5 Tips to Easily Clean Out Your Home to Bring In a Festival

5 Tips to Easily Clean Out Your Home to Bring In a Festival

During the festive season, guests or relatives show up at your home unexpectedly. Which is why, it is all the more important to keep your home clean and festival-ready.

Let’s face it, in India, every cause for celebration includes relatives and friends, especially when it comes to festivals. And another very characteristic Indian trait is to show up with little or no notice. While you can’t change the way your guests are, you can certainly be prepared for their arrival by keeping your home festival ready. These 5 house cleaning tips will get your home in shape for any and every Indian festival possible:

1. Get Rid of Clutter

Festivals are a time of celebration and renewed hope. Which is why, in the spirit of the festivities, clutter needs to go. Starting with clothes, you can donate good clothes that you haven’t worn in a while and you can use clothes in bad condition as wipe cloths. Next, clean your kitchen. Check cabinets for ancient jars, expired stuff as well as ingredients that you hoarded and never used. Throw out the useless items and donate the good yet unused ones. Voila, you have successfully uncluttered your home.

2. Lists Are Good

It is important to list all that you think needs to be done to get your home festival-ready. Then start striking those tasks off your list first. This has two real advantages; one is, even if you run out of time, for whatever reason, you will take care of all the essential cleaning. Secondly, by being organized you will get things done faster, leaving you with more time for secondary cleaning tasks. This is one of the most useful home cleaning tips around.

3. Try Using Cleaning Products 

Whether it is cleaning dirty floors with the latest floor cleaning agent or a high-tech vacuum that can help you clean cabinets and shelves better, it is always a good idea to invest in products that can simplify the cleaning process.

4. Divide and Rule

Target one area of your home at a time; that’s how to clean home sweet home the right way. This will make the cleaning process more effective because you will clean each area thoroughly instead of rushing through the process. What’s more, it will make you more productive because you won’t be as drained. To illustrate, focus on the kitchen on one day, then move on to bathrooms the next day, do the bedrooms the next day and leave the windows and fans for the day after.

5. Embellish and Decorate

Make a mental note to purchase items like lanterns, new bed sheets and curtains during end-of-season sales. This will ensure that you have everything you need when the festival is nigh. Last minute purchases during festivals are an expensive affair; do so only if urgent.

Now that you know how to clean your home in no time, you can do it in time for any festival.


30 minute home improvement

30 minute home improvement

Home renovation made easy with these quick but effective ideas.

You don’t have to move house to get the wow factor in your home, just use bold interior design ideas and tackle rooms one at a time rather than putting off what might seem like a bigger, impossible task.

Change the focus of your home interiors – move the sofa and the TV to different positions in the lounge. You’ll be amazed how this changes your perspective of a room you use all the time.

If you have room for a table in your kitchen, make a virtue of this space as a ‘dining room’. Using lighting (a low-hanging ceiling light or a well-positioned freestanding lamp next to your table and chairs) to create a ‘restaurant’ feel and to make this space feel different from the rest of the kitchen.

If your tiles are looking rather old and tired, simply re-grout them. Carefully dig out the old grout with a grout rake (these cost less than £5 at any big DIY store), making sure you don’t chip your tiles. Then mix up some new grout (go for a waterproof grout, again very cheap), apply it between your tiles and easily wipe off the excess. Even if you didn’t put up your original tiles, this is an easy job and will make your bathroom sparkle.

Rethink your lighting design. Many of us have a main light and bedside lamps, but by adding an extra freestanding lamp or safe, wallmounted candle holders, you can make your bedroom feel more relaxing and ‘loungey’ in the evenings.

Liven up kids bedroom furniture with just a few stencil patterns you can paint on together. Buy a huge poster map of the world and pin it up, or if you have solid plaster walls, clean one of them down and paint it with blackboard paint, then encourage the kids to get creative with chalks.

Savvy tip
Switch your living room curtains for full-length drapes and create an immediate dramatic effect. You don’t have to spend a fortune on home décor – even if you’re not great at making curtains yourself, places like IKEA do long curtains very affordably because they aren’t lined, so all you have to do is buy two pairs and layer them. Easy and cheaper than regular full-length curtains.



