Tips To Make Your Spring Cleaning A Breeze

There’s no denying the satisfaction that comes from cleaning your home from top to bottom. The fresh scent, comfort, and calmness it brings make all the hard work worthwhile. When you love your home, you want it to look its best, and there is no better way than giving your space a good spring cleaning.

While there are a plethora of cleaning tips and products available today, it can be overwhelming to determine which ones to use where and when. However, it’s crucial not to overlook classic cleaning hacks, as they are often the most effective. Here’s our list of the top traditional cleaning tips for your home to help you prepare for your big spring clean.

Cleaning with Baking Soda

Baking soda is a versatile product every cleaning enthusiast should have. While it’s commonly used in baking, it’s also an incredible cleaning product. You can use it to clean any surface that you would normally use a cream cleaner, clean bathrooms, de-grease your oven door, remove stains from mugs, freshen up rugs and carpets, and eliminate any odors from a sofa.

Homemade Window and Mirror Cleaner

We all desire streak-free mirrors and windows, and with this homemade solution of household products, achieving it is a breeze. Mix 1 ½ cups of water, 1 ½ tablespoons of white vinegar, 1 ½ tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, and 3 drops of any citrus essential oil into a spray bottle. Then use a lint-free cloth to wipe away the dirt.

Vinegar for Shiny Showers

White vinegar is a perfect descaler for your shower. Simply fill a plastic bag with vinegar, wrap it around your shower head using an elastic band, and leave it for a few hours. When you return, use a toothbrush to scrub off any residue, and your bathroom will be sparkling clean.

Natural Laundry Whitener with Lemon

Lemon juice is an old trick for achieving perfect white sheets. Squeeze the juice of a lemon into a bowl or bucket of hot water and soak your items for around two hours. Then, run them through a rinse cycle and leave them in the sun to dry.

Bonus Tip: Removing Red Wine Stains with White Wine

Adding more wine to an already messy spill may seem daunting, but this trick works wonders. The ingredients in white wine have the ability to dissolve the pigment in red wine, making it an excellent stain remover.

In conclusion, while there are many new cleaning products and techniques available, it’s important not to overlook traditional cleaning hacks that have been effective for generations. Baking soda, white vinegar, lemon juice, and white wine are just a few examples of versatile and natural products that can be used for various cleaning tasks around the house. By incorporating these traditional cleaning tips into your spring cleaning routine, you can achieve a sparkling clean home with ease.

Make sure to check out our Current Developments, a selection of new-build highly-finished homes.

Combating the C.O.L Crisis: How to Reduce Your Home Bills

C.O.L is a universal acronym for the cost of living crisis which is rising globally and fast! The cost of living crisis refers to the fall in ‘real’ disposable incomes that many of us are seeing at the moment. Stripping out the financial terminology, means we now have less money to spend after accounting for taxation and inflation. Finding ways to reduce your home bills is now even more crucial.

With the price of almost everything increasing – and wages usually failing to keep up – it’s no surprise many of us are finding things tough. For some, this has prompted tough choices like cutting the family grocery bill, while for others it’s meant foregoing meals out or weekends away.

In the following article, we’ll provide simple tips to save money on shopping to advice on how to help manage the impact on your household budget. 

1. Cold Wash Clothes

It’s universally thought that dirt and stains only remove themselves from clothing when washing at higher temperatures. However, this has proven not to be the case. Aim for a 30-degree wash if you can, this can save 60% on your energy per cycle according to Ariel. 

Hot Tip: Opt to purchase supermarket brands in relation to washing tablets and conditioners in order to save some pennies there too!

2. Eco-setting on appliance

To reiterate the above, opt for the more eco-friendly option and set your dishwasher and washing machine to the eco setting. The eco mode is used for lower rinse temperatures and uses a lower temperature wash, which uses less energy, but still maintains a high standard of cleaning. 

3. Showers = in, baths = out

Showers not only save you money but save on water consumption and energy, i.e. helping the planet that wee bit. Reviewing your water metre on a regular basis and monitoring it can help reduce your water consumption and therefore, reduce your home bills.

Hot Tip: If your gym or workplace offers showers try doing so there to cut costs.

4. Dry naturally

In this case we’re not only talking about clothes but also your hair. Using hair dryers and hair tools can increase your household energy bill. If you are looking at ways to save money and energy consumption, only use these appliances for special occasions. Your hair will be thankful, too!

