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To be a clutter buster you’ve got to be able to identify which items are truly clutter, and which are not. Clutter can be insidious, because it can be almost anything, from obvious trash to the most expensive antiques.

The same object that may be clutter for one person is most certainly not for another person.

Here are five guidelines to use to decide if something in your space could be CLUTTER.

1. Clutter Can Be Anything - Cheap Or Expensive, Sentimental Or Throw Away
Know what is, and is not, clutter. Many people’s preconceived notion of clutter is true trash and cheap junk that we don’t care about at all. But remember “One man’s junk can be another man’s treasure.” Don’t automatically overlook something because it cost a lot of money. Even the most expensive things can be clutter.

2. Too Many of a Thing - is Clutter
Too much of a “good thing” happens when you amass a large selection of one particular item.

Collections can quickly turn from something that makes us happy into clutter if we’re not careful. Determine if these items are truly worth the while, or just items using up precious space.

A few of a particular item, such as shoes, clothes, or kitchen gadgets can provide temporary choice and variety. However, when you start to accumulate too many of a particular item it just becomes an overwhelming pile of clutter.

3. Items That Used To Be Functional - are Clutter
It often happens that we use an item for quite a while, and then our circumstances change and it is no longer quite as useful to us anymore. That’s when the item begins to collect dust in a corner - becoming clutter.

That’s the thing about clutter - it may have been useful stuff in the past. Be ever vigilant and notice when an item is no longer of use.

4. If You Don’t Have Room For It - It’s Clutter
You could have some really awesome stuff but if it doesn’t fit in your space, it’s clutter. This one is tough for even the most seasoned clutter buster, because people experience this all the time when downsizing. If it sits out collecting dust or becomes a tripping hazard, it just doesn’t belong there anymore.

Make sure you’re not devoting storage space to real clutter but make room for the important items. You only have so much space available. If you can’t make a home for something in your home, it unfortunately just doesn’t belong there.

5. If You Don’t Love or Use It - It’s Clutter
Everything in your home or office should, ideally, serve a purpose so you can live clutter free. It either helps you with something in your life or makes you feel something positive each time you see it.

If you’ve got too much stuff you simply can’t use all of it. After all, you can only wear so many clothes or shoes in a year!

You can only truly love so many things, and take the time to care for them, before you just don’t feel that attachment to those things anymore. Keep what’s important and ditch the rest!

Home Storage Solutions 101

These simple strategies promise to get you out of some “sticky” situations.

• Remove pesky price stickers - with vodka. The alcohol in vodka dissolves the adhesive on the sticker. Pour a little on a clean cloth, then dab on to sticker. Let sit for a minute, then gently rub the sticker with the cloth and it should come right off.

• Slide a drawer smoothly with a candle stub. First remove the drawer and wipe the two wooden rails that support the drawer with a damp cloth to remove any dust, dirt or wood shavings that might be making the drawer stick. Next, rub the candle stub over the rails to apply a thin layer of wax. It should now slide smoothly.

• Get rid of gum - with ice. When you find gum stuck on your shoe or rug, put an ice cube on it for about a minute. The gum should harden and chip off right away.

• Peel away a bumper sticker - with a blow dryer. Pull into a garage, plug in a blow dryer, aim the hot air at one corner of the bumper sticker and blast away. The heat will dissolve that glue that is keeping it stuck and turn it gummy. Give it a minute or two and the corner will lift off.

• Zap a sticky stain - with hairspray. Have you spilled something sticky, like hot fudge sauce, on your clothes? Spritz a little hairspray on the area and let it sit for a minute. Then throw the garment in the wash. When you pull it out the stain will be gone. Hairspray contains rubbing alcohol, which will break down any stickiness and make the stain easier to remove.

Here are four “must-do” updates that ensure your remodeled kitchen will earn compliments from anyone who enters.

1. Faucet Facelift. Because of its constant use, updating the faucet will immediately improve the function and look of your prep space. Create a chic statement at the sink.

2. Amp up Accessories. Much like fashion, accessories can make a room. Hardware is the finishing touch that makes your space feel polished, but also serves a purpose.

3. Enhance the Lighting. Lighting is a critical element in kitchen design, both for its decorative and functional benefits. It can also make the space look roomier and more elegant. Install pendants over an island or countertop where the low-hanging fixtures won’t interfere with traffic flow.

4. Add Personality. Adding something pretty like a bouquet of flowers, new linens, or a bright new tea pot will bring life onto your space. You can also jazz up your kitchen with lively artwork. Whether it’s a professional painting or fun vintage posters, artwork helps complete your renovation.

