Raise your hand if you find keeping your home clean totally daunting. Or if you stumble upon dust, rust, or dirt in spots you totally forget about too often for comfort. We get it. Which is why we created this super handy checklist with the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab to help you stay on top of how often you should bust out your cleaners and get to work — but there are a few exceptions to keep in mind.


First of all, the obvious: If something looks dirty, don't wait — add it to your immediate to-do list. Secondly, when it comes to sanitation, our guidelines represent the bare minimum so you can ramp up those tasks as needed. And finally, don't forget about laundry, for which we created separate guidelines to follow.

How to Tackle Everything on Your List

Now that you've got the schedule, read up on our time-saving tips and all-time favorite products that will make these jobs as painless as possible.


Tips for Cleaning Every Day

These essential daily tasks cut down on future scrubbing and scouring — not to mention harmful germs and bacteria.

Clean coffee maker or Keurig: Wash removable parts with warm, soapy water or stick dishwasher-safe pieces in the machine. Wipe down the outside and warming plate to remove spills.

Clean dirty dishes: Skip pre-rinsing. Today's machines and detergents make it unnecessary — and a waste of water and time! Enzymes in your dishwasher detergent actually work better when they can attach themselves to food particles.

Sanitize sinks: Use an eraser-type sponge (like Mr. Clean Magic Eraser) to remove marks, then sanitize by plugging the drain, filling the basin with warm water, and swishing a tablespoon of bleach around. Let it sit for five minutes, then rinse.

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Tips for Cleaning Every Week

Tackle one room or job each day so you're not doing everything all at once. For example, devote Monday to cleaning kitchen messes, bring out the vacuum on Tuesday, make Wednesday the day for changing sheets, and so on.

Clean inside of microwave: Heat a microwave-safe bowl filled with 1 cup of water and several tablespoons of vinegar on high power for several minutes until the window is steamy. Let cool for 5 minutes before opening the door, then remove the bowl, and wipe the inside clean with a sponge.

Scrub bathroom surfaces: We like CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner for grout and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath for glass, tile, and tub surfaces.

Sanitize sponges: Mix 3/4 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water and soak the sponge for five minutes, then rinse – that's it.

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Tips for Cleaning Every Month

Again, these don't have happen all on the same day, so split up your tasks and delegate jobs to your partner (and kids!).

Clean a washing machine: Use the special washer cleaner cycle on the newer models, or add a specialty cleaner like Affresh and run a normal cycle with hot water.

Clean dishwasher: Descale your machine by filling a large glass measuring cup with 2 cups of vinegar and placing it on the top rack. Then run the machine without detergent or heat dry.

Clean vacuum: Change your bag when it's three-quarters full to keep suction strong and replace the filter if it's very dirty or torn. Snip threads snarled in the brush with scissors or a seam ripper.

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Tips for Cleaning Every 3-6 Months

It's easy to forget about these tasks, so don't let them sneak up on you!

Wash pillows: Put down and fiberfill pillows in the washer and launder two at a time in warm water on a gentle cycle. Add an extra cold water rinse and spin cycle. Then tumble dry on low heat with a few rubber dryer balls.

Clean inside of oven: Wipe loose bits of food with a damp sponge. Then use the self-cleaning function on your oven to remove burnt-on grime. Wash your racks in the sink with warm, sudsy water and a heavy-duty scrub sponge.

Wash shower curtain liner: Launder plastic or vinyl curtains in the machine on the highest water level with a couple bath towels for extra agitation.



Source: Good Housekeeping

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Renovating a bathroom is expensive and the old adage that bathrooms and kitchens sell houses is very true.  For these reasons I always recommend keeping a bathroom renovation simple.  Good quality, but classic and timeless, so that you don't tire of it but it will last the distance.


You may feel that this is a bit boring but there is great value in having a clean blank canvass as it is a great backdrop for some individual bathroom styling.  This is where you can introduce some style and make the bathroom contemporary and attractive.  The best part though is that you can update it with minimal cost and disruption.

