10 Common Household Items We Always Forget to Clean

You may have noticed while putting your Christmas decorations away or preparing for your New Year’s Eve party that your house isn’t as clean as you’d like it to be. That’s why many of us don’t wait for spring cleaning to do a thorough sweep of the house. But no matter how detailed our checklist is, we always seem to miss a few household items that gather dust, dirt and debris. If we forgot them once, chances are we will miss them again…and again. Check out this quick list to make sure you’re not missing any of those easy-to-miss spots.

10 Household Items We Always Forget to Clean


Vents & Radiators

Heating vents, air conditioning vents and radiators are magnets for dust and other debris. Aside from taking some power out of your air flow or just appearing unsightly, the dust and dirt on your heating vents can be a safety hazard, potentially causing fires. If you want to give your vents a thorough cleaning this season, make sure you unscrew the vents and wipe them clean, inside and out, and take a look inside the air duct as well.

Ceiling Fans

Not many people realize that ceiling fans can cut down on heating costs in the winter and make your home feel a little bit cozier. All you have to do is reverse the flow of your fan to clockwise. This simple switch pulls cold air up (use a low speed setting) while pushing warm air to the edge of the room so it flows down to the floor. If you’re interested in saving on heating costs, turn on your ceiling fan, but wipe down the blades first.

Door Handles & Buttons

Some household items just don’t pop up on our radar when we’re cleaning. Door knobs, handles, even the buttons on electronics like the TV, video game console or DVD player are things we touch every day. If we touch it with our hands and fingers, it needs to be cleaned, so take a quick moment and walk through every surface and appliance you turn, hold, press, and twist. Light switches are also a common culprit we forget.


10 Household Items We Always Forget to Clean

Refrigerator Drawers & Shelves

It’s easy to think of the refrigerator as that nice, cold place where bacteria can’t survive, but that’s pretty far from the truth. Because it’s not something we clean very regularly (aside from spills and ordinary upkeep), it’s always possible that some unseen germs are lurking in the drawers and on the shelves. A quick clean will also get rid of any underlying odors. Make sure you clean underneath shelves, and get the walls, too.

Refrigerator Coils

To keep our refrigerator working properly, it’s important to clean the coils at least once a year. It’s such an easy process, but few of us remember to do it. This isn’t just about brushing off or vacuuming the coils. It’s also about vacuuming or cleaning the fan. Yes, this means pulling out the fridge, unplugging it for a brief period of time and shutting off the water supply (if it’s connected for water or ice), but it’s only once a year.

Coffee Maker

It doesn’t matter if you’re a coffee connoisseur or just need that morning brew to wake up for work, chances are your coffee maker is filled with bacteria, even mold. Maintaining a clean coffee maker requires more work than scrubbing the coffee pot. Bacteria and mold build up in the machine’s reservoir and carafe more than anywhere else. Separate all the removable parts, scrub them clean and put everything back together.


10 Household Items We Always Forget to Clean

Toothbrush Holders

We use our toothbrush holders every single day, exposing them to new germs or leaving them susceptible to residue over time. A lot of nasty gunk can build up on the edges, bottom and deep inside your toothbrush holder, so once in awhile we need to give it a deep clean. All you need is some hot water and soap. Better not to take any chances on something that houses our precious toothbrush almost twenty-four hours a day.

Bath Mats & Runners

Mold is constantly trying to invade the bathroom, and that goes for common items like bath mats. We might think that if the top of the mat looks clean then we’re in good shape, but bacteria can be hiding deep inside and is particularly fond of the underside of the mat. If your mat is machine washable, it’s as easy as tossing the mat in on its own. But if your bath mat is a little more fragile, you’re going to want to hand wash and dry.

Shower Curtain Liners

Shower curtains and shower curtain liners are built to thrive in their environment, but they’re not built to last forever. Instead of throwing yours out or changing the liner after a certain period of time, you can save some money by washing it yourself. Use this washing technique to clean your shower curtain and shower curtain liners in the washing machine with some assistance from baking soda and vinegar to keep it looking fresh.


