How to Coupon

Spring Cleaning Tips that Most People Forget

Posted on Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Light BulbReady to do some spring cleaning? You already know how to do the basic cleaning that your home requires. What about the not-so-obvious stuff? Here is a quick list of the spring cleaning tips that most people forget about. Use these ideas to get your home extra clean!

Clean the Doormats
Doormats aren’t just decorative. Their purpose is to prevent dirt from getting into your home. Many people forget that even doormats need a good cleaning once in a while. Start by shaking the dirt out of them. It may help to hang them up and swat them with a broom (as you would a carpet). The cleaner the doormat, the more dirt it can keep out of your house.

Wash the Walls
Believe it or not, walls can collect dust. Walls can also end up with stains where people have touched them. To clean painted walls, you will need a clean cloth or sponge. You also need a bucket of water that has had a little bit of mild dishwashing liquid added to it. Wipe off the walls. This should get rid of the dust and most (if not all) of the stains. For stubborn stains, you may want to try a stain eraser. Don’t forget to wash the baseboards!

Dust the Ceiling Fans
People tend to forget that ceiling fans can gather up tons of dust! Get a damp towel and wipe away the dust that is hiding on top of each fan blade. Or, you might be able to carefully use a vacuum with a nozzle attachment to remove the dust. It would be a good idea to put on a dust mask before you attempt this task. All that dust is going to be directly over your head!

Remove Dust from Light Bulbs
Martha Stewart points out that lightbulbs can get dusty. Wait until the lightbulb is cooled down. Unscrew the lightbulb from the fixture. Use a microfiber cloth that has been dampened with water. Don’t get the metal screw base wet! Can’t reach the lightbulb? Try using one of those telescoping dusters to clean the dust off of hard to reach fixtures.

Wash the Window Blinds
Window blinds, with all those little slats, are the perfect dust catcher! One simple way to clean them is to put an old, mateless, sock over your hand. Spray a little bit of all purpose cleaner on it. Wipe away the dust on each and every slat. This will be a tedious process, but it is worth it.

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How Long do Cleaning Products Last?

Posted on Thursday, February 27th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Spring Cleaning SuppliesWe all know that one way to save money on cleaning products is to buy them in bulk. How much is too much, though? Cleaning Products don’t last forever. They can expire. Throwing something out before you could use it up is a waste of money. Ideally, you want to buy the amount that you can reasonably use before it goes bad. Here is a guide to help you figure out when cleaning products go bad.

Dish Detergent can last for one year. This is true for both the powdered and liquid kinds. It has been suggested that you do not purchase more automatic dishwasher detergent than you can use up within 3 months.

Aerosol air fresheners can last for about 2 years. After that, they begin to break down and lose the lovely fragrance that inspired you to purchase them.

Bleach can last between 3 to 6 months. After 6 months it can start breaking down to salt and water. Check the expiration date on the bottle before you use it. Ideally, you want to store bleach somewhere that stays between 50 degrees and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If stored in areas outside of that temperature range, it can start to break down after just 3 months.

Laundry detergent that has not yet been opened can last 9 months (and potentially up to one year). Once you open it, that changes. Opened laundry detergent will only be good for 6 months.

Fabric softener can stay good for about a year. After that, it is going to start losing its softening power. This is true no matter if the fabric softener is liquid, a dryer sheet, or a dryer bar.

Vinegar can last indefinitely (or so says The Vinegar Institute). The color may change over time, but this is affects aesthetics, only. The vinegar will be just as functional, no matter the color.

Mr. Clean floor cleaner can last for 2 years. This is true whether the bottle has been opened or if it remained sealed.

Lysol disinfectant can last for 2 years. After 2 years, it will still function as a disinfectant, but can lose some effectiveness. The scent or fragrance of the product will start to diminish.

Multi-surface cleaners will last for about 2 years. Oddly enough, they don’t last as long if they contain any antibacterial ingredients. Those versions will only remain effective for one year.

Metal polish typically lasts for about 2 years. Before you apply it, you should take the time to check the consistency. Does it has clumps, lumps, or excess water? If so – throw it away!

