Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Keeping My House Clean - A Guy's Perspective

The state of a house (how clean it is) speaks volume about its inhabitants, and for guys, this can sometimes not speak so kindly.  As I've grown from a bachelor to a family man I've had to evolve on my cleaning habits, and this means making some fundamental changes to my day-to-day life.

And this is an important point to make, cleaning is a daily thing, but domestic cleaning might not be something that we are very keen on following. Nevertheless, cleaning the house should be a routine that is easy. For most people (guys in particular), they dread cleaning because they at times end up doing it twice or spending twice as much time as they had initially planned. Here is where hiring a domestic cleaning company to do the cleanings chores may come in handy. I've used them in the past, and flirted with this idea even recently, but I've decided to take care of it myself.

This may sound pathetic, but I actually had to do some research and found that you can find some excellent guides on Youtube and other sites on the web. This one for example:
Knowing where to start is very important. Most cleaning experts know that the best place to begin is any that requires the most cleaning and hygiene. As such, the kitchen is often the first place, followed by the bathrooms, the bedrooms, and then the living rooms.

 • For the kitchen – cleaning will start with ensuring there are no dirty dishes. The next step is to clean the skin and wipe down the countertops and the stove using a sponge or cloth and an appropriate all-purpose cleaner. The floors will be the next issues that will need a bit of sweeping and mopping to ensure they are spotlessly clean. Once everything is clean, all the kitchen towels can be washed and hung to dry then folded and stored appropriately.

 • For the bathroom – cleaning will start will organizing the room putting everything in it right place. The next step will be to wipe the skin, scrub and wipe the bathtub, or scrub and wipe the shower glass or curtains. The toilet will be next in line; swoosh the bowl with a brush, flush the toilet, and then wipe it from the rim to the seat. You can then work on the mirrors and walls to wipe any splatters before you proceed to apply a shower mist on the shower curtains or glass.

 • For the bedroom – start with making the bed then fold and hang the clothes and put them away. Pick up all dirty clothes and take them to the laundry room and then open the windows before doing a bit vacuuming.

Don't let this be your room.
• For the living room – start with picking up any items laying around and then dust, vacuum, and tidy up the sofa. You can then concentrate on cleaning the floor and rugs, which will need a bit of sweeping and vacuuming. Once you have handled the dirt, you can shift focus to the tables and cabinets to wipe off any dust and get rid of prints and unwanted spots.

Voila!  There you have it.  For me it takes about 2-3 hours if I'm not rushing, and I do this once a week.  If I split up the tasks with my wife, it goes even quicker.  I've never been a big fan of cleaning, but making it a process that's more akin to a project task list, and less akin to "chores", makes it easier for me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

My Tips To Help You On Your Moving Out Day

I recently helped a close friend of mine move from her old apartment to a nice new house on the edge of town. The process was more involved and stressful than I would have imagined, and I figured people could learn a lot from our experience, so I decided to put a little guide together on the best way to prepare for and execute the moving/removals process. Hope you all find this helpful!
Moving out of a place can be quite hectic. This can be even worse if one is not properly prepared for the day. It can end up being messy, certain household items or even documents can get lost in the process and this can lead to utter disappointment at the end. To avoid this, one must always be prepared by the time the moving out day arrives. How to do that? Well, my first suggestion would be to do what I did when I was personally moving, and that is to utilize a removals Bournemouth company. Using a professional is so much less stressful (and back breaking) then doing it on your own. However, not everyone has the resources to hire a company, as my friend Nancy did not. These tips are applicable if you are doing it yourself, or hiring a professional.

It is always important to ensure that all of your documents are properly filed to avoid losing them. Make sure that you put the most important documents in a file and store them in a specific box. This way, when you get settled in your new place, you will have all the items in place.

Another great tip is to start packing early. Do not wait until the eve of your moving day to start packing. This will lead to confusion and some items being misplaced. When you pack early, you get enough time to ensure that all of your items are well-placed and it will also help you in getting rid of the things you don’t need.