Credit Cards & Keys

It’s probably weird to think about adding items like credit or debit cards to your regular cleaning list, but they are some of the things we own that are handled by strangers the most. Whenever you hand your credit card over to pay for something, it’s picking up bacteria. This goes for anything in wallets or purses, from licenses to car keys. Try to keep purses, handbags or anything else you take out of the house on a daily basis clean.

The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week

We are all spending a lot of time indoors, and that makes it an ideal time to update your kitchen with items from The Lakeside Collection. Organize the space with a sink caddy and a big set of bowls that is great for mixing and storing. Speed up your prep with new kitchen gadgets, and brighten up your cooking with brilliantly colored pans. Here is The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week.

This Set of 2 Sink Caddies ensures that you'll always have a kitchen sponge and/or scrubber at your fingertips.

This Set of 2 Sink Caddies ensures that you’ll always have a kitchen sponge and/or scrubber at your fingertips.

The 10-Pc. Glass Bowl Set makes it easy to identify which foods you've stored.

The 10-Pc. Glass Bowl Set makes it easy to identify which foods you’ve stored.

Save time and look professional with these Stainless Steel Kitchen Gadgets.

Save time and look professional with these Stainless Steel Kitchen Gadgets.

Brighten up your kitchen with this Colorful 8-Pc. Cookware Set.

Brighten up your kitchen with this Colorful 8-Pc. Cookware Set.

Pinteresting Picks for December

Winter’s frosty days make it tempting to relax indoors with comfort food and a good book. Our Lakeside Pinterest followers were looking to get cozy this month, with reading accessories and books to inspire some creativity. When you must leave the house, take some of your homemade slow-cooker favorites to any gathering, and don’t forget to bundle up with one of Lakeside’s versatile accessories. Here are our Pinteresting Picks for December.

You'll read comfortably for hours with your book or e-reader on this plush Book Pillow.

You’ll read comfortably for hours with your book or e-reader on this plush Book Pillow.

 

LEGO® Play Book from DK shares building tips and tricks, while it introduces you to new worlds.

LEGO® Play Book from DK shares building tips and tricks, while it introduces you to new worlds.

A Slow Cooker Carrier is the easy way to take your food contribution to a family gathering, neighborhood potluck or other social event.

A Slow Cooker Carrier is the easy way to take your food contribution to a family gathering, neighborhood potluck or other social event.

 

Reversible Hooded Scarf is a 2-in-1 accessory that keeps you toasty.

Reversible Hooded Scarf is a 2-in-1 accessory that keeps you toasty.

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week

As the week winds down, we are looking forward to relaxing a little at home. After several nights of quick meals, it is time to work in the kitchen to create something special. If cooking is not your thing, keep snacks close at hand on the counter and in the living room so you can grab something sweet in a hurry. Remember, everyone loves something gourmet to nibble on, even your pet! Here is the Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week.

The varied sizes of the Set of 4 Lasagna Baking Pans are perfect for any event from a large dinner with guests to a cozy meal for two.

The varied sizes of the Set of 4 Lasagna Baking Pans are perfect for any event from a large dinner with guests to a cozy meal for two.

Jolly Chef Kitchen Collection is a fun and upbeat way to give your home color.

Jolly Chef Kitchen Collection is a fun and upbeat way to give your home color.

Make brand name candy bars that are just as delicious as the real thing with this Copy Cat Candy Bars Cookbook.

Make brand name candy bars that are just as delicious as the real thing with this Copy Cat Candy Bars Cookbook.

3-Way Candy Dispenser keeps your favorite snacks close and easily accessible.

3-Way Candy Dispenser keeps your favorite snacks close and easily accessible.

Your pet deserves to dine in style, and this Pet Food Cabinet with Bowls lets him do that without costing you a fortune.

Your pet deserves to dine in style, and this Pet Food Cabinet with Bowls lets him do that without costing you a fortune.

