Guest Post: Saving Money on Maintaining and Replacing Carpet

Guest Post: Saving Money on Maintaining and Replacing CarpetIf your home has carpet, then you know the battle to keeping it clean. I am so thankful for our steam cleaner as our light-colored carpet needs more care the older my children get.

Bringing us tips for maintaining and replacing our carpets, Thomas Greeley identifies quality upgrades to consider. Thank you, Thomas, for helping us stretch our dollars by choosing the best carpet options within our budgets.

Though I do allow shoes on our carpet, I love Thomas’ point about wearing socks. Gaining a few tips for caring for our carpet, I know the reason our flooring has held up over 10 years is because of the upgrades we chose. We did not go cheap which has helped us maintain for so long.

As you care for your carpet, I hope you will find Thomas’ tips helpful on your journey to using time wisely. ~ Tracy

Saving Money on Maintaining and Replacing Carpet

Guest Post: Saving Money on Maintaining and Replacing Carpet

Photograph Credit: Flickr (Laura D’Alessandro)

If you’re a parent and you own carpet, you might feel some days like you’re fighting an uphill battle.

You want to keep your carpet clean so that it lasts longer, but the kids (and pets, if you have them!) seem dead set against making that an easy task.

Between spills, trampling, and clawing, even a brand new carpet can start looking ratty fast.

Since you can’t afford to replace your carpet every year, and it’s not worth doing so, here are some tips for making your carpet last and saving money when it comes time to replace it.

Protect

Prevention is cheaper than repair, and there is a lot you can do to keep your carpet in good shape. Here are some of the most popular methods of preserving carpet’s integrity:

Don’t allow shoes in carpeted rooms.

Make it habit to have your family and guests remove shoes upon entering the house. Even having a doormat doesn’t adequately prevent dirt, snow, and other outside materials from being tracked onto and embedded in your carpet

Little known fact: Oils from feet can also damage carpet after a long period of time. And if you have sandal fans in your household, their feet can still bring a lot of foreign matter inside. Encourage your family to wear socks or slippers when moving around the house.

Move your furniture.

There are lots of reasons to rearrange your furniture every once in a while. It prevents your carpet from getting permanent furniture dents in it. It also changes the traffic pattern through your home, meaning that wear on the carpet is more evenly spread out, not centered in certain places.

It also is good for your state of mind to move things around and change décor so that you don’t get stuck in a rut. A change in surroundings can spark a change in how you view other things as well.

Clean.

Of course, even when you minimize the outside matter that comes into contact with your carpet, you’re still going to get dirt, spills, and more. You might not think some dust will hurt your carpet, but it actually does contribute to the fibers breaking down at a faster rate.

When it comes to cleaning your carpet, your main everyday strategies will be regular vacuuming and immediate spot removal. Make sure your kids notify you immediately after spills or accidents occur so that you can prevent stains from setting. Remember to gently blot out stains, not to rub hard or soak the area.

Online, you can find lots of homemade stain removal solutions, most involving vinegar and other low-cost items. Keeping a clean carpet doesn’t mean you have to spend lots of money or introduce a bunch of chemicals into your home.

Every 6-12 months, you’ll want to do a deeper cleaning. This comes in the form of shampooing and steam cleaning. This removes particles that set deeper in your carpet.

If not done correctly, power cleaning can actually damage your carpet, so it’s worth getting a professional machine and learning how to use it right or hiring a professional. Both of these things cost more money in the short term, but you’ll save by not having to replace your carpet as soon.

Snip.

If kids or pets have torn up bits of your carpet and threads start to unravel, cut off the offending threads. Pulling them will just cause surrounding threads to unravel as well. So cut off loose ends and quickly train your pets (and children) to stop agitating the floor.

Replace

As much as you care for your carpet, it will eventually need to be replaced. Depending on what material you have and how much traffic and abuse the carpet gets, it could last anywhere from 7-12 years. Some carpets last 20, but at that point, it becomes painfully obvious that replacement is needed.