Make Your Closet Clutter-Free With These 10 Closet Organization Ideas

Make Your Closet Clutter-Free With These 10 Closet Organization Ideas


Your closet is much bigger than you think. No seriously, if you relook the way you store things, and with a little bit of closet cleaning and creativity, you’ll be surprised at how much more you can store! These 10 simple storage solutions will show you.

10 Space-Saving Ideas For A Clutter-Free Closet

  1. Make the door useful: Nail a few hooks into the closet door and it doubles up as a bag or belt hanger. You could even string your necklaces and other accessories. Having things in front of your eyesnot only makes it easier to pick out matching stuff, but also saves you the trouble of hunting for them in all the wrong places.
  2. Prioritize: Store your everyday items at eye level and within reach. The less-used ones can be designated to the bottom and the least used ones, such as out-of-season clothes,on the top shelves. This is one of the most practical closet organization ideas that puts the things you need the most within your reach. So now you needn’t mess up your cupboard looking for things.
  3. Adjustable shelves: Shelves which can be shifted around help you accommodate clothes piles as well as hangers and can be shuffled according to the increase or decrease of items in your cupboard. Hanging shelves are an equally good idea as they can also be moved out and hung somewhere else if you need more closet space.
  4. Box it up: Use boxes to store knick knacks and accessories and hanging shelves to store towels, shoes and other heavier items. Transparent boxes make life easier.
  5. Coordinated hangers: Single colour hangers give the appearance of a neat, clean wardrobe. Colour coordinating your clothes also makes them easier to find.
  6. Add a mirror: One of the simplest closet ideas, this makes trying on clothes so much easier as you are more likely to put them right back inside if it’s not the chosen one.
  7. Shower rings as scarf holders: Slip on some shower rings onto a hanger and voila! You’ve got a scarf holder that keeps your scarves crease- free.
  8. Double decker hangers: Take the looped clip of a soda can and slip it around a hanger hook. Now slip a second hanger through the lower loop. You can use this to hang paired or matching items. Organizing wardrobe has never been easier!
  9. Label: Designating and labelling space to specific items gives them their slots and helps keep them there.It also makes things easier to find.
  10. Innovate: Use an upright bin or unused umbrella stand to hold umbrellas, yoga mats, sports racquets or other unused items.
Japan, Tokyo

How to Get Paint Out of Your Clothes

How to Get Paint Out of Your Clothes

Getting paint on your clothes is pretty common, even if you’re being extra careful. Here’s how to remove paint stains.

Whether you’re in the midst of a crafts activity, working on a DIY project, or fulfilling a full-scale room makeover, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with some paint on your clothes. Or, at the very least, a small splatter. But there’s no need to stress about the mess and throw away your ruined outfit. With just a couple of basic tools and a little bit of time, you can erase the stain and have your clothing looking as good as new. Try these expert tested tricks and smart cleaning tips to get rid of even the most stubborn paint stains from acrylic to emulsion varieties. There are different ways of treating certain splatters, depending on if they’re oil- or water-based paints. Plus, don’t think that because a paint stain is dried, that all hope is lost—you can treat both wet and dry stains. (And an extra bonus: We’ve got solutions for other common spots and smudges too).


Remove Excess Paint


Photo by Michael H/Getty Images

Before you get started on any kind of stain solution, it’s a smart move to get rid of as much of the excess paint (or other stain source) as you can—that’s the best way to make sure you get a successful result. If the paint has dried, you can use a paper towel to wipe away the dried residue. If the paint is still wet, use a dull knife or a spoon to remove as much as you can.


Treat the Stain and Rinse

When you’re deciding how to treat the remaining paint stain, consider which type of paint you’re dealing with. If it’s a water-based paint, the solution is simple: All you need to do is rinse the piece of clothing in warm water until the paint color subsides, then launder that item the way you normally would (washing machine or hand washing, for example). If the paint stain came from an oil-based paint, the fix entails a few steps. First, treat the stain with turpentine. Rinse it out, and pretreat the stained area with detergent. Then rinse it out again and launder the item the way you normally would.


