How to Store Practically Everything

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in Care Tips, Earth Friendly Activities, green living, How To's | 0 comments

When clutter starts to encroach on every room of your home, it’s time to purge what you can and organize everything that remains. Finding a place for everything can go a long way in reducing your stress, making your home look more inviting, and removing tripping and choking hazards (especially if you have young children or pets). Check out the tips below to get ideas for how to better store a wide variety of common household items.

Food: Is your refrigerator nearing maximum capacity after an overzealous trip to the grocery store? To keep food from spoiling, familiarize yourself with what can go in the freezer—and how long it will last in there. Beef and chicken can both last up to a year in the freezer if they are tightly sealed in plastic bags or their original packaging, while bread products can last up to 6 months, for example. Dairy products shouldn’t be frozen and will last between 7 days (for milk and yogurt) and 3-4 weeks (for hard cheeses). Fresh produce will last between 2 days and 2 weeks, depending on the thickness of the rind and how ripe it was when you purchased it.

Clothing: If you have a lot of seasonal clothing or hand-me-downs that you’re just waiting fo your youngest child to grow into, you should consider moving it to a climate-controlled storage unit. The clothing should stay in good condition indefinitely if stored in a space between 66-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether you’re storing clothes in a closet at home or a storage unit, remember to rotate them every 18 months or so to keep them fresh.

Furniture: Climate-controlled storage units can also come in handy when you have too much furniture but don’t want to sell it because you’re anticipating moving to a bigger place. If you go this route, disassemble furniture as much as you can to make it easier to move and reduce the risk of damage. If you end up with a bunch of screws and bolts, put them in small plastic baggies that are clearly labeled with the name of the piece of furniture they go to. Clean fabric furniture before moving it into the storage unit, and cover it in plastic wrap to protect it.

Makeup: Small containers of makeup can become disorganized quickly, so get your makeup drawer organized by purchasing some drawer dividers. Keep any makeup brushes in a roll-up holder to protect the bristles, and store any unused makeup in airtight containers to make it last for longer. Mascara and foundation that you’ve had for more than three months or powdered makeup and lipstick that you’ve had for more than 18 months should just be tossed.

Jewelry: If you don’t already have a jewelry box with dividers and a soft fabric lining, it’s worth the investment, as it will prevent your jewelry from getting tangled or scratched. If you have a box without compartments, you can also prevent tangling by wrapping each piece of jewelry individually in tissue paper. Make sure you keep the box in a safe, dry area.

Medication: You’re probably using your bathroom’s medicine cabinet to store medication, but heat and humidity actually speed up many medications’ breakdown processes, so that may not be the best place to keep it. Look for a dry location away from heats, lights, humidity, and the reach of young children, such as a high shelf in your bedroom closet.

If you want even more storage tips for household items including electronics, facial creams, and ceramic dishes, check out this detailed infographic from Next Door Self Storage.

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5 Energy Saving Tips for Your First Home Build

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in Green Goods, green living, Home Design Ideas, Home Essentials, Home Improvement, How To's | 0 comments

As resources become scarcer and more expensive, the importance of home efficiency will transform into a necessity. Owning or living in an inefficient home will gradually become a greater drain on your bank account.

If you are planning on having a new house built, it’s best to get ahead of the game and start thinking about the various methods you can employ to make technology work for you and the environment.

Many systems that help save energy also raise the value of the home and make it more self-reliable. There is a vast amount of knowledge and resources out there to help you get inspired and contacting Coral Homes can be the perfect place to start.

Being solar smart

photovoltaic panels, PV panels, solar panels

image credit: greenzone.com

With better technology advancing all of the time, outfitting your new home with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels is an increasingly enticing and practical method of not only saving energy, but creating it. Depending on the size and type of system that you decide to go with, you can offset the amount of energy that you use from conventionally generated electricity, generate all that your household needs, or even generate more than you need. In certain places, energy companies are mandated to buy the surplus energy that you generate at current market prices.

Another option is to set up an off-the-grid PV system. The benefit is that you are not reliant upon the electrical grid, however, you must purchase several batteries to store the electricity in.

Insulation

Although many people think about cold weather when the topic of insulation is brought up, the need for a well-insulated home in hot weather is equally important.

Insulating walls and ceilings is crucial when heating or cooling a home in order buffer between the temperature variation from outside to inside.

Quality double-paned insulated windows can help seal up a house to make it super efficient.

In hot water

The old-style traditional hot water heaters that store heaps of water and keep it at a constant temperature are becoming a thing of the past. Their replacement comes in the form of small, wall-mounted box that can fit in a closet.

On-demand hot water heaters are quickly becoming standard issue in modern efficient homes. Instead of wasting money and resources on keeping water hot when it’s not even needed, on-demand heaters only create hot water when it is needed.

Talk with your home builder about this option so you install the right size to meet your household’s needs.

Roof overhangs

roof overhangs, overhangs

image credit: modernhousemagazine.com

A clever trick that is often overlooked in home design is to plan roof overhangs intelligently.

