Jul 30

How to Stop Cleaning On Weekends

Cleaning KitchenI used to spend my weekends cleaning house until I learned to take a few minutes here and there to stay on top of the dirt and grime. By doing a little cleaning every day, I avoid having to spend my weekends cleaning. Try some of the following ideas to help you free up your weekends.

Bathroom:

* Limit the number of products you keep on the counter. By doing this, the counters will stay uncluttered and be easier to clean. For the products that you want to leave on the counter, store them in a basket or caddy. This way you can just lift up the basket or caddy and clean underneath it in a hurry without having to pick up each individual product.

* Do you use a washcloth to clean your face? If so, when finished washing your face, rinse the washcloth out and use it to clean up around the sink.

* If you have a glass door shower, keep a squeegee stored in the shower by hanging it on a suction hanger hook. After every shower, use the squeegee to wipe away the water on the door. This will help keep your shower door clean by minimizing the amount of buildup from water and soap scum.

* Use shower gel instead of bar soap to reduce soap scum buildup. There are many wonderful shower gel products on the market for both men and women.

* To help your toilets stay clean and deodorized, place a self-cleaning toilet tablet in the bowl once a week.

* Keep cleaning supplies, including rubber gloves, under the sink in the bathroom so they are handy and within your reach when you have a few moments to clean.

Kitchen:

* Try the method I call “clean-as-you-go-cooking”. This means to wash, dry and put away preparation dishes, bowls, and utensils while you are waiting for your meal to cook. If you use this method, then you don’t have to spend your meal time dreading the dinner dishes and pans. All that will be left to clean are a few dishes that will be a snap to throw in the dishwasher.

* Clean up drips and spills as soon as they happen so they don’t have time to dry.

* After cleaning the dishes and while your sponge is still wet, take a few moments to wipe down the countertops, stove, microwave and sink. This will help your kitchen to stay clean most of the time.

* When you open your junk drawer and discover that you have two year old coupons or a cabinet that is jumbled, stop what you’re doing and clean out the drawer or cabinet. This will help you to keep your kitchen in order and stay on top of the clutter.

* To keep your countertops tidy and easy to clean, store small appliances that you don’t use very often in cabinets.

* When frying or sautéing food, use a splatter screen. A splatter screen will cut down on grease buildup on your stove and cabinets.

Family Zone:

* Have a dedicated area for shoes, keys, backpacks, cell phones, etc. Let all family members know where they are expected to place their belongings. For small children, make it easy for them so they get the hang of it. For my preschooler, we have a built-in shoe caddy in our laundry room with hanging pegs above. He knows to put his shoes in the caddy when he gets home from school. While he can’t reach the pegs to hang his backpack yet, he knows to place his backpack by his shoes and mommy will hang it up for him. This helps him learn to be responsible for putting away his own things.

This system also works well for hubby too! For all of you wives who have husbands that can’t ever find their keys, cell phone, and wallet – give them a dedicated area to place these items. My husband has a dedicated drawer in the kitchen. Works great!

* Keep microfiber cloths or the famous Swiffer dusters handy and wipe away dust when you see it. It’s much easier to remove dust if you don’t let it build up. I keep a Swiffer ready to go at all times and do a quick dusting while my children are eating their lunch or I have a few minutes at some other time during the day.

* Consider using wax on wooden furniture instead of polish. Polish is known to attract dust.

* Toy clutter in my family room drives me batty! To help this problem, I purchased large baskets that compliment my home’s decor. At the end of the day my children know to pick up all toys and put them in the baskets. Do they do this without a battle? Not very often! However, my children enjoy snacks before bedtime and they don’t get their snacks until all toys are in the baskets.

These are just a few tips you can use to free up your weekends from cleaning. If you think about the moments you have here and there and what small cleaning chore you can accomplish – you’ll find that overall your house will stay cleaner and you can free up your Saturday for family fun or go enjoy lunch and a movie with your favorite girlfriend!

 

Lesley Dietschy is a freelance writer and the founder of http://www.HomeDecorExchange.com . Visit the Home Decor Exchange website to find valuable resources to help you decorate your home and garden.

In addition to editing the Home Decor Exchange website, Lesley is a crochet pattern designer and needle fiber artist. You can view her crochet patterns and needle fiber designs at: http://www.ErinOliviaDesigns.Etsy.com .

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jul 30

How to Love Your Laundry Room

Laundry RoomHave your ever thought about how many hours you spend in your laundry room if you added them up at the end of each week? If you’re like me there are very few days that go by without doing at least one load of laundry. This being the case, it makes perfect sense to decorate your laundry room in a style or theme that pleases you and helps the chore of doing laundry a little more enjoyable.

What makes you happy and pleases your eyes? Is it the beach, antiques, art work, the color red? Whatever it is, just remember that you don’t have to decorate your laundry room in the same style or theme as the rest of your house. The first step to decorating your laundry room is to pick a theme. Whether it be a tropical them or a vintage them, carry it out through your entire laundry room.