Let me show you my 5 top tips for individual bathroom styling:

Introducing Colour and Texture

It can be expensive to tile a bathroom from floor to ceiling and I much prefer to only use tiles in the wet areas and have plastered walls that can be painted.  It is a good idea to have a self contained shower, for example at the end of the bathroom or even in a separately designed corner or area.


With freestanding baths that can be positioned away from a wall with a floor tap, you don't need to have as much wall tiling as with a traditional built in bath.

Towel rails, particularly if they are heated, should be on a tiled wall, but there is nothing to say that this should be taken to the ceiling.  This is particularly the case if you are fortunate enough to have high ceilings.  In the image above, I stopped the tiles at the height of the internal doors and then introduced a soft grey to the wall above.

You can always change the colour of paint – perhaps a stronger, darker tone or even a fresh white.  So, by keeping the floor and wall tiles very neutral, you can easily introduce colour in the form of paint to the walls.  This means that the look of your bathroom can be freshened up and changed quite dramatically over the course of just a weekend.


Towels are another way to introduce some colour, even if you have white towels with a trim colour, these will give the room personality and just as important to the success of the room, will introduce some texture.

If your bathroom is large enough then you should consider introducing a rug.  This can be colourful or neutral depending on your style but again, it is the texture that is important here.


A freestanding bath can look lonely without a timber stool.  A handy seat or just a spot to leave the soap tray, whichever use you have for it there is no doubt that the texture and colour in the timber is a nice contrast in a simple white or grey bathroom.


Another benefit to simply painting the walls in your bathroom is that the room looks just that – another room – and you can decorate it with artworks to introduce a homely look.


Layers of Lighting

An entire house benefits from a good lighting plan but this is absolutely essential in a bathroom.  In terms of styling this is one way that you can really make a statement.

A bathroom vanity should have wall lights placed at eye level either side of the mirror.


In addition to LED downlights, a pendant can look stunning and again is such an individual and relatively inexpensive way to make a design statement.  If you are placing a pendant over a bath though you must check that the voltage is low enough and an electrician will be able to advise you here.


Water and electricity do not mix and there are very definite guidelines which you absolutely must follow when installing a pendant in a bathroom.


LED strip lighting underneath a wall hung vanity is a good idea as this can be left on at night and can be just enough to see by in the dark and saves you turning on the lights, waking yourself up completely and then not being able to get back to sleep!

Freestanding Furniture 

My ideal bathroom is one that has space for freestanding furniture.  An antique armoire for towels or a beautiful cabinet for storing bathroom items.  Not only are they practical but this has to be about the best way to introduce some individual style into the bathroom.


Keep the flooring and walls simple and then you can dress the room as you would any other in a house.  If it is large enough, you can add a chair too which makes perfect sense for a space like this.


Accessories

I love to shop for bathroom accessories as there are so many lovely pieces that are available now.  Mother of Pearl trays, gorgeous organic shaped timber bowls, or delicate porcelain dishes.  Whatever your style, there are items that you can add to transform the look of the space.

Remember though that the mantra of ‘keep it simple, decorate and at the end take one item away' should be employed here.


The last thing you want is for your bathroom to be cluttered.  Ensure that the tray, bowl or dish that you employ has a purpose and that your styling vignette doesn't get too busy.

Remember a bathroom attracts condensation and dust from talcum powder and make up so you don't want to set yourself up for too much cleaning!


Rather than installing a built in mirror, consider buying a statement mirror that will help to define the style of the bathroom and also bring in either colour, and/or texture to the space.


Candles are a classic styling accessory and look good styled in groups of three.  Large dishes of different soaps, baskets for guest towels and simple silver trays to contain bathroom items or a vignette are ideas to consider.


Finishing with Greenery

Finally, if you have the space, some statement greenery is the perfect complement to a bathroom.

