Archive for the ‘Useful Tips’ Category

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Home Clean-Up Tips to Get Holiday Ready

October 6th, 2017

Whether your home is the regular meeting spot for the holidays or you’ve drawn the short straw this year, having guests into your home during an already stressful season can send you over the edge. The good news is that there are simple things you can do to lessen this strain and make your home the perfect place to celebrate any holiday. Here are seven home cleanup tips to get your home holiday ready.

modern white mop cleaning wooden floor in house

1. De-clutter Your Home

Who doesn’t accumulate at least some clutter in their living space? Most of us have plenty! Before you can even think about cleaning your home for guests, you’ll need to go through every room and either get rid of or store those stacks of papers, old magazines, and children’s toys.

2. Clean Windows and Drapes

One of the highest impact items in your home is its windows because they bring in natural light. Thoroughly clean the windows in your main living space and then freshen your drapes. You don’t need to pull down drapes or hire a professional to give them new life. While still hanging, shake them gently and then spray them (from a distance) with a good fabric spray.

3. Get Rid of Stains and Dust Bunnies

Now that you’ve released some dust into the room by shaking your drapes, it’s time to clean your surfaces. Dust all of your room’s surfaces and clean your floors, making sure to get the dust bunnies under and behind your furniture. Finally, grab a Magic Eraser to instantly remove stains from walls and cabinets.

4. Wash Throw Pillows

One item that is often ignored is your furniture’s throw pillows. You can revitalize your pillows with a quick wash. Toss the pillows in the wash on gentle cycle with a scented detergent. Depending on their material, some throw pillow covers can also be washed at home while others may need to be dry-cleaned.

5. Deep Clean Kitchen and Bath

Now that your living space is clean, it’s time to scrub down your kitchen and bathroom. Remove unnecessary items from these rooms as well prior to cleaning. Remember, houseguests and holiday visitors tend to congregate in the kitchen, so you will need to spend some time here. Not only will a clean kitchen make this time more enjoyable, but it will also make holiday cooking and cleanup easier.

6. Stock Up the Kitchen

Now that you’ve cleaned and decluttered your kitchen, it’s time to restock it for your incoming guests. Have fresh coffee ready to make, snacks on hand, and plenty of napkins, utensils, and plates handy. If you’re worried about the constant turnover of dirty dishes, this may be the one time of year to invest in some festive paper plates.

7. Guest-Ready Your Extra Bedroom and Bath

Your houseguests should feel at home and as comfortable as possible when they come to visit. Granted, you don’t need to do a turndown service or offer breakfast in bed, but a welcoming space is a nice gesture. Put fresh sheets on the bed and make some space in the closet for their clothes with extra hangers. Clear space for them in the bathroom and provide fresh towels for their use.

Hosting family and friends during the holiday can be a delight as opposed to a chore. With some careful planning, you can not only make your home holiday ready, but you will also provide a space that is sure to deliver lasting memories for you and your loved ones.

5 Tips on How to Stay Waste-Free at Work

August 23rd, 2017

recycling and composting at work

Businesses are producing large amounts of unnecessary waste. Despite the fact that about 80% of office waste is recyclable or reusable, the vast majority of office items end up in a landfill due to the lack of proper systems.

However, more and more offices are striving to be more eco-friendly and push to “go green.” There are different ways to do so. For example, it may include recycling electronics and office supplies, use of low-watt bulbs, turning off printers when and/or computers when not in use, etc.

Here are a few tips on how to stay waste-free at your work.

1. Start with Preparing Your Office for Recycling

Before facing your office waste, you should prepare for recycling. This include:

  • Finding the best recycling program that addresses office recycling;
  • Searching for state or city incentives for eco-friendly offices;
  • Hire a professional to head up a waste reduction or recycling program;
  • Establish the general list of rules all employees have to abide.

2. Clean Up Your Office Thoroughly

Why is it important? While cleaning your office, you will be surprised how many things make the waste in your office. Thorough cleaning will help you determine what items you don’t need at your office. Your best choice is to hire an expert in office cleaning that offers personalized services. Check out these cleaning services in Mississauga as an example of how to make your workplace feel fresh.

3. Reuse Office Supplies

Most of the office supplies can be recycled or reused. What can you do? Create a special room where the employees will be able to shop or leave used office supplies such as paper clips, hanging folders, file folders, binders, rubber bands, pencils, and pens. Even better, do not allow employees to access new office supplies by keeping them under lock and key. That will make people start thinking how to reuse office supplies.

