Spring has sprung! How lovely it is to see the blossom trees bursting into flower and the beautiful sun shining again. It is the time of the year where we get to do our spring cleaning. Also, as the -ber month is already upon us, it is time to clean and declutter in preparation for Christmas.
For some, spring cleaning is a dreadful task that requires a lot of time, effort, and patience. However, with just a few strategies - scheduling, delegating, batching - we can change that perception and have yourself spring cleaning like a professional in no time!
Here are some tips and ideas lifted from a website called Stay at Home Mum, from an article entitled “Spring Clean like a Professional”.
1. Get the family involved.
Not only would it heighten everyone’s sense of responsibility, it would also allow you to get things done a lot faster. Assign a room or certain chores to everyone, even your children, and then promise them an incentive for a job well done afterwards.
2. Set a weekend for it, and follow that schedule strictly.
Spring cleaning is a task that no one wants to start on, but once it’s done, fulfilment can’t be helped. That’s why in order to find that fulfilment, make it a point to set one weekend to spring clean, and then to stick to that schedule you made. When success follows discipline, there’s nothing like it! I assure you.
3. Make a checklist.
Within that weekend, make a checklist that you could follow in order to ensure that nothing gets left behind, and that everything becomes clean and fresh when you’re done. You can make a checklist for each room, and then follow that list as you go on, slowly checking off more and more of the items in it as you gradually get things done. The next thing you know, everything’s checked off.
4. Ready all the cleaning equipment at least a day before.
This one’s a no-brainer. Nothing says preparedness than being sure that you’re ready to tackle the task at hand, with all the equipment you need within your grasp.
5. Make sure the walls are cleaned.
Another no-brainer! Clean the walls from the top down to avoid streaking.
6. Dust first the top, then the bottom.
Common sense dictates that when you dust the top first, you are making sure that even though the dust you removed from the top may find itself falling to the bottom, the ceiling or top remains clean; whereas if you dust the bottom first, and the top second, you are just spreading dust along the bottom that you already cleaned in the first place.
7. De clutter.
Throw away what you no longer need, and have the winter gear you used over the winter organized and de cluttered.
8. Dust, vacuum, and then mop.
Make sure to clean the house in that particular order to make sure that you wouldn’t have to repeat at cleaning what you just finished cleaning.
9. Note repairs.
As you go on, you may notice things that need repairs. Instead of leaving the task at hand and having those things repaired at that moment, note them down and have them done some other time. You don’t want to find yourself away from what really needs to be done.
10. Reward yourself.
The incentive isn’t only for those who assisted you, but for yourself as well! A job well done is deserving of its reward, after all.
Spring cleaning can be a big and tough job, but we'll feel good once it's done.
I know I have mentioned upcycling in one of my blogs before. However, I really feel strongly about this as I know it is quite easy to do and equally important to upcycle and make for an eco-friendlier world.
According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental use. The first recorded use of the term is particularly new, only being coined back in the year 1994. However, the method had been around as early as the 1930s. It is stated that upcycling revolves around the concept of "recycling", but whereas recycling oftentimes gives products new use by breaking them down, it doesn't necessarily give them more worth. In fact, it almost always give it the contrary, which is less. That is why upcycling was born, where the worth of old products go "up" through the aid of this process, and not down.
With the background already shed on the subject, it is then without a doubt wise to try, attempt, and practice upcycling. With just a few moments of our time and some of our resources, something that is seemingly of no good use anymore may be converted to something that is perhaps even better than what it originally was. We can actually upcycle everything! All we need would be our ingenuity and downright creativity!
Here are a few upcyling ideas borrowed from a website called Twisted Sifter, which we can do with materials that may already be in the safety of our very own homes:
Aside from adding freshness and beauty to our indoor space, houseplants have a lot more to offer. However, we have to make sure that the houseplants we choose are indeed the right fit for our homes so we could get that "greener and fresher" feeling.