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How to Organize Cleaning Products and Supplies

Posted on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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cleaning equipmentKeeping your cleaning products organized is a great way to save money. You won’t end up buying duplicate products because you couldn’t find the one you already had at home. Are you about to run out of something? Start searching for a coupon to use on your next purchase. Organizing your cleaning products and supplies is also a good way to cut down on clutter.

Pick a Storage Location
Where are you going to store all your cleaning products and supplies? Some people prefer to put things under the sink in the kitchen. It is a very convenient place to store all the cleaning products, and possibly some supplies (like dusters and rags). Others prefer to turn a closet into a storage space for cleaning products. Put in some shelves to hold cleaning products. Your brooms, mops, and vacuum can easily be stored in the closet.

Gather Some Bins
Small, easy to carry, plastic bins are great for sorting cleaning supplies. Label one bin “bathroom”. This is where to put toilet cleaner, bathroom cleaners, glass cleaners that you use on your shower doors or mirror, and other products that are only used in your bathroom.

Label another bin “kitchen”. This bin should hold oven cleaner, counter cleaner, sink cleaner, and “all purpose cleaners”. Toss in the rubber gloves that you use when you wash dishes. Collect up the detergents you use in your dishwasher. Put in a bottle of drain cleaner.

Another bin should be labeled “laundry”. This bin should hold laundry detergent, dryer sheets, stain removers, and anything else you typically use when you are doing the wash. Once you organize the bins, you can easily grab everything you need to clean a room in one trip.

Collect the Mops
There is a simple way to prevent your mops, brooms, Swiffer mops, and other similar cleaning supplies from cluttering up your storage space. All you need is a large bucket. Turn your mop upside down, and put it into the bucket. Do the same with your with your mops. Skinny steam mops might fit as well. This will free up so much space in your cleaning supply storage closet.

Another option is to mount a broom holder on a wall. You can stick a number of brooms and mops into it. Attach it to the wall in your cleaning supplies storage closet. Or, you could put it in a garage, laundry room, or wherever works for you.

Make a Note
Are you running low on a particular cleaning product? Often, we notice this as we are using it to clean something. Take a second and make a note about it. Go look for a coupon for that product. This will help you save money on your next purchase. It will also prevent you from buying duplicate products because you forgot which ones you needed.

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How to Get the Best Price on Cleaning Products

Posted on Thursday, February 20th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Twenty Dollar Bills in White Cleaning Bucket with latex glovesYou are all out of cleaning products and company is coming over tomorrow. We’ve all been in that situation! Nobody wants to spend a lot of money on the supplies that you need in order to clean your home. Here are a few simple tricks that will help you to get the best price on the cleaning products.

Shop the Dollar Stores
The bottle of window cleaner that you find at the dollar store is going to have the same ingredients as the name brand cleaner you usually buy from a department store or grocery store. Take a minute to compare the labels. Why spend more money than you have to on the exact, same, cleaning product?

Save Money at CVS
CVS is a pharmacy that also sells some groceries and household items. People who have the CVS Extra Care card can use the coupon dispensing machine at the CVS stores. You might be given some coupons for cleaning products. Shop there often enough, and you will earn some “extra bucks” that can be used just like a coupon. Or, you could get a coupon that takes a certain percentage off the total amount of your order. Use those coupons when you need to buy a lot of cleaning products.

Try the Store Brand
Many of us have a very limited amount of time that we can spend on shopping. You can’t really avoid shopping for groceries. As a result, a lot of people buy their cleaning products from the grocery store. Compare the ingredients in the name brand cleaning product with the ingredients in the store’s brand. They will probably be the same, but the store brand will cost less.

Get additional savings by loading digital coupons for cleaning products onto your loyalty card for that grocery store. Bring the price down even further by using some printable coupons for cleaning products.

Buy in Bulk
One way to knock down the price, on anything, is to buy it in bulk. Typically, the larger the package, the smaller the cost per unit, or per ounce, of that product. This isn’t always true, so you will need to do a little bit of math to check it out before you make a purchase.

Look at the smaller version of the cleaning product you want to buy. Note how many ounces it contains. Figure out what one ounce costs. (Sometimes, the shelf label will figure this out for you). Next, do the same for the biggest size of the same product. Which comes out cheaper? That’s the one to buy!

