12 Steps to Avoid Food Wastage at Home

You might have experienced having to throw out spoiled food, whether it was half a plate or an entire tub. The thought of such wastage makes some homeowners uneasy. With the advent of sustainable living blogs, it’s a good time to try to reduce your food wastage at home. You can start off with the 12 tips listed below.

 

12 Steps to Avoid Food Wastage

 

  1. Don’t Overbuy! Stick to your grocery lists. Plan your meals, create detailed shopping lists, and go by them. Also, try buying local produce and checking out any nearby farmers’ markets on your next grocery run. Local produce contains less pesticides, if at all, and reduces CO2 levels because it is transported over shorter distances. This also means that it’s more readily available, so you don’t have to hoard it.
  2. Don’t Over-serve Food. It’s common to see massive portions in restaurants, but this leads to wastage if it becomes a dining room habit. Use smaller plates, and serve just enough food when cooking for family and friends.
  3. Save Leftovers. Have you cooked too much at home, or have you ordered too much on a night out? Take the leftovers home and place them in your fridge or freezer. Label leftovers to keep track of how long you’ve had them, and be sure to actually eat them.
  4. Store Food Properly. Some fruits and vegetables can be stored in the fridge, but some others are better left at room temperature. Know where to store fresh produce to keep them from expiring too early.
  5. Keep Storage Areas Tidy. It’s a shame for food items to expire just because you forgot they were there, hidden in the back of your fridge. Organize your fridge and your pantry so that you can see everything at a glance. Use the “first in, first out” rule, too, placing older items in front so that you can remember to eat them.
  6. Don’t Panic Over “Best Before” Dates. Expiration and sell-by dates only refer to food quality. People often throw out perfectly edible food just because it’s past expiration. Trust your senses instead: Does the food look, smell, and taste okay?
  7. If You Have It, Eat It. Go through your fridge and pantry, check for items that are about to expire, and plan to use them in your next recipe. You can mix things up with new recipes. For example, overripe fruit can become smoothies or casseroles or added to homemade bread.
  8. Preserve. People have canned, candied, and pickled food for thousands of years. With these techniques, you can extend the shelf life of fruit and other kinds of food for months.
  9. Donate. Sometimes, you have some excess food which you know you won’t be able to eat before it goes bad. Why not give it to someone in need? Read up on food banks and charities near you. You may also donate the food to farms as animal feed.
  10. Take It Outside. After everything is said and done, do you still have food scraps around? Don’t worry, there are a few options left. Seeds, celery, and potatoes are a few kinds of food that you can regrow in your backyard. You can try to compost other food scraps to make your own nutrient-rich fertilizer. Don’t focus too much on composting, though–the EPA ranks it as a last-resort option to keep food out of the landfill.
  11. Track Your Waste. If you have no choice but to toss a certain item, take note of it on a waste log. This helps you avoid repeating wastage in the future.
  12. Get an App. Yes, there are apps to help you cut down on food wastage, both for iPhones and Android phones! With these apps, you can get advice on ideal food storage, or purchase surplus food that would’ve otherwise been thrown out from nearby restaurants.

It takes a bit more mindfulness and some self-discipline, but you’ll still find it surprisingly simple to avoid food wastage at home. Who knows, you may also be able to stretch your creativity, creating grocery lists and figuring out how to prepare or preserve your food. Shop and eat responsibly with these 12 steps as a guide!

Found this post informative? Visit our blog to read more articles on interior design and sustainable living.

17 Tips to Make Your Home Energy-Efficient

This month’s electrical bill is painful for you to look at, just as you’ve expected. You’ve been using up a lot of energy for a while, especially with temperatures rising year after year. It’s lovely to have a well designed home. It’s even more wonderful to have a home that is both beautiful and energy-efficient. You can spend less on heating and cooling bills while remaining comfortable, and you can cut down on your carbon footprint, too. To help you get started, here are 17 steps to help you save energy.

 

17 Tips for a More Energy-Efficient Home

 

1. Change Your Most-Used Light Bulbs to LEDs. They might cost more at first, but they last much longer and use up less electrical power than their incandescent counterparts. You’ll save yourself the effort of having to purchase replacement lights as well. For outdoor lights, use CFLs instead of incandescent lamps.

2. Change Your Least-Used Light Bulbs, Too. Will you need a 100-watt bulb in a room that’s used just once a year? Downgrade such less-used lights to 60-watt or even 40-watt bulbs to save energy.

3. Use Cold Water for Laundry. This eliminates the need for a water heater. If you really need to use hot water, try to find a heater that runs on solar power.

4. Baking? Don’t Peek! The temperature drops 25° F whenever you peek. Your oven will have to work harder to bring the temperature back up.

5. When Possible, Unplug or Power Down. Your mobile phone only takes a few hours to charge, and your computer and printer don’t have to be left on all day, either.

6. Wash Dishes and Clothes at Night. Power grids are most strained during 4PM and 6PM during peak usage hours, from mid-afternoon to early in the evening. Do your washing a bit later, and you can keep the house cooler and avoid emergencies as well.

7. Switch Out Single-Pane Windows. Either replace them with more energy-efficient windows or add solar shades or tinting film to them.

8. Turn Off the Oven Early. Do this a few minutes before reaching the prescribed cooking time. Don’t worry, your food will continue cooking from its own heat.

