Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Change Out Your Sponges

Get ready to change out your sponge tomorrow - the first day of each month.

Be prepared! Do you have a new color for April? Or, another new sponge waiting in line for its debut tomorrow?

If this is the first time you're hearing about trading out sponges once a month, here are a few tips (or reminders):

Use two sponges in your kitchen each month, one for dishes and one for the floor/cabinets. Be pro-ative and pick up crumbs/wipe up splashes right when they happen;

Use different colors to differentiate months and uses, Feb. = pink, March = green, April = yellow, May = blue, etc. OR, if you use the same color each month - No Scratch blue sponges - cut a corner off after one month's use, two after the 2nd month (when it gets moved into the house cleaning or garage bin);

Throw your sponges in each time you use your dishwasher, to sanitize them;

Wash and wring them out after each use. Don't let food, soap, or water sit in the sponges. Mold/bacteria will begin to build quickly. (This goes for wash cloths too!)

Friday, March 27, 2009

What's Living in Your Pillows?

How long have you owned your pillows? When was the last time you washed your Pillows? If you have a pillow cover, or two, when was the last time you truly looked at your pillow? Experts say the life line of a pillow seems to be between two to ten years, depending on the care and fill of the pillow. Over time, dust and oil accumulate on your pillows, and it is very easy for bacteria to reproduce.

Along with everything else you do to spring clean, take time to evaluate ALL the pillows in your home. Even the ones tucked away in closets and on your guest bed. When was the last time you took them all outside and gave them a good old fashioned whack, like our grandmothers did, or hung them up to air out? Take time to wash your pillows every few months (see washing instructions on your pillows) and the pillow covers every time you wash your sheets. Even though you use a pillowcase, every pillow should have a pillow protector. This will act as a barrier against impurities and help prolong the life of your pillow.

"PILLOWS: Replace after Two years; Why: Pressure on the pillow as you sleep causes it to flatten, and develop uncomfortable bumps and lumps, says GHI's Huddy. To test if your pillow still has life in it, she says, fold it in half and rest your hand on top for 30 seconds. Then let go. "If the pillow pops back, it's fine," she says. If it remains folded, it's time to buy a new one." (Finance.yahoo.com) And, donate the old ones to the Humane Society.

Find out what Martha Stewart has to say: "Proper care will keep your down pillows comfy for a long time." http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4188/is_20071105/ai_n21088673

If you're interested in knowing when to replace other household items, check out: http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/102418/When_to_Replace_Common_Household_Items

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Flip the Switch

Get ready to participate in the largest voluntary power-down this Saturday evening, March 28th, and "take part in Earth Hour and turn off your lights from 8:30 - 9:30 p.m." More than 50 million participants powered-down in 2008. (body+soul)

Do you and your family members/housemates know how to locate all of your candles and lighters?

Get ORGANIZED and PLAN with your friends and family how you are going to spend 60 minutes, this Saturday, with the lights out!

Check out earthhour.org, and be inspired, as I was, to sign up and be a part of EARTH HOUR! It's just a click away and so worth the few minutes of your time. And, watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CRs-7lRlPo

Monday, March 23, 2009

Organize Time for Yourself!

Make sure to take time for you too! Here are a few simple ways to better your life:

Go herbal, drink HIBISCUS TEA, known to significantly lower your blood pressure - if you drink a few cups daily.

See Red, Seeing the color red can boost heart rate and adrenaline, which can rev up your energy.

Walk Away Cravings, a brisk 15 min walk can help eliminate the need to eat foods you crave, like chocolate. Get out for a walk rather than grabbing for that next unneeded snack.

Eat vegetarian, go meat-free and help out your digestive track and the planet. Curious? Check out The Great American Meatout @ meatout.org, and try it for a day.

Hit the Mat, make the ancient practice of yoga a part of your regular workout routine. It's amazing how our bodies will slow down - no matter how fast pace our lives truly are - and we will truly be in a better place to support all the other individuals in our lives.

Write it Down, "Research shows that when we write down our goals, we are as much as 30 percent more successful at sticking to them." (body+soul)

Share the Water

"For World Water Week (March 22-28), join the Tap Project and donate $1 or more at restaurants nationwide for the tap water you usually get free. Proceeds support UNICEF's global clean-water programs. Find a spot near you or make a direct donation at tapproject.org/local." (body+soul)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What's for Dinner?

