Category Archives: cleaning

Winter’s Bright Side

5 Cold Weather Projects You Can Do Now

If all of this snow has cramped your style, you might be able to channel a different kind of style, for your home. These colder months can work to our advantage, if we use them as a chance to take on a few fun home improvement projects. Here are five big-impact ideas that just might take your mind off the cold.

benjamin moore accent wall
Photo: Benjamin Moore

1. Paint an interior wall (or door)

Maybe your walls took a bit of a beating this holiday season, or maybe you just crave some color to brighten up a room. Painting an accent wall adds definition and interest to a space, without a major time commitment.  A freshly painted interior door can have a similar effect, inviting a new perspective into any room.

2.  Polish your wood floors

Even with regular cleaning, a quarterly polishing is recommended for most wood floors. Polishing adds extra beauty, shine and longevity to your floors, helping to restore a floor’s protective layer of finish. Learning how to polish hardwood yourself is a relatively quick, cheap and easy way to properly maintain your floors. Polishing is different than refisnishing, in that you are keeping the finish that is on the floor intact, filling in microscopic scratches and evening out the appearance.

closet-organization3. Organize a closet

Get ready for the busy season, by doing a little spring cleaning before the rush. After you’ve done the work of sorting (and possibly purging), a closet organizer kit will help you get the most mileage out of your hard work. Snow’s carries a couple of different kits (which are also a snap to special order) that can  expand your storage space and keep everything organized an within reach. The ClosetMaid Closet Organizer, for example, has over 10′ of hanging space and 13′ of adjustable shelving space. You can also neatly stow away odd-shaped items by using a variety of totes and baskets.

copper knob
Shown: Liberty Hardware 1-1/2″ French Lace Knob with copper highlights

4.  Swap out some hardware

Just like great jewelry makes a fashion statement, one of the easiest ways to give a fixture a facelift is by updating the hardware. Doors, cabinets, dressers and vanities will all love being accessorized with some new knobs or pulls. And there are lots of choices – whether you prefer a satin nickel finish, a more vintage-style distressed copper, or something in between.

Snow's has a large selection of new spa products to use at home, including SallyeAnder Almond Goat Milk, Seagrass, Milk and Mint and "No Bite Me" Soaps, and Camille Beckman's Mango Beach No.2, Secret Sea, French Vanilla, Orient Spice and English Lavender collections.
Snow’s has a large selection of new spa products to use at home, including Camille Beckman, B. Witching Bath Co., Pre de Provence and Caswell-Massey for men.

5. Give your bath a spa feel

Now is the time of year when we love the chance to relax in a nice, hot bath – so why not elevate the experience with some carefully chosen spa-inspired treats?  From soft bamboo towels to color-coordinated lotions, soaps and candles, it doesn’t take much to take your bath from basic to beyond.

Home for the Holidays: Tips for Getting Ready

It’s a familiar feeling. We’ve hardly finished washing the dishes from Thanksgiving – and the Christmas season arrives, with bells on.

If you play host or hostess for the holidays, a good game plan will help you get your home in order more easily.  After all, the best gift you can give your loved ones is to be relaxed and joyful, knowing you have the prep work squared away.

Here are 5 ideas for getting ahead of the holiday rush:

make ahead soup#1 Make Meals for Crunch Time
There are definitely some holiday treats – like cookies – you can make ahead and freeze. But if you can also squeeze in items like casseroles, soups and stews, you’ll appreciate having an easy home cooked meal when the rest of your schedule gets tight.

Find it at Snow’s: canning jars, slow cookers, oven safe cookware, reusable / portable food containers

#2 Pack, Purge and Polish
Before you start filling closets with gifts from Santa, make some room by sorting through your clothes and making a dash to Goodwill. After the purge, you can give the house a thorough cleaning – before that task overwhelms you.

Find it at Snow’s: household storage containers, cleaning products (including all-natural and non-toxic cleaners)

cape cod wreath#3 Enhance the Entryway
When holiday visitors come-a-knocking, a festive entryway will let them know good times are waiting inside. Sometimes less is more: a single lush, live wreath with some seasonal accents can transform a front door.

