clean house http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7798/all en-US 8 Tasks You Shouldn't Skip During Spring Cleaning http://www.wisebread.com/8-tasks-you-shouldnt-skip-during-spring-cleaning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-tasks-you-shouldnt-skip-during-spring-cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sweeping_yard_2.jpg" alt="Woman sweeping" title="Woman sweeping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="171" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;m an absolute neat freak who demands that everything be in its proper place &mdash; that is, the place that I decide is the proper place (I&rsquo;m a control freak too) &mdash; at all times.</p> <p>Just because I&rsquo;m neat, however, doesn&rsquo;t mean I&rsquo;m clean. I mean, I am &mdash; I&rsquo;m not a skuzzball &mdash; but I&rsquo;m more of a surface cleaner. I tend to live by the rule &quot;what I can&rsquo;t see won&rsquo;t hurt me&quot; &mdash; or you.</p> <p>The truth is, I clean the house twice weekly out of necessity. We host tourists frequently, which I&rsquo;ve <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-steps-to-market-your-extra-space-as-a-vacation-rental">written about previously</a> on Wise Bread. Because of that circumstance, my home is always presentable. There are never dishes in the sink (unless they&rsquo;re my husband&rsquo;s; we&rsquo;re still working on that), there are never clothes lying around (unless they&rsquo;re my husband&rsquo;s; we&rsquo;re still working on that); and the papers on the desk are never unorganized (unless they&rsquo;re my&hellip; well, you get the point).</p> <p>Though I give my husband a lot of flack, I will give him credit where credit is due: He may not keep the house as tidy as I do from day-to-day, but when it comes time for a serious cleaning, he&rsquo;s the king.</p> <p>He moves everything from its position to get all the nooks and crannies spic and span. And though I&rsquo;m not willing to climb behind the couch to suck up the dust balls with him, I watch dutifully, perhaps a little too satisfied that he&rsquo;s so dedicated to the deep clean when he&rsquo;s in the zone.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re familiar with that zone, this post isn&rsquo;t for you. You already know how to do it right. But if you&rsquo;re not lucky enough to have a husband who will take time out of his busy schedule twice a year (does the sarcasm transfer?), here are a few pointers on how attention to detail can pay off in the end &mdash; both personally and financially. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-for-spring-cleaning-on-a-budget">6 Tips for Spring Cleaning on a Budget</a>)</p> <h2>1. Look Under the Couch Cushions</h2> <p>You won&rsquo;t believe the crud that falls between the cracks. Year-old Cheetos &mdash; check. A pound of dog hair &mdash; check. Loose change and dollar bills &mdash; enough to write someone a check. Aside from having a little more money in your pocket, removing the cushions and all that grime is important because when you take them off to extend the pullout for your guests, they can fall asleep without wondering if they&rsquo;ll be eaten by it in the middle of the night.</p> <h2>2. Throw Out Expired Food</h2> <p>I know for a fact that there&rsquo;s a pack of fryer chicken pieces that have been in the freezer for more than a year. I even transported them from our rental apartment to our new condo when we moved. They&rsquo;re old, and I&rsquo;m totally discarding them as soon as I&rsquo;m finished writing this, along with a whole heap of other food whose lifespan has come and gone. Don&rsquo;t forget to bleach-wash the fridge, too. You&rsquo;ll feel better about eating dinner when your yummies come from a sparkling, sanitary space.</p> <h2>3. Get On Your Hands and Knees in the Bathroom</h2> <p>You have never been in a bathroom as clean as mine &mdash; guaranteed. And the only way to get it truly clean is to scrub away like Little Orphan Annie. Most gunk you can see, but it&rsquo;s the sides of the toilet &mdash; especially the crevices near the bolts &mdash; that will likely evade you. Take a good look down there next time, especially on that one side you can&rsquo;t readily see. No need to discuss what you've found; just remove it.