Furnished Home

How To Declutter Your Home As Lockdown Eases 

Now that more of us are getting vaccinated and able to leave our homes more freely, it’s time to bring our spaces back to their pre-pandemic glory, you know, like before we were spending all hours of the day in our living room. 

Dilly Carter is a professional home organizer and self proclaimed “declutterer” who stars in the show ‘Sort Your Life Out’ which helps homeowners organize their cluttered spaces. Carter recently discussed how it’s important to have your home as organized as possible because it has an indirect impact on your mental health. 

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“You wake up in the morning, you tumble out of bed, you try to find a towel, you try to find your toothbrush, you go to the wardrobe, you try to find a shirt that’s been ironed, you try to find a pair of trousers. Your socks are in the kitchen drawer. You stumble down the stairs, trip over some Lego, go to the kitchen, sniff the milk to see if it’s off. And you start work and you’re like, ‘Why am I so stressed?’  This build-up of tiny annoyances is why you need to declutter,” she says.

Carter claims the easiest place to start is an empty room, or by completely emptying out a room. “An artist would never create a masterpiece by drawing over another masterpiece, would they? The next trick is to put back only the things you absolutely need in the empty room. Be as ruthless as you can; the goal is to create as much space as possible. We don’t want to be surrounded by stuff, because stuff clouds our mind and clouds our judgment. We need space to breathe.”

It’s important to also reclaim the spaces that may have been taken over by clutter. “Sometimes a kitchen is a kitchen, but it can also be a playroom, and it’s also a study, and it’s also a front room. That’s why the kitchen doesn’t feel like a kitchen at the moment. So let’s bring it back to just being a kitchen. Let’s take out all the kid’s toys and put them back in the bedroom. You will end up with dedicated spaces that don’t feel encroached upon by the rest of the house,” Carter explained. 

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Begum Zarmann is the UK’s go-to decluttering trend expert who recommends taking photos as you declutter your space so you can keep track of your progress: “Before you start to declutter, choose a small part of your home, like a bathroom cabinet, and take a photo of it. Once you have tidied and organised that space, take an after photo. Why? Keeping a record of your transformations gives you the motivation to declutter more.”

Zarmann also recommends sorting all of your things within four large boxes. “Label them ‘rubbish’, ‘give away’, ‘keep’ or ‘relocate.’ Whether it’s a drawer or a full room you’re tackling, the key is to organize your items into one of the four boxes and to not skip a single item, no matter how insignificant you may think it is.” 

Carter also recommends getting one big box for paperwork exclusively. “Walk around your house with the biggest cardboard box you can find and just shove it all in there. Doesn’t matter if it’s unopened mail, paperwork or files. Whatever it is, get it all into one box. Because then, mentally, you are only dealing with one box. And then when you’re ready to deal with that box, you sit there, in front of your favorite TV show, and you can start going through that paperwork. From that, you will soon have your keep pile, your burn pile, your shred file.”

From that point forward it’s up to you to be diligent when deciding what gets thrown away, what can be donated, potentially sold, or relocated to get actual use within the home.

Cleaning Appliances

How To Properly Clean Your Home Appliances

Now that we’re all spending an indefinite amount of time indoors, many are taking it upon themselves to deep clean their homes and begin spring cleaning a little early this year. Our kitchen appliances are often overlooked when it comes to our weekly household chores, so now’s a better time than ever to get into all those nooks and crannies of your space and give your kitchen a much deserved cleanse.

Many individuals don’t realize this, but the user manuals for all kitchen appliances actually have a section dedicated to proper cleaning/disinfecting techniques for your specific appliance. If you threw out the manual to any of your older appliances, don’t worry, most appliance manuals from any year should be available online on the brands website. It’s important to note that the more often you clean your appliances, the longer they’ll last.

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Your washing machine is something you probably never think to clean, since it’s job is to literally clean your clothes for you, however, most machines are already equipped with a cleaning or sanitizing cycle. If not, laundry detergent companies such as Tide sell washing machine cleaner that’s specifically designed for disinfecting your washing machine. You could also throw some vinegar or regular laundry detergent into your machine without any clothes actually in it, and then run a regular wash cycle. This will clean all the pipes and inner workings of your machine, and guarantees no harmful bacteria or germs stay behind for future loads.

Your dryer’s lint trap should obviously be cleaned with every single load to prevent any kind of fires or dust clogs. Wipe down the inside of your dryer’s door, and all of the little crevasses around the lint tray, this will ensure that you get every last bit of dust.

