How You Can Cut Your Chore Hours in Half

Cute mother and her daughter ready to cleaning room

It kind of feels like for every hour of free time, at least forty five minutes are spent doing the chores and other bits and bobs around the house, doesn’t it? Well, we say enough is enough – it is time for you to put down that dish cloth and get away from the vacuum cleaner for a while!

No one wants to waste their life doing all the little odd jobs. They’re not much fun, no one really enjoys doing them, and they build up and build up until there’s no time left to do anything else. So let’s try and cut that time down to a reasonable amount, shall we?

Here are some tips so that you can spend a little less of your life scrubbing dishes and cleaning floors and the like.

Stop Doing Chores at the Weekend!

Okay, so we’re going all-out crazy with our first tip. We know – if you’re not using your weekends to do the chores, where are you going to find the time to get them all done?

We’ll spell it out for you: Do Fewer Chores. Lower your chore standards! Chores will always expand to fill your time – the more free time you find you have, the more chores you’ll manage to find which all “need” to be completed right away. Things don’t have to be entirely perfect; the house isn’t going to fall down just because you didn’t spend your weekend elbow-deep in pots and pans.

Also, there is an added advantage to avoiding housework on weekends: it forces you to find the time to do the necessities during the week. That doesn’t mean to have to conjure up any “extra” time – instead, you will find that you simply spend less time procrastinating, checking your phone and so on.

Be Less Creative in the Kitchen

Obviously, if you love cooking, we’re not going to tell you to cut it out. However, not every evening calls for a dish straight out of Masterchef! By making sure that you embrace simplicity in the kitchen every once in a while, you will find that you will spend less time slaving over the stove, and you will use fewer dishes, which in turn means that there are fewer to wash, dry, and put away!

And hey, if you’re eating simple dishes more often, that means you get to enjoy and appreciate simple flavours! Let the ingredients do the talking; you don’t need to go crazy all the time to get some seriously delicious food on your plate.

Do the Laundry Less Frequently

Now that might sound like an “in an ideal world…” sort of scenario, but really, there is an easy way to do the laundry less frequently: you simply create less of it to do.

Clearly we’re not telling you to go to work smelling stale. But there are loads of ways to ease up on your laundry-dirtying! Wear sandals when it’s warm and there are fewer socks to wash. Go longer between washes for things like jeans and pyjamas. Easy!

Spring Cleaning: Tips to Help You Clean the Home

Housewife holding cleaning equipment in her hands. Conceptual photo of spring cleaning. Isolated on white

Spring is just around the corner, and we all know exactly what that means: it’s time for a good old spring clean! Everyone loves having a nice, tidy house, but – and correct us if we’re wrong here – no one actually enjoys spending all of their free time cleaning up the place.

Well, that’s why we are here today. We have compiled a list of expert tips, all of which will help you to complete those jobs more quickly and efficiently. This will allow you to get your home sparkling clean in no time at all, leaving more time for enjoying your good-as-new home!

Circle Round the Kitchen

When you’re tackling the kitchen, you will want to leave the dirtiest thing until last. And what is the dirtiest thing? Why, the oven, of course! Start on the right side of the oven, and work your way around the room in a clockwise direction.

Doing this will ensure that you don’t end up spreading grease and dirt all around the kitchen, meaning you won’t have to do the same job more than once. Also, soak those pans and things in hot water while you clean; this’ll save you a bit of time.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Now you’re in the bathroom, and you’re looking in dismay at the plug hole – how on earth are you going to get all of that manky hair out of there? Well, it’s easy: you just use a drain cleaner like Liquid Plumr or Drano. Pour it down there to get rid of any nasty clogs.

Also, make life easier for yourself in the future. Prevention is always better than a cure, so start pouring boiling water down the plug once a week. And once you’ve had a shower, pick up those annoying strays with a wad of damp toilet paper. Easy!

