Gardening tools

Spring Yard Prep: Pruning Plants and Weeding

Spring is here, and I couldn’t be more ready to watch some things grow! In the next couple of weeks, depending on where you live – last frosts will mark the perfect time to plant outdoors. Whether you’ve already got seedlings going that are ready for transplant, or you’re ready to put some new plants in the ground – there’s going to be a bit of prep work. I’m going to talk about pruning plants and how to take care of those pesky weeds. Hopefully, this can help you prep your yard/garden for the year and new plants.

Pruning:

According to the Spruce, early spring – in between the time plants drop old growth and before they grow new ones is the best time to prune. You’ll need some small or large pruning shears, depending on what you’ve got in your yard. Then, you’ll need some gloves and a bag or compost area to put your trimmings. If you‘re unsure if your plant is ready to be pruned, just try to evaluate how it’s doing: Is it bare? Does it have some immature growth? It’s probably okay to prune. Has it already started new blooms? Is it full? It may be best to leave it alone this pruning season.

When pruning trees and shrubs, select areas that look dead or possibly diseased and remove them. It is suggested to cut them at a bit of an angle like a diagonal cut. You can also use this time to shape them a bit, too. When dealing with perennials, you can pinch off flowers and trim areas that aren’t growing. Be sure on both to check the bottom of the plant, not just the blooms or ends.

Get those flowers ready for another year of growth!

Weed Maintenance:

The Farmer’s Almanac is an amazing resource for anything gardening related, and weeds are no exception. There are three kind of steps for weeds: prevention, identification, and maintenance.

Prevention is tedious, but worth it. Try:

  • Weeding new growth and cut them below the soil line
  • Clean tools as they may spread seeds
  • Keep up with mowing
  • Add more mulch

There are plenty of other ideas, these are just a few.

Did you know there are perennial weeds?

Identification of weeds is not something I ever thought of, but it’s an important thing to do, especially when dealing with persistent weeds. There tons of different types of weeds and species within those types. The Farmer’s Almanac identifies 13 common ones and tells you how they act and how to control them.

Maintenance is a bit of trial and error. Some weeds can just be pulled out by hand, while others require a tiller or shovel to get deep into the roots. Many of the things used to prevent weeds can also be used to get rid of them. Trying to prevent seeds from spreading is a big help, too. Weeds love shaded areas. If you can free up more light or seed an area with grass seed it may help. Wood chips can help as well. You can try covering in plant fabrics, as well as landscaping an area that is waterlogged for better water flow and less weeds. You can also use chemicals, but these can harm good growth and may not be the best for your families’ or pets’ health.

More Spring Maintenance!

I hope that this gives you motivation to get out into your yard an get everything in order for the new growing season. May you make way for new growth and love all the blooms of Spring!

Mobile Home Skirting Measurement and Ventilation

There are many components to mobile home skirting. I’d like to stress the importance of skirting in this article. It’s not merely a decorative part of the home, but rather a protector of your home’s pipes/temp control, underbelly, and keeps the area clear of critters. Let’s check out how to get the right amount of skirting for your home.

To measure your mobile home, you’ll need two things:

  1. The linear feet
  2. Skirting height measurements

According to this great mobile home repair site, here’s one of the easiest strategies to measuring your mobile home for skirting:

Measuring the linear feet is easy – you just need to add up all the feet around your home. So, if you have a 52 x 32’ you’ll multiply that by 2 or could add it this way 52 + 32 + 52+ 32.

The skirting height measurements are a little more confusing, but not bad. Here, you’ll be measuring the length from the ground to the corners of your mobile home. Because the ground your home is on may be unlevel, it is recommended to measure the front, back and middle of your home as well. The site I mentioned above, says to add 2 inches to each length. Then you add the 6 sides together and divide them by 6 for the average. This will give you the length for the height of the skirting.

With these measurements I would suggest to get a little extra material. You can always return product, but if you get too little, it can be extra work to return to the store or purchase more online. The product you need could be sold out or you may have to wait for an order to be delivered and you wont be able to complete your project.  

Further, ventilation plays an important role, but it’s often forgotten in the process or deemed optional.

There are plenty of reasons why ventilation is necessary, a skirting company explains them as:

  • Can prevent mold/moisture buildup.
  • Can improve energy efficiency by trapping in hot/cold air.
  • Safely releases potential hazardous gases from plumbing and soil.
  • Lessens odors + promotes healthy airflow and proper use for gas appliances.

According to a mobile home site, vents should be placed at every 150 to 250 feet of flooring. There should be about a foot of venting at every 150 ft section. It’s important to take notice of where you place the vents so that things like pipes; which are the very thing you hope to protect from outside air don’t end up freezing because they are right next to a vent opening.

