Top Five Ways to Save Time around the House

Cleaning.

You can never have too much time, especially when you have things like the chores to do. There is the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, the washing up… the list goes on and on, unfortunately for all of us.

The minutes become hours and they slip away suddenly, so you have to try and claw as many back for yourself as you can. Here are some methods to help you save time around the home so you can spend more time on yourself.

#1 – Plan Meals

You can save yourself ages and ages, both in the supermarket and in the kitchen, by planning out your meals for the week ahead before you head out to do the shopping.

You can also save even more time by prepping that food in advance as well, by spending time at the weekend cooking up batches or chopping and freezing. This will save you precious time through the week as you’ll be making dinner in no time.

#2 – Divide and Conquer

Stay on top of the chores by splitting them up between yourself and your partner or housemate. Use a timetable or a calendar app on smartphones to help divide up the chores between you and allow you to see who is meant to do what and when.

Some apps will even send you reminders – a bit like an alarm clock – so that you’ll never forget what you have to do!

#3 – Stick to a Schedule

For some things, it can be worth setting aside a particular day of the week to do them. We would suggest that you try and stick as many chores as possible on a Saturday or a Sunday; that way you can get them out of the way for the week.

Do your laundry every two or three days, depending on how much washing you create, as this will help you to keep on top of it and stop larger build-ups. Try and do the washing up as you cook, as this will stop the dishes piling up into off-putting heaps!

#4 – Pay Bills with Direct Debit

If you’re not already doing this, what are you waiting for? Set up all of your bills so that you pay them automatically, preferably at the same time each month so that you know how much you have left over to play with.

This will save you plenty of time doing something incredibly simple but also rather pointless.

#5 – Cut Down on the Procrastination

This is easier said than done, sure, but it is worth giving a shot. Obviously, you want to spend some time each day messing about on your smartphone or browsing the internet on your laptop or something, but it is so easy to lose hours without realising it.

So why not set yourself a time limit each time? This way, you get to enjoy yourself without wasting too much time.

Budget-Friendly Tips to Help Add Value to Your Home

Relax Time In The Garden

When you’re thinking about selling your home and moving on to a new one, it is always worth considering ways of adding value to your property, so that you can get the highest asking price that you possibly can. Even if you’re not thinking of selling up it can be worthy of your time – after all, it’s always good to be sitting on a high value home!

Here are some ways in which you can help add that value to your property, no matter what your budget looks like.

Cheap: Get in Touch with a Professional

Although it will cost a little bit of money and you won’t get anything concrete from doing it, hiring a professional interior designer or even an estate agent to come and look around your home for an hour or two can really pay dividends in the long run.

Because they know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to increasing the value of a property, you can ask them for all manner of useful tips and advice while you have them there. They will be able to break down what your home can benefit from and how much it’s likely to cost you, even down to relatively small improvements like the placement of your furniture or the ideal shade of paint for a room.

Even Cheaper: Take a Look Around

Of course, not all of the improvements you can do need to be cosmetic. Simply take a look around your home, taking more care than usual to really look. You need to try and see your home with a fresh pair of eyes, a critical pair.

Are the taps in the bathroom a bit leaky? Does the living room need a fresh coat of paint? Maybe your roof has deteriorated a little bit. If you are concerned, you can again hire a professional – a property inspector will be able to see all the problems you’d otherwise miss.

Cheapish: Green Thumbs

Do a bit of landscaping; that always looks nice and adds a good deal of value to your property. However, you should not go too crazy with your spending, nor should you decide to be too exotic with your choices.

Go for things that look nice but are relatively inexpensive, and go for things that require the bare minimum of upkeep. A rock garden always looks impressive and needs next to no effort to keep it looking that way. When choosing plants, purchase those which are native to your region – these won’t be as difficult to keep looking green and healthy.

Modestly Expensive: Update Your Bathroom or Kitchen

No two rooms command as much value in the home as the bathroom and the kitchen. If you can spare a few hundred quid and think you can only do one room, make sure it is one of these two.

