cleaning en-US 8 Simple Ways to De-Stink Your Stuff <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-simple-ways-to-de-stink-your-stuff" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="smelly shoe" title="smelly shoe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you have teenagers, animals, or a dirty job, you've probably had to deal with less desirable smells in your clothing, bed linens, or furniture. Sometimes those smells come out with an easy run through the washing machine &mdash; but what about those nasty smells that linger after a good cleaning? (See also: <a href="">25 Essential Tricks for Quick and Easy Cleaning</a>)</p> <p>Read on to find ways to take the stink out of just about everything.</p> <h2>1. Musty Smells</h2> <p>When clothes, bedding, and coats get that no-so-fresh smelling, it is often due to how the item has been stored. This musty smell can sometimes be removed with a cycle in the washing machine, but when that's not enough, try one of these other two options.</p> <p>A cup of vinegar in the wash and another in the rinse cycle can deodorize the fabric without leaving it smelling like vinegar.</p> <p>Baking soda can also remove the smell. Try adding a cup of it to the wash, and wash as hot as the fabric allows for to freshen up the items.</p> <h2>2. Mold and Mildew</h2> <p>Mold is not only unsafe to breathe, but it also leaves an unpleasant smell on the fabrics it touches. Bleach can safely remove mold, but that only works on white fabrics that can tolerate the bleach.</p> <p>When bleach is not an option, borax can be used.</p> <p>Borax is a natural mold killer that also deodorizes fabrics. Add half of a cup to some hot water, giving it time to dissolve before adding it to the washing machine. Run the items through the wash on the longest cycle possible to maximize the borax. When fabrics can't be run through the washing machine &mdash; or bleach is not an option &mdash; add borax to water with some mild detergent to spot wash out the mold.</p> <p>Another option for removing mold and mildew is to purchase a product that is meant for cleaning outdoor furniture and boats. Starbrite M-D-G Mildew Odor Control Bags or anything that contains chlorine dioxide will work. Other options for killing mold and removing the smell is to try a cup of baking soda, vinegar, or ammonia with one gallon of warm water.</p> <h2>3. Stinky Feet</h2> <p>Stinking up shoes is a part of life whether you are a kid, a teen, an athlete, or someone who doesn't like socks. It's something most of us have to deal with at some point.</p> <p>If it is your feet that are funky smelling, a simple wash might not do the trick. You may need to wash, exfoliate the dead skin, dry your feet completely (pay attention to the area between the toes), and then spray them with sanitizer or a product meant for athlete's feet. To prevent the smell from returning, you can sprinkle your clean feet with baking soda before wearing shoes.</p> <p>If it's shoes that are are in need of some de-funking, add some baking soda to the shoes each night. If the smell lingers, put them in a bag with baking soda and close it up tight overnight. You can also wash some shoes in the washing machine to clean them.</p> <p>Another option is to freeze the shoes. Freezing kills the odor-causing bacteria in the shoes.</p> <h2>4. Body Odor</h2> <p>Whether it is your running gear, you teen's football uniform, or the winter hat that your youngest always wears, body odor can be difficult to remove from clothing. This is especially true for the armpits of many shirts. A regular washing in the washing machine may not be enough to take the stink out.</p> <p>Your first order of business is to &quot;strip&quot; the clothing of things like residual detergent, fabric softeners, and perfumes. To do this, wash your clothes with half a cup of white vinegar as well as your regular detergent (be careful to never add too much detergent to a load). The vinegar will help get rid of the oils left behind on the fabric.</p> <p>If that is not enough to get all of the stink out, soak the clothing in a bucket of water with half a cup of baking soda. Agitate the fabric periodically while allowing the fabric to soak for a few hours. If the stink persists, you can add a paste of baking soda and water to the fabric (this works especially well on the armpits).</p> <h2>5. Cigarette Smoke</h2> <p>Most fabrics, bedding, and clothing can be washed to remove the odor. If it doesn't come out with one washing, use one of the above tricks with vinegar or baking soda to fully remove the smell.</p> <p>Removing the smell from cars, furniture, and your home may be more difficult. Wood, plastic, and metal can be washed with a mixture of warm water and vinegar. To wash the wood, wipe it down quickly with a sponge and the solution; wipe dry with a towel and allow to air-dry. Plastics and metals can be allowed to soak in the solution for two to three minutes before rinsing complete and allowed to air dry.</p> <p>The vinegar smell will not last long, but if the smell bothers you, adding a few drops of essential oils may help (lemon or lavender would be a good choice). Linoleum floors, ceilings, walls and plastics can be washed with a water and bleach mixture will help to remove the smells from those that are safe from bleach.</p> <p>For cigarette smoke that is really set in, repainting the walls and ceilings may be necessary. Carpets can be professionally cleaned, but it may be best to replace them altogether; you can also try an industrial strength spray that is used for hotel rooms, such as <a href="">Nok-Out</a>. For walls, treat them with a product like <a href=";field-keywords=kilz+stain+blocking&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Akilz+stain+blocking">Kilz</a> after they have been thoroughly washed.</p> <h2>6. Campfire Smell</h2> <p>After a weekend of camping or just a night in the backyard with a firepit, your clothes can take on the smell of smoke and campfire that lasts for ages. Wash all fabrics with a cup of vinegar along with your regular wash cycle. For items that can not be washed in the machine, hand wash or seal up in a garbage bag with baking soda. Change out the soda daily until the smell is gone.</p> <h2>7. Burnt Food</h2> <p>The smell of burnt popcorn, bacon or anything that has cooked too long can last in your home for a long time. The best course of action is to clean up the pan, stove, and oven, open the windows to air out the house, and then set a pot of potpourri on the stove to simmer. You can make potpourri with some orange peels, cloves, and enough water to cover or just water and cinnamon sticks (check frequently to re-add water as needed).</p> <h2>8. Animal Smells</h2> <p>Pets bring an extra level of love to any home; they also bring an extra level of stink. Getting the animal stink out of furniture, bedding, and your home can be as simple as a trip through the washing machine but sometimes, that is not enough. For furniture, upholstery, and carpeting use a product called <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002ASLMW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OETF53H6WR7FV6FE">Nature's Miracle</a>.</p> <p>For stubborn animal smells like skunk attacks, skip the tomato sauce and try a mixture of 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and a few drops of dish detergent. Rub this mixture onto whatever has been affected and let it set for a bit of time then wash with regular soap appropriate for the item. Be careful on what you put hydrogen peroxide on &mdash; it can bleach out some materials.</p> <p>When it comes to taking the stink out of anything, the three best items to have on hand are white vinegar, baking soda, and mild detergent. You may want to keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in a cupboard as well (it has many other great uses as well).</p> <p>The great thing about these items is that they are all inexpensive and very easy to locate.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite way to de-stink? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Simple Ways to De-Stink Your Stuff" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips cleaning laundry odors smells stink Mon, 18 Aug 2014 17:00:03 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1185601 at 101 Little Things You Can Fix Right Now! <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/101-little-things-you-can-fix-right-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="hanging picture" title="hanging picture" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="163" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all have annoying little things that we put up with because we don't feel like we've got the time to deal with such penny-ante chores. What's one big thing we put up with even though we don't have the time? Waiting on hold. The average American will spend <a href="">43 days</a> of his or her life waiting on hold. So why not use the 13 hours you will spend on hold this year getting stuff done? (See also: <a href="">9 Ways to Stop Procrastinating &mdash; Now!</a>)</p> <p>Here are 101 things you can fix while you are stuck listening to Muzak (or find yourself with just a little downtime you'd like to fill).</p> <h2>1. Apply Sunscreen</h2> <p>UV rays are damaging your skin even on cloudy days, so it's important to <a href="">apply a sunscreen</a> with an SPF of 30 or higher every day.</p> <h2>2. Backup Your Data</h2> <p>For the love of all that is good and beautiful, backup your data! When backing up or a tablet or a phone, make sure you know <a href="">the difference</a> between backing up to iCloud and backing up to iTunes. (See also: <a href="">Comparing Online Backup Services</a>)</p> <h2>3. Balance the Ceiling Fan</h2> <p>Is that <a href="">squeaky fan</a> slowly making you crazy? Fix it in a flash.</p> <h2>4. Blow Out the Bathroom Exhaust Fan</h2> <p>Dirty <a href="">exhaust fans</a> are a fire hazard. Use canned air to blow out dust and debris. Then wash the fan cover in soapy water. Cleaning the exhaust fan can make your bathroom up to 80% less stinky.</p> <h2>5. Bring Out Your Dead</h2> <p>Dead bugs in your light fixtures won't kill you, but they sure are disgusting to look at.</p> <h2>6. Cancel Your Junk Mail</h2> <p><a href="">Register online</a> with the Direct Marketing Association and opt out of junk mail.</p> <h2>7. Caulk Your Bathtub</h2> <p>I learned <a href="">how to caulk</a> a bathtub when I was eight. It's so easy, even a kid can do it&hellip;literally. New caulk makes the bathroom look instantly cleaner and protects your walls from mold and rot.</p> <h2>8. Change the Baking Soda in the Refrigerator</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src=" " /></p> <p>An open box of baking soda in the fridge <a href="">really does help</a> eliminate odors.</p> <h2>9. Change Your Facebook Settings</h2> <p>Once again, Facebook has made changes to privacy settings. Update your settings to make sure that you have all the privacy you want.</p> <h2>10. Check Your Credit Report for Errors</h2> <p>You can get a <a href="">free copy</a> of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Check your report for errors that could be hurting your credit score.</p> <h2>11. Check Your Oil</h2> <p>Oil lubricates your car engine. Check your car's oil level once a month and top off as needed. Letting your engine run out of oil is one of the best ways to <a href="">kill your engine</a>. And by best, I mean worst.</p> <h2>12. Check Your Tire Pressure</h2> <p>Under inflated tires add additional wear to your tires and waste gas. <a href="">Check your tire pressure</a> regularly to ensure that you are getting the best performance out of your car.</p> <h2>13. Clean the Coils on the Refrigerator</h2> <p>Dirty condenser coils will make your refrigerator work harder and use more energy. Extend the life of your fridge and save on your electric bills by cleaning the coils every three months. (See also: <a href="">Make Your Fridge Last Forever</a>)</p> <h2>14. Clean Your Computer</h2> <p>Your computer's keyboard is probably <a href="">dirtier than your toilet</a>. Don't put off cleaning your computer for another day.