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The weather has finally begun to perk up in Southwestern Ontario. Sure we’ve had plenty of rain (way more rain than desired in places like Huntsville and Bracebridge – hope it dries up soon!), but this is the third day in a row that we’ve had sunshine here in London. Even better, the temperatures have snuck into the double digits! You know what that means, don’t you? Sandals, capris and shorts have materialized in droves on winter-pale bodies.

Fashion Statement?

Lord have mercy…

So I get that we are Canadians and that Summer often feels like the shortest of seasons, but sometimes I wonder about people’s fashion sensibility. Sigh. But, I digress.

To get to the point, it is time to give your wardrobe the ole spring cleaning once over as well. Yes, it is finally time to pack up your toques,  mittens, scarves, and snow pants. I would keep your sweaters handy, as I don’t think we are quite done with chilly mornings, but you should be safe saying goodbye to snow tires and brushes for now. Bring on the spring/summer wardrobe!

Here are a few handy tips on how best to tackle your spring wardrobe makeover;

Spring clean your wardrobe

Unburden your wardrobe from its winter woes!

    • Start with a purge. Be ruthless. Pull out anything you haven’t worn in the last six months to a year. If it doesn’t fit, let it go. If you ever fit back into it again, the likelihood of it still being in fashion is slim to none. Think of the real estate you’ll open up in your closet for new items! Toss damaged items or pieces that are beyond repair into your rag bag or the trash bin. Don’t forget to include shoes into this process.
    • Once your closet is empty, get in there and give it a good once over. Time to clean! Sweep and vacuum the floor, wash the walls and baseboards and touch up or repaint as necessary.

How’s this for an Organized Closet?

  • Next step is to sort your newly thinned out wardrobe. In fact, it’s a perfect time to install a closet organization system. Think shelves, hanging organizers, multi-level bars to accommodate everything from long dresses to sweaters, to short skirts and slacks. A well organized closet saves space, time and heartache when you are looking for the perfect outfit for your outings.
  • Time to put it all back again. Before shoving everything in willy nilly, take the time to make a plan here too. Keep that organization going! Keep like items together, like pants with pants and skirts with skirts. You can even match seasonal items, like summer dresses at one end of the dress spectrum and heavier winter ones at the other. For those so inclined, you might even colour coordinate your coordinates.

Come out to a Garage Sale with Heart on May 11th, 2013

Now before you take all those excess clothes and stuff them into the trash can, I have an idea for you – call me! That’s right Londoners, I want your gently used and no longer wanted items. Why you ask? For a great cause, of course. The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation is having a garage sale on Saturday, May 11, 2013 from 8 am – 2 pm at 342 Commissioners Rd W. They are looking for gently used clothes, shoes, books, sporting goods, furniture, toys, tools, artwork, CDs and DVDs, bikes, working electronics and more. The money raised from the proceeds of the sale goes to the Women’s Shelter Foundation. You can drop off items at 334 Wellington Rd S or contact me [(519) 672-9880] for any larger items that you might have to donate. And if you come the day of, there will be a barbecue, coffee and bake sale, plus a draw.

With Earth Day approaching, do you question picking up expensive cleaners and sanitizers to tackle your Spring Cleaning? They aren’t always as environmentally friendly as they could be now are they? I am thinking of the sprays that recommend ventilation for fear of fumes. How is that good for our environment? It certainly isn’t good for immediate exposure, as I have gotten a headache while scouring the shower stall before. What about the other bottles that have skeletal hands on them? I think there is something wrong there, when these products are supposed to make our world better, but do so much potential harm in the process.

So what is the solution? How about using natural products to tackle your grimy messes! I have mentioned them before, but how about I share a few other green cleaning tips for anything from heavy-duty spring cleaning to everyday mess cleanups.

Green Spring Cleaning

Let’s take a look at that spring cleaning checklist and see how we can cross some of those items off with some green cleaning tips.

