When was the last time you Cleaned your computer?

Quote

Computer spring clean

You don’t need a broom to clean up your computer

 

If you want to keep your house clean, you need to dust it regularly; if you want your car to run well, you should service it annually; and if you want your computer to stay speedy and responsive, it needs its own maintenance—a digital spring cleaning.

We’re not just talking about wiping down your keyboard, but also about clearing up the digital clutter inside your system, including apps you don’t use, junk files that are taking up room, and more. Here’s how to get started.
Get rid of older apps

Removing older apps

REMOVING OLDER APPS

Uninstalling apps you no longer use can instantly improve your computer’s performance.

 

What’s the harm in leaving unused applications on your computer? Not only do these programs take up precious storage space, they make your operating system work harder than it needs to—clambering over Start menu entries, sifting through settings files, and installing updates for programs that have no real reason for being there.

 Not to mention, the fewer applications you have installed, the fewer applications for hackers to target or data mining companies to plug into. So it’s well worth identifying the programs you no longer need and uninstalling them—they can always be reinstalled later if you change your mind. Meanwhile, for the applications you do decide to keep, make sure you’re running the latest versions.

On Windows, open the Settings screen from the Start menu and then click System and Apps & features. You can sort apps by size or date to weed out the ones you don’t need, or click an app to remove it. On macOS, click and hold on an app inside Launchpad, then hit the delete button when it appears. Depending on the program, you might have to use the relevant uninstall utility (if there is one) in the Applications folder in Finder, or just drag the app’s entry from the same screen to the Trash.

Clear away digital clutter

CleanMyMac

CLEANMYMAC

Plenty of third-party programs will tidy up your system for you.

CleanMyMac

It’s an inevitable consequence of modern-day computing life that as you use your device, junk files will build up: files you’ve created and forgotten about, temporary files created by the operating system, files that haven’t been properly cleared away by your applications, and so on. There’s not much you can do to stop this from happening, but you can stay on top of the mess with a regular clear-out.

Unless you really know your way around Windows or macOS, it’s a good idea to get assistance from a third-party program for this. CCleaner (for Windows and macOS) has long been one of the best free options in this department, and we also like CleanMyMac (macOS) and System Mechanic (Windows), though those last two aren’t free.

These programs can definitely be helpful, but if you set aside a chunk of time for the task you can probably do some simple clean-up jobs yourself—deleting those photos you’re never really going to look back on, or clearing out old documents and spreadsheets that are no longer relevant.

Tidy up your browser

Browser cache

BROWSER CACHE

There’s plenty to tidy up inside your browser too.

 

Nowadays, we’re all spending a lot of our computing time inside a browser, and this is another area where you can do some serious tidying up. The aforementioned CCleaner does a good job of clearing out digital garbage that your browser doesn’t really need, but each browser has options of its own that you can also take advantage of.

In Chrome, go to Settings, Show advanced settings, and Clear browsing data to erase cached files, browsing history, plug-in data and more, which should make your browser a little lighter on its feet. On Firefox, the option is under Preferences, Advanced, Network and Cached Web Content. In Microsoft Edge, you need to go to Settings then Clear browsing data. Finally, in Safari, choose Clear History from the app menu. Checking your downloads folder for files you’ve forgotten about and don’t need is a good idea too.

Meanwhile, removing unused browser extensions can have the same benefits as uninstalling unused applications. This will streamline your browser, lowering its demands on your computer’s resources and keeping you safer as well. Open up your browser’s extensions or plug-ins page and see if there are any add-ons you can do without—getting rid of them only takes a few clicks of the mouse.

 Organize your system

Google Drive

GOOGLE DRIVE

Google Drive is one service that can keep your files in the cloud and remove local copies.

 

If no one sees your computer except you, what’s the point of keeping it tidy? (You may have the same attitude to your house.) Well, as we’ve mentioned, it means an easier time for your OS and your installed applications, and it also saves you time when you’re looking for important files. Plus, if everything is organized neatly, there’s less chance of files getting forgotten about and eating up hard drive space that could be used for something else.

