National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!

Can you believe that it’s just around the corner!? It seems like just yesterday this special day came and went.

We’re of course talking about November 15th, or National Clean Out Your Refrigerator day — the holiday that reminds everyone before Thanksgiving to throw away the rotting food that’s been stuck behind the pickles for a few months now.

While we at understand that most of you probably do a pretty good job of keep your refrigerator clean, this holiday also serves as a friendly reminder to tune-up your fridge. Checking the efficiency of both your freezer and refrigerator can save you boatloads of money over the course of a year and gives you the confidence that it’ll survive past the crazy Thanksgiving holiday.

Cleaning the Refrigerator

Many of you probably already have a system in place to tackle a fridge clean-out. But for those of you that don’t, it’s really not too complicated. Simply go through each item in your fridge, checking the expiration dates and tossing what’s no longer good. This is also the perfect time to throw away stuff that never gets used and is just taking up valuable space.

You should now have plenty of room to get in there and start scrubbing away any leftover stains and spills. Make sure to get into every nook and cranny of your fridge to help rid it of any bacteria or mold. If you’re finding yourself without much room to clean, transfer over the contents of your refrigerator to an ice-filled cooler. This will help keep your food and condiments cold while you finish cleaning the inside of your refrigerator.

Odor Solutions

With your fridge clean, you can start tackling any smells or odors that seem to still be stuck inside. We recommend using one of these effective methods:

Baking Soda

Pour an entire box of baking soda onto a baking sheet and place it into your refrigerator. Leave this sheet in the fridge (usually no more than a week) until the smell disappears.

To prevent future odors, keep an open box of baking soda in your fridge at all times. If you ever notice smells coming back, it’s probably time to replace this box with a new one.


One of the more unknown odor solution methods is bunched up newspaper. It works much the same way as baking soda; the carbon from the ink in the newspaper sucks moisture out of the air and into the paper.

Simply crumple-up some newspaper, spray them with a little bit of water, then set into the refrigerator for a few days.

Charcoal Briquettes

Since it’s nearing the end of the summer, many of you probably have some leftover charcoal briquettes laying around your home. These are also great for eliminating tough odors. Simply place 4-5 briquettes in a bowl and onto a shelf inside of your fridge. Any remaining smells should be gone in less than a week.

Efficiency Tune-Up

Now that you’ve got your fridge sparkling clean, it’s a smart idea to make sure it’s running as efficiently as possible. Use our suggestions below to get started:

Clean the Condenser Coils & Fan

Over time, you refrigerator’s condenser can become dirty, which directly effects how efficiently your unit runs. To clean this, you’ll first need to gain access to the condenser fan and coils. The condenser assembly is typically located behind a grille on the backside or front of your fridge. Once you’ve removed this grille, use a soft brush, vacuum, or air compressor to blow away the dust and dirt from both the coils and fan.

Check the Door Seals

If it’s been a while since you checked your refrigerator seals, it’s a smart idea to do this now. Use a dollar bill to test this by attempting to slide it between every inch of your door seals and the fridge. If the bill can slide between the seal, then the seal is not tight enough and should be replaced.

Clear the Freezer Vents

Believe it or not, the little vents in your freezer do serve a purpose! They help circulate cold air in the freezer, which you know, is necessary to help keep everything cold.

This means that any food items, crumbs and ice will need to be removed from these vents on a regular basis. If you have a large ice buildup, either defrost your freezer or use a small ice pick to gently remove the excess ice.

Set the Proper Temperature

One of the main reasons your refrigerator is killing your electric bill is because it’s just simply not set to the correct temperature. Each time the compressor kicks on to make it cooler, you’re wasting more energy.

Combat this by setting your refrigerator to between 36° F and 42° F and your freezer to between -5° F and +6° F.

We can’t speak for everyone, but we love these type of holidays. We plan on spending ours by making sure each of our important appliances are ready to handle the upcoming Thanksgiving feast.

Maria Gracia

Leave a Comment November 15, 2013

Six Things You Should Consider Before Renting Out A Storage Space

Winter is coming, and people all over Southern California–myself included–are organizing their homes for the holidays. This includes storing their outdoor valuables in order to protect them from the cold, wet winter climate. Ideally, you’ll want to store these valuables in your home to keep a close eye on them, but living in SoCal, there may be a big chance that your home doesn’t have an attic or basement. Storage facilities are usually the answer.