Small updates to either the bathroom or the kitchen can bring in great returns. Update a tired vanity, replace your taps, or get a new microwave – even these will help!

Simple Tips to Help You Keep Your Home Organised and Free of Clutter

Chaotic clutter around home

Sometimes, keeping the home nice and organised can be a trickier task than you’d imagine. It is easier said than done! And if you happen to have kids or pets (or both!) running under your feet at all hours of the day, it can become almost impossible. Without realising it you can look up one day and find that your home is a cluttered and disorganised mess!

So with that in mind, we thought we would step up to the plate and offer our help to the masses. Here are some of our finest quick tips to help you get your home looking shipshape again.

Keep Your Cords in Control

One of the main things that can easily clutter up a living room is a tangled mass of cords, leads and plugs. And unfortunately, it seems like every other thing in the living room needs to be plugged in. It’s quite the quandary.

Luckily, there are a couple of solutions available. Our favourite is the humble cord caddy – you can stick one of these to the wall behind the television or to the TV stand and use it to neatly clamp down that mess of cords into a more manageable grouping. Next, grab a cable tie to ensure that they all stay together without getting tangled.

Coffee Table Collectors

If you have a coffee table already, but you have one without any storage capacity, then it’s time to get rid of it and go for an upgrade. Consider investing a little money into a coffee table with either magazine racks on each end or a storage shelf underneath it – this will be invaluable in helping clean up that clutter.

If you can’t rustle up the spare change for a new coffee table, why not grab a couple of cheap storage baskets and pop them underneath? Simple!

Bathroom Buddies

What is the main thing causing clutter in the bathroom? We are willing to bet that it’s endless pots, cans and tubs of beauty products and hair stuff. There are a couple of super simple ways you can control all of these bits and bobs.

The first is to make good use of your medicine cabinet, should you be lucky enough to have one. Don’t simply use it for medicines – how many of those can you possibly have? Surely not enough to fill an entire cupboard. Instead, organise all your various grooming supplies inside it.

Something else you can do is to buy a plastic tub or two for the bathroom. You can pop these under the sink and use them to store all of your hair products and so on and so forth. Also, as you do so, why not have a think about which ones you actually use on a regular basis? If there are any you feel you could easily do without, consider getting rid of them to free up some more space.

Tips to Help You Improve Absolutely Any Room in Your Home

interior of living room in villa

If you are looking to do a little bit of home decorating in order to spruce up the place in which you live, you will already know about the frankly ridiculous wealth of choices and options that lie in wait. You will have a lot of decisions to make!

And with so much at stake – after all, you don’t want an awful looking living room – you really do want to make sure that you get it right first hand. Sometimes, you’ll want to scrap everything and start over from scratch, while at others, you might be more interested in just improving a room in a small way.

Whatever it is that you’re after, you should know that there are some principles that all professional home designers will always follow, and for good reason: they work. Here are some of those principles; you can use them as you want in order to improve any room of your choosing!

Pick Paint Penultimately

So it might make sense from an effort required sort of standpoint to paint the walls first – after all, this will allow you to have it all ready for the furniture. There is a certain amount of logic there.

However, we are going to recommend that you do the exact opposite. Don’t worry; we’ve not gone mad! Here is the reason why you should paint last: you will get to see what the room looks like with all your furniture inside it, and can therefore pick the paint colour to match.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of different shades to choose from, and many of these will jar with your furniture. You can only get a good match once your room is laid out as you want it, so why not wait to pick a properly complementary colour?

The Right Height

You would be surprised at just how much difference a piece of art can make to a room. And it can make an even bigger difference if you hang it at the right height!

Take a leaf from an art gallery’s book, and hang your paintings with the centre at eye level – the centre line should be roughly 5 feet from the floor. Even if you have tremendously high ceilings, keep the pictures at this level; it will look much better.

Hocus Pocus with Focus

Having a single focal point in your living room can really work a bit of magic. Your focal point will act as an anchor, drawing all eyes to it and lending its aesthetic powers to the rest of the room.

