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The Homebody

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Are you considering hiring a housecleaner? Well, first of all, congratulations! You’re about to have some much needed free time! Second of all, where do you even start with one? The idea of having a housecleaner can be new and uncharted territory for most, but don’t worry, it’s not that complicated. After all, your housecleaner is there to help take some of the work off your hands. Most would prefer you leave a list of tasks so they can manage their time accordingly, but what chores should you list? The most common go-to’s for housecleaners include dusting, mopping and wiping, but if you want to get really specific, and get the most out of your time, here’s are 4 other tasks your housecleaner could take on.

Start The Laundry

Ask your housecleaner to start a load of laundry. If they start with this one, they can work on other chores on your list while it’s running and take it out when it’s done! Why not kill two birds with one stone! If there’s time when the laundry machine is finished, do a second load!

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 10.47.09 AM
via WaterTech

Swap Your Sheets

Not only can your housecleaner make your bed, they can freshen it up with new sheets! Leave a clean set of sheets out for your housecleaner and get them to swap your sheets during the day! This is something that will pay off in satisfaction when you come home at the end of a long day and crawl into a fresh, clean bed.

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via The Huffington Post

Empty Garbage

One task that everyone procrastinates doing is taking out the garbage. Let your housecleaner know in your note that you’d like them to change the garbage. Make sure to let them know where they can put the trash too, and if sorting options like compost and recycling are available. This is something more practical than simply wiping down the kitchen counters, and will take this irritating chore off your list!

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 10.53.58 AMvia Reader’s Digest

Clean Out The Fridge

Lastly, fridges are always in need of a good wipe-down. This is a chore that not many people have time to do but when done, can make a big difference. Cut down on duplicates, expired food and wipe the shelves. Rid your fridge of any odours or spills, replace the baking soda or ground coffee beans that are keeping the shelves fresh, and enjoy the cleanliness!

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 10.57.13 AM
via Today Show

 

A housecleaner can really be a great addition to anyone’s busy life. Want to enjoy a clean house without doing the cleaning?

Use coupon code BLOG10 to get $10 off your first booking with AskforTask!

Living room décor should reflect the personal style of its inhabitants. This can range from cozy and comfy with earthy tones, bright and cheerful with vibrant hues, or rich and textured layers of character. But no matter how carefully you decorated your living room initially, it’ll start looking shabby in a couple years without proper maintenance and upgrade. Here are 5 quick tips on how to freshen up your living room without breaking the bank or throwing everything out for new furniture!

Brighten Your Wall

Add instant liveliness to the room by painting a wall with a poppy accent or switching the color of an already-painted wall to a new trending tone. Elevate your wall by experimenting with textures, geometric shapes and patterns to create depth and style.  

Be Bold With Print

Use well-curated bold accents like animal print cushions, rugs with asymmetric patterns or bold table pieces to add contrast to an otherwise monotonous or monotone room. If you want to invest in something more seasonal, add colorful art to your walls for a touch of visual, on-trend counterpoint.

Deliver Couch Appeal

Give your couch a look by switching its cover with the season. It’ll add character and provide the look of “instant renovation”. For smaller piece options, acquire a luxurious new throw, or fluffy cushions for the sofa. Whatever you do, make sure your couch is an accurate reflection of your lounging best self, whether that be monochrome minimalist, vain and luxe, or wine and leather!

Draw a Silver Lining

For a sleek new look, bring in metallic elements to the room.This  can come in the form of cool mirrors on the wall, chic silver bowls on the coffee table, and fancy aluminum vases besides the couch. Although we said silver, we mean any tone on the metal spectrum, including copper, brass, matte black metals and mirrors!

Arrange For Symmetry

If your feel your living room looks cluttered or untidy, try arranging the furniture in a symmetric pattern to give a sense of organization and balance to the room. Simply rearranging your current assets can  greatly affect the outlook of the space as a whole!

 

Hope you’re itchy to give your living room a brand new look, we know we are! Time to start that Pinterest board, and head out just in time for all those holiday deals!

Today we’re sharing about one of Toronto’s amazing sharing spots: the Toronto Tool Library and Sharing Depot!

The Toronto Tool Library has two locations, located in St. Clair West and on Spadina in the new CSI space! The Spadina location is also home to the TTL’s makerspace that hosts different kinds of workshops involving the use of special tools such as woodworking or sewing equipment. If you’re a regular homebody who pulls out their tools once in a blue moon to drill a new hole in the wall for shelving or pictures, you might want to consider investing in a membership at this amazing place.

Tool libraries work almost exactly like a normal library, except for an annual membership fee which goes towards buying new tools and maintaining the space. This library loans specialized tools to people with any range of experience — from those looking to use a power drill for simple assembly to a professional who may want to hone their skills — while simultaneously building and reconnecting communities to each other.

The wonderful benefit of this collaborative community is that users do not have to go out and buy expensive tools that they may use only a handful of times. This library is also very useful for those studying in certain trades that require the use of items that are relatively pricey.

The Toronto Tool library is not just home to all kinds of tools for home improvement, but also to seasonal equipment such as camping gear, toys, games, and event supplies. With a membership, you can greatly reduce the amount of purchasing and replacing you do on an annual basis.

It’s a smart concept: tools are an integral part of society, much like books. A power drill is used for an average of just 12-13 minutes in its lifetime in a private household! It only makes sense to rent because access is really what matters as opposed to ownership.

You’ll reduce clutter in your apartment, contribute to a community space and reduce your carbon footprint. Joining the Toronto Tool Library is an eco-friendly, cost-efficient habit to build into your life!

As the temperatures dip, it’s looking more and more like curl-up-on-the-couch-with-hot-chocolate weather. Chores will be chores though. You’ll still have to haul yourself out of your comfortable potato position to tackle basic cleaning. We have a tip for getting around that: Read some books about cleaning … say maybe five. They’re sort of the same thing right?

Simply Clean: The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day

“If I’ve learned anything, it’s that a schedule will never be perfect forever…”

Written by Becky Rapinchuk, the blogger behind the Clean Mama brand, Simply Clean breaks your cleaning down into micro-bites of maintenance that accommodate for a variety of schedules and personality types. The key here is to learn new ways of thinking about task management and time constraints that will effectively contain cleaning tasks instead of allowing the burden of the clean to overrun your whole life! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, this might be a great resource.

The Housekeeping Handyguide

“The only thing that is worse than living in a house full of clutter is most probably the task of cleaning it.”

This e-book is a speed read for anybody looking to get a quick masterclass on how to tackle the deep clean. Daria Foster walks you through the process step-by-step in easy-to-read, intuitive language. Cleaning is definitely an art, and some people are just better than it than others. If you’re someone who finds cleaning an inscrutable process, and need a little clarity, Daria Foster is here for you.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”

No list would be complete without Marie Kondō’s trendsetting, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Effective and thought-provoking for some, useless and redundant for others, this book has been sparking endless conversations about our relationship with things, which is kind of the point anyway. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking read as a precursor to the thankless task of cleaning, you might want to pick this one up. 

The Complete Book of Home Organization: 200+ Tips and Projects

“Balance, not perfection, is the key to a happy home.

If you are handy and love interior design, Toni Hammersley’s The Complete Book of Home Organization might be a great year-long exploration for you. Additionally, the thoughtful and beautiful photos will motivate you to make room in your house. More than offering the basics of home organization, Hammersley transforms the process into an aesthetic and creative adventure that will satisfy the Pinterest itch in you!