Some common houseplants that are proven to be Australia’s popular choices:
Areca Palm Tree (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
This plant flourishes regardless of what soil you place it in, assuming that the soil's well-drained. Preferring partial exposure to sunlight, it is known generally as an air purifier, and needs little maintenance. Watch out for spider-mites though!
Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
A native to the Asian country of China, this houseplant has become a popular choice among Australian people. Thanks to its ability to adapt to the varying climate and types of soil, this indoor plant is long lasting. Like the Areca palm tree, this plant prefers indirect sunlight, and too much exposure may bleach its foliage.
Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
The Bamboo Palm holds the distinction of being one of the very few plants to withstand even below zero temperatures. Known to bloom yellow flowers from time to time, this plant is said to not only act as a natural humidifier but also as an agent that helps remove formaldehyde, an organic compound associated with cancer. Avoid overwatering this plant as well as exposing it to too much sunlight.
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata "Bostoniensis")
Known worldwide, this plant has air-purifying abilities that people look for. Holding the distinction as one of the best among air-purifying houseplants, the Boston Fern, like the Bamboo Palm, acts as an agent that removes formaldehyde from the air but also removes heavy metals from the soil as an added bonus. Although it likes bright and damp soil, it is still tolerant of drought and partial exposure to sunlight.
Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
Although considered to be an outdoor plant in Southeast Asia, the Rubber Plant is utilized as an indoor plant in Australia. Known as a biological air purifying unit, it removes toxins from the air by emitting high oxygen content, with increasing efficiency over time. As it prospers in a variety of environments, it easily grows and is very easy to maintain. Beware, sources contradict each other as to whether or not this plant contains poisonous parts or not.
Other popular houseplants include:
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
Like the other popular houseplants, the Chinese evergreen emits high oxygen content to purify the air. It does well with full shade and good draining. Proceed with caution, as the sap of this plant is poisonous.
Corn Cane (Dracaena massangeana)
It is best known for removing formaldehyde and as an air purifying unit. Unlike the other plants, it does well with low light or low water.
Dwarf/Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)
It removes formaldehyde and xylene, a chemical found in plastics and solvents. For this plant, sunlight, moist soil, and warm water is needed.
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
It removes benzene, a known carcinogen found in cigarette smoke, detergents, pesticides, and other synthetic materials. It is also excellent in fighting asthma and allergies. The English Ivy makes a great potted plant.
Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)
It removes volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde. It thrives in high humidity and light.
With these countless health benefits and making us happy, houseplants enhance our quality of life through the body and mind.
Research shows that Australian concern for the environment has been gradually declining in recent years. Therefore, steps should be taken to ensure a healthier and greener lifestyle! As a matter of fact, wouldn't it be best if it all starts at home; specifically, at the very room where everything begins once the sun rises?
We are, of course, talking about the bedrooms; the place where we wake up every morning and hit the hay nightly! In this part of our home alone, a number of steps can already be taken to ensure that we, in our own way, have already taken part in the fight for a greener world!
One step that can be taken is called "upcycling". Upcycling is the process of renovating or converting our household furniture or old stuffs to make them look different, all the while giving them an entirely different purpose as well. An example of this is using an old ladder as a bookshelf by hanging it horizontally on the bedroom wall.
Another step that can be taken is by using more of the "organic" than the "synthetic". Why not consider painting your bedroom wall with natural paint instead of the ones that are full of chemical substances (volatile organic compounds) that are harmful to the environment? Why not use organic sheets (like our Mulberry Silk Quilts or our Bamboo Quilts *wink*) and mattresses that are lined with natural fiber? Think about it. This would not only be beneficial to you but to the environment as well.
Furthermore, things can also be done to the room temperature! Consider investing in wooden blinds instead of fans. You could also invest in thermostats to have better control over how hot or cold it is in your room. If you don't want to invest in a thermostat, even windows can do their part in our cause. By using windows that are lined with coatings that reflect heat and provide insulation, you can keep your room significantly warmer.
