Archive for September, 2012

Get Rid of Clutter – In a Creative Way

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Family, Hints, Tips and Advice, Tips and Advice

It’s a never ending problem, isn’t it? You clean out your pantry, your junk drawer, your hall closet and in a few weeks time it looks as though you did nothing. Many of our readers ask us how to eliminate clutter. Today we have some creative and cute ideas about how to repurpose common items and turn them into clever household storage solutions.

Instead of storing 8×10 pictures in boxes and bags as you promise to get them into scrapbooks soon, display them using clipboards. They’re easy to hang, the images can be quickly changed out if necessary and they add a playful, unexpected touch to empty wall space.

Kitchen supplies have often made their way into the home office, like cookie tins for cord storage and cans to hold pens and pencils. But this idea is really  outside the box. Use a plastic dish drainer as a home office file organizer. The cutlery holder is perfect for housing pencils and markers, as the file folders stay straight and upright thanks to dish-drying slots.

If you have vintage lunchboxes lying around, then put them to use by giving them a function beyond collecting dust. These clever containers are portable solutions for storing and organizing all kinds of household items, and their playful exteriors can bring an expected splash of color to any space. Fill them with electronic devices, instruction manuals and other home office supplies, and integrate them onto your bookshelves for a classic vintage look.

Housing small items — like paper clips, rubber bands and thumbtacks — in the kitchen can be a nuisance. That’s where recycled tuna cans come in handy. Nestled side by side, short containers serve as the perfect separators for small accessories and junk drawer knickknacks. With this method, it will be virtually impossible for your drawer to slip back into its state of disarray.

You may not necessarily have an electrical spool lying around the house, but you can easily find them, and they’re oftentimes free at many home improvement stores. Wooden spools are excellent for keeping the garden hose tidy outdoors; they can be cushioned and repurposed into an ottoman, or they can be turned into a flea-style craft storage table.

Think of any other uses for common everyday items? If so, please share them with us on our Facebook page.

How to Caulk a Shower

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Bathroom, Care and Maintenance

One of our clients recently complained that she had a water leak. It started in her bathroom but ended up causing a huge damp spot on her dining room ceiling. She has a tile shower and somehow a leak developed. To spare all of you the same headache, here is some information to prevent this from happening to you.

If you have tile shower walls, there is a very good possibility that a leak could develop between the tile and the tub. As your house moves (a natural process that occurs in every home), a hairline crack can occur that allows water to get into the joint. Once water gets in, there is no telling how much damage can be done.

Caulking between your shower walls and tub prevents leaks and reduces mildew buildup. Removing old caulk and recaulking joints between tiles and your tub is an annual bathroom maintenance job. You heard that right – it is an annual job.

There’s another good reason to recaulk. If you’ve tried to remove the black mildew stains from caulk, you know the blemishes are often stubborn and unyielding. That’s because the stains are often behind the caulk, between the caulk and the wall. The answer, of course, is to remove the caulk, kill the mildew, and then replace the caulk.

Removing the caulk isn’t as hard as it appears. There are commercial  products that can assist you with the job. These products are specially formulated to soften caulk for easy removal. After the caulk has softened, remove it with a putty knife. Clean the joint area with paint thinner and then wipe it down with a clean cloth. Kill mildew with a mixture of bleach, water and powdered laundry detergent. (NEVER use any detergent that contains ammonia with bleach as this can create a dangerous gas). Place these ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the affected areas and then rinse well with water. Use your blow dryer to dry the area. Now you are ready to reapply some caulk.

Apply tub and tile caulk into the joint and smooth it with your finger, an old teaspoon, or a caulking spreader. Immediately remove the tape by pulling it out and away from the freshly caulked joint. Be careful not to touch the caulk. Let it dry.

Not only will your shower look better, but you are also preventing leaks and future water damage.



Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Hints, Tips and Advice

We all know what we should be cleaning on a weekly basis but what should we be doing each month? The following list is intensive. It is not for faint of heart housekeepers, however, if you can accomplish these tasks you will reap the benefits of a wonderfully clean home.

