Secret Storage

A bit of imagination can give you a whole lot of extra space. YOU CAN never have enough storage, as they say. Luckily, there are any number of ideas out there for maximising storage space around your home. Products such as baskets, boxes, storage racks, bins, shelving systems and containers are all good, but the type of storage space I have been thinking about recently is a little less obvious; it’s the hidden spaces we have all around us: inside the walls, above the ceiling and under the floor. They are unused “secret” spaces; it is just a matter of knowing how to unlock them. Above the ceiling Why not capitalise on the dead space above your ceiling? A quick survey of my converted loft space reveals items from almost every room in the house sitting quietly out of the way until we need them again.


Professional companies that specialise in this type of work should do full loft conversions. They will be able to assess each individual roof space for strength and a suitable access point, then provide flooring, lining, lighting and a drop-down ladder. But if a full conversion is not within your budget, some extra storage can still be opened up in the meantime with the installation of an extra manhole or two. Cutting a hole in your plasterboard ceiling and installing a manhole is not a difficult job. A basic metal manhole frame with a pop-out MDF hatch can be bought from plastering suppliers such as Boral, CSR or PlastaMasta. They come in various sizes, so select one that will fit between your ceiling joists. To install the frame, first choose an appropriate spot. Towards the centre of the house is good. Allow good headroom over the opening and don’t put it directly over beds or hard-to-move furniture. Next you will need to locate the edge of a ceiling joist. Check out the stud finder reviews to find out the best for you or make a simple choice with an inexpensive stud finder Read more

Split System Air Conditioning Can Change Your Life

Split system air conditioning units, are usually used for larger buildings and applications and is so called because the system splits apart the hot part of the system from the cold. The cold side of the system is housed in a furnace or some other sort of air handler and the hot side, also known as the condensing unit is housed outside the building.

In some larger buildings this unit is found on the roof. In essence the split system is exactly the same as a window air conditioner. The split system can use evaporator coils that can be placed in every room of the house. Each of these coils can be set to a different temperature, for instance a bathroom can be cooled to a different level than a living room, making the split system ideal for larger homes with more than one occupant. The ability to set the temperature levels of each room make this system extremely energy efficient as those rooms that are not in use can be switched off entirely. In addition to controlling temperature the split system air conditioning unit also controls humidity and air quality. Air quality is maintained through the installation of a filter in the air conditioning unit that eliminates airborne particles. These systems work in much the same way as whole house dehumidifiers. This filter will have to be changed or cleaned at regular intervals.

split ayatem air conditioning

Although in the past split system air conditioners have been accused of being ugly today’s units are aesthetically pleasing often contributing to the style of the household. Good examples of these air conditioners are the Artcool units produced by LG which come in a variety of styles and finishes.

As with all air conditioning units the home owner should carefully assess the households (or businesses) needs prior to making the purchase of the unit. Split system air conditioning units come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some of which are suitable for home use and some of which will simply be too powerful and … Read more

Deciding on New or Used Baby Furniture

baby-furnitureThere are plenty of reasons why it’s important to choose the right furniture for baby. And buying it all new isn’t always the best option, either. So why should you be careful when choosing?

Buying new furniture on a budget might force you to buy something that is cheap and unsafe for baby BUT buying something second hand might give you something of higher quality for the same price.

Some baby items can deteriorate over time, meaning they’re unsafe to use second hand.

So what baby items should you buy new and what should you buy used? Here is a basic guide as to what baby furniture to choose:

  • Swing – A good swing provides your baby a comfortable seat and swing. If you’re always busy with your work, a swing can take care of your baby for you. A second-hand baby swing can be dangerous for your baby so you need to buy a brand new one for safety. Check out the best baby swing reviews before making a purchase.
  • Cots – These are often quite expensive when purchased new so it’s a good idea to find a cheap or hand me down cot if possible. As long as the cot is sturdy it should have no trouble lasting for quite a few babies.
  • Mattresses – You should always purchase mattresses new, since they collect a lot of invisible particles such as skin cells. They also absorb sweat from baby, which can lead to deep seated mould. Each baby should get a new mattress.


