All of those cords behind the TV console and computer drive me nuts. I don't know what most are and they get tangled and very dusty. Several things help with dusting these cords, even the ones that have yellowed due to heat, sun, etc. Take a rag of some kind and dampen it. Using lemon and vinegar wipe the cords, straightening them out as you clean off the dust. I suggest after they dry to use dryer sheet (used or new) so they are easier to clean next time. After they are cleaned take your bread clip and mark what that particular cord is. For example: printer, DVD player, whatever it is; mark it. Next time you will know what cord it is.
Another thing that bothers me are dirty window screens. Most people in my neighborhood are taking them out and hosing them down. That works great however I do it a little differently and more often. Where I live my windows are open unless it's pouring rain. I use my steamer and steam them while they are still in place. Doing this weekly or biweekly, even rotating can help keep extra dust out all year around.
Maybe you do not have windows open all 12 months, but for those of you that do, this helps with keeping your dusting to a minimum. It allows you to enjoy all of the nice weather outside. If you don't have a steamer for cleaning you can use your clothes steamer, it works just fine. If your floor steamer isn't too heavy it will do the job too.
Have none of the above? Take boiling water in a spray bottle and put it on the widest opening, then spray and wipe. Getting off all of that extra dust, dirt, and keeping grime from coming in is a blessing. Doing it more often will save you time from taking down the screens and replacing them. It will save you so much time in your weekly cleaning.
By Luana from San Diego, CA
I went through front closets - shelf to shelf, picked through boxes, did the dusting, vacuuming, etc. It didn't take as long as I thought it would and I stuck everything in a big box. You can either take it to your local thrift shop or post the whole lot on a Freecycle site near you - www.freecycle.org - I'm beginning to like that Freecycling, it's very convenient. Someone out there can always use something you're getting rid of. I think that's all I needed to say, lol. Just remember, one thing at a time, one room at a time.
By Stacey from Orem, UT
It's easy to overspend at the grocery store, and food shopping is draining on a person's finances to begin. Yet, a quick spring cleaning of the pantry will allow your family to see where those food dollars actually go.
Start counting. Count the boxes of cereal and bags of snacks that are opened. Are there more than two of each product? Mom's old rule of finishing one box before opening another is valuable. There is an illusion that by opening two or more boxes of cereal or bags of chips more variety offered. Yet, all it does is allow taste buds to choose their favorite snack and then leave the other to go stale. Count how many pantry items have expired or gone stale. You're spending money to replace these items. Instead, purchase some bag clips to keep things fresh, or save even more money by using clothespins to hold bags tightly.
Inventorying the clothes closet and setting up rules will help to save money in the long run. First, eliminate clothes that haven't been worn in the past six months or season. Eliminate clothes that aren't loved or don't fit regardless of the weight you're planning to lose. Your closet should be filled with clothes that you love and make you feel good. Anything else needs to go.
Once the closet is cleared of excess, it's easy to see where there are "holes" in the wardrobe. Focus on purchasing to fill these holes rather than to build upon areas that are already overstocked. Shop for interchangeable outfits that mix-and-match. Not only will it save money, but it will save space as well. Also, avoid the current fashion trends that will disappear in a season and opt for more practical items with "in-the-now" accessories.
Does the car actually fit in the garage? Garages tend to be the areas which accumulate the most unneeded items. Follow this steadfast rule and your car will have its home again: use it or toss it. If an item hasn't been used in the past year, it doesn't need to stay. Keep this rule in mind while shopping as well to avoid the impractical gadgets that take up time and space.
Build shelving upwards in any storage area and organize like items together. Storage works best in totes such as Rubbermaid which protect and organize items. Label each tote with a permanent black marker, and label all four sides. This type of organization will eliminate purchasing doubles or replacements for seemingly lost items.
The following items resell well on the internet if they are in new or nearly new condition: children's clothes (3T and under), children's toys, baby items, sports collectibles, and hard to find sizes of quality clothing (XXXL, etc.) Anything can sell in an online auction, but timing seems to be everything. Don't list everything; there are items that could be free and they wouldn't attract attention. Shop around the site to explore what's selling, what's over-listed, and what's unique.