When it comes time to get new carpet, don’t let the desire to save money cause you to buy a cheap fabric. You’ll probably end up having to replace the carpet in a third of the time than if you chose a quality material. Research what kind of carpet is best for your needs and get an idea of what you want before you price out different options.

When you’re ready to actually shop, compare your options. Some places will try to charge you for an estimate of how much coverage and installation will cost, but that is completely unnecessary. Get a free estimate from installers near you. This will allow you to quickly and easily compare prices and find the best deal. You could even use an offer from one company to negotiate with another.

Once your new carpet is installed, you get to start the game of preserving it all over again. Oh, the circle of life.

Thomas Greeley offers home advice for families looking to save money. He writes particularly about home and floor care. Check out another of his articles here.

Guest Post: How to Clean and Treat Blinds and Curtains

Guest Post: How to Clean and Treat Blinds and Curtains

Our vertical blinds are almost 10 years old. The gears are wearing out, and Paul recently repaired the blinds in our living room.

With our newly repaired blinds, I appreciate this timely post from Silvia Marks sharing how to properly clean them.

You might remember Silvia from her May post on Mastering the Art of Speed Cleaning. She returns today with more cleaning advice for our curtains and blinds.

Keeping our homes clean is an on-going process. Hopefully, these tips will help you in using time wisely. ~ Tracy

How to Clean and Treat Blinds and Curtains

Guest Post: How to Clean and Treat Blinds and Curtains

Photograph Credit: Flickr (Kelly Cookson)

You can choose to clean blinds and curtains using professional cleaning services or do the cleaning on your own. To do it on your own, you can choose between chemicals, sold in stores, or do-it-yourself recipes.

Whatever cleaning method you decide to use, it’s good to know some tricks to extend the life of your blinds and curtains and improve their condition.

One fact that not many people know is that regular vacuum cleaning of the curtains and blinds prolongs the time between washing them.

The professional cleaners at DeluxeCleaners Ltd W12 use a delicate tool on the vacuum cleaner to avoid damaging the textile. Without that tool, use soapy water to clean the upholstery nozzle on your vacuum cleaner. Then gently vacuum your blinds and curtains.

Clean and Treat Blinds

To clean blinds, follow these steps. First, get rid of the dirt and dust on both sides. Use a towel or your vacuum cleaner with a tiny nozzle. Then, remove the blinds from the windows, unless they are wooden. Take them in your bathroom or in a larger place outdoors. Wash every part with a sponge or a gentle brush. After that, rinse them well and lay them out to dry. Finally, wipe them clean to prevent future gathering of dust.

You can clean your mini blinds with a small towel sprayed with a universal detergent. Mop each side. To clean wooden blinds, make a solution of one liter water and a quarter cup of white vinegar. With this solution spray a cloth and wipe the dust and dirt from the wooden blinds.

Vertical blinds can be cleaned while they are hanging on the windows. Use the vacuum cleaner with an appropriate nozzle and then a scrubber. If you have any tough stains, use a universal stain remover.

Clean and Treat Curtains

Curtains should be vacuum-cleaned at least once a month. It is not a good idea to send the curtains to the dry cleaners. The chemicals they use can cause diseases, including cancer.

Each curtain has to be washed per the written recommendations. Most are made of a couple of fabrics, and you have to consider each one. Before putting the curtains in the washing machine, take off all metal objects attached to them. The same thing applies if hand washing is recommended.

If you put them in the washing machine choose a light program which won’t harm the fabric. Use the proper detergent that is well-dissolved in water.

If you have stains that are difficult to remove, resort to the usage of aggressive chemicals – if nothing else will work. If the curtains have any holes or torn sections in the fabric, then it’s time to replace them.

Silvia is a successful blogger and writer. During the years as a professional cleaner, she learned that the most important thing for a clean home is perfection and grace.

Guest Post: Keeping a Hold on an Efficient Domestic Cleaning Process

Guest Post: Keeping a Hold on an Efficient Domestic Cleaning ProcessFinding an approach to cleaning that works for you takes time. What worked when your children were young may not work the same way as your children grow.