  • Prams – It’s highly recommended that you purchase prams new. Second hand prams may have problems you don’t immediately notice, such as damaged safety straps or broken parts that may hurt baby. If you do buy a second hand pram, go with a trusted second hand baby supply store, not a sale from a stranger online or in a newspaper
  • Baby Bath – If you plan to buy a second hand baby bath, make sure it is made only of easily cleanable plastic or rubber.
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Going Green with Cloth Dinner Napkins

Family time at the dinner table can fall by the wayside if you’re always on the go. On a typical night, a dash through the drive-thru or dinner on the run might be the norm for you, rather than the exception. But, when you do have time to sit as a family and eat, take the time to really make it special.

Why not take dinner from mundane to memorable—and save the Earth at the same time? Shelve the paper napkins and paper towels. Instead, pull out your cloth napkins. Put decorative rings around them. Fold them into fun animal shapes. If you care enough about your family to cook five-star dinners, then shouldn’t your efforts be treated with five-star respect? And don’t stop with your cloth napkins—use real silverware. Use your china, or break out the crys­tal. Make your table the one place where you don’t rush, skimp, or cheat yourself or your family out of a great experience. Make your dinners an occasion.


If you just can’t bear the thought of parting with your paper towels or napkins, try to buy recycled products. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council website, if every American household replaced one roll of regular paper towels with 100 per­cent recycled paper towels, 544,000 trees could be saved. And if every American household replaced one package of paper napkins with 100 percent recycled ones, 1 million trees could be saved. Think of how many trees you could save if no paper is ever pur­chased for wiping your mouth.

When you are finished, throw them in the wash with your al­ready dirty bath towels, then use them again and again.

Even if you only use cloth napkins once a week, you are mak­ing a difference in the amount of waste you produce. There’s little effort involved in switching to cloth napkins, and your family will appreciate the change. Who doesn’t want to feel special at meal­time? We all deserve it, even if it is just a small change.

Great Green Tip

Looking for simple … Read more

Green Living Guide – Toxic Substances in Household Products

Carson-w-book-1-340For some people, a key tenet of green living is the shunning of toxic or environmentally problematic synthetic chemicals in products as diverse as shampoo, detergents and paint. Indeed, environmentalists have been campaigning to reduce the use of toxic substances ever since the birth of the green movement. (A movement that emerged partly in response to the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, a book about the toxic chemicals used in farming.)

When it comes to climate change, household chemicals aren’t a key issue. Indeed, it’s probably the case that – as with plastic bags versus paper – bags – many synthetic chemicals have a lower carbon footprint than the “natural” alternatives.

The chemical world

As with climate change, the debate around chemicals and consumer products doesn’t always focus on the most critical areas. One example of a chemical product that gets a lot of attention – possibly because of the ubiquity of green alternatives – is washing up liquid. That’s a little ironic, because the detergents (or “surfactants”) and other substances used in washing up liquid rarely feature on the lists of particularly harmful chemicals. At the levels used, they’re not widely believed to be a serious health hazard to humans and, with water quality in UK rivers improving all the time, not everyone is convinced that they pose any serious risk to aquatic life. That’s not to say that green washing up liquids are a waste of time; their plant-derived surfactants are definitely more planet-friendly than the petrochemical alternatives. But washing up liquid is not the key environmental area that some people believe it to be.

Rather than focus on detergents, it would make sense to take a broader view. Synthetic chemicals, including many that are far more problematic than the ones in our washing up liquids, are present in all kinds of prod­ucts, from carpets (which often contain substances such as brominated flame retardants, which are believed to be dangerous to children) to PVC shower curtains and toys (which may contain phthalates, some of which are … Read more