How to Beat Clutter – Part 1

Hey, if we don’t do something about all of the junk around here, we’re going to wind up on that TV show about hoarders!
What to do? Here’s the first installment of 27 tips to reduce clutter.

  1. Start small. Maybe just a closet or even the corner of a room. You don’t have to tackle the whole job at once.
  2. Think momentum. This is the natural offspring of starting small. The whole job may seem huge, but just get started. It may not be as bad as you think. Once you’re rolling, maybe you won’t want to stop.
  3. Banish the clutter. It’s not enough to clear out the clutter. It’s just going to pile up again if you don’t figure out where it’s coming from. You need fresh strategies to keep out of the clutter club forever.
  4. Be disciplined about getting rid of stuff. Yes, it’s still perfectly good. And you paid good money for that. But you haven’t worn it or used it in a year. And you aren’t going to wear it or use it in another year. Donate or dump it.
  5. Make space for essentials. Something you use all the time? Make a spot for it and always put it there.
  6. In with the new, out with the old. We can’t possibly need more stuff. So if you buy something new, something old has to go. This works particularly well in your clothes closet.
  7. Unsubscribe! Tell the mail order house to stop sending you those catalogs. This idea even extends to email. Electronic clutter is still clutter. Start a clutter free lifestyle that extends to all facets of your life.
  8. Establish a drop zone. Shoes, shopping bags, coats, sports gear and purses go here.
  9. Think multipurpose. Your more likely to use a multi-function item than have it accumulate dust. Swiss army knife anyone? Or think about multi-purpose kitchen gadgets.

Come back next time for Part 2 in How to Beat Clutter.

Keeping Clean During Covid

With the vaccine already being distributed, hopefully this will all soon be a bad memory. But there may be a new standard in cleanliness that we all feel more comfortable with moving into the future. So here are a few tips on how to clean whether you’re trying to protect yourself from Covid or from spreading the flu:

  1. Start with you. Wash your hands. If your currently ailing, consider wearing a mask so you don’t recontaminate surfaces. If you’re going to be using harsh chemicals, wear gloves.
  2. Put some music on. Unless cleaning is your favorite activity, maybe you want something that helps put a little swing to your swifter.
  3. Take a balanced approach. There’s no need to use a powerful disinfectant on every surface. High touch items perhaps yes. If there’s someone sick in your household, then the cleaning efforts ramps up accordingly.
  4. Be careful. Don’t use bleach on porous surfaces. Don’t mix chemicals on your own as dangerous gasses can result.
  5. Go green. Worried about the environment? Here’s your chance to do your part. There are plenty of planet friendly alternatives. Art of Green is one product line that appears to have been tested and is easy on skin and good for the environment.
  6. Celebrate. Allow yourself a reward for a job well done.

How to Clean a Stained Bathtub

Nothing beats a cold or hot shower in a bathtub, especially after having a long day. However, with time, slime accumulates on the surface causing discoloration of the tub’s surface. You may even detest using the tub since some of these substances may even pose a health-risk to members of your household. You may be wondering why they keep accumulating while you attempt to clean the tub every time you bathe.

Soap and water have always been the go-to items for this type of cleaning. Well, the remnants of soap, shampoo residuals, and oil from your body form the grime and scum that’s quite hard to remove. Luckily, there are commercial products, as well as homemade remedies to make cleaning your bathtub easier than you thought. But even with the right products, you may not be successful if you don’t do it right. Keep reading to learn the do’s and don’ts of cleaning your bathtub.

BATHTUB - How to Clean a Stained Bathtub

Types of bathtubs

Acrylic – This is a material made from petroleum by-products. It’s resistant to cracking, staining, and discoloration. But, it’s prone to scratching.
Fiberglass – Most budget-friendly bathtubs are made of this material. However, since it comprises several layers and a final resin coat spray, the surface, and coloring don’t always match. These tubs also fade pretty fast.
Porcelain Enamel – This material is more durable than acrylic and fiberglass, but it’s also prone to chipping and rust. You also can’t clean it with bleach, for you’ll cause discoloration.

How to Clean your Bathtub

Based on this article from Spekless Cleaning, it’s important to understand the various types of products to clean your bathtub effectively.

You can either clean using commercial products or homemade products.

Commercial products – For starters, make sure you have protective gloves when using these products. There are many products available in the market today, so check-out for recommendations from professionals, or consult a trusted dealer.