For example, I decorated my laundry room in a vintage theme. On my neutral colored walls, I placed a collection of vintage washboards on one wall and a faux antique piece of artwork on another wall. I also added a few authentic old irons on a shelf mixed in with vintage detergent boxes. To continue my vintage theme, I added an antique looking wallpaper border close to the ceiling with old looking irons and washboards on it. To give the room a cheerful look, I added a collection of weathered baskets and greenery on the top of the cabinetry above the washer and dryer. I placed coordinating throw rugs on the tiled floor to cushion and comfort my feet while I’m doing laundry. Finally, I added the perfect window treatment to let just the right amount of light in and make my laundry room look complete.

If you choose not to use a decorating theme in your laundry room, you can easily liven up the room with colorful paint on the walls, updated or painted cabinets, artwork, flowers, and upgraded flooring. Be sure the flooring is forgiving of spills. Vinyl flooring, laminate flooring, and ceramic tile are a good choice.

If you decide to paint the walls in your laundry room you may want to paint only one wall leaving the other walls neutral in color. Deeply hued paint colors will reflect on the clothes making it difficult to see stains. If your laundry room has fluorescent lighting, which has a blue cast, neutral colors with yellow undertones can help combat the blue.

Perhaps the best way to love your laundry room is to organize it so that you know where all of the detergents and stain removers are. The following tips can help you organize your laundry room.

* If your laundry room has counter space, keep it uncluttered so that you can use it for folding clothes. If you don’t have a counter in your laundry room, purchase a small melamine table which is stain resistant and water resistant to provide you with a space to sort and fold your laundry.

* Store detergents, stain removers, sponges, and other laundry room supplies in a cabinet or on a shelf above the washing machine. You might also want to install additional shelves or premade cabinets in your laundry room for additional storage.

* Opt for an ironing board that can be mounted on the wall or an over-the-door style. The over-the-door style requires no installation and hangs over the door frame, drops down when you need to use it, and snaps back in place when you are done.

* If space is an issue, consider installing a retractable clothesline for air drying clothes. This type of clothesline is convenient, affordable and easy to install.

* Purchase a laundry hamper on wheels so that you can move it out of the way when necessary.

* Consider hanging laundry bags that will help you to presort laundry on a daily basis. This setup requires no floor space so it is ideal for a small laundry room.

Decorating your laundry room in a style that pleases you may in fact change your attitude about doing laundry. Since laundry is a daily chore for most of us, we might as well try and make the best of it with a great laundry room!

 

Lesley Dietschy is a freelance writer and the founder of http://www.HomeDecorExchange.com . Visit the Home Decor Exchange website to find valuable resources to help you decorate your home and garden.

In addition to editing the Home Decor Exchange website, Lesley is a crochet pattern designer and needle fiber artist. You can view her crochet patterns and needle fiber designs at: http://www.ErinOliviaDesigns.Etsy.com .

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jul 29

15 Summer Decorating Ideas

Summer MorningSummer decorating is a wonderful time to lighten up the colors and fabrics in your home. While you may not be able to decorate every room, there are numerous ways to add summer flair. You can decorate with a summer theme such as fruit (apples, strawberries, grapes), flowers (roses, carnations, daisies), or seaside nautical in addition to following some of the ideas listed below.

1. Replace heavy drapery with light sheers. The sheers provide an airy appeal while letting in the sunshine. If removing your existing drapery is not an option, consider changing just the valance and tiebacks to a lighter color. Another option is to use grapevine wreaths, strands of beads, artificial flowers, or decorative ribbons as your tiebacks or swag holders.

2. Store away items that are not useful in the summer such as blankets, throws, and heavy quilts.

3. Lighten up the color of your sofa by placing a slipcover on it or replacing your dark colored pillows with lighter colors.

4. Place light colored slipcovers on your all-wood dining room or kitchen chairs.

5. To add a lighter summer touch to your dark wood tables, use white lace or doilies as runners or tablecloths.

6. If you have a heavy bedspread, considering replacing it with a lightweight linen blanket.

7. Bring in the outdoors by adding fresh flowers in vases or baskets to counters, tabletops, and nightstands.

8. Add summer accessories around your home such as birdhouses, sea shells, bowls of fruits or vegetables, and summer reading materials.

9. If you have dark lampshades, replace them with lighter ones.

10. Repaint a dark hallway in your favorite hue such as buttery yellow, a creamy tan, or a fresh apple green.

11. Display a grouping of floral plates on a wall, hutch, or fireplace mantle.

12. Clean out the ashes in your fireplace and fill the firebox with a large artificial fern or a basket of colorful flowers.

13. Place twigs in tall vases and set on each side of the fireplace mantle.

14. To add summer whimsy to your bathrooms, hang lightweight fabric shower curtains printed with ladybugs, bees, flowers, or palm trees. Display matching hand towels and rugs to continue the summer theme.

15. Change the layout of your furniture to give your rooms a fresh, new look.

Decorating your home for the summer does not have to be complicated or cost a lot of money. As you can see from the ideas listed above, a new lamp shade, adding new fabrics, or changing the paint color of a room can breathe new life into your interior design. So, have fun and use your imagination to bring some fresh new looks into your home for the summer season.