The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify

“…finding ways to “enjoy without owning” is one of the keys to having a minimalist home.”

Written by Francine Jay, this book is a celebration of minimalists everywhere! If you’re finding yourself deeply unhappy amidst the clutter of your personal space, you may want to consider practicing a new outlook toward life – one that involves less things. In the flow of a busy work life, your home might need a bit of simplicity.

 

Well now you have it. You can put off your chores for another five books about cleaning in the name of consultations. You’ll even come out on the other end more cleaning-savvy than ever! Enjoy! Have a pumpkin spice latte after the hot chocolate is finished. If you’re reluctant to emerge from the couch, no worries. Here’s $10 off on us: enter BLOG10 off your first AskforTask order!

**This is a guest post**

Unfortunately, summer has to come to an end. On the bright side, it’s an excuse to make some space in your closet and pull out those delicious knits by packing away your summer clothes. An important thing to consider is how to store your garments, as the last thing you want is to take them out and find they have moth holes, have yellowed, or smell damp. If you’re in doubt, no worries. Just follow the tips below to ensure your clothes fresh and safe this cold season and they’ll definitely make it to next spring!

Wash And Dry Your Clothes

It might seem silly to wash your clothes only to then pack them away for the fall but can you imagine opening your vacuum bag 6 months later to the smell of sweaty clothes? Before packing away your garments, wash them and ensure they are completely dry before ironing them. Cleaning your clothes is important so that when you unpack them, they will still smell fresh and will be ready to wear.

Clean Your Closet

Vacuum and wipe down your closets to ensure they’re clean before storing your clothes. Dirt and dust attract moths and vermin, which can find their way into your shelves and subsequently, your clothing. Vacuum and clean the carpet before completing your packing as it’s is also a good way to avoid an invasion of the little creatures.

Protect Your Clothes Against Moths

Moths can ruin your clothes, so it’s best to take preventive measures. Most people think mothballs are the answer but they can actually do more harm than good as they can be unsafe for children and pets. Cedar is a natural moth repellent; you can buy cedar balls, blocks or even oil diffusers and keep them in your vacuum bags. To keep your garments smelling fresh, add some dryer sheets or lavender — also a natural repellent. You can tuck some lavender into a cotton pouch to seal in with your clothes.

Buy Vacuum Pack Bags

The beauty of vacuum bags is that they take up less space and they’re a cheap solution. You’ll be saving space, money and your sanity. Spend less time trying to figure out how many boxes and bags you’ll need for your clothes.  Word of warning: it’s probably best not to pack your expensive or sentimental pieces of clothing in them, since you don’t want to run the risk of damaging them. It’s best not store your clothes in these bags for extensive periods of time as they can damage the material due to how tightly packed they are.

Store Your Clothes In A Safe Environment

Plastic bags can contain chemicals, which can damage sensitive items over a period of time and they won’t be as secure as a vacuum bag. There’s also the chance of the bag becoming damp, which can yellow your clothing and ruin the material. Store your clothes in a cool, dry and dark place. Mildew can start growing within 48 hours which makes it extra important that they’re kept away from any kind of moisture.

Avoid Cardboard Boxes

When it comes to packing, moving and storing, most of us instantly think about cardboard boxes as a solution. They might be useful for moving house but it’s a bad idea to store your clothes in them for long periods of time. Cardboard can be chewed easily, so rats, mice and cockroaches can infiltrate the box, a nightmare in the making. There’s more chance of mold setting in too, as cardboard gets damp.

Take A Sneak Peak

Since you’re storing your clothes for months check on them at least once, to ensure they’re still in good condition. In case anything has gone wrong, you’ll have enough time to resolve the issue. If you’re travelling, don’t forget about your clothes. Ask someone else to check on them.

Storing your summer clothes makes more space in your wardrobe and will keep them fresh and in good condition, until it’s time to wear them again. By following a few basic rules, keep your clothes fresh and new for when you unpack them next year.

 

 

Tony Kantzavelos is the owner of Love Your Dress., specializing in dress cleaning, alterations, and repairs since 1986. He appreciates a tailor-made dress the most and loves sharing tips for customizing and taking care of almost any kind of dress.

Photos from Pexels and Unsplash.

It is a chore in itself to make room in the closet for all the latest purchases. No matter how big your space is, it’s somehow never enough to store all the essentials in an organized, easy-to-reach, clutter-free way! If you’re looking to give your closet some semblance of a chaos-free look, here are some of our favourite space-saving hacks for your closet that might just be able to do the trick, AND on a budget too!

Soda Can Tabs

This is our all-time favorite hack! Not only does it gives you a reason to chug down a soda can just in the name of reusing the tab, it’s such a simple and intuitive method! A chain of these tabs will allow you to hang multiple hangers in a single spot. It works especially well with T-shirts and tops that aren’t too long and can afford to cascade.

Wine Boxes


See the trend here? Here’s a completely valid reason to buy wine in bulk: use the boxes afterward to store shoes! You can store these boxes under your bed in a linear fashion so that all you have to do is lift up your bedspread to access your shoe collection, or keep them in the shoe closet in the hallway to maximize space. You can also cover the boxes in pretty wrapping paper or other coverings and integrate them seamlessly into your room decor.

Hanging Rods

Optimized-hanging shoes

There’s always some leftover space at the boom of your hanging closet. Utilize that space to store seasonal shoes like flats and flip flops. Mount a rod, and get some wire hangers and voila! Now you have shoe hangers for days.

 Shower Curtain Rings

Who knew that shower curtain rings would be able to hang other kinds of fabric as well? Simply slip the rings onto a sturdy hanger to build your very own scarf holder. Now those pesky scarves won’t be lying all over the place.

Drawers

tshirts in drawers

If you have deep drawers, then fold your T-shirts and place them longitudinally, or in neatly rolled bundles in your drawer. This provides clear access and also offers visibility to all your tees. You can also color code them if a gradient drawer makes you particularly happy!

Picture FramesOptimized-shoe-storage-ideas-use-a-photo-frame-to-hold-and-store-kids-shoes-Justine-Taylor

Shoes, shoes, shoes. The greatest clutter of them all. If you don’t want vertical storage, here’s a way to build a simple slide0out. Simply arrange all the shoes into an old picture frame and store it under the bed or the couch.

Bathroom Furniture

 

It’s a never-ending debate on how to store your jewelry. If you’re looking for a way to have them all on display, and easily accessible, use any unused towel hangers and S-hooks to hang all your jewelry by mounting them to the back of your closet door.

Drawstrings 

Don’t hang your handbags, as they’ll warp the handles! Instead, store your handbags in drawstring dust bags and hang these dust bags on S-hooks or other storage configurations (soda tab cascade?). Additionally, make sure to stuff your handbags with plastic or bubble wrap so they hold their shape.

 

Love these hacks for your closet? So do we! What other closet hacks do you use?

Fall is just around the corner and a new wave of interior design trends are arriving with it! This fall, we at AskforTask have an eye out for the most prominent trends in home living! If you’re looking to update or liven up your home spaces, consider flipping your decorations to match the cooler climates and wintry festivities that are on their way, look no further. Catch these 5 design trends that are sure to elevate your living spaces, and satisfy your aesthetic home living itch!