9. Use Natural Light When Possible. For windowless rooms, you can use skylights. You may no longer need to turn on any lights during daytime.

10. Seal and Insulate Properly. Cracks and gaps can lessen the efficiency of your heating and cooling, raising energy costs by 45 percent. Avoid this by sealing gaps and cracks in rooms and around windows and doors. Also, check how your home insulation levels measure up to local codes.

11. Maintain Clean Filters. Your home systems have to do more work if their filters are dirty. Clean or replace all filters at home once a month (or every three weeks if you have pets or a dusty environment). Use a vacuum with a cleaning extension to suck up dirt, or gently wash the filter with warm water.

12. Spot the Energy Star. This sticker indicates that EPA has confirmed the product’s energy efficiency. You can find the small blue or black sticker on over 40 product categories, from refrigerators and washing machines to LED lightbulbs.

13. Use Your Shades Well. Help your heating and cooling systems out by knowing when to close or open your shades and blinds. Close your shades during warmer months for cooler indoor temperatures; open them during cooler months to let sunlight through.

14. Landscape. Deciduous trees act like shades and blinds if they sit on the south and west sides of your house. Their leaves provide shade in the summer but fall off so that the sun can come through in the winter.

15. Install Ceiling Fans. A single fan uses roughly as much energy as a 100-watt light bulb, but it can help you cut down even more on cooling and heating bills. Set your fan to spin counterclockwise in summer–you’ll find that you can comfortably set the thermostat 4°F higher. Switch the blades to spin clockwise in winter to help circulate warm air.

16. Don’t Overuse the Thermostat. Try to not lower your thermostat so much in the summer or raise it so much in the winter. If your indoor temperature is closer to outdoor temperatures, your systems will have lighter work to do. Also, don’t adjust past the desired temperature–your home will heat or cool at the same speed.

17. Paint! Brighten your room with lighter paint colors, which reflect more light. You can then switch the light bulb for a lower-wattage equivalent.

You might not notice the impact immediately, as some of these changes seem minor. However, just as a leaky faucet leads to a bigger water bill, the result of these actions builds up over time. Make efforts to go by these 17 tips, and you’ll save more energy than you thought you would.

Visit our blog regularly for tips on improving your home.

Your Seasonal Home Maintenance Checklist

Owning a house is everyone’s dream. But aside from the privilege it comes with, having a place to call you own also comes with a huge responsibility.

Similar to oil changes to keep your car engine in its prime condition and regular exercise to maintain optimal health, maintaining your home is necessary to keep it in its best shape. What’s more, doing so can even save you on repair costs and keep you from future headaches.

Sadly, the idea of needing to accomplish a long list of tasks can be overwhelming – and there’s no denying it. But, having the right set of maintenance tips can still help you navigate through it. In fact,you don’t even need much experience to get the most of them done.

To help you stay on top of your home maintenance tasks, we created a seasonal home maintenance checklist that schedules what needs to be updated, repaired and cleaned depending on the time of year. It also outlines a handful of tasks that needs to be done in a monthly, quarterly, biennial and annual bases.   

Monthly Home Maintenance

The following tasks need to be done on a monthly basis to keep your home in excellent condition:

Replace HVAC filters. Replacing the filters monthly may not always be necessary. If the filters are dirty, change them out. Otherwise, inspect them again next month.

Flush out drains. There are many ways to do this, but probably the best all-around solution is a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Here’s an easy-to-follow tutorial.

Clean garbage disposal. The baking soda and vinegar solution works as well in cleaning your garbage disposal in the sink. You can also toss in citrus peel to keep them smelling fresh.

Scrub range hood inserts. Soak greasy range hood filters in a boiling water with a degreasing dish soap and baking soda. Scrub the filters, rinse and dry.

Inspect fire extinguishers. Make sure the extinguisher is visible and unobstructed, the locking pin and taper seal is intact, and the gauge still has adequate pressure and has no sign of damage.

Wash refrigerator door seals. Clean rubber seals with warm water, sponge and dish soap to ensure that it completely seals close and keeps the temperature inside regulated.

Vacuum carpets. Vacuum dirty carpets at least once a month and high-traffic areas weekly. It will help maximize the life of the carpet and keep them from looking bad.

Clean dishwasher filter. Keep the filtering screen clean otherwise, it will accumulate food residue that may block the water flow. Consult the manual for cleaning instructions.

Empty dehumidifier – How often you will need to empty your dehumidifier will depend on the climate and how damp your basement is. But, whenever it’s full, empty it.

Disinfect trash bins – Empty and clean trash bins to remove residues that may lodge into the bottom and create a foul smell that attracts insects and pests.

Spring Home Maintenance

Spring is the best time for a general cleaning. Besides giving the house a thorough overhaul, also include the following to your to-do list:

Inspect drainage. If water doesn’t drain away from your home, you may need to check your drainage for buildup or loose connection. You may also need to grade the area to achieve a correct slope.  

Clean gutters. Scoop out debris that accumulated in the fall and winter. Flush the gutter with water to check the flow.

Check for signs of damage. Inspect the exterior of your home for early signs of damage such as paint chipping, leaks, holes or cracks, and make necessary repairs.

