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Clutter happens – but don’t let it overwhelm you into inaction. Carve out a few minutes each day to break big projects into small doable tasks. Tackle one cabinet in your kitchen, for example, or clear one shelf in the garage.
For each object you find, ask yourself:
- Do I use it? How often?
- Do I love it? (Be honest – if you love it so much, why is it out in the garage?)
- Do I need to keep it? (Would it be difficult to replace if I need it later?)
If you use, love or need to keep it, it stays, but you must display, use or store it in an organized manner. If you don’t, it goes – today!
If getting your child to clean their room is a constant struggle, it may be time to set them up for success. Too often kids’ rooms become activity catch-alls: part bedroom, part den, part playroom and part library. Keeping all of those tasks neat and contained is a challenge – especially when you’re four feet tall or under.
Smart parents take time to bring in child-sized solutions that can make cleaning a room easier. Here are ten tips for helping your child’s keep their room tidy:
1. Include them in the organizing process. It’s tempting to rush in and take care of it, but getting your child’s input on furnishings and where things go is important. If they have a say, they’re much more likely to keep up with it.
2. Get rid of extras. Make sure everything that is in your child’s room needs to be there. For example, store out of season clothing and neglected toys in bins in the basement or attic.
3. Create zones. Organize your child’s room with a designated area for sleeping, studying and playing. Then add storage items that can accommodate the items needed for those tasks. Place a bookshelf near a beanbag chair for reading, for example, or include basket or bins for storing toys.
4. Set a limit. Keep things fresh by keeping toys to a minimum. Decide on a number of items that is manageable and rotate out the toys so they play with them more.
5. Reclaim wasted space. Maximize storage capacity by looking up and down. Choose a bed with storage drawers built in the base – perfect for storing clothing as well as toys. And hang pocket organizers on closet doors to hold small items such as socks or stuffed animals.
6. Display special items. Have a space where your child can keep treasures, such as trophies, awards, artwork and vacation souvenirs. A shelf or bulletin board will keep these things neat and contained.
7. Think small. Consider your child’s size when you bring in storage items. For young children, keeping shelves low will encourage them to put things away. Make sure closet rods are multi-level, helping your child get ready in the morning.
8. Label where things go. Help your child know where things belong by making it clear. You can use words, pictures or a combination of both.
9. Color code for siblings. If children share a room, consider assigning each a different color. Then use bins and hangers in those colors for their toys and clothing.
10. Schedule in regular maintenance. Make cleaning up a habit by creating a routine. For example, create a rule that beds must be made before breakfast. Or wind down every day with a 15-minute tidy-up session before bedtime. Set a timer and it will feel like a game.
When kids make picking up their rooms a habit, the whole house will feel more organized!
Who says exercise has to be at a gym? Here are 10 fun activities and the amount of time it takes to burn 100 calories.
- Dance for 10 minutes.
- Shoot hoops for 12 minutes.
- Play a board game for 30 minutes.
- Play softball for 10 minutes.
- Walk the dog for 17 minutes
- Play cards for 30 minutes.
- Play catch for 19 minutes.
- Jump rope for 5 minutes.
- Type for 30 minutes.
- Run up stairs for 3 minutes.
Just because you don’t have a dedicated guest room doesn’t mean you can’t invite friends and family for an extended stay. Today’s sleeper sofas have come a long way – and they no longer require a follow-up trip to the chiropractor!
With comfortable mattresses, a variety of sizes, and stylish designs, you’ll be proud to welcome overnight visitors. Here’s how to create a comfortable bedroom in any room of your home:
Today’s sleeper sofas are as stylish as they are comfortable. In fact, no one needs to know your living room sofa pulls out into a bed. From contemporary to casual to traditional and rustic, you’ll find an option to fit your home décor. If your room is small, you may wish to choose a model with fewer cushions and pillows; you will need to store them when the sofa is being used as a bed and you don’t want to overwhelm your room.
