6 Little Things You Can Do That Can Make a Big Difference

Keeping house doesn’t have to be a major production. These seemingly insignificant tasks will make a big difference in the long term.

Updated on August 07, 2017 14:08 pm

Camille Besinga

home maintenance to keep your house clean and new

When you live in your own space, it’s easy to feel daunted by the many things you need to think about when maintaining your home. But sometimes, it’s those little things you never thought of doing that count. Here are some minor tasks that, when done regularly, will make a difference down the road.

sun and air the pillows to clean them

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1. Air out your pillows under the sun.

As with anything kept inside a container all the time, pillows cooped up in your house might grow damp, flat, or even ridden with icky, microscopic creatures like dust mites or bedbugs. When it’s warm and sunny outside, remove your pillow covers and bring the pillows out to sunbathe under direct sunlight. Keep them out for an hour or two (or if weather’s just glorious, the whole day). Just make sure to bring them in just before sunset, because you don’t want the damp chill of dusk to set into your pillows.

house inspection to check on blockages, pests and mold

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2. Inspect your house regularly.

It’s as simple as setting aside an hour of your time and going around the house, checking corners, plumbing, gutters, drainage, basements, and attics—any place at home you don’t regularly see that can be damaged by mold, pests, or blockages. Early prevention is key to issues like these, since countering or cleaning them up could be quite a hassle—you’ll need to hire professionals to clean them up, which can be extremely costly. So nip these problems in the bud, when they haven’t yet escalated into full-blown mold blooms, an entire pest invasion, or irreparable house parts.

essential oils or fragrance scent spray for the house

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3. Make use of room scents.

There is plenty of scientific research out there that support the claim that room fragrances improve the quality of living—like boosting your mood, providing a feeling of tranquillity or alertness, or enhancing overall health and well-being. Check out our story on which room scents you should use in particular areas of your home.

cleaning the dishwashing sponge to get rid of germs

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4. Change your dishwashing sponge every few weeks.

Think about it: You wash dishes, cooking and dining utensils, glasses, pots, and pans with it, then place it next to the sink in a puddle of water and soap, where it waits until the next dishwashing session. Talk about major bacteria buildup. Zap those germs by doing this once a week: Dip your sponge in water, and place it on a small plate with a sheet of paper towel under it. Then put in the microwave and let it heat for two full minutes. To protect the microwave emitter, place a bowl half-filled with water in along with the sponge. When it’s done, wait for it to cool before removing from the unit, as holding it too soon might cause burns. Don’t do this if your sponge contains metallic or plastic parts (soaking it in bleach and boiled water for a couple minutes may do).

use LED or CFP bulbs and lights for energy efficient light sources

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5. Replace incandescent bulbs with LED or CFL ones—depending on light usage in each room.

Incandescent bulbs are light bulbs that make use of wire filament and high heat to produce light. It is not exactly the most energy-saving light source, and the invention of CFL (compact fluorescent light) and LED (light emitting diodes) bulbs have paved the way for more energy-efficient artificial light sources. Of the two, LEDs last much, much longer (like 30,000 hours, compared to CFL’s 1,300 hours), and you won’t need to buy replacement bulbs as often. LEDs are generally more expensive than CFLs, but with more and more brands manufacturing LED bulbs, the cost of LEDs could lower significantly in a few years. The downside is that LED bulbs usually provide directional light, which means it’s perfect for table lamps or task lights, while CFLs beam multi-directional light, making it more suitable as a particular room’s main light source than LEDs.

clean and disinfect surface with white vinegar

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6. Wipe down surfaces with white vinegar.

Sometimes, it’s not enough to just wipe down your kitchen counter or dining table with a wet rag. These are areas that you’d want to be clean and spotless—and bacteria-free too! Food-prep and dining areas are susceptible to harmful germs and bacteria, so quit reusing that dirty sponge or rag over and over again (and don’t use the same sponge you use on your dishes for surface-cleaning!). You don’t want to pick up those germs in the food you and your loved ones eat, do you? Replace at least once a week, and dry it out on a rack between uses. To effectively clean surfaces, dip a clean rag or sponge in a cup of water with two spoonfuls of distilled white vinegar, which has disinfectant qualities. Then, do #4 once a week.

Cover photo courtesy of Unsplash

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