Tag Archives: clean

Spring Cleaning Tips

It’s time to open the windows, take in a breath of fresh air, and bust out those buckets, mops, brooms, and rags because spring is here! We all know that with spring comes spring-cleaning, which some of us dread and some of us anticipate, but those pesky dark corners of our homes that get neglected every winter aren’t going anywhere. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of spring-cleaning tips that will ensure your home is left spotless!
It always feels good to declutter and deep clean after the painfully long winter and an easy place to start is your closet! Whether you’ve kept your weight loss resolutions and you can’t wear a lot of your clothes anymore, or you’ve changed up your look, we all have clothes that we bought and hate or just don’t wear anymore. When cleaning out your closet try to be as objective as possible. Don’t say “what if” or “but”… if you haven’t worn it in the past sixth months, put it in the donate bin! If you’re honest with yourself, when you’re done there will be a huge difference! The great thing is, after you’re done you’ll have an excuse to go shopping and get a new spring outfit to celebrate!
Another great way to get a jump start on your spring cleaning is to tackle those baseboards that have collected a startling amount of dust and grime over the cold months! We all hate grabbing that bucket of soapy water and a rag only to get down on our knees for the thankless task of scrubbing the baseboards, but you’ll notice a huge difference when you’re done! Even your floors will look cleaner after scrubbing your baseboards until they’re squeaky clean. If crouching down on your knees for what seems like forever is just too much, check out Pinterest for all kinds of creative ideas on how to avoid squatting!
Next on our list is ceiling fans… out of sight out of mind, right? We always seem to forget these guys until one day, after we’ve opened up those windows and it’s a little warm, we turn them on full blast only to receive in return a prompt rain of dust on the entire room. Don’t let this happen to you! Just grab a small step stool and a warm damp rag and wipe off the tops of the blades. Depending on how long you’ve neglected them, you might have to go over them a few times, but it’s worth it knowing that you’re keeping dust out of the air and off of your clean floors!
One of the more creative ideas that we’ve come up with is to, while your scrubbing those baseboards and ceiling fans, take your AC vent covers, place them in the dishwasher without soap, and hit “start” to get them squeaky clean*. You don’t even need soap, the hot water will be enough to wash away the grime from the winter! Then, by the time you’re done with your other projects, all you’ll have to do is take them out of the dishwasher and put them back in place!
slice-of-lemon-953987_1920Lastly, don’t make spring cleaning harder than it needs to be! To cut grease and grime in those extra tough places, use a lemon wedge! After you go over the area with the lemon, wipe with a damp rag to clean up any extra. We love this for areas like stovetops and microwaves. It’s especially nice to know that you are using something totally natural and free of harsh chemicals to clean the areas where you prepare food for your family!
As you start to dive into your cleaning don’t forget those tough spots, be objective, and keep in mind that it is SO worth it when you’re done! There’s no better way to kick off spring than with a clean and refreshed space for you to spend time with your family. The Bella girls would love to hear what your favorite spring cleaning tip is, so share with us on Facebook!

*Only do this if your AC vents are metal.

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Winter Organization!

With the start of a New Year, most of us will go through our homes or work to evaluate how to make this year even better than the last.
Everyone would like more organization in their lives; we are so busy with our daily activities that sometimes we tend to neglect the obvious. Fortunately, the solution to organizing the chaos is easier than you think.
The first step is to purge! This is such a difficult word to some people. We hold on the materialistic items and get too comfortable in our surroundings. Ask yourself a few questions about each of your belongings:
Can I live without it?
Does it make a statement about my personality or lifestyle?
When is the last time I used it?
These questions will work when deciding on furniture, clothing, books, and even collectible items!
Next, let’s tackle organization tips for mail, magazines, and types of paper. Functionality and creativity are important. For example, if you have room for a small table at the entry way– have decorated baskets to collect the type of paper that makes its way to the home or office.  Baskets are a wonderful asset for any storage solution.
One of the biggest obstacles we encounter is what to do with an item that is not working for us. Some items will need to go to one of the many organizations in our area that collect clothing and other goods for those in need (like women’s shelters). Make sure you also check out consignment shops like The Golden Shoestring and EuroExclusives. The extra cash for items you aren’t using can really be helpful for the start of the year.
Finally, decide on presentation. There are endless possibilities for organizing your remaining items like baskets, shelving, hooks, and trunks. Make it simple or elaborate—a true reflection of your style. Check out our Pinterest page for DIY ideas!
This opportunity can lead us to establish better habits and find what we need to make our lives more productive. All you need is time, commitment, and ability to follow through and create your own organized space. Have fun, be creative, and remember: organization can be a positive adventure!

