How To Organize Your Fridge

Whether you’re in a rush to get a lunch made or dinner on the table, an overstuffed fridge can really slow you down. A well-organized fridge, on the other hand, can help food stay fresh longer, reduce waste and make meal prep easier. Here are some simple strategies to get your fridge in order.

Give Your Fridge a Fresh Start

Before you go on your next trip to the store, take the time to give your fridge a thorough cleaning out. Check all those condiment bottles, the bottom of the crisper drawer and the back of the fridge, and pull out anything that is no longer fresh. Once you’ve done this, wiped down the shelves, drawers and door, it’s time to get organized.

Use Bins and Trays to Keep Your Fridge Cleaner

Removable, washable plastic trays and bins make it easy to clean up when a container springs a leak — just remove the whole tray and toss it in the sink or dishwasher. Bins are great for corralling groups of items that you would like to store together.

Make it Easier to Keep Track of Leftovers

Keep a roll of masking tape and a felt-tip marker near the fridge for marking leftovers with the date, and you can tell at a glance whether something needs to be used up soon or tossed.

Organize by Temperature to Keep Food Fresh Longer

The door and top shelf are the warmest parts of the fridge. The middle shelves maintain the most consistent temperature, and the bottom back stays the coldest. The drawers usually give you some additional control for humidity, which can affect how long fruits and vegetables stay fresh.

What to Keep Where

◦  Upper shelves: Leftovers, snack foods and drinks

◦  Middle shelves: Eggs, dairy and deli meats

◦  Bottom shelf: Raw meat and fish

◦  Higher humidity drawer: Fresh vegetables

◦  Lower humidity drawer: Fresh fruit

◦  Door: Butter, soft cheeses, condiments, pasteurized juice and fresh herbs

How to Prep Produce

Washing produce when you get home from the market can be a great time-saver when it comes to making dinner on busy weeknights. However, since water can make fresh produce go bad more quickly, be sure to thoroughly dry all fruit and vegetables before putting them in the fridge.

◦  Whole, washed peppers, carrots and celery can be returned to the drawer after being thoroughly dried.

◦  Freshly washed lettuce should be dried as much as possible in a salad spinner and then gently wrapped in paper towels inside a large zip-top plastic bag or food storage container.

◦  If you plan to chop veggies or fruit in advance, store the cut pieces in airtight food storage containers and plan to use them within a few days.

How to Store Fresh Herbs

Ideally, we would all have pots of fresh herbs within arm’s reach of our kitchen. If you do have an herb garden, aim to snip only as much as you need at one time. If you don’t grow your own herbs, try these methods for keeping those bundles of store-bought herbs fresh for as long as possible.

◦  Fresh basil and cilantro can be treated like a bouquet of fresh flowers: Snip the ends, place in a glass of water and store on your counter. This works well with most other soft, long-stemmed herbs as well (such as parsley).

◦  Smaller bundles of herbs can be gently tucked inside a plastic bag, along with a layer of dry paper towels. Keep the whole bundle in the fridge door, where it’s warmest.

What Not to Store in the Fridge

If your fridge is overstuffed, it could be that you’ve been storing some items that would be better off on the counter or in a cool, dark pantry.

◦  Bananas, avocados and any fruit that still needs ripening should be left on the counter.

◦  Tomatoes, melon and delicate, farm-fresh berries taste best when left at room temperature and eaten within a day or two of bringing them home. But if you need them to last longer, stash them in the fridge.

◦  Keep oils, coffee, bread, potatoes, onions and whole heads of garlic in a cool, dark place.

Make Mini Clear-Outs Part of Your Weekly Routine

While planning what to have for dinner in the week ahead, it’s natural to check for ingredients in the fridge. Use this time to straighten up the shelves and do a quick clearing out of old leftovers and items that are past their prime.


Tips For Removing Carpet Stains

Know the right solutions and when to use them to prevent stains from pets, soda, chocolate, blood and more

If you’ve ever had a carpet freshly cleaned or rolled out a new area rug only to watch in horror as it became a stain magnet for everything from pet accidents to spilled wine and dirty shoes, you know the feeling: part panic, part action hero. Here’s how you can be a stain-fighting superhero.

Scene Of The Grime

Act Fast

When a stain happens, act quickly. Since most carpets today are made to be stain-resistant, many accidents can be remedied if you get to them in time. The longer the delay, the higher the chance of something becoming permanent.

Blot, Don’t Scrub

Using a white cloth or ink-free paper towels, to avoid the danger of additional dyes bleeding into the carpet, blot the stain. Avoid using a scrubbing motion, which can cause the spot to spread or work the problem deeper into the carpet fibers. Keep blotting until the area is completely dry.


