John Colby
Colby Realty | 978-249-5871 | [email protected]


Posted by John Colby on 9/8/2019

If you cook in a cast iron skillet or use other cast iron cookware, you’ll know that periodically, they need what is called “seasoning.” But just what does that mean? The way that cast iron works, oil baked into the service prevents the iron from forming rust and keeps food from sticking too much. As long as the pan is adequately protected, the seasoned finish improves with age, giving you that much sought-after easy-release veneer.

What you need

  • The manufacturers of newer pans sell special soybean-based oils that are highly refined to use on their cookware.
  • If you’ve inherited grandma’s cookware, however, she probably used cooking oil or even lard to keep her pan seasoned. If you cook in the pan all the time, lard (pork fat) or tallow (beef fat) still are excellent seasoning choices. But, when you use it only occasionally, both lard and tallow can become rancid and ruin the flavor of your food. Additionally, you may use melted shortening or vegetable oil.
  • A cleaning kit (sold at better homeware stores) or a soft, lint-free cloth.

How to

With a clean, dry skillet, cover the pan inside and out with a thin layer of oil (or lard/tallow). Be sure to get the bottom and the handle as well. For best results, rub the oil on with a lint-free cloth.

Heat your oven to 350°F. Place the pan upside down on the top rack of the oven and place a sheet of aluminum foil or an aluminum cookie sheet on the bottom shelf to gather any oil drips. Let your pan season in the oven for one hour. Let your pan cool completely before using.

Troubleshooting

If your pan feels sticky, excess oil may have built up on the surface, or the oil has not fully converted to seasoning. Turn your oven on to 400°F and place the pan upside down on the upper rack. Allow it to bake for an hour. After your pan has cooled, test the surface again. If it is still somewhat gummy or sticky, repeat the process at 400°F for an additional hour.

If dark residue appears on your cleaning cloth, your pan may be reacting to high heat or an acidic food such as tomato sauce. Just wipe it out as much as possible and continue to use your pan regularly. The darkened areas should resolve.

If your pan has rust, perhaps from improper storage, or because you picked it up at a garage sale, gently remove the rust with very fine steel wool or a scratch-free scrubber. Then, wash the cookware in hot, soapy water to remove all the metal filings and loosened rust. Let your pan dry so that you can see if all the rust is removed. Once is it completely clear of rust, follow the seasoning instructions above.

As your property professional if there are cooking classes in your area to become a pro at using your cast iron skillet.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by John Colby on 4/28/2019

Children are adorable creatures, but sometimes they may make you hit the ceiling. Like when? Well, like when they use a crayon to draw caricatures of Sponge Bob on your wall. In such situations, it's important to keep a cool head. There is no need for yelling or spanking anyone; there are ways to remove crayons from walls easily. Before you use any method on this post, make sure your test is on a small area of the wall to make sure it won't spoil your wall or paint. Here are a few of them: 

Toothpaste 

Wait a minute... toothpaste? Yes, you read it correctly, toothpaste is not only for cleaning teeth or clearing acne. Toothpaste can be used to wipe away crayon marks from your wall. All you need to do is to squirt a non-gel toothpaste onto the wall and scrub it off with a brush. Wondering how this works? Well, toothpaste contains abrasives that will tackle the crayon marks as you scrub with the brush. This method is rigorous but effective if you don’t mind scrubbing.

Baking Soda 

Yes, the good old baking soda can get rid of the alphabets your kids wrote with crayon on your wall. For this procedure, get a damp cloth, dip it into a small amount of baking soda. Next, use the dampened washcloth to scrub the crayon marks on the wall gently. This method is effective and doesn't require too much scrubbing. 

WD-40 

This method works like magic. All you need is to get a can of WD-40, shake it properly and spray it on to the crayon doodles and leave it for some few minutes, preferably 5-7 minutes. Next, grab a clean rag and gently wipe off WD-40 off your wall and the crayon marks will wipe away with it.

Vinegar 

Vinegar is not only useful for cleaning the toilet, But It also works wonders too in removing crayon marks from walls. Get a toothbrush, dip it in vinegar and gently scrub off the crayon marks and wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth.

Water and Soap Combo 

This method is simple and effective. You'll need is a sponge and a bowl of hot water mixed with liquid. Plunge the sponge into the mixture and scrub off the crayon marks with it. So, if you have children who use your wall as their coloring book, no need to fret, just apply any of these methods.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by John Colby on 10/14/2018

When many homeowners set out to declutter their home, they aren’t quite sure of what they’re getting into. Decluttering is a big job that requires some planning and an understanding of your end goals.

Some homeowners are setting out to declutter their home because they’re moving in the near future and want to simplify their move or make their home more appealing to potential buyers. Others have just noticed the junk piling up in their drawers and on their countertops and are fed up.

Regardless of your situation, if you want to declutter you’ve come to the right place.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about one of the best ways to set out on your mission of decluttering your home.

Why room by room?

Decluttering a home can take a lot of time and can be demotivating if you aren’t seeing a lot of progress. One way to break this process down into more manageable pieces is to declutter your home one room at a time.

This method also helps you manage the time you plan on spending decluttering. If your goal is to declutter one room per week until you move, then make sure you have 4 or 5 weeks to complete your cleaning and decluttering.

Bathroom

We’ll start with one of the smaller and easier rooms in your home, the bathroom. A good way to start is by going through your closet and cabinet and getting rid of old supplies and medicines.

Have a first aid kit that you haven’t touched in five years? There’s a good chance most things in it are expired anyway.

Once you’re done throwing out expired items, see if you can reorganize what’s left. A good way to take advantage of the space in a small bathroom is to use door hangers on the inside of your bathroom closet for hanging brooms, dustpans, mops, etc.

