Don’t Let Mother Nature Ruin Your Floors

Without always realizing, the conditions from outside can quickly cause damage to your floors—no matter the type. Refer to these tips when a winter storm hits to protect the integrity of the flooring in your home this season!

Utilize floor mats.
Placing a mat in your entryway is the easiest way to ensure clean floors when it snows or rains all day. This encourages your family and guests to wipe their shoes off before entering your home. Don’t be afraid to suggest they take shoes off completely, either!

Invest in a steam mop.
If you’re worried about the damage to your floors, it may be time to invest in a steam mop. The technology in this method effectively gets out tough marks on finishes like linoleum, vinyl, and even hardwood (just make sure your floors are sealed), while being gentle enough to use weekly.

Try to be diligent.
While you can’t be expected to walk around your house with a paper towel roll every time someone forgets to take their shoes off, at least aim to be more attentive to your floors. You don’t want to wait until spring to clean up the spots from snow and sleet, which by then will be harder to deal with.

Cover the carpets and rugs.
Hard flooring may be pesky, but nothing compares to getting stains out of carpets and rugs. On a particularly snowy day, cover your floors with furniture pads. It may seem excessive, but you’ll thank yourself later for not having to do a deep clean of these areas!

Choose cleaners carefully.
The right cleaners (and cleaning methods) can make all the difference to the longevity of your floors. Traditional mopping your hardwood floors is no longer the way to go, and will just add more moisture to the mix. Use a cloth to take care of excess water whenever possible, and be quick about cleaning up areas that are prone to damage.

Follow these cleaning tips to keep your floors looking shiny and brand new this season!

Organization 101: How to Make It a Habit

So you’ve spent some time on Pinterest or other social media networks, and suddenly feel that you need to overhaul your life and become more organized. Every time you discover an aspect of your life that needs organization, you find yourself rushing out to buy something new to help yourself with the project.

Then, after a few weeks, the inspiration fades away, and you end up back where you started. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s okay; it happens to the best of us.

The good thing is that being organized is not a personality trait; it’s a skill set. You just need to have the will to accomplish your goals and a few tips from someone who has been there. If you’re ready to be organized for the long term, here is what you’ll need to know:

Know yourself.
Be honest when identifying your biggest problem areas, and know what your goals are before getting started. Most importantly, prioritize your goals based on which ones will have the most positive impact on your home, office, or life.

Being organized is not the goal.
Don’t try to become organized for the sake of being organized or because your partner or colleague tells you that you should. Identify your own personal problems and priorities. Brainstorm (or write down) why each project is important to you and the benefits you’ll enjoy once the project is complete.

Expect hurdles and failures.
The process of organizing a space has a tendency to uncover some hidden uses or storage needs that you weren’t aware of. This realization can force you to make some big adjustments or even start over. Organized people understand that their system of organization is not a commitment; they know that when it’s not working, and it’s okay to just start over.

Free your mind.
Organized people don’t try to remember every item on their tasks list. Instead, they get their to-dos out of their heads and onto a list or calendar, so they never have to worry about dropping the ball. When you have a system and schedule in place, your mind is free to think about important problems, brainstorm a great idea, or even daydream.

Routines are the backbone of organization.
Create a routine, and stick to it. This might take weeks, months, or even years—there is conflicting research on how long it actually takes to develop a habit. So to find the routine that works best, think of it as a work in progress. Start by identifying the repetitive or undesirable tasks, and incorporate them into a checklist with milestones. These small actions will eventually become more and more familiar; they’ll save you time by adding efficiency and eventually become habit.

Minimize.
Have trouble letting things go? First, identify which of these common reasons is making you hold on to stuff—it’s sentimental, it was a gift, you think might need it some day, or it’s still in perfect condition. Ask yourself one simple question: would I choose to go out and buy this thing again right now today if I didn’t have it? If the answer is no, then you should let it go. Remember that having less means less to clean, less to organize, and less mess—less really does mean more.

Have a place for everything, and everything in its place. When deciding where to keep things, always consider where and how often you use each item. Store things where you use them, and don’t allow once-a-year items to eat up real estate that’s within arms reach.

Success is in the follow-through.
Procrastination is the enemy of organization. Once you have a plan for an organization project, or even a small clean-up task, schedule it. If something is scheduled, make every effort to complete it on time.


Remember, being organized is a skill, and it takes practice. Sure, organization comes more easily to some people, but that doesn’t mean an organized life is impossible to achieve if it takes you a little while to get your feet wet.

Trash vs. Recycle: Do You Know When to Trash it?