If semisolids are part of the problem, scrape them off the floor carefully with a rounded spoon. Vacuum the solids until they’re completely removed.

Spot On

Before treating a rug stain with a spot-removal product, test it out on an inconspicuous area first. This is an important step, because some cleaning solutions can cause damage. Apply several drops to the testing area and hold a white cloth on the wet area for 10 seconds. Next, check the carpet and the cloth for color transfer or visible damage to the rug. If you notice color coming off onto the cloth or discoloration on the rug, test another product.

Once you have identified a safe cleaning solution, apply a small amount to the stain and letting it sit for about 10 minutes. Next, working from the outside edges of the stain inward, gently blot the spot. Repeat as needed.

In many cases, patience is the most important, and it may be necessary to repeat the same step several times.

After the stain has been completely removed, it’s time to rinse the treated area thoroughly with lukewarm tap water and blot dry, again with the blotting, until all the cleaning solution has been removed. Some products will cause staining and spotting of their own if they are not rinsed completely.

To dry, stack a half-inch layer of plain paper towels on the spot and weigh it down with a flat, heavy object or stand on it. Continue the process, changing paper towels as needed, until the excess water has been absorbed and the carpet is dry.

If you feel the need for speed, use a dry, absorbent cleaning compound to accelerate the drying time.

Dirty Tricks

Knowlege is power. Knowing what kind of stain you are dealing with will determine the best course of action. Here’s how to attack some of the most common rug and carpet stains.

Coffee, Tea, Cola

One of the most recommended methods for cleaning a variety of stains begins with a combination of ¼ teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with 1 cup of lukewarm water. According to the experts, although you may be tempted to add more dish soap, don’t do it. The less soapy residue you have to rinse out at the end, the better.

To create the solution, use a mild dish soap, never a laundry detergent or an automatic dishwashing detergent, since those often contain optical brighteners or bleaching agents, which can harm carpet dyes and fibers.

If the stain is stubborn, follow the dish soap solution with a mixture of 1 cup of white vinegar per 2 cups of water. Since white vinegar is a 5 percent acetic acid solution, it acts as a solvent that will work on both the stain and the dish soap residue.

Finally, when it’s time to rinse the area, use lukewarm tap water in a spray bottle.This precaution is aimed at avoiding oversaturating the carpet and harming the layers beneath. Blot with paper towels and pat dry after each rinse. Several rinses may be necessary to thoroughly eliminate the residue.

Pet Potty Spots

It’s not just the carpet stain but the lingering odor of pet accidents that concerns most homeowners. After the mess has been cleaned up, treat the stain with a product dedicated to pet stains or use the DIY dish soap solution. Blot until almost dry.

The Humane Society suggests that after you remove the stain, use a high-quality pet odor neutralizer, which can be found at most pet supply stores. It cautions against using cleaning agents with strong odors, such as ammonia or vinegar, which it says may encourage your pet to reinforce the scent of urine in that area.

One DIY method for neutralizing the scent: Mix one-half cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 1 teaspoon of a mild liquid dish soap, and put it in a spray bottle. Then sprinkle one to two handfuls baking soda, depending on the size of the stain, over the area and spray with the soapy solution. Gently massage the dissolving baking soda into the carpet and allow the spot to dry completely. Finish by vacuuming.

As with all stains, test the process on carpet in an out-of-the-way spot first.


If blood gets on your carpet, I’m guessing the first thing that comes to mind isn’t how you’re going to clean the rug. Once the emergency has passed, however, it’s time to address the mess — and quickly.

If the blood has dried, gently loosen it with a wire brush to remove surface debris. Then use the dish soap solution with cold water to clean and blot.

It’s important to note that bloodstains should be treated with cold water, not hot, because heat may cause the stain to set permanently.

If repeated cleaning and blotting with the dish soap solution doesn’t do the trick: Mix one-half cup of water with 1 tablespoon of ammonia. Using a cloth or sponge, apply the ammonia solution on the blood stain. Blot until the liquid is fully absorbed. Finally, apply a sponge dipped in cold water to the stain and blot until dry.


To remove chocolate stains: First scrape off as much of the dried chocolate as you can. Next vacuum the stained area to remove any remaining flakes.

Once the area has been cleaned, cover the spot with paper towels and set an iron to the lowest nonsteam setting. When the iron is warm, move it slowly over the paper towels. The chocolate should melt and stick to the paper towels. Keep the temperature steady, and as the paper towels absorb the chocolate, replace them with clean ones. Repeat until the stain has disappeared.

