Resolving The ‘Mental Clutter’ Of A Household


Pexels

 

Households are more than just a convenient method of taking shelter from the outside environment and storing all of your cool belongings. Our homes tell stories, both to us and others about our history and the history that has lived there. This is what people mean when they suggest that a home has a sense of ‘character’ and ‘place.’

Your home is more than just a place you retire to at the end of the day. It is absolutely an extension of your personality, and as such should be cared for. Consider how your surroundings speak to you. They can help you celebrate and remember cherished memories, they can influence your sense of personal organization and responsibility, or even bolster your appreciation for the arts. This is why a home with no decoration or personality is often quite a sad thing. Even hotels try to aim for a sense of tasteful decoration and comforting layout, as this helps a room gain character.

Resolving the clutter of a household can help you with your ‘mental clutter’ in more ways than one. Consider our handy tips in this article to help you optimize your home by these parameters:

Correct Storage

Storing your home items correctly can be important to help reduce the actual clutter of your space. You might choose to hide certain items, you might not. Consider using wall hanging baskets or hidden cupboards under the bed or perhaps opening a subsection of the wardrobe for items you may not need to keep on show. If you do not use an item in three months and it has little ornamental or decorative value, it might be worth submitting that for your own review, to either keep for another three months, or to replace and sell. Lessening the ‘stuff’ of your room can help your room otherwise feel open, comfortable and well taken care of, allowing you to think clearly.

Shapes & Lines

Believe it or not, the shapes and lines that your room is decorated with can have a big impact on the way that you think in a room. We are influenced by our surroundings more than we know. This is the difference between knowing ‘how much do roman blinds cost?’ and installing them, lessening the chaotic shapes often made by a draping curtain. It’s the difference between lining up your picture frames to be parallel, and ensuring your television is angled as your television stand is. These shapes all have a seeming impact on how you cognitively render your room when you walk in, so consider using a gentle balance of chaos reigned in with straight and organizational shapes. Even if you have little stock for feng shui, you can feel the benefits quite clearly via this effort. When implementing this in the form of furniture and the navigability of your floor space, you will find just how open and spacious you can design a room to feel, despite changing nothing of its actual dimensions.

The mental clutter of a household can grow too much to bear sometimes. With these simple lessons you can direct this to a more favorable outcome.

The Crucial Ingredients For A Perfect Barbecue

As June begins to flower in earnest we’re well on our way for a summer to remember. While many of us will already be planning family vacations and buying tents in anticipation of a family camping trip somewhere picturesque like White Mountain or Assateague Island, a lot of us have our sights squarely set on the home this summer. Since most of us have already engaged in the time honored institution that is spring cleaning, now’s the time to open up the house to guests. All through spring we’ve put in the hard work, deep cleaned each and every room, rid the home of distracting clutter, brightened up paint work that was starting to look a little forlorn and added a few pieces of statement wall art that are sure to be great talking points so now that summer is upon us it’s time to reap the social benefits.

While house parties, dinner parties and cocktail parties are all great ways to celebrate the newly clement weather and give our social calendars a much needed bump, nothing says All American summer like a good old fashioned barbecue. Over the coming months, many will be inviting friends, family and neighbors alike to enjoy our homes and gardens as we cook a cornucopia of flame grilled delights for their delectation. But there’s a universe of difference between a few beers and burgers with friends and a social gathering that the neighborhood will use as a yardstick by which all future engagements are measured. Here are some tips that will add your garden n grill soiree that little extra magic that will ensure that the event goes with a pop and leaves guests thinking and talking about it for weeks to come.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

Impromptu parties can be a lot of fun, but if this is to be a party for the ages, you must plan in advance. Issue invitations and try to get as many RSVPs back as you can prior to the event so that you don’t end up buying too much. Make sure that you buy a little more than you need so that nobody has to go without, and be sure that you have plenty of soft and alcoholic drinks as well as the ingredients to make the summer cocktails that will go down perfectly in the sunny garden setting. Many like to impose a theme which will determine the decor, the food and drink and (if you’re feeling extra adventurous) the fancy dress code.

Prep the night before

If you’re putting this much effort into throwing the perfect social event it’s only fair that you’re actually able to experience it rather than slaving away in the kitchen or over the grill. Thus, it’s essential that you prepare everything the night before so that cooking your prepared food is quick and easy, allowing you more time to mingle with your guests.

Transform your garden

Sure, your home will be a talking point, but if your guests will be spending most of their time in the garden, this is the perfect opportunity to transform your soothing and serene garden into an adventurous wonderland. Often a sense of theatricality and adventure can be the difference between a good barbecue and a great one. You’d be amazed at the difference some LED fairy lights, rope lights, curtain lights, lawn ornaments and candles can make to your garden. If you’ve chosen a theme for your event, the way in which you decorate your garden will really make it pop!

Create opportunities to cool off

Your guests will likely really appreciate the opportunity to sun themselves in your garden, but they might reach a point where the sun has gotten a little too much for them (especially if they didn’t remember to pack sunscreen). Since you may not relish the idea of your guests roaming around your home as you slave over a hot grill, it’s a good idea to dedicate a space as a “cooling off area” in which guests can enjoy a cool drink in the shade or beneath some large outdoor ceiling fans if you have a porch or sunroom that will accommodate them. Ensure that your cool room is well stocked with both alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks. If people are going to have access to alcohol all day they will need to stay well hydrated.

