Clutter. Its an ugly, stressful word. I hate to hear it, I hate to see it, and I hate to own it. But we all have it SOMEWHERE. Unless you’re a total neat freak and have ZERO clutter in your life EVER. So here’s the top places/things to go through or throw out. Lets jump right to it!
The first is a place in your home. The closet. Whether its your bedroom closet, your laundry room closet, or the coat closet, it probably has some sort of clutter. Lets start with the bedroom closet. Go through all of your clothes. Start by throwing out anything that doesn’t fit. No matter how bad you WANT it to, if it doesn’t fit, toss it. It will look better on someone else. Next, throw out anything you haven’t worn in 3 months. This applies to the clothes that fit the current weather. If its winter, you probably havent worn shorts in a few months. Be logical when throwing out, but don’t make excuses to keep things. The same rules apply for the coat closet.
Next up is that pile or piles of paper. One method Im fond of is getting 3 containers. A small , medium and large. The large bin will be filled with all papers to be thrown out and recycled. The medium bin should be filled with papers with personal/identifiable information. The third box will be for papers that will be saved for filing. Not sure if you should throw it out or keep it? Here’s four questions to ask yourself when deciding:
1. Is there a SPECIFIC circumstance where this information would be needed again? ( as opposed to “I MAY need it again)
2. How hard would it be to obtain this information again if needed?
3. Is the information even up to date?
4. Is it worth your time to file it away and have to deal with it again?
Ladies, this one is for you. Those beauty products. They can pile up and pile up to the point where you don’t even remember when, how, or why you bought it. Keep only what you use daily or as directed, and pass the rest off to a friend. Boom, you’ve gained an extra square foot of counter top or vanity space.
Lastly, take a pass through your home. If there are any items that were purchased but never opened, or items that have not been used in the last year, put them on social media or sites like eBay for sale. If you have gone through all 4 seasons, and not needed it, its time to go. A great way to make extra cash while decluttering your home!
When you have kids, especially any under the age of 5, it can be difficult to get ANY task complete, let alone any cleaning. So today Im going to give you some tips on how to include your children in your chores so that they are not a distraction, and possibly even a help. First lets start with infants. The best way to clean with an infant in the house, is when the baby sleeps. Even if your baby only takes 20 minute naps, you will be surprised what you can get done in that time if you use it correctly. Try to do any scrubbing, or use of chemicals (bathroom cleaning/oven cleaning etc.) while the baby is away from your arms. Just be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before picking baby up again. This would be a valuable time to do any dusting as well. Dusting while baby is asleep and away, will keep the dust from harming baby. If you prefer to use baby’s nap time as your own nap time as recommended by specialists when dealing with a newborn, then when baby is awake, take advantage of one of those front baby carriers. You know, the kind where baby is strapped to your front. This allows you to still have that body to body connection with baby as you get things accomplished yourself. With baby on board, you could do things such as load the dishwasher, laundry, and if you are lucky enough to have a baby who loves the sound of a vacuum, you can use baby’s tummy time as vacuum time for you.
On to toddlers. These guys are fun. And independent. Or so they think so. They know everything and you know nothing. Including toddlers in the housework is key to success. When doing laundry, wash all towels and cloths first. When all loads are ready to be folded, give your toddler the basket of towels and cloths. You could even include linen as a “big” bonus for the little one’s hard work. Show your toddler the simple 4-fold way to fold linen. They should be able to mimic. As long as you don’t have a mount everest pile of laundry, you should be able to get most if not all completed by the time your toddler has. Ran out of towels, cloths, and sheets? Give your little one all socks and ask them to match them. Another great way is their clothes. They may even want to help put them away. This encourages positive independence early. And happens to come in handy for you. Another chore you can include your walking tot in is loading the dishwasher. Maybe save the glassware and knives for yourself, but pots, pans, plastics, etc are safe for baby to assist with. You could take turns and just make all danger items on your turn. We could do the same with laundry. When transferring laundry, hand the items to your tot and let them put them in the dryer. Even lift them to turn the machine on. The thing with children is they just want to feel they are valued and helpful. Anything at all, no matter how small is like the world to a toddler. Sweeping? Let them hold the dust pan for you. Mopping? Let them have a few strokes at it. Windows dirty? Nothing is more fun to a kid than having a squirt bottle and being able to use it. Water down some windex and give your child their own bottle, a cloth, and two particular windows to wash. As they work on theirs, you can get the rest of the windows in the house. You could also use the window technique as a distraction as you do other chores. They will be busy making sure those windows shine as you take care of what you need to. You can include a walking child in almost anything, just think small and simple.