A mood board is what designers use to put a scheme together.  This way you can see how colours sit next to each other and you can add and take away ideas.  I have a FREE e-book to give you on how to put a mood board together – you can download it here.


Rugs are one of the best styling touches for a bathroom but it can be difficult to visualise how they will work.  You can add images to your mood board but if you really want to see what it looks like, Miss Amara has fabulous rugs that you can buy and return if they are not right – and they pay for the pick-up and return to their warehouse. 



Source: Making Your Home Beautiful 

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Summer vacation is in full swing, and we’re soaking up as much outdoor play time as possible. Parks, beaches, our backyard, patio and front yard have turned into canvases for my children’s play and imagination. I absolutely love being able to give them a slew of sidewalk chalk or paint, and see them create whatever they’d like.

Just yesterday, while I was nursing the baby, the house got extra quiet. I came out to find an impromptu fort with my kids and their friends, giggling and playing underneath. Summer really is the essence of what childhood memories are made of.


Lately, our front lawn has become a communal gathering spot. It’s become a place to create, play, imagine and actualize. As the kids have been frequenting our front lawn more, I have been taking prompts outside and watching their fun unfold. These simple outdoor activities have been a source of so much enjoyment, laughter, and joy!

Below is a list of our favorite simple outdoor kids activities that we have enjoyed again and again:



1. Water balloon T-Ball/ Baseball.

Depending on your child’s ability level, grab either your t-ball set or just a baseball bat. Pre-fill a bunch of water balloons. Put them in a laundry basket or plastic tub. Head to the park and invite friends to play!

 

2. Chalk obstacle course.

All you need is chalk and some vision. For literate children, write out an array of gross motor movements in a sequence, like you would hop scotch. For instance: jump like a bunny x 3, hold tree pose on one side, walk on your hands and feet, jump on one foot, hold tree pose on the other side, jump on the opposite foot, twirl x 2, jump up and try touch the sky x 4


3. Hula hoop race & catch.

This is such a simple activity for kids and it’s SO fun. You will need multiple hula hoops. Head to an area with lots of green space, and have the children line up. Holding the hula hoops vertically, roll them with as much force as you can along the ground. Call out each child’s name and have them run after the hoop to catch it. Every time they bring back a hoop, throw another one! This is amazing hand-eye coordination practice.

 

4. Sensory scavenger hunt.

Collect items you’re sure to find around the park (wood chips, dandelions, leaves, pebbles), affix them to a piece of paper using tape, and have your children look for those items!


5. Toy-made obstacle course.

Grab hula hoops, a toy tunnel, cones, pylons, and anything else you can think of. Encourage your children to organize the obstacle course in a fun and challenging way.

 

6. Kitchen utensil bubble wands.

Go through a kitchen drawer and collect slotted spoons, fly swatters, spatulas, and anything else that has holes to make bubbles. Make your own bubble solution and then head out to see which utensil creates the best bubbles!

 

7. “Bake” mud pies and muffins.

All you need are some utensils, pans, and imagination.


Source: Nature's Path

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If you’re the kind of person who likes to switch up your décor on a regular basis, you know how expensive it can be. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be costly. There are a lot of easy and inexpensive things you can do to change the look of a room without spending a fortune.

 

Rearrange the Furniture

This is no doubt the least expensive way to update a room because it’s totally free! Moving the furniture around gives your room a whole new look and can satisfy your need for change without any cost. And if you’re not prepared to move all the furniture try rearranging your accessories and bookshelf displays. You’d be surprised at what a big impact it can have.

 

Paint

Paint is the most obvious way to give a room a new look, and it will only cost you a few dollars and some time. With paint, you have endless options. You can paint the entire room one color; you can paint a feature wall; or you can paint some type of design such as stripes, chevrons, or stencil work. With paint there are no limits.

