Category Archives: Maintenance

Household Checklist for July

Household Checklist – July

Can you believe ½ of the year has passed already?  It is now July, and there’s plenty to do.  We’re here to help with our printable Household Checklist for July and detailed information for the projects you need to tackle this month.  So let’s get started.

There’s plenty to do in July:

Maintenance

  • Run dehumidifier in basement
  • Transplant houseplants to larger containers
  • Get started on holiday planning (Christmas in July)
  • Update your address book or contacts in cell phone
  • Organize three small areas in your home

Outdoors

Maintain vegetable and flower garden / weeding

Backwash pool filter

Trim shrubs, bushes, and hedges

Pick raspberries and blueberries

Apply Step 3 fertilizer to lawn

Money

  • Balance checkbook
  • Budget
  • Start your back-to-school shopping

Meal Planning

  • Host or attend 4th of July celebration
  • Plan something special for World Friendship Day: July 30
  • Plan birthday parties, cookouts and family reunions in August

Details on July Projects

Here are some specific details on our July projects.  Just click on the link below to read more.

Grill

How to host a simple cookout

Blueberries

Blueberry Picking Tips

Scotts Step 3

It’s Time to Put Down Your Step 3 Fertilizer

Summer Storm Approaching

Summer Storms – Checklist

two yellow durango merigolds

World Friendship Day: July 30

Seattle Market

Summer Meal Ideas

Back to School Checklist

Back to School Shopping Checklist

How to organize your receipts in bin

How to Organize and Store Your Receipts

House Sitters Checklist

House Sitter’s Checklist

Pet Sitters ChecklistPet Sitter’s Checklist

Beach Bag

What’s in Your Beach Bag?

Address Tracker

Toolbox: Printable Address List Tracker

Pink Tree

Christmas in July: Tips on Getting a Head Start

  

Printable Household Checklist for July

Just click on the link below for a printable copy of our Household Checklist for July:

Household Checklist for July

Household Checklist for July

By scheduling time to handle these items in July, you’ll be sure to keep everything running smoothly in your household.

Next steps:

Need more ideas?  Just click on our Toolbox tab above.  Looking for some quick organizational projects?  Check out the Organization section in our Toolbox.

Be sure to follow us on Pinterest:  Click here

 

Household Checklist for June

Household Checklist for June

The month of June can be a busy time of year.  We’re here to help with our printable Household Checklist for June.  We’ve also included checklists, printables and detailed information for the projects you need to tackle this month.  So let’s get started.

Household Items to Handle in June

Maintenance

  • Finish Spring cleaning (first day of summer: 6/21)
  • Prepare for summer storms; update emergency supplies

Outdoors

Maintain vegetable and flower garden / weeding

Backwash pool filter

Power wash siding on house

Clean out gutters

Apply Step 2 Fertilizer for lawn

Apply Grub Preventer to lawn

Things to do

Locate and attend local farmer’s market

Go strawberry picking

Schedule swimming lessons and camps for children

Money

  • Balance checkbook
  • Budget
  • Finalize vacation plans

Meal Planning

  • Host or attend Father’s Day celebration
  • Plan July 4th cookout
  • Plan birthday parties in July

 

Details on June Projects

Here are some specific details on our June projects.  Just click on the link below to read more.

How to drain water from a pool cover

Tips on How to Drain Water from a Pool Cover

Helicopters from Silver Maple

Silver Maple Trees: It’s a Love-Hate Relationship

House Sitters Checklist

House Sitter’s Checklist

Grill

How to host a simple cookout

Strawberries

Are you ready to go strawberry picking?

Blank Calendar July 2015

It’s Time to Organize and Plan Your Summer Calendar

Yellow and orange tulips

Spring Cleaning Checklists

Summer Storm Approaching

Summer Storms – Checklist

Pool Cleaning Checklist - Running a Household

Pool Cleaning Checklist

Scotts Step 2

It’s Time to Put Down Your Step 2 Fertilizer

flower and vegetable seed and plant checklistGarden Shopping Checklist: Track your seed and plant purchases

Grilling Tools in Kitchen Drawer

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Seattle Market

Summer Meal Ideas

printable grocery list by department

Grocery List by Department – Make Grocery Shopping Easy and Efficient

Beach Bag

What’s in Your Beach Bag?

  

Printable Household Checklist for June

Just click on the link below for a printable copy of our Household Checklist for June:

Household Checklist for June Household Checklist for June

By scheduling time to handle these items in June, you’ll be sure to keep everything running smoothly in your household.

 

Can’t Keep Chlorine in Your Pool? Tips to Remove Phosphates

Does it feel like you keep adding chlorine to your pool?  Or does it seem like you can’t keep chlorine in your pool?  If so, your pool may contain a high level of phosphates.  We’re here to explain phosphates as well as tips to remove phosphates from your pool water.

