News & Articles

Your Spring Clean Planner

It's that time of year again when we give our homes an annual deep clean.  Use our handy planner to help you keep track of your cleaning to-dos.


You can download it in PDF format to print, here.

Spring Clean Planner.pdf






Freshen Up Your Home With a Fragrant Simmer

Don’t you just love it when your home smells fresh and fragrant? There’s nothing better than walking in the door to the smell of baking bread or fresh flowers. Off the shelf air fresheners and home odorisers offer an easy solution, but do you ever worry about the chemicals they may contain?

There are plenty of natural alternatives, such as home made diffusers using essential oils or potpourri, but did you know you can make your own beautiful fragrancers using nothing but ingredients from your kitchen and garden and a humble saucepan?

Fragrant simmers are so quick and easy to make and leave your home smelling fresh for hours or even days. Recipes can be tailored to the season too, you could try ingredients like lemon and rosemary in the spring or orange and cloves during the festive season. Best of all you, can have some real fun with them and make up your own recipes using any spices, fruits, herbs, flowers or plants you have handy.



Here’s how to make them

Simply combine a few ingredients in a saucepan, in this case, we are using one orange (halved), a handful of cloves, a vanilla pod and water. Then just bring the pan to the boil, turn down to a simmer and leave for an hour or so, it’s that simple. Just be careful not to let all the water evaporate, as your ingredients will burn and leave a nasty smell, not the pleasant one you are looking for.



There are loads of different ingredients you could try, here’re just a few:

  • lemons
  • oranges
  • grapefruits
  • apples
  • cranberries
  • cinnamon sticks
  • whole cloves
  • fresh herbs
  • pine needles
  • bay leaves
  • flowers
  • ginger
  • nutmeg
  • rose water
  • almond extract
  • vanilla extract
  • essential oils

Happy simmering!


Written by Mike Pye

How to encourage teenagers to keep their rooms tidy

In today’s society teenagers have lots going on. Whether studying at school, completing home work, attending after school clubs and activities, visiting friends or socialising they often feel like they have a lot on their plate. Couple the stress of school with teenage angst and anxieties and it’s easy to understand why teenagers tend to get in a ‘strop’ when asked to clean their bedrooms – something that earlier on in their life was always done for them.

However, as parents we know that keeping a tidy room is much more than just a ‘pointless chore’ and that having a tidy and well organised space to spend your time in can help to bring some balance to daily routine rather than further the chaos. Our children aren’t as likely to see it that way though, so here are some tactics that you can use to encourage them to keep their room tidy.

Practice what you preach
If you aren’t setting a good example yourself then your argument is bound to fall down with an argumentative teenager ready to pick holes. Maintaining a positive and orderly approach to your home will have a positive impact elsewhere and when your teenager strolls up to their messy bedroom through a meticulously tidy and well-kept house they will know that they have some work to do!

Respect their property

Even though you probably paid for everything in their room, teenagers can be fiercely protective over their property.  Tearing down posters, packing away personal belongings in unfamiliar places and generally intruding can really get their backs up and won’t help solve the problem. Instead try picking out some shelving or a wardrobe that they like, involving them in the process and agreeing at the time where certain items will live. This will mean when you do help clean their room for them they’ll know where everything is.

Lay ground rules

Your teenager should know exactly what is expected of them. Rules like bringing plates down after they have eaten need to be followed, otherwise they will be banned from eating in their bedrooms. Dirty washing needs to be put in the laundry basket or it won’t be cleaned.  Offering money to encourage your teenager to clean their room can work but be careful not to overdo it.

A problem shared...
If your teenagers share a bedroom then you should make it clear to them that they are both responsible for any mess that you find. They will most likely shift the blame to each other so holding them both to account will encourage them to work together and even split chores between themselves, especially if you threaten to take away both of their pocket money.

Do you have any special tactics to encourage your teenager to maintain their bedroom? Tweet us at @TimeForYouGroup and let us know.

Recycling etiquette – how to recycle properly

Recycling is something that we struggle to get our heads around in the UK. In fact recent reports by the BBC claimed that as much as 338,000 tonnes of household waste is rejected annually from recycling facilities.