</p> <h2>15. Clean Your Glasses or Contact Lenses</h2> <p>Get a better outlook on the world, instantly.</p> <h2>16. Clean Your Hairbrush Like a Hairdresser Does</h2> <p>Use a comb to remove hair from your brush. Then wash the brush in the washing machine with your towels. Alternately, add a few drops of Dawn dish-washing detergent to some hot water, dip the brush in the soapy water, and scrub with a toothbrush.</p> <h2>17. Clean Out Your Handbag or Wallet</h2> <p>In college I developed shooting neck pains. After a full battery of tests and X-rays, my doctor still couldn't figure out the origin of my pain. Then he watched me pick up my handbag&hellip;which contained $40.00 in spare change.</p> <h2>18. Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src=" " /></p> <p>While many over the counter and prescription drugs are perfectly safe and relatively effective to take even if they are expired, this is not true for <a href="">cosmetics</a>, hydrogen peroxide, and <a href="">rubbing alcohol</a>.</p> <h2>19. Clean the Pet Hair Off Your Sofa</h2> <p>Use a rubber glove to quickly remove the furry coating from your upholstered furniture.</p> <h2>20. Clean Your Phone</h2> <p>Because most people are disgusting and don't wash their hands after pooping, everything is <a href="">covered in poop</a>. This includes your cell phone. One in six cell phones are contaminated with fecal matter. Gross. <a href="">Clean your phone</a>.</p> <h2>21. Collect Spare Change</h2> <p>Check under the sofa cushions, in your pockets, and in the laundry room. Put everything into a piggy bank for a rainy day treat.</p> <h2>22. Condition Your Leather Jacket</h2> <p>Leather is a natural fiber that will weaken over time if it's not properly cared for. Extend the life of your leather jacket by using leather conditioner as a moisturizer. There are a number of top leather conditioners you can buy that will clean and help weatherproof even the most creaky leathers. While you are at it, why not condition your bicycle seat, your baseball glove, your vintage handbag, and your leather sofa?</p> <h2>23. Create a Treasure Chest for All Your Play Money</h2> <p>Go through your wallet and home and find all the store credit receipts, all the partially used gift cards, and any other alternate form of currency that stores use to force you to only spend money with them. Put them all in one box for easy reference.</p> <h2>24. Curate Your Netflix Queue</h2> <p>You can add multiple profiles to one Netflix account to create multiple queues for easy reference. Or use a custom queue management script to import Rotten Tomatoes ratings or increase sorting options.</p> <h2>25. Darn a Sock</h2> <p>Small holes are <a href="">a pretty simple fix</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h2>26. Defrost Dinner</h2> <p>Cooking in advance only saves time if you remember to defrost your food in advance. Thawing food on the counter or under hot water can actually make you sick. Use <a href="">safe defrosting</a> methods to thaw homemade and prepackaged foods &mdash; thaw in the fridge; thaw in cold water; thaw in the microwave. (See also: <a href="">Don't Rinse the Bird</a>)</p> <h2>27. De-Fuzz Your Pet</h2> <p><img width="605" height="342" alt="" src=" " /></p> <p>Give your dog or cat a good brushing to help control shedding. What's more fun: Spending time with your pet or vacuuming hair off the floor?</p> <h2>28. De-Ice Your Ice Maker</h2> <p>Is your ice maker not ice-making? Before spending money on replacement parts, <a href="">check the refill tube</a> for ice build up. You can defrost this part yourself with a hairdryer.</p> <h2>29. De-Lime Your Coffeemaker</h2> <p>Improve the flavor of your coffee by <a href="">cleaning</a> the mineral deposits out of your coffeemaker.</p> <h2>30. De-Stink the Garbage Disposal</h2> <p>You don't have to use a harsh cleanser to <a href="">clean a stinky</a> garbage disposal &mdash; just toss a couple of ice cubes and some kosher salt in it. Maybe follow up with half a juiced lemon.</p> <h2>31. Ditch Key Clutter</h2> <p>I am 100% sure that my husband has keys to his college dorm room, his childhood bike lock, and to the garden shed that collapsed in the 1989 Northridge Earthquake. Don't be my husband.</p> <h2>32. Drink a Glass of Water</h2> <p>If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Staying hydrated helps energize muscles, aids digestion, and maintains the balance of your body's electrolytes.</p> <h2>33. Dump the Science Experiment in the Refrigerator</h2> <p>Those just-gone-by leftovers are not going to get any fresher. Do it now or do it later while holding your breath. Then make a plan to stop wasting so much food.</p> <h2>34. Dust the Ceiling Fan</h2> <p>Don't wait until the cat hair and dust floats down on your house guests like gray snow from your ceiling fan. Use a <a href="">pillow case</a> to pull the dust from the blades in seconds and contain while you take the pillow case outside to dump the gunk.</p> <h2>35. Dust the Lampshades</h2> <p>Use a lint roller to remove the dust on fabric shades.</p> <h2>36. Empty the Trash Can in Your Car</h2> <p>Or, if you are like me, empty the trash from all over your car.</p> <h2>37. Empty the Vacuum Cleaner Bag</h2> <p>Most vacuums will lose suction when the bag is more than half full. The fuller the bag, the harder the motor has to work. Vacuuming on a full bag is a good way to kill your vacuum.</p> <h2>38. Examine Yourself for Cancer</h2> <p>Examine yourself for <a href="">breast</a> and/or <a href="">testicular</a> cancer. Five minutes spent squeezing yourself could save your life.</p> <h2>39. Exercise</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src=" " /></p> <p>Do 20 push-ups, 20 squats, 100 jumping jacks, or just some simple stretches. You would be surprised how many mini workouts you can squeeze out of your schedule.</p> <h2>40. Empty the Lint Trap and the Dryer Vent</h2> <p>The dryer is the number one source of fire in the home. The majority of these fires are caused by <a href="">lint build up</a> in the trap and dryer vent. Empty the lint trap after every dryer cycle and <a href="">regularly clean the dryer vent</a>.</p> <h2>41. Filing the Papers on Your Desk</h2> <p>Ugh, terrible. But if you are being held hostage at your desk while on hold anyway, you might as well just do some filing.</p> <h2>42. Find Unclaimed Money</h2> <p>You might be owed money and not even know it! You can search <a href="">state by state</a> for unclaimed funds and property owed to you. When I did a search through the California State Controller's Office, I discovered that <a href="">I had a $1525.00</a> sitting in some bank vault, waiting for me to collect it. (See also: <a href="">You Might Be Owed Money</a>)</p> <h2>43. Flip Your Mattress</h2> <p>Flipping a mattress is the bed equivalent of rotating the tires on your car. Flipping extends the life of your mattress by evening out the wear and tear. If you have a double-sided mattress, pin some index cards to the <a href="">foot of the bed to keep track</a> of which way your mattress needs to be flipped and turned. If you have a single sided mattress, you'll need to rotate the mattress but not flip it.</p> <h2>44. Floss</h2> <p>Only 49% of Americans floss daily and 10% never floss. Don't be part of that 51% who put their teeth at risk.</p> <h2>45. Hang a Picture</h2> <p>Avoid Swiss cheese walls by using these <a href="">pro tips</a> from Bob Villa. Also, most people hang their art too high on the wall. For a more intimate viewing experience, even with a huge piece of art, take a cue from art galleries and hang your art at eye level. The standard gallery measurement is 57&quot; from the floor.</p> <h2>46. Write a Thank You Note</h2> <p>Who doesn't like feeling appreciated? Write a thank you note to someone who has helped make your life better.</p> <h2>47. Invite Other People to Dropbox</h2> <p>Gain up to 16 GB in free extra online storage space from Dropbox by <a href="">referring friends</a>.</p> <h2>48. Label Cords and Electronic Accessories</h2> <p>I label all my power cords, adapters, and accessories so I can match them up with the proper electronic equipment quickly. It makes troubleshooting so much easier too. Personally I'm a big fan of the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002T470S&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=G4WK2WAIM2W7DFQQ">P-Touch printer</a>, but there are lot of ways to label cables.</p> <h2>49. Make a Complaint</h2> <p>Is your Internet not working&hellip; again? Is your elected official an idiot? Did Trader Joe's discontinue the best snack ever? Tweet your displeasure. Even better, write a letter. Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease.</p> <h2>50. Make a Grocery List</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src=" " /></p> <p>One of the easiest ways to save money at the grocery store is to make a grocery list. If you are terrible at figuring out how much food you need to buy week to week, use an app like <a href="">Out of Milk</a> to help you fine tune your shopping list.</p> <h2>51. Make a To-Do List</h2> <p>Take charge of your schedule by making a daily to-do list. It will save you time and stress.</p> <h2>52. No More Wire Hangers!</h2> <p>What is it about wire hangers? How do they accumulate so fast? Do they breed when they are alone in the dark of the closet? I just pulled approximately 467,923 empty wire hangers out of my husband's closet, which freed up about four inches of rod space. The hangers will be returned to the dry cleaners for reuse and recycling.</p> <h2>53. Oil a Squeaky Door</h2> <p>Now you have one less thing that will wake you up in the night.</p> <h2>54. Open the Bills</h2> <p>Ignoring your money problems will only make them worse.</p> <h2>55. Open an Etsy Store</h2> <p>Are you a rabid collector of fabulous things? Are you now bored with these fabulous things? Finance your next eccentric collection by selling your old one on <a href="">Etsy</a>.</p> <h2>56. Organize Your Address Book</h2> <p>Use an app like <a href="">EasilyDo</a> to manage your contact list or manually enter and correct information in your address book.</p> <h2>57. Organize Your Jewelry</h2> <p>Separate out broken pieces for repair or reuse. (A solitary earring can be turned into a pendant or barrette, for example.) Set aside gold or silver jewelry you don't wear to sell for cash. Once you've sorted your collection, look on Pinterest for a jewelry organizing system that will work best for your space.</p> <h2>58. Organize Your Membership Cards</h2> <p>Go through your membership card collection and ditch all your expired cards. Put the cards you use regularly into your wallet, or onto a separate key chain to carry with you. Store the rest of your cards in an easy to remember place for quick reference. For those who hate carrying around all that plastic, yes, there are <a href="">phone apps</a> that allow you to digitize all your membership card data.</p> <h2>59. Organize the Art on the Refrigerator Door</h2> <p>Most Americans use their refrigerator door as a bulletin board. UCLA researchers discovered that there is a <a href=";6278101=0">direct relationship</a> between the clutter on the fridge door and the clutter in the rest of the house. Start clearing clutter by organizing the front of the refrigerator.</p> <h2>60. Pay a Compliment</h2> <p>Compliments are free, and everyone loves to feel appreciated. Don't be creepy about it, however.</p> <h2>61. Play Matchmaker to Your Tupperware</h2> <p>Store your plastic ware with the lids on. Yes, it takes up a little more room when stacked, but it will save time. No more rooting around for a matching lid.</p> <h2>62. Plot a Murder</h2> <p>Of aphids, of course. Mix one tablespoon of dish-washing liquid and one gallon of water. Load your squirt bottle and go on a killing spree in your victory garden.</p> <h2>63. Pluck Your Eyebrows</h2> <p>Well-shaped <a href="">eyebrows</a> add instant polish to your face, even without make-up.</p> <h2>64. Polish Your Shoes</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src=" " /></p> <p>I'd say, stop dressing like a slob, but slobs already know that polishing your shoes makes you look respectable and extends the life of your shoes.