10 Things in Your Bathroom You’re Probably Forgetting to Clean
You missed a spot!
By Lea Schneider
If you’ve showered yourself with good intentions about doing some spring cleaning, there are a few spots you don’t want to miss.
Routine bathroom cleaning means hitting the fixtures and the floor with a good once-over. That’s a terrific start, but for a deeper clean, consult this checklist for 10 things you don’t want to skip.
It would be great if only clean feet hit the clean bath mat. Since the whole family is in and out of the bathroom all day long, it’s pretty likely your bath mat needs attention. Start by giving it a safety check to see if it is losing its no-slip backing or if it no longer lies flat, as both are trip hazards. Most bath mats can go in the washing machine. Some can be air-dried and others put in the dryer. Check your rug’s tag and follow manufacturer directions.
Organizing Tip: When you buy a new bath mat for a frequently used bathroom, buy two. This way you can routinely throw one in the wash and reach for a clean one to put down in its place.
Shower curtains don’t need to be cleaned often, but spring cleaning is the perfect time to take care of this task. Most fabric curtains can be taken down and washed—again, check the tag and follow the directions. As for waterproof liners, inspect them to see if you find mold and mildew forming along seams or areas that often stay wet. Replace with a fresh liner or remove the soiled one and clean it.
It might be time to toss that toothbrush. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should switch to a new toothbrush every three to four months or when bristles become frayed. The ADA does not recommend any cleaning methods as a substitute for a new brush.
Organizing Tip: Buy a multi-pack of toothbrushes so you have extras available as soon as you need them.
The spot where you store your toothbrush typically has an accumulation of drippings and toothpaste. Use some hot soapy water to clean your holder. A small scrubbing brush is good for reaching into tight spaces.
Cleaning your hairbrush and combs should be a regular task. After all, dirty hair and a buildup of products is not something you want to brush back into your clean locks. Clean your brushes by first removing any hair from the bristles. (A comb and a pair of scissors are helpful with this task.) Then shampoo your hairbrush in warm water, rinse well and allow to dry.
You may not have given much thought to the pores in your loofah, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, they can be a breeding ground for bacteria that can even lead to skin infections. They recommend to weekly soak it in a diluted bleach solution for five minutes and then rinse thoroughly. The Clinic also recommends replacing your loofah every three to four weeks.
Grab the bathroom trashcan and banish the germs. Give it a good cleaning inside and out. Allow it to dry well. Add a liner for easy maintenance.
From floor vents to bathroom fans, these often-forgotten spots definitely need a spring cleaning. Those on the floor have dirt and hair fall into them, while ones on the ceiling can collect dust. To clean them, first remove the vent cover. Then use the brush attachment to your vacuum to clean the top and underside of the cover. Use your nozzle attachment to vacuum up debris, then replace the clean cover. For fan vents, a wet sponge is useful for collecting dust that has accumulated on the cover.
Why wait for a clog? Now is the perfect time to fish out any accumulation of hair and prevent buildup. Remove the drain stoppers from your sink and shower. Give them a scrub and return them to the drain.
Medicine Cabinet Clutter
Do a bit of spring organizing and reclaim storage space by purging your drawers and cabinets.
Jose Zuniga of MakeSpace recommends sorting through everything in your medicine cabinet and vanity drawers. “Throw out anything that’s expired, including old medication. Only keep the items that you use on a regular basis, such as your toiletries and grooming supplies, in your bathroom,” he says.
“Now that you’re left with only the items you use on a regular basis, look to your walls. They’re prime real estate for storing your bathroom supplies without hogging any floor or counter space. For the extra items that you don’t use often—like first aid supplies and spare rolls of toilet paper—put them in a labeled basket or clear storage container and store it on a closet shelf,” he recommends.
As you organize, give shelves and drawers a quick wipe to ensure you’re starting with a clean slate.
Armed with a fresh eye for attention to detail, your bathroom will not only look clean, but it will feel clean, too.
Professional organizing expert Lea Schneider writes for Home Depot about cleaning and organizing. She provides advice and tips on cleaning everything from shower curtains to different types of bath mats to loofahs.
Degrees With the Shortest Savings Path to Homeownership
College students taking specific courses of study have the potential to become homeowners sooner after graduation than others, according to a new report by realtor.com®.