You Made Your Bed…

The easiest way of making your bedroom look all neat and tidy is to simply make the bed – you’d be amazed at just how much difference this can make! If you’re tidying the bedroom, make sure you start with this.

And here’s a neat trick you can do every morning to make your bedroom seem neat: if you pull the covers up to your neck after waking up then slide out of bed, half the job is done for you! You say lazy, we say… efficient.

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

Many people make the mistake of going and buying a load of containers and bins and other storage solutions before making a start on the big “chuck out” operation. Don’t do this. Before you go and buy anything, start throwing stuff away.

By doing it this way, you force yourself to keep only the things that you really, genuinely want to keep. Once you feel you have chucked away a decent amount (and be honest here, are you really being as ruthless as you should be?), then you can start on the organisation. This will take much less time, and you’ll find yourself with loads more space.

How to: Deep Clean Your Bathroom

Learn how to bust all of those sneaky bathroom germs by following our nifty guide to deep cleaning your bathroom, from the shower to the grouting, right through to your loo!

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  • Clean your shower by pouring white vinegar into a bag and tying over the head of the shower. Leave overnight – it’ll dissolve limescale around where the waterjets come from the shower, as well as soap scum.. Just run the water to rinse it. For the curtains, pop ’em in the washing machine with your normal detergent and some old towels, and for the shower doors, mix a paste of baking soda and white vinegar and then apply to the the doors.  Sit for 15 minutes, then buff away with a microfibre cloth. Leave the windows open for 1 hour a day in your bathrooms to reduce humidity.
  • For grout, your best bet is to dip a grout brush into straight bleach, then scrub the grout until it turns white, making sure that the room is very well ventilated. But to prevent the grout from getting mucky in the first place, try sealing it every six months with a moisture-resistant product. It’ll save you a big job down the line.
  • For general tiles, walls and ceilings, spray everything with all purpose bathroom cleaner, then turn the shower on to generate some steam, get out of the room, then shut the door behind you and go and have a sit down somewhere for half an hour. Wipe everything down with a clean sponge or cloth, then rinse with clean water/a clean cloth and use a clean microfibre mop to reach particularly high/hard to reach areas. A nifty way to prevent water marks on tiles? Apply a coat of car wax onto them once a year so that the water can just roll off of the tiles instead of  marking them.
  • For toilets, pour a cup of baking soda into the bowl, then leave to sit before brushing and flushing. It should leave the loo sparkling. Another option is to invest in a handheld steam cleaner so that you can clean hard to reach areas without having to get your fingers involved, like the hinges of the loo seat. Don’t forget to either clean the loo brush either – using a dirty toilet brush to clean your loo will only result in a dirty loo so make sure you clean it after every use either in bleach or soapy water.
  • For the sink, you can use the baking soda/white vinegar trick – it’ll reduce dirt and get rid of any soap scum. For taps, it’s much cleaner to use disposable cleaning wipes than regular cleaning products – if you use the same sponge to clean the kitchen as the bathroom you could just be spreading the bacteria around

The guys over at Cleaspiration, have some great home cleaning tips, it is still fairly new but it looks like a nice site

Source: Real Simple

How to Increase the Value of Your Home: Part 1

So we’re doing a couple of multi-part guides, but these are all pretty important pieces, especially with spring right around the corner (we hope!), as it means that the housing market is going to get a little bit of a boost – which means that if you’re trying to sell, unless your house is already super duper fabulous, you might want to stick your neck out amongst the rest of the houses in your neighbourhood and increase the value of your home, whilst you’re at it. Read on to find out what you need to do in part one of our guide.