Don’t forget the veggies!

In today’s increasingly environmentally conscious world, at least some of your guests are likely to abstain from meat, dairy and other animal products for health or ethical reasons. Thus, it’s vital that you have plenty of vegetarian and vegan options (plus, let’s face it, they’ll probably go down a treat with omnivores, too). Fortunately, it doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination or preparation to bring mouth watering vegan food to your grill (just be sure to cook far enough away from your burgers, sausages and ribs that they won’t get splashed with meat juices). From cauliflower steaks and barbecued eggplant to veggie kabobs and barbecued tofu, who says that meat eaters should have all the fun at your barbecue?

Side note

While the delicious meats and veggies being prepared on the grill will undoubtedly be the stars of the show, don’t forget to spare a thought for the side dishes. You could be forgiven for underestimating the importance of sides but these can really help you to keep the costs of your barbecue manageable. If your guests load their plates with plenty of sides they’ll be less likely to return to the grill time after time, meaning that you’re less likely to run out of the good (and expensive) stuff. Plus, they’re great for guests to snack on long after the flames have died down on the barbecue itself.

With a little imagination and a whole lot of forward planning, your barbecue will be the stuff of legend and a gauntlet that you throw down to the rest of the neighborhood. You’ll enjoy months of pleasurable dining in their gardens as they try (and fail) to emulate your superlative soiree.

Cleaning Up with Rejuvenate® Click n Clean™ Multi-Surface Spray Mop System

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rejuvenate Products.

As a new mom I’ve found that keeping a clean home is more important than ever, but it is also more challenging.  Yes, there are more items to clean and a whole new person to clean up after, but what is even more difficult is finding the time to actually clean. Think about it: Who wants to wash dishes and clean floors when there is a baby to play with?  Nevertheless, the housekeeping show must go on!  Our son is now 6 months old, which means it is almost crawling time, and that means we MUST have a clean floor for him!  This is why I am excited today to talk about the Rejuvenate® Click n Clean™ Multi-Surface Spray Mop System.

This mopping system is a mom’s dream.  The Click n Clean is the only mop that cleans surface-to-surface and delivers professional results for under $35.  It is very easy and clean to use: no mixing up chemicals, no wringing out a mop by hand, and no heavy lifting or getting out multiple cleaning appliances.  With this system, you can literally clean every surface in your home from hardwood and laminate to tile, grout and even carpet.  The Click n Clean mop system allows you to click, clean and go ― no matter the job size. Check it out!

 

The Click n Clean comes with a microfiber bad that is especially for dust mopping (dry mopping your home).  As a pet owner I can tell you this really comes in handy for daily cleaning up of animal hair and other particles.  There’s also a scrub pad for wet mopping with the Rejuvenate cleaner of your choice and a super scrub pad for those hard to remove spots. Additionally, one thing that sets this system apart is that it comes with a grout brush attachment.  We have tile floors in our bathroom, and this brush is great for that!

Another thing that sets this system apart from other mopping systems is that Rejuvenate has a line of liquid cleaners for every surface in your home:

  • No Bucket Floor Cleaner (for wood, laminate, and other surfaces)
  • Luxury Vinyl Floor Cleaner
  • Marble, Granite & Stone Floor Cleaner
  • Tile & Grout Everyday Cleaner
  • Grout Deep Cleaner

The cleaners easily attach to your mop with a bottle adapter (3 are included), and they also come with spray nozzles for easy and convenient spot cleaning.

The cleaning pads are very easy to attach to the mop’s swivel head and are very durable and machine washable.

Once the cleaning pad or grout brush are attached, all you have to do is place a bottle adapter on top of the cleaning bottle of your choice. Then turn the bottle over, and it easily slides on to the mop.

 

After the cleaner is placed in the mop, simply click a button and the cleaner will be released on your surface.  Then just mop up!

Our vinyl floor can be a challenge to clean with all the cooking and grilling (and spilling) we do. (And did I mention we also have kids and pets!)  So I am especially excited about using the Click n Clean in this room.  Here’s a before and after picture of my results (dirty spots and all).

The results were great!  We also tried this in other rooms in our home.  The grout brush definitely worked wonders on our tile when combined the Click n Clean mop on the floor.  And most of all, I LOVED using this on our hardwood.  Most liquid cleaners and mops are not safe to use on hard floors, so the Click n Clean is a life saver for that!

Check out this demo video:

Rejuvenate® Click n Clean™ Multi-Surface Spray Mop System is available at The Home Depot for $34.97.  If you are looking for a way to clean your floors quickly and effectively, you should definitely give it a try!

5 Tips to Keeping Your Home in Tip-Top Shape for Your Family (and Your Cat)

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreeandCleanLiving #CollectiveBias

Having a clean home is both a luxury and a necessity, and having a family makes this statement even more true.  We all want for our homes to be a safe and clean environment for our family, but this requires constant, never ending work.  Having pets in your home adds even more challenges to your housekeeping routine, but if you are like me, you love your cats and there is no challenge you won’t tackle for them!  Lucky for us, Purina® New TIDY CATS® Free & Clean™ Unscented Clumping Litter is here to see us through!  Today I’ve got 5 Tips to Keeping Your Home in Tip-Top Shape for Your Family (and Your Cat), plus information on the newest product from TIDY CATS.

