There are many things that can go wrong when trying to clean an area rug. You really need the best carpet cleaner to clean it properly because the area rug could become smaller in size, lessen in colour, or become discoloured overall. And once damaged, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to recover from. That makes learning how to properly clean a rug incredibly important.

How to Begin

It is a good rule of thumb to start by vacuuming the surface. You will not be able to tell how dirty it really is until the area is free of debris and dirt. You can use a broom and a dust pan in some cases, but a carpet cleaner works better. Finding the right one can be a challenge though so read some reviews beforehand.

Inspect the Surface

You need the best carpet cleaner to clean your area rugs.The process should begin by eye balling the surface layer of the area rug. You should be looking for apparent stains that are clear to the naked eye. These can be spills or drips of any kind that detract from the overall look of the piece. Make sure you’ve got the best carpet cleaner ready to go.

If spills or drips are obvious and apparent, then you may be able to spot clean. That means taking a clean dry towel and a bottle of water to begin. You will want to rehydrate the stain and then you will try to blot and absorb anything that you can to remove the odd colouring of the stain. If you have a steam cleaner, this is going to be extremely useful. If you don’t have one then consider buying a carpet cleaner if you want to clean your carpets, rugs and furniture quickly and efficiently.

There can be hidden unwanted ingredients like pet dander and pet hair amongst the fibres of the area rug. This is a place where unhealthy bacteria and mould can ultimately grow when moisture us added.

Manufacturer’s Warning

Most people do not take the time to read the manufacturer’s instructions. But they are actually as equally useful as they are important in the care of an important area rug. It will depend on what the rug is made of as to how it can be cleaned and what chemicals can be used in conjunction with the fabric.

Depending on any particulars about the area rug, there can be trickier parts. If the rug has protruding segments, then extra care should be taken for those pieces. Rugs are known as being extra absorbent as they are often times made from soft cotton fibres. This is why you need to read various carpet cleaner reviews before you find a product suitable for your rugs.

The cleaning process but occasionally need more detailing after the rug is removed from the centrifuge. Any other spot and stain treatment is done at this time. After we determine the rug is 100% dry, we groom the fibres leaving a very soft feel.

Area rugs should be cleaned regularly in order to fully utilise their shelf life. And if you have pets, they will need extra care. And if there is a cigarette smoker within the home, then it will take an odour deterrent in order to make them smell like they were new.

Area rugs are a fantastic way to spruce up space. They might seem hard to care for at first, but they do not have to be if you understand how to properly care for them. From experience, I can say that the best carpet cleaner tends to help a lot so try and get one if you’re serious. Rugs are a fun way to liven things up and to make your house a proper home.

DeclutteringOh clutter. It’s the unforgivable sin of the minimalist world. Clutter – which can be disguised as collectibles, mementoes, gifts, and ‘it might be useful someday’ items – is bad.

Clutter makes us buy bigger houses, rent storage sheds, spend a fortune on home organising kits, turn our garages into sheds, and fills our basements and attics with dusty old albums, jigsaw puzzles with pieces missing, and moth-eaten museum-style clothing. Not to mention buying devices like carpet cleaners to keep our home clean.

Clutter is insidious, sneaking its way into our homes with the post, the grocery shopping, and in the holiday season.

In a spirit of confession, here is some of my clutter:

– An ancient gameboy that doesn’t work that I don’t want to throw away but can’t donate to anyone.

A box full of random wires – telephone lines, USB connectors, chargers for devices that we no longer own, and exchangeable plugs and adaptors.

– A briefcase of Dungeons & Dragons books, maps, dice and magazines.

– A snowglobe that someone gave me as a gift.

– Three incense burners (I haven’t burned incense in well over a year)

– A shelf of old CD’s that contain back-ups of old files, mysterious programs compatible only with ancient versions of windows, and a number of music CDs even though my music has been digital for a decade.

– Cardboard boxes that once contained expensive electronic equipment, complete with the protective moulded packaging.

Expensive pens, pencils, Bristol board, acrylic paints, pastels and other ‘a-grade’ art materials from my years as an aspiring artist. Now, depressingly, I bet a lot of them have dried up or faded. That’s a great example of saving something expensive until it’s useless and never getting to enjoy it.

So for the next four weeks I’m going to get rid of one item a day. That’s it. I can list it on eBay (it only counts once it’s actually shipped out the door), I can take it to the recycling centre or a charity shop, or I can throw it in a compost bin. I’m not allowed to send anything to landfill.

I started today with my GCSE revision books. I’m taking them to the charity shop. As a bonus, I included my one remaining Harry Potter book, and a pretty dire comic book.

If anyone else wants to join me on this challenge, post the item you got rid of in the comments.

RoutinesThere are two approaches to everything. The first approach is the ‘super-project’. That’s when you commit to something and run at it full-tilt. It’s when you go on an extreme weight-loss diet, a clutter purge, a radical shift in your career, or a total life-style overhaul.

