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The Ultimate Winter Cleaning Checklist

Whilst it is often Spring that we associate with cleaning, it is not the only season we need to consider. With shorter days, and busier social calendars, it can often be tough to find time to keep on top of housework but Winter is a great time to get a head start on your cleaning. Here is the ultimate winter cleaning checklist.

Winter Cleaning Checklist: Every Room

Dusting: Don’t just dust surfaces, make sure you dust all the skirting boards and every corner of the room. Dust carries pathogens that can cause illness, so keeping on top of this task all year round will improve the air quality

Vacuum: Regularly vacuum each room to make sure there is nothing horrible lurking. Pay close attention to carpets and rugs where dirt likes to gather
Wash floors: Depending on the material of your floors, you should wash the floors to get rid of any bacteria that is lurking. Especially in the kitchen.

Freshen up paint: Inevitably over time walls will get scuffs and marks. Try removing these first with clever tools like magic erasers which you simply wet and rub on the wall. If these don’t work, touch up the paint. If you have a specific colour on the walls, ensure you have spare tester pots to help with this task

Varnish wooden furniture: This is a job that is often avoided but is important to keep wooden furniture looking its best

Clean light fixtures: Dust lampshades, clean any glass shades and check to see if any bulbs need changing.

Winter Cleaning Checklist: Bedroom

Swap the mattress: Flip the mattress and give it a good clean

Switch to a thinner duvet: At the start and end of the season switch your duvet to reflect the weather. Changing to a thicker duvet at the beginning of Winter will help you reduce heating bills and ensure you remain cosy all season long

Switch your clothes: When winter starts, grab your winter clothes (all those cosy jumpers, scarfs and gloves) and get rid of your summer clothes. You won't be needing them for a while!

Winter Cleaning Checklist: Kitchen

Empty cupboards and pantry: Empty all your cupboards and pantry and make note of what you have. Doing this each season will avoid you keeping food way best its sell-by date and will make it easier to see what you have and what you need more of

Clean Washing Machine: Use a specific washing machine cleaner or use bicarbonate of soda and white wine vinegar for a thorough wash. Finish by removing the drawer and making sure there isn't a build-up behind the drawer. If this is left unattended, odours can start to release and make your clothes smell

Clean Dishwasher: Same as your washing machine, your dishwasher needs cleaning regularly to ensure your dishes are being washed correctly. Use white vinegar or buy a purpose dishwasher cleaner which you simply place in the machine and put on a hot cycle

Clean Washing machine filter: It's not just the washing machine itself that needs cleaning. Empty your filter every now and then to avoid a blockage that can over time cause damage to the machine. Empty the filter of your tumble dryer even more often. If this isn't done regularly, It can be extremely dangerous

Clean microwave: Use lemon and water for a quick and natural way to clean the microwave and banish any odours.

Winter Cleaning Checklist: Bathroom

Deep clean toilets: Whilst cleaning toilets should be a weekly task, use this as an opportunity for a deeper clean

Clean shower head: If you live in a hard water area, you may notice limescale building up. Whilst you can purchase specific products that tackle this problem you can simply place coca-cola into a sandwich bag. Place the shower head in it and tape it to keep it secure. Leave for as long as you can (at least a few hours) and then you should notice a significant improvement without any hard work

No matter if you are wanted to freshen up a couple of rooms, or your entire home, this ultimate winter cleaning checklist is here to help you. Whilst this season doesn’t provide the same sense of freshness as Spring does, it doesn’t mean you cant freshen up your home this season. Whilst this list may seem long, if you break it down, this ultimate winter cleaning checklist can help that your house remains fresh, even during the coldest time of the year.

Are you using cleaning products correctly?

When it comes to cleaning your home, you want to make sure you are doing it most efficiently and effectively. We try and do this by ensuring we are purchasing the best cleaning products for the job. However, do you actually know how to go about using cleaning products correctly? It turns out that many people don’t and by using some products wrong, you could be wasting time and money. Worse than that, it can be dangerous when products are misused.

Here we explain some of the common things that people are doing wrong when it comes to using their cleaning products

Mixing the wrong products

It is common to think that more is more. The more cleaning products we use, surely the more clean the house will be which is not a bad thing? Well, that, unfortunately, isn't true. Sometimes using too many products is just a waste of time and money. But, sometimes, it can actually lead to dangerous results that can be harmful to the household. For example, NEVER mix bleach with other cleaners.

Bleach should NEVER be mixed with ammonia as this chemical reaction can create a hazardous and harmful tox gas. Whilst this combination is an extreme example, it is best never to mix bleach with any other cleaning products, even ingredients such as vinegar or salt which are deemed more natural and less toxic cleaning products.
Some products may not be pure bleach but contain some bleach, so ensure you check the ingredients before you start to use them.