Prepare air conditioning systems. Ready your air conditioners for summer. You may refer to the user manual or have it serviced.  

Repair window screens. If there are damages or holes in your window and door screens, have it fixed immediately. Otherwise, bugs and pests can make their way in.

Spring Cleanup. Start by removing any dead plants that survived the winter. Then, trim perennial plants to encourage growth. Lastly, lay down mulch in the flowerbeds to protect them against drought.

Drain heater. Fully drain water heater to remove any sediment that has formed in the bottom. It can help prolong the life of the unit.

Assess windows and doors. Check for any windows or panes that need to be repaired as well as locks and latches that need to be replaced.

Summer Home Maintenance

Summer is a great time to give attention to the outside of your home. Be sure to do the following:

Clean grout. Scrub grout with a paste made with water and baking soda. If it seems a little stained or grimy, you can replace water with hydrogen peroxide to achieve better results.

Inspect plumbing. Check for leaks, water stains and other signs of water damage. Test your toilets, shower and sinks to ensure they’re functioning properly.

Clean faucet and shower head. Remove hard water stains on faucets and shower heads by soaking them in vinegar for an hour. Scrub loosened deposits and rinse.  

Manage pest problem. Insect problems are fairly easy to take care of. Here are some 8 homemade pest control remedies you can try.

Repair patio. Sometimes, your patio merely needs a good clean. But, to be sure, check for any loose boards and repair as needed.

Clean dryer vent. Run the dryer and test whether the exhaust is coming out nicely. Otherwise, you may need to check for blockages yourself or hire a professional.

Check for termite damage. If you suspect your home is infested with termites, you may need to call a professional to inspect your property and do necessary actions.

Fall Home Maintenance

Fall is the time when you’re finishing up on your summer touch-ups and prepare it for the winter at the same time. These are some of the steps you shouldn’t overlook:

Flush water heater. It’s time to flush the water heater again and remove the sediment. As mentioned, it will help improve the efficiency of the unit.

Prepare air conditioners. Store window units or cover them with a plastic sheeting and secure with cords.

Get heating system ready. Have your furnace serviced and make sure there are no leaks in the windows and doors. Ensure that the heating vents are not obstructed.

Winterize outdoor faucets. Drain hoses and store them. Prepare sprinkle systems as well for the winter if you have one.

Check pavement for cracks. If there are cracks in the driveway or pavement, make sure to have them resealed. Otherwise, water can freeze and expand the cracks, resulting to more damage.

Ready your winter gear. Keep your sidewalk salt, shovels and other winter essentials ready. You’ll never know when the first snow will come.

Sweep leaves. Clean your grounds, window wells and gutters monthly or as often as needed. Test your leaf blower to ensure they’re all set for the season change.

Inspect windows and doors. Install weather stripping on windows and doors to maintain a warmer home. Replace screen doors with storm doors and check for window panes that may need replacement.

Protect against pests. Take preventive steps to keep insects and pests that may take refuge inside your home.

Test kitchen appliances. Clean your oven, stovetop and microwave to ensure they are functioning properly.

Winter Home Maintenance

Now, winter is the time to assess the interior of your home. For everything that you may have overlooked, now is your last chance to address them for the year.

De-ice. Never let ice dams and icicles from outside your home. De-ice them immediately as they are not only dangerous but can also be damaging to your home.  

Test electricity. Check that all the outlets are functioning. You can rewire them yourself or hire a professional to get the job done.

Check for loose screws. Go through the house and tighten any handles, knobs or racks that may have loosened. Also, check for locks and replace them if necessary.

Service water heater. Run your water heater and test if it works properly. Also learn how to set its temperature.

Prevent frozen pipes. Keep your thermostat at 55°F or above if you are concerned about frozen pipes when you will be on holiday vacation.

Quarterly Home Maintenance

Test detectors. Ensure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Replace batteries if necessary.

Maintain yard and home exterior. Tend to your plants, sweep outdoors as often as needed, shovel snow, keep pathways clean, clean the gutters and winterize everything that needs be.

Run water in unused spaces. For rooms that are mostly vacant, run a little bit of water through the sinks and toilets to keep grime from forming.

Biennial Home Maintenance

Give your home a deep clean. Engage the whole family in giving your home a proper, deep clean. Make sure to address dirt and grime that you tend to ignore for years.

Inspect basement. Also give your basement a good inspection at least twice a year, preferably in the summer and winter.

Vacuum refrigerator coils. Vacuum the coils to remove dust and dirt that can interfere with the refrigerator’s cooling system.

Annual Home Maintenance

Clean the chimney. Have your chimney cleaned at least once in a year.

Inspect fire extinguishers. Check fire extinguishers annually to ensure they have not yet expired. If it is about to expire in the next 12 months, have it replaced.

Test your GFCI outlets. There are a lot of opinions on how often you should test this. But, it’s up to you whether to do this on a monthly or an annual basis.

Clean the chimney. Have your chimney cleaned at least once in a year. If chimney swifts have nested in it, wait until these birds leave before you have it cleaned and capped.

Of course, this list of tasks can vary a lot. But, if you want to maximize your efficiency and get all the job done, you might consider creating a calendar yourself. Do what works for you and as long as you accomplish them, you can be confident that your home will be in its best condition for years to come.

