Saturday, January 5, 2013

5 Tips to Start Your New Years Right

If you're like me, you're always looking for those tips that help save a little extra time and effort in the long run. Time is money right? So here are 5 tips that you can really employ in 2013 that will help make your life around the house just a little bit easier.

1 - Red Wine Stains. 
They can be the worst. When you see that glass of red wine go flying, you just know you're going to have a lovely forever reminder on your carpet in the form of a nice, red, blotch. Many cleaners claim to be able to remove the stain, but most require 'immediate application' to be successful. So here's a tip that you'll find really useful. If you spill red wine on your carpet, throw some regular table salt on top of the stain. Cover the stain with the salt. The salt works to pull out the pigment in the red wine that causes it to stain. Once it's soaked it up, you can hoover up the salt, and dab the remaining wine up with a damp cloth. I've tried this before, and it really is a fabulous tip.

2 - Spaghetti Orange Tupperware 
So you decided to make spaghetti sauce for the family, and have plenty of left overs. I'm sure you've been there, putting the left over sauce into a tupperware, and then wondering how in the world you are going to get that orange stain off from the side. Ultimately it's a nigh-on impossible task, so rather than worry about stain removal, why not worry about stain prevention! Before sticking your spaghetti sauce into the tupperware, spray a little bit of PAM non-stick spray around the sides. When it comes time to clean out those dishes, you'll be amazed at how easily they clean up.

3 - Splitting Garlic Bulbs
There's nothing quite like fresh garlic in a recipe. But trying to crack open that bulb of garlic to get at the cloves inside can be extremely frustrating, and then trying to peel the cloves to boot! It's no wonder we often resort to the far easier garlic powder in a bottle alternative. So for all those fresh garlic lovers, here's a tip you must try out. Next time you're ready to throw in some fresh garlic into your recipe, nuke the garlic in your microwave for a few seconds. The heat helps to split the garlic clove from the outer edges, making the skinning and breaking apart of the bulbs much less time-consuming. Bon appetit!

4 - Watering Plants
I've never been blesseed with a green thumb. Ask K, and he'll be quick to tell you I'm lucky if plants in my house last a few weeks, let alone a few months. My biggest issue was A - too much watering, and B - too much light. (Turns out my mother also lacks a green thumb, must be genetic :p). If you purchase a plant, you'll be told "Water on X, Y, and Z days." Most will recommend a schedule. To me, that means on Wednesday, I'll go and water all the plants in my house. And then watch them start getting droopy. So I'd put them in the balcony. Which would cause them to burn. So I'd add more water. It was a vicious cycle, and my plants would always end up the victim. Turns out the main cause was actually root-rot from over-watering, compounded by me placing house-plants in direct sunlight. If you're like me and you're lacking a green thumb, here's a tip that will always let you know when your plants are thirsty or not. Grab a wooden toothpick, and insert into the soil around the base of the plant's stem. Push the toothpick into the dirt about 3/4 of the way down. When you pull it out, if dirt is stuck to your pick, your plant does not need watering. If it is "clean," water your plant until you see water run through the bottom, and stop! Repeat this procedure for every plant in your house, and you'll quickly notice that they will all have different watering requirements. Since learning this nifty trick, I've been able to discover my greener side.

5 - Whitening your Clothes without Bleach
I have terrible luck with bleach, I really do. I'm the idiot that will go to throw bleach into the wash, and someone, inexplicably, end up getting it all over the clothes I'm wearing. I've lost more than a few good shirts to the infamous bleach stains. Arg! So I was more than happy to find out that there's an alternative to using bleach which will still get your white sheets and shirts sparkingly white. Baking Soda. Yes, regular old baking soda. Throw in a tablespoon with a load of your whites, and you'll see how they whiten your clothes without any of the risks of bleaching items you do not want bleached. - Incidentally, baking soda also works great as a tooth whitener, you can throw a little bit on top of your toothpaste while brushing, and have instantly whiter teeth at home, without the cost of over-the-counter tooth whiteners.

So there you have it, 5 of my do-it faster and save yourself time tips. Here's to a happy and prosperous 2013! 

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