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The Benefits Of A Well Trained Dog

Whether your dog is big or small, it will need some kind of training to set boundaries and keep your forever friend happy and stimulated.  Our friends at have outlined some helpful tips in this blog!

Top 5 Tips For Cleaning Your Backyard Effectively FEATURED
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Top 5 Tips For Cleaning Your Backyard Effectively

It’s winter, and you look out onto your once thriving backyard and see that it has seen better days, but where to start? The winter weather may have brought down branches, your pool may look more like a pond, and your outdoor furniture may be thick with mildew, yet a starting point seems impossible.

Cleaning your backyard may seem like a large job you just want to put off, but with our top 5 backyard cleaning tips and a little hard yakka, you’ll have your garden back to its best in time for spring!

Before you start, gather up some useful tools and equipment to make life a bit easier:-

  • Thick gardening gloves
  • Shears
  • Shovel
  • Thick bristle broom
  • Steam cleaner (hire or borrow from a neighbour if you don’t have one)
  • Hedge clippers
  • Leaf blower
  • Heavy duty

Broken Items And Debris

First things first, check your outdoor furniture and children's play equipment identifying anything which is broken and not repairable. Gather up these items and discard of them properly.

Elka Tip: Your local rubbish remover can help you pick up these items. Some local rubbish removers can even take away good working items which are no longer needed for sale or donation to charity. Who knew cleaning up can make you feel good too!

Garden Debris

If large branches have come down during winter or trees have been uprooted, enlist the help of an extra pair of hands to clear logs and trunks which maybe heavy and cumbersome.  Large logs and broken fence panels may be repurposed for fuel, so put the word out if you have a large stockpile of wood.  Once larger items are cleared, sweep or rake all the leaves and smaller debris into a pile and load into heavy duty garbage bags for easy disposal. Avoid using everyday garbage bags as they will tear and split easily.

Elka Tip: Do not set fire to dry kindling and leaves, this can cause a fire to quickly spiral out of control and is dangerous, particularly in bushland areas.

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Steam Clean Your Garden Furniture

Now your backyard is clean and clear you can focus on your furniture.  A high-pressure steam washer is a quick and efficient way to bring your garden furniture and outdoor areas back to best.  Use it to clean mildew, moss and stains from your decking, driveways and pathways.  You can even use it on your outdoor benches, chairs and tables to steam away the grime which has built up over winter.  It’s amazing the difference clean outdoor furniture can make to the overall look and feel of your backyard.

Elka TIp: Once you’ve steam cleaned your furniture, turn the cleaner on your garden tools which will be caked in mud after your backyard clear out!

Inspect Your Gutters and Perimeter

Take a wander around your garden perimeter. Are there dangerous nails which may have worked out and become a hazard? Are there holes in the garden fence, now exposed after the clear out where your faithful friend or the family bunny can escape? Also take the opportunity to hop up on a ladder and clear out your gutters and check for any roof tiles which may have become loose or broken.

Elka Tip: Rather than risk a nasty fall, call on a local rubbish removalist who will clean your gutters for you and replace any broken roof tiles.

Freshen Up Your Garden

Now is a great time to plant and prepare for a colourful spring garden.  Add some bright colours to your flower beds, or even look at planting some young saplings to replace the trees which may have been uprooted during the winter.

Elka Tip:  Clear a small part of your garden for native flora and fauna.  These become great habitats for local wildlife and in particular for hard working and under threat bees. You may even want to set up a hive of your own!

By following these practical tips, your backyard will be gleaming and a place your family will want to spend time in as soon as the spring sunshine begins to shine through.

3-recycling-myths-busted FEATURED
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3 Recycling Myths Busted

We all want to be greener, and Australians are slowly coming around to the idea of reducing unnecessary waste.  This is welcome news as Australians are one of the highest consumers and generators of waste per capita in the world.

However, there are many differing views on recycling and points of view when it comes to living a greener lifestyle.  Here are three recycling myths exposed so that you can work towards a waste-free life!

Takeaway Coffee Cups Cannot Be Recycled.

Australians drink approximately 3 kgs of coffee a year per capita and are ranked 42nd in the world for coffee consumption, so just imagine all those coffee cups and plastic lids heading to the landfill!