Another approach: use a solvent, a nonflammable spot solution or a dry-cleaning-type solvent on chocolate stains as the first line of defense. Never pour a solvent directly onto the carpet, since it might permeate the layers and damage the latex that binds the primary and secondary backings. The recommended solvents are Carbona, Energine, K2R and Goof-Off.


Attack candle drippings on the carpet first with a bag of ice. Place the ice over the spot and let it freeze for a few minutes. Next, remove the bag and scrape off the dried wax with the edge of a butter knife. Vacuum up any remaining pieces. If wax residue remains, place a brown paper bag or clean cloth over the spot and, using a warm iron on a low nonsteam setting, move gently over the bag or cloth. The heat will cause the residue to be absorbed into the bag or cloth. Repeat with a fresh bag or cloth until the residue is gone.

If a colored candle leaves a stain, pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto a clean white cloth and gently dab at the stain. Blot the carpet until it is dry.

Ink Markers

Everyone loves a good art project, just not on the carpet. There are several options for taking care of the stain.

Dab the ink stain with either rubbing alcohol or a cheap lacquer hairspray. Use a white towel to blot the spot — the pros say you should see the color transferring from the carpet to the cloth. Once the area is stain-free, dab the area to rinse away residue with a damp towel. If color remains on the carpet, repeat the process using more hairspray. The bad news: Although you may be able to lighten or reduce the stain in some cases, permanent markers are in fact permanent. Still, it’s worth a try.

Tomato Sauce

To get a tomato sauce stain out, act quickly. Work from the outside of the stain toward the inside, and use a spoon or the edge of a knife to remove any excess sauce from the carpet. Next, pour a generous amount of club soda onto the affected area of the carpet and use a damp sponge to blot up the stain. Then, take a clean paper towel and press it onto the area to absorb moisture or residue.

Finally, treat the spot using the dish soap solution, then blot, rinse and dry.

Grease Stains

Blot up as much of the grease stain as possible, then apply something like cornmeal, which will act to absorb the grease. After a few minutes, use a brush with stiff bristles to brush away the stain and break it up. If the spot is still there, try a dry-cleaning solvent, such as Afta cleaning fluid, and applying it with a clean sponge according to the directions.

Next, create a dry spotter, made by combining 8 parts liquid dry-cleaning solvent and 1 part coconut oil. Mineral oil works too, but not as effectively. Apply the mixture to the stain. Blot with a dry, absorbent towel or pad and repeat as needed.

As with all spot-cleaning remedies, be sure to test on an out-of-the-way piece of carpet first.

Professional Help

Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, stubborn stains or spots on vintage or delicate rugs may require the attention of a carpet-cleaning professional.


Guide To Finishing Your Basement

With Canadians spending more time at home, opportunities to improve our living spaces continue to present themselves. You may have spent time pampering your pets, setting a new tone in the bathroom, or even performing some long-overdue home maintenance. If you’ve been considering uncharted home improvement territory, then it could be time to finish your basement. Let’s look at some ways to help you plan for this project.

Is It Worthwhile?

Undoubtedly this is one of the biggest projects you can undertake in your home, and it carries some risks as well as a hefty price tag. On the flipside, you’ll not only increase the livable space in your home, your property value could see a substantial boost. Whether you hire a pro to complete the work or execute this epic DIY yourself, the added value alone makes this a worthy endeavour if done correctly.

Besides general considerations for this project, you’ll need to assess costs. Consider a professionally finished basement will cost between $35 to $55 per square foot. Of course, this cost would be reduced for a DIY, but it’s a good baseline for budgeting. 

Important: If you’re considering converting to a basement suite consulting your municipality and a qualified professional are both key in planning for a  safe and legal living space for family or tenants.

Common Pitfalls To Avoid

Working Without a Permit: 

This is one of the most common mistakes when it comes to any type of renovation, causing potential financial and legal troubles down the road—especially when selling your home.

Ignoring Moisture: 

Before proceeding it’s important to confirm if conditions are suitable for finishing. Basement humidity levels must be maintained at 55% or less. Anything above 60% presents a mould risk. 

Tip: Taping two-foot squares of plastic sheeting strategically on the walls and floor for two-week periods is an excellent way to test for moisture penetration.

Improper Flooring: 

Another major pitfalls for finished basements is when carpet or organic flooring are laid on concrete. This can create conditions for condensation to collect, so it’s important to employ proper subflooring materials, or if possible, use inorganic flooring such as ceramic tiles.