The second approach is the ‘little and often’. That’s when you commit to slowly replacing unhealthy food with healthy alternatives, de-clutter slowly by giving away one item a day, or gradually educate and transition yourself over time into a new way of being.

Both methods have plus points and minus points. The ‘super-project’ can be high-risk. It can be overwhelming, it can cause us to burn our bridges, and it can be difficult to sustain. It can also be a fast and effective means of forcing yourself to follow through, a kind of Phoenix like rebirth of yourself.

The ‘little and often’ method is often more sustainable, less dramatic and safer. It can be an effective means of gradually transforming your life and making sure you have really thought it through and built the necessary foundations. You slowly reduce your spending in one area. You slowly tidy and de-clutter your house, drawer by drawer, cupboard by cupboard. You commit to a ten year plan, instead of a ten day plan. You can also spend a lot of time spinning your wheels, getting rid of something just to buy two other things, reduce your spending in one area just to have it creep up somewhere else.

The Art of Routines

A routine is a habitual set of actions that is performed regularly. A routine is often done on auto-pilot. We come home, we turn the TV on, and we stick dinner in the microwave while watching Family Guy. A routine can also be a small thing that leads us to the goal we want. We could come home, switch into our trainers, and go for a twenty minute run.

The key is to make sure our routines are in line with what we want to achieve. How do we make sure that happens?

Decide on what you want

The first step is to know what it is you actually want. Do you want to start a side business? Cook more meals at home? Save 50% of your income? Be able to run a marathon? You can’t work towards a goal, until you know where you’re going. Otherwise you just go around in circles.

Figure out the little steps that get you there

Start a side-business? You need a client. Where do you get a client? Figure out a small list of actionable things you can do, and then pick a time of day to them. For example, you could send out three leaflets a day to local businesses. You could do this every morning before breakfast, or last thing at night before sleeping.

If it’s the ability to run a marathon, you need to go running frequently. If you want to lose weight, you need to eat a salad a day. And so on. You’re a smart person, you don’t need me to tell you what you need to do.

Keep it Simple

This is a blog about simplicity after all. Just pick one daily routine. Don’t start a side-business, go on a diet, commit to run a marathon, and take something to the charity shop every day. You want one habit that you do daily. Not ten habits that you forget and run out of time for.

Once it becomes habitual, you can start a new one. Around thirty days is probably good. And try giving up habits too, for every new one you bring in.

Remember you have a lifetime

You don’t have forever. If you keep putting it off, you’ll wake up when you’re seventy and realise you never did anything. But also – realise you have an entire lifetime. You don’t need to do everything urgently. Learning a new language can wait until you have your health sorted. Ten years is a long long time. You can spend a year messing around with one thing, and then move on to something else.

It’s about the journey – not the destination.

VegetarianMy vegetarian resolution is probably the one going the best — and I thought I should explain why I’ve gone this route.

It’s not, particularly, because I am against animals getting their heads chopped off. I am against the cruel treatment in most industrial farms/slaughterhouses/feedlots. Organic meat, however, is fine from an ethical point of view. We are omnivores; we are part of a natural food chain.

Nope, my choice to go vegetarian is prompted more by a desire to experiment. I like new stuff. I’m addicted to travel, to exploring, to new ideas, to books, and to new food. Being vegetarian forces me to eat stuff I wouldn’t otherwise, and there’s a whole world out there beyond lentil soup.

For example, yesterday at lunchtime, we had the materials for a meat-based sandwich, which is what P. had, and what I would have had. Instead, I broke out one of the sweet potatoes I had, and ‘baked’ it in the microwave. Never really eaten sweet potatoes before, except candied style. Result? A brand new lunch food that takes less than 10 minutes, is completely yummy, cheap and reasonably healthy.

Without vegetarianism, I would never have discovered nut roast, parsnips, or paneer tikka. I would never have learned about the wonders of a warm mushroom salad with Stilton and walnuts, or the joy that is asparagus. The fact is, changing my diet forces me to learn new ways of cooking, and thinking about food, and makes my life richer in the long run.

I wouldn’t say that I’ll never eat a burger again. Sometime I’ll go back to a steak with pepper sauce once in a blue moon, or I’ll enjoy a plate of my Mum’s chicken in almond sauce. But by putting restrictions on my eating, I open up a whole new world of culinary delight. Human beings are lazy. Without forbidding myself ham, I’d eat a ham sandwich every day. Before going veggie, I just bought myself a sausage roll off the van for lunch at work. It was boring, but dependable. Now I’ve eaten thai-slaw wraps, potato soup, prawn salads, and all kinds of other more diverse foodstuffs for my lunch instead.

Organic Food BoxToday was the kind of day I wish my entire life could be like. I did wake up feeling a bit blergh, but once up things became joyful.