You can find vents online or at a mobile home parts store locally. They generally range from about 7 – 20 dollars give or take. You can measure your home and decide the number of vents you’d need for the size of your mobile home. You can also add in an access door you choose one you can fit through. There are some that an arm can fit though as well. These are just what they sound like- doors to access underneath the home. You may need to access the underbelly for repairs, to apply heat tape to your pipes, to replace your moisture barrier, etc.

Explore Skirting Options!

I hope that this helps you get the perfect amount of skirting and protect your home well.


The Hidden Benefits of Houseplants

Houseplants probably aren’t the first thing that comes to mind for most when it comes to home maintenance. Surprisingly, these little plants add more than aesthetics to anyone’s decor. So, what are the benefits of having them and how can they aide in home maintenance?

Houseplants have been found to reduce dust and mold in your environment, which means less dusting for you and better air quality! Speaking of air quality, house plants can purify and add moisture to your air.

Your home’s environment and air aren’t the only receivers of the benefits, you are too! Adding plants to your space can boost your mood, relieve stress, and help provide restful sleep. Adding plants to a variety of rooms in your home will expand the benefits you can receive.

If you are a beginner at caring for plants, you may need to do some research to find the right ones for you. It’s a good idea to factor in the time you have to care for a plant. For example, a plant that doesn’t need a lot of watering, like a cactus, would be ideal if you are busy, travel often, or tend to forget about plants. A snake plant would be a good option if your home doesn’t get much natural light.

Some great plants to consider for beginners and are easy to care for are:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Lucky Bamboo
  • Succulents
  • Snake Plant
  • Spider Plant
  • Cacti

Certain plants can provide added benefits compared to others. For example, you can use the aloe plant to help with skin issues and sunburns. Be sure to research which plants work best for what benefit you are looking for!

All in all, incorporating plants into your space can offer more than just decoration by providing health benefits and improving your home’s environment. Who knew bringing a little outside to the inside of your home could provide such an array of benefits!

Keep Going Green!

Sources:

https://www.swansonsnursery.com/blog/health-benefits-of-houseplants

https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/indoor-plants-can-instantly-boost-your-health-happiness-ncna781806

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ss/slideshow-health-benefits-houseplants

How to Clean Your Front or Top Loading Washer

I have never cleaned my washing machine. So, I’ll be learning with you on this one. Since both top loading and front load washers are popular these days, we will look at both. If you’re having an issue with an odor, then this could be a great solution to bust that musty smell and trade it for a fresh one. It’s simple when it comes to cleaning, it just takes a little time and some basic cleaners. Let’s get started!

Front load washers

  • Start with cleaning the gasket

Unique to front loaders, the gasket is that pesky ring that can get moldy before you know it. The rubber ring inside your washer needs to be cleaned once a month. Open the gasket and remove any items that got trapped in its fold to clean. You can also wipe it down with a cloth or sponge to remove more stuck-on things, like hair and dust.

With a safe cleaner of your choice you can wipe out mildew. Some sites recommend bleach, if you use this please proceed with caution. We suggest (with other sites): hot water, a good scrubber, and white vinegar.

  • Next, clean the drum

Put a small amount of baking soda in the drum and turn the washer on a cleaning cycle or a regular one, just ensure the water is hot. Use heavier duty product if this does not remove stains or mildew. Remove the detergent dispenser and soak it in warm water. Then wipe it down with an all-purpose cleaner. Before placing it back in – clean the empty cavity and wipe down the outside of the washer.

That’s it! Remember to use best practices to maintain your washer.

Top load washing machine

Top load washers

  • Start a large, hot water load

As it fills with water, add white vinegar and let it agitate for the normal time. Then let the load soak for an hour or so. You can stop the load usually by pulling the knob. You can open the washer and leave the lid up for cleaning and so the lid can dry.

  • Grab an old toothbrush or small tool

Remove the fabric softener well or any other removable parts and soak them in hot water, as well as wipe them down with an all-purpose cleaner. Go around the top edge of the washer, inside it, and the upper opening of the agitator/barrel with the toothbrush. You can add baking soda for tough stains. Leave the lid the open as the water sits.

  • Close the lid and finish the cycle

You can then clean the top and dials with a rag and baking soda. You can then repeat and do another cycle with baking soda if the first wasn’t enough. Once you are happy with the inside of the washer, wipe the sides of the drum with a dry cloth to remove any leftover debris. You can complete the cleaning by wiping down the front and sides of the washer.

More Tips for Your Mudroom!