Does your bathroom also have messy stacks of assorted towels? One good solution is to roll up your hand towels and store them vertically in a basket that will be kept in your closet. This prevents your stacks of towels from tumbling over, never to be straightened again.

Kitchen

It’s amazing how kitchen utensils and appliances can add up over the years. Do you have a garlic clove grinder that’s been sitting in your drawer for years? Chances are you can toss it out.

Once you’ve made some space in your kitchen drawers and cabinets, bring some order to what’s left by using compartments and stackable organizers. This will help keep you on track by giving each item in your kitchen a “home.”

Bedrooms

You probably already guessed it, but the most disorganized area in most bedrooms is the closet. A good rule of thumb when cleaning out clothes is to ask yourself if you’ve worn the item since this time last year. If not, there’s a good chance you can safely donate it to a thrift store.

Have a tendency of throwing dirty clothes in piles on the floor? Make things easier on yourself by keeping a clothing bin nearby that you can toss all of your dirty clothes into and worry about sorting them later.





Posted by John Colby on 9/16/2018

Having a cat turns a house into a cozy home. The mess they bring with them, however? Not so much. If only they could keep your house as clean as they do themselves. I’ve got six of tips for you today to keep your home clean so you enjoy your cat’s company without resenting them for the disorder they can create.

1. Start with a little pampering for your feline friend. Groom your cat regularly if not daily to stay on top of shedding fur to ensure it ends up in the trash instead of all over your furniture. You may also want to trim claws regularly or invest in a set of claw caps to prevent your cat from scratching up furniture or snagging on fabrics. 

2. Vacuum your carpets, drapes, and furniture weekly to prevent hair from building up on every possible surface. You may even want to vacuum high traffic areas a few times a week to maintain your carpetings condition. Investing in a handheld vacuum is a great way to easily swoop in on messes throughout the week without lugging your main vacuum out several times a week. 

3. Dusting regularly is also ideal to cut down on fur and dander from building up on surfaces. Dusting one room per day is an easy way to stay on top of the chore. Keeping a microfiber cloth tucked away in each room makes it even easier to get the job done and keep surfaces clear of debris.

4. Wipe down counters and tables regularly with disinfectant. While you can’t guarantee your cat isn’t strolling over your counters when you aren’t looking and wiping surfaces down at least daily ensures they are clean. Keep germs at bay especially from paws that may have just recently left the litter box by keeping disinfectant on hand at all times.

5. The litter box. The source of the most dreaded of cat messes. Obviously, scooping daily and doing a full clean out every two weeks cuts down on odor. But putting a litter mat underneath the litter box catches litter outside the box right away and prevents your cat from tracking it throughout the house. Some clever placement can also keep cat litter from finding it’s way throughout the house. Place the box in the furthest corner from the door and in a low traffic area.  

6. Clean up hairballs asap. Pick up solid messes with a towel and scrape any excess off with a butter knife. You’ll also want to use an enzyme based odor neutralizer to prevent odors from settling into carpeting. Grooming your cat regularly is a not only a great way to keep hair from clinging to every surface as mentioned in tip number one but also prevents hairballs from happening in the first place.

Owning a cat is such a rewarding experience. The messes they leave behind, however, can feel anything but. With a regular cleaning schedule and the right tools, you can keep a tidy home in a manageable way so you can get back to snuggling up with your cat faster.




Tags: cleaning tips   how to   cat  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by John Colby on 8/12/2018

One of the many challenges of putting your home on the market is keeping it clean!

That task can be even more difficult if you have kids, pets, and a busy schedule. If everyone is always rushing off to their jobs, classes, lunch dates, meetings, practices, or appointments, it's hard to keep your home in a perpetual state of cleanliness and order.

Probably the first step to keeping your house ready for real estate showings is to remind your family to clean up after themselves. While this may require more than one reminder, any amount of cooperation will help keep messes to a minimum. Implementing some sort of reward system or even a competition among siblings, can go a long way toward maintaining a semblance of order in the house. Some parents even post a calendar of assigned chores to make sure everyone does their fair share.

Professional Help May Be Needed!

Getting your home ready for real estate showings can feel like a monumental task, especially if you have a large house and a messy family! The good news is that you can hire some outside help without depleting your kids' college funds! Many households already have a house cleaning person or service that comes in at least a couple times a month to keep things looking civilized. If your house is actively being shown to prospective buyers, however, you might want to consider having your housekeeper clean the house a little more frequently than usual. That way, you only have to do some minor tidying up when your real estate agent notifies you about a scheduled house showing in a few hours or tomorrow morning.

If any of your rooms are carpeted and the floors haven't been professionally steam-cleaned for as long as you can remember, it may be time to hire a carpet cleaning service. Carpeted floors have an unfortunate tendancy of locking in stains, allergens, and ground-in dirt for months, if not years! Although you can often improve the appearance of your carpets by cleaning them yourself, it often requires the services of a professional carpet cleaning service to really get those stubborn stains out. You can often get recommendations from neighbors, friends, relatives, or coworkers, and can look for online reviews of carpet cleaners on social media websites.

Once you've cleaned, dusted, and sanitized the inside of your house, there may be one more area to tackle before you're ready to have your house shown: its exterior! Your home's siding may be covered with filmy layers of dust, grime, splatters, and environmental pollutants -- a condition which thankfully can be reversed by using the services of a local power-washing company. While not all power-washing services are created equal, a reliable one can remove years of accumulated filmy deposits from pollen, birds, spider webs, acid rain, snow blower splatters, rust, smoky emissions from backyard barbeques, vehicle exhaust emissions, and other miscellaneous air pollution.

So even though the environment, your family, and the wear and tear of normal, everyday use will take its toll on the appearance of your home, there are many things you can do to reverse that process and restore many aspects of your home's original freshness, charm, and appeal!







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