Use a High Quality Cat Litter Product

Ever since I adopted Rebel 10 years ago, I have a been a TIDY CATS user.  I currently have 3 cats in my home, and they prefer TIDY CATS.. (That is to say, they’ve never avoided or gone outside the litter box while using their products.)  And I’ve been satisfied with how their products block odors when you scoop regularly.

Their latest and greatest product is TIDY CATS® Free & Clean™ Unscented Clumping Litter.  This new product features Unscented Odor Control with the Power of Activated Charcoal.  Obviously controlling odors is my number one goal, and I love that Free & Clean offers you the odor-absorbing power of activated charcoal plus TidyLock® Protection to lock away odors.  (It gives you the clean you need without the extra perfumes, fragrances, and dyes).

The product is also 99.% dust free.  This is also extremely important to me; I hate pouring litter in the box and seeing a cloud of dust!  Plus, my cat Mina has allergies and other upper respiratory issues, so she needs a product that is dust free.

The product also features strong clumps for easy cleanup. As the person who usually scoops the litter box, this is definitely a plus.  Not only does it make clean up easier, but it also means we don’t have to replace the litter with new product quite as often.

TIDY CATS® Free & Clean™ Unscented Clumping Litter is available for purchase at Target.  Target is my favorite place to shop, because they carry all my favorite brands, and it is always easy to find what I’m looking for.  The pet products and housekeeping supplies I need are also conveniently located right in the front of the store, which means I can get in and out of the store quickly.

Target also frequently has TIDY CATS on sale.  Before making my Target run, I always check the Target app for their weekly ad and I look through Cartwheel is to see if there are deals on anything I am planning to buy.  The other day I used my Cartwheel account to get 20% off the 35 pound container of litter.

Proper Litter Box Maintenance and Placement

Most cat experts recommend daily scooping of the litter box; however, we usually scoop ours every other day.  We may scoop more often if company is coming over or if there just happens to be a special need.  You should also be prepared to top your litter box with additional litter as needed and completely empty out your litter box, clean it and replace your litter with all new product.  (I usually top ours off a couple of times a week, and we completely change out the litter and clean the box about every 6 weeks or as needed.)

To clean the litterbox when putting in all new litter, we start by taking the box outside for emptying, and we give it a good rinse with the water hose.  I then use dishwashing liquid to give it an initial cleaning, and then I pour in a little vinegar and a few drops of essential oil like lemon or peppermint to get things smelling nicely.  Then after it dries I usually sprinkle in a small layer of baking soda on the bottom of the box before adding all new litter.

Litterbox placement is also important. Your litter box should be placed in an area of your home that is easily accessible to your cat, and it should not be placed in a high traffic or noisy area of your home or any place your cat may be anxious about using.  If possible place the litterbox in an extra bedroom or small room not in use.  Alternatively, it can placed in a laundry room, small bathroom, or mud room.  Do NOT place the litterbox near food and water bowls.

Quantity. Experts also say you should have one litterbox for each cat, plus an additional litterbox.  As for us, we have just one very large litterbox.  It is actually an under-the-bed storage bin that we’ve repurposed as a a litterbox, and our cats are fine with sharing.  (But if your cats fight or have other issues, you should get more litterboxes.)

Floor Cleaning

Another way to keep your home looking and smelling fresh is with regular floor cleaning.  I like to sweep up and clean up the room where we keep the litterbox about once a week.  (This room is carpeted, but I keep a large vinyl mat in the room for easy cleaning.  It just needs a little vacuuming and a little mopping or spot cleaning with a little all purpose cleaner and rag.)

It is also very necessary to clean the floors in the rest of home quite often (otherwise we’d be overrun with pet hair and litter rocks).  I like to vacuum our carpets and all hard floors once a week.  We also mop all the hard floors; this makes them look shiny and bright, and it also leaves a nice refreshing scent.

I also keep carpet cleaning spray on hand for the occasional pet stain on the carpet and I spinkle the carpet with baking soda or fabric refreshing before vacuuming when I want things to smell really great.

Deodorizing Your Home

In additional to proper litter box cleaning and maintenance, you should find other ways to deodorize your home.  One way is with a good essential oil diffuser.  There are a lot of oils that are specifically for getting rid of odors and refreshing your home.  I like peppermint or anything from the citrus family, but you have to be careful as some oils can be irritating to your pet or other people in your home with allergies.  We also use scented oil plug-ins when we want things to smell really great.

Additionally I sprinkle baking soda on our carpets, rugs and upholstery before vacuuming to absorb odors, and I occasionally spray these areas with fabric refresher.

Pet bedding can also be the source of odors, so you should wash your pet’s blankets and other bedding on a regular basis, as well as keep toys clean and replace toys and bedding as needed with something new.

Surface Cleaning and Other Household Maintenance

You should also remember that pets are not the only ones who can make a mess or make odors in your home.  Take garbage out regularly and immediately take garage outside that maybe contain leftover foods, packaging from raw meats, and anything else that may smell bad.