In the Kitchen:

Lemons are one of Nature’s best cleaning aids

  • Wash the counters
    • Solution – Pour some lemon juice on any stains on your counter and leave it to sit for a few minutes. Sprinkle some baking soda on the stain and scrub. Wipe clean with a damp cloth. Stains will disappear, but your money won’t and the kitchen will smell wonderful.
  • Clean the microwave
    • Solution – Fill a bowl with 1 cup of water and add 1 -2 tsp of vinegar. Place it in the microwave and turn it on for approximately 5 minutes. For tough, stuck on food stains, leave the door closed for an extra minute or two. Then wipe the interior of the microwave easily. No elbow grease required, as the steam has done all the work for you. And no harsh chemicals required!
  • Clean the fridge
    • Solution – Use a green all-purpose cleaner! Mix baking soda, white vinegar, a few drops of tea tree oil and water in a spray bottle and shake. Don’t forget to put a box of baking soda in the fridge when you are done, as it helps to eliminate food odours.

In the Bathroom:

White vinegar and baking soda can’t be beat to eliminate odours and leave your house clean and green

      • Clean glass shower door
        • Solution – Use lemon juice. Apply it to the door, rinse it with warm water and wipe with a soft cloth. You are left with a lemon-fresh scent versus headache causing fumes.
      • Clean the toilet
        • Solution – Sprinkle your handy box of baking soda into the toilet, followed by a drizzle of vinegar. Scrub as you normally would with a toilet brush. Goodbye harsh abrasives. Hello green cleaning tip #5!
      • Erase black mold
        • Solution – Mix vinegar, salt and liquid dish detergent. With a toothbrush, use the solution to scrub the mold. Leave it sit for a couple of hours and then wipe with a clean cloth. Voila, stains gone!

Other Areas to use Green Cleaning Products:

      • Laundry aids
        • Vinegar works as a great fabric softener. Add it to the final rinse cycle for static-free clothes
        • Baking soda shines as a stain treatment. 6 Tbsp baking soda mixed with 1/2 cup of warm water applied to stains will make them disappear!
        • Lemon juice not only makes your clothes smell great, but it brightens your whites while it’s at it
      • Room Deodorizer
        • Back to the baking soda! Sprinkle it in cat litter pans, diaper pails, garbage cans and don’t forget to leave a box near your sports gear
        • Spritz the air in your home with a few shots of vinegar in a spray bottle. Smells vanish, including the vinegar smell once it dries!

What other green cleaning tips do you have? Feel free to share!

Make the world a cleaner place – Choose green Spring Cleaning!

The calendar has rolled over to April. Ignore the snow flakes that might be flying by your window. Warmer weather is on the way! The weatherman predicted it, so it must be true, right?

Don’t put any of those seedlings that you started a few weeks ago outdoors just yet though…

But it is time to start thinking about Spring Cleaning none the less. Is this your idea of it?

 

Hmm, not a pretty sight. I have seen a bathroom or two like that in my days of wandering through prime homes for sale. Ick! It doesn’t have to be that hard though. Here are a few spring cleaning tips that might go a little further, from a famous celebrity even!

 

Geez, that Ellen is some smart. I think that I could market her Swiffer around my house, at least from the kids perspective!

Something tells me that a few more practical spring cleaning ideas might be needed though. Yes, there’s the whole plan, purge, dust,  clean from top to bottom, wipe, wash, organize and order out at the end of it all. I mean, spring cleaning is a lot of work!

So I wish you speed, patience and good fortune in your endeavours. You never know what you are going to find between those couch cushions, right! For more ideas and a recipe for a natural cleaner, here are a few more tips. And I will cross my fingers that perhaps by the time you are done, the weather will finally begin to cooperate and offer us some sunshine and temperatures above zero.

Happy cleaning!

The snow is slowly melting in London, Ontario. Here and there, early spring bulbs are beginning to poke through the cold ground. Temperatures are still sticking pretty close to 0°C, but with April in sight, I suspect that Spring just might be on the way.

