Thursday, January 28, 2010

Suds Up!

This is especially useful for those of us who only have time to do the family's laundry, ironing and folding during the weekends. Take the chore out of doing the laundry by getting organized.

Collecting the Clothes
Hampers should be placed in areas that are easily accessible. For instance, place laundry baskets in the closet, the bathroom or the bedroom. If it is a small household, one hamper should be enough. It would make collection easier.

The best kind of hamper is the type that has a handle so it can easily be transported to the laundry area.

Separate items that are meant for dry-cleaning. It will make it easy for you to remember to bring them to the cleaner. Also, it prevents you from accidentally throwing a dry-clean only item in the wash.

The Sorting Process
Clothes have to be sorted before they are washed. Set up three containers: one for light-coloured clothing, one for darks and one for items meant for hand-washing.

Containers do not have to be ordinary plastic tubs. For something more decorative, pick wicker baskets or coloured baskets. You may also want to explore built-in shelving units.

The Right Equipment
There are different kinds of washing machines and dryers. Some are front-loading and stackable, others are top-loading and stand-alone. Pick the ones that can best fulfil the needs of the family. Also, have a couple of basins on hand for delicate items that need to be handwashed.

Most people focus too much on the machines that they neglect to think that the laundry room requires more than just that. You will also need shelves and cabinets for detergents, fabric sheets, mesh bags and other items needed for doing the laundry. A jar for loose change is also handy.

Shelves should be constructed easy-to-reach. For safety, make sure that the supplies cabinet can be locked to keep small children from accessing them.

Install a clothesline in the laundry with a jar of clothespins nearby. Small spaces benefit from retractable clotheslines. A drying rack is also useful for items that need to dry flat.

The laundry process does not stop with the washing and drying of the clothes. The garments also need to be folded and ironed. Prepare a flat surface, such as a table, that is wide enough for folding. For ironing, install wall-mounted or fold-down boards to keep them out of the way when not in use.

A trash can in the laundry area might seem unnecessary, but is actually one of the best things to have in the room. You can easily throw bits of trash stashed in pockets or empty bottles of detergent.

Maximize Space
Be open to the idea that the laundry area is not just for laundry. Install a broom closet for cleaning supplies. Walls can also be used for hanging mops or rags. The laundry area is actually the best place to store items that get wet such as pails and bailers, because water drips would not be a big deal.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ways to Increase Security at Home

One of the most encouraging things about security is that most thefts can be avoided. Most burglaries are conducted by amateurs so there are some practical ways to stop them before anything happens. Read on for some tips on improving home safety.

On locking up

Always lock the doors, even for short trips outside. Do not make it easy for a thief by making it possible to just waltz through the front door.

Change the locks when moving in to a new house or when the keys are lost. It is always a security risk when people might have access to your home.

Avoid using spring-latch locks because they are easy to pick. Burglars can just slip a credit card against the latch to unlock the door. Instead, use a deadbolt lock.

Do not forge the outside when it comes to the use of locks. Even exterior doors should have deadbolt locks installed on them.

Prevent the locks from being tampered with by ensuring that the space between the door and the frame is not excessive. Better yet, reinforce the door using plywood or sheet metal.

Solder the screw heads of window locks so that they cannot be easily removed.

A burglar-proof home

Thieves can easily disconnect an alarm system if the wires are exposed so ensure all wirings are hidden.

Take time to think about how you would enter your home without the use of your keys. You will be surprised to see how much insight you can gain on improving your home security, just by exercising your imagination.

Install motion activated lights for the front door. Illuminating the area discourages thieves from trying to pick the locks.

Even the garden should be burglar-proof. Get rid of thick shrubs that block the view of the front door or trees that can be used to climb into a window.

Beside being great companions, dogs are also great in drawing attention to strangers. Trained guard dogs are also an option if you have the skill to handle one.

Make sure that the door hinges face the inside. It prevents a thief from removing the door completely to gain entry.

If the door frames are rotten or broken, have them replaced immediately. Doors that are structurally weak are attractive to burglars because it does not take much effort to break them down.

Burglars are enticed by glass doors, because they can easily be manipulated. To make them harder to manipulate, place a metal bar in the track of the door slide. Additionally, install deadbolts or fortify the glass panels so that the glass is not just simply broken to gain entry.

Reinforce windows with locks and make sure that they are included in the alarm system. When it comes to the glass, pick designs that make use of small glass panes instead of a big one so they are harder to break.

Mind your behaviour

Thieves know that most people are in the habit of hiding a spare key in the mailbox or under the doormat. Those are the first places they would look. Instead, get creative. For instance, wrap the key in foul and bury it in a place only you know of.