Natural Methods – Did you know that you may have some useful DIY cleaning agents in your cabinet? Using this approach is safe, especially when you have young kids and pets. Some of the products you can use include baking soda. A mixture of two to three spoons of baking soda and water can remove even the toughest stains. Other items include grapefruit, salt, borax, lemon, essential oils, and castile soap. Vinegar can be added to most of these pastes to make them more useful. It’s also good at eliminating bad odors in your bathroom.

cleaning ingredients - How to Clean a Stained Bathtub

● Before applying any cleaning agent, pre-rinse the tub using a moist cloth, or a detachable showerhead. This ensures that you remove some of the easy to clean dirt, before you get to the tough stains.
● Use a sponge, grout brush, or toothbrush to clean the surface of the tub, the drain, and faucet, respectively. These tools are softer, ensuring that your tub lasts long as you clean it regularly.
● After cleaning, rinse with a lot of water. This helps wash away all the residuals from the surface of the tub after scrubbing.
● Whichever product you choose, read the instructions carefully. Some of the commercial products have some strong smells. Therefore, make sure there’s enough air circulation as you clean. If the scent is too strong, you can get some fresh air, or even use a respiratory mask.
● Clean more often, at least once a week, to prevent the accumulation of scum. Also, simple actions like rinsing the tub after your bathe will significantly help to keep it clean.
● Invest in a shower spray. It may be expensive but spraying your tub now and then prevents the soap residuals, and grime to accumulate.


● Avoid abrasive tools and chemicals that could chip your bathtub, or cause discoloration.
● Do not mix any of the products. They all have different compositions. When combined, they could trigger reactions that are harmful to your health.
● Do not store books, towels, clothing, or cleaning products close to the bathtub. They retain a lot of the moisture, creating dampness within the bathroom. If your tub is chipped, this may lead to growth of mold in these cracks.

The Take-Away

By using the right materials and the proper techniques; you can get rid of the grime and scum in less than ten minutes.
Do not forget to rinse it after bathing, or use the shower spray, to make your job more comfortable when it’s time to clean. Always clean the faucets, drains, showerheads, and the ceiling to prevent the dirt from ever ending up on the tub. Also, avoid storing any materials that retain moisture close to the tub. These materials include books, newspapers, and towels.

For a worry-free experience, you can always hire a Professional Cleaning Service. One of the most recommended DC Cleaning Services is Spekless Cleaning.

Clean Your Walls To Maximize Your Security Deposit Return

Dirty walls are one reason many renters fail to get back their whole security deposit. However, it is a repairable issue. Whether you’re dealing with dirt, grease, crayons or markers, ink or water stains, there is usually a cleaning product that can address the mess. One of the most important tips to keep in mind is to start gently and work your way up to a tougher solution.

The following article will provide information on the best techniques to clean your walls and other painted surfaces. If you follow these tips, you’ll stand a better chance of getting back that security deposit.

Telling Damage From Normal Wear and Tear

Sometimes it can be tricky to tell damage apart from regular scuff marks. Your landlord may use your security deposit to repaint, but it’s helpful to know when reasonable wear and tear has occurred as opposed to more severe destruction. The Rental Housing Act states that a property needs to be in an acceptable clean state once a tenant has vacated the property. However, the security deposit can only be used for damages and not to freshen a property for a new tenant.

That said, the matter depends on the contractual agreement presented in the lease. The landlord must be specific if he or she requires repainting, carpet cleaning or other maintenance before a tenant vacates the premises. If the lease does demand clean walls upon leaving, there are ways to ensure that you don’t leave permanent damage and maximize your security deposit.

How to Clean Your Walls

Before you get started, evaluate the walls to determine the level of cleaning you’ll need to do. Sometimes a simple all-purpose cleaner or eraser may be your ticket to a fresh residence. Other times, more aggressive methods are required. To avoid any unnecessary work, follow our steps for spotless walls.