</p> <h2>4. Rummage Through Your Closet</h2> <p>If there&rsquo;s anything you haven&rsquo;t worn in ages, donate it. Simple as that. But cleaning out your closet isn&rsquo;t just about eliminating excess pants and shirts. What about all those belts, socks, underwear, shoes, accessories, etc.? Go through your stuff, put unworn items in a bag, and get rid of them. You&rsquo;ll be amazed at how much more room you&rsquo;ll have when you finally decide to say goodbye to all those Von Dutch trucker hats.</p> <h2>5. Take Inventory of Your Media Center</h2> <p>I stopped buying DVDs ages ago. I watch them once and never again, which is a huge waste of money. Now I go through my credenza every spring and remove any titles in which I&rsquo;m not interested &mdash; movies that were gifted by friends, video games that we haven&rsquo;t play in a while, books I&rsquo;ll never read, CDs that have come in gift bags. Then I <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-months-as-an-amazon-seller">put them all on Amazon</a>, so other people can clutter their houses up, and I can claim the cash.</p> <h2>6. Wash the Windows and Blinds</h2> <p>Just because your blinds are covering the windows doesn&rsquo;t mean that they should stay filthy. A little Windex goes a long way. While you&rsquo;re at it, lean into your blinds closely. What was once white is now off-white. Time for a wipe down.</p> <h2>7. Take a Rag to Your Walls</h2> <p>You don&rsquo;t see the dirt because you live there day in and day out. But it&rsquo;s there, and it ain&rsquo;t pretty. Shine a light down your hallway, or better yet, your doors. They&rsquo;re gross. Soak a rag in some warm water with soap and practice your Mr. Miyagi.</p> <h2>8. Turn Up the Stove</h2> <p>Cleaning your stove is as simple as turning it on the highest setting, usually called self-clean. It&rsquo;ll take a few hours, but there&rsquo;s really no work involved. It&rsquo;ll be done by the time you&rsquo;re ready to order in. Because a clean house calls for a hand-delivered dinner.</p> <p><em>Have some other non-obvious areas that deserve attention during a deep spring cleaning? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tasks-you-shouldnt-skip-during-spring-cleaning">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-closet-ready-for-summer-with-these-5-hacks">Get Your Closet Ready for Summer With These 5 Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-82-best-spring-cleaning-hacks-we-ve-ever-shared">Flashback Friday: The 82 Best Spring Cleaning Hacks We’ve Ever Shared</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-one-month-guide-to-spring-cleaning">Your One-Month Guide to Spring Cleaning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spring-into-cleaning-now">Spring into Cleaning Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization clean house deep cleaning spring cleaning Fri, 22 Apr 2011 10:36:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 528765 at http://www.wisebread.com Your One-Month Guide to Spring Cleaning http://www.wisebread.com/your-one-month-guide-to-spring-cleaning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-one-month-guide-to-spring-cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3897617882_478df700a3_z.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="194" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don&rsquo;t know about you, but by mid-February each year, I&rsquo;ve had it with winter. I&rsquo;m tired of the short days, the cold weather, and flu season. Maybe most of all, I&rsquo;m tired of the dirt and grime that seems the settle on everything &mdash; my house, my car, my kitchen floors &mdash; after the snow becomes mixed with road salt, soot, and dirt and finds its way into every nook and cranny. You can imagine, then, how delighted I am to say that spring cleaning season is just around the corner. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/control-your-allergies-with-regular-cleaning">Control Your Allergies with Regular Cleaning</a>)</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t know where to start with your own spring cleaning? Try breaking it up into small, manageable bits by assigning just three tasks to each weekend in March. Follow my week-by-week checklist below to restore order and cleanliness to your home and prepare for a relaxing, rejuvenating spring!