However, in an effort to clear up the confusion over recycling at home, recycling charity WRAP has begun working towards a set of nationally agreed guidelines which clear up any confusion over recycling, offering key advice over what exactly can and can’t be recycled. Here are some key takeaways which might help you to be a better recycler.

How to present your recycling

One of the biggest takeaway’s from WRAP’s guidelines is the importance of presenting your recycling in the right way. For example, did you know that most pizza boxes can usually be recycled but are commonly rejected? The reason for this is that pizza grease binds to the fibres of the box and makes it too difficult to recycle, so it then ends up being rejected when it reaches the recycling centre. Recycling charities are encouraging homeowners to be more mindful of not only what they recycle but also how they recycle in the hope that more household waste ends up being recycled rather than discarded in landfill sites.  

To get started with recycling you will need to sort your waste according to type and keep it separated. So glass, plastics and metals should all be divided up, while paper and cardboard can normally be kept together. Crush and fold any large boxes, or cut them up to create extra room. Some examples of specific things to avoid include electronics, garden waste, multi-material products like Pringles tubes, foil-card, padded-card, mirrors, plates of glass, paint tins, wires and cables, meat, carpet and cushions.

Wash and squash
A great way to ensure that your recycling is free of contamination is to wash and squash wherever possible. This means scraping out food, pouring away any leftover liquids, rinsing containers with washing up liquid and generally making sure they are relatively clean. Next you should crush metal cans such as beer and food cans and squeeze plastic bottles to flatten them and expel as much air as you can.

The importance of removing labels, caps and lids from bottles and jars really depends on the type of container. With plastic bottles it is very important to throw away plastic caps from bottles in your general waste wherever you can. The reason for this is that the plastic used in caps differs from that of bottles and has a different melting point so can’t be recycled together. However, with glass bottles and jars it’s less important as they are generally crushed and re-washed.

The amount of detail that you put into your recycling efforts will depend on how strict your local council is with their rules. You may have bins, bags or boxes to separate your recycling into and this may influence how you prepare your recycling for removal. Click here to read the full guidelines from WRAP which provide clear and easy to understand guidelines over how to recycle your household waste.

Five Tips to Help You Be More Productive at Work

With workloads becoming more challenging and the working day growing increasingly longer, it’s vitally important to be more productive to help you keep a healthy work-life balance. Whether you work from home or from the office, there are always plenty of distractions which take your eye off the ball. Here’re five simple techniques to help you achieve more in your working day.

Optimise your time

I have two important questions for you. 

1. Do you know how long all your daily tasks take?
2. Do you know which are your most important tasks that you should give more time to? 

If you know the answers to these questions, then managing your day should be easy. If you don’t then you’ve got a problem, but here’s how to solve it.

Record how long each of your daily tasks takes you. You could do this the old-fashioned way or use a tool like Toggl (which is simple and easy to use). Find out how long your tasks are taking you and decide how important each task is to your daily goals. Then, assign yourself a time limit for each task, based on their importance. By doing this you can ensure you are not wasting too much time on tasks with low importance, which in turn, will help you create more time for those important tasks that require more time and energy.

Don’t let others ‘steal’ your time

Be strict with the time you’re willing to give up for meetings. Some meetings are important and vital to the successful execution of your projects or tasks, however, many companies suffer from meeting overload! You may get sucked into attending a meeting where you are a bystander for much of the agenda, or you may not be needed at all. 

Before agreeing to attend every meeting you get invited to, ask yourself if it will help you achieve your objectives. If it doesn’t, see if there is another way you can contribute, perhaps by submitting information in advance or attending in a less time-consuming way, perhaps by phone or virtual meeting software.

Take regular breaks

None of us can focus with 100% concentration all day. In fact, attempting to do so is counterproductive. Take short breaks of around five minutes in between heavy going tasks to allow your brain to recover and refocus. Do something light, that you ‘want’ to do, to give your brain the reward it deserves. Regularly rewarding yourself in this way will help you focus more during ‘work’ time.

It’s also important to use break times to get away from your desk for a while. Get some exercise by taking a walk around the office, or even better, get outside for a short walk. This will not only help improve your health but help you to clear your head and refocus.

