Don’t Waste an Entire Day Cleaning the House!

In today’s world, there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete our tasks. Who wants to spend an entire day cleaning the house, especially when time is a precious commodity? If you have an unexpected guest coming over, or you just procrastinate cleaning the house, we have some basic tips for cleaning the house fast!

  • Concentration and Focus – The first tip is lay down your phone! You must stay hyper focused on the task at hand, and not get distracted by other tasks. Clean one room at a time.
  • Start at the Top – Always start at the top and clean down. This way dirt and dust falls to the lower uncleaned surface. Dust ceiling fans first, then dust the furniture top to bottom.
  • Bedrooms – Strip bed linens and remake bed. Clear all visible clutter by placing in a basket to organize later. Dust ceiling fans and light fixtures. Dust window sills. Dust all furniture top to bottom with dusting spray and microfiber cloth.
  • Bathrooms – Cleaning all bathrooms at one time is key. Dust light fixtures and window sills. Clear counters and spray down counters, tubs and toilet with cleaner. Allow the cleaner to sit while you go to the next bathroom to clear and spray down. Go back to bathroom and clean counters, tub and toilets, then clean the mirrors. Come back and clean bathroom baseboards and floors after you have cleaned the kitchen floor.
  • Living & Dining Room –  Clear all clutter first. Start dusting in one corner of the room and work clockwise. Clean ceiling fans, light fixtures, dust window sills, and dust all furniture top to bottom. Use your vacuum cleaner’s attachment on upholstered furniture.
  • Kitchen – First, load dishwasher. Fill the sink with hot soapy water and a small amount of cleaner. If your stove has burner frames, remove and put in soapy water. Dust ceiling fans, light fixtures and window sills. Clear all counter tops and table/desk tops. Dip cleaning sponge in soapy water and wipe down cabinets and counters, top to bottom. Be sure to rinse sponge in hot water and you’ll be amazed at how much dirt rinses out. Wipe down all kitchen appliances, top to bottom. Wiping down appliances will help to eliminate finger prints.
  • Floors – Clean all hardwood floors at one time, clean tile floors together, and so on. When vacuuming carpeted floors, work your way backwards out of the room and try not to overlap with vacuum. Vacuum hardwood floors using the attachment for corners and baseboards. This eliminates dust in the air and settling again.
  • Steam Mop – Steam mops make cleaning floors much faster than using a basic mop. Plus, you are using water to steam away dirt and germs, instead of cleaners. Invest in a steam mop!

 We look forward to hearing your feedback and comments, and don’t forget to let us know your tips and tricks!

The Influence of Dark and Light in Design

When formulating a design strategy for your home, it is important to consider how light and dark will influence your choices in flooring, furniture and wall color.  Keep in mind what direction your home faces, which rooms are cooler or warmer, and which areas of the house have minimal natural light available.  These are all pieces of useful information you will need to bring out the best parts of your home’s traits.  It will also help you provide solutions to some of its disadvantages.

 

Rooms that receive a lot of natural light can afford to be decorated with darker furniture and flooring.  The rich colors will come to life when the sun shines through.  Using a lighter but vivid wall color with your decor will also keep the focus on the room’s darker aspects and keep the design looking dramatic. If the light coming from the windows is insufficient in the next room on your list, try using a lighter color palette to help make the room appear larger and less dingy.   Bright earth tones will give the room a crisp, refreshing look. Pair it with glass decor and mirrors for artificial light sources to reflect in order to counteract the darkness.

 

Proper lighting coverage in each room of your home will help provide the best contrast from dark to light when transitioning from day to night. No matter how well some rooms may receive the sunshine, they will all be needing artificial sources of light by day’s end.  Do not underestimate the usefulness of a light dimmer. This will allow you to stage each room with the proper amount of light needed depending on the time of day, room design or even to please your houseguests.  Bedrooms can use softer yellow bulbs while high traffic areas can use a sharper white light to keep things bright and active.

 

Finally, consider how the use of cooler and warmer colors can be beneficial to the appearance of each room to help accentuate the light and dark to its best advantage.   Each space needs to feel comfortable and inviting. Mixing colors, textures and lines as your baseline in design will allow you to come up with the most flattering contrasts in your home.

Clean These Things!

Spring! The weather has already begun to change and moods have begun to be lifted. But, there is one thing you do not want to bring into your spring: germs. Spring cleaning is the ideal time to clean out your house from unwanted items and messes. This spring, focus on cleaning the places that attract unwanted germs. 

 

Where to clean:


The Remote. There are some truly horrifying statistics about how dirty our remotes are and the reason why they are extremely dirty: everyone touches it! No matter how clean or hygienic you may be, you cannot guarantee others are just as clean and hygienic. You and your family should clean the remote regularly, but especially this spring to avoid transferring germs from winter into your springtime. 