4. Cut Down On Paper

Think twice before posting or printing. Posting and/or printing something out that you will never use becomes a waste in your office. You can recycle most office paper, but it’s just an additional expense for you. Instead, try to reduce recycling program budget by cutting down on paper. Here’s what you can do:

  • Consider whether you really need a paperwork or not;
  • Email rather than posting/printing out;
  • Ask your employees to post and print only what is truly necessary;
  • Use the double-sided printing whenever possible;
  • Avoid using stapled and colored paper because it’s not recyclable.

Over the time, the paper will overcrowd your office and you will need to recycle it. That’s why you should put a lot of paper recycling bins or boxes throughout the workplace. Choose the convenient areas for this purpose. Make sure to position recycle bins next to the desks and put a few of them in non-office rooms such as the warehouse or kitchen. That will encourage the employees to chuck paper in the recycle bins.

5. Recycle Old Computers, Accessories, and Appliances

When buying a new computer, ask the seller to buy back or take back your old one. Many companies provide e-waste recycling programs that allow this. Others may charge you a small recycling fee. You may also donate the old computers that are still in good working condition to organizations which refurbish electronic devices. Aside from computers and computer accessories, you can also consider recycling old televisions and other appliances.

 

Be sure to follow these five tips and get rid of office waste!

Why You Need to be Composting (…and How to Do It Right)

August 14th, 2017

Compost is a valuable material that helps plants grow when added to soil. What many people don’t realize is that up to 30 percent of the materials for a compost blend come from yard waste and food scraps. Not only does composting aid in plant growth, it keeps a potent greenhouse gas called methane out of local landfills. Compositing is a simple process that anyone can do.

Basic Ingredients Needed for an Effective Composting Mixture

A compost pile needs to have equal amounts of brown and green materials. Branches, dead leaves, and twigs make up the brown portion while coffee grounds, fruit scraps, grass clippings, and vegetable waste make up the green portion. It also needs to include water to provide much-needed moisture. Some specific examples of items to include in a compost pile include:

  • Coffee filters and grounds
  • Egg shells
  • Tea bags
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Wood chips
  • Yard trimmings and grass clippings
  • Lint from the vacuum cleaner and dryer
  • Straw and hay
  • Sawdust

It’s also important to understand what not to put in a compost pile, including the following:

  • Pet waste
  • Any yard trimmings treated with chemical fertilizer
  • Fish and meat bones
  • Ash from charcoal or coal
  • Dairy products such as butter, eggs, and milk
  • Lard, oil, or other types of fats
  • Diseased plants
  • Twigs or leaves from black walnut trees

Several of the above items attract rodents and other pests while others contain harmful bacteria.

Creating a Compost Pile for the First Time

After gathering the contents for a compost pile, the next step is to place them on a spot of bare earth. The pile will likely attract worms and other types of organisms that can help to aerate the compost pile. Next, place straw or twigs two to three inches deep to further aerate the pile and help with drainage. Now it’s time to start building the pile while alternating between dry and moist items. The compost pile now requires a nitrogen source. Manure is a common choice.

Compost piles need frequent watering, which people can do manually or allow it to become soaked by rain without getting drenched. It should have a cover on top of it at all other times. This keeps heat and moisture in, both essential elements for healthy compost. The last step involves turning the compost pile with a pitchfork or shovel every few weeks. This method also works for adding new materials.

The Many Benefits of Composting

While reduction of waste is the primary benefit of composting, it has several others as well. The process helps to conserve water because the compost pile soaks it up and releases it to the plants. This also prevents evaporation of water at the plant’s root level. Additionally, organic waste contains water that’s heavy and costly to transport. Composting the materials instead saves both energy and fuel.

There’s no question composting benefits the environment, but it also offers individual benefits. The less trash a homeowner throws away, the lower the cost of garbage pick-up. It also saves on the cost of purchasing similar materials from a local nursery. For those looking to cut household expenses, composting is a quick and easy way to do so.

How to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

July 25th, 2017

Everyone cares about the environment. We reduce, reuse, and recycle everything that comes into our houses, but what if our houses could do these things too? Here are some tips on how to make your home eco-friendly.

Energy Drainers

Go around your house and look for ‘energy drainers’. These are appliances that can either be upgraded to new energy-efficient models, or fixed to prevent energy leaks. Unplug appliances when they are not in use. Turn your computer or TV off or on stand-by.

