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21 housekeeping hacks you need to make habits in the new year By Kathleen Lee-Joe

Here’s our round-up of surprisingly simple household hacks to take into 2017. ‘Cos when it comes to cleaning, the less time we spend doing it, the better!

1. Unload the dishwasher before breakfast


That way, you can pop your dirty cereal bowl straight in when you’re done. No dishes piling up by the sink! Turn the dishwasher on before you go to bed so it’s ready to clear come morning.


Add a drop of dish soap to aluminium foil and use it to tackle stubborn bits on a baking trays, glass pans and even the oven rack.Add a drop of dish soap to aluminium foil and use it to tackle stubborn bits on a baking trays, glass pans and even the oven rack. Photo: Stocksy

2. Polish your silverware

Want to entertain more in 2017? Be the best host by presenting your guests with spiffy silverware. Bring one litre of water, one tablespoon of baking soda and one piece of aluminium foil to a boil. Drop your cutlery in the pot for 10 seconds and then remove with kitchen tongs. The tarnish transfers and you end up with magically sparkling silver!

3. Store linen sets together

Hate sorting through individual sheet sets? Here’s a hack for organising your linen closet. After doing your laundry, keep your sheets and corresponding quilt covers and pillowcases together by taking one pillowcase and bundling the rest to create a neat and tidy packet.

4. Clear the desk clutter

Notice how clutter always seems to sneak its way into your workspace? Keep frequently used items in close reach, then store things such as extra printer paper, cartridges and rarely used reference books and folders on shelves and in drawers. And invest in a cable organiser.

5. Always pull up your quilt

Even if you don’t completely make your bed, pull your quilt up to meet your pillows. Your bed takes up a lot of space, so doing this instantly makes your bedroom look a whole lot neater.


Photo: Habitat.

6. Dry your sink

Keeping your sink dry helps beat bacteria build-up and stops stains from forming. Once you’ve done the dishes, soak paper towel in an antibacterial kitchen cleaning solution and wipe the surface clean. Don’t forget the tap, trap handle and drain stopper.

7. Organise your garage

Consider the layout of your garage. Divide into areas covering themes such as sporting equipment, garden care and tools. Then place frequently used items so that they’re easily accessible and less frequently used items in harder to reach places. Anything seasonal, for example, can be stowed away.

8. Don’t waste leftover wine

Instead of pouring it down the sink, freeze in ice-cube trays (one cup = 8 ice cubes) to add flavours to sauces and stews. White and sparkling wine works in chowders and creamy dishes, while red wine works in tomato and beef-based dishes.

9. Take care of your wooden floors

Fix scratches with a mixture of distilled white vinegar and canola oil in equal parts and remove scuffs with a Magic Eraser. To prevent dents in the future, avoid wearing heels in the house and cover table and chair legs with socks when rearranging the furniture.

10. Gather small toys with a dustpan

“I hope you step on a LEGO,” has become such an apt curse that it’s now a meme. Save yourself the pain by keeping a dustpan handy to sweep up blocks and puzzles at the end of playtime.

Photo: Rotten ecards.

11. Clean rugs with a shower squeegee

Vacuuming stray hairs from carpet rarely makes a difference, so try scraping a dry squeegee across it in overlapping rows. Doing so creates static electricity, drawing stubborn pet and human hair from the carpet. As you create clumps, pick them up with your hands and pop them in the bin!

12. Use more chemical-free cleaners

Keep your clean green with everyday products such as distilled white vinegar, bicarb soda, lemon, salt and even vodka! They boast myriad uses, are cost-effective and won’t harm your housemates.

13. Deglitter your crafty kids

Did your kids manage to glitter bomb your entire house? The sparkly stuff sticks to just about everything – but you can use a sticky roller or ball of Playdoh to clean up surfaces and clothes.

14. Don’t leave baking trays soaking in the sink

The longer you leave it, the more the food scraps will harden and stick to the edges. Add a drop of dish soap to aluminium foil and use it to tackle stubborn bits on a baking trays, glass pans and even the oven rack.