Pink Is In

image of pink couch in a living room with pink walls
Courtesy of Marks and Spencer

Think of russets and woody darks! Maple Autumn cabinets and tables! The pink craze continues but deepens and ages to match the autumnal vibes. Deep pinks are available for high-pile rugs, couch cushions, orange-red hued wood cabinets and tables, and available as accented prints as well!

We’ve Got The Navy Blues

image of blue couch against a grey wall and a corner table with a vase of yellow flowers and blue book

Navy bue is timeless and classy, but they’re on the upsurge this season, used for wallpapering or as primary monochromes on large pieces of furniture like couches. Navy blue is also a great accent against other tones, and can be used with gold, browns, greys and whites!

Stay Wicker(d)

dining table with wicker tray in the middle

Woven wood is here to stay, as we continue to see an increased celebration of handmade, traditional but elevated. Watch for rattan, wicker and other textural weaves incorporated into kitchen and storage pieces, dining furniture and coffee table pieces!

Hold On To Your Prints

dynamic green plant and hyacinth flower wallpaper
Courtesy of Cole & Son

Prints continue dominating this year with oversized floral decals, and lush wallpapers and green prints. If you’re looking for something more stripped down, the Scandinavian trend has also taken on print by working in understated patterns into pillow covers, and monochromatic rug options for your bedrooms or under the coffee tables.

Drown in Lush

lush velvet green couch against moss green painted wall
Courtesy of Heal’s

As the temperatures drop, burrow into woolly knits, plushy carpets and pillows. Velvet textures are taking over interior design and merging into matte and shine hybrid pieces that feel rich and soft. Up your luxe game with some simple throw pillows, or a throw over for your couch in this curl and cuddle stay-in season.

Welcome the fall-winter season with a little decor upgrade! Hop onto any of these 2018 interior design trends to elevate your living space and make your home life a little more aesthetic and comfortable! If you need help moving furniture or getting your space spiffed up, use BLOG10 to get $10 off your first task with AskforTask!

 

We at AskforTask know that motivation for cleaning is hard. We are here to turn that ritual cleaning session into an enjoyable experience. Before you get your handy rubber gloves on or roll up your regular cleaning plants, make sure to do these three things, and house cleaning won’t seem like such a chore.

Get Your Morning Cuppa And Make A List

Not everyone has the natural energy to just jump out of bed and get to cleaning, because honestly, who wants to clean on their time off. Just like waking up in the morning, it takes work. We recommend starting the day with a coffee, tea or smoothie break that can energize you and set the right mood and tone for the hard (but gratifying) work you’re about to do! While taking little sips of your beverage of choice, make a checklist of tasks you want to accomplish for the day. Going through a tangible set of to-dos where you can check things off makes cleaning that much more rewarding!

Set A Timeline and A Reward

Maybe you want to light a scented candle while you’re goal setting. Maybe you want to save that scented candle for when you’re done and relaxing in the tub. Either way, set yourself a timeline of when to finish cleaning for the day, and give yourself an incentive to get there. Reward yourself with a nicer dinner, watch that movie you’ve been meaning to watch, crack open a new book. Whatever it is, treating yourself after a job well done will motivate you to do the job, and to do it well.

Turn On This Cleaning Playlist

Yes, at AskforTask we go the extra mile for you. With that list ready, your timeline and incentive set, it’s time to choose your epic soundtrack. If you’re a connoisseur and already have your own tunes, go for it. For everyone else, we’ve compiled a two-hour playlist of groovy tunes you can shake your hips to while vacuuming or karaoke to while folding that endless pile of laundry. May the beats give you motivation when you feel like the cleaning is neverending, and celebrate with you when you’ve washed that last pillowcase. You’re welcome.

If you need a boost on how to begin your deep clean. Check out this post on how to successfully declutter or how to use vinegar as a cleaning agent for almost anything!

A little greenery goes a long way in feeling relaxed and rested, especially if you’re worn down from the Monday to Friday 9-5 plus overtime. Houseplants have become increasingly popular over the last few years for many, and Instagram inspiration lush with in-house vegetation has only fuelled more green thumb aspirations. If you’re someone looking to buy a first pot, or looking to add a new plant to your collection of 15 houseplants, this list of 10 ideal houseplants should cover all of your needs!

Plants

Pothos

Pothos are a beautiful leafy vine that are wonderful beginner plants for new plant owners. Not only are they easy to care for and low light tolerant, but they are hardy and durable as well, needing a moderate amount of water, and fertilizer only twice a year. Additionally, pothos are known to top choices for indoor growing as they absorb indoor air toxins and improve the air quality of your house. A beautiful, tough plant that keeps on giving!

Parlour Palm

A small palm with green, slender leaves, the parlour palm is a tree native to tropical regions such as Mexico and Guatemala! They are great indoor plants that thrive in low light conditions, and do well in smaller spaces. Parlour palm plants should be grown together as a cluster in a single container as they look better nestled together, with their leaves branching out. It’s great for a wall or shelf corner!

Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo are not actually bamboo, but a plant called dracaena, and used often as part of feng shui designs, and gifted to bring luck. They do well in sunlight but will grow more slowly in the shade, and are often grown in water and pebbles. Just change the water regularly and make sure to rotate the plant so that it’s receiving light evenly and you’ll have a happy lucky bamboo, and maybe some extra luck!

Snake Plants

Snake plants have a reputation for thriving on neglect, and maintain a vibrancy with their structured leaves and rich colouring. They are low maintenance plants that can withstand a drafty winter, and have few insect problems. If you’re looking for a house plant that is an independent roommate, a snake plant might be your best option.

Tillandsia

Tillandsia are also called air plants and grow attached to rock surfaces. This means they need no soil and can live practically anywhere in the house. This gives them a versatility to be decorative on your shelves and as table pieces without any mess. They are also extremely difficult to kill, and require only a bit of committed care once every 1.5 weeks. Run the base of the plant under water for a while and leave out to dry completely before returning the plant to its perch.

AskforTask Design Tips:

  1. Maximize your wall space by installing vertical wall planters  for smaller options like air plants

  2. Install hangers for vine plants like pothos to create different draping lines

Herbs

Mint

A staple herb in so many recipes, mint comes in many different types and all are fragrant in their own way. Besides giving off a wonderful scent, they are fast growing and can be harvested regularly for your daily mojito, iced tea, lemonade or salad! Mint plants do best in partial shade and should be grown in containers.

Basil

Basil is another popular herb that can be used fresh for dishes or dried for a different form of seasoning. Basil plants prefer sunlight and warmer temperatures and need to be watered often in the hot weather so that they don’t dry out. When grown indoors, they are also fragrant enough to be eaten right off the plant!

Lavender

Besides its strong aesthetic contribution, lavender is known to be a relaxer. Growing lavender in your home can infuse your home with a fresh, calming scent, and provide a wonderful pop of colour. They are plants that like the sunlight and will do best near windows, and with a minimal amount of watering.

Parsley

Parsley are slow growers so expect to be patient with these little herb plants. But what they lack in speed, they make up for in convenience. They are easy to start from seed and can deal with the cold, making them a great first time herb to try. They are wonderful garnishes for dishes and also for soups!

Thyme

Thyme is a twiggy herb that’s easy to maintain and can be harvested abundantly all summer. Their leaves and sprigs can be used fresh or dried for different culinary purposes and can also be burned to get rid of annoying insects in the house.