With so many different ways of sharing our tips and tricks for cleaning these days, it can be hard to tell which to choose. I will be giving three different “This vs. That” scenarios and comparing them, with a winner in each.
First up is vinegar vs. bleach. I talk a lot about vinegar being a go-to when making a homemade cleaner. But does it disinfect as well as bleach? The simple answer is no. Although it does sanitize SOME, its percentages are not the same as bleach. Vinegar is about 90% effective on bacteria vs. 99% with bleach. Viruses, mold and mildew stand next to zero chance of survival when dealing with bleach with 99.9% effectiveness. Vinegar, however, only kills about 80% of viruses, mold and mildew. So to sum up, if you really cant stand the smell and chemicals in bleach, vinegar is an alternative, but it does NOT work as well. My advice is if you don’t want to use bleach, soap and water can be more effective than vinegar if used well.
Second up, is antibacterial soap vs. regular soap. Does antibacterial soap really kill more germs than plain old soap and water? No need to waste your time, the answer is no. The CDC has stated “To date, studies have shown that there is no added health benefit for consumers (this does not include professionals in the healthcare setting) using soaps containing antibacterial ingredients compared with using plain soap. CDC looks forward to any future data about the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial consumer products and will continue to adjust recommendations based on the best available science.”
Our last battle consists of disinfecting wipes vs. disinfecting sprays. In this battle, there is no winner. It’s a tie as far as the numbers go. It simply depends on your preference and convenience. If the surface you are disinfecting may have some dirt on it, you may want to use the wipes to ensure all particles are picked up and thrown away. When using a spray, just make sure to NOT rinse the surface. This will defeat the purpose entirely.
In all summary, first, bleach is your best surface cleaner if you don’t mind the smell. Many types of bleach have scented versions these days. Second, don’t spend those few extra dollars on the “antibacterial” version of soap because the regular kind is just as effective. Lastly, weather you use wipes or sprays to disinfect your home surfaces, you will be getting the same efficiency.
If you do not keep up with your microwave, cleaning it can be difficult. It can seem like an impossible task, especially when you scrub and it just doesn't want to come clean. For that reason, I find that it's more helpful when you spray the microwave before you start cleaning anything else in the kitchen. And, if the microwave rests above the stove, just spray that down too. You're going to drop everything down onto the stove anyway. That way you soak the two dirtiest (in my kitchen, anyway) appliances so they should both be easier to clean when you get to them. Let (those) sit as you clean the rest of the kitchen. When you do get to the microwave, hopefully the cleaner did a good job of loosening up whatever was stuck on it. Now, sadly it's not always that easy. You can spray it, let it soak and scrub it as hard as you'd like and some things still just Won't.Come.Off. For that I have a trick that I learned years ago. Find a cup- something microwave safe, fill it with water and heat it in the microwave for 10-15 minutes. The steam should loosen up the last of the gunk. You can spray it down after, if you want. Then take your sponge and scrub away. You should then be looking at a sparkling clean microwave. Sometimes failure to upkeep causes permanent stains that settle into the plastic and cannot be removed by normal household cleaners. That requires restoration work and HD Cleaning does not offer that service. Or, you can just get a new microwave. But if you're like me and I know I can't get the stain out, I just ignore it and go about my business. It's irritating, but eh. I'll buy a new microwave when the current one stops working. For those that have a maid service clean their home, clean every once in a while between cleanings. Ideally you want to disinfect regularly, considering you put your food in there. That also helps keep stains from, well, staining the surface and your microwave looks great.