There are plenty of options here. Think of a major piece of artwork or a beautiful fireplace in the living room, but don’t feel confined: the choice is always yours. And you needn’t stick to the living room either – a fancy headboard can work wonders in the bedroom, or a centrepiece cooker in the kitchen. Think big!

Declutter 101: Things to Get Rid of Now

Chaotic clutter around home

Whether you’re a hoarder who loves your house to be filled with reminders of the things you’ve collected over the years or a staunch minimalist who can’t stand clutter, we’re all guilty of holding on to things that we really should be letting go of. It’s time for a cull.

Whether it’s shoes stacked up under the stairs, old receipts littering your handbag or outdated documents taking up valuable cupboard space, going through each room and giving it a much-needed declutter can make your home feel brand new. Here we’ve put together a list of the things you need to throw out right now.

Old magazines

Fair enough if you still read them, but if your pile of mags is just gathering dust in a cupboard or under the coffee table it’s time to let them go. Donate to your local GP surgery or, if you really can’t bear to let them go, cut them up and create a scrapbook of your favourite recipes, fashion inspirations and DIY tips.

Broken pens

Unless it’s dried out or broken you can never find one when you need one, but when you don’t need one they’re everywhere. It’s just typical! It’s time to bin all the pens you have lurking around your house and replace them with a better quality pen that you really won’t want to lose.

Makeup

That mascara that’s so dry it flakes everywhere when you open the lid? The stubby remains of what once was your favourite lipstick? Blue sparkly eyeshadow that you’ve had since 1996? If any of these sound familiar, bin immediately. Not only is it useless, but using make-up past its sell-by date can lead to bad skin and infections.

Unwanted gifts

It might make you feel bad, but unwanted gifts are serving any good by taking up space in your home. Donate to charity shops, give to friends or even recycle them as birthday and Christmas presents. There’s no shame, just be careful you don’t end up giving it back to the original gifter…

Clothes you don’t wear

We’re all guilty of holding on to that one pair of jeans that hasn’t fit since we were eighteen in the hopes that one day we’ll squeeze back into them, but it’s time to accept the fact that they’ll probably never be worn again. Go through your wardrobe and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit or that you haven’t worn in the last twelve months.

Unused kitchen appliances

Remember back when you bought that toastie maker? You were so excited to try it out but then used it three times and relegated it to the depths of the kitchen cupboards. It’s unlikely that you’ll use it again so donate it to a better home. While you’re there you can probably ditch the ice cream maker and the waffle iron too…

Plastic bags

You never know when they might come in handy so you store them in the cupboard and suddenly you have thousands. Ditch them and replace with a cotton tote bag. Much better for the environment!

7 Genius DIY Hacks for Your Home

Handmade house in a wood background

DIY is one of those things that you either love or you hate, and if you’re not a fan sprucing up your home can be a nightmare. Luckily we’ve rounded up these genius DIY hacks that transform your home and make you look like a decorating pro.

Washi tape picture frames

Washi tape is having a bit of a thing at the moment and as well as looking great, it can come in very handy if you’re renowned for hanging up wonky picture frames. Plus you’ll get the benefit of a unique and colourful frame with minimum cost and effort.

Untangled cables

You can spend hours painting and arranging furniture, but it’s not going to make much of a difference if you have power cords and wires cluttering up your floor space. It’s really easy to get them organised though – simply screw a binder clip to a desk and you can keep wires away from small children and curious pets.

Dry erase boards

Keep on top of all your household tasks and create some stylish artwork with a DIY memo board. Frame a scrap of fabric or wallpaper and use a dry erase marker to jot down appointment reminders, errands you still need to run and shopping lists. Then simply hang in the kitchen and you’re good to go!

Wine crate coffee tables

Coffee tables don’t come cheap, so why not transform an old wine crate into the centrepiece for your living room. Just a lick of paint and some varnish and it’s good to go! Simple, chic and you can get it on the rustic trend at a fraction of the cost!

Magnetic strips for hair clips

Anyone with long hair will know that bobby pins and hair clips seem to disappear into thin air no matter how hard you try to keep them stored away. A great solution for this is to install magnetic strips in your medicine cupboard to keep all of your hair clips in one place. Genius!

