Blog Posts by Good Housekeeping

  • 16 Ways to Fake a Clean Home — Fast

    Get your house looking picture-perfect before the doorbell rings.Get your house looking picture-perfect before the doorbell rings.

    Need to clean up in a hurry? Whether you're expecting guests, the guests just left, or you want to at least pretend that yours is a life of clean and ordered bliss, pick a task, any task, for quick tips to fix your place up fast.

    1. Brighten the Bathroom
    First, flush. Next, grab some bleach. Pour a cup into the bowl; brush around the sides and under the rim. Next, fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar. Spritz onto paper towels or a microfiber cloth, and hone in on those telltale soap drips and toothpaste spatters on faucets, mirrors, countertops, and in the sink -- a definite dirty-bathroom giveaway. Next, shake out your rug or bath mat to fluff it up so it looks recently vacuumed. Now, flush the bleach that's been sitting in the bowl.

    2. Put the Living Room in Order
    Run a microfiber cloth over the coffee table and other dusty surfaces, like the TV screen. Pile magazines or books into neat stacks on the end tables; gather all of the stray remotes in one place.

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  • Why One Mother Gave Back Her Adopted Son

    A difficult decision was the right choice for Stacey Conner's family.A difficult decision was the right choice for Stacey Conner's family.

    Stacey Conner, a 41-year-old mom and former attorney from Spokane, Wash., dreamed of having a large family with biological and adopted kids. "The world is a big place with a lot of children in it; we wanted to bring some of those into our family, to give our love to kids without it," she says. After she volunteered in an orphanage in poverty-torn Haiti in 2005, Conner and her husband, Matt, a pharmacist, decided to adopt two children. But the process was so slow that by October 2006, when they brought home their (unrelated) 5-year-old Haitian son and 1-year-old Haitian daughter, Conner had given birth to a son, who was 1. "Having an instant multicultural family was magical," Conner says, "for about two weeks."

    Her older son, whom she calls J here, "engaged every person he met -- he literally crawled into the laps of strangers," says Conner. "But if I said 'It's time to go' or anything that asserted I was in control, he'd rage, bang and scream for hours." Very quickly, Conner had a

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  • Spring Clean and Make Money Off Old Home Goods

    Finally, you can (sorta) get paid for cleaning up.Finally, you can (sorta) get paid for cleaning up.

    Are great-aunt Sophie's upholstered ottoman, two extra sets of wedding china, and heaven knows what else still sitting in the basement gathering dust? Sure, you could have a killer yard sale, but there are easier -- and more profitable -- ways to pocket some green.

    Related: 8 Spring Cleaners That Need to Be Dusted Off

    - Craigslist and eBay are great for big-ticket items (a major appliance sold on the latter site every 26 seconds in the third quarter of 2013 alone). Brand names in like-new condition usually bring in bigger bucks (Pottery Barn tables, Kitchen Aid mixers), but items from another era -- say, china pieces produced in a limited run - are also in demand. Even 1960s and 1970s kitsch may fetch a nice sum -- call it the Mad Men effect. One eBay seller offloaded a 1968 glass coffeepot for $23.

    Related: 16 Ways to Fake a Clean Home Before Guests Arrive

    - Classic Replacements buys china, crystal, and flatware from anywhere in the U.S. Once you receive a quote, ship it

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  • The Smart Way to Store Your Winter Clothes

    It's finally time to store those winter boots.It's finally time to store those winter boots.

    These easy steps keep cold-weather gear bug- and mildew-free -- because, yes, winter will be back again before you know it.

    First Steps
    Clean everything before you get started. Lingering oils (deodorants, perfumes) can discolor fabric over time -- and food stains will attract moths. 70°F (or below) is the target storage temp to avoid damaging fibers or setting stains, and low light and low humidity are ideal. Don't plan on storing in dry-cleaning bags (they can yellow fabrics and trap moisture), and don't iron with starch -- bugs love it!

    Related: 10 Tips to Your Fastest Laundry Day Ever

    Coats
    Do up buttons, zip up zippers, and empty out pockets; then hang structured or down coats on thick wooden hangers ($17 for two, honeycando.com) inside a breathable canvas garment bag ($15, casa.com). Polyfill-stuffed coats can go in vacuum-seal bags, compressed halfway for space.

    Accessories
    Place gloves and rolled-up scarves loosely together in a plastic bin. Stuff shaped hats with tissue

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  • 6 Ways to Make Money Off Stuff Your Kids No Longer Play With

    Don't throw it out -- make some money off of it.

    We bet there's at least $200 hidden in their sports gear and electronics - here's how to find it.

    Electronics:
    With new "gotta-have-it" upgrades coming out practically every year, technology depreciates fast, so if you're unloading old gadgets, try to do so quickly. One exception: The market for video games -- especially older ones like the original versions of Wii Sports and Pokémon -- is brisk.

    1. Apple's Reuse and Recycling Program gives you an Apple gift card for your iPad, iPhone, or Mac. RadioShack also offers a trade-in program (a 2012 Kindle Fire could fetch as much as $72 in credit).

