5 Benefits of Opening Your Windows

We’ve had some warm “spring-like” days in New England recently and it has us all hopeful that spring is around the corner! One of our favorite things about this season is opening the windows and doors in our homes for the first time since autumn. Besides the pure excitement of a new season, there are actually some real benefits of opening those windows when the weather is nice. Keep reading to find out.

1. Bringing in fresh air. It’s good for us, our children and our pets too!

2. Allowing sunlight in. For some of us opening the windows is also an opportunity to open the curtains and blinds as well. Sunlight is a great mood-booster and source of vitamin D.

3. Great way to circulate air. There’s no need for fans or air conditioners when you have fresh air blowing through your house.

4. Saving energy. If you’re no longer turning on you’re A/C and fans as previously mentioned then you are using less electricity and energy.

5. Letting pollutants in the air escape. If you’ve just painted or cleaned your kitchen floors, it’s a great time to open those windows to let any potentially toxic fumes escape.

Tips for Cleaning Your Dishwasher

It doesn’t take long for soap scum, leftover food and other debris to build up on the inside of your dishwasher. Chances are it doesn’t get cleaned as often as it should. Next time you’re cleaning your apartment or house make sure to add the dishwasher to your “to do” list and follow these tips.

1. Mark it on your calendar to clean your dishwasher once a month.
2. Check the drain first to make sure there is no food caught which would hurt your dishwasher’s cleaning efficiency.
3. Put white vinegar in a dishwasher safe cup and put it on the top rack. Run the dishwasher with a hot water cycle with the vinegar cup inside.
4. When the cycle is done, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and run another quick hot water cycle. This will remove any discoloration.
5. Check the edges of the dishwasher where the door closes. Use a sponge to clean up any additional gunk or grime that remains.

10 Steps to Take to Prepare for a Winter Storm

It looks like we have a winter storm heading our way this upcoming weekend! Whenever the forecast calls for snow, it seems people rush to the grocery store to stock up on bread, milk and bottled water. Keep reading to see what we recommend you do to prepare for our first big winter storm.

1. Check heating system to make sure that it is working.

2. Check batteries in smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.

3. Have plenty of drinking water on hand.

4. Make sure you know how to turn water off in the event pipes freeze.

5. Charge your cell phone so the battery is full. Especially if you don’t have a landline.

6. Have salt, sand and a shovel on hand.

7. Collect warm coats and blankets and make sure they are in an easily accessible place.

8. Have a working flashlight ready with extra batteries.

9. Stock up on food that does not need to be heated in case of power outage.

10. Make sure all windows, doors and sliders are closing properly to avoid extra cold air getting inside.

5 Ways to Start the New Year off Fresh

2016 is here and it’s a clean slate! Don’t fill it up with any of the clutter from 2015 by following these steps. You’ll be off to a new, fresh year in no time.

1. Take down and organize your holiday decorations in a timely fashion. Don’t wait until February to realize you don’t have the storage space or a place to toss your Christmas tree. Store items in neat, labeled bins. You’ll thank yourself when the holidays roll around again.

2. Start marking important dates, events and appointments on your new 2016 calendar or planner. Always wanted to try yoga? Make time for it this year by scheduling some classes. Don’t forget to also schedule time to relax too!

3. Clean up your work space. Going back to work after the holidays is tough and it’s even tougher if you’re going back to a messy desk with “to-dos” from last year. Organize and make deadlines for yourself to stay on track with projects. Don’t forget to clean up your e-mail while you’re at it!

4. Write any thank you cards that you need to send from the holidays before you forget. Your friends and family will love receiving a hand-written note.

5. Clean out your closet. If you didn’t wear it in 2015 chances are you won’t wear it in 2016. Donate your clothes to a location drop off center. Your closet will be clean and ready for a brand new year.

7 Daily Chores to Maintain a Tidy Home

Keeping a clean house can be both tedious and tiring. Sometimes when we let our messes take over they can get out of hand and we spend hours of our free time cleaning. Keep reading to find out seven household chores you can do quickly each day to ensure a clean house all week long.

1. Make the bed first thing in the morning. When your bed is made right after you wake up your bedroom will instantly feel tidy and you will get a simple task out of the way bright and early.