Organization is key when moving out. The more organized you are when moving out of your old place, the better it will be for you when you start to unpack in order to arrange the items in to your new place. Mark all the boxes in order of which rooms they belong to, that is kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom and any other rooms you might have. Also ensure you label which boxes have fragile items to prevent them from getting damaged.

If you get people to help you out during your moving out day, this will very advantageous. Doing everything by yourself can prove to be pretty tedious. If you have friends or relatives who can help you out, ask them in advance.

Moreover, if you can move some of your things from the old place to a new place before the moving out day, then do so. This will help you avoid packing all the items at once and will reduce the job you have to do considerably.

Above all, always ensure that you have all documents that indicate your lease agreement in order. This way if there is any deposit that you need to collect you will not have any problems with that. Often people forget that a big portion of the moving process is not just a physical process but a legal one as well, so don't let that trip you up.

Well, that's all I have for now. Here is a helpful video that I found, see if you like it to. Until next time!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

"Change of Scenery" for My Home - Redesigning, Rearranging and Space saving

I recently started to redesign the interior of my house.  It's part of an overall larger project where I want to "freshen" my home, with some new paint and stuff like that.  I think one of the biggest aspects is going to be creating a "change of scenery", where it's the same home, but feels different because of the layout, colors, accessories, etc.  I really think it's going to be a big improvement.

Re-Designing and Re-Arranging (De-Cluttering)

So far I've found one of the best methods has been to re-arrange my current layout of furniture, stand-up cabinets, wall pictures, mirrors.  Pretty much anything that isn't bolted down has the potential of being moved around.  This gives a completely different feng shui to the whole situation, and it is exactly what I want out of this whole redesign.

This was a shot of my cluttered living room.  THIS is what I mean when I need a fresh, new, change of scenery.  Having the old situation would lead right back to this mess, because of the fact that I'm set in my old ways.  A brand new situation, fresh and clean, would jump me out of my old complacency (hopefully).

Saving Space

Generally speaking one of the benefits I've seen from this project has been the saving of space.  I've found and discarded lots of crap I really didn't need, and the moving of furniture really started to open up the space to where I felt free-er (if that's a word). 

It also brought up the key subject of the laundry room.  The laundry room has been a source of discontent between me and my wife for years.  If you look at the picture above you will notice that there are towels strewn about the table-top, this is because of the fact that our laundry room is cluttered and a mess and doesn't have room for a proper folding table.  So I decided to turn this "fall-cleaning" into an opportunity to change that. 

Laundry Room Tetris - Stacking the Washers

What do I mean by "Laundry Room Tetris"?  Well, unlike all the other areas of the house, the laundry room is a place where the largest appliances (i.e.the washing machine and the dryer) can be moved around and even stacked on top of one another (that is, if you have a front loading washer, which I would recommend).  After doing some research as to the right stackable washer and dryer to buy and eventually buying one from the Stackable Washer and Dryer Co. (neat name), I was able to save a tremendous amount of space.

Stacked Washer/Dryer After a Redesign - Looks Cool eh?

The new "vertical" orientation of the washer/dryer (see picture above) opened up enough floor space for me to put in a nice folding area, store some soaps/detergents underneath the table, and releived some of the pressure of having the laundry spill out into the living room set.  Overall it was a big win, and since we needed new washing machines anyway, it wasn't a crazy extra expense to get front loading/stackable ones.

New Paint Job - A Breath of Fresh Air

Now to sort of finish up the whole shebang, a new paint job will be absolutely wonderful.  It sort of seals up the new design and re-inforces the whole "new scenery" idea.  Have you ever been in a house with a redone paint job/color scheme?  It's like being in a new place entirely.

So that's why I decided to wrap things up with a new paint job.  We decided to go for a soft-yellow in the living room, and a earthy-cream in the kitchen and hallways.  We think this will give us a fresh new start for at least the next couple of years.

So what do you think?  Leave some comments with your thoughts, I'd love to have this start a conversation!