Also, avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink, as well as food containers or dishes on your countertops and stove top, and wipe down all counters and surfaces daily.

If you any tips to help refresh your home and especially your pet area, I’d love to hear them!  Please join the conversation by commenting on this post.

And if you are looking for a new way to refresh your cat’s room try new Tidy Cats Free & Clean Unscented litter at Target!

Turning Your Garden Into A Soothing Sanctuary

When you’re trying to make your home look its best, either so you can enjoy it more, or you are trying to increase the value of the property, the garden is the most important area to overhaul. Creating a garden that is relaxing, colorful, but also appealing to the eye is a considerable challenge, but when it comes to the relaxation aspect of things, it’s important that you turn your garden into a sanctuary of sorts. If you live in an overcrowded neighborhood, you want your garden to be somewhere that you can retreat to, without having noisy neighbors look over your fence. So what are the best ways to turn your garden into a sanctuary?

Create relaxing focal points

The impacts of relaxing focal points will continue to bring your mind back to the idea of relaxation. The best way to do this is to make sure your garden has specific areas that contain relaxing features. This is down to your preference, but a few suggestions would be water features, colorful flowers, or lighting. In picking lighting, be sure not to go for harsh floodlights, but instead go for the smaller, dainty versions, such as tea lights, or hanging christmas tree lights if you are on a budget. In the middle of a summer night, these little, multi-colored sources of light make your garden take on a magical quality.

Choose your furniture

Your furniture speaks volumes about your style, and while most people go for garden furniture, picking your decor that matches the furniture is a combination that you cannot underestimate. There are many fantastic decorations and styles that are suited to organic materials, such as wicker, and you can purchase wicker furniture that suits your ambience now. There’s no need to go for one shade of wicker, there are so many, especially if you are keen on laying some decking. The furniture says a lot about your ambience, but it also needs to help you into relaxation. Choosing uncomfortable and rigid chairs isn’t going to ease you into relaxation in the slightest. Sun loungers are a great choice, but they only seem to work really well with swimming pools, but if you don’t have the space for a swimming pool, consider a koi carp pond. The fish traversing the length and breadth of the pond is hypnotizing, and thoroughly relaxing.

Segregate yourself from the world

We want our garden to be a haven from the world. Choosing how you segregate yourself is down to your own specific tastes. Some of us like to have a view of the neighbors, while others want to be enveloped in their own garden space. For those who live in a home attached to someone else’s, the idea of total privacy can feel difficult to accomplish. But there are little things you can do. Having hanging baskets from the sides of your house is a great way to fence yourself off. But also, having a high enough fence gives you a little bit more privacy. Fences aren’t always the most attractive of implements in the garden, but there are simple ways to decorate them. Companies like Atlanta Post Caps provides styles and shapes to adorn the top of fences, so they don’t look as rough and ready, but also can stay in keeping with your overall garden aesthetic. Having a sense of privacy is vital in your garden, but so is a sense of style. It’s certainly a difficult balance to maintain. And when you are looking for a way to make your garden as private as possible, while you can fence yourself in, there are ways to block out the sound of the outside world. You can do this by adding to your fences, but you can also be clever with how you landscape. By planting trees and shrubs in places where the majority of noise comes from, they can help to absorb the sound. Brick is another material that is great at absorbing sound, but don’t go for the cheapest material, because it will not go with the aesthetic, and you will be replacing the bricks sooner rather than later! Instead, make the most of the various materials out there, and it does mean going a little bit above your budgetary requirements on occasion, but it will add so much more value to your space. And if you have the electrical requirements, you could always set up a little sound system to play relaxing music, which doesn’t necessarily block out the noise on the outside, but proves to be a handy distraction.

Decide on shapes

Picking the best shapes for the garden is something that you might have not considered, or completely underestimated. If you’re trying to ease yourself into a relaxing frame of mind, round and oval features are the best ways to create a sense of relaxation in any garden. The benefits of these shapes are that they blend seamlessly with other organic materials. So, by implementing this idea to your areas, whether you want to build a sunken garden, or even a staircase, a circular design will add so much more than a harsh rectangle or square shape.

Choose your colors

When it comes to your flowers, the more vibrant colors, the better. But when you are trying to match a certain aesthetic with specific colors, vibrancy isn’t always the best option. While it’s important for you to choose colors that are attractive to the eye, and in keeping with your own style, if you go for all the colors of the rainbow, this might not prove to be the best way to relax your brain. Instead, choose a handful of colors, maybe 3 or 4, and organize the garden into certain patches of color. This gives your mind a journey around the garden, rather than overloading your senses.

Turning your garden into a sanctuary can be a considerable task, but if you’re looking to increase the value of your home, or if you are generally looking for somewhere to switch off, the garden is a place that needs to have a positive impact on your ability to chill out. It can be a lot of work, but it’s a beautiful addition to your home when you get it just right.

