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Decluttering Before the Holiday Chaos

Ahh, the sweet smell of November. Can you hear those sleigh bells ringing? Or smell that pumpkin spice scent? We sure can. Now that we are that much closer to the two major holidays of the year, we are (inevitably) that much closer to having to make sure our homes are as clean and tidily kept as possible for all those guests and parties. It can seem like a daunting task, so we wanted to let you in on two tips to get you started in decluttering your stuff while still making sure your home is nicely decorated and presentable.


Categorizing your items into seasonal uses is one of the first things you could do in order to minimize which items you still want to leave out on display. Take down any summer-esque decorations, random knick-knacks, or anything that doesn’t fit your fall theme. Thinking about it in terms of what fits the season will make it a bit easier to determine what you should stay and what should get put away (for now).


Once you’ve determined what is staying for the fall and winter seasons, it’s time to put them away. How, you might ask? There are many options you can take when it comes to how you organize things that are not currently in use – you can throw them under the bed, pile them up in the garage, or in the corners of your house and hope that no one asks about it. But is that most effective? Certainly not.

Instead, we suggest investing in a few boxes (very cost effective) that double as decor. You can find these at Target, Walmart, or IKEA to name a few places. Most of the time, you can buy a small shelf to store them in – feel free to mix and match patterns, colors, etc., to also spruce up your space at the same time. We have also included a few of our favorite picks for shelves (on sale)!

If you are wanting a more durable, stylish option, investing in a chest or storage ottoman might be one of the best decisions for you. Easily a statement piece, they can really liven up the appearance of your living room or bedroom, and often times double as a small table/space to place more decor on top. Be sure to check out a few of our picks (that are also on SALE)!


Have any other tips for decluttering your home? Be sure to leave us a comment below!

Bree's Blog

Kid-Proof (and Pet-Proof!) Furniture Finds

If have kids and pets in your home, you know you sometimes need to make some compromises to keep them — and your furniture — safe. When kids and pets are in the mix, certain shapes, textures and even colors are suddenly off limits.

From the living room to the bedroom, these are my five top furniture picks for family-proof living.

click to read more

Bree's Blog

How to deep-clean your kitchen

29603974 - closeup horizontal image of hands wearing rubber gloves while cleaning stove top range with spray bottle and microfiber rag

Bree here, from Home Zone Furniture.

Whether you’re hosting out-of-towners over the holidays or simply planning a festive cocktail party, one thing’s for certain: A clean kitchen is a must! At our house, the kitchen becomes the gathering place where drinks are poured and dinner is made. If you’ve also got people congregating in the kitchen this season, you’ll want to be sure that it’s spick and span.

While there are many powerful cleaning solutions on the market to make your kitchen shine, I suggest using products you already have on hand at home for a truly safe and effective deep clean! Here’s how I get my annual kitchen deep-clean done.


Instead of using your oven’s self-cleaning setting or cleaning products with strong chemicals to clean your oven, try an easy, non-toxic method with vinegar and baking soda.

Turn off your oven, remove the racks, and make a baking soda paste with 1/4 cup of baking soda and 3 tablespoons of water. Next, coat the oven in the paste and let it sit overnight or for 12 hours. When the time’s up, take a damp cloth and wipe out the paste and the gunk that comes off with it. If there are still clumps of baking soda here and there, spray vinegar in these places, let it fizz, then wipe it out with your damp cloth until it’s gone.


The best way to clean your microwave is to steam-clean it. In a microwave-safe bowl, place 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup vinegar. Put the bowl in the microwave and heat it for 5-10 minutes, depending on how dirty your microwave is. Let the bowl sit for a while to cool off, then take it out with mitts. Next, take a sponge and scrub the inside of the steamy microwave — the mess will come right out!


The kitchen never feels completely clean without a spotless floor. Go beyond the normal sweep or vacuum by mopping with a deep-cleaning deodorizing mixture. There are, of course, many cleaning solutions on the market to get your kitchen tiles shiny and clean, but this simple homemade recipe is my favorite because it’s gentle, non-toxic and easy on kids and pets.

To make the solution, mix a gallon of water with a cup of white vinegar in a bucket and mop normally. It’ll give you that good, clean feeling using products you already have in your arsenal.


Nothing puts a kink in a dinner party more than a kitchen sink that simply won’t drain. Protect against this possible mishap by cleaning out your drain beforehand.

To do so, first flush the drain with a pot of boiling water. Next, add 1/2 cup of baking soda and let it sit for a few minutes. Afterwards, pour in a cup of vinegar to create a fizzing reaction and dislodge any lingering food bits in the drain. Once the drain has bubbled, pour in one more pot of boiling water to completely flush out the sludge, and you’re done!


For a flawless stainless steel or porcelain sink, sprinkle your sink with baking soda, then gently scrub in circular motions with a soft, damp sponge. When you’ve scrubbed the entire sink, rinse the sink with vinegar. The combination of ingredients will create a fizzing reaction that cleans and deodorizes.

Next, rub the sink basin down with an orange or lemon peel to further deodorize and create some shine. As the final step, take a paper towel, add a touch of olive oil and buff the sink basin for an even surface with a beautiful shine.


Bree's Blog

How to clean your cleaning tools

cleaning tools

Bree here, from Home Zone Furniture.

Have you ever spent all day cleaning house only to be disappointed with the results? I have. While a targeted checklist is certainly an important component to getting everything done, the most overlooked reason your house isn’t as clean as you’d expect could all boil down to your cleaning tools. That’s right: The tools you use to clean your home could just be perpetuating the mess.