I know my cleaning routine has change multiple times, and I’m still trying out new ideas.

Today, I’m honored to have Emma Macmillan back with us.

After sharing in May how to clean our dust pans and brushes, Emma returns to Using Time Wisely focusing on helping us think through our cleaning process.

Like Emma, I like to engage my brain. Usually, I put on a favorite movie, but I like these other options she shares, especially the language as we will be studying Latin and Greek with our upcoming education changes.

As you read this post, I hope you will find encouragement as we successfully clean our homes while using time wisely. ~ Tracy 

Keeping a Hold on an Efficient Domestic Cleaning Process

Guest Post: Keeping a Hold on an Efficient Domestic Cleaning Process

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

If cleaning is something that strikes fear and loathing into your heart, then you may want to think about it in a different way.

In fact, the way in which you approach things can often be the key to making them less of an issue in your domestic life, which essentially means that you can trick yourself into being less bothered by the cleaning!

There are many ways in which to do this. Combining them will be the best way to keep your head above water when the cleaning feels like it is getting a bit much for you.

For a start, you need to be aware of the issues that are making you feel quite so loathsome of the cleaning in the first place.

Overcoming Boredom

The main factor is usually boredom, and this can be divided up into the aspects of cleaning that create boredom, like the time it takes, how repetitive it is, as well as how dull the tasks are. If you can tackle these issues, then you are well on your way to having a successful cleaning head space.

Working within Time Constraints

To prevent the cleaning taking too long, you can start by doing it more often. Cleaning more often will ensure that the tasks that make up the cleaning process take less time, as there will be less dirt and dust to get rid of. If you divide these tasks up, then each one should take about five to ten minutes.

Vacuuming or dusting a room should take no longer than ten minutes, unless it is absolutely massive. If you do these things regularly, then you will find that the amount of time will fall sharply. It is simply a case of running a cloth over things, as they are already pretty clean from having done so a few days beforehand.

Cleaning itself is a process combining series of short tasks. But who is to say that they need to be done at the same time? You can get these things done at any time that you find yourself with a couple of minutes to do so. In effect, you will end up with a series of little jobs that can be fitted in around your working day rather than a five-hour clean that you do every two weeks on a Saturday.

Focusing your Mind

If you do have to spend a little time cleaning, then one of the best ways to ensure that the repetition and dull actions don’t get you bored and distracted from the task is to take your mind off things with something audible. The brain is perfectly capable of enjoying music, the radio or an audio book whilst also getting on with cleaning the bathroom.

Why not try to lift the spirits of the job by putting on a favorite album or getting lost in an audio book that you have always wanted to read? You could even get some language tapes and learn a language that you’ve wanted to get to grips with whenever you clean!

This could result in you bettering your life and becoming more knowledgeable and well read, simply through the time that you spend cleaning. It may sound a little over the top, but there is no reason as to why you cannot make this time that used to be boring and restless into a positive time for bettering yourself.

Emma is part of a team of professional writers, who, with enthusiasm and flair to detail, create content on home, renovating, cleaning, etc. related topics. For further information check: moving vans Fulham.

Guest Post: Mastering the Art of Speed Cleaning

Guest Post: Mastering the Art of Speed Cleaning When someone has ideas about increasing efficiency while using time wisely, I perk up and absorb the tips and tricks from her experiences.

Getting the cleaning done in the least amount of time is my ideal goal because I really like the result, not the process.

In our guest post today, Silvia Marks shares how she started many projects and completed none. Many of you have expressed how you can relate to that scenario. Well, help is near.

Thank you, Silvia, for showing us how to prepare for mastering the art of speed cleaning. Happy cleaning!  ~ Tracy

Mastering the Art of Speed Cleaning

Guest Post: Mastering the Art of Speed Cleaning

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

It is true, that cleaning is the most time consuming and arduous household chore you can do. But that shouldn’t deter you from doing it.