What are Phosphates and Where Do They Come From?

Phosphates are an ingredient found in fertilizer.  Phosphates can also come from organic matter, such as decayed leaves in your pool.  Another source of phosphates is cosmetic products from bathers.  Some pool products meant to descale your pool even contain phosphates.

Can’t Keep Chlorine in Your Pool?
Signs of high phosphate level in pool water

  • Slimy walls
  • Cloudy water
  • Algae grows back quickly
  • Chlorine seems to disappear from pool instantly
  • Water testing shows high level phosphates

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost to you, but Running A Household will receive a commission.

How to Remove Phosphates From Your Pool

Step 1: Have the phosphate level in your pool water tested. 

Phosphate levels should be below 100 ppb (parts per billion) or 0.100 ppm (parts per million).  You can have your local pool store run a test, or you can purchase your own Phosphate Test Kit.

If phosphate levels are higher than 100 ppb, a phosphate remover called Phos Free Pool Cleaner can be purchased.  This comes in a three liter bottle.


Read the application instructions to determine how much phosphate remover you need.  Our pool is 16 x 36, and our phosphate level required us to use 32 ounces.

Step 2: Balance Your Pool Water

We made sure that our pool water was balanced first, with the exception of the chlorine level.  So that means our alkalinity, ph, and calcium hardness were at the correct levels.  We also added our three-month algaeside to prevent any further issues.

Our pool store representative recommended holding off on shocking the pool until our phosphate levels were reduced to close to 0.  Otherwise, it’s like throwing money away.  All of the shock you put into your pool will simply disappear.  To drive the point home, he told us to just give him $20 if we felt like shocking the pool!

Step 3: Pour the Phosphate Remover around the entire pool.

The instructions on our phosphate remover product recommended that we pour the phosphate remover around the edge of the entire pool.

Also note that the filter will need to run for 24 hours, so plan accordingly.  You will want to be around while the filter runs, so that you can bump it when the pressure rises.

Step 4: Vacuum up any phosphate remainder

Phosphate remnants look like gray or white matter floating at the bottom of the pool.  You will need to vacuum this matter and remove it from your pool.

Can't keep chlorine in your pool

Gray matter in pool after phosphates removed

Step 5: Backwash the pool filter

It is important to backwash the pool filter after vacuuming, and install fresh Dichotomous Earth (D.E.)  Backwashing will remove the phosphates from your pool, and prevent them from reentering the water.  We even took the opportunity to crack open our filter to clean the fingers.

Step 6: Re-Test the Phosphate Levels

Next, have the phosphate levels tested again.  If the levels are above 500, repeat the steps again.  Otherwise, your pool will not hold chlorine.  Since removing phosphates requires you to test multiple times, you may want to save a few trips to the pool store and purchase your own Phosphate Test Kit.  We like this kit because it provides you with a color coded strip so that you can see the phosphate level:

Clear test results means there are no phosphates in your pool.  The higher up on the blue scale you go, the more phosphates you have in your pool water. This kit also allows you to test up to 100 times. Hopefully you won’t need to test that many times, but it will certainly save you a few trips back and forth to the pool store.

Step 7: Shock Your Pool

Once your phosphate levels are close to zero, it’s time to shock the pool.  As you now know, if the phosphate levels are too high, your chlorine will disappear.

Still having water issues?  You may want to work with your local pool store to test the water.  They have the technology to perform tests beyond the standard homeowner tests.

Happy swimming!

Easy Way to Clean Plastic Patio Furniture

Easy Way to Clean Plastic Patio Furniture

Are you looking for an easy way to clean plastic patio furniture?  Look no further.  We have two solutions for you.

Option 1: Easy Way to Clean Plastic Patio Furniture

In this example, we have two white plastic lounge chairs.  They stay outside for the winter, due to the lack of shed storage space.

Easy Way to Clean Plastic Patio FurnitureThis year, the patio chairs were looking especially dirty.  I decided to pull them onto the grass and attempt to clean them.  I usually have resin patio furniture cleaner on hand, but must have run out.  So I opted for some simple liquid dishwashing soap and a sponge.  Here’s what I did:

Step 1: Wet the chairs with water

Step 2: Put some liquid dishwashing soap on the chair.

Step 3: Wash the chair with a sponge.  In our case, I didn’t have to work hard at all to get the grime off.  In fact it was so easy that our two young sons offered to help.

Step 4: Rinse with water.

Not bad for a quick cleaning, right?  If your patio furniture is very dirty, you may need to purchase a product made especially for the job.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost to you, but Running A Household will receive a commission.

Option 2: Easy Way to Clean Plastic Patio Furniture

If your patio furniture stains are not coming off easily, then you may need to try another cleaning product like Scotts Plus Oxi Outdoor Cleaner which attaches to your garden hose.  It is made by Scotts, the same company that distributes lawn fertilizer.  It is safe for lawns and surrounding plants, and contains no phosphates.