With some careful planning and calculations, roof overhangs can be designed so they block the sun from shining through windows when the sun is high in the sky during the summer months, and let the sun shine in when it is lower in the winter months.

Using sun tubes

Sun tubes are a type of focused sky light. Picture a round skylight the size of a dinner plate with a reflective tube attached that connects the skylight in the roof with a diffuser in the ceiling.

Sun tubes are the ideal way to bring some natural light into darker interior areas of a home without having to install additional electrical hardware or pay for more electricity.

Have you used any of these energy efficient practices? Leave your ideas in the comments below.

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Choosing Low Maintenance Plants for Your Home Garden

Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 in green living | 0 comments

spider plant, low maintenance plants

image credit: gorightinmygarden.blogspot.com

There are people who are not so good with growing plants. There are also those who are too busy to do gardening tasks. Having some greenery at home, however, is recommended for a number of reasons. Plants can purify the air around you, helping you breathe easier and preventing respiratory diseases. Maintaining a home garden should not be a problem even for people who do not have the time or skills for gardening. There are low maintenance plants for home garden spaces, both for indoors and outdoors. Finding out what these plants are is your key to enjoying the health benefits of having greenery in your house.

You can choose to go slow and start with a few pots that you can perhaps keep on the window sill, in one corner of a room in your home, or a small patch in your lawn. Even if you are choosing low maintenance plants for home garden spaces, you still have to make sure that you pick the right plants to match the conditions in your home. A window sill garden would require plants that do not need as much sunlight. Outdoor plants should be hardy enough to be able to withstand weather conditions and insects.

Snake plant, low maintenance plants

image credit: public.asu.edu

The Spider Plant is one good option to start with. You can keep a pot of Spider Plant on the mantel in your entry way or perhaps put a couple of pots to flank a coffee table. This plant easily grows in water or in potting soil. Another plant that is easy to have around the house is the Snake Plant. This plant grows long and tall, perfect for small corners. It does not need to be watered frequently as it has the tendency to develop root rot from overwatering. Philodendron is another option. For a plant that is not fussy, this plant is a beauty especially when its trails hang over the edge of ledges and table tops. With these three low maintenance plants for home garden spaces, you can enjoy that splash of green in your home.

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Tips for Living with Allergies

Posted by on Jul 17, 2014 in Care Tips, green living, How To's | 0 comments

There are many different types of allergies, ranging from mildly inconvenient to deadly, and all of these should be treated with care. Asthma is one of the most common allergies, closely followed by allergies associated with pollen, animal hair and dust mites. Most people will know one or more people with some form of allergy, and if someone in your family has an allergy, here are some tips you can incorporate to make their lives just that little bit easier.

Air cleaners

Many people are sensitive to odours, including the smell of sharp cologne and smoke, and these can be enough to trigger a reaction. An efficient air cleaner will help remove these smells from your home, reducing the risk of contact with allergens as well as minimising contact with potential triggers. It will also make your house smell nice and fresh!

Clean often

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Dust and dander can build up easily, especially if there are a lot of carpeted spaces in your house or fabrics that attract such annoyances. If you vacuum and clean the house often, these will be less of a problem. However, when you are cleaning, make sure you take care with the products you are using, as you don’t want to mix the wrong products together. It is also wise to make sure that the room or area you are cleaning has good ventilation, so the airflow is not restricted.

Remove mould

mold, removing mold

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Mould is one of those silent triggers that can creep up on you, but it is relatively easy to detect, especially if you’re looking for it. Once you’ve noticed it, it is just a matter of scrubbing to get rid of it, and you will have also lessened the amount of allergens floating around in your home.

Protection

Dust mites often find mattresses and other bedding items home, so if you cover these with a case that is resistant to these pesky pests, you will find yourself breathing a little easier. You can also buy hypoallergenic mattresses, quilt and pillow covers, which is another easy way to minimise the spread of allergens. If you think this is an idea you would like to consider or do some more research on, you can visit bedding specialists like Latex Mattress Sydney , and see where that takes you.

There are, of course, many more different types of allergies that have not been touched on here, but these tips should be helpful for everyone. All sorts of factors are involved in dealing with allergies, and there are all sorts of precautions you can take, ranging from those in the kitchen to the lounge and the bedroom. It can be relatively simple to deal with allergies, just make sure you consult your doctor and do all the proper research before you do anything too drastic.

Do you, or someone in your family have an allergy? How have you changed your habits to accommodate for this, and what tips would you personally recommend to others? If you have children with allergies, what are some ways you have found to be beneficial specifically for children? Leave a comment below and you might just be able to help someone else who is having the same problems.

 

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Got a Thirsty Ride? 5 Handy Tips on Fuel Saving

Posted by on Jun 5, 2014 in Care Tips, Eco Friendly Vehicles, green living, How To's, Safety Tips | 0 comments

Given the outrageous cost of fuel nowadays, everyone wants to save cash by improving the fuel consumption of their vehicles. But where to start? Here’s five ways you can save on fuel.

