Looking to keep your home in tip-top shape?

5 problem solversIf you’re like us, you’re always looking for ideas to keep your home neat, tidy and comfortable and easy ways to clean up the messes that inevitably happen…every day! We checked our shelves and found five great products that made a big difference in how clean and comfortable our home is these days. Let’s start in the kitchen!

#1 Oilcloth Tablecloths

If you’re an oilcloth devotee, then you know the story behind this functional tabletop essential. Original oilcloth fabric was made by treating canvas or linen fabric with linseed oil and block printing the fabric with decorative patterns. With the advent of modern plastics and streamlined printing processes, the original process fell to the wayside.

Oil Cloth Factory (Hubbard Free Library Collection)Photo credit: Oil Cloth Factory (Hubbard Free Library Collection)

Today’s oilcloth offers enhanced waterproof protection compared to original oilcloth treated with linseed oil. Our heavy-duty oilcloth tablecloths are cotton or a cotton/polyester blend that’s backed with flannel and coated on the top side with waterproof vinyl. The prints are varied but all are rich and vibrant and add personality (and protection) to any tabletop.

We love them all! Inside or outside, they offer protection from spills. Oilcloth table covers will also protect tables from paints, glue, clay, etc. when it’s craft time. And when compared to the often flimsy plastic tablecloth, oilcloth stands head and shoulders above, offering decades of protection (and decoration) for your dining room table, kitchen table, and even your picnic table.

#2 Zippered Mattress Pad

Next stop: the bedroom. Did you know that the experts at the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute recommend washing your mattress pad once a month? Maybe you’re even a “wash every two weeks” kind of person but we’re not that good! Sheets and pillowcases, we’ve got those down to once a week but we’ve often forgotten about our mattress pad. Plus, it’s kind of unwieldy and doesn’t fit in our washer very easily.

zippered mattress pad

So, when we found this Zip-Off Mattress Pad, we were overjoyed! It fits on a mattress like a regular mattress pad with all-around elastic and offers protection and plush padding, too. It comes in twin, full, queen and king mattress sizes. The best part is the mattress topper zips off, so it’s a breeze to remove it and to put it back on again. We’re still scratching our heads wondering why we didn’t think of this sooner! A bonus to removing your mattress pad topper is you can clean the top of your mattress more often too. While your mattress pad top is washing, you can vacuum your mattress and spot treat any stains while you’re at it.

#3 Windsor Touch Lamp bedside windsor touch lamp

With all the floor lamp, table lamp, and even chandelier options available these days, you’d think that turning on a light in your home would be easy. But we’re often fumbling around in the dark, hunting for switches and knocking things over. It’s not pretty! Enter the amazing touch lamp. It looks like a regular bedside lamp, but instead of having a knob that’s often hard to find and even harder to turn…the lamps turn on with just a touch. It’s true! All you need to do is touch the lamp base once for on and once again for off. No more fumbling for switches. We’ve found it’s especially wonderful as a bedroom lamp. In the middle of the night, we just reach over and gently tap the lamp and it lights up.

#4 Tab-Top Insulated Curtains

inside of an insulated curtain

tab top curtains with insulationWhat would you think if someone told you that you could keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer (and maybe save a little $ on your energy bill, too) just by putting up some insulated curtains. We were skeptical at first but found it to be true!

Instead of one thin layer of fabric, insulated curtains are made by fusing two (and sometimes three or four) fabrics together. In this case, an acrylic backing is bonded to the all-cotton front of these curtains. The backing adds the extra insulation, which helps to stop heat and cold loss in your home. It’s a good argument for forgoing cheap curtains and investing a little in curtains that’ll keep a little $ in your pocket with every lower energy bill. 

 #5 Steel Canister Vacuum

We all know that a vacuum cleaner is the key to keeping a home neat and tidy. And we’re all looking for the best vacuum we can find. If you have kids or pets or kids and pets or just live a normal life in your home then you need a top-notch vacuum cleaner. A good vacuum cleaner can really clean your home from top to bottom. Of course, it will suck up dirt, debris, and dust. It will be versatile for use on wood floors, tile floors, carpeting, and rugs. But the best vacuum will have the power and attachments to clean the crevices of your favorite chairs and sofas; remove dust from baseboards, freshen up curtains, and more.

steel canister vacuum with attachments

We found a commercial-strength vacuum that’s up for all these tasks and more. It weighs only 9 lbs. yet can generate enough suction to pick up an 18 lb. bowling ball! It has a powerful 1,350-watt motor to tackle even stubborn pet hair. The vacuum also has a reversible suction hose so you can turn your vacuum into a blower to quickly clear leaves or blow up inflatables. It has a double filtering bag system to keep the air in your home dust free and a shoulder strap to make vacuuming stairs less of a chore. It’s old-school enough to be built like a tank and doesn’t need to show off with a splashy colored canister. It gets the job done quickly, efficiently, and unassumingly.