Don’t be distracted by notifications

One of the biggest causes of lost productivity is the technology designed to help us be more productive! Phones, tablets and computers, with their continuous alerts and notifications can be very distracting. Yes, they can be a help, when we are waiting for an important email or message, but notifications can cause us to quickly lose our focus, resulting in tasks taking much longer than they should. Turn your phone notifications off, shut down your email and devote your time to the completion of your tasks. When you’re finished, you can turn them back on again and address them when you have the time to do so.

Experiment with productivity techniques

There are many productivity techniques out there that can really help you improve your efficiency, and we’ve written about quite a few of them here on the Time for You blog. Research a few of them and start to experiment to find out which best suits your working style. Some are incredibly simple, while others are a little more complicated. You may find that you like elements of a few different techniques and create your own strategy. 

For me, a combination of techniques helps me tackle different tasks and workloads. The Pomodoro technique helps me focus on big tasks that require a lot of brain power, whilst ‘to-do’ list techniques, such as the Eisenhower matrix, helps me to structure my working day or week more efficiently.

You can read more about some very effective productivity techniques in the following articles.

Written by Mike Pye



Five Tips To Help Preserve Wood Furniture

Most of us own wood furniture in some shape or form.  Whether antique or brand new, it's important to understand how to look after it properly to keep it looking at its best.  Read our latest infographic for five simple tips to help you preserve your wood furniture.

You can also download it to print here.


Written by Mike Pye


How to Remove All Trace of Pets From Your Home

Pets bring much happiness and for many of us, they become part of the family, treated like royalty and allowed to roam across all parts of our homes. The only downside, however, is that they also leave evidence of their presence, which isn’t always as desirable, such as fur, smells or unfortunate accidents. There are plenty of solutions, however, to help you keep your home looking and smelling animal free, so you can enjoy their companionship in comfort. Here’re our top tips to help you remove all trace of pets from your home.

Keep your home free from fur

The typical solution to removing pet fur from upholstery is the lint roller, which uses static to lift the fur from the fabric. There are some simple household items that can be equally as effective, however. Rubber gloves also work very well. Simply dip your gloved hands in water then wipe across upholstery and you’ll notice the fur collecting on the glove.
A handheld vacuum, particularly a brand with high suction qualities like the Dyson V6 is also brilliant for sucking up fur that’s become stuck in nooks and crannies.

Carpet fibres make the perfect collection point for all sorts of dirt, dust, grime and animal fur. Rubber brooms create friction and are incredibly effective at loosening and removing fur from carpet fibres. They require some brute force and elbow grease but the hard work is worth it.

Another classic household item also comes into its own when it comes to cleaning carpets. Humble baking powder helps to loosen the hairs from fibres when sprinkled over the carpet, making it much easier to vacuum up. It also helps to soak up and neutralise odours. You can boost vacuuming power too by using a special pet hair attachment.

Hardwood or laminate floors
Pet fur shows up easily on hard flooring, but removing it is much easier. Micro fibre mops, glide around your flooring, capturing hair using static electricity. Be sure to sweep every corner of your room and along skirting boards, as any drafts or activity in the home can result in fur blowing around and collecting in hidden areas.
You may notice hair collecting in the joints of your hardwood. To avoid this, re-seal your flooring regularly to keep those gaps to a minimum. It’s a bit of a headache to do but will save you so much time in the long run.



Pet hair on clothing is off-putting and it can also be uncomfortable, causing itching and reactions. Lint rollers are again, very effective at removing obvious cases but sellotape or parcel tape are also very effective.
Add a dryer sheet to your tumble dryer to help remove hair clinging to your clothes because of static. Also, make sure that your dryer isn’t too full, to allow fur to collect in the lint trap.

How to deal with unfortunate toilet accidents

Sometimes our pets have a little accident in the house, particularly when they are very young. That can’t be helped and needn’t be a disaster. Accidents on hard flooring are easily dealt with by cleaning up with kitchen paper and washing with your usual antibacterial floor cleaner.

