Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

House of horrors: Dr. Phil's Beverly Hills mansion hits the market for $8.3 million

<p>If there has ever been a house to cause such a wave of disbelief in shock, it is the Beverly Hills mansion of Dr. Phil McGraw which just hit the market for AUD $8.3 million.</p> <p>The star of the Dr. Phil Show has put his house up for sale and it quickly went viral for its quirky, and quite frankly strange, features.</p> <p>From the bejewelled bear and rabbit figurines beneath a wall of guns, to a purple egg chair draping from the ceiling directly across from a massive piece of artwork that reads “f*ck” on it, this home has every eccentric momentum that you could squeeze into a five bedroom, six bathroom house.</p> <p>The images of inside the uniquely designed mansion quickly spread quickly once a Los<em> Angeles Times</em> writer tweeted a collection of interior shots of the house in question.</p> <p>The interesting décor choices and eccentric, out-of-the-box quirks got the attention of over 26,000 people who liked the post.</p> <p>Records show Dr. Phil purchased the home in 2007 however it appears the TV star has never actually lived there.</p> <p>The insane décor choices seem to be the choice of his son, Jordan, who currently calls the place home.</p> <p>He went on to clarify the wall of guns is actually “an anti-gun art installation”.</p> <p>The mansion features five bedrooms and six bathrooms, and the master suite has a private balcony. In true Californian style, there also includes also a dining gazebo, outdoor fireplace, swimming pool, and jacuzzi.</p> <p>On top of that there is a dedicated billiards room and wine cellar. </p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the inside of the home up close.</p>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

6 things you never knew you could put in the washing machine

<p>Bring it on.</p> <p><strong>1. Stuffed animals</strong></p> <p>Place each stuffed animal in its own mesh laundry bag and set your machine to wash and rinse. Use cold water (warm or hot water could melt the toy’s glue) and half the regular amount of detergent. Run the animals through a second rinse cycle to remove all the soap, and allow them to air dry. Fluff fur as needed.</p> <p><strong>2. Sneakers</strong></p> <p>Remove the laces from canvas or nylon sneakers and slip them into a cotton pillowcase where they won’t get tangled. Take out any inner soles or padding from the sneakers and toss the shoes and pillowcase into your washer (if you’re concerned about the shoes causing a racket, throw in a few towels as well). Add the regular amount of detergent, plus a dash of vinegar to deodorise. Set your machine on a cold-wash delicate cycle. Allow the shoes and shoelaces to air dry.</p> <p><strong>3. Pillows</strong></p> <p>Wash pillows two at a time in a warm-water gentle cycle. To ensure you’re washing out all the soap, add an extra cold-water rinse and spin, advises Good Housekeeping. To fluff things up, dry the pillows on low heat, along with a few rubber dryer balls.</p> <p><strong>4. Backpacks and lunch boxes</strong></p> <p>Open all of your backpack’s pockets and check for any items that might be hidden. If there are large pieces of crumbs or debris, use your vacuum cleaner’s crevice attachment to do a thorough pre-cleaning. Put your backpack into a laundry bag or pillowcase and wash it on a gentle cycle in cold water with a small amount of gentle detergent. Allow to air dry.</p> <p><strong>5. Bath mats and small rugs</strong></p> <p>Take the mat outside and shake it to remove any loose dirt, and then load the rug into the washing machine with a few bath towels to balance the load. Set the machine on a cold-wash delicate cycle, and add half the regular amount of detergent. Allow the mat to air dry (never put a rubber-backed mat into the dryer).</p> <div id="page12" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/16-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-washing-machine"><strong>6. Pet beds</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/16-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-washing-machine"> <p>Foam pet beds can be cleaned whenever you see fit. Remove the bed’s outside cover and place it in the washing machine with cold water and regular detergent. To clean the foam piece, fill your bathtub halfway with warm water. Add a scoop of laundry detergent and sink the bed into the soapy water. Empty the soap water from the tub and refill with clean water. Rinse the foam out and place it in the sun to air dry. Replace the foam cover and zip it up.</p> <div id="page16" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p><em>Source:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/washing-machine-suprising-items/" target="_blank">RD.com</a></em></p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/16-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-washing-machine"><em>Written by Juliana LaBianca. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/16-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-washing-machine">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

Why you should clean with herbs

<div class="page-header clearfix"> <div class="tg-container"> <div class="detailPageHeader"> <div class="postIntro">Homemade herbal cleaning products are mostly composed of just one main substance – the cleaning agent – which means that you're not paying for bulking additives, artificial colours or perfumes. You can choose the type and strength of the scent you want; fresh herbs or essential oils almost invariably leave a delightfully fresh, clean smell.</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="tg-container categorySection detailSection"> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div class="share-buttons"> <div class="addthis_inline_share_toolbox" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/home-tips/why-clean-with-herbs" data-title="Why clean with herbs? | Reader's Digest Australia" data-description="Homemade herbal cleaning products are mostly composed of just one main substance – the cleaning agent – which means that you're not paying for bulking additives, artificial colours or perfumes. You can choose the type and strength of the scent you want; fresh herbs or essential oils almost invariably leave a delightfully fresh, clean smell."> <div id="atstbx" class="at-resp-share-element at-style-responsive addthis-smartlayers addthis-animated at4-show" aria-labelledby="at-029fd6d1-4439-4dc9-8fe6-9e3c12bc7441"> <div class="Maincontent"> <p>There is also gathering evidence that links the use of chemical cleaners such as bleach with the development of asthma in both children and adults. Some chemicals can set off allergic reactions or contact dermatitis in sensitive people. And one 2010 US study discovered that women who held cleaning jobs while pregnant had a higher incidence of birth defects in their children.</p> <p>So, whether you’re already committed to a greener way of cleaning or you just want to save money and simplify your life a little, herbal cleaning makes a lot of sense.</p> <p>Try these two recipes to clean your surfaces and floors, the easy way, with the power of herbs.</p> <h4>All-purpose herb vinegar spray</h4> <p>This all-purpose, environmentally friendly, non-toxic spray is great to have on hand for wiping, cleaning and deodorising almost every surface (except marble). If you don’t have any fresh herbs, add drops of essential oil instead.</p> <p><strong>Ingredients</strong></p> <ul class="no-bullet"> <li>fresh or dried herbs (you can also use herbal tea bags)</li> <li>distilled white vinegar</li> </ul> <p><strong>Preparation</strong></p> <ol> <li>Roughly chop 1 to 2 large handfuls of fresh or dried herbs (such as lemon verbena, peppermint, rosemary, lemon balm or lavender), or place 5 to 10 tea bags in the bottom of a wide-mouthed glass jar.</li> <li>Add vinegar to fill the jar. Replace the lid, leave for a few days to infuse, then strain out the herbs. (If you are using tea bags, you can gently warm the vinegar before pouring to ensure maximum diffusion.)</li> <li>Decant into a plastic spray bottle. This spray is perfectly safe and very effective to use at full-strength, but it can also be diluted half-and-half with water for lighter jobs.</li> </ol> <h4>Eucalyptus floor wash</h4> <p>With its powerful natural antiseptic, disinfectant and cleaning properties, eucalyptus oil can be put to work in every room of the house. This simple solution can be used on both timber and lino floors. When washing a timber floor, remember not to saturate it. Your mop should be damp, not dripping wet, and the floor should be well-swept or vacuumed before mopping.</p> <p><strong>Ingredients</strong></p> <ul class="no-bullet"> <li>1 teaspoon eucalyptus oil</li> <li>2 tablespoons methylated spirits</li> <li>5 litres hot water (about half a bucket)</li> </ul> <p><strong>Preparation</strong></p> <ol> <li>Combine all the ingredients in a bucket.</li> <li>Wring out a mop in the solution and use it to damp mop the floor. Leave to dry; you don’t need to rinse.</li> </ol> <p><em>Written by Reader's Digest. </em><em>This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/home-tips/why-clean-with-herbs"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

