It is often necessary to order or to create flower designs, and the simplest flower arrangements are easy to implement. For people who would like to pursue an art of arrangement of flowers, leaves, stems, etc. which conforms to the seasonal availability and at the same time has its meaning, an art that is rooted in Far Eastern traditions, ikebana is the answer. It is one of the more aesthetic hobbies if the category of aesthetics can apply to a hobby anyway. One advantage that attracts to the Japanese art is the fact that it has its peculiar rules of flower arrangement construction, not just the combination of colours, shapes and other elements of a bouquet or other floral design, but also its deep meaning suggested by those who delve deeper into information on ikebana.

Many connoisseurs insist that ikebana is a fully fledged art, like painting for example, and creativity is the key to the implementation of flower arrangements. It is known that in Japan flower arrangements are decorations which have the same status and value as paintings and other objects of art. It is part of the philosophy and the traditions of the Japanese culture.

Another attraction which makes many people enjoy engaging in ikebana is the fact that it is a powerful expression of Japanese people’s love for nature and its beauty. That is why all people who feel the strong bond that we all have with nature are delighted when they start implementing their own ikebana arrangements. In the concrete permeated urban settings, ikebana designs which use flowers and plant elements according to season are a breath of fresh air and means to feel communion with nature. With the aid of ikebana arrangements everyone can turn your clean and organized home into a more appealing place, by displaying ikebana designs wherever they feel such designs are appropriate. It is often reminded that in Japan people can see ikebana flower arrangements even in taxis. People can follow the example of Japanese people and arrange their ikebana designs for the kitchen, the corridor, or any place where they would like to have a floral group as a means of rest and relaxation for the eyes.

The principle of ikebana that nature is always in the course of changes, with one season following the other, is easy to observe, with seasonal flowers and plants used for flower arrangements. Flower designs serve not only as a delight to the eyes, they also serve to bring the charm of the outdoors inside. To make the link stronger, ikebana flower art designers can choose different plants, as well as leaves, branches, etc., to suggest the idea of variety in the outdoor setting. Of course, ikebana arrangements which contain just one flower are also possible. Even when people do not know much about the Japanese art, they can follow their intuition and artistic taste to bring out the beauty of even the simplest flowers and plant parts in arrangements which can speak volumes and exude freshness and optimism. The most important rule is to strive to suggest the connection between each flower arrangement and the natural settings outside, to show people that the arrangement is a symbol of nature.

 

Are you a student currently renting a small room? You need to maintain it correctly. Since a small space is quite different from a large one in terms of how it really ought to be looked after, you need to understand everything from bacteria build up to simple tricks in maximising space. Consider the below as tips, instead of steps.

 

1 - Decide how you want things arranged in your room

 

Begin by matching your room to your priorities. Do you use a laptop a lot? If so, do you have a small desk? If not you’ll need to buy a cheap second-hand one etc.

Are you a musician? For example, if you’re a guitarist who plays guitar daily, rest your guitar case nearby to where you sit and practice. It’s recommended that your guitar is covered whenever you aren’t playing however, so don’t rest it exposed to sunlight and dust, especially as the former is crucial to goodness circulation in your room. We will discuss solar energy in more detail further down the page.

 

2 -  Make your bed

 

Since we all know how to prepare a bed and can do it within minutes, begin any room clean by making the bed. Ensure you comb over creases with your hand upon completion and take pride from how good it all looks. This will motivate you immensely and put you in the right frame of mind for further house cleaning.

 

3 - Identify how dirty your room is - the fun bacteria test

 

Want to learn a cool new trick in how to detect the bacteria volume in your room?

 

Here’s what to do:

 

Choose a typical working day in summer. Go out for a 30-45 minute run in trainers first thing in the morning, without wearing socks. As you arrive back, remove your shoes and place them somewhere in your room. Have a shower before returning to sit in your room as you dry off with a towel. Hang your towel up in your room. Proceed to eat a hearty bacon or egg breakfast in your room. At this stage eating will be pleasant enough in your room as it won’t stink. Leave bacon and egg leftovers on the plate and chuck it anywhere in your room, leave your fork handy too.

 

Place an onion half in a bowl and place it in a corner of your room.

 

Finally, ensure all your windows are closed and curtains are drawn before leaving your room and locking the door. Go to work. Plan to return late in the evening too, around 8pm at the earliest.

 

Don’t be afraid, but prepare to be shocked upon returning. That poor onion is going to be completely brown, or even darker. Proceed to ventilate the room immediately, covering your nose and mouth as you reach for the window. Now get that fork and pick up the onion, throwing it away quickly.

 

Bacteria is alive and well, and all students need to know how to deal with it.