AskforTask Declutter Tips:

  1. Use old biscuit or tea tins as plant potters, just make sure there’s a generous layer of rock under the dirt for drainage purposes!

  2. Repurpose chipped cups or bowls, or old kitchen appliances for planting seedlings or for nurturing herbs in your kitchen

Have a tiny little bedroom and trying to make storage work while pursuing the minimalist aesthetic saturating your social media feeds? Umbra has your back. Umbra’s functional and minimalist furniture and decor offer a variety of custom options for the aspiring tiny bedroom designer. We’ve cooked up 5 design tricks to organize your tiny bedroom space better with Umbra pieces! With these little upgrades, you’ll never suffer from Instagram envy ever again.

1. Minimize Bedside Clutter

We all need some bedside space to place essentials, like a charging phone, a book, glasses or hair ties, and other miscellaneous things we seem to need.

Introducing the Umbra Hammock, a multi-functional organizer that can go on the wall or on a bedside table. When wall mounted, you can hang keys, scarves or handkerchiefs along the bottom wire as well. A small clip-on lamp can be added to make this organizer all the beside space you need! 

2. Float Your Books

Bookshelves are a quintessential cozy factor in bedrooms. We all want to have a few of our favourite or inspirational reads on hand for when we need to unwind, or need to a kick in the pants.

With Umbra Conceal bookshelves, you can literally deconstruct your bookshelf and stack them on the wall. Achieve the floating book look, create a sleek or funky wall design, and potentially add trinkets on top of your books to integrate them into a larger design.

3. Consolidate Your To-Dos

The key to organizing a small space is using all of the space you have. That means you have to go high with your organization. Declutter the space at eye level by moving all your papers and to-do lists up to a designated spot.

The Umbra Trigon Bulletin board is a sleek addition to the wall, which you can pin or magnet your loose papers to. Get creative with organizing and intersperse your notes with memorabilia like photograph and postcards to create a contained collage as a colourful counterpoint in your space!

4. Maximize Storage Options

Tiny bedrooms come with tiny closets, and tiny closets often mean your clothing spills over in piles all over your room. To be honest, it doesn’t matter how big your closet is, storage is always going to be an issue.

We were torn up over the many options so we’re offering two Umbra remedies.

The Umbra Stash is a hanger slip-on that allows you to keep those pesky small pieces like scarves, gloves, hats and socks on a hanger, underneath larger pieces of clothing. It’s genius!

The Umbra Estique is a multi-functional series of hooks you can attach to the back of your door. Think space for your bags, oft-used jackets, belts, scarves, and hats. The possibilities are endless! The wooden balled hooks prevent any rogue hooks from destroying your more delicate pieces. 

5. Seek Out Multi-Functionality

In a small space you should be doubling up! Everything has to have a practical place and function, or maybe even two. This way you cut down on the number of furniture pieces you have, but maintain the same degree of utility with what you have!

A perfect example is the Umbra Magino Stoolwhich can be a stool seat, a side table, and a magazine organizer as well! The clear aesthetic is right on trend this year as well, so you’ll have a multi-functional piece that’s hot design!

Want to try one of these ideas but don’t have the time or tools? AskforTask has someone ready to do it for you! Use coupon code BLOG10 to get $10 off your first booking!

“How did I accumulate so much stuff?” said everybody ever.

Are you constantly considering downsizing, tired of cleaning all the time, deciding to clear out that spare room or just missing the days when sunlight hit a patch of bare floor or wall? You might have a clutter monster living in your house.

Yes, the thought of it can be overwhelming. All this stuff to sort through! But don’t fret! We are here to help. Take a deep breath, change into some comfortable clothing and follow these 9 simple steps to successfully declutter your way into a less complicated life.

1. Avoid Tackling the Whole House

If you’ve never read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizingthe first step comes down to tackling your clutter bit by bit. Kondo’s recommendation is to begin in categories, instead of in sections of the house. This allows you to focus on just one type of thing. Begin with things of least emotional value: clothing, kitchenware, cleaning tools.

2. Try the Four Box Method

Sometimes a “yes” or “no” is too difficult for items with emotional attachment or nostalgia. Try using these four categories instead: “Trash”, “Give Away”, “Storage”, “Put Away”. Sorting your items into four categories gives you more room to consider the value of each item, and declutter with less emotional turmoil. Maybe there are things you want to keep but don’t need to use. Pop that in storage and have a box for memorabilia neatly tucked away.

3. Lose An Item A Day

If tidying all at once is too daunting for you, try a simple method of getting rid of one item every day for a whole year! Here’s Max Wong’s play by play on decluttering by removing just one (or ten) items daily. Are you the competitive type that works well with an adrenaline rush? Set a timer for yourself and race to clock to meet your daily quota of things to throw out! Who told you decluttering was all gloom and misery?

4. Everything Has A Home 

Think about where everything goes. All items in your home should have permanent spaces of their own. This way, after use, you know there’s a place to return it to, and it doesn’t end up piled high on the kitchen counter amongst all the other things that also don’t have homes. You could even zone your storage spaces so that even new purchases have spaces to go to right away. Now everyone and everything in your home will be right at home!

5. Optimize Your Space

Consider whether or not your closet and storage areas are being used to their maximum potential. Apartment Therapy has some pretty amazing suggestions for elevating your bedroom closet to new organizing levels! One of our favourite upgrades is simply to switch out your closet seasonally and leave all those bulky winter coats and scarves in storage until the temperature starts to dip!

6. Try the 10 x 10 Challenge

Is clothing your weakness? Are you the type with shoes stacked on shoes and the same top in 5 different slight variations? Here’s a fun declutter challenge. Pick 10 items from your closet and style them differently over the next 10 days. Have fun with it! You’ll also be building awareness of just how far your wardrobe can already go, so that the next time the itch to shop comes around, it might be easier to resist.

7. Garage Sale, Swap, Or Sell Online

It’s now summer season which means garage sales will be popping up like dandelions everywhere. Swap season and flea markets are also in full swing. All these are really fun options for your “Give Away” box and you could make a bit of extra cash on the side too! Plan a few weeks ahead, put up signs in your neighborhood to advertise, or do some research on upcoming swap events in the city. Ever heard of Bunz?

8. Give To Someone In Need

Do some research on local charities in the area, secondhand and thrift stores and even prison book programs, and donate your relevant unwanted items to them. Make sure to double check the lists of requirements for things they accept, and that what you are donating is in good condition.

9. Bring In A Pro!

Hire a friendly and professional Tasker from AskforTask to help you declutter your room. This does not have to be a dreaded task or a lonely one! Sometimes, it’s more fun to do it with a helping hand.

Request a Tasker here!

A new family member is on the way! Congratulations! Your comfortable, adult-friendly home is now a danger zone for the new little human. Baby-proofing for the first time can be difficult. It’s not easy for us to catch all the potential areas that might be unsafe for a baby. AskforTask has broken it down for you so you can cover all your bases!

Install Cabinet and Drawer Latches

Cabinets are important when Baby-Proofing your home

We’ve all heard stories of children getting into medicinal cabinets and cleaning cupboards or slamming doors on themselves. When you have an inquisitive toddler, the whole house is an accident waiting to happen! A simple way to avoid a multitude of problems is to have cabinet and drawer latches installed. Pick from a range of lock and latch types, including magnetic, spring release, adhesive mounts, and slide locks.