I had porridge with seeds, sultanas, ginger and honey for breakfast. I make the best porridge in the world, except maybe for Basil. I have had a few failures in my time, but I have now established a winning formula. Went into town with my Mum. Got all my recycling taken care of (cheers, Mum), and paid my National Insurance. Renewed my rental contract, paid some money into the bank (better than taking it out!), and came home. Cleaned my lounge/kitchen, including mopping. Did my laundry. Ate a Danish pastry, and had a cup of tea.

It was productive at work, which meant I was able to do more work in less time. Always a good feeling! Found out I have indeed got a raise – although I don’t know how much yet. Contract is on its way.

On to the main part of this post: Abel and Cole. They shoved a leaflet through my parents’ door recently, and I noted the lack of a delivery charge. I assumed that the food would be stupidly expensive, but I checked it out anyway. I’m glad I did – it’s cheaper than Waitrose, sells EVERYTHING, and the ordering system is a dream. I had my first delivery today.

Result? Favourable. Since it wasn’t stupidly expensive I thought they might skimp on the quantity – but I got a veritable mountain of oranges and apples, plenty of broccoli, and a fair number of potatoes and onions. I also got fennel, which was fascinating. Opening the organic food box was rather like having a present – surprising, and awesome.

I also got milk, bread, beans (of the hippie variety), oatcakes (absolutely delicious), ham, yogurt, goats’ cheese and juice. The goats’ cheese was pretty expensive for a tiny amount, but I’m always stunned at how expensive cheese is anyway.

They let you mark items as ‘dislikes’ – so I was able to get rid of all peppers. Some people might ditch mushrooms. Etc. You can get rid of up to fifteen things.

Anyway, I am enthused. It means I can budget much more exactly, since I am hopeless at mental arithmetic and a sucker for impulse buying. It also means I get a random variety of veg, and I am helping support organic local farmers and such like. Yay! Plus I get really excited about the delivery – and excitement and surprises are good.

So yeah, for dinner I had baked potato with egg mayonnaise and salad – none of which came from my box since he didn’t turn up until 6pm, and I’d already started. But for the next few days I am well set. My salad was awesome, by the way, just greens, seeds and oil and vinegar dressing. I love food! Food is awesome! YAY!

Living life properlyI feel like a grown up.

For my whole life, people have told me I seem older than what I am. I was sensible, mature, and responsible.

When I turned 18, I felt like I was stuck in a time warp. I stayed 18 for a long time.

Now I feel like I’m 25 – a quarter of a century. Going from 18 to 25 is a little strange.

It is about suddenly being the one with experience, the one who travelled, the one with stories to tell, the one who knows how to untangle the thread of bureaucracy, who knows how to navigate the treacherous waters of life. The one who, when someone knocks a glass of coke over, goes and grabs the tissue.

I am, suddenly, a first aider, a forklift truck driver and a businessman. I fill in tax forms every year, well ahead of the deadline. I cook my own meals, wash my own clothes, and choose my own books. I plant herbs and vegetables. I’m practical. I’m unflappable.

Today, our 18 year old new employee, turned to me and asked, in a wistful kind of way – “Do you know what it is you want to do with your life?”

And all the answers I once had – to be a writer, a director, create a commune, be a journalist, travel the world – they were all cop-outs. Not because they are failed dreams, but because we are so many things in the course of a lifetime – that I value my role as a friend, a lover, a daughter. That I can be a web-designer, a council officer, a writer, a blogger and none of it is ‘what I’m doing with my life’.

All I’m doing with my life is living it.

PassionOne of the things that can be difficult when you simplify and downsize your life is what to do with the time you have acquired. Now, I’m a long way from having a 4-hour workweek. But I’m also a lot better off than when I was working a 50-hour full-time job, and working part-time at the weekends -alongside a bunch of other commitments.

The trouble is, it’s very easy to fill up the free time with some more useless activity. You might end up watching more television, or start mindlessly surfing the Internet. You could get involved in a bunch of things you feel like you should be doing – even though you don’t really want to. Lots of minimalists tout their favourite activities as part of the minimalist lifestyle – but if you don’t like yoga, then don’t do it.

One of the first things I started doing was watching old TV shows that I had never had time for before. I started watching X-Files, for example. And whilst I do enjoy the show, I have never made time for TV before because it just wasn’t that important to me.

And before I knew it, all my newly acquired free time was being eaten up by a bunch of little pointless things – reading random pages on Wikipedia. Tracking the news about the UK budget in pinpoint detail. Surfing Internet forums. Watching Family Guy.

I needed to make sure I was spending time on the things that were important to me.

I should add that I don’t think we’re designed to be 100% productive all the time. As humans, we require down time – time to play and relax. But we should make sure we’re relaxing the way we want to, and not the way society dictates that we should.

I love reading hard-boiled crime novels, and related genres.

I love doing Yoga – and the best part is I was finally able to touch my toes yesterday after weeks of practise.

I love sitting outside, drinking tea and just watching the sky.

I love listening to cheesy 90′s music and dancing.

I love rambling through fields and getting lost.

These are the things I should be filling my extra time with – not watching X-Files, or reading about David Cameron.

What do you like doing? Can you do it now?