They paid WHAT? 5 most expensive celeb houses of 2019

<p>Celebrities live a life of luxury, so it makes sense that these luxuries would also extend to the places they call home. Here are the 5 most expensive real estate transactions done by celebrities for 2019.</p> <p><strong>5. Tommy Hilfiger</strong></p> <p>The 68-year-old fashion designer and founder of Tommy Hilfiger finally sold his Plaza Hotel penthouse after a shocking 11 years on the market. The home is 6,050 square feet and has just four bedrooms. There is a formal dining room that features mirrored walls and the penthouse features a grand salon with 10-foot high ceilings, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/watch-tommy-and-dee-hilfiger-give-a-tour-of-their-stunning-plaza-hotel-apartment" target="_blank">Architectural Digest</a></em>.</p> <p>The penthouse sold for a shocking $USD 33.25 million ($NZD 49.93 million).</p> <p><strong>4. Mark Zuckerberg</strong></p> <p>The founder of Facebook kept the details of this sale very private as he purchased a home in Lake Tahoe for $USD 37 million ($NZD 56 million).</p> <p>The Brushwood Estate features a 5,322 square foot main house with six bedrooms as well as a separate guesthouse and a private dock, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://variety.com/2019/dirt/news/mark-zuckerberg-lake-tahoe-houses-1203209603/" target="_blank">Variety</a></em>.</p> <p>The home was built in 1964 and also features rolling lawns as well as a lakeview jacuzzi.</p> <p>The home adds to the smaller property he purchased earlier for $USD 22 million ($NZD 33.1 million) and now has a compound of up to 10 acres with 600 feet of uninterrupted lake views.</p> <p><strong>3. Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo</strong></p> <p>The power couple were ready to say goodbye to their mansion in Beverly Hills, but it wouldn’t be an easy one as their mansion is a three-story Tudor-style home.</p> <p>The sprawling 10,376 foot mansion features five bedrooms, twelve bathrooms and features crown moulding in many of the common living areas on the first floor.</p> <p>The master suite of the mansion includes a lofted ceiling, a private terrace and an en suite bathroom that has a luxurious free-standing tub, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/ellen-degeneres-buys-adam-levines-beverly-hills-mansion" target="_blank">Architectural Digest</a>.</em></p> <p>The home sold to another power couple Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia Di Rossi for $USD 45 million ($NZD 68.05 million).</p> <p><strong>2. Sting</strong></p> <p>The iconic musician bought a luxurious 5,807 square feet penthouse which has three bedrooms and five and a half bathrooms. Although it’s not as large as some of the other mansions, it appears that stars are paying for the location as it’s on Billionaire’s Row at 220 Central Park South, according to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.realestate.com.au/news/sting-drops-nearly-96-million-on-penthouse-in-recordbreaking-new-york-building/" target="_blank">realestate.com.au.</a></p> <p>With few details being made public about the actual apartment, there are little to no photos of this listing that he bought for a shocking USD $66 million (NZD$ 99.29 million)</p> <p><strong>1. Jeff Bezos</strong></p> <p>Last but not least, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos purchased a trio of Manhattan apartments for a combined whopping $USD 80 million ($NZD 120.32 million).</p> <p>The sizeable buy included a three-story five-bedroom penthouse apartment as well as the other two units he purchased which overlook Madison Square Park.</p> <p>The combined space of all three units create a massive 17,000 square foot, 12-bedroom estate.</p> <p>The penthouse alone has nearly 6,000 square feet of terraces and has four exposures facing the Madison Square Park. The penthouse also includes a private elevator, a grand ballroom and a library with a marble and glass fireplace, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.businessinsider.com.au/amazon-ceo-jeff-bezos-buys-manhattan-penthouse-apartment-80-million-2019-6?r=US&amp;IR=T" target="_blank">Business Insider</a></em>.</p> <p><em>Photo credits:</em></p> <p><em>Tommy Hilfiger’s penthouse:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/17/photos-tommy-hilfigers-nyc-penthouse-sold-for-millions.html" target="_blank">CNBC</a><span> </span>&amp; Sothesby’s International Realty | Travis Mark</em></p> <p><em>Mark Zuckerberg’s Lake Tahoe mansion:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://variety.com/2019/dirt/news/mark-zuckerberg-lake-tahoe-houses-1203209603/" target="_blank">Variety</a><span> </span>&amp; Oliver Luxury Real Estate</em></p> <p><em>Adam Levine’s Tudor-style mansion:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/ellen-degeneres-buys-adam-levines-beverly-hills-mansion" target="_blank">Architectural Digest</a><span> </span>&amp; Simon Berlyn / Berlyn Photography 2019</em></p> <p><em>Jeff Bezos’ trio of Manhattan apartments:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://visualhouse.co/work/212-fifth-avenue/" target="_blank">Visual House</a>­  <span> </span><span> </span></em></p>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