No Backup Sump Pump: 

If your basement requires a sump pit and pump to address drainage during spring or sustained rain, it’s important to maintain a working backup pump for emergencies. 

Tip: During dry periods, practice swapping out your pumps to avoid any panic when there’s a pump failure. 

Poor Drainage: 

One of the most important considerations takes place outside your home. Ensure your gutters direct water at least 10 feet away from the home, and that the surrounding soil slopes away from the structure. 

Inadequate Ceiling Clearance: 

While most homeowners are not likely to attempt finishing a crawl space, it’s important to meet minimum code requirements for ceiling clearance. Clearance height may vary from city to city, but generally speaking you must keep a minimum height (below beams and ducts) of 6’11” for at least 75% of your usable floorspace.

Consult Professionals

This can’t be stressed enough. Even if you plan to do the finishing work yourself, it’s best to consult a professional for this type of project. A building engineer or architect can help you develop a plan to avoid missing key details, while also helping to assure building permit approval.

All electrical, plumbing, or support structure work should be performed by licensed professionals to avoid costly, dangerous mistakes.


Once you have a plan, it’s time to purchase the materials you’ll need to accomplish this project. Assuming any drainage or moisture seal issues have already been addressed, here are the main materials to plan for: 

•Treated lumber for studs (treated lumber is less susceptible to warping and rot)

•Metal or wood furring strips to create offsets along your walls (a must for uneven walls)

•Insulation (a solid foam insulation is recommended if it will contact the walls directly)

•Flooring materials (subflooring, carpet, laminate or tile)



•Concrete sealer

•Hammer drill with masonry bits, masonry screws or slip anchor sleeves

•Plumbing (if you plan to install a bathroom or make changes to your laundry area)

•Sump pumps (every sump pit should have a primary and a backup pump)

Understandably, there’s a lot to consider, learn, and think about when preparing to finish your basement. Taking the time to carefully plan out your project while being mindful of potential pitfalls will go a long way towards creating a beautiful space you can not only be proud of, but will provide years of enjoyment for your family, and those of future owners.


Creating A Home Theatre

Entertainment looks much different than it did a year ago. But with streaming services offering the latest movie premieres, coupled with the approach of some of the year’s biggest televised events, let’s turn some of those lemons into lemonade and look at key tips for building the perfect home theatre. 

That’s Dedication

While incorporating a home theatre environment into your family room is fantastic, if your goal is to create a space solely for theatrical enjoyment, a dedicated space is best. Whether you just finished your basement or plan to, this is the perfect opportunity for this project.

The primary reasons for a dedicated room are layout and treatment. You’ll get more out of the space by optimizing the placement of furniture, speakers, lighting, and sound baffles.


The goal for seating is comfort and screen visibility. Place plush armchairs or couches a suitable distance from the screen, but not too far away. Installing castors on couches, armchairs or love seats are a convenient way to shift or add seating on demand. For a genuine theatre feel, consider tiered seating if your space allows. While you can buy chairs with built-in cup and snack holders, side tables or a coffee table are handy options as well.

The Big Screen

When planning for your screen, you’ll need to decide whether to go with a smart TV or a mounted screen and projector. Projectors used to be prohibitively expensive, but modern advancements have brought their costs way down. 

Whatever you choose, it’s important to mount the screen high enough so that everyone can see clearly—especially with row seating—and low enough so viewers aren’t straining their necks.

The Gear

Unless you use a smart TV, you’ll need a streaming device, a Blu-Ray or DVD player, plus a receiver and surround sound system. If you wish to avoid surround sound components, a decent sound bar will do nicely and negate the need for a receiver. 

Keep your main components together on a TV stand or rack close to an outlet and wired internet access. If you’re planning to use a surround sound system, then it’s strongly recommended to research thoroughly to decide what’s best for your budget and space.

While Wi-Fi has come a long way in strength and speed, if you’re streaming in HD (1080p) or Ultra HD (4k), nothing will beat a wired network connection.

Sound Treatment

Reduce outside noise pollution by installing an additional layer of drywall or sound-reducing wallboard, plus replacing the hollow door with a solid one. 

Sound (or room) treatment is more commonly associated with recording studios, but applies in this case because it’s best to reduce reverberation (reverb) as much as possible for a crisp, clean sound. Acoustic foam and baffles can be bought for a reasonable price and applied to walls, the ceiling and corners to cut the reverb. 

The other key element of sound treatment is speaker placement, especially in relation to your seating so do some research.

Set The Tone

To create that perfect theatre atmosphere, start with as little natural light possible. Basements and inner rooms are prime spaces to work with. If your room has windows, the aim is to block our natural light completely and with as little effort as possible.

