4 Tips to Clear the Clutter after the Holidays

The most wonderful time of the year is officially over, and if you’re like most of us, you probably have more than a few things that need to be tidied up, de-cluttered, and put away. But getting your life back to normal doesn’t have to be anywhere near as stressful as last-minute gift shopping.

Our clutter clearing hints below will help you make the transition from holiday season to clean-up without losing the joyful glow cultivated over the last few weeks.

Box it up for Charity

Some say Boxing Day originated in the UK, as the day when the collection boxes for the poor were opened, and distributed. Other origin stories have it that Boxing Day was the day working people collected gratuities or acknowledgements of service for the past year in the form of ‘Christmas Boxes.’ Either way, you can use the spirit of Boxing Day to take a look around your home and see what can be boxed up and sent to charity. And while you’re in the dark corners of closets you haven’t seen in years, a little organization can’t hurt either. This will make room for all the shiny new goodies from Christmas and give you a fresh start to the New Year while helping out someone in need. A true win-win situation.

Send Your Christmas Tree into the Wild

If you have a backyard, why not consider digging a spot for a temporary home for your much appreciated Christmas tree? After the lights are taken down, simply plant your tree outside. The tree will give small wildlife a nice warm place to nest up among the needles during the winter. Once spring or summer hits, the tree will likely have dried out enough to have a bonfire with it for a fun Christmas in July celebration (festive outfits and eggnog milkshakes encouraged).

An Egg-cellent Idea for Your Egg Cartons

Make sure to save all the egg cartons from your Christmas baking. If they have long been recycled, throw a post-holiday brunch to get some new cartons to save. The small pockets meant for the eggs make great protective storage for delicate ornaments and can be labelled accordingly for decorating next year.

Start a Relationship with Clips

Get ready to meet your new best friend – binder clips. Yes, you heard that right. These humble little office supplies come in very handy for keeping your entire home tidy, but there are some great tips that you can use right away for post-holiday organization.

  • Freezer overflowing with turkey leftovers? Free up space and bring hard-to-see items to the front by clipping bags underneath the wire shelf.
  • Clip the ends of wrapping paper rolls together to keep them from unrolling and getting wrinkled in the cupboard.
  • Create a fun and casual photo display of all of your holiday memories by clipping them together lengthwise in an easy-to-hang chain, string them onto a ribbon for a horizontal display, or use thumbtacks to pin them up in whatever configuration you like.

We hope these hacks save you some stress as you wind down the holiday season. We wish you joy in the New Year from our London Drugs family to yours.

Expert Bathroom Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Expert bathroom cleaning tips

The kitchen might be the heart of every home, but it’s the bathroom that’s the true workhorse. So it’s no surprise it gets really dirty, really quickly. It’s a shame bathrooms don’t get the love (or elbow grease) they deserve considering how much we depend on them every single day.

Fact: Nobody likes cleaning a bathroom. But, a truly clean bathroom is a joy and surprisingly easy to maintain once you’ve mastered a few game-changing techniques.

Follow these tips and tricks to help make cleaning your bathroom less of a chore.

Make a Bathroom Cleaning Schedule and Checklist

Make a bathroom cleaning checklist to make the tasks more manageable

A clean bathroom is easier to maintain than a dirty one, so make it a regular habit. Facing an entire bathroom and all its moving, scummy parts is daunting, so parcel out the duties so you don’t have to do everything all at once.

For example:

Every day – Wipe down outside of toilet; wipe down inside of shower/bath; wipe down counters/sink; clean drain traps.

Every Sunday – Scrub inside of toilet; empty trash can; wipe mirrors.

First Sunday of every month – Put toothbrush holder in dishwasher, put shower curtain in laundry, deep clean drains.

After a month when you’ve gone through every task on your checklist at least once, you’ll see how much faster and easier maintaining a clean bathroom can be.

Simplify Your Bathroom

Declutter your bathroom to simplify cleaning
De-cluttering your space will not only make your bathroom look tidier, but will also make cleaning it a lot easier.

Who wants to spend 10 minutes taking everything off the counters and another 10 wrestling with half a dozen cleaning bottles under the counter just to spend one minute wiping down the surface?

Most bathrooms are small so everything in them should have a purpose and a home. Do you really need all those individual spay cleaners when once would suffice?

An all-in-one hero product like Nellie’s One Soap can be used as a hand soap, tub/shower cleaner, dish soap, and even on your dog.

Use the Right Cleaning Tools

Get the right toilet cleaning tools to make your job easier

The flip side to de-cluttering is stocking up on the right tools to get every job done well. If your toilet brush doesn’t get all the right angles, your toilet bowl will never really be clean. And if your glass cleaner leaves streaks and promotes fogging, well, what’s the point?