5 of the best air-cleaning plants according to NASA

<p>The best plants are the ones that do double duty – and all of these purify your air of toxic chemicals. Even better, they’re easy to grow. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, our homes can have three to five times more pollutants than the outdoors. You could be living in a “sick” house and not realize it: Substances like xylene (in paint and lacquers), benzene (furniture wax, insect sprays) trichloroethylene (cleaners, adhesives), and formaldehyde (upholstery, air fresheners) – can produce symptoms like headaches, sore throats, or allergy-like breathing troubles. The NASA Clean Air Study was designed to find effective and simple ways to detox the air in the space station – and it reveals that common house plants have air purifying superpowers.</p> <p><strong>1. Boston Fern</strong></p> <p><span>Boston ferns are native to tropical forests and swamp areas so they will thrive in low light and high humidity – they’re ideal for your bathroom. The moisture from your shower will hydrate the plant, requiring little extra care from you. Besides being a pretty and decorative addition to your bathroom, the Boston fern helps remove xylene and – the NASA study revealed – it was the top house plant for removing formaldehyde.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Spider plant</strong></p> <p>Talk about a plant that keeps giving. It removes impurities from the air like formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. NASA’s study found that spider plants removed 95 per cent of formaldehyde from a sealed plexiglass chamber in 24 hours. Even better, the main plant sends out shoots, called “spiderettes” that flower and eventually grow into baby spider plants that you can transplant. That also helps: Research indicates that people are more relaxed and happy after caring for plants – say, for example, when they’re re-potting them.</p> <p><strong>3. Bamboo plant</strong></p> <p>This plant boasts elegance and height in addition to removing harmful elements like benzene and formaldehyde. Bamboo palms also help keep indoor air moist, making it a welcome addition in dry winter months. This palm takes a bit more care: It loves bright, but not direct sunlight and needs monthly fertilising and regular misting; when it outgrows its container (every two to three years), you’ll need to re-pot it.</p> <p><strong>4. Devil’s ivy</strong></p> <p>Devil’s ivy is actually quite angelic. It’s considered one of the most effective indoor air purifiers from benzene, formaldehyde and xylene. Plus, if you’re new to growing house plants, this is a great first plant to get. It’s lush, hardy and inexpensive. Another nice feature is that it can grow up to 2.5 metres long and in a variety of directions. In a hanging basket, it will trail downwards. Place it a pot and train it to climb a totem or trellis or place in a pot on a mantle or coffee table and let it grow horizontally.</p> <p><strong>5. Gerbera</strong></p> <p>These colourful and cheerful daisies were mainly outdoor plants until florists started using them in arrangements. Grown indoors, they can produce flowers at any time of the year, in white, red, orange, pink and purple. The flowers usually last around four to six weeks, but even without the flowers, the gerbera or Barberton daisy has lush, dark green leaves that are effective at filtering out formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. They are most happy with full sun and plenty of water and well-drained soil.</p> <p><em><span>Written by Lisa Marie Conklin. Republished with permission of </span></em><span><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/top-spot-australians-retire-2019/"><em>Handyman</em></a><em>.</em></span></p>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

3 things a first-time gardener needs to know

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As it’s the beginning of a new year, many are thinking about what kind of hobbies they’d like to take in 2020. If gardening is on your list, here are three things that beginner gardeners need to know.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Don’t start too big</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Beginner gardeners might just see what kind of seeds they want to grow and begin planting, but according to Barbara Murphy, a master gardener coordinator and horticulturist with the University of Maine, this is the opposite of what you should do.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Starting too large is the most common mistake made by first-time gardeners,” said Barbara Murphy, a master gardener coordinator and horticulturist with University of Maine Cooperative Extension for 23 years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Limit yourself to 10 feet by 10 feet, [3 metres by 3 metres]” she says. “If you grow frustrated because of too many things happening the first year, there’s a good chance you won’t feel like gardening for a second. You can always expand as your skills develop.”</span></p> <p><strong>2. Know your soil</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Knowing what your garden needs soil wise is vital for success.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Good soil preparation is important to success, but be patient,” said Rosie Lerner, an extension horticulturist with Purdue University to <a href="https://www.staradvertiser.com/2020/01/05/features/advice-to-first-time-gardeners-think-small-and-find-your-spot/"><em>Star Advertiser</em></a>. “Don’t force the soil when it’s wet. Soil structures will compact and get tight. That makes it tough for water and air to move through and greatly inhibits growth.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Squeeze the soil gently in your hand. If it crumbles a bit when squeezed, it’s ready for use. “It can take a long time to get good soil texture, and just minutes to destroy it if you work it while it’s too wet,” Lerner said.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Get rid of insects as quickly as possible</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Insects are bad news for growing gardens.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Make regular visits to your garden to check for plant pests,” Murphy said. “Don’t worry about the adults. You want to go after the eggs before they develop into juvenile leaf cutters. Most eggs are on the underside of leaves. Use soapy water and picking or simply remove the infested leaves.”</span></p>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

5 appliances you’re shortening the life of through misuse

<p>Buying electronics and appliances can be a huge investment, and when something goes wrong with them, it can also cause a huge headache. So, of course, you want to keep everything working for as long as possible. While many of us blame the seemingly shorter lifespan of these products on the fact that things just aren’t made like they used to be, that’s not entirely true. It turns out that much of the time, the culprit is us! Read on for the mistakes you probably don’t even realise you’re making, which can cause the early demise of everything from your laptop and your phone to your stove and your toaster.</p> <p><strong>1. Laptop</strong></p> <p>There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that goes from on the fritz to suddenly needing to be replaced. It turns out the key to keeping our laptops longer is turning them off at least once a day. This allows the operating system to install software updates and patches so everything can run smoothly and up to snuff. Another mistake that causes the early demise of this essential and expensive device? Failing to install anti-virus and malware programs.</p> <p><strong>2. Smartphone</strong></p> <p>If you feel you need to replace your smartphone way before the newest one comes out, it’s probably because you’re letting it overheat. According to <em>PCMag</em>, a major cause of this is something most of us are guilty of: charging our devices overnight. In fact, your phone is at risk of overheating every time you keep it plugged in with a full battery.</p> <p>And while many of us know it’s best to leave our phone at home when we go to the pool or beach, water damage isn’t the biggest risk. An article from <em>Time</em> reveals that too much heat exposure from the sun can cause lots of problems, including battery leakage and loss of data.</p> <p><strong>3. Vacuum</strong></p> <p>No one wants to empty the dirt cup after vacuuming your entire home or even before you vacuum, but an overfilled unit will not only run less efficiently – it will also ultimately shorten the life of the appliance. While most bagless units have a line indicating it’s time to empty the cup, it’s less obvious for bag machines. A sudden decrease in suction is a good indicator.</p> <p><strong>4. Car</strong></p> <p>A good car doesn’t come cheap, and to get yours to last as long as possible, you can’t skimp on regular maintenance. One biggie: oil changes. If you wait too long to change the oil, you’re asking for trouble. So how often are you really supposed to be doing this? According to Cars.com, it depends on the make and model of your car. Check the owner’s manual. Changing the oil keeps the corrosive material and debris out of your engine, so if you live in a city, it’s best to change the oil even a little sooner than the manufacturer recommends.</p> <p><strong>5. Fridge</strong></p> <p>If you have a big family and you find yourself with a fridge that’s constantly full, it might be time to consider buying a larger one. That’s because overloading it places pressure on the fan blades, causing them to work improperly or even break.</p> <p>Cleaning the fridge is another way you can extend its life. The coils, the internal mechanism and the outside of the fridge need to be cleaned on a regular basis.</p> <p><em>Source: <a href="https://www.rd.com/advice/ways-youre-damaging-home-appliances/">RD.com</a></em></p> <p><em>Written by Amanda Lauren. This article first appeared in </em><em><span><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/12-ways-youre-shortening-the-life-of-your-home-appliances">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></span></em></p>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

