Gail DuBois' Blog
You honestly may not get the chance to deep clean your home very often. When you do clean your house, there are a few places that are harboring many germs that are easily overlooked. Below, you’ll find some of the dirtiest areas in your home that need to be scrubbed well.
Handles And Knobs In The Kitchen
You’re handling everything in the kitchen from dirty dishes to raw meat. After touching these items, you’re grabbing drawers, refrigerator door handles, oven doors, and more. All of the bacteria that is on your hands is transferred to these items. You should scrub these areas down on a weekly basis with a simple vinegar and water solution.
Your Computer And Accessories
If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of time at your computer. You eat drink, talk on the phone, and everything else right in front of your computer. It’s a good idea to rid the bacteria that are collected all over your computer and accessories. You can detach the attachments from your computer a dab them with a mild soapy water solution, or just wipe them down with a pre-moistened anti-bacterial cloth.
The Toothbrush Holder
You use your toothbrush to clean your teeth, but do you ever clean the place where it sits? You can quickly place your toothbrush holder in the dishwasher once a week, or sterilize it with hot water and soap. As a bonus, you should clean your toothbrushes by boiling them in water for a few minutes.
The Handrails And Doorknobs
Everyone uses the railings on the stairways, but it’s a good bet that no one cleans them very often. You can use a simple hot water and vinegar solution to scrub railings and doorknobs down. Wipe them dry, and they’ll be as good as new with less germs.
The Light Switches
As you go in and out of rooms, you probably don’t think of cleaning off the light switch panel. Germs are easily spread there as people go in and out, turning a light on just to wash their hands. Vinegar and hot water will do the trick here as well. Just wipe switches down with a cloth soaked in the solution and pat dry.
While you may wipe down around your sink often, the faucet and surrounding areas may need a little love. Faucet handles should be scrubbed on a daily basis with hot soapy water. As a bonus, if you want to make your sink shine, create a paste with vinegar and baking soda. Once you scrub it on the faucet, rinse off for a fantastic shine.
Pretty bottles of nail polish, handfuls of eye pencils, tubes of lip colors, palettes of blushes, pots of eye color litter the bathroom vanity but the meager drawers are already full, so what to do? Short of purchasing expensive vanity organizers (or a new house with a more substantial bath and more drawers) you can tame and tidy your countertop with a few items you already have on hand.
Repurpose with purpose
Just because an item has a specific use doesn’t mean you can’t use it for your makeup. Try these on for size:
- Mason jars—Use jars of various sizes to hold brushes and pencils. Tie a ribbon around the top of the jar. If using the lid, add a circle of fabric on top of the seal-lid and slip it into the mason ring.
- Lazy Susan—If you have one of these space savers meant for spices, it’s perfect to fit your collection of lipsticks and glosses.
- On the rocks—These short glasses make wonderful organizers for mascaras, eyeliners, lip liners, and brow pencils.
- Spice racks—A tiered spice rack works great to hold your bottles of hairspray and mousse, facewash, and lotions while a wall rack fits foundation bottles and eyeshadow palettes. Hang a magnetic spice rack on the wall beside the vanity to hold all your small items neatly above the surface.
- Tins and trays—Metal tins from hot cocoa or tea are perfect for keeping cotton swabs and pads. Or use a shorter one to hold pins or hair ties. Paint the tin or wrap it with contact paper for a decorative touch. Mint tins transform into holders for baubles and bit, then stack nicely on the counter.
- Votive glass—An empty candle glass makes an excellent match holder. Create a matching set: candle holder and matching matchstick holder.
Raid the Office
Desk organizers work well for organizing smaller tubes, bottles, pencils, and brushes. A narrow version fits well on the tank lid. Transform a magnetic paperclip dispenser into the perfect holder for bobby pins. Stack powders, eyeshadow, and blush compacts vertically in a pen tray for easy access.
Borrow from the Bedroom
Many organizer items meant for the bedroom work for other places as well. Hang an over-the-door fabric or clear vinyl shoe rack in the bathroom to hold extra bottles of lotions, foundations, nail polishes—pretty much anything. Jewelry boxes can do double duty for combs, barrettes, or hairpins.
In fact, there are many ways to reuse items in your home to create order from chaos. If you still find yourself wanting your dream vanity, your local realtor can start the search for you.
