Time-Saving Household Tips

January 25, 2012

HGTV sent me some cool tips I just had to share. Because even though we have a lot of time-saving devices in our home, we often feel we can’t bother cleaning, as if it’s taking us away from something more important.

I don’t know about you, but I find a messy house to be a stressful place to be. So take these tips and run with them. Courtesy of HGTV whose latest issue (February/March) already hit the stands January 17th. Grab your copy while you can!

Dirty Little Laundry Secrets from the Pros

It’s the chore that never ends! Get it done easier and faster with tips from our crew of washing and folding experts.

–          A sink for hand-washing: A two minute soak in the sink isn’t enough. You need to soak stains for at least 10-30 minutes to really make a difference.

–          Bins for sorting: Don’t just separate by color but also by material. You don’t want to wash fuzzy fabrics like chenille and flannel with corduroy or permanent-press items, which can be magnets for lint.

–          Countertops for folding: Don’t fold clothes hot right out of the dryer (we know – we all do it!). You can wind up with creases that are hard to get rid of.

–          A rod for hanging: A rod is hey for keeping shirts smooth and crease-free. Take collared shirts out of the dryer a few minutes before they’re dry to prevent the neck from stretching and the collar from getting floppy.

–          Did you know: You should clean the inside of your washing machine to keep it and your clothes smelling fresh? You can put the lint screen from the dryer in the dishwasher? Hot pink, bring green, and electric blue can bleed more than other colors in the washing machine? Using too much detergent can actually make your clothes dirtier.

–          3 stain busters to have on hand: Rubbing alcohol for ink. Raise armpit stain remover for getting out touch sweat stains. Blue dawn dish soap for grease.

 

When was the last time you cleaned…

HGTV’s experts reveal common household items that might be getting neglected in the cleanliness department. Here are some tips on how and when to clean your hair brushes, pillows, coffee makers, produce bins in your fridge, etc. – and the answers may surprise you!

–          Your hairbrush: Beauty experts recommend washing your hair brush every two months. First pull out all stray hairs with a comb. Fill a sink with warm water and a squirt of soap or mild shampoo, and soak your brush for 15 minutes. (If your brush has padding, boar bristles, or a wooden handle, swish it back and forth in the sink and then rinse to prevent the brush getting waterlogged.

–          The inside of your coffee machine: Clean your machine after every dozen brews. Insert a coffee filter and fill the reservoir with two parts white vinegar and one part water, and run the machine through one full cycle. Then, repeat the process twice with cold water and filters.

–          The produce bins in your fridge: Scrub your bins every few months to keep produce flavors fresh. Empty the drawers and remove them from the fridge. Dip a cloth in a mixture of 4 tablespoons baking soda and 1 quart warm water, then wipe down the inside and outside of each bin. Avoid household cleaners, which can make food taste like chemicals. Be sure to rinse the bins in warm water before returning to the fridge.

Have any other time-saving tips to make your surroundings squeaky clean? Write in and let me know!

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The Gift of a Year

January 3, 2010

The Christmas gift I enjoyed most this year was a used book my sister sent me. It was simply perfect as my sister had gushed for almost an hour on the phone about the effects the book had on her earlier this summer. The Gift of a Year: How to Achieve the Most Meaningful, Satisfying, and Pleasurable Year of Your Life by Mira Kirschenbaum walks you through the steps to take a year for yourself. It doesn’t mean you have to shave your head and enter a nunnery. Nor does it mean leaving your friends and family in the dust literally. It is about focusing on the one thing that’s been ‘missing’ in your life.

Looking back on 2009, I lived the gift of a year without really knowing it. I merely decided to fulfill my childhood dreams by doing things differently. Acting in German television shows, doing commercials and video skits, I enjoyed my year immensely. Now that I know what to call what I did (gifting myself a year), I  decided this year would be the year of beauty for me personally (my husband and I name each year something by selecting a focus. Last year was the Year of the Book. This year is the Year of Entertainment). Whether I commit an act of beauty, marvel at the beauty of nature, or surround myself with beautiful people, I have decided beauty, both inside and out, might be just the thing to keep my focused and in alignment with my truest purpose.

So it was perfect timing when I came home after the long six-hour drive from the Swiss Alps to our home nest where a copy of Shannon Honeybloom’s new release, Making a Family Home was waiting patiently by the wood pile. The book’s premise is to be conscious about how you design your home by taking into consideration the sensory aspects and the hidden meaning behind the space. In flowing prose, Shannon conveys her own struggles with raising three small children in her Austin home. The isolation, the challenges, the taxing nature of early parenting can all be alleviated by using the home as the basis on which to build our lives. Beauty, joy, love and warmth are what nurtures our souls. The lovely photography by Skip Hunt augments the book’s message: home is where the heart is. Fill your house with love, no matter the location.

How will you gift yourselves this year?