Fix Other Common Clothing Stains

What if your clothing is stained from a different household material? We’ve got fixes for those spots and smudges too. Ink is a common culprit: To get a ballpoint mark out of your clothing, use petroleum jelly to create a “dam” around the stain—that will keep the ink from spreading. Then use a clean toothbrush to dab the spot with rubbing alcohol. (Be sure to open a window in the room to keep it ventilated.) Next, dip a cotton ball in mineral spirits and dab the area again. Let it dry, and then rinse with a solution of 1 tablespoon of clear dish soap and 10 ounces of water. If you’re dealing with a permanent marker ink stain, there’s an easy fix: Use a clean toothbrush to rub a stain remover (like Amodex Ink and Stain Remover, $13, amazon.com) into the spot.

Makeup is another big source of clothing stains. The secret to getting rid of lipstick smudges? Hairspray! Simply spritz the spot with hairspray and let it sit for 10 minutes, then remove any residue and what’s left of the stain by wiping the area with a damp cloth. Got some foundation on your shirt? Use a cotton swab to apply rubbing alcohol to the stained area, then blot it with a cotton ball, repeating as needed. Nail polish stains can be trickier, especially if the clothing fabric is acetate or triacete—in that case, your best bet is to bring the piece to a dry cleaner to get the stain out. If you’re going to tackle the nail polish smudge yourself, place the stained area facedown on a few clean paper towels, then apply nail polish remover to the back of the stain. (Depending on the size of the stain, you may need to replace the paper towels to soak up the liquid.) Repeat as needed, then finish the task by rinsing the piece in cold water.


Baseball player sitting on field

How to Wash a Hat

How to Wash a Hat

They’re prone to some sweat and dirt, here’s how to clean your hats to keep them in top shape.

Whether wearing one in winter to keep your body warm or donning one in the summertime to ward against the rays, hats are a necessary part of every season’s wardrobe. But, have you considered how to clean these well worn accessories (or even washed them before)? Certified housecleaning technician, author, and blogger at unclutter.com, Donna Smallin Kuper, gives us her tips for taking care of these everyday items. First thing’s first: consider the material (is it knit, straw, cotton, embellished?) Once you’ve done that, note the structure (is it loose and floppy or starchy and rigid?). Now, follow these guidelines below based on what you find—some can be cleaned in a washing machine, while others require a spot cleaning. Kuper even suggests some products to keep on hand that can revive a beloved, but worn hat. If you stay vigilant about their upkeep, they will serve you well for years to come.


Baseball Hats


Photo by Hero Images/Getty Images

These caps tend to get pretty grimy with sweat, dirt, and other debris that gets kicked up during a rowdy game. You can toss these in the washing machine, but help them maintain their structure by clipping them within a cap washer. Have some room on the top rack of the dishwasher? You can actually run them through a cleaning cycle in that machine as well. But Smallin Kuper says to use the dishwasher as a last resort.


Sun Hats

Luckily, your favorite poolside sun hat does not require too much effort to clean. Straw hats, particularly, only need a rinse with the hose to remove any sand or sweat. Just let it air dry in the sun before donning it on the shore once more. If you’ve got a fabric fedora or other similar cap that has been exposed to suntan lotion, Smallin Kuper says to wash them if you can. She says the dishwasher trick will work for these styles as well. And make sure they are completely dry before storing them away. If the dishwasher cycle does not dry them completely, stash them out in the sun for a couple hours to do the trick. When it comes to any kind of structured hat, first try to spot clean any stain (if there is one). This will prevent it from losing its shape.


Knit Hats

If you have a knit hat, Smallin Kuper stresses the importance of washing it using a mild detergent (like Woolite) and doing so by hand (as opposed to putting it through the machine’s cycle). Fill a sink or bucket with cold water and add a drop or two of the detergent (Not too much, you do not want to overdo it!). Before adding your hat, swirl the water around to create suds. Once you drop the hat into the container of sudsy liquid, squeeze the water through the hat for a few minutes, then rinse clean. Remove any excess water by squeezing the hat (but don’t wring it too hard as that could affect the hat’s shape). Remove any remaining liquid by laying the hat flat on a towel and rolling it up. Then lay flat to dry completely. If it’s a shaped hat, use plastic grocery bags to stuff it and keep the shape as it dries. If you just can’t see yourself hand washing your knit cap, toss it in the washing machine within a mesh laundry bag. Set the washer to the soak cycle, then rinse, spin, and lay it flat to dry (as above).