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Use Coupons to Save Money on Cleaning Products

Posted on Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Cleaning SuppliesEverybody loves to have a nice, clean, home. Not everyone enjoys actually cleaning it, though. It takes time, and energy. Having to spend a lot of money on cleaning products can feel like adding insult to injury. You can save money on cleaning products if you use some coupons.

You don’t have to go far to find some awesome coupons for cleaning products. Start right here at FreeCoupons.com and check out our printable grocery coupons. Here are are a few coupons for cleaning products that are available right now:

Scrubbing Bubbles: Save $1.00 on any Scrubbing Bubbles Mega Shower Foamer with Ultra Cling

All: Save $2.00 on any 2 All Laundry Detergents. This coupon is for the 24 load, or larger, sizes

Tide: Save $1.00 on any ONE Tide Plus Collection Detergent. This coupon excludes trial/travel sizes

Tide: Save $1.00 on any ONE Tide Ultra Stain Release Detergent. This coupon excludes trial/travel sizes

Tide: Save $1.00 on ONE Tide Washing Machine Cleaner. This coupon excludes the trial/travel sizes

Windex: Save $1.00 on any Windex Touch-Up Cleaner product

Spot Shot: Save $1.00 on Spot Shot Instant Carpet Stain & Odor Eliminator

Need more coupons? You can register with Arm & Hammer and gain access to tons of coupons for their cleaning products. Baking soda makes an excellent, frugal, cleaning product. They also have laundry detergents that use baking soda, and other kinds of cleaning products.

You can get coupons for cleaning products like Glade, Pledge, Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles, and more when you sign up for Right@Home. You will receive their monthly newsletter, which may have coupons in it. There are also some coupons on their website.

Green Works makes naturally derived cleaning products. Sign up to receive their free monthly newsletter. They will email you a coupon for $1.00 off any Green Works product.

Lysol has several coupon offers on their website. One category is coupons for new products. Another is for “Walmart Value Bundles” of coupons. The other one is for Lysol coupons that can be used anywhere. To access the coupons, you can sign up with your email address or through your Facebook account.

Soft Scrub has some coupons available on the “Special Offers” part of their website. To access the coupons, you must sign up to receive the Soft Scrub newsletter. You can also get exclusive Soft Scrub offers on Facebook. Visit the Soft Scrub Facebook page and click “like”.

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Simple Tips to Help You Organize a Suitcase

Posted on Thursday, February 13th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Travel suitcase packed for vacation with personal belongings. CoTraveling can be expensive. Packing for your trip can be a difficult task. Not everyone is skilled at making the most of the space in their suitcases. Here are some tips that can help you to organize a suitcase. Use these ideas to make your trip go a little bit better!

Plan Ahead
Don’t wait until the night before your vacation begins to start packing your suitcases. The time limit you place upon yourself will make packing into a frantic, anxious, experience. You are bound to forget some important item in your rush to get ready.

Instead, start a few days ahead of time. Make a list of all the things you need to take with you. Check off each item as you place it in your suitcase. This tip can help you avoid having to spend money on things you forgot to bring with you.

Roll your Clothing
If you want to maximize the space in your suitcase, you should roll your clothing instead of folding it. They will take up less space that way. Rolling your clothes also prevents wrinkles!

Secure the Small Items
Pick up a jewelry organizer that has zippered pockets and that can be rolled up. Put your shampoo, conditioner, makeup, and other grooming items in a clear, plastic, bag that can be sealed. There are special organizers made for that purpose, or you could just use a large, resealable, freezer bag.

You can easily see what is inside (and so can the TSA screeners who check luggage). If anything leaks, the plastic, sealed, bag should prevent it from spreading all over your clean clothing. Use sample sizes, instead of the larger versions, to save space and fit the rules of the airline you are traveling on.

Pack Light
Do not attempt to bring your entire closet of clothing with you. Instead, figure out what you really need. Vacations may require swimwear, sandals, and beach towels. Business trips could require suits and dress shoes. Avoid the temptation to pack clothing “just in case” you might need it. Consider washing your clothes while you are traveling. You can pack less clothing that way!