Pumice is volcanic rock that is created when lava and water are mixed. I knew that pumice is used to make lightweight concrete and that it is a major ingredient in laundry soaps and toothpaste. I was not aware that pumice is used as an exfoliant to help remove dead or dry skin.
Most of us that have ever heard of a pumice stone have usually been told it's to remove dead skin, as written above (I thought we all knew that). However, there are other uses for pumice stones that I probably would have never thought of. Did you know you can swipe a pumice stone across your couch, mattress or any other cloth surface to remove pet hair? Because you can. And it works so well. I could make a new dog or cat with the amount of hair those things get off the furniture. Seriously.
Did you also know that in some, not all cases you can use a pumice stone to remove rings in your toilet bowl? Yep, it does that too. Like I said though it doesn't get every ring out. If you've had one in your toilet for like ten years, then it probably won't get that out. But if its a fairly new ring, then just apply whatever cleaner you're using, and take your magic stone and scrub out the ring.
Its amazing how many common and sometimes random objects make helpful tools and tricks in your daily life. If you have a super furry dog or cat (like I do) and their fur being everywhere is bugging you (also, like me), then a pumice stone would be a great investment.
Grease. It’s a nasty word that makes some people cringe with disgust. Even in today’s world filled with dishwashers, grease can still be an issue. Not only for your dishes, but for your clothes and floors as well. But of course I wouldn’t be mentioning these issues if I didn’t have some solutions to pass on to you! Lets start with on those dishes. The ever amazing Dawn dishsoap is the best to fight grease that I have come across. But sometimes, even the best cant do the job. For any grease spots that are stubborn, add a little baking soda with your regular soap and water. Because its mild, its easy on your dishes and your hands. Now on to those floors. Even the smallest grease splatter can cause a slippery, dangerous mess. For any grease spills that are still wet, cover them in flour. Ironic, when I think of flour in the kitchen, I think of making a mess, not cleaning one up. The flour will absorb the grease making it much easier to get up. Sweep the flour up, and wipe any remaining flour remnants with a warm wet cloth. So what do we do when the grease has splattered on our pants, or that delicious but full of grease burger has gushed juices all over your shirt? Heres where we go back to Dawn and baking soda. Mix together these two ingredients to make a gritty like mixture. Rub it into the stain using round motions for about a minute. Throw it in the wash with your regular cleaning detergent, and the stain should be gone when done. And finally, those dining room chair cushions. Those folks with young children could probably relate to this one a little more. Children put their hands everywhere but their silverware and plate when eating, and can leave some pretty good stains on our cushions. And not all cushions are machine washable. For those types of materials, a simple mixture of salt and rubbing alcohol can work magic. Mix 1 part salt with 4 parts rubbing alcohol. Use a cloth to rub the solution hard into the stain until it lifts away. After the grease is gone and your solution dries, vacuum up the excess salt and use a damp cloth to wipe away any salt marks left behind. Do you have any grease secrets? Share them in the comments!
Who doesn't like a glass of wine.... or 3? Exactly. And with wine, comes spills. And with spills comes stains. I've found my favorite and most inexpensive homemade stain remover, and I am excited to share it with you! Three simple ingredients that work together in an amazing, gentle way to get stains out of your carpet, or most delicate blouse or pillow sham (depending on where you are drinking your lovely beverage). The best part is, most of us already have these items in our homes. These magic ingredients are.......baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and the almighty Dawn dishsoap. Three things that, on their own, are super useful and effective and together, work magic. For a small batch, the measurements are 2 tablespoons of the baking soda (you can add more and the measurement doesn't have to be exact), 3-4 tablespoons of the peroxide, and a teaspoon of the Dawn. Keep in mind that knockoff brands or other competitors may not work as well as brand-name Dawn. Dawn has the gentleness that most surfaces require when being cleaned. So now, with this new concoction, your only worry when drinking wine is how many is too many? Hint: the answer is infinite. So drink and dance on with no worries my friends!