Secure All Toilet Lids

Baby-proofing a toilet is important

Drowning is a large cause of child deaths, and can happen in the blink of an eye. Sources of still water should be safely secured to prevent any potential exploration. Keep your terrible top-heavy twos out of the toilet with these simple-to-install adhesive toilet locks! If you like orderliness, and want to prevent an accidental TP-ing, here’s a tutorial to baby proof your toilet paper rolls too!

Lock the Door

Baby-Proofing a door is important

A door can seem innocent but is full of edges, corners and hinges that your child could get hurt from. Install a door top lock to prevent your baby from messing with a doorknob install, and keep doors safely shut! Alternatively, install baby gates to prevent your child from accessing areas of the house that are out of sight.

Secure Furniture to the Walls

Baby-Proofing Furniture

Toddlers can turn into little monkeys. They will crawl and climb everywhere, using anything for limb support. We’ve all heard stories of dressers toppling over onto active children, securing the furniture to the wall is a simple step to prevent what could be a huge tragedy. Here’s a comprehensive list of 6 tips to prevent furniture tip-overs!

Wedge Your Window

Baby-Proofing Windows

A window wedge is a must-have for those who love fresh air flowing through the house. The wedge fits between the window and the window frame to prevent accidental closing, and also prevent your child from attempting to shut them. Let the sun shine through those safely secured window frames!

Hire a Tasker

Tasker to Baby-Proof

Hire a tasker to handle the baby-proofing activities for you so you can spend more time with your children. Hiring a professional also means that you can be confident that your home will be safe and secure for your child, and modified in safe and professional ways.

Whether you choose to go DIY or hire a professional, rest assured that your home will be 100% baby safe and one step away from the general chaos that a young toddler can bring. You might even be able to host a play-date or two!

IKEA furniture building can be tedious, however it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are 6 tips for getting your furniture to look as good in your home as it does in the store.

Always Be Prepared

Workspace to build your Ikea Furniture

First thing’s first, prepare an empty and clean work area for you to assemble the furniture, so when you come home, you don’t have to worry about that part. You’re going to want to give yourself some room, like double the space, so make sure that this area is at least twice the size of the assembled item. Once the space is created, you should then cover this area with a drop cloth and carefully place all the furniture’s components down.

Read the Instructions

Instructions for Building Ikea Furniture

This step seems redundant, but it is not. Most people glance at the instructions, casually, only to figure out later that what they thought they were doing right was actually wrong. Make sure you understand the instructions with 100% confidence before attempting the furniture assembly. As you go through these instructions, gather all the components that you will assemble together. I.e. the tools required, etc. Once you have all your parts, it is now time to assemble.

Use Your Own Tools

Tools to build your Ikea Furniture

IKEA furniture often comes with hex keys, and you use them to screw the components together. But anyone who’s ever used them knows how difficult they can be. This difficulty can lead to frustration and mistakes. In order to help you on your Ikea building journey, your own tools will improve everything immensely.  You can buy an affordable power screwdriver and hammer at a low cost, that will be worth your while. Worx sells everything you need, plus additional bits, depending on the furniture you’re assembling.

Use A Little Glue

Glue to help build your Ikea furniture

IKEA furniture often has a tendency to wobble. You can fix this by applying a small amount of quality glue to the ends of the dowels. If you are connecting wood or metal, a good glue to use is White Gorilla Glue, and if you are connecting other types of surfaces, you should try Gorilla Construction Adhesive. These glues are good because not only are they strong, but they also expand as they dry, which will help alleviate the wobbling.

Use a Leveling App

Levelling App for Ikea Furniture

Levelling can sometimes be a pain with IKEA furniture, however, you can easily solve this problem by using your smartphone. Both iPhones and Android devices have levelling apps that will let you know if a surface is uneven, and they will also indicate how to correctly use it. With iPhones and other iOS devices, this function comes with the built-in Compass app. To access this feature, load the app and swipe the screen toward the left. If you have an Android device, download the free Bubble Level app. A similar app is available as well for iOS. Once you’ve loaded the app, simply lay the device on the surface and level away.

Hire an Assembler

Handyman to help you build your Ikea Furniture

Let’s face it: assembling IKEA furniture is not exactly fun. It can be tedious and boring, and it requires lots of attention to detail. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it yourself. There are many highly skilled AskforTask handyman available in your area who can assemble your IKEA furniture quickly and  correctly. They will make sure that it looks and functions exactly how it did in the store. Best of all, these services are surprisingly affordable.

Hope these steps help you on your next trip to IKEA. If you’ve built all your furniture, but want to elevate it to the next level, check out our post on how to customize your IKEA furniture! Good luck! and happy building!

Spring has FINALLY descended upon us, offering its good graces and we’re so excited! What is it about this season that makes us want to clean? Perhaps its the need to dust off the dreary winter, or just that fresh breeze that puts us in the mood for something new. As they say, out with the old and to the mall we go! If you’re looking to jumpstart your annual spring clean, here are 5 simple tasks that will feel like your home just went through a complete revamp!

Clean That Carpet

Carpets are hothouses for musty odours, dust, random food scraps, stains and everything else you have tracked in with your feet, and can be pretty gross and unhygenic with all that bacteria. Take them for a clean, either professionally or DIY, your carpets will look brand new, and you might find yourself having less sniffles in the early morning and late at night!

Clean Your Appliances

Clean your kitchen vents. Wipe down the washing machine. Scrub the fridge. Dust out the bathroom air vents. Replace those furnace filters! What better way to bring spring in than to actually clear the airways of all the dust, and your appliances with all the stains collected throughout the winter months?

Purge Your Closet

Is there anything more thrilling than getting rid of stuff you don’t need anymore? As the old saying goes “when in doubt, throw it out”. We could not agree more. Time to stop playing packrat and donate everything of limited keepsake value. Old toys, clothes and games need to be cleaned out and replaced. Trust us, the feeling after you get rid of stuff you no longer need, is thrilling and look, now you even can go shopping. Rinse, recycle and repeat, just so long as you don’t forget to purge.

Preserve Your Furniture

Furniture preservation might seem a bit excessive, but honestly it makes such a difference. A good polish or wax will really elevate the appearance of your furniture and combat wear and tear. If you have furniture that is more particleboard than real wood, use glue to reinforce the joints and backing to give it another few years of life. Use construction adhesive or polyurethane glue on particle board, and wood glue if you are working with real wood. Don’t forget to varnish, and remember, coasters!

Refresh Your Interior

Interior is everything when you walk into your home. So why not give that a spruce as well? Paint is chipping? Time for  color update! Floors looking dull? Give it a good polish! Curtains need to flow with the spring breeze? Switch your winter set for a fresh translucent set.
AskforTask Design Tip: If you have a small space, use light colours like an off-white with clever contrasts to make it look bigger than it is.
As always, AskforTask is here to help. Whether you hire a cleaner to help freshen your place up, or a handyman to preserve your furniture, we are here for you!

New clients can use BLOG10 for $10 off their first task.

As it has been said, baking soda is every homebody’s best friend. Already famous as a useful cleaning solution, it only makes sense that adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to your laundry would improve your clothes and linens! We all know that baking soda has magical cleaning powers but adding it to your laundry in addition to your regular detergent can make your items whiter, brighter and fresher! Here’s how…

1. Neutralizer

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Acid spills can come from many things. Sometimes, placing them in the washing machine without treating them will just render them permanent in your clothing. Before you throw your clothes into the machine, consider sprinkling the stain with baking soda to prevent further damage.

