Len and Leslie Marma's Blog
Baking soda is something that most of us have in our homes. We use it for cooking, but have you ever thought that you can use it for cleaning as well? Baking soda is actually a fantastic thing to clean with. It deodorizes and is non-toxic, so it’s safe for kids, pregnant women, and pets. Below, you’ll find some of the household chores that you can complete using baking soda.
Scrub Down The oven
Since ovens can become really dirty, really fast, you need something that can take on the grease. Baking soda is great for this purpose. Make a paste using baking soda and water or vinegar. Let the paste sit in the oven for up to 24 hours. Then wipe the mixture down with a sponge or cloth. You can heat the oven after you do this initial cleaning to help you loosen any additional grease, grime, or food particles. Let the oven cool and wipe it down again.
Keep Drains Clear
If you notice that your drains are a bit slow, you may want to avoid harsh chemicals and start with the baking soda right in your kitchen. Pour some baking soda into your drain. Then, run some warmed vinegar down the drain immediately afterwards. After you let that mixture go to work for about 10 minutes, you should flush the drain with boiling water. This won’t work on already clogged drains, but it’s great for maintenance on your drains that may be a bit slow.
Keep Your Fridge Fresh
Your fridge can become a breeding ground for germs, crumbs, and spills. All you need to clean the refrigerator up is a simple solution made up of baking soda and dish soap. The soap will help to cut any grease that has built up in the appliance, and the baking soda acts as an abrasive to get the gunk up. Just create a paste and apply it in the refrigerator. Then wipe down the shelves with warm water and a sponge. You can even disinfect your sponge in the microwave after you do this. Just place the sponge in the microwave for 2 minutes and you have a sponge that’s like new!
Freshen Your Washing Machine
Baking soda helps to deodorize things. To deodorize your washer, just pour half a cup of baking soda into the detergent dispenser of the washing machine. Run a cycle through with hot water. Your clothes will be cleaner than they have been in months! Make sure you do this to your washer about once per month to keep it smelling fresh and deter those funky odors from building up in your laundry room. The only thing that should be smelling funky in there are dirty socks!
We’ve all seen the way landscaping and decorating trends can sweep through a neighborhood. Some are practical, like planting drought-resistant vegetation. Others are purely aesthetic choices.
In this article, we’re going to break down some of the latest trends in landscaping. Who knows, you might be inspired to get out and revamp your front or backyard with one of these ideas. Read on for some of the latest and greatest landscaping techniques for your home.
Landscaping you can eat
One trend that is making a comeback is growing herbs and vegetables. We’re not talking about a backyard garden in a chicken wire fence (although those are great, too!)--what we’re referring to is planting herbs and colorful lettuces right in your front yard. Well-placed plants look natural and can save you money at the grocery store at the same time. Just make sure they’re planted in soil appropriate for growing vegetables.
Similarly, many people are rediscovering the native fruit trees, bushes, and vines of their area. Adding these items to your yard will give you something sweet to eat and also a sense of pride in your region. So, find out which fruits and vegetables grow well in your area and find some to compliment your yard.
We’ve all seen the headlines. Climate change is upon us, and water shortage is one of the chief long term concerns. To save water and keep the front yard looking manicured, many people are turning to vegetation that can resist long periods of time without water.
There are drought tolerant plants in almost every family of flora. From flowers to shrubs and even grass. However, many homeowners in areas warm areas prone to drought are opting out of grass completely in favor of stone pathways lined with hardy, yet beautiful, cacti.
Actually comfortable outdoor seating
The days of uncomfortable plastic and metal chairs are numbered. Waterproof outdoor seating has improved immensely in the last few years and a greater number of people taking advantage of it.
Another indoor comfort that is taking root outdoors is the use of varied lighting techniques and colors to create different moods, be it calm or whimsical.
Let it grow
Many homeowners, fed up with having to mow their lawn every weekend instead of spending it relaxing, are opting to let their grass grow out. Planting shade-giving trees, incorporating natural boulders, and creating stone walkways give a wild, but pleasant feeling reminiscent of an English garden.
Where there is grass, it is often left to grow to “meadow” length to complement the natural feeling of the rest of the yard. Planning out such a yard, however, takes time, or you could end up with a backyard that looks like it just hasn’t been taken care of.
What are your favorite backyard landscaping trends?
The thought of trying to declutter your home could stress you out. If you put off the act of organizing, however, you could end up even more stressed out. Clutter in the home is proven to be a cause of stress. Not being able to find what you need can cause you to feel that you’re living in chaos. There’s a few tips that you can take into consideration to help you declutter, destress, and get organized for good!
When Planning Storage Solutions, Measure First
If you shop for containers and other storage organization tools first, you’ll never know what will fit properly. Taking the time to measure things out and get the right size containers can help you to avoid creating more clutter for yourself. Measuring spaces helps you to come up with a plan for what your vision is for that space.
Declutter For Less
You don’t need to go into a huge debt to declutter your home. You can shop at the local dollar store to find containers, hooks, and bins to help you stay organized. Organization doesn’t need a lot of fancy tools.