</p> <h2>Week One: De-Clutter Your Kitchen</h2> <p><img width="350" height="466" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u898/fridge.jpg" /></p> <h3>1. Fridge</h3> <p>I know, I know. We all hate to clean the fridge, but what better time to do it thoroughly than spring cleaning? Start by cleaning out the freezer. Although the USDA says frozen foods <a href="http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/focus_on_freezing/index.asp#2">remain safe to eat indefinitely</a>, you do start to sacrifice taste and food quality after a certain amount of time. Use <a href="http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/focus_on_freezing/index.asp#19">their chart</a> to determine whether to throw away that casserole in your freezer. Next, clean your freezer with a sponge and 1:3 mixture of vinegar and water (vinegar is safe on areas that touch food and will remove stains and odors). Repeat with your refrigerator. Finish by dusting the top of the fridge, wiping down the sides, and <a href="http://www.hometips.com/diy-how-to/refrigerator-coils-cleaning.html">vacuuming your refrigerator coils</a>. Added bonus: Keeping your coils clean can help your refrigerator run more efficiently, saving you money.</p> <h3>2. Cabinets</h3> <p>&ldquo;Cabinets&rdquo; is a broad area to clean, I know. My advice pertains more to organizing your kitchen cabinets than to cleaning the outside of them, however. Attack your spring-cleaning cabinet organization by assessing the problem areas (junk drawer, Tupperware cabinet, or pots and pans cabinet, for example).&nbsp;Try to articulate <i>what </i>the problem is, and <i>why</i> it&rsquo;s a problem for you. For example, my pots and pans cabinet is in shambles because my BF loves to throw things in there all willy-nilly after they come out of the dishwasher. Think of a solution that might address the root of the problem. For me, that would involve either buying a pot rack to hang my pots and pans (one per hook; problem solved!) or making clear dividers in the cabinets (skillets on the left, sauce pans on the right, thank you very much). It could be as simple as delineating the spaces with two tablecloths, or could be solved with an organizational tool from the store.</p> <h3>3. Oven/Dishwasher</h3> <p>OK, there&rsquo;s nothing really similar between an oven and a dishwasher, but I said just three tasks per weekend, right? Plus, all you really need to do for the oven is turn on the self-cleaning feature or, for a lighter cleaning, use these&nbsp;<a href="http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/heloise/cleaning/spring-cleaning/heloise-spring-cleaning-ovens">oven-cleaning tips</a> from <em>Good Housekeeping</em>. To clean your dishwasher, start by wiping down the outside and work your way in. Wipe the front, sides, and bottom (none of which gets washed during a normal cycle), and then clean debris out of the spinning arms and the grate/grill under the arms. Finally, run an empty cycle with distilled white vinegar to help remove hard water deposits and other grime you can&rsquo;t reach. Week one: done! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-dishwashers">The 5 Best Dishwashers</a>)</p> <h2>Week Two: Beautify Your Bedroom</h2> <p><img width="605" height="454" alt="Bed" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u898/bed.jpg" /></p> <h3>1. Thin the Herd (in Your Closet)</h3> <p>I clean my closet every six months or so but still seem to find a bounty of clothes to discard after each go-round. To decide which pieces to keep and which to give away, I go with the six-month rule: If I haven't worn it in six months, I probably won't miss it if it goes. In fact, I can't ever remember thinking, &quot;I wish I had kept that out-of-date white sweater; it would go great with these shoes!&quot; After a healthy wardrobe trimming, switch out your winter clothes for the lighter-weather wear. Decide whether you&rsquo;re a person who likes to organize by color or by type. Store out-of-season clothing under the bed or in an out-of-the-way spot.</p> <h3>2. Organize Dresser Drawers</h3> <p>Dresser drawers are kind of like kitchen cabinets and luckily, you have experience organizing those from week one. Do the same for your boudoir boxes and systematically identify problem areas, causes, and solutions. In my case, my sock drawer is a real pain. I have trouser socks, warm fuzzy socks, and running socks all jumbled together in one, socky mess. A simple solution is to sort socks by use (work, casual, and running) and divide the drawer according. For a budget-friendly solution, try using shoe boxes, pencil organizers, or tissue boxes.