Maintenance Monday – how to clean & deodorize a wooden cutting board naturally

This week’s Maintenance Monday tip comes from Apartment Therapy:

How to Clean & Deodorize a Wooden Cutting Board (Naturally!)

What You Need:

2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup water (room temperature)
1/2 lemon
Sea Salt (about 2 tablespoons)
Mineral Oil or board oil (I prefer Blackcreek Mercantile Cutting Board Oil)
A good kitchen towel that you don’t mind getting dirty.


photo(8).jpg1. Using one half of your kitchen towel, wipe down the cutting board with a solution of 2 tablespoons vinegar to 1 cup water. Try to get all those little stains off!


2. Cut your lemon in half, and dip it into the sea salt. Use the lemon as a scrubber and scrub all around the board, getting into the cut grooves.


3. Wipe down the board with water, and pat dry.


4. Dip the other half of the kitchen towel into the mineral/board oil, and massage into the wood. Buff with a dry part of the towel when finished.


5. There you have it! Your naturally clean and deodorized cutting board!

(Images: Andie Powers)

May in Maryland

May starts next week, and there is a lot going on in Maryland. Luckily most of these great events are just minutes away from our apartment communities at Burnam Woods, Chatham Gardens and Old Orchard. The Maryland Film Festival starts May 8 and runs through May 12 at the Charles Theatre in Baltimore. This year’s festival includes a movie by Bobcat Goldthwait and a presentation by John Waters. For a full list of this year’s movies and events and information on tickets, please click hereWine in the Woods is May 18-19 at Symphony Woods (aka Merriweather Post Pavillion) in Columbia. It is a weekend full of wine tasting, food, and live music. For full details including times and tickets, please click here. The 138th running of the Preakness is Saturday May 18th at Pimlico Race Course. For full information including times, tickets, and week’s events, please click here. Baltimore Museum Week is May 19-24. There are ‘Buy One Get One Free’ admission tickets to Baltimore Museums, free walking tours, and free outside events. For a full list of participating museums and events, please click here.


Maintenance Monday – how to declutter your apartment

How to Declutter Your Apartment

Apartment dwellers often battle for storage space, beating back an ever-growing deluge of belongings, paperwork and the accumulated detritus of daily life. It is possible to win the war, however, and maintain your clutter-free supremacy with a short daily skirmish. Read on for some tips and tricks on how to keep clutter from taking over your apartment.

Pick a room
Where to start is often the hardest part of any cleaning endeavor. If you are a brave-hearted soul, begin in the messiest room in the apartment. More timid persons may want to start in a smaller space, like a closet. Whatever your choice, be sure you are mentally prepared to be ruthless and have assembled the proper arsenal.

Decluttering equipment
The tools are simple. Arm yourself with garbage bags, empty boxes, magic markers and a dust rag. Now label each box with “donate”, “toss” and “keep” or whatever similar phrasing suits you.

Let the games begin
Your first step is getting rid of things that don’t belong in a given space. Put the ones you want in the “keep” box, and worry about where you will actually put it later.

Your criteria for deciding what to do with the remaining clutter is to ask the following questions: Do I love this? Have I used it in the last year? Do I have two? Am I sentimentally attached? Do I feel sad and guilty when I look at it? Then get rid of everything in the room that doesn’t make you feel positive in some way or that you just don’t need. Either pass it on to someone else who would enjoy it, or, if it can’t be used by another, toss it!

When your garbage box is full, take it outside to the bin and bring in another. Do the same for your donations, sealing each box and taking it to your car as you work. The goal is to get the stuff you don’t want anymore out of your place.

When the “keep” box gets full, pick it up and carry it with you around the apartment, putting each item in the proper room, if not yet the perfect storage place. Go back and keep at it, taking breaks or setting a timer over several days so you don’t burn out on the big jobs.

The daily drill offers a detailed decluttering method that works for any size household. She advocates daily 15-minute sessions, focusing on cluttered hot spots that collect items, such as entranceways, countertops, desks or catch-all dresser drawers and baskets. For serious cases, also try going through your home daily with a garbage bag and throwing away 20 items, then doing the same process with a box for donations.

