as backpacks, laptops, paperwork, keys, etc? Then simply keep the table beautifully and elegantly set…permanently! There will then be no space for them to put additional items, not to mention that they will not want to spoil the lovely appearance of the set table!


5) The Downstairs - Upstairs Rule.

Going upstairs? Whenever you go upstairs, make it a general rule to always bring something from downstairs that belongs upstairs. There will always be something- whether it is some laundry, a toy or a book. If you do this on a regular basis, your house will soon begin to look so much neater.


6) Clean the baseboards with dryer sheets.

Ok, so you probably won’t be cleaning your baseboards every day, but when you do clean them, do so with dryer sheets attached to a Swiffer sweeper. This method will repel dust for ages. In addition, the dryer sheets will have your home smelling incredibly fresh!


7) Groom your pets outside.

Particularly if you have long-haired dogs or cats, grooming them inside can cause a major accumulation of dust bunnies in a very short span of time. Although unpleasant in winter, groom them outside and let nature take care of cleaning up the mess!


8) The daily 10-minute power clean.

A daily 10-minute power clean can really make a world of difference! Set the timer and do a 10 minute power clean every single day. It is even better if you can involve every member of your family, especially the kids as they will see it as a game! Here, you can focus on an area or corner that is especially noticeable- and the key is not perfection but simply getting rid of the worst of the dirt and mess, as quickly as possible.


9) Buy a compact vacuum cleaner.

Many people do not regularly vacuum because they feel it is such a pain hauling out their vacuum cleaner from the closet. If, however, you have a compact vacuum cleaner, the task of vacuuming could be so much easier with the device easily at hand. You could simply devote 5 minutes to it every evening. That's definitely something to consider, isn’t it?


10) Buy machine washable curtains.

Save precious time (and money) vacuuming your curtains and then hauling them off to the dry cleaners by replacing them with machine washable ones. Not only will you be able to throw them in the washing machine when they are dirty, but you can also simply hang them up once clean and you will never have to vacuum a single curtain again! A great time saver!

Decluttering Roundup: Products That Help You De-stress and Remove Clutter

How to Declutter Your Home

Decluttering your home can be a stressful, but worthwhile endeavor. The job may seem so insurmountable that it's difficult to know where to start. However, if you break up tasks into small, manageable accomplishments, you can get a lot more done. Check out some ideas in the areas of storage solutions, ideal cleaning products, and de-stressers that can help you in your quest to de-stress and remove clutter.

Storage Solutions

Organize your home by buying storage items that address a particular need. If your closets are full of decorative baskets that aren't working for you, check out these products.  They can really help you get your home working the way you have always envisioned.

1. Household Essentials 2-Tier Under-Sink Organizer — easily manages your cleaning supplies

2. Whitmor Supreme Laundry Sorter and Garment Rack — helps organize your household laundry

3. The Container Store's Stackable Drawer Organizers — mix and match these in your bathroom, kitchen and office

4. Proslat's Vertical Garage Storage — ideal for tools and outdoor toys

5. Ikea's Kallax for Toy Storage — perfect for indoor toy organization

6. All Modern's Storage Ottoman —  great for media or blanket storage

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Cleaning Products

One of the best ways to maintain your home after you declutter is to have cleaning products that you love and enjoy using. Often, under-sink cabinets are filled with half-used and forgotten-about products. You can clean out and recycle any old bottles and start fresh with a few environmentally friendly products, including:

1. Eco-Me Floor Cleaner

2. Simple Green Carpet Cleaner

3. J.R. Watkins All-Purpose Cleaner

4. Legacy of Clean SA8 Laundry Detergent (one of Consumer Report's highest scoring green detergents)

5. Vaska Spot Off Spot Remover

spot remover to help declutter

Removing Stress

Often, stress and clutter go hand in hand; if you declutter your space, you'll probably find that you're de-stressing your life as well. Here are a few things that might help you further remove stress as you work through projects in your home.

1. Clear The Clutter, Find Happiness is a book of one-minute tips to organizing your home

2. Root's Relieve Aromatherapy Candle — the eucalyptus menthol scent is invigorating

3. Somus Supreme Memory Foam Comfort Pillow — relieves stress and pressure while you sleep

pillow to relax after you organize your home

House Cleaning Schedule - Create a Plan to Make Your Home Shine

House Cleaning Schedule

This post was written by veteran TIDY Homekeeper Anita M, who likes to share her tips on keeping a clean home.

House Cleaning Schedule

Keeping your home clean can sometimes feel like an impossible task, but one great way to make it feel less daunting is to set a schedule. Creating a house cleaning schedule will help ensure that you keep every part of your home clean, even the parts that you'd typically pay less attention to. When you're ready to make a cleaning schedule for your home, follow these tips to make sure you get the job done right.

