Care Tips

Care Tips

Window & home cleaning tips.

Care Tips Tips and Advice

Fall Organization

“Spring Cleaning”

Since you should probably organize more than once a year when “spring cleaning” comes along, in my house I also have “fall organizing.” I basically use fall as a time to go through the house, and get rid of anything I don’t need, while forcing myself to do a more thorough cleaning as I go.

  • Summer Clothes/Shoes – One thing that we seem to hold on to for longer than necessary are worn out swimsuits and flip flops. Make sure to sort through any of these items before you store them away for the winter – if chances are you won’t wear them again next year – just throw them out now. At the same time, when you pull out the warm weather clothes, if there is anything you or your kids grew out of – donate them now – someone who needs these items will be very grateful.
  • Outdoors – Similar theory as with the clothes, but sort through both swimming/toy related items as well as gardening items. Anything that looks like you will need to replace next year, toss now, and make a list of things to replace during the year – chances are you’ll get better deals on these items over the winter when they go on clearance too!
  • Bathroom – In my house, the counter under the bathroom is a catch all for products – whether first aid or beauty related. Take an hour, and sort through. Anything expired, toss, any beauty item you’ve had for a more than a year, toss. Just using this criteria the space will double!
  • Kitchen – Fall and winter are when I do the most cooking, and definitely when I do the most baking. I always try to do a thorough cleaning of the pantry so I know what I have and what I don’t. There is nothing worse than going to make a pie and realizing the spices are three years old – after you’ve already started baking. At least if you’ve already tossed the old items, you’ll know what to add to your shopping list.
  • Windows – As much as I hate cleaning windows, they are always on my list during spring and fall cleaning – if for no other good reason than not forgetting to do it every six months! But in reality it is also the time you generally change your window treatments, so why put clean curtains on dirty windows.

Don’t forget to clean as you go – it goes by a lot faster when I focus more on the organizing, less on the cleaning!


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Fall Decor on a Budget

Fall Decor on a Budget

A new season is here, totally time to redecorate and bring some fall into the house. Only problem is, most of the gorgeous pieces advertised, are always out of the budget. Luckily, we have the internet to provide us with some great DIY tips. One of my favorite ideas I’ve used over the last year is buying things from the dollar store and redesigning them to look a little more high end. Not only does it save me a lot of money, its a fun challenge to see how I can customize things.

On my first trip to the dollar store this season, I found quite a few things to stock up on. I got some plastic pumpkins (they come in a variety of different shapes and sizes), fake leaves, candles, felt cut outs (shaped like leaves, acorns, and pumpkins), a whole bunch of silk flowers (in fall colors of course), and a vases. A lot of items can be reused when you change it up for the season, but some pieces you might want to keep for the following year (depending on how good they come). I also stocked up on some hot glue, spray paint, and glitter paint (a lot of which I had leftover from my last crafting project).

My first project was the pumpkins. I chose to go with a white theme – just to match the colors that I have in my living and dining room, but you can chose whatever matches. It took a couple coats of paints, but it magically transformed the pumpkins into high end looking pieces. Some of them were open at the top (to be filled with candy) so I filled those up with the flowers, and some of the pumpkins didn’t have the holes in them.

I was able to use the felt shapes to create the effect of a runner on my dining room table – hot glued the pieces together just to make sure they didn’t move around too much. I then coated the insides of the vases with glitter spray, and used them as candle holders – really high end look for only a few dollars – and likely a piece I can use again during the holidays.

The best part is, it really gives you a chance to make it your own. When you head to the store, don’t pay attention to the colors/materials things are made out of – just imagine what you can make them look like. And have fun!


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Care Tips DIY Tips and Advice

“School Year Mode”

It’s September, which means it’s Back to School time! — which also means… PEACE AND QUIET during the day. No more running after kids all day; constant “i’m bored” or “i’m hungry” coming from all corners of the house – some me time; and with this me time comes organization! I always use the month of September as my “whip your house into shape” month but most importantly, we establish a balanced and organized routine for after school each day. Of course there are days where it doesn’t work out once after school activities and sports start up but generally this is our “school year mode”:

After school snacks are prepared ahead of time so they are ready for the kids once they arrive home. I usually prep them on Sunday nights and use freezer or sandwich bags to separate them and do something simple and healthy like apple slices or carrots sticks – something that will just hold them over until dinner. Then as long as it’s nice outside we all go out and play — sometimes just take a walk through the woods, or sit on the swings and chat – anything to just be able to enjoy the outdoors together. Then we come in and while I or my husband makes dinner the kids do their homework. After homework we have dinner together as a family. This is probably the most important part of our day.. taking time to ALL be together around the dinner table have been proven to help kids and families be close together and helps create successful children for the future. After dinner we finish any homework that may need to be done or checked and then start our night routines of brushing teeth, showers/baths, lunches for school and laying out clothes for school the next day. The youngest ones get read a bedtime story while the older 2 read to themselves or along with us sometimes.

