Home Help: Make a workspace that works for you and your kids
If you work from home and have kids, space and organization can be a constant problem. Here are some ideas from Remodelaholic.com to help you overcome these challenges:
• Get an organizer board. It can be difficult to keep track of multiple and conflicting schedules (papers, presentations and homework). A large white, chalk or bulletin board will help keep everyone on task and organized.
• Consult the kids. Your kids may be sharing this space for homework and projects. Remodelaholic recommends getting them involved. Consult them about the decorating style, fabrics, colors, etc., and let them express their individuality.
• Consider storage. Keep supplies and papers where they should be by installing wall-mounted wire baskets and racks around the workspace.
• Optimize your desk. If you need a desk, consider a two-person computer desk that will allow for multiple projects at once. One easy option when making your own desk is to use filing cabinets as your base. This will further optimize storage and save money.
• Get proper seating. For this workspace to work for you and your kids, you'll need the correct size chairs for you and them. They should be comfortable and you shouldn't have to slouch.
Quick facts about raised gardens
Considering starting a raised garden? Here are some basics from This Old House:
• Cost: You can build a 4-by-8-foot cedar frame built from scratch or from a kit about $100. A mason-built 4-by-8-foot brick-sided bed will cost about $2,000. You will generally spend about $3 per cubic foot for bagged garden soil.
• DIY vs. hiring a professional: You can build a bed with a wooden frame easily, even if you're a beginner. According to This Old House, the hardest part is usually preparing the soil under the bed and filling the frame. If you're going with mortared masonry, you should probably hire a pro.
• Location: Place your garden somewhere that receives at least 8 hours of sun a day. Orient each bed so the long side runs east to west. Be sure to install the beds a minimum of 6 feet from pavement and south-facing walls, which intensify summer heat.
• Lifespan: How long raised beds last depends on their material. "Beds built with western red cedar can last 10 to 15 years; galvanized steel, 20 years; masonry or plastic composites, indefinitely."
Three decorating tips to breathe life into your home
Being at home can get dull, especially if you're surrounded by the same arrangement every day. Redecorating can invigorate your house. Here are three tips from House Beautiful:
1. Create a reading nook. A cozy spot to read can be a place to relax and escape. "If your home doesn't have any leftover real estate to convert into a reading nook, design your formal living room to serve double duty as a cozy lounge area. ... Chose furniture with fabrics and shapes that are both sophisticated and homey, perfect for entertaining or unwinding alone."
2. Redesign a bookshelf. Tired of looking at the same layout of shelves. "You could fill it with books; or you could add in decor accents and accessories like vases and sculptures to break up the monotony of a wall of books. Or, color-coordinate your books. Not only will it feel more cohesive, but if you've got a lot of bright colors in your collection, they'll stand out even more."
3. Incorporate nature. Adding jute, wood, seagrass, brushed concrete, marble or rattan, can spruce up your space and bring some of the outdoors in.
Cleaning your kitchen sponge
The average dish sponge can contain millions of microorganisms. BobVila.com recommends cleaning your sponge every day before using it on dishes.
You can kill bacteria in your sponge by soaking it in a weak bleach solution or microwaving the dampened sponge on high for one minute. The best method to fight germs, however, is to replace your sponge more frequently. Switching to a dishrag will allow you to more easily disinfect by simply throwing it in the wash.