From your mop to your toilet brush, cleaning tools need to be cleaned themselves in order to do their jobs efficiently. Why go through the trouble of tending to these household essentials regularly? Aside from having a house so clean that it sparkles, your dutifully maintained cleaning tools will save you time (they’ll work faster and better) and money (you won’t have to replace them as regularly).


Each vacuum is different, so while there are common pointers everyone can use, your user manual will provide you with an in-depth explanation of how to thoroughly clean your vacuum cleaner. Firstly, empty your canister after each and every use so the vacuum can run faster and last longer. Once a month or so, take your vacuum cleaner apart and clean every tube and connection you can get to with a damp rag or canned air. Take scissors to the brush rollers at the bottom to cut out any hair and debris that might be trapped.


A clean broom is the first step toward clean floors. Wipe down the handle of the broom, then do your best to remove any hair or large debris stuck to the bottom. Next, submerge your broom in a bucket filled with soapy water and continue to brush out the bristles. Once it’s clean, throw out the bucket water and run hot water over the broom until the runoff is clean. Let the broom dry in the sun, if possible.


The sponge that hangs around your kitchen sink is a notoriously dirty cleaning tool. Sponges not only collect bits of food and bacteria from scrubbing dishes, but they can also pick up an unsavory mildew smell from sitting damp for too long. Luckily, there’s an easy solution. To clean your sponge, thoroughly soak it in water then stick it in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute. This will kill bacteria, eliminate odor and generate steam. When the minute is up, open the microwave door and let the sponge sit for a minute to cool off before removing it. While the microwave trick is an easy way to clean sponges, remember that sponges should still be replaced every month!

Toilet brush

Your toilet brush should be disinfected once a month to maintain a clean bathroom. To thoroughly clean the toilet brush, combine a full kettle of boiling water with one cup of bleach. Let the brush sit in the mixture for an hour, and in no time, you’ll have a cleaning tool that’s as good as new.

Washing machine

In the long run, tending to your washing machine means you’re also tending to your clothing. After every load, take the time to wipe down the rubber seal — water, dirt and debris can get easily trapped here. Once a month, go a step further to banish bacteria and odors by running your washer with warm water and one cup of white vinegar. Leave the door open when the empty load is done, and you’ll have fresher feeling (and smelling!) laundry. By the way, you can use this same cleaning recipe on your dishwasher!

It’s hard to believe that our trusty cleaning tools could be so dirty, but give them a good scrubbing and you’ll be amazed at how much more efficient they become.

Happy cleaning!




Bree's Blog

5 things people with a clean house do weekly

things people with a clean home do

Bree here, from Home Zone Furniture.

Between daily upkeep and infrequent seasonal cleanouts, there are weekly chores around the house that make a huge difference in your home’s appearance. Whether you take one day out of the week to fulfill these duties or tackle them throughout the week, these tasks are a must!


Before anything else, I always dust from top to bottom. Dusting is a tedious task but will protect the surface of your furniture and dramatically improve the air quality in your home. Aside from the hard-to-reach ledges, windowsills and furniture, don’t forget to give the most obvious items a good dusting. Take the time to wipe down glass, windows and mirrors to remove hand and paw prints. Don’t forget to clean the inside and outside of your microwave, stove, oven and kitchen sink, too!


It’s ideal to wash your bedding once a week. While your sheets and pillowcases may look clean, they accumulate oil, sweat and dead skin cells with time and use. To extend the life of your sheets, you should rotate your sheets with other sets. I suggest washing your sheets in warm water to dissolve the dirt and washing your blankets in cold water so they don’t shrink. Along with bedding, it’s important to tend to your sofa as well. If you have a sofa with a slipcover, you can remove it and throw it in the wash for a totally refreshed couch. Otherwise, flipping the sofa cushions and fluffing the pillows will do!


Start by picking up any small rugs off the ground and doing a clean sweep. Next, pick up any larger debris (paper clips, toys, etc.) from area rugs or carpeted spaces by hand and then vacuum. Make the extra effort to move your furniture around and vacuum underneath — you never know what might be lurking! Vacuum in an overlapping pattern for a particularly attractive result. Take your smaller area rugs outside and shake them or beat them with a broom. The last step is to mop hard surface floors to pick up the extra dirt and make them shine. My advice for cleaning floors is to pay extra attention to the entryway, backdoor area and kitchen. I find this is where my home collects the most dirt.


A daily wipe-down of the bathroom is useful, but once a week the bathroom needs to be deep cleaned. Remove any bathmats and used towels and throw them in the laundry. Clean the inside and outside of the toilet, disinfect the sink and surrounding pedestal and scrub the shower and/or bath. In bathrooms that aren’t well ventilated, it’s important to find, treat and remove any mold. Pay particular attention to bathroom hardware. A shiny sink faucet or bathroom showerhead can make a world of difference.

Throw out

Once a week, take throwing out the trash a step further. Not only should you take out the main trash and empty all of the smaller bins throughout the house, but dissolve those smaller piles that tend to accumulate. Sort through your saved mail and do yet another audit, especially if it’s sitting right on your desk. File away paid bills, write down the date and time of upcoming events and throw away anything else you can. Another thing that keeps my house feeling clean is to have a well-kept fridge. Go through your refrigerator and pantry and throw away all items that are expired.

Happy cleaning,