 

Lesley Dietschy is a freelance writer and the founder of http://www.HomeDecorExchange.com – The Home Decor Exchange is a valuable website full of information and resources about home and garden decorating.

In addition to editing the Home Decor Exchange website, Lesley is a crochet pattern designer and needle fiber artist. You can view her crochet patterns and needle fiber designs at: http://www.ErinOliviaDesigns.Etsy.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jul 26

Turn Your Bedroom Into a Peaceful Retreat

bedroom in soft light colorsYour bedroom should be a stylish and peaceful room to help you relax and recharge. It should be the ultimate escape to help you unwind from the stresses of the day.

The key to creating a great bedroom is to think about what items makes you the happiest and produces the greatest sense of tranquility and peace. Is it chenille fabrics, scented candles, fluffy pillows, or romantic window treatments? Whatever it is, your bedroom is your space and should be decorated accordingly.

The largest piece of furniture in your room should be a comfortable bed. Next, select nightstands that are proper height for reaching from the bed. For your TV, consider purchasing a beautiful piece of furniture like an armoire to house and perhaps hide the unit and related components. If your bedroom has adequate space for a seating area, select a comfy chair and ottoman or a chaise lounge that will entice you to curl up, relax, and read a good book.

Here are a few more tips to help you get started creating your peaceful retreat:

* Add luxurious linens to your bed in a color that soothes your soul. Gold tones such as camel, honey and butterscotch are considered warm colors. Lavenders, blues and a few shades of green are considered to more cool and comforting. Material quality and style are equally important as the color in selecting linens for your bed.

Select bed sheets with a minimum thread count of 200 or 300-400 for luxury quality. Thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. The higher the thread count, the smoother and softer the sheets will be.

* If your bedroom has hardwood floors, lay a plush area rug down to comfort and cushion your feet.

* Place fluffy pillows in assorted sizes, styles, and textures on your bed for an inviting feel.

* In cooler months, throw a soft and cozy chenille blanket on your bed in a warm color that compliments your room’s decor. In the warmer months, use a cotton matelassé coverlet in linen or ivory colors.

* If you have a smaller bedroom, place a large hanging mirror over a dresser to help the room appear larger. Mirrors help to create an intimate atmosphere by reflecting light.

* Change the lampshade on your lamps to a soothing color such as gold or in a soft color that coordinates with your room.

* Declutter your nightstand. Decorate your nightstand with a romantic lamp, a small vase of flowers, a calming scented lavender candle, and perhaps a picture or two. Place all books and magazines in the drawers of the nightstand or in a decorative basket beside the bed.

*If you need additional storage for quilts and other bulky items, purchase an affordable wicker trunk and place it at the foot of the bed or another appropriate spot.

* To invite the outdoors in, display a live potted plant such as an Asparagus Fern or a Wandering Jew on a decorative plant stand near a window. If a live plant is not practical, opt for a silk plant or two, which are widely available on the internet and/or in craft and decorating stores.

Last but not least, consider adding a new color of paint to your room to enhance your bedroom’s decor. You can paint an accent wall for a focal point and even paint a faux fireplace to lend added charm. Consider painting doors and molding a contrasting color to the wall paint for a vibrant look.

In addition, there are numerous texturing paints and glazes, as well as do-it-yourself faux painting kits on the market today to help you transform your walls and achieve the overall look of your peaceful bedroom retreat.

Good luck in creating your perfect bedroom!

 

Lesley Dietschy is a freelance writer and the founder of http://www.HomeDecorExchange.com . Visit the Home Decor Exchange website to find valuable resources to help you decorate your home and garden.

In addition to editing the Home Decor Exchange website, Lesley is a crochet pattern designer and needle fiber artist. You can view her crochet patterns and needle fiber designs at: http://www.ErinOliviaDesigns.Etsy.com .

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jul 24

50 Ideas to Organize Your Home

Neatly folded clothes“Organize” is a familiar word heard on many of today’s popular decorating shows. Every family has its struggles with some type of clutter whether it is stacks of papers or a cluttered and cramped bathroom. In fact, the National Association of Professional Organizers reports that 80% of what we keep we never use, we wear 20% of the clothes we own while the other 80% hangs there just in case, and 25% of adults say they pay bills late because they lost them.

If you have stacks of papers, frazzled mornings, or lost car keys, use the following ideas to help you organize your family and home.

Evenings/Mornings:

1. If you have rushed mornings, make lunches, set out clothes, and put everything you need for the next day in a designated area the night before. Have kids pack homework and books in their backpack so they will be ready for the next day.

2. Place your purse, briefcase and keys in a designated area every day so you always know where they are.

3. Decide the night before what is on the menu for breakfast the next morning. If the family is to have cereal, set out the cereal boxes, bowls, and spoons.

4. Make a “to do” list for the next day and organize it according to what task needs to be completed first.

5. Fill the gas tank the day before so you won’t have to worry about getting gas if you are running late the next morning.

