Melissa Kaspern's Blog
Yes, mom's house always seemed magically clean, so you may have missed some of her little tricks and tips. Here are a few to add to your cleaning repertoire and simplify your life.
- Repurpose your orange peels: Place orange, lemon, or lime peels in your garbage disposal and run with plenty of water to clean out nasty residue and make your sink smell citrusy fresh. Alternatively, run a little bit of distilled vinegar in the disposal and follow with lots of water. The vinegar odor dissipates within a couple of hours leaving your drains with a pleasant neutral odor.
- Keep your brew flowing: Run distilled white vinegar, not apple cider vinegar, through your coffee machine every few weeks. Just add a half cup to one full pot of water, pour it in and press "brew" to clean out the calcium and lime deposits that build up in the coffee maker and wipe out any mold or bacteria hiding in the works. Make sure to follow up with a pot or two of clean, clear water so that your coffee maker is morning ready.
- Dump the dryer lint: Ever wonder why it takes you longer to dry your clothes than it took your mom? Clean the dryer lint between each load. The filter that collects the fuzz is also the place that damp air leaves the dryer so clearing out that build-up makes the dryer more efficient. At least every two or three months, carefully pull the dryer out from the wall and clean the lint caught in the hose and vent too.
- Freshen the bed: Clean your sheets every week. If you're like a lot of millennials and don't use a top sheet, then clean your comforter or duvet cover at the same time. Your sheets gather sweat, oils, and dead skin cells that attract dust mites and other pests. Remember the mattress pad too. Wash it every other sheet change or so. And while you have it off, vacuum your mattress. If it has collected odors, sprinkle a little baking soda on it, let it sit while you do the laundry and then vacuum it off before you make up the bed.
- Be friendly to your mattress: You sleep on it every night, so for your mattress to hold up, flip it end for end at least twice a year. If it is reversible, flip it over too. That way it wears more evenly and lasts longer.
- Detail the dishwasher: In the same way that water deposits build up in your coffee maker, they can clog up the dishwasher's tiny drain holes. Run an empty load with a cup of distilled white vinegar every couple of months to keep it running smoothly.
- Ditch the dust: If you always see dust on your bookcase, it might be because you have a dirty HVAC filter. Change your filter once a month for best results and use a HEPA filter if you have allergies. While you're at it, dust off that ceiling fan.
Add these actions into your routine, and your home will feel more, well, homey! When you move into your new house, have your agent show you where the furnace vents are so you can get started on a clean foot.
After a move, everything feels fresh and energizing. This is, of course, in part because of the energy that comes with a big change. But it also comes from having a neatly, organized home. In the jumble of packing and unpacking, junk gets tossed and items get new homes. Everything gets a new dedicated area where it belongs. Everything is tidy, as it should be.
So how then can you maintain this wonderful feeling and continue to keep things neat and tidy?
First, you need to make a daily habit of doing a quick clean sweep every day. Whether you do it in the morning, afternoon or before bed isn’t important. What is important is that you do it every day.
Go through the house to make to corral up stray dishes, put items back into their dedicated places, and give homes to those who don’t have one yet.
And if you can’t think of somewhere to put it? Question its purpose and consider either donating or tossing it.
Aim to keep your surfaces clear of items. Allowing things to accumulate is one of the fastest for clutter to quickly take over. Stop it in its track by tidying up when you’re done using this “station” of your home.
Practice not being “lazy”. If you bring your tea to sip on the couch when you leave the room take your mug with you straight to the dishwasher. If you finished the last of the chips put the clip away where it belongs instead of leaving it out on the counter. Put pens back away after using them to jot out notes. Recycle magazines when you're done reading them.
If you find things are building up as clutter quickly you might have too much stuff. Which is okay, it happens!
Decluttering isn’t a one and done process. We need to consistently be assessing the things that collect in our homes and what benefit they are adding to your life. Sometimes we once used all the time have fallen out of favor or need to be repaired/replaced.
Make time once a month for a quick declutter session and once a season for a more detailed one.
And the best way to avoid clutter is to closely monitor what you’re allowing to come into your home in the first place. If you find you love to take things home just because they were free or on sale, it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself why.
After all, the less stuff we have in our homes the less there is to manage. Which means more time spent doing what you enjoy doing, like spending time with your family, and less time organizing it all.
Cleaning your home can always seem like an ever daunting task, but it truly doesn’t have to be. If you spend the time to keep up with your home in small chunks and keep your cleaning routine organized, cleaning can be a breeze. Take a peek at the tips laid out below to discover how to make cleaning an easy task around your home.
Keep All The Tools You Need In One Place
It’s a good idea to keep everything that you’ll need to clean your home within one place. Use a bucket or caddy to help you tote your essentials around the house. This way, it will be easier to bring your cleaning supplies with you from room to room. You could even keep a cleaning tote on each level of your home for an even smoother cleaning process.
Skip The Small Stuff
If you take out time during every cleaning to dust small collections and care for them, you’re wasting your time. Small knick-knacks and other hidden details of the home can stand to be dusted about once a month.
Have A Storage System
It’s much easier to clean your house if you have a storage system. Having an organizational system in place means that everything has a place. Be sure you have shelving, cubbies, racks, and everything else you’ll need to help your family put everything away as they use it. Keeping things neat and organized is half the battle when it comes to keeping your home clean.