In relation to clothes, hang them up on a clothes horse instead of using a tumble dryer. 

5. Energy-efficient purchases

If you’re due a new electronic purchase, from a fridge or freezer to a new tumble dryer ensure you are opting to purchase an energy-efficient appliance. Purchasing a smaller appliance will half your energy consumption and reduce your home bills significantly. Keeping your fridge out of direct sunlight will stop it from overcompensating. 

Hot Tip: Defrost your freezer at least once a year to keep it running smoothly. 

6. Unplug > Standby

The majority of us are used to flicking a switch on an appliance to turn it off rather than unplugging them completely. One might think switching off the tv from the remote means that it’s turned off, but newsflash, it isn’t. Yes, it might not be turned on from the display however if the switch is still turned on from the socket there is still energy flowing through the plug, therefore wasting energy.

Hot Tip: Take all plugs out of their sockets when not in use.

7. Home Automation

Contrary to popular belief, home automation can actually help you save energy and reduce your monthly electricity bill. With the widespread use of smartphones and the availability of affordable smart lights and switches, it’s never been easier to upgrade your home’s energy efficiency. Installation is simple and straightforward, allowing you to set automated routines, such as turning off all lights when you’re away from home or at a designated time, to help conserve energy. By embracing smart home technology, you can enjoy the benefits of a more sustainable and cost-effective home.

8. Reduce monthly subscriptions

Take stock of your monthly subscriptions and expenses such as gym memberships, phone and internet subscriptions, video streaming subscriptions, etc. Try to see if you can save by switching to a different plan and reducing your monthly bill. 

9. Challenge your lifestyle

This could be the year you give up one of your vices. From smoking and/or drinking to purchasing that coffee from your local barista on a daily basis. These habits add up to your monthly expenses. Not only will this be a healthier option for you but it will reduce your spending greatly.

10. Sell unused items

Have any unwanted items lying around the house? Is it time to finally declutter your wardrobe Marie Kondo style? Getting rid of unwanted/unused items is a great way to attain more disposable income. 

Closing thoughts

If you’re a first-time buyer looking to buy a new build home in Malta, why not take advantage of the first-time buyers’ scheme? With just a 10% deposit, you could purchase a beautiful new home sooner than you think. We have new homes available in highly sought-after areas, have a look at our current developments on offer here.

How To Live Sustainably in 2023

Every day we make choices that affect the environment and its inhabitants. From the clothes on our back and the food we eat to how we travel to work, every decision we make impacts the planet. The current generations are the most environmentally conscious in history, but there’s still much more to be done to live sustainably.

Is sustainable living possible?

Sustainable living is certainly possible and there are people who are going zero waste. However for some that is too extreme and living sustainably doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the small daily pleasures ever again. Rather, it involves thinking a little more about the food, drink and energy we consume, how we travel and whether we’re able to replace the resources we deplete.

If you’re wondering how to live a more sustainable lifestyle, we’ve put together a list of some easy ways to make responsible choices every day.

Meatless mondays

Whilst it would be beneficial to the planet and everyone included to go vegan, however it isn’t a realistic goal for everyone. Therefore, starting small with incorporating meatless mondays is the way to go, and hopefully you may start to incorporate more meatless meals throughout the week too. The climate impact of consuming meat is equivalent to all the vehicles on the globe. Also, another tip is to consider buying local meat from small farmers, as their meat is often produced more sustainably.

Switch out single use items

It’s time to swap your single use items to ones that are reusable. Single use items that need to get the chop are items such as make-up wipes, paper towels, cotton buds, shavers, toothbrushes, plastic bags, containers and bottles and much more. Although in some cases the initial cost is more expensive, the expense outweighs the cost on the environment.

Get better at recycling

It’s not hard to implement better recycling practices, especially within your own household. Create space for separate bins to make the process easier. It’s become even more incentivised to recycle in Malta with the implementation of the BCRS system which promotes the recycling of single use beverage containers by applying a refundable deposit on the sales of beverages. Consumers can recoup their deposits by returning the empty beverage container to an approved redemption location.

Start growing your veggies & composting

Whether it’s a collection of herb plants or a full blown vegetable garden, opt to make the new year the year to start growing your own vegetables. Opting to do so will not only reduce the amount spent at the supermarket but also may provide a sense of fulfilment with learning these new skills, watching your vegetables grow and making meals from fruits of your labour. 

