Posted in tips + tricks, weekend projects

5 Strategies To Get Your Pantry Organized

The scenario: You’ve mustered the courage to categorize your grocery list items by aisle; after strolling the same store a thousand times, you could shop blindfolded without skipping a beat. You thought the hard work was over after checking out and driving home…

The reality: A challenging game of Tetris is about to begin. You got everything on your list…and more. But now, you have to figure out where you’re going to put everything.

Organizing your pantry and keeping it tidy is a chore you’ll appreciate each day. Avoid buying duplicate items because the originals were hidden, prevent overstuffed closet syndrome and find what you need when you need it. Sound too good to be true? Check out our pro tips below and regain control once and forever.

1. Be A Little Strict

The number one reason your pantry is cluttered is most likely because you’ve got too much stuff. No matter how good the sale is, if you’re buying items you won’t use that same month, save the space for something you will.

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2. Take Inventory

There’s nothing more dissatisfying than putting cans away, only to find, hidden behind a wall of soups and sauces, that you already had something you just bought!

Get a clipboard and place it on or near the fridge. Throughout the week, as you or your family members discover you’re running low or are out of something, jot it down! It’s an easy way to begin a grocery list, and you can quickly scan the cabinets and shelves ahead of time to avoid buying duplicates.

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3. Bring In Baskets

Speaking of cans, it’s much easier to see your entire assortment of canned goods with a little help from baskets. They can be wicker, wire or clear – the choice is yours, and they’re great for containing like items. You can even find ones with chalkboard tabs and have some fun labeling snacks, spices and whatever else gets a little hectic in your pantry.

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4. Picky Placement

Mimicking the stagger and stack strategy of stadium seating in your pantry will help you see everything! Building or buying simple risers allows you to place larger items in the back and smaller items in the front so there’s no crowding or losing track of items.

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5. On A Roll

Aluminum foil, wax paper, cling wrap, garbage bags – they all consume large amounts of space. Not anymore. You know those magazine and folder holders that are meant to organize your office? Well they work wonders for containing your non-food kitchen supplies and can easily be mounted on the back of a door or on a wall to free up some shelf space.

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And it doesn’t stop here. There’s tons of hacks and ideas for getting organized, and once you have some law and order in your pantry, you’ll see just how much stress has been eliminated.

Posted in guides, tips + tricks

10 Lawn + Garden Tools Every Homeowner Should Have

Soon, spring will be in full swing, and you’ll be looking forward to a host of outdoor projects. It seems that every season, new gadgets make an appearance—and some of us, can get a little addicted to the wow factor highly specialized tools promise.

But before you get carried away, make sure you have the basics. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the many options tools are available in. To make it easier, we’ve compiled a list of the must-have tools all homeowners should own. When buying any tool, think of your specific needs – not only around the lawn and garden, but pertaining to your body as well. Remember that the longer you use a tool, the heavier it will feel. Choose a tool that suits the application you need it for, and won’t wear you out.

Lawn Mower

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This one is virtually a no-brainer. Do you have a small lot, or an expansive property? Is the terrain hilly or mostly even? Will you have to maneuver around flowerbeds, pathways or children’s play sets? The size and topography of your lawn is the main factor to consider when beginning your search for a compatible mower. Check out our lawn mower buying guide for more information on finding your mower match!

Trimmer/Weed Whacker

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Trimmers and weed whackers are great machines for a fast, easy and effective way to keep your lawn looking its best. They maneuver into those hard to reach areas lawn mowers can’t get at, making quick work of overgrown grass and heavy weeds.

Wheelbarrow/Utility Cart

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Make light work of hauling heavy loads around the yard and garden. Wheelbarrows and utility carts are essential for transporting heavy supplies, plants, equipment and tools. Pneumatic spoke tires are great for balancing large loads, and traverse irregular terrain with ease. Put the power of a landscaper’s crew in your cart to lift more, carry more and get loads more work done with less strain and less effort.

Rake Assortment

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Rakes come in many different sizes and styles such as leaf, bow, thatch, garden and flat. They apply the concept of the human hand and extend finger dexterity to a bigger scale. Look for rakes with stainless steel blades to ensure your tool will last season after season.

Shovel Assortment

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The shovel is one of the most essential tools any homeowner can appreciate. Typically available with either a square or round point blade, a trusty shovel will help you landscape and garden from digging to tilling to planting.