Need more idea about how will your home navigate through every season? Whether it’s a construction or full renovation, an interior designer can help create a home that is both functional and beautiful for you. Contact Lugbill Designs today!

7 Steps to an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Eco-friendly living will continue to be a hot trend in 2019, with more and more homeowners realizing how the details of their lifestyle can affect the environment in the long run. If you want to keep up with the times, you ought to update your home with sustainable choices, from your living room to your kitchen. To get you started, here are 7 steps you can take for an eco-friendly kitchen.

7 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

1. Choose Your Appliances Wisely

Look for energy-efficient appliances. These use just enough energy to do their job and can help you save 10-50% of the normal power consumption of their regular versions. Some of them even run on renewable energy, such as solar power. One indicator of an eco-friendly appliance is the Energy Star label, which is placed on products that the Environmental Protection Agency certifies as energy-efficient.

In addition, you might want to unplug your appliances when they’re not in use. Leave them plugged in and they’ll still use up power.

2. Cook Smart

If you tend to prepare meals without much thought, you’re probably using more energy in your kitchen than you actually need. This can increase your carbon footprint without you realizing it. Here are some points to keep in mind when you’re in the kitchen:

  • Use just enough water. The more water you use, the more energy you’ll need to heat it up or get it to boiling point. Plus, excess water is wasted water.
  • Use lids when you cook. This traps heat and speeds up your cooking.
  • Try using the microwave instead of the oven when you can. This way, you can use 80% less energy to reheat the same food item.
  • Cut down on meat and dairy. It takes up a surprising amount of resources to raise a cow. Forests are sometimes even converted into pastures just to raise livestock. The more meat and dairy you consume, the bigger your carbon footprint.

3. Upgrade Cookware and Utensils

Switch out your plastic cookware for modern equivalents made of eco-friendly materials such as porcelain, glass, or wood. It’s a good thing there are several brands selling sustainable kitchen products nowadays! These include Rustic Wall Co., which produces kitchen utensils made of logging scraps, or Bambeco, which reuses its leftover materials and plants a tree for every purchase.

4. Cook With Organic Greens

Try to cook with herbs and vegetables that are fresh and free of pesticides. There are two ways to do this: buy from local green grocers or farmers’ markets, or grow your own produce.

Locally sourced greens don’t consume as much fuel just to be transported, which is a big eco-friendly plus. Be sure of whom you’re buying from, though. A large commercial farm that douses its crops with pesticides could fall under “local” if it’s just across your street. Opt for produce from small, organic farms.

You can also try your hand at growing your own herbs and vegetables. Many common vegetables are perfect for budding gardeners. These include tomatoes, cabbage, and spring onions. The additional backyard foliage will help keep the air at home fresh, too.

5. Cut Down on Food Waste

If your kitchen is truly eco-friendly, it will ideally produce minimal food waste. The following tips should keep you from throwing out too much food:

  • Shop smart. When you’re at the groceries, be realistic and buy only what you need.
  • Don’t over-serve. When scooping food onto your plate, don’t pile it up in heaps. Instead, get smaller portions and go back for seconds if needed.
  • Save your leftovers. If you’re feeling creative, you can use leftovers to whip up a fantastic meal. Just label them to keep track of how long they’ve been in your fridge.
  • Note down the food you toss out. That way you’ll know what you don’t use and take steps to avoid repeated kitchen wastage, whether that means buying smaller sizes of the same product or cutting that item out of your menu entirely.

6. Use Your Fridge Right

Your fridge uses up energy to keep food cold. If you’re aiming to have an eco-friendly kitchen, you’ll want to reduce the work your fridge has to do. Position your fridge in a cool area of your kitchen, and let food cool before putting it in the fridge.

Make sure that your fridge is still efficient, too. Defrost it regularly to keep your fridge and freezer running efficiently. Also, check if the seals around the door need to be changed. A quick test: close the door on a dollar bill. If the bill easily slides out, that means that the seals are also loose enough to let cold air seep out. Replace the seals as needed.

7. Use Green Cleaning Products

Some kitchen cleaning products have chemicals which can harm your family as well as the environment. Switch to eco-friendly alternatives with natural formulas. Homemade cleaning ingredients won’t give off strong odors, yet they can often be just as effective as store-bought cleaning products.

With these 7 steps, you’ll be on your way to an eco-friendly kitchen with a smaller carbon footprint. This sustainable lifestyle choice isn’t just a great way to welcome the new year, but it’ll help keep your home cleaner and fresher for you and your family.

For more tips on sustainable living and interior design, visit our blog regularly.

8 Smart Refrigerator Organizing Ideas You Need to Know

Leaving your refrigerator unorganized isn’t only a hassle, but could be dangerous as well. Food that was haphazardly stored inside could spoil faster. This can leave bacteria and molds to fester inside your fridge and make you susceptible to a number of diseases.

Organizing your fridge is a necessity.

To keep you on top of this task, here are 8 smart refrigerator organizing ideas for your kitchen.

1. Schedule your fridge-cleaning

It would be much easier to keep your fridge clean and organized if you stick to a routine. Clean it once a week so you can be sure to always have space for your leftovers and midnight purchases. Pick out which ones you need to throw out and and those that are still edible.