Bathrooms:

6. To organize countertop clutter, purchase a plastic tub with a handle on top. Place all of your accessories such as hair spray and lotion, in the tub and place under the counter. Take the tub out when you are ready to use it and then put it back under the counter when you are finished with it.

7. To organize your shower, buy shower caddies to place your soaps and shampoos in. There are numerous styles available in many discount and fine department stores.

8. To help keep your shower doors clean, buy a water squeegee (like you use on your windows) and place it in the shower. When you are done taking a shower just wipe down the doors with the squeegee and you’ll have a clean and dry shower door. Many of the squeegees come with a whole in the handle, which is convenient for hanging it up in the shower with a suction cup.

9. Install a straight magnet in your medicine cabinet for tweezers, nail clippers, and scissors.

10. Store reading material in a decorative magazine rack. As you add new magazines, throw away the older ones to keep the magazine rack from overflowing.

11. Throw away items in your bathroom that are old or you don’t use anymore, such as make-up, lotions, prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, old razors, sunscreen, and perfume.

12. If you are out of space in your bathroom cabinets for towels, roll them up and display them in a decorative basket next to the shower or bath tub.

13. Install hooks on the back of your bathroom door or wall space for towels and robes.

14. Use drawer organizers for makeup, jewelry, ponytail holders, and other loose items.

15. Place a shelving unit above the toilet for storing extra towels, washcloths, and other accessories.

16. Put a clock in each bathroom so everyone can be on time.

Closet:

17. Place baskets in your closet for laundry and dry cleaning.

18. Sort through your clothes and anything you don’t wear anymore, bag and donate to a local charity. This includes clothes that are no longer in fashion, no longer fit, or clothes you haven’t worn in a year. Also, get rid of those worn out and/or uncomfortable shoes you no longer wear.

19. Separate your clothes by season. If you have a tall closet with several rows of rods, place current seasons clothes on the lowest level and move out of season clothes on the tallest rods.

20. Categorize your clothes by purpose, such as work, casual, and formal.

21. Gather all unused wire hangers and take them to the dry cleaners to recycle.

22. Hang scarves on a hanger or scarf rack. Also, hang belts and ties on hangers or racks.

23. Use a shoe rack to keep shoes organized and throw out shoe boxes that clutter the floor.

24. Install hooks on the closet wall to hang up hats and purses.

25. Store clothes that you want to save in a vacuum sealed plastic bag. These bags pack down for storing under the bed or in a closet. Remember to save only the clothes that you think will be worn!

Kitchen:

26. Organize your cabinets into several categories such as plates, glasses, Tupperware, kid’s plates and sippy cups. Place the plates on one shelf, the glasses on another shelf, and so on. This way when you empty the dishwasher, you or other family members will always know where everything goes.

27. Group your foods together in the pantry for easy access and to help you identify when inventory is getting low. For example, group together your canned goods, cereals, pasta, etc.

28. Place all packets (gravy, Jell-O, sauces) in a basket and place on shelf.

29. Purchase a spice rack that works best for your cabinet. Alphabetize your spices and place frequently used spices on the front of the rack and all others towards the back of the rack.

30. For all of those plastic containers and Tupperware items, dedicate one cabinet or drawer for those items and try to purchase stackable containers to maximize your space.

31. Save your countertop space for items you use daily. Only display cookbooks that you really use and if possible store your canister set in your pantry instead of on the counter.

32. If you have a collection of clipped recipes that are filling drawers and countertop space, purchase a three-ring binder in a color that matches your decor, a box of plastic sheet protectors (to protect your recipes), paper, and a set of dividers with tabs. Glue each recipe onto a piece of paper (use front and back of each piece of paper) and then place into a sheet protector. Categorize recipes (breakfast, desert, etc.), label the tabs, and place recipes in binder. Additional tip, if you purchase a binder that has pockets, store clipped recipes that you want to try in the pockets before adding them to your collection.

33. Do you have mounds of plastic bags from the grocery store? Place about 10 bags inside of 1 bag and throw the rest away. You can always get more the next time you go to the grocery store.

34. Get in a habit of cleaning out your refrigerator every time you bring home groceries. Dispose of any food that is no longer edible or your family is not going to eat.

Kid’s Room:

35. In a boy’s room, put a basketball hoop over a laundry basket for slam-dunking dirty clothes.

36. Place a two-compartment hamper in your kid’s room so he or she can sort light clothes from dark clothes as they undress.

37. String a clothesline in your child’s room and have your child clothespin his or her favorite artwork.

38. Hang a fish net from the ceiling to store stuffed animals, dolls, or action figures.

39. Add a bookshelf and help your child organize their books.

40. Buy the kids their own alarm clocks and teach them how to get up on time.

Misc.:

41. Make sure everything in your house has a home. Teach all family members to mind their own messes. For example, if you take it out, put it back; if you open it, close it; if you throw it down, pick it up; if you make a mess, clean it up; and so on.

42. Put wastebaskets in every room and place several unused trash bags in the bottom of each one. This will eliminate countless trips to retrieve new trash bags and give all family members a place to throw away their trash.