Leaf Blower

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Clean up quickly after yard work is complete. Some versatile models can even sweep, shred and mulch leaves, allowing you to recycle waste into usable compost.

Hori Hori Knife

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This Japanese inspired tool has long been considered the Swiss army knife of gardening. Hori Hori knives can be used to weed, cut through roots, transplant and divide perennials and even for fishing and hunting applications. The possibilities are endless.

Hedge Clipper

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Restore some lawn order to your shrubs, hedges and bushes and keep them from becoming unruly.

Pole Saw

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Prune those tougher trees and branches that manual pruners and shears can’t handle.

Handheld Digging Tools

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This includes trowels, cultivators, weed extractors and other small tools that assist in maintaining your garden by loosening, lifting, turning soil and removing unwelcome weeds.

Are there any tools we missed?  What are your outdoor tool essentials?  Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Posted in guides, tips + tricks, weekend projects

The Only Spring Cleaning Tool You’ll Ever Need

As spring approaches and winter recedes, it’s time to inspect the exterior of your home and access any improvements you’ll need to make for warmer weather. Patios may show staining, mildew and grime could be creeping up your siding, and windows will need a wash. So while you’re decluttering and dusting your home’s interior, it’s the perfect time to add a few outdoor chores to the checklist!

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Outdoor Spring Cleaning List:

  • Wash outside windows
  • Clean outdoor light fixtures
  • Power wash deck
  • Power wash garage doors
  • Power wash siding
  • Clean grill
  • Clean outdoor furniture
  • Wash door frames
  • Clean gutters
  • Clean out trash cans
  • Wash vehicles

If you don’t have one already, a pressure washer is a great investment, as it handles a variety of cleaning tasks with power and ease.

Removing Stains

Driveways, walkways and patios get stained from mud, paint, oil and other solutions – it’s inevitable, mostly because these surfaces see lots of traffic. Many homeowners assume that because concrete is a durable material, that it is impenetrable.

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While it does have a great deal of physical resistance, it is weak when it comes to spills. You could spend lots of time bent over, scrubbing with dish detergent, bleach or vinegar. But those fixes aren’t guaranteed to do the trick. Or, you could blast away stains with a pressure washer. It will save your back, get the job done, and it’s pretty fun!

Reviving Surfaces

When it comes to bringing your home back to life after a long winter, nothing beats a good scrub, wash and rinse. But your conventional garden hose doesn’t always cut it. A pressure washer is the quickest way to restore wood, concrete, vinyl and aluminum.

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These high-power sprayers are designed to expertly remove stains, dirt, mildew, moss and peeling paint. You name it, you aim it and grime is gone. After you’ve given your deck or patio a nice face lift, you may even find that you don’t have to re-stain, resurface or repaint it.

Pressure Washing Tips + Tricks

If it’s your first time power washing, here are a few guidelines to get you started in model selection and technique.

PSI: Pressure washers are rated by strength, which is measured in Pounds per Square Inch, or PSI for short. A typical garden hose is rated at about 60 PSI. Household use pressure washers range somewhere between 1,500 – 2,000 PSI – anything higher, and you risk accidentally damaging exteriors.

Tips: Wide-spraying fan tips are best for mild, close-range chores such as patio furniture, wooden decking, concrete and driveways. For a more precise spray, a jet stream is better for cleaning out-of-reach areas like siding and gutters.

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Detergent: Many units have a detergent tank, so you can add cleaning agents for dirty jobs.

Protection: The force of pressure washers is impressive but also dangerous. Take caution by wearing google to protect your eyes from debris. Don’t aim directly at windows, electrical outlets, gravel or other people.

Polstein’s Picks

1. Sun Joe 1160 PSI Cordless Pressure Washer: Yeah you read that right, cordless. The Sun Joe SPX6000C. gives you the room to roam, courtesy of the powerful onboard, rechargeable 40-Volt EcoSharp lithium ion battery, to take your cleaning tasks on the road – or anywhere power is at a premium. Perfect for the cabin, deck, boat, RV or a host of chores around the house, the innovative, top-loading detachable bucket design fills quickly with fresh water, or can be connected for continuous use with a garden hose.