Smart tips: Put mats underneath the shelves. It is much easier to launder the mats than to scrub away at the stains left behind your fridge. Place plastic wrap over the mats so it’ll be easier to discard liquid mess as well. Also, if you want to clean your fridge without risking getting chemicals in your food, you can put together a cleaner made of homemade ingredients.

2. Label to save time

Always pack and seal the food shut before storing them away. Improperly packaged and loosely sealed food could expose these items to different kinds of bacteria. Exposure to the open air could also make them spoil faster than you’d expect them to.

Smart tips: Always label the food after packing and sealing them. Label what they are and when they were stored in the fridge. Have a separate “eat me” bin so you could identify which food items need to be consumed immediately. You could also write on the fridge with an easy erase marker to easily track the food items that are about to expire.

3. Mason jars over tupperwares

If it’s fruit or vegetables, mason jars beat tupperwares every time. Mason jars consume lesser space than tupperwares since they’re smaller and shorter than the latter. They also make your fridge look better on the inside.

Smart tips: Be sure to use the sure-seal mason jars.

4. Group like items together

You should never mix different food groups together. Again, this makes your food susceptible to different kinds of bacteria and could lead to faster spoilage. The vegetables go in the vegetable and fruit bin. The leftovers should be put with other leftovers, etc.

Smart tips: Lazy susans or turntables can not only help you distinguish which belongs to what type of food group, but they also help make sure you never forget anything at the back space of your fridge. You could also use bins to segregate the food groups from each other.

5. Make room for more

Try to consume as little space as you can in your fridge. You could do this by maximizing the entire space available inside the fridge. Stack tall food items such as bottles and cartons on top of each other so you can add another shelf in your fridge.

Smart tips: Repurpose the containers available at home such as six pack containers, egg cartons, and magazine holders. Your six pack containers can be used to store bottles together. Egg cartons can be used to store condiment bottles upside down so they take up less space on the fridge. Magazine holders can act as bins for bigger food items.

6. Magnets will solve everything

Apply magnets at the inside your fridge. This can help in maximizing every space available in your fridge, so it would be easier to store your food inside.

Smart tips: Use the magnets to hang your bottles at the top of your fridge. You can use the space below to store food and other items that needs refrigeration.

7. Binder clips are the future

People often have problems with stacking bottles together since they tend to slip and fall from their pyramids. You can use binders to stop your bottles from rolling over. This is especially useful for those beer bottles you want to keep cool in your fridge.

Smart tips: You can use the binder clips to tightly seal your bag containers as well.

8. Hang the bag

Like the magnet idea, you can hang your bags in the in-between spaces of the shelves or trays in your fridge. You can use the binder clips again to hang them on your shelves and trays. This will give you more space to store food items underneath it.

Smart tips: Install a pull-out unit in your fridge so you can have an easier time to hang bags inside.

 

Do you have more smart refrigerator organizing ideas? Let us know by commenting below!

5 Homemade Natural Cleaning Recipes You Can DIY

It might have taken you months in decorating your home and choosing the perfect furniture. However, the aesthetic you were aiming for can easily be thrown off by an unsightly stain or a strange odor. Though store-bought cleaners can do the trick, they are usually expensive and hard to find as well.

So how can you keep your home clean and presentable without hurting your wallet?

Here are five homemade natural cleaning recipes that you can put together in the comfort of your own kitchen, gathered from respected bloggers who are also concerned with keeping households clean.

1. Scented All-Purpose Cleaner

This fragrant cleaner can be used to get rid of carpet stains and freshen laundry, among other things. The lemon rind lends some extra cleaning power to this recipe as well.

Instructions: Mix one part water, one part white vinegar, lemon rind, and a sprig of rosemary. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and shake. Let the cleaner sit for a week for its ingredients to infuse.

Read the full article from Good Housekeeping here.

2. Brass Cleaner

Have you found some brass accents or furniture that would be perfect for your living room if only they hadn’t lost their sheen? Apartment Therapy presents a solution for you, “using only two natural ingredients you probably already have on hand!”

Instructions: Mix half a lemon’s worth of juice and a teaspoon of baking soda until a paste is formed. The paste can be rubbed onto brass with a soft cloth and then washed off.

3. Wood Polishing Spray

Say goodbye to spending on can after can of store-bought wood polish. You can also add your favorite essential oil to the mix for a personal touch!

Instructions: Combine ¾ cup olive oil, ¼ cup white vinegar, and (optional) 30 drops of essential oil. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and shake vigorously. To use, shake the mixture well, spray it onto wood surfaces, and polish with a clean cloth.

Recipe taken from Keeper of the Home.

4. Mirror and Glass Cleaner

You’ll occasionally look into a mirror to check your hair but end up counting toothpaste smudges instead. Here’s a quick recipe for a cleaning solution for mirror and glass, which you can also customize with essential oils.

Instructions: Mix ¼ cup white vinegar, ¼ cup isopropyl alcohol, one tablespoon of cornstarch, 2 cups of water, and 8-10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Once you’ve poured the mixture into a spray bottle, shake it well. To use, spray directly onto glass and then wipe off.

5. Fridge Cleaner

How many times have you held your breath while opening your fridge? Although they’re meant to keep food fresh, fridges frequently end up housing strange smells thanks to forgotten leftovers. Fortunately, Hello Glow has a non-toxic cleaning solution that can be used to deep clean a refrigerator.

