Tuesday, December 02, 2014

8 Ways to Save Money on Your Electric Bill This Winter

Guest post by Jane Blanchard

With talks of an inevitable polar vortex this coming winter, homeowners are trying every trick in the book to reduce electrical costs. Electricity is downright expensive when temperatures dip low, both day and night. Make a promise to yourself that's easy to keep by saving money with these surefire conservation tips.

1. Grab a Blanket

If you want to save about 10 percent on your electricity bill each year, turn the heat down at least 10 degrees for an 8-hour period, states Duke Energy. This period could occur during the day when everyone is away or overnight when cuddled into bed. If the family bundles up with basic sweaters and slacks during the day, a 10-degree difference really isn't uncomfortable compared to the outdoor temperatures.

2. Dirt is a Barrier

The heater may be a tried-and-true appliance, but it can't work for 3 months straight without the filter being changed or cleaned. All central air heaters use a removable filter to stop particulates from infiltrating the internal parts. Over time, the filter clogs up with the particulates, blocking air from moving through the system and racking up the electrical charges.

3. Weatherstripping

The amount of warm air lost through door and window gaps is astounding. Before winter really hits hard, walk around the entire home and evaluate all openings. Add weatherstripping to any doors and windows with an obvious draft. This lost energy is a huge chunk of the electricity bill.

4. Turn on a Fan? Yep!

It's not crazy to turn on a ceiling fan during the winter because it actually pulls warm air trapped at the ceiling and down to people below. Set the fan to a clockwise direction to see the warm effects.

5. Avoid the Peaks

According to USA Today, running a heater during peak hours can cost up to 60 percent more than if you waited until off-peak hours. Although the heater may be on almost nonstop, try using the washing machine and other high-energy appliances on the weekends or holidays to avoid peak times.

6. Got an Attic?

Head up to the attic and find all the warm air escaping through crevices. Save considerable energy by simply rolling out insulation across the roof's interior surfaces. The heater won't have to work as hard as before.

7. Maintenance Saves

Make friends with the local HVAC professional to have a twice yearly check of your furnace system. A well-maintained system uses electricity sparingly even when it's several years old.

8. All the Lights are On

Dark winter nights call for more lights on so replace them with CFLs or compact fluorescent lights. You'll still have ample illumination, but without the high cost of other light bulb technologies.

For more home ideas check out Modernize.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ask The Cleaning Coach

Marie and I are doing a new segment on the radio show this week called: Ask The Cleaning Coach. I love answering all your questions about living cleaner and greener at home.  While I was doing a talk at the Congregational Church of Needham yesterday, I had some great questions and I thought I'd share both the questions and the answers here.

Question: Now that I've decided that I want to go greener - how do I get rid of all my old cleaning products? Should I just pour them down the drain?

Cleaning Coach: OH NO! These cleaning chemicals are considered hazardous waste. You want to check with your town and find out the dates they have for turning in toxic chemicals. One great place to go online to check is www.earth911.com or www.1800recycling.com  Both sites will use your zip code and let you know the locations, dates and times of local recycling centers.

Question:  I'm overwhelmed and feel like a failure. I tried switching to greener cleaners a few years ago, but don't have the time to mix up all these cleaners. Is there a place where I can just go buy green cleaning products?

Cleaning Coach: I'm so glad you asked! I've been promoting, testing and using green cleaning products for twenty four years. In that time I've learned what works, and what doesn't. I now have created a store where you can shop and buy products that I know and trust. I've organized it by room, brand or product. I home it helps you find switching to green cleaning a touch easier. www.shopgreencleaning.com

Question: Where can I go to find out how safe or unsafe a product really is?

Cleaning Coach: There are a few great web sites that even have apps so you can look an item up right on your phone. I have two favorites - http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners  & http://www.goodguide.com If you are using www.goodguide.com make sure you are looking at the health rating first. This tells you about the ingredients and how safe it will be for your home. Not every item is listed in these guides, but they will definitely help you learn about the ingredients
in the products you're using in your home.