</p> <h3>3. Tend to Bedding</h3> <p>There is conflicting advice on whether you should flip your mattress every so often in order to lengthen its useful life; I&rsquo;m in favor of the practice. You might also want to vacuum your mattress using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner and then cover your mattress with a good cover to help keep dust mites and allergens at bay. While you&rsquo;re at it, either replace old pillows or check to see whether you can wash them (most types of pillows, whether made from natural or synthetic materials, are machine-washable). Lastly, change out your warm, winter blankets and comforter for lighter bedding.</p> <h2>Week Three: How About That Home Office?</h2> <p><img width="605" height="454" alt="Office" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u898/office.jpg" /></p> <h3>1. File, File, File</h3> <p>Of all the tasks on my spring cleaning list, this is the one I dread the most. On the other hand, I know it will feel amazing to finally have my file drawers organized. During week three of March, organize your file drawer. If you don&rsquo;t have a designated file cabinet or file drawer, you should. Motivate yourself to organize by buying brightly colored labels (I love <a href="http://www.post-it.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Post_It/Global/Home/Products/Catalog/?PC_7_RJH9U523000P60II85TCFL1863_nid=J12Q8DFGFJgsQF4PQ1K69Mgl588ZDQ2WCQbl">Post-It&reg; Filing Tabs</a>! <a href="http://www.3m.com/us/office/postit/coupons/">Download coupons here</a>.) and hanging file folders. Then, get to filing &mdash; my folders are divided by categories like insurance information, taxes, medical bills, receipts, coupons, etc. If you already have a filing system in place, use this time to go through documents and shred what you no longer need. Here is a list of <a href="http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/organizing/important-papers-to-keep">how long to hold on to important documents</a>.</p> <h3>2. Clean Up Your Computer</h3> <p>Spring cleaning isn&rsquo;t just about cleaning your physical space; it&rsquo;s about the electronic sphere, too. There are a number of quick tasks you can do to <a href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2343194,00.asp">improve the speed of your PC</a> or <a href="http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Speed_Up_Your_Mac">Mac</a>, including getting rid of unused files and programs, cleaning up your desktop, and defragmenting your hard drive.</p> <h3>3. Update Antivirus &amp; Anti-Spyware Software</h3> <p>After you&rsquo;ve improved the speed of your computer, keep it safe by updating your antivirus and anti-spyware software. <a href="http://anti-virus-software-review.toptenreviews.com/">Top Ten Reviews</a>&nbsp;has a comprehensive list of the best antivirus and anti-spyware programs available, while PCWorld has reviews of the best free <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/collection/1597/free_antivirus_software.html">antivirus</a> and <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/collection/collid,1347-order,1-c,downloads/files.html">anti-spyware</a> out there. Finally, don&rsquo;t forget to <a href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2321847,00.asp">put a file backup strategy in place</a>, so you don&rsquo;t lose all your important electronic documents or programs.</p> <h2>Week Four: Tackle Outdoor Spaces</h2> <p><img width="605" height="454" alt="Patio Chairs" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u898/chairs.jpg" /></p> <h3>1. Clean Gutters</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re a homeowner, you&rsquo;ll want to periodically clean out your gutters in order to prevent water damage to the roof and walls of your home. DIY Network has a great tutorial on <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/remodeling/tips-for-cleaning-and-repairing-gutters/index.html">cleaning and repairing your gutters</a> yourself.</p> <h3>2. Clean Outside of Windows</h3> <p>As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, let in more sunlight by cleaning the outside of your windows. Start by clearing away cobwebs and debris using a soft cloth, then clean the glass itself using a window-cleaning product or a 1:1 mix of vinegar and hot water (<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-household-products-vinegar-can-replace">vinegar to the rescue</a> again!). Make your job easier by purchasing a squeegee to wipe of excess water and prevent streaks. Wipe dry.