Not giving enough products time to work

We can all be guilty of being impatient at times and this can often happen when we are cleaning. We have set ourselves a task to clean a certain amount of rooms that day or you need to quickly clean a room before you leave the house for an errand. Whilst this is a common occurrence, people need to ensure they are still using the products correctly as otherwise, the rush job will leave your house as dirty as it was before you started.

Many people, for example, fail to leave cleaning sprays on surfaces long enough before they wipe them off. Alternatively, they are not using enough of the product. For example, when you use disinfectant sprays, make sure you are leaving the products to soak onto the surface for a good 5- 10 minutes before wiping away. Whilst there are some products now on the market that say you can spray and immediately wipe, the majority of sprays do not follow this rule. So spray, leave for a bit and continue with another task, before returning to wipe away. This will leave you with a much cleaner surface.

Leaving disinfectant wipes to dry out

Disinfectant wipes are a convenient product to have when cleaning but they can lead to several cleaning mistakes. One is that they can easily start to dry out. If they are kept airtight, the wipes can remain wet for up to two years, however, once open, you may find that they can dry out relatively quickly. To avoid waste and make sure they are still effective.

You can revive the wipes by adding 70% isopropyl alcohol to the container and leave until the wipes have absorbed the liquid before you use them.

The second mistake a lot of people mistake with wipes is spreading them too thin and trying to clean too large an area with a single wipe. Using one or two to clean an entire room will not be sufficient. You must ensure the area is sufficiently wet when you are using them, otherwise you won't be cleaning enough. Also, check to ensure the wipes you are using are disinfecting. Some are not and people merely assume that they are.

Not reading the instructions

A lot of the mistakes that happen when cleaning often come from simply not reading the instructions. Don’t rush into using a product, especially if it is something you haven't used before. Make sure you know how to use the project before you start. Often without reading the instructions, people end up using the products for the wrong purpose, using them on the wrong materials and surfaces which could cause damage, or using the wrong quantity of the item. It only takes a moment to read the instructions and will save you a lot of potential hassle in the long term.

Not protecting the skin

Whenever you use products that have cleaning chemicals in them, make sure you are wearing protective clothing. Rubber gloves are the go-to. Not only will it protect your skin from any harmful chemicals, but it will also stop your hands from smelling and reduce the spread of bacteria if you remove the gloves straight away.

It is not just rubber gloves that you should consider though. When using items containing bleach, always wear clothes that are not your best. Just in case there are any accidental spillages or splashes. Some products can also produce very strong odours. In these extreme cases, you may even want to wear eye protection.

Using the wrong amount of products

People often don’t use enough product, in the case of disinfectant sprays as explained above. Either because they are not aware of how much needs to be used, or don’t want to use too much as otherwise they will have to refill sooner.

Alternatively, there are some products that people tend to overuse. Liquid washing detergent and fabric softener are popular examples. Using too much detergent can leave sticky residue on the fabrics and can end up trapping bacteria that over time will produce odours. So whilst you make think that using more will result in cleaner clothes, the opposite is true.

Not having adequate ventilation

Best practice is to open a window whenever you are cleaning, no matter what type of products you are using. Many products can cause cleaning fumes which can cause irritation and in some extreme cases be harmful. However, you should open your windows any way as it’s a great way to circulate air throughout your home and makes your cleaning extra effective as the room will feel particularly fresh once you have finished.

Using old products

We all probably have old cleaning products hidden and tucked away at the back of the cupboards that we can't remember the last time we used. Whilst some of these products will still be fine to use, others can deteriorate over time and become less effective, so be careful when using these. If you cannot remember how long ago you purchased it and opened it, it may be safer to not use it.

Forgetting to clean your tools

You cannot expect to leave your home clean if the tools you are using are dirty. Its often the case that people forget to clean their dusters, mops, cloths, and vacuums. However, this should be a task that is added to your to-do list. Keeping all your tools in check and in top condition will make them last longer and do their job better.

These are just some of the ways we are misusing our cleaning products. Even if we have the best intentions, purchase the best products for the job, if we are not using them correctly, what's the point? Keeping the issues we have discussed in mind when you next tackle the big clean will help you ensure you are cleaning in the most effective way possible.

 

Christmas Organisation Tips

The build-up to Christmas can go extremely quickly and the seemingly never-ending to-do list can feel overwhelming. However, with a bit of planning and preparing, you can feel on top of everything and leaves you with time to actually enjoy the Christmas season. Here are some top Christmas Organisation Tips. 

Decide on a budget and stick to it  

The first of our Christmas organisation tips is budgeting. Before you start buying a single thing, sit down and consider your budget. Take it one step further and split your budget into sections. Presents, food and drink, Christmas social events, Christmas Cards, Postage and Packaging, decorations, etc. Once you have split your budget into these different sections, stick to these amounts. The best way to do this is to list everything you purchase, file the receipts, and keep a running tally. If you need to reduce the amount you are spending try suggesting Secret Santa to reduce the number of presents you have to buy. Alternatively, why not agree on a budget per present in advance? 