Find it at Snow’s: live wreaths and trees, garland, decorative holiday trimmings

#4 Create a Welcoming Washroom
Except for the kitchen (everyone really spend time there!), your bathroom is probably the most visited room in the house. Freshen up the space with some special soaps, lotions and perhaps a lightly scented candle or two… your guests will appreciate the effort.

Find it at Snow’s: premium lotions and soaps, bath accessories, towels, candles and diffusers

puzzle#5 Stock Up on Fun
We love the food, we love the gifts. But what’s better than doing nothing more than sitting down to play a game? Your friends and family will jump at the chance to break out a classic board game, work on a big puzzle, or simply relax and connect with one another.

Find it at Snow’s: toys, games and puzzles for all ages, including the classics!

From Kitchen to Campsite

10 Great Products for Inside and Out

Camping season in New England is beginning again. Toasting marshmallows, playing cards and games, corn poppers, hiking, star-gazing or simply relishing down time with friends and family – these are all images that you just can’t help but smile about.

So when we pack for the food end of a camping trip (what better reason to get three or more squares a day?), we always remember the basics: cooler, paper goods, big pot to wash dishes in, etc. But there are some items you may not think of that actually serve double-duty in your kitchen at home.

Here’s our hot list of the 10 kitchen products you’ll love having both at the campsite and indoors.

1. WUSTHOF HERB SHEARS

Yes, Wusthof makes high end, German-engineered cutlery that you may think only belongs safely inside a knife block on your kitchen counter. Time to think outside the block! These shears are just the tool you need to chop and mince fresh herbs directly into whatever you like, without needing a cutting board or knife. Use them to prepare the fresh basil, chives, cilantro, parsley or rosemary you brought with you on your camping trip, or if you’re lucky enough to be near a place where you can clip them fresh, all the better. The handles are ergonomic and the shears come with a sheath for safe storage. They should be hand washed, but that’s not a problem…last we checked, even the most modern campsites don’t come equipped with dishwashers. :-)

2. CAMPFIRE WHIRLEY POP

Remember this: the original stovetop popcorn popper? It’s still around and it sure beats the flavor you get from the microwaveable bags. If you have and love the indoor model you’ll want to invest in the outdoor one, too: The “Open Fire Pop” popper makes delicious popcorn with that old time “shake & pop” experience right over your campfire (or fireplace or grill). It’s safe to use, too – with a comfort stay-cool handle and easy pouring lid that keeps your hands away from the heat.

3. KEBO BOTTLE OPENER

While the Whirley Pop is reminiscent of the good old days, this is a product that’s new on the market. Once you see how easy it is to use, however, you’ll wonder what took them so long to invent it. Actually, the Kebo bottle opener is inspired by  simpler times; it’s a modern interpretation of the Theodore Low bottle opener from the 1930s. At any rate, it’s the easiest way there is to pop open a bottle cap, and would certainly be welcome anywhere fine beer or carbonated beverages are enjoyed – like ’round a campfire! The name Kebo® is derived from “Bottle Key.” Clever!

Watch the video to see how it works

p.s.  These folks really are clever, the also created “Chomp Stix”: easy-to-use plastic chop sticks that make food fun.

4. MOISTURE PROOF SHAKER

Sometimes the littlest things make all the difference. Whether you’re in a Cape Cod kitchen or a campsite by a lake, moist environments make things sticky…but this shaker is moisture proof! No more clogged salt: perfect for boating, camping, picnics, and everyday use.

5. CAST IRON SKILLET

A cast iron skillet is one of the most essential items in a kitchen. The even heating – and heat retention – of cast iron is what gives foods that perfect pan sear. It’s versatile, durable, and it cooks your morning bacon and eggs over a campfire perfectly.

6. FRENCH PRESS

Ok, so maybe the rugged camping types will get a chuckle out of this one, but if you’re a coffee connoisseur you will appreciate getting your morning Joe from a French press after a perhaps uncomfortable night sleeping on the ground. The standard size press makes 3 to 4 mugs of coffee, and all you need is the hot water and your favorite ground beans: no electrical outlet required.