Upgrade the Kitchen

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Most design experts will agree that the kitchen, and the bathroom/s are where you want to spend your money. If they’re not up to scratch, the people viewing your house will walk in and think, “Oh crikey, I’ve got to spend £5,000/£10,000/£15,000 on renovating the kitchen, ripping out the bathrooms”. Now, that doesn’t mean that you’ve got to drop that amount of money on your kitchen, especially if you’re moving, but a couple of hundred quid can go a hugely long way in making your kitchen look a million times better, making your home easier to sell. If it’s a shabby wooden kitchen, for example, lay down some sheets on the floor, empty the cupboards, masking tape the worktops, clean the doors and then paint them. Viola! Instant update. Add new handles (about £8 each). give your worktops a good old clean (or replace them with laminate, if you have the budget – around £400 for a really good laminate in an average kitchen) and paint the walls. Move around your paintings or spend £20 in the supermarket on new canvasses and accessories and you’ll notice a huge difference. Honestly. A huge difference.

If you’re just upgrading the kitchen for you, consider adding granite/marble countertops, switching white goods for stainless steel kitchen appliances, or knock down a wall so that you can expand your kitchen and turn it into a kitchen/diner or add an island.

Upgrade Your Bathroom

Next up, your bathroom. If you’ve already got a white suite, then you’re already doing pretty well. It’s just the little finishing touches that you might need to change – things like the taps, the sealant around the bath and the grouting around the tiles. Taps can be cheap as chips, even for really nice ones – although you might need a plumber to help you fit them, and they update a bathroom instantly. Some new tiles can also make a huge difference, and if you buy click laminate tiles – in other words, tiles that you don’t really have to “lay” – that you can just click together. Regrouting will stop the bathroom from looking a bit rough and ready and then you can again re-paint, add some new towels, and spend £20 on some canvasses and some accessories and the place’ll look spick and span. A good vinyl floor’ll finish it off beautifully.

The thing to remember with all of this is that each job – even if you’re doing it for only a few hundred or a few thousand pounds – you need to do it right. Rough, scabby edges, unfinished lines, paintmarks in the wrong places, scuffs on the walls, etc etc – it’ll all look a bit cheap. So even if you’re doing it on the cheap – it shouldn’t look cheap. Keep that in the back of your head and the end result will be perfect.

Source: Real Simple

Some of the Simplest Organising Tips You’ll Ever See

Organisation is a skill, but if you have the right advice – and a bit of know-how – you can get all of those tricky, hard to reach places clean, tidy and organised in a jiffy without having to to spend a fortune. Here’s how to get started.

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  • Sort out the man drawer! Or the junk drawer, whatever you call it in your house. Pop in a desk tidy, then arrange everything however you need it. Batteries, candles, tablets – whatever you keep, arrange it so that you can actually get at it, otherwise, it’s a little bit useless!
  • Use long hangers that can hang multiple tops and t-shirts from one hanger to save space in your closet. You can also buy jewellery hangers and shoe hangers that are brilliant space savers.
  • Tie long lengths of ribbon or fabric around towel bundles or linens so that you never have to search through your cupboard for matching pillowcases again. It looks super pretty, too, and is lovely especially if you display your towel bundles in your bathroom.
  • Pop shoe boxes (and lids) inside drawers to divide em. Cheaper than buying one from a shop, right?
  • When you get instruction manuals, put them all into a ring binder – that way, if something goes wrong or if you need to remember how to use the grill on your new microwave, you have everything to hand.
  • Use one type and brand of hanger for your closets. Your clothes will hang more nicely and you’ll avoid a tangle and jumble of messed up hangers when you pull clothes out. The best type, generally, for all clothes, are medium size velvet hangers as they won’t snag or pull at any material.
  • For that awkward corner at the top of your wardrobe, hang a fruit bowl – it’s actually a really nifty place to store socks. If you’re wasting space at the bottom of the wardrobe, stack boxes to store your shoes in – and pop a photo of the shoes on the front of the box so that you can see which shoes you’re looking for at a glance.
  • Arrange children’s outfits easily on a Sunday by folding onesies, socks, trousers, tops, dresses and pants, then arranging each outfit on the shelf of a collapsible shoe rack. That way, you’re all done for the week and it’ll help shave time off of your routine – great for when your kiddies are in school. Not so good when they start deciding they want to wear fairy wings, but then again, that’s a blog post for another day…
  • Use wall hooks. Delicate wall hooks are great for jewellery, while thicker, sturdier wall hooks will work for everything, really. They also look great grouped together, even if you’re not putting anything on them.
  • Have a party box or party shelf in a closet that has paper plates, napkins, glasses etc, so that you can just reach for what you need and be ready to go when its time for parties!
  • Consider painting a ladder, propping it up against a wall and using it to hang clothes or magazines – super pretty and quirky.