Then determine how much space you have. When the sleeper is in the “open” position, it will require clearance of about seven and a half feet. You’ll also want space around the sides so your guest can easily get in and out of bed.
Another consideration is the number of guests you might host at one time. Sleeper sofas come in sizes that range from single to full to queen. Loveseat or chair sleepers will accommodate a single guest with a twin-size mattress. Sofa and sectional sleepers can hold two, with full- and queen-size mattresses hidden inside.
Once you know the style and size that’s best for your room, choose one of three mattresses: innerspring, air and memory foam. The majority of sleeper sofas have innerspring mattresses, which give the body support. An air mattress sleeper sofa combines innerspring mattresses with an easily inflatable air mattress for an extra thick comfortable night’s rest. And memory foam mattresses, available through special order, are like memory foam beds; they’re a great choice if you plan to use a sleeper on a regular basis.
With the sleeper sofa in place it’s time to consider other elements in the room that will help create a bedroom-like atmosphere. End tables will need to serve as nightstands, so choose a style that offers enough space to rest items like a phone, pair of glasses and a water glass. Make sure you have a table or floor lamp nearby, for reading or navigating the room. And make sure outlets are convenient so your guests can charge their gadgets. You might also add a chest in the room that gives guests a place to store their things.
Finally, consider the room’s location in your home. If your sleeper sofa is in a central area, provide a sense of privacy by including a temporary “wall,” such as a screen, that can be tucked away during the daytime and pulled out when it’s time to sleep. Taking time to think about the needs of your guests will go along way in your quest to be a good host.
According to research, people who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological wellbeing and happiness – and that includes children. In fact, kids who volunteer with their families are more likely to volunteer as an adult.
If you’d like to give back more this year, here are five family-friendly opportunities in your own back yard:
- Do a kitchen table activity, such as making artwork, then send it to Color A Smile where it is distributed to nursing homes. Or make cards to deliver to your local children’s or veteran’s hospitals.
- Make fleece blankets that can be distributed to children in need by Project Linus.
- Bake dog biscuits for animal shelters. Shelters also need foster families for animals awaiting adoption.
- Organize a toy drive or baby item drive for shelters for women.
- Visit nursing homes and have lunch or read a book with a senior. Many have an adopt-a-grandparent program.
A good massage will melt away tension and relieve aches and pains, but booking an appointment it isn’t always convenient. Instead of heading out into the cold weather, why not get those same benefits by heading into your living room. That’s because owning one of today’s massage chair is like a having private “masseuse” waiting for you whenever you need it.
If you haven’t sat in a massage chair lately, you haven’t sat in a massage chair! Introduced to consumers in the late ‘80s, original versions provided some relief but they weren’t built to replace a therapist. In the 25 years that have followed, the technology and design has improved, and today’s versions are some of the most effective models for relieving stress, tension and back pain, as well as providing surprising health benefits.
At Art Van Furniture, we carry models from Human Touch, the leading supplier of massage chairs. Here are seven health benefits they provide as you relax in the comfortable seat:
1. Increased circulation. Constricted and tense muscles can restrict your blood flow, but massage relaxes muscles, allowing blood to flow to the tissues and organs. A massage chair can improve your circulation by helping your body pump more oxygen and nutrients to tissues and vital organs.
2. Improved defense against toxins. The lymph system is your body’s natural defense against toxic invaders, enabling you to more efficiently remove lactic acid and other potentially damaging waste products. Massage improves lymphatic flow by manipulating your muscles and increasing lymphatic circulation.
3. Better mood. Endorphins are your body’s natural painkillers – the ‘feel good’ chemicals that run through your body – easing sore and tired muscles, reducing anxiety and improving overall mood. Massage therapy increases your endorphin levels and is one of the most beneficial aspects of massage.
4. Enhanced flexibility. Massage chairs use several kinds of strokes that relieve pain. This relaxes and softens injured and overused muscles, improving your joint flexibility and reducing spasms and cramping.