Carpets, however, are more problematic, but here’s how to tackle them:

• Deal with stains immediately, if you leave them to dry, they may be there indefinitely as the stain will permeate the individual fibres.
• If the accident is solid, scrape up as much as you can with an old knife or plastic spatula.
• Check the cleaning guide of your carpet or upholstery to make sure any cleaning solutions you use won’t cause damage to the upholstery. Then, spot test a hidden area to make doubly sure.
• Start by applying a solution of warm water and washing up liquid, Blot the stain, don’t rub it, as this can result in weakened or damaged fabric.
• Use a moist sponge to rinse the area and leave to dry. If the stain is still there repeat the process and then move on to stronger solutions, replacing the washing up liquid with white vinegar or a clear alcohol such as vodka.
• If after this approach, the stain is still apparent you may need to reach for an upholstery stain cleaner. There will be many brands available in your local supermarket or DIY shop (but always check that they are suitable for your upholstery).

How to get rid of bad smells

Bad odours are usually the biggest bugbear of pet owners. There are some simple tips, however, to help you get rid of bad smells:

• Wash soft furnishings in the washing machine, in line with the washing instructions.
• If your furnishings cannot be washed, baking soda is a great alternative. Sprinkle all over, leave over night to let it absorb the smells, then vacuum in the morning.
• Wash floors and carpets regularly with antibacterial cleaning solutions.
• Keep an odorizer or scented candle in any area your animal regularly frequents, to keep the air smelling fresh.

By following the simple tips in this article your guests will hardly realise you own a pet at all!


Written by Mike Pye


Productivity Tips: "Must, Should, Want"

If you’re anything like me, searching for ways to be more productive, is one of the biggest reasons why you’re not very productive. I spend more time reading about productivity, and trying out different techniques than I do being productive!

Ok, so maybe I’m not the best person to be preaching about productivity techniques then, but this one’s a real winner! It’s the simplest technique I’ve ever found and... it works. It’s a technique developed by Jay Shirley, the creator of a productivity app called The Daily Practice, so he knows his stuff. 

It’s called ‘Must, Should, Want’ and this is how it works

First thing in the morning, before you start your daily tasks, start by creating a to-do list, just as you normally would.

However, start the list with THREE new entries for the day.

1. I must                      (this is a high priority task that will have an immediate impact on your working day/week.)

2. I should                    (this is a task that will contribute to your long-term goals.)

3. I want                      (this is something that you WANT to do and something you enjoy.)

Including these three entries to your daily to-do list will help you always achieve something important, plus chip away at your long-term goals. Completing an ‘I want’ task helps you keep your sanity too! You should always make time for enjoyment. 

By adopting this technique, you should be super productive in the short term, be on your way to achieving your long-term goals and above all be happy too (helping you to be even more productive).

There it is, it’s that simple. Try it out tomorrow.

For more productivity techniques, read our latest blogs:



Written by Mike Pye

How to Bring Life Back Into Your Carpets

On average, households tend to replace their carpets every seven years, but carpeting your home is an expensive job and causes massive upheaval. You can avoid, or at least put off, the expense of buying a new carpet by simply giving your existing one some TLC (tender loving care). You may be looking to move house in the new year and want to get it looking clean and smart, or you may wish to bring life back into your carpet to make it look new again. Follow the simple steps in this guide to bring life back into your tired carpets.

Stop it getting dirty in the first place

Bringing dirt into your home from outside on your shoes is a sure-fire way to a tired-out carpet. The dirt not only discolours your carpet, the grit and dirt particles damage the fibres, wearing it out. As a result, areas of high footfall always seem duller and flatter than areas that see little footfall, or none at all. There is no way to get damaged areas back to their original best so start off with good habits and leave your shoes at the door. Prevention is much more effective than a cure.

Vacuum as regularly as possible

Vacuum as regularly as you can. That may mean vacuuming high footfall areas three to five times per week! But keeping on top of dirt, dust and crumbs will mean your carpet will stay looking its best for longer. Make sure your vacuum is up to the job too. Brushes should be tight and rollers should be free of lint, fibres and hair (it’s common for rollers to get clogged up which reduces the effectiveness of the vacuum). If you have a dust mite allergy, regular vacuuming is also incredibly important. Use a high filtration vacuum cleaner and treat with dust mite killing cleaning solutions.

Tackle stains as soon as they occur

Make sure you deal with stains immediately when they happen. If you leave them to dry, they may be there indefinitely as the stain will permeate the individual fibres. Make sure you read the carpet warranty to identify the right cleaning solutions for your carpet type. The last thing you want to do is damage your carpet further by using harmful cleaning products. If you don’t know how to find this information, contact the manufacturer or your local carpet retailer who should be able to help. The advice in our recent article on how to remove stains from upholstery is equally applicable to carpets. In this article, you can find how to tackle stains when they occur and how to deal with stubborn, dried on stains. If you want to avoid using chemical-based cleaning solutions, white vinegar and water is a tried and tested natural stain removing solution.

