Natural Cleaning Tips For Healthy Living - September 2016

Create and maintain a clean environment of your very own.

Flea Markets home decorating New York City

How to Find Flea Market Success

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One of the best things to do on a fall weekend is to spend time browsing and shopping one of the great flea markets here in NYC (click here for some of our favorites). Whether you’re a flea novice or veteran, knowing how to navigate your way through the treasures is a must—especially if you are looking for that one special piece that will make your place perfect.

Here are our 5 tips for working your way through a flea market:

 

Dress for Success
Fall temperatures, especially in NYC, have a way of going from chilly to hot in minutes. Dress is in layers so you will be comfortable regardless of the weather and wear the right shoes—keeping in mind that in addition to walking a lot, you may experience different kinds of terrain such as gravel, grass or dirt. One other accessory you should bring is a backpack, large purse or even a folding cart. Not only will these items help you haul your loot, but you can toss in things like water bottles, snacks and baby wipes to help you get through your day.

Be Prepared
“Set a budget and create a list of objects you want to buy,” suggests bhg.com. Bring a notebook with you that includes measurements of places in your home as well as swatches of fabric or paint so you can see if your new found treasure is a fit for your space (bringing along a tape measure is a good idea, too!). In addition, checkout the flea market’s website before you go, noting vendors and their booth locations so you can plan the most efficient route.

Start from the Back
Speaking of most efficient route…start at the back of the flea market—where booths will be less crowded and not picked over—and work your way towards the front. When you find something you love, buy it. If you wait too long, someone else may snatch it up—plus, you might not remember the booth where it was located. If the item of your dreams is too big to carry around the rest of the flea, most vendors will save it for you.

Go Early, Stay Late
There is real truth to the “early bird gets the worm.” In addition to getting the first pick of items, the crowds are usually a bit lighter early in the day giving you plenty of time—and room—to peruse the booths and talk with the vendors. If you’re looking for a great deal, stay until the end of the day. Vendors are more likely to give you a good price to avoid packing up all their items. This is especially true for big items such as chairs and tables.

Prepare to Haggle
This is the real fun of the flea market and vendors expect you to haggle a bit on prices. Be sure to bring cash in a diverse amount of bills (1s, 5s, 10s, etc.) and barter in a positive way. “Ask dealers for their best price; if you’re comfortable with that, then buy. If not, offer them what you’re willing to pay,” writes bhg.com. Don’t insult vendors with really low offers and don’t be offended if they can’t meet your price. “Thank the dealer and move on to the next vendor.”

 

Talk to us:  What is your best tip for finding the best things at a flea market?

 

 

Sources:
http://www.bhg.com/decorating/decorating-style/flea-market/how-to-navigate-the-flea-market-like-a-pro/#page=0
http://www.inforum.com/variety/3821188-tips-help-first-timers-navigate-flea-market

 

image courtesy of flickr CC/Michael Martine

 

 

All-natural cleaning tips Cleaning Tips Green Cleaning Tips

5 Ways to Use Coffee Grounds

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Who doesn’t love a great cup of joe in the morning? That jolt of caffeine isn’t just good for helping us start our day (or giving us a jumpstart in the middle of our day), but those used grounds can be put to good use around your home. Here are 5 ways you can reuse your coffee grounds:

 

Kitchen Cleaner
You really don’t think of coffee grounds as being a cleaning agent, but its properties are perfect for scrubbing grease and grime off of dishes (scour with just a few teaspoons of grounds followed up by a thorough rinsing), cleaning your countertops (toss the grounds on the surface and scrub with a sponge—test small area first!) and unclogging drains (boil a cup of grounds in a pot of water & pour hot mixture down the drain).

Deodorizer
Coffee grounds absorb strong odors so they are perfect for deodorizing those less-than-smell-good areas of your home such as trashcans and refrigerators. Put coffee grounds in a plastic container, poke holes in the lid and stick it in your fridge or freezer—it works just like baking soda. For the garbage, MoneyCrashers.com suggests filling an old pair of pantyhose with some dry coffee grounds and hanging the mixture on the inside of your trash can lid.

Fireplace Fixer
We love this idea from Mother Nature Network: Before cleaning the fireplace, sprinkle with dampened used coffee grounds, which will weigh down the ash and thus eliminate clouds of smoke-flavored dust.

