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15 Simple Cleaning Hacks Everyone Should Master

15 Simple Cleaning Hacks Everyone Should Master

The average American household spends $42 per month on household cleaning supplies. And that doesn’t include white aprons for the upstairs maid! Germs lurk everywhere inside your home, whether brought in by your pet, your own feet, or just born on the breeze that wafts through the halls of your domicile. So, do a little bit of cleaning each day to keep the miniature flora and fauna at bay.

There’s no need to spend that much money, or that much time, on keeping your home or apartment sparkly clean – so clean, in fact, that your own mother will be bowled over the next time she comes to visit, if you’ll just follow these simple, inexpensive and effective cleaning hacks:

microwave and lemons

    1. Lemonize your microwave

    When it comes to cleaning, deodorizing and sanitizing your microwave, lemon juice is your friend. Just mix water and lemon juice in a microwavable bowl, set the timer for 5 minutes, and let the citrus steam do the work. Afterward, just wipe down the inside.

    2. There’s more to grilled onions than meets the eye

    Keep your grill spic and span by rubbing half of a white onion across it when it’s heated up. It not only removes the disgusting carbon buildup, but also seasons the grill for you.

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    showerhead vinegar2

      3. Show the shower head who’s boss

      The Vinegar Institute (yes, it’s real; not a joke from Prairie Home Companion) suggests filling a baggy with white vinegar, then putting it around your shower head and tying it off tight – leave it overnight to banish soap scum and lime crust.

      gloveand pethair

        4. The pet hair scare

        Don’t worry. Just put on a rubber glove, dip it in water and rub it over upholstery to pick up dog and cat hair. Even when you can’t see it, you know it’s there.

        squeegeeandpethair

          5. And the carpet

          Use a window squeegee to collect pet hair in just minutes. Why spend hours vacuuming? Your pet allergy symptoms will dwindle significantly when you keep your carpet hairless.

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          messyroom

            6. Banish clutter!

            A cluttered room is hard to clean and is a dust magnet. Plus, all sorts of bugs and spiders love to hide in the dark nooks and crannies that clutter creates. Take advantage of spring cleaning time and box up your non-essentials and take them to a commercial self-storage unit. They’re inexpensive, accessible, and safe. If you leave stuff with your parents, they’ll eventually throw it out, and if you try to fob it off on a friend to keep in their garage, it’ll somehow mysteriously get water damaged or mice infested.

            dirtyblender

              7. Don’t bother with the blender

              Letting it soak in the sink will eventually rust the blade. Fill it with hot water and a few drops of dish detergent, and then run it for a full minute on a high speed. Empty and rinse, then go see what’s on Netflix.

              kittylitter

                8. Kitty litter to the rescue!

                Does your concrete garage floor look rather leprous lately? Clean up oil and other vehicle fluid leak stains with kitty litter. And then dump the used litter down any mole holes or other critter holes in your lawn to discourage the varmints from turning your yard into a miniature golf course.

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                silverandketchup

                  9. Catch up with your cleaning with ketchup

                  Embarrassed to get the silverware out for company? Clean it with ketchup. You can get a bottle of generic ketchup for about a dollar. It’ll last you several cleanings, although you might get a hankering for french fries.

                  bread and glass

                    10. White bread

                    Don’t let a broken bottle spread tiny shards in ever widening circles; use a piece of white bread. Just press it down on the glass shards, shake into the trash, and repeat. It’ll even pick up those microscopic needles that so love to jab the soles of your bare feet just when you think you’ve got them all cleaned up.

                    trashcan with newspaper

                      11. Avoid trashcan tragedies

                      Trash cans are chock full of disease-causing germs. To help minimize the spread of them, put some balled up newspaper in the bottom of your trash bag to soak up noxious liquids so they don’t seep out. You can also drill some holes in the bottom of your trash can to prevent suction from ripping the bag open when you pull it out. Spritz the inside and outside of your trash can with vinegar at least once a week to keep the germs and odors under control. (Thank you once again, Vinegar Institute!)

