Thursday, March 19, 2009

Time to change the toothbrush...

What does that mean at your home? Dentists and doctors recommend that you change them every 3 months or after illness. Some toothbrushes have built in indicators and some just fray when it's time.

We have a list of things to do when it's time to change the toothbrush in our home. It's the most visible indicator I could think of and I can save a considerable amount of paper if I can tie a slew of chores in with the remembrance of changing out that little brush. I've actually made a game out of how many things I can do at that time!

Let's get started in the bathroom:

  • Mascara - if you use make-up, you need to throw out the mascara every three months to avoid excessive growth of bacteria. Yes, bacteria. It loves moist, dark places. Can you think of a more moist and dark place? If you are prone to eye irritation or infection and you don't follow this schedule implement it immediately!

  • Contact container - are you a contact wearer? If so, those little containers should be replaced regularly to avoid the same concerns noted above with mascara. Take care of those eyes, you need them.

  • Clean out the medicine cabinet - check for any expired medications and toss them.

On to the kitchen:

  • Change out the baking soda in the freezer and refrigerator - this used to be a tough one for me to remember, especially when those containers are normally hidden in the corner.

  • Check the dates on items in the refrigerator and freezer - toss out anything that has expired or looks questionable (hopefully you do this more often, but sometimes time sneaks up on you!)

  • Dump your ice bin - ice can take on all of the smells from the refrigerator. Who wants ice that takes like spaghetti sauce?

  • Restock your flour bin- did you know that flour can go rancid after a certain amount of time? Some areas of the country are also prone to meal bugs. Yuk!

  • Toss out the nuts - any open nut containers need to go. Nuts can spoil. They take on a acid taste after a while and guests won't be impressed by that. To save money, store open nuts in the freezer until you need them again. They can last up to a year in there.

  • Clean the oven - your oven elements will heat more evenly if they're kept clean, not to mention that burning debris smells badly when your hungry family comes through the door.

  • Clean the dishwasher - lime deposits can build up on the heating elements and reduce the effectiveness of the machine. You may also have a "trap" in the bottom that catches remnants. Be sure to check it to avoid water backups.

In the laundry room -

  • Give the lint catcher from the dryer a good, soapy cleaning. If you use fabric softener sheets while drying clothes a residue can build up on the lint catcher and reduce the effectiveness of the dryer, causing longer drying times and a fire hazard!

  • Check the dryer vent for blockage, inside and out - this is another potential source of house fires. Lint can build up at the connections or in kinks. Birds also like to build nests in the exterior cover.

  • Clean out the washer - strange, isn't it? The washer should be clean, right? Wrong. Bacteria can grow in the basket. Run a cycle of hot water with 1 cup of peroxide or white vinegar through the system.

Elsewhere in the house -

  • Change the air filter on the heating/ air conditioning unit - this can instantly improve the effectiveness of the system

  • Change the vacuum bag - another out of sight, out of mind concern. Most people remember when the vacuum is no longer picking up or over-heating.

  • Dust the baseboards and ceiling fans - if you have allergies this can be a big one

  • Vacuum the smoke detector - did you know that they may not work if clogged with dust or cob webs?

  • Wash curtains and dust other window coverings well - another source of allergy problems

  • Check flashlights to make sure they're working

In the garage -

  • Take out the garbage - most people forget to check on the garbage bin here

  • Change the oil in your car - big one here! While you're in there check all of the fluids and those windshield wipers

Feel free to print this out for your own use!

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