</p> <h3>3. Clean Patio Furniture</h3> <p>Nobody likes to sit on a dirty, mucky patio chair. Increase the chances that you&rsquo;ll make use of your outdoor spaces this season by cleaning your patio furniture. Mix dishwashing liquid with warm water and use this with a brush to scrub tables and chairs. While you&rsquo;re at it, clean up your porch or patio by clearing away debris and sweeping the area. Treat stains with a 1:3 mixture of bleach and water and scrubbing the area with a hard-bristle brush.</p> <p>There, you&rsquo;ve made it! Four short weeks of three tasks per week. Now sit back, and enjoy the weather! Or, if you have extra time, take care of some other miscellaneous once-a-year tasks:</p> <ol> <li>Change your air filter</li> <li>Clean out your dryer ducts to help prevent fires</li> <li>Inventory items in your home in case of theft or fire</li> <li>Discard old beauty and bath products</li> </ol> <p><em>Do you do spring cleaning each year? What tasks are on your must-do list? Share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janey-osterlind">Janey Osterlind</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-one-month-guide-to-spring-cleaning">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spring-into-cleaning-now">Spring into Cleaning Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-for-spring-cleaning-on-a-budget">6 Tips for Spring Cleaning on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tasks-you-shouldnt-skip-during-spring-cleaning">8 Tasks You Shouldn&#039;t Skip During Spring Cleaning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Home clean house cleaning solutions spring cleaning Tue, 01 Mar 2011 12:48:10 +0000 Janey Osterlind 494819 at http://www.wisebread.com Spring into Cleaning Now http://www.wisebread.com/spring-into-cleaning-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/spring-into-cleaning-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000011544593Small.jpg" alt="Woman taking a break from cleaning" title="Woman taking a break from cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'll admit that I'm not Mrs. Clean Genie. I'll keep the bathrooms respectfully clean, I'll vacuum every couple of weeks, and I'll break out the feather duster to keep cat hair at bay. But every few months, I tackle a room and give it a good, deep cleaning instead of waiting once a year to give my entire place a thorough spring cleaning. Not only does this save me time in the long run, but as a person who is constantly sniffling, I know that fewer dust particles are healthier for me than a tabletop lined with a layer of film. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/control-your-allergies-with-regular-cleaning">Control Your Allergies with Regular Cleaning</a>)</p> <p>Since I don't necessarily love cleaning (<em>who does?</em>), I attack a room efficiently. I also don't want to use harsh chemicals that could irritate my allergies even more than the dust, so I've found one product that is multi-functional, inexpensive, and biodegradable &mdash; Simple Green. It comes in a gallon sized container in concentrate; my last gallon lasted ten years, which equated to about $1 annually in cleaning solution. Since I can dilute it to meet my needs, it's a flexible, inexpensive, and safe product. I use it for countertops, sinks, showers, and floors in different dilutions.</p> <p>I also like to use white <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-household-products-vinegar-can-replace">vinegar</a> for shower doors and mirrors, and it can be added to baking soda and lemon juice for a gentler cleaning solution. These are common kitchen ingredients that have universal uses and are environmentally safe.</p> <h3>Cleaning Method</h3> <p>I don't like to spend more than a couple of hours cleaning at any one time, so when it's time for &quot;spring cleaning,&quot; I'll choose one large room or two smaller rooms to focus on. Since I&nbsp;only deep clean every few months, this is the time to focus on the details and not just the parts of the room that are visible or obvious. I also work top to bottom so that the floor is the final surface I clean.</p> <h3>Baseboards</h3> <p>I have a habit of looking at other people's baseboards. I can tell when they've never been cleaned or dusted, ever, and that just irks me. During my deep cleaning, I make sure to wipe down the baseboards with a damp sponge and follow up with a dry hand towel after a good sweeping, and I may follow up with a vacuum around the baseboards using my extension tube. I usually clean the floors <em>after </em>the baseboards since it's the finale to a room.</p> <h3>Ledges</h3> <p>There are ledges or lips of furniture and appliances in every room. I make sure to wipe down the ledge of the bathtub, mirrors, and dishwasher. These are often-missed parts that gather dust.