</p> <h2>65. Program the Stations on Your Car Radio</h2> <p>Tuning your car's radio, like texting, can be a <a href="">deadly distraction</a>. Preprogram your favorite stations while your car is parked, so you don't have to take your eyes off the road while driving.</p> <h2>66. Purge Your Email</h2> <p>As of this moment I have 434 unread emails cluttering my inbox. See how many old emails you can trash before you are interrupted. My record is 2505 emails in two hours.</p> <h2>67. Put Away Your Clothes</h2> <p>Are your clothes hanging over the treadmill in the corner of the bedroom and not in your closet? Put those clothes away!</p> <h2>68. Put Your Consumer Electronics on One Power Strip</h2> <p>In addition to protecting your expensive electronics, putting your consumer electronics on one power strip (make sure your strip doubles as a surge protector) can save you money. <a href="">This helpful chart</a> shows the average energy wasted by household appliances, even when they are in standby mode. Save money and time by turning off all your appliances at once with the push of one button on the power strip.</p> <h2>69. Put Footie Pads on Your Furniture</h2> <p>Put <a href="">felt pads</a> on your furniture to protect your wood floors from wear and tear.</p> <h2>70. Put Your Hoard of Tins to Work</h2> <p>I am a sucker for cute packaging. Luckily Altoid tins are the perfect size to organize and store tiny office and craft supplies.</p> <h2>71. Read the Manual</h2> <p>To anything. Reading the manual never makes any gadget harder to use. I promise.</p> <h2>72. Repair Your Cracked Patio</h2> <p>If you can use Play-Doh, you can <a href="">fix the cracks</a> in cement with quick-drying hydraulic water-stop cement.</p> <h2>73. Replace Your Windshield Wipers</h2> <p>Don't wait until it's pouring down rain to do this chore. Replacing wipers is <a href="">easy</a>.</p> <h2>74. Restock Your Emergency Kit</h2> <p>Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with at least the <a href="">basics</a>. Replace the batteries in the flashlight. Check the expiration dates on your food and medications. (See also: <a href="">5 Emergency Situations You Must Prepare For</a>)</p> <h2>75. Re-Up Your Prescriptions</h2> <p>It's Murphy's Law that you will run out of what you need, in the middle of the night, on a holiday weekend. Don't wait until you are having an emergency to get refills.</p> <h2>76. Revive Your Cutting Board</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src=" " /></p> <p>Season your wood cutting board with mineral oil to extend its lifespan. Rub it on, wait a bit, rub it off.</p> <h2>77. Round Up Old Magazines</h2> <p>Collect all the magazines that are cluttering your house. Donate the ones you are done with to your local veterinarian, emergency room, or battered women's shelter. Create one central to-be-read pile with the remaining magazines.</p> <h2>78. Sanitize Your Makeup</h2> <p>Use a makeup <a href="">sanitizing spray</a> or wipe to keep your cosmetics bacteria-free.</p> <h2>79. Scrub the Bathtub</h2> <p>If you use non-toxic household products like baking soda, salt, and vinegar to clean the tub, you won't even need to put on gloves.</p> <h2>80. Sell Something Online</h2> <p>List unwanted items on <a href="">Craigslist</a>, <a href="">eBay</a>, <a href="">Etsy</a>, <a href=""></a>, or another online market. More money in the bank. Less to dust.</p> <h2>81. Set the Clock on the Microwave</h2> <p>Why not make your appliances with a clock feature that much more useful?</p> <h2>82. Sew on a Button</h2> <p>Save a little money at the dry cleaners by replacing missing buttons yourself.</p> <h2>83. Sharpen a Knife</h2> <p>It's counter-intuitive, but it's <a href="">more dangerous</a> to use a dull knife than a sharp knife. Save money on professional knife sharpening by learning how to <a href="">do it yourself</a>.</p> <h2>84. Sign a Petition</h2> <p>Don't have the money or the time to spare for your favorite issues? At least sign a petition! Petitions do get results because they show popular demand for a cause. Even the <a href="">White House</a> pays attention to petitions.</p> <h2>85. Silence a Squeaky Floor</h2> <p>Use talcum powder and a paintbrush to <a href=",,20447746_20886389,00.html">quiet wood floors</a>.</p> <h2>86. Snip Your Too-Long Bangs</h2> <p>Scary, right? Not if you look online for <a href="">all sorts</a> of <a href="">helpful hair</a> cutting <a href="">tutorials</a> for guidance.</p> <h2>87. Start Some Seeds</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src=" " /></p> <p>Growing plants <a href="">from seeds</a> is a relatively inexpensive way to grow a variety of plants. There are far more plants available from seed that there are from started plants. You don't even need <a href="">special equipment</a>.</p> <h2>88. Steady a Wobbly Toilet</h2> <p>Sitting down on a wobbly toilet is always a little disconcerting. Luckily, <a href="">steadying a toilet</a> is usually an easy fix.</p> <h2>89. Steam Away Microwave Stains</h2> <p>Heat a bowl containing a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar in the microwave for five minutes. The steam will soften stuck-on stains so they can be wiped off with a sponge.</p> <h2>90. Store Your Hairbands on a Carabiner</h2> <p>I love this organizing hack for the bathroom. Although I keep my hairband carabiner in a drawer, I could also hang it on a hook or at the end of a towel rack to save cabinet space.</p> <h2>91. Swap Out Your Toothbrush</h2> <p>Swap out your <a href="">old toothbrush</a> for a new one every three months, or sooner if the bristles are bent or you've been sick. Toothbrush bristles develop sharp edges over time that can make tiny nicks in your gums, making you more prone to infection. Also, worn bristles are less effective at cleaning your teeth.</p> <h2>92. Sweep Away the Cobwebs</h2> <p>Does your home look like the Haunted Mansionette? Use a feather duster or Swiffer broom to remove cobwebs from your ceiling and crown molding.</p> <h2>93. Test Your Smoke Detector</h2> <p>Prevent a fatal fire in your home. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors TWICE a year. Also, pushing the red button on the smoke detector only tests if the battery and the alarm sound work. A better method of testing if the smoke detector is actually detecting smoke is to hold two freshly blown-out matches under the unit.</p> <h2>94. Throw Away Your Dried-Out Pens</h2> <p>If you are waiting on hold, you will eventually need a pen to write down a confirmation number. Use this time to test out your pen collection to find one that works. Throw away the dead ones.</p> <h2>95. Trim Your Photo Collection</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src=" " /></p> <p>Unless you are a hardened blackmailer, there is no reason to keep terrible photographs of yourself or others, unless, of course, they are hilarious. Dump the bad photos from your albums and hard drives and give yourself more space to store flattering memories.</p> <h2>96. Turn Off the Lights</h2> <p>If you aren't in the habit of turning off the light as you leave a room, save money and energy by turning off all the lights (and fans) in the house except in the room you are using right now.</p> <h2>97. Unsubscribe</h2> <p>Be honest with yourself about how much information you can process in a day. Unsubscribe from email lists, online groups, podcasts, and so on that are piling up in your inbox. You can always re-subscribe when you have more free time.</p> <h2>98. Update Your LinkedIn Profile</h2> <p>Even if you aren't looking for work, there are plenty of companies that headhunt solely via <a href="">LinkedIn</a>. A better job might fall right into your lap! Also, every time you update your profile, LinkedIn will spam everyone in your network, a passive (and great) way to reconnect with business connections.</p> <h2>99. Untangle Your Cords</h2> <p>Pretend this is a game and not an odious chore. Store your freshly untangled cords inside toilet paper tubes. For extra credit, <a href="">cute-ify</a> your toilet paper tubes with colored tape.</p> <h2>100. Vacuum Your Hairdryer</h2> <p>Suck the gunk out of the back vents of your hair dryer to keep it from crapping out.</p> <h2>101. Wrap a Present</h2> <p><a href="">Pre-wrap</a> holiday and birthday presents and save time and stress later.</p> <p><em>Whew! Any other small jobs we should do right now? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="101 Little Things You Can Fix Right Now!" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Max Wong</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Organization cleaning odd jobs organization small jobs Thu, 05 Jun 2014 15:00:15 +0000 Max Wong 1141768 at Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="boxes" title="boxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The problem with most advice on clearing clutter is that it runs on the assumption that people actually have enough storage space in their homes. I am 100% sure that anyone who saves closet space by rotating their winter clothes out of their closet to make room for their summer wardrobe isn't storing their Christmas sweaters under their house in the crawlspace. (See also: <a href="">How to Declutter and Keep Your Stuff</a>)</p> <p>For a number of years I lived in a tiny house with horrible storage space. Removing anything from my closet was like playing the dangerous version of Jenga, with heavy, head-bonking cardboard boxes standing in for the little wooden rods. What did I hate more than pulling everything out of the closet to find the one-needed thing (that was always in the back)? The time it took to repack everything, Tetris-like, so I could close the closet door. My time-saving solution to this problem was to stack items that I removed from the closet on the floor outside of the closet where they'd be easier to see and grab.</p> <p>Every other month or so, I'd decide to throw a party. Part of the party prep was spending two unhappy days putting every single thing I owned back in its proper place.</p> <p>It was a most annoying method of keeping house.</p> <h2>Fewer Things Means Fewer Things to Store</h2> <p>Finally, I realized that I hated organizing my stuff more than I enjoyed owning it. My solution to clutter wasn't to have a space for everything, it was not having things that needed to be stored.</p> <p>Fewer things. Fewer things to put away.</p> <p>So, on November 1, 2001 I made a resolution: I would get rid of 10 things a day until I had downsized enough that I could fit all my belongings into one, visible layer in my closets.</p> <p>The 10 items rule was arbitrary. Ten things seemed challenging enough to turn downsizing into a game (always a bonus for me), yet achievable enough to allow me to complete my goal even on the busiest days.</p> <p>One day, at the end of March 2002, I came home to a noticeably neater house. After almost five months of downsizing by 10 things a day, I had painlessly removed almost <em>1500</em> items from my home.</p> <p>Multiplication is what makes 10 Things a successful organizational strategy. Ten is a smallish number. But 10 things a day equals 300 things a month equals 3650 things a year!</p> <h2>Some Positive Side Effects of 10 Things a Day</h2> <p>It was at this point that I realized why speed cleaning methods had never been the answer to my clutter. My house didn't get messy in a week, so it was unrealistic of me to believe that I could declutter my home in the same time frame and be happy with the results. Since I only had to remove 10 items every day, it gave me time to consider what things would go and come up with an optimal plan for their disposal. 10 Things is like yoga, something you practice rather than an end goal. While it fails to provide immediate gratification, 10 Things provides what other organizational systems do not: an easy method of maintenance that doesn't just clear clutter, but prevents clutter from building up in the first place.</p> <p>Over 13 years later, I am still getting rid of 10 things a day. My house is tidier than most, and my material goods cause me a lot less stress. My weird organizational system works!