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If you've ever shopped on consignment or browsed the racks at your local vintage store, however, we have a fabulous idea. Thr…

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After a long winter of baking, your oven is i…

  • By Brynn Mannino


    If you don't have time for the big, top-to-bottom seasonal ritual we call spring cleaning, you can still get the job done by tackling tasks that, when completed, send cleanliness vibes reverberating throughout the whole house. We spoke with trusted cleaning experts to find out which items on your to-do list will have the most effect on the overall appearance of your home. Read on for their time-saving suggestions. Photo by Annie Schlechter.


    1. Living Room: Media Center
    As the focal point of the living room, the media center easily becomes the catchall for stray magazines, books, video games, remote controls, etc. If not contained, the pileup can spread throughout the house-not to mention become a huge eyesore. Solve the problem by introducing like-colored boxes and baskets to contain the clutter, recommends cleaning blogger Beth Alcazar at The Neat Get Neater. "A box of old DVDs is much neater than a random pile," she says. Plus, stylish baskets will add texture a

    ...Read More »

  • It's that time of year again-spring cleaning. If the amount of clutter and dirt that's built up around your home over the past several months has you feeling overwhelmed, stay calm! We've broken up those must-tackle tasks into a month's worth of quick and easy cleaning challenges. First up: Your kitchen appliances. Dirt, pet hair, and dust particles can build up behind your refrigerator, says Steve Ash of partselect.com. These airborne materials can block the appliance's coils, restricting airflow through the appliance. So it's worth it to pull out your refrigerator and vacuum the coils.

    Also smart: sanitizing the dishwasher. Place a shallow dish of vinegar on the top rack of your dishwasher and run it (empty) on a long sanitation cycle to kill fungi.

    Finally, freshen up your garbage disposal-pour three tablespoons of Borax inside, let it sit for an hour, and then pour hot water down the chamber.

    See more from CountryLiving.com:

    Our Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Decorating »

    ...Read More »

  • By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

    Are you sitting in the midst of stacks of documents and receipts, trying to get organized before filing your income tax return? As you wade through the data, you might find yourself shocked at how much you paid for insurance, phone service, and the cable connection. You can't go back in time and change things, but it's never too late to take steps to change the future. With just a few simple actions you can lower the prices you pay for subscriptions and organize the bills and papers that quickly pile up.

    Related: 10 easy tax write-offs for the self-employed

    Get Your Papers in Order. Set aside a day, or two, to get rid of your paper pileup. Investing in a good scanner or spending a few dollars on a smartphone scanning app, such as DocScanner or ScannerPro, is the first step. Next, you'll organize papers into three piles: file, scan, and toss.

    • File. This pile is for the must-save documents, like birth certificates and passports. Buy a f
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  • Learning what are and how to use the various attachments for your vacuum can maximize its efficiency.

    Beater-Bar Attachment

    A rotating brush used with canister vacuums. Also known as a power or turbo brush, it stirs debris from the bottom of pile carpeting so the suction can whisk it away.




    The Upholstery Tool

    This small, flat head removes dust from furniture and mattresses, which should be vacuumed thoroughly every three months.

    Related: Martha Stewart's Top Organizing Tips





    The Rug/Floor Attachment

    This nozzle, which is often smooth with no brushes, comes with some canister vacuums. Use it instead of the beater bar on delicate carpets, such as antiques.






    The Crevice Tool

    Use this narrow nozzle for tight areas, such as next to and under the refrigerator and other large appliances and along baseboards. This tool will also draw out dust from hard-to-reach heating vents and between the flanges of a radiator.





    The Floor-Brush Attachment

    This is best for wood fl

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  • 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 b

    ...Read More »


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