Eat local & seasonal

Shop at your local farmers market and learn what vegetables are in season and plan meals around those. Shopping local helps support your local economy whilst eating seasonally reduces food waste and helps you live sustainably.

Switch to natural products

Whether it’s related to your personal hygiene or that of your home, consider swapping out your store bought dishwasher, washing machine and washing up liquid to a more natural alternative. Also, consider using soap, shampoo and conditioner bars. If you don’t like the idea of a bar, look for zero-waste liquid soap alternatives.

Save Energy

The final step to live sustainably also helps with saving on your home bills. This could be as simple as making a mental note to switch off the lights when leaving a room and unplugging electronics when they aren’t in use to switching to energy efficient light bulbs throughout your home. 

Looking for a new home? An energy efficient new build is the way to go

If looking for a new home, be it your first or your fifth, a new build will be much more energy efficient than purchasing an old home. We at GAP build new, low-maintenance homes that only require small amounts of energy and effort to keep up. Make sure to check out our Current Developments, a selection of new-build highly-finished homes.

Closing thoughts

Making small daily changes and turning them into habits will have a beneficial impact on living a more sustainable lifestyle. If you need help finding the home, contact us today!

How to Make Working from Home Work for You

The advent of the coronavirus pandemic has altered our lives in ways that were previously unimaginable, not least our working lives. If, like so many of us, you happen to be working from home these days, you might be asking yourself how you can create a dedicated home working space that works for you. Here are a few things for you to consider:

1. Choose Your Space

When it comes to a choosing a location or space for working from home, try to choose somewhere that’s as far away from your main living space as possible. This will allow you to avoid distraction from other goings-on in your home. You’ll also need to consider the distance between your WiFi router and where you’ll be sitting – it might be worth investing in a WiFi extender if needed.

Also consider setting up your home working space near a window that allows you to see out. If said window overlooks some greenery or has a nice view, all the better. Allowing yourself to see out as you work will have a soothing effect on you.

2. Pick Your Furniture

At the most basic level, you’ll need a good desk and a comfortable chair for working from home. Try going for a desk that’s height-adjustable to prevent sitting hunched over, and which allows you to work standing up if you feel the need to.

An ergonomic swivel chair will save you plenty of discomfort and backache – consider just how much time you’ll actually spend sitting in it throughout the day. When it comes to these two essential pieces of furniture, it’s better to spend a little more money – it will do wonders for your productivity.

3. Lighting

The key here is to have a working from home space that’s exposed to as much natural light as possible. This is because working in natural light will be great for your eyesight, as well as have a positive effect on your mood and productivity.

When it comes to the electric lighting you use, consider buying an articulated desk lamp for focusing your attention on particular tasks. Also think about where shadows from your lighting are going to fall as you work, as well as whether your computer monitor will be exposed to glare from a light source.

Working under the direct glare of overhead lighting is a no-no – try using lampshades for your light sources, as well as upwards-shining floor lamps to bounce light off of walls and ceilings. You should aim to illuminate your entire space without creating a glare or casting shadows.

4. Storage

If you’re working at home, you’re bound to have important documents and other items that you’ll need to store. Go with a set of labeled shelves, or get yourself a nice set drawers and/or a little filing cabinet. Unless your job requires specialised storage, having these items will help you keep organised.

5. Add a Personal Touch

Some ideas for adding a personal touch to your home working space include adding a photo frame or two with photos of your favourite memories, a home-made desk decoration made by your kids (if you happen to have any), placing your favourite motivational quote on the wall, or even incorporating your favourite colours into the space by adding soft furnishings, stationery, coasters and wall prints.

If you’re thinking about moving, we have new homes available in highly sought-after areas, have a look at our current developments.

GAP’s 5 Top Tips for Home Working in Malta

One of the biggest areas of many of our lives impacted by the coronavirus pandemic is our working lives. There are many individuals that are now working from home on a permanent basis. Here’s how to get in the zone with GAP’s top tips for home working:

1. Create the Right Workspace for Home Working

You’ll likely be spending a fair amount of time seated at your workspace, so make sure you have a height-adjustable desk and an ergonomic chair for home working. Use soft lighting that doesn’t cause any glare or shadows as you work, and try to set your workspace up in such a way that you’re abler to look outside. Having adequate storage is also important for keeping yourself organised. A potted plant or two, along with personal touches such as cherished photos or motivational quotes, won’t go amiss.