There are a number of online resources to help you curb the chaos of your worldly possessions. Use the tips above, or sign up for free emails that offer advice on how to organize your home, such as, and you’ll be sure to stay on the straight, narrow and uncluttered path to happiness.

 – From

Great Reasons to Stay Put in Your Apartment

Do you love your apartment? Have you found the community that truly feels like home to you? If you have, congratulations! The following might be just a few of the reasons why you feel that way.

Convenient location
In real estate, location is king. If your current apartment is located near work or school and offers easy access to highways and many of your favorite haunts, you know just how true that old adage is. A convenient location can make an apartment home feel like a real treasure.

Great neighborhood
The qualities of a neighborhood can also be enough to make you stay in an apartment, long-term. Consider walkability, diversity and the “cool factor.” Do you enjoy the character of your current neighborhood? Would you miss its unique quirks or cultural offerings?

The people
Good relationships with your neighbors can also factor strongly in a decision to stay in an apartment. Many apartments offer residents a real sense of community. If you enjoy knowing your neighbors and find yourself in an environment where folks are friendly and fun, you may have all the evidence you need to stay put.

Consider your relationship with property managers and staff, as well. Personable, attentive staff who make themselves available to their residents and respond quickly to maintenance issues or other needs are a true asset. If you feel your apartment community staff really takes care of you, consider that a good reason to stay in your current place.

Financial factors
These are just some of the reasons that might convince you to stay in an apartment. There are financial reasons, too. If you enjoy a reasonable rent rate, that can be a very compelling reason to stay put.

And don’t forget that even a short, in-town move comes at a cost. Even if you do everything yourself, moving will still be an expense — on top of all the start-up expenses you’re responsible for to secure a new lease and set up utilities at a new place.

Sure, maybe you’ve daydreamed about moving? We all get an itch to try something new every once in a while, but moving isn’t necessarily something to do on a whim. Consider the reasons above, and you may decide you want to stay put right where you are!


Maintenance Monday: Allergy-Proof your Apartment for Spring

This week’s Maintenance Monday tip brought to you by DIY Network.

5 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home For Spring

Step 1: Clean the Air

Making your home inhospitable for allergens sounds like a daunting task. In a particulate sense, it’s going to be you against millions of mold spores, dust mites and pollen. Fortunately, though, you’re smarter than these minute microbes, and following these tips can help you keep allergies at bay.

A well-ventilated house and nonleaking ductwork is a first line of defense against bringing allergens into your living space.

Maintain the humidity level in the house at about 50 percent. Mold likes moisture, and dust and pollen are easily stirred in dry air.

Keep your windows closed when pollen counts are highest: in the early morning hours, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and in windy conditions.

Pollen and mold spores settle on clothing, so when you come in from outdoors, remove your outer garments in the mud room, and take a shower.

Step 2: Remove Clutter

Clean up clutter. The less stuff in your house, the fewer places for allergens to hang out. And, just as important, the easier it will be to clean thoroughly once a week.

Get rid of old rags, newspapers, clothes, other porous items.

Limit knickknacks, magazines, and other dust catchers that you don’t use or enjoy.

Focus on bedrooms especially, because you and allergens both spend more time there.

allergy bed green wall

Step 3: Clean the Cleaning Room

Your bathroom is for mold what your bedroom is for dust mites — heaven at home.

Inspect water pipes for leaks and fix.

Regularly clean walls with a nontoxic cleaner.

Make sure that ventilation fans are routed to the outside, and run them for 30 minutes after a shower or bath.

Scrub away mold on pipes and fixtures.

Step 4: Reduce Dust Generators

Fabrics and carpeting generate help create dust by the breaking down of fibers. Consider pitching curtains, high-pile carpeting and upholstered furniture in the bedroom: all cozy accommodations for allergens.

Best bet: washable throw rugs over wood, linoleum, or tiled floors.

Damp mop regularly, and clean walls and other surfaces.

If you must have carpeting, make it short, tight pile and vacuum weekly with a cleaner that has a small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.

allergy living room

Step 5: Smart Landscaping

Make smart selections for the landscape. The yellow, sticky pollen that bees carry from plant to plant rarely causes allergic reactions. It’s the fine, lightweight particles that are blown about by wind that trigger discomfort.