Even if it turns out you completely underestimated the budget and you have to amend it slightly, you will automatically be more conscious of your spending if you write everything down and have a thorough understanding of how much Christmas is costing you.  

Write everything down  

There is nothing better to help you with the Christmas build-up than a great to-do list. It can be very satisfying to tick off something once it is completed. Keeping a to-do list is the most simple, but effective of our Christmas organisation tips You can choose to write your lists on your phone or in a notebook. Just make sure you stick to the same list throughout rather than switching.  

Buy things as you see them  

Some Christmas organisation tips don't need to be pre-planned. Once you have an idea of what you are getting everyone, don’t hesitate to start shopping. Once you see something, it's best to get it there and then. Not only will this save you the stress of getting it, later on, but it is also a great way to spread out the cost. 

Wrapping paper should be one of the first things you purchase. This will allow you to wrap your presents when you buy them, saving you time later on when you are faced with a mountain of presents to wrap all in one go. 

Make plans early 

Don’t leave it to mid-December to start planning Christmas. Whilst a lot of the preparations can take place in December, the more you have organised before advent starts the better. As a minimum, try and ensure you know what your plans are for Christmas Day itself before December. Decide if you are hosting at your house or somewhere else. How many guests will there be? If you are not hosting, do you still need to bring some food and drink? If so, what exactly do you need to bring? Communication is key here to ensure all your friends and family understand what the plans are and who is in charge of what. Having a dedicated family Christmas Whatsapp is a great place to start. 

Declutter  

Before you start putting the decorations up, use this time to declutter your home. The Christmas tree can take up a lot of room, so avoid making your home look too messy by organising everything before the Christmas decorations go up. Go through your stuff and either put it away, throw it away or donate. Clearing out some of your stuff not only helps keep the mess under control it frees up precious space for your new Christmas presents.  

Purchase a few extra presents  

Be prepared for any last-minute guests or if you have forgotten anyone from your list. It will avoid any awkward moments. 

Get presents sorted early  

If you sort out the presents early, it means you can deliver them by hand as and when you see your friends and family. This will save you a lot on postage! Deliver your presents alongside Christmas cards to reduce the cost of postage even more. 

Write Christmas cards over time  

Writing Christmas Cards can be time-consuming and can lead to hand cramps. Spread the task over a few days rather than the daunting task of doing it all in one go. Writing a few a day whenever you have a few minutes to spare is a great technique. 

Make food in advance  

Help save precious time on Christmas Day itself by preparing as much food in advance as possible. There is in fact a lot you can get done in the week before. Work out what you can freeze, bake any goodies a couple of days before, and prep the veg the night before. Preparing as much as possible before Christmas will make you feel so much less stressed. Also, make sure your table is all ready and set the night before as well. It is also a great way to ensure you have enough plates and cutlery.  

You also don’t have to prepare all the food yourself. If you are having people round to your house, delegate some tasks to help lighten the load. Assign one person to veg, one for meat, a couple of people on drinks, someone for the starter, etc and you will quickly reduce the burden and stress on yourself. Your guests will be more than happy to help, so simply ask them. 

Update your calendar regularly  

Whether you have a wall calendar, a diary, or just use your phone, make sure you keep your calendars up to date. December gets booked up fast and you don’t want to risk double-booking yourself so make sure you have all the events you are attending on your calendar. Restaurants and theatre shows book up really fast so make sure you consider this when booking. 

Also, don’t feel like you have to say yes to everything. Even if you are the most organised person in the world and have a lot of Christmas prep already completed, you still need time to relax and slow down before the big day arrives. 

Head to social media for inspiration  

Social media is a great place to find some creative Christmas organisation tips. Pinterest and Instagram are both great social media platforms to help provide inspiration. From decoration tips, recipes, gift ideas, and more, you can discover so many amazing ideas this way. When you find something you like, add them to a board on Pinterest (which you can set to private) or save an image on Instagram into a collection. This means all your ideas are safely kept in one place for you to go through closer to Christmas and will stop you from forgetting any great idea you saw earlier in the year. 

Have a plan of action when you go shopping 

Christmas shopping can be hectic so make sure you go shopping with a full list of items in mind. Spending time browsing can be stressful when the shops are jam-packed and noisy. Once you have your list, make note of which shops you will need to visit and put them in a logical order to save time traveling to and from shops randomly. If you are shopping all day make sure you plan a nice break for food so you can take a well-earned rest from all the Christmas shopping. 

If you are not going to see some family and friends until after Christmas then why not wait and get the presents after Christmas. That way you can benefit from the Christmas sales and can potentially grab a bargain. 

Get the guest room ready 

Organise your guest room way in advance of having people stay over. It will save you cleaning the room the day they arrive and will avoid any last-minute rushes.  

