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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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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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