We find our little schedule helps us to remain a close knit family and works well for us. Hopefully it or your own version of it will help for yours too!

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Transforming Old to New: Part Two

Transforming Old To New

With summer fast approaching, here are a couple more ideas on how to transform something old to something new.

1. Turn a Simple Basket into an Accent Piece

Upgrade a woven basket with leather rope, wood beads and homemade tassels for a sample, inexpensive revamp. The color-coordinated beads and tassels add a touch of charm to cheer up any room in your home.

2. Give a Side Table a Game Night Upgrade

Add a little fun to the function of an all black table painting a checker board on it. Painted wooden discs, also decorated yourself, serve as checkers. Why wait for game night? This table is ready to play whenever the mood hits.

3. Craft Your Own Clutter-Free Coffee Bar

Keep coffee cups, K-cups, and accessories organized by transforming a small area of your kitchen into a coffee bar. A rail system paired with S hooks houses your coffee mug collection. Re-purpose a low-profile bookshelf into a storage space for your coffee maker, french press or sets of shaped sugars and place it below your hanging coffee cups. Everything you need for your next cup of caffeinated comfort is on hand right when you want it.

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Bedroom Cleaning

Bedroom cleaning
Who doesn’t feel overwhelmed when their bedroom is super messy. The first thing I usually do is put a cap on and gloves, so I can start my organization process. The second thing I do is to turn on the radio and tune on to my favorite station and have a blast. If you’re like me you’ll have two left feet, so make sure you lock the door so no one walks in on you. In terms of cleaning, the first thing I usually tackle is my bed. Most of us spend half of our life on a mattress, so to disinfect it,  mix vinegar with  a little rubbing alcohol, and some tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Lightly spritz on your mattress.  This will help combat dust mites, mildew, and general odors. Replacing old pillows cases with new ones will make you feel like you already halfway done.
Now if you are lucky enough  to have a closet with clothes and shoes spilling out of them, I would go through them and  and either have a yard sale or go to your local goodwill to donate some (my rule is to get rid of anything you haven’t worn in a year). If you do not have  a large closet like me, purchase some  book shelf online and organize any folded shirts and pants. Leaving my clothes in the open shelves prevents me from making a mess, because it is right where I can see it.
I don’t know about you but having top notch window dressing is as important as having a great mattress. Because I live in New England during the winter I always have cold drafts in my room. That is why I have invested on some Prestige Cellular shades from Blinds To Go that add an added layer of insulation to my windows. With the lifetime warranty on the way my shades,  I know I have one less thing I have to worry about.
BTG 152


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Stuck On Grease?

Stuck on Grease
Being in the kitchen can be fun especially when you have a big family that likes to eat and cook yummy food, but the fun ends when everyone leaves and the sink is full with dirty dishes, grease splattered all over the window dressings, and trash over flowing.
The combination of splattered grease and dust can create a hard to remove sticky residue all over the surface of the counters, and floors, but with undiluted vinegar that tough mess can become easier to handle.
If the microwave looks like something may have exploded inside, use the power of steam to soften those hard to remove baked on food particles. One easy formula I  have discovered that works is mixing two cups of water with half a cup baking soda in a large bowl – bring it to a boil in the microwave. Remove carefully and wipe clean with a sponge or paper towel.
If you happen to have grease on your vinyl, mini,  or faux wood blinds use vegetable oil on the hard grease stuck to the slats to loosen it up. If that does not work, you’ll need to remove  the blinds and put them in a bathtub. First fill the bathtub with warm water halfway, and then add soap and baking soda. If your family got food directly splattered onto your blinds (like mine), you might want to spray them with a degreaser, and let them soak for 30 minutes. After just use a sponge and gently wipe each slats off.  Once the grease has been removed simply rinse the blinds with clean water. Once rinsed clean you can either dry them in your backyard or lay them on a towel.


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Home/Room Transformations!

Home/Room Transformations

Turn a broken picture frame into an earring holder

When you break the glass out of a picture frame, don’t throw away the base. Instead, use it to create a gorgeous and very functional earring display. You’ll need some sort of wire to hang your earrings on. Just run the wire across the frame and then hang up your earrings. This is a great gift ideal for all ages and you can run as much wire, making as many levels, as you want. If you have longer earrings that dangle, make longer levels.