10 things in your house that a professional organiser would throw out

<p>An expert organiser shares her list of the top 26 things she’d throw out without a second thought.</p> <p><strong>1. Flimsy kitchen utensils</strong></p> <p>The wine opener that never works well enough is just one of the tosses you can make from your utensil drawer. Professional organisers would also ditch the slotted spoons and pancake turners that bend under the weight of food. And add the garlic press that is too delicate to mince a clove of garlic to the toss pile.</p> <p><strong>2. Reference material</strong></p> <p>You’ll rarely find a space-hogging phone book in a professional organiser’s home. They also let go of encyclopaedia sets and textbooks; consider donating those. And unless you need the thesaurus and dictionary for playing Scrabble, pass those on, too.</p> <p><strong>3. Expired things</strong></p> <p>While frozen, fresh and canned foods come to mind, these are not the only things in your home that expire. Once they reach their best by date, it’s recommended to throw out medications, vitamins and supplements.</p> <p><strong>4. Storage solutions</strong></p> <p>Professional organisers love storage solutions but not every container works well. If the bin, basket or box didn’t solve your problem, then throw it out; otherwise, it just adds to your clutter. Consider passing along storage containers to a teacher who might need them.</p> <p><strong>5. Outdated technology</strong></p> <p>The VCR and boom box have been replaced with more up-to-date technology, so get rid of the old stuff. Recycle floppy disks and ancient laptops, obsolete phones, VHS tapes and more through an e-waste program.</p> <p><strong>6. Parts for discarded items</strong></p> <p>Toss the accessories and instruction booklets that go with things you no longer own, like the tiny bag with a spare button for the blouse you donated and the owner’s manual for the television you had ten years ago.</p> <p><strong>7. Secret stash</strong></p> <p>Even professional organisers keep odd things like those plastic clips from bags of bread or rinsed out glass jars. The key is to know when you are saving too many, and they are becoming clutter. For example, if you’ve kept every rubber band from every fresh produce purchase, then it is time to throw some away.</p> <p><strong>8. Awards and trophies</strong></p> <p>Just because it has your name engraved on it does not mean you have to keep it forever. Professional organisers preserve the memory by taking a photo of the accolade, then they donate the trophies, plaques, or awards of excellence through sports medal recycling programs.</p> <p><strong>9. Fad clutter</strong></p> <p>You could not resist that 2 a.m. infomercial and now you’re the owner of the latest craze in kitchen appliances, workshop tools, or some other must-have item that you never use. Professional organisers remind you that keeping the item won’t bring back the money you spent; so it’s best to pass it along to an organisation or friend that will accept it.</p> <p><strong>10. Clothes hangers</strong></p> <p>You’ll rarely find empty hangers taking up space in a professional organiser’s closet. Clear the clutter by returning the wire ones to the dry cleaners. Then let go of the other unused hangers like the ones with weak clips and the small hangers that don’t slide on the closet bar.</p> <p><em>Written by Handyman. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.handyman.net.au/26-things-your-house-professional-organiser-would-throw-out"><em>Handyman</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

6 home improvement projects that practically pay for themselves

<p>These smart upgrades pay off big in resale value and enjoyment of your home.</p> <p><strong>1. Give cabinets a new life</strong></p> <p>“Replacing your cabinets is a huge cost that is not completely necessary if the cabinets are less than ten years old, functional, and made from a high-quality wood,” says John Milligan, Product Development Manager at N-Hance Wood Refinishing. Refinishing can cost around $3,000 to $8,000 and can potentially bump up the value of your home between 3 and 7 percent.</p> <p><strong>2. The biggest bang for your buck</strong></p> <p>A fresh coat of paint instantly updates and transforms the entire interior of your home, and when you consider the relatively low cost of paint, it’s about the biggest bang for your buck you can get. “Greys are back in vogue, and create a neutral palette that lets your decor really pop,” says Steve Frellick, licensed contractor and founder/broker of Yonder Luxury Vacation Rentals.</p> <p><strong>3. Roll up the carpet</strong></p> <p>If you’re lucky, your wall-to-wall carpet will last about ten years. Well-maintained hardwood floors, on the other hand, last for at least 25 years. “Hardwood floors have a massive appeal and add an extreme level of warmth and comfort in your home and a definite return on your investment,” says Frellick. In fact, a recent Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors showed that a whopping 91 percent of the cost is recovered.</p> <p><strong>4. Exterior facelift</strong></p> <p>New cladding is like a facelift for the house, resulting in enhanced curb appeal. But replacing worn out cladding isn’t just about looks: damaged cladding creates moisture and mould, and it leaves insulation exposed, causing your heating and cooling bills to skyrocket.</p> <p><strong>5. The grass is always greener in your yard</strong></p> <p>Dragging out and moving sprinklers every week is not only time-consuming; it adds to your water bill. A better idea? Drip irrigation. “This puts water where plants need it – at the root zone – and it uses much less water over time, as the emitters are placed right near the plants and drip at a reduced rate,” says plant merchant Tyler Davis. It’s easy to install, and will pay for itself in a short time with water savings, he adds. A green and well-manicured lawn can add $2,000 to $7,000 to the resale value of your home.</p> <p><strong>6. Give yourself some space</strong></p> <p>Creating more usable space is something you’ll never regret, whether you use it for storage or more living space. “Having a finished basement or attic can be as simple as putting up and painting gyprock and putting down flooring,” says Shayanfekr. The costs will vary greatly depending on the square metreage and materials used, but the Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors shares that you’ll generally recoup over 50 percent of costs at sale time.</p> <p><em>Source: </em><a href="https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/home-projects-pay-for-themselves/"><em>RD.com</em></a></p> <p><em>Written by Lisa Marie Conklin. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/home-tips/12-home-improvement-projects-practically-pay-themselves"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