Use Your Vacuum Wisely
You have a vacuum to make cleaning easier, so use it! Get an extension cord to make every area of the house easy to reach. Although a broom or dust mop can sometimes be helpful in the cleaning process, a vacuum makes it much easier to get every piece of dirt and dust up off of the floors.
Have A Plan
Beginning to clean your home without any rhyme or reason can be a recipe for disaster. If you only have time to do one room on one day, keep your cleaning schedule short but consistent. This way, the entire house will get done, but you won’t be overwhelmed. Focusing on one room at a time can help you to make your home shine.
Use The Cleaning Supplies That Will Be A Help To You
There are many more things you can use in your home than conventional cleaning supplies. Use whatever works for you. Everything from vinegar to toothbrushes is fair game to use for your cleaning supplies.
One of the many challenges of putting your home on the market is keeping it clean!
That task can be even more difficult if you have kids, pets, and a busy schedule. If everyone is always rushing off to their jobs, classes, lunch dates, meetings, practices, or appointments, it's hard to keep your home in a perpetual state of cleanliness and order.
Probably the first step to keeping your house ready for real estate showings is to remind your family to clean up after themselves. While this may require more than one reminder, any amount of cooperation will help keep messes to a minimum. Implementing some sort of reward system or even a competition among siblings, can go a long way toward maintaining a semblance of order in the house. Some parents even post a calendar of assigned chores to make sure everyone does their fair share.
Professional Help May Be Needed!
Getting your home ready for real estate showings can feel like a monumental task, especially if you have a large house and a messy family! The good news is that you can hire some outside help without depleting your kids' college funds! Many households already have a house cleaning person or service that comes in at least a couple times a month to keep things looking civilized. If your house is actively being shown to prospective buyers, however, you might want to consider having your housekeeper clean the house a little more frequently than usual. That way, you only have to do some minor tidying up when your real estate agent notifies you about a scheduled house showing in a few hours or tomorrow morning.
If any of your rooms are carpeted and the floors haven't been professionally steam-cleaned for as long as you can remember, it may be time to hire a carpet cleaning service. Carpeted floors have an unfortunate tendancy of locking in stains, allergens, and ground-in dirt for months, if not years! Although you can often improve the appearance of your carpets by cleaning them yourself, it often requires the services of a professional carpet cleaning service to really get those stubborn stains out. You can often get recommendations from neighbors, friends, relatives, or coworkers, and can look for online reviews of carpet cleaners on social media websites.
Once you've cleaned, dusted, and sanitized the inside of your house, there may be one more area to tackle before you're ready to have your house shown: its exterior! Your home's siding may be covered with filmy layers of dust, grime, splatters, and environmental pollutants -- a condition which thankfully can be reversed by using the services of a local power-washing company. While not all power-washing services are created equal, a reliable one can remove years of accumulated filmy deposits from pollen, birds, spider webs, acid rain, snow blower splatters, rust, smoky emissions from backyard barbeques, vehicle exhaust emissions, and other miscellaneous air pollution.
So even though the environment, your family, and the wear and tear of normal, everyday use will take its toll on the appearance of your home, there are many things you can do to reverse that process and restore many aspects of your home's original freshness, charm, and appeal!
All house buyers have different pet peeves when it comes to evaluating homes, but there are a lot of easy fixes you can do to reduce the chances of losing a sale. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Squeaky doors: Lubricating squeaky hinges is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your chances of making a positive impression on prospective home buyers. A seemingly small thing like squeaky door hinges can make your house seem old, poorly maintained, and in disrepair. A squeaky door hinge is probably not going to make or break the sale of your house, but in combination with other little flaws that prospects might notice, it could have a major impact.
Weeds cropping up: Another clear signal to prospects that your property hasn't been properly maintained -- at least in their minds -- is the existence of weeds. Other than an overgrown lawn, nothing detracts from curb appeal more than weeds coming up everywhere, especially in driveway cracks, walkways, and front steps. If your home is on the market or you're considering selling it in the near future, getting rid of noticeable weeds will help improve your property's curb appeal and make a better impression on prospective buyers. If you hate the idea of handling or applying commercial weed killers, non-toxic household items like vinegar or salt have been known to nip the weed problem in the bud. Whether you use store-bought herbicides or natural remedies, make sure you don't damage any nearby plants that you want to protect. In some cases, manually pulling out weeds and carefully digging out the roots is the most risk-free approach, although it's also the most labor intensive!
Dust and cobwebs: No matter how thorough you think you've been in cleaning your house, you're probably going to miss a few spots that prospective buyers will notice. In small amounts, a little dust is not going to make or break your sale, but like squeaky door hinges, small problems add up! Areas that homeowners and house cleaners often overlook include baseboards, ceiling fans, and corners of ceilings.
Unpleasant odors: If your house smells like pets, mold, or mothballs, that sometimes can be a deal breaker. Bad odors are a major sensory turnoff that could easily sour people on the idea of making an offer on your house. Musty odors are often indicative of a larger problem, such as a damp basement, leaky pipes, water damage, or mold infestation. Eliminating odors prior to having your house shown can be as simple as doing a thorough cleaning, or as complex and expensive as hiring a mold remediation service.
The good news about preparing your home for sale is that a seasoned real estate agent can provide you with the advice, guidance, and help you need to maximize your chances for attracting offers and selling your property for its full market value.