How To Make Your Home The Social Hub Of The Season

None of us is really at our best in the winter months. The cold and dark weather combined with the pervasive sense of pessimism (not to mention all those unwelcome winter bugs) can combine to give us a serious case of Seasonal Affective Disorder. But as the seasons change, and the sun decides to show its face a little more, our psychology changes with them. We suddenly no longer want to head straight home after work, dive under the duvet and binge on carbs, fats and Netflix until sleep takes us grudgingly into the next day. Instead, we emerge every morning like a butterfly emerging from her chrysalis. We’re suddenly struck with a sincere and earnest desire to be as social as possible. Our thoughts turn to picnics, dinner parties, cocktail soirees, and barbecues. Suddenly it’s no longer enough to be more sociable, you home simply must become the hub of all social activity within your friendship group over the coming months.


But how can you make sure that your home brings guests back time after time to drink in the charm and ambience of your home along with the selection of fine wines they’ll no doubt also be quaffing? How can you make sure that your home is a welcoming yet subtly aspirational paragon of domestic bliss that they’ll want to come back to again and again? Here we’ll look into some of the ways in which you can keep guests coming back for more over and over again as the sun shines, the wine flows and facebook pics accumulate. Follow the following guidelines and people will scroll through your social media feed agape with envy and hoping that they’ll be invited next time…

If you haven’t already… Now’s the time to spring clean

Most of the time, deep cleaning the whole house is a gruelling chore, but for some reason, even the most housework shy of us can get behind the idea of a good spring clean. Perhaps this is because the notion of getting our house in order is a time honored tradition that speaks to an innate instinct that pops up in numerous different nations and cultures across the globe and transcends barriers of history and culture. It’s not only the foundation upon which you’ll build your home’s fresh new aesthetic before the guests come knocking, it’s a psychologically liberating process that will likely make you fall in love with your home all over again, causing you to see potential in every nook and cranny that was once filled with boxes of old junk. Speaking of which…

Clear out the clutter

Clutter is like smoking. We tell ourselves that we like it, we convince ourselves that we enjoy it… but it’s only after we well and truly cut it out of our lives that we realize how much it’s been holding you back all of these years. As you move from room to room you may well spot a few examples of what we tell ourselves are things that lend the home its idiosyncratic charm but that deep down we know are just junk and clutter that are taking up much needed space. Not only is clutter visually distracting, with the ability to cheapen even the most finely tuned aesthetic, it can actually take a surprising psychological toll not only on you but on all who visit your home.

Throw a yard sale, put your stuff on eBay or if you truly can’t bear to part with it, put it all in a chest and push it under the bed.  

Even the air needs to be perfect!

In anticipation of your guests, prior to your first big social event of the year, you’ll likely be dashing around ensuring that every surface in your home is spotless. But even the cleanest of homes can be plagued by dirty air. Not only can this potentially damage your guests’ (and your family’s) health, it can cause moldy, dank or rotten smells to permeate in the household which can outlast any scented candle or diffuser.

Get a specialist like ABC Home & Commercial AC Repair to take a look at your AC unit to ensure that it’s well cleaned and running properly. Not only can a poorly maintained AC unit cost you a fortune with months of inefficient running, if left uncleaned its inner workings can form a perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria which become distributed around your home by the unit itself. It doesn’t matter how much thought and effort you put into the canapes if your guests all come down with a nasty case of legionnaires disease.  

While you’re at it, ensure that every room has a diffuser full of essential oils to ensure that the air has a subtly pleasant aroma that complements the room.

Make sure every room has a talking point

When you invite different groups of friends into your home, you take on a certain responsibility. You become more than just a friend, you become a social alchemist, and it’s your responsibility to ensure that conversation flows and that interactions are free of awkward pauses or (Heaven forbid) rooms full of people glued to their phones. Thus, you should ensure that every room has a talking point. It’s up to you what form this takes and it will likely vary depending on the needs of each room, nonetheless here are some suggestions;

  • A piece of statement art
  • A bookcase full of carefully chosen titles
  • An ornate or statement piece of furniture

Failing any of the above, a well placed plate of canapes and nibbles will usually help to facilitate the flow of conversation and keep people’s hands busy so that they won’t feel the need to fish in their pockets for phones.

Paint your house happy

As well as giving your house a good spring clean, you may feel that now is the time to revive your house with a lick of paint here or there. An interior designer will be able to help you to really maximise the potential in any given room, but the following staples will allow you to fill your entire home with spring cheer. Soft yet bold gelato colors are very much in this season, with yellows, pinks, greens and purples giving rooms pop especially when combined with the rosy tint of a spring sunset shining through the open window. If this is a little too bold for you, you may have more fun embracing the blues and indigoes that are also going to play a big part in the home decor scene this spring. If repainting your walls requires a little more time or expense than you’re prepared to part with, you can just as easily bring these colors into your soft furnishings, cushions, vases and ornaments. Make sure that your vases are overflowing with spring flowers, too. Which brings us to…

Bring some cheer into your garden

Even if it’s not quite time to bring the barbecue out of hiding yet, it’s likely that the action will spill out into the garden, so it’s important to ensure that your garden bears the same seasonal sense of cheer and goodwill as your home. A garden bursting with color from the following is bound to be a smash hit;

  • Daffodils-  What else says spring better than the vivid burst of yellow that they provide?
  • Anemones- Shapely and bold in color, they can either brighten up your garden lend a room cheer along with a certain sensuality, if cut and placed in a vase.
  • Carnations- They’re not only hardy and  long lasting, they come in a huge variety of colors to make your garden lively and bright

Master these decorative and home maintenance flourishes and you’ll find that your home is the most talked about place of the season.