2. Empty all garbage cans. By collecting all kitchen, bathroom and bedroom trash before you head out for the day, you’ll ensure an odor-free home when you return.

3. Make sure the dishes don’t pile up. If you refrain from throwing dirty dishes in the sink by either hand-washing them or putting them in the dishwasher they will never pile up.

4. Pick up after yourself during the day. If you tend to leave a trail of clutter, make sure you put items in their place when you’re done using them. (i.e. put your shoes in the closet, hang your keys on a hook, fold your blanket and put it away in a closet).

5. Don’t let the laundry build up. If you have a house full of people, make sure to do one load of laundry daily. This way your dirty clothes will never get out of hand and overwhelming.

6. Run the vacuum. Once you’ve had dinner and the day is winding down, take five minutes to vacuum the floors (especially if you have pets!)

7. Wipe down bathroom surfaces. Before you hit the sheets at night give your bathroom a quick wipe-down. Make sure there are no toothpaste or soap stains left behind on the sink!

Blizzard Preparation Checklist

A blizzard is heading our way and it’s time to start checking to make sure we are prepared at home! Before settling in for the night tonight make sure your home is prepared with the following items. Once the snow starts falling many local businesses will be closed so it’s important to prepare! Do you have all of the items on this list?

• Non-perishable food—at least a 3-day
• Flashlight
• Battery-powered radio
• Extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Medications
• Fully-charged cell phones
• Family and emergency contact information
• Extra cash
• Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
• Pet food
• Candles/matches
• Sand or rock salt
• Warm coats, gloves, hats and boots
• Firewood (if you have a fireplace)
• Warm blankets
• Snow shovel

5 Tips For Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions

Making resolutions is easy…sticking to them is the tough part! Whether you are trying to lose weight, save money or get organized here are some tips to help you be more successful with your goals this year!

1. Make your goal realistic. If your goal is to lose weight, remember that losing 100 pounds in a year is just not feasible (for most of us) so make your goal one that is realistic to obtain in one year.

2. Make sure you resolutions are specific. Don’t just say “I am going to get healthy in 2015.” Instead say I am going to exercise three times per week this year and stick to it.

3. Find a buddy with a similar goal. If you want to quit smoking this year, find a friend who has the same wish and keep each other accountable. You can inspire each other to stick with it.

4. Give yourself a smaller time frame. One year is a long time to be held accountable for a lifestyle change. Instead give yourself monthly goals. For example, save 100 dollars by the end of January. Once you have done that, challenge yourself to save 200 dollars in February.

5. Don’t be afraid of setbacks. We are all human and tend to slip up throughout the year. Don’t worry about a setback and just get back on track rather than choose to give up.

How to Clean Your Couch

We wash our floors, our sinks and counter tops but we often forget about the couch! We sit on it every day and some of us let our pets lounge on it too. Here are 5 easy steps for cleaning your couch.

1. Use your vacuum hose/attachment to give the couch and pillows a once over. Don’t forget to flip the cushions so you can remove dust, allergens and pet hair from all surfaces.

2. If your couch has wooden parts (legs, arm rests) dust them off and use a furniture polish to wipe them clean.

3. Read the papers/tags that came with your sofa. They will explain what sort of fabric it is made out of and what cleaners are safe to use.

4. Clean with the proper cleaner. Focus on spots that have noticeable stains and wear. Let the couch dry.

5. Rent a shampooer and deep clean your sofa. Use the attachments to get in all the crevices of the cushions to ensure a deep clean. Let your couch dry.

What To Look For When Buying Produce

We all browse the produce aisle at the supermarket and squeeze a piece of fruit or hold a veggie in the air to inspect it, but do we really know what to look for? Here’s a guide to help you know what to look for when buying popular produce.

Oranges- Heavy with a firm, smooth texture

Grapes – Tender and plump; firmly attached to the stem

Bell Peppers – Thick, glossy skin and firm

Broccoli Crowns- Firm, deep green color with closed florets

Potatoes- Firm with a smooth texture and oval shape

Tomatoes- Plump with a rich, red color and cushiony to the touch

Onions- Dry, papery-smooth skin