Not every neighborhood is pedestrian-friendly, especially if you live on a busy highway or have no access to sidewalks. However, if you're fortunate enough to live in a walkable area (or have a chance to move to one), why not take advantage of it?
Walking in your neighborhood is a free way to stay healthier, happier, and more relaxed. As long as you don't have any health conditions that would stand in the way of taking regular walks, a daily constitutional can provide you and your family with an array of benefits.
Healthy Lifestyle: Staying physically and mentally healthy is not the result of one or two positive habits, but rather a variety of lifestyle decisions you make throughout the day. Walking on a regular basis can help you achieve weight loss goals, maintain muscle tone, and increase your energy level. A moderate exercise program can also help relieve stress, enhance your mood, and slow down the aging process.
Family Bonding: Walking in the neighborhood or at a nearby public park can be a great way for your family to spend quality time together. It's also an opportunity to take a refreshing break from television watching, social media use, the Internet, and video games. Going for family walks is a simple activity, but the benefits can be far reaching.
Neighborhood Connections: The very act of walking around in your neighborhood, every day, makes you feel more connected to your environment. It also gives you a chance to chat with neighbors, meet new ones, and observe any changes that may affect the character of the neighborhood.
Critique Your Property: When you walk past your house and yard, you can often see features and flaws that may have escaped your notice when you last drove by in your car. Looking at your property from different angles and directions can help give you landscaping ideas and point out ways you can improve the outward appearance of your home. You can also pick up landscaping and property ideas by seeing what your neighbors are doing. Curb appeal is especially important if you're planning to sell your property.
Bargain Hunting: If you happen to be taking a walk in the neighborhood when yard sales are underway, it's easy to stop and scope out the treasures being offered. One caveat: If you do find something you want to buy, especially if it's a large piece of furniture, you may have to return later with your vehicle to pick it up.
Find a New Neighborhood: If you're in the market for a new home, the walkability of neighborhoods is an important feature worth keeping in mind.
Save Gas: Sometimes it's nice to take a break from driving and walk over to your neighborhood grocery store, pharmacy, or post office. On those occasions when you only need to pick up a few small items, hoofing it over to your local retailer is an alternative worth considering!
Most of the time, we build homes to our taste rather than to their environment. And while it’s important to have a home that you love to look at, it’s also necessary to take your local climate and surroundings into account.
One of the best up-and-coming home architecture styles features something called “passive solar” design.
In today’s post, I’m going to introduce you to passive solar and talk about why so many homeowners are choosing passive solar homes in today’s age of rising energy costs.
What is a passive solar home?
Passive solar homes utilize four main things to ensure the lowest possible energy usage:
The building site
The area’s climate and weather
Strict building standards involving top quality materials and airtight construction
Let’s talk a bit about how these three features help make passive solar homes the most energy efficient homes currently available.
Choosing a site for a passive home can be a complicated and scientific endeavor. In colder climates, this means allowing the home to utilize as much sunlight as possible. The building site, therefore, has to take into account the sun’s path throughout the year to provide the home with the best angles for maximum sunlight.
Since sunlight travels lower on the horizon in the winter months and higher in summer months, roofs and overhangs are designed to let in maximum light in the winter time and block out light that would overheat your home in the summertime.
Airflow throughout your home is vital to maintaining comfortable temperatures year-round. Passive homes rely on a heat exchanger system that uses heat from warm areas of your home to heat air that is vented in from the outside.
This means that the air in your home is constantly being circulated and heated without relying on too many outside sources.
Building materials are another key part to passive solar homes. To make an airtight home, special types of sealing and insulation is used.
Furthermore, insulated areas of your home are designed to absorb sunlight throughout the day and slowly release heat after the sun goes down, providing a natural source of heat for the entire 24 hour cycle.
Can I convert my current house into a passive solar home?
While making a home adhere to passive house standards typically requires planning at the construction phase, there are some ways to utilize passive solar techniques in your current home.
Making your home airtight, using thermal mass to slowly heat your home overnight, and taking advantage of heat from the sun are all things that can be retrofitted to a home.
Making these improvements can take time, especially if you plan to change window locations or build an overhanging roof. However, you might find that the upgrades will save you money on energy costs and add to the resale value of your home.