Shoe box dividers

We’re all guilty of throwing things into the drawers and forgetting about them until it’s a cluttered mess and you can’t find anything you need. But you don’t need to fork out on expensive drawer dividers from homeware stores to solve the problem – all you need to do it yourself is a pair of scissors and some shoe boxes. Simply cut the boxes in half by length or width and trim to the size needed for your space and then pop into the drawer. It couldn’t be easier!

Pegboards

Turn your house into Pinterest chic and keep your space free of clutter with pegboards. You can pick these up super cheap in DIY shops and then use them to keep necklaces, belts, sunglasses, scarves, bags and more neatly displayed. It’s a great way to show off your sartorial selection and you could even hang up a mirror next to everything so you can make sure you look great before you step out of the door.

DIY Tips for Complete Beginners

DIY Do It Yourself Homes Houses Improvement Construction Handyma

Love it or loathe it we all have to tackle DIY in the home at some point, but the good news is that you don’t have to be Nick Knowles to spruce up your place. We’re taken it back to basics with the best DIY tips for absolute beginners.

Tackle Your Storage

You might not be handy with a hammer or a wallpaper whizz, but by nailing your storage solutions you’re at least halfway to DIY success. Minimalism is a key trend at the moment and it’s hard to achieve when your places is sprawled with tables, plants, a TV, sofa, toy boxes, pet suppliers, books and DVDs. Of course storage units are handy for keeping your stuff out of sight, but it also helps to be realistic about what you really need in each room. Be a little ruthless if necessary. You can also transform current fixtures into handy storage spaces too – unused fireplaces make for great bookcases and are very chic.

Make a Statement (Wall)

Plain walls certainly aren’t for everyone and bold wallpapers can really let your personality shine through. But if you’re not feeling brave enough to decorate your whole room in a loud print, opt for just one statement wall and cover it in a print you love. This looks particularly great behind the sofa and with plain furnishings throughout the rest of the room.

Get Colourful in the Kitchen

We’ve all seen those chic white kitchens on Pinterest and in showrooms and while they might look great there, in the average house it can look very plain and sterile. Try injecting a little colour into the room. If you’re not feeling quite brave enough to get creative with the paint, bright tablecloths, appliances and curtains can give your kitchen a new lease of life. It’s so easy to change things round on a budget too!

Mirrors

Mirrors are the best way to add light and make a room seem bigger with minimal effort. Whether you go for a unique vintage frame or a more contemporary style, a few mirrors will do wonders for your space. Try and go for designs that are similar yet distinctive for maximum effect.

Display Your Collections

We all have that one thing we love to collect so instead of keeping them on dusty shelves in the spare room, make them the star attraction in your living room. Whether it’s vases, teacups or statues, keep them all together in one place and go for contrasting sizes and colours as well as an odd number of items for a really chic look. Your place will look like it’s stepped out of the pages of a glossy home magazine and it will cost you absolutely nothing!

Make the Most of Your Furniture

Especially good if you’re trying to spruce up a rented apartment, if you’re not gifted in the DIY department make the most of your furniture. Statement sofas and chairs will make a room look put together with no effort at all. But if you’re not into the bold, jazz up a plain sofa with brightly coloured statement cushions and throws.

Kitchen Appliances That Will Transform Your Life

modern gourmet kitchen interior

Your kitchen says a lot about you, but you don’t need to have the latest fancy gadgets to whip up a culinary storm at home. There are lots of appliances out there that will take the hassle out of eating well and make your life easier. We’ve rounded up some of the essentials.

Water Purifier

We could all benefit from drinking more H2O and a water purifier makes it even easier to glug down those recommended eight glasses a day. A water purifier removes impurities and other nasties from your drink which not only makes it safer to consume, but gives it a clearer, better taste too. Different water purifiers operate using different processes and come in all shapes and sizes so be sure to shop around and make sure you don’t buy one that’s too big. It’s always a good idea to look out for companies and brands that offer service and guarantees after purchase too.