</p> <p>When I tell people who haven't found success with other organizational methods about 10 Things, the same questions always pop up. So here's exactly how I do it.</p> <h2>What Qualifies as a &quot;Thing&quot;?</h2> <p>A <em>Thing</em> can be as big as the old car I sold to my co-worker, or as small as the dried out felt-tip pen that I just threw in the garbage. Clutter is personal. My cherished object could be another person's garbage. I define clutter as any item in my house that isn't necessary for the basic function of my life that also doesn't make me deliriously happy.</p> <p>(I pay attention to the little voice in my head. If it feels like I'm cheating, then I probably am.)</p> <h2>Do You Have a Time Slot Every Day to Find Your 10 Things?</h2> <p>No. Some of my friends set timers to force themselves to make quick decisions. (Plus it's more fun to race the clock and try to pull all 10 Things in one 20-minute period.) Because some of the things in my house need a more elaborate disposal process than just getting put on the curb or in the recycling bin, I give myself all day to find and dispose of the 10 Things. Some days are easy because I will have a garage sale and divest myself of 100 items before lunch. And then there are those days when I am digging through the spice cabinet in my kitchen at 11:58 p.m. trying to find 10 little condiment packets left over from take-out meals that I can donate to the food bank.</p> <h2>What Do You Mean &quot;Get Rid Of?&quot; Are You Throwing Everything Away?</h2> <p>Oh, gosh no. If I could just throw anything I didn't want in the trash without feeling guilt, my house would have been emptied a long time ago. One of the reasons why clutter builds up in my home is that I feel compelled to keep usable things until I can find the &quot;perfect&quot; home for them. (See also: <a href="">Frugal Ways to Get Rid of Stuff</a>)</p> <p>Occasionally I will get lucky and actually wear something out. In that rare instance I will actually throw something in the garbage. But, by &quot;Get Rid Of&quot; I mean &quot;Leaves My Possession.&quot;</p> <ul> <li> <p>I can get rid of the old paint in my garage by taking it to the Poison Control Center for disposal.</p> </li> <li> <p>I can donate old furniture to my local charity.</p> </li> <li> <p>I can collect all the random blue ballpoint pens (I only write with black ink) that have found their way into my home, and give those to my favorite waitress or leave them at the bank or post office for others to use.</p> </li> <li> <p>I can freecycle an old printer.</p> </li> <li> <p>I can sell a vintage lamp on Etsy.</p> </li> <li> <p>I can ship that vintage lamp in a used cardboard box.</p> </li> <li> <p>I can drop my old magazines off at the hospital's waiting room.</p> </li> </ul> <p>The only thing I'm a stickler about with 10 Things is that the items have to physically leave my possession. It doesn't count if the item is in the trunk of my car, waiting to be dropped off at a friend's house, or on the porch, waiting for the Craigslist buyer to pick it up. It must be gone, gone, gone for good to be counted.</p> <h2>What Should I Get Rid of First?</h2> <p>I know this will sound obvious, but get rid of the things you hate first. Clutter often builds up because we keep things around that trigger memories or are valuable collectibles.</p> <p>I don't think it's a coincidence that I had my Get Rid of 10 Things a Day epiphany right after the breakup of a five-year relationship. My house was full of nice things, which had been purchased by a bad boyfriend. The television was now &quot;the television of betrayal.&quot; The coffee grinder was a daily reminder of his passive aggressiveness. I finally had to ask myself: Why am I keeping things that remind me of bad times? Isn't my personal happiness worth more than these possessions? (See also: <a href="">7 Ways to Feel Better Now</a>)</p> <p>By starting with the things that I hated, I accidentally discovered another reason why 10 Things works &mdash; it makes downsizing less stressful, because I never have to make a Sophie's Choice about objects that I care about. I'm always removing the 10 things I like the least in my house. It's pretty hard to make a case to keep things that I am categorizing as my &quot;Bottom 10&quot; possessions. Always choosing the worst of my possessions also means that in thirteen years, I haven't regretted a single choice.</p> <p>Another bonus of 10 Things is that, over time, it trains the eye and the brain to be more discerning. Because I am always removing the least worthy items from my house, over time I've distilled and curated my possessions into a collection of things that are beloved, functional, and give me pleasure.</p> <h2>Do You Keep Track of Everything You Get Rid Of?</h2> <p>Yes. I keep a running total of everything I get rid of in a little notebook. It's weirdly rewarding to see my daily 10 Things written down. It also keeps me honest and accountable. I have a friend who takes a photograph every day of her 10 things. She likes her photo record because it means she doesn't need to keep physical souvenirs to remember things by. I'm still waiting for somebody to blog or Instagram their 10 Things campaign.</p> <h2>Do You Keep Track of Everything You Bring Into Your House?</h2> <p>Hell. No. I want to chronicle my successes, not my failures. (Also, who has the time?)</p> <p>The practice of getting rid of 10 things a day has absolutely made me a more aware consumer. Now I can't acquire something without automatically thinking about when and how that item will leave my home. Knowing that I have to have an exit strategy for each thing that comes into my house makes me think twice about bringing new items home. I have become extremely choosey. It's a wonderful and unintended side effect, which helps me keep my home clutter free. Not to mention what it's done for my spending habits.</p> <h2>You Have Been Doing This for So Long &mdash; How Do You Still Have Things in Your House?</h2> <p>Because I live in a First World country where people waste resources. Even though I am a minimalist by American standards, I am a maximalist relative to most of the rest of the world. Also, I work out of my home, so every day is a war on paper.</p> <p>Most of what leaves my house these days are vintage items that I have collected for resale on my Etsy store, and packing materials to ship those things to my buyers. (See also: <a href="">Using Etsy to Start Your Small Business</a>)</p> <p>Also, I have to admit that I still tend to hoard things like envelopes and glass jars, things that other people would just recycle. While school supplies and storage containers are just temporary visitors in my home, I currently have a bigger collection of both than I'd like to have on hand for personal use. So I'm using the surplus as an incentive to get an early start on handmade holiday gifts of jam and pickles. I will always struggle with organizing my house more than the average person. But, with 10 Things, my clutter has become a starting point for creative projects, not the end point of unconsidered acquisition.</p> <p><em>Do you have an unusual organizational hack to keep clutter at bay? Please share your genius in the comments section. </em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Max Wong</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Organization cleaning clutter organization Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:36:24 +0000 Max Wong 1135771 at Best Money Tips: Cleaning Tips That Can Save You Money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-cleaning-tips-that-can-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="cleaning" title="cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on cleaning tips that will save you money, awesome ways to give, and finding small appliances for cheap.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">5 spring cleaning tips that can save you money</a> &mdash; Donating your old items can save you money when you spring clean. [Living on the Cheap]</p> <p><a href="">13 Awesome Ways to Give to Unsuspecting Random Poeple (Brave Enough for #11?)</a> &mdash; Paying for another patron or organizing a meal shower are a couple great ways to give to unsuspecting people. [Christian PF]</p> <p><a href="">How to Find Small Appliances for Cheap</a> &mdash; You can find small appliances for cheap at garage sales or thrift stores. []</p> <p><a href="">10 Lunch Menu that Only Cost Less Than $5 </a>&mdash; Fried rice and chicken lo mein are just a couple lunch items that cost less than $5. [One Cent at a Time]</p> <p><a href="">Mindful Investing Made Easy</a> &mdash; Maxing out your 401(k) is a great idea especially if your company matches your contributions. [Frugal Portland]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">Monthly Checklists To Stay On Top Of Home Maintenance Tasks</a> &mdash; Have you adjusted your thermostat or cleaned your furnace filter this month? [Bible Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="">Do You Really Need Wedding Insurance?</a> &mdash; It may be a good idea to spend a little money on wedding insurance if you are spending a ton of money on your wedding. [MoneyNing]</p> <p><a href="">5 Travel Destinations For Fans of The Great Gatsby</a> &mdash; If you are a fan of The Great Gatsby, consider traveling to East Hampton, NY. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">How to Survive a Messy Toddler</a> &mdash; Clean as you go and set an example when dealing with a messy toddler. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="">Four Mistakes I Realized After Years of Blogging</a> &mdash; Are you making the blogging mistake of not monetizing sooner? [Free Money Wisdom]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Cleaning Tips That Can Save You Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home best money tips cleaning money spring tips Tue, 08 Apr 2014 09:00:28 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1134583 at The 5 Best Robotic Vacuums <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-robotic-vacuums" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="robotic vacuum" title="robotic vacuum" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While robots are not quite as ubiquitous as we might have imagined them to be in the 21<sup>st</sup> century, there are still a number of different automated, robotic devices that can make our lives a bit simpler. The most iconic of these domestic robots would be the robotic vacuum, first made popular by the original Roomba. Since then, a number of different brands of robotic vacuums have cropped up in the marketplace, and while they still don't quite compare to standard vacuums for tackling tough dirt, automated vacuums can certainly make life easier by taking care of the occasional cleaning for you.</p> <h2>What Is a Robotic Vacuum?</h2> <p>A robotic vacuum is an automated vacuum cleaner that is able to suck up debris from carpets and floors without human operation. Robotic vacuums use intelligent programming in order to automatically maneuver their way around your home. As mentioned previously, you'll still need a standard vacuum in order to handle deeper cleaning jobs; however, they do work well for general purpose cleaning.</p> <h2>Best 5 Robotic Vacuums</h2> <h3>Neato XV-11 Robotic Vacuum System</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003UBPB6E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><img width="200" height="200" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>Along with iRobot that makes the Roomba vacuums, Neato Robotics is one of the top competitors in the U.S. that sells robotic vacuums. Users like the special design of the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003UBPB6E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Neato XV-11 robotic vacuum</a>, which they say handles corners better than the completely round Roomba. The XV-11 is capable of cleaning up to three rooms on a single charge, and automatically returns to its charging station to finish the rest of the cleaning. It can also be scheduled to automatically clean the house up to seven times in a week.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003UBPB6E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><em>Currently $310.99 on Amazon.