Materials: Alcohol-based wipe. 

What to do: Clean the remote thoroughly with your wipe. 


Toothbrushes. We will spare you the specific details on how dirty your toothbrushes are, but the reason why they become so dirty: your toilet. When you flush, the bacteria enters the air and remains in it for approximately two hours. It is important to keep your toothbrush in a closed space away from the toilet, but also allow it to dry. 

  • Replace your family’s toothbrushes every two-three months. 
  • Always remember to close the toilet’s lid before flushing. 
 

Handles & Door Knobs. Think about it, they are touched constantly without us even realizing it. Even when someone is sick, they still need to touch a door knob. Clean off all door knobs and handles leading to anything. This can get tedious, but so can your family members getting ill. 

Materials: Alcohol-based wipes or preferred cleaning product with a cloth. 

  • Note: Do not forget light switches. 
 

Dishwasher. They contain leftover food and residue, enough said. Cleaning your dishwasher can be done in three easy steps: 

1. Clean out the dishwasher’s drain. This is located beneath your bottom dish rack and may contain unwanted food and residue. 

2. Begin a vinegar wash with 1 cup of white vinegar. You will place the vinegar in a dishwasher safe cup and keep it there during the duration of the cycle. 

3. Lastly, you will complete a baking soda rinse. You will sprinkle one cup of baking soda on the bottom of your dishwasher

  • Complete these rinses on “hot-water cycles.”
 

Fans. Think of all the dust it leaves in your room. Cleaning off your fans will help with allergies from dust. 

Materials: Extendable duster or a cloth and a ladder. 

 

We hope you and your family stay happy and healthy with these simple tips and that your spring cleaning is efficient and effective this season!


Mulching 101

Spring is quickly approaching us and so are all the responsibilities that come along with it. Mulching your garden beds is important to do in mid-to-late spring. It is never too early to start preparing to take care of your gardens. 

 

Mulching your garden:

Prepare. You have the option to mulch your garden with either organic or inorganic mulch. There are benefits and disadvantages to the different types of mulches and ultimately, it will be your opinion on which you prefer. Keep in mind that the reason we mulch is to keep moisture in our soil!

Organic mulch: decomposes the materials they are made up of overtime. 

  • This type of mulch will add nutrients to your soil but is messier than inorganic mulch. 
  • Bark, manure, wood chips, straw, shells, and leaf mold are all categorized under organic mulch. 

Inorganic mulch: works to eliminate the growth of moss. 

  • This type of mulch is great if you need to keep the leaves of your plant dry because the mulch will not splash onto the leaves.
  • Gravel, stones, and pebbles are considered to be inorganic mulch.

Organic mulch is known to be more of a “functional” mulch and inorganic mulch is known to be there more for the beauty aspect. After you decided on your mulch’s purpose, you will need to pick up your mulch. The amount of mulch you need depends on how big your garden is.

Pull the weeds. Before you begin mulching, you will need to remove all the weeds from the ground. 

Landscaping fabric. This is an optional step, but if you choose to use any landscaping fabric, it goes underneath the mulch. 

Place the mulch. Remember that the more, the merrier! You will need approximately 2-4 inches of mulch. Since its main purpose is to help retain the moisture in our soil, we need a lot of mulch to have a happy garden. 

Disperse the mulch. We now want to disperse the mulch into an even layer. You can use a rake or tool of your preference to complete this step. 

 

Remember to mulch this spring because, mulching is important for a successful, happy garden. 


10 Items That Will Improve your Porch

Creating an outdoor living space is easier than one may think. The key is to decorate in the same manner as you would an interior. Think furniture with accent pillows, floors (rugs), lighting and accessories. It is important to cover all of the layering basics.

We have a list of things you can place in this area to improve any outdoor living space!

  1. Provide separate seating for relaxing and dining. Many people serve meals outdoors during the spring and summer. It is more comfortable to have a separate place to sit and relax, rather than only having chairs around an outdoor dining table. Do not do this if the available space will not accommodate two seating areas. When space is limited, decide which type of seating you would use more, dining or relaxing. Adding accent tables and a coffee table can serve as a way to accommodate beverages and snacks.
  2. Lighting is important in this area. Hang some string lights to add a romantic outdoor glow to your space.
  3. An outdoor rug with an exciting pop of color or pattern.
  4. A portable fire pit. These are perfect if you do not have one that has been custom built. They can be used to make smores or simply cuddle up by on cool evenings!
  5. Planting flowers and herbs that naturally repel mosquitos are a great way to naturally protect you and guests. Not to mention they look and smell nice. Basil and lemon grass are a few of many mosquito repelling plants.
  6. Music is a perfect way to set the mood. Grab some blue tooth speakers that can easily be transported to and from the porch.
  7. A drink station is very inviting. It can be interchanged with lemonade, tea or even hot cocoa for cool nights.
  8. Hang drapery or add a decorative screen.
  9. Add vintage, glass lanterns with candles inside. This creates glittering accent lighting and adds the finishing touch of accessories.
  10. Decorative solar lights are another way to add a free source of lighting that will enhance landscaping. Plus they never need to be plugged in!