 

 

 

 

 

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items for the Week

When it is time to get organized, it is easy to feel intimidated. Not only does the thought of sorting through your rooms seem overwhelming, so does the potential cost of the project. Try some smaller, less expensive changes to make your home run better and give you more time to enjoy a pitcher of lemonade or iced tea. Get started with the Lakeside Selection: our choice of favorite items for the week.

sets-of-2-silicone-counter-gap-covers

Keep things tidy with a Set of 2 Silicone Counter Gap Covers.

trash-ease-13-gallon-bag-holder

Trash-Ease 13-Gallon Bag Holder is a simple way to clean up at campsites, picnics and at home.

 

oversized-laundry-totes

This huge bag lets you tote multiple loads at once. The Oversized Laundry Tote features a trendy print on a very large and spacious bag.

Brick-or-siding-clips

Fast and affordable, Brick and Siding Clips help you decorate without causing damage to your home.

Shatter-resistant-pitcher

Your family will love to help themselves to a refreshing beverage with the ergonomic Shatter-Resistant Pitcher.

 

Lakeside Selection: Our Favorite Items This Week

New year, new you, right? Since one of the most common resolutions each year is to eat better and get healthy, this week’s focus is on our favorite kitchen items for your home. It’s a lot easier to have a healthy diet when you’ve got high-quality and convenient kitchen items, so check these out today and get yourself on the right track for 2014!

Divided Food Storage Containers

Divided Containers

There’s no better way to pack carrots and hummus or grapes and crackers than with these easy divided food containers. They’ll keep your crunchy foods from getting soggy, no matter what you put in the other side. We especially love these containers for Greek yogurt and homemade granola.

They’re the perfect size for a healthy breakfast or light snack at work, and they’re really great for road trips with the kids. You can also divide afternoon snacks for the kids, so they’re all prepared when they get home from school.

Dip Bowl Hangers

Dip Bowl Hangers

Do you like dips and appetizers? Planning a party for the Super Bowl this year? We love these dip bowl hangers for serving sauces and dips alongside the chips and vegetables. For healthy options, try baked pita chips with homemade spinach artichoke dip, roasted garlic hummus with carrots, or organic corn chips with salsa and guacamole.

This is a great way to save space on a crowded appetizer table, or a way to serve ketchup with your kids’ burgers and fries without making a mess everywhere. Try serving toppings to oatmeal, like nuts and dried fruits in this bowl as well. You really can’t go wrong, and clean up is so easy!

Plastic Travel Tumblers

Plastic Straw Travel Tumblers

Summer is right around the corner, so it’s okay to start thinking about smoothies and iced coffee, which is why we’re in love with these plastic travel tumblers with straws. If you’re looking to get your 2014 off to a bright and healthy start, try your hand at easy green smoothies and drink them on your way to work with these great travel tumblers.

The straw makes it super easy to drink on the go, and even if you just drink water from the tumbler, think about how much money (& plastic) you’re saving. It’s a win-win for your wallet and the environment.

Silicone Instant Spouts

Instant Spouts

It seems like every time we make pancakes and waffles, or try to fill a muffin tin, we end up with a hundred dirty spoons and drops of batter across the countertop. These silicone instant spouts make it very easy to pour batter exactly where it belongs. You can wipe the drips away with a small spoon or spatula, and you won’t have to worry about a mess all over your kitchen counter.

It’s a clever tool that works for just about any bowl or container. You can use it for muffins and pancakes, as well as for pouring soups and hot chocolate. And you know what the best part is? You can rest your spoon or whisk on the spout instead of on a utensil holder on the stove.

5 Tips to Decorate Your Kitchen for Any Holiday

Decorating a kitchen for the holidays is a constant struggle between practicality and festivity. You want to add fun touches, but you also need to keep the space usable and clutter-free. Here are tips for holiday decorating that will help you spread the cheer while still spreading that mayo on sandwiches for school lunches. Try these 5 decorating tips that can be translated to any holiday décor, from the Fourth of July to New Year’s Day.

Go Above the Cabinets
Don’t waste that valuable space above your cabinets! This is a prime area for some festive fun that is out of the way of the kitchen’s day to day hubbub. If you are not already using the space for storage (which is completely understandable), start using it for decorations.