Get your files in the designated user folders (like Documents on macOS or Windows) and you’ll notice the benefits the next time you need to open something quickly. In particular, you should try to avoid keeping masses of files and shortcuts on your desktop, as it gives your computer extra work to do every time you view the screen. For the same reason, it’s a good idea to spend a few minutes clearing up the Start menu or the Dock (depending on your operating system of choice), to make sure the shortcuts you really need are available and any unused ones are cleared away.

A whole host of cloud services, including Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and iCloud will store your files on the web and give you the option to keep or delete your local copies. This is a handy way of freeing up some hard disk space and lightening the load on your OS at the same time. Just be sure you are keeping the online versions and not deleting both the local and cloud-based copies of your files at the same time—each service has instructions on how to do this.

Physically clean your equipment

Laptop cleaning

LAPTOP CLEANING

Microfiber cloths and compressed air cans are the way to go to clean the outside of your hardware.

Dust-Off

While you’re tackling a computer spring clean, you may as well do some physical cleaning at the same time. Not only does it keep your machine looking shiny and fresh, in some cases you can actually prevent future problems (like the insides of your desktop getting clogged up with dust). The equipment you need isn’t expensive, and the job won’t take you very long. Be sure to power down and unplug your computer first.

Start with a can of compressed air, which is always useful for blasting away dirt from keyboards and ports. Then use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down the outside of your machine and any of its peripherals, such as a mouse and keyboard. (You can read our full keyboard-cleaning guide here.) Cotton swabs are another helpful tool in the computer cleaner’s arsenal, as they help you clear away built-up dirt from nooks and crannies. For a more comprehensive clean, lightly dampening your cloths or swabs with isopropyl rubbing alcohol is sometimes recommended.

Plain old water can work too, but as you’re dealing with electronics, you need to keep your gently dampen your cloths and swabs rather than getting them wet. If you’re dealing with a desktop PC and you know your way around it, you can do some dismantling to really get into those dusty corners, but it isn’t essential.

With the digital and physical spring cleaning complete, you can power your computer back up and enjoy the benefits of your rejuvenated system—at least until the same time next year.

Homemade Mosquito spray

Quote

MosquitoSprayI like experimenting with making my own products that have no chemicals in them.  I mixed up this homemade mosquito spray that sure smells better than Off.   I love essential oils so much that I became a distributor. I order oils through Young Living. You can also find oils at some health food stores.

DIY Natural Outdoor Spray

About the Ingredients

Purification essential oil is a blend of citronella, lemongrass, lavandin, rosemary, melaleuca and myrtle essential oils. Citronella is very effective in keeping bugs away. Smells very nice. Sometimes I use this oil in my diffuser to make the air around us smell clean and fresh.
Peppermint essential oil helps to keep little annoyances in the outdoors at bay.  This is my most favorite oil. It will get rid of a headache, stop hot flashes, keep bugs away and so much more.

Witch hazel helps to keep the water solution in this spray sanitized. You could omit if you plan to use the spray within a week. For use longer than a week, I would add the witch hazel.

Ingredients

  1. 10 drops of Purification (Young Living Oil)
  2. 7 drops of Peppermint
  3. 2 oz natural witch hazel (optional)
  4. Distilled water
  5. 4 oz glass spray bottle

Directions

  1. Add witch hazel and essential oils to glass spray bottle.  Then, fill with the bottle with distilled water.
  2. Shake well and spray as needed around home.  I actually spray myself with this chemical free spray.

I order my essential oils from Young Living.  I can order oils.

Let the Schwanbecks Exceed Your Expectations!

We would love an opportunity to assist you in your real estate needs – anywhere in the DFW metroplex or whether you want a lake home in East Texas. Click here to view our website. Click here to learn more about Cedar Creek Lake.

| Debbie and Bruce Schwanbeck, Realtors at Ebby Halliday Realtors DebbieS@ebby.com BruceS@ebby.com 469.249.2034 |

Water My Yard

Quote


Your clients could be saving money on landscape watering

A tool from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension could save your clients money and help conserve resources by providing custom advice on how much water their yard needs.