43. Place a decorative basket on the coffee table to keep remote controls in.

44. Use a plastic caddy (instead of shelf space) to store cleaning supplies in and tote it from room to room.

45. Keep baskets or tubs for toys in every room for fast pickup and play time.

46. For kids’ outdoor toys, purchase a weatherproof, bench-style storage box and store toys inside. Also, gather all outdoor balls and place into a large, mesh drawstring bag and store in garage.

47. Each night before bedtime, have all family members pick up clutter for 15 minutes. Make a game out of it and see who can pick up the most things in the shortest amount of time.

48. Create a family message center on the refrigerator or other prominent place and use it for shopping lists, reminders, calendars, and phone messages.

49. Make a master grocery list on your computer from a spreadsheet or Word document. Categorize the groceries into sections such as frozen, dairy, and so on. In each category, list the most frequent items that you buy. Organize the grocery list according to the way your favorite grocery store’s isles are set up. Print copies and keep one copy handy for the current week. When you see you are low on a product or you’re preparing your grocery list for the week, simply highlight whatever items you need. Keep the document current by adding new items and/or deleting items you no longer buy. Also, create a space on the document for Misc. items where your family members can write down what they need that is not on your list.

50. Create an in box on your desk for papers (bills, permission slips, etc.) that need your attention.

The goal of organizing isn’t to make your home pristine but rather to make your life more calm and functional. Work with the above ideas and you will end up having less clutter, a simplified home, more quality time for yourself and your family, and improved productivity.

 

Lesley Dietschy is a freelance writer and the founder of http://www.HomeDecorExchange.com – The Home Decor Exchange is a valuable website full of information and resources about home and garden decorating.

In addition to editing the Home Decor Exchange website, Lesley is a crochet pattern designer and needle fiber artist. You can view her crochet patterns and needle fiber designs at: http://www.ErinOliviaDesigns.Etsy.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jul 23

Simple Ideas to Conquer Paper Clutter

OrganizeAre stacks of papers, mail, newspapers, and growing “to do” lists cluttering your home? Has it been months since you’ve seen your countertops or have you completely forgotten what your countertops look like? Paper clutter includes bills, warranties, cards, mail, memos, sticky notes, lists, letters, advertising flyers, school papers, etc. If any or all of these items are cluttering your home and countertops, follow the simple ideas below to organize your papers and gain control over the clutter.

Mail: the general and well known rule for reducing stacks of mail is to handle it only once.

o Choose an area for sorting mail and sort through it as soon as it arrives. Immediately throw away junk mail and separate the rest into several piles: bills, reading material, and mail to be shredded. Sometimes a fourth pile may be needed to separate your mail from your spouse’s mail.

o Place reading material, such as magazines or catalogs into your inbox or magazine holder to be read later.

o Shred all mail containing personal information. This will help to protect yourself from identity theft by safely disposing of mail that contains your Social Security number, bank account numbers, or credit card numbers. Be sure to shred all unwanted credit card applications and home refinancing offers.

o Place your bills in your in box or wherever you pay your bills in order of the date they are due. Create a 13-pocket accordion file with tabs for each month and the last tab for income tax receipts. As you pay bills, write the check number and date on your copy and file accordingly. Also, add bank statements and credit card receipts in the correct months. At the end of the year, add your tax returns and store the entire accordion file.

o Another bill paying method is to purchase a portable filing box or a filing cabinet. Create a filing system of bills paid by labeling manila folders for each company that you pay a bill to. After paying a bill, make a note of your check number and date paid on your copy and file in the appropriate file. At the end of the year, clean out the files that you don’t need anymore to make room for the upcoming year.

Permanent Papers:

o Create a tabbed filing system for papers you need to keep long term, such as car insurance, life insurance, homeowner’s insurance, medical insurance, children’s records, animal records, etc.

Receipts: use an accordion file, a large envelope, a plastic divided envelope, or a coupon wallet to organize your receipts.

o Sort through your receipt file every 60-90 days and throw out receipts that have an expired return date. Be sure to shred receipts that have your credit card number printed on them.

o Save gift receipts. A good rule to follow is to save the receipt for three months after giving the gift. You can also give a gift receipt with the gift for easier return or exchanging.

o Toss out receipts that are not tax-deductible such as groceries, pet grooming, and dry cleaning.

o Staple the receipts of major purchases to their warranty cards or with the instruction manual. For example, if you purchase a vacuum cleaner, staple the receipt to the instruction manual and file it in a labeled folder.

Income Tax Receipts:

o Create a large envelope or a file folder for the current year’s income tax receipts. Place all receipts for the year that pertain to income tax in the envelope or folder. This will make it much easier when it’s time to figure out your taxes because all your receipts and statements will be in one location.

Manuals, Booklets, and Warranties:

o Create a folder for each major appliance and store manuals, warranties, receipts, and any other important information to be saved. Label the folder for quick and easy reference.

o It’s also helpful to keep the receipts, instructions, and warranties of children’s products in case a product receives a recall notice or it stops working. This applies more to the larger products such as car seats, bouncy seats, swings, high chairs, electronic toys, etc. Create a folder for each product and label the folders for quick and easy reference.