Source: Real Simple.

Tricks for Keeping Your House Clean for Longer

Let’s face it, none of us like cleaning, right? Well, what if we told you there were a few clever tricks you could employ to keep your house cleaner for longer. It’d be brilliant, wouldn’t it? Follow these tips to keep your house spic and span and take a look at this link for cleaners, if you think you need a little extra help.

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  • Leave it all at the door: Have a mat both inside the door and outside the door and guests will brush their shoes off both inside and outside, which will reduce the amount of dirt trodden through the house and therefore how frequently you’ll need to mop and vacuum.
  • Keep teeny stashes of cleaning supplies throughout the house rather than in one spot, like under the kitchen sink. If you have cleaning supplies to hand, you’ll be far more likely to clean when you’re in that part of the house anyway, instead of doing just one deep clean every week or so. Keep sponges and bathroom cleaner, as well as a few clothes under the bathroom sink, for example, or a packet of cleaning wipes in the coffee table drawer.
  • Layer similar coloured rugs on top of your carpet if you hate having to shampoo it frequently as you can just throw ’em in the washing machine when dirty instead of having to get on your hands and knees for a scrub.
  • Don’t go upstairs without taking something up there that belongs up there, and don’t go downstairs without taking something that belongs downstairs – that way, you’ll always actively be doing something to tidy up, even if you’re not actually tidying anything up! Oh, and don’t leave anything on the stairs. Just take it up with you, or down with you.
  • Leave the dining table set at all tables. It sounds silly, but if you don’t, it can become a bit of a dumping ground for stuff – school bags, toys, stuff. Keeping it set gives the impression of a house that is done and all you need to do is dust it from time to time.
  • Run dryer sheets over areas of the house that get dusty – the coating in them that removes static from your clothes repels dust, so not only do they remove dust, but it’ll also help to repel dust which means that you’ll have to dust less often. Clever, eh?
  • Do a 10 minute power clean once a day. Focus on one area that’s bugging you, or just do a quick once over of the whole house, by switching on some funky music and having a boogie. Easy does it! It also means that you don’t have to stress about doing a big deep clean, either.

Source: Real Simple

6 Simple Fixes for Everyday Kitchen Spills

Kitchen spills can be some of the most annoying messes to clean up – especially if you can’t get to them right away. A dried-on stain is a permanent stain, and a smudge of chocolate fudge icing can become that annoying piece of dirt that just won’t budge whatever you do. Follow these nifty simple fixes for everyday kitchen spills and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll be able to get your kitchen spic and span – so clean, it’ll sparkle.