Make a schedule for Christmas Day  

The next of our Christmas organisation tips focuses on scheduling. This may sound like you are going a bit overboard but trust us, time will go unbelievably quickly on the day, so a schedule can keep you on track and will avoid any stresses. Give yourself plenty of time and allow yourself more time than you think for each task to avoid any delays. Also, don’t forget to leave yourself some time to simply relax and enjoy yourself. It is Christmas after all! 

Assemble presents in advance 

The next of our Christmas organisation tips are perfect for those who have children. If you are buying them games, try assembling them first before you wrap them. This will save you time on the day and will mean that the kids can get started playing immediately. Add batteries to anything that requires them before you wrap presents as well. You don’t want to waste time searching high and low for the correct type, only to find that you have run out. 

Label Christmas Decorations  

The organisation doesn’t stop once Christmas arrives. When the time comes to take the decorations down, place them in labelled boxes. This will make it a thousand times easier to find what you are looking for next year. 

Take photos  

You can often forget to take photos of your house over Christmas as everything is busy. However, you should take photos of your decorations once they are up. This will make it easier next year if you want to recreate anything you loved this time around. 

Write a thank you list 

Write down a thank you list as you unwrap your presents. This will ensure you haven't forgotten who bought what for you. Also, try and write thank you cards between Christmas and New Year rather than waiting for January.  

Whether you are hosting Christmas Day yourself or traveling to friends or family, there is a lot to consider over the Christmas period. Use these simple Christmas organisation tips to help you stay on top of things and keep your stress levels low. As opposed to running around like a headless turkey. 

Christmas Decoration Ideas for your Home

There’s nothing like decorating your home to make you feel instantly more festive. However, sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to decorations. The main thing is to start on deciding a theme. Once you have that chosen, the rest will fall into place and you will end up with a spectacular Christmas display. Here we share some of our favourite Christmas Decoration ideas for your home. 

Match your artwork and current decor 

If you are unsure what colours to go with for your Christmas decorations, take a look around your home and make note of the current colours of the walls and artwork. For example, if you have a lot of green or blue in your pictures, why not use this as the basis of your pallet and opt for whites, silvers and golds and then bring in pops of blue? This will look like the decorations fit more seamlessly into your home than perhaps opting for the more traditional reds, greens and golds which may clash.  

Choose your tree carefully  

When it comes to Christmas decoration ideas, the tree is a big decision. Whether you opt for a real Christmas tree or an artificial one, choose it with care. You don’t have to just take into account the height of the tree, but also the width. Trees, especially real ones, can be extremely wide at the bottom and take up a lot of floor space. So, measure the space available in your home before you pick your tree.  

Stick to a single theme  

To create the most impact, try and stick to a single theme throughout your home. This will make the transition seamless as you travel from one room to another, and emphasise your Christmas decoration ideas. You could go for a rustic woodland theme, for example, or stick to traditional colour palettes. Whilst you certainly do not need Christmas decorations in every room of the house (unless you want to of course) you should focus on the high footfall areas instead. For example, the living room, dining room, hallway, staircase and front door. Whichever areas your guests are going to see and also where you spend most of your time so that you can appreciate your lovely decorations. 

Decorate your tree in order of size 

For an organised, professional-looking tree, organise your decorations by size and weight before you add anything to the tree. The larger, heavier baubles should always go at the bottom, with the smaller, lighter decorations on the top. The end result will be a very balanced, even looking tree that doesn’t look overfilled or like it is about to topple over. 

Swap out the tinsel  

The next of our Christmas decoration ideas is a hot topic for some. Whilst some people love tinsel, others hate it whilst some want to avoid it because it can be harmful to both the environment and pets if they accidentally eat it. To play it safe, why not swap tinsel out for a string of small bells, a beaded garland, or some bows of ribbon. All of these make a great alternative to tinsel.  

Secure your decorations  

To create a slightly different look, swap the string that comes with the decorations and baubles for a fine wire instead. This allows you to attach the decorations straight onto the tree branch, rather than having them dangling down. Not only can this look a lot cleaner and professional, but it also gives you more control over where the decorations sit. 

Add some natural elements  

Why not add some nature indoors this festive season. Natural Christmas decoration ideas can include things like Cinnamon sticks, pine cones, dried orange slices and cranberries. Use them on your tree, add to garlands and wreaths, put in vases alongside candles, add to your presents for the final finishing touches to your wrapping and so much more! They also help bring a lovely festive smell into your home. 

Match your wrapping to your colour scheme  

Coordinate your wrapping with your overall Christmas decorations by complimenting the colour scheme. That means once you have wrapped your presents, you can place them under the tree and they will look like extra decorations. Coordinating wrapping with your Christmas decoration ideas will make everything consistent.

Get creative with your advent calendar 

Whilst the simple chocolate or picture advent calendars are great, why not incorporate the advent calendar into your decorations? You can buy some amazing wooden advent calendars that make great ornaments on a side table. Alternatively, you can create a garland advent calendar that you can hang like bunting on a wall, from the ceiling or down the banister of your stairs. 