If you don’t feel that your efforts produce sparkling clean results, you’ll be less motivated to continue cleaning, so you might have to experiment a little to find the right tools. You might need two toilet brushes and you might find some great anti-fogging solutions in the automotive department.

Use Age-appropriate Accessories in Your Bathroom

If you have kids, adapt your bathroom so it stands a better chance of staying clean. Kids are cute, but they’re messy, which means water and dirt are going to get everywhere. Bring in a stool so they can properly reach the sink. And instead of expecting them to use a hand towel, keep a stack of colourful washcloths folded within easy reach.

Better yet, use this as an opportunity to teach them how to use the cloth to wipe up any wet spots on the counter before tossing it into the hamper.

Reward Yourself for a Cleaning Job Well Done

They say the reward itself is in a job well done, but you might need a little extra incentive to get through your checklist. Find something meaningful to reward yourself with each month – a new book, a new coffee machine, etc. – and use that as your carrot as you clean away.

Shop our selection of cleaning supplies for other resources that may help you keep your bathroom spic and span.

Tips for Cleaning Your Kitchen Like An Expert

You clean regularly, but spring is a good time to roll up your sleeves and really dive into the grime that builds up in the kitchen. We’ve found some surprising tips and hacks to get your kitchen shining like a diamond.

1. Clean your oven easily without all the chemicals

You’ll need:

Mix the baking soda and dish soap together, then stir in water slowly until you get a runny paste. Wearing rubber gloves, rub paste onto inside of oven and door. Leave oven door open and let sit for 15 minutes. Go have a coffee.

After letting it sit, wet the scour pad and scrub your little heart out, concentrating on trouble spots (it won’t take as long as you think, we promise). Once you’re done scrubbing, collect as much of the paste as you can and wash it down the sink, then use the damp rag to get the rest. This last step might take a few rinses of the cloth before it all comes off. Polish the baking soda film off with the dry cloth.

2. Take your oven racks to the spa

You can’t have a clean oven with dirty racks, so to get them up to snuff, soak them in the tub overnight with 1/2 cup of dish soap and 6 dryer sheets (yes, we said dryer sheets). Once they’re done soaking, rub off the dirt with the dryer sheets, then rinse them well under warm water.

3. Don’t forget that other oven

The microwave can quickly get covered with caked-on crud. Instead of the tedious spray-and-scrub-spray-and-scrub routine, put a handful of wet paper towels inside and run it on high for 3-5 minutes. The steam from the towels will soften the grime and save you a lot of elbow grease. Wait for the paper towels to cool down then use them to wipe down the interior (or put on your rubber gloves if you don’t have time to wait).

4. Clear up that coffee pot

Nothing like that brown film inside your coffeemaker to put you off your morning cup of joe. For a quick and natural clean, fill the empty jug a quarter full of ice, add the juice from half a lemon and 2 tbsp of salt. Swirl the mixture in the jug for 2 minutes, then rinse out with warm water. Voila! No scrubbing required.

5. Blast the grime off of your range hood

Ever tried to wipe off that layer of greasy fudge on top of your stove’s hood with a damp cloth? Doesn’t work too well, does it? That’s because it’s mostly made of cooled oil, which doesn’t mix with water. (Hello, elementary school science class!) The best way to loosen it up is with heat. Grab your hair dryer from the bathroom, put it on the hottest setting and give it a Brazilian blow out for about 30 seconds. Then wipe it down right away with a warm, soapy cloth. Lustrous!

6. Treat your wood cabinets right

Photo by wu yi on Unsplash

Wood cabinets add warmth to your kitchen decor, but wooden surfaces can lock in bacteria that is tough to get out, and harsh chemical cleaners can damage their finish. Baking soda is a great alternative for cleaning wood: mix 1/2 cup baking soda with a litre of warm water and use a clean sponge to rub it on the wood surface. Rinse with damp cloth, blot with a clean towel and allow to air dry completely.

If the finish is looking dull, use boiled linseed or vegetable oil with fine steel wool to rub it in. To seal it, add another coat of oil 24 hours later, wiping off the excess between each application.

7. Ugh. The fridge.

Cleaning out the fridge is a big job, but it’s worth it. Obviously, the first thing you need to do to tackle the fridge is to clear out any old food. But wait! Just because it’s past the “best before” date doesn’t mean that it’s not still good. The best before date isn’t the same as the expiration date–it’s just the date recommended by the manufacturer when the product should be consumed for the best quality. There are other food safety guidelines to keep in mind (read more here), but as long as it smells, looks and tastes normal, eating food that’s a little past the best before date might only affect the taste and quality and likely won’t hurt you.