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  • Combine 2 tbsp. lemon juice and 1 cup water in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave. Heat until boiling, microwave for another three minutes, then leave to stand with the door shut for five minutes and then wipe down the insides of the microwave with a cloth. The steam will loosen all the debris and the lemon juice will deodorise any lingering odours.
  • For spills that seep under surfaces like the couch, wrap a cloth around a ruler and push it under the surface you’re trying to mop. For wooden floors, dip the ruler in a little wooden floor cleaner and for stone floors, dip in a mix of water and vinegar – especially if you’re trying to clean up spilled milk!
  • For burnt food in the oven, let cool, then scrape out big chunks with a spatula. Sprinkle baking soda over the rest, spritz with water, leave to sit overnight and then scrub clean. The baking soda will lift all of the burnt bits from the surface of the oven and everything will come off super easily. To get rid of the burnt smell, add a couple of drops of lemon juice in with the water you use to spritz the oven.
  • If you have a big frozen chunk in the freezer and need to defrost it, unplug, then dip a cloth into a mixture of hot water and a tiny bit of baking powder – then use it to melt the frozen ice. Use clean dry cloths to mop up the spill.  Avoid salt, if possible, as it’ll clog up the freezer and could get into your food, which is definitely not what you want – plus, it could prevent it from freezing properly in the future.
  • If a glass has broken in the dishwasher, clean it up by turning off the machine a shining a torch into the dishwasher. Any broken glass will sparkle. Halve a potato and dab it onto any glass you see, then run an empty cycle to get rid of any bits of glass that you can’t see.
  • For a dried spill of something on the counter, scrub the area with a microfibre cloth to get rid of any bits and then rinse with a damp cloth – it’ll prevent that chasing-crumbs-around-the-counter-top thing that can often happen when you clean.

Source: Real Simple

8 Cleaning Mistakes You’re Probably Making

It might not be spring (we know, it’s freezing!) but that doesn’t mean that it’s not time for a clean! Take a look at these 8 cleaning mistakes you’re probably making to find out how to give your home a lovely clean this winter.

cleaningmistakes

  • Putting all of your spoons (and forks) in one basket in the dishwasher. Although they can all go in the same pot, they shouldn’t face the same way. Forks can face up, as that prevents the prongs from getting bent out of shape, but spoons should mix and match – so that they don’t end up “spooning”.
  • Cleaning windows on a sunny day. Glass dries more quickly, which results in more streaks, which results in windows that look more dirty more quickly.
  • Spritzing cleaning spray directly onto surfaces – this might work for really dirty surfaces, but it leaves a buildup on walls and countertops if you do it too often and it’ll also make your bottle of cleaner run out more quickly. Spritz onto your cleaning cloth instead.
  • Cleaning without gloves on! Your skin is really absorbent! Although you might just be wiping the sink down really quickly, your skin will still absorb potentially harmful chemicals, which’ll cause dryness, damage and in the winter months (depending on how much cleaning you do), even bleeding. Always look after your hands with plenty of hand lotion and scrubs, too, and always wear gloves when its cold out.
  • Treating stains at the surface won’t do a lot – although it might get rid of the stain at the surface, in time, the stain may well come back – especially if any dirt or dust gets trodden or worn into the stain. Mop up liquids with kitchen towel first, then douse with club soda, blot, and repeat until no more colour transfers to the towel.
  • Popping the loo brush right back into the holder after use. Bacteria is icky, and it needs moisture to multiply – a loo roll holder is the perfect environment for that. Once you’ve used it, sandwich the end of it between the loo seat and the loo, letting the brush hang over the bowl, then leave to dry completely for 10-15 minutes before popping back into the holder. Just tell people not to go into the loo whilst its drying!
  • Cleaning sponges with water isn’t really enough. Wash ’em with washing-up liquid or sponge sanitizer, or throw them into the dishwasher. Or – pick up a cheap pack of sponges every time you go to the grocery store and just replace them when they get too dirty. Wash, clean or replace every day over the holidays when cooking and food prep activity ramps up.
  • Vacuuming pet fur without the right attachment. This works, but it also blows away a lot of the hair – which gives you more work to do later. Use the right tool and you’ll have less to do later and less fur to pick off your clothes.

Source: Real Simple

Super Speedy Cleaning Tips

Is the thought of keeping your home clean and tidy more than a little bit overwhelming? Well, starting from just 30 seconds here and there, you can keep your home super duper tidy without breaking a sweat. Good, eh? If that still sounds like too much work, or if you’d rather have someone help you out, you can always hire a cleaner instead!

