8 Tips for Selling Your House

Successfully staging your home for sale is somewhat of an art-form. You can hire professionals to come in and do it for you, but with these few pointers, you might be able to save a bit of cash but still successfully turn your soon-to-be-former home into a buyer’s dream. I checked in with Real Estate specialist Camilla for some top tips.
  1. Declutter. You want to get rid of any unnecessary items such as paperwork, rubbish and things like lotions and toothbrushes in the bathrooms. Our Real Estate specialist Camilla says to make sure all benches are clear.
  2. Paint. A lick of paint on the walls can make a huge amount of difference. As much as you may love the pink bedroom with the green feature wall that your daughter grew up in, it’s probably a little easier for buyers to envisage their futures when they have more of a blank canvas to work with. Go with white or off-white, with maybe a few tasteful posters or artworks on the walls. It also makes the space lighter and airier, and looks great in photos.
  3. Keep the design minimal. Minimalist design is very ‘in’ at the moment, but it is also an effective way of allowing potential buyers to image their own furniture in the house. Once again, you might think your fifteen-year-old red couch gives the place character, but you’d probably be best picking up something a bit more subdued from an op shop, or you can even hire furniture online with a quick google search. It’s best to go with white linen and furniture and “let the cushions do the talking” with bright, fresh colours or patterns, according to Camilla.real_estate_property_estate_house_apartment_real_estate_sign_finance_residence-486233.jpg!d
  4. But not too minimal. You might be tempted to move all your things out at once, but it is important to note that an empty house is not appealing at all. People want examples of what the space can be used for.
  5. Remove personal effects. You want your buyers to be walking around in their new home, not your old one. Camilla advises that it’s best to remove family photos and your children’s kindergarten paintings from the walls, so that the people who move in can picture starting fresh and making memories of their own.
  6. Fix up your garden. The façade and front garden of your house are crucial – this is what gives buyers the first impression of their potential new home. Spend a few hours mowing the lawn, raking up the leaves and maybe even planting a few tasteful plants to give the place life. The backyard is just as important, especially for family homes. Make sure there are no rusty wheelbarrows or tripping hazards out there, and make the most of whatever space you have.
  7. Clean up. You definitely want your house to look sparkling, which means cleaning out the bath, scrubbing the sink, and yes, getting your windows cleaned. Clear, shiny windows can make a huge difference to the overall look and feel of your house. Dirt and build-up can make it look like the house has not been properly cared for, raising alarm-bells for potential buyers.
  8. Get the handyman in. Fix up that leaky pipe and faulty stove before you have an open house. Some particularly experienced house-hunters might want to check that everything is shipshape.
Best of luck with selling your house! We hope this might help at least a little. If you are in the market to go on the market, give us a call and we can at least give you a hand with getting those windows spick-and-spam and ready for sale.
Give us a call on 9887 1822 today!

The Bane of my Existence: Cutting Onions

Do you hate cutting onions as much as I do?
This is a serious matter that I believe needs to be addressed. There are many people out there who are suffering the turmoil that is onion cutting. This probably sounds like the preface for a “once in a lifetime deal” for the Slap Chop or something, but I promise it͛s not. I just really hate cutting onions.
For one thing, it hurts. We all know cutting onions makes you cry. But it stings like nothing else, and as someone who wears contact lenses, it͛s a huge inconvenience. It also opens you up to people walking into the kitchen and jokingly saying “Aw, don’t cry, it’s okay” and I am over that joke. It is not okay.
Also, it’s just really hard to get it right. I’ve seen many cooking shows or YouTube videos where trained professionals just cut onions like they were doing it in the womb. Evenly diced pieces, or perfect salad slices – whatever it may be, I just can’t do it. And how does McDonald’s get that perfect millimetre cube? I’ll never know.
Well anyway, I have a few tips which may make this hell on Earth easier for all of us. Let me know if any of this works for you.
  1. Freeze your onions. This way, the juice can͛t squirt up and get you in the eye – because it͛s frozen. Genius. Also, it won͛t all fall apart as you͛re cutting it up, because it͛s stuck together. Double genius. ALSO! They͛ll last a lot longer – triple