Tips & Tricks

How to Properly Clean and Disinfect Your Bathroom

After the kitchen—which should be the cleanest, most germ-free room in your home—the bathroom should come as a very close second. After all, it’s where you clean yourself up! Because of the presence of steam, unpleasant odors, bacteria, and water, your bathroom is susceptible to invisible, deeper levels of uncleanliness and germs that will take more than just basic spray-and-wipe cleaning. Read on for the lowdown on how to properly clean and disinfect your bathroom.

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What to Bring (and What Leave at Home) for Your Vacation Rental

We love staying in hotels when vacationing. With room service, daily housekeeping, and various cool amenities, you get to feel spoiled and luxurious. We have also discovered, when traveling with family or a group of friends, that a vacation rental can be hugely advantageous and fantastic. There’s so much more room to spread out and carve out some privacy, there’s a kitchen and dining room so you don’t have to eat out for every meal, and there’s a washer and dryer so you can pack less clothing. If you’ve got a rental with some cool features, such as a hot tub, swimming pool, game room, or a beach/lake nearby, then it’s even better. Here’s our guide on what to pack and what to leave at home when heading out to your fabulous vacation rental.

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Check These Annually: Your Credit Report, Social Security, and Social Media Privacy

There are many things we should all check periodically, but this article will focus on the three biggies you should definitely check on an annual basis. 

1. Check your credit report.

In a world where data breaches and credit fraud are all too common, you need to keep on top of your personal and financial information. One major aspect of that is your credit report, which can help determine things like your mortgage rate, your car loan APR, and your credit card approvals. It’s very important to do an annual credit report check. You can dispute any errors, detect possible credit card fraud or ID theft, and find incomplete or outdated information. To make this even easier, it’s free! 

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three major consumer credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). Since February-April is when most Americans file their taxes, it’s also a good time to check your credit. The official source for your three free credit reports is Annual Credit Report—don’t be fooled by other sites.

Keep in mind that while your credit report is free, your credit score will probably not be. Your credit report is a detailed summary of the information related to your credit activity. Your credit score is a number, typically between 300 and 850, that rates your credit risk. Creditors use this number to determine whether to give you credit, decide the terms they offer, or the interest rate you pay.

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15 Realistic Tips to Lessen Screen Time for You and Your Family

It’s fairly common knowledge now that too much screen time is unhealthy for a wide variety of reasons. According to the Nielsen research group, American adults now spend “more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or simply interacting with media.” If we assume 6-7 hours of sleep in a 24 hour day, that leaves just 6-7 hours of time daily with no screen interaction. Yikes! This shows how addicted and reliant we have become to our screens, and that can’t possibly be a good thing. For kids, it’s even more important that screen time be limited. But how to go about it without going cold turkey? We’ve created a list of practical, realistic tips on how to lessen screen time for you and your family.

1.   Keep track of your screen time.

Smartphones let you check your screen time daily and weekly usage, as well as your number of pickups. Not sure how? Here’s how to do so on Apple devices, as well as on Android, which also has a feature called Digital Wellbeing to help you use your phone in a healthier, more balanced manner. You may be shocked to find, for instance, that you are picking up your phone 58 times a day (the average). Don’t forget to track screen time usage for computers, tablets, game consoles, and televisions—these all count as screens.

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7 Steps to Cleaning and Organizing Your Computer Desktop

Your computer desktop is the first thing you see when you log in. Is your password an entry to a desktop that is cluttered with files, folders, photos, apps, zip files, shortcuts, screen shots, and other digital detritus? If so, it could very well have a negative impact on your productivity and your stress level. It’s not hugely different from having an actual desktop that is also cluttered and disorganized. A workspace, onscreen or not, that is a jumbled mess will make you feel distracted, scattered, and anxious. Read on for some tips on getting your computer desktop cleaned and organized—then watch your productivity trend upwards!

1. Make good use of your taskbar to minimize program icons.

Look at each program icon on your desktop and consider how often you use it. The ones you use daily and at least 3x a week, keep on your desktop. The rest should be moved into the Start button on a PC, or the Applications folder in a Mac’s Finder. To neaten up your desktop even more, keep your program icons on your taskbar. On a PC, pin an icon to your Taskbar by right-clicking on it; then select “pin to taskbar.” On a Mac, simply drag and drop the icon onto your Dock. This will help keep your desktop neater and save you the hassle of finding programs because all your apps are in one spot, instead of all over your screen.

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Trim the Fat: How to Better Track and Manage Your Paid Subscriptions

January 19, 1922
by Jason Cohen
from PCmag.com

With Netflix hiking its prices again, it’s a good time to get a handle on your recurring subscription services. These are the best apps to help you see exactly what you’re spending each month and how to save the most money.

Cord cutting has long been touted as the answer to costly monthly cable bills. Don’t pay for channels you never watch; just stream your favorite shows and movies online. That was the dream, but TV and cable execs have caught on.