Cleaning and Seasoning a Cast-Iron Skillet

Cleaning and Seasoning a Cast-Iron Skillet

With a little TLC, this versatile pan should last a lifetime.


Photo by bonchan/Getty Images


Traditional cast-iron skillets don’t emerge from the box with a nonstick surface. That comes with seasoning, or coating the skillet with cooking oil and baking it in a 350° F oven for an hour. It won’t take on that shiny black patina just yet, but once you dry it with paper towels, it will be ready to use. You’ll reinforce the nonstick coating every time you heat oil in the skillet, and you can hasten the process by seasoning as often as you like. Or you can forget seasoning and go with Lodge Logic (available at hardware and cookware stores), a line of preseasoned skillets from Lodge Manufacturing, the oldest U.S. maker of cast-iron cookware.


A cast-iron skillet isn’t ideal for a set-aside-to-soak sort of person. For best results, rinse the pan with hot water immediately after cooking. If you need to remove burned-on food, scrub with a mild abrasive, like coarse salt, and a nonmetal brush to preserve the nonstick surface; you can also use a few drops of a mild dishwashing soap every once in a while. If the pan gets a sticky coating or develops rust over time, scrub it with steel wool and reseason it. To prevent rust, dry the skillet thoroughly and lightly coat the cooking surface with cooking oil. Cover with a paper towel to protect it from dust.


  • Although everything from Dutch ovens to cactus-shaped cornbread pans comes in cast iron, nothing is more versatile than a basic skillet. Either a 10- or 12-inch will do.
  • There’s only one thing you shouldn’t attempt in cast-iron cookware: boiling water, which will cause the pan to rust.
  • Cast iron takes longer to warm than other surfaces but retains heat remarkably well and diffuses it evenly.
  • Cast iron remains hot long after you remove it from the stove. As a reminder to be careful, drape a thick towel or a mitt over the handle.
  • To avoid getting smudges on all your kitchen towels, designate one to use exclusively for drying your cast-iron skillet.
  • Cooking in cast iron increases the iron content in food. The longer the food is in contact with the skillet, the more it absorbs.

Inside a Dreamy Bedroom Makeover for a Deserving Mom

Inside a Dreamy Bedroom Makeover for a Deserving Mom

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

How to Clean Pillows in a Few Simple Steps

How to Clean Pillows in a Few Simple Steps

When you’re washing your pillowcases and sheets, don’t forget to clean your pillows. The experts give us their best tips for different types, from the ones on your bed to decorative accents.

They cushion your head when you sleep, and they’re a major player in a polished-looking bed—but compared to bigger bedroom pieces, pillows can sometimes seem a little insignificant. So even if you’re the type who regularly deep cleans the house, it’s easy to overlook cleaning your pillows. You’re probably washing your sheets and the pillowcases on a regular basis—that is important, of course—but, let’s face it: Those fluffy, feather-filled sacks (which absorb oils from your hair) also need some extra TLC. Keep in mind that not all pillows can be cleaned the same—down and feather-filled ones require a different method than decorative accent pillows you have on your sofa or chair. It’s not hard or time-consuming; just follow our expert tips and tricks for foolproof pillow cleaning that will leave them looking like new. Plus, we’ll also give you tips for cleaning your mattress and pillowcases while you’re at it, too.


Wash Pillowcases Weekly

When it comes to washing pillowcases, the pros suggest a weekly (and twice-weekly during the hot summer months) machine wash. If the cases are made of cotton, flannel, synthetic, bamboo, or modal, wash them in hot water. If your pillowcases are linen, silk, or sateen-weave cotton, opt for the gentle cycle and a cold water wash. Dry both on the low setting.


