The Top 9 Things You’re Forgetting To Clean

Most of us have our cleaning down to a science. Whether you’re a bare minimum cleaner or a deep clean fanatic, you’re probably ticking off the big hitters like roof and gutter cleaning for the outside, and vacuuming and mopping your floors every so often on the inside. In general, we tend to be pretty good at the cleaning basics. But what about those random cleaning jobs that we never think of? There’s plenty of dirt, grime, and unhealthy and unwanted house guests to be found in all kinds of unsuspecting places. Let’s go through some of the really important things that you’re likely forgetting to clean, or have never even thought about cleaning before.

Pillows

Think about it: you use your pillow every single night, right? If you wash your dishes after every use, and some of your clothes after every wear, what does that mean for a pillow you sleep on every night? All kinds of lurking specimens may have made a home out of your pillow since you purchased it. To keep your pillows fresh, follow some these simple tips. First, check the tag on your pillow to find out if it needs dry cleaning or special care. Most pillows can be chucked into the washing machine on a gentle cycle. Dry them on a low heat or delicate cycle in your drier.

Shower curtain

Shower curtains are a haven for mildew and mold, considering they are soaked in water on a daily basis. To prevent a buildup of these nasty substances, try using baking soda, bleach or vinegar in your washer with the curtain to clean it.

Carpets and rugs

Sure, we give our floors a good vacuum regularly, but do we actually clean them? All kinds of unwelcome house guests can be living in our carpets and rugs despite vacuuming. To truly clean your carpets, bring in a carpet cleaning and restoration specialist to deep clean and freshen your fabric floors. You can also try a DIY option, but we recommend hiring a professional annually or semiannually for the cleanest carpet and rugs.

Dishwasher

The dishwasher is a silent and surprising item to clean. We put items in the dishwasher to get clean, so why should we have to clean the cleaner? Considering that you put dirty items in the dishwasher, however, it does mean that the appliance can build up with food scraps, grease, and excess soap scum.

Check your dishwasher regularly for food scraps underneath the bottom rack that can slow down your appliance performance. Every month or so, place some vinegar in a container on the top rack of your dishwasher, and sprinkle baking soda on the bottom and run a regular cycle to clean.  

Electronic screens

You’ve probably heard the shocking statistic by now: mobile phones typically carry more bacteria than toilet seats and many other items. Keep your screens clean, particularly your mobile phone, but wiping it once a day with a screen cleaner that is antibacterial and doesn’t harm your screens. You can also try this DIY screen cleaner if you prefer making it yourself.

Under your appliances

Oh, the horror that is the underside of your appliances. Have you ever dropped something on your kitchen floor, bent down, and gotten a whiff or a glance at what’s lurking under your fridge? Or moved your toaster over and seen the growing pile of bread crumbs underneath? The truth is, most of us rarely clean behind our washing machine or under our fridge, but this means that our appliances might not actually be working as efficiently as they can.

While it’s pretty gross in general, appliances need cleaning not just for appearances, but to help them run better. Your refrigerator condenser coils releases heat from your appliance, and helps keep your fridge cool. When it is ladened with dirt, grime and food particles, it won’t run as smoothly. To clean, pull it out from the wall and vacuum the coils, then use a coil brush to get grime off the coils.

Reusable bags

Many of us are starting to use reusable bags for the first time, but whether you’re a seasoned pro and remembering them or not, most of us probably forget that we need to wash them. Food particles and dirt can build up and actually spread to your other uncovered food, so it’s important to wash your bags every so often. Aim for washing your bags once or twice a month and throw them in with your regular laundry load.

Garbage bins

Cleaning the bins isn’t usually something we think of until they start smelling so bad that we have to! Avoid nasty, sticky and smelly spots at the bottom of your bins by giving them a good rinse once a month or so. If you’ve got an outdoor hose, this is a perfect place to bring your bins out and power wash, then air dry without having to stick your whole arm in the bin. You can also run some hot water with soap at the bottom of the bin, let sit, and then swish around to get some of the sticky things off. Otherwise, be innovative and try using a mop to really scrub the bottom!

Your home exterior  

After an especially hard winter, your home can take a beating. We all know how important spring cleaning is, but what about spring cleaning for the outside of your home? Hiring exterior window cleaners will help make your home sparkling from the inside out. Consider house washing as well to really brighten up the exterior and help your house paint shine.

While this list might seem long and a bit exhausting, remember these don’t necessarily need to be done as often as your regular cleaning routine. Try and check off a few each month, and you’ll be on your way to a sparking clean and healthy home in no time.

6 Things To Be Aware Of When House Hunting This Holiday Season

The holidays are indeed a busy time with family gatherings, work functions, and parties with friends, not to mention gift shopping. When you have small children, the holidays can be even busier. However even with all the activities and time commitments the holidays can also be an ideal time to go house hunting. Here are six things to consider when shopping for a home over the holidays.