Cleaning Your House Quickly & Efficiently

You are in a rush. You have guests coming over, but do not have time to scrub down your entire home. You have decided to focus on the main elements of your house. You are officially ready to start cleaning, but where do you start? No need to worry because we have the perfect list of what to clean when you have a limited amount of time. 

 

Quick & Efficient Cleaning: 

  • Beds: If you are having overnight guests, cleaning the mattresses can be extremely important. Strip the beds and wash all the linens. While the bed is stripped, vacuum the mattress to remove dirt and dust mites. Now sprinkle the mattress with baking soda and lavender essential oils. Move on to other parts of the home before you vacuum off the baking soda. Lastly, redress the bed with your freshly washed sheets and bedding. 
    • Note: use the scent of lavender since it can encourage a healthy night’s rest. 
  • Dust: To dust your furniture off quickly, place an old sock on your hand. You can run your hand across your furniture to gather any dust particles. Take a duster to clean off your ceiling fans and a dryer sheet to dust off baseboards. 
  • Vacuum: Swiftly run a vacuum through your main rooms and guest bedroom. If you have hardwood floors, you can use a dust mop to collect any left behind dirt and dust. 
  • Windows: Windows can become extremely dirty over time, make sure to wipe down your windows with a glass cleaner to free them of smudges and fingerprints. 
  • Bathrooms: Take a disinfecting wipe to clean off bathroom counters and the toilet seat. Clean out the toilet bowl with toilet bowl cleaner and wipe down any fixtures with disinfecting wipes. If time allows, clean out your bathtub and shower with bathroom cleaner.  
  • Countertops: Wipe down all of your counters with a sponge, dish rag, or disinfecting wipe. Since you may have just vacuumed, make sure to let crumbs and dirt fall into your hands when wiping down the counter. 
  • Mirrors: You can finish up by cleaning off the mirrors in bathrooms and bedrooms with glass cleaner. 

 

Now, your home is clean and ready for guests! Nothing can stop you from having a great night with your family or friends tonight. Enjoy!


How to Remove Chocolate from Carpet

Chocolate is a delicious experience. While enjoying your tasty treat, you accidentally drop some on your well-kept carpet. . . What now? 

 

1. Do not let the stain sit for a long time on the carpet. The key to removing the chocolate effectively is through reacting quickly. 

2. Grab white paper towels to blot the soiled area. It is important to use white paper towels, because colored towels may bleed into the carpet causing an even bigger mess. 

-Make sure to blot the soiled area and not to scrub it. Blotting will help lift the stain whereas scrubbing may deepen the mess. 

-It is important not to scrub because you could damage the nap and twist of the carpet fibers.
3. Continue blotting the area until the paper towel stops picking up residue. 

4. Dissolve the stain with a solution. 

-A list of carpet solution options can be found on this site.

-Make sure not to use too much solution, because it may lead to rapid re-soiling. (Rapid re-soiling occurs when you do not get all the solution out of the carpet and dirt begins to attract to that area faster). 

-Want to keep it Natural? You can also try a home remedy of mixing 1/4 teaspoon of clear dishwashing liquid with one cup of warm water. Never use laundry detergent because it can cause your carpet to change color in that area. 

5. Rinse the stain and solution area with warm water. A little goes a long way; make sure not to drench the spot in water. 

-When blotting the area with water, work from the outside to the center of the stain. This helps the stain not to distribute further. 

6. If the stain does not lift it may need the help of professional carpet cleaners. A difficult stain can sometimes call for professional carpet cleaning, but think of it as an investment! 

 

Now, you can get back to enjoying your delicious box of chocolates without a fear in the world. 


Organizational Tips

An organized life is a happy life. The more clutter your home has, the more frustrated you get. We totally understand! Everything needs a designated spot in your household. When life gets crazy, things can get misplaced. This is because your things never had a designated place in your household. Let us change that: 


2. Doors

Utilize the back of your doors in closets, garages, laundry rooms, etc. Doors hold a lot of storage potential that is easily overlooked. Consider buying a shelving system that hangs over the back of your door. 

 

2.   Pantry

Your pantry’s main job is to hold items, this can get messy quick. Clear containers are a great solution to an overflowing shelf. The clear containers allow you see what’s in them without having to move everything around. A label maker will come in handy if you want to label what product is in each of the containers. Also, this solution will help you when grocery shopping. Wouldn’t it be easy to just glance in the pantry and see what containers are empty? 

