Guest Post by Joe Cline
Most of us have heard of spring cleaning, but what about winter organizing? Extensive home cleaning or reorganization doesn’t have to take place only once per year. If you tackle the project twice yearly, it will make it all that much easier when you do tackle it. The more often you take stock of what you have and what would be best for you to do with it, the less time it will take to get your house in order when it’s needed.
Add to Your Storage Collection
You can truly never have too many storage solutions. We often have more than has to be stored away during winter because of all the time we spend indoors. Books, magazines, movies, video games and piles of warm clothing tend to accumulate during the colder months. Storage doesn’t have to mean unsightly plastic containers in every corner of your house. There are many solutions for storage that can be used as furniture or room accents, so that your items can actually be stored in plain sight. For items that you keep under the bed, in the closets or in the garage rafters — plastic bins with lids that secure tightly are your best options.
Put Rainy Days to Good Use
When fall and winter roll around, there is usually more to clean and organize because of all the time spent outdoors over the summer. Between camping trips, visits to the pool and out of town vacations, it’s hard to find time for major home reorganization. If you live in a warm climate, the heat and humidity also makes a good case against any hard work. Therefore, when the cool weather comes in, it’s suddenly a great time to get the house in order. On those rainy days when you can’t find anything to do, spend a couple hours going from room to room, putting things back in their place and setting things aside to get rid of. This brings us to the next item.
Donate Instead of Saving for a Garage Sale
You could set aside all the items you no longer need, making a storage space for them and keeping them until late spring or early summer when you have time for a garage sale. However, you are only going to take up more room in your home and garage. You may also increase the chances that you end up hanging onto the item in the end, since it will be sticking around where family members can bring them back out into “existence”. Consider gathering all these items and taking them to a local thrift shop where the proceeds are donated to a charity group such as the poor or elderly. They will be out of your home (for good) and better yet, will go to a good cause.
Joe Cline writes articles for Austin realtor. Other articles written by the author related to Austin Homes and Austin Texas real estate can be found on the net.
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By Michael Colestein
The vast majority of us have moved from log or coal fireplaces to more practical forms of heating. Radiators have replaced the need for fuelled fires and for those of us wanting a warming centrepiece; many of us use more contemporary gas or electric “fires.” But for those of you who still maintain the luxury of a fuelled fire, or those of you who simply want their surrounds to look great, these tips will still come in handy in the modern household.
Soot is undoubtedly the biggest cleaning problem that somebody with a fireplace will face. It forms on the surfaces above and surrounding where the fire has been built, though is normally contained to the interior walls of the chimney chute. Unfortunately it’s very difficult to remove and is made even more difficult because of the tricky location. Going into this task you’ll want to be armed with an arsenal of cleaning weaponry, including a stiff brush, rubber gloves and some specialist cleaning product for soot.
The first step is cleaning out the fireplace itself. Take a shovel and remove all of the remaining coals, wood or other fuel and dispose of it safely. Sweep or hoover up all of the ash so you have a fire floor free of debris. You then want to lay newspaper to catch the soot which will be falling as you scrub. Here’s where your wire brush comes in handy, did I mention to bring lots of elbow grease? Get yourself into the fireplace and scrub, scrub, scratch away at the soot. Continue reading Advice For Those Looking To Clean Their Fireplace
Guest Post by Natron IChango
The winter offers a lot of joys for many people and a lot of headaches for others. This is because no matter how much we prepare there are things left out that can transform winter into a nightmare.
When it comes to snow, it is greatly loved by kids but it can create havoc. If the local authorities are in charge of cleaning the roads and the streets you are the one responsible for your yard. Therefore, besides shovels and clothing you should encounter snow with snow melting mats.
The snow is beautiful to watch while it is white but when you come home from work you will notice that the underside of your car is full of muddy snow that will melt in your garage. This will surely leave an indescribable mess you would not want to clean up.
Many people use their garages as part of their homes. If you are one of them you probably keep paperwork, clothing, tools and other important things in the garage. Therefore, you need to protect these things with snow melting mats.
The snow melting mats are made of polypropylene and they are designed to fit all the sizes that a vehicle can have. You will not slip because the base of these mats is made of vinyl. Therefore, you will be able to store your things in the garage without having to worry about water damage. After you use your snow melting mats, you will notice that only the dirt will remain and you will clean it much easier. Continue reading Winter Preparation – Keep Your Home Clean With Snow Melting Mats at Your Front Door
Guest Post by A. Aaronson
House cleaning in the fall will make for a much more enjoyable winter while being cooped up inside. By being prepared and completing all tasks in the fall, winter will be a time for relaxation. Unfortunately, annoyances such as dirty windows and odors become trapped throughout the winter. Therefore, it is imperative to leave your home spotless.
