Monthly Archives: August 2015

5 Projects to Tackle AFTER Your Kids Head Back to School

back to school home projectsYes, it’s that time of year again. Back to school shopping is complete, and the kids are ready to head out the door. Your mudroom is full of backpacks, loads of fall sports equipment, and all the cool weather gear that comes with your kids back in school. It’s official. Your kids are headed back to school. What do you do now? And how do you get your house to stop looking like a tornado hit it (or like your kids lived in it all summer)?

We’ve got five suggestions to start with, and to get your house back in shape after a summer of fun:

  1. Carpet cleaning. We’re not talking about those rental carpet cleaning units. We’re talking about a real, professional deep clean that revives your flooring and removes allergens from your carpet. With winter coming in a few months, this is an ideal time to rid your home of those allergens before you are trapped inside for the whole winter. And because the kids are out of the house all day, fall is an ideal time to move all your furniture out of the room you need carpet cleaned, and move it back in before they have to go to bed.
  2. Organizing your mudroom. You’re ready for the onslaught of school stuff, but is your mudroom? Could your morning routine be smoother if all that gear was more organized? Would a well-organized mudroom solve some of your storage issues? Use our blog post to plan and arrange your mudroom for maximum efficiency.
  3. Duct cleaning before winter. On average, people spend about 90% of their time indoors…and breathe in dirty air full of dirt, dust, mold, pollen and other gross particles. Before you’re enjoying time inside this winter, improve your air quality by getting your air ducts cleaned. This can be especially true for households with asthma, allergy, pets or smokers.
  4. Refinishing your wood floors. If you refinish your floors, or have your wood floors refinished, while the kids are in school, you don’t have to worry about finding a way to entertain them (at least not for the majority of the time). You can also let the floor dry without fear of little feet or hands getting messy…and you get a beautiful, protected floor out of the deal.
  5. Cleaning your wood, vinyl, tile and laminate floors. It’s also easier to clean your hard floors when there is not a pet around. Nothing interrupts a floor cleaning than a kid wiping out on a wet floor or a pet running through at mach speed. If you need any tips on how to tackle cleaning those hard floors in our recent blog post.

If you need any tips for cleaning your floors, want to schedule a carpet cleaning appointment (or wood refinishing appointment) or need information for replacing worn floors, contact Y’s Way. We’ll help ready your home for the cool weather and all that school gear, and make it look like your kids didn’t spend a crazy summer in your house.

Simple Steps for Creating An Organized Midwestern Mudroom

organizing jackets in a mudroomThe amount of stuff that comes with living in the Midwest—boots, spring jackets, winter coats, rubber boots, rain jackets (just to name a few)—well, it’s overwhelming. It’s really easy for your mudroom (or entryway) to get overwhelmed with all the clutter that comes from living in the Midwest, especially when the seasons change or kids go back to school. The good news is that there is a way to organize that stuff with just a few simple planning steps and a day (or two or three or…) of installation:

  1. Plan ahead. We can’t emphasize how crucial this step is to creating an organized and efficient mudroom. Ask yourself what functions you need from your mudroom. Do you need to organize your kids’ stuff? Or do you need a place for all your motorcycle gear? Organizing your papers and computer bags for work? Use every square foot you have efficiently; even small spaces can alleviate some of your storage and organization issues. Measure the area so you know what you have to work with, and take inventory of what you need space for:
  • Boots.
  • Gloves (and mittens and scarves and…).
  • Backpacks/work cases.
  • Jackets.
  • Hobby gear (sports, motorcycle, etc.).
  • Notes, papers, mail, etc.
  1. Evaluate your options. Look for inspiration on the Y’s Way facebook page and other online websites. We’ve seen some very unorthodox organization solutions: buckets, wooden crates, customized furniture pieces, etc. Whatever you choose for your mudroom, make sure it’s flexible enough to fill many uses if you find you need it for something else down the road. Other options for mudroom organization include:
  • Buckets or drawers.
  • Hooks.
  • Shelves.
  • Shoe organizer (the pocket hanging shoe organizer is perfect for organizing gloves and mittens!).
  • Mirror.
  • File drawers.
  • Benches.
  1. Make a plan. Don’t worry about corners; use every square inch possible. A corner can be the ideal spot for hooks or a shoe organizer. Once you have it measured and drawn out, put it aside and think about your plan. Make changes until you have a plan you are satisfied with and is functional for the future.
  2. Look down. Ask yourself if your flooring can take the rigors of a mudroom. Can it take the melting snow, gravel and dirt that inevitably gets tracked in? Your beautiful shelving and furniture won’t be able to hide a worn and stained floor. What’s the best flooring for your mudroom? We’ll start with what’s not the best option. Hardwood flooring and laminate floors, though extremely durable and beautiful, is not the best fit for a mudroom. Any water (or snow) left on hardwood flooring can lead to water stains, damage and warping. That leaves you with a few other excellent choices:
  • Porcelain tile. Porcelain tile is beautiful and water, odor and mildew resistant. If you’re worried about the cold feeling of this tile, you can install radiant heating underneath and enjoy toasty toes even on the coldest winter days.
  • Vinyl. Some of the newest vinyl products could fool even the most hard-core hardwood admirer. Whether your preference is stone or hardwood, these tiles can mimic both styles with colors that floor everyone who enters your home. Vinyl is also durable and soil and stain resistant, perfect for the room that takes the brunt of the elements on a regular basis. If you want to see vinyl in person, head to a Y’s Way Flooring to see the different styles of vinyl flooring.
  1. Install and enjoy. If you need new flooring, contact Y’s Way Flooring to get your new flooring installed and ready for your new organized furniture. Hire a professional or install your shelving, hooks and other mudroom furniture yourself. Make sure you find a stud when you hang hooks; you don’t want your coats to come crashing down. Then sit back and enjoy a day without a mess of boots, shoes, mittens, computer cases and all the other clutter, and a floor that can take all the water, dirt and grime that comes with it!

Floor Cleaning Tips for Every Room

wood floor cleaningYour floors can be one of the most beautiful parts of your home (and something everyone notices!) and also one of the dirtiest. Kids, pets, guests—they all track in dirt, grime, water, snow (thanks Wisconsin winters!) on to our handsome floors, making them, well, not so handsome over time. And if you’re like most homeowners, you have different floors to keep clean in your home: wood floors, carpet, tile and vinyl—and a million questions about how to clean each different type of flooring.

Wood floors

wood floor cleaning tipsPut rugs by all exterior doors. An ounce of prevention goes a long way to keep your wood floors looking their best. Make sure you have rugs by all your exterior doors to keep the dirt, sand, water and other daily grit off your floors. That daily grit can scratch your floors or wear down the finish, making your job of keeping your wood floors (especially the finish) in peak shape.

Protect your wood floors from scratches. As long as we’re talking about preventative steps to keep your wood floors looking great, this is one of the cheapest, and most important, ways to protect your laminate and wood floors: felt pads. Make sure you have felt pads on the bottom of your chairs and furniture. Use caution (and soft padding underneath) when moving anything around to prevent scratches.

Wipe up water and spills immediately. A water spill on a wood floor can make any homeowner’s heart stop, and for good reason. Don’t let water damage or warp your wood or laminate floors. Keep paper towel or a rag handy so you can get that puddle of water cleaned up immediately.

Use regular maintenance to keep your floor clean. Sweep, dust mop or vacuum (most flooring manufacturers recommend using the wand attachment or a gentle vacuum) to clean up the small particles that can scratch and damage your floor.

Be VERY cautious when using a steam cleaner on your wood floors, or don’t use one at all. If you’ve watched TV, you’ve undoubtedly seen ads for steam cleaners. Steam cleaners are a great way to clean hard floors, and some ads suggest that steam is a great way to clean your wood floors. Their claim is contrary to the common knowledge that moisture and wood don’t mix, so we checked three of the most common wood flooring manufacturers and found that Armstrong, Mohawk and Shaw do not recommend that their customers use a steam cleaner of their wood products. Before purchasing a steam cleaner for cleaning your wood flooring, consult your manual to see if your warranty will be void if you use a steam cleaner.

