FREE Coloring Page

Let's take a break from household matters this week. :) Instead, here's a free coloring page, in honor of National Library Week, for you to download, print, and use. Enjoy!

A Fix That Does The Work For You

Do you have central air conditioning and/or heating? If so, make sure you're changing your filter(s) regularly. A clean filter can prevent the spread of dust and improve the air quality in your home. It can also prolong the life of your machine.

How often should you do it? That depends. Most manufacturers recommend changing your filter every 3 months or so, but I say that advice should be a bit conditional. 

Change your filter(s) once a month if you…

  • Have pets.
  • Have four or more people living in your home.
  • Have someone who smokes in your home.
  • Run the unit most of the time.
  • Have been generating more dust and/or grime than usual, for example through renovations.
  • Live in a dusty, dry climate.
  • Live in an area with poor air quality (such as in a large city.)
  • Live in an area where wildfires have been occurring.
  • Have an HVAC unit that is old and/or problematic.
  • Use cheap filters.

Change your filter every 3 months if you…

  • Have no pets.
  • Have three people or less living in your home.
  • Run the unit less often (for example only at night, or only when it's really hot outside.)
  • Have a unit that's relatively new.
  • Use pleated and/or higher quality filters.

Change your filter every 6-9 months if you…

  • Don't live in the home full time (for example, you're only there on weekends.)

Do you need to buy expensive filters, or will the cheap ones suffice?

Depends on your goal. If you just want to protect your unit from dust and debris, you should be able to get away with using the cheapest version as long as you change it often enough. 

But if you also want to improve the air quality inside your home—which is the goal in a House That Cleans Itself—go with a somewhat higher quality filter.

On the other hand, you probably don't need the highest quality, most expensive filters unless…

  • Someone in your home suffers from environmental allergies like dust or pollen.
  • You have multiple pets.
  • You have an infant in the home.

Learn more here about filter rating systems and how you can decide what's best for your house and how you live.

The Most Important Step

It has been my observation that the main reason people procrastinate when it comes to changing filters is simply that they can't remember what size they're supposed to buy. Check your manufacturer's instructions, then record that size (usually expressed in inches, such as "24 x 24 x 1") somewhere that the information can be easily accessed, such as in a memo in your smartphone. Better yet, subscribe to a repeating delivery for the desired time interval of the correct size filters for your home. Whenever they show up, that means it's time to make a change. And it doesn't get much easier than that!



Up and Away All Over the House

In Monday's post, I talked about the House That Cleans Itself principle of "Up and Away". Today I'll share some links to a few handy wall-mountable items that you might find helpful as you employ this technique throughout your home. Enjoy!

Kitchen and/or Home Office

Clean up your charging area with this handy wall-mounted phone holder.

While you're at it, get those pens and pencils off the table/desk/counter and onto the wall with this cool and artsy pencil holder.

Use those pencils to jot down notes on this helpful roll of note paper.


and this one for your tissues.

Get that messy blow drier off of the bathroom counter and onto the wall with this handy blow drier holder

For hand soap, mount one of these soap dispensers near every sink in your house.

If you prefer bar soap rather than liquid, check out this cool soap bar holder, which uses a magnet to keep the bar of soap up on the wall. Clever!

Laundry Room

Need a temporary place to put clothes as you're hanging them up? Try this collapsible clothes hanger rack, which you can mount near your dryer.

General Use Throughout Your Home

Finally, here are some nice finds that you can use for various mounting tasks around the house.  

These magnets can be used to hold remote controls, scissors, lightweight tools, and anything else small and light that you want to keep up on the wall.

Finally, I really like the look of these mountable baskets, which you could hang up in a variety of places and use for all sorts of things such as incoming mail, magazines, newspapers, and more.

That's it for this week's round-up. I hope you have fun getting some of the clutter off of your counters and onto your walls for good!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. That means when you make a purchase I earn a small commission, which helps offset the costs of this blog. 


Up, Up, and Away

Have you heard of the "Up and Away" Principle for keeping your house cleaner? You can read all about it in Chapter 7 of The House That Cleans Itself, but here's a quickie version: Bottom line, the fewer items that have to be moved out of the way at cleaning time, the easier and faster it is to wipe and dust. Thus, you do yourself a real favor every time you trade out some common household item for a mounted version instead. 

Let's say, for example, that your bedside table tends to get a bit messy. Take an honest look at that mess and think about the types of items that usually combine to make it. Remote controls?  Bedtime reading material? Eyeglasses? Toiletries? Electronics? Other stuff?

Now guess what happens if you mount as many of those items as possible? One by one, the tabletop gets a little less cluttered until, eventually, almost nothing accumulates there anymore at all. Then because the tabletop is already clear (or nearly so) when you're ready to give it a quick swipe with some cleaner, it just takes a few seconds rather than the minutes you used to spend having to clear it off first.

Take a look at the before and after of this bedside table...



Everything you see in the "before" photo is still there in the "after" photo, plus we've added a trash can and recycle basket besides. The difference is that we fixed the mess in part by mounting much of it on the wall and the sides of the bedside table. (To be honest, there's even more here that could be mounted, including the box of tissues and a water bottle holder. But we'll save those for another day.)

Let's break it down. Where did everything go?

1. The lamp was switched out for a wall-mounted version.  

2. The remote controls, AirPods, glasses, and dental floss were mounted on the right side by using a combination of mounting hooks, an eyeglass holder, and velcro.

3. The reading literature went into a rack mounted on the left side.

It's actually simple when you think about it. Put the items that make up your messes up and away and save yourself a lot of time and trouble!

Other Adjustments That Turned This Into A Beside Table That Cleans Itself

What else did we do to clean up this problem for good? We identified that trash and recyclables were collecting on the bedside table because there was nowhere handy to toss them out. Hence the addition of the recycle bin and trash can. Everything else went into a neat little basket

In theory, even the basket should probably be eliminated, simply by putting those items into the bedside table drawers instead. But I wanted to show how a mess could be permanently contained on the outside with just a few simple tweaks.

Be sure to come back Thursday for examples and links to even more nifty items that can be mounted around your home!

Please note that this post includes affiliate links, and when you make a purchase I earn a small commission, which helps offset the costs of this blog. 


Greet Your Guests With a Smile—And Clean Off Their Shoes While You're At It

In a recent post, I talked about the importance of doormats in a House That Cleans Itself.  As I've said before, one of the most effective changes you can make to your home is to place large, sturdy mats inside and outside every exterior door you have. The rougher and bigger the mats, the better. This is because the more thoroughly the bottom of your shoes can be scrubbed off on the way in, the less work you will have to do to keep your floors clean. 

This is the kind of fix that does the work for you, a technique you should employ throughout your home. And that's what a House That Cleans Itself is all about!

Here are some really cute doormat options I found online…


This one seems perfect for the times we're in these days.

Mix tape, anyone?

Visitor beware!


This one looks downright yummy.

A warm and friendly greeting:


Perfect for Spring!


I like the textures (and the colors) in this one.

Steppin' out in style.

Fun and funky.


Couldn't resist sharing this one.


This one's too cute.

Ain't it the truth!


Sometimes I feel this way, for sure.


A great idea—and perfect for a House That Cleans Itself!

Please note that the above are affiliate links, and when you make a purchase I earn a small commission, which helps offset the costs of this blog.