That’s it! Be sure to leave lid up after washing loads for a while to reduce mildew and allow the interior to dry.

This is just one idea of many!  There are so many great tutorials to cleaning both types of washers, so if this one doesn’t do the trick, keep browsing, or work with your own safe options and let us know what worked best for you!

My Go-To Way to Clean the Microwave

Cleaning the microwave is one of my least favorite tasks. Everything that splattered is stuck onto the sides of the microwave and is a pain to scrub clean. I needed an easier way, one that didn’t require a ton of elbow grease.

Then I came across this method. It’s super simple and allows for all the dried food to be effortlessly wiped cleaned.

All you need is the following:

  • A microwave safe bowl
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Lemon juice

In the bowl, add one-part vinegar, one-part water and a tablespoon or two of lemon juice. Place the bowl in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes. (I typically use a cup each of vinegar and water, but you can decide what works best for your microwave.) When the timer goes off, carefully remove the bowl as it may be hot and wipe down the microwave with a damp cloth.

If you have a microwave with a rotating glass dish, be careful when removing, as it may also be hot,  and wipe down.

If anything is still remaining, place the bowl back in the microwave for another minute or so.  The steam can help break up the grease and dried on food.

Clean Your Oven, Too!

What used to be an exhausting appliance to clean, now is a quick clean up no matter how long you go in between cleanings.

5 Tips to Help You Clean Your Fridge

November 15th is National Clean Out Your Fridge Day. The thought behind this day is to clear the way for all those incoming leftovers that will fill your fridge after Thanksgiving. However, just as a rule I try to clean my fridge at least once a quarter. It is amazing how we don’t notice the little spills or reside from fruits and veggies (especially if you forgot about them in the drawer) until it gets bad.  If you maintain regularly though, cleaning your fridge can be a less bothersome task. Here are some tips to help make the process efficient and get you through!

Tip 1: Remove all your contents – don’t just work around them

You can do this a few ways. You can take everything out all at once, or shelf by shelf. As you remove the contents, take note to see what is expired and what is still good. I like to create two piles on the floor that way I know what I am tossing and what I am not.

Tip 2: Use an unscented, natural cleaner

To clean the surfaces of your fridge, you’ll want to use something natural and doesn’t have a strong scent. You can use a scentless natural cleaner you buy in a store, make your own, or even just wipe down the inside with some warm water and add a little dish soap for stuck on messes. Having a strong scent can linger in your fridge and cause your food to absorb the smell or using chemicals could be potentially harmful.

Tip 3: Get organized…again

When putting back all the unexpired foods, make sure to reorganize. It is so easy for things to get put back in different places. Having an organized fridge will allow you  find what you need quickly. It will save you time and money.

Tip 4: Don’t just focus on cleaning the inside

It isn’t just the areas where your food sits that gets dirty. It is the door, back of the fridge, top, and under the fridge too. Make sure to wipe down the inside of the door where it seals. Unplug your fridge and gently wipe down the coils with a dry cloth or brush and move the fridge out to clean underneath. You’ll want to make sure your remove all dust so it doesn’t harm the functionality of your fridge. Once done cleaning, remember to plug your fridge back in.

Tip 5: Keep it smelling fresh

Keeping either baking soda or freshly ground coffee in your fridge will help to absorb food odors. You can also crumple a brown paper bag and place it in your produce drawer to help absorb odors.

Freshen Your Fridge/Kitchen!

While cleaning the fridge is no one’s favorite task, hopefully these tips will help to improve your process to keep your fridge clean and smelling great.

How to Naturally Clean Your Oven

Plenty of ovens have a self-cleaning option and if that fits you, it fits you. However, if you’re worried about your oven getting that hot (usually 500 degrees or higher) and have stuck on layers that could cause smoke – you may want to consider cleaning your oven manually. It uses less energy and keeps your home from getting hot.

There are options when it comes to cleaning your oven.

I’ll be walking through a natural option that may involve a little more time, but can be done with items you probably already have at the house. It will give you a similar clean to using a heavy-duty product.

Woman cleaning oven

When to choose to clean your oven is up to how your oven is performing and how often you use it. If there’s something stuck on that smokes each time you use it – it’s time. If you use it most evenings, you might consider cleaning it every month to two months. Like with most things in life, tasks like this can get away from you, but just do it when you think of it. If it gets done sometimes, I think that’s better than never, right?

You can clean your oven with baking soda and vinegar. Here’s a great breakdown from a cooking site on how to do this option well!

You can also clean with lemons, which is what I chose to do. I always have lemons and the smell is unmatched – except maybe for limes.

It’s so easy!