If the only scent your house has is "I have pets", I'm here to save the day! I have 3 "recipes" for homemade fabric fresheners because if you're like most people, you think of your pet as a family member and allow them to sit on the furniture as one. They leave their scent behind, of course. Its not that bad for you, but as we've all seen in the commercials, your friends smell something entirely different. Animal. Just straight animal. So let me start with my favorite recipe. Get an empty spray bottle and fill it with one cup of water. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda, then grab your favorite smelling fabric softener. Add 1 tablespoon to the mixture. Gain is a great choice as it has a long lasting, fresh smell. This is my favorite because the baking soda helps to take the odor away vs covering it up, as the Gain replaces it with a fresh one. It also lasts a lot longer than any store bought spray. The second DIY freshener I have to share with you involves vodka. (This gives you a guilt-free reason to go buy a bottle). Again, get an empty spray bottle and pour one cup water. Add a half cup of vodka. Do what you please with the rest. Find your favorite smelling essential oil, lavender is a good one if you can't decide. It's light and calming. Add 10 or so drops of your choice oil and shake it all together. When the vodka evaporates it take some of the smell with it, leaving you with a long lasting scent. The third and final concoction I'm sharing today is my second favorite. It only involves two ingredients, one of which is water. Take an empty spray bottle and fill it to about 2 inches from the top with warm water. Get a bottle of "Downy Unstoppables" dryer beads. Yes, genius. Pour the beads in the bottle a few shakes at a time and shake until the desired strength of scent is reached. Now start spraying everything from the curtains to the carpets and your house will be long-lasting fresh in no time. The best part, you're no longer paying $5 at the store for a bottle that will last you a week, if you're lucky. So spray on my friends, spray on!
Just how bad are household cleaning products? Studies have shown that using a household cleaning spray, even as little as once a week, raises the risk of developing asthma. Asthma has been pointed as one of the leading causes of absences in school aged children. Not worried about asthma? How about those chemical burns and irritations on the skin and eyes. Those things are no joke. Ever accidently mixed cleaning products and all of a sudden saw smoke rising? Ever cleaned with bleach and felt as if all of your nose hairs are burned off? With green products, such as the ones used with HD Cleaning, these risks are completely eliminated. Are you a consumer who is attracted to the “antibacterial” labels? Yea, I was too. Until I recently learned that A U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientific advisory panel determined that “antibacterial” soaps are no better than regular soaps at killing germs or reducing the spread of infection. The American Medical Association recommends avoiding “antibacterial” products at home, as they may promote bacterial resistance to antibiotics. So to sum up, green cleaning is just as efficient as the chemicals, poses no health risks what so ever, and lets you breath easier.
How To Keep Your House Free of Pet Hair
I know there are a lot of people that wonder on a daily basis how to keep their homes free of pet hair. Well, luckily guys, I have the answer. Unless your pet is an outdoor pet, and it never comes into the house, it is impossible to keep your house rid and free of pet hair. That’s right, impossible. I said it. There is no magical unknown trick that keeps your home free of flying animal fur. There are a few things that can help cut down on the amount of pet hair and dander that your home would susally acquire.
The first of which is to if at all possible, keep your animals outside. They were made for the outdoors. They like it. They can run around and get exercise, interact with other animals they might see. Now I’m not saying if its 110 degrees outside with a high heat index, or there’s a blizzard occuring, then I would probably keep my pets inside. But if its nice outside and not pouring down rain, let them go outside.
Hire a cleaning company. One of the advantages to hiring a maid service is that we can help cut the amount of pet hair in your home in half, if not more. Did you know that there is a special way to get pet hair off of your fabric furniture? I do. I did it while I was cleaning houses. I do not have any pets so luckily I never had to do this in my own home. There is a stone that you can buy called a pet hair stone. It’s available at any pet store and possibly Walmart. I think, not quite sure but it should be. Its Walmart. We get all underneath your furniture, in those corners you may have forgotten about, around the table and chair legs where for some reason a lot of pet hair seems to accumulate.
Brush your pets. Brushing your dog(s) twice a week and your cat(s) once a day will help dramatically reduce the amount of pet hair in your home and on your furniture. I have heard of the furminator, a special type of brush for pets but not being a pet owner, I have not tried it so I cannot offer an opinion on it.