A few simple steps to make moving house easier and less stressful
Moving house is one of the most stressful tasks possible. Packing, cleaning, logistics, and all while still having to feed yourself and your family…. It’s an all-hands-on-deck affair. Luckily, we have some tips that will hopefully make life easier.
Get rid of things to save moving and unpacking
If you go through your wardrobe, or kitchen cupboards or children’s bedrooms, you’ll encounter a whole bunch of stuff you don’t use. A month or two before moving, tackle a room a day and get rid of things you don’t need. Old clothes and toys can go to charity, and broken/ worn houseware can go straight in the bin. Anything that’s actually still useful can go on TradeMe to make some money to pay for the wine you’ll need in the moving process.
Rule of thumb; if it hasn’t been used in the last 12 months, it’s unlikely to be used ever again.
Also think about putting furniture into storage if you won’t need it at your new home.
There’s always one box that looks a bit big, but you use it anyway, and someone fills it with books and then it’s so heavy no-one can lift. Avoid this and make life easier by finding banana boxes. Not only are these sturdy and stackable, but they are a good size that likely won’t get too heavy. Bonus- there will always be someone else who will want these after you’ve finished with them.
Top tip: Keep aside the important stuff til the end and pack it all in one box. Things like the kettle and teabags, and one set of plates/ cups/ cutlery.
Clean once the house is empty
Once the house is empty, it is so much easier to clean! Do a wet dust around doorframes, windowsills, and skirting with warm soapy water. If the house smells stale, use a lemongrass-based cleaner as it is a natural deodorizer.
A thorough vacuum over carpets may be enough, or you may need to invest in a carpet shampoo vacuum. Mop lino or tile floors thoroughly, and once again, a lemongrass scented cleaner can help alleviate unpleasant odours.
Take photos of the clean, empty house for landlords/ to resolve any future disputes.
Note final readings for gas and power, and make sure that you’ve terminated/ moved the services to your new property.
Redirect your mail- NZ Post do so for a small fee.
Do you use bleach at home? If so, read on… but you might never use bleach ever again.
A French study that’s just been released has shown that regularly using disinfectants exposes you to a 22% to 32% higher risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
What is COPD?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a generic term to describe a variety of progressive lung diseases. This includes asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema, all of which are diseases with a main symptom of increased breathlessness and coughing. While commonly caused by smoking and pollution, this new research shows that use of chemicals such as bleach can be just as dangerous.
What were the outcomes of the study?
Earlier studies have shown links between asthma and use of cleaning products, so the researchers dug a little deeper. Over 27 years, the health of 55,000 female nurses in the United States was analysed. They found that nurses that used disinfectants once a week or more had a 22% higher chance of developing COPD.
This shows that use of these strong chemicals can damage your lungs. While stopping use of the chemicals will alleviate symptoms, there is no cure for COPD once you have it.
So what can you do to avoid COPD?
Stop using disinfectants and bleach in your home. Replace them with products that are non-toxic, aren’t harmful to your health, or the environment.
Natural cleaning products help to avoid illness
To maintain hygiene though, you still need to use some sort of cleaning solution. Products that are based around using extracts from natural antibiotics such as pine, citrus, and lemongrass are an excellent alternative. Using their natural abilities to kill bacteria, the essential oils from these plants also smell fantastic without added chemicals. Some acid-based cleaners that use vinegar as their base are also great, especially for getting rid of mould.
How to get kids to help with chores at home without drama and tears
Kids don’t seem to enjoy washing dishes, cleaning their bedrooms or putting the rubbish out, and sometimes making them do their chores can be more exhausting and take longer than doing it yourself! However unless you want to be their maid (and create adults that no-one wants to live with), they should contribute to the household. But… how?
Find appropriate tasks
Your four year old isn’t equipped to mow the lawns, and your 14 year old doesn’t want to clean out his sister’s rabbit hutch. While everyone should help out, there are some tasks that children will have logical tendencies for. There are some great ideas for age-appropriate tasks here.
If you are worried about your child potentially using toxic cleaners, look into using kid-safe cleaning products like our essential oil based cleaners. Non-toxic and eco-positive, these are ideal for kids to use, they get the job done well and you know they are risk-free.
Make it fun
While cleaning isn’t always a fun task, making it challenging or fun can relieve you of some nagging. Making your children clean each other’s rooms on occasion may give kids an insight into the mess they create, and also will add sibling rivalry to the mix- nothing like a bit of peer pressure to encourage tidiness!
While cleaning the kitchen is a daily task, some tasks can be rotated so there are a variety of jobs each week. Whether it’s washing floors, vacuuming, washing out the fish bowl, or cleaning the bathroom, provide variety to break the monotony.
Punish refusal or reward compliance?