 

Change the Lampshades

Lampshades are like little jewels scattered throughout a room. Change them and you change the mood. Try going from white to black, pleated to flat, or plain to patterned. There are a lot more options available than there used to be so finding something you like shouldn’t be difficult. Try stores like Target, Pottery Barn and Lamps Plus to get an idea of what’s out there. And if you can’t find what you like you can always go custom.

 

Pillows and Throws

Adding pillows and throw blankets is a great way to add color and texture, and the impact they create can give your room a fresh new look - particularly if you change them with the seasons. Taking away heavy, dark pillows and throws that were cozy in the winter and replacing them with light and fresh versions in the summer can lift and freshen a room instantly.

 

Hang Artwork

There’s a lot that can be done with artwork, from rearranging existing pieces to creating new ones. What’s on the walls has a big impact. If you don’t currently have anything try framing wallpaper or fabric samples, create washi tape art, or frame pages from old books. The idea that artwork has to be expensive is a myth, so try making your own.

 

Edit the Clutter

When in doubt, edit. Crowding too many things into a room can make it feel small and claustrophobic. To lighten a space simply remove a few items. Everything needs room to breathe so if your space is feeling tight and you want a new look, edit a few items out.

 

More Cheap Decorating Ideas

  • Replace the window treatments
  • Create a gallery wall with your photos
  • Replace overhead fixtures with thrift store chandeliers (make sure the wiring is up to code)
  • Replace all your picture frames with garage sale versions and paint them all the same color.
  • Find a second-hand mirror and paint the frame to match your space. Hang it across from a window to instantly make your room feel bigger.
  • Spray paint an existing piece of furniture such as a side table or chair.
  • Paint doors and trim. Who says they have to be white?
  • Replace your area rug. Carpet stores often have remnants that can be purchased for very cheap prices.


Source: The Spruce

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With all the added hours you're spending at home these days because of the pandemic, it's easy to grow tired of the same old surroundings. Well, you've got some extra time on our hands—and it is that time of year—why not use this as an opportunity to change things up a bit? Just remember, spring cleaning doesn't have to be all about boring, tedious decluttering and disinfecting. Sure, those things are essential, especially given what's currently going on in the world, but you don't have to limit yourself to the standard chores on your checklist. Read on for ideas on how you can easily upgrade your home for spring—even while in quarantine.


1 Add some fresh flowers

 

We could all use a little touch of color right now, so why not brighten things up by adding fresh flowers to your spring update plan this year.

"One of my all-time favorite [ways] to usher in the season is to inundate my home with fresh flowers in beautiful spring colors that pop," says Nicole Gittens, principal designer at New Visions Interiors and Events. "Contain them in simple but interesting clear glass containers and vases so that even the pretty green stems can shine through!"


2 Create entryway vignettes

 

Brightening you entryway is an easy way to create a welcoming atmosphere for when you return from a stressful venture to the grocery store. "If your entry has a great statement piece you'd like to showcase why not don it with letter boards piped in white, cute spring sayings, fresh flowers, and an assortment of candles in spring scents and hues? Nothing says spring better!" Gittens says. For more home update ideas, check out 27 Amazing Home Upgrades for Every Budget.

 

3 Construct a gallery wall

 

If you're tired of sitting in the same space all day you can easily reenergize it by creating a gallery wall. Order a few matching or complementary frames, sketch and measure where you want them to go on your wall, and hang them up using Command Strips so you can change their placement quickly and easily without damaging your walls. If you already have art hanging on your wall simply rearranging its placement could make the space feel like new.


4 Use LED light bulbs

 

Consider replacing any incandescent light bulbs in your home with energy-efficient LED (light emitting diodes) bulbs while you're changing things for spring. Not only do LEDs cast a brighter light than their incandescent counterparts, but they'll also spring clean your energy bill—an LED can run for 25 times as long as incandescent bulbs and cost much less to run. And for more ways to go green at home, check out 30 Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly.