There are definitely many factors to consider when it comes finding the right space for your valuables. Of course, getting a storage space can lift the burden of clutter in your home, but at the same time you might feel worried about them sustaining some kind of damage while in storage.

If you’re looking to store your valuables this winter, here are six factors to consider when looking for a quality self-storage space.

1. Security

When looking for a quality storage facility, make sure to consider the amount of security on the premises. If you have valuables like antiques, machinery, power tools or even motor vehicles, you’ll want to find a storage facility with excellent security, ideally with cameras and a large security personnel. Some storage facilities understand that security is at the top of a customer’s priority list, which is why they go above and beyond by having state of the art features like biometric fingerprint scanners to ensure that only authorized users may enter storage units.

2. Accessibility

A storage unit needs to be accessible. Most likely, you’ll be coming back constantly to swap out some of your stored valuables or to add to your collection. Either way, you need to make sure both your unit and the storage grounds are easily accessed. Open storage hours are something that you may want to consider. The later the storage facility closes, the more accessible.

Here in my home city of San Diego, there are a few storage facilities that are open 24-hours, so if you really need to take your your Harley out at 10 PM for a joyride to the marina, a 24-hour storage facility may just be what you need. In the end, you’ll want to put your stuff somewhere you can easily get to whenever you need to.

3. Climate Control

Most things are sensitive to temperatures, whether it’s a power tool or painting. If temperatures are off by a couple dozen degrees, it may cause terrible damage to your valuables. You’ll want to consider a storage space with heating and air conditioning in your unit.

San Diego is known to be in one of the best climate zones in the country, with a yearly average of 72 degrees. However, we often have spikes in high-temperatures, which may not bode well for valuables (especially antiques) kept in storage facilities.

Ideally, you’ll want to find a storage facility that keeps valuables in a certain temperature range, preferably between 50 and 80 degrees (F).Though many facilities charge extra for a climate controlled unit, it’s definitely worth the price (if you want your possessions to retain their value).

4. Weather Wear and Tear

Storage units need to have a some kind of protection against the elements. If they don’t, time to move on to the next storage facility. Make sure you verify if it has protection against the local climate.

If you live in a temperate climate, you may still want to find a facility that has protection against wet winters and cold temperatures. The kind of storage San Diego families need is tricky. The reason is because many of these storage units are outside of temp controlled buildings due to the year round 70 degree weather. Open units like these tend to experience the most wear and tear. Google your city and find the right facility to store your toys indoors (whether it’s a lawnmower, speedboat or pool table).

5. Insurance

If something should happen to your stored valuables, you’ll want it to be in a storage facility that’s equipped with good insurance. At times, your home insurance won’t cover items outside of your home, which is why you’ll need to rely on the insurance of the storage facility where you hold your items. This way, you’ll know that you have a good safety net, lessening the worries of leaving your valuables in a storage facility.

6. Price

When it comes to finding a storage unit, you basically get what you pay for. However, at times, quality storage facilities will offer seasonal discounts to increase business. Also, you’ll want to find a storage unit that has a low, basic price with optional features like extra security and climate control–just make sure the price is within reason.

Winter is the best time to store your valuables, not only to make room in your home, but to protect them from the elements. So, why not consider renting out a quality storage space?

Leave a Comment November 13, 2013

Take a 5-Minute Vacation

One of the best ways to get and stay motivated throughout your day is to take short ‘reward’ breaks in between your many TO DOs.

Today, right after I folded a large load of laundry, I took a 5-minute vacation…I rewarded myself with an old ‘I Love Lucy’ video clip on You Tube.

Not only was this a nice and quick break, but it also made me smile! (I’ve seen the clip so many times, but it never fails me!)

Do something productive today. Then, take a short break to view this ‘Famous Chocolate Scene.’

Maria Gracia

1 Comment November 5, 2013

How Clean Is Your House?

We recently ran a poll on my web site that resulted in some very interesting numbers.

The question posed was…How clean is your house?

Here are the final results:

9% My house is so clean, you could eat off the floors!

24% My house is pretty clean, but you may see some crumbs here and there.