Only use approved cleaners on your wood floors for deep cleaning. Wood floor cleaning is not a time to experiment. Some cleaners—even with common household ingredients—can damage your wood floor finish or the flooring itself. You’ve invested too much into your wood flooring to harm it on a whim. A few minutes of research can save you a lot of time, money and heart ache. If you don’t what kind of wood floor cleaner to use, ask the experts at Y’s Way via email, phone or through their Facebook page.

Carpet

carpet cleaningBuy a vacuum that won’t damage your carpet, and vacuum regularly. All vacuums are created equal and won’t damage carpet, will it? Unfortunately, you’re wrong. Some vacuums are so powerful they can damage the fibers in your carpet. Use our post to determine what vacuum cleaner is right for you, and for your carpet. Once you’ve chosen the right vacuum cleaner, use it once a week to keep your carpet looking like new.

Clean up carpet stains quickly and with blotting. Did your aunt spill soda all over your new carpeting? Is the puppy not completely potty trained? When you find a spot on your carpet, clean it up as soon as possible—the sooner the better. And do you apply some serious elbow grease into scrubbing those pet stains, spilled juice or muddy footprints? You may be damaging your carpet fibers. Next time you need to clean up carpet stains, blot at your carpet with a moist cloth to remove the spill.

Carpet clean once or twice a year. We’re not talking about renting one of those cheap store brands. Give your carpets a real, professional deep clean twice a year, or at least annually. Make an appointment with a Y’s Way professional to give your carpets a deep clean, and to keep them clean—and looking new.

Tile Floors

tile flooring cleaning tipsUse rugs to your advantage. Keep rugs by all exterior doors for your guests and family to clean off their feet. If you have a dog, clean off paws before they enter the house. In high-traffic areas, put down area rugs to take the strain off your carpet. For example, if the area is a common walkway (or runway in the case of children), put down a runner. Vacuum the rugs often to make sure the dirt stays on the rugs.

Sweep or vacuum regularly. The everyday grime that accumulates on tile floors also can scratch and damage your tile. Use a dust mop or broom to keep your tile clean in between deep cleanings.

Clean up spills ASAP. Juice spills and other puddles can stain grout, and water can also do damage. Be ready to wipe up spills as soon as you see them.

Know what works on your tile floor, and what doesn’t. Be cautious when using cleaners on your floor. If you are trying a new cleaner, test clean an area that is not visible, such as behind an appliance. Check with Y’s Way Flooring or your flooring manufacturer to determine what works best, especially if the flooring is new and under warranty. If you’re looking for a tile cleaner you can make with household products, mix together vinegar and warm water (remember to test it before applying to the whole floor!).

Vinyl Floors

Stop the dirt before it gets to be a problem. Use rugs strategically placed at your entry ways and regular sweeping to keep daily dirt away. Dry mop or vacuum your hard floors. Be careful when vacuum cleaning; sharp parts of your vacuum can scratch or damage your vinyl floors.

Protect your vinyl floors from scratches. Use caution when moving furniture around to prevent scratches. Put a piece of plywood over your floor and under the furniture if you are sliding furniture pieces from place to place. Use protectors under your chairs and furniture to prevent scratches on your vinyl floor from daily activity.

Test before cleaning. This should be a mantra in your floor cleaning; before you do any deep cleaning, ALWAYS test an area that is not visible first. This simple step ensures that the cleaner does not discolor or damage your floor in high-traffic areas. If your floor is under warranty, check in with floor installer or flooring source, such as Y’s Way Flooring, to find out what cleaners are recommended to keep your warranty intact. If you have any questions about vinyl floor cleaning (or any type of floor cleaning), don’t hesitate to ask via email or on Facebook. They’ve seen and installed almost any type of flooring, and can give you floor cleaning tips to keep your floors looking their best.