You can probably wear a pair of jeans more than once. Select soft clothing, like yoga pants or sweats, to wear on the plane. They can double as pajamas! Leave some extra space in your suitcase. You might want to buy some souvenirs.

Bring some Plastic Bags
Put shoes into plastic bags. This prevents the dirt on the shoes from getting on clean clothes. Put clothing that needs to be washed into a plastic bag to easily separate it from the clean ones. Wet swimwear can go in a plastic bag.

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How to Organize a Junk Drawer

Posted on Thursday, February 6th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Organized drawerOpen up your junk drawer, and you can easily see how it got it’s name! Everything that doesn’t have a specific place to go gets tossed in there. It doesn’t take long before your junk drawer is a big, cluttered, mess! Here are some tips to help you organize a junk drawer so you can find the things that are stored inside it.

Take out all the junk.
You cannot really organize a junk drawer while it is stuffed full of junk. Take everything out and put it on the floor or a nearby counter. When the junk drawer is finally empty, take a minute to clean the inside of it. Start fresh!

Toss out the garbage.
Junk drawers end up holding a lot of trash. Now is your chance to toss it out. Try each pen and marker to see if it still writes. If not, throw it away! Collect up all the old batteries that have been hidden away for years. Use a battery tester to see if the batteries hold a charge. Put the dead ones into a plastic bag and take them to Best Buy to be recycled. How old is the receipt you found? Now may be a good time to shred it.

Put like with like.
Sort out the remaining stuff that was once in the junk drawer. Put together objects that are similar. Gather up the pens and pencils. Put a rubber band around them to keep them from rolling all over the drawer. Make a pile of paperclips, another pile of rubber bands, and a third pile of thumb tacks.

Count the number of small pads of paper you have collected. If there are too many, you might want to take them to work and give them away. These are just a few suggestions. Adapt them to fit with whatever types of stuff you found in your junk drawer.

Compartments help keep things neat.
There is a really easy way to keep your junk drawer from turning into a mess again. Add some compartments for stuff to be stored in. Large junk drawers can hold a plastic silverware tray. Instead of holding knives and forks, it will hold pens and office supplies.

Smaller junk drawers can hold an ice cube tray. Put paper clips in one compartment, thumb tacks in another, and rubber bands in the next one. Ice cube trays can hold little matchbooks, twist ties, and other assorted things. It will be easy to find what you need now.

Keep the pattern.
Break yourself of the habit of throwing stuff into the junk drawer. Instead, put that paper clip with the rest of them. Add that pen to the bundle. Stick with the pattern that you have set up. This helps to reduce the amount of clutter that ends up in a junk drawer.

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Ways to Organize Your Books

Posted on Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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LibraryDo you have books scattered all over your house? Many of us do. Ideally, you are going to want to fit all of your books on shelves. There are several ways to organize your books. Find one that works for you. After that, it is just a matter of maintenance.

Gather all the books.
The first step in organizing your books is to gather all of them together. Pick up the loose ones that are scattered around the house. Take all the books off the shelves. It is helpful to know what, exactly, you have before you begin trying to organize your books. Remove all the clutter that is not a book but has somehow found its way to a shelf. Give the shelves a good dusting.

Make a “donate” box.
Get a large cardboard box. This is where you will put books that you are going to donate. It is a good idea to periodically “weed” your collection of books. You will find, over time, that some of your books no longer interest you. Collect those books into a box, and donate it to a local library. Another option is to bring the books to a used book store for trade-in credit.

Organize the books.
There is more than one way to organize books. Pick the one that you feel works best for you. Ideally, you want to come up with a way that allows you to easily find the book you are seeking. Here are some options:

* Alphabetical by the first letter of the author’s last name – A great choice for readers who think of the author first and then the title. This method also works well if you like to keep all of the books by the same author together on the bookshelf.

* Sorted by category – Split the books into two groups “fiction and “non-fiction”. For some people, that is sufficient. Others will want to break up those two big categories into smaller ones. Separate your books based upon the categories you have selected. Place them on the shelves in groups. It may help to add labels to your shelves to mark where each category starts and stops.

* Arrange by color – This will result in a bookshelf that resembles a work of art. Some people will find it difficult to locate books that are organized in this way.