2. Stain Remover

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Baking soda is a great way to remove stains and brighten fabrics. For items like aged linens, adding 1/2 cup to the washer can whiten and brighten and even reverse damage from older stains.

3. Fabric Softener Replacement

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Fabric softeners can be used to naturally soften your clothes. A little bit of baking soda is a much better option if people you live with have sensitivities to chemicals in the laundry. All natural and just as effective!

4. Remove Odors

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Finally, baking soda is a great deodorizer. You’ll find that smells will disappear when you use bleach in your laundry cycle. Try this with bathing suits, gym clothes or musty old towels, and especially your socks! It’s not just the odors but the musty scent of these oft-damp clothing items that will disappear!

 

If you’re too busy for a life hack, but want your house kept in optimal shape, a housecleaner might be a really great addition for you! Want us to clean your house (that includes doing the laundry)? Use coupon code BLOG10 to get $10 off your first booking with AskforTask!

 

Saving money on cleaning can make a big difference in your home’s financial landscape. Here’s some tips on how to get a great clean, without breaking the bank.

1. Use Mild Dish Soap Or Plain Water

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What people don’t know is that a mild dish soap can clean a lot more than just dishes. Clean counters, windows, carpet stain remover or even use it as a fruit and veggie wash.

2. Switch To Fluorescent Lightbulbs

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Everyone knows this but most also forget that fluorescent bulbs last way longer and are better for the environment!

3. Use a Store Brand

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Store brand cleaners are usually cheaper than other more well known branded cleaners. Save the money and buy the same thing from a cheaper brand!

4. Choose Reusable Cloths and Mops

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Ditch the Swiffer and grab reusable mops and cloths.  They’ll save money while saving the environment!

5. Make Your Own Cleaners

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Baking soda and vinegar have magical cleaning superpowers. Lemon also can be used as an all natural bleach. Mix em together to make your own DIY cleaner!

Get your house clean and ready for summer on a budget! AskforTask has certified housecleaners ready to do it for you! Just use coupon code BLOG10 on the AskforTask app to get $10 off your first booking!

 

Laundry stains are the worst. It’s pretty disheartening to find a particularly stubborn stain and know you’ll have to say goodbye to your favorite shirt. You shouldn’t let it go without a fight though. Here are 5 rules we recommend for removing stubborn stains.  . So here’s how to do it.

Timing Is Everything

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The sooner you address a stain, the better. Stains that have been sitting for more than 24 hours will be much harder to take care of than new stains. Once it happens, don’t panic, but do get to work immediately!

Blot and Blot

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For most stains, a simple blotting strategy will work. Wet the corner of a napkin or cloth with cold water and dab repeatedly where the stain is. For larger stains, press into the fabric with some force and rub a little to loosen the stain particles.

Wash Out The Back

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If the stain is a stubborn one, and you are able to remove the piece of clothing. Turn your clothes inside out and flush the back of the stain to loosen the particles from the fibers that way.

Inspect Before Drying

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After attempting to wash out the stain in the washing machine, if the stain is still present, do not put it in the dryer! Either rinse and repeat or do spot treatment in some other way. The heat from the drying process will only make the stain more permanent.

Soak with baking soda

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Using baking soda and water, create a paste and gently rub it into the stain. Let it sit for a a while before rinsing out. Repeat the process if necessary.

The stain treatment process is essentially a wash, rinse, check, repeat if necessary flow. If you follow these general guidelines, a fresh stain should be out in no time. A stain that’s old might take a few repeats to finally work. If you’re in doubt, consult at your local drycleaner’s.

Alternatively, a housecleaner can really be a great addition to anyone’s busy life! Don’t have time to bother with the stain? Want us to clean your house (including the laundry)? Use coupon code BLOG10 to get $10 off your first booking with AskforTask!

If you’re like most people, you manage to successfully dodge doing chores on the regular, and then one day find yourself living amidst a disaster zone. Well who can blame you?

While we understand the tedious nature of chores, chores also keep our home spaces tidy and relaxing. If you find yourself battling the desire to skip out on chores, here are a few ways to commit to a tiny little activity daily that won’t take up too much time, 5 minutes in fact. You’ll find your home cleaner and tidier in no time.

Day 1: Clear A Counter

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Just pick one counter. Do a little organizing. Wipe the surface down. Put away food items and wash a few dirty dishes. Set a timer, do it for 5. That’s it.

Day 2: Straighten Out Your Wardrobe

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This is hard, but necessary. Just shake out those tangled hangers and move clothing items around to reduce the messy clutter of your closet. Refold that shirt you threw back in there this morning.

Day 3: Place 5 Things Into Designated Places

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This is an interesting exercise in space allocation. Pick 5 things in your house that tend to be left lying around, and designate a place for them. You’ll quickly discover just how many things you have, how little storage space you use, and innovative ways to put everything away!

Day 4: Choose A Cupboard

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This may take a little more than 5 minutes, depending on the size of the cupboard. In extreme cases, just go with a shelf. Reorganize all that tableware, the condiments, the books, the photo albums. You’ll feel much better after re-introducing order.

Day 5: Put Away Shoes

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We love to leave our shoes wherever we take them off. This is a BAD HABIT. Take some time to put away the shoes that have been left out, and you’ll be greeted by a much more welcoming doorway.

Doing small tasks like these are wonderful tiny steps in the larger habit of decluttering. We at AskforTask believe that a clean home is a happy home. Our general help experts specialize in decluttering and organization and if you use our special code BLOG10 you can receive $10 off your first booking!

IKEA is everyone’s budget haven for functional and minimalist furniture! The only issue is, that literally everybody shops at IKEA and we all run the risk of our homes looking a little too much like IKEA showrooms. How many people do you know with that KALLAX bookcase? Or what about those quintessential LACK tables that every student has hauled with them through endless residence moves. IKEA is great, but it’s hard to stay affordable and stay unique at the same time. We’ve rounded up 4 ways to customize your IKEA furniture and shared some of our favourite makers who can help you!

Slip Something Over

Courtesy of Bemz

Bemz is a company that sells design slipcovers for all different kinds of IKEA furniture. Give your couch a new skin and freshen up the living room, or buy two footstool covers and treat yourself to seasonal design options. If you’re looking for a removable, machine-washable custom job, this is a great place to go!

Flip It

Courtesy of Mommy Vignettes

These cubby IKEA bookcases are ubiquitous. Why not turn them into multifunctional pieces of furniture? Turn it on it’s side, plump it up with cushions to turn it into a cozy window bench and storage space! Here’s a step-by-step tutorial from Mommy Vignettes on how to take some basic pieces and go a long, long way!

Get A Grip

Courtesy of Superfront

There are certain features of IKEA furniture that are instantly recognizable! Tweaking little details like drawer knobs can camouflage a standard piece, and elevate the simple design to something sleek and personalized. It’ll make each piece of furniture unique, and you’ll be laughing into your affordable budget spreadsheets! Check out custom stores like Superfront for a selection of handles and legs to switch up your couches, dressers and cupboards.

 Paint and Paper

Courtesy of Behangfabriek

Most IKEA furniture is made of wood which makes painting it an easy alternative. Changing the colour of your furniture can be a big undertaking, but is a great way to put your own spin on things! If you’re really looking to take a risk, try Behangfabriek, a company offering a wide selection of wallpapers and furniture decals to take your staple pieces to new lux heights!