Water My Yard takes into account local weather conditions and irrigation system details to calculate watering recommendations for a specific address. Automated updates from the tool can help homeowners avoid overwatering while keeping their landscape healthy and saving money. The water district as a whole can benefit, too, from the resources and energy saved if homeowners only water when necessary.

Let the Schwanbecks Exceed Your Expectations!

We would love an opportunity to assist you in your real estate needs – anywhere in the DFW metroplex or whether you want a lake home in East TexasLet the Schwanbecks Exceed Your Expectations!

We would love an opportunity to assist you in your real estate needs – anywhere in the DFW metroplex or whether you want a lake home in East Texas. Click here to view our website. Click here to learn more about Cedar Creek Lake.

| Debbie and Bruce Schwanbeck, Realtors at Ebby Halliday Realtors DebbieS@ebby.com BruceS@ebby.com 469.283.8656 |

Get rid of Flies

Quote

PineSolI do like the smell of Pine Sol and Flies HATE pine-sol. So I’m going to have to try this mix. Mix it with water, about 50/50 and put it in a spray bottle. Use to wipe counters or spray on the porch and patio table and furniture Drive them away!

Let the Schwanbecks Exceed Your Expectations!

We would love an opportunity to assist you in your real estate needs  – anywhere in the DFW metroplex or whether you want a lake home in East Texas.  Click here to view our website.  Click here to learn more about Cedar Creek Lake.

| Debbie and Bruce Schwanbeck, Realtors at Ebby Halliday Realtors DebbieS@ebby.com BruceS@ebby.com  469.283.8656 |

Homeowners Don’t Want Cookie-Cutter Lawns | Realtor Magazine

Quote

10-05 WaterFeature DSC00598We were in the boat awhile ago taking a cruise on Cedar Creek Lake when we saw this amazing water fountain feature in the lakeside yard.  Owners are taking on landscaping projects to make their yards look different from their neighbors’.  At Cedar Creek Lake most people don’t spend alot of time and energy on the street side yard.  Most of the time and decorating is on the lake side.  I have seen fantastic outdoor kitchens, boathouses, firepits, swingsets and river rock streams, and outdoor pavilions.  Check out what the Realtor Magazine has to say about cookie-cutter lawns.

Source: Homeowners Don’t Want Cookie-Cutter Lawns | Realtor Magazine

Let the Schwanbecks Exceed Your Expectations!

We would love an opportunity to assist you in your real estate needs  – anywhere in the DFW metroplex or whether you want a lake home in East Texas.  Click here to view our website.  Click here to learn more about Cedar Creek Lake.

| Debbie and Bruce Schwanbeck, Realtors at Ebby Halliday Realtors DebbieS@ebby.com BruceS@ebby.com  469.283.8656 |

Have you ever wished to save your gift Roses?

Quote

On Valentine’s day I got my first roses from grandchildren. They were lovely and smelled fantastic. I wanted to try an experiment that I read about on Pinterest.  THIS ONE WORKED. 

I cut the stem. Dipped it in cinnamon. Cut off the flower and remove leaves. Plant it in a pot. Put a glass jar over the stem for a couple of weeks. Just when I was ready to give up, I now have new baby roses growing. 

I’m so excited to see them growing and now I’m trying this with other kinds of plant cuttings.

Debbie Schwanbeck at Ebby Halliday Realtors DebbieS@ebby.com. 469.249.2034

Which Light Bulbs Are Right For You?

Quote

With so many types of light bulbs available, it can be overwhelming to select the right ones. Read this guide to determine what you need.

Source: Which Light Bulbs Are Right For You?

Let the Schwanbecks Exceed Your Expectations!

We would love an opportunity to assist you in your real estate needs  – anywhere in the DFW metroplex or whether you want a lake home in East Texas.  Click here to view our website.

| Debbie and Bruce Schwanbeck, Realtors at Ebby Halliday Realtors DebbieS@ebby.com BruceS@ebby.com  469.283.8656 |

What Is a Crawl Space? An Eye-Opening Peek Underneath Your Home | realtor.com®

Quote

When searching for a home, you might see the phrase “crawl space” in the listing features on the real estate brochure. So what is a crawl space?