  1. Try to figure out what kind of paint is on the wall: If you’re an experienced handyperson, you can probably tell at first glance whether the walls are painted with a semi-gloss, enamel, flat, stain or eggshell finish. If not, ask your landlord.
  2. Dust the walls: It may seem silly but running a vacuum attachment over the wall can be a simple way to remove surface dirt, which is often a main cause of visible wear.
  3. Lay towels or sheets on the floor for protection: The last thing you want is to damage the floor while you’re cleaning the walls. Laying a protective barrier on the floor can catch any water or paint drips.
  4. Obtain a cleaning solution: This is possibly the most critical part of the process. Start by wiping the walls with a damp cloth. Water can usually remove most surface dirt that isn’t ingrained in the paint. If water doesn’t suffice, create a mixture using warm water and a bit of dishwashing soap. For even tougher stains, carefully mix half a cup of vinegar, one fourth cup of baking soda and a cup of ammonia into a gallon of water. You could also make paste with baking soda and warm water. In any case, don’t scrub too hard because you risk chipping the paint.
  5. Use proper cleaning techniques for maximum effect: Start at the top and move downward to cover every area of the wall. It may also help to have one bucket for the cleaning solution and one for clean water. Use a damp — not wet — sponge, cloth or rag. Dry with a separate towel to avoid streaks or further damage.

In some cases, stains can’t be removed with water or basic cleaning solutions. Scratches, holes or deep scuffs on the wall may need to be sealed and repainted if the damage is too great. Hopefully you can catch any issues before they get too serious. However, knowing the root of a problem could maximize your security deposit return and save you the headache of an argument with the landlord.

cleaning walls - Clean Your Walls To Maximize Your Security Deposit Return

Author bio: Steve A. Parker is Director of Communications at Raider Painting, a California-based commercial and industrial painting company. It is committed to providing solutions that enhance and prolong the life of your workspaces and equipment.

How to Use Magic to Get a Bigger Security Deposit Refund

Here is an area of frequent landlord – tenant friction: the security deposit refund. At Decker Properties, we would prefer to make a full refund to everyone. Then there is no dispute.

So we work hard at that goal. We share a cleaning checklist with each tenant that has given notice to vacate. We even offer to have our maintenance staff help with moving appliances to clean under or around them. Further, we fill nail holes for free. So don’t fill them with toothpaste!

Finally, we throw in the first hour of cleaning for free. That way, even if you missed something, you could still get a full refund.

But the topic of this post is to give you one more tool in your arsenal to increase your chances of a big refund. And that tool is magic. Actually, it’s Magic Erasers.

Magic Erasers are a white cleaning sponge. They are particularly effective at removing scuff marks or blemishes on a wall. You simply wet the sponge and wipe. That’s it. There is no need to rinse and there are no other steps. So easy and inexpensive.

So try Magic Erasers. They are available at most grocery stores or hardware stores and they would be in the same aisle as other cleaning products or sponges.

And why wait until you’re moving out? You can keep your walls looking like they were freshly painted the entire time you’re living in your apartment with hardly any effort at all.

It’s so easy, it’s like magic.

magic eraser - How to Use Magic to Get a Bigger Security Deposit Refund

Moving during the Corona Virus

Here’s an idea. Let’s try to keep our lives on track as much as possible without getting sick and transmitting this virus to someone else. If your efforts in this area mean you will be moving, here are some tips on how to do so safely:

  1. If you are using a moving company, make sure they are still operating and if they’ve imposed any restrictions, find out what they are and try to comply.
  2. Box up your stuff in brand new boxes to keep transmission of germs to a minimum.
  3. Keep the PPE handy. Hand sanitizer, gloves, masks may all be needed for moving day.
  4. Remember to keep your distance whenever possible. Easier with the couch than the dresser, but try your best.
  5. Hands off. Prop open doors and consider the stairs instead of the elevator.
  6. Wipe down. Try to wipe off anything you are going to have to touch or have touched.

If your headed to a Decker Properties apartment, such as Catalina Crossing, let me be the first to say welcome home.

moving during corona virus - Moving during the Corona Virus

5 Common Repairs You Need to do When Moving out of Your Apartment

apartment living1 - 5 Common Repairs You Need to do When Moving out of Your Apartment

Editor’s note: Here’s a guest post from our friends at Omega Industries ( Just an added word to the wise – in Wisconsin, landlords can’t require their tenants to clean their carpets. Additionally, at Decker Properties, we’re very concerned with how someone untrained might do repairing their own drywall. If your repairs aren’t going to be perfect and invisible, it’s better to leave them to us. Yes, you may get charged. But you could get charged, potentially even charged more, for a botched drywall repair. – Dave

All your boxes are packed and you’re ready to move out. The last thing on your mind is cleaning and repairing the apartment you’re leaving. But, as a tenant, you have the responsibility to leave the place as you came.

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