Spring Sprucing: Tasks To Ensure Your Home Looks Tip-Top

Spring is here, and there’s no better time of year to roll up your sleeves and do some jobs around the house. After a long winter, you may find that you’ve got a list of tasks to complete. Here are some of the top jobs to add to your list now that sunnier days have arrived.

Getting the garden in order

It can be very difficult to tend to your garden when it’s raining cats and dogs, or there’s a thick blanket of frost on the ground. Now that warmer climes have arrived, it’s time to hone your horticultural skills and get the backyard in order. Start by clearing out the garden, throwing away any rubbish and removing weeds from flower beds and planters. If you’re planning to overhaul the garden this spring/summer, and you need inspiration or advice, it’s worth looking around for ideas online and flicking through some home and garden magazines. You could also contact local landscaping firms and get some quotes. If you have grand plans to add mezzanine levels, new decking or a bespoke entertaining area, it’s likely you’ll need expert help to turn your vision into a reality. Spring is the time to start tending to plants and looking after your flower beds. You may have noticed a few buds appearing and stems growing. If you have got blossoming blooms, make sure you water your plants every couple of days. It’s usually best to wait until the sun has gone down to get the hose out.

Touching up the paintwork

If your house is colored, or the facade is white or gray, a fresh coat of paint will ensure that your home looks tip-top for spring. It’s very common for paintwork to fade or become stained, especially during the winter when weather conditions can be tricky. If you don’t fancy clambering up a ladder and taking on the job yourself, look for a local house painting contractor. It’s wise to read reviews and testimonials online and to ask friends and work colleagues for recommendations. Call some firms, get some quotes and then you can make a decision. If you have siding that needs patching up, it’s a good idea to look for a contractor who is willing to do this, as well as painting the exterior.

Decluttering

Spring is traditionally the season of decluttering and cleaning. If you’ve still got boxes of Christmas decorations in the spare room, or you’ve got a closet full of clothes you barely ever wear, now is the time to embark on a decluttering mission. Having a clear out will make your home look more attractive and spacious, but it will also make you feel better. Tackle each room in order, and think carefully about you want to keep, what can be thrown away and what you could either sell or donate. If you’ve got piles of stuff you don’t use, but it’s in good condition, consider hosting a yard sale to make a bit of extra cash. Nobody really looks forward to clearing their home out and cleaning up, but it can be a very cathartic experience, and it should free up a lot of space inside your home.

Roofs and gutters

The winter weather can take its toll on the roof and the gutters. If you’ve got guttering stuffed with leaves, dirt, and debris, or you’ve spotted some loose tiles or slates on the roof, it’s advisable to get these issues seen to. In many cases, you can clear the gutters yourself, but if you’re not a fan of heights, you may prefer to call a maintenance firm. It’s best to avoid attempting roof repairs unless you’re a qualified roofer and you have the relevant safety equipment to hand. Working at height carries risks, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If there is an issue with the roof, it’s best to nip it in the bud during the warmer months. If you leave it, the situation may get worse, and the cost of patching up the problem will increase.


Spring is here, and it’s time for homeowners to tackle the effects of winter weather and a lack of interest many of us have in home maintenance during the cooler months. With sunshine on the horizon, it’s a great time to get out into the garden, freshen up exterior paintwork, clear away clutter inside and get some expert advice on roofing issues. If you make a list now and work your way through it, you can ensure your home will be tip-top in time for summer.

7 Easy Home Management Tips for Housewives

Housewives act as home managers in most residences. Because of this, they will be mainly in-charge of running everything that happens at home. This can especially be difficult if you are not used to having a lot of responsibilities. Here are seven home management tips that will make everything easier:

1. Keep A Personal Schedule

If you did not like keeping personal schedules before, you should surely change that. Remember that you will be running the household, taking care of all members of the family and achieving personal goals. This will not be easy and your priorities will clash with each other at some point.

Through personal schedules, you will be able to properly plan out the tasks that you will be doing on a daily basis. Personal schedule also help in reminding you of important dates like the baby’s checkup or one of your children’s school play.

You can totally use pen and paper for your schedule. But if you want to be tech savvy, there are calendar management apps out there that you can download.

2. Plan Meals Every Week

It is important for the household to get a diverse set of meals all throughout the week. Sure, it may be tempting to just eat eggs every single morning for breakfast as that takes no planning at all but who wants that?

A meal plan can help you make sure that your family gets a balanced diet on the budget that you set. There is also an efficiency aspect to meal planning as it saves you time, fuel and energy. You no longer have to run to the grocery store every day as you can buy everything at the start of the week.

In meal planning, variety is key, which is why Google will be your friend in researching for great recipes. You can even have theme days on specific kinds of food. Think Pasta Night or Vegan-Only Day.