 

4 - Respond to the bacteria test by acting big on prevention

 

Our bacteria episode described above comes as a strong reminder of how everyday habits contribute massively to microbial growth. So now we need a prevention plan. Follow these:

- Don’t eat in your room.

- Place baking soda, vinegar and a touch of lemon juice in your trainers after heavy use.

- Ventilate your room whenever you’re in it. Even during winter, simply dress up warm while leaving your windows ajar.

- Hang damp towels upright on a clothes horse or rack.

- Never leave damp dirty washing around, especially not in corners.

- Place unpeeled garlic on a well exposed shelf.

- Open curtains upon waking up each morning and value sunlight circulation above all.

- Dust as you go, including daily dusting of your computer keypad.

- Don’t leave your dirty washing pile in a dark cupboard or corner, leave it close to a windowsill.

 

5 - Vacuum occasionally

 

Only vacuum when debris becomes visible and ensure you open windows fully afterwards. Vacuuming too often sends out bad odours into your room.

 

6 - Tidy, tidy, tidy

 

Tidy little things all the time, keep your life organised in micro-steps.

Creating flower arrangements at home is not only perfectly possible, it is also an enjoyable activity and a pastime for many people. Flowers arranged in different combinations are great as centrepieces, as decorations for various occasions, as gifts, for any place, any room, any hall. It is always good to know which flowers are combined in a proper manner and which ones do not fit the right way.

To create great and appealing floral arrangements which will delight everyone, people should start by choosing appealing flowers. For the purpose, staying seasonal, choosing among flowers that are available in the current season, guarantees the necessary freshness. Flowers that are in the season are always preferable, fresher, and, of course, more appealing.

Then the choice of flowers, more exactly the number of flower types to be selected for the arrangement, should be outlined. It is advisable to choose not more than four to five types of flowers for one arrangement, and the colours they come in should not be more than two or three, preferably complementary colours. Florists are the best sources of advice on the number of flower types, which types would be appropriate to implement the design conceived, how to combine colours, etc. Florists can also advise on the choice of flowers on the basis of their scent. Flower scent should be considered among other factors for choice, because strong scent is too pronounced and overpowering in a small room.

The choice of flowers should also take into consideration which flowers will last longer. Flowers should be budding, or just about to open. Buying flowers that are completely closed, or flowers which are completely or almost open, is a mistake, because they are not going to last very long, so the efforts invested in the preparation of the floral arrangement will soon be wasted. Flowers which are beginning to open are the best choice for special occasions which are to be held soon, because such flowers are going to look in their prime of beauty on the grand day.

The preparation of flowers before the arrangement starts is important, to enable them to maintain their appeal for a long time. The conditioning of the flowers should also include the conditioning of their foliage. The excess leaves should be removed, and the woody stems should be split; then the flowers and the foliage should be put in a bucket of cold water to remain there for about an hour and take in water. Good hydration is essential, because it will enable the blooming of the flowers while they are in fresh condition. When flowers and their foliage are left to hydrate before they are combined in the floral arrangement, later when they are part of the arrangement they will not need so much water.

 Then the trimming of the stems and the arrangement itself can be started. The flowers can be combined with respect to colour and with respect to height, and the shapes of the arrangements that can be implemented are numerous. Greenery and foliage are appropriate for most types of floral arrangements, as they add a verdant accent and freshness to any combination of flowers.

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Since a normal domestic cleaning session rarely involves specific enough attention to brushes as tools that require cleaning too, your toothbrush is similarly taken for granted as you cover the bathroom area.   

Does your breath smell bad even just a few hours after giving those teeth a thorough clean? The truth is you can’t rely on toothpaste alone in ensuring your mouth is fully sanitised. But don’t go out impulsively in search of a toothpaste better than your current one. Toothpaste isn’t responsible at all. Instead, this is a case of poor practices in bacteria prevention surrounding your toothbrush itself. 

Since the bristles of a toothbrush are tasked daily with reaching into obscure pockets of your mouth to retrieve bacteria, they become very dirty. While most of us think it adequate to simply rinse our brush with hot water after use, this only contributes to dampness.   

While some brushes are stored upright and rely on gravity to relieve moisture, often the bristles of a brush are too retentive, meaning moisture remains trapped, even after hours sitting upright. We mustn’t forget of course that brushes trap bacteria through the generally abrasive bristles that are packed tightly together - this is precisely why moisture gets trapped too.       

You might want to check the interior of that bathroom cupboard as well since it’s likely become a microbial hub of dampness, mildew and rust through moisture build up. Indeed, if damp toothbrushes are stored there, they will transmit microbes. Any toothbrush stored in such an air deprived space will only get worn down by microbes, compromising the abrasiveness and shape of those bristles and transmitting harmful bacteria into your mouth with every clean.  

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to go about disinfecting your toothbrush:

1 - Disinfect your toothbrush on a sunny day

First of all, it’s best to perform these steps on a sunlit morning or afternoon in order to take advantage of the sun’s pure restorative goodness.