Add some twinkle with fairy lights 

It is amazing how you can transform your home simply by adding some fairy lights. They don’t only look great on the tree, they look equally as nice on wreaths, around garlands or added to clear glass bowls or hurricane lamps. They are the perfect way to incorporate Christmas decorations into different areas of your home. 

Add a bright colour 

If you want to go for a Christmas look with a bit of a twist, embrace colour. Whether you want to go for a full spectrum of colour or simply add a single bright colour to the rest of the neutral decorations, (such as a stunning deep purple), you should choose whatever colours you want. If neutral or traditional colours aren't your style, go full-on rainbow or a palette of jewel tones for amazing results. 

Turn your kitchen festive 

Whilst many people choose to create a centrepiece on their table or have a garland or wreath on shelves, there is so much you can do to add some festive spirit to your kitchen. If you have any Christmas mugs, get them out on display. Also, you can turn part of your worktop space into a hot drinks area. With hot chocolate, Christmas coffee, mulled wine, mini marshmallows, chocolate flakes etc, you can create a showstopping display that is also functional and will be the envy of friends. 

Whether you want to stick to traditional colours, go with rustic woodland vibes, or use this as a chance to add tons of colour to your house, choose what makes you happy and get creative. At the end of the day, there are no rules when it comes to Christmas decoration ideas. Go for whatever makes you feel the most festive and what will enjoy looking at during the festive season. 

Top Ways to Celebrate Bonfire Night

With many councils cancelling public bonfires and firework displays due to rising coronavirus cases, you may be wondering how you will spend your bonfire night this year.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can celebrate bonfire night from the safety of your home. Here are some ideas of what you can do on November 5th.

Have A Bonfire

Gather a small group of your friends and family for a bonfire at home. Lighting a bonfire is relatively easy and can provide hours of entertainment and warmth. If you do not have the space and land to have a bonfire, why not use a garden firepit?

If you would prefer to remain indoors, you could always try your hand at creating a faux bonfire. You can do this using cardboard tubes for logs, fairy lights, and coloured paper to emulate flames. You could even use real rocks and sticks. This is a great project to get the kids involved in as well.

Light Some Sparklers

Getting the sparklers out is a cheap and fun thing to do on bonfire night. They also make for great photos.

Just make sure that you wear gloves whilst handling sparklers, dispose of them responsibly, supervise children with sparklers, and do not give them to children under the age of five.

Wrap Up Warm

Layer up in hats, scarves, gloves, and long sleeves to help prevent you from feeling the chill and getting distracted from your celebrations.

Indulge In Treats

Toasted marshmallows, s’mores, and toffee apples are a really popular treat on bonfire night, which can be easily made at home.

You could also get creative with making some firework-inspired treats using colourful icing, edible glitter, and sprinkles.

Have A Hot Drink

There is no denying that November is cold. It might be a good idea to warm up with a delicious hot drink, especially if you are going to be outside.

From hot chocolates with whipped cream and marshmallows, to a hot toddy or mulled wine for the adults, no bonfire night is complete without a hot drink.

Get Creative

Doing something crafty is bound to lift your spirits and craft activities can be great for kids. You could paint bonfires or fireworks, make a rocket, or even create a Guy Falkes scarecrow.

Learn The History

Do you know the reason why we celebrate bonfire night? If not, you might want to read up on the infamous Gunpowder Plot which led to the annual celebration of bonfire night.

Tidy Up

If you do not feel like celebrating, you could use the time to thoroughly tidy and clean your home, in preparation for the festive season which is rapidly approaching us.

If you are short on time, or would simply prefer to leave it to the professionals, you may want to consider hiring a cleaner to take care of your cleaning and ironing for you.

Time For You specialises in providing properly screened and vetted domestic cleaners to private households to provide you, our client, with more time for you.

Click here and simply enter your postcode to find a cleaner near you and let us take care of the cleaning, so you do not have to.

Christmas Traditions from around the world

                                      

Whilst a lot of us have our own personal Christmas Traditions, others are celebrated nationwide. From drinking mulled wine, to having advent calendars and more, Christmas traditions are a great way to celebrate the festive season. However, have you thought of how other countries celebrate across the globe? Here, we discuss Christmas Traditions from around the world.

Sweden

Since 1966, a 13 metre tall Yule Goat was built in the Castle Square in Galve’s centre to mark the beginning of Advent. The Yule goat is a Swedish Christmas symbol that dates back to ancient pagan festivals. However, it was not until the 1960s when someone decided to make a giant straw goat. The goat is a staggering 42 feet high, more than 20 feet wide and weighs over 3 and a half tonnes. Each year the goat is constructed in the same spot and people can see the build take place through a livestream on the first Sunday of Advent. Unfortunately, a second unofficial “tradition” has stemmed from the original one. Since its inception, the Yule Goat has been burned down 29 times.