There are a few primary tips to help with house cleaning for the upcoming winter. These include:
- Eliminating dust
- Washing the windows
- Sanitize furniture
- Stocking up on fragrance-based products
- Don’t get overwhelmed
While the windows are still open, it is important to eliminate dust during the fall season. You do not want to dust while the windows are closed as it can cause breathing problems since there’s little air circulation. After dusting, washing all windows (inside and out) will eradicate all dirt, grime and dust that will block the window through the long winter months. Also, cleansing all furniture including upholstery, window treatments, pillows, blankets, carpets and mattresses will result in a much better smelling home with fewer allergens locked in. This is also a good way to deter bedbugs from migrating into the home.
A few supplies to stock up on are fragrance-based products. For instance, air freshener plug-ins will keep the home smelling nice without being overwhelming. Also, candles help to remove cigarette smoke as well as cooking odors. Whole coffee beans placed in a bowl will overpower any hidden odors. Finally, scented sanitizing sprays that remove stains will help with odors that many arise. The most important tip to remember is to not get overwhelmed. You generally have two fall months to complete these tasks. Just do a little at a time and these will be completed prior to the first snowfall. A little planning goes a long way. By creating a specific timeline for completion, the home will be clean, more sanitary and almost allergen free. Continue reading House Cleaning – Prepare Yourself For a Sanitary House This Winter
Guest Post by Serena Li
Industrial pollution and fossil-fuel consumption are widely blamed for wreaking the most havoc on the globe, but indoor air pollution is doing its own part to contribute to death and disease. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from furniture, paint, household chemicals and other sources contribute a great deal to poor indoor air quality.
According to a World Health Organization report, “Global Health Risks: Mortality and Burden of Disease Attributable to Selected Major Risks”, pollution inside the home due to cooking smoke can create small particles that are 100 times higher than healthy levels, particularly in poorly ventilated areas. This is especially true for small children and women who are much more likely on average to be exposed to these hazardous elements.
This kind of pollution contributes to 2.7 percent of the world’s total number of spreadable diseases. The reason: Many types of cooking fuels used for heating of food are made of natural materials like dung, wood, straw and coal, which all produce dangerous levels of indoor air pollution. This type of regular inhalation, for children under 5-years-old, can lead to serious respiratory infections, and for adults, can lead to lung cancer or chronic pulmonary disease. Continue reading The Dangers Of Indoor Air Pollution
Guest Post by Colin P. McGraw
The word ‘pollution’ usually invokes images of smoggy city-skylines and industrial power stations, but what about the pollution we don’t see?
The air we breathe inside our homes may actually contain pollutants of its own. Invisible, but no less hazardous – accounting for an estimated one-third of our nation’s health bill.
The good news is that with some simple precautions, you can ensure the air in your home stays clean. Before we find out how to prevent indoor air pollution, let’s take a quick look at what it is and what causes it.
Indoor air pollution is the accumulation of hazardous airborne substances within a building or structure, sometimes to toxic levels. It is mostly caused by inadequate ventilation, malfunctioning appliances, and various chemicals within the home. Indoor air pollutants can have a wide range of health effects. From headaches and fatigue, to asthma and other respiratory problems. In the most severe cases, the can even cause death.
Common indoor air pollutants:
- Radon – a byproduct of decomposing radium found in the ground beneath buildings. Radon gas seeps through cracks in walls and foundations. It’s the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
- Carbon Monoxide – comes from fuel-burning appliances such as gas stoves and water-heaters that are not properly installed and ventilated. This gas interferes with the delivery of oxygen throughout the body.
- Dusts and Mold – an abundance of dust or mold build-up is usually due to inadequate ventilation. These types of particles can trigger wheezing and shortness of breath, and contribute to the epidemic of asthma, as well as pulmonary disease.
- Volatile Organic Compounds – compounds found in household cleaners, pesticides, paints/lacquers/varnishes, equipment, and building materials that evaporate into the air. These can cause adverse reactions and damage the central nervous system.
The Global Scale of Indoor Pollution Continue reading Protecting Yourself From Indoor Air Pollution
Guest Post by Mike R. Davis
Although winter is not the most pest-prone season, a winter home pest inspection will usually turn up at least a couple of unwanted houseguests. During the winter, pests are drawn to our heated homes, where they can find protection from the elements and a regular source of food (i.e., our food scraps and stores). Pest control providers would list the following pests as common problems in the winter months. We’ve also included a few tricks to help you minimize the likelihood that pests will infest your home this winter.
Roaches thrive in all four seasons of the year. Food in your pantry will draw cockroaches, so your best protection against them is to keep a tidy kitchen. Make sure your garbage can has a tightly fitting lid; vacuum consistently, and make sure your extra food is stored in air-tight containers. Fix leaky faucets, too – they can easily become a watering hole for roaches. If you already have an infestation, dry diatomaceous earth can help eradicate cockroach populations.
