All Packed? Time to Clean Up Before Heading Off on Vacation

Going on a vacation may be a lot of fun, but a lot of people often neglect their home before heading off for fun times  and great adventures ahead. Yes, the packing and preparing for the trip can be a lot of work, especially if you are headed off on a vacation of two weeks or more. However, when you return, it makes the transition back into real life easier and more comfortable if your living space is clean, fresh, organized and kept nicely – something you will love the minute you walk in the door from the airport, train station or that long road trip.


There are many things you need to do before you leave, but here are some ways to clean your home and prepare it for your vacation ahead:

• Wash and put all your dishes away before leaving on your trip.

• You should also focus on wiping your kitchen counters, sweeping your floors and making sure you have nothing that may serve as food for any insects and critters in the times ahead.

• You should check your fridge to ensure its contents are safe during the time you will spend away from home. Anything you believe may eventually spoil during your vacation should go, regardless of what it is. Butter, cheese and eggs will likely last about a week or so without a problem, but if you have any doubts you should work on cooking something with them and taking it along or eating it to ensure you’ll have no issues.

• During your deep domestic cleaning, you need to take the kitchen trash and all recyclable items to their bins outside before you head off on vacation.

Cleaning up Before a Vacation

• For your bedroom, put a fresh set of sheets and blankets on the bed before you leave, as it will be a wonderful welcome for you upon returning from your trip. A change of table covers and towels may also be a nice addition to your preparations.

• Put all clean clothes away and place the dirty ones in your laundry bin if you have no time to deal with them. The last thing you want is having a bunch of dirty laundry lying around.

• Clean up your bathroom as well when you prepare so it will be pleasant to use once you return. Give the shower more attention if you ignored it for a long time.


• When all is said and done, you will need to make sure you also pay attention to your trash as well, since leaving it half-full may become a real problem. If you have any biological waste or food inside, it may attract fruit flies or potentially pests, which is hardly something any of us wants around our home as a welcome home surprise.

Ella Andrews is writer, blogger and social network enthusiast She is presently involved in learning more about interior design, storage and home decor:


6 Thrifty Interior Design Tips

As the cost of living continues to rise, finding the funds to renovate and update your interior design has become increasingly difficult. However, by using a few a clever tips, you can update the look of your home at a fraction of the cost. This following are 6 thrifty interior design tips to help you spruce up your interior design on a budget.

6 Thrifty Interior Design Tips

1. One Man’s Rubbish is Another Man’s Treasure

After going through a renovation, the last thing you need to be doing is paying out even more to restock your room with appropriate furniture and accessories. The likes of Ikea may be offering you all that you need, but it doesn’t mean you should head there and hand over your hard-earned money. Try looking at local salvage yards. Due to the general feeling that a lot of today’s flatpack furniture is overpriced, salvage yards are a great place to find barely used furniture at a fraction of its retail cost.

2. eBay only in Moderation

eBay is a treasure trove of quality furniture at reasonable prices, but it is easy to get carried away and fall in love with all that you find. Always play your cards close to your chest and don’t get caught up in the furor of auction, blowing your budget in the process. Try ‘sniping’ by entering your maximum bid for an item at the very last second; it is a great way to really grab a bargain.

3. Embrace the Old

The vintage look is in, as the glossy and gleaming furniture sold in many stores today is slowly sliding out of fashion. Embrace older furniture that you may be ready to put out to pasture by touching them up yourself. Also, keep an eye for any old furniture you see being discarded, and keep a creative mind in order to see not what it is but what it can be.

DecorCollage.jpg4. Take Those Trips to Flea Markets and Antique Shows

When it comes to finding furniture, flea markets and antique shows have become gold mines. Just walk on in with an open mind, eagle eye and preferably an empty car trunk in toe. Your next favourite piece of furniture could be there.

5. Freecycle = Internet Skipdiving

Looking for free items is no longer the frowned upon process it once was. In the 21st century it is common practice, as the popularity of Freecycle proves. It is a global recycling network that has many sub-networks, which are dedicated to local areas and suburbs. Anything and everything pops up on there, but you must act quickly in order to get the items you want as they will go fast.

6. Don’t Shy Away from Second Hand

The amount of waste via interior design is phenomenal, especially when it comes to furniture. Choosing to buy second-hand is the easiest way to stretch your budget, without unnecessarily sacrificing on quality. For example, should you be updating your kitchen take a look at The Used Kitchen Company instead of one of the high-street chains. New items might be the preferred choice, but don’t blow your budget buying new when you don’t have to.