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2. Sun Joe 2030 PSI Electric Pressure Washer: Packed with 1800 watts of pure power, the SPX4001 boasts a 14.5-amp motor generates up to 2030 PSI to demolish every last bit of dirt, grease, gunk and grime. Five Quick-Connect tips allow you to go from intense jet to gentle spray to suit the cleaning task, and the onboard 54.1 fl oz detergent tank lets you dial-in just the right amount of detergent to give your cleaning blast a boost! And don’t forget about the hose reel, which make clean up simple.

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spx4001-1_1-13-2017-20-06-373. Sun Joe 1885 PSI Electric Pressure Washer: Packed with 13 Amps of pure cleaning power, SPX2500 delivers a might blast – up to 1885 pounds of pressure per square inch and 1.59 gallons per minute – to demolish every last bit of dirt and get really clean, really fast. Simply twist the adjustable nozzle to go from intense jet to gentle spray and watch Sun Joe make light work of mildew, grease, oil, tar, mud, rust and more!

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Sun Joe has many more pressure washers to suit individual cleaning needs, plus a whole array of specialty attachments that make particular tasks much more easier.

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Posted in tips + tricks

The Gadget Guru: Battery Adapters – Do They Really Work?

Here’s a common problem: you need to power a device that runs on C cells, but all you have are triple A’s.

It’s really quite easy to convert an AAA battery into a larger sized canister. What is not commonly known is that a C battery is nearly identical to its AAA counterpart in terms of height. The only difference is the diameter of cylinder which holds the metal and chemicals that power the battery.

Practical and helpful, a battery adapter is an essential gizmo for having on hand during emergencies or just to save a few bucks! AAA batteries are notoriously less expensive and more efficient than a C size.

The best part about an adapter is that the conversion doesn’t involve dangerously altering any internal function of the battery, and saves you the frustration of fidgeting with scissors, cardboard and tape that homemade conversion methods require.

And when you need a larger sized battery on short notice, like during a power outage, that most flashlights, radios and other equipment require, scouring the house for all those items is just not practical.

For only $8.00, you can pick up a 3-pack battery adapter set from Nisaku. We find their version has the most sturdy construction and easy use factor – simply slide 4 AAA batteries into the shell).

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Pros:

  • Compact in size and light in weight
  • Comes with 3 adapters
  • Convert any AAA battery to a C battery
  • Perfect for electronics and emergency situations
  • Bright colors make them easy to find in a draawer or bag
  • A  handy gadget to keep close at hand, at home, at the office, etc

Check it our for yourself by clicking here

Posted in tips + tricks

Holiday Hosting Hacks To Create More Table Space

Thanksgiving is only days away, and Christmas isn’t far behind. The “how am I going to get this all done?” anxiety has started to settle in, and while you’re happy to open up your home to friends and family, there’s always an issue with space…and we all know sitting on the sharp corner, straddling one leg is the worst seat when trying to enjoy dinner.

Tight seating may seem to be a rite of passage at holiday gatherings, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve collected some tricks to help make seating arrangements more spacious.

Less Is More

Clear the dining room table of non-essentials. This minimalist approach may impede on your décor ideas, but it will make the room appear more spacious and comfortable.

Remove any small furnishings nearby as well, which could crowd the table and make moving around more difficult.

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Opt For Buffet Style

Direct guests away from the dining room and into the kitchen. A buffet takes the burden off your table, and makes it much easier for guests to access food without reaching over one another and passing hot stoneware.

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Add A Bench

Chairs, especially with arms, are bulky and take up a lot of space around the table. If you find your guests are habitually squished, elbow to elbow, considering opting for a bench, which will fit more people and allow everyone to get seconds and dessert without having to fuss with a chair.

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Create a Kids Table

If your friends and family are large in numbers, avoid overwhelming the dining room and establish a separate table for the kids. It will free up some seating and allow rambunctious little ones to keep their energy contained.

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Head Outdoors

If you live in a region with a warmer climate, take the annual feast outside for limitless space and a bit of sunshine!

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Get Creative With Space

If you still need some length, and do not have a table that extends, try placing a sheet of plywood over your table top. With a tablecloth draped over, no one will know the difference.

You may have to reposition the table if you’ve added some length. Try moving it diagonally to give a little more breathing room to guests on the ends, and add a few more seating spaces.