  • Dust your ceiling fans. You’ll be surprised how fast dirt, dust and grime can accumulate there.
  • Clean light fixtures. Again, these are a magnet for dust.
  • Dust your air vents. This will help keep dust from blowing out into your rooms.
  • Clean your walls. Spot clean the walls of your home to remove crayon marks, furniture scuffs, dust, and splatters. Food preparation, eating areas, and the place you store your trash will be likely candidates for a monthly wall wipe-down. While you are at it, clean your baseboards too.
  • Clean your window treatments. Curtains and drapes may need to be washed, cleaned, or dusted out on a monthly basis. Blinds that attract dust will need to be wiped down as well. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for your window treatments before cleaning.
  • Dust, dust and dust some more. This time instead of giving the furniture a quick wipe down you should dust doors, molding, windowsills and ceilings.
  • Vacuum inside furniture. Yes, pull off the cushions and see what treasures you find inside your couch and arm chairs.
  • Clean your windows. A monthly cleaning for windows includes cleaning the inside of the glass and wiping down the windowsills. Use a glass cleaner to remove streaks and spots on the interior of the windows. If you wait for an overcast day, you’ll reduce the streaking and spotting on the glass.
  • Spot treat carpet and upholstery. Check for spots on the carpet and upholstery and spot treat the stains. Be sure to test the stain treater in an inconspicuous spot before applying liberally. If it’s been awhile since your carpet was last cleaned, it may be time to schedule a shampooing.
  • Check your smoke alarms. Change the batteries if needed and make sure to dust the alarms to keep them working properly.
  • Change filters. Change not only your furnace filter but also your air conditioner and vacuum filters.
  • Deep clean appliances. By cleaning appliances each month you will prevent the gunked up oven, or a toaster full of crumbs.

It’s not a short list and some of these chores will take a bit of time and elbow grease but getting these done will ensure a beautiful and clean home that you and your family will enjoy.

Organzing the Kitchen

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints, Tips and Advice, Kitchen and Bath

Are you one of those people that has beautifully organized kitchen cabinets? Would you rather die than have a junk drawer? Do you use your label maker religiously? Stop making the rest of us feel bad, Martha. For those of you who have junk drawers, cabinets overflowing with bowls, strainers, cookie sheets and appliances here are a few tips to organize your kitchen. After all when one is organized one is more efficient.

Your kitchen counters, the front areas of cabinet shelves, top drawers and the fronts of lower drawers are the place to store the items you use everyday like dishes, cups, coffee mugs, serving spoons, saucepans and skillets. Choose the most accessible areas in your kitchen to store the items you use the most.

Kitchen items that are used often but not daily like graters, strainers, roasting pans and mixing bowls should be stored on the lowest or highest shelves in the cabinets or areas in the backs of drawers. You might have to stand on your tiptoes or stoop a bit, but storage is reasonably accessible.

Items like arcane tools, seasonal items or single-use gadgets that are used once or twice a year should be consigned to the dark reaches of bottom shelves and cabinets. This group also includes seasonal cookie-cutters, holiday dishware, single-use gadgets like potato ricers, oversized serving dishes, canning jars or the waffle iron. Small kitchen appliances which, left to multiply, can overtake even the largest kitchen, dangling cords and all should be gone thoroughly decluttered.  Scrutinize before assigning them storage space in the kitchen. If you have never used that ice cream maker, donate it to a friend. If any of these items are decorative, perch them on top of soffits during the off-season. Small cabinets located over the refrigerator or oven, reachable only with a step stool, are a natural home for these gadgets.

Take some time this weekend to reorganize your kitchen. Have any tips for us? Post them on our Facebook page!



Organized Kids – It Can Happen!

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Family

Are you tired of your kids’ room being a disaster? Don’t you wish they would learn how to clean and organize their rooms without being prompted by you? Do you want to learn ways to teach kids of all ages how to be organized? Here is how….

There’s lots of research that suggests your child’s behavioral patterns are set by age three, which also includes their organizational skills. Children definitely follow your lead so pay attention to what you are modeling for them from a very young age. The best way to guarantee your children will develop organizational habits is to be consistent with them, from as early as age 2. As they grow older, from 5 to 8, then from 9 to 12, you can modify your strategies for getting kids organized.

For young children it is important to making cleaning fun. Set a timer and see how many toys they can pick up before it goes off. Give them a set of socks to wear on their hands to help you “dust”.

Teach kids that cleaning is a cooperative effort. Have them collect their toys each night while you put your things away.