Instructions: Pour 1 cup vinegar into a spray bottle, add 2 teaspoons of dish soap and some orange essential oil, and then add warm water until the bottle is almost full. Shake well before each use.

 

It turns out that you don’t have to spend so much just to enjoy a house that’s both stylish and clean. Most of the homemade cleaning ingredients used in these 5 recipes can be found in your own kitchen!

Want to find out other ways to keep your home looking fresh and fashionable? Check out our blog for more tips and advice!

Window Treatments that are Better Alternative to Curtains


Window Treatments that are Better Alternative to Curtains

10 Window Treatments that are Better Alternative to Curtains

When you think of window treatments, curtains are probably the first things that come to your mind. But, while they remain the most straightforward option, they’re not necessarily the only choice to dress your windows.

If you’re looking for better alternatives to traditional curtains, this article lists some other options you need to consider. But, to refresh you, we also define the very reason why you need window treatments in the first place.

How Window Treatments Impact Your Home

Window treatments might be the only thing you need to transform your space. They set the mood and tone of a room, and the absence of them can make the space appear bare and naked.

Further, window treatments not only help manipulate the light that goes into your home, they also add privacy, while also aid with the cooling and insulating of a space. Now, no matter the purpose you want the treatment to serve – with the many options available – you’re sure to find one that fits your needs:

8 Window Treatment Options

1. Drapes

Although many use the terms curtains and drapes interchangeably, they’re actually two different things. But, the key difference is that drapes are typically pleated, heavy, lined and floor-length while curtains, on the other hand, are mostly lightweight, unlined and can differ in length. It is these characteristics that make drapes a more formal option.

2. Shades

Shades are a window treatment option made of continuous fabric that rolls up and down using pulley mechanism. They are often manufactured from light, colored and porous materials that filter and soften the light, instead of completely blocking it. They come in a wide range of shades, colors and materials such as polyester, cotton and linen.

3. Blinds

Instead of fabric like that of shades, blinds have slats or vanes. They are usually made of sturdier materials like wood, aluminum, composite materials or leather, and can come in different lengths, widths and orientation. Because they can be tailored according to one’s preferences, they nearly work well with any interior design.

4. Awnings

Awnings are the additional covering installed on the outside wall, often above the window and in a slanted position. Because of this structure, they offer great sun protection capabilities, without obstructing air circulation. These days, there are retractable awnings available, giving you more stylish options to update your windows.

5. Decorative Screens

A modern take on traditional curtains, decorative screens are great for shading, privacy and ventilation. They are often made from metal or wood, with intricate details engraved using laser-cutting technology. Because of its bold structure, this option allows for sunlight to filter through and cast beautiful shadows on its adjacent surfaces.

6. Shutters

Shutters offer a country-chic look to any interior design that is also functional and efficient. In fact, they’re sturdier than many other options which explains their higher price tag. But, given that you can expect them to last up to 20 years, shutters can actually be a great long-term window treatment that ensures sun-filtering and noise-blocking options.

7. Adhesive Film

When applied to window panes, adhesive films add texture to the interior, while reducing the sunlight that penetrates into your home. They are available in a range of tinted colors as well as patterns and textures so you can find one that complements your home décor. They can also be a cheaper alternative to stained or frosted glasses while providing the same benefits.

8. Vertical Garden

Finally, vertical gardens are a great multi-functional window treatment that works more favorably for those with limited horizontal space – condo owners and apartment renters, for example. Aside from allowing light to filter into the room, plants also add a touch of life and color as well as offer many health benefits for the family. Here are some low-maintenance indoor plants you can start with.

True, there is a wealth of options out there. But, given that window treatments are an investment, you should take time to see the options yourself as no amount of research will inform you how exactly they will look in your home.

Did you find this article informative? Let us know by commenting below!

Green Home Décor Brands You Should Switch To

These days, being eco-friendly is no longer limited to segregating your wastes, going paperless, avoiding plastic, and cutting down on energy consumption. It also means amending your way of shopping so it aligns with your commitment to green living.

The green way to shop, however – particularly for home decor – hasn’t always been black and white. But, until recently, the environmental consciousness of consumers has led interior designers and home décor brands to step up their game to offer an array of sustainable products.

Having placed greater emphasis not only on style but also on the environmental impact of their products, home décor brands have made it easier to be green responsible more than ever. So now, you can shop for sustainable furniture pieces confidently without worrying they’ll compromise your style.

If you’re wondering where to start with your responsible shopping, read on as we list 10 brands to shop for sustainable home décor.

1. Bambeco

Bambeco is a provider of home products crafted from either recycled, reclaimed, natural or raw materials. But, aside from harnessing these resources, the brand aims to further its green efforts by updating its processes to help restore forests, conserve water, provide safe workplaces and ultimately, achieve zero carbon footprint by 2020.

2. BottleCloth

BottleCloth is a sustainable homeware brand that makes graphic tablecloths, placemats and runners made from fabrics sourced from recycled plastic bottles. Using a multi-step process, the plastic bottles are spun into thread and woven into polyester cloth. The end result is a polyester fabric that is highly durable, low maintenance and spill-resistant products.