</em></a></p> <h3>iRobot Roomba 760 Vacuum Cleaning Robot</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005EPMVTY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><img width="200" height="200" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>The robotic vacuum that started it all, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005EPMVTY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Roomba 760</a> comes equipped with all the latest features. Aside from doing a great job of navigating and picking up dirt, hair, and debris, this Roomba also comes with air filters that trap dust and other particulate matter, leaving the air in your home clean and fresh. Its advanced software means that it can clean more of your house more thoroughly, and it's able to pick out the areas that have the highest concentration of debris.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005EPMVTY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Currently $499.99 on Amazon.</a></p> <h3>Infinuvo CleanMate QQ-2 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004MNY79Q&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><img width="200" height="200" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004MNY79Q&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Infinuvo CleanMate QQ-2</a> is a great robovac for those looking for luxury without breaking the bank. Users are satisfied with the cleaning job that the Infinuvo does, claiming that it can pick up a good amount of dirt and hair from the floor. It also comes with a number of unique features, such as a UV light to disinfect floors. The primary complaints this vacuum receives are its four-hour charging time and the fact that it is less effective on high-pile carpet.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004MNY79Q&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><em>Currently $149.99 on Amazon.</em></a></p> <h3>Neato XV-21 Automatic Vacuum Cleaner</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007JOJ9QQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><img width="200" height="200" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007JOJ9QQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Neato XV-21</a> is the higher-end version of the XV-11 featured above. The XV-21 takes the functionality of robotic vacuums to a whole new level. Its Pet and Allergy Filter helps capture finer dust particles, and its laser-based mapping system allows it to better maneuver around the house. User reviews for the Neato XV-21 claim that it very rarely gets lost or stuck, and that it has helped clear up homes for folks with allergies.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007JOJ9QQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><em>Currently $329.03 on Amazon.</em></a></p> <h3>iRobot Roomba 630 Vacuum Cleaning Robot</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008LX6JWG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><img width="200" height="200" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>On the flip side, our final entry to the top five robotic vacuum cleaners is a slightly lower-end version of our previous Roomba. While slightly less expensive, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008LX6JWG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Roomba 630</a> still has many of the features of its 760 counterpart &mdash; most notably, iRobot's patented three-stage cleaning system. Similar to the 760, this Roomba also self-adjusts for different floor types and comes with &quot;Virtual Wall&quot; sensors to keep it from going to off-limit areas.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008LX6JWG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><em>Currently $349.99 on Amazon.</em></a></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Robotic Vacuums" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Jeffrey Pu</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping buying guide cleaning robotic vacuum vacuums Thu, 27 Mar 2014 09:24:14 +0000 Jeffrey Pu 1131839 at Ask the Readers: What Is Your Favorite Cleaning Tip? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-favorite-cleaning-tip" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="cleaning" title="cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="">Elena</a>, Christie, and Betty for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>It might not feel like it in some areas of the country, but Spring is almost here! The change of season means that many of us are gearing up for a big household to-do: Spring cleaning. Why don't we help each other make this chore less of a chore?</p> <p><strong>What is your favorite cleaning tip?</strong> What tools do you use to make Spring cleaning go faster, cheaper, or more green? How do you make it more enjoyable?</p> <p>Tell us your favorite cleaning tip and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> </ul> <p><a id="rc-79857d80" class="rafl" href="" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a></p> <script src="//"></script></p> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, March 10th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after March 10th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Ask the Readers: What Is Your Favorite Cleaning Tip?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us your favorite cleaning tip and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Giveaways Ask the Readers cleaning Tue, 04 Mar 2014 11:36:25 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1129177 at Declutter Now: Simple Rules You Must Follow to Stay Clutter Free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/declutter-now-simple-rules-you-must-follow-to-stay-clutter-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="organizing kitchen" title="organizing kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's almost time for spring cleaning! If you're at all like me, the very prospect of trying to clean the entire house is overwhelming. But this year I was determined to get the job done &mdash; and I even did it early, because we just moved and I didn't want to take our extra stuff with us <em>or</em> have it build up right after we moved in. (See also: <a href="">A One-Month Guide to Spring Cleaning</a>)</p> <p>As I've tried to determine the best ways to think about handling clutter and then to actually declutter, these are the best tips that I have found. I hope they work for you, too (and, please, if you have any that I've missed here, let me know!).</p> <h2>1. Plan Decluttering Into Your Schedule</h2> <p>Some people prefer to declutter in small stages (anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes a day), while others prefer to set aside an entire day or a weekend. Either way, make your plan and stick to it. Put decluttering into your schedule the same way you would put in a meeting or an appointment. That way, you're more likely to get it done. (See also: <a href="">A 10 Minute Declutter</a>)</p> <h2>2. Make Rules That Work for You</h2> <p>Nearly everyone who declutters has rules. A few say that everything they haven't used in a year has to go. Others say that they can't buy anything new without getting rid of at least one old thing. Whatever rules you choose, make sure they work for you. Just because something works for a friend or for someone you read online does NOT mean that it will help you.</p> <h2>3. Find Your Unique Motivator</h2> <p>Apparently, there are people out there who get excited about decluttering simply because they don't want to have more stuff. If that's you, then your motivation is built-in to who you are. The rest of us, though, have to find some greater motivation. Plan a garage sale, if the prospect of selling stuff excites you. Or, if you like to help others out, plan a donation day. On the other hand, maybe offer yourself a reward when you finish. This can be anything from a meal at your favorite restaurant to a massage or a get-together with a friend. (See also: <a href="">21 Frugal Ways to Reward Yourself</a>)</p> <h2>4. List Areas That Need Work</h2> <p>Decluttering can feel overwhelming, and it's easy to start in one area, then get distracted when you're taking an item somewhere else to put it away, and end up never finishing the first area. Even if you aren't a list person, it can help you to have a visual reminder of all the areas in your home that need decluttering. Then, whether you work your way through them in order or just do what comes naturally, you can check them off as they get cleared.</p> <h2>5. Don't Shop Until You Know What You Need</h2> <p>It's tempting to go to Home Depot or Target and buy a bunch of colorful bins in a bunch of different sizes, but the truth is that you don't know what you need until you've gone through your stuff, gotten rid of what you no longer want or need, and figured out where and how you want to store the rest. Besides, if you buy the bins first, they will just add to the clutter until you bother to use them.</p> <h2>6. Find a Place for Everything</h2> <p>A place for everything and everything in its place&hellip; it's an old adage because it's true. Every single thing that you plan to keep needs to have a place. Try to find a balance when it comes to the level of organization you choose, though. For instance, it's good to know which cupboard the frying pans go in, and even which shelf you want them on, but you probably don't need to have a specific order in which you stack them. (See also: <a href="">Easy Organizing Changes</a>)</p> <h2>7. Find a Logical Place for Everything</h2> <p>It's great to have a place for everything. In fact, it's fabulous. But if you'll never be able to find your stuff, or you'll have to search and search every single time you want something, the places where you're keeping things aren't working. You may have to use some trial and error here. What initially seems like a logical place for an object may not be the first place you think of looking for it later.</p> <h2>8. Find a Usable Place for Everything</h2> <p>In addition to putting things where you expect them to be, you'll also want to put them in places where you will actually go and get them to use them. For instance, it is logical and helpful for us to put my kids' art supplies in the basement. However, our basement is cold and we have found that, in the winter, we don't do art simply because we don't want to go down and get the supplies. If we want to use them, they need to move!</p> <h2>9. If It Doesn't Have a Place, Find One or Toss It</h2> <p>An item that doesn't have a place either isn't important enough for you to set something else aside to give it one, or it somehow doesn't belong with the other things you have. Either way, it is just going to sit around and contribute to cluttering things up again if you don't put it somewhere or get rid of it. (See also: <a href="">Things to Throw Out Today</a>)</p> <h2>10. Stop at &quot;Good Enough&quot;</h2> <p>Decluttering can take forever. I don't just mean that it can take a long time, but that you could literally organize <em>forever</em>, if you let yourself. Instead of devoting the rest of your life to a task that most of us find annoying, stop when you have achieved a level of organization that works for you. That means you need to think about function. In general, if you can find things when you need them and you don't have piles everywhere, you can probably consider yourself done.</p> <h2>11. Commit to a Work in Progress</h2> <p>This may seem to go against the point I made above. However, I'm not saying that you should continue to declutter and organize the same areas to an infinite level of detail. You will, though, need to continue removing clutter and organizing new items as things get moved or more things come into your home. This means going through your mail every day, helping your kids return toys and other items to their places, and more. Plan to spend <a href="">5-15 minutes every day</a> on clutter, in order to remain clutter free.