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Homes get cluttered very easily. A cluttered home, especially during summer is like a boiler where nobody wants to live. Here are a few tips to de-clutter your home and to bring down the temperature.

1. Clean Your Home
Dust off your bedroom and living room and clean up all the dirty things. Getting rid of your old clothes, newspapers, unwanted books, etc. will make your home empty and tidy. This will keep your home cool.

2. Utilize an Organizer for the Foyer or Front Entryway
You need somewhere to stash your mail, newspapers, keys, etc. Donít let it all make its way to your kitchen counter! Use a small table, preferably with a couple of drawers and cabinets underneath. Mail can go in one drawer, while keys and wallets go in the other.

3. Make a Place for the Larger Items
There needs to be a convenient place for larger items like coats and umbrellas to go into. Invest a little in a closet having different compartments for coats, shoes, purses and bags. Using space saving hangers or slim line hangers will create even more space.

4. Create a Book Rack
A book rack is necessary if you have many books. Organize all your books and keep them in a rack. This will not only save space but also avoid misplacing of books.

5. De-clutter Your Kitchen
Donít overload your refrigerator. Clean the stove and other items in the kitchen. Let go off all harsh chemical cleaners and go for natural ones. Remember, the state of your kitchen is the state of your health.



Your home is neat and tidy, but does your child's room look like a tornado just hit it? De-cluttering your child's room and keeping it in order can prove to be difficult but is not impossible. All you need to do is put on your thinking cap and get creative in managing all their stuff. Here is some help to get you started:

1. Sort it!
Your child wants his stuff at the drop of a hat so donít waste time trying to put everything in order. Get baskets for different things Ė books, toys, play clothes, etc Ė and label them. This way, both you and your child know exactly where what is! Along with convenience, if you want this to look classy as well, get great looking cane baskets in a darker hue and tie colourful ribbons around their handles

2. Tall order
There's just so much you can store in baskets and closets. So have hooks along a wall, where your kids can reach to hang their school clothes or towel. This way you'll also get them in the habit of picking up their own things from the floor and keeping their space tidy.

3. Choose smart and practical furniture
More likely than not, your kids room is the smallest one in the house. So do not stuff it with too much furniture. Opt for pieces that are practical, useful and yet funky. A small groovy trunk sporting your kids favourite cartoon characters near the window is perfect for giving the room that kiddie effect and it also offers enough storage and seating. Similarly, you could choose beds with drawers. These drawers could be used for storing your childís toys, games and even clothes.

4. Keep their cycle/tri-cycle in the garage or the corridor
Get your kids in the habit of keeping big toys like bicycle/tri-cycle or a mini car in the garage or in the corridor. Parking these in their room will obviously fill up their room and also tempt them to use it in the house that could prove disastrous.

5. Dump the junk
You'll realise that your child has outgrown a lot of stuff lying around in the room. So get into the habit of regularly removing old clothes and toys. You'll be surprised at the amount of space this de-cluttering will create.


Clame it on global warming if you wish, but the fact remains Ė summertime temperatures are soaring with each passing year. And we're sure your electricity bills too! But instead of blaming the power company, you need to do all you can to lower cooling costs.

Here are a few handy tips to do just that:

Don't be paise wise, rupee foolish. If the AC unit in your home is over five to six years old, replace it with a new, higher-efficiency unit. A new high-efficiency model helps reduce cooling costs without burning a hole in your pocket.

Make sure to install an electronic setback thermostat and automate settings for your AC unit. So say for example, if you're at work all day, set the thermostat to turn on an hour before you get home.

Your AC ducts should be sealed and insulated. Almost 30 to 40 per cent of cooling cooling energy is lost through leaks!

Make sure that the AC unit's condenser coil is clear of obstructions. Obstructions impede airflow, which in turn makes the unit work harder to expel heat and raises energy consumption.

Typically, an AC unit is fitted in a window. So make sure that the window is the one which receives the least sunlight. Units in the shade require less energy to run. The same rule applies to AC units fitted in a wall.

The space around an air conditioner should be completely sealed with foam weather seal to prevent any loss of energy. Speak to your local dealer about this. Weather seals are sold in various sizes in any hardware or home-improvement store.

Keep all filters clean and check them monthly for any build-up. Clean them or replace disposable ones as and when necessary. Build-up on filters restricts airflow, which can reduce cooling and cause operating problems.

Last, but definitely not the least, don't cool an unoccupied room!



Tanya Munshi

Continuing our series of tips to care for wooden furniture, here are some more tips to keep your home looking brand new!

Scratches And Alcohol Marks

  • Use shoe polish to match the color of your furniture to hide tiny scratch marks. Using a thick marker or crayon also helps in concealing scratches.
  • Rub a paste of linseed oil with rottenstone in the stained area. Rottenstone is a worn out and decayed limestone that has the properties of silica. This stone is available in powdered form and is used in polishing,
    Daily Care For Wooden Furniture
  • Never drag any material on the table top. This will scratch your table. Always lift the materials while cleaning.
  • Immediately clean up any kind of spills. Donít delay the cleaning; else the spills will get a more difficult to remove.