Every day, the average American will throw away nearly five pounds of trash and waste. And while it’s no secret that recycling plays a crucial role in keeping these materials out of the landfill, recycling also helps make products more affordable for both manufacturers and shoppers, reduces overall energy use, and cuts down on the greenhouse gases that are released into the environment.

But knowing the best way to dispose of something can be confusing. Should you trash it or recycle it?

Next time you’re staring at the trash bin wondering if that’s the best place for your soda can, remember the breakdown below to know which items go where.

Recycling Bin
Check with your town or waste-removal service to find out exactly what they accept. As a starting guide, the items below are commonly recyclable. Note: while aluminum foil is okay to put in the recycling bin, keep in mind that it is also easy to wipe clean. The greenest solution? Re-use it!

  • Paper and cardboard: recycle newspaper, office paper, junk mail, magazines, brown bags, and regular or corrugated cardboard.
  • Aluminum, steel, and tin: soda cans, food cans, foil, and baking pans can be recycled, but be sure to clean off food residue.
  • Glass: glass of any color is typically recyclable. Keep broken glass out of your curbside bin for the safety of sanitation workers.
  • Plastic containers: containers labeled #1 through #7 are commonly accepted, but make sure they’re clean.
  • Cartons: wash out milk and juice cartons, and place them with other paper recyclables.

Trash Can
Believe it or not, casually tossing items into the recycle bin you are unsure about is actually worse for the environment than just throwing them away. For this reason, it’s important to know what can and can’t be recycled. Unfortunately, the following items are hard to recycle. Next time, try to use alternative materials and/or reusable items when you can.

  • Coated paper products: disposable coffee cups, sheets of stickers or address labels, and frozen-food boxes are not recyclable.
  • Styrofoam: styrofoam cups and containers are technically recyclable, but few facilities accept them for cost reasons.
  • Disposable diapers: the paper and plastic from these items cannot be salvaged.
  • Food wrappers: candy wrappers, potato chip bags, and plastic wrap cannot be recycled.
  • Food-related paper products: because of the food residue on these products, pizza boxes, take-out containers, napkins, and paper towels cannot be recycled.

Special Recycling Bin
Some businesses and government services accept these special items for disposal and recycling. Look for specially marked bins in your local area.

  • Plastic bags: these may be accepted at your local supermarket, but reusable cloth bags will always be your best bet.
  • Empty ink cartridges: most business supply stores will recycle these.
  • Household batteries: drop them off at a public facility, like the library, post office, or recycling center.
  • Lightbulbs: some home improvement stores will recycle lightbulbs for you.
  • Clothing and shoes: if they are in pretty good condition, someone else might want these items, so donate them to a local charity or thrift store.
  • Textiles: textiles can sometimes be donated to be reused or down-cycled to make other items, such as rags.

8 Easy Ways to Eliminate Pet Odors from Your Home

If you’re one of those families that has multiple pets, you know it can be hard to keep your home clean and smelling fresh. Here are some tips on how to keep your home from smelling like a pet store!

Bathe and groom your pets regularly.
This will keep excess dirt, oils, dander, and any odors that may be on your pets’ coats from being carried throughout your house. Brushing and grooming can be done more often, since it is just as important. Whenever possible, brush your pets outside to prevent loose hair from finding its way onto and into furniture and carpeting.

Get rid of the hair on your furnishings.
Use a vacuum cleaner with a pet attachment or a lint roller to do away with loose hair at least once a week. If the lint roller or vacuum attachment isn’t working, try using a rubber glove (assuming that a little dampness is all right for your furniture, of course). Put in on your hand, moisten it a bit, and gently glide it over the surface.

Vacuum the floors.
You should try to vacuum your floors once or twice a week, depending on the number of pets you have in your home. This will help lessen the amount of hair and cat litter on the floor that leaves behind those lingering pet smells. You can also use a squeegee to pull up the stray hairs in your carpet that your vacuum can’t get to.

Check your air filters.
Pet hair can build up and clog your air filters. Be sure to change your air-conditioning or furnace filters at least every three to six months.

Be sure to always use disinfectants.
Many odors are caused by bacteria. Try using high-quality sanitizing cleaners that kill more than 99 percent of germs for those lingering odors and surface bacteria. Be sure to use products that are safe for curious tongues and noses!

Eliminate those urine odors right away.
If your pet has an accident inside, clean the area right away using an enzymatic cleaner. These are designed especially for eliminating pet odors and destroying any pheromones and molecules left behind.

Don’t forget to wash their bedding.
If your pet has a bed with a removable cover, be sure to wash that, as well as other pet bedding, at least twice a month.

Keep up with the litter box.
You should scoop the cat litter at least once a day. Keep the litter fresh with baking soda, as this can be used to absorb the smell. Try using a plug-in air freshener in the room where you keep the litter box.