</p> <h3>Backsplashes</h3> <p>The backsplash behind a kitchen or bathroom sink needs a good cleaning. Since vertical surfaces are a little more difficult to clean, I often miss them during my weekly turbo-cleans, but I make sure I give them a good scrub during my spring-cleaning sessions.</p> <h3>Corners and Hard-to-Reach Areas</h3> <p>I normally look at hidden corners, like behind a toilet. It's another area that tells a lot about a person's cleaning habits. Again, during my deep cleaning of a particular room, I make a point to clean behind the toilet and in every corner of that room. For the ceiling corners, I use a feather duster to remove any cobwebs that may have appeared between cleanings.</p> <h3>Appliances</h3> <p>I usually clean the top of my stove during my turbo-cleaning of the kitchen, but not the front. I focus on the front and interior of each appliance during a deep clean. Since I focus on only one or two rooms at the most during these kinds of cleanings, adding the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-appliances-at-any-time-of-year">appliances</a> doesn't tack on that much more time.</p> <h3>Bathtubs and Showers</h3> <p>Again, I focus on one or two rooms so I don't overwhelm myself.</p> <h3>Visible Areas</h3> <p>Since I often clean the visible areas of every room every week (or 10 days if I'm feeling lazy), these sections don't need as much attention during my deep-cleaning sessions. Instead, I quickly give these a once-over:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Counters:</strong> Normally cleaned weekly, so they aren't that dirty come spring cleaning.</li> <li><strong>Toilets:</strong> Again, cleaning weekly means they aren't untouchable. Yuck!</li> <li><strong>Floors:</strong> Vacuumed or mopped, weekly cleanings take care of most of the dust and dirt.</li> <li><strong>Mirrors:</strong> These aren't too terribly difficult to include in weekly cleanings.</li> </ul> <p>You might have noticed I left out windows. I've never really cleaned my windows, as they don't seem to get too terribly messy. Of course, that might be because I don't have kids. However, whenever I see some fingerprints, I'll quickly wipe them down with a damp cloth.</p> <p>Minimizing my cleaning time by tackling one or two rooms at a time makes it a bearable chore. There's never as good a time to spring into cleaning than now.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-house">Little House</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spring-into-cleaning-now">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-one-month-guide-to-spring-cleaning">Your One-Month Guide to Spring Cleaning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-clammy-to-clean-9-ways-to-fight-mildew">From Clammy to Clean: 9 Ways to Fight Mildew</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-for-spring-cleaning-on-a-budget">6 Tips for Spring Cleaning on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tasks-you-shouldnt-skip-during-spring-cleaning">8 Tasks You Shouldn&#039;t Skip During Spring Cleaning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Home Allergies clean house cleaning products spring cleaning Wed, 02 Feb 2011 13:00:12 +0000 Little House 486799 at http://www.wisebread.com 'Tis the Season for Decluttering: Why and How To Do It http://www.wisebread.com/tis-the-season-for-decluttering-why-and-how-to-do-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/tis-the-season-for-decluttering-why-and-how-to-do-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2992623941_1d9e3957b2_z.jpg" alt="clutter" title="clutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've been putting it off for months, maybe years. But there is no better time of year to <a title="How to Downsize and Declutter" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-downsize-and-declutter">get rid of clutter</a> than right at the end of the year. Here are five reasons why.</p> <p><strong>Time.</strong> You have a few days, maybe a week, maybe more to go through everything and take your time while you do it. One of the biggest procrastination reasons to not declutter is that you just don't have the time to do it. Right now is one of the few times you just might!</p> <p><strong>Weather.</strong> If you live in a northern climate (or even California these days), you're stuck in the house to avoid cold and precipitation.</p> <p><strong>Tax Considerations.