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14 Cleaning Hacks That Will Save You Time (And Money!)

14 Cleaning Hacks That Will Save You Time (And Money!)

If you’re anything like me, you find cleaning to be a bit of a drag.

I mean, sure, sometimes it’s super-satisfying to see the rewards of a clean home after a deep clean — and it can even be therapeutic after a particularly stressful day — but the majority of the time, cleaning is a never-ending pain.

I live with two guys (feel sorry for me), and seriously, there’s always something that needs cleaning.

That’s why I love a good cleaning hack, and why I’m going to share some of my discoveries with you in this post. With the help of these hacks, hopefully one day no one will ever have to suffer through endless hours of cleaning again (that’s my dream!).

1. Buy Baking Soda

Bicarbonate in a wooden spoon

    Seriously, I don’t think there’s anything baking soda can’t do! If you are looking for a magical solution to your cleaning woes, baking soda is the closest you’re going to get.

    Available from your supermarket, baking soda is a degreaser, deodoriser, cleaner, and more (seriously, here’s another 37 baking soda hacks for your home).

    My all-time top 3 cleaning hacks with baking soda are:

    1.  Bin deodoriser: Next time you empty your bin, sprinkle some baking soda at the bottom — it will absorb those nasty odours!
    2. Cleaning the cooker-hood filters: Be honest, when was the last time you cleaned yours? The only way to get rid of that sticky layer of grease is to soak it with boiling water and baking soda (trust me).
    3. Cleaning grout: Not only is baking soda an abrasive, it’s also a natural whitener — perfect for the grout in my bathroom!

    2. Remove Water Rings With Your Hair Dryer

    Removing water marks with hair dryer

      Fed up with water marks on your wooden furniture? These can seem impossible to remove, but you can actually use a hair dryer (or alternatively, an iron) to finally get rid of those unsightly water rings.

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      Water rings are caused by trapped moisture in the wood, so using a hair dryer on low heat directed at the affected area causes the moisture to evaporate, removing the stain.

      3. Put Everything in the Dishwasher

      toys-in-dishwasher

        Okay, maybe not everything, but you’d be surprised by how much you can actually clean in your dishwasher, including:

        • Vases
        • Toothbrushes
        • Makeup brushes
        • Plastic toys
        • Dish racks

        4. Use Flour to Clean Spills Easily

        Cleaning spilt sauce with flour

          To clean up a large spill quickly, instead of using rolls of paper towels, grab some flour and sprinkle it over the mess.

          The flour will absorb and control the spill quickly, making it much easier to clean up.

          5. Steam Clean Your Microwave

          Water + Lemons for Clean Microwave

            Hate cleaning your microwave? Well there’s a much easier method — cut a lemon into two halves and place them in a (microwaveable) bowl/jug of water.

            Place the bowel in the microwave and heat for 3 minutes. Leave the bowl to stand for around 5 minutes.

            Heating water in your microwave generates steam, which, along with the lemon (a natural de-greaser), helps to loosen the dried-on food and stains inside your microwave.

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            When you remove the bowl, your microwave shouldn’t need anything more than a quick wipe to clean!

            6. DIY Overnight Mould Remover

            Mould in the shower

              Soak cotton wool balls in bleach (be sure to use rubber gloves!) and lay them on those annoying mould and mildew stains that form on the grout/sealant in your bathroom.

              Leave them to work overnight (while you catch up on some well-deserved sleep) and simply remove them the next day — the mould will be gone!

              7. Use a Lint Roller on Lampshades

              Lint roller to clean lampshade

                Lampshades are a magnet for dust and gunk and a nightmare to clean.

                But there’s an easier way — use a lint roller! After all, lint rollers were designed to pick up the dust and debris from your clothes, and they work perfectly on lampshades.

                You can also use lint rollers to quickly clean curtains, rugs, and glitter (it gets everywhere!). You can also use it to safely pick up broken glass.

                8. Buy a Steamer!

                Steam cleaner

                  Literally everything will be easier to clean. Things like your:

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                  • Bathroom
                  • Oven
                  • Windows
                  • Sofa
                  • Carpets and rugs
                  • Tiles
                  • Outdoor furniture
                  • Upholstery

                  The list goes on! This is an investment buy that may cost a lot initially, but will definitely save you money in the future.

                  9. Make Your Own Cleaning Solutions

                  Homemade-cleaning-solutions

                    Save money (and the environment) by making your own home cleaning solutions with stuff that you probably already have in your cupboards.

                    This can also be beneficial for your health, as some commercial cleaning products have been found to contain toxic chemicals.

                    As to whether homemade cleaning solutions are as effective as store-bought cleaners, the answer may surprise you. Check out this infographic for more information.

                    10. Stop Smelly Bins

                    Put baking soda at the bottom of the bin

                      There’s nothing worse than a smelly bin, but there’s a seriously quick and easy way to prevent your waste from smelling out your kitchen — baking soda (I seriously love this stuff).

                      Simply sprinkle a handful of baking soda at the bottom of your bin before you insert the bin-bag. Baking soda is a natural deodoriser, and will absorb any bad odours generated from your kitchen waste.

                      Bonus Tip: Try cleaning your bin in the shower. You can use the shower hose to effectively clean the inside, and leave it upturned to dry naturally.

                      11. Dry Your Clothes Quicker

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                      Towel in Dryer

                        Put one dry towel in your tumble dryer with your wet clothes to dry them faster. The dry towel will absorb the excess moisture, reducing the drying time and using less energy (a money-saving bonus!).

                        However, you need to ensure you remove the towel 15 minutes into the cycle, otherwise the towel will continue to absorb moisture and extend the drying time.

                        12. Vacuum Up Vomit

                        Vacuuming

                          Okay, this seems kinda gross. But apparently, if you make a paste of baking soda and water and generously spread it over the affected area, and then leave it overnight to dry, it’ll absorb the odour and allow you to easily vacuum the mess up the next day.

                          I can’t say I’ve tried this myself, but it could potentially be one of the best cleaning hacks!

                          14. Use Foil and Cling-Film to Prevent Mess

                          Foil in baking tray

                            If things don’t get dirty, they don’t need to be cleaned! Line your baking trays with foil when cooking, and place cling-film on the shelves of your fridge.

                            Simply remove and replace when needed — cleaning without the elbow grease!

                            Image Credits: Livestrong, Homemade Mamas, Flickr, WonderHowTo,  The Kitchn, Our Home From Scratch, Be Young Be Green, Steam Smart,  Pamela SalzmanHelping, About Home, Flickr, David Lebovitz

                            Featured photo credit: PhotoPin via photopin.com

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                            Last Updated on September 28, 2020

                            The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                            The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                            At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

                            Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

                            One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

                            When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

                            So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

                            Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

                            This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

                            Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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                            When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

                            Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

                            One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

                            Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

                            An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

                            When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

                            Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

                            Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

                            We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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                            By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

                            Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

                            While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

                            I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

                            You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

                            Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

                            When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

                            Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

                            Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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                            Con #2: Less Human Interaction

                            One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

                            Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

                            Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

                            This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

                            While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

                            Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

                            Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

                            This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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                            For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

                            Con #4: Unique Distractions

                            Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

                            For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

                            To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

                            Final Thoughts

                            Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

                            We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

                            More About Working From Home

                            Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

                            Reference

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