Avoid adding allergenic trees like maple (male), birch and ash (male) to the landscape. Instead, choose low-allergy trees like dogwood, double-flowered cherry and magnolia. Female ash and female maple trees are considered low-allergy, too, but buy from a reliable nursery source to be sure of the tree’s gender.

Low-allergy flowers include astilbe, impatiens, hosta, scabiosa, columbine and viola.

budget astilbe flowers

April in Maryland

The saying is that “April showers bring May flowers,” but so far this April has been full of sunshine and summer-like temperatures. It is the perfect weather for all the great events going on in Maryland this month. Fortunately most of these are just minutes away from our apartments at Chatham Gardens, Old Orchard, and Burnam Woods.

Blossoms of Hope‘s annual pink season brings a month-long celebration of activities in Howard County that honor the beauty of the trees and help raise cancer awareness.” Over 1,600 Cherry Trees have been planted across Howard County. So far $176,000. has been raised through the Cherry Tree project for Howard County General Hospital’s Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center. There are a variety of Cherrybration Day events throughout April in Howard County. Fifteen restaurants in Howard County, including Ellicott Mills Brewing Company, Tersiguel’s, Kelseys, and Alexandra’s at Turf Valley, are offering Pink Plate specials to help raise cancer awareness and support the cancer center. The 5th annual Pink Greens Golf Classic at Turf Valley takes place on April 19th. It is a fundraising tournament for Blossoms of Hope in support of the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center.

This Saturday April 13th is the TaxMan Jam in Catonsville, a part of the FamilyTime Festival Series at Strawberry Fields. It will be a day of live music, local food, beer, local vendors, bicycle demonstrations, and interactive games. The fun goes from 10am to 5pm at 821 Frederick Road – and it’s free!

“The opening of the Maryland Steeplechasing season signifies the true start of spring to many Marylanders.” Steeplechase is a three to four mile race that has man and horse flying over timber fences. The next race is My Lady’s Manor this Saturday April 13th, gates open at 10am and post time is at 1:30pm.

The 9th annual Fells Point Privateer Festival is April 19-21. This is a family-friendly free festival honoring the maritime history of Fells Point. There are activities, live music, food, and crafts from Thames Street Park and Ann Street Pier to Broadway Square. The Tall Ships will be on display and available for tours. The festival is Friday 5-10pm, Saturday 10am-7pm, and Sunday 10am-6pm.

The Federal Hill Spring Block Party is Sunday April 28th from 11am to 7pm on Cross Street. There will be lots of food, drink, crafts and live local music. This year’s lineup includes The Cheaters, Segway, J Pope and Funk Friday, Uncle Jack Band, The Reserves, Cara Kelly and the Tell Tale, Bravenoise, The Evokatones, Rufus Roundtree and and da B’more Brass Factory.

Whatever you choose, get out there and enjoy all that Maryland has to offer. Have a great April and a Happy Spring!

Orioles Opening Day – April 5, 2013


Opening Day is this Friday April 5th at 3pm. Are you going to be at Camden Yards to watch the Orioles begin their 60th baseball season in Baltimore? If you hadn’t planned on it, you should. The Orioles are eager to continue where they left off last year – making the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. And so far they have done just that with a winning Spring Training season and breaking attendance records at their home stadium in Sarasota. Opening Day will be filled with excitement, hot dogs, beer, good friends, sunshine (hopefully) and of course baseball. The game is sold out, but you never know who may have an extra. So even if you don’t have a ticket, go downtown at lunchtime and party with the rest of Baltimore at the Pickles block party across from Camden Yards. Click here for Opening Day plans. See you at The Yard!

Maintenance Monday – don’t leave your washer and dryer unattended

Do you put a load of clothes in the wash and go to work? If so, you may be risking a flood or a fire. Washers can malfunction and cause a flood. A hose can burst or a drum can leak. Dryers can catch fire from too much lint in the lint trap, or just from overheating if they are not turned off. So never leave your apartment while your washer and dryer are running. And always remember to clean out your lint filter.


For more information about washer and dryer safety, please click here.