3. Establish Routines

When you are a housewife, there are a lot of things that you have to do every day. You need to get all these things done while juggling a lot of tasks. To help you make all of these easy, routines will be of help. It is going to be the backbone of your schedule as it can save a lot of time for you. Say for example, helping kids with their homework should be a priority for every housewife. Make a schedule for daily homework time for your kids. If you can’t be available to help with your kids homework, at least have a home tuition teacher to help kids with the homework of the subject they may be struggling.

4. Have A Weekly Budget

Housewives do not just run the household; they also make sure that the household stays afloat. Given the limited budget, a spending plan is needed so that the family can anticipate the things they need to spend on every week. Budgeting is hard to develop as a habit though so you should do this weekly so you can get used to it.

It would be a great idea for you to involve all members of the family in this. This way, they have a voice. It also helps children become good at budgeting.

5. Post A Weekly Task Delegation

You are not going to be able to do everything alone. There is nothing shameful about that. In fact, that is better as families need to understand that all members have a stake on what happens at home.

It would be a great idea if you release a weekly list of tasks that are delegated to different members of the family. This way, you can keep the kids and your husband responsible at home.

6. Be On Top Of All Bills

You do not want to miss paying bills on or before the due date. This can have dire consequences for the family. So always make sure to settle utility, mortgage and credit card payments as soon as possible.

7. Take A Break Once In A While

You are responsible for your husband and children almost 24/7. This is why it is essential for you to take a break every few weeks. This could be in the form of an all-day trip to the spa or a small trip to the beach with your fellow housewives.

When you are done with your break, you will surely feel more fulfilled and sure about yourself. This will motivate you to do better.

4 Reasons Why You Should Hire An Interior Designer 

There are over 50,000 interior designers in the United States, and jobs in this field are expected to multiply up to 13% within the next decade. There is a global wave of inspiration hitting homeowners into sprucing up their living spaces. The curb appeal is what makes the home inviting while functionality helps you relax and enjoy all that the home has to offer. Here are some of the many reasons why you should invest in an interior designer for your home.

Qualified for the Job 

It’s funny how everyone thinks that interior designing is an easy task that can be handled by every Jill, Jane, and Jacqueline. It’s not. Just like any other job, this field requires skill and tact if success is to be achieved. The last thing you need is starting a project only to stop halfway after realizing that you’ve missed some major points hence need to start all over again. The money that will be used in repairs might be more than the money that would have been spent to hire a professional in the first place.

They’ve Got the Answers

You may experience trouble trying to decide which colors to paint your space – which shades give the illusion of extra space or depth for example? This is a question frequently asked of top Orange County interior designers and the answer comes down to the size, occupants, use, and theme of your living space. The best thing about working with experts is that your home will have a professional’s signature on it.

Less Time Means Less Hassle

When it comes to interior design, a project that will take three months with an amateur will only take 1 month with a professional. This is one of the perks that come with hiring an expert. Remember, they have done this a million times before so yours is an extra trophy on their shelves. So, if you are looking to spruce up your home within the span of a few weeks, then hiring an expert will help you get the job done on time and in style.

Use As An Opportunity For Learning

Interior designers provide house owners some form of flexibility when it comes to getting the job done. If you do not have the time to supervise or be around the site then you can always rest assured that your home is in good hands. You can use this opportunity to be present in every step hence learning a few things about interior designing. You can use the skills acquired to handle future projects around the home solo.

Hiring a professional interior designer to handle your projects is definitely a worthy investment. The perks associated with this move are well worth it. Additionally, professional designers are insured, have the right tools, are well connected hence a discount on materials, and leave the site better than they found it.

Housewarming Prezzies People Will Fall In Love With

At some point or another, someone in your life is going to move home, someone that you like-slash-love enough to go, “oh, jeez, I need to go and get them a housewarming gift.” It could be your eldest daughter has just graduated from college and has gotten her first job in the city. It might be that your parents are downsizing because you and your siblings have fled the nest. Perhaps your bestie and her significant lover have just bought their first home together.

Whatever the case, picking a house-warming gift is no easy feat. You want to get your loved one something they will actually love and use, not just any old something because you feel obliged to get them something.

This is tricky. It’s super tricky. Which is why we’ve pulled together a list housewarming gifts people actually want. No fake thank you’s and not glaringly obvious fake-smiles, just genuine over the moon gratitude. That’s the aim of the game here.

  1. Piece Of Pie Password

When you move into a new home, there is a bunch of alien things that follow suit, such as the need for a whole new internet, and thus a whole new password, one that is pretty much impossible to remember. That’s why you should get their Wi-Fi password made into a QR Code and then popped into a frame or two that they can put around their house. That way, any time a guest comes over and asks what their password is, they can just point at their mantlepiece.

  1. Tons Of Tea To Try

If there is one thing everyone loves, it’s tea. You can’t go wrong with tea. However, you can’t just give someone a box of Target home brand tea for a housewarming gift because that’s a bit rubbish. The answer: get them a yummy tea sampler. That’s right. Get them a variety of fresh tea’s so that they can enjoy something different every day for a month or so. Blackcurrant tea. Green mango and peach. Ginger and lemongrass. White ginger and pear. There are so many out there to choose from and they will each earn you some mega brownie points.