7. GOURMET DIP SEASONINGS

Since we seem to be on a roll regarding the good life in the great outdoors, why not pack a few delicious dip mixes from Gourmet du Village? Add a cup of sour cream, a cup of mayo and you’ve made a terrific homemade dip in no time with these award-winning mixes. They’re also great as spreads for sandwiches and burgers, and there are lots of yummy blends to choose from like Lemon Dill, Sun Dried Tomato, Roasted Pepper and Roasted Garlic.

8. MRS. MEYERS DISH SOAP

There’s no way around it, cleanup is a necessary part of camping. Even if you’re using disposable products for your dishes, there will undoubtedly be pots, pans and utensils to wash after each meal. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Lavender Dish Soap is the ticket: it’s all natural yet it makes grease disappear like nobody’s business. Rinses clean, too, so you have less trips to the water spigot. The concentrated formula goes a long way: all you need is a squirt or two and you’re on your way.

9. TERVIS TUMBLERS

Tervis is a name that’s been around for awhile – and you should except no substitutes. Tervis Tumblers keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot, and they are virtually indestructible. Go with the standard clear tumblers, or add a little whimsy with their sailboat design. And of course these tumblers are happy to travel everywhere, including campsites!

10. MELAMINE TABLEWARE

Plates and serveware made from stain resistant melamine give you have a sturdy, nice looking table setting for both indoor & outdoor use. They’re heat resistant, so you can use them for hot foods without worry. And melamine is a green option, too, they’re lightweight and easily package, but they wash clean and can be reused over and over again. The Gourmac line comes in classic white – or if you’re feeling a little “fancy,” go for the Keller-Charles collection adorned with blooming blue hydrangeas. 

 

So whether you’re a seasoned outdoor veteran or someone who’d rather go cabin-style with “above ground” toilets, there’s nothing wrong with bringing along some items to make your outdoor kitchen experience more enjoyable.

Dealing with Summer Traffic

10 easy ways to get your home ready for summer entertaining 

Memorial Day Weekend is just moments away, and if you’re like most of us Cape Codders, that signals the onslaught of summer guests.  Welcome guests, of course, but you might feel pinched for time as you try to get ready for all that fun.

But you don’t have to embark upon a full scale renovation to make your home feel like it’s had a face lift.  Snow’s is your one-stop-shop for these easy, cost-efficient ideas to help you prepare for a season of entertaining.  After all, you should get to relax with your guests, too, right? 

1. Get Squeaky Clean, Not Stinky Clean.

Starting with the basics, you certainly want a clean home for your guests. But before you lug out the dreaded bucket of Windex and Pine Sol, consider the earth-friendly Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products. Made with plant-derived ingredients and essential oils, these household cleaners are gentle on your home and the earth, and they really do smell good. Available in lavender, lemon verbena and basil. Not only will they be able to eat off your floor, they just might want to!

2. Color with Nature

No time to plant? No problem. Gorgeous planters with flowering annuals and
overflowing hanging baskets are ready to roll. Instant color, wherever you want it. For a kitchen counter or a natural table setting, go for small clay pots filled with edible herbs. Someone wants a little more basil on their tomato salad? Easy… pick it out of the centerpiece!

3. Dinner Plate….or Frisbee?

Not that you’d really want to play frisbee with the elegantly understated acrylic tableware from Keller Charles – but you could! Choose from wonderfully Cape Cod inspired patterns like blue hydrangeas…they look great and they won’t break.  Make clean up even easier by having a few bright vinyl tablecloths on hand.

4. Safe Ambiance

Candlelight is magical, but smoke on the walls, flames near young kids and wax on the tablecloth all leave a little to be desired. This year stock up on LED flameless indoor/outdoor candles: all the ambiance, none of the aggravation.

5. Java Speak

Thanks to Keurig brewers and K-cups, your guests will feel pampered when you give each them the coffee or tea they enjoy. Choose from decaf to dark roast and everything in between, plus flavors ranging from the”standard” like French vanilla and hazelnut to creative blends like raspberry chocolate truffle and “Jamaica Me Crazy”. No fussing with a kettle of water for the tea lovers, either: green, lemon…Starbuck’s Zen tea: there’s truly something for everyone.