Plant Fertilizer
Coffee grounds are a great addition to your compost, but they can also be used to enrich the soil of your plants—both inside and outside. Sprinkle the grounds in the soil or mix ½ cup of the grounds with warm water in a spray bottle to make a fertilized mist.

Odor Remover
We mentioned that coffee grounds absorb odors, so after cooking with items like garlic or onions, wet your hands, rub a small amount of coffee grounds on them, and rinse with cold water.

Not a coffee drinker? According to Care2.com, many coffee shops will give you their spent grounds for free or for a nominal fee that covers the cost of packing them up for you.

 

Talk to us: How do you reuse your coffee grounds?

 

image courtesy of flickr CC/Chris Campbell

Apartment Living Fall Decorating Tips

Adding Fall Color to Small Spaces

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Happy First Day of Fall! This is the time of year when everything seems to be bursting with color—especially homes. Do a quick Google search for “fall decorating ideas” and you will be hit with page after page of wonderful tips and advice. With its bold colors and deep textures, you may think fall decorating only works for large spaces.  Think again.

Here’s how to add fall color to your home in small but powerful ways: TWEET THIS 

 

Pillows, Throws and Rugs (oh, my!)
You can easily add fall colors and textures to your space by changing up the fabrics in your pillows, throws and area rugs. If most of your furniture (and walls) is a neutral shade, look for items in bold colors such as gold, orange or red (actually, any jewel tone is great). Also, you really want to pay attention to texture—as the weather gets colder, you will want to literally “feel warmer” so seek out fabrics such as velvet or soft flannel.

Kitchen Accessories
You don’t have to turn your entire kitchen into a fall wonderland to enjoy the season. Look for kitchen accessories in your favorite fall colors, like this red tea kettle or these beautiful orange Le Creuset pans (this color is fantastic!). Think your kitchen is too tiny for any extra items? We fell in love with these sculpted pepper grinders—they’ll fit in any space.

Shower Curtains
Yes, adding bold color to hand towels and bath towels will brighten up your bathroom space, but might we suggest looking at your shower curtain? You can go big with this piece of autumn art from Target or something a little more abstract like this mosaic leaves shower curtain. It also works to just go with a solid color such as a deep red or gold. You may also want to change your window curtains as well—going with colors and fabrics that are rich with fall tones.

Bring the Outside In
If there is ever a season that represents beauty, it’s fall. From leaves, to pumpkins to beautiful red-berried branches, nature itself is brimming with indoor decorating options. To take advantage of nature’s bounty, you don’t have to have a lot of space. Arrange a few items in a vase on your shelf or fill a bowl on your coffee table with tiny pumpkins and gourds. You’ll find some great fall container garden ideas here.

 

Talk to us: Do you love fall as much as us? Share your best fall decorating tip with us.

 

image courtesy of flickr CC/Beau Considine

 

 

Cleaning Tips Unusual Uses For

Mouthwash for Cleaning Your Floors, Your Washing Machine and More

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Discover the Amazing Ways You Can Use Mouthwash

Yes, mouthwash is a great way to combat plaque and bad breath, but it can do so much more. Developed back in 1879, mouthwash was used as an antiseptic for surgical procedures; however, it was soon marketed for oral care after researchers found out it killed mouth bacteria. But those powerful ingredients do much more than keep your mouth healthy. Here are four things you can clean with mouthwash (make sure it is alcohol-based with no sugar added):

Toilet Bowl
Teeth aren’t the only things getting cleaned in your bathroom by mouthwash. Pour a cup of mouthwash into the toilet, let sit for half an hour and give it a swish with a toilet brush—voila! You can also use it to clean the basin of your toilet.

Windows
Mouthwash makes an excellent window cleaner. Apply mouthwash to a damp cloth and wipe down your windows or any other glass surface. Dry with a cotton cloth to prevent streaking.

Tile
Combine 2 cups of water and ½ cup of mouthwash in a bucket, saturate a sponge with the solution and wipe down your tile. According to 719woman.com, the thymol and menthol kill germs while the alcohol helps make dingy surfaces shine.

Laundry
A cup of clear mouthwash added to the regular cycle of your laundry will kill odor-causing bacteria that may be left in the fabric’s fibers. Make sure you are using a mouthwash that doesn’t contain any artificial colors or it might stain your clothes. Another benefit? It actually disinfects your washing machine, too!