We at AskforTask want you to love your home. If you have IKEA furniture, we have a trained professional who can build it for you. Our housecleaning and handyman services are designed to give you the home you’ve always dreamed of, for less. Use our code BLOG10 for $10 off your first post.

Were you busy and distracted while cooking? Have a failed dinner and black, crusted pots on your hands? We’ve got you! Honestly, even if you’re careful, it can still be easy for a pan to cake over with burnt crusts over time just from the amount of use. Soaking it in warm soapy water for a while doesn’t really cut it sometimes, and properly cleaning burnt pans is important to the shelf life of your kitchenware and your health! For a wide variety of stains from the absent-minded burns to the long-use stains, here’s our 5 step plan to reinvigorating your pots so that they’ll look as good as new.

1.  Bring to a boil 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vinegar in your pot or pan

Once it’s reached roiling boil, take it off the heat.

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2. Slowly add 1/2 cup of baking soda

As it hits the vinegar, it will make a fizzing sound. This is the chemical reaction doing it’s work!

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3. Give it a stir and discard the liquid

Make sure to strain out any stray bits from the liquid to prevent clogging in your sink drain.

4. Scrub away!

Use a soft brush and not those steel brushes as they take the coating off the pans. The black mess should come off relatively easily.

5. For the ultimately resistant bits, add a small amount of water and baking soda and mix it into a paste

Scrub persistently on the tricky spots until the burn stains disappear in the face of your remarkable perseverance. Give it a rinse and you’re good to go!

 

If you follow this 5 step process, your burnt pot or pan should look brand spanking new! If this seems like too much to do yourself, our certified housecleaners can help you out and this includes cleaning burn pots! Use our code BLOG10 to get $10 off on your first housecleaning with us at AskforTask!

Don’t you dare do it! I know what you’re thinking! You want to finally cover up your bare walls, and decided that the best place to get an affordable art piece is IKEA. You probably saw the big wall print of New York on your last trip there and fell in love with it, or maybe the big canvas with a zebra on it caught your attention. Well, don’t fall for IKEA’s low prices! If you want something affordable and beautiful to add some oomph to your space, there are plenty of other places to get interesting wall prints.

1. Desenio

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Desenio is the interior designer’s little hidden treasure. These prints are affordable and sophisticated. They start at $17.95 and come in a variety of sizes too! On Desenio’s website you can buy paired prints for a fraction of the price which will save you time and money. All you have to do is hang them!

2. Spacing

Are you a city lover? Does the idea of map prints and urban design prints excite your decorating senses? Spacing will fulfill all of those needs and fan your hunger for more. Considered Toronto’s city store, they source their prints from a wide range of local and national designers, they offer a range of product that constantly reinterprets all parts of the city through an artistic lens. You’ll find some great unique wall prints here that might remind you of why this city is your city!

3. Tapestries

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Tapestries are underrated. They’re a great way of covering up a large space with something cozy and beautiful. Your local Urban Outfitters offers a wide range of materials and textures that you can mix and match. If you’re looking to go alternative budget bet is to source your materials from a store that sells blankets and curtains and use different patterns to make the most out of it. These can be hard to hang, since they can get heavy.

4. DIY Your Life

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The most affordable way to cover up your bare walls is by getting crafty! This hashtag is a simple way of translating your own personality onto your walls. Start out with a base: you can find wooden letters and signs at craft stores like Michaels. Then add whatever you want, greenery, a picture collage, or use chalkboard paint and turn it into something you can write on! You’ll love the dynamic, trendy element it brings to your space.

Want to spice up your walls with wall prints but afraid of the damage your hands might do? Turn your ideas into a reality with the help of a professional! AskforTask has certified handymen to help you with everything you need!

Use code BLOG10 to get $10 off your first task!

I’ve lived in an apartment for the past 2 years that has a small but beautiful balcony. I’ll go out there sometimes, mostly to check the weather but other than that it stays empty and unused.

I mean, it’s a privilege to have a balcony in the busy city! Imagine how lovely it would be to be able to go out there, sit on a comfy chair and sip a cup of tea? Transforming your balcony into something you actually use sounds complicated and a lot of work, but it’s much easier than you’ll think, and you will be able to enjoy the payoff immediately!

1. Start With A Seat

If you’re going to start using your balcony and enjoying your home to the fullest, start with a comfy chair. Preferably an outdoor-ready chair but at the end of the day, anything can work. Find something you can lounge in, and pair it with a cozy blanket. We love this look: it’s small enough to fit on tiny city balconies but still comfortable enough that you can curl up in on those warm summer evenings.

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via Pinterest

2. Get Your Twinkle On!

Transforming your balcony into a space to relax is all about bringing your inside, outside. So try adding a little lighting to the mix. We hate to suggest being the kind of person who has Christmas lights up in July, but hanging up a string of white fairy lights can make your balcony look magical. They’re also weather-ready and can provide the light you need in a subtle way.

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via Pinterest

3. Cover Up!

Rugs and carpets with different textures and colours are your new best friend. Not only are they stylish and decorative, but they’ll cover up your balconies cold concrete and make you feel warmer. Alternatively,  cover your balcony with artificial grass for a simulated small backyard feel.

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via Pinterest

4. Huddle Around Your DIY Campfire

Bring the candles outside for a still, warm evening and enjoy the view, a conversation with a cup of something warm! Paired with your white twinkling lights, this will make your balcony feel like a retreat. Cuddle up, read a book, and go on a vacation without leaving your home!

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via Crazy Chic Design

5. Go Green

Make your balcony your personal garden. Grow some plants, hang some plants or pot some plants. The options are endless and the greenery can turn your space into something completely new. We love the idea of growing herbs on your balcony. They don’t require a lot of space and are a practical plant! Need some flavour in your pasta? Skip the grocery store and go to your balcony!

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via Arctic Gardens

It’s easy to transform your balcony into something fun and practical! Summer’s coming and there’s no time like today to start a fun spring project! Have some big ideas but don’t want to do it alone? We’ve got the cleaning and handyman services you need to get your project started: use our code BLOG10 to get $10 off your first task with AskforTask!

 

 

The majority of cleaning products out there use chemicals that are impossible to pronounce. It can be pretty scary seeing those novel-long labels for something that’s coming in direct contact with your skin. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that baking soda mixed with vinegar has grime-fighting, non-toxic powers. It’s also a fun throwback to 6th grade science class. Here are 5 ways you can harness the powers of baking soda to freshen up your home space!

1.  Bathroom Deep Clean!

Instead of squirting blue gels into your toilet bowl try using baking soda and vinegar for toilet bowls, slimy sinks, vinyl shower curtains, bathtubs, walls and drain clogs. The chemical reaction will make it fizz and then you can start scrubbing away – toxin free! Mother Nature will thank you when you flush.

2. Odor Absorber

For that fridge crammed with leftovers when you don’t have time to clean, leave an open box of baking soda in there to soak up all the bad smells of combined abandoned foods. You can also sprinkle some at the bottom of your garbage can to balance out the default odors that come from your trash. Mix the two, watch the reaction and then scrub away at your tiles! The two combined together will kill bacteria and wash away grime from your bathroom tiles. They’ll also smell pretty good too!