Your Daily Focus: Keep Dirt Away

A daily cleaning schedule attacks the messes and dirt that accumulate in your house every day. It will keep your home tidy but doesn't do much about serious grime. By following this schedule, you'll have a house you can relax in after a long day at work. In fact, living in a clean home may even make you a happier person.

Try accomplishing these tasks to prevent messes from getting out of control:

  • Make your bed
  • Put dirty clothes in hamper
  • Do a load of laundry when you have enough dirty clothes
  • Wipe countertops after preparing meals
  • Wash dishes (or load dishwasher)
  • Spend 10 minutes picking up and putting away clutter
  • Wipe out the kitchen and bathroom sinks


Your Weekly Focus: Clean Common Areas

The easiest house cleaning schedules only ask you to spend a little time each day focused on household chores. If you truly do not have time to do these tasks during the week, you can reserve them for the weekend.

Keep in mind that a weekend-heavy cleaning schedule could seem like a taxing chore that makes you tired during your days off from work. Many people who think they don't have time to clean during the week just need to learn new habits.

Here's a sample cleaning schedule you can follow during the week:

Sunday: Vacuum all carpets and rugs. Mop tile floors.

Monday: Wash bedsheets.

Tuesday: Wipe interior windows.

WednesdayClean stove.

Thursday: Wipe away smudges and dirt from walls.

Friday: Vacuum furniture.

Saturday: Clean exterior windows.


Your Seasonal Focus:Deep Cleaning

Your home doesn't need a deep clean very often. You should, however, work hard to remove grime from all areas of the house at least once per year. Don't try to force all of that cleaning into one weekend. You'll get better results by spreading out the tasks with an annual house clean schedule that tells you what to focus on each month.

Here's a sample schedule that you may want to follow:



Winter is a good time to clean out-of-the-way areas that often get neglected.

December: Empty and wipe down all cabinets. Dispose of unused medications.

January: Clean behind the refrigerator, washer, dryer and large furniture.

February: Steam clean all carpets.


March: Empty closets to find and donate unwanted items. Re-organize for the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

April: Clean window exteriors and screens.

May: Wash blankets, comforters, duvets and other large bedding.



June: Clean and organize the garage and basement.

July: Empty dressers and drawers. Clean insides and donate unwanted items.

August: Clean walls and retouch paint where necessary.



September: Reorganize closets and dressers for the upcoming cold seasons.

October: Give freezers, refrigerators, stoves and ovens a deep clean.

November: Consolidate and organize personal files.


These house cleaning schedules will make it relatively much easier for you to keep all areas of your home neat and clean. You don't have to follow them precisely, though. Feel free to create a schedule that matches the needs of your home and lifestyle. As long as you accomplish the tasks on these lists, you'll have a home you're proud to show your friends and relatives.

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5 Ways to Make Cleaning More Fun

When it comes to cleaning, many people regard it as a tedious and mundane chore that simply has to be done in order to achieve a clean and tidy home. What if there was a way in which to make cleaning fun? Well, with a little inspiration, this is entirely possible! Here’s how…

Burn Some Calories

First of all, especially if you are struggling to fit exercise into your already tight schedule, you should view cleaning as the calorie burning physical activity that it is. For instance, did you know that the average 125 pound person will burn 165 calories per hour doing general housework?

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Play Some Tunes

Since music makes any form of exercise more enjoyable, why not put on some of your favorite workout tunes to motivate you into working faster?

listen to music while you clean

Make it a Game

Everyone loves a fun-filled game, even if it involves cleaning. If you turn cleaning into a game involving every member of your household, such as your roommates, siblings, children, spouse, etc, keeping a points chart and awarding points whenever anyone completes a cleaning task, everyone will want to play! At the end of the week, whoever has the most points will win a prize.

If you live alone, why not time yourself every time you clean and see if you can beat your personal best time? If you are able to do so, reward yourself with a relaxing bubble bath or a longer break.

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Combine Activities

Don’t have time to watch your favorite tv show AND clean? No problem! Do both! This is exactly how soap operas became so popular back in the day- so moms could watch them while they were working and cleaning around the house. This is a great way to fold laundry and clean at a faster pace and you won’t even notice!

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Make Cleaning Into Mindful Meditation

Mundane tasks can serve as a form of light mediation as well. Try mentally disengaging from routine and repetitive cleaning tasks to improve mindfulness and self-awareness.

Although cleaning may not be regarded as the most enjoyable task, with a bit of creativity, you can turn it into a highly enjoyable activity!

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