Before starting demolition on your kitchen remodel, make sure the design is a reflection of you. By following these simple steps, not only will you have a kitchen that complements your lifestyle, you will also draw plenty of compliments from family and friends. So why not take your kitchen from make-do to magnificent.

Up to half of water consumed in your home is used in the bathroom. Here are some easy ways to save hundreds of dollars - and gallons of water from going down the drain.

Slow the flow. New toilets are equipped with water-saving, low-volume flushers. Have an older toilet? Save by filling a quart-sized plastic bottle with water and placing in tank. Flow should be reduced by 40%.

Cool the water. If your water heater is set higher than 120degrees F., water is hotter than you need for showers or hand washing. For every 10 degrees you go down, you save up to 5%.

Check for leaks. A leaky toilet can waste 250 gallons of water in a month. Test a leak by dropping some food coloring in the tank without flushing. If the color shows up in the bowl, you have a leak.

It might surprise you to hear that the air inside your home is often dirtier than the air outside.That’s because indoor air is made up of outdoor air plus all the pollutants and allergens generated from cleaning products, pets, dust, smoke, and so on. Fortunately, you can improve indoor air quality in ways that do not cost a small fortune.

Get the Dust Out
Dust – a major irritant – includes lint, bacteria, pollen, plant and mold spores, pet dander, etc. Here are three ways you can reduce dust particles in the air:

1. Clean or replace the furnace filter every three months. Thick-media filters, such as the five- and six-inch pleated type, last longer than regular filters and filter better too.

2. We all create an invisible dust cloud just walking through our homes. While a high quality furnace filter will reduce dust, frequent cleaning and vacuuming is also necessary.

3. A poor-quality vacuum cleaner can also create dust clouds. Before you give up on vacuuming, two solutions can address this problem: either install a central vacuum system with the canister-air discharge piped outside the house, or purchase a high-quality, portable vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air ) filtration system.

Take Control of Humidity
High humidity levels in your home can significantly contribute to mold and dust mite growth. Dust mites, however, are a fact of life; you cannot eliminate them entirely. But you can decrease their numbers. Dust mites thrive in humidity levels above 50%. Ensuring the humidity in your home is not higher than 50% will diminish dust mite growth. Here are a few ways to address humidity:

1. Buy an inexpensive hygrometer & measure the indoor humidity.
2. Ensure that your clothes dryer vents to the outside.
3. Bathroom and kitchen fans should direct moisture outside.
4. Fix basement leaks and deal with condensation issues.
5. Air conditioning systems and dehumidifiers can also remove moisture from the air. Keep in mind that dehumidifiers use a great deal of electricity and don’t provide any cooling.

More Efficient Air Exchange
Some homes just need more ventilation. Heat-recovery ventilators, or energy-recovery ventilators are both effective ventilation devices. Choosing the right system involves careful consideration of your home and your specific situation. Improving air quality in the home is a goal that is easily attainable. Start with the little fixes and then undertake the more complex remedies as needed. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to improve the air that you breathe.

Zero in on the way you learn best to find out which study-proven technique will unleash your hidden genius.

You’re a kinesthetic learner if -
You feel most inspired when you are physically working on something and prefer multi-tasking to focusing on one thing at a time. Tap into creativity by doing less and more.

You’re a visual learner if -
For you, to watch is to learn. You find color and nature hugely inspirational. Tap into your creativity by doodling.

You’re an auditory learner if -
You can learn complicated lessons by listening and feel most productive when listening to music. Tap into your creativity with tunes.

You’re a logical learner if -
Detail-oriented, you meticulously perfect each stage of a project and rarely leave anything to chance. Tap into creativity with a crossword.

Your counters are the center pieces in your kitchen and bathroom, so keep them looking good with the following care and maintenance tips.

Clean daily with soft cloths and warm water and weekly with stone soap. Marble is more vulnerable to acidic cleaners than granite, and will also be dulled by regular use of soap.

Blot spills quickly because marble is sensitive to etching, particularly from acidic substances.

Do not cut directly on marble since it is softer than granite. Heat is unlikely to damage marble, but cracking from thermal shock is always possible with stone.

Regularly seal marble counters, avoids stains easier.

The chemicals we use in the home contribute significantly to poor indoor air quality. Here are four tips to take control of the chemicals in the air:

1. Get rid of products you no longer need, such as old paint cans and other open and half used toxic chemicals and poisons.

2. Opened bottles and jars of cleaning products should be contained in an airtight bin.

3. Consider using less toxic and more environmentally friendly cleaning for cleaning.

4. Dry-cleaned clothing spews chemicals into the air. If possible, remove the plastic and hang the stack of dry-cleaning outside for a few hours before bringing it into the house.

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