Source: What Is a Crawl Space? An Eye-Opening Peek Underneath Your Home | realtor.com®

Let the Schwanbecks Exceed Your Expectations!

We would love an opportunity to assist you in your real estate needs  – anywhere in the DFW metroplex or whether you want a lake home in East Texas.  Click here to view our website.

| Debbie and Bruce Schwanbeck, Realtors at Ebby Halliday Realtors DebbieS@ebby.com BruceS@ebby.com  469.283.8656 |

Reuse Coffee Grounds Outdoors

Quote

CoffeeGroundsI don’t throw coffee grounds in the trash anymore.  I put them to work.  So, I put them in an old coffee can.  Once it is full, I spread it around my plants for extra nourishment.  It gives them nitrogen.  Did you know that spreading coffee grounds around the garden will keep slugs and snails away?  Do you have a cat problem outdoors?  Spread the coffee grounds in the soil and it is supposed to keep cats out.  (This one is for you Krystle Schwanbeck.) Acid loving plants such as roses and gardenias love coffee grounds.  It increases the acidity and nutrients.  I have been doing this for awhile and my roses seem to be doing better.  Did you know that if you mix 2 cups of coffee grounds in a 5 gallon bucket of water and let it steep overnight it is supposed to make a good fertilizer?  (This one is for you Bruce Schwanbeck.)  You can use coffee grounds as a mulch to keep weeds at bay and to hydrate plants.

Let the Schwanbecks Exceed Your Expectations!

We would love an opportunity to assist you in your real estate needs  – anywhere in the DFW metroplex or whether you want a lake home in East Texas.  Click here to view our website.

| Debbie and Bruce Schwanbeck, Realtors at Ebby Halliday Realtors DebbieS@ebby.com BruceS@ebby.com  469.283.8656 |

 

 

I Love Cinnamon and Now I Have More Reason to Use It!

Quote

Here are my most common uses for cinnamon in the home & garden.  I love cinnamon and now I have more reason to use it.

1) Seedlings. The term dampening off  covers a range of diseases and that attack a seed/seedling either before or after germination and cause the seedling to die. They can be caused by several different fungus and soil conditions. A few years back I read that if you dust the soil with cinnamon it will prevent dampening off. I’ve been doing it since with great results! (this also gets rid of those little gnats that somehow appear around seedling trays)  (Debbie:  I’m trying this right now.  Today was beautiful outside, and I started some seedlings – carrots, spinach, tomatoes, and bell peppers.  I can’t wait to see if it works.)

cinnamon prevents dampening off disease

2) Wild mushrooms. Nothing worse then having to waste a beautiful day pulling mushrooms from the mulch in my flower beds. Mushrooms are fungus though, and by dusting cinnamon all over the mulch it helps to control mushroom growth.

3) Rooting hormone. Much cheaper then the chemical stuff they sell in the big box store and just as effective! Just apply cinnamon powder to the stem when you plant the cutting.

4) Ant deterrent. Ants do not like cinnamon! Sprinkle it in your greenhouse or around your garden beds. It will not kill the ants, but they will stay away from it. Sprinkle it by your doors if ants are coming into your house. They really hate to cross a line of cinnamon!

5) Plant wounds. Overzealous pruning or a slip of the weed whacker and you’ll have a plant with a wound that needs fixed up. Simply dust cinnamon on the wound to encourage healing and prevent fungal infection at the same time.

6) House plants. Cinnamon get’s rid of molds and mildew in house plants too. Simply sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on the soil. It will also get rid of gnats if you happen to have them buzzing around your house plants. These are the same gnats seedlings get, the cinnamon destroys the fungus they feed on and they will die.

Source: Feathers in the woods: Spice it up! Why plants love cinnamon

Let the Schwanbecks Exceed Your Expectations!

We would love an opportunity to assist you in your real estate needs  – anywhere in the DFW metroplex or whether you want a lake home in East Texas.  Click here to view our website.  Click here to learn more about Cedar Creek Lake.

| Debbie and Bruce Schwanbeck, Realtors at Ebby Halliday Realtors DebbieS@ebby.com BruceS@ebby.com  469.283.8656 |