The Battle of the Floors

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If you ask me, I would never be one to deny that I love hardwood floors in my home, but the flip side is that they take some effort to keep clean and so I am always on the search for more efficient and cost-effective ways to keep them looking their best. I could not just take my own tips and guidelines, however, and so I took time to ask my friends and colleagues about the best products available today to maintain hardwood surfaces.


Of course, there are a slew of magazines that provide plenty of instruction on how to best maintain your hardwood floors, and I have done my share of browsing and taking notes to be able to tell just about anyone how effective some products truly are. You would be surprised at just how many people do not even know how to efficiently vacuum and there are even up-to-date guides on those steps as well. There are a lot of great benefits to having hardwood floors, but anyone that has had them for some time understands how tedious the process can be to keep them in pristine condition.


Thankfully, there are so many various methods that one can incorporate into maintaining their floors. The methods you ultimately decide on should be a reflection of the hardwood floors in your house. For those of you have that have their surfaces sealed with poly acrylic or polyurethane that is water and stain resistant, you will find that your floors are easier to maintain and keep clean. For those older floors that are typically sealed with varnish, shellac, or lacquer, the same cleaning methods cannot be used. Once you decide on the methods, the rest will fall into place, but the most important thing is to always utilize the method that is the most gentle on your floors. The following are a few tips to keep in mind when cleaning your hardwood floors.


Use Water-Based Cleaners

Floor cleaners picture

Nearly every type of water-based cleaner will be easy and safe to use. For floors that are older or unfinished and not as resistant to water, these types of cleaners are not advisable. You will also need to find out the PH level of the cleaners you use as those with a high PH can dull finishes of hardwood floors over time. Those with lower PH work well primarily as rinsing agents. For extra safety and precaution, select cleaners that are PH neutral.


Damp Mopping

Picture putting cleaning solution in a mop barrel

Damp mopping, also known as spot mopping, uses a minimum of water that is dipped into the water-cleaner solution and then wrung until the mop is almost dry again. Then, you mop the spots and repeat the process as needed. Use a mop or dry cloth when finished mopping so that no excess water is left behind.


Removing Scratches with Hardwood Finish


There are times when you don’t necessarily have to clean the entire floor and if you should see a scratch that is deep, try a floor finish and artist’s brush to fill in the scratch. It is worth noting that hardwood floors should be refinished approximately every 5 to 10 years, with those in the kitchen needing to be replaced every 2 to 4 years.

Planning the Party

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The time has almost come again to throw my daughter’s birthday party, and now that it is her 4th, she is expecting more than usual and so I have begun planning earlier to be prepared. I have talked to other mothers about celebrating young children’s birthdays and so I have already horror stories and I want to keep that to a minimum. Of course, there are things out of my control that are bound to happen, but the important thing is to stay ahead and then everything tends to work out for the best.

As is the case with my daughter, her birthday is her favorite holiday and she always wants things a bit bigger and better than the year before. The last few years, I have dedicated almost the entire day to her, from birthday breakfasts to balloons, tons of presents and singers that I hired. Of course, throwing big parties like this mean I need to have my house as clean as possible, and a nice clean floor is absolutely essential since spills are bound to happen. But there are ways that I have learned from friends to keep costs at a minimum and the following tips will help you plan that next bash for your children.


Timing Is of the Essence

If you plan your party between certain hours, try to stick to that and stress that to parents bringing their kids over for the festivities. I have discovered that lunch and pre-dinner parties work the best as people are not as likely to expect a full course meal.

Stretch Planning Times

Children's party goods idea

Begin preparing for the party as early as possible, ensuring that you have the time necessary to hunt down supplies and gifts without a major headache. Plus, the earlier you buy, the more you are likely to save. I sometimes search for things year-round and pick it up as I come across it, from Target to 99-cent stores.

Get Digital

Kids birthday party invitation


Gone are the days of handwritten invites to gatherings. Instead, use an electronic invitation and save yourself tons on paper and time.

Doubling Up

If you happen to have someone close to your family with a birthday around the same time, think about splitting costs and make an even bigger party at a fraction of the cost and the responsibilities.

86 the Party-Store Traps

If you see something on sale in a party store, that doesn’t mean you have to buy it or that you even need it. Instead, be strong and buy only what you need.

Use Your Network

Go through all of your contacts and find out which ones are useful for festivities and make a note to invite them or ask them to perform if they have a talent your child might enjoy. You can also try local colleges for specials on their on-campus programs.

Opt Out

When kids are so young, sometimes they don’t realize everything that’s going on and if your kids are not making a big deal about it, then don’t bother. After all, they have plenty of years left.