Magazines and Catalogs:

o Place them in decorative magazine holders next to your couch or wherever you read magazines.

o Store the magazines and catalogs upright so it is easy for you to thumb through them and see what issues you have. As new magazines and catalogs come in, discard the oldest ones.

Books:

o After you have read a book, donate it to a library or sell it if you don’t plan to read it again.

o Once your children outgrow their books, have them donate their books to a charity, kid’s book store, or library.

Coupons:

o File the coupons in a coupon wallet or an envelope and carry them in your purse or car.

o Be sure to go through your coupons on a regular basis and throw away the expired ones.

Business Cards and Contacts:

o Store all business cards in a business card holder or a Rolodex.

o Keep all addresses and phone numbers in one location such as an address book or a spreadsheet on your computer.

Children’s Artwork:

o Purchase a colorful three-ring binder and include favorite artwork. To protect the artwork, place the papers in plastic sleeves made for three-ring binders.

o Turn children’s artwork into cards that can be mailed to friends and family.

o Create a file folder for saved artwork.

o Purchase a portable file storage box with hanging file folders. Help your child to decorate the box and label the folders. For example, you might want one folder for kindergarten artwork, one folder for first grade artwork, and so on. This will keep all artwork organized and together in one place.

o Hang up a bulletin board in your child’s room where he or she can display their favorite artwork. They can change out the artwork as often as they like and they will enjoy seeing their artwork hanging up in their room.

o Let your child choose a few favorite pieces of his or her artwork and frame it to match their room decor. Then hang the framed artwork in a special place in their room.

Whether you have a built-in desk filing system or you use portable file boxes, the important thing is to label your folders and boxes the way it works best for you. There are many attractive binders and file boxes available on the market today to help you organize your papers. You can purchase portable file boxes in all shapes and sizes. They come in natural fibers, pretty pastels, shabby chic, contemporary, and even see-through. Three-ring binders and file folders come in different sizes and all the colors of the rainbow, while in boxes made of fabric or linen can be purchased to match your home decor.

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s often easy to toss papers on your desk or countertop and deal with them at another time. By doing this, you create more work for yourself and more countertop clutter. So, take the steps to get rid of paper clutter for good and you will be more organized, you will take pleasure in seeing your countertops again, and most of all you will enjoy a more comfortable and peaceful home.

 

Lesley Dietschy is a freelance writer and the founder of http://www.HomeDecorExchange.com – The Home Decor Exchange is a valuable website full of information and resources about home and garden decorating.

In addition to editing the Home Decor Exchange website, Lesley is a crochet pattern designer and needle fiber artist. You can view her crochet patterns and needle fiber designs at: http://www.ErinOliviaDesigns.Etsy.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jul 21

Tips For a Cozier and More Inviting Home

modern living roomRecently, I had a few unexpected guests in my home and I panicked when I realized how untidy my home was. My children’s toys were everywhere, I had big pillows and blankets on the floor where my family plays together, and my kitchen sink still had our lunch dishes in it, and so on.

Why did I panic? Well, when I have company my house is cleaned from top to bottom and it doesn’t look so “lived” in. As I apologized for the disorderly state of my house, my guests explained to me how comfortable my house looked and made them feel. They liked the fact that toys and pillows cluttered my living room because it made my house feel more inviting and cozy and not the normal “showcase feel” that they’ve seen before.

This experience started me thinking. What makes a home feel cozy, warm, and inviting? I believe the most important characteristic of a home is not the size or style, or that it’s in perfect order. What’s truly important is whether your home is a place of comfort, somewhere in which your family and friends can relax and enjoy themselves.

There are many ways to give your home that inviting “feel” to it. Try incorporating some of the tips and ideas below into your home and see if you can “feel” the difference.

Family Photos – A house without family photos is like a candy store without candy! Family photos do not have to be professionally taken to make them good pictures. Consider framing your favorite snapshots in interesting frames and displaying them around your house. To create a great wall display, simply enlarge and frame a few of your family pictures and hang them up.

Pillows & Throws – By using colorful throw pillows, pretty throws, quilts and blankets, you are making your house look and feel more like a home. Look for these items in luxurious materials such as chenille, cashmere, or velvet. For extra seating, purchase large colorful floor pillows and place them on the floor in your family room.

Books & Magazines – Have you ever heard the term “coffee table books”? This is a good way to give your home a comfortable, relaxed feel to it. Lay out some of your big books with the pretty, colorful covers. Display them on your coffee table. You could also fan out a few of your favorite magazines.

Flowers & Plants – Flowers and plants can add color, brightness and a bit of the outdoors to your home. Put them in non-traditional containers. Try some pretty colored bottles, decorative baskets, cheerful bowls or glasses; use your imagination!

Lighting – Instead of relying on bright overhead lighting, consider using wall sconces, table lamps, or floor lamps to create softer light. The lower wattage bulbs will lend a much cozier feel.

