Blog Posts by Good Housekeeping

  • 10 Hard Questions to Ask when Clearing Out Your Clutter

    Here's how to know when it's time to let it go.Here's how to know when it's time to let it go.

    What do we want? Free space! When do we want it? As soon as we can actually let go of our stuff. That day can be today, if you reconsider your on-the-fence objects with these questions.

    1. Is this item enhancing my life?
    This question is better than "Do I love it?" (Because, of course, at one time, you did.) Instead, ask yourself if the item is actively important to you right now.

    2. Is this something I'll want my children to see one day?
    A work of art you're proud of completing? Sure. A moving box filled with decades-old Tupperware? Probably not.

    Related: Don't Make These 7 Common Spring Cleaning Mistakes

    3. Do I already have five of these?
    You'll never use all that red nail polish before it goes bad, and you need, at most, two black cardigans to get through the chillier months.

    4. Would it be too expensive to replace?
    If it turned out you really needed that scented candle or magazine rack, it wouldn't break the bank to just get another. And in the meantime, enjoy a priceless

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  • Speed Clean Your Patio in 5 Easy Steps

    Get your outdoor space ready for warmer weather.Get your outdoor space ready for warmer weather.

    Winter's over! Here's how to freshen your outdoor space for the warmer days and nights ahead.

    Related: The Best Outdoor Furniture Cleaners

    1. Plastic Chairs
    Sponge them off with a solution of a squirt of liquid dish soap in a bowl of warm water; rinse with a hose. Attack extra-grimy spots with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser ($9 for eight, Amazon.com) or Goo Gone Patio Furniture Cleaner ($5, Bed, Bath and Beyond).

    2. Outdoor Cushions
    Check care labels to see if covers can be machine-washed. If not, spot-clean with a dish-liquid-and-water solution, as with plastic chairs. Note: Some new outdoor fabrics can simply be hosed off.

    Related: Wow Guests With These 11 DIY Outdoor Centerpieces

    3. Wood Decking
    Zap mold, mildew, and discoloration with 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner ($22, Ace Hardware). First, test a small spot; then apply, wait, and hose off!

    4. Patio Pavers
    Erase leaf stains from concrete, brick, or stone with a rust remover like Whink Rust Oxy ($7, hardware

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  • 11 Signs You're Totally Obsessed with Crafting

    Time to own up to your addiction to glitter and glue.Time to own up to your addiction to glitter and glue.

    1. Your solution to every organizing problem is "Put it in a mason jar with spray-painted chevron detail. Obviously."

    2. In fact, that's your answer to a lot of questions: "How should I serve my famous summer sangria?" "Where should I place these fresh-cut flowers?" "Why can't I find the perfect-sized candle holder?"

    Related: This Craft Room Is to Die For

    3. Your dentist mentions that you need to floss more, and you scoff. You made, like, ten embroidery floss friendship bracelets for your Etsy shop just yesterday.

    4. You find yourself fishing perfectly reusable ribbons and bows out of the trash bin at your daughter's birthday party.

    5. You say "you know, they're doing great things with faux flowers these days" when your husband surprises you with roses.

    Related: 8 Inventive Ways to Use Mason Jars

    6. Your emergency contact list includes your husband, your mother, and Michaels. Because there's a good chance they might find you there.

    7. Your friends only need to

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  • How to Remove 4 Common Makeup Stains on Your Clothes

    That lipstick on your collar is no match for our stain-busting techniques.That lipstick on your collar is no match for our stain-busting techniques.

    We've been there: You're rushing through your morning routine (every day!) and you walk out the door with liquid eyeliner on your sleeve or concealer rubbed off on your shirt collar. Next time it happens to you, consult this handy how-to-fix list.

    Related: What To Do If You Spill Coffee On Yourself

    1. Concealer, blush, eye liner, eyeshadow, and mascara
    Removing pesky stains from your everyday makeup routine is totally straightforward: Treat the stain with a prewash stain remover, and launder as usual.

    2. Face oils
    When your argan oil drips onto your blouse, blot any excess, and treat with a prewash stain remover. You can also try rubbing the spot with a waterless hand cleaner (like Goop hand cleaner) to help break up the stain. Then, launder using the hottest water safe for the fabric.

    Related: 3 New Stainbusters You Need to Try

    3. Nail polish
    The great thing about nail polish? It's designed to be removed! Place the fabric stain-side down on a paper towel and

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  • 5 Insect Repellents to Keep Bugs at Bay

    These picks are safe for kids, pets, and the planet when used properly.These picks are safe for kids, pets, and the planet when used properly.

    These picks are safe for kids, pets, and the planet when used properly.

    1. Allethrin Lamps
    Allethrin lamps (like ThermaCELL, $30, and OFF!, $10) use a butane cartridge or flame, respectively, to activate the chemical repellent.

    Pros: Typically, 93% to 99% of mosquitoes and sand flies steer clear of a 15-foot area for up to four hours on each refill mat. Lamps are attractive and unobtrusive.

    Cons: Refills cost $5 to $6. Keep an eye on the flame version, especially around children and pets.

    Related: 9 DIY Projects to Light a Backyard Party

    2. Geraniol Candles
    Geraniol candles (like those from Koolatron, $10) disperse a plant-derived repelling scent.

    Pros: Five times better than citronella, it repels more than 80% of mosquitoes and 70% of sand flies for up to 10 feet. A one-pound candle lasts 50 hours.