For Kids, More Is Better
When it comes to finding containers and bins for a child’s room, more is definitely better. Having many separate compartments really helps the kids to stay organized and find what they’re looking for when they want it.
A Junk Drawer Is Actually A Good Thing
You can actually keep that junk drawer or bin that you have in the house. A junk drawer is a great place for collecting items. Just learn to keep it organized. If you have a bin, make sure that you clean it out from time to time so that tons of things don’t end up building up there in a pile. If you have a junk drawer, try to compartmentalize it with categories and separators for a “lost and found” or “things that need to be put away.”
Every Door Is An Opportunity
In your home, think of each and every door, cabinet door, or closet door as an opportunity to create more storage. You can hang things on the backs of these doors including spice racks, shoe racks, hooks for coats, and so much more. Don’t miss out on a simple yet very effective space saver.
In each room, there’s places where the same activity is done over and over again. Creating zones helps to reduce clutter and increase organization. In the kitchen, for example, you probably have a dedicated prep space along with a clean up station. In bedrooms, there’s a place where you get dressed, throw your dirty clothes, and get ready for the day. Have everything that you’ll need in each “station” or “zone” so that you can stay on top of being tidy.
- A step stool and a ladder You'll use both of these quite often, especially when you're moving. In my house there are a few top kitchen cabinets that are just out of reach, so I'm constantly pulling out the step stool. However, they're also useful around the house like in closets or reaching high spots while cleaning and painting. Equally important is a ladder. You won't want to mess around climbing on unsteady chairs for changing lightbulbs or smoke detector batteries. Plus you'll need one for access to the roof of your shed or house.
- A whole-house fan or air conditioner When you move into a house, especially in the summer months, you're going to want to stay cool while setting up and cleaning your new home. A great way to bring lots of fresh air into the house is to use a whole house fan which draws air into the attic and therefore causing air from outside to flow into your open windows. Window fans are a suitable substitute, so long as they have an exchange mode to bring air in and out.
- A bucket and a wheel barrow Both of these items are easily overlooked but will be invaluable when it comes to cleaning your house and maintaining your yard. Reddit user shuggins points out some of the myriad uses for a bucket: mopping the floor, pulling weeds, watering plants, washing the car, washing the dog, and even turn it upside down for a stool when you need a break from all those chores. And in the unfortunate event that someone is sick and queasy, a bucket can be a lifesaver.
- Drain stops and screens It won't take long for your drain pipes to get clogged up with food in the kitchen and hair in the bathroom without drain screens. Plus, having a drain stop for your sink will turn it into--you guessed it--a bucket! Buckets are the best.
- New locks Who knows who has copies of the keys in and around your home. It's important to change all the locks, including padlocks to your shed. There are many horror stories of new homeowners getting all settled in only to be burgled soon after.
- Batteries all sizes Reddit user typhoidmarry accurately describes the necessity for extra batteries when they write, "Your smoke detectors battery WILL die at 2am. It will." Play it safe and get extra batteries for your all of your electronics to avoid frustration and rage when you can't watch Netflix because your remote battery died.
Want to buy a house for the first time? Create a budget, and you can move one step closer to transforming your homebuying dream into a reality.
Now, let's take a look at three budgeting tips that every first-time homebuyer needs to know.
1. Don't Wait to Start Saving for a Down Payment
In most instances, a down payment on a home ranges from 5 percent to 20 percent. With a large down payment, you may be able to reduce your monthly mortgage expenses.
A lender may be more willing to provide you with a favorable mortgage if you can afford an above-average down payment. This means if you have plenty of money for a down payment, you could save money over the life of your mortgage.
2. Take a Look at Your Outstanding Debt
Student loan charges, credit card bills and other outstanding debt may make it tough for you to get the financing that you need to buy a house. Fortunately, if you pay down your outstanding debt as much as possible, you can boost your chances of buying your dream house.
Evaluate your current spending and make cuts if possible. For example, if you dine out several times a week, it may be more cost-effective to buy groceries and cook your own meals. Then, you'll have extra money that you can use to pay off outstanding debt and save for a house.
3. Understand Your Credit Score
Do you know your credit score? If not, you may be missing out on opportunities to eliminate outstanding debt and increase your home savings.
You are eligible for a free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Take advantage of this perk, and you can receive insights into your credit score.
If you obtain your free credit reports and find outstanding debt, you should try to pay off this debt sooner rather than later. Because the longer that you wait to pay off outstanding debt, the longer it may take you to acquire your ideal residence.
Furthermore, if you discover errors on a credit report, contact the reporting bureau immediately. This will enable you to fix any report errors before you get a mortgage.
If you need additional assistance as you map out a homebuying budget, it often pays to collaborate with a bank or credit union. In addition to providing you with multiple mortgage options, a lender will offer expert recommendations to help you budget for your first home purchase.
Lastly, don't hesitate to reach out to a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional is happy to help you get in touch with the best lenders in your area. And when you're ready to kick off your inaugural homebuying journey, a real estate agent can provide you with the support you need, precisely when you need it.
Use the aforementioned tips, and you can establish an effective homebuying budget.