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6 Gardening Hacks You Need to Know This Spring

6 Gardening Hacks You Need to Know This Spring

Christmas has come and gone and, if you’re a suffering Brit like me, you’ll have been patiently awaiting Summer for what feels like an eternity. Considering Summer usually only lasts for a few short weeks, it’s important to be prepared as soon as those days hit in order to capitalize on the small amount of sun we actually get.

One of the best Spring and Summer pastimes is enjoying the weather in your own garden; sometimes though, the Winter months take such a huge toll on your back yard that repairing the damage can be time consuming and costly. If you want to find more eco-friendly ways to look after your garden and spend less time and money treating it, here are few tips to help you do just that.

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Remove rust with vegetables

Do you want to get rid of rust on your barbecue tools  or patio furniture? Believe it or not, one of the cheapest ways to do this is sitting right in your kitchen. Cut a raw potato or cucumber in half and scrub the rusted areas with the flat, moist surface of your chosen vegetable. Trust us, it works wonders, and there’s absolutely no need to spend money on kitchen sprays and scrubbing tools.

Get rid of candle wax with a paper towel and a butter knife

Al fresco dining is great and atmospheric, but can be messy; don’t worry if you overdid it with the candles at last night’s dinner party, you can remove candle wax easily.

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Start by using a butter knife to scrape off as much of the wax as you can from affected rug or tablecloth, and then place a paper towel over the affected area. Put iron on low heat over the paper. This will warm up the wax enough for the paper towel to absorb it.

Clean glass with vinegar

If you want to clean glass table tops or windows, you don’t need harmful chemicals to do it. Make your own glass-washing fluid with a mix of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. If you’ve used commercial products on your glass surfaces before, you may need to add a few drops of dish water to the solution. This will remove the waxy residue left by your old conventional glass cleaners.

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Use a trellis to brighten up your walls

If you want to brighten up an unsightly concrete (or just plain dull) wall, then it’s worth considering climbing plants and trellis’ for a quick and simple uplift. This year willow expandable trellis is making a comeback but if you check out trellis at Jewson Tools or any other reputable gardening supplier you’ll uncover a range of decorative trellis and garden features that will fit your style.

For advice on planting climbers, the BBC Gardening Guide is a great source for information and inspiration.

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Use salt to make paving stones look better

Nothing is less inviting than an unkempt driveway and if you’re looking to sell a property this Spring, you’ll really need to up your curb appeal game. If weeds are growing between the cracks in the paving stones on your patio, or on your concrete driveway – salt is all you need! Just sprinkling a bit in the affected areas should do the trick.

Please note: Salt can build up in soil and cause issues for plants you want to keep. So, if there’s a flowerbed next to your patio, be careful not to wash the salt into the soil.

Use a clothespin for safety

When working on DIY projects in your backyard, use a clothespin (rather than your fingers) to keep nails in place as you hammer it in. It may take a little extra time, but will absolutely save in money in the swear jar!

Featured photo credit: Huffington Post via i.huffpost.com

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Jess Melia

Jess is a passionate writer and journalist. She shares about motivational and learning tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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