Tips for Living in a Small Space with Pets (aka: Don’t Be the “Smelly House Friend”)

We’ve all got friends like this (or maybe you’re the friend). You go over to their house, and it’s covered in pet hair and smells like a barn. There’s no reason to blame the pets in this instance — there are certainly things that you can do, even living in a small space, that will keep you from being the “smelly house friend.”

1. Invest in a good vacuum.
It doesn’t have to be expensive — just good. One of my favorites is the Bissel Bagless 12-Amp Upright Momentum Cyclonic, available at Loew’s for $99. That one served me well for years, until I traded it in for a Dyson DC24 Ball Upright ($299.99), which works like magic — but yes, it’s an investment. If you have a puppy, or an accident prone pet, look into some of the deep-cleaning, steam models like the Bissell 47A2 Deep Clean Premier Carpet Cleaner, $199.99. You’ll save yourself a lot of scrubbing! Plus, lots of vacuum companies make special animal hair versions as well for some extra help.

2. Have some helpers for when you don’t want to pull out the full-sized vacuum.
I have a Roomba iRobot that I program to run between cleanings (we’ve named her Rosie), and that definitely helps out in the pet hair department. These will cost you a pretty penny, however, so if you’re not in the market for that, consider a handheld dustbuster or even a Swiffer if you have hardwood floors.

3. Catbox got you down?
Make sure to clean it regularly or invest in a self-cleaning box that will scoop automatically after your cat uses it. Store the box in a space that is used primarily for that purpose only. What if you don’t have space? Consider these creative solutions for a prettier appearance and invest in a great air purifier to go right next to the box. Don’t try to use non-odor absorbing deodorizers or air fresheners. Trust me, you’ll just get used to the smell and won’t notice how grossly overpowering it actually is. Or put the box near a window that can be left cracked to filter out odors.

4. Bathe your pet! Brush its teeth (or let it chew on pet dental items)! Feed it a high-quality diet!
A healthy pet is a happy, non-smelly pet. You’d be shocked at what a high-quality diet can do for their skin, coat and digestive system (and you know what an unhealthy digestive system smells like!)

5. If you’re getting a new pet, look for a breed that is right for your space.
A non-shedding or smaller breed might be what’s right for the space you’re in. And no matter what breed you’re looking for, consider adoption first. There’s no need to go hunting for a purebred tiny. You’ll most likely find that one at the shelter anyway.

6. Designate a spot just for your pet.
They like that anyway! My chihuahua, Grady, has her little heating pad and blankets at the end of the couch, where no one else sits. Another option — get your buddy his own little bed on the floor. Regardless of where it is, make it your pet’s very own spot. You can clean/wash that area once a week to keep everything fresh, plus that will keep your friends’ clothes pet hair free when they come over.

Got tips of your own? We want to hear them!

(Image by Andie Powers)

source: Apartment Therapy

Tackle Spring Cleaning with 5 Simple Tips

It’s that time of year again where we all tidy up for the warm weather ahead. Spring cleaning can leave your M/I Home looking great and yourself feeling accomplished, but it can also be somewhat of a daunting task. If you’re feeling anxious, no need to worry! M/I Homes Indianapolis is here to provide you with five simple spring cleaning tips to help you get started.

1.    Let in the Light: To make sure your M/I Home windows sparkle like the day you moved in, wash your windows on a cloudy day and try using a rubber-edged squeegee instead of traditional cloth or newspaper. This will be quicker and more effective. Use a screw-on extension for your squeegee to help you clean those hard to reach high spots!

2.    Protect Wood Floors: If you have wood floors in your home, you will need to perform some routine maintenance to ensure they remain in good condition. Remember to replace any surface protectors on the undersides of furniture legs. If they are dirty or worn, a buildup of grit will damage the floor. Also, it may be a good idea to apply a wood cleaner and liquid polish to add a new wax coating. This will keep the floors looking shiny and new!

3.    Tackle the Refrigerator: This can be a daunting task, but is manageable when broken down into simple steps. First, make it a habit to throw out old food once a week. And we know it can be tough, but try to wash the shelves of your refrigerator every few months. Use a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda for every quart of warm water. Lastly, use a toothbrush to scrub those hidden crannies and make sure to vacuum the condenser coils to prevent the refrigerator from overheating.

4.    Fertilize the Lawn and Check Plants: With the beautiful, expansive lot provided with your M/I Home, it is important to remember to fertilize your lawn and apply a weed killer if necessary. Also, make sure to check plants for winter damage and prune accordingly. Replace any shrubs that have fallen out of the soil during a freeze-thaw cycle, before the roots dry out.

5.    Don’t Forget the Small Stuff: There are always a couple spring cleaning items that miss the checklist. Don’t forget to flip or rotate your mattress, check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and clean your light bulbs and lampshades. These are all important tasks that are easy to overlook!