If you want all the popular originals—The Witcher on Netflix, The Mandalorian on Disney+, Star Trek: Discovery on Paramount+, Ted Lasso on Apple TV+—plus exclusive access to deep movie catalogues on HBO Max and Amazon Video, things get expensive pretty fast.

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Give Your Front Door a Refresh With These 7 Tips

Have you given your front door a good look recently? Are there cobwebs in the corners (and I don’t mean the fake ones left from Halloween)? Is the doormat looking sad and not quite as welcoming as you’d like? Is the porch light twitching? Your front door is the “face” of your home—it’s the first impression your visitors get as they approach. So if it’s needing some love right now, we’ve got some easy ways to give it a refresh.

1. Clean the door and everything around it.

Even if your front door is under an eave, it will still get dirty. An annual cleaning is a great idea. First, use a broom or your vacuum’s extension kit, and make sure to get all the corners. Then use a damp cloth to wipe the door down, top to bottom, making sure you do the top of the door frame, all the trim’s details, the doorknob, and the kick plate. If you’ve got windows on the door or to its sides, clean those as well, inside and out. Take the doormat and shake it out or use a shop vac to clean it. Give your front porch and door step area a thorough sweep, then hose it down; include the steps if you have any. If you want the full 411 on serious door-cleaning, this guide is for you.

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Tweak Your Morning Routine and Get Out the Door Faster

Are you scrambling every morning as you head out the door? Are you often late to your destination? Do you sometimes forget things at home? Those three questions are so stressful, we know. Mornings are tough for some of us, and feeling like you are running around, frazzled, and forgetting something is not the way anyone wishes to begin their day. Imagine waking up on time, having a calm breakfast, getting dressed without multiple outfit changes, and heading out the door with minutes to spare, with everything you need to take with you. It really can happen! But it does take some work and planning, and even more importantly, commitment. One of the things that causes delays is making decisions—which is why our hacks cut down the number of choices you’ll have to make. Tweak your morning routine with these tips, and get out the door like a BOSS!

No more snoozing.

If the snooze button on your alarm clock or phone is the cause of frequent oversleeping, then it’s time to disable it. Getting out of a warm, cozy bed is one of everyone’s least favorite things (especially now that I have a weighted blanket!), but being up on time is the first thing that needs to happen. If you are a heavy sleeper and don’t realize you are hitting Snooze or sleeping through the alarm, move it farther than the nightstand so you have to actually get up to turn it off.

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How to Pare Down Your Books

Books are seriously one of the hardest things to part with! Even if you’ve only ever read it once, having your books within reach keeps you tied to the thoughts and feelings they evoked, to the far-off, magical adventures they took you on, to the breathtaking or heart-wrenching stories they told. We hold onto books that were passed down from a loved one, or purchased at a tiny bookshop in Cairo, or read during a particularly good or bad time of our lives. We also hold onto books that were gifts, or from your college days, or have been on your “to read” list for a long time. The reality is that books also create clutter, take up a lot of space, are hard to move, and collect an amazing amount of dust. Paring down your books doesn’t mean getting rid of all of them—it just means you’ll keep some of them. Our guide will help you get going!

Where are all your books?
  • Are they all on a couple of bookshelves in the family room?
  • Or do you have books in many places—your nightstand, your home office, the guest room?
  • Do you have books in boxes that are stored in the garage, the basement, or a storage unit?
  • Write down all the places where your books are kept, so you can go down the list and check each area off as you declutter it.
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Learn How to Minimize the Dust in Your Closet

from Closets.com
January 8, 2021

 

Ever notice how closets and bathrooms seem to be the dustiest rooms in the house? There’s a reason for this. They may not be used very often each day. But the type of use these areas receive creates dust. And the relatively small size of closets with limited air circulation exacerbates the problem.

Understand what is dust made of.

According to research from Chemical and Engineering News, 80% of the dust in a home is made up of dead skin cells that have sloughed off your body. The rest is a combination of dust mites and their excrement, clothing fibers, pollen, and bacteria. Yuck! Certainly not my home, right?

Think of Pig-Pen from the old Peanuts cartoons by Charles M. Schulz.

Unfortunately, even the cleanest among us create dust. We are all kind of like Pig-Pen. That’s because particles of our skin and hair continuously shed throughout the day. In fact, that is what bloodhounds or other search and rescue dogs are following when they pick up your “scent.” We create our own unique dust as part of a healthy rejuvenation process for our bodies. It can be completely avoided, but we can still reduce this dust from piling up in our homes.

And then there are the dust mites. Dust mites are microscopic spider-like creatures that live in our homes and on our clothing. They eat dead skin cells. Thus the attraction to us. After they eat, they poop, like any other animal, adding to our “dust.” To make things worse, many people are allergic to this dust mite doo-doo. In fact, this is one of the major allergens in dust that make us sneeze.

 

Read the rest on Closets.com.

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