3. Chairish

Buying second hand is a great form of recycling. It not only avails you vintage finds for half the price but also cuts down on manufacturing demand – and Chairish, an online marketplace, lets you do just that. It has a well-curated list of vintage furniture pieces, art and home accessories, and basically everything that is dedicated to home decorating and design.

4. Cisco Home

You wouldn’t realize it right away, but Cisco Home is a sustainable furniture company that crafts its home goods with natural materials and methods that are friendly to the environment. Each product is made with pride by local artisans in Los Angeles and each of them emanates a distinct style that adds beauty to your home.

5. Colorhouse

Colorhouse is a premium paint brand that is committed to making the world more colorful but without the toxins, chemical solvents and toxic fumes that typically come with commercial paints. It offers 128 zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds), artist-crafted paints in its well-curated palettes to ensure that you have an eco-friendly alternative to your painting needs.

ALSO READ: 18 Low Maintenance Indoor Plants & Trees for Your Home

6. Coyuchi

Coyuchi is a home textile company that offers a range of luxury textiles, beddings and mattress made from organic cotton – and this claim is something more exceptional than you’d think as less than a percent of the world-produced cotton is organic. Further, despite being minimally processed, the fabrics don’t gall shouty on style and grandeur. In fact, they’re some of the softest you’ll ever lay your hands on.

7. Kazi

Kazi is an All Across Africa brand that helps African women support their families by crafting handmade goods. These include baskets and vessels handwoven in Rwanda using sweet grass and sisal sourced in East Africa – and because these plants thrive abundantly in the region, harvesting them has less impact on the environment.

8. One Nine Eight Five

One Nine Eight Five is a London-based homeware brand that focuses on print and interior textiles. It offers contemporary collection of throws, cushions, wall hangings and other accessories using ethically-sourced and eco-friendly materials. Each product celebrates world-recognized British craftsmanship and sustainable UK manufacturing.

9. Re-Found Objects

RE is a homeware brand that started as a mail order service in rural Northumbria. Today, it has grown to become one of the most-sought after home accessories and furniture brands, offering everything unusual, recycled and re-invented such as colander lamp shades, pressed metal decorations, recycled glass soap dishes, weave baskets and so much more.

10. West Elm

Brooklyn-based home design and decor brand West Elm believes in the possibility of manufacturing products through sustainable practices. It is why ever since it launched in 2002, it has committed to using products that are Fair Trade Certified, handcrafted, organic and sustainably sourced. Today, it sources its handcrafted products from more than 35 artisan groups in 15 countries, providing jobs to nearly 5,000 workers.

 

There are a lot of other home décor brands who are committed to sustainability. Whether that means creating something new out of old materials, sourcing products made by independent artisans or using sustainable resources – all their green efforts serve as a catalyst that inspire consumers to be more mindful of their choices.

If you think of any other green home décor brand that should be on this list, let us know by commenting below.

10 Christmas Window Decoration Ideas for 2018

Aiming to envelop your house in the Christmas spirit this year? Aside from putting up the good old tree in the living room and hanging stockings nearby, you need to dress your windows for the season. After all, this is one part of the house that you can see from both the inside and the outside. This means that the right decoration will be able to spread holiday cheer to visitors, neighbors, and carolers all in one go! Understandably, you can’t settle for a half-baked concept for your window decor.

You might think at first that windows will be a bit challenging to decorate. Fortunately, there are countless tried-and-tested ideas to choose from. Here are 10 window decoration ideas for you to try for Christmas 2018!

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ALSO READ: 25 Easy Christmas Decoration Ideas for Your Home

Did you find what you are looking for? Which one do you think will work best as your window display? Let us know in the comments!

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Air Fresheners You Can Make at Home

Wouldn’t it be lovely to come home at the end of a long day and breathe in a light, calming fragrance? An air freshener can give your house a comforting scent in an instant. You can easily pick up a commercial freshener at a nearby store, but a homemade recipe grants the additional security of having all natural and non-toxic ingredients. Several DIY air fresheners are easy on the wallet, too! If you’re thinking of making your own air freshener at home, here are 10 recipes for you to try out.

10 All-Natural DIY Air Fresheners

1. Scented Wood Blocks

They’re easy to make, they’re reusable, and they’re an ornament on their own if you arrange them in a glass bowl. What more can you ask for?

Instructions:

  1. Coat several small wood blocks in the scented oil or perfume of your choice. You may do this with paint brushes, a spray bottle, or a closed container where you can shake the blocks in more oil.
  2. Leave the blocks overnight to absorb everything, and then set them out.
  3. Simply repeat the above steps if the fragrance begins to fade.

2. Baking Soda Air Freshener

Here’s one quick solution to those unpleasant smells in your bathroom. The baking soda in this DIY air freshener absorbs any odd scents while the essential oil gives off a constant light fragrance. Simply shake the mixture if you need the scent to be a bit stronger.

Instructions:

  1. Combine ½ cup baking soda and 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil.
  2. Pour the mixture into a glass jar and cover it with a piece of cloth or paper.
  3. You can embellish the jar with a ribbon matching your bathroom decor.

3. Floral Potpourri

The sight of a glass jar filled with dried petals might seem outdated. However, there’s a reason potpourri remains a common sight in offices and homes: it’s actually effective at making ambient air smell fresh. You can also put together your own jar of potpourri easily.