</strong> You should end up donating a large portion of what you get rid of. And in order for it to count towards your itemized 2010 tax deduction, you'll need to donate and get a receipt before the end of the year. (See also: <a title="16 Great Tax Deductions You May Have Overlooked" href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-great-tax-deductions-you-may-have-overlooked">16 Great Tax Deductions You May Have Overlooked</a>)</p> <p><strong>More Stuff.</strong> It's the holiday season, after all, so you're likely to end up with a slew of new things around the house that you didn't really need. Out with the old and in with the new.</p> <p><strong>Start the Year Off Fresh.</strong> It's the end of the calendar year, and there is no better way to start 2011 than to eliminate all the physical and psychological mess from your life. Get a head start on your resolutions so that your 2011 can be a healthy one.</p> <p>Hopefully that is enough motivation for you to get off the couch and put away the egg nog. But now that you're up, where should you focus your efforts? And how?</p> <h2>How to Eliminate Physical Clutter</h2> <p>Go room-by-room and put every item into one of four piles: trash, sell, <a title="Cleaning Out for a Cause: Make a Noncash Tax-Deductible Donation" href="http://www.wisebread.com/cleaning-out-for-a-cause-make-a-noncash-tax-deductible-donation">donate</a>, or keep. If you can't find a compelling reason to keep something or can't see a need for it in the future, force yourself to put it in one of the other three piles. And then do those things immediately &mdash; don't hesitate.</p> <p>If you're having trouble being this methodical, it might be time to go guerrilla with your decluttering techiques. Set arbitrary black/white rules in order to disconnect emotionally with the possession &mdash; i.e., if you haven't used the item within the last six months, it's time for it to go (unless it is a seasonal item).</p> <p>You should also take charge by <a href="http://20somethingfinance.com/a-complete-guide-to-effectively-organizing-your-paperwork-mail/">organizing mail and paperwork into folders</a>.</p> <h2>How to Eliminate Electronic Clutter</h2> <p>Unfortunately, clutter is no longer of the physical variety anymore &mdash; we are also inundated with <a href="http://20somethingfinance.com/electronic-clutter/">electronic clutter</a> these days. Here is a checklist of what to attack:</p> <p><strong>RSS Feed.</strong> If you have over 1,000 items in your RSS feed, do yourself a favor and mark them all as read. If you have less and have strategically saved many feeds to read, attack each feed one-by-one versus going through all feeds by delivery date.</p> <p><strong>Email.</strong> GMail's archive feature comes in pretty handy here. There are few things as satisfying as reaching &quot;inbox zero.&quot; That is, until the next email arrives.</p> <p><strong>MP3s.</strong> Delete all songs you no longer care for, reorganize into playlists by genre, and sync between all of your devices.</p> <p><strong>Facebook/Twitter.</strong> Get rid of friends and followers who spam or who you don't care for, and update your privacy settings.</p> <p><strong>Documents.</strong> If you haven't uploaded your documents to the cloud, this is a great time to do so. Using Google Docs, you can easily search for content in documents whose names are escaping you.</p> <p><em>What tips do you have for getting rid of physical, electronic, or paperwork clutter?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ge-miller">G.E. Miller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tis-the-season-for-decluttering-why-and-how-to-do-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unusual-ways-to-sell-your-stuff">11 Unusual Ways to Sell Your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-downsize-and-declutter">How to Downsize and Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-why-self-storage-is-a-really-bad-idea">7 Reasons Why Self-Storage Is a Really Bad Idea</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization clean house decluttering organizational skills Fri, 24 Dec 2010 16:31:45 +0000 G.E. Miller 412159 at http://www.wisebread.com Give Household Products New Use: Clever Cleaning Tips From the Motherland http://www.wisebread.com/give-household-products-new-use-clever-cleaning-tips-from-the-motherland <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/give-household-products-new-use-clever-cleaning-tips-from-the-motherland" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/yellow