 

5 Try peel-and-stick wallpaper

 

You don't have to break out the paintbrushes to give your space a whole new vibe in minutes. Peel-and-stick wallpaper makes it easy to completely change the feel and look of a room—and better yet, if that paper feels dated a year down the line, you can remove it without damaging your walls.


6 Repaint your front door

 

Want an easy upgrade you can do without breaking the bank? Order some paint, put on your overalls, and break and give your front door a fresh look with a more appealing hue. A little tip before you get started: If you're hoping to sell your home in the next few years, it pays to be discerning about your color choice, though: according to Zillow, homes with dark gray or black front doors tend to sell at a higher value.

 

7 Add some window boxes

 

While you're stuck inside, you might as well enjoy the view when you look gaze out the windows of your home. Window boxes are an inexpensive addition—you can get them for under $8 at Home Depot—that will instantly brighten the look of your home and provide a place to grow and showcase your favorite plants and flowers for years to come.


8 Update your throw pillows

 

If your throw pillows have become faded or are starting to resemble something like a pancake because of all the extra use they're currently getting, it may be time to sub them out. "Swap out your darker pillows with heavier textures, such as velvets, for lighter colors and springier materials, such as linens," Gittens says. "It will give your rooms a much crisper feel." If you're looking for an even bigger project, take a shot at making your own pillow covers.

 

9 Swap out dark curtains for sheer panels

 

Those heavy, dark curtains may have served their purpose by keeping your house warmer during winter, but now that spring has sprung, it's time to let the sunshine in. Try changing things up with some sheer panels and your home will feel brighter in no time. And with all the time you've been required to spend indoors, getting plenty of vitamin D is more important than ever.


10 Turn your windowsill into a living landscape

 

This is the perfect time to bring the outdoors inside. Make the most of that springtime sunshine by turning your windowsills into a home for some potted plants. Not only will this add some instant visual appeal to your home, research even suggests that indoor plants can improve people's moods.

 

11 Hang a front door wreath

 

Who says that wreaths are only for the holidays? Putting up a springtime wreath can make your home feel more festive without breaking the bank. And if you're feeling crafty and creative, try making your own—it will give your home's exterior a charming personal touch.


12 Refinish your cabinets

 

You don't need to fully remodel your kitchen to make it feel like a brand new space. Refinishing your cabinets and giving them a new stain or a fresh coat of paint gives you fun project to tackle that will completely change the look and feel of your home.


13 Add new drawer pulls

 

Want to give your kitchen a five-minute makeover, but you don't know where to start? Try adding new drawer pulls. That's right, swapping out outdated wooden or brass handles and knobs on your cabinets can refresh the room in no time—on a tiny budget, to boot.

 

14 Swap in a new bath mat

 

While completely revamping your bathroom may be an ordeal, a new bath mat can make all the difference in how much you enjoy the space. And luckily, this is one of the cheaper upgrades out there—for as little as $10—sometimes even less—you can completely refresh the room.

 

15 Repaint your baseboards

 

Between the constant opening and shutting of doors and the heavy foot traffic of your family and pets, the baseboards in your house can start to look a little rough after a while. If you want to upgrade your space, give them that fresh coat of paint they deserve—and take note of how it gives the rest of your home a whole new vibrant feel.

 

16 And your patio furniture

 

We have a feeling you may be spending quite a bit of time in your backyard this season. Breathe new life into your outdoor furniture this spring with a quick coat of exterior-grade paint. All it takes is a little cleaning, a little sanding, and two coats of the stuff to turn those beat-up wicker chairs into something fresh and modern.

 

17 Set out a new welcome mat

 

With the salt and slush associated with the winter months behind you, it's time to retire that heavy-duty doormat until next year. To brighten up your front step, opt instead for something more seasonal—it's an easy upgrade that will completely change your exterior's aesthetic.


Source: Bestlifeonline

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