Philippines

The giant Lantern Festival (known as Ligligan Parul Sampernandu) is held the Saturday before Christmas in San Fernando. It is classed as the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines”. 11 villages take part in the festival which leads to fierce competition as everyone tries to build the most elaborate lantern. They are around six metres in size and are meant to be a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem.

Japan

Christmas is not widely celebrated in Japan and is not a national holiday, however, some of the citizens have found a delicious way to celebrate. By eating KFC! Over the past few years, people have had a Kentucky Fried Chicken Christmas Day feast. The tradition began in 1974 after an extremely successful KFC marketing campaign called “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakki” or “Kentucky for Christmas”. Now, on Christmas Day families head out together to enjoy some KFC with some ordering their boxes months in advance to make sure they don’t miss out.

Austria

Whilst some Christmas traditions are cosy and cute, others are just frightening. In Austria, a beast-like demon creature roams the streets, punishing bad children. This beast, known as Krampus, is St Nicholas’ evil companion. Whilst St Nicholas rewards the nicest children, Kampus’ job is said to capture the naughtiest children and take them away in his sack. You can imagine how the thought of Krampus will scare the children and make them behave in the build-up to Christmas.

Iceland

Next on our list of Christmas Traditions from around the world is Iceland. In the 13 days leading up to Christmas, 13 trolls called the Yule Lads visit children across the country each night during Yuletide. Different Yule Lads visit leaving gifts for nice boys and girls and rotting potatoes for the naughty kids.

The citizens of Iceland also take part in Jolabokflod translated as “Christmas Book Flood”. On Christmas Eve, people gift each other a book and spend the evening cosying up and reading their new gift. This tradition dates back to World War II. Paper was one of the only commodities that was not rationed at the time. Iceland is a nation of book lovers and in late September, a free catalogue of the newest books called the Bokatidindi is sent to each home and then people hit the bookshops.

Norway

In Norway on Christmas Eve, people hide their brooms. Dating back centuries when people believed that witches and evil spirits came out on Christmas Eve looking for brooms to ride. Many people still hide their brooms in the safest places in their house to stop them from being stolen.

Julebord, which is Norwegian for the Christmas season, begins on December 3rd and people flock to local restaurants and bars throughout the month. Families also celebrate a mini Christmas on 23rd December where they spend the day decorating the tree, making a gingerbread house and eating risengrynsgrot (hot rice pudding).

United States

Many US citizens take Christmas very seriously and get involved in many traditions in the build-up to Christmas. Sending holiday cards is one of these traditions. This involves creating a greeting card often with a family portrait on the front with all members of the family wearing matching Christmas jumpers or wearing outfits that complement each other. The photos are proudly displayed on the card and then sent to everyone in their address book.

Whilst this tradition is originally said to have come from Germany, many American households have adopted the tradition of hanging the Christmas pickle. A Christmas tree ornament in the shape of a pickle is hung discreetly on the tree. This usually becomes a game where children in the household have to try and find the pickle. The first one to spot it usually gets an extra present or gets to be the first one to open a gift on Christmas Day.

Venezuela

One of the stranger Christmas Traditions from around the world comes from Venezuela. Every Christmas Eve, the residents of the cities head to church in the morning, but on roller skates. This bizarre tradition is now so popular, some roads across the city are closed for cars between 16th and 24 December so that the skaters can travel to the church safely.

Poland

On Christmas Eve, many families share an unleavened religious wafer (also known as oplatek). Each person breaks off a piece as they wish each other Merry Christmas. Dinner is not allowed to start until the first star appears in the night sky. It is also another Polish tradition that an additional setting is placed at the table just in case someone uninvited arrives.

Switzerland

Many Swiss families make their own advent calendars. Parents often create calendars for their children or use it as a fun activity to do together. Each day’s bag reveals a new treat, with the biggest gift on Christmas Eve.

Whilst some of the Christmas Traditions from around the world seem cosy or fun, others are simply bizarre. There are so many great ways to celebrate. Are there traditions from another country that you are tempted to take part in?

Quick Ways to Tidy your Home

Love having a spotless house but hate tidying up and cleaning? It would be great if we could wave a magic wand or click our fingers and it all be done, but unfortunately, that is not possible. However, you do not have to spend hours a day labouring away to have a clean and tidy home. Here are some quick ways to tidy your home.

Assign Everything A Home

Ensure that everything you own has a place in your home. Knowing everything has a set place and knowing where that is will make it easier and quicker to tidy everything away. Anything new that comes into your home must also have a place.

Sort Your Belongings

Take time to go through everything you have and determine whether you should keep it, donate it, or get rid of it. This will help with decluttering. The less you have, the less there will be to tidy away so the quicker you will get it done.

Clear Away Clutter

Before cleaning, you should go through the house and clear away any clutter and remove any potential obstructions.