    Cons: With candles, the open flame poses a risk. While most people find the smell pleasant, some won't like it.

    Related: The Best Patio

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  • Are You Using Too Much Laundry Detergent?

    You could literally be washing soap (and money) down the drain.You could literally be washing soap (and money) down the drain.

    Suspicious that you've been using too much soap in your laundry? Follow these guidelines to get it right every time.

    1. Choose the detergent that works with your machine.
    Today, many detergents are formulated for both regular and high-efficiency machines, but some brands, like Tide and Gain, still offer separate product lines. Pick the wrong one, and you may end up with too many suds in your clothes.

    Related: 10 Tips to Your Fastest Laundry Day Ever

    2. Make sure you're measuring.
    The instructions on your detergent's packaging are accurate guidelines -- it's when you ignore them that errors occur.

    "Don't pour in your detergent without measuring," says Carolyn Forte, the director of the Home Appliances and Cleaning Products department in the Good Housekeeping Research Institute. "Eyeballing the correct amount is more difficult than you think. You'll get it wrong."

    If measuring into your detergent's cap is slowing you down, try detergent pods to get the job done

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  • 5 Biggest Mistakes You Make Recycling

    If you're making the effort to recycle (and you should be!), make sure you're doing it right.If you're making the effort to recycle (and you should be!), make sure you're doing it right.

    You're probably on autopilot when it comes to tossing your bottles and plastic, but it's worth taking stock of how you recycle. Are you making these common missteps?

    Related: 11 Chemicals You Might Have Already Eaten Today

    1. Assuming an item isn't recyclable
    You might be surprised to learn that you can keep old CDs, furniture, mattresses, wine corks, aluminum foil, and lots more out of landfills these days. Often, you'll have to take these items to a recycling center, but some may be left curbside. Check Earth911.com/recycling (or download their handy smartphone app) to find out more about your local policies.

    Related: Start Your Garden With Some Help From Your Garbage

    2. Throwing away plastic bottle caps
    Tossing caps before recycling the bottles is no longer a household rule. In 2012, thanks to new technology and increased demand for recycled plastics, the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers announced that recycling facilities throughout the US would

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  • 5 Eye-Opening Facts About Caffeine

    We're a nation hooked on caffeine — and that's a good and bad thing.We're a nation hooked on caffeine — and that's a good and bad thing.

    In his new book, Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us, journalist and environmental scientist Murray Carpenter investigates the world's most widely used, highly unregulated stimulant: caffeine. He visits Mexican cacao groves, a Chinese synthetic caffeine plant, coffee fields in Guatemala, Federal Drug Administration (FDA) representatives, and U.S. energy drink factories. He delves deep into scientific studies on the physiological and psychological effects of caffeine on the body -- and uncovers some pretty startling stuff.

    Related: 11 Surprising Things That Affect Your Dreams

    Here are a few facts that really stood out:

    1. We Drink Less Coffee Today
    We think of our culture as hooked on coffee, but actually our grandparents were far more caffeinated than we are. Coffee consumption peaked shortly after World War II, when Americans were consuming 46 gallons a year, or about 20 pounds of beans per person. Today, the average American drinks around 23

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  • Why You Shouldn't Pee in the Pool

    A new study found that giving in to nature can be dangerous.A new study found that giving in to nature can be dangerous.

    Come on, you've at least thought about doing it.

    Related: How Morning Light Affects Your Weight

    One in five Americans openly admit that they've peed in a public swimming pool -- including Olympic swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, so if you have, you're in pretty good company. But, according to a new study, you really shouldn't.

    Related: A New, Disturbing Fact About How Sleep Affects Your Brain

    Research published in the American Chemical Society's Environmental Science & Technology journal says that uric acid from pee mixes with chlorine in pools to create two toxic gases: trichloramine, which is linked to acute lung problems, and cyanogen chloride, which is known to affect the heart, lungs, and central nervous system. Low levels of these chemicals have been linked to eye and throat irritation, while high levels can present more dangerous problems.

    - By Natalie Gontcharova

    More from Good Housekeeping:

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  • What to Do If You Spill Coffee on Yourself

    Quick! Take care of the stain and (literally) save your shirt with these strategies.Quick! Take care of the stain and (literally) save your shirt with these strategies.

    We've all been there. You're right on schedule to get to that big meeting with your boss (or that parent-teacher conference, or brunch with your mom), and just as you're properly caffeinating yourself for your day ahead, it happens: You spill coffee all over your shirt.

    Related: 10 Tips to Your Fastest Laundry Day Ever

    Don't worry. Your day is not lost. Just follow these four steps to right your wrong.

    1. Sponge the stain with cold water to remove what you can. (Don't use hot: It'll set the stain.)

    Related: Don't Fall for These 7 Common Clothing Care Myths

    2. Use a Tide To Go pen or Shout Wipe to erase as much of the mark as you can, and get on with your day.

    3. As soon as you can, pretreat the spot with a prewash stain remover, even if you're not going to wash the blouse right away. Use a pretreater like Resolve Stain Stick or Shout Advanced Gel to stop the stain from setting, even several days before washing.

    Related: These Spring Accessories Will Transform

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