Experts are divided on whether punishment or rewarding a child works. Perhaps their pocket money is dependent on them doing their chores each week. Maybe a sticker chart or system of tokens as rewards works. Maybe changing the WiFi password until chores are done may encourage compliance! Find what works for you- it may not be the same as others as every child is different. However, consistency is key, so good luck and may the (cleaning) force be with you!
As mum to a very active, messy one year old, I clean A LOT of things. My wee girl has had skin problems since she was about 6 months old. Over the last few months I have been trying to keep her allergies and skin reactions to a minimum, and for the first time in my life I have made a conscious decision to go natural. The last thing I want on my daughter’s skin is chemicals. Dream Eco Products are brilliant for cleaning my house top to bottom, and over the next few weeks I’ll be putting more products to the test!
Here’s what our household has been using them for lately:
Fly-Off Surface Cleaner – I spray this all over the show. I mean everywhere. There’s always a bottle of it at arms’ reach. I can’t stand flies, but I can’t stand those nasty chemical fly sprays more. If flies land on my couch or coffee table, I spray Fly-Off Surface Cleaner on these areas, so they stay away. If the flies find their way through an open door or window and can’t get out I spray it around the frames to keep them out. It’s amazing for cleaning the high chair. With my little one making a huge mess at meal times, I know her high chair is not only clean, but free from nasty chemicals that would otherwise be passing onto the food she’s eating, and it keeps the flies off this area too.
Stain & Mould Surface Cleaner – I used this on the paddling pool the other day. The bottom had got a bit slimy since we hadn’t been using the pool for a few days. I gave the bottom of the pool a few sprays, left it for a few minutes and hosed it out. It came out like new! I love how my wee girl can enjoy the water, and I don’t need to use harsh chemicals to clean her pool. Worked awesome on the pool toys too! Update: Bath Mats. Since the weather has been warmer I’ve noticed a bit of mould appearing around the bath, in particular the bath mat my toddler (who has been gaining a bit of an attitude lately, I might add) sits on each night at bathtime. I spray the mat with Stain & Mould Surface Cleaner, leave for 20 mins or so and wipe the mould right off. Her sensitive skin is absolutely fine after sitting on the mat which I would have otherwise had to scrub with toxic mould removing chemicals, or even thrown out. Perfect!
Five steps to being cool, calm, and collected this Christmas
It’s December. You are exhausted, you’ve got a million things to do before Christmas, and you just have to make it through these next few weeks… Here’s a December survival guide so you can make it through until the holiday begins!
Take some time out for you
Now the most important step- remember that bottle of wine you put in the fridge when you cleaned it? Go have a glass and remember to take some time out for yourself. Christmas can be a crazy time, so enjoy a quick moment to yourself when you can
Use of antibacterial cleaners and hand soap has negative consequences
Using anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners can be potentially dangerous for the health of you and your family. Avoid using them, and substitute natural bacteria-killers instead.
A number of people experience skin irritations from use of antibacterial cleaners and soaps. The hand soaps destroy the natural acidity of the skin, which can make skin sensitive and dry. You may experience a range of symptoms, from red, dry, irritated hands, through to the skin flaking off. Discontinue use of these products and the problems will be alleviated.
Kills good bacteria too
Your skin is home to a variety of bacteria, good and bad. However, most aren’t harmful and may actually offer benefits. Some of the positive bacteria help to fight off infection naturally. Using anti-bacterial cleaners and hand soap kills everything, both the bad and the good. This can result in poor skin health and a drop in immunity.
The most important reason to not use anti-bacterial cleaning products is that they are not actually needed. Use of antibacterial washers isn’t required, even in hospitals! Manufacturers of soaps have not been able to prove that anti-bacterials are safe for daily use, or even that they are effective. Continued use of antibacterial soaps can also develop bacteria that are resistant to treatment, which has serious consequences. Bacteria adapt, or mutate, to anti-bacterial washes, and then become super-bugs which are unable to be treated or killed.
So what can you do?
To keep your family and your community safe, stop using antibacterial cleaners and soaps. Use good hygiene, including washing hands and surfaces, using hot water and normal cleaners. The use of natural anti-bacterial agents allows you the protection you need, naturally. Natural products with anti-bacterial properties include things like lemon, cinnamon, tea tree, lemongrass, and their essential oils. Use cleaners with these ingredients to ensure natural health without allergens and toxic irritants.
See Dream Eco Products range of natural cleaning products here. The high quality natural ingredients are non-toxic, kind to you, and kind to the environment.
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When should you admit defeat and get the cleaning professionals in?
We have all had cleaning failures when we should have let the professionals take over. But, how do we know when we should step back and pay the experts?
Carpets can be very expensive, and they take a beating, especially if you have pets or children. So when should you get the experts in, and when is it OK to hire a wet vac and do it yourself? If there is some specific stains that you must remove, treating them with the wrong detergent or at the wrong temperature may set them rather than remove them.