 

Talk to us:  There are so many unusual uses for this bathroom staple–what have you used mouthwash for recently?

 

image courtesy of flickr CC/Thomas Kristensen

 

Sources:
“19 Money-Saving Uses for Mouthwash”, WiseBread
“Alternative Uses For…Mouthwash”, 719Woman.com

 

Food Storage Kitchen Tips

Fridge Food List: 5 Foods You Should Always Keep in Your Fridge

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Here Are 5 Things You Need to Move to the Fridge

Quick, what foods do you have sitting on your countertop right now? A bowl of fruit? Condiments like ketchup that are used at every meal? You may be surprised to discover that foods you thought were always good at room temperature actually are better when kept cold.

Here are 5 things you need to move to the fridge:

 

Nuts
Nuts are chockfull of healthy fats which, according to eatthis.com, can go rancid if left too long at room temperature. The coolness of the fridge keeps nuts crunchy and flavorful and helps them maintain their health benefits. Nuts usually can be kept up to four months at room temperature, but up to a year in the refrigerator (even longer in the freezer!). This also holds true for natural nut butters.

Lemons, Limes & Oranges
While a bowl full of brightly colored citrus looks nice on your kitchen table, your delicious fruit will actually keep four times longer if stored in the fridge. And, because lemons, limes and oranges love moisture, storing them in a plastic bag in the fridge will make them last even longer.

Bananas
Keeping with the fruit theme, get those ripe bananas off of your counter and into the fridge. The cold will prevent your ripe bananas from spoiling and although the peel may get dark, the banana will be delicious and healthy! Note: this is only for RIPE bananas—putting unripe bananas in the fridge will stop the fruit from ripening (same holds true for avocados).

Ketchup, Horseradish & Mustard (oh, my!)
You often see condiments left out on restaurant tables, so why not leave them out at home, right? Wrong. Putting condiments in the fridge will not only keep bacterial growth at bay, but will help them retain their flavor and freshness. This is especially true of you are buying organic.

Red Wine
If you do not plan on drinking the entire bottle during one sitting, an open bottle of red wine should go straight to the fridge. Wine oxidizes quickly and, even if re-corked, can become stale if left out on the counter or put back on a shelf. An open bottle of red that is corked and kept in the fridge can last about five days. Not crazy about drinking a cold glass of red? Remove shortly before serving.

 

Talk to us:  What is one food you always keep in your refrigerator?

 

 

Story Sources:

“11 Surprising Foods You Should Keep in the Fridge”, eatthis.com
“20 foods that should always be kept in the fridge”, CNET

Cleaning Tips Green Cleaning

4 Things to Clean with Peanut Butter

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Right now, more than 75% of U.S. homes have one common ingredient in the kitchen: peanut butter. While it is a great addition to any sandwich (click here for great ways to elevate the traditional PB&J), the properties of peanut butter actually make it a great cleaning agent. In honor of National Peanut Day (yes, it really is a thing), we wanted to share with you 4 things you can clean with peanut butter.

 

Carpets
The next time little Mary drops her gum into the carpet, grab the peanut butter! After removing as much gum as possible, rub a small drop of peanut butter on the spot and let sit for 5 minutes. Wipe with a damp cloth, and gently dab with warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid.

Fish Smell
A fish fry is always good for the stomach, but not so good for your kitchen—the odor is one of the toughest things to get rid of, especially if the weather isn’t letting you air out your home. Put a spoonful of peanut butter in the pan to absorb the odor while the fish is frying. Keep the peanut butter mostly on the edge of the pan so it doesn’t mix in with the fish.

Wood Table
With warmer weather still in our midst, you may be still fighting those dreaded white water rings left on tables by cold drinks (and guests who forget to use coasters!). Spread a thick layer of peanut butter over the stain and leave it overnight. The next morning, simply wipe it off and the stain should be gone.

Sticker Residue
Price tag residue is a real thing—and a real problem for all those home products you buy such as picture frames, glasses and mirrors. After peeling off the first layer of the sticker, rub some peanut butter on the remaining glue. With some light scraping, the residue will separate from the glass.

 

Talk to us: What is something you have cleaned using peanut butter?

 

image courtesy of flickr CC/Denise Krebs

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