As far as artificial lighting goes, pot (recessed) lights or wall sconces, coupled with a good dimmer switch give precise control over light levels while reducing the risk of eye strain. An economical substitution is to run LED string lights along the sides of your room. 


Many people have a bar in their dens, so why not take your home theatre environment to the next level with a snack bar? This could include a mini fridge for your favourite beverages, storage for chips, nuts and candy, or even a popcorn maker to give your theatre that authentic buttered popcorn smell.

Things To Avoid

Like most projects there are common traps to be mindful of, such as:

• Overspending: Technology changes quickly, so don’t budget for the most expensive setup available when you may have to update in a few years. 

• Overly Bright Décor: Bright flooring, furniture and décor can have a negative impact on your room’s ambiance. Darker tones work best.

• Hard Flooring: Smooth flooring contributes to sound reverb so it’s best to use carpeting if possible (the thicker the better!)

• Lighting Behind Seating: This is a surefire way to add unwanted glare to your viewing experience, keep lighting to the sides as much as possible.

Now that you have a better understanding of the key elements for building your home theatre, you’re ready to hit the ground running. As long as you have a well-researched plan for your space, you’re sure to create your perfect home theatre.  


Putting Your Children's Art Work On Display

If you have kids, one thing’s for certain—you have a lot of art on your hands you don’t want to throw away! The fridge can start to get a little busy when you hang up every single drawing, but luckily there are a number of chic ways to decorate with your child’s artwork. Here is a list of ideas for you to find inspiration.

Create Your Own Clothesline Display

If you spent a lot of time drawing together, you probably have one or two (or 10) artistic masterpieces ready for display. Find pieces that match or complement each other either by colour palette or content, and pin them using clothing pins along one to two strands of rope. You can find everything you need at the dollar store, or at local craft suppliers. It all depends on how fancy you want to get. 

Use nails or thumbtacks with colourful ends to attach the string or rope to your wall. If you want to keep it completely hassle-free, adhesive hooks will do. 

Space your nails or hooks out equally and levelled. Grab a single piece of string and tie a knot around each spaced wall mounts. Use the clothing pins to attach the artwork and you’re all set! You can change out the artwork as it gets made!

Put LEGO® on Display


If your children love LEGO®, you probably have several sculptures, buildings, and imaginative creations lying around your house. While LEGO® usually gets disassembled to create the next masterpiece, there are a couple of interesting ways you can display your kids’ creations.

The first way is a wall-mounted LEGO® creation. You’ll need a piece of wood, LEGO base sheets, some paint, glue, and a bit of imagination. Attach the base sheets to the painted piece of wood, then affix your child’s LEGO® creations to those base sheets. Add any adornments you see fit, like stickers, drawings, or glitter! Tip: you might need a little glue to help you out here.

LEGO® Shadow Box

Another great way to display LEGO® art is by creating a shadow box. A shadow box is an enclosed display case with a glass front that lets you show off any number of objects, which makes it perfect for showcasing LEGO® creations. Fill it with whatever creations you see fit.

Wall Calendar

Sometimes your fridge gets a bit full, but there’s a way you can display it year round! Have your kids’ artwork professionally scanned, or if you’re a bit more tech savvy, you can download an app to scan and enhance the art for you! From there, you’ll have a wealth of options at your fingertips. Creating a wall calendar is a unique way to display multiple pieces of artwork from your kids. Try using a custom calendar maker which offer easy drag-and-drop functionality. 

Alternatively, these make great custom gifts for family members and close friends.


Once you’ve had the art scanned the world becomes your oyster! One of our favourite ways to display a child’s original art is a custom tapestry. Pick the most delightful piece of the bunch and send it off to a printer who specializes in custom tapestry.

Playdough Mobile

If your kid is more the arts and crafts type, wall hangings and mobiles are a great option. If they’re a fan of playdough, you can easily craft a wall hanging by attaching a few pieces together using string and connecting them to a rod. It’s worth getting some oven-bake clay if you’re looking to make a mobile, as it’ll probably last a bit longer on the wall.

If your kids are fans of glueing and crafting with mixed mediums, you can create a hanging mobile which allows more depth as it hangs from the ceiling.

While the build-up of art in the house may feel overwhelming, you’ll feel better about displaying it intentionally and incorporating it into your home décor. Your children will feel good knowing you’re proud of their work, and you’ll feel good showing it off. If your kids are old enough, you can even get them involved in building the displays! Work together to make their art even more special. 

There are endless ways to display your kids art, it’s just about finding the best option for you.

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