How to increase the curb appeal of your home in a weekend

<p>Whether your goal is to add value to your home to sell, or you’re just looking to get your home entertainment-ready for summer, there are three DIY projects you can complete in a weekend that will greatly increase the curb appeal of your home.</p> <p><strong>1. Repaint concrete exteriors</strong></p> <p>Painting an unsightly or worn concrete pathway, landing or wall is one of the most dramatic (and easy) home improvements you can make. With a little prep and some specialty concrete paint you can avoid the pricey task of having to replace the concrete and have it looking like new again.</p> <p><strong>Remember</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>PREPARATION IS KEY.</strong> Remove any lose concrete with a scraper, wire brush or sandpaper then scrub the surface clean with a strong detergent and stiff bristle broom and hose off with clean water. This will stop your paint from lifting and ensure long lasting results. Don’t skip this step! 
</li> <li><strong>ROUGHT IT UP.</strong> In order for your surface to really grip the paint, you need to make sure the surface is rough (it should feel like 180 grit sandpaper). If the surface is smooth, prep with White Knight Ultra Pave Concrete Etcher. If your surface is already fairly rough you can skip this step. 
</li> <li><strong>TIME TO PAINT.</strong> Using a roller and tray, first start on the large areas. Using White Knight Ultra Pave Quick Dry, start by painting the far corner and then work backwards so you don’t paint yourself into a corner. If you didn’t use a concrete etcher, I recommend thinning the first coat of paint with 20% water to help with adhesion. Your concrete area will be touch-dry in 30 minutes and ready to be recoated in two hours.</li> </ul> <p><strong>2. Paint the front door</strong></p> <p>Painting your front door and even your shutters is another easy way to improve the exterior of your home and help to leave a lasting impression.</p> <p><strong>Remember</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>KNOW YOUR ENVIRONMENT.</strong> Select a hardwearing concrete paint such as Ultra Pave which is designed to withstand Australia’s harsh climate. 
</li> <li><strong>DARE TO BE DIFFERENT.</strong> Remember, paint isn’t permanent so have fun with it. Try a strong contrast colour for maximum visual impact. Think red against a white frame and brick wall, bright yellow against navy, or deep blue on white. 
</li> </ul> <p><strong>3. Landscape</strong></p> <p>Last but certainly not least, a little bit of landscaping can do wonders to improve the curb appeal of your home.</p> <p><strong>Remember</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>ADD SOME COLOUR </strong>A vibrant flower bed can lift the feel of any home.</li> </ul> <p><em>This is a guest post by Dale Vine, former Block contestant and </em><a href="http://www.whiteknightpaints.com.au/"><em>White Knight </em></a><em>Ambassador. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.handyman.net.au/how-increase-curb-appeal-your-home-weekend"><em>Handyman</em></a><em>.</em></p>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

10 absolutely brilliant uses for old socks

<p>Here are ten absolutely brilliant uses for old socks.</p> <p><strong>1. Prevent floor scratches</strong></p> <p>When moving furniture at home, put socks on the feet of your chair or table legs to prevent scratching the floors.</p> <p><strong>2. Dust high places</strong></p> <p>To dust extra-tall (e.g., on ceilings) or extra-narrow (under appliances or radiators) spots, fasten a sock to the end of a yardstick or a broom, dampen, and clean (chenille socks are especially good at picking up dust).</p> <p><strong>3. Clean houseplants</strong></p> <p>Put your hand in a sock, dampen it, and use it as a mitt to clean houseplants of dust and other debris.</p> <p><strong>4. Soften laundry</strong></p> <p>To soften laundry without using fabric softener or dryer balls, take a couple of socks, put a tennis ball inside each, knot them, and throw into the dryer before running your next load of laundry.</p> <p><strong>5. Sleep mask</strong></p> <p>Fashion a sleep mask with an old sock, some flat backing fabric, and an elastic band.</p> <p><strong>6. Sticky jar cover</strong></p> <p>Keep your cupboard and refrigerator clean by deploying single socks to cover the bottoms of bottles or jars containing messy, sticky, drippy stuff like syrup, honey, molasses, and barbecue sauce.</p> <p><strong>7. Pan handle cover</strong></p> <p>Stash socks in the kitchen where they’re surprisingly useful. For starters, when cooking on the stove, slip one over the handle of your saucepan or frying pan; this will not only shield your hand from the heat but also prevent the handle from getting sticky.</p> <p><strong>8. Wrist rest</strong></p> <p>For an ergonomic wrist rest for your computer, take a sock, stuff it with filling, and sew it closed. Whether it resembles a ferret, cat, another mammal, or no animal at all is up to you and your preferences and skill.</p> <p><strong>9. Get rid of cramps</strong></p> <p>Combat aches and cramps with a DIY heating pad. Just fill a clean, dry sock (use one that’s all or mostly cotton or wool, with no embellishments) with white or brown rice (not the instant or quick-cooking kind), dried beans, flaxseed or barley. Either knot the sock or sew it shut with cotton thread, and microwave it for one minute. If it’s not hot enough, up the time in 15-second increments.</p> <p><strong>10. Stop the fog</strong></p> <p>Fill socks with silica kitty litter (which is extremely absorbent), and keep them on rear and/or front window ledge to stop windshields from fogging up.</p> <p><em>Source: <a href="https://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/uses-for-old-socks/">RD.com</a></em></p> <p><em>Written by Daryl Chen. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/65-absolutely-brilliant-uses-for-old-socks"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

4 things you're doing to your home that real estate agents wouldn't

<p>Every day, real estate agents come upon cringe-worthy things homeowners have done to their homes. Leopard-print fabric wallpaper in the bedroom – yep. DIY electrical repairs – shockingly true. Sure, it’s your castle, and you can decorate or DIY to your heart’s content, as well as skip certain projects you just don’t think are important. But there are some smart reasons why real estate agents wouldn’t do the following things to their own homes.</p> <p><strong>1. Ignoring kerb appeal</strong></p> <p>You worked for months on the interior of your home, and now that it’s Instagram-worthy, you’re too tired and uninspired to care about the shabby lawn and cracked walkway. Shake off the sawdust and swap out your tool belt for some gardening tools. “It pays to hire a professional to get some advice to ‘stage’ your yard, too,” says real estate broker Kelly Parks. “A bonus is that while you live there, you will also love it.”</p> <p><strong>2. Planting trees too close to the house</strong></p> <p>Leafy trees, flowering bushes and colourful perennials instantly add a welcoming and homey touch to that all-important kerb appeal, but if you plant trees too close to the house, you might regret it down the road. Trees with long root systems can uproot the ground and your budget, and large limbs can fall on the roof or damage siding. “Roots over time can damage underground plumbing, foundation and driveways,” explains realtor Maya Madison. “It may look nice at first, but when you go to sell it in a few years, those roots will cause very expensive damage.”</p> <p><strong>3. Over-customising</strong></p> <p>A house is transformed into a home-sweet-home when you add personal touches, but if you’re thinking about selling your house down the road, you might want to rethink going all-in with your favourite motif. Broker Melanie Everett loves animal prints, but she’s not going to wallpaper her house with it. “I opted to buy some beautiful pillows instead,” she says. “Plus, I can take these with me to my next home, and I don’t have to worry about overwhelming a potential buyer.”</p> <p><strong>4. Hiring non-licenced contractors</strong></p> <p>It’s probably not a big deal to DIY a loose floorboard or hire your cousin to install a ceiling fan, but when it comes to the major housing components like plumbing and electrical, you should hire licensed, bonded contractors and possibly get permits. “This is very important because real estate agents know the value of being able to say that a licensed contractor or expert did the work,” says Parks. “This gives a potential buyer peace of mind, knowing that things are right, and the same is true when they go to sell the house later.”</p> <p><em>Source: </em><a href="https://www.rd.com/home/things-real-estate-agents-wouldnt-do/"><em>RD.com</em></a></p> <p><em>Written by Lisa Marie Conklin. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/diy-tips/13-things-youre-doing-to-your-home-that-real-estate-agents-wouldnt">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></p>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