6. Cook at the Beach

You can… with a programmable crockpot.  Crockpots may make us think of wintery stews, but there’s nothing better than spending a day at the beach while supper cooks at home.  There are lots of recipes that work for warm weather, too: think pulled pork sandwiches, chili to adorn those grilled hot dogs…even potato salad!

7. Outdoor Furniture Makeover

Nothing brightens up a piece of weathered furniture like new paint. For the how-to on sprucing up an adirondack chair, outdoor table or just about any other piece you can think of, check out one of our previous blog posts, courtesy of our friends at Benjamin Moore.

8. Throw it Around

With a minimal investment, you can make a decorative statement with a few new throw pillows and rugs.  We especially love the Chandler 4 Corners pillows that boast a “historically beachy” feel, and the boldly striped rugs from Dash & Albert.

9. Love & Light

Decorative lamps are another home accent item where a little goes a long way.  If you’re “going coastal,” this rope lamp with a Nautilus shell lampshade surely fits the bill. A pair on rustic side tables flanking a comfy sofa is sure to make your guests feel seaworthy. For rooms that have recessed overhead lighting, you can still channel the coast: what says summer better than a handcrafted switch plate that directs you to the beach?

10. The Important Extras

Even though the decorating part is more fun, there are always other to-do’s that need doing.  Need extra house keys for company? Porch screen window not in such great shape? Propane tank for the grill on empty?  Not to worry, Snow’s is here to help.  Bring those keys, screens and tanks (as well as lamp shades, cutlery and more), while you shop, and take advantage of Snow’s convenient in-store services, too. You’ll get those services with a smile, and you’ll be smiling as you leave, because you’ll know you’re ready for showtime.

Summer…bring it on!

Time for a Clean Slate

A Guide to Spring Cleaning

There’s a reason we like to do a good, thorough cleaning come April. After the house has been closed up all winter, we can finally open up some windows and let the fresh air back in. In addition to airing out the house, the warmer weather also gives us a chance to do some of the bigger jobs that are just plain harder in the winter.  For instance, bathrooms are less likely to grow mold when they’re ventilated after scrubbing, and cleaned carpets will dry faster, giving them less opportunity to take on a mildewy odor.

But is there a method to the madness of spring cleaning? Some will definitely say yes.  While no list is the final authority on the subject, we’ve compiled an overview of what you can do to get your home in ship shape for the brighter days of summer.

1. Get organized

No doubt, we all accumulate more in the winter…maybe it’s a nesting instinct that comes with our desire for a cozy home. Nevertheless, it will feel good to eliminate some clutter.

The easiest way to do this without getting overwhelmed is to get a few big boxes for sorting items to keep, donate, or throw away. To organize the things you’re keeping, pick up a few specialty containers that suit your rooms – like an under shelf basket for the kitchen or some pretty rattan baskets for the bathroom. And don’t forget about clothing: as you change over your closets for the new season, you can also weed out what you haven’t worn in awhile and donate it to a friend or a charity.

2. Windows

The windows are perhaps not your favorite task, but it’s a little easier to take when you can get some sun on your face while you do it. Windex® makes an outdoor window and surface cleaner that works great; it can attach right to your garden hose, so you can even get to second story windows safely. It also works on patio furniture, play sets & other outdoor surfaces.

p.s. In addition to hosing down your patio or deck furniture, this is a good time to inspect your pieces for any tears or loose screws, etc.

3. Under the Furniture

See if you can enlist the help of some family members for this one. A strong volunteer can lift the heavy furniture while you vacuum or dust underneath. You’ll be surprised what you might find – maybe you’ll come across that missing earring or an “irreplaceable” Lego piece!

