Monday, January 30, 2017

Tips for Cleaning the Garage

So this project recently came into need for me recently. I had been working on a few wood projects. . In my house, I am the handyman. I work with the tools. Heck, I am the one building much needed hanging brackets for my husband's mancave. Not that I am complaining, I love building things. Thus my single car garage became a mess with no car inside.

Normally for the blog I would do recipes for cleaning products, but lets face it, you need a place to store you stuff. Often, that is the garage. Most of us do this so badly the car wont fit inside anymore. Lets be honest, most of us invested a minimum of four figures in that vehicle before any repairs. Why would we store it outside? Metal does rust in weather eventually. Even the prolonged periods in the sun is damaging to the paint. This is the reason I decided to make a list of tips for cleaning the garage.

Get some help.

Cannot stress this one enough, especially when you have kids. Chances are you have things that are not "your's." What I mean by this is chances are you have things like bikes, toys, sports equipment, etc. Get your kids and spouse to pitch in so that you do not get rid of something that you all were nit ready to let go of. Not to mention this project may require heavy lifting. You do not need to blow your back out taking out heavy boxes of stuff.

Invest in storage

If you do not already have it, a large metal shelving unit is a big help. So are large plasic storage containers.

A wise idea would also be to get hanging storage for things like gardening tools and bikes such as a ceiling bike rack. You can use the other half of the wall for the single car garage or the other wall in the double car garage for this.

Sort things out.

For this you will need at least two large boxes and a trash can. Sort everything you find. Label one box as sell, and the other as donate. As you go through the stuff in your garage you will either deem the item as keep, sell, donate, or trash.

If you decide to keep items, put them away right away. Make sure you have areas of your garage designated as needed. I like to label this ahead of time so there is no confusion while sorting. You can tape labels into each shelf. For things like tools you may want to desginate an entire shelving unit or area of the garage for that and do so where it makes sense. For instance if you have a tool bench you probably want to put the tools on the shelves next to it.
This applies for the rest of sorting. If you have not used something you find in the last two years, get rid of it. Chances are you either do not need the item, or you forgot you even had it. In both cases you probably will never use it.

For things you are going to sell, put them in the box or boxes, and set them aside for a garage or yard sale. However, for the things you donate, DO NOT WAIT FOR A FEW DAYS. I have found this to be one of my personal worst at actually doing. My husband and I had a box that was meant to be donated before we moved to my current house. Low and behold a year later it finally got donated after sitting in my garage since the day we moved in. Take it from me, if you do not donate that stuff now, it may never leave. If you cannot get to a place to donate, you can call to see if they will come to you. Many organizations such as the Salvation Army can come to you for pickup. If you cannot even do that, post a craigslist ad for free stuff. Most of the time, it will be gone that day.

When it comes to what is trash, if the item is broken, expired, or you feel the item is not worth your time to get rid of at all, it is trash. Please do not donate your stuff that is broken. Unwanted but still worth the time to donate by you, yes please donate, but not broken. Donation centers will trash that broken stuff anyway. If you have expired chemicals, trash it. If you have nails and screws laying on the floor, trash it. You get my point.

In the end you want to get everything but your car off of the ground and into or onto those storage shelves and hangers you have.

Keeping the Garage clean

First off, remember to put nothing but the appliances, car, and shelves on the floor of you garage.

Sort again at least once a year.

Spray the floor with the hose once a year.

Any time you need to use something from the garage, put it back when you are done.

Keep a bag of kitty litter handy, even if you do not have a cat. This is the quickest and most environmentally friendly way to clean up oil or any other fluids you typically find in the garage that may spill. You just pour, absorb, sweep and toss.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Travel Tips

When I was dating my now husband, I flew....a lot. Why? My husband was active duty at the time. I was flying about every other month. Over that time I have learned a thing or two that can be helpful for most. Here are a few tips for traveling that can help anyone traveling.

Clothes
How many days will you be gone will depend on how much you pack. One rule of thumb is to pack half the number of shirts and pants for the number of days you will be gone. Of course the exception to that is underwear. One per day for that. Example you will be gone 8 days, then pack 4 shirts, 4 pants and 8 pairs of underwear. If you will be gone for a few weeks, then pack 7 of each.  Many hotels, particularly on a military base, have a wash room for visitors. Also most gas stations have travel sized laundry detergent packs. If you have a special event such as a wedding, then do not include that outfit in your number of shirts and pants or skirts.
When putting them in your baggage, remember, tuck and roll. I like to fold all my clothes in half, tuck in sleeves, then roll them up like a Twinkie. This saves a ton of space in your bags.