Ideas for when you run out of space.
Do you use an ebook reader? One way to make more space on your bookshelves is to donate the physical books that you have an electronic copy of. Read the electronic version. Another option is to add more shelves. If you have room, you could add another bookshelf. If not, consider putting up more shelves on your walls near the ceiling.

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Tips for Organizing Toys

Posted on Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Child Playing with Toys (1)Tired of tripping over the clutter of toys in your child’s room? One way to clear the clutter is to find ways to organize the toys. Here are some tips for organizing toys that will prevent pieces from getting lost, move things out of the way, and make it easy to put back after playtime is over.

Over the Door Shoe Organizer
Shoe organizers that hang over the back of a door, and that have many see-through pockets, are great for organizing toys. Your child can see everything that is in each pocket. He or she may need to ask for help in order to reach some of the pockets. This is where to organize action figures, fashion dolls, small stuffed animals, and medium sized cars and trains.

Toy Hammocks
Running out of floor space? Try using a toy hammock. It is basically a large, mesh, “bag” that can be attached to the ceiling. Choose a corner that isn’t directly over your child’s bed (in case it falls down). Stuffed animals and dolls look great in a toy hammock. Let your child select one of two stuffies to sleep with. The rest can spend the night in the toy hammock.

Kitchen Canisters with Lids
You can find clear plastic kitchen canisters (that have lids) at thrift stores. Or, you may be able to repurpose some that you already own but are no longer using. Each canister will hold one kind of small toy. One canister can hold crayons, another can store LEGO pieces. Use a canister to hold small action figures or “army men”. It will be easy for your child to put the toys back into the canister when he or she is done playing with them.

Soap Cases and Zippered Pencil Bags
Mesh zippered pencil bags are perfect for holding puzzle pieces. Remove all the pieces from the box and store them in the pouch instead. Take a photo of the picture that is on the front of the box the puzzle came from and store the photo with the pieces. A decorative storage bin can hold all of the bags of puzzles.

Plastic soap cases, like the kind you might use when you are on vacation, can be repurposed. They are just the right size to hold decks of playing cards. Put the directions into the case along with the cards.

Repurposed Plastic Dish Pan
Take the plastic dish pan that you are no longer using and repurpose it as storage for children’s books. Put each book into the pan in an upright position. Face all the covers in the same direction. Your child can flip through his or her books and easily find the one they are looking for. It will be very easy for your child to put the book back after the story is over.

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Great Ways to Organize Shoes

Posted on Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Shoe RackIt is a good idea to take the time to organize your shoes. Doing so makes it a lot easier to find the pair you need. It also prevents damage being done to ones in the “shoe pile” that is cluttering up the bottom of your closet. Here are some great ways to organize your shoes.

Hang them on the Door
There is more than one type of shoe organizer that is designed to hang over the back of a door. That door could be the one for your closet or the one for your bedroom (depending on the space and type of closet door you have).

Shoe organizers that are consist of a series of pockets are an easy way to keep a pair of shoes together (and off the floor). There are also over the door racks that work well for shoes that have heels.

Make Storage into Art!
Do you have some very fancy high heeled shoes that you absolutely love? Why not display them in a way that makes them look like a work of art. Get some crown moulding and attach it to the wall over your closet door. (You may want to paint it first so it matches the room). Hang your favorite high heeled shoes over the crown moulding so that the toes hang down. Now, your best shoes are easy to find, off the floor, and displayed beautifully.

Repurpose a Bookshelf
Tired of the clutter of shoes that appear near your front door? Tuck them away in a small bookcase. Use an old, low to the ground, bookcase that has two shelves. Each pair of shoes can be placed on the shelf. This gets the shoes off the floor and prevents a “shoe pile”. It also makes them easy to grab before you dash out the door.

Use Clear Boxes
Clear, plastic, boxes are great for storing shoes. Put one pair of shoes into each box and close the lid. This prevents dust from gathering on the shoes. You can stack the boxes on top of each other, or place them in a row underneath your bed.

Take a photo of each pair of shoes before you store them away. Place the photo inside the front of the box. At a glance, you can find out which pair is in each box. You won’t even have to open the box to know what pair it holds.

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