Engineering majors have the most promising prospects, with petroleum engineering majors able to become homeowners in an average 2.6 years—the shortest time of all the degree tracks analyzed by realtor.com. Petroleum engineering majors earn a starting salary of $96,700, according to Payscale.com, which allows for $19,340 savings each year—enough to accumulate a 20 percent down payment on a $250,000 home in roughly two-and-a-half years.
“When it comes to homeownership, degrees in engineering really pay off,” says Joe Kirchner, senior economist at realtor.com. “While this analysis leverages averages and assumptions, it shows just how powerful a high starting salary can be when it comes to early homeownership.”
Other degrees with short timespans to homeownership include: physician assistant studies (2.9 years); computer science (3.5 years); chemical, computer, mining or nuclear engineering (3.6 years); and electrical engineering (EE), electronics and communications engineering or electrical and computer engineering (ECE) (3.7 years).
On the other hand, homeownership is some years away for education majors—according to the report, education majors average seven years saving for a down payment.
“Our analysis also underscores the importance of consistently saving, especially if you aren’t making a high starting salary,” Kirchner says. “While seven years may sound like a long time, putting away 20 percent each month could have education professionals in a home by their late 20s or early 30s.”
8 of the Best Places in America to Retire
Finding a place to retire doesn’t have to be stressful. There are many living options for you to look at that offer the things you love.
Finding a place to retire doesn’t have to be stressful. Just think about what you love to do and what kind of adventures you want to partake in. There are countless places that offer the things you love, but for now here are 8 places that you should consider.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is a vibrant and attractive city for retirees. There are many opportunities for an active life in the great outdoors of Colorado. Colorado Springs is nestled at the base of Pikes Peak and is the home of the Garden of the Gods, one of the most breathtaking national wonders in America.
Indianapolis is the biggest city in the Hoosier state. Living in a big city may seem like a questionable financial move, but Indianapolis offers small-city pricing. There are numerous cultural activities that the city offers. Fan of the arts? The Indianapolis Museum of Art offers free general admission on the first Thursday of each month. If you enjoy world renowned art exhibits, beautiful gardens, or summer nights outdoor movie screenings, the IMA is the spot for you.
If you are looking to retire near the beach, Tampa is a great spot for you to check out. While Tampa is located right by the beach, the city still offers many urban attractions, such as malls, sporting events.
Aiken, South Carolina
Located in the center of South Carolina’s “Thoroughbred Country” Aiken is just a small town that is placed right outside of Augusta, Georgia. There are dozens of opportunities of take place in golfing tournaments, as well as to watch steeplechase horse racing. Aiken is also well-known for its parks, historic buildings, wooded areas, and art museums.
Rockport is one of the largest retirement communities in the United States; more than 25% of the popular is older than 65. Not only is it a thriving retirement community, but it also is conveniently placed between two big cities. The ocean is not very far away from Rockport, as well as all the amenities that come with living in or near a big city.
Astoria is a little beach town tucked into the Northwest corner of the beautiful state of Oregon. The mighty Colombia River runs through Astoria on the way to the Pacific Ocean. Lovers of nature need look no further than Astoria to find a peaceful small town with specialty shops and delicious, fresh seafood!
Mendocino is more than just a place—it’s a state of mind. Mendocino boasts gorgeous natural scenery combined with a tight-knit local community. With the perfect mix of social opportunity and natural wonder, Mendocino is a retirement dream.
Thinking about where you want to retire certainly can be stressful, especially if you have no idea where you want to purchase your new home. All eight of the cities that we talked about in this article are great places to retire; they’re all filled with fun adventures that you can partake in. Just think about what you love to do and you will be all set to pick the best location for you to retire in!
Source: CB Blue Matter/Sharon Le
How to Save Big on Energy Costs
Those of us juggling mortgage payments, monthly phone and cable bills, and electric bills know the financial strain of homeownership. And while you may not be able to reduce that mortgage payment right now, you can certainly curtail your energy costs with a few tweaks.
“Swapping out light bulbs, turning on ceiling fans, and replacing air filters are a few easy ways to save energy,” says Eric Corbett, president and owner of Larry & Sons. “Even the smallest problems with your furnace or inconsistencies in heating effectiveness throughout your home can cause your energy bill to skyrocket during winter.”
Corbett offers the following tips on how to save energy and lower utility bills during winter:
– Seal the doors and windows. Homes are built to protect you from the elements. However, over time the seals around doors and windows can become weak. You may find that the seals between your doors and window frames are not as tight as they once were when the home was brand new. Weakened seals allow cold air to enter and warm air to exit. Therefore, heating your home isn’t working if your seals are weak.