2 - Make up an all-organic cleaning solution

Grab a clean porcelain mug, even if it’s not technically spotless. This is because the solution about to be described is capable of cleaning both your mug and toothbrush at the same time. 

3 - Apply the solution

Proceed to pour 75% baking soda and 25% vinegar into the mug before stirring with your toothbrush thoroughly. Spend a good 2 minutes going around repeatedly before placing your submerged toothbrush and mug on a sunlit windowsill, preferably away from a moisture-ridden room like the kitchen.  

Having identified already that moisture gets trapped by bristles, it may seem naive to then submerge the toothbrush in a liquid solution. In this case however, our liquid solution contains absorbent properties found in the baking soda, meaning that what first appears as entirely liquid is actually absorbed into solid form later on.  

4 - Sit for an hour

Let the mug and toothbrush soak up sun rays for an hour as they sit on a sun-lit shelf.

5 - Pour mix away

Pour the baking soda and vinegar mix down the sink as you rinse out the mug and toothbrush with warm water. The heat of the water will help separate the otherwise glue-like baking soda and ease it down the sink. Rinse until both mug and toothbrush are spotless and that vinegar scent has been removed.  

6 - Store your toothbrush on a sunlit shelf 

Store your brush away from the bathroom and on a sun-filled surface elsewhere. Your bedroom is a good place, but only provided you open your curtains at the beginning of each day.  

Simply place your toothbrush in that same, and now fully sanitised, porcelain mug deployed earlier before sitting it on the windowsill. It pays to clean your windowsill in advance if it’s dirty. Open your window at every chance too, even if only slightly. Fresh air circulation is so crucial in bacteria and rust prevention, while wind won’t blow away a sturdy porcelain mug like it would a plastic cup. 

You won’t find a more novel home cleaning technique involving such an imperative daily cleaning tool. Delight in every toothbrush clean once you’ve successfully completed these steps. Remove ‘new toothbrush’ from that shopping list.   

  • Sticky notes on the fridge.
  • Damp towels curled up on the bathroom floor.
  • Papers strewn all over communal spaces.
  • Laundry left to get damp in the washing machine for days on end.

 

Let’s face it.  Living with other students can be next to impossible and if you are prone to pet peeves or a big fan of high standards of cleanliness then it can feel like your own personal circle of hell.  At the end of the day, whatever your fellow housemates say, it is always more pleasant – and more healthy – to be living in clean and tidy and surroundings.

The best way to make sure that the house is as clean and tidy as possible is to all take on the role of cleaners and establish a rota.  Of course the main problem with a rota is that if it isn’t stuck to, one person ends up doing all the jobs anyway but if you swing it so that some weeks you have less to do than other weeks then perhaps you can all work together to keep the house clean and feel that you have earned some lighter weeks in the wake of more stressful ones.

Domestic cleaning in a student surrounding isn’t that different to a cleaning adventure in a family home.  There are the same types of rooms and the same types of messes to be dealt with.

It can be fairly simply and easily established, that personal bedrooms are your personal property.  If you enjoy living in squalor then you can nurse your own mould colony in the privacy of your room and contribute to the cleanliness of the spaces your share with your other house mates.  You can maintain your own standards in your own space and then get a communal mid ground of cleanliness in the other rooms without compromising too much on anybody’s preferred standards of cleanliness.

Another thing that you can take your own responsibility for and cut down on the tasks that have to be on the rota is – washing up.  If you are cleaning up after yourself then the build-up of general washing up at the end of the week can be greatly reduced and therefore the shared burden of house cleaning can be greatly reduced too.

This then means that the basic tasks that would have to be placed on the rota and then doled out to each housemate are;

  • General kitchen clean
  • General living area clean
  • General hallway clean
  • Bins & Recycling (take out and bring back in)

Of course depending on how many people live in the house, how large the house is and how many communal rooms or bathrooms you have you could choose instead to subdivide the cleaning so that each week a different housemate is responsible for;

  • Floors
  • Tiles
  • Dusting
  • Upholstery
  • Waste
  • Surfaces
  • Interiors (inside cupboards, microwave etc.)

In fact, you could choose to divide up this property in any way that you saw fit in order to best share the cleaning responsibilities.  Of course, if the bins are only taken out every two weeks and the situation is bearable then you might choose to make the whole rota bi-weekly so that you are responsible for one thing for 2 weeks and then you switch.

Just one thing to be mindful of is parties and things that would necessitate a large mess.  You can’t be in charge of dusting for 2 weeks, throw a party and expect the housemate in charge of floors to mop up all the spilled drink and other fluids with no assistance from you.  The rota is designed to be fair but it might require a little extra common sense every now and then.

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