Intensively clean your carpet

Carpets require an intensive clean, every 18 months. You can opt to employ a professional carpet cleaning company or hire a carpet shampooing machine. If you opt for the latter ‘do it yourself’ option, here’s how to use one.

• Fill your shampooer with water and shampoo according to the directions on your particular machine.
• Beginning in the farthest inside corner, shampoo the carpet in straight, even lines. Work toward the door so that you do not have to step on the damp carpet to get out of the room.
• Allow the carpet to dry completely.

Carpets do not last forever, and you will need to replace them at some point. But by maintaining your carpet through a regular cleaning regime, it will look new for much longer!

Top Tip! Get yourself a carpet rake

A carpet rake is a simple handy tool to bring some body back into your carpet.  It's particularly good for tackling areas that have become flat and worn by regular footfall. The rake has dozens of fine combs to lift each carpet fibre.  They can be bought online or in most high street DIY or homeware stores.


Written by Mike Pye

Home Health Help: Dust Mite Destruction

Allergies in the home are on the rise and one of the biggest culprits is the humble dust mite. Dust mites live in the mattress of your bed, in carpets, soft furnishings and even your clothes, feeding off dead skin cells. These tiny creatures are only the size of the head of a pin but they can cause terrible problems for those prone to allergies. It’s not the mites themselves that irritate our skin and lungs, it’s their poo! Disgusting. That’s why it’s vital to keep your home spotlessly clean.

In this article, you can find easy solutions to avoid a dust mite disaster.

What are the symptoms of a dust mite allergy?

Dust mite allergy can cause a range of conditions including asthma, eczema and perennial rhinitis. These conditions cause misery in sufferers and can result in them feeling very poorly indeed. Symptoms of dust mite allergy include:

• Sneezing
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Red, itchy or teary eyes
• Wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest and shortness of breath
• Itching

How to get rid of dust mite allergens

1. Fear of a dust mite infestation may make you want to dump your mattress as soon as possible and replace with a brand new one. There’s no need to do this if you clean it regularly. Protect your mattress further by investing in a machine washable dust mite cover. They also help protect against bacteria and other allergens.

2. Use dust mite allergy covers on duvets and pillows too, these helps prevent allergens coming into contact with the skin or being inhaled.

3. Remove carpets. This may be quite an extreme solution but if dust mite allergies really cause you problems, this is one of the best solutions. Carpets are the ideal breeding ground for dust mites so replace them with wood or laminate flooring and vacuum regularly.

4. If carpets cannot be removed, vacuum regularly with a high filtration vacuum cleaner and treat with dust mite killing cleaning solutions.

5. Wash curtains regularly. To find out how, read our latest blog, Why You Should Clean Your Curtains Every Three Months.

6. Dust mites thrive in warm and humid environments so ventilate your house well. If your house experiences humidity or even worse, damp, use a dehumidifier to keep the humidity below 50%.

7. To remove dust mites from your mattress, pour bicarbonate of soda into a sieve and sprinkle all over. Add a few drops of essential oil to leave your mattress smelling fresh and help remove any unpleasant smells. Leave the bicarbonate of soda for at least an hour and then slowly vacuum up to remove as much dust as possible. Repeat this process at least once a month to eliminate dust mites and bacteria.

8. Wash your sheets at least once a week on the hottest wash possible. This will help kill any mites living in them. Cold water, though more economical, won’t kill dust mites, unfortunately. Adding eucalyptus oil to your wash has also been shown to kill 99% of dust mites.

9. Wash stuffed toys frequently and at the same temperature as bedding. Toys that cannot be washed at high temperatures can be put in the freezer. This will kill the dust mites and their remains can then be washed off in cold soapy water.

10. Wash your pillows and duvet regularly, they also contain dust mites and bacteria so the hotter the water the better as this will kill them off.

Follow these simple steps to destroy the dust mite problem in your home. For more information about health in the home, you may find the following articles interesting:


Written by Mike Pye