    Tanya Munshi

    Wooden furniture adds class and style to your home. Elegant designs and classy finish on dark wooden furniture is all that it takes to make your house look regal. Your heart breaks if thereís a wine spill or coffee stain on your table top that ruins the look. This series arms you with some handy tips to keep your wooden furniture looking as classy as ever.

    Removing Water And Caffeine Stains

  • Usually, furniture stains when the moisture trickling down from a cold drink or coffee/tea cup breaks into the wood by seeping through the wood wax.
  • Apply gel-free toothpaste, mayonnaise, or salad oil on a polishing cloth and rub thoroughly on the stained area.
  • Then, with a clean damp cloth, remove the film. Now use a wood polish to make the area look sparkling new.
  • Place a thick blotting paper over the stained area and place a warm iron over it. Repeat the procedure a few times till you find the stain fading away.


    Tanya Munshi

    For a book lover to see his/her books in an unkempt condition is quite painful. A good collection of books owned by anybody -- whether a book lover or not -- is a status symbol and speaks volumes about the individualís personality. So here are some handy tips to care for manís oldest friend -- books!

    Handling Of Books

  • Most of the time a book loses its brand-new look due to poor handling. This usually happens because of dog ears, keeping the book open and upside down, leaving it in the open to gather dust and dirt.
  • Books should never be handled while eating food. A drop of food will stain the pages forever.
  • Ensure your hands are clean, dry and grease/oil free before handling a book.
  • Avoid turning a page by dabbing your finger to your tongue. Keep a wet sponge instead if you must. Better still, avoid any moisture coming in contact with your books.
  • Remove a book from the shelf by holding the firm edges and not by pulling a single cover.
  • Turn the pages one by one, not two or three together and flipping them. Flipping through pages can cause the pages to bend.

    Care For Books

  • Always use book marks. You can get book marks from your local book store or paint your own.
  • Dust your book shelf regularly with a soft brush. Vacuum the book shelf and throw in some naphthalene balls to prevent silverworms and other insects from eating into your books.
  • Regularly remove all your books from the shelf and gently flip through the pages. This will let out the moist and soiled air from the books.
  • If you have leather bound books then its best to keep them covered with a cloth or book cases meant for leather-bound books.
  • Never write in books with a pen. Preferably use a pencil if you wish to scribble.
  • You can occasionally dust some talcum powder in between the pages to keep the pages moist free. This also prevents fungal growth in the corners of your books.

    Storage Of Books

  • Avoid placing lights over your bookshelf or shift your bookshelf if sunlight reaches it directly. Direct light can cause the coverings and the pages to fade.
  • Avoid keeping books tightly against one another in a book shelf. Books should be kept in such a way that they can be easily removed.
  • Place heavy books flat on a separate shelf.
  • Classic/archival books that have some loose papers should be kept in an air-tight box and should be handled with extra care.


    Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of organizing your home? Start on a smaller scale instead and it will be a whole lot easier.

    Follow these 8 steps and you're well on your way to a systematic home:

    1. Pick a room - any room
    Decide on which room to start on. Write it at the top of a sheet of paper. This will be your action sheet.
    Example: BEDROOM A

    2. Choose an enticing reward
    Designate an appropriate reward to give yourself on completion of the job. The reward concept serves as your motivation, so be sure to choose something that youíd really enjoy! Write this reward on your action sheet.
    Example: Treat yourself to a massage or go out for a nice dinner - whatever it is that you love to do.

    3. Schedule time for completion
    Schedule 3 specific clearance dates (one hour for each). Hopefully this will be enough to complete the dumping portion of the job. Write it on your action sheet. Then, post the action sheet in a prominent place where you are certain to see it every day, like your bathroom mirror. It will serve as a reminder of your goal, deadline and pending reward.

    4. Keep your appointment
    When the 1st dumping day arrives keep that appointment, just as you would any other important appointment. Bring a bunch of large garbage bags. Play your favourite music in the background to help you get through the task at hand.

    5. Sort through it
    Pick up one item at a time, and start dumping. If you come across items you want to give to charity, designate a special bag for those items. Whatever you are going to keep just put to one side of the room.

    6. Do it until the time is up
    Continue doing this until the timer goes off. If you prefer to continue, keep going. Otherwise, stop and follow the same procedures for your next two scheduled dates. Donít let the garbage bags sit there. Make sure they are thrown out now (or donated), or on Garbage Day at the latest.

    7. Celebrate
    Once youíve managed to dump everything you donít want or need in that one room, itís time to celebrate. Take advantage of that reward you designated.

    8. Keeping it organized
    Now that everything in that room that you wanted dumped is gone, youíre ready to begin putting everything you are keeping back in an organized manner. Be very careful not to put anything else in this room that you donít want. Repeat this process for each of the other rooms in your house.
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