Monthly Archives: August 2017

Back-to-School Organization Tips: Make this School Year the Best Ever

back to school home projectsOur social media newsfeeds are filling up with pictures of back-to-schoolers with big smiles and backpacks. Behind the cameras are the parents, and you can almost see their ear-to-ear grins as their kids head back for their (hopefully) great first days of school.

The truth is that every good school day starts with a little behind-the-scene effort: a clean and organized home. Here’s how to get your home organized and cleaned for a smooth-running school year that’ll keep the smiles on every member of your family’s faces.

Mudroom

Your mudroom is the first line of defense, so concentrate your cleaning and organization in this key room. Deep clean your floors and place mats in key locations to keep the dirt and grime off your floors. Set up an area for everyone to take off their shoes (your inside floors are going to thank you!) and an area for backpacks, jackets, sports and winter gear. Use hooks, shelves, and benches.

Kitchen

While a kitchen may not be an obvious part of the school day, it is the site of many lunch-packing. Clean down your school lunch prep area, and reorganize your cabinets and pantry so you have adequate storage and easy access to your kids’ favorite school lunch items. Clean your floors (use these floor cleaning tips) or schedule a floor cleaning to make sure your kitchen is ready for many delicious school lunch preps.

Bedrooms

While your kids’ rooms may not always be clean, that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make sure it is clean and organized for the school year. Have the carpets cleaned so the room is clean from the ground up (and allergen-free for a healthy year). If your kids do have allergies, consider having the ducts cleaned so to minimize allergens circulated throughout your home. Organize the closet and remove any clothes that don’t fit (it’ll help so they don’t have to change and change their clothes again).

Bathroom

Make sure your bathroom is clean and ready for many smooth morning routines. Organize the drawers and make sure that items your kid use in the morning are easy-to-access. If your kids change in the bathroom, make sure there is an area where they can lay out their clothes for a quick out-the-door every morning.

Homework area

Get your kids ready for many nights of homework. Make sure the area your kids work at is well-stocked, organized, and cleaned. Clean the floors, surface, and chair so your kids can focus—and, hopefully, can tackle their homework distraction-free (and even with a smile?).

All Your Questions about Carpet Answered

living room carpetCarpet may not be the most complex part of your home, but it is a big investment and a key part of your décor. That’s why we’ve put together a list of common questions we hear about carpet and the answers you need to choose the right one and keep it looking right.

How can I extend the life of my carpet?

Take proactive steps to keep the dirt out. Place mats by every exterior door to catch any dirt or gravel that could get tracked in. Train your pets to stop at the door so you can clean off their paws. Ask your family and any guests to take off their shoes before they come in—and give them a nice area to do so.

Vacuum regularly. A regular vacuum is a simple maintenance step that can keep your carpet looking like new.

Don’t scrub too hard. Using too much elbow grease cleaning up a stain can damage carpet fibers and do permanent damage to your carpet. Instead of hard scrubbing, blot the carpet and gently scrub in circles to get the stain out.

Schedule a regular carpet cleaning. A professional carpet clean removes stains, allergens, and keeps your carpet looking great. The amount of carpet cleanings depends on the carpet; if you don’t want to void the warranty, talk to your carpet installer about the number of cleanings needed in case there is a problem. The number of carpet cleanings can also depend on the traffic; a high-traffic area may need more cleanings than a low-traffic area.

How can I save money on new carpet?

carpet remnants for sale at a discountCarpet remnants. Carpet remnants are the remaining part of a carpet roll, usually sold for a discounted roll. Depending on the roll, you may be limited with the amount available for purchase but carpet remnants are ideal for one room or a smaller room (i.e. office, small bedroom, etc.)

Sales. Watch for sales on carpet at your local carpet retailer, but make sure the store offers quality products and installation.

Carpet pad savings. A quality carpet pad is worth its weight in gold, so don’t skimp and purchase a cheaper pad. However, if the carpet pad under your last carpet is still in good shape, you may be able to use it again and save on a new carpet pad.

Can my carpet pad be reused?

Maybe, but only if the carpet pad is high quality and newer. If your carpet pad is older and in bad shape, you may not be able to reuse it. A quality carpet pad usually lasts longer, but at some point all carpet pads break down and cannot be reused. In addition, remember that you cannot remove any odors from your carpet pads so they may need to be removed for a fresh new pad.

What should I look for when buying carpet for my high traffic room?

If your carpet is in a high-traffic area, there is a definite list of ‘musts’ that go with your purchase. Buying the wrong carpet is a costly mistake; the wrong carpet needs to be replaced prematurely because of stains, wearing, and damage.