Dishwashers, like washing machines, are often overlooked when it comes to cleaning your home, as it’s function is literally to spray soap every load, so you’d assume it cleans itself as it cleans your dishes. However, you want to make sure that your dishwashers filter is staying just as clean as the surface of the machine itself. Many individuals aren’t even aware that they’re dishwasher has a filter that needs to be tended too, this is where your user manual is going to come in handy. Every dishwasher has a different kind of filter and filter placement, so look up your specific model and how to clean your specific filter. It likely will be as simple as taking the filter out and rinsing it under hot water.

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The refrigerator is actually one of the kitchen appliances that more times than not does get a cleaning every once in a while, as it should. It’s important that the machine that’s main purpose is to keep all your food fresh and cold is also sanitized and disinfected, to ensure the same for your food. Simply wiping down all of your refrigerators shelves with warm soapy water should do the trick and become a part of your regular cleaning routine.

Ovens are another device that sometimes have a self-cleaning option. Beyond that, to get all the built up gunk and burnt food particles from your stove, remove any metal on the stove top that has that ability, and take out your ovens shelving as well to make sure you’re able to clean every part of it. Oven cleaner works, and a homemade recipe of salt, baking soda and dish soap has been a staple trick for decades for cleaning out the oven.

So this year, while you’re spring cleaning your home, make sure to pay special attention to all of the appliances we use everyday, but always overlook when it comes to cleaning.

Spring Cleaning

Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Home

While we’re all getting used to the idea of social-distancing and self-quarantining ourselves until this pandemic begins to calm down, many are trying to figure out how to occupy their time, as there’s only so many shows one can binge before feeling like they’re losing their minds. 

Being productive is one of the best ways to keep your mind, body, and soul active and engaged, especially in times of isolation. So what should you do now that you have an indefinite amount of time to spend in your own home? Getting a head start at all your spring cleaning might be a good place to start.  

Spring cleaning will not only keep you occupied while you’re held up at home, but it will allow you to live in a space that you also feel is truly clean, which we all need in a time like this. So start with the dust and work your way up. 

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Think about the biggest dust collectors in your house, one that often gets neglected is curtains, as they seem impossible to clean when it’s actually the opposite. A simple lint roller or vacuum hose will do the job, and if you want a deeper clean, take the curtains down and read about their specific washing requirements, you’ll likely just have to throw them through a light air fluff cycle. 

Blinds and windows should also be cleaned while you’re at it with the curtains. Blinds can be dusted with a simple microfiber cloth, and windows with any store bought glass cleaner. 

Another part of the house that often gets neglected when it’s time to dust is the ceiling fan blades. The blades of a ceiling fan can collect an obscene amount of dust, you just often can’t see it as it’s on top of the blade itself and therefore facing the ceiling. However, if you don’t wipe down those areas often, you’re only going to continue to blow dust particles all over your rooms whenever the fan is on. 

End tables, open shelves, floor/ceiling moldings, and other finishes in your home should also be thoroughly dusted when it comes time to spring clean. We never think to clean the things mounted on the walls for decorative purposes, however like ceiling fans, these areas can collect massive amounts of dust when left uncleaned. Check above any cabinets and doorways as well for additional cleanliness. 

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If you have carpeting in your house, investing in an annual steam cleaning would definitely be worth it for your spring cleaning endeavors. Traditional vacuuming gets our carpets looking clean and crisp, however, steam cleaning lifts dirt, dust and debris that we don’t even see. This not only will remove any nasty bacteria living within your carpeting, but also will likely make it look brand new. 

Using a mini vacuum with an upholstery attachment over the furniture in your home will give your couches, chairs, and bedding the same type of clean your carpets get with a steam cleaning. This way, you’re picking up every last trace of fur, dirt, dust, and food crumbs that build up within the fibers of your furniture. Make sure you’re also vacuuming underneath the cushions as well. 

Investigate around the exterior and interior of your home for leaks and drafts, particularly near the corners of each part of your home; make sure you’re also checking your windows. Peeling and chipped paint can help indicate any leaks, which can easily be sealed with some caulk, or any other hardware store sealant. 

Finally, for sanitation purposes, it’s best to clean any chrome, glass, or metal/stainless steel surfaces in your house with a mixture of alcohol and water. The solution should be equal parts alcohol and water and be used in a spray bottle. This will not only give all of your surfaces and appliances a brand new glow, but disinfect the surfaces as well of any foreign bacteria. 

Regardless of how you clean, make sure you’re getting all the areas you often neglect during your normal home maintenance routines. This will not only occupy you during an indefinite quarantine, but ensure that you’re home is clean, and your mind is calm.