There are conflicting stories when it comes to recycling coffee cups, but one stands true.  Most plastic takeaway coffee lids are recyclable and can go in the commingled bin. When it comes to the paper cup though, there is still some confusion about what to do.  The problem seems to be the plastic coating on the cups which is there to make them waterproof.  According to Planet Ark, depending on the recycling rules for your area, a coffee cup can either go in the recycling bin, or it can contaminate a whole bin full of recycling goods.  It's better to ask your office manager, or your local coffee shop, what materials their coffee cups consist of and if they can go in the co-mingled recycling bin.

The best way to avoid doing the wrong thing and to reduce what either ends up in landfill or paper pulp is to get a Keep Cup.  More and more Australian cafes offer a discount if you bring your cup, so invest in one to minimise your daily waste. With approximately 50,000 takeaway coffee cups being disposed of every 30 minutes it’s time to move to a less throwaway solution.

3-recycling-myths-busted CONTENT

What Plastics Can Go In The C-Mingled Recycle Bin

A rule of thumb is ‘if you can scrunch it, it can’t go in’.  Many Australians choose to reuse their grocery plastic bags for recycled items or rubbish, but these can contaminate the recycle bin and can cause a problem if not picked up at the recycling centre.  Glad wrap and thin plastic bags get caught up in the sorting machines if not spotted which causes downtime and damage.  They are also non-recyclable and cause immense damage to our drains and waterways.  The best option is to try and reduce using plastic grocery bags wherever possible, and to check with your local council to find out what can go in your recycling bin.

How Environmentally Friendly Are Recycled Products?

Marketing is a powerful tool, and all may not be as it seems when a product says it is recycled.  For example, toilet paper may be made of recycled pulp, but where did the recycled material come from?  Some recycled material is shipped and sent all over the world to recycling plants, racking up land, sea and air miles.  The carbon footprint creating a recycled product can sometimes outweigh the carbon footprint of a virgin material product.  Take some time to do some research on frequently used items to understand just how green it is.

There you have it. 3 Common recycling myths truly busted!  Look at your daily habits and see what you can do to reduce the waste heading to landfill today.

How To Declutter Your House Like A Boss FEATURED
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How To Declutter Your House Like A Boss

It doesn’t take long to collect a lot of ‘stuff’ does it?  Whether you’re living alone in an inner city apartment, or in a house with a growing family, stuff just accumulates.  Before long you are screwing up clothes in the bottom of your wardrobe, avoiding full drawers which are bursting with stuff which hasn’t seen the light of day for years, and tripping over broken toys on your way to the bathroom.

Take a look around your home, is it ready for a major declutter?  If it does, then follow our top tips to declutter like a boss!

Our best Elka tip is to break down the declutter room by room using decent garbage bags that won’t split or rip when you start filling them up..  You can manage at your own pace without feeling overwhelmed, and it feels good to see each room cleared!

Streamline Your Kitchen

Seek out all those dust covered wonder gadgets lurking in drawers and on top of kitchen units.  If you bought the ‘12 ways to cut a tomato wonder cutter’ while watching late night shopping channels, don’t feel guilty, we’ve all done it!  Grab any kitchen gadgets, or equipment you haven’t used for a year and split into broken and working piles.  Sell, give away, or donate working items to charity and dispose of the rest.

Bright As A Button Bedrooms

Clearing out the kid's bedrooms can be chaotic with screams of ‘But, that broken piece of Lego is my favourite!!!!” and other deafening tantrums ruining your decluttering vibe.  The key is to de-clutter when the kids are out.  If anything is broken, be ruthless and chuck it away.  Anything the kids haven’t used, or grown out of, store in the garage or your bedroom for a couple of days.  If the kids don’t notice, then that’s your green light to sell, or donate to charity!

For adult bedrooms, the wardrobes tend to be the most cluttered.  Follow the same rules as you would give to the kids.  If you haven’t worn it for a while, then it’s time to go!  If you have some classic pieces of clothing that cost a lot, or are sentimental, pack them up in a vacuum pack or store in the spare room so they aren’t cluttering up your current day to day clothes.  Invest in some space saving hangers too which will instantly neaten up your wardrobe space!