Is there anything that you should be doing right now around your home in anticipation of the approaching warm weather? Let’s take a look;

 

Early Spring Home Maintenance

Indoors:

  • Time to tackle your Spring cleaning!
    • spring cleaningremove storm windows or protective film from around windows
    • wash windows and window screens
    • clean vinyl blinds and other window coverings
    • recaulk tub and shower enclosures
    • reseal grout lines
    • change furnace filter
    • clean dryer vent
    • dust ceilings, walls and other hard to reach places that sometimes get forgotten
    • thoroughly dust home
    • wax floors
    • thoroughly clean stove, fridge and other appliances
    • defrost freezer
    • replace batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
    • clean ceiling fans and switch to counter-clockwise direction
    • shampoo carpets

Outdoors:

  • It’s a little early to do too much outside, but now is the time to assess what projects might need attending to this season.
    • Home

      Home (Photo credit: hyperboreal)

      inspect roof, eavestroughs and chimney for any winter damage (start calling for estimates if needed)

    • check patio area and driveway for any winter heaving
    • clean up winter debris, like fallen twigs and limbs
    • clean patio furniture
    • inspect barbecue and give it a spring tune-up
    • decide how much mulch to order for the season
    • prune deciduous trees and shrubs that do not flower in the spring
    • sharpen your lawn mower blades & do a tune-up as necessary
    • inspect brick work and foundation for any cracks or loose pieces
    • once ground is firm enough to walk on, have it aerated

With temperatures on the rise, the most important thing you can do is to get outside and soak up some of that vitamin D. Thank goodness, Spring has arrived!

With Spring having officially sprung last week, the season of “Spring Cleaning” begins. It’s time to wash windows, clear clutter and store winter wear for the season. I think it is safe to hang your snow shovel up and perhaps eyeball the lawn mower to see if it requires any maintenance, before you press it into service again for the summer.

Yes, as the sun returns, so too does our energy level and with it a will to brighten your home and lighten your load. Can I make a suggestion on how to achieve that? It might feel a bit early, but why not start looking through the basement, garage and playroom with the idea of a garage sale to purge your excess belongings that you just don’t need anymore? I bet if you were really honest with yourself, you would agree that you don’t really need to keep that old microwave, second set of wrenches or extra copy of “The Handyman’s DIY Bible” that you got for Christmas three years ago. If the spine hasn’t been cracked, perhaps it is time to let it go.

What else can you get rid of? Here are a few suggestions to get you started on clearing your home and in turn cleansing your mind for a fresh start on a new season and new life.

THE GARAGE SALE: A List of Items to Purge

    • extra table clothes
    • old linens & towels (keep one or two to use as rags)
    • kitchen appliances that you don’t use (ex. the ricer that is still in its original packaging)
    • mismatched plates, glasses and/or wine goblets

Get rid of old, worn, chipped or broken kitchen items

    • worn, chipped or broken kitchen utensils
    • books that won’t be read again (FYI Danielle Steel will be snapped up from any yard sale box)
    • trinkets that no longer have a home and are just collecting dust
    • items that are still packed in boxes from your last move 5 years ago

      Time to purge the wardrobe!

    • clothes that haven’t been worn in over a year (ditch those pants you have been saving from the 80s that will NEVER fit you again)
    • toys that your children no longer play with or have outgrown
    • puzzles & games that are missing pieces (well, maybe they should just go in the garbage bin, but get them out of your house!)
    • CDs, DVDs, records, VHS movies that you no longer watch or listen to
    • furniture that no longer has a space in your home
    • items that you have fallen out of love with (those cute his & hers towels you bought with your ex)

Do you really have a home for this?

  • well-meant gifts from others that will never go with your home decor
  • excess garden items (someone might need/want/kill to have your mile-high stack of garden pots )
  • divisions from over-grown plants (I can almost guarantee that someone will just die and go to heaven after spying your excess hostas, irises and/or ornamental grasses)
  • out-of-season items that you have since replaced (a poke through your Xmas box might net you a tidy sum. Doesn’t everyone love Christmas all year long?)
  • anything else that you haven’t seen, touched or missed in over a year

 

And just remember that for every item you purge, you regain another piece of your home. You will truly appreciate the extra space and peace of mind that you gain by shedding items that no longer receive the love that they deserve. You might find a few extra dollars in your pocket, which you can even put towards a few new purchases if you so desire, but don’t overdo it.

One last rule for garage sale decluttering: Whatever goes out to the curb, does NOT re-enter the house!

Welcome to In Your Neighbourhood!

Allow me to introduce myself. The name is Jim. You want to know more? Well, check out my "About Me" page! Don't forget to take a peek at my "Local London Listings" while you are here too! I update it regularly. Enjoy your visit and drop me a line to let me know you were in the neighbourhood!

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