Gifts and Souvenirs

If you plan on buying a few souvenirs, I suggest packing an empty back pack or duffel bag. You can simply use that as a carry on or personal bag when you go home. Also you have less of a chance the baggage workers breaking any thing fragile.

If you know you will be giving and receiving gifts that will be in large enough quantity to have their own checked bag, ship them to your destination. Even most hotels will hold packages at the desk for you as long as you notify them that they are being sent.

Devices and Chargers

For the travel day, make sure you charge all the devices you are planning to use while en route the night before you leave. If you are going on a long flight that will be more than four hours, you may want to bring at least one fully charged back up battery or power bank.

When packing tablets and laptops, make sure you do one of two things. Either put the device in a pocket you can access quickly, or use a carry on bag that has a pocket that folds flat when unzipped like the one in the permalink. Many of those bags will have some sort of "checkpoint friendly" label on the pocket. Remember, do not put any chargers in the same pocket as the laptop or tablet. Your bag will be pulled aside. You will have to rearrange it, and it will be rescanned.

As for other items, if you can live without the item or simply do not need it during that time, then do not pack it.

Children

Although I do not have any I have traveled with them. I do know babies and children can be unpredictable, but maybe some of what I have done and seen other parents do will help.

 For babies and toddlers, if they are beginning to eat at regular meal times or you have an idea what time they will be hungry try to get a flight that is scheduled to take off at that time. Eating and drinking will help to alleviate ear pressure naturally when they swallow. Also Transportation Security Administration now allows formula to go through as long as you notify the officers and if it can be screened separately from the bag, so only put it into a plastic bottle. 

Bring their favorite toy or two. These can be very comforting in a time where it is loud for little ears.

 Distractions work wonders. I encourage bringing travel board games, cards and electronic devices for the kids too. Especially ones loaded with tv episodes or movies for long flights.

Use Smart Phone Apps for airlines and airports

Most if not all airlines now have apps where you can do everything. If you have a smart phone use them. You can check in, get your ticket and have the bar code scanned at the gate all from the phone. that will male one less thing to worry about losing. You can also check your flight status

Many airports also have apps. These will have flight status as well, but many of them also have GPS location services inside the airport. This is extremely helpful if you get lost trying to find your gate or just need a bite to eat and want to see what they have to offer. For instance Orlando International Airport has a Chili's, while Charlotte International Airport has a neat little fudge shop(best place ever).

 check in

For all airlines you can check in up to 24 hours before your flight whether online, on that airline app, or over the phone. You will want to do that to have one less thing to do at the airport. If you have checked bags you still will want to check in ahead of time. Doing so will expedite the process for everyone. Also remember that extra back pack you put in your checked bag for souvenirs? If your bag is overweight you can now use that to take some pounds out and not have to pay extra fees.

Read your ticket

 For either electronic or printed ticket make sure you know what terminal you need to be in. The last thing you want is to be on the wrong side of the airport when the plane starts boarding. 


Friday, January 20, 2017

Bath Soak for Hard Water

In Florida as well as many states such as California it does not matter if you have city or well water. The water is hard. If you do not have a softener it can make things like bath salt soaks almost double in price because you have to use twice as much as the instructions say to get the desired results. That can get very expensive very quick.

I have found a cheap easy to make recipe for hard water that works really well.

Materials

One measuring cup
A teaspoon
One large mason jar
Mixing bowl
Mixer or a whisk

Ingrediants

1 cup Epsom Salt
2 cups Baking Soda
1-2 tsp of Essential Oils

To make
Pour the Epsom Salt and Baking Soda into the mixing bowl. Mix until it is well blended together. Slowly pour the essential oils in the bowl mixing as you pour. Then pour the mixture into the mason jar. And you are done.

To use
I personally like to pour 1/2 cup into the tub for each 1/3 of water being filled in it. So 1/3 or the tub filled will get 1/2 cup of bath salt mixture. 2/3 full gets 1 cup of mix. Of course you can add more or less based on your needs.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Air and Fabric Freshener Spray


This is one of the simplest recipes I have ever run across. I use it as a fabric and air freshener. This can be easily used to create an aromatherapy in your home as well.

All you will need is 
1 cup Distilled Vodka
1 1/2 cups of Water
Essential Oils (I did one tsp)
and a spray bottle

Pour them all into the bottle, shake it up and you are done.
To use just spray either onto fabrics or into the air.