3. Stain Remover

Particularly crayon stains from the wall. Carpet Stains as well. Pour hot water down your drain and after a few minutes add some baking soda. Then pour down a mixture of hot water and vinegar. Cover it as it fizzes. After a few minutes, pour some more hot water down there and you’re good to go!

4. Laundry Brightener

Believe it or not, baking soda itself can also improve the way you look! Along with your laundry detergent, add a ¼ cup of baking soda. While your washer does it’s thing the baking soda will make your clothes brighter and whiter! All without the use of fabric softeners or bleach.

5. Wash Produce with it! 

Mix a pinch of baking soda with a few cups of water and leave your fruits and veggies to soak in there for 10-12 minutes. It’s been scientifically proven that baking soda soaking is most effective at removing pesticide residue on your fresh produce!

Want us to clean your house and you get all the credit? Use coupon code BLOG10 to get $10 off your first booking with AskforTask!

 

 

Did you know you could clean with vinegar? It’s also a staple in basically almost every kitchen! To compile a complete list of things you could clean with it would be impossible, but if you’re living in a large urban city, and like the rest of us, find your bills always running a little high, here are a few household things you can clean on your own with just a little bit of plain, white distilled vinegar, no fancy branded soaps required!

For the Kitchen

Dirty Microwaves

Put a small microwave-safe bowl with half water and half vinegar into your microwave. Stick a toothpick into it just for that extra safety precaution. Microwave for 5-10 minutes, depending on the level of gunk built-up in your microwave, and then let sit for a few minutes afterward. Take the bowl out (careful, it’ll be hot!) and wipe down the inside of your microwave. All that residue will come right off with no effort at all!

Burnt Pots and Pans

Cleaning burnt utensils is very easy. Boil vinegar and water in them and then add baking soda. Scrub lightly afterward to make them good as new. Vinegar is also an excellent cleaner for all kitchen surfaces – counters, refrigerators, stovetops, and even cutting boards.

Cloudy Crockery & Glass

For your stained china or cloudy glasses, clean with vinegar blotted a paper napkin or cotton pad and scrubbing the stained or foggy surface lightly. Alternatively, you can let the cups sit in vinegar for about 5 minutes and rinse out with hot water.

For the Bathroom

Fogged Shower Heads

Fill a plastic bag with vinegar and wrap the plastic bag around your shower head with a rubber band. Leave it for an hour to get rid of the calcium build up and then turn on the water to flush all residue out. Give it that extra shine by polishing your shower head up with a piece of cloth.

Stained Toilet Bowls 

Spray or pour in 1/2 a cup of vinegar around the insides of the toilet bowl and let sit between 30 minutes to overnight. Scrubbing with a toilet brush to remove the stubborn stains and say hello to your newly cleaned toilet!

Clogged Drains

Pour half a cup of baking soda then add another half cup of vinegar into the drain. Just a heads up that the poured mixture will start bubbling; this is normal! When the bubbling subsides, rinse through with warm water. 

For the Walls and Floors

Dirty Windows and Window Blinds

Clean windows with a mixture of half a cup of vinegar half a cup of water. Spray it onto the glass and scrub clean with a cloth or old newspaper. For blinds, apply vinegar onto any soft cotton material and wipe clean.

Carpet Stains

In case of liquid spills, first use a sponge to soak all the liquid. Spray the stain with a half and half mixture of vinegar and water. Leave the vinegar to sit for a couple of minutes and then use a sponge again to soak up again. Repeat until the stain fades. For the extra tough stains, you can also add other cleaners such as liquid dish soap to the mixture!

Stained Wood Paneling

To clean wooden panels, use a mixture of half a cup of vinegar mixed with half a cup of olive oil. Pour the mix into 2 cups of warm water, mix well, and apply to your wall or floor panelling with a soft cloth. Dry with a fresh cloth for some fresh new wood!

 

Who knew you could clean with vinegar so easily and effectively? Enjoy your fresh and clean house with the extra satisfaction of knowing just how little it cost you!

To the window! To the wall!

Think about that elevated sense of happiness you experience when walking around in a park. Think about how unhappy you feel, in contrast, in your harshly-lit office space. Nature enables all of our senses to come alive and our body becomes much less strained and relaxed. “Biophilic Design” is a theory that incorporates elements of nature into our work and home environments, believing that this will reduce stress, enhance creativity and improve general well-being. Terrapin Bright Green, a company working on bringing ecological design into the workplace, developed 14 patterns of biophilic design as a way of thinking through space, and uses it to improve at a structured design level, the places where we spend the majority of our time. Here are a couple of simple ones that we suggest implementing at the office!

Visual Connection With Nature

Image © Hubert J. Steed.

We often perceive basements as “dark, dingy, and scary”.  After all, who knows who or what is living in the shadows down there! If given a choice, most people would prefer to have a desk or office near a window. A window can facilitate a connection with nature, but in our urban jungle, a window often just opens out onto other concrete buildings. To sustain a visual connection with nature, a biophilic design space should hold pockets of real nature when possible, and simulated nature when not possible. This includes vegetation, natural light, fossils, water and animals.

 

Non-Visual Connection With Nature

Image © Dax Fernstrom/Flickr.

Are you confined to a windowless office or cubicle? Don’t worry, there are other ways to bring nature into the office. Introducing shade plants that can thrive in low light environments, the sound of a fireplace, textured fabrics for carpets or couches, and even diffusers with plant essential oils can all help create a more comfortable work environment. Textures such as wood, grass or stone can also be accents in a space. Additionally, people usually respond positively to shapes that exist in the natural environment, such as the honeycomb (hexagon) or objects that mimic the Fibonacci ratio.

 

Thermal and Airflow Variability

Image © Jui-Yong Sim/Flickr.

There is a sense of calm and joy when we are outside on a beautiful day in the middle of a park. The moving air circulates freely and refreshes our body and spirit. In the office, small cubicles with high walls trap air, stress and problems, making us feel like caged animals. Bring down the walls and think wide open spaces! Different kinds of light allow access to different kinds of heat. It also gives us options to moderate our own feelings of comfort at work. Additionally, having big windows let in sunlight and breezes will drastically improve everyone’s moods on a warm day, or bring some hope of warmth on a cold one.

 

Presence of Water

Image © Tim Evanson/Flickr.

Including the presence of water into a biophilic design space optimizes the engagement of the area as it uses multiple senses simultaneously and facilitates calm. The sound of running water is known to enhance moods, lower stress levels and improve concentration. These are ideal qualities for someone at a workplace. Integrating visual stimuli of water or sounds of water through projections, sculptures and small water fountains are all ways to bring water presence into an office space. Ensure that these water features are not too overpowering or it can become disruptive and interfere with people’s work.

 

Dynamic and Diffuse Light

Image © K. Kendall/Flickr.

Strong UV lighting is often used to keep people alert and awake, but it actually has the opposite effect. Between the harsh unnatural lighting of a space and the glare of computer screens, eyes tend to quickly feel strained and tired. To reduce this effect, try to increase how much natural light is in a space. Skylights and windows can bring in diffused light that responds to wall colours, and other features within the room to create different lighting moods. Our brains respond well to light and shadow that reflect natural fractal patterns. Placing a tree or plant near a window to create naturally-occurring shadows throughout the day is a way of introducing dynamic light.

 

Interested? You can read more on the 14 patterns of Biophilic Design here.