Here are some items you could add for various holidays:Holiday-kitchen
• Garlands
• Small collectibles
• Framed artwork
• Pottery
• Figurines
• Baskets

Think how cute a collection of nutcrackers would look. Or, imagine Easter baskets with eggs and a watchful Easter bunny. Just don’t fill the space too much, or else it will cluttered and tacky. Choose items wisely, and space them out across the cabinets for the best effect.

Dish It Up
Dishes aren’t just for eating off of—they are the perfect tools to spread holiday cheer. Try hanging a collection on a wall, and then switch some out for different season. Display beautiful pieces on open shelving or in glass-front cabinets. Or here’s a novel idea—actually use holiday dishes to eat. Any meal (even leftovers) becomes more exciting with fun dishes. Check out craft or department stores to buy them, or make your own with easy transfers or vinyl images.

A Little Linen Love
What kitchen isn’t laden with dish towels, tea towels, napkins, and tablecloths? The idea for this tip is to transform things you already need and use in your kitchen into festive additions. You already use towels in your kitchen, so why not make them a decoration, too? Spread out a tablecloth on your table or counter top. Hang some towels on your oven handle or a hook. You can add a lot of color with only little space, while adding high utility. You can even make your own holiday linens with some flour sack towels and simple embroidery (plus a few details like buttons or fabric scraps).

The Central Affair
Add an easy centerpiece to your dining or kitchen table. The best centerpiece is one that is easy to change between seasons and holidays. Have a few foundation pieces, like a tray, a monogram letter, and a few large apothecary jars. A tray is a good way to contain the space, and it’s easy to remove the centerpiece for meals. To change the scene for different times of year, fill the jars with different items. For Easter, fill the jars with plastic eggs and pastel candy. During Halloween, drape with spider webs and flying bats. At Christmas time, add ornaments or candy canes.

Don’t Forget the Food
Remember what the kitchen is about? Oh yeah, food! Use the function of the kitchen to inspire its décor. Food is a perfect reflection of seasonal changes. Strawberries call up thoughts of sunshine and summertime, apples remind us of autumn and new school years, and pomegranates and oranges bring Christmas and winter cheer. Simply display fresh fruit in a bowl on the counter. You can also add more holiday-inspired items like frosted sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day, dried corn and gourds for Thanksgiving, and gingerbread for Christmas.

Your kitchen doesn’t have to give up its functionality for festivity! Use these tips to decorate for any holiday in a few easy steps. You’ll wow your friends with your constantly changing (but super easy) décor throughout the year.

Melanie Hargrave is a wife and homemaker whose pride and joy is her family. In addition to spending time with her husband and daughters, she loves being outdoors, playing sports, and sharing her experiences with others. Melanie loves decorating her home (especially for the holidays) and renovating, and enjoys working with Always Plumbing & Heating to make sure her home is in tip-top shape.

Image Credit: homedit.com

4 Kitchen Themes We Think you’ll Love

Retro-kitchenYour kitchen has to be practical, but who says it can’t also be pretty? You already spend time in your kitchen, so pick a decorating theme that you love, and enjoy your meal preps more. Here are four themes we love and some ideas to start you thinking about your own signature theme:

Tuscan Wine Country

The rolling hills of Tuscany are home to some of the world’s best wines and cheeses. The region’s natural beauty is just as inspiring as its delicious cuisine, and Tuscan style makes the most of that beauty with simple, elegant decor elements. Add a little touch of Tuscany to your home with art and accessories that echo the region’s rich hues and local delicacies. Use warm colors such as ivory, terra cotta and walnut as the foundation for your Tuscan kitchen theme. Wine bottles are a perfect decorating accent whether they’re full or empty, so make them a part of your theme on tabletops or in prominently displayed wine holders. Even the corks can be a part of your Tuscan motif when you store them in a wine cork holder. When the metal holder’s full, remove the corks and turn them into a bulletin board, or start on a new decorative letter.

Retro Kitchen Chic

Everything retro is popular again, and that includes kitchen decor. No matter what era is your favorite, you’ll find decorator touches to complement your theme. We love the clean-lined look of the early 1960s with its emphasis on space-age design, and these stainless steel mixing bowls combine modern convenience with retro sleekness. Look for advertisements from your favorite era and use them for inspiration when picking your color palette. The pinks and greens of the 1950’s or harvest gold and avocado of the 1970’s instantly give your kitchen a retro makeover on a budget.