Now that your fridge is cleared out, you might as well roll up your sleeves and really get in there. Unplug it, clear out the rest of your food and take out the shelves and bins. Fill a bathtub with six to eight inches of water and add a small box of baking soda. Soak the shelves and bins for about 15 minutes; rinse and dry.

Use a non-toxic cleaner or natural solution of 2 tbsp of baking soda in 1 litre of warm water and wipe out interior. Clean small crevices in the door seals with a pointed-tip cotton swab dampened with warm soapy water. Dry with a towel.

Phew. *wipes brow* Before you put away your food, check out this comprehensive guide on how to best store all of your groceries.

 

 

Do you have any surprising kitchen cleaning tricks? Share with us in the comments!

How to Take Your Laundry to the Next Level

Doing laundry is necessary, of course, but it takes time and energy—and we know there are ways to save a little of both.

You probably already know to wash your clothes in cold water to save energy and hang your clothes to dry. Now try these next-level tips to truly up your laundry game.

Next Level Laundry Tips with London Drugs

Vinegar Magic

Vinegar is a magical cleaning tool. You probably already use it to clean your microwave or other kitchen appliances, but it’s amazing in the laundry room too.

If your sweaty workout gear is a little too fragrant, pre-soak it in a vinegar solution. The technical, sweat-wicking fabrics that work so well during exercise are actually harder to clean; the vinegar helps cut through your body’s oils to eliminate that smelly bacteria.

And vinegar doesn’t just clean, it also softens fabrics! Add ¼ to 1 cup of white vinegar to your washer during the final rinse cycle instead of a traditional fabric softener. (You’ve already got the vinegar in your pantry—you might as well use it, right?)

Don’t forget, too, that washing machines also need to be cleaned regularly, along with your clothes. You can use vinegar to clean your washing machine itself, too–it’s easy and cost-effective!

Delicates

Hand washing is best for delicates, but when you need to throw them in the washer make sure you use a mesh laundry bag. It keeps them protected from rubbing against other fabrics that may lead to pilling while the mesh still lets in water and detergent to get them clean. There are even specially designed laundry bags for bras, with padded mesh to protect the cup shape. It’s still advisable to use the delicate mode on your washer, but the mesh laundry bags will protect your delicates even more.

When you do hand wash, there’s no handy spin cycle to remove that excess water. You can mimic your washer’s spin cycle using a salad spinner (make sure you only use this salad spinner for laundry!), or you can lay your garment flat on a clean dry towel and roll it all up. Some more gentle pressing helps the towel soak up that water gently. It’s much safer than wringing the water out.

Laundry Basket - Next Level Laundry with London Drugs

Easy breezy

There are lots of little things you can do that will make your laundry life so much easier. Post a note by your washer to remind yourself about any items that need particular care: those that need to be washed separately, can’t go in the dryer, etc. This is especially important if you share laundry duties with a family member! You can use a dry erase board to easily update your laundry notes.

You might also try dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. They do the same thing—soften fabrics, speed up drying time–plus they’re reusable.

And those mesh laundry bags you use for your delicates? Keep your socks in there to ensure they all come out of the dryer! In fact, you can give one mesh bag to each family member to make it even easier to sort socks later. Never lose a sock again.

What are some of your favourite #laundrytips? Let us know on Twitter!

LD Picks: Best Home Cleaning Tips and Tricks

The web is full of brilliant cleaning tricks, so we figured we might as well collect our favourites in one easy-to-access place.

* * *

Refresh a stinky mattress with a vodka bath

mattress-vodka

Good in a cocktail, better as a disinfectant. Got a stubborn odor on your mattress? Vodka is an odorless antiseptic that evaporates quickly, eliminating the odor and odor-causing bacteria that go overlooked in ordinary cleaning.

  1. Fill a spray bottle with vodka—Silent Sam will do; no need to pull out the Ketel One or Russian Standard.
  2. Add a couple of drops of essential oil for an extra scent boost.
  3. Shake well, and spray liberally over the mattress.
  4. Let the mattress dry completely before making the bed.
  5. Repeat as needed.

[More at Real Simple]

* * *

READ MORE

LD Picks: 5 Grooming Hacks That Will Keep You Looking Great

The web is full of genius grooming hacks. So read these, and get pretty.

* * *

Use a drinking straw to keep necklaces from tangling during travel

packing necklaces in straws When travelling, it can be difficult to pack jewellery. How do you keep it organized? Try threading the chain of your necklace through a drinking straw (or two!) to keep them from tangling. Then, tuck them safely in a pouch or suitcase pocket.

[More at Good Housekeeping]

READ MORE