5 household chores that are a waste of time

<p>An endless list of the same old household to-dos costs you time, money and sanity. Here are some you can just skip.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/household-chores-that-are-a-waste-of-time"><strong>1. Washing your hair every day</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/household-chores-that-are-a-waste-of-time"> <p>It may sound counterintuitive, but if you shampoo too often, you will actually make your hair oilier. Washing strips hair of natural oils, so your scalp produces more and then you have to wash again. Stick to two or three times a week, says derma­tologist Dr Tsippora Shainhouse. Using a ­gentle, sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner will keep your scalp and hair from drying out too much.</p> <p><strong>2. Using a top sheet on your bed</strong></p> <p>Save time making your bed every morning by skipping the tangle-prone top sheet. Many Europeans sleep directly under a quilt or a duvet with a cover, as do many of us. Just be sure to make time every week to wash any bedding that touches your body.</p> <p><strong>3. Tossing mouldy bread</strong></p> <p>The best bread is bought fresh at a bakery and eaten on the day you buy it. But if you don’t devour the loaf, you’ll want to store the rest in the freezer. 
It’ll last longer (two to three months, according to the experts 
at ­epicurious.com) and make much better toast, 
according to the<span> </span><em>New York Times</em>.</p> <p><strong>4. Opening curtains wide every morning</strong></p> <div id="page9" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Letting the sunshine in is a lovely way to greet the day, but if you’ll be leaving the house and not returning until after dark, all those rays can fade your furniture and make your air conditioner work harder. North and west-facing rooms are especially sun-prone, so try leaving those curtains drawn. Also, consider running the air conditioner only when you’re home.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/household-chores-that-are-a-waste-of-time"><strong>5. Peeling vegetables</strong></div> <p>Unless you’re preparing pumpkin, celery root or some other food with a tough outer coating, there’s no reason to waste precious before-dinner time peeling vegetables, reports thekitchn.com. That goes for foods you may have been peeling 
all your life, such as carrots, cucumbers, potatoes and turnips. You’ll save time and gain flavour and healthy fibre.</p> <p><em>Written by Jody L. Rohlena. </em><em>This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/household-chores-that-are-a-waste-of-time"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> </div> </div> </div> </div>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

How to eradicate aphids

<p class="p1"><span class="s1">A</span>phids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on sap and leave a sticky deposit as they suck the juice from leaves and stems.</p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">They love nasturtiums but attack everything from herbs and vegies to vines, shrubs and trees, including roses, camellias, stone fruit and citrus.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">Aphids can be green, yellow, pink, brown, grey, black or woolly, and are only 2mm to 4mm long.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">These tiny insects are usually found clustering in large numbers on stems, flower buds and leaves, causing curled or distorted growth.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">Populations start building up in mid and late spring, developing from small colonies into heavy infestations in a matter of days.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">They don’t just destroy new growth but also spread disease, transmitting broad bean wilt, cucumber mosaic and other viruses.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">Aphids also secrete a sugar-rich substance called honeydew that attracts and feeds a type of fungus called sooty mould.</span></p> <p class="p3"><strong><span class="s1">Methods of control</span></strong></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">Aphids multiply rapidly, so a control program is very important.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s2">PICK</span></strong><span class="s1"><strong><span> </span></strong>aphids off by hand and squash them, making sure to wear gloves.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s2">BLAST</span></strong><span class="s1"><span> </span>aphids from plants by hosing regularly with a strong jet of water.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s2">WIPE</span></strong><span class="s1"><strong><span> </span></strong>off indoor plants with a cotton ball dipped in methylated spirits.<span> </span></span><span class="s2">SPRAY</span><span class="s1"><span> </span>plants with insecticide, using low-toxicity formulas to protect edibles, pets and beneficial insects.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s2">ATTRACT</span></strong><span class="s1"><span> </span>natural predators like ladybirds into the garden by planting achillea or Queen Anne’s lace.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s2">PRUNE</span></strong><span class="s1"><span> </span>and bin heavily infested stems and shoots to stimulate new growth.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s1">Mixing home remedies</span></strong></p> <p class="p1">Insects are repelled by garlic and cayenne pepper, so use it to make a spray that can be applied to plants as often as needed.</p> <p class="p2">Handle the solution carefully because capsaicin, the active ingredient in pepper, is a very powerful eye and skin irritant.</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">COMBINE</span><span> </span></strong>six unpeeled and crushed garlic cloves with one tablespoon of cayenne pepper in a clean bucket.</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">ADD</span></strong><span> </span>a litre of warm water and stir the mixture well for one minute then cover the container and leave in a location out of direct sunlight, letting it stand for two days.</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">STRAIN</span></strong><span> </span>the solution into a plastic spray bottle and use within 24 hours.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Spotting and treating infestations</strong></p> <p class="p1">Aphids usually attack soft, new young growth and can cluster unseen on the underside of leaves. Monitor plants throughout spring, checking the leaves for signs of aphid activity, and treat infestations immediately.</p> <h4 class="p1"><strong>Herbs</strong></h4> <p><strong>PROBLEM<span> </span></strong>Leaves are distorted, yellowing or sticky</p> <p><strong><span class="s1">SOLUTION</span></strong><span> </span>Companion plant with nectar-rich species like scabiosa or sweet alyssum and include dill, fennel and chives to attract beneficial insects.</p> <h4><strong>Vegetables</strong></h4> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">PROBLEM</span><span> </span></strong>Leaves are curled, puckered or sticky</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">SOLUTION</span></strong><span> </span>Spray insecticidal soap directly onto aphids. To make your own, mix two tablespoons of pure soap flakes in a litre of water.</p> <h4 class="p1"><strong>Flowers</strong></h4> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">PROBLEM</span></strong><span> </span>Insects cluster on buds and leaves are curled, distorted or yellowed</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">SOLUTION</span></strong><span> </span>Apply a botanical insecticide such as neem, spraying the foliage in the early evening.</p> <h4 class="p1"><strong>Shrubs</strong></h4> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">PROBLEM</span></strong><span> </span>Distorted, sticky leaves.</p> <p><span class="s1"><strong>SOLUTION</strong></span><span> </span>Make a pepper and garlic spray for heavily infested foliage and use as needed. It will very effectively protect roses from both sucking insects and fungal issues.</p> <h4 class="p1"><strong>Fruit trees</strong></h4> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">PROBLEM</span></strong><span> </span>Leaves are misshapen and stunted</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">SOLUTION</span></strong><span> </span>Prune off and dispose of infested leaves, stems and shoots then spray the tree with white oil, making sure to coat the pests.</p> <h4 class="p1"><strong>Citrus species</strong></h4> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">PROBLEM</span></strong><span class="s2"><span> </span>Black insects cover new growth, leaves wither and buds drop</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s3">SOLUTION</span></strong><span> </span>Prune affected shoots to encourage new, healthy growth and apply pyrethrum, also spraying it around the base of the tree.</p> <p><em>Written by Artemis Gouros. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.handyman.net.au/eradicate-aphids"><em>Handyman</em></a><em>.</em></p>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