There is Less Competition

All of the items that make the holidays and the end of the year a busy time for home buying also keep many sellers from listing their homes for sale during that time. This means that you are likely to have fewer homes to choose from and less areas and sections for sale. However, you will also benefit from fewer prospective homebuyers competing against you. This typically keeps your prices lower and gives you additional time to make a decision.

Sellers are More Likely to be Motivated to Sell

In all likelihood, a seller does not enjoy moving during the holidays than a buyer. Due to all of the issues we have already discussed, a seller with a house on the market during the holiday is likely to be highly motivated. Often, homes for sale during December are due to a necessary relocation for work or a home that needs to be sold before the end of the calendar year. When this is coupled with the lack of potential buyers, the odds of your being able to make a great deal are better.

Many potential buyers are reluctant to set up appointments, especially scheduling a second look, because they do not want to intrude on the seller’s holiday plans. Remember that the seller has the house on the market during the holidays for a reason. There is no need to feel the need to apologise for wanting to inspect the house in the same manner you would during any other time of the year.

Prices are Likely to Be Lower

House prices have been increasing steadily and somewhat rapidly over the past few years. This is due in part to the overall shortage of homes on the market. However, house prices have typically been lower in December than at any other time of the year. While there is no guarantee that this trend will continue this year, checking your local real estate market during December is a good idea. This can be especially true if you are in the market for investment properties which can give you some leeway since you will most likely not be planning to move into the home right away if at all.

You May Well Get Better and Faster Service

The fact that you are looking to buy a home during the holiday can lead to faster closings and better service. Real estate companies, real estate agents and brokers are less busy and therefore have more time to help with the sale. Additionally, they are typically glad to include the commission and fees in their current year’s income. Lenders are also keen to add to the new mortgage to their current year’s books. Here again, the lower loan volume can mean your loan is handled quicker.

Those who handle other aspects in the home buying process, from movers to those who handle pre-purchase home inspections, have less work on the books and can typically accommodate appointments faster. Since you are booking during an off-peak time period you may also save money on the services.

However, be aware that all of those involved with the purchase of your home are likely to have the same holiday commitments as everyone else. More niche services, like a meth residue drug test, for example, may be harder to book during this time. It is important to be flexible with dates for closings, inspections, and moves.

You Will Save Money on items for your New Home

Whenever you move it is necessary to buy new items for your new home. Regardless of whether the items you need are small or large, in most cases you will see significant savings by taking advantage of seasonal and end of the year sales. However, it is important to stay within your budget for reasons which will be pointed out in the next section.

Plan Now for Making a Holiday Purchase

A little planning now can make it easier to take advantage of the benefits of buying during the holidays; it will also free up some time during the busiest part of the holiday season.

Balance your budget: Know exactly home much you can comfortably afford. Starting the New Year house-poor is not the recipe for a happy new year.

Check your credit: Lenders don’t like surprises. Make sure you are aware of any negative items on your credit report and if you cannot have them removed; make sure you have a thorough explanation for the lender.

Get pre-approved: A pre-approved mortgage is the best way to take advantage of the benefits of buying a home during the holidays. The seller and the real estate agent don’t have worry about a problem with your offer or a delay in closing. Having a preapproved mortgage in hand is also very handy in negotiating a sales price.

Avoid charging holiday items: A sudden increase in the amount you owe can affect your ability to close on your home. Pay for holiday gifts and expenses with cash whenever possible.

If your plans for the first part of the New Year include buying a new home or purchasing investment property, making the purchase now may well be a smart decision. The chances are you can buy the house of your dreams at a significant saving; which makes adding to your holiday schedule well worthwhile.

Creative Ways To Store Your Things

The developed world seems to have an obsession with accumulating things. Most of us have experienced the excitement of having lots of extra room when moving into a larger home or apartment. only to feel that we are cramped for space a few years later. Some rental managers market buildings on their storage space as a great selling point. It is often one of the first areas on a rental appraisal.

The seemingly natural tendency to accumulate things is well documented. The late comedian George Carlin frequently commented on our need and desire to accumulate “stuff.” This aspect of the human condition has skyrocketed over the last decade or so. For example, property lawyers and a property manager also have vast amounts of items that needs storage, so they know first-hand of its importance.

One of the fastest growing industries during the last three decades is the self-storage business. The amount of self-storage space worldwide is over 2 billion square feet, roughly the size of Manhattan. Americans are the leaders in self-storage where approximately 9% of the population has a storage unit. Additionally, a number of speciality shops and services have been launched to sell in-home storage products or to consult and design storage solutions for the home.

If you find your home to be increasingly cluttered with your “stuff” here are some creative ways to store your things.