If your carpets smell, regular vacuuming won’t help and cleaning products only hide the smell. A professional carpet cleaner gets carpets clean AND removes unpleasant odours. As well as bad odours, a carpet shampoo will help to keep allergens to a minimum in your home.
Is it time to get a cleaner?
When is it time to get a cleaner rather than do your weekly clean yourself? Basically, when you value your time enough that a few extra free hours to yourself is worth it. A cleaner will obviously cost you, so you need to weigh up when your time is more valuable than the money.
Things to consider when getting a cleaner
It’s important to ensure that your house and belongings are going to be covered should something unfortunate happen. You also want to know that the person you are inviting into your home is covered for any injury or accident they may have. Ensuring you hire cleaners from a company that is fully insured, complies with Health & Safety laws, and full ACC cover will protect you and the cleaners should the unforeseeable happen.
If you have a particular job you hate- cleaning windows or an oven clean- then there are people who do these specific tasks so you don’t have to. It might be well worth parting with cash so you don’t have to do the work! Also if you are moving out of a rental property or if you’ve sold a home, you can invest in cleaners who will get the work done quickly and thoroughly.
Drapes and blinds
There are specialist blind cleaning services because blinds are often fiddly and easy to damage. While a light dusting won’t hurt them, if they have grease or a lot of dirt, the professionals will do a thorough job without damaging the blinds.
Drapes and roman blinds need special cleaning, and while you can do these at home, you will have to be careful especially if your curtains are thermal-backed.
Be kind to yourself and the environment with this amazing hand soap
Washing your hands is an unavoidable task, but so many cleaners have negative side effects. Anti-bacterial hand soaps encourages antimicrobial resistant bacteria that can’t be easily eradicated, making this a serious health threat.
Why should I avoid anti-bacterial hand wash?
There are two main reasons. A number of people experience skin irritations from antibacterial hand soap, with red, dry, irritated hands, and even the skin flaking off. But the most important reason is that use of these antibacterial washers isn’t required and continued use of antibacterial soaps can develop bacteria that are resistant to treatment, which has serious outcomes.
What is the alternative?
Dream Eco Products have developed this amazing range of hand soaps. They are made using eco-positive ingredients, with no palm oil, palm oil derivatives, or parabens. Instead, they harness the natural power of coconut oil, honey, and essential oils to get your hands clean gently. They not only clean your hands, but do it gently, protecting and moisturising at the same time.
Why use essential oils?
Not only do essential oils ensure your hands smell amazing, but they do it naturally, without manufactured fragrances that can contribute to breathing issues and headaches. Essential oils also have positive health benefits. For instance, lemongrass, lime, cinnamon, pine, and orange oils all have natural anti-bacterial properties. Lemongrass is known as a potent odour-remover, making it ideal for use in the kitchen after cutting onions and garlic. Cinnamon, with its warm spicy scent, can help alleviate headaches. Orange essential oils can help to boost mood, for calming after a long day or energizing at the start of the day.
A range of scents available
With three delightful scents, there is something for everyone. Cinnamon and tangerine is calming, with a lovely warm perfume. Lemongrass and lime is great for kitchen use to remove bad odours from hands. The pine and orange hand soap is crisp and leaves your hands smelling clean and fresh.
Summer is here! For many of us, that means long summer nights on the deck with a BBQ and a few drinks, hot summer days on the beach, weekends at the bach or in the garden, and time in the bush. Here are a few top tips for summer essentials you need in New Zealand.
Keep those flies off your food and Ants out of your house!
With heat, come flies. They mark ceilings and walls with their fly ‘spit’, and can carry germs and bacteria into the home. Get rid of them for once and for all- naturally. This Fly-Off surface cleaner is not only an effective benchtop cleaner, but it naturally repels flies and Ants! With peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils, this cleaner wards off flies and Ants with its strong fresh scent. This cleaner has rave reviews from customers so you know it works. Keep your summer entertaining fly-free, the natural way.
Sunscreen using a physical barrier, not a chemical one
With such high levels of skin cancer, protection from the sun is incredibly important in New Zealand. Using sunscreens that employ chemicals as a barrier have not been linked with any long term health problems, but they can be an irritant for people with skin issues. Use a sunscreen with zinc oxide as an ingredient, as this is a physical barrier, not a chemical one. This will help to minimise skin irritation.
Bees are important as they pollinate flowers which then produce our fruit and vegetables. Encouraging the bee population is vital so that our gardens create food. There are a number of wildflower seed mixes available- find an unused corner of your garden and get your kids to throw the seeds in. Watch the flowers randomly appear and bring those bees to your garden!
Natural first aid kit
Summer often means adventures out in nature, which can result in bites, stings, cuts and bruises. While modern medicine is a great thing, it’s nice to be able to care for yourself and your family using natural products. First aid kits that utilise natural ingredients are ideal to keep you well using essential oils and other natural products. Invest in one today to supplement your existing kit.