Ants are probably the most common winter pest. Some species, such as odorous house ants, prefer proteins and sweet foods. You can discourage these species by keeping your kitchen counters and floors immaculately clean. Also, check the area where you store pet food, which odorous house ants love to eat. Continue reading Home Pest Control Tips for Winter: Avoiding Common Infestations
Guest Post By Jack Ortega Bueno
The air in your home or office could be making you sick. Indoor air pollution is the fourth greatest environmental threat to us. Indoor contaminants may include dust mites, tobacco smoke, household mould, chemicals, airborne allergens, bacteria, animal dander and carbon monoxide.
These airborne contaminants are pulled into your AC duct every time the air conditioner pumps air through it. These contaminants in due course build up inside your AC duct system over a period of time. These damaging contaminants are then dispersed throughout your home or office affecting the health as well as comfort of your employees or your family. In addition, these impurities alleviate allergy & asthma symptoms. Hence, the timely removal of all impurities from the entire air distribution system is necessary to avoid fungal re-growth.
In recent times, as the awareness of the importance of indoor air quality is growing, hence more people are opting for AC duct cleaning as one way to crack indoor air quality problems. AC duct cleaning refers to the physical cleaning of air-conditioning system components.
As places like homes and buildings are mostly enclosed, they have more tendency of manipulating the flow of air and the pollutants that it carries. As the world is becoming more industrial and urbanised, it is important for you as homeowner to protect your family from health risks brought by air pollution. Make sure that your air conditioner is complemented with the required necessary air filtering devices to ensure the household’s health and safety. Continue reading Are You Sure About Your Indoor Air Quality?
Guest Post by Gordon P. Hall
Winter skin conditions are mostly caused by low relative humidity, which in turn is caused by cold temperatures outdoors and warm indoor temperatures. When there is less moisture in the surrounding air, the skin’s moisture content decreases.
The situation is further complicated by forced air heat, which most people use. The fans that force warm air into our buildings dry out our surroundings even more. Mucus membranes become dry and more susceptible to viral infections.
The skin’s surface becomes dry and less able to function as a barrier for the inside of the body. So, while the thing that we might notice most is dryness, flakiness and itching, the whole situation can have a detrimental effect on our health.
Keeping the indoor air moist through the use of a humidifier may be helpful. The water must be changed regularly and the filters kept clean. Otherwise bacteria or fungi can build up on the filters, inside the machine and in the water. The humidifiers fans then blow these illness causing pathogens out into the air.
A more convenient and possibly safer way to conquer winter skin conditions is to use a good moisturizer. The word “good” should probably be underlined in that sentence. Many of the so-called moisturizers on today’s market do not actually moisturize. They contain petroleum-based oils that are not compatible with the skin’s oils and can further degrade the skin’s barrier function. Continue reading Winter Skin Conditions Are Mostly Caused By Low Relative Humidity
Guest Post by Debbie Davis
Your windows and doors are shut tight. You’ve had a representative from the local energy company come out to make sure cracks and crevices are sealed. And you’ve possibly had new windows put in that are super insulated. Your home is ready for winter, right? Not necessarily. You’ve done a great job of insulating from winter’s cold, but unless you remove the following 5 airborne pollutants by filtering your air, you’ve trapped harmful pollutants that can make your home an unhealthy place to be.
The bane of man’s indoor existence, probably since cave man days, dust is relentless and has many sources. It can be made up of hair, fine lint particles from fabrics, clothes, blankets, and from sand and dirt blown or tracked in from outside that then goes airborne with daily movement through the house. Studies have even shown dust to contain minute pieces of metal shavings from door hinges as a result of opening and closing doors. There’s no way that having any of that in your lungs is a good thing. With no way out of such a super insulated home, it can cause your house to look dusty at best, and at worse serve as a trigger for allergy and asthma. An air cleaner won’t vacuum or dust for you, but it will surely make your air fresher, and healthier to breathe by eliminating the airborne dust.
These prolific little creatures that make their home in places that are dark and warm while feeding on dead skin are infamous irritants of chronic respiratory conditions. They are typically found in your bed, mattress, pillows, and go airborne easily only to reproduce and start the cycle all over again. Nothing will eliminate all dust mites, but using an air cleaner to literally clear the air will make your home, and your bedroom in particular, a cozy place for you and your family rather than for an infestation of mites.
If you brought in a live tree for the holidays, or brought out decorations from the basement or attic, it is likely that you introduced additional mold and mildew spores that otherwise would not have been in your home. If you are allergic, you know how miserable these spores can cause you to be. And if they find moisture under the kitchen sink, in the bathroom, or in your basement they will start to grow and destroy woods, fabric, and walls to which they attach. The best defense is a strong offense by removing these spores while they are still airborne and before they find water. Filtering your air is a proactive step to take. Continue reading Improving Indoor Winter Air Quality – 5 Airborne Pollutants to Eliminate