Keep Supplies Together

One way to speed things up is to store all of your cleaning solutions, tools, and equipment together. Gather them all together in a portable storage container such as a caddy or basket to easily carry things around your home.

Make A Plan

Plan out what you are going to do before you do it. Making a to-do list and working your way through it can be satisfying, help you to stay focussed, and ensure you do not forget to do anything.


Small Steps


Try not to do too much at once. Checking off one thing on the list is better than not doing anything at all.


Set A Timer


If you only have a limited amount of time, determine what tasks are most important and set a timer then work through tasks in order of priority without any distractions. You could set different timers for different tasks or rooms.


Do One Thing Everywhere


Instead of focusing on one room at a time, do one task, such as dusting and polishing or cleaning the floors, in every room throughout the house. It is easier to get stuck into one task and do that in every room than to do the whole cleaning process in one room to then do it in another room not long after. It will make it go much quicker as you get into the rhythm of it and you will not need to change tools and cleaning solutions several times.


Get Others Involved


Make tidying a team effort. If you can get other people involved it will make things go a lot quicker, plus it can make it more fun. You could delegate by room or by task, so one person could do all of the dusting and polishing, or all of the hoovering and mopping, for example.


Listen To Music

Having music on in the background can also help to make tidying up more enjoyable and to help take your mind off the task at hand.


Hire A Professional

If you are short on time, or would simply prefer to leave it to the professionals, you may want to consider hiring a cleaner to take care of your cleaning and ironing for you.

Time For You specialises in providing properly screened and vetted domestic cleaners to private households to provide you, our client, with more time for you.
Click here and simply enter your postcode to find a cleaner near you and let us take care of the cleaning, so you do not have to.

 

Top tips for Ironing

Ironing may seem relatively straightforward but there are many commonly-made mistakes when it comes to ironing. Here are our top 10 ironing tips and hacks to ensure you iron correctly, quickly, and efficiently.

Boil Water for The Iron

Boiling water before you put it in the iron will help to stop it from getting blocked up over time, especially if you live in a hard-water area. A blocked iron is less efficient and more likely to cause stains so it is important to try and prevent this from happening.

Iron in Heat Order

Start by ironing the items that need the coolest temperature first, then move on to the items that need higher temperatures as your iron heats up. This will save you time as you are not wasting time just waiting for it to get hot or adjusting the temperature.

Protect Your Items

When ironing delicate clothing, such as silk garments, or items with printed graphics on, lay a protective piece of material over the top of the items before ironing to avoid damaging them with the heat from the iron.


Iron In The Bedroom

Many people iron in the kitchen or utility where the washing machine and dryer are, but if you iron upstairs where the clothes are stored so that you can put them away as soon as they are ironed to decrease the chances of them getting creased or dirty.

Set Up the Board Correctly

Make sure your ironing board is set up correctly and that it is secure and straight. Ensure that it is standing even and flat. Your cover should be clean and tight on the cover so it is not bumpy and does not create creases or transfer dirt onto your clothes.

Use Vinegar to Remove Marks

If you cause scorch marks when ironing, dip a clean cloth into white vinegar and wipe it across the stain. Go back in the white vinegar with a clean part of the cloth and repeat until the mark is removed, then wipe over where it was with clean, cold water.

Use The Right Technique

When ironing, you should not wiggle it around too much as this can stretch the fabric and cause creases which can be hard to iron out. Instead try to iron in long, straight strokes to prevent this from happening.

Spritz With Water

Before ironing, spritz the fabric with water to help remove stubborn wrinkles. Some irons have a spritz option - if yours does, then use that. If not, simply fill a spray bottle with water and use that. Once damp, iron as normal.

Clean Your Iron

Make sure you check the base plate before ironing to ensure that it is clean. Regularly cleaning your iron will help to ensure that it does not mark or stick to your clothes or snag the material. Use a cleaning solution or equal amounts of white vinegar and water to clean the base plate.

Hire A Professional

If you are short on time, or would simply prefer to leave it to the professionals, you may want to consider hiring a cleaner to take care of your cleaning and ironing for you.

Time For You specialises in providing properly screened and vetted domestic cleaners to private households to provide you, our client, with more time for you.

Click here and simply enter your postcode to find a cleaner near you and let us take care of the cleaning, so you do not have to

Tips to Decorate a Small Living Room

It can be difficult to decorate small spaces without making them look cluttered. Luckily, there are several ways to make your room appear and feel bigger than it is.

Just because your living room is small does not mean you have to compromise on style. Read on for tips to help you achieve a room that utilises space and is both cosy and contemporary.

Use Chairs with Legs


Having sofas and armchairs with legs elevates them from the floor, allowing the floor to be visible, thus making the room appear bigger.

Avoid Floor Lamps

You should avoid floor lamps to help save floor space and open up the room. Install wall or ceiling fitted lights, or use table lamps, instead.