2. Separate Working and Living Spaces

One of the best things you can do to create an effective workspace for home working is to separate the concepts of “home” and “office” as much as possible. Even if you don’t have a dedicated room that you can turn into an office space, aim to dedicate a corner or area of a room to your work. The key here is to allow yourself a transition between your work life and your home life. Ensure that your workspace is as far away from the main living space in your home as possible.

3. Be Disciplined With Your Time

Separating your working and domestic lives can be a challenge, not least when it comes to time management. Be sure to work when you’re supposed to be working, and living the rest of your life when you’re not. In other words, start working at the time you would if you were still at the office, and stop working when it would be time to leave. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take regular breaks or get some fresh air if you need to – the intention here is prevent your work and recreational time from spilling into and mixing with each other.

4. Set Clear Goals for Yourself

Reaching your goals in any aspect of life is about breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps, and formulating a plan that allows you to achieve each of those steps in turn. Try planning your working week on both a daily and weekly level, and divide the tasks you have at hand in two – smaller tasks and big-picture projects. Set individual deadlines for individual goals to keep yourself productive and motivated.

5. Place Emphasis on Your Mental Health

Use the breaks you allow yourself to do some exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block or some stretching. Not only will help you physically, but just a little time spent exercising each day can improve your memory, boost concentration and help your mental health. You should also consider your individual needs, for instance if you happen to be somewhat of an extrovert, dedicate time to spend with family and friends after your working day is over.

If you’re thinking about moving, we have new homes available in highly sought-after areas, have a look at our current developments.

6 Practical Tips When Saving for a House in Malta

Buying a house is one of the biggest financial outlays you’ll ever make, so it’s understandable that some might find it daunting. The thing is, it really doesn’t have to be – it’s as easy as making a few temporary tweaks to your lifestyle so that you can allow yourself to save for a deposit. Here are 6 practical tips when saving for a house in Malta:

1. Build a Better Budget

Sit down with your bank and repayment statements and figure out where most of your money is going each month. If you don’t know where your money’s going, it’s almost impossible to begin putting money towards a deposit. Consider which expenses are essential, and which are non-essential. A budgeting app is a great way to help you automate this process if you find the prospect of calculating your expenses yourself just a little too daunting. When you categorise your expenses, look at where you can do some cutting back, but be realistic with yourself in terms of how much you can cut back on various things.

2. Consider Downsizing

“Downsizing” doesn’t necessarily have to mean downsizing your living space – it’s actually the process of reducing your expenses and living below your means while you are saving for your deposit. Perhaps you drive a car that’s expensive to run and maintain, or are spending far too much money renting your current apartment. Consider moving somewhere cheaper for a while, or trading in your car for something a little less fancy, but a little more sensible.

3. Reduce or Cut Out a Bad Habit

Do you have a bad habit that you could you potentially break? Regardless of whether you’re an impulse buyer, a little too fond of buying takeaways for dinner or would just like to quit smoking, you could potentially save hundreds of euros for a house in Malta every year by cutting out a single bad habit. The money that you’d be saving can then be used towards buying a house in Malta.

4. Consider Skipping Your Next Holiday

There’s no denying that exploring new places can be amazing, or that many of us are currently itching to get away and have some fun as soon as we can, but doing so can also cost quite a big chunk of money. Think about making a compromise when it comes to your next holiday – you could save a couple of thousand euros by just doing that. This money can then be used to buy your future home. Take an extended trip (just a suggestion) to Gozo instead!

5. Start A Side Hustle

In this day and age, it isn’t difficult to earn money with a “side hustle”. Perhaps you can take on some freelance work that you can do at home, or drive for a ridesharing company. It could be anything you like – just make sure you contribute the money you earn for your side-hustle to saving up for a house in Malta.

6. Rent Out Your Spare Room

If you current living arrangement allows you to rent out an extra bedroom in your house or apartment, you might want to consider online hospitality websites such as Airbnb. You only have to rent out the extra bedroom as and when it’s convenient for you to do so.

If you’re ready to start searching for your next home, take a look at our current developments here and if you’d like to contact us feel free to do so.