gloves.jpg" alt="" title="Yellow Kitchen Gloves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="374" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Out of all the famous shows to come out of the UK, who would have thought my favorite would star two nanny-like figures clad with rubber gloves? But as a girl who moves around from city to city every few months, I&#39;ve found the housekeeping tips from the show <em>How Clean Is Your House </em>to be<em> </em>extremely helpful budget-wise and also in minimizing clutter. </p> <p>The premise of the show is clean-gurus Aggie and Kim visit the UK&#39;s filthiest houses and miraculously tidy them up with the motto: cleaning shouldn&#39;t be impossible. And to convey this fact, they often use regular household materials to work their magic. </p> <p>So for those of you who don&#39;t have access to the show, I will share some of these neat tips here. (Note: these tips have come from one episode I was able to record. I will try to post more as they air). </p> <p><strong>Shaving Cream to clean kitchen/bathroom tiles:</strong> Good for removing stains and grime. (WB guest <a href="http://jmangelo.com/">Joe</a> suggests it works for <a href="/6-great-ways-to-remove-stains-with-household-products">other stains</a> as well). You don&#39;t have to get anything fancy - the cheaper, foam version should do just fine. Spray the foam over the tiles and let soak for a few minutes. Then get either a nail brush or toothbrush and scrub away. How does it work? Apparently, shaving cream is just a foamy version of soap, so it has all the cleaning benefits plus a good, thick consistency. As always, test a small area before cleaning your entire surface, especially for colored or expensive tiles.</p> <p><strong>Charcoal Briquets to remove fridge odors:</strong> To use in empty refrigerators/freezers - good for when you are moving out. The ladies filled a normal baking tin with <em>unlit, plain</em> <em>(with no fuel or other products added)</em> charcoal briquets and let them sit in the fridge with the door closed. The porous property of the charcoal will absorb the odors. To read a more detailed explanation, click<a href="http://www.howstuffworks.com/question209.htm" title="How Charcol Absorbs Odors"> here</a> . </p> <p><strong>Mayonnaise to remove old stickers:</strong> Remember those tweeny stickers you used to slap on your dressers and closets? Well if you do, you know they are the most annoying to remove, especially when they get old and leave behind that torn paper look. Well, apparently mayo can do the trick! Slather on and let sit for about half an hour. With a plastic scraper (avoid metal as it can scratch surfaces) gently remove your softened old stickers. Also, with this tip you want to test surfaces before using.</p> <p><strong>Spray cooking oil onto car/motorcycle headlights to avoid squashed bugs:</strong> This one is self-explanatory. The ladies added some cooking oil into an old spray bottle and pumped directly onto headlights. Then with an old rag, they spread it evenly around. </p> <p>The show also has a <a href="http://www.channel4.com/4homes/ontv/how_clean_is_your_house/index.html">website</a> full of more suggestions, including a forum on which people can share their personal tips and an eco-friendly section.</p> <p><strong>My favorites from their site:</strong></p> <p>One part olive oil with one part lemon juice to polish wood.</p> <p>Use baby oil to prevent mold from growing on shower curtains.</p> <p>Have any cool tricks you&#39;d like to share? Post them in the comments!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joann-hong">Joann Hong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/give-household-products-new-use-clever-cleaning-tips-from-the-motherland">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/germs-dirt-bacteria-infection-immune-system-antibiotics-disease">Are we too clean for our own good?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-air-fresheners">The 5 Best Air Fresheners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-safest-cities-in-america-from-natural-disasters">10 Safest Cities in America from Natural Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/solve-problems-study-and-brainstorm-using-mind-maps">Solve Problems, Study, and Brainstorm using Mind Maps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Home Lifestyle clean clean house household products tidy Sat, 15 Sep 2007 12:00:31 +0000 Joann Hong 1162 at http://www.wisebread.com