Great flooring can also transform your room into an eco-friendly one! It may be done in terms of the floor itself, or the carpets if you prefer them! For the former, you may try using reclaimed wood flooring which can definitely add appeal to the room’s interior, while for the latter, alternatives exist in place of regular nylon that otherwise contain harmful chemicals!
Finally, nothing could be better than having plants freshen the bedroom's ambiance! Plants filter air and helps remove harmful substances in it. You should, of course, choose plants that fit...
So why not consider choosing to make a change? Why not take small steps to make even the most minor environmental concern non-existent?! After all, it wouldn't hurt to wake up in a room filled with a fresher aura around it.
We always want our babies to have a good night’s sleep. Most of us put our babies to sleep with a lullaby, it’s like second nature. Then when the baby sleeps, we tuck them away in the softness of their blankets, so they feel cosy and warm all through the night.
It is quite important to choose the right blanket for our little ones. The blankets should be soft and comfortable and should not irritate the baby’s sensitive skin. Bamboo blankets are soft and cosy and made from 100% Bamboo. They are soft and light, yet as warm as lightweight wool. Won’t rasp baby’s skin and easy for baby to stroke. Perfect for the cot, just the right size to wrap around baby as they nod off to sleep in your arms, and a great throw for mum or dad when they have to sit beside the cot.
The bamboo blanket is gaining in popularity for many and varying reasons.
Firstly, compared to regular blankets, these bamboo blankets are proven to be more sustainable, since bamboo fiber is scientifically stronger than other textile fabrics.
Secondly, baby bamboo blankets contain Kun, a natural antibacterial agent. This means, not only would this type of blanket give your little bundles of joy the warmth and comfort a blanket is supposed to give, it would also keep your infants from the dangers of bacterial infection. It has been proven that this cloth repels bugs, mold, and allergens, and also kills pests. Perfect in keeping your baby away from certain threats to health.
Thirdly, bamboo fabric is extremely soft. Compared to other fabrics to which babies (and people of all ages for that matter) may experience irritating discomfort due to allergies. It is also produced without chemical treatment, which means that there is no sharp spur to irritate your baby's skin.
Fourthly, its excellent wicking ability will pull moisture away from the skin so that it can evaporate. This means that the baby won't sweat while all wrapped up in a blanket.
All the benefits plus bonuses the bamboo blanket provides make this type of blanket REASONABLY popular among mothers. So whether they're used to cover or wrap the baby, cover strollers or car seats as a sunshade, spread on the floor to function as a mat, or used as a place for changing diapers, the bamboo blanket is preferred because of the extra benefits mentioned above!
So the next time we put our baby to sleep, let us reach out for that Bamboo blankie and sing our lullabies away.
HELLO AND WELCOME TO NEW ZEALAND NATURE
As we head into a new year and new products it is high time we introduced you to our new supplier of Silk Quilts….. New Zealand Nature.
In our journey to find a supplier that had the same ethos as we do and the quality we are after when it comes to silk quilts we hunted high and low!
New Zealand nature is a certified CarboNZero company and uses organic casing in its range of silk duvets (quilts).
Sizes are standard Australian sizing from single through to Super King and on offer is a light summer weight, medium winter weight and the ability to purchase a combo set which includes a summer and winter silk quilt that can be joined together.
We still have our All Year weight in sizes Super King and Double but for all other sizes we recommend you use the Quilts-NZ nature tab: http://www.ecosleepaustralia.com.au/quilts---nznature.html
The benefits of using silk quilts are as follows:
About Silk Bedding
Silk is a natural insulator
Depending on the temperature, silk either draws heat away from the body or traps in the warmth. In the winter the large fibres reduce heat loss from the body, but in the summer the silk fleece sheds surplus heat by wicking away moisture from your body, keeping you cool and comfortable.