Farm Fresh Kitchen Decor

Just about everything in your kitchen originally came from a farm, so a farm motif is a great fit for kitchen style. If you’re going for a full transformation with new cabinets and counters, use natural finishes trimmed with clean, crisp white for a farmhouse feel. To bring a few farm-friendly accents into your kitchen, look for simple decorative design elements such as stamps, stencils and cut-outs. Coasters and towels trimmed with silhouettes of cows, chickens and pigs add a country accent to any kitchen. Country themes can be whimsical – these colorful  striped towels are a great basic example – or find decorative pieces that look as though they came straight from the farmhouse. Weathered wood furniture with plain white ceramic knobs will give your kitchen timeless country appeal.

The Chef’s Professional Kitchen

Even home cooks are moving toward restaurant-quality dishes, and that has brought sleek, professional style to the forefront in kitchen decor. Stainless steel, wire racks, white tile and straightforward accessories give a home kitchen a professional look. If you want the clean look of a pro’s kitchen, keep details to a minimum and let the natural beauty of food be the primary source of color and texture. A bowl of fresh fruit or a hanging strand of dried red peppers makes a bold visual statement against a neutral background of brushed steel and tile. Wood cabinetry and wall art can add warmth to a kitchen that could otherwise look a little chilly.

Whatever you choose as your kitchen style, you’ll enjoy your time in the kitchen more when surrounded by a look you love!

Image Credit: Cozy

Books We Can’t Live Without

love-booksWhether you’re an avid reader or just an occasional one, diving into a good book is a great way to spend an afternoon. Fiction’s fine, but we also love books that teach us something new. Think about all the books you’d want with you if you were shipwrecked on a deserted island. You could get more use from a good cookbook or how-to carpentry manual than you would from a copy of “Moby Dick.” Great novels are important too, but here are some of the books we consider absolutely indispensable.

Kitchen Magic

Every cookbook tells you how to make something delightful, but what happens when your attempt at following the recipe fills your family with more dread than delight? If you have a copy of Oops! Over 200 Cooking Solutions” from Cooking Light magazine, you can fix just about any kitchen concern. From repairing a broken Hollandaise sauce to undressing an over-dressed salad without wilting the lettuce, this must-have kitchen fixer is a fascinating read even if you’re an accomplished cook.

The book also offers recommendations to stop common kitchen blunders before they start. By tasting as you cook, adding salt a little at a time and reading the whole recipe before you crack the first egg, you can get better results from every recipe you try. Gain confidence in your kitchen skills when you have this handy safety net on your bookshelf!

In the Office

Your computer has a spell checker, but as anyone who has ever confused a “there” with a “their” can tell you, automated checking systems don’t catch everything. Learn new memory devices to help you recall spelling rules, grammar, geography, science, history and more from Miss Pell Never Misspells,” a spelling book dedicated to more mnemonics than you would have ever thought possible. You’ll find easy ways to recall how to spell Mississippi, how to tell a stalactite from a stalagmite and how to solve algebraic equations in the right order.

More than just memory tricks for recalling the names of the Great Lakes or other specialized knowledge, this book can also teach you how to improve your memory in general. If you regularly forget people’s names after meeting them or have to write grocery lists for every trip to the store, this book is for you.

For the Smallest Room

It may be indelicate to discuss, but we’ll say it anyway: A bathroom without reading material is an unfriendly place indeed. That’s why we believe every household should be acquainted with Uncle John. A compilation of quick and fascinating facts just long enough for a brief stay, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader is designed to entertain you when you’re otherwise occupied. If you like to read in the tub, you’ll appreciate the laminated soft cover of this bathroom book that can hold up to a few drops of bathwater. Instead of risking your e-reader or smartphone in the bathroom, leave a copy of Uncle John’s latest reader within easy reach.

You don’t have to be on a deserted island to appreciate great nonfiction. Make these books part of your library, and you’ll always have answers to life’s most important questions.

 

Image Credit: www.skadate.com