Smell & Hearing – Don’t forget to please the important senses of smell and hearing. Create a soothing atmosphere in your home by having several music sources throughout your home. By doing this, you and your family can enjoy the soothing sound of music regardless of what room you are in. To give your home a welcoming scent, use aromatic reed diffusers, room sprays, candles, and/or fresh flowers.

The above ideas are an easy way to create a warm and comfortable home environment. As I learned from my guests, they preferred my home to have the “lived in” look over the “sparkling showcase” look. So, don’t panic the next time an unexpected guest arrives and some of the kids’ toys are lying around or you have blankets thrown across the furniture. These types of things give our home character and make it a more inviting place for everyone who visits not to mention the people who live there.

 

Lesley Dietschy is a freelance writer and the founder of http://www.HomeDecorExchange.com – The Home Decor Exchange is a valuable website full of information and resources about home and garden decorating.

In addition to editing the Home Decor Exchange website, Lesley is a crochet pattern designer and needle fiber artist. You can view her crochet patterns and needle fiber designs at: http://www.ErinOliviaDesigns.Etsy.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

 

Jul 15

Simple Ideas to Organize Your Kitchen

KitchenThe kitchen is often known as the heart of the home. It is the place where we gather to eat, cook, entertain, and spend time with friends and family. As a result, the kitchen can become one of the most difficult rooms to organize and keep clean. Try some of these tips and time savers to organize your kitchen and simplify your life.

Countertops:

  • Clean your countertops and remove any item or appliance you do not use at least once a week.
  • Keep cookbooks to a minimum and store away the ones you don’t use on a regular basis.

Pots/Pans/Containers:

  • Store pots and pans in a cabinet beneath or next to the stove for easy access.
  • Place baking sheets, cake pans, pizza pans, etc. in a cabinet beneath or next to the oven. You can use a rack to help arrange baking sheets by size and those used most often.
  • Consider suspending pots and pans on a wall or from a ceiling mounted rack to maximize cabinet and storage space.
  • Store microwave safe containers in a cabinet near the microwave. Arrange containers by size and stack one inside of the other if possible. Throw away plastic containers that are no longer used.

Pantry:

  • Store each item so that it is easily handy and visible.
  • Group canned goods together and stack so that their labels can easily be seen. Discard canned goods and jars that have passed their expiration dates or are more than a year old.
  • Place pasta, cereal, rice, and other dried foods in labeled plastic storage containers.
  • Store gravy packets, seasoning packets, etc. in a small, clear plastic tub for easy access.
  • Line up boxes with their ‘spines’ facing front (like library books).
  • If possible, store the most often used items at eye level.
  • Choose a lower shelf for paper storage and place all napkins, towels and plates together.
  • Store heavy items, such as boxes of soda and juice, on the floor or on a lower shelf.
  • If you have extra wall space, consider hanging up storage hooks, a hand vacuum, a bulletin board or other helpful organizing items.
  • Purchase handy space saving products such as stacking containers, caddies to store foil and wax paper, and sturdy baskets for onions, garlic and potatoes.
  • If you have school-age children, create a snack shelf of parent-approved treats.

Refrigerator:

  • Designate certain shelves in your refrigerator for specific items. For example, use your top shelf for beverages, your bottom shelf for leftovers, place produce in its drawer, and place condiments in the door of the refrigerator.
  • Delegate one day of the week to tossing out old foods. Consider cleaning out your refrigerator on the same day you go to the grocery store. Since you will be adding new items in your refrigerator it is a great time to toss out old food to make space.

Spices:

  • Organize spices on a spice rack and place the ones used most often in the front row.
  • If you have a shallow drawer near your stove, consider laying all of your small spice jars in there. Place them label side up so it is easy to view them all at once.
  • Most dried spices lose their flavor in six months. Discard any spices that are older than six months or you no longer use. To keep track of the freshness of spices, write the purchase date or throw away date on the bottle with a black marker.

Misc.

  • Consider recycling products to help organize your kitchen. You can label shoe boxes and use them to store items such as cookie cutters, candles, appliance accessories, etc. You can also use checkbook boxes to store items such as matches, batteries, and smaller items.
  • Square containers take up less space and fit more efficiently on shelves than round ones.
  • Place hooks inside a cabinet door to hang cooking utensils on. This will help to clear drawer space.
  • If you have school age kids or someone who carries their lunch to work, create an area in your kitchen for lunch-making. Stock it with lunch boxes and/or brown bags, plastic wraps/bags, thermos, quarters and small containers.
  • Utilize bins and baskets to keep “like items” together.
  • Store trash bags near or in the bottom of trash can for easy changing.

By using some or all of these tips, you can be well on your way to a more organized kitchen.

Happy Organizing!

 

Lesley Dietschy is a freelance writer and the founder of http://www.HomeDecorExchange.com – The Home Decor Exchange is a valuable website full of information and resources about home and garden decorating.

In addition to editing the Home Decor Exchange website, Lesley is a crochet pattern designer and needle fiber artist. You can view her crochet patterns and needle fiber designs at: http://www.ErinOliviaDesigns.Etsy.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jul 09

Top 6 Home Improvements to Add Value

Top 6 Home Improvements to Add ValueHomeowners often look to customize their home for personal enjoyment and to appeal to future buyers. So, we ask, which remodeling projects add the most value?