5. Sharper mental function. Massage promotes deeper, more restorative sleep by helping to alleviate the stress that can cause you insomnia or restlessness. Better sleep means sharper performance at work.
6. Healthier heart. By lowering your stress, massage reduces the levels of Cortisol in the bloodstream, which helps control blood pressure – one of the leading contributors to stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure.
7. Less aches and pains. Massage relieves chronic ailments, including lower back pain, arthritis, bursitis and fibromyalgia. By helping to align the spine, massage reduces pressure on your nerves.
Frigid temperatures often translate into high heating bills, but it’s possible to lower costs with a well-planned offense. Here are three things you can do to save money on your energy payments:
1. Perform an energy audit. Look for air leaks around doors or windows, and check your insulation levels, which can diminish over time. Also make sure you’ve changed the filters in your heating and cooling units. Many utility companies will inspect your home for free, and offer ideas on what you can do to eliminate unnecessary usage.
2. Caulk and weather-strip windows. Once you’ve done your audit, make the quick fixes. One of the best ways to reduce your bills is to close up the cracks around windows and doors that allow energy to leak. According to the Alliance to Save Energy, this simple step can reduce heating costs by 20%.
3. Install a digital thermostat.?Why heat your home while you’re away? Programmable thermostats will automatically lower temperatures while you’re at work or during sleep hours, and then raise them when you’re ready. According to the Department of Energy, you can save 10% to 15% of your heating bill by reducing the temperature in your home eight hours a day.
Nearly 10 million Americans work from home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and as technology makes it easier and easier to be remote, that number is expected to grow. If you’re among this trend-setting group, you can set the stage for work and get more done by taking the time to design a proper workspace.
Whether you log in fulltime hours or simply manage household affairs, here are seven ways to work efficiently – and in style – from your home sweet home (office):
1. Claim a space. If you haven’t done so already, choose a spot in your home that can be used exclusively for work. A formal home office or spare bedroom is ideal – a spot on the sofa with a laptop is not. Look for an area where you can place a desk and storage system –you can even if you convert a closet if need be.
2. Choose a work surface. Every home office needs a desk or work surface. From a sleek writing desk to a larger executive set, the amount of space you have will dictate which style is best for you. If you have the room, consider an L-shaped desk that will offer room for your screens as well as a surface for writing.
3. Clear out distractions. Home offices sometimes need to double duty as a guest room or den, but you’ll want to get rid of anything that might steal your attention. This includes everything from clutter to media components, such as a television – you want your space to be focused on work. If your job requires you to watch videos, however, the TV can stay; if you’re tempted to watch Judge Judy, it should go.
4. Personalize your room. Just as you would place a picture of your loved ones on your desk at an outside office, personalize the area so it is welcoming to you. Choose a paint color that makes you happy, hang art on the wall, and consider furniture beyond a desk and chair. For example, a loveseat or accent chair might make sense if you do a lot of reading at work and want a comfortable place to sit.
5. Incorporate good lighting. No matter what kind of work you do, you’ll want to do it in a room that is well lit. This means including an assortment of lighting. Overhead lights are a good place to start. Then add task lights at your desk or workstations, as well as accent lights that will help create an inviting atmosphere.
6. Find a place for paperwork. No matter how much of your work is digital, you’ll most likely have papers you need to keep and reference. If your desk doesn’t have adequate drawer space, include filing cabinets or bookcases that can handle the excess. You’ll find several options that look like furniture, which will help keep your room from looking like an office supply store.
7. Maintain a clean-up routine. Once you’ve organized your space, do the work to maintain it. Every evening before you quit work, take a few minutes to put away papers. On Fridays, take out the trash and to run the vacuum cleaner so that everything is fresh and ready when you come back on Monday. And reserve your office space for office activities. If kids bring toys in, remove them at the end of the day. Do a visual sweep each day, and you’ll stay organized.
You loved your furniture the day you saw it in the showroom and you love it even more now that it’s been delivered to your home. Keep the love flowing by practicing proper care. While grocery store cleaners might seem like they’ll help, many can be quite damaging.