Give your kids a few chores from a very early age. A few simple jobs like putting away their socks or choosing an outfit to wear the next day is a good way to give them responsibility.

Store like things together. Help your children sort through their stuff and then use plastic storage boxes, crates or shelving to keep similar toys together.

For children 5 – 8, hang a second clothes rod in their closet so they can reach and hang up their own clothes.

Establish limits for how many toys they can have in their room. Ask, “Do you still play with this stuffed animal?” This will help cut down on clutter. Toys that no longer used can be donated to charity.

For children 9-12, give them even greater responsibility. Buy a filing cabinet so they can file away school papers and art projects that they deem important enough to keep.

Teach them that there is a time to play, a time to clean, a time to sleep and a time to do homework.

Children this age can (don’t fall over), do their OWN laundry. Think how much time you will save yourself. (Start jumping for joy!)

And most importantly, tween’s don’t like to hear us nag. At some stage, you have to stop screaming at your child to clean his or her room. Ask your child, “What do you want from your room? What dream do you have for your life?’ See if, together, you can make his or her room a stepping-off point for their life.

Ceramic Tile Floors

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Tile and Natural Stone

Are you thinking of adding ceramic tile to your home? Ceramic tile has been around for centuries, and with today’s technology manufacturers have created new design and application possibilities that were not available a decade ago.

If you have never used ceramic tile before or if it has been a long time since you have done so, you will be amazed at the wide selection of colors, sizes, shapes and new textures that are now available.

Of course the first step to determining if ceramic tile is right for your home is to carefully consider your lifestyle. If you need a low maintenance and easy to care for floors then read on.

Durable – a properly installed ceramic tile will outperform and outlast nearly any other floor covering product created for the same application.

Easy care – and that’s for you, right? Glazed ceramic tile resists stains, odors, and dirt and can be cleaned up with a damp mop or sponge or common household cleaners.

Ceramic tiles are essentially a low-maintenance material. However, even glazed tiles are somewhat porous, and require care and attention, especially in heavy traffic areas.

Ceramic tile is a practical, functional choice for your floor that offers you a unique opportunity for self-expression because of its beauty, flexibility and design potential.

How Often Should I Clean My Carpet?

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Carpet, Tips and Advice

After adding beautiful new carpet to your home it is necessary to know how to take care of it for reasons of longevity as well as appearance. Just vacuuming your carpets is not enough, which of course, raises another question: how often should you vacuum your carpet. Areas that receive a lot of foot traffic will need to be vacuumed daily or twice weekly, depending on the number of feet walking your carpet. Other carpeted areas may only need to be vacuumed once a week if they receive less traffic.

But back to the original question: how often should I clean my carpet? Carpet no matter what type holds many things, dust mites, dirt, pet hair, odors and stains. Each carpet will need to be cleaned differently depending on several things. For instance you wouldn’t want to handle a cheaply made carpet as often as you could a wool rug. Each time a carpet is cleaned it gets broken down a little and so it is important to know the quality of the carpets to be cleaned before actually doing it.

If you live alone with nothing other than normal environmental factors to dirty your carpets, cleaning them once a year should be sufficient. If you smoke, have pets or children or if the carpet is in a high traffic area it should be cleaned every six to nine months depending on how exposed it is. If you live in a dusty or a humid area it can have an effect on your carpet’s cleanliness. Even if it seems there is nothing in your home to dirty the carpets you must remember all of the invisible invaders which are in your carpet. If for no other reason than a healthier environment, have the carpets cleaned annually.


Style Boosting Ideas for your Kitchen

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Kitchen and Bath

Here are some real life, practical design ideas to make your kitchen the stylish center of your home.

Swap traditional pendants for commercial-grade fixtures for a look that’s more current. Contrasted with classic Italian marble and traditional cabinetry, industrial lighting makes a trendy statement.

Selectively remove cabinet doors to create a display showcasing favorite dishware. Group similar items, colors or shapes together for a purposeful look.

Most kitchens suffer from a lack of storage space. Make every inch count with drawers concealed within the toekick of each cabinet base. Although these drawers are shallow, they’re a great spot for tucking away items you only occasionally need.

A chandelier can also function as a handy pot rack and a place to show off pristine copper cookware.

Replace solid cabinet doors with glass-fronts for a less-expensive-than-you-may-think upgrade that lends a timeless look.