  • Preheat your oven to 250 – 300 degrees (whatever you’re feeling!)
  • Grab an oven-safe container and fill it with boiling water.
  • Cut some lemons and put them in the container. You can use at least two, more if you have extra, but you don’t need to.
  • Place the container into the oven.
  • Leave for at least an hour. Then after turning the oven off, leave the door ajar so the oven can cool.
  • After time has passed and you can carefully test to see that it is warm to the touch but doesn’t burn you – you’re ready to begin. Remove the lemon water container and grab some gloves. Take some cloths you don’t mind to get dirty, or an you can use an old t-shirt and cut it in to rags to wipe down the oven. A strong scrubber will work too!  Wipe the inside of the oven with caution to avoid the bottom heating unit (if you have one). Wait a bit more time to clean underneath the unit.
  • Once you’re done, and the oven has cooled, you can go back to beneath the heating unit. If there are still some tough areas, wet the area and add some baking soda. Then use some elbow grease to scrub out the issue area.

More Kitchen Cleaning Ideas!

Now your oven is ready for your next delicious meal!

We love these affordable, natural options for cleaning. You don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals around your kids or animals – or even yourself! With a little extra time, you have a healthy clean and you can feel fine putting food back into that oven without harm.

Small Closet Organization Checklist

Is your closet out of control? Come on, we’re talking you can barely shut it, you wear the same jeans every day because you can’t find anything else, and you’ve got shoes from middle school. It’s okay – we’re talking from experience – our closets have been messy, too. But a small closet doesn’t have to equal small organization. Need a plan? Let’s get started!

The checklist below is in order – tackle one, then on to the next! Go over this list every season to ensure you’re keeping up with your organization.

  • Try it on! Have a little fashion show and figure out what still fits. You can also plan some outfits during this time and get ideas of what you want to keep.
  • Donate it! If it doesn’t fit or you’re not into it anymore – donate it or give it to a friend or family member.
  • Use ALL space Be sure you are utilizing every bit of space in your closet!
  • Door Start with the back of your door – add a hanging rack or an over the door organizer. You can use both sides of the door if needed. This is a great bit of space that most people forget.
  • Floor Stack shoes and place out of season shoes in the back. You can also put them in a bin somewhere else if you have the extra storage. Add a shoe rack if you’ve got a lot of shoes!
  • Hanging space Do you need to add an extra rod or dowel for storage? Doubling your hanging space is a great way to organize clothes better. Don’t forget accessories – special hangers or closet squares add space!
  • Height Check the height of your closet – are you using it? If not, you may want to consider putting in a shelf. This is a great place for out of season clothes or accessories.
  • Move it out If you’ve done all these things and you’ve still got serious clutter, move it somewhere else. Either fold some clothes and put them in drawers or get a bin that slides under your bed to store bulky items.

We hope this has helped you transform your closet and discover space you didn’t know you had! Go ahead – wear those shoes you forgot you had through the house and reward yourself! We would!

Clean Your Vinyl Siding

Outdoor Lighting for Your Mobile Home

Outdoor lighting is a great way to create some personality around your mobile home by adding convenience and ambiance to your exterior. So, if you are looking for an improvement that can help you out – especially during months with shorter days and less light – this may be the solution to consider. Outdoor lighting may not be at the top of your list when it comes to home improvement, so I’ll take a quick look at reasons why outdoor lighting may be a good idea for your home and some options to consider. Let’s jump in!

Why outdoor lighting?

Safety
There are many reasons you may benefit from lighting: whether your driveway is hard to see from the road, you have pets that roam around outside unseen, or friends have a hard time finding your place for a visit – adding light could make all of these issues go away. A flood light that turns on during motion could also discourage intruders.

Extends your home
Lights also make your porch into a room at night. They add space and create more room for parties, late night heart to hearts, or chasing lighting bugs with kids. You can extend shorter days in the fall by adding outdoor lighting! Your day doesn’t have to end when its dark outside. Create a space with lighting that will let you fully enjoy all the seasons.

Spring_Exterior_New_Class_Home_Photos_Lifestyle_2019-32
Adding a little light creates such a comfy space.

What lighting options should you consider?

• Path lighting
• String lights
• Flood lights
• Porch light
• Step lights
• Tiki torches
• Battery operated candles in lanterns

Extra ideas to make your lighting perfect

• Use solar paneled path and stair lights (ecofriendly!)
• Try a timer that will set lights to come on. You’ll look like you’re home and it could save you some cash on your electricity bill.

I hope this helps you create a lighting plan for your exterior! Here’s to loving your whole home – even the outside!

Keep Updating Your Outdoor Space!