If you want to hear more questions AND enter to win a wonderful package of products from Better Life listen in tomorrow on www.cleangreentalk.com or find the show on iHeartRadio.com. You can enter the give away here:  http://tinyurl.com/ncf2lmd 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A New Direction - Different But Much Better!

The last six weeks have been more than interesting. Right before Memorial Day I made the decision to change the way I do business. For over 24 years I've run a traditional retail store, specializing in the best cleaning products in the world. I really enjoy cleaning and teaching and my store let me combine both of those gifts while helping others. I loved my store and every day I woke up and looked forward to going to work.

But over the years retail has changed. When I started, there were just a few web sites and no one was buying on the internet. But now the tide has turned and each day I heard from more and more of my customers that my products were available online. Not only were they online, but they were cheaper and more convenient.

Since January I've been trying to figure out how to compete with this online competition. I found that every vendor I had in my store was also on Amazon - with prices far less than I could sell in my store. They also provided free shipping on orders over $35 or if you were an Amazon Prime member it's free shipping. My products are heavy and shipping is very expensive. One $9 bottle of hand soap costs $10 to ship to the west coast. I tried everything I could to find a profitable way to compete agains Amazon. Unfortunately, nothing I tried worked.

So I decided to join them. My new business model lets me connect you - the customer - to the best prices and inventory in the world. With minimal shipping costs! What's not to love about this?!

A lot of you are mad at me for closing my retail location. I'm want you to know that I'm going to miss the store too. If things were the same as they were 24 years ago - I would continue to serve you at my store. But things aren't the same - and change, though difficult, needs to happen.  Some of you think I'm crazy - some think I'm sick - others think I'm quitting. I'm not crazy, sick or giving up. Just making a change that will be good for everyone.

A lot of you have already gone to my website and have found it VERY convenient. You get your products in two days or less! And you can shop at your convenience - not the limited hours that my store was open. I'm telling you - this new website is going to be great!!

I also want you to know that I'm just a phone call away. My phone number still rings on my phone. I'm just not at the store. But I'm happy to help to answer any of your questions. Even if it's "What kind of bags do I need?" I have all your buying history in my computer.

Faster! Easier! Cheaper! - It's everything you want. Trust me. It's different, but much better.

There was a great article in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that discussed the changes happening to retail locations. You can read it here: http://www.telegram.com/article/20140706/NEWS/307069951/1237#.U7oF1yCkUrQ.facebook

Happy Cleaning!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dressing up for the radio?

I love doing my radio show! I can crawl out of bed, grab a cup of coffee and slip on a set of headphones and I'm on! You don't know what I look like - and trust me, some days you definitely don't want to see how bad I look! Today I thought I'd dress up for the radio. I even put on makeup! I stopped by a Sephora store yesterday and sprung for a new eyeliner. They also showed me how to put it on. Eyeliner is much more complicated than I ever knew - inside - outside - top inside - bottom outside - it started to make my hair hurt!  But I think I got the hang of it. I bought the stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner, Stingray ">Stila smudge stick in "damsel". "older women don't want to go too dark" she said.  So I bought it and love it! Thanks Stila for making makeup we ALL can wear.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

S.L.O.B.S. TV - A Snippet Of Our First Show!!

Rachel is a full time mom and executive that has just hit overwhelm with her home. Watch as Leslie Reichert, The Cleaning Coach and her team put her back in control in only 8 hours.  Leslie's team includes a nurse, a professional organizer and the professional staff at the Container Store.
Please watch, leave a comment and like on YouTube. I'd also love it if you'd share it with your friends. I'm trying to show the networks that this would be a great show!!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Shadazzle - Product Review and Video

I’ve done a video review of Shadazzle to show you how it will work on your stainless steel pans, your kitchen sink and especially your glass topped stove. Let me know if you have any questions or comments. I’m here to help you!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

How To Find Extra Storage Space (Guest Blogger)

Finding that extra space through self storage
We'd all love to have unlimited space to store our personal belongings and professional items, but the truth is that sometimes it just doesn't exist in our homes and places of business. But does that mean that all hope is lost and we should just toss everything that we aren't going to need right this second?
Of course not! Fortunately, there are ways to maximize the space you do have and a means to store the excess and overflow – in a personal self-storage unit.
Regardless of whether your needs relate to your home or business, here are some tips on de-cluttering and organizing your existing spaces and a bit more on how to settle on the self-storage unit that will work for you.