Yard sales are a good way of selling items that will not sell well online. Separate your sale items into two categories, yard sale and online sale. Typical strong sellers at yard sales include: items too large to ship from on online sale, furniture, craft items, children's items, electronics and appliances, household fixtures, and decorative items. Don't clutter your yard sale with items such as clothing and glassware; this will deter the "drive-by shoppers."
Items such as clothing, dishes, and books usually find a happy home at these collection areas. Avoid donating items that are damaged, soiled, or outdated. These items actually cost the charity money to dispose of themselves, not to mention the man-hours needed to sort through them. The resale is not worth their time to repair items.
Decide what items can be resold at a yard sale or online and what items should be donated. If anything needs washed or repaired, do so immediately. Likewise, drop off the items at the Good Will immediately; don't let them sit in your basement for weeks.
Clear anything out of your winter closet that was worn once or not at all during the season. Whatever is in the box at the top of your closet, the box that you haven't opened since last spring, doesn't need to stay in your home. Instead, find someone who will enjoy and value it.
Check basic household products like vinegar and baking soda which can be used to clean just about any surface for a fraction of any cleaning product's price. Likewise, consider what you're purchasing. Bleach is bleach whether the bottle says Clorox or All-Purpose Bleach.
Sometimes a little reorganizing makes all the difference. Mix and match items from rooms, using the bed shams on the sofa for the spring months. Switch curtains from one room to another. Spring and summer invite bold color combinations, so be creative and try something different in your home. When you tire of it, return it the way it was and oddly enough it will seem fresh again.
By Kelly Ann Butterbaugh
Follow these steps and you will have that freshly cleaned look that spring cleaning implies.
Sweep out the garage and wash the cars. Vacuum, wax, and change the oil in your car to get ready for spring and summer trips.
Clean out the basement, donate or throw away items that are taking up space. Have a yard sale!
RELAX and enjoy the feeling of a clean house. Celebrate with a bubble bath, some aromatherapy candles and a glass of wine. Treat yourself to a nice dinner OUT!
* Bonus Tip: Clean out your garage from the center to the walls. Then place items by sections: game, craft, sports equipment, and gardening tool. Visualize garage sale income and beautiful, uncluttered space in these rooms as you proceed.
Source: My own obsessive cleaning nature and some excerpts from "10 Tips to Spring Cleaning" by Marcia Ramsland, "The Organizing Pro".
By Diana from Prospect, KY
I am looking for helpful ideas and frugal at the same time to make Spring cleaning a lot easier and simple.
I use the cheapest off brand of a product like scrubbing bubbles to clean mini blinds. Extend them all the way before removing from the window. Lay them in the bathtub and spray them one set at a time that I stack. Let them lay there while you wipe your windows. fill the tub with enough water to cover them plus a couple of inches and give them a swish. Drain the water and refill the tub adding fabric softener. One cup maybe? Drain that and gather them to stand straight and drip dry. The softener helps prevent dust and grime from settling on them in the future. You get a pretty smell and clean tub in the deal.
Well, spring is, once again, upon us. With it comes sunny days, balmy breezes, blue skies and that dreaded household chore -- spring cleaning.
Not only is spring cleaning time consuming, it can also get expensive. Lately, it seems as if there is a different product for cleaning practically every item in your home. If we're to believe the advertisers, our houses will never be clean without this assortment of new, wonderful and expensive products.
Not true, says the frugal homemaker. Your house can be spic and span shiny, with just a few household products you can probably already find in your kitchen. Not only is it a more economical way to clean, it's also better for the environment, and your health.
Here are just a few frugal house cleaning tips to help you get started.
*~*All Purpose Cleaners*~*
Ashley Ocampo is a freelance writer and mom who publishes bot the Labor of Love Recipe Box, a daily newsletter that contains quick, easy dinner ideas for your whole family, as well as Organization and Cleaning 101, a weekly ezine with tips to make your homemaking easier. To subscribe send a blank email to email@example.com. Or for Organization 101, a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org