Ella Andrews is writer, blogger and social network enthusiast She is presently involved in learning more about interior design, storage and home decor:

A Domestic Recipe – Simple Homemade Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal

Nothing is better and more comforting in the morning than a nice, warm, gooey bowl of oatmeal! Yes, oatmeal has a mixed reputation – some people swear by it for breakfast, while others are not into the texture or taste. However, I find it is a sweet treat to start my day with and even better, it is PACKED full of whole grains and nutrients, and has been deemed at a heart healthy food item as it has been proven to assist in lowering cholesterol.

This morning, I was debating on what to have for breakfast, so I began to brainstorm what I could make that would be quick and easy. I noticed there was a large tin of plain oats from Quaker Oats in the cupboard, so I grabbed the tin and came up with my own homemade recipe for Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal – a DIY version of the pre-made oatmeal packages you can actually buy from Quaker Oats. The only difference – it tastes even better because it is homemade!


Here is my quick, easy, delicious and nutritious oatmeal recipe:



3/4 Cup of Quaker Oats – Old Fashioned Oats 
1 tablespoon of Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon of White Sugar
1/2 Cup of Hot Water
2 tablespoons of Pure Maple Syrup 

Optional:  You can add in nuts, cut-up bananas, peaches, apples or berries to the oatmeal once the oatmeal is fully prepared.



1) Put water into a kettle and heat it up to a boil.

2) While water is boiling, combine the Quaker Oats, the brown sugar, and white sugar into a cereal bowl.

3) Once the water is boiled, measure out a 1/2 cup of the water and pure it into the cereal bowl. Stir the oat mix and water together until you get a thickened and gooey oatmeal. 

4) After you get the oatmeal to a consistency of your liking, stir in the maple syrup until it is fully absorbed into the oatmeal.

5) Let the oatmeal cool for 2 minutes, then enjoy!

6) If you are a nut and/or fruit fan, feel free to add in nuts, cut-up bananas, peaches, apples and/or berries to the oatmeal. 

This recipe makes 1 breakfast serving

For the previous Domestic Recipe post on the Tangy Sweet & Sour Meatballs, CLICK HERE

Creating Your Own Compost

Composting involves ‘recycling’ items that cannot be recycled at a recycling plant by making them rot.

In order to make your own compost, you are going to need a bin. There are a variety of compost bins that you can choose from, but they all serve the same purpose. You can even make your own compost bin. You just need to make sure that your compost bin can be accessed with great ease. This means having a lid or a door that can be opened easily without having to lift the bin etc. You also need to ensure that it is airtight and does not have any holes.

Next you need to find the perfect location for your compost bin. Now the perfect location is in a sunny area, or an area which gets a reasonable amount of sun. This is to provide the bin with heat which is going to speed up the composting process.

A lot of people are often left confused about the items that can be composted. But what you need to realise is that you can compost virtually. However, having a good mix between green and brown items is best to promote thorough rotting.

Items that belong to the ‘greens’ category are tea bags, vegetable peelings, grass cutting etc. Greens are great for composting since they are rich in nitrogen. This is another way of realising which item belongs to greens.

How to make your own Compost2

Brown ingredients and slow to rot because they contain carbon in them. These items include cardboard boxes, wastepaper, wood (make sure to shred it first) etc. There are other items with can be composted but do not fall into either none of the above categories. This includes egg shells or hair and nails. There will be some items that end up rotting quicker than others. These items involve weeds and leaves. Adding these to your compost mix can further speed up the whole composting process for the whole mixture. Remember that larger items will take longer to rot, so try to shred or chop everything into smaller pieces in order to increase their surface area. You will notice that your items will rot a lot quicker that way.

There are some items that absolutely should not be composted and this includes cooked food, nappies, pet faeces etc. Although technically cooked food and raw meat could be composted, the fact that they are food will attract vermin, which is something that you do not want wandering around in your garden or greenhouse.

You simply add all your compostable items to the compost bin and let the rest happen over time. It is recommended that he first time you compost, that you have enough materials to make a layer which is approximately 30cm high when it is in the bin.

The good thing about composting is that you can add more materials whenever you like. There is no need to wait for a cycle to end. Just add more items as you get a hold of them.

It usually takes approximately eight weeks for the composting process to finish. A good way to know when it is done is to smell the mixture. If it smells earthy and looks dark brown, you know that it’s done. Even if it does not look like the compost you would normally purchase in a bag, you are still able to use it in the same way.

How to make your own Compost

Ella Andrews is writer, blogger and social network enthusiast. Her inspiration is home decorating and gardening/ landscaping projects. Her present article is focused on garden maintenance. Find more helpful tips for your home and garden from Ella by CLICKING HERE.