Swedish Death Cleaning

The Swedish have a word, “dostadning“, which refers to the act of slowly and steadily ridding yourself of items which clutter one’s home. The act is indented to make the amount of clutter family members of friend have to deal with after you die. This practice has become on the newest trends in dealing with clutter and is the ultimate storage solution.

Basically, the concept is to sort through the items that are causing you to feel cramped or which you are considering placing in storage and deciding if they are actually important to you. If you don’t have a good reason for storing the item, out it goes. Giving the items to someone that can use them, donate them to a charity, or toss the items. All of which are classed as acceptable solutions.

Once you get in the mode of practising Swedish death cleaning, you are likely to find yourself looking at other items in your closet and cabinets in a slightly different manner. This proves to be a very effective solution to common storage problems.

Use the Best Practices for Home Storage

Yes, there are a lot of home storage products on the market, but some are a far superior to others. You will find you have the best results when you practice some of the “golden rules” of home storage.

In most instances, opting for square or rectangular containers will maximise the use of space. Each round container wastes several inches of storage space and will not fit flush against walls.

Plastic containers can be expensive, but opting for less expensive containers can cost you even more in the long run. Unless you are placing your items in an area that has little moisture or temperature variations or you are only storing items for a very short time, better made and more expensive, containers are the best for storing items which you wish to thoroughly protect.

  • Buy containers which nest

Containers which stack well together, or “nesters”, will help you maximise your space.

  • Avoid sets

Most of the time, sets have a number of different size containers. Before buying a set carefully evaluate your storage needs to make sure you are buying containers that will be of little or no use.

Use the Best Practices When Choosing a Storage Unit

Not all storage units are created equally. You are choosing a third party to protect your items, so taking the time to use some of the best practices in selecting your unit can save you from potential problems or heartaches down the road.

  • Plan ahead

Don’t wait until the last minute to choose a unit. There are several key factors to consider. These include size, convenience and price. Additionally, you want to consider the reputation of the facilities management staff and the company’s reputation. Be sure to read the reviews of the company. If you are moving to a new location you might want to consult an investment property management company who will be able to get information on reputable storage spaces from a property manager or the agent handling your residential conveyancing.

  • Look at the security

One of the key considerations when renting a storage space is the amount of protection provided. Many storage companies offer commercial alarm systems security, which is the best protection as they typically protect against theft as well as fire and other disasters. Be sure to invest in a good lock as well. If you have a keyed entry you might want to hire a locksmith to change to lock. Security is especially important if on the off-chance you are storing some high-value items.

  • Pack the unit carefully

It is often tempting to sort of randomly place items in a storage unit. If you look at the storage unit as a very large closet and pack it accordingly you will find it better. Use many of the same practices we recommend in our home best practices; use square containers and invest in quality containers to ensure your items are better protected. Also be sure to keep a written inventory of the items you are placing in the unit and label each container.

  • Buy insurance

Make sure your home insurance includes items stored in a commercial storage facility. If not it may well be worth the price to add that cover to your policy.

If Swedish death cleaning or renting a storage unit doesn’t fit in with your storage concept, another option is to look at ways to utilise items already in your home for storage. Social media and other home improvement sites offer a number of interesting ways to repurpose items ranging from cardboard boxes to old CD and DVD racks for storing items.

Harcourts boss Chris Kennedy resigns

“Chris has given this resignation a huge amount of thought over the last few months but has decided he wants a break from the current leadership role. He will begin to look at new opportunities within Harcourts in the New Year,” Revell said.

Sroubek Remuera home taken off the market

Barfoot & Thompson had earlier listed the four-bedroom house for sale with a $2.3 million price tag.

Sited on 1343sq m of land, the large block came with planning permission to subdivide it and build two more homes on the property.

“Act fast because large subdividable sections in Remuera with [an] affordable price will soon be a thing of the past,” the advertisement stated.

Crossroads for ‘Ponsonby of Hamilton’

Hamilton Mayor Andrew King wants to see high-end apartments replace the Waikato Regional Council headquarters, but several local business owners want the 7600sqm site to keep hosting offices which bring foot traffic to their doors.

Costly property split case

In a judgment issued this week High Court judge Justice Peter Churchman gave permission for Dyer to take the case one step further to the Court of Appeal.

“It is my view, by a narrow margin, that questions of fact and law on this issue arise of sufficient weight to justify a second appeal notwithstanding the fact that the costs already incurred by the parties in this litigation significantly exceed the total value of all property involved,” the judge said.

Convention centre going up

A New Zealand International Convention centre update revealed work was underway on the theatre, loading dock, kitchens, offices and changing rooms at the 1.4 hectare site.

Construction work at the NZICC has so far used more than 173,000 cubic metres of concrete, 7300 tonnes of structural steel, 330 tonnes of secondary steel and 17,000 litres of paint.