Instructions:

  1. Fill a container with dried flower petals. Put a few drops of essential oil.
  2. Close the container and let the petals sit in the oil for a few weeks. This allows the petals to soak up the oil.
  3. Transfer the petals to a bowl or jar and arrange them. You may further customize your potpourri with extra oils or scented ingredients.

4. Lemon-Rosemary Simmering Potpourri

It’s one thing to have a house filled with the savory smell of dinner, but it’s something else to have that smell last until the next morning. Get rid of overstaying cooking odors with some stovetop potpourri. This DIY air freshener gives off a scent that reaches from the kitchen to the corners of your home!

Instructions:

  1. Fill a small stock pot with water until it is about ⅔ full.
  2. Add a sliced lemon, some sprigs of rosemary, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  3. Allow the mixture to simmer throughout the day.
  4. Change the mixture every 2 days if you want to maintain the scent for longer.

5. Orange Candles

A scented candle can set you back around $20. Meanwhile, a pound of oranges generally costs less than $2. With some careful carving, you can turn a few extra oranges into bright, round candles of your own!

Instructions:

  1. Cut an orange in half.
  2. Run a knife around the edges of the orange to loosen the fruit, and then scrape the fruit out with a fork. Take care to leave the inside stem intact–this white piece in the middle of the orange will be your wick.
  3. Fill the orange with oil until it’s ¾ full (any kind of oil will do). Leave it to sit for about 45 minutes so that the stem can absorb the oil.
  4. Try lighting the candle. Hold a flame to the stem for 2-3 minutes until the stem turns brown or black. You’ll need a candle lighter for this, as a match or a cigarette lighter flickers out too quickly. Once the wick has turned black, let it rest for a moment.
  5. Relight the stem. This may also take a few seconds, and there might be some crackling sounds before the candle begins to burn steadily.

6. Cinnamon Stick Candles

Ever wanted to fill the whole house with the warm, spicy smell of cinnamon? You’ll adore these cinnamon stick candles, which are as beautiful as they are easy to make. Try handing them out as gifts to friends and family.

Instructions:

  1. Take a pillar candle at least 3 inches in diameter. Measure its height and cut around 20 sticks of cinnamon to size.
  2. Use a hot glue gun to attach the sticks vertically to the side of the candle. Make sure that the sticks lie snugly beside each other.
  3. Tie some twine or ribbon around the candle. Not only does it complete the candle’s look, but this will keep the cinnamon sticks in place even as the candle and the hot glue melt away.

7. Long-Lasting Gel Air Freshener

You might not be all right with the thought of having an open flame in the house, especially if there are children or pets around. A DIY gel air freshener is a great alternative to scented candles. One 8-oz jar of this freshener can last you up to a month!

Instructions:

  1. In a heatproof jar, combine around 30 drops of fragrance and a few drops of food coloring.
  2. Boil 1 cup of water and mix in 4 packages of unflavored gelatin. Keep stirring to prevent the gelatin from clumping up.
  3. Add a cup of cold water and a tablespoon of salt. Continue stirring.
  4. Pour the gelatin into the jars and mix it with the fragrance and food coloring.
  5. Let the freshener set overnight.
  6. Decorate the jars as you wish! If the jar has a lid, punch a few holes in it before screwing it on. This will help the freshener last longer.

8. Reed Diffusers

Another flame-free DIY air freshener, reed diffusers make for a quick, simple project and an eye-catching decoration. Plus, you can also use them over and over as long as you have scented oil in stock.

Instructions:

  1. Fill a small vase or jar with essential oil, and then fill it to the brim with baby oil.
  2. Place bamboo skewers or rattan reeds in the vase. You can decorate the sticks beforehand with washi tape, tiny flags, or paper flowers.
  3. Tie a ribbon around the vase as a final detail.

9. Lemon and Basil-Scented Spray

Worried that commercial air freshening sprays might contain harmful chemicals? You can easily whip up your own non-toxic alternative!

Instructions:

  1. Pour ½ cup of water into a water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Add 4 tablespoons of dried basil and allow it to steep for a few minutes.
  3. Line a funnel with coffee filter paper and place it in the opening of a clean spray bottle. Pour the basil mixture into the funnel.
  4. Remove the filter and then add ¾ cup of boiling water, 1 tablespoon of vodka, and 5 drops of lemon essential oil to the mixture.
  5. Cap and shake the spray bottle.

10. Orange-Clove Pomander Balls

The fragrant orange-clove pomander ball has been making homes and closets fragrant since medieval times. Hang them up to spread their spiced scent or drive pests away from pantries and other storage spaces. These DIY air fresheners are also a wonderful craft project for kids!

Instructions:

  1. Poke the pointed ends of whole cloves into the rind of a fresh orange. You can arrange the cloves to form designs and patterns on the pomander.
  2. If you want to hang the pomander, simply thread some ribbon underneath the skin and tie the ribbon in a loop.
  3. For a richer aroma, you can roll the pomander balls around in other spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.

Say goodbye to stale and unpleasant odors! Bring luxurious scents into your home with these 10 DIY air fresheners, and you’ll feel relaxed from the moment you walk through the front door.

For an even more comfortable atmosphere, try keeping a few pots of low-maintenance plants around the house as well.

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