</p> <h2>12. Use the Penicillin Method</h2> <p>Think about already decluttered spaces as being inoculated with Penicillin. This means that, once you have cleared clutter from an area, that area is clutter-free. No matter how bad the clutter may get in other places, that one remains clear. As you move through your home and continue to declutter, you will have more and more spaces that are clear. Eventually, your whole house will be inoculated.</p> <h2>13. Have a Designated Place for New Clutter</h2> <p>Choose a place in your home where you will put everything that doesn't have a home until you can find the time to give it one. This is where the mail goes when you bring it in, where birthday and Christmas gifts get stored until you decide where they go, where items that need to be re-filed or put back in their places get set until you can do that. This way, you will limit the areas of your home that gather clutter, and you will know where to go (and, at a glance, how much work you have to do) when it is time to declutter.</p> <h2>14. Use Baskets for Problem Items</h2> <p>Every night, my husband tosses his keys, wallet, keycard, and whatever else happens to be in his pockets . . . somewhere. Not only are they hard to find after that, but I hate the cluttery way this makes our kitchen/bathroom/bedroom/wherever look. To solve the problem, I put a small basket on a shelf by our door. Now, as soon as he gets home, he puts all of his pocket stuff in there. I don't have to look at it, and he can always find it. As my kids get older, they each have baskets in our main living area, too. This is where they put toys that they brought down from upstairs, snacks they want to finish later, etc.</p> <h2>15. Use Drawer Dividers</h2> <p>You know those things they make for silverware drawers, so you can separate your knives, forks, spoons, etc? Well, they make those for all sorts of drawers. They're great for organizing everything from your socks and underwear to all of the random stuff you keep in your nightstand. It can even help in your junk drawer, so you can actually find the things that you toss in there.</p> <h2>16. Find the Decluttering Philosophy That Works for You</h2> <p>There are a million different ways to think about clutter. Some love the philosophy at <a href="">Unclutterer</a>. Others respond to the <a href="">Fly Lady</a>. The point is, there are lots of different ideas and methods online for dealing with clutter and, if you can find the one that works for you, you'll have a lot more success and motivation for decluttering than you might have otherwise.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite way to declutter?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Declutter Now: Simple Rules You Must Follow to Stay Clutter Free" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Organization cleaning declutter quick cleaning Thu, 20 Feb 2014 11:36:20 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1126823 at 10 Tricks to Keeping Your Kitchen Clean While You Cook <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-tricks-to-keeping-your-kitchen-clean-while-you-cook" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="couple cooking" title="couple cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have a food blog and a growing family. So, I'm in my kitchen &mdash; my <em>tiny</em> kitchen &mdash; a lot. Cooking, baking, or whatever else I find myself doing, things can get out of hand if I don't stay on top of the mess. And fast! Over the years, I've developed some trusty tips and tricks to keep things under control. (See also: <a href="">25 Tips for Quick and Easy Cleaning</a>)</p> <h2>1. Start Fresh</h2> <p>My husband's cardinal rule to keeping order while cooking is to always start with a clean kitchen. That way, the mess you create is your only worry. In practice, we try to make sure the kitchen is clean before going to bed each night. Washed dishes are put away, dirty ones are placed in the dishwasher, leftovers are put in containers for the fridge or freezer, and no ingredients are left out.</p> <h2>2. Cook Simpler Meals</h2> <p>Another preemptive strike against dirty counters is to pare down your cooking routine. Try <a href="">five-ingredient meals</a>, for example. There are also a lot of great <a href="">one-pot cooking</a> or <a href="">slow cooker</a> recipes that mean fewer dishes to clean or ingredients to prepare. Whenever I see a recipe with over 10 ingredients (even fewer, really), I skip it and try something else. Say it with me: Simple food equals simpler cleaning.</p> <h2>3. Prep Ahead of Time</h2> <p>Sunday afternoon is when I prepare a lot of meals or ingredients for use during the week. I get my chopping done if stir-fries are on the menu and make sure to place those veggies in air-tight containers. I make other staples (like applesauce, muffins, and even <a href="">freezer waffles</a>) from scratch and wrap for storage. Basically, I try to do a good chunk of my cooking &mdash; or at least prep work &mdash; for the week on one day. The mess is intense, I won't lie, but it's contained to a single afternoon, meaning a cleaner kitchen for the next six days. (See also: <a href="">Cook in Bulk to Save Time and Money</a>)</p> <h2>4. Use Fewer Dishes or Utensils</h2> <p>While cooking or baking, I try to re-use measuring cups, mixing spoons, or bowls whenever possible. It usually means a quick rinse and dry, but it saves time. Better yet, skip the utensils and use your hands. Many recipes can be mixed with hands, including breads, salads, meatballs, and veggie burgers. And I love this restaurant tip for placing a jar of<a href=""> warm water</a> near your cooking area to dip those dirty mixing spoons.</p> <h2>5. Keep Moving</h2> <p>A lot of these tips already are great clean-as-you-go suggestions. There's no better way to say it, though. You just have to keep moving. If the muffins need to bake for 20 minutes, you have time to clean. If there's a rise time involved, there's time to clean. If the water needs to come to a boil before the next step &mdash; <em>you've got it</em> &mdash; there's time to clean. It's funny how we overlook those five to 10 (or more!) minute spans that might otherwise make our jobs easier in the long haul. Clean first, and you'll have more time to relax and enjoy your meal later.</p> <h2>6. Collect Food Waste</h2> <p>I learned this next tip from my high school boyfriend's mother. I don't have a lot of counter space, so when I'm peeling, chopping, or slicing fruits and vegetables, the mess piles up fast. Always keep a large bowl nearby so you can swiftly collect all this organic waste and either send it down the garbage disposal or put in <a href="">your compost</a> in the warmer months. Not only does this method keep my workspace clean, it also saves us (substantial) money on our garbage tags and helps to nourish our garden. (See also: <a href="">Beginner's Guide for the Lazy Composter</a>)</p> <h2>7. Make Your Own Solution</h2> <p>We gave up store bought cleaning supplies a long time ago. Why? Too many weird ingredients and chemicals, which become especially concerning when sprayed near food prep areas. For kitchen cleaning, we use a simple solution made from equal parts water and vinegar, and we occasionally add a splash or two of some rubbing alcohol or lemon juice for good measure. Having a homemade spray saves time because we know it's safe, even if it hasn't totally dried and accidentally gets on food. Plus, it's inexpensive.</p> <h2>8. Employ a Rag System</h2> <p>We've banished paper towels in our home because they pile up, making more garbage or, in other words, waste. We now have around 20 clean rags (a mix of nubby washcloths and tea towels) that we have ready in a bag at the start of each week. We use two to four each day between kitchen and general cleaning tasks. When they are dirty, we place them in another bag and collect to wash. We never run out of these towels versus when we used a paper system. When it's time to wash, use hot water to sanitize and get all the icky stuff out.</p> <h2>9. Clean Spills and Splats ASAP</h2> <p>Tomatoes are a big offender in our household because we love homemade <a href="">tomato sauce</a> and tomato-based soups and stews. Inevitably, we get lots of red/orange drips and drops all over our stove-top. And walls. And ceiling. A quick wipe with a rag gets it clean in no time, so long as it's a <em>fresh</em> splatter. Whatever it is in your kitchen, get those wet spills up before they harden or even bake onto the surface. You'll save yourself time and frustration later. (See also: <a href="">14 Tips for Removing Grease and Oil Stains</a>)</p> <h2>10. Try Canned, Frozen, or Dry Ingredients</h2> <p>Bags of <a href="">frozen vegetables</a>, cans of <a href="">beans</a>, or scoops of rice are lifesavers for nights when I simply don't feel like cleaning. They are often budget-friendly alternatives to fresh forms, too, depending on the time of year. Bonus: There's nearly zero prep-work involved. Simply tear open the bags of veggies and pour into soups or mix into stir-fries. Crack open cans of beans, rinse, and plop onto salads or mix into veggie burgers. Or spoon rice or pasta into boiling water and let it plump up to enjoy with the rest of your meal.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your kitchen clean while you cook? We'd love to hear your tips!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Tricks to Keeping Your Kitchen Clean While You Cook" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home cleaning Cooking cooking skills kitchen skills Wed, 12 Feb 2014 11:36:35 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1124286 at The 5 Best Mops <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-mops" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="mop" title="mop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Of all the household cleaning chores to be done, mopping is by far one of the most daunting. The prep time involved with sweeping first, then the actual mopping itself, and finally waiting for the floors to dry can suck up a large chunk of the day depending on how much surface area there is. Add to that the confusion of picking out the best mop for the job, and cleaning your floors can all seem like a great big hassle. In recent years, mops have evolved beyond just the typical cotton wet mop that our grandparents were used to using. We here at Wise Bread have taken the guesswork out of getting clean floors by picking the top five best mops out there today.</p> <h2>What Is a Mop?</h2> <p>A mop is a cleaning tool typically constructed of absorbent materials at the end of a long pole. The absorbent materials are soaked in water or some combination of water and cleaning fluid and then dragged over dirty floors to clean up any dust, dirt, or debris. Mops can also be used dry to pick up loose dirt and the like, and they are often used in place of a broom.</p> <h2>The Best 5 Mops</h2> <h3><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002YLV7Q4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><img alt="" src="" style="width: 225px; height: 300px; float: right;" /></a>Libman Wonder Mop</h3> <p>This mop uses spongy, microfiber strips in place of the traditional cotton strings. The strips are less prone to mildew than cotton strings, and the mop heads are machine washable which will ultimately end up saving you time and money.</p> <p>Reviewers consistently rate the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002YLV7Q4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Libman Wonder Mop</a> among the best for cleaning up big spills in no time, as it is extremely absorbent. It can handle large messes and provides a much deeper clean than some of the seemingly more convenient mop options on the market. The Libman is also able to get into hard to clean corners and can even be used to clean baseboards, eliminating the inconvenience of bending over to do such chores. One reviewer claims that it has an excellent, sturdy feel to it that makes it perfect for hard scrubbing.</p> <p>The one con to this mop seems to be that, when compared to sponge mops or Swiffers, the Wonder Mop requires more strength and effort to wring out. Due to this, it may be a good mop to have on hand for monthly, heavy duty cleaning or big spills, but may not be as convenient for daily or weekly mopping maintenance around the house.