This also means that one duvet will satisfy 2 sleepers with different needs of warmth.
Silk is naturally hypoallergenic:
It is resistant to dust and house mites, mildew, mould and rot that attacks other fibres. Sufferers of asthma, blocked sinuses or other hay fever symptoms can find relief in silk bedding as well as those with allergies to down or synthetic material.
Silk is composed of 18 amino acids
The same amino acids that are found in our own bodies. Medical studies show that this can help blood circulation and the digestion system during sleep. It also helps to reduce the discomfort of itchy skin and aids in preventing vascular sclerosis.
Silk comforters are also suited to children
Their lightweight nature and breathable qualities ensure a regulated even sleep temperature.
Silk duvets provide the same warmth as down comforters.
They are comfortable all year round due to their insulating properties.
Our silk duvets (comforters) are manufactured in China under strict quality control, ensuring that the Grade A mulberry silk filling is of the finest quality. The silk threads are teased out to the size of the duvet and layered multiple times to create a thick floss. Detailed stitching ensures the silk filling is held well in place, eliminating any cold spots, and it will remain like this for its entire lifetime.
Feel the difference yourself! Once you have experienced our silk duvets, you will not want to sleep under any other cover again.
Thank you for your patience and we hope you enjoy the benefits of sleeping under a light and luxurious silk quilt in 2014.
So Christmas has come and gone again!
Another year, another round of family and gift giving, cooking, eating, drinking and very full tummies.
Grumpy children, over excited children, worn out grandparents and frazzled parents.
You all know what I mean and who may I ask woke up to cherub faces like these four, quietly reading in bed waiting?
Not me and I am sure not you!
Our house used to be filled with squeals of laughter and the rip of paper as my four would try to open Santa's gifts as quickly as possible and then the family gifts slower so we could all see.
The last few years I have been awake and had to wake them and this year I was waiting for some to come home for the family breakfast and opening of gifts before we headed of to the bigger family get together.
My husband and I commented on how it changes over the years and what we have to look forward to in years to come.
So imagine our smiles this year when we watched our son and his partner ride around the family backyard giggling and planning adventures like small children on their new bikes, our daughters asking if Santa remembered the yearly underwear collection, and our son saying thanks for not forgetting an addition to his CD collection we add to each year!
Does it diminish, the joy of family and Christmas as they get older?
I thought it may have as I juggled with timings and extended families and grandparents pick ups, but the sight of all my family laughing and enjoying each others company and being home made me realise that no matter how old you are, whether the belief of Santa has passed or the loss of food and drink under the tree for the reindeer, Christmas will always be a time to bring family and friends together for not just gift giving and great food but tradition old and new.
Now for me its off to cheer in 2014.
So from all of us here at EcoSleep we wish you and your family a very Happy New Year
Hello fellow shoppers, parents and friends.
Yes, it is that time of the year again when we have to dust off our best walking shoes, don the hefty shopping bag and head to the stores to buy the Christmas gifts for friends, toys for children, foods or sweet smelly treats for grandparents, gifts for partners, token gifts for office friends, gifts for teachers, instructors, the lolly pop lady and the dog washer!
When does it all end!!! NEVER I fear because then comes the Santa list and if you have children like mine there was always the request for a PONY!
Why I never know. I am not a horse rider and am a tad scared of even riding one let alone owning one. I am positive for the horse people out there they are the best thing around but not in my household and not for Christmas!
I answered with the usual straight face:
“It won’t fit down the chimney” “We don’t have a chimney he always come through the deck doors” they chimed.
“We don’t have enough space” “Yes we do, look outside we have lots of land (not all owned by us but ‘borrowed’ and kept tidy)
“They eat too much” “We can give them our carrots as we have lots of them every night”
How do we do it as parents? Try to find the perfect gift for everyone we are buying for even when it is not on the top of the list or even on the list!