Here's a great site that my mother-in-law sent me. It searches thousands of recipe blogs that are using a particular ingredient you are wanting to cook with. Saves time looking through cookbooks. I just put in 'fresh mint' and now have some ideas on how to use stuff in my fridge. http://foodblogsearch.com

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Holiday Cards

Have you taken down and thrown out/recycled your holiday cards? Did you put them in a pile and left them on the counter or tucked them in a drawer to "deal" with them later? Perhaps they're still sitting in the basket that you tossed them in a few months ago.

Holiday cards are now an opportunity to share family photos with loved ones. But, unless you're going to take time to place those photos in a photo album or scan them - leave no paper trace - then give the photos one last look and toss them in the trash (Because, we all know where those other pile of photos, waiting to be put in albums, are sitting.)

On the other hand, instead of tossing old paper holiday cards, "mail them to St. Jude's Ranch for Children (stjudesranch.org). The nonprofit uses donated greeting cards to create new card sets, and the proceeds help abused children." (body+soul, Feb)

If you're having a hard time disposing holiday photos of family and friends, purchase a nice frame or bulletin board from Michael's and make a collage with all the photos. Switch them out each year.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Garage Sales - Set A Date!

Now is the time for constructive spring cleaning. A little organizing here and a little organizing there is great. But, when push comes to shove, do you truly have an organized home? EVERYTHING may be in it's place, but how CROWDED is that space?

Downsize! Ask yourself, What truly do you need? What would you take with you if your home was on fire? What would you take with you if your neighbor's house was on fire, yours was next, and you had time to get more items out?

Do you have two of something? WHY???
Do you have cans of unused paint, that you thought you might use, but disliked the color?
How often do you truly use that mini fridge in your garage? Yes, the one frozen shut with frost buildup.
How many pairs of tennis shoes do you have? Just in the garage?
How many bikes/scooters/golf clubs do you have - that are broken/rusted/damaged?
How many candles do you have? Old picture frames?
You get the gist.

Get a calendar out and set a date for a late spring garage sale. ONCE YOU HAVE A DATE, YOU HAVE A GOAL!

Here's the fun part; Ask your neighbors to participate. They can set up in their own yard or combine their items with yours. Everyone has something to sell. You can even ask friends who don't live in your neighborhood to participate. Then, decide who gets to bring coffee/juice and bagels!

This is that perfect opportunity to invite your neighbors that you don't know to get involved in the neighborhood. Or, invite those neighbors that have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF in their garage - that you wish they'd keep their garages closed. Be pro-active and ask, that way you don't have to complain about their garage to your significant other. (Believe me, I know!) Plus, you can always drop a hint and place one of my cards/handouts in their door jam (or a personal organizer in your town.)

Spring is in the air, and so are the garage doors.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Spring Cleaning!

Spring is in the air! The tulips are popping, hoses are being turned back on, and windows are being swung open yet again. Although the calendar still says it's winter, our beautiful, sunny Colorado weather is telling us to start shedding the winter layers. As the days are staying lighter longer, allow the new found energy to stimulate your spring cleaning.

1st, Get Out in Your Yard! Shed layers on you, while shedding the winter dirt layer on your lawn and garden. Listen to the natural tunes of nature, or your own tunes, and get down with your rake. Lunges, squats, triceps curls, etc.; yard work gives your body a fantastic work out! I bet you'll feel your hamstrings and rib cage tomorrow! (Whether it's 15 min or 3 hrs, you'll feel something!)

2nd, Go through your closets/baskets/etc. and eliminate the hats/gloves/winter coats/clothes/boots that you told yourself you'd wear this winter BUT YOU HAVEN'T! Do two things: one, donate them to someone who will cherish them like no other before winter ends, or two, bag them up and separate them form the other similar items. If you don't miss them and have not dug back in the bag by the end of winter/middle of spring, then donate the bag that is all ready to go!

3rd, Open your garage. Now go stand across the street or walk up and down the block past your house. Look at your garage as though seeing it through someone else's eyes. What has accumulated over the winter - especially in the dark nights, when you didn't feel like putting anything away. Take FIVE! Take five (plus) items and put them away. Take five more items and eliminate them from your home! Check out the paint that was left in your garage when the temperature dipped under freezing. Or, what about the caulk that was left with out a lid/nail and dried up. Find your local Resource/waste management location and drop off unwanted hazardous materials or list the good but unneeded materials on Craigslist "Free" posting and place them on your curb.

Enjoy all the new signs of spring!