Upcycling Craft Ideas

Turn the things destined for your recycling bin into creative crafts! It’s a cost-effective way to show off your creativity and turn trash into treasure.

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Give That Old Table a Spring Makeover

It shouldn’t cost a fortune to perk up your kitchen. A bright coat of paint on your kitchen table will give the whole room a quick but dramatic makeover in time for Spring.

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Show Your Love with Your Own Valentine’s Day Cards

Learn how to make a personalized card for your loved ones. Start with our tips, and learn more with Fiskars designer Tania Willis here.

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Finding Space for Fitness in Your Home

You can get great exercise without the pricey gym membership: dedicate a room to fitness! Here’s what to consider.
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Breezy, Beachy Summer Living Rooms

A few quick fixes can spruce up your living room for the summer months

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When planning your outdoor party, consider these suggestions from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology:



1. Although a hot, dry day might seem like the best choice, a cloudy and windless day should be better for your allergies.

2. Don’t mow your lawn—which can stir up pollen—before the party.

3. Monitor pollen counts in your area, and select a date when the forecast predicts lower levels. You’ll find Zyrtec’s forecast tool here.

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When the weather warms up and the parties move outdoors, spring allergy sufferers want to be a part of the fun too. But spring often means spending as much time in filtered indoor air as possible. Allergies are no reason to miss out on outdoor entertainment. Try these simple ideas:



Luau

Nothing says festive like a tropical beginning to the spring and summer.

  • Greet guests with a lei of colorful tropical flowers or leis of shells or leaves.
  • Fill a basket with silk flowers for girls and women to wear in their hair.
  • Make it extra festive with tiki torches – filled with citronella oil to keep mosquitoes and other pests away.



Derby Party

This year, the Kentucky Derby falls at the beginning of May but you can celebrate the Preakness Stakes in May and the Belmont Stakes in June.

  • Everyone loves a great Derby hat. On your invitations, tell guests about your “derby hat competition.”
  • Hook up your big-screen TV to an outdoor power source so people can watch the action during the party.
  • If your guest list includes allergy sufferers, trim the lawn and trees a few days before your guests arrive.



Cowboy Cookout

  • You can’t go overboard on decorations: red-checked tablecloths, Mason jars for drinks, fun details like wagon wheels - they’re all fun
  • Bales of straw can be fun seating – but make sure you have alternatives for people who could be sensitive.
  • Arrange a traditional game of horseshoe throwing.
  • Have an allergy kit handy, including eyewashes, Zyrtec, and washcloths for compresses.
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Five Tips for Sneeze-Free Spring Cleaning

Can cleaning be sneeze-free? Stacy Champion, founder of Phoenix-based environmental consultancy Champion Indoors, shares her top tips for reducing indoor allergens.
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Dust mites, pets, mold, and pollen that blows through windows can contribute to your allergy symptoms. Keep your windows closed to help reduce allergens.
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  1. Use natural cleaning products when possible

    There are many natural brands to choose from, but if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, reconsider using them. You can also search for “natural cleaning product recipes” to make your own.

  2. Don’t kick up dust – absorb it

    Use washable, micro-fiber cleaning cloths. Get them slightly damp to minimize the dust in the air. If your home has hard-surfaced flooring, use a micro-fiber push sweeper before mopping.

  3. Take care with carpet

    If you have carpet in your home, invest in a HEPA vacuum cleaner. Try to vacuum in all four directions to clean the carpet thoroughly.

  4. Don’t forget the filters

    Replace your homes’ air intake filters regularly—or upgrade to HEPA filters. Consider a portable air cleaner or HEPA filtration system to reduce particles and dust.

  5. Check, and check again

    When cleaning your home, make it a habit to check for visible leaks or moisture, which could lead to mold growth problems - a huge allergen for most people.

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Four Ways to Refresh your Home

Want some ideas on how to easily refresh your home? We asked design journalist and DIY blogger, Jean Nayar, about simple ways to help freshen up your space.

Four Easy Home Refreshers
Tip

Many of us think of cleaning windows as a matter of getting the glass shiny and clear. But the Mayo Clinic advises allergy sufferers not to neglect frames and sills, which can harbor mold and condensation.

An easy, low-cost way to update a room is to change up your pillows. Whether it’s by replacing them with brighter, indoor-outdoor pillows, or updating the pillow covers with new textures or patterns––a burst of color may do the trick.

Cleaning your windows is a simple way to brighten a room. Save money by cleaning them yourself with a squeegee and soapy water. Professional window cleaners are a good bet if you have second-story or tall windows.

This is an easy one! Go green with fresh herbs like basil, thyme and chives, planted in small containers and placed on windowsills. They add color and a fresh scent to your home.

Yes, because it’s a great way to reduce allergens. When was the last time you vacuumed behind your couches or refrigerator, or scrubbed your bathroom grout, cleaned exhaust fans and vents, or replaced HVAC filters?

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Reduce Clutter in your Home

Take a home tour and get tips on how allergy sufferers can cut down on clutter and dust, messes and mold. The following tips, form New York-based Life Coach and Professional Organizer, J’HeaLee, offer great ways to get it done right.

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Fall Cleaning 101

To answer cleaning questions for the change in season, we turned to Stacey Crew, organization and cleaning expert, and author of The Organized Mom.

Fall Cleaning 101 – My Allergy Guide™
Tip

When tackling home cleaning and organization projects, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America suggests allergy sufferers wear a dust mask and use a cloth that is damp or treated for dusting. After cleaning, leave the house for a few hours.

For blinds, use a non-toxic, water-based cleaner that’s safe for wood and related surfaces. If you can machine-wash your curtains, do that in the fall; otherwise, consider having them dry cleaned.

Summer months may bring pollen and other allergens into your home. Vacuuming regularly, washing down the baseboards with a damp rag and having your carpets professionally cleaned will ensure that they’re not trapped there year-round.

Clean air filters are an important part of maintaining indoor air quality throughout the year. Schedule your filter changes for every three months by stocking up and marking change days in your calendar.

Reducing clutter in the kitchen should be a priority. Good rules of thumb: no more than two appliances on the countertops; have a place for every item; and create space in the cabinets and drawers to house the usual counter clutter.

As the outdoor temperature cools down, so does the temperature in the attic. That makes fall the perfect time to clean and organize it.

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Let’s Paint: Steps to Minimizing Your Allergies

Embarking on a home painting project? The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has easy steps on how to minimize the allergy symptoms that a do-it-yourself project may cause.

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The AAFA recommends using portable room HEPA filters, which can take irritants out of the air quickly and are perfect for home remodeling projects.

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  1. Step:

    Consider Allergy-Friendly Products

    Before you start, look for allergy-friendly paints and products endorsed by the AAFA and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

  2. Step:

    Know Your Materials

    Putting up new walls? Be careful of dust from wall paneling, particle board, fiberboard and insulation. Try to avoid wallboard that has glass-mesh cement "backer" boards; these can create extra debris.

  3. Step:

    Keep Your Workspace Enclosed

    Reduce the spread of potential triggers to the rest of your house by isolating the work area. Tape plastic sheets on doorways to reduce the spread of dust. When you're done, dispose of the plastic sheets carefully.

  4. Step:

    Protect Yourself From Allergens

    If you're doing the work, wear a facemask approved by the NIOSH. You can also reduce your exposure to allergens by wearing goggles and protective clothing—even a protective cap—which you can find at any home remodeling store.

  5. Step:

    Ventilate and Filter Your Space

    Control indoor air quality with a good central heating, ventilation and air- conditioning (HVAC) system fitted with a replaceable or washable HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.

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