Lights

Changing your lightbulbs to new energy-efficient bulbs can save you hundreds of dollars a year and benefit the environment. LED and CFL lightbulbs waste less energy than traditional bulbs as they do not give off as much heat. They can easily fit into your existing light fixtures, meaning you don’t have to spend anything to install them. Each of these new bulbs are more expensive, however, they last longer, will result in reduced bills, and are generally better for the environment.

Compost

You already put your paper products out for recycling, but you can do one better by composting your leftover kitchen scraps. By using a compost bin, you will be helping to keep this refuse out of landfills. Many hardware and retail stores – both rural and residential – sell compost bins.

Water

Get into a routine of turning the tap off while brushing your teeth, and limit your showers to three minutes.

Conservation can also be done with your toilet. If you are able to afford a replacement, consider ones that have a ‘low flow’ flush option.

Air Conditioner

Having an air conditioner during the harsh summer months can be a blessing, but there are times when it is best to leave it turned off. If the hot weather is starting to get to you, your first step should be to open a window. Let the stale air inside of your house out, and enjoy some fresh air. If it is still too hot, consider using a fan. You will be using electricity, but studies have proven running an air conditioner uses much more electricity than a simple fan.

It is also an idea to double-check your sleeping habits. A lot of people confess to having the air conditioner on while simultaneously sleeping under a blanket.

Furniture

There is nothing wrong with wanting to change your house’s decor, but what happens to your perfectly-good furniture? One option available to you is to keep your current furniture, but give it a face-lift. Thefurnitureconnoisseur.com have a wide range of polishes and waxes to give your pieces a whole new look.

If you really want something different, look to the freecycle initiative. This puts you in contact with second-hand stores and private sellers and traders.

There are many ways to make your home eco-friendly. Try one or try them all!

Landscaping and Yard Clean-up for Fire Prevention

May 17th, 2017

oakland hills fire

It’s been almost 26 years since a massive fire ripped through the Oakland hills, killing 25 people and destroying nearly 3,500 homes. The 1991 disaster remains fresh on the minds of many long-time residents, and some local experts believe that conditions in the area could be ripe for a similar catastrophe.

While the 1991 fire led to some improved local policies that includes fireproof materials on homes and improved readiness, there remain several dangerous issues. The area is stuck in a drought, and the highly flammable eucalyptus trees that largely fueled the 1991 blaze have since regrown.

While the city, county, and some local groups wage war over the means necessary to rid the area of flammable materials, homeowners can take some simple steps to protect their individual properties from a fire. Here are several ways that you can direct your landscaping and yard cleanup activities to prevent dangerous fires.

Clean Up

As a homeowner or renter, you should make sure that your property remains clean and tidy. For the sake of fire prevention, this means that you consistently remove dead plants, shrubs, and trees. It’s also important to keep the grass mowed and shrubs pruned. If there is any debris on the property, it should also be removed.

Create Defensible Space

Not only do you want to create a safe zone around your property, but California law also gives some homeowners direction about a home defense zone within 100 feet of the home. According to the California Public Resources Code §4291, homeowners must remove and clear away all flammable vegetation and other combustible growth within 30 feet of the home. A single tree or shrub can remain as long as it is pruned and well-spaced.

You are also required to keep a “reduced fuel zone” in the remaining 70 feet or out to your property line. This means that you create space between your plants and remove plants from beneath large trees.

Landscaping and Proper Selection of Plants

As you landscape and care for your lawn, you should remove any tree branches that are below six feet from the ground. Place only fire-resistant plants in your yard and water them regularly. Mulch might be useful to maintain moisture in your gardens, but it’s important to note that it will also burn. Avoid using wood or bark mulch within three to five feet of your home. Use colored stones or some other flame resistant material instead.

Create Breaks

When you create your fire safe home landscape, you should also create breaks with hardscape materials. This includes using stone walls and pathways that can act as a fuel break to slow down, stop, or change the direction of a fire.

Emergency Readiness

No one wants to think about a fire occurring at their home, but history shows that this sort of tragedy can happen in the blink of an eye. Make sure you’re ready with some emergency preparedness steps in advance. Have your water hoses and fire sprinklers ready and easy to access and your personal exit plan in place. Also, contact your local fire department and ask them if there is anything else that you can do to be prepared.

With some proper planning and the right landscaping around your home, you can ensure that you and your family are as safe as possible from the fire dangers in your area.

 
 
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