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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 July 8, 2020

                            18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                            18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                            The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

                            1. Understand Yourself Better

                            Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

                            Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

                            2. Keep Track of Small Changes

                            I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

                            Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

                            3. Become Aware of What Matters

                            As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

                            You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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                            4. Boost Creativity

                            The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

                            When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

                            You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

                            5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

                            A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

                            Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

                            6. Process Life Experiences

                            When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

                            Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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                            7. Stress Relief

                            In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

                            Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

                            8. Provide Direction

                            Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

                            One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

                            9. Solve Problems

                            Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

                            Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

                            When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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                            10. Find Relief From Fighting

                            Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

                            Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

                            11. Find Meaning in Life

                            Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

                            12. Allow Yourself to Focus

                            Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

                            13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

                            When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

                            14. Let the Past Go

                            I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

                            15. Allow Freedom

                            Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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                            16. Enhance Your Career

                            Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

                            Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

                            17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

                            All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

                            18. Catalog Your Life for Others

                            No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

                            We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

                            Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

                            Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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