Durable

A heavy traffic room is susceptible to everything: muddy foot and paw prints, food spills, and all the other damage that comes with frequent foot and paw traffic. To keep your carpets looking new, ask about carpets with durability options, such as waterproof or stain resistant carpets. Every carpet has different features; there are carpets with waterproof pads that keep spills from seeping through, air freshening technology that cleans the air, and stain resistant fibers that make clean-up easy.

Color

Darker-colored or variegated carpets can often hide stains that come from frequent paw and foot traffic. For a room with frequent foot and paw traffic, a darker-colored carpet can hide stains and wear from a busy household.

Easy to clean

Long-term foresight is what keeps your carpet looking great. Choose a carpet that is easy-to-clean and maintain over the life of the carpet; regular vacuuming and carpet cleaning are the key to the lifespan and aesthetics of your carpet. If the kind of carpet won’t make that maintenance easy, ask the experts to recommend a carpet that is easy to clean as long as you own it.

What kind of vacuum works best?

Buying a new vacuum may not seem like a life-altering purchase, but purchasing the wrong vacuum cleaner can have serious consequences for you and your floor. Buying the wrong vacuum cleaner can damage your floors (i.e. carpet fiber damage, laminate or vinyl scratches, etc.) and void your warranty.

To avoid having any warranty issues, use our list of flooring manufacturers’ websites to find out what they recommend. Make sure you schedule a professional floor cleaning to keep up with maintenance.

Beyond warranty, also consider the logistics of your home. If you have stairs, you may want to invest in two vacuum cleaners or purchase a lightweight model. For larger homes, look at vacuum cleaners with a battery pack so you don’t have to deal with having to plug and unplug cords.

If you or a family member has a respiratory condition or allergies, add allergy-friendly to your list of considerations. Look for a vacuum with a HEPA filter so dust is not released into the air. Bagless vacuum cleaners offer cleaning without the hassle of a bag, while vacuum cleaners with bags allow for easy disposal (depending on the vacuum model) that won’t trigger your allergy or respiratory issues.  In addition, do your research to determine whether the filters are replaceable or reusable; if the filters are replaceable, you need to buy additional filters which add to the overall cost of the machine.

Can carpets be recycled?

Yes! As an added bonus, it’s easy to do if you live in Dodge or Jefferson County in Wisconsin. Just stop in at our Watertown store and ask us where to take your old carpets or contact us for more information.

Pet Owners: Keep Your Carpets Looking New

boys with dog on carpet choosing right pet-friendly floorIt IS possible to have pets and nice carpeting in the same house. (Really!) We’re not going to lie to you, though: it can feel like a losing battle with your cat or dog—unless you take these tips to heart.

Start at the door.

It’s the first line of defense against dirt, mud, gravel, and water: install hard floors (i.e. tile, laminate, vinyl) and mats by all your doors. Train your dog or cat to “pawse” before they come in so you can clean off their paws.

Keep their nails away from your carpet.

It’s a natural instinct for our feline friends that can do a lot of damage to our carpet: the urge to scratch. Buy a scratching pad to deter your cat or kitten from using your carpets to satisfy their instinct. Encourage them to use it with cat nip and some gentle prodding. You can also clip their nails to prevent damage or purchase nail guards which keep your carpet and their sharp nails a safe distance away from each other.

Dogs aren’t immune to this problem either; long nails can be damaging to their health and your carpet. Make sure you regularly trim their nails or take them to local groomer to keep their nails low and your carpet damage-free.

Restrict their access to your carpets.

If you have a puppy or dog that loooooves to chew or is still in the middle of house training, you can also consider keeping them off your carpets when you are not around (and monitor them closely when you are). Use crate training or pet gates to keep your canine away from your carpet until they can be trusted on your carpet.

Research your carpet cleaning products.

Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that your favorite furry friend is going to leave their mark on your carpet (they’ve already left their mark on your heart, right?). Your natural urge is to grab the cheapest can of spot remover to do the job. Resist the urge! Instead, talk to the experts about a carpet cleaner that doesn’t void your warranty or affect your pet’s health when they relax on your carpeting. When you find the perfect cleaner, don’t scrub the spot. Too much elbow grease can actually damage the fiber in your carpet. Instead, don’t soak the carpet with cleaner and scrub in gentle circles so the stain is a distant memory.

Carpet clean regularly.

A bi-annual or annual carpet deep clean can do wonders for how your carpet looks. It can also help you avoid any warranty issues and remove allergens and any residual odors (such as the smell of urine that could make your pet a repeat offender). Schedule a professional carpet clean, which can give your carpet a deep clean that’ll make your guests wonder if your pet still lives there.