</p> <p>Replacement heads for the Libman Wonder Mop are easy to find and reasonably priced at around $7 each.</p> <p><em>Current Price: <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002YLV7Q4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">$17.49 on Amazon</a></em></p> <h3><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00008MOQA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><img alt="" src="" style="width: 227px; height: 300px; float: right;" /></a>Swiffer WetJet</h3> <p>This next-generation mop uses thick, disposable cleaning pads in place of more traditional sponges or strings. The pads start out dry, and a jet spray of cleaning solution is dispensed by pushing a button on the handle. The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00008MOQA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">WetJet</a> has a scrubber on the head for spot cleaning.</p> <p>The biggest selling point for this mop is that it&#39;s totally bucketless. This means you don&#39;t have to deal with the hassle of emptying buckets of dirty water after every room you clean. Once the pads get dirty, you simply throw them away and put on a new one. The absorbent cleaning pads work almost as well as traditional sponge mops do, but not as well as string mops for spills or heavy duty cleaning. This makes the WetJet a good option for daily or weekly maintenance cleanings, but you&#39;ll definitely want to keep a more traditional mop on hand for more intensive deep cleans or big spills.</p> <p>The Swiffer WetJet comes with two disposable cleaning pads and one bucket of cleaning solution. This mop also uses batteries in order to dispense the solution. Replacement heads are easy to find and cost about 36 cents per pad, or $17.17 for two 24 packs on Amazon. Replacement solution costs $9.42 for two bottles and is also easy to find.</p> <p><em>Current Price: <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00008MOQA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">$19.97 on Amazon</a></em></p> <h3><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009319INC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 257px; float: right;" /></a>StarMop Pro</h3> <p>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009319INC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">StarMop Pro</a> is a great option for the environmentally conscious among you. The detachable microfiber pads are reusable, cutting down on the waste involved with other options like the Swiffer WetJet. Simply rinse out the pad after use and toss it in the washing machine every now and then. The makers of this mop claim that it cleans just as well using only water, and reviewers back up that claim, adding that some white vinegar diluted in the water cleans their floors as well as the harsher chemical floor solutions.</p> <p>Although the StarMop Pro is certainly greener than the next generation mops, it&#39;s obviously not quite as convenient. Washing the pads takes more time than simply throwing them away, and the fact that it can only be bought online (or from TV infomercials) may be a turn-off for some people. The pluses for many reviewers, however, seem to outweigh the negatives.</p> <p>This mop can pull double duty as a duster, and the grooves in the fiber make it ideal for scrubbing. It requires no wringing out like some other mops do, and the swivel head makes it easy to clean hard to reach areas, like behind the toilet.</p> <p>The StarMop Pro comes with one pad. Replacement pads can be bought online at $24.95 for a box of four.</p> <p><em>Current Price: <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009319INC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">$29.95 on Amazon</a></em></p> <h3><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009RXQSHA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><img alt="" src="" style="width: 164px; height: 300px; float: right;" /></a>Twist &amp; Shout Mop</h3> <p>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009RXQSHA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Twist &amp; Shout Mop</a> is slightly more expensive than other options, but it&#39;s also the number one rated mop on Amazon. It gets excellent customer reviews all across the board. The microfiber mop head is machine washable, and it can be used both wet or dry. When used dry, reviewers claim that everything from dust to pet hair clings to the microfiber, making it more effective than a regular broom.</p> <p>One of the biggest selling points of this mop is that it is self wringing. You simply press on the handle and it spins itself dry. This means you never have to get your hands wet, or bend down, making it ideal for people with limited mobility such as pregnant women or the elderly. The swivel head makes it easy to get into corners and along baseboards, and it cleans under furniture as well.</p> <p>Replacement mop heads for the Twist &amp; Shout Mop can be bought online at $9.95 for two.</p> <p><em>Current Price: <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009RXQSHA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">$44.95 on Amazon</a></em></p> <h3><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00940DV5S&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><img alt="" src="" style="width: 170px; height: 300px; float: right;" /></a>OXO Good Grips Roller Mop</h3> <p>No list of mops would be complete without a simple sponge mop. The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00940DV5S&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">OXO Good Grips</a> mop has a long handle which makes it so even tall moppers don&#39;t have to bend down, and the nonstick, padded wringing mechanism is located near the middle instead of the bottom, ensuring your hands stay clean and dry. The push wringer makes this mop extremely easy to wring out.</p> <p>The extra large, 12-inch sponge head covers more surface area than other mops on the market, successfully cutting down on cleaning time. It has built-in, textured scrubbing strips that make short work of stuck-on messes. The sponge has a built-in, antibacterial treatment which apparently helps resist bacterial growth and odors.</p> <p>The one downside to this mop seems to be that some reviewers had problems with the mop head staying on; however, other reviewers claim that if installed properly, this does not happen.</p> <p>Mop head refills are easy to find and are sold for $9.99 each.</p> <p><em>Current Price: <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00940DV5S&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">$29.97 on Amazon</a></em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Mops" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Gina Ippolito</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home Buying Guides buying guides cleaning mops Thu, 30 Jan 2014 10:36:11 +0000 Gina Ippolito 1110596 at Declutter Your Home in 10 Minutes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/declutter-your-home-in-10-minutes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman cleaning" title="woman cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&#39;m sure I&#39;m not the only one around here who hates cleaning the house. Although I want to be tidy, I&#39;m naturally a &quot;cluttery&quot; person, and most of the time my home reflects that. When I tidy up, I tend to clean here or there with no real focus or method, which means that clutter gets managed but never fully cleaned up. After years of frustration at myself for being unable to be as organized as I want to be, I&#39;ve finally hit upon a method that works for me and my dislike of cleaning. (See also: <a href="">How to Clean Your House in a Day</a>)</p> <p>Instead of feeling frustrated at all the cleaning and organizing I&#39;m facing, I&#39;ve resorted to short, concentrated bursts of activity that accomplish decluttering in small, manageable chunks. I call them &quot;10-minute declutters.&quot; The key is to give myself a limited, achievable goal, and to focus on completing the task at hand instead of stressing out about all the cleaning I can&#39;t get done.</p> <h2>The 10-Minute Declutter</h2> <p>If you have trouble keeping your home decluttered, and you tend to avoid organizing, you might be surprised how much you can accomplish if you just concentrate for 10 minutes. For example, in 10 minutes, I might set myself the task of sorting the pile of mail into separate piles for recycling, read later, and bills. Or I might go through my makeup drawer, throwing away all old makeup and sorting the remaining makeup by shape. I might challenge myself to pick up everything on the floor in one room, or to completely clean off the surface of the kitchen table or the kitchen counter. (See also: <a href="">Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <p>It is much easier to contemplate cleaning for 10 minutes rather than to face the seemingly impossible task of completely organizing the master bedroom, for example. Here are a few tips to make this 10-minute cleaning frenzy work for you.</p> <p><strong>1. Limit the Scope</strong></p> <p>Challenge yourself, yes, but be realistic about what you can accomplish in 10 minutes. You&#39;ll only be discouraged if you constantly can&#39;t complete the task. Focus either on one small area (a drawer, your wallet, one table) or one limited action (dusting the furniture in one room, picking up all the toys). (See also: <a href="">14 Ways to Organize a Closet</a>)</p> <p><strong>2. Enlist Help</strong></p> <p>One person can accomplish a lot in 10 minutes, but two or three people can do even more. And your spouse/kids/roommates are more likely to agree to clean for 10 minutes when they see that the task is limited in time and scope. (See also: <a href="">How to Have a Good Roommate Relationship</a>)</p> <p>I recently saw the efficacy of this approach one night when, frustrated at the state of our family room, I told my husband, &quot;Let&#39;s pick up everything we can in 10 minutes. Ready, set, move your butt!&quot; Ten minutes later, stray coffee cups were in the sink, toys were picked up, books were shelved, and stinky socks were dumped into the washing machine. We both looked at our relatively clean family room and said, &quot;Wow.&quot; We even got a bit of exercise from our burst of decluttering energy!</p> <p><strong>3. Do Your Regular Chores</strong></p> <p>The 10-minute declutter can&#39;t take the place of your regular chores. You probably can&#39;t, for example, do all the dishes that have piled up over the week in 10 minutes. The goal of the 10-minute declutter is to make headway on organizing a mess that seems too big to tackle, by breaking it down into manageable chunks. Do one, or a few, 10-minute declutters every day in addition to your regular chores, and you&#39;ll feel like your home is actually getting cleaner, rather than merely maintaining the status quo. The 10-minute declutter can also help you out when things are getting messier than normal and you want to &quot;reset&quot; the balance, so to speak.</p> <p>If, like me, you have trouble disciplining yourself to tidy up around your home, the 10-minute declutter can be a useful tool in your cleaning arsenal. Make it a habit, and you&#39;ll be a little further on your way to the clean, organized, and peaceful home we all dream of.</p> <p><em>Do you use the 10-minute declutter, or a variation, to keep your place in order? What do you do?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Declutter Your Home in 10 Minutes" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Camilla Cheung</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Organization cleaning declutter organization Thu, 24 Oct 2013 14:21:07 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1041945 at Deep-Clean Your Mattress for a Better Night's Sleep <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/deep-clean-your-mattress-for-a-better-nights-sleep" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="sleep" title="sleep" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Spring-cleaning wouldn't be complete without giving your mattress some serious attention. Along with refreshing your bed, this easy cleaning <a target="_blank" href="" title="Latest photos and news for DIY">DIY</a> ensures a better night's sleep. No need for harsh chemicals or expensive concoctions &mdash; all you need is a box of baking soda for this cleaner. The addition of essential oil gently scents your bed, helping to soothe and lull you to sleep.