How To Declutter Your House Like A Boss CONTENT

Living Rooms You Can Live In

Living rooms tend to collect ornaments, gifts, paperwork, books, magazines and other trails left from day to day life.  Once you’ve cleared out everything take a look at your living room. Is it full of mismatched cushions and garish rugs?  Pick a neutral colour palette with one or two matching colours for a brighter look and your living room will soon look like a show home!

Gardens and Garages To Enjoy!

Sweep the backyard for broken furniture and toys.  If you have a trampoline the kids no longer use, sell it on Gumtree and you can make some money and get someone to pick in up at the same time!  Steam clean any mildew and mould covered surfaces and sweep up any broken branches or debris from the lawn. Your local rubbish remover can help you with the clean up too, so shop around and get and an extra pair of hands if you have a large backyard.

You now have all the tools to declutter like a boss!

Why cat’s hate plastic bags FEATURED
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Why Cats Hate Garbage Bags And Other Household Items

Cats are strange creatures.  Just when you think you know yours, they suprise you by acting in the strangest way!  One thing’s for certain, they each have individual personalities, and cat owners love every single one of them. There are some common traits with cats though which can be identified, particularly their shared hatred and fear of normal household items. We wanted to take a closer look and see if we can unravel the feline mind and find out just what makes them hate certain things!

Cats And Loud Noises

Fireworks, thunderstorms, slamming doors and car alarms can all make your cat jump in the air and run for cover.  Loud noises are deafening and suprising for our sharp hearing feline friends. A sudden loud noise means danger, and fireworks, in particular, can cause huge amounts of distress to your cat and bring out ‘jumpy’ tendencies.  Even a tense household with lots of arguments, slamming doors and loud music can affect the sensitivities and stress levels of your cat.  To combat this make sure your cat has their own place to go and be quiet without bother from kids and visitors, preferably at height. When it’s firework season, you can  pop a few drops of Rescue Remedy into your cat's water to take the edge off and leave a radio or the TV on to dumb down the noise.

Cats Taking Pills

Cats are smarter than us. The proof of this statement is demonstrated the moment a cat owner tries to give their beloved pet a pill.  Cats are independent creatures, and they play on their terms only.  The moment they feel forced to do something is the moment they start to go on the defence.  One great tip is to get your cat in a calm state and then wrap them in a towel, a little like a baby in swaddling clothes. Be sure to wrap tight, but make sure all four legs are comfortable. This will give you a safe window to administer the medication without the fear of a devastating claw to the face.

Why cat's hate plastic bags CONTENT

Why Cats Hate Dirty Litter Boxes

Our feline friends are divas.  They are the centre of their universe and expect to be fed, watered and cuddled on demand. They are also extremely clean animals.  They constantly wash and groom themselves, and each other, and they cannot stand a dirty litter box.  For us humans, cleaning out a litter box is one of our worst pet owning jobs. It’s stinky! The trick is not to let the litter box get out of control and clean little and often.  Find a strong, biodegradable pet waste bag which you can use to scoop up urine and cat poop quickly and hygienically. This way you can manage the smell coming from the litter tray and your cat is happy, not distressed and not tempted to defecate somewhere else in your home!

Why Garbage Bags Are A Cat's Worst Enemy

How many cat owners have seen their cat run for cover at the slightest rustle of a garbage bag or plastic grocery bag? What causes it? There are many theories out there, but the most popular two seem to be; a bad experience with a garbage bag in the past where  the sound of a rustling bag brings back frightening flashbacks, or the sound a rustling plastic bag makes..  Your cat may have got into some trouble being where they shouldn’t (which is a common trait for most moggies!). They may have got into a bin, or been shooed off aggressively by someone holding some grocery bags, cats have good memories, and they are smart enough to stay away from danger.  The other theory is that a rustling bag sounds like a snake and it’s in a cat's DNA to be afraid. If you think about it, a rustling bag does sound like a hissing snake, but nothing is proven when it comes to cats biggest enemy, the plastic bag.

So there you have it. Cats are complicated creatures, they have strong personalities, they’re smart, and they don’t forget. That’s why they have been one of human's favourite, and much loved pets since for centuries.