4. Room by Room

Our friends at Bissell came up with a very good checklist for the main rooms in the house. Rather than recreate the wheel, here are the highlights:

Kitchen:

  • Dust down the ceiling, corners of walls, ceiling fan and light fixtures
  • Remove and wash light fixtures if necessary
  • Spot wash walls, air vents, doorknobs, doors, etc
  • Take down curtains, draperies and blinds and clean accordingly
  • Wash the inside and outside of windows
  • Take down screens and rinse off before replacing
  • Clean the oven; leave the windows open when using oven cleaner
  • Wipe down the stove, removing burners, burner covers and spill catchers
  • Clean out the refrigerator and freezer; throw away expired food, wipe down shelves, door handles, etc. and sweep and mop underneath
  • Dust refrigerator coils (UNPLUG REFRIGERATOR FIRST)
  • Wipe down toaster, mixer, microwave, dishwasher and all other appliances
  • Wash all countertops and backsplashes
  • Clean out and organize all cabinets
  • Group like items together to make them easy to find
  • Wash down the sink; put baking soda with warm water and a lemon down the disposal and put ice cubes through the disposal to sharpen the blades
  • Sweep and mop the floor
  • Clean doormats: vacuum, wash, etc.

Bathroom:

  • Dust down the ceiling, corners of walls, light fixtures, vents and fans
  • Remove and wash light fixtures if necessary
  • Spot wash walls, air vents, doorknobs, doors, etc
  • Take down curtains, draperies and blinds and clean accordingly
  • Wash the inside and outside of windows
  • Take down screens and rinse off before replacing
  • Scrub down the shower, tub and toilet
  • Wash sink, faucets and countertops
  • Clean all mirrors
  • Wipe down the inside and outside of medicine cabinets and linen cabinets; throw away expired products, including medicine, makeup and hair products
  • Update first aid kit
  • Shake out and wash all rugs
  • Sweep and mop the floor

Bedroom:

  • Dust down the ceiling, corners of walls, light fixtures, accent lamps, vents and fans
  • Remove and wash light fixtures if necessary
  • Spot wash walls, air vents, doorknobs, doors, etc
  • Take down curtains, draperies and blinds and clean accordingly
  • Wash the inside and outside of windows
  • Take down screens and rinse off before replacing
  • Wash all bedding, including pillows
  • Flip mattress
  • Dust down and clean off dressers, chests, nightstands, desks and other pieces of furniture
  • Clean any mirrors
  • Vacuum, spot treat and deep clean any rugs/carpet
  • Dust and mop hard wood floors
  • Clean out closet, drawers, shelves etc; throw away the items that are unusable and give away or sell items you no longer need, never use or never wear – and put off-season items in storage
  • Organize the remaining clothes, knickknacks, jewelry, books and other items

Dining Room:

  • Dust down the ceiling, corners of walls, ceiling fan and light fixtures
  • Remove and wash light fixtures if necessary
  • Spot wash walls, air vents, doorknobs, doors, etc
  • Take down curtains, draperies and blinds and clean accordingly
  • Replace heavy items with lightweight ones
  • Wash the inside and outside of windows
  • Take down screens and rinse off before replacing
  • Dust and wipe down table, chairs, cabinets and other furniture
  • Spot clean seats
  • Wash tablecloths
  • Vacuum, spot treat and deep clean any rugs/carpet
  • Dust and mop hard wood floors
  • Wash and dry all nice china by hand
  • Clean doormats: vacuum, wash, etc.

Other resources:

Mrs. Meyers: Household cleaning products that do a great job and actually smell good. Made with essential oils from flowers and herbs such as Lavender, Basil and Lemon Verbena. Earth-friendly, cruelty-free and not tested on animals.

Cape Cod Polish (A Cape Cod Company): Soft, reusable cotton cloths containing just the right amount of (amazingly effective) metal polish. Simply wipe away tarnish for your brass, silver, copper, pewter or other metal pieces

Wash Safe (a Cape Cod company): Spring is a great time to clean the roof, too! Wash Safe Roof Cleaner removes roof moss, mold and stains. When applied to the growths on your roof, a reaction occurs causing the roots of the growth to weaken to the point where it can’t feed or absorb water, basically cutting off its nourishment. Starts working instantly.