Written by Diane M. Straub

Go Green!

Whether you’re motivated by a workplace initiative, a personal goal or the opportunity to teach your children lifelong positive habits, now is a great time to become more environmentally friendly.
Here are three ways your family can create positive environmental change starting today.

Recycle

Research shows that less than 2 percent of waste in the United States is recycled, yet almost half of all trash can be recycled. Packed lunches are one source of waste that most families don’t consider. These are tossed away each afternoon once lunchtime is finished. This is true during the school year and during summer vacation, as some children in daycare have to bring their own lunch.

Instead of throwing out plastic wrappers, collect them and send them to a company like TerraCycle. They turn recycled wrappers into products like tote bags, pencil cases, and even picnic benches! Visit www.terracycle.com for more information.

Protect water resources

Water is one of the most important resources people have, yet every year billions of gallons are needlessly wasted. You can conserve water in your home by teaching your children to take shorter showers or baths, turning off dripping faucets and avoiding letting the water run while they are brushing their teeth.

You can also reduce water waste in your home by investing in water-saving appliances and by reducing or eliminating the practice of watering your lawn, relying on rain to do so instead.

Help plant a tree

Few things are as beautiful as a tall, healthy tree. But trees are more than just a beautiful backdrop, as they are also essential to the environment. Here are four reasons why from the Arbor Day Foundation:

1. Trees help clean the air. They improve the quality of the air you breathe by capturing dust and pollution particles that can affect your health.

2. Trees help fight climate change. As trees grow, they remove greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from the air, store carbon, and release pure oxygen into the atmosphere.

3. Trees planted along waterways can help filter out chemicals that might otherwise wash to water sources. They also can create stable soil and help prevent soil erosion, flooding and even landslides.

4. Trees properly planted around a home can help lower air conditioning and heating costs by up to 25 percent.

Environmentally friendly habits are easy to pick up and they can be a great way to bond with your children on a shared project while developing lifelong habits. So don’t wait another minute! Start your family down the eco-friendly path today.

Clean Commute Challenge from Ride Solutions

May is officially here and it is time to step up our responsibility as active commuters to protect the environment! 

CCC-convoy-2013Over the course of the next month, RIDE Solutions is encouraging commuters to bike, walk, carpool, take transit, or telecommute. 

RIDE Solutions, the region’s popular commuter service program, challenges area commuters to take the Clean Commute Pledge. This is a great way to explore your commute options at least one day during the month.

To make the challenge more exciting, RIDE Solutions has opened it up to trips that aren’t exclusively work-related. “While commute trips have a huge impact, we know that most trips a household takes are not related to the daily commute,” says Program Director Jeremy Holmes. “We want people to try carpooling, biking, walking and transit for all kinds of trips – whether it’s carpooling to lunch with coworkers, riding a bike to see a movie, or walking to the store instead of driving.”

In addition to taking the pledge, participants can get more involved by logging their clean trips throughout the month.  Each trip logged gives participants an entry into weekly prize drawings.  Finally, participants can start or join an existing Clean Commute Team, counting each logged trip towards their team performance and earning bigger and better prizes.  Team performance and miles logged will be tracked at the Clean Commute Challenge leaderboard.

“Using a clean commute option, even one day a week, has immediate benefits for both commuters and our communities,” says Holmes.  “It’s a simple way to enjoy the region’s many outdoor amenities, make our communities stronger and cleaner, and actually have fun getting to work.”

The Clean Commute Challenge is one of a number of events organized by RIDE Solutions to celebrate Bike Month. Join the Poppyseed family in celebrating a clean commute and make your pledge today!

Remove Clutter Before the Holidays

bellaweb4You’ve reached your breaking point. You’ve tripped over the same thing in the living room too many times. Now you’ve picked it up to finally put it away and you realize – you have nowhere to put it. You have too much clutter in your home. So what do you do? How do you decide where to start so you can reduce the clutter and make your walkways safe once more?