If you prefer not to attach a bottle to a garden hose, they also make the same product in a spray bottle: Outdoor Cleaner Plus Oxi Clean Rtu Liquid.  This comes in handy if you only have one or two lawn chairs, and just want to do a quick cleaning.

One additional tip:  This Scotts Cleaner is also sold in concentrate.  You’ll notice that the two products we listed above are RTU which stands for Ready To Use.  If you have a lot of cleaning to do, you may want to consider the concentrated version which needs to be mixed with water before using.

Overall, cleaning should be an easy process.  Our motto is, “If you’re working too hard to clean something, then you’re not using the right cleaning product.”

Happy cleaning!

Here are a few additional articles you may enjoy on our website:

How to drain water from a pool cover

Tips on How to Drain Water from a Pool Cover

Helicopters from Silver Maple

Silver Maple Trees: It’s a Love-Hate Relationship

Leaf Rake

How to Remove Leaves from Pool Cover

 

15 Mothers Day Gift Ideas for Mom and Grandma

15 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Mom and Grandma

Are you trying to figure out what to buy for Mother’s Day?  Look no further.  We’re here to help with a simple strategy and 15 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Mom and Grandma.

How to Select a Mother’s Day Gift

Set a budget.  At least have a price range in mind.  Do you want to spend:

under $10
$10-$25
$25-$50
$50-$100
Over $100

Think about what mom likes to do:

What are her hobbies?
Does she have any favorite snacks?
Where does she like to shop or dine out?
Is there something that could make mom’s life easier?

Now you’re ready to scan through our list of ideas.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost to you, but Running A Household will receive a commission.  Thank you for supporting our website.

How to Select a Mother's Day Gift: 15 Mothers Day Gift Ideas

15 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Mom and Grandma

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #1: Chocolate

Lindt Chocolate Swiss Luxury Selection

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #2: Vera Bradley: purse, eyeglass case, or tote – available in various patterns

Vera Bradley Little Crossbody

Vera Bradley Double Eye Case


Vera Bradley Tote

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #3: Flowers

Bouquet from local florist.  This flower arrangement is a simple mix of peach roses, yellow daisies, lavender spider mums and radiant orchid carnations.  The purple and white gingham check bow adds a lovely touch to this bouquet.

15 Mother's Day Gift Ideas for Mom and Grandma

Hanging basket:

  • Wave petunias,
  • Martha Washington Geranium, or
  • Begonias

They are all great choices.

Perennial that mom can plant in the flower bed and enjoy year after year.

  • Phlox
  • Japanese Iris
  • Roses

Trees or bushes

  • Lilac bush
  • Weeping Cherry Tree
  • Magnolia Tree

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #4: Electronics

 Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa

 Kindle Paperwhite E-reader

Samsung Chromebook Laptop

  • Cell phone
  • Ipad
  • Ipod

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #5: Jewelry

You can’t go wrong with an aqua blue box from Tiffany’s.

  • Silver charm necklace
  • Bracelet

Or something from your local jeweler

  • Ring with birthstones of children
  • Necklace with pendant
  • Earrings

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #6: Gift Card

Amazon.com Gift Card in a Black Gift Box

  • Restaurant
  • Spa
  • Clothing store
  • ITunes

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #7: Pictures

  • Family portrait for your mom
  • Take a few candid pictures of your kids.  Put them in a frame for your wife.

Hobby Items: What does you mom, grandmother, or wife like to do in her spare time?

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #8: Gardening Supplies

Garden Tote and 6 Hand Tools

Garden Scooter

Solar-Powered LED Garden Lights

  • Tools (gloves, shovel, trowel, cart to sit on)
  • Statue
  • Seeds or plants

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #9: Genealogy / Family History

  • Subscription to Ancestry.com
  • Subscription to Newsbank.com
  • Book to write down family history
  • Subscription to Family Tree Magazine

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #10: Photography

  • Software program to organize pictures
  • Camera
  • Camcorder

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #11: Reading

  • Gift card to Barnes and Noble
  • Newest book written by her favorite author

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #12: Scrapbooking

  • Album to keep finished pages
  • Supplies: paper, pens, stickers
  • Special tools: Cricut Paper Cutter

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #13: Sports / Outdoor Activities

Running, boating, swimming, camping, tennis, golf, beach bum

  • New gear or equipment: tennis racquet, clubs, balls
  • Kayak
  • Clothing / sneakers
  • Beach bag with new towel, flip flops and sunscreen

Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #14: Non-Commercialized Ideas

  • Breakfast in bed
  • Hand-made card
  • Drawing from children
  • Homemade cookies or cake

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #15: Still need more Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Mom and Grandma?  Check out the Mother’s Day Gift Shop

Have a Happy Mother’s Day!