“Homeowners are often inclined to renovate to suit their individual preferences and lifestyles,” says Craig Blanchard, broker-owner with Royal LePage Atlantic Homestead in St. John’s, Newfoundland. “However, while turning a garage into a music studio may be your heart’s desire, it’s important to be cognizant that future buyers will likely just want to park the car.”

Blanchard points out that regular and systematic home maintenance provides the best return on investment. Although, there are a few renovations that consistently offer above average return on investment.

According to the Remodeling 2016 Cost versus Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com) the following are among the mid-range renovations that homeowners who are looking to sell may wish to consider. To protect your investment, be sure to obtain work permits and consult a professional before embarking on any project where maximum return on your investment is sought.

1. Attic insulation (fibreglass). You can recoup more than 90 per cent of the costs based on immediate energy savings and your home’s future resale value.

2. Garage door replacement. Maximum impact on curb appeal and increase functionality. Recoup up to 90 per cent of your investment.

3. Entry door replacement (steel). Quickly improve the curb appeal of your home while reducing heating and cooling costs. Estimated return on investment is more than 80 per cent.

4. Manufactured stone veneer. Add curb appeal to the exterior of your home, or to accent specific areas within the home. Recoup up to 75 per cent of your investment.

5. Minor kitchen remodel. Based on a mid-range investment of about $20,000, you can expect to recoup about 70 per cent.

6. Deck addition (wood). Add a deck to increase outdoor living space and recoup up to 66 per cent of your investment.

Blanchard advises that the more you align the features and attributes of your home with those preferred by consumers, the greater the value you will create. More information is available at royallepage.ca.

www.newscanada.com

Jun 30

Selecting and Caring For Table Linens

Table LinensFine table linens are typically characterized by beautiful materials, elegant designs, and fine workmanship. Fine linens are smooth and soft and usually made from linen or cotton. There are subtle differences in linen and cotton. Linen comes from the flax plant and has a lighter and crispier feel to it. Linen is also highly absorbent and lint-free. Cotton, on the other hand, comes from the cotton plant, is more substantial and is usually prone to more shrinkage than linen. Both fabrics are highly absorbent, durable, and become softer with use.

Traditionally, white damask or plain white linen is used for formal occasions. The damask weave is considered the most formal over the Jacquard weave. However, either linen or cotton is considered appropriate for formal occasions.

The length of the tablecloth depends on how your table is set up. If your table is set up in a buffet style, the tablecloth should drop to the floor. Otherwise, the tablecloth should drop below the top of the table 8-18 inches. For a formal dinner, your napkins should match the tablecloth. For informal dinners and gatherings, it is fun and acceptable to mix and match patterns and colors.

Along with using fine table linens, come stains. Here are a few quick tips on treating the most common stains on table linens.

1. Red wine: Sponge or soak stain using cool water. Pretreat with stain remover or liquid laundry detergent. Launder with fabric-safe bleach.

2. Gravy: Pretreat or soak with a product that contains enzymes. Soak for 30 minutes if the stain is dry. Launder as usual; don’t machine dry until the stain is gone.

3. Butter: Pretreat with a prewash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent. Wash using the hottest water safe for fabric. Re-treat if necessary.

4. Candle wax: Scrape off with a dull knife. If wax remains, place linen between white paper towels and press with warm iron. Replace paper towels as wax is absorbed.

5. Olive oil: Pretreat with a prewash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent. Wash using the hottest water safe for fabric. Don’t machine dry until the stain is out.

6. Tomato sauce: Apply a prewash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent. Wash with liquid laundry detergent and fabric-safe bleach at a safe water temperature.

7. Lipstick: Sponge or soak using cool water. Pretreat with stain remover or liquid laundry detergent. Launder with fabric-safe bleach.

8. Coffee or tea: Pretreat with stain remover or liquid laundry detergent or rub with a bar of soap. Launder as usual and again if necessary.

If cared for properly, fine table linens can last for many years. To properly store your linens, be sure they are clean and dry. If you starch your linens, it is best to avoid doing this prior to storing them. Fold your linens (or roll to minimize wrinkles) and store them in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. You can also wrap your linens in acid-free tissue paper and store them in a natural fiber bag. Do not store linens in plastic bags, cedar chests, basements, attics, or garages. Storing your linens in these places, where large fluctuations in temperature and humidity are likely, can be damaging to your linens. Be sure to check your linens periodically to ensure they are clean and dry.

If you need to store your linens for longer periods of time, you can purchase linen storage kits and linen storage boxes that are acid-free. These kits and storage boxes are available online in a variety of sizes and styles.

 

Lesley Dietschy is a freelance writer and the founder of http://www.HomeDecorExchange.com – The Home Decor Exchange is a valuable website full of information and resources about home and garden decorating.

In addition to editing the Home Decor Exchange website, Lesley is a crochet pattern designer and needle fiber artist. You can view her crochet patterns and needle fiber designs at: http://www.ErinOliviaDesigns.Etsy.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com