Friday, 22 May 2015

Kid’s rooms revisited – the floor doesn’t have to be a Lego graveyard!

Everyone has a memory of treading unexpectedly on a Lego brick when tiptoeing across a child’s bedroom floor – either as that child, sneaking downstairs for an illicit biscuit or as a parent or babysitter trying not to wake the child with unwisely loud cursing. And it does hurt – a lot! Keeping kids on message when it comes to keeping their bedrooms tidy is a bit of a mission, though – tidying is boring; playing isn’t. But most children – except the real tinies and of course the ubiquitous teenager – like to have a neat environment. It is more calming and certainly most people of any age would rather live in a tidy room than in a pigsty. So, how to make them keep their room looking good, all the time?

Buy some new stuff and they will want to look after it

If their room is just full of tatty bits and pieces inherited from older siblings there is no earthly reason for them to keep it neat. Would you? Instead, gather them round the laptop and go shopping – set them a budget and tell them that they have to stick to it. Also make sure you retain power of veto – kids can be weird. A nice bedroom rug will immediately appeal to the girls, especially if it is fluffy and a bit princessy. For the boys, there are lots of children’s rugs for sale which are in football colours and if they are not sporty, you can also get some that are printed with roads or other play scenarios. For the really little ones, you can perhaps run to several children’s rugs in different colours, for playing farms or zoos. Whatever you decide, let the child in on the decision-making.

Big kids get homesick too

When your eldest is going to university, there is a lot of emotion sloshing around the house. He or she is bound to be playing it cool and pretending they don’t mind leaving home. Mum and Dad are probably in bits. But here’s the secret – they don’t want to go any more than you want them to, but it has to be done. They will be feeling a bit cut loose in their room in halls or in a shared flat or house so buying them some bits and pieces to make it feel like home is a good plan. A bedroom rug chosen with Mum or Dad will always be a reminder that the family are still there and best of all, it doesn’t look quite as childish as a teddy sitting on the bed – boys in particular will really appreciate that! A bedroom rug is also a handy purchase, because it can go from digs to first flat to a first real home and will keep some continuity – kids need that more than they will ever let on. So whether you are buying a bedroom rug for a toddler to hide his Lego in or a student about to fly the nest – make it a family affair.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Tired of upcycling and recycling? Let’s make ‘round-cycling’ the new trend

Whenever you turn on the TV these days, or so it seems, there is someone on there telling you how to save money on your food bills (it usually comes down simply to buying cheaper food, so let’s not go there) or how to turn your unwanted wardrobe into a darned fine kennel for a dog you haven’t got but might be buying any minute because you can afford one now, having taken to buying cheaper food. Well, upcycling and all the rest is all very well and fine but some of us just don’t have the time for making teapot stands out of broken china – how much broken china does the average household end up with in a week, anyway? So why not start a trend – let’s call it round-cycling.

How does round-cycling work?
Seeing as how it has just this minute been made up, it can work any way you fancy, but the basic principle is that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Take an example that every home has experienced. You have a shaggy rug that is still perfectly okay but you are tired of seeing it every day when you come home from work, so you buy another. But then this means you have a perfectly okay shaggy rug and nowhere to put it. One option is to put it in the bin, but that would be a shame. Charity shop? Car boot? Or hey – here’s a thought: why not use it upstairs on the landing? It would go with that bathroom rug a treat. Then, what do you do with the very good quality wool carpet runner on the landing? Well, it would go really perfectly at the end of the bed. Which means there is no room any more for the round rug which is in the bedroom. But that will go a treat in the dining room, rather than the coir fibre natural rug that is in there at the moment. That can go in the kitchen. And the kitchen rug?

Here’s where it gets clever
You go into work the next day and tell everyone about your new invention of round-cycling and someone tells you about their neighbour, whose son has just moved into a student flat. They have bought him a lovely rug for the kitchen, but fear it may be spoiled, so you give them your old one instead. But this leaves your colleague’s neighbours with a brand new washable rug which they hadn’t expected – hold on, though! Their hall runner is looking a bit the worse for wear, so they replace it. The old hall runner can go in the conservatory, to mop up dirty paw prints from the dog they can now afford because the kid has moved out; round-cycling doesn’t just have to apply to rugs, you know! Look around the house and you will find lots of things to round-cycle, from pots and pans to furniture and all without picking up so much as a nail!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Do all your visitors have wrinkled noses? How to freshen up your rugs

Does my house smell is something that most people worry about from time to time. In this day and age there isn’t much excuse for a smelly home because there are so many different products on the market to keep it smelling nice but most of them tend to mask rather than remove and prevention is very much better than cure. It is difficult to avoid cooking smells while the dinner is actually in the oven and indeed, the smell is a large part of the enjoyment of any meal so no one wants to get rid of it altogether. It is when it is still hanging around two days later the trouble begins and the problem is that smells linger in fabrics and most especially in carpeting and rugs. Buying cheaper rugs and carpets and replacing them is one option, but keeping them clean isn’t too difficult however it is important to treat some fibres with care.

Never soak a wool rug

Wool rugs are lovely but they are difficult to clean if they get a really bad spill on them because they should never be soaked with any liquid. If something like wine is spilled on a wool rug it should be blotted as far as possible and any cleaning fluid should be tried on an inconspicuous area first. But for simply freshening up, you can dust some bicarbonate of soda into the pile and leave for a few hours or overnight. After that, the wool rug should be vacuumed gently and if possible given a thorough shake outside. The bicarb will have soaked up any stale smells and the rug will smell like new again. Some people like to sprinkle some lavender on the rug at this point and this will certainly make it smell nice, but this is not recommended for light colours, because the oils from even dried lavender can stain.

If you can wash your hall runner, then do

Some rugs are of course much more prone to being smelly than others and in particular these are bathroom rugs, kitchen rugs and hall runners. Hall runners have to take whatever the visiting feet throw at them and grubby shoes can carry all kinds of things into the house on them, which can get ground in and smell quite nasty. The trouble is that few people are aware of the smell of their own house and it is a bit ironic that the smelliest rug – the hall runner – is the one that people encounter first. Ideally, these rugs should be washed weekly and if you have two to change around regularly then so much the better because you should always make sure they are completely dry before putting them down again – if they are damp, they will smell musty after a while and so the matter will be even worse. Bathroom rugs should certainly be washed or aired at least once a week and more if the family is large. Natural rugs are a good choice in the kitchen, being easy to vacuum and also easy on the feet on the usually hard floors in that room.