Here are some tips and recommendations for protecting your investment and keeping your furniture looking fresh and new:
To keep cushions and pillows looking new, rotate them weekly. This will redistribute wear and extend the life of the foam core. It’s normal for foam to lose between 20% and 30% of its density in the first three months, or sooner, depending on use.
Occasionally rotate furniture in the room to redistribute wear patterns. If the furniture cannot be moved, make an effort to use seating areas equally and be sure to sit in the center of the cushion.
Upholstered pieces with heavy padded areas, such as arms and backs, should be “fluffed” to maintain shape. Never sit on the arms of upholstered sofas or chairs, as the excess pressure may cause damage to the structure.
To prevent fading, keep your furniture away from direct sunlight. Take care not to leave newspapers, magazines or other printed materials on or near upholstered furniture as certain inks and pigments may stain the fabric.
If a spill occurs, immediately blot it with a clean, absorbent white cloth or paper towel. For solids that spill, remove any excess with a dull table knife or spoon before treating the stain. And remember to blot a spot from the outside toward its center.
Never rub a spill, not even with a soft cloth, as you can permanently damage the fabric. Nor should you clean a stain with a brush, harsh solvents like bleach, sudsy detergents, commercial furniture or rug cleaners, or tap water — which may cause permanent rings.
Always test the fabric in a hidden spot to be sure color isn’t being removed, or water ringing occurring.
Clean leather furniture with high quality product, such as Art Van Leather Cleaner. Never use water or other household cleaning products as they may cause damage to your leather.
Use a leather conditioner and protection cream at least four times a year, depending on the soil and dryness levels. This keeps leather supple and removes the gradual accumulation of soil, body oils and perspiration.
Try to maintain at least two feet between your furniture and heating sources. And avoid placing your furniture in direct sunlight. All materials will fade over time when placed in direct sunlight.
Wood surfaces that are used as eating areas should be wiped with a slightly damp (not wet) lint-free cloth. Dry immediately and thoroughly. Avoid leaving water or any liquids on wood surfaces. Wipe up spills, moisture and standing liquids or substances immediately.
Once a week, dust the furniture with a lint-free cloth dampened with Art Van Furniture Cleaner so that dust particles will have less of a chance to build up, potentially scratching the wood’s finish.
Clean tables and desks each month with Art Van All Natural Wood Cleaner, formulated specifically to preserve the finish of wood. Do not let the cleaner soak into the wood surface.
Immediately follow the cleaning with our wood polish or oil to give the wood a vivid finish. Use polish for lacquer-finished wood and oil for unfinished or open grain wood. Apply a small amount to a clean, lint-free cloth, and rub with the grain of the wood, one square foot at a time. Wipe dry until the cloudiness or oiliness disappears. Let the wood dry for at least 30 minutes before placing objects on it.
Twice a year, just prior to and after using your furnace for the season, apply a generous amount of our care polish/oil and let sit for up to 12 hours before wiping dry. This nourishes the wood and promotes moisture retention.
Keep furniture out of direct sunlight, and away from heating and air conditioning sources.
Always use felt backing on items that will sit on furniture, as well as place mats, hot pads and coasters. Use drip proof pots for plants, and make sure their leaves do not contact wood.
You feel great after a workout, but getting yourself to the gym, the jogging trail or in front of the exercise video takes motivation – motivation you don’t always have. How do you stick to a good workout routine? The people at WebMD offer these three tips:
1. Start small. Telling yourself that you’ll go the gym every morning might feel overwhelming and put you at risk for quitting. Instead, aim for something easier to achieve, such as going twice or three times a week.
2. Find a buddy. A workout partner will hold you accountable to your goals and make it more fun to exercise. Studies show you’ll also work out longer when you have a friend along.
3. Mix it up. Running on a treadmill every day can get boring. Instead, switch things up and use an elliptical one day a week, free weights another or take a different route on your walk. These little changes can keep things interesting.