</p> <p><a href="">RELATED:&nbsp;The Easiest Way to Clean Your Microwave</a></p> <p>Read on for the basic directions.</p> <h2>What You'll Need</h2> <ul> <li>16-ounce box baking soda</li> <li>Essential oil</li> <li>Vacuum cleaner</li> </ul> <h2>Directions</h2> <p>1. Before beginning, flip or rotate the bed, which is smart to do every six months to extend mattress life and prevent sagging. While you're working on your mattress, toss your bedding in the wash, and fluff duvets or feather beds in the dryer.</p> <p>2. Open the box of baking soda and add 10 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Close the box and give it a good shake to distribute the essential oil and break up any large clumps. Lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, and ylang ylang are all soothing scents that would be wonderfully calming. And essential oils are naturally antibacterial.</p> <p><img width="350" height="350" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>3. Sprinkle the baking soda over the bed, using the entire box. Now it's time for a mattress massage! Rub the baking soda mixture into the bed, which really gives your mattress a deep cleaning. Let the baking soda and essential oil work its magic for at least an hour.</p> <p><img width="350" height="350" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>4. While you're waiting, wipe down the walls around your bed and the bed frame, creating a nice and clean sleeping area. After an hour, vacuum the mattress, working slowly to ensure all the baking soda has been removed.</p> <p><img width="350" height="350" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>5. Along with freshening your bed, the mixture helps lift dirt and residue while wicking away moisture. And giving your mattress a good vacuuming sucks away any lurking dust mites, which makes everyone sleep easier. Make the bed, and you're ready for some serious slumber.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> You might wash your sheets frequently...but how often do you clean your actual mattress? Make it happen with these easy how-to guide. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a style="border:none;" href=""><img width="300" height="95" src="" alt="" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href=""><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="">Make These 14 Natural Cleaners for Pennies</a></li> <li><a href="">11 Brilliant Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide</a><a href=""><br /> </a></li> <li><a href="">Make Your Own&nbsp;Eco-Friendly Mold&nbsp;Killer</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips bedroom cleaning mattress Thu, 09 May 2013 10:24:32 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 973978 at Best Money Tips: Make Money Through Spring Cleaning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-make-money-through-spring-cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="spring cleaning" title="spring cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on making money through spring cleaning, who pays for what in a wedding, and things happy people do differently.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">4 Simple Ways to Make Money Through Spring Cleaning</a> &mdash; To make money through spring cleaning, participate in consignment sales. [Narrow Bridge]</p> <p><a href="">Who Pays For What in a Wedding</a> &mdash; The wedding party is responsible for paying for their own attire. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">13 Things Happy People Do Differently</a> &mdash; Happy people tend to stay away from drama and eliminate expectations. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="">What Are You Teaching Your Children? Make Money Visible in Your Home</a> &mdash; It is important to let your children see what you do with money to give them a more accurate perspective on where money comes from and how to spend it. [MoneyNing]</p> <p><a href="">Where's My Tax Refund? How to Check the Status of Your Tax Refund</a> &mdash; If you want to check the status of your tax refund, use the IRS's &quot;Where's My Refund?&quot; feature. [Free From Broke]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">19 Pretty Things to Make Debt Snowball a Motivating Factor</a> &mdash; Debt snowball may be a good way to tackle your debt because it teaches you to develop patience and allows you to be more independent. [One Cent at a Time]</p> <p><a href="">Three Big Tips for Inexpensive Spring Allergy Relief</a> &mdash; Save money on spring allergy relief by purchasing loratadine instead of Claratin. [The Simple Dollar]</p> <p><a href="">Is Gen Y Really That Bad Off?</a> &mdash; The unemployment rate for college graduates is around 4% and most grads graduate with somewhere around $20,000 in debt. [20's Finances]</p> <p><a href="">9 Things Your Relationships Need From You</a> &mdash; Make sure you are giving your relationships loyalty and trust. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="">Is It OK to Hide Medications in Your Child's Food?</a> &mdash; It is not advisable to hide your child's medication in his or her food. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Make Money Through Spring Cleaning" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Extra Income best money tips cleaning money spring cleaning Thu, 18 Apr 2013 10:00:32 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 973544 at Best Money Tips: Save Money Spring Cleaning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-save-money-spring-cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="spring cleaning" title="spring cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on saving money spring cleaning, making your wedding venue more affordable, and tax mistakes to avoid.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">Save Money Spring Cleaning</a> &mdash; When cleaning this spring, remember to vacuum your fridge coils to make your fridge more efficient and save money! [Bargain Babe]</p> <p><a href="">6 Ideas to Make Your Wedding Venue More Affordable</a> &mdash; If you want to make your wedding venue more affordable, consider getting married in a rural area. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">The Dumbest Tax Mistakes to Avoid This April</a> &mdash; Don't make the tax mistake of under-reporting your income this tax season. [Joe Taxpayer]</p> <p><a href="">Cheap Healthy Food</a> &mdash; Eggs and sweet potato are budget friendly, healthy foods. [Generation X Finance]</p> <p><a href="">Are You Confident You Can Retire?</a> &mdash; Did you know 49% of Americans do not feel confident they will be able to retire? [Free Money Finance]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">How To Beat The Big Banks</a> &mdash; To avoid letting banks profit from you, use in-network ATMs. [Sweating The Big Stuff]</p> <p><a href="">Psychological Barriers: Admitting There's a Problem</a> &mdash; Denial can be a huge issue when addressing money problems. [Consumerism Commentary]</p> <p><a href="">7 Reasons to Eat Meals at Home and 7 Ways to Get it Done</a> &mdash; Eating meals at home helps you save money and slow down. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="">How Your Commute Affects Your Bottom Line</a> &mdash; When looking for a job, it is vital to take a look at your commute costs before accepting a position. [The Simple Dollar]</p> <p><a href="">Popular Landlord and Tenant Rental Scams</a> &mdash; If the price on a rental property you are looking at seems too good to be true, it's probably a scam. [Yes, I Am Cheap]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Save Money Spring Cleaning" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home best money tips cleaning spring Wed, 10 Apr 2013 10:00:32 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 973372 at Ask the Readers: What Are Your Spring Cleaning Tips? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-spring-cleaning-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="boy with a brush" title="boy with a brush" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="">Betty</a>, Christie, and Linda for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Spring cleaning is often a dreaded, exhausting project &mdash; but it doesn't have to be! This week, let's share tips to help each other organize and clean house from top to bottom, closets to yard.</p> <p><b>What are your spring cleaning tips?</b> Do you make your own cleaners, or repurpose household items to help you clean? Do you have a strategy to organize each room? How do you make heavy duty cleaning more fun?</p> <p>Tell us about your spring cleaning tips and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> <a id="rc-79857d25" class="rafl" href="" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><script src="//"></script> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, April 1st at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after April 1st on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p><a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Ask the Readers: What Are Your Spring Cleaning Tips?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us about your spring cleaning tips and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Giveaways Ask the Readers cleaning Tue, 26 Mar 2013 10:36:31 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 971437 at Best Money Tips: Have a Clean Place Without Cleaning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-have-a-clean-place-without-cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="bedroom" title="bedroom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on having a clean place without cleaning, giving memorable gifts without going into debt, and spending your tax refund wisely.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">11 Ways to Have a Clean Place Without Cleaning</a> &mdash; To have a clean place without cleaning, reduce the amount of stuff you have. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="">6 Ways to Give Memorable Gifts Without Going Into Debt</a> &mdash; Give a memorable gift without going into debt by spending time instead of money. [PT Money]</p> <p><a href="">How to Spend Your Tax Refund Wisely</a> &mdash; Consider using your tax refund to pay down debt or fix up your home. [Generation X Finance]</p> <p><a href="">3 Ways to Increase Your Financial Savvy as a Female Entrepreneur</a> &mdash; If you want to increase your financial savvy as a female entrepreneur, surround yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs. [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="">5 Essential Steps to Prepare for Tax Season</a> &mdash; Asking the right questions and getting organized will help you prepare for tax season. [Joe Taxpayer]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">Traditional IRA vs Roth IRA: Which One is Better for Young Adults</a> &mdash; Did you know traditional IRAs are tax deferred while Roth IRAs are tax exempt? [20's Finances]</p> <p><a href="">4 ways to experience fine arts on the cheap</a> &mdash; To experience fine arts on the cheap, check out community and college art organizations. [Living on the Cheap]</p> <p><a href="">Garage Sales 101</a> &mdash; The best time to have a garage sale is on a weekend in May or June. [The Dollar Stretcher]</p> <p><a href="">Who Should Pay on Dates?</a> &mdash; Do you think going dutch on a date is a bad idea? [Young and Thrifty]</p> <p><a href="">8 Tips for Preparing a Birth Plan</a> &mdash; When preparing a birth plan, use clear and assertive language. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Have a Clean Place Without Cleaning" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home best money tips cleaning home house Tue, 26 Feb 2013 10:48:34 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 968096 at