    Related: Never Stress About Making Returns Again

    2. Gazelle, a site that buys used devices, pays cash or offers an Amazon gift card for computers, smartphones, and more. It honors a 30-day price lock (that is, you have 30 days to get a new phone before mailing in your old one).

    3. Glyde calculates the true resale value or market price of your electronics and suggests a price

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  • Study: Yes, Facebook is Affecting Your Moods

    Think twice before scrolling through your News Feed every morning.Think twice before scrolling through your News Feed every morning.

    Common wisdom says that Facebook makes you sad and lonely because it forces you to compare yourself with others -- people often cite a study that came out last year which claimed to prove this. But new research suggests that any emotions on Facebook spread quickly, just like viral videos or pictures of cute cats, and that positive feelings spread even more than negative ones.

    Related: 9 Things You Didn't Even Know Were Contagious

    The University of California San Diego study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, analyzed data from 100 million Facebook users, who posted nearly a billion updates between 2009 and 2012. For every positive emotion in a status update, there were one to two additional updates in the average user's network expressing similar emotions. Each "I love my life!"-type post also reduced the number of "I hate everything"-type posts by friends by nearly one-half, while negative updates lowered positive posts by 1.3 times.

    "Our study suggests that people are not

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  • 5 Times You Should Skip the Antibiotics

    Don't reach for the big guns just yet.Don't reach for the big guns just yet.

    Here are some common ailments which you can cure with over-the-counter meds -- so you can prevent potential antibiotic resistance and harmful side effects.

    1. Earache
    What to do: Treat pain with an over-the-counter analgesic like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn).

    When to see a doctor: If you or your child has a fever above 100.4°; if there's any discharge from the ears; or if symptoms don't improve after two to three days. Check in with your M.D. sooner if the discomfort is severe.

    Related: Is Our Antibiotic Habit Killing Us?

    2. Sore Throat
    What to do: Soothe the irritation with ice chips, lozenges or moisture from a humidifier or vaporizer; you can also take an OTC pain reliever.

    When to see a doctor: If symptoms don't improve after five days, or get worse after two to three. A fever over 100.4°, pus at the back of the throat, difficulty swallowing or recent contact with someone who has strep throat warrants a visit.

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  • Study: Too Much Protein Ups Your Cancer Risk

    Don't go for that burger at lunch just yet.Don't go for that burger at lunch just yet.

    How much protein should you really be eating? Popular diets like Atkins and Paleo tout a combination of animal-based lean proteins and fruits and veggies to help people lose weight, but a new study is challenging their commonly-held advice.

    Related: 9 Rules Every Good Diet Follows

    U.S. and Italian scientists tracked more than 6,000 men and women for 18 years and concluded that people between ages 50 and 65 who had moderate-to-high protein intake are four times more likely to die of cancer and heart disease than those following a low-protein diet. They were also at a higher risk for diabetes. What counts as "high-protein"? A diet in which at least 20% of calories came from protein; "low-protein" meant less than 10%.

    "The majority of Americans could reduce their protein intake," said study co-author Valter Longo, a University of Southern California gerontology professor and director of the school's Longevity Institute. "The best change would be to lower the daily intake of all

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  • 4 New Ways to Cash in on Your Old Clothes

    Your spring cleaning could have a sweet return.Your spring cleaning could have a sweet return.

    Before you banish those seven-year-old leather pumps to the local landfill, consider this: A 2013 report from eBay revealed that a pair of shoes sold every two seconds on the site, with the fashion category in general grossing over $3.5 billion in sales in just a single quarter, and electronic devices weren't far behind. So, as you clean house this spring, take a closer look at your "junk": It could make you a tidy profit.

    Related: 3 New Fashion Lines That Make Your Fave Designers Way More Affordable

    1. Poshmark, a free mobile app, lets stylish types see and buy your treasures on the fly. Create free listings by snapping pics with your smartphone of items you want to sell. Poshmark skims 20% off your price, and the buyer pays for shipping.

    2. Tradesy, a digital buy-and-sell marketplace, features both high-end (Alexander Wang, Gucci) and brand-name (J.Crew, Zara) labels (we recently spotted a magenta Coach bag, with tags, originally $378, selling for $174). Designer duds

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  • 5 Biggest Mistakes You Make Vacuuming

    Don't make this chore last longer than it has to.Don't make this chore last longer than it has to.

    Vacuuming isn't rocket science (thank goodness!), but a little extra know-how can help you clean your home that much better.

    1. Waiting until the bag is full to empty it
    Even though some vacuums have "check bag" indicator lights, check the bag yourself and change it when it's three-quarters full. This keeps your vacuum's suction strong. And if you have a bagless vac, don't forget the dust cup -- dirt collects there, too.

    Related: 2 Steps to Make Your Vacuum Really Suck

    2. Vacuuming with a dirty filter
    You won't effectively remove allergens if your filter is clogged with grime. You don't have to change the filter as often as the bag, but if the filter shows signs of wear, or if it's very dirty or torn, it's time to replace it. Change HEPA filters every six months or with every sixth bag change. Check the owner's manual or your brand's website for the recommendations for your model.

    Related: You Need to Clean Your Cleaners (Sorry, But It's True)

    3. Not using the attachments
    Dusting

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