4 easy steps to get rid of stink bugs

<p>Anyone who’s had a citrus tree will be familiar with bronze orange bugs. Also called stink bugs, they produce a foul-smelling secretion and suck the sap from stalks, causing flowers and fruit to drop.</p> <p>These pests need to be controlled in winter before they can build up their numbers in spring and summer.</p> <p>They lay eggs on the underside of leaves with the young, called nymphs, appearing in winter. The nymphs are flat, lime green and about 6mm long.</p> <p><strong>1. Know the beast</strong></p> <div id="page1" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Nymphs can be harder to spot as their green colour helps them blend with leaves.</p> <p>As they mature they turn orange or bronze and become rounded, going from brown to black and reaching 25mm long as adults.</p> <p><strong>2. Get them while they are young</strong></p> <div id="page2" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Adult stink bugs change from orange or bronze to black or brown in colour.</p> <p><strong>3.  Methods of control</strong></p> <p>Numbers of bronze orange bug build up rapidly, making control difficult, so take action immediately. A high population may be a sign the tree is stressed. Give it a deep watering and apply a citrus fertiliser.</p> <p>Wear goggles to control bronze orange bugs, as they expel a caustic liquid that can cause severe irritation. For small trees, blast them off with a jet of water from the hose then collect in a bag and squash, or drop into a bucket of methylated spirits.</p> <p>Large trees should be sprayed every 10 to 14 days with Eco-Oil or Confidor to kill the nymphs before they develop into breeding adults.</p> <p>You may also notice green bugs with sharp shoulder spines. Native to Australia they’re called spined citrus bugs. They like lemons and mandarins but suck sap from other citrus fruit.</p> <p>This pest causes young fruit to develop flat patches of skin and brown stains on the flesh.</p> <p>Treat them the same way as bronze orange bugs but you’ll have to look a little closer to find them, as their green colour helps them blend in well.</p> <p><strong>4. Organic remedy</strong></p> <p>One way to treat small nymphs in winter is with a soap spray, concentrating on the underside of leaves and the lower part of the tree.</p> <p>To make the spray, add one tablespoon of pure soap flakes, such as grated Velvet soap, to half a bucket of warm water.</p> <p>When the soap has dissolved in the water, fill a spray bottle and treat leaves early in the day.</p> <p><strong>TIP:</strong> Don’t use any sprays on hot days, as this can damage stressed plants even more.</p> <p><em>Written by Handyman. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.handyman.net.au/4-easy-steps-get-rid-stink-bugs">Handyman.</a></em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

5 ways to enrich garden soil

<p>Healthier garden soil means healthier plants. It is the foundation of successful gardening and thus worth paying attention to.</p> <p>Here are 5 ways you can enrich your garden soil.</p> <p><strong>1. Spread grass</strong></p> <div id="page1" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Grass clippings add nutrients as they decompose. They also provide shade, keeping roots cool and reducing water loss in hot weather.</p> <p>Mix them with leaf litter or dig into the soil to avoid them forming a mat that will repel water.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"><strong>2. Use manure</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"> <div id="page2" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Cow manure improves soil micro-organisms and chicken manure, which is high in nitrogen and phosphorus, is great for the lawn and vegie patch.</p> <p><strong>TIP:</strong><span> </span>Don’t use manure from carnivores, such as dogs and cats.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"><strong>3. Lay straw</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"> <div id="page3" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Lucerne hay and pea straw strengthen the soil, so they’re highly recommended. They also break down fairly quickly, which gives the soil a quick nutrient injection, and can be dug in to speed up the process.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"><strong>4. Use bark</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"> <div id="page4" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>These mulches take longer to break down, so they don’t need applying as often.</p> <p>They shade the soil, help retain moisture, repel weeds and look decorative, but don’t add many nutrients to the plants.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"><strong>5. Add compost</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"> <div id="page5" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>A well-rounded source of goodness, compost allows water to penetrate the soil. It provides slow-release nutrients, attracts worms and encourages a healthy root system. Best of all, you can make it from kitchen scraps.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"> <p><em>Written by Handyman. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"><em>Handyman</em></a><em>. </em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

Mother posts “delusional” list of babysitter requirements

<p>An anonymous mother has posted on Facebook looking for a babysitter for her three children. Although that might seem harmless on its own, the list of requirements was what had people confused.</p> <p>Some requirements included being a Trump fan to at least having nine years of experience working with children, according to the screenshot on <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.reddit.com/r/ChoosingBeggars/comments/a2664j/delusional_babysitter_requirements/" target="_blank">Reddit</a></em>.</p> <p>Although political preferences aren’t usually asked while looking for a babysitter, many were optimistic until they read further on for the unknown mother’s demands.</p> <p>According to her, candidates must have full availability, including weekends, and must show up for “emergency last-minute calls”. You also are required to have “perfect attendance”, as 100 per cent is required.</p> <p>It also helps if you’re a native English speaker but know a second language so you can teach her children while you’re looking after them.</p> <p>The best part for many was the price, as the mother was offering $10/hr in cash. According to her, “it’s like making $15/hr normally but without paying tax”.</p> <p><img style="width: 281.1094452773614px; height: 500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7832907/6jfd7f801q121-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ea3bc3e8e8db4b2cbcc163cd50792ffb" /></p> <p>Others were quick to comment, saying that they’d be worried about a babysitter with nine years of experience working for $10 an hour.</p> <p>“Would be worried about someone who had the degree and/or experience but was still willing to graft for $10 an hour,” they wrote.</p> <p>Another said that it was unfair that the babysitter would have to pay for snacks.</p> <p>“I thought she meant SHE'D be willing to pay for the babysitters snacks. I was like well I guess that's nice, then I realized she meant the babysitters would be paying for snacks. Lovely,” they said.</p> <p>One shared what their babysitting experience would be like if they were paid $10/hour.</p> <p>“For $10/hr I will come over to watch your TV and eat your snacks. Expect to return to alive children.... that's it.”</p>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