Burglars are less likely to enter a house that looks occupied. Keep the lights on or turn on the television when out of the house, to discourage intruders.

Never advertise the fact that you are not home by leaving notes on the front door. If you have a message, contact the person directly.

Report any suspicious activity, such as unfamiliar people and cars, to authorities. Talk to your neighbours if you see someone lurking about.

Personalize your tools by painting the handles a distinct colour. They won’t get stolen if they look easily identifiable.

Remove your name from the mailbox or the telephone book. Do not make it easy for burglars to gather information on your household.

Do not procrastinate when it comes to fixing broken alarm systems. Not only will you ensure that the property is protected all the time, neighbours are also more likely to respond to an alarm if they know that it is not broken.

Be wary of people coming in the home

Only work with professional house cleaners who are reputable. Make sure that all the references check out. The easiest way for burglars to take property is a situation wherein they are allowed in the house freely.

Professional thieves often scope out a potential location by pretending to be salespeople. Before letting anyone come in, make sure that the proper identification is presented. When in doubt, call the company they represent. When still in doubt, do not let them in.

Never let a stranger inside the house. If someone asks to use the phone, make the call yourself.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Home, Sweet-Smelling Home

Ever tried using seashells to scent your bathroom? What about misting your pillows with your favourite perfume? Here are several other creative ways to obtain that fresh and sweet-smelling home.

Taken off

7 Ways to Scent Your Home

Adding various methods to scent your home or office or even car is so soothing and relaxing to the senses, There are a myriad of methods to accomplish this, so today we'll be exploring a few.

1. Carpet Freshener - Very easy to make your own, take about a pound of pure baking soda and mix to it a few drops of essential oil or fragrance oil and blend it up in a food processor. Then pour this out on a shallow try to allow to dry for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally. After this has dried, put in an airtight container.

This carpet freshener can either be sprinkled on your carpets directly, left a few minutes and vacuumed up, or simply put some in your vacuum cleaner bag and you'll get scent as you vacuum your carpets.

2. Simmer a scent by taking a saucepan on your stove and adding apple cider, cinnamon sticks, cloves & some orange peel. Simply let this simmer on low, adding small amounts of water as necessary so it doesn't run dry. This is a very homey, comforting scent that's so easy to do.

3. Try scenting a centerpiece. Here's an idea, bake a fresh bundt cake then take a small jar and fill it with fragrant flowers and then set this small jar of flowers in the center of the bundt cake. Experiment with different scent combinations. Lemon is beautiful with honeysuckle for example.

4. Perfume your pillows. Either by lightly misting with your favorite perfume, although be sure to test color fastness first on a hidden out of the way area to make sure it won't ruin the fabric. You can also use a purchased linen spray for the same purpose and is safer for the fabric in general. Another way to scent the pillow is to insert a small amount of potpourri inside a small sachet bag and either pin it to the side of the pillow, or insert it into the pillow case.

5. Scent your linen drawer or closet by tucking dried sprigs of lavender in between the layers of towels and sheets. You can also tuck them near the sides of the linens directly in the closet. Lavender not only provides a soothing, calming scent to those linens, but also works as a moth and insect repellant as well.

6. Scent seashells for your bathroom. If they are small shells, simply soak the shells for a few minutes in olive oil with a few drops of essential oil. For larger shells, add a few drops of essential oil right into the middle of the shells. Then set the shells on some type of decorative tray or basket in your bathroom or bedside table for a sight & smell treat.

7. Scented powder puff. Get some of your favorite scented powder, or even baby powder if that's your preference. Get one of those luxurious powder puffs, and take a long bubble bath. After the bath, pamper yourself with these beautifully scented powders applied with the soft powder puffs. The scent stays with you a long time and is one of those small ways to feel truly pampered and destressed.

Beautiful scents can be so calming in today's rushed, stressed filled lives. Finding ways to incorporate different scents, textures, sights & sounds can truly help relax and remind us to slow down and to enjoy life. Sometimes these simple things help us to refocus and not stress so much about those things we cannot change.

By Valerie Garner

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cleaning Your Toilet With Coke!

It's funny how versatile a can of Coke can be. Discover what is probably the most inventive use for this gassy drink. We're game, are you?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

MTV Cribs - Inside Mariah Carey's Home

There's something about a celebrity home which makes you want to weep with envy...and yet you can't help but keep watching. Here's a peek into Mariah Carey's home, the ultimate diva who said, "The girl who had one shoe, now has many." How deeply profound.