39% My house is clean in some rooms, and not-so-clean in others.

28% The word clean and my house do not go hand in hand!

Total Votes: 1229

Where do you rank? Comment and let us know!

Maria Gracia

Leave a Comment October 28, 2013

Your Health is Too Important to Ignore

Breast Cancer Awareness Day is Monday, October 28th. This is the perfect day to schedule a mammogram if you haven’t had one in awhile…or if you never had one.

Prevention is a tough nut to crack. So many of us ignore it, and we instead deal with illnesses as they arise, but there are so many steps we can take to help prevent illnesses from taking root or getting worse.

In addition to mammograms, why not get your blood pressure checked, get a cholesterol screening, or schedule a colonoscopy?

I know…it’s tough to get excited about these sorts of things, but taking these preventative measures (and early detection) can give us the information we need to take charge of our health as much as we can.

Your health is too important to ignore!

Maria Gracia

Leave a Comment October 25, 2013

Too Much to Read, or Not Enough Time to Read?

Do you have a) too much to read or b) not enough time in your day to read?

These are two great questions to consider as you reevaluate your reading commitment. First of all, don’t go overboard. If you are good about reading everyday, but you still find you can’t get through all your material, then perhaps you’re too ambitious. In this case, either increase your reading time or decrease your reading material.

Second, get creative with your reading time. Some opportune times to read are when you’re waiting for your kids to finish soccer practice, waiting for a dentist or doctor’s appointment to begin, waiting for a dryer cycle to end, or for a few minutes before you hit the sack.

Set a specific time to read each day, and make it part of your day-to-day schedule. Most people read here and there… when they have time. I prefer setting up a definite appointment, usually right before lunch. A good friend of mine always reads while enjoying her morning coffee.

While you’re setting up your personal reading appointment, also set up your time frame. Will you read for 15 minutes? For 30 minutes? Whatever time you set, set a timer, find someplace comfortable and well lit, and go for it!

Maria Gracia

3 Comments October 15, 2013

How to Load a Dishwasher…A Song and a 9-Year Old Demo

Anyone over the age of 8 can load a dishwasher, and start it when it’s full. If YOU are always the one who does this task, perhaps one of these videos I found will help you change your mind.

The first one is goofy…I’ll admit. But it’s SO refreshing to see a young man handling the task with no problem AND happily! It truly made me smile.

The following video clip is a nine year old boy doing an excellent demonstration on how to load a dishwasher. Obviously, he is perfectly capable at this age to handle the task.

Maria Gracia

Leave a Comment October 8, 2013

Are You Decorated for Halloween?

The weather here in Wisconsin is starting to cool off, the leaves are starting to change color, and it gets darker earlier in the evening.

While I’m not a huge fan of cold weather (in fact, I’m not a fan of cold weather at all!), I do love the holidays and this just reminds me that Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching.

To enjoy autumn more, I pulled out our fall and Halloween decorations, and invested an hour decorating the inside and outside of our home with my daughter. Now, it feels really festive and keeps us in the spirit of the holiday.

I store my holiday decorations in clear, lidded storage boxes–which I picked up at my local Shopko years ago. On all sides of the boxes, I indicate the holiday, and I stack these boxes in a closet specifically for storing decorations.

So, when it came time to pull out my Halloween decorations this year, they were easily found in two of these boxes…not here, there, and everywhere.

Not having to search for things makes decorating more fun, and much easier!

Are you decorated for Halloween and/or fall yet? Comment below and let us know!

Maria Gracia

Leave a Comment October 2, 2013

My Favorite TV Shows

I’ll admit it…I LOVE watching TV and I do so each night as a reward for all I’ve gotten accomplished in the day.

Want to know my favorite shows right at this very moment?

Modern Family (Hilarious! I love the entire cast and the very real-life situations)

The Big Bang Theory (Fall-off-my-chair funny!)

Mad Men (My favorite drama…maybe of all time)

America’s Got Talent (I cannot believe how talented some people are. The season just ended. I can’t wait for the next one!)

Guiliana and Bill AND Cake Boss–it’s a tie! (Two of my favorite reality shows)

What are your favorites right now? Let me know.

Maria Gracia

1 Comment September 25, 2013


1 Comment September 6, 2013

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