10 different ways you're not using bleach but you should be

<p>You can use bleach for much more than just brightening white clothes.</p> <p><strong>1. Keep your Christmas tree alive for longer</strong></p> <p>Keep the holiday spirit around just a bit longer with the help of bleach. According to Julia Byrne, a product developer, bleach at Clorox, you can prolong the life of your freshly cut tree with an easy mixture. Use a solution of two teaspoons of bleach per two litres of hot water, plus one cup of corn syrup, and an eighth of a cup of powdered iron from your local nursery. This mixture goes into your tree stand bowl instead of plain water, Byrne says.</p> <p><strong>2. Let your garden flourish</strong></p> <p>Try using bleach to clean flower pots and plants. “By cleaning your containers it helps prevent the transfer of moulds and diseases from old plants to new ones,” Byrne says. To disinfect, wash and rinse pots and planters by soaking them in a solution of half a cup of bleach to four litres of water for at least five minutes before rinsing with water.</p> <p><strong>3. Freshen up your garbage bins</strong></p> <p>Although garbage bins hold your garbage bags, the bins themselves need a good clean with bleach, too. Wash with soapy water and rinse. Then deodorise and sanitise the bins with a mixture of half a cup of bleach per three litres of water. Swish this solution over the inside of the bin and let it sit for two minutes before rinsing.</p> <p><strong>4. Keep fresh cut flowers alive</strong></p> <p>If you don’t have a green thumb, you can still use bleach to keep store-bought flowers alive. Smell your freshly cut flowers for longer by keeping them in cold water with a quarter teaspoon of bleach per litre of water, according to Byrne.</p> <p><strong>5, Eliminate litter box odour</strong></p> <p>Put an end to unpleasant cat box odours with bleach because it kills odour-causing germs, Byrne says. Wash the litter box with sudsy water and rinse. Then wipe it down with a solution of half a cup of bleach to four litres of water. Wait five minutes before rinsing.</p> <p><strong>6. Clean off mould and mildew</strong></p> <p>Bleach not only removes mould and mildew stains, but also kills the fungus, according to Byrne. “By killing the fungus, you no longer have to worry about the harmful effects that mould can have to your family’s health,” she says. Remove mould and mildew from your bathroom tiles with a mixture of equal parts bleach and water in a spray bottle. Let it sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing it off and rinsing.</p> <p><strong>7. Clean toys</strong></p> <p><span>Legos and other hard, non-porous objects such as kids’ toys could definitely benefit from bleach, especially if they are second-hand. “Bleach is perfect for disinfecting second-hand products because you can disinfect a lot of items with a small amount of bleach at a time,” Byrne says. Here’s what to do: add half a cup of bleach per four litres of water. Then wipe the surface with the bleach solution and let it sit on the surface for at least five minutes. Rinse it well with water and let it air dry.</span></p> <p><strong><span>8. Brighten and clean second-hand white linens</span></strong></p> <p><span>So you want to keep high thread count hand-me-down sheets without handing down any gross germs or bacteria. When washing, add two-thirds of a cup of bleach to your standard machine or one-third of a cup of bleach to your high-efficiency machine along with regular detergent. Ensure that the bleach contacts the clothes for ten minutes, Byrne says.</span></p> <p><strong><span>9. Clean most things in your kitchen</span></strong></p> <p><span>Sanitise second-hand food contact surface in the kitchen such as stainless steel utensils, plastic cutting boards, glassware, dishes, or baby bottles, Byrne says. Wash with water first, then rinse and wipe the surface with a solution of two tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water. Let the solution stand for two minutes, rinse well, and air dry.</span></p> <p><strong><span>10. Make a DIY spray to use on most surfaces</span></strong></p> <p><span>Sealed tile, wood, countertops and plastic are all hard, non-porous surfaces that are safe for bleach. Create your own disinfecting spray with a combination of two cups of water and one tablespoon of bleach. Plus, bleach is good for cleaning glass dishware and porcelain because it doesn’t streak as much as some other cleaners, according to Byrne.</span><span> </span></p> <p><em><span>Source: <a href="https://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/ways-to-use-bleach/">RD.com</a></span></em></p> <p><em><span>Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.handyman.net.au/10-different-ways-youre-not-using-bleach-should">Handyman</a>.</span></em></p>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

3 hacks to keep your herbs fresher for longer

<p>Herbs are a must-have for any chef who wants to add that little something extra to their favourite dish, but the shelf life of herbs leaves something to be desired.</p> <p>Nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan knows this pain of bulk buying herbs and hoping for the best, so she’s shared her hacks for keeping herbs fresher for longer with <em><a href="https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/hack-forkeeping-herbs-fresher-for-longer-212750312.html">Yahoo Lifestyle AU</a></em>.</p> <p><strong>1. Create a mini greenhouse</strong></p> <p>This hack might sound a bit odd, but if you’re able to create a mini greenhouse, your herbs will stay fresher for longer.</p> <p>McMillan suggests placing the cut stems of your herbs in a small glass of water and covering the whole thing in a plastic bag. Keep the bag sealed up tight with an elastic around the base of the glass.</p> <p>This keeps the humidity high.</p> <p>Simply store the mini greenhouse in your fridge and use the herbs as soon as possible.</p> <p>Another way to do this trick is to sandwich your leftover herbs between two damp piece of paper towel and place the herbs in your fridge crisper drawer.</p> <p><strong>2. Don’t cut the herbs in the first place</strong></p> <p>McMillan recommends avoiding buying bunches of herbs in the first place if you don’t have plans to use all of the herbs at once.</p> <p>Instead, she says you should purchase the tiny pots of herbs that are now stocked in supermarkets. This helps keeping your herbs fresh as you can store them on your windowsill (if you remember to water them to keep the herbs alive) and they’ll be fresh until you’re done using the crop.</p> <p><strong>3. Don’t lose your leftovers</strong></p> <p>Food wastage is an issue at the moment, so another way to ensure that you get the most out of your herbs is to chuck them into your freezer.</p> <p>McMillan suggests that you freeze your leftovers as chopped herbs in a zip lock bag or in little ice cube trays that are filled with olive oil.</p> <p>By keeping them in the ice cube trays, you’re able to use them quickly and whenever you need a flavour boost.</p> <p>By following these hacks, you’re bound to keep your herbs fresher for longer and give your cooking a boost of flavour.</p>

Home & Garden