7 Sleek and Sophisticated Bathroom Accessories

7 Sleek and Sophisticated Bathroom Accessories

Mix marble pieces and metallic accents and even a basic bathroom will shine. Look for essentials with luxe details, like a brassy brush stand, a hand-carved storage box, or a gold-lacquer hamper.


Fault Hamper


At nearly two feet tall, this lidded laundry hamper would add just the right amount of metallic shimmer to a bathroom or bedroom.

Photo by cb2.com


Geo Marble Box


Stash jewelry or cotton swabs within this solid marble box. The addition of a brass handle makes it extra glam for your bathroom’s countertop.

Photo by westelm.com


Brass Toilet Paper Storage Tower


Functional and fashionable, this sleek brass tower will keep backup rolls of toilet paper at the ready.

Photo by cb2.co


Classic Bath Towels


Super soft and absorbent, these Turkish cotton bath towels will become the ones you reach for after every shower. Choose from four neutral shades.

Photo by parachutehome.com


Quip Electric Toothbrush


Yep, even a toothbrush can add to your décor. Sign up to receive replacement heads for this electric option every three months for ultimate freshness.

Photo by getquip.com


Aila Earring Organizer


Corral up to 43 pairs of studs and chandelier earrings on this hinged organizer. Choose from a gold or copper finish.



5 Mini Decorating Moves for a Boring Home Office

5 Mini Decorating Moves for a Boring Home Office

See how a designer transformed Broadway and TV star Sutton Foster’s home office in just five easy steps.


Photos by Matt Harrington Photo

A home office can easily become a neglected space. Since it’s not usually a place to entertain guests or hang out, people tend to keep the home office bare and focus their decorating efforts on other spaces, like the living room, dining room, or family room—which was the case with the home office in actress Sutton Foster’s New York City apartment.

So Foster enlisted the help of interior designer Mike Harrison and HomeGoods to give the office more personality and style. “Functionality doesn’t mean lack of style,” Harrison says. “One of the great advantages of this space was that there was so much natural light with a stunning view, so the interest is already built into one entire wall. Another great plus was that the three pieces of existing furniture were beautiful, quality pieces so my job was just to marry the function with the style of the space and execute a clear vision for the room.”

Foster, who wanted the space to be neutral but not boring, says Harrison’s updates make the new office “come to life.” And it was all done with some inexpensive styling tricks you can use to give your own space a makeover. Here, Harrison’s tips:

1. Bring in Color.
Your favorite, eye-catching colors can make a space feel unique and more relaxed. “For this room in particular, it was important to Sutton that it be a place of inspiration for her husband, who is a professional writer,” Harrison says. “She wanted a space full of interest with a sophisticated whimsy. I wanted to achieve this through a layered neutral palette, with an occasional pop of color.”

2. Add Accessories.
“When personalizing an office space on a budget, try to remember that a little goes a long way,” he says. “One new desk lamp or one new rug can really transform a room. Also, it’s important to remember that even if a room needs to function as an office, it is still an extension of your home. It doesn’t need to be stale and corporate, so inject personal touches like framed pictures, special objects, and artwork.” In Foster’s office, Harrison added a geometric rug, abstract art, patterned pillows, plants, and unexpected lighting.

3. Play With Scale.
Often, your home office might be a small nook or a tiny room, so it’s important to maximize every inch of space. “When dealing with smaller spaces remember that scale is important,” Harrison says. “I used a great mirrored end table to serve as a coffee table instead. I also found a clean, white leather desk chair that brightened up the space to juxtapose the dark wood in the furniture.”

4. Organize With Style.
Keep the clutter contained. “Since the office is a highly functional room, organization is key,” he says. “Let the organizational supplies that you use exhibit the room’s style.” And, luckily, you can easily find inexpensive office supplies that pack a lot of color and flair—think metallic notebooks and pens, acrylic boxes and pencil cups, and colorful tape dispensers and staplers.

5. “Fake” an Office.
Don’t have a designated office? Don’t worry: You can still create a working space wherever you have a little bit of extra space. “Create room for a small desk in your living area, bedroom, or even dining area,” Harrison says. “You can add floating shelves above it to house office supplies and display decorative objects.” Ta-da, an office nook.