Utilise Mirrors

It may be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but that means it has been tried and tested and is one of the best ways of creating the illusion of space.

Introducing mirrors to a small space can really help to open it up. As well as making a room appear much bigger, mirrors also reflect light, making the room brighter.

Use Neutral Colours

Opting for light, airy, and neutral colours in a small space will help to open and lift a room, whilst ensuring it remains fresh, cosy, and inviting.

Create A Feature Wall

If you are more of a maximalist, try putting bold wallpaper or a warm, dark colour on one wall or create a gallery wall on the wall where the sofa is.

This can help to create a focal point in the room and adds eccentricity without taking up space.

Let Light In

Embrace natural light and make the most of it by simplifying window furnishings. Instead of bulky curtains, try shutters or blinds to let as much natural light in as possible.

Paint The Skirting Boards

Paint the skirting boards in the same colour as the walls to give the appearance of elongated walls and a taller, bigger room.

Wall-Mount The TV

Secure your TV to the wall to free up space in small rooms. Utilize otherwise practically useless wall space by mounting your TV above the fireplace if you have one.

Avoid Clutter

Decluttering can make a room feel wider and create the illusion of more space. Keep your room tidy and organised with smart storage solutions.

Implement tall furniture and wall-mounted storage systems to maximize storage capacity without taking up a lot of floor space.

Hire A Cleaner

Keeping small rooms clean and tidy is a key factor in making a room appear and feel bigger, and ensuring they always look their best.

If you are short on time, or would simply prefer to leave it to the professionals, you may want to consider hiring a cleaner to take care of your cleaning for you.

Time For You specialises in providing properly screened and vetted domestic cleaners to private households to provide you, our client, with more time for you.

Click here and simply enter your postcode to find a cleaner near you and let us take care of the cleaning, so you do not have to.

Top Tips to clean your car like a professional at home

There are two types of people out there. Those who enjoy cleaning their car, and those who enjoy finding ways to avoid cleaning theirs. If you fall into the latter category, then this blog might just be for you. We’re going to divulge some of the best tips and techniques to turn your car from unloved and unkempt, to spotless and sparkling. Here are some top tips to clean your car like a professional at home.

Step one: consider the weather


So you’re ready to clean your car, and for that we applaud you. However, before you dive into the job, it’s important to consider the weather. As we know, the UK climate is far from predictable, and if conditions aren’t quite right then you might make the job harder than it needs to be. High temperatures and strong sunshine might feel like the best time to wash your car but the heat can actually cause shampoo residue and wash to dry on your car. This residue can leave behind streaks, spots, and marks that undo your hard work. Rain is less of a problem. Besides looking a bit eccentric, the only issue with rain is that you won’t be able to give your car a final wipe down with a microfibre cloth. Ideally, you’ll want to pick a mid-temperature, overcast day. Alternatively, move your car into the garage or undercover and clean it there instead.

Step two: prepare your tools


To save yourself time, you must have all your necessary tools gathered in one place. You’ll need the following:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Bin bags or carrier bags
  • Hose/pressure washer
  • Sponge
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Car wash soap or specialist wax
  • Bonus tip: be sure to remove all jewellery to avoid scratches on your paintwork

Step three: begin with the interior

Once you’re all prepped and ready to go, you’ll want to start your journey to showroom cleanliness with the interior of your car. First, remove any car mats and give them a clean, use the hoover on carpet mats, or hose down and leave rubber mats to dry. Take a look through your car and remove any rubbish. Next, use your hoover and necessary attachments to dislodge grit and dirt, and suck up any dust. Dashboards can be easily cleaned with a cloth, warm water, and mild soap. Finally, pick out a good air freshener and once they’ve dried, replace your mats.

Step four: begin at the top


Once you’ve tackled the interior of your car, it’s time to take on the outward-facing elements. These parts will naturally pick up the most dirt and debris and so it can be quite a daunting task. However, by beginning at the top of your car and working down, gravity will assist in pulling grime downwards.

Now take your hose, or pressure washer and begin blasting away. This pressured approach will do the bulk of the work and help dislodge most dust, dirt, and grime. Next, you’ll need to use your shampoo or wax. Once again begin at the top of the car and work your way down, applying your chosen product. This avoids dirty water from dripping onto places you’ve already begun cleaning.

Step five: Rinse and wipe


If you want to avoid streaks and spots, then it’s important to rinse off shampoo and wipe your car down afterward. Leaving it to dry naturally will result in a messy finish. Use your sponge, or hose, and then give it a circular buffing wipe with a microfibre cloth.

Step six: finishing touches


You’ve done the bulk of the work now, but the real pros know that the devil is in the detail. Wheels can play a huge part in the overall look of your car, and you should neglect them at your peril. Use a separate damp cloth, brush, or sponge and clean both inside the wheel’s barrel and the wheel’s face. Finally, use a specialist polish or wax to give your car a lasting shine and cut down the number of future cleans you’ll have to endure!