Spring is also a great time to start looking into a new home. We have move-in ready homes available now or we can help you build your dream home in one of our many Indianapolis neighborhoods. For more information or general inquiries, give us a call at 317.883.9517 or email

Spring Cleaning: How to Clean Windows

Windows look best if they are cleaned on a regular basis, at least twice a year on the inside and outside. Here are some useful techniques for cleaning windows:



  • Wash one side of a window with horizontal strokes and the other side with vertical strokes so you can pinpoint which side of the window has a streak.
  • Use a squeegee on a long handle or a sponge/squeegee combination to prevent streaks on large windows.
  • Eliminate tiny scratches on glass by polishing the affected areas with toothpaste.
  • Washing windows should be done on a cloudy day, because direct sunlight dries cleaning solutions before you can polish the glass properly.
  • Use a soft toothbrush or cotton swab to clean corners. ­ ­
  • To give an extra shine to window glass, polish it with well-washed cotton T-shirts or old cloth diapers. Or rub a clean blackboard eraser over a freshly washed and dried window to give it a diamond-bright shine.
  • Polish windows to a sparkling shine with crumpled newspaper. The paper also leaves a film that’s resistant to dirt.
  • Wash windows from the top down to prevent drips.
  • R­ememb­er that window cleaners pose a threat to woodwork. Don’t let them drip on the windowsill where they can harm the paint or varnish.

Homemade Glass Cleaner Recipe

  • Don’t want to spend money on a glass cleaner? Home recipes work just as well as commercial products for washing windows, and you’ll save money. Try this recipe for a homemade glass cleaner:
  • Use 2 tablespoons ammonia, 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol, and 1/4 teaspoon dishwashing detergent.
  • Add all ingredients to a small spray bottle, then fill the bottle with water and shake well. You can substitute 3 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice for the ammonia.
  • Use as you would any commercial window cleaner.


©Publications International, Ltd.

source: TLC

Bob Vila’s 5 ‘Must-Do’ Tasks for March


On the cusp of spring, March is the month to start readying your house for the warm weather ahead, as well as to address any projects you put off over the winter.

Get a jump on spring

Even if you’re diligent about cleaning year-round, spring is the traditional time to address those areas of the home missed by your regular cleaning routine. Dust or vacuum out-of-the-way nooks and crannies — the tops of wall-mounted cabinets, for example, and the floor beneath large appliances. Launder or dry clean fabric draperies, and use a damp cloth to clean wood and vinyl blinds. Vacuum upholstered furniture and mattresses, and if you have area rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting, think about renting a carpet cleaner. In short, the goal is to remove dust, mites, and allergens wherever they have settled in order to achieve a healthier home.

Grease residue lingering in the kitchen? Consider washing your cabinets, backsplashes and walls with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. The same goes for the bathroom, where soap scum, mold and mildew are persistent nuisances. While you’re cleaning tile, look for areas of worn or missing grout, as these may lead to more serious water damage if not repaired.

And just as you readied your furnace for fall, now is the time to make sure your air conditioning unit is in good working order. Change the filter, examine hose connections for leaks, and verify that drain pans are draining freely. If you suspected problems with efficiency or performance last summer, call in a professional to check things out before the warm weather arrives.

Spring cleaning is by no means confined to the indoors. Take a walk around the exterior of your house to evaluate the condition of your home’s roofing, siding, and foundation. Snow, ice, and fluctuating temperatures can all take their toll on shingles and other exterior architectural elements. If you have a deck or patio, give it a good sweep, in the process checking for any minor issues in need of repair. You can get a year’s worth of grime and mildew off your deck and siding in minutes with a pressure washer and an oxygen-based bleach solution.

Organize a closet or two

Though many of us would rather keep the door closed on the subject of closet organization, cleaning up your act storage-wise can yield abundant daily and long-term benefits. Pick one closet as a starting point for your efforts and set a goal for what you wish to accomplish. List what you want to store in this closet and identify the ways in which it’s currently letting you down. Big box stores and specialty shops offer storage options running the gamut from strictly functional wire systems to highly decorative cabinetry. Budget, style, and the amount of space you have available should all factor into your decision-making.

Start planning your garden

While it may be too early in most parts of the country to start planting your garden, it’s never too early to plan! Consult seed catalogs or online retailers to find new varieties to experiment with. After all, nurseries and home improvement chains only have room to stock the most popular plants. So if you are looking for heirloom or rare varieties — anything to make your yard truly distinctive this summer — seed catalogs are the way to go. If you’re anxious to begin any way that you can, consider starting your tomatoes from seed indoors.

Paint something — anything!

There’s nothing easier or more rewarding than applying a fresh coat of paint to a room or piece of furniture. Would any room in your house benefit from a totally new hue or just a touchup? The answer is probably yes. If you’re interested in adding bright colors to your home’s palette but aren’t sure where to begin, don’t miss these expert tips on boosting color confidence. And there’s no need to stop at the walls; you can use paint to give new life to an old piece of furniture, worn-out cabinets, or a lackluster stairway.

Create a home office that works for you

Making the right design decisions in your home office can mean the difference between working hard and hardly working! Even if you already have a home office, consider whether there may be a better place for it. Two important questions to ask: Will you actually work in this space (steer clear of bedrooms, which our minds associate with rest), and will there be few distractions (laundry hampers, kitchen sinks, and anything else that might compete for your attention should be out of sight)? Be sure you have room for everything that is essential to the work you do. If your work area is small, take advantage of vertical space by installing shelves above your desk or tall adjacent bookcases. A home office should work for you, so if the setup you have isn’t working, change it!

Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV’s This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at His video-rich site offers a full range of fresh, authoritative content – practical tips, inspirational ideas, and more than 1,000 videos from Bob Vila television.

source: zillow


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