– Run your fans. Turning on the indoor fans will help to move air around the room. This evens out the temperature in a room instead of the hot air accumulating near the ceiling. It also helps to eliminate any cold spots in corners of the home.
– Swap old bulbs for LED lights. Swapping out old incandescent lights for LED lighting can save you extra money over time. In addition to being more energy efficient, LED lights last up to 50 times longer than incandescent lights and up to five times longer than fluorescent ones. This saves you time and money replacing burnt out bulbs.
– Turn down your thermostat and water heater if you’re leaving home. If you are traveling, turn down the thermostat and water heater before leaving your home. Don’t completely shut them off, just turn them down to save energy. If you shut your thermostat and water heater off, pipes can freeze without sufficient warmth.
– Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to set the temperature for various times of the day so that your furnace turns on to warm your house before you wake up, or it shuts off to save energy when everyone is asleep.
– Call a professional. Your HVAC is a complex system. If it’s malfunctioning and runs without repair, it could potentially lead to greater damage and a more expensive repair. Invest in routine low-cost maintenance and tune-ups to save money in the long run.
– Clean your furnace filter. The simplest thing to do is to replace your air filter often. An HVAC unit drives air through a filter into the ductwork to the rest of the house. This keeps your air clean and filtered for impurities. As the filter removes impurities and dust from the air, it blocks airflow causing the furnace to work harder, which draws more energy.
More Love Less Clutter: A Guide to Moving in Together
Read this before moving in with a significant other
It’s sweetheart month and you’ve found the one! Sure there’s music, trumpets and fireworks, but mostly it’s just about finding that someone who you want to share your remote control. When you find that special someone that feels like home, moving in together is often the next step. While cohabitation is an exciting step forward in any relationship, merging two homes, decor styles and closets can be a challenge. Moving in with your significant other is more than just moving in with a roommate, it’s about finding a balance and creating a home together.
So, how do you reduce the landmines scattered through the experience of moving in together? Like most things moving related, it’s all about the planning. Tackling difficult decisions before the moving trucks arrive will prevent your shared space from turning into a war zone on moving day. Here are eight tips for making moving in with your partner more about the love and less about the stuff.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Instead of speaking negatively or critically of your partner’s furniture or strange collector items it’s probably a good idea to ask why he/she is attached to certain things. Is it a family heirloom? Moving unearths a lot of memories and emotional baggage and sometimes it’s hard to deal with it all at once. Listening and showing an interest goes both ways, make sure you are as invested in his/her important items as much as they are. Perhaps, giving it to a family member or putting it into storage is an option. Asking ahead of time in a respectful manner will give each other time to think in a cool-headed manner.
Pick a Floor Plan
Before your move, it’s a good idea to make a simple floor plan of your new place and decide how to use each space. Take important measurements beforehand and plan out what furniture fits where. You might find his couch fits better than yours into the new space. A floor plan will also help the movers move your items and boxes a lot faster.
Try to pick an aesthetic you both agree on using Pinterest boards to pin styles you both like. If you have very different styles, find a neutral style that can fuse both in the details. You might love shabby chic details while he’d prefer modern industrial loft style, but together you create industrial farm house, that blends the two together.
Before you pack take an honest inventory of both places. If you have duplicates decide which is in better condition or which fits best in the new shared home. If you are choosing to start fresh sell, recycle or donate your unwanted items. Finding out what you have already, what you need and what you can’t do without, will help you scale down on how much you are moving before you move.
Give Yourself Some Space
Moving in with your partner might mean taking time away from your things. If there are some items that neither of you will compromise on, but they don’t fit into your new shared space, put them in storage for a while. If after six months you still miss or want that item, you can discuss it again with your partner. If after the time apart you realize you don’t miss the item as much as you thought, take it out of storage and donate or recycle it. When it comes down to it, ask yourself who would you miss more? Your partner or your things?
Closet space is often a sore spot for couples when moving in together. Moving is a perfect time to de-clutter and clear out all of that clothing you don’t wear. Remember the less you have the less you have to pack or move. Divide your items into three piles: donate, trash and keep. De-cluttering is a cathartic experience so it’s only right you do it yourself, don’t see it as a chance to attack your partner’s closet.