First Things First: Kick Clutter to the Curb
Even the most vigilant organizers and cleaners recognize how "things" can accumulate in our homes and businesses despite our best efforts. With the busy lives we lead, we barely have sufficient time for ourselves and our families, let alone time to keep our stuff straight.
But that's just it: by prioritizing organizing and keeping things in order, the rest of our lives follow suit.
Think about how much time is wasted hunting things down and how much money we spend on buying items we already own (we know we bought them before, we just can't find them when we need them!). Plus, the mental stress that sneaks up by living in chaos eventually takes its toll.
So, to put clutter in its place – and out of your place – consider these de-cluttering guidelines:
  • Set aside items of clothing that are clearly out of fashion or of which you have too many multiples (arguably qualifying for both categories: how many pairs of jhorts or jean jackets does one person need?).
  • Pull out pieces you have not worn in 5 years and those you will never wear again (embrace the two kids you've had since your size 4 college days when you were running 10 miles a day on the track team...it's time to let go). This also includes formal wear and bridesmaid's gowns.
  • About those two kids: remove things they have outgrown and those you cannot hand down to the next kid in line.
Toys & Furniture:
  • Once your children outgrow playing with dolls and stuffed animals (that we all know collect dust and take up tons of space in a room), donate them to charity or younger relatives.
  • Remove unused pieces of furniture, like cribs, side tables and chairs that are space-hogs but provide little in the way of storage options.
Documents & Receipts:
  • Become a filing fanatic: create folders and files for bills and receipts, clearly label them and sort them into their places as soon as possible.
  • After three years (for IRS purposes), scan documents and shred them.
For everything that you haven't donated to charity, given away to friends and family members, recycled or trashed, rather than allowing it to pile up in your house, store it off-site in a self-storage unit.

Supplemental Storage Solutions
There are many things in life that we need to keep/want to hold onto but we just don't have the room within the four walls of our house or business. For that, we need a supplemental storage unit so that things are within our reach without being underfoot.
For example, what parent wants to part with their child's receiving blanket, or christening gown, or first pair of tennis shoes or ballet slippers? What about those boxes of photo albums and old books/magazines that you flip through once every couple of years or so?
In addition to long-term storage of items with sentimental value, folks often find themselves in need of a self-storage unit for short-term uses like:
  • When moving your family or relocating a business
  • During remodeling, redecorating or other construction projects in the home or business
  • Storing seasonal items like patio furniture, grills, pool accessories, outdoor sports equipment and "toys" like jet skis, ATVs or surf boards
  • Storing excess inventory before a holiday season at your place of business
  • Storing holiday decorations or winter clothes and other temperature-sensitive items you either cannot or do not want to store in a garage or attic
In terms of what you should look for when selecting the self-storage unit that will work best for you, make sure you consider:
  • Size: Don't pay for space you don't use and don't jam everything into the space to the point that you can't navigate inside and access what you need.
  • Climate Control: Extreme temperatures and humidity can cause damage to items in regular storage. Climate Control storage maintains a temperature of 55 – 80° with central heating and air conditioning and is a good option if you are storing items that are difficult to replace.
  • Security: This includes the physical security of the premises as well as insurance on your property.
  • Arrangement: Make sure everything you store is noted in an "Inventory" list that you keep with you, clearly marked and labeled, and placed within reach in the unit.
What other ways have you found to cut down on clutter or organize your self-storage unit?

Jessica Johnson works for www.extraspace.com and contributes to the Extra Space Storage blog, exploring various aspects of organizing and storing possessions.