Thank heavens in my family this year it is a Kris Kringle and I get to buy for 1 person…….and my husband, and the 4 children and their partners, and the neighbours, and friends.
Who am I kidding!!………. It’s still just as crazy as it was before!
Happy shopping this Christmas…I think I may do mine online :)
Every day we jump out of bed and the race is on.
It may be that you have children to get ready for crèche or school, animals to feed and walk, partners to hurry up and gently push out the door.
Then its the commute or drive or walk or cycle to work, to a friends, to a meeting, or to shop.
The end of the day approaches, work to finish, children to pick up, dogs to walk, gym sessions, dinner to cook, children to bath, books to read, study to be done.
Finally....Finally some time to relax. Me time You time and Partner time.
My question is though..When do you REALLY chill out?
My husband asked this question the other day when one of our children said, "Mum just chill out I will get it done!"
"Dont you understand, my husband said, We cant chill out until it is done and these days it seems like NEVER."
I was horrified..Do I never chill out and have the Me time I long for? I sat and thought about it and he was right. It didn't matter if I was sitting, walking the dog or doing the dishes my mind is always on go and I am thinking about the next thing on my agenda, tomorrow, the kids, work, everything!
Our lives have become so full that some days I long to sit on a porch, rock gently and watch the world go by one minute at a time and not think about anything.
When do we stop and get off the treadmill and stop to smell the roses? Is it in retirement? because for me that diary is already fairly full with places to see, people to visit and new friends to make.
One thing I have never compromised on is our sit down family dinner.
Each night whoever is home we sit at a set table and enjoy the comfort of sharing what we did for the day. No television just us and that my friends I realise is when I really do CHILL OUT! Not at night under my quilt cover but at dinner surrounded by my family :)
Enjoy your week and I hope you find your Chill Out time!
When I was young I remember dreaming of travel and adventure and then marriage and children.
Well I did do all of those things in that order so I was sure I was on track and yes I did actually want 4 children even though I didn't factor my wonderful twins in the equation and things looked rosy each night when all were in bed.
Its the mornings that it all started and went steadily downhill.
The mounds of washing, endless picking up of toys and food and items I didn't even have names for!
I told myself it would change in time, as they grew older it would get easier and they would help around the house, picking up their own things and putting them away.
Um-mm now no one knew where the spare keys were, or the dog lead or the school notices so I had to ask them to stop being quite so helpful for a few years and so it went on.
Then light at the end of the tunnel! The kids grew up, started driving, being organised, house sitting, and travelling.
My life started to look rosy again or did it?
Our front door became the entrance to a speedway and it was a whirlwind in, clothes thrown everywhere in the attempt to find "that top" and there they stayed until the next visit or wash day or another event! Are all kids bedrooms the same?
I closed the door but when it was opened and I walked past I couldnt help it..I had to go in..guiding my feet to carefully find floor space and teeter while wondering where to start.
I can hear you saying it now as I did myself.."Its not your mess and they are old enough to tidy up"
but I cant help it! I just want it clean and tidy and orderly! Remember I invented our Coshee quilt cover to help this!
For years I waited patiently for this day and it is slowly receding as I watch the piles grow and the mess accumulate to the sighs and eye rolls of "Dont worry I will do it when I get home. Just close the door and don't look in there."
When does the housework stop? As parents did we miss a line when we got married after the "Till death do us part" that said "Housework will be yours forever and ever?"
Maybe I had that glazed look of love on that day and I didn't hear it but I challenge any parent to tell me that they can walk past that closed door and not want to clean and tidy!
It must be a parent gene :(
Hi and welcome to my posts.
I am Jane - a mum of 4, lover of dogs and cats, with a passion for stylish items for your home and the environment that don't
cost the earth.
I blog about interior design, natural living, decorating, family, and the environment. I am very proud of our eco-friendly Coshee bed linen and love to hear back from you so please contribute with your experiences and ideas.