Coffee Maker

Give yourself the kick you need in the morning or brew up a palate for guests at dinner party with a coffee maker. When looking for the best one to buy, easy cleaning features are a must! Also look out for added extras such as manual water control, a steam wand and water filter. If your budget stretches to it you can also buy coffee makers that will grind coffee beans for you too.

Soda Maker

You can’t beat a glass of ice cold soda on a hot summer’s day, but the ones you find in shops are often full of sugars, sodium and additives – not ideal if you’re trying to make healthy eating a priority. So you can’t really go wrong with a soda maker. These applicances don’t use electric and can churn out up to sixty litres of the fizzy stuff using refillable carbon dioxide canisters. And with nowhere near the amount of nasties that you find in the big name brands.

Hand-Held Blender

There’s nothing worse than coming home after a long day at work and having to cook something, so soup is a great option. You can batch cook it and freeze so it will be ready to eat in just a few minutes. Get yourself a hand-blender and you can mix up a healthy and delicious soup in minutes – no more of the tinned stuff! Of course, a hand-blender also comes in very useful if you’re a keen baker too.

Slow Cookers

The ultimate appliance for anyone short on time or money, a slow cooker really is indispensable. Perfect for creating budget meals you can just throw your meat, vegetables and stock inside it and leave it to bubble away while you’re at work or out at the weekend and when you come back your kitchen will be filled with the scent of a hearty stew, curry or casserole that will be ready in minutes. The key to finding the best is to look for slow cookers with removable inserts.

Quick Fixes for Small Problems around the Home

House MAde Out of Tools

We’ve all been there – there are a couple of smaller problems around the home that shouldn’t really take all that long to fix, but… for one reason or another, we just haven’t got around to actually fixing them.

They’re a pain in the neck, even if they’re not particularly difficult to complete. Putting something off is infinitely easier than actually doing it!

But, unfortunately, we have to do it sooner or later. So with that in mind, we thought we’d cover some of the quickest fixes around, so that – if you have a problem that needs sorting out – you can get round to fixing it tout de suite! Sorted.

Squeaky Door Hinges

Your door hinges are squeaking all the time – is there anything more annoying than that? Luckily for you, it’s a super simple fix: all you need to do is spray a bit of WD-40 on the hinge, working in the liquid by moving the door backwards and forwards for a minute.

If you don’t have any WD-40 to hand, you can always try rubbing some petroleum jelly onto the hinges.

If neither of these works, it’s time for a bit of elbow grease. Lift the hinge pins out a little bit, then lubricate them up with a little three in one oil. Make sure to use a paper towel or two to catch any errant drips!

Peeling Wallpaper

Again, super simple tip, this. Grab a pot of wallpaper paste and blob some of it onto a knife. Then you just smear it onto a bit of regular old writing paper, then rub that paper against the underside of the wallpaper that’s peeling.

Next, simply press the wallpaper firmly into the wall, and slide out the writing paper from beneath the wallpaper. Lastly, you just need to smooth out the paper – we’d suggest using a clean cloth to do this.

Dusty Chandeliers

Dusting your chandeliers – where do you start? It’s a good job we’re here, isn’t it? First of all, use your common sense: turn off the lights. After waiting for the fixture to fully cool down, pop on a pair of cotton gloves. Dab one with a little glass cleaner, but keep the other dry.

All you need to do now is to rub each fixture with the dampened glove first, drying them off afterwards with the dry one. Spotless!

One thing, though: if your chandeliers are crystal, you don’t want to use glass cleaner. Instead, substitute it for a solution made up of three parts distilled water to one part rubbing alcohol.

Slamming Doors

Yet another annoyance around the home, slamming doors can thankfully be fixed with a minimum of effort. All you need to do is to get hold of a handful of pieces of foam weather stripping, and affixing a few smaller bits around the doorstop.

If you’d rather use something that you’re more likely to find around the home, grab one of those wide elastic bands that you’ll often find wrapped around a bundle of letters. Wrap the band around one of the doorknobs then stretch it around to the other side, wrapping it around the other doorknob. This will act as a cushion, stopping any nasty slams.

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.