Renovation & Design

These New Year's resolutions might have a fighting chance

Stacy Zarin Goldberg / The Washington Post files

A sparkling clean bathroom is a terrific spot to start your day.

A clean room is a reward because it looks better, fresher and newer, but some people are not concerned about appearance, so here are other reasons to clean.

Lack of dusting is a fire hazard, if a smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector fills with dust, the detector may fail to work properly because it is clogged, and the alarm on the detector may activate because of accumulated dust in the unit. When this happens, it takes some investigation to determine what the problem is.

Several years ago, someone wrote to me regarding their stereo system that suddenly started on fire (thankfully no one was hurt). The cause? Accumulated dust in the unit! Studies show that excessive dust inhalation may result in symptoms of asthma such as wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing.

Did you know? The average home accumulates about 20 kilograms of dust per year.

Clean the bathroom every week. Definitely my least favorite chore. Here is a recipe to make the job easier. Instant toilet bowl/bathtub cleaner/sink deodorizer: into the toilet or bathtub pour one quarter cup baking soda and two cups vinegar. Scrub with an abrasive (scratch free) cloth. Rinse with water.

Keep my windows clear and spot-free. Well that is a tall order, but here is an effective recipe to keep on hand: window glass cleaner/degreaser/soap scum remover/cutting board cleaner: combine one tsp. dish soap, one quarter cup rubbing alcohol and two cups white vinegar. Spray and wipe.

Eat healthier. While it’s fun to eat takeout, once in awhile, many people tend to underuse their slow cooker which has the capability of cooking healthy and affordable meals with little effort. In the morning place a seasoned pork roast, and potatoes in the slow cooker; add vegetables at noon and allow the food to cook all day. By suppertime, your meal is ready to eat.

Tackle fabric stains instead of tossing clothes. Fabric spot remover: combine half cup three per cent hydrogen peroxide and one quarter cup dish soap. Spray onto stain and launder as usual. Test on an inconspicuous area first.

Cut down on my grocery spending. Did you know? Over the past few years, shopping carts nearly doubled in size and consumers are spending about 19 per cent more to fill the cart. Ready-to-eat food costs more. Foods such as pre-grated cheese costs 30-60 per cent more than grating it yourself. Save money by hand choosing loose produce such as tomatoes, peppers, oranges, kiwi, etc., instead of pre-bagged produce.

Know your prices, because bulk foods are sometimes sold at higher prices than packaged foods. If you look at the packaging on fresh fish, you might find the words Previously Frozen which means it was frozen and then thawed. Frozen grocery store fish is cheaper and often fresher than fresh grocery store fish. The most expensive grocery items are placed at eye level.

Look higher or lower on shelves for better deals. The exception to this: items like sugary cereal which are displayed on lower shelves to grab the attention of children.

Be kind to the frontline workers who are putting their lives at risk to provide healthcare, education and essential products.

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Have a great suggestion or tip? Please send an email at: Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website:



Browse Homes

Browse by Building Type