Getting started is easier than you think. If you want to take control of clutter, get a few boxes – start with one for each room in your home and begin organizing one room at a time.

Begin this initiative by removing everything on top of your cabinets, tables and in bookcases, and then place it all in a box. If there are other random accessories in the room, remove those, too. Keep just the basic furnishings. Now sit with the room in its simplest form for a short time.

After a day or two has passed, go back to the box and look for items that define your personality, or will be noticed by guests visiting your home.

When you look at your well-designed room, you should see positive elements, as well as appreciate the possibility for negative space by removing unnecessary pieces that don’t add to the design composition.

Interior design students at The Art Institute of York – Pennsylvania are taught to help their clients step back and ask themselves: Is it finished now? You can err when you go shopping and purchase nice pieces for your home, because before long you may have accumulated too many of those nice things. Take a hard look at some of those things you don’t really want or need; it might be time to share that stuff with your local Goodwill.

Sometimes, you might think you have to keep memorabilia or outdated gifts from Aunt Ethel in your home all the time. Place these items in storage. If you get a call from Auntie when she plans her next visit, head to the attic and put those old Beanie Babies she gave you when you were a fanatical collector decades ago on a shelf in your den – temporarily. She’ll be happy for the gesture. When she leaves, feel free to put them back in the box of memories until her next visit.

After you complete this exercise in each room in your home, you’ll notice that the clutter has disappeared. Now you can recognize how attractive the remaining items are in that same space. This initiative takes determination and focus, but when you’ve completed the exercise, your focus can be on the lovely space you’ve recreated.

Create a Cozy and Clutter-Free Kitchen

Clutter can disrupt the flow of any home, bringing unwanted stress and frustration, especially in the kitchen. As one of the most prominently used rooms, maintaining a clutter-free environment will create a happier and healthier space for your family to enjoy. Here are a few tips to help you achieve and maintain a fully functional, chaos-free kitchen.

1. Look better, feel better. Whether you’re entertaining friends or just hanging out with family, hosting others at your house is fun, but can also be stressful. Even if it’s last night’s dinner dishes or wine glasses from your latest soiree, allowing clutter to pile up in the sink can negatively impact the look and feel of the entire kitchen. 

To make cleaning easier, find the best faucet to meet your cooking and entertaining needs. Try installing the Lindley pulldown kitchen faucet from Moen. Its traditional style creates an impressive focal point at the sink and increases performance with its high-arc pulldown spout and multi-function spray. Plus, the Spot Resist stainless finish resists fingerprints and water spots, keeping your faucet looking cleaner, longer. In addition, it comes with a coordinating soap dispenser to get one less item off your counter, which will make keeping the sink area clean and clutter-free a snap.

2. Organize chaos. Unused items, like the waffle maker that you desperately desired 10 years ago (but have yet to use), needs to go. To make some space in your kitchen, grab three boxes: one for garbage, one for donations and one for belongings you want to keep. Allocate a few hours and begin organizing. While separating items, ask yourself when did you last use this? With the exception of holiday-specific dishes and tools, if it’s been longer than a month, donate it or throw it away. Once everything is in a box, find the best spot for items you’re choosing to keep.

3. Get creative. Many kitchens suffer from countertop overload. This is where too many kitchen appliances and miscellaneous items, such as mail, phone chargers and car keys, seem to find a home. The solution to clearing this area is simple – get creative. Dish towels are infamous for cluttering countertops. They don’t have a designated home and therefore, are carelessly strewn about. Establish a special spot for this kitchen necessity: mount hooks, towel rings or towel bars, on the side of an upper cabinet, the end of the island or in another kitchen work space.

4. De-stress your life. It happens to all of us: your significant other informs you last minute you’re having guests for dinner, and the chores you need to complete before their arrival seem endless. To make this experience less stressful, spend 15 minutes each day maintaining a clean and orderly kitchen. Place dirty dishes in the dishwasher, wipe down the countertops, sweep the floors, put away toys and tablets and file mail. Simply staying on top of these little tasks will make it easier to accommodate unexpected company and allow you to enjoy their visit.