Create a recycling center with an old basket

If you have a rather large basket that seems to becoming apart at the seams, you can re-purpose that basket into a great recycling center. The basket doesn’t really need to be able to hold anything so hole in the bottom are fine. You simply place waste baskets inside the wicker basket for recycling and then label the sections so you know where everything goes. Not only does this help you put that torn up basket to good use, it gives you a really attractive place to store your recyclables.

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Limescale Cleaning

Limescale cleaning

BTG Store 151

Limescale is a mineral deposit that builds up on faucet, toilets, sinks and even blinds, it is a nuisance but easy to get rid off. You will need heavy duty cleaning gloves, brush, vinegar, and bucket, and borax, and last a spray bottle. All can be found at a local hardware stores or the super market  at a low cost.

The first step is to wear the rubber gloves to protect your hands. To get rid of the lime deposits soak the sponge in white undiluted  vinegar and apply a generous amount on all flat surface with the lime deposit.

To unclog a shower head first remove it from the hook on the wall and place the head in a bucket, then fill the bucket with enough vinegar to cover the shower head for five to ten hours. Next rinse with hot water and reattach.

To get rid of limescale in the toilet, first drain the toilet bowl and then pour in full cup of vinegar and full cup of borax. Leave the mix for four hours before scrubbing with a toilet brush.Vinegar can also act as a preventative by adding some in the toilet tank.

Next step is to fill a spray bottle with half a cup of water and half a cup of vinegar, great for aluminum blinds that are hung inside of a shower. Apply a generous amount on each slats and repeat for the other side of the blind, rinse and wipe dry with a clean towel.

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Bedroom Update

Bedroom Update

BTG Store 151

Once you finish the boring task of spring cleaning – tackle a fun project! One thing that is always fun is a makeover – but instead of making over yourself – chose a room in your house that you would like to redo! One of the easiest rooms to change without too much investment is a bedroom. Of course, as in any project, you can spend as much or as little as you would like, but in a bedroom, a few small changes go a long way.

For starters – your bedding. Maybe you are just tired of your sheets, maybe you have had enough of the comforter as well – but this is a great place to start and set the tone for the room. Chose a color or pattern that you really like and would want to base the décor of the room around. It is usually easiest to start with the bedding and move from here. A few tips to keep in mind – how much pattern/color can the room handle – depending on the size of the room and the bed – you want to think of the impact the color you choose will have. You can go as bold as you want to brighten the place up, or as simple as you might like, and create more of a zen escape.

From there, tackle the window treatments. Depending on the projects budget, you can replace the blinds/shades in the room – might be time to invest in some blackout shades that will allow you to sleep in on the weekend. (Remember its always best to keep your hard window treatments neutral, and you can always decorate around them). If you are looking to keep the project a little less expensive, invest in some new curtains that match to the to the color or feel of the new bedding.

The next step would be to focus on accessories. Little trinkets can be used to make a big impact on the appearance of the room. Lamps can be put on the end tables. Jewelery boxes can bring in the accent color on your dresser. Candles can bring color to a dark area. Flowers are a great way to bring in a color (depending on the style of the room).

It is always a good time to take a look around and assess if there is anything old that needs to be discarded or donated – remember your trash might be someone else’s treasure! Just have fun with the project – whether it is your room or the guest room, make it a room that you want to spend time in!

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Spring Decor

Spring Decor

Time to brighten up your décor! Spring is finally here, the snow is gone, and it’s time to bring the bright colors and sunshine back into your house!!

You can officially take down all of the heavy drapery, and all of the other “keep warm” solutions you had hung on your windows. If you feel like bringing in some color, grab some fun patterned or printed curtain panels – that just hang stationary on the sides of the windows – and don’t block out the view. The trend for 2016 is pattern – floral patterns are extremely popular, and bright bold colors.

Also time to put away all of the heavy blankets, from the beds and in the living areas. Put them away for the spring/summer, and take out the lighter weight ones. If you need new ones, make sure to grab colorful, light weight designs – that serve more as decoration than warmth. It is always a good time of year to grab some new throw pillows – this is an easy way to bring in the trend of the year without making a big investment in the décor.

Try to bring the outside inside. Not just through colorful patterns, but bring in some flowers or plants. Take inventory of the plants you have left from last year – if they are just barely hanging on – bring the old ones outside – sometimes they come back to life when they are outside. Ask at the store – some variety of plants are far less maintenance than others – don’t get anything that will require too much upkeep! It’s also a great time of year to pick up some flowers and fill the vases that sat empty all winter.

It’s always amazing how small changes can make a huge impact at this time of the year. And my favorite part of spring is it’s all about color! You’ll see it when you are shopping for new spring clothes, so why now dress up your house while you are at it!!

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