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If You Have 30 Seconds

  • Cleaning the bathroom: grab a cleaning wipe and give the sink and taps a good ol’ scrub
  • Cleaning the bedroom: chuck dirty clothes in the washing basket, tidy up the top of your chest of drawers, dresser or dressing table or do a spot of dusting
  • Cleaning the living room: if anything is in the wrong place or where it doesn’t belong, take them back to where they live: i.e. kicked off shoes in the cupboard, piles of magazines into the rack or stacked neatly on the coffee table or pop any dirty dishes into the kitchen
  • Cleaning the kitchen: wash dishes in hot soapy water as soon as you use them or pop them in the dishwasher so they’re out of the way

If You Have 5 Minutes

  • Cleaning the bathroom: wipe down the shower by switching on the water and using a bathroom spray and if you still have time, give the loo a quick clean
  • Cleaning the bedroom: make the bed and plump the pillows and cushions
  • Cleaning the living room: pass a duster over tables and lamps, then vacuum the carpet or rug
  • Cleaning the kitchen: spray down the work surfaces, give them a wipe over with a sponge, then wipe down the hob

If You Have 15 Minutes

  • Cleaning the hallway: neatly hang up coats and jackets, move anything that’s sitting about on the stairs and line up shoes and boots. If you have an umbrella/coat stand, make use of it! Organise the post (if any) and give the doormat a good vacuum or shake it out (outside, otherwise you’ll make more work for yourself)
  • Cleaning tiled floors/wooden floors: get the mop bucket out and give the floors a really good clean
  • Cleaning the bedroom: strip the bed and pop the bedding in the washing machine, then make the bed with fresh linens and finish off with some decorative cushions
  • Cleaning the bathroom: bleach the loo, give the sink a proper scrub and wipe down the tank/skirting boards. If you have time, clean the floors by either mopping or vacuuming

Source: The Nest

How to Do Laundry

It’s a little bit like not knowing how to cook fish and chips. You stick ’em in the oven at whatever temperature it says on the box, on a non-stick baking tray. Easy, eh? You’d be amazed at the amount of people who cook everything at 180C, from meringues to macaroni cheese yet are surprised that their meals never turn out quite right. The same goes for laundry – many people throw everything in the “easy care” cycle and are then surprised when their whites are grey and their blacks dull. If you’re one of those people, listen up – we’re here to tell you how to do laundry. Or, if you’d rather, you could hire someone else to do it for you.

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Take the Temperatures

Have you ever looked at any of the care labels on your clothes? If you haven’t, that’s probably why they don’t really look their best. Wash everything with similar colours, and make sure that everything is washed with clothes that need to be washed at the same temperature. It sounds very simple, but it does take a little more time than just chucking everything into the bowl in one go.

Whites Whiter

To make whites whiter, wash them at a higher temperature – they end up a little bit grey if washed at a cool temperature. You might also be using the wrong type of detergent, or not enough of it. Wash only lightly soiled clothes together instead of lumping everything together – if you do, you’ll end up contaminating the lightly dirty clothes which just means that you’ll have to wash everything again anyway.

Do a Dry Run

Doing a dry run or a dry wash means running the washing machine at least once a month, or more frequently, with detergent in it as though you were going to wash your clothes – but just without the clothes. It cleans all of the inner workings of the washing machine and can really improve the effectiveness of the washes. It’s also a good idea to use water softener tablets in each wash if you’re in a hard-water area, as limescale can get into all of the pipes and nooks and crannies of the machine, reducing its efficiency and potentially soiling your clothes even further.

Stop Shrinking

When clothes shrink, it’s either because you’re washing on a too-high or too-hot setting, or because the dryer is too hot. To prevent shrinking, either run the clothes through a cool wash and hang to dry, or dry them on the very lowest setting that you can get away with.

Stop Colour Run

Colour run is a pain in the bum, but it can be avoided. Wash the item that you’re worried about on its own and see if the colour runs or if the water changes colour. If it does, unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to wash it with other clothes and will just have to bite the bullet and do an extra wash every now and then. If not, you’ll be fine (generally) if you turn the item inside out and then pop it in with similar colours at the temperature specified on the label.

Sources: The Nest