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                      bakingsodaandcarpet

                        12. Vomit cleaner

                        Baking soda is vinegar and lemon’s natural cleaning cousin. Last night’s party got a little too wild? Little Stevie brought the stomach flu home from preschool? Vomit happens, and not always in the toilet. Clean up messes from carpet by first removing as much of the solid parts as possible. You can then make a paste by mixing baking soda with water and spreading it on the stain. Let it sit overnight and then you can vacuum up the entire mess in the morning.

                        cleaning cabinets with baking soda

                          13. Cupboard De-gunker

                          Make a paste of 1 part vegetable oil and 2 parts baking soda, and using a toothbrush, scrub all of the greasy, grimey build-up from your kitchen or bathroom cupboards. Wipe clean with a damp cloth, and voila, you have grime-free cabinets.

                          dryersheets

                            14. Dryer Sheets

                            Did you know that dryer sheets can do much more than eliminate static cling from your clothes? This amazing little sheet can do everything from clean your greasy cook top, to removing soap scum rings from your bathtub. The fibers in the dryer sheet will grab almost anything, and the chemicals used to soften your clothes will also soften dirt, making it easier to clean. Wet a used dryer sheet and run it across dirty blinds, or use new dryer sheets to dust furniture – like magic, you’ll see future dust repelled.

                            pressandseal

                              15. Keeping the fridge clean

                              Everybody hates cleaning the fridge, especially when meat juice leaks all over one of the shelves. A simple way to clean up these messes quickly is to use Glad Press n’ Seal to line your fridge’s shelves. When a mess happens, just peel off the wrap and throw it away.

                              Featured photo credit: Shirley via pixabay.com

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                              Published on November 14, 2018

                              Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                              Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                              With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                              For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                              In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                              Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                              Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                              It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                              For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                              Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                              Symptoms of Fatigue

                              Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                              • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                              • mental blocks
                              • lack of motivation
                              • headache
                              • dizziness
                              • muscle weakness
                              • slowed reflexes and responses
                              • impaired decision-making and judgement
                              • moodiness, such as irritability
                              • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                              • reduced immune system function
                              • blurry vision
                              • short-term memory problems
                              • poor concentration
                              • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                              Causes of Fatigue

                              The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                              • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                              • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                              • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                              • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                              Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                              Medical Causes of Fatigue

                              If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                              Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                              Anemia

                              Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                              Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                              There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                              Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                              Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                              This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                              Diabetes

                              Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                              Sleep Apnea

                              Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                              Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                              Thyroid disease

                              An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                              Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                              • Lack of sleep
                              • Too much sleep 
                              • Alcohol and drugs 
                              • Sleep disturbances 
                              • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                              • Poor diet 

                              Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                              • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                              • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                              • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                              • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                              Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                              Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                              • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                              • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                              • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                              How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                              Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                              1. Tell The Truth

                              Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                              To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                              Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                              The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                              One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                              • How you feel
                              • What time of day it is
                              • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                              • How your mind and body reacts

                              This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                              2. Reduce Your Commitments

                              When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                              If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                              When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                              Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                              3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                              If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                              Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                              If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                              Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                              Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                              4. Express More Gratitude

                              Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                              It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                              Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                              5. Focus On Yourself

                              Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                              There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                              But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                              We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                              6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                              Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                              Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                              The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                              Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                              7. Take a Power Nap

                              When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                              Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                              This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                              8. Take More Exercise

                              The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                              Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                              The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                              You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                              9. Get More Quality Sleep

                              To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                              Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                              My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                              10. Improve Your Diet

                              Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                              Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                              On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                              To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                              Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                              Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                              11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                              Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                              When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                              Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                              My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                              12. Get Hydrated

                              Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                              Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                              If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                              The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                              The Bottom Line

                              These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                              If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                              Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                              Reference

                              [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                              [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                              [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                              [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                              [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                              [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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