His & Hers
It’s important to create a space to call your own when you’re moving in together. Although you’re probably moving in together to be closer, remember that absence makes the heart grow fonder! Find a little space to call your own; where you decide what goes and how it’s used. Whether it’s a workspace decked out with your unique style or a reading nook with piles of your sassy pillows, a little space for yourself will allow you to later regroup and compromise regarding the rest of the shared space.
Home is Where Your Heart Is
A new home is a like a blank canvas. Joining two styles creates great possibilities to create something new together. Once you have the basics installed in your new home, as your joint style takes form only buy new decor items little by little,. Try to make something crafty together. Whether you design or order your wall art together, these joint experiences will be the beginning of many happy memories together.
Remember: Love conquers clutter!
Source: LINDSAY LISTANSKI CB Blue Matter/ Laura McHolm
Source CB Blue Matter
Your EXPIRED listing…. choosing the same agent or out with the old in with the new? Ask your Realtor the right questions before listing again.
You listed your house. You cleaned and cleaned, you updated the paint and repaired the leak in the bathroom…you did everything you thought you needed to do to sell it, and it didn’t sell. You may be asking yourself “Where did I go wrong? Did I choose the wrong agent? Was our pricing strategy off? Was it the neighborhood? Was it maybe a combination of these?” The answer is not in you, but rather the previous agent you trusted to get the job done. Be prepared with the right information so you can interview your new prospective agent with confidence and assurance that you will make the right choice this time and be able to meet your goals of selling your home this year.
With your time and thousands of dollars invested, it is unwise to risk making the same mistake twice. Be absolutely certain your agent is qualified and will follow through with what is necessary to sell your home. You want to avoid the problems encountered the first time you listed the home, so never feel obligated to the same agent. Your listing expired and it is easy to develop the identity of having a problem property in the market place.
First, you should ask yourself the question of where you found your previous agent. Was it street signs? Many sellers also find their agent through associates, friends and family, and there are also those who rely on the reputation of a major national franchise. Without the reliable information about the actual agent and their performance, any of these routes could lead to trouble and disaster.
It is imperative to trust your instincts when selecting someone to do business with. Do not feel obligated to work with someone just because they did a listing presentation and a CMA for you. Do not feel obligated to a long lost cousin or cousin’s stepson’s wife. This is one of the largest transactions and biggest financial decisions you will make, and you need to make the best decision for yourself.
When shopping for your agent, or even if considering the same agent, have a set list of questions you plan on asking. Consider asking how each agent would navigate the problems you may have encountered when it was previously listed. This is an interview and an agent who really wants the job will not only tell you buy also show you how they will be different- how they will sell your home. Do they have a specific 30-DAY MARKETING PLAN to get your house sold? Can the agent properly advise you about the current housing market? Is the agent a full-time agent or just part time? Ask for an updated Competitive Market Analysis to review the current SOLDS, FOR SALES, PENDINGS and EXPIRED LISTINGS.
A good listing agent is a good communicator and will give you specific recommendations for getting your house sold quickly. You should also pay close attention to the reputation of the company the agent works for. Talk to local businesses and even members of the chamber of commerce. A company’s reputation will be known in the community.
Your agent needs to be on the up-and-up regarding technology. Gone are the days of drive by’s and open houses selling a home. While that is still a valuable aspect of marketing a home, technology is your home’s best marketing tool. In a study done be California Association of Realtors, 90% of buyers did their home hunt using the internet. Make sure your agent is using the latest technologies for generating buyer leads. Ask if the agent has a personal website that offers virtual home tours so all prospective buyers can see your home 24/7.
Choosing your Agent wisely. Any agent will show enthusiasm and will want to list your house for sale but choose your agent based upon:
1 Experience at listing and marketing houses for sale.
2 Ability to use technology for marketing your house worldwide to buyers 24/7.
3 Reviewing with you a comprehensive Marketing Analysis of home sales in your area.
4 Ability to offer a written step-by-step 30-DAY MARKETING PLAN that will get your house sold at the highest possible price.
5 Adaptability and open communication in the format that best suits your needs
6 Knowledge of the market and ability to set realistic expectations about timing and pricing of your property
Working with a full-time professional real estate agent is a must. Choose your agent by asking questions of him or her. Find out how knowledgeable they are about houses currently for sale in your price range and also of houses that have recently sold. Can your agent recommend a good lender that has the reputation of excellent customer service and low rates to assist your new buyer with financing? A good listing agent can get your house sold quickly at TOP DOLLAR and help you find a new home.