In fact, if you take some time to learn and practice this art, you will see that a job which previously took you hours to complete will seem like a 10-minute Power-Point presentation.

There are numerous factors that must be taken into consideration when attempting anything resembling speed cleaning. For example, you must be a physically active individual, who is inherently good at multitasking and logical thinking.

The more you develop these skills, the better you will become at cleaning like a pro. But talent isn’t everything – far from it. In order for you to become truly proficient at speed cleaning, you must familiarize yourself with the experience. Let’s have a look:

Assess the Premise

It doesn’t matter if you are cleaning your whole house, a particular room or just the stove, you must always know exactly what it is that you will be cleaning.

You should take into account the size and shape of the object that needs cleaning, as well as the level and nature of the contamination. For example, cleaning grease off your kitchen floor is quite different from cleaning the attic.

Choose your Tools

Everything, from brooms to brushes and mops to dusters, must be readily available for your convenience. The trick behind doing anything fast is being prepared beforehand.

That is why after you have assessed the very thing that you are going to clean, you must know which tools are appropriate for that particular scenario.

Floors are swiped with a broom, mopped with a mop and vacuumed with a vacuum machine. Kitchen tops would require either soft or hard brushes (depending on the surfaces). Gather all your tools in one place and begin sorting out your detergents.

Select your Detergents

Like pieces of a puzzle, you must now connect the proper tool with the proper detergent. And again, bathroom tiles are best washed with bleach and ammonia.

Carpet cleaner Lewisham says that carpets and rugs can be treated with white vinegar or baking soda. Hard wood surfaces are handled with the proper hardwood detergents. Usually a bottle of all-purpose detergent will be sufficient to clean most parts of your home.

Put your detergents next to your tools and move on to the next step.

The “Pyramid” Approach

Imagine the room or appliance you are cleaning to be the shape of a pyramid. But unlike a pyramid, we are going to go contra-intuitive in our cleaning endeavor and start from the top. This is logical if you think about it.

Whatever you clean and however you clean it, gravity will always push the dirt and contamination right back down on the floor. That is why starting from the top and working down will be your best course of action.

Cleaning is an Elimination Match

When I first started cleaning on a professional level, I had difficulty finishing projects because I was too concerned with doing everything fast. I would often start cleaning multiple things all at once and finishing none!

When you clean, make sure that you finish one project before jumping onto the next. This approach will not only save you valuable time, but it will also break your work into smaller chunks.

Cleaning: Seeing a Big Difference

Cleaning: Seeing a Big Difference

Photograph Credit: Fotolia

Having tried a new cleaning method, I am beginning to understand why daily cleaning is a popular system.

As a newbie, I have to remind myself that the rest of the mess is not on the agenda for today.

As I really like to clean and clean and clean until it is done, this daily cleaning has its drawbacks.

In choosing to focus on one area, I am letting everything else go.

On the other hand, maintaining the cleaned areas is now a breeze to keep up.

I am still learning and taking this new system slowly.

However, I have had success for these past two weeks. Having already shared my first week’s results, I will follow up by sharing how I proceeded to clean my house the second week:

Sunday: Make a plan

Monday: Refresh all the bathrooms: sinks, toilets, bathtubs, showers, and sweep all floors

Tuesday: One complete load of laundry

Wednesday: One complete load of laundry

Thursday: One complete load of laundry and preparing for upcoming garage sale

Friday: Purge coupon file

Saturday: Rest

By the end of the week, I still had 3 clean bathrooms and part of the laundry pile gone, and I wasn’t exhausted. It was much easier cleaning this week.

With other projects going this past week, I was still able to keep up the clean parts of our home. As my children have seen the difference, they have worked to keep up their rooms. 🙂

I love this new cleaning method. Though I don’t have it all nailed down with a schedule, I am seeing a big difference in my energy level as well as the condition of our home.

As I am still not done with the laundry and we have house guests coming at the end of the week, I will be cleaning from top to bottom. However, I already have a jump start with mostly clean bathrooms. Happy cleaning!

Question: What do you like about your cleaning method?