Using the correct gear

car gear, fuel saving

(image credit: automotivebee.com

Driving in the wrong gear wastes fuel so use the right gear for the right conditions. Don’t force your vehicle to struggle in top gear when you’re driving up a hill, and don’t stay in the lower gears when your car would obviously work more efficiently in a higher one. By maintaining a constant speed, vehicles save energy (and fuel); by avoiding regular deceleration, which also requires reacceleration, less fuel is required. Don’t rev the guts out of your car. It’s not cool and it’s a massive wastes of fuel too. If you own a high performance vehicle, it might be worth looking into some extra parts from companies like Pure Performance Motorsport , to assist with decreasing the mileage.

Travel light

Your car might be spacious, but do you really need that sporting bag, cooler box, or sandbag cramming up your boot space? Your vehicle is not an additional storage, and additional weight equals additional fuel consumption, so it’s in your best interests to remove any unnecessary items. If it’s big and heavy, and you don’t need it on your trip, then leave it at home.

Keep the Proper Maintenance

tyre inflating, fuel saving

(image credit: geeky gadgets.com)

Don’t wait until your get your six monthly letter of service from your local car repair man; simple maintenance is something you can do yourself in as little as five minutes. It all starts with inflating your tires and keeping your air filter clean. Under-inflated tyres not only increase the risk of handling, braking, and tread issues, they significantly increase your fuel mileage, with your car having to work harder to get them rolling. Keeping them inflated could improve your fuel life by as much as three percent. Furthermore, a clean air filter will improve your mileage by up to seven percent, and save you the $50 for new ones at your next car service.

Don’t be a drag

Spoilers may look cool, however they create additional drag and ruin your cars’ natural aerodynamics – particularly on higher speeds, as do roof racks – even more so when they’re poorly loaded. Driving along feeling the wind in your hair, with windows and sun-roof opened to the max, may make you feel good, but the impact on your fuel consumption is huge. Where possible – particularly when driving at higher speeds – keep the sun-roof closed and the windows up.

Reduce your air-con usage

This one’s hard to avoid in summer, especially if you live in one of the hotter states – but it’s estimated that fuel consumption rises by around 10 per cent when the air-con is cranked. If your car is like a furnace when you first get in, simply drive with the windows down for a few minutes before switching to the air-con. Don’t forget to wind the windows up when you switch the air-con on.

Did you find these tips helpful? Do you have any fuel saving ideas? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Lawn Maintenance Tips: How to Make Your Lawn Look Lush and Beautiful

Posted by on May 21, 2014 in green living, Home Improvement, How To's | 0 comments

lawn, watering lawn, watering your lawnWatering and maintaining your lawn is often a chore. And in the hot summer months, watering the lawn can be a waste of precious water. Here are a few ways to extend the life of the lawn and cut down on your watering time.

1. Pest-proof your garden. To give your grass a natural resistance to pests such as billbugs, webworms, any worms and chinch bugs, spread seed that has been inoculated with endophytic fungi. Grasses that are inoculated are more resistant to drought and disease.

2. Let your grass go dormant during the dry summer months. If you apply this methodology to your lawn, it will go green during the fall raining season. You will also avoid fewer disease and pest problems than if you constantly irrigate your grass.

3. Don’t overfeed your grass. Lawns that use unnatural methods to grow may develop more diseases. Lawns in the North require only one feeding per year. Apply the feed to your grass in the early fall or late summer months. In the Southern region of the US, spread only half of the lawn’s fertilizer late in the spring and apply the other half of the lawn treatment in the summer. See more tips here.

4. Water your grass early in the day — before the sun gets too hot. If you water the lawn early in the morning, you will double the amount of water that touches the lawn and reduce any incidental evaporation. Also, if you water your grass and garden before dawn, there will be plenty of time for the moisture to dry before nightfall – when your wet grass is most likely to develop serious fungal diseases.

5. Install a whole house filter and salt-free water softener. If you are interested in filtering out chemicals in your water, a salt-free water softener from PelicanWater.com not only creates better drinking water for your pets, it’s a great source of water for your lawn and garden.

6. Cut your lawn higher in the summer. An extra half-inch of grass will help to shade the roots of the lawn. A higher height protects the grass against drought and reduces the need for constant watering.

7. Promote a mossy lawn, instead of trying to cut it. If your lawn is mossy, you have a stretch of velvety green grass that requires no mowing. To promote the moss, treat your lawn with aluminum sulfate or sulfur dust. When the grass dies — rake it out, and then add water to the soil to keep the surface of the grass moist.

8. Avoid oscillating sprinklers and use the pulsating ones instead. A built-in lawn watering system is the best for watering your lawn. While the pulsating sprinklers are more expensive than the oscillating type, the investment will help your grass stay green and help it grow.

9. Watch out for compacted soil. This type of soil dries quickly because the water can’t soak into it thoroughly and completely. To keep the soil from compacting, run an aerator over the grass. The aerator punches small holes into the soil that allows air, water and fertilizer to reach the roots.

Image credit: redeemyourground.com

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