 

3.   Beds

Beds have a lot of hidden storage underneath them. This solution is great for storing things you would like out of sight. You can buy bins to store your items underneath your bed or invest in a bed that has a built-in storage system. 

 

4.   Baskets

Baskets are the stylish version of bins. Baskets can be left out while adding to the room’s overall decor. Baskets are great for storing things you need often but do not want to leave out (i.e. blankets). 

 

5.   Hooks

Hooks will help keep your front entrance tidy. Add hooks near the entrance of your home so that your family members can hang their belongings. 

 

6.   Mail Bin

Mail lying around the house can not only be frustrating, but things can get lost. When bills come through the mail, it is important to have a designated spot for your mail. Mail bins are a great place to put your mail in before you can go through it. 

 

7.   Clothing Rods

Some closets have the potential for more space; adding clothing rods can maximize the space offered by a closet. 

 

An organized home is a happy home. Decluttering your home can help make more time for the things you enjoy.


Maximizing Small Spaces with Furniture Choices

Today, people are shifting to a more minimal, simplistic lifestyle. When you have less to maintain, you have more time to enjoy doing the things you love!  Tiny houses are the big rage for the younger generation, and many baby boomers are downsizing to maintain less and enjoy life. Also, urban living in larger cities requires a much smaller footprint than a home in suburbia.

Remember there are no set rules when designing and decorating your living space. There are techniques and choices that lead to creating functional small spaces.

Knowing your floor plan and using a tape measure is critical for purchasing and placing furniture.  Always keep the width, depth, height in the forefront, because this will establish your traffic patterns that contribute to the functionality of the room.  Once you have decided the pieces to use, moving the furniture and standing back is always a tried and true method for furniture placement!

When purchasing and relocating furniture think storage, storage, storage as follows:

 

* Does my bench in the entry way/foyer have storage for shoes, book bags, handbags? 

* Using a sleeper loveseat instead of a full-size sofa is a great way to save space and provide additional bedding.

* Does my living room ottoman double as additional seating that also offers storage space, and an alternative table top for snacks?

* Instead of free standing bookcases, trying hanging floating wall shelves.  Kitchen floating shelves are very popular and functional and do not require the space of kitchen cabinetry.

* For dining space, use a café/bistro table with armless bar stools, or parson chairs that are narrow and do not have arms.

* Platform beds have much-needed space under the bed in the form of drawers, attached nightstands, and headboards for additional storage. Don’t forget the amazing Murphy bed that descends from the wall!

 

Now is the time to downsize, clean out, reorganize and most of all have fun during the process! We welcome your comments and suggestions for maximizing your small spaces.

Happy Pet Household

Pets become a part of the family. They provide love, laughs, and happiness to their owners. It is easy to see all the great things your pet brings to the family, but realistically they can be a lot of work. Whether you have a puppy or a full-grown dog, learning how to live with an animal sometimes becomes a series of trial and error. We have provided some tips for providing a happy pet household:

 

Make it washable. Animals have accidents, it may not be often but they do. From your bedding to rugs make sure it is washable (or easily treatable). Puppies especially do not give us a warning when they have to go the bathroom. Be prepared for any accidents with proper cleaning supplies and washable items. Take some time to think about your major household items and how you would treat them. If it can be ruined easily, try to keep it out your pet’s view.

 

Shedding. Unless you have a hypoallergenic pet, there will probably be a lot of shedding. 

Tips: 

  • Invest in a quality vacuum. Realistically you should vacuum every day, it is good for removing the pet hair and the lifespan of your carpet. Pet hair can be a source of dirt and odor, it is imperative to regularly clean and vacuum your home. 
  • Incorporate your pet’s fur color throughout the house. By using the same color as your pet’s hair, it will distract from all of the hair they leave behind. This may sound crazy but look at your pet as your design inspiration. 
  • Give your pet a bath frequently. Do not give them so many baths that it dries out their skin, but bathe them about once a month. 
  • Trimming their nails will help reduce any scratch marks that they may leave behind. This can be a scary responsibility because some pets have dark nails and you cannot see their blood vessel. If you are nervous about cutting their nails, talk to your vet about the actions you should take. It is always better to be safe than sorry in these circumstances. 

 

Provide them with space. If you have room, provide your pet will a space to call their own. You can convert a cabinet into a cat’s room or a window bench into a dog’s haven. There are endless ideas available online. 

 

Keep it natural. Your pet and family’s health is important. Keeping most of your household items natural will ensure safety. Store hazardous products out of reach from children and pets. 

 

Our pets want the best for us so would not we want the same for them? These tips will help keep your pets happy and healthy. Always remember to consult a veterinarian with any questions or concerns.