  1. Not Just Any Olive Oil

When you cook anything, there is one ingredient that always gets a look-in and that’s olive oil. It’s the unsung hero of every meal. Using this sage piece of advice, try buying a couple of really-really nice bottles of olive oil as your housewarming present. We’re talking $30 a bottle kind of stuff. We’re talking Olio Santo Extra-Virgin Olive Oil by Williams-Sonoma. It’s the sort of gift that everyone will appreciate. It’s the sort of thing everyone wants but no one can bring themselves to buy and that’s what makes it a great choice.

  1. A Set Of Succulents

When it comes to obvious housewarming gifts, flowers have to be up there. A big, bouquet of fresh blooms. It’s the go-to gift. That’s the problem, though. It’s what everyone will give. Not only that but they’ll be dropping leaves within three days. Our advice: buy them a set of succulents, something that will give their home a breath of fresh air for months and months and months. Aloe Vera. Zebra and Panda plants. String of Pearls and Ponytail Palms. They’re all great options to give out as gifts (and that’s because they hardly require any watering whatsoever).

  1. Opt For Some Art

You’re absolutely spot on. This is a seriously high-risk game to be playing. Everyone has hugely different tastes when it comes to art, so what you may love someone else may loathe, meaning it will go in the attic the second you close the door behind them. That’s why you should be funny about it and get them a frame with the words ‘still saving for my van gogh’ in it. Think of it as a humorous placeholder that will crack a smile for the time being.

  1. Tool Kits Are Terrific

Every new home needs to house a basic toolkit. This isn’t partly because emergencies always happen and partly because they will probably want to make some home improvements at some point along the line. So get them a toolkit. Get them something with a big tape measure to help them buy new furniture that fits, a hammer for everyday whacking, a Stanley knife, little-level, long-nose pliers, screwdrivers of every type and all those little mechanic bits that always come in handy. Trust us, you’ll go up big time in their books if you get them a toolbox.

  1. A Couple Of Cookbooks

There are cookbooks that simply confuse wannabe cooks and there are some that are genuinely helpful. It’s the latter kind that you want to get your hands on, wrap up nicely and then handover as a gift. The issue is picking the right ones. Our advice: go online and get something like The Smitten Kitchen, Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients, My Family Cookbook, Stir Crazy, The Savvy Cook or The Little Paris Kitchen. These aren’t just packed full of mouthwatering dishes, they’re dishes anyone can cook. That’s the trick.

  1. A Piece Of Protection

We’re not suggesting anything untoward here. We’re suggesting you go above and beyond and get them a year’s supply of home insurance. There are so many things that need to be thought about when moving into a home, and a warranty is one. We hope it never happens, but there are things that their home will need protection from. You might know they have precious jewelry, or maybe they’ve moved to Florida and you’re concerned of the weather impact on appliances and things, or it could just be that you had a bad experience with a burst pipe. Whatever it is, you can guarantee your house-moved loved one will be over the moon at such a gesture (while you’ll be safe in the knowledge they are all looked after). It’s a winner.

  1. Kitchen Gizmos They’ll Love

The kitchen is still the hub of every home. It’s the heart of the house. That makes a kitchen gadget a great road to go down when it comes to picking up the perfect housewarming gift. The trick is getting something that will be used a lot and not just take up space in a drawer. A spaghetti loop, an apple divider, a NutriBullet, hand blender, cast-iron griddle pan, Aeropress coffee maker, wine decanter, or garlic twister. It could be a heavy-duty corkscrew, a whisk-wiper, coffee machine or waffle-iron. There are so many amazing options out there for you to choose from it’s incredible.

  1. Shower Speakers Rock

It’s a well-known fact that everyone sounds good when they sing in the shower. It’s science. Seriously. Even that tone-deaf nephew of yours sounds like Frank Ocean when he steps through the glass door and turns the shower on. That’s what makes a portable and waterproof speaker such a great buy. It will let them blast out their favorite shower songs and show the world what a talent they have – even if it is limited to a water-based confined space. What’s more, you can pick up really good ones for not a lot of money. Less than the price of that olive oil we mentioned.

  1. Wonderful Wall Outlets

We know this may sound like a really odd thing to say, but you should buy a few new wall outlets. Yup. that’s right, wall outlets. But don’t just go and get any old wall outlet because that will only be met with a look of total confusion. However, if you buy a couple of wall outlets that have USB sockets built into them. These are godsends for the modern home. They are something none of us will be able to live without in the not so distant future and that’s because having a phone charger perpetually taking up a space on your outlets is annoying. So change their lives with a modern wall outlet.

  1. A Myriad Of Mugs

Everyone has that one mug in their cupboard that they need to drink from. Even if it is dirty, they’ll make the effort to clean it out rather than use a different one and that’s because every other mug in their cupboard was either free with an Easter Egg or given out at some networking event they went to as part of their job. So, to remedy this, buy them a few mugs, but ones that absolutely scream them. Ones that will make them chuckle. Ones that they will want to show off for whatever reason. It will change their lives in the best way possible.

  1. Better Than Tupperware

Tupperware tubs are a big part of every household. The issue is, well, they get all mismatched and you can never find the right lid to go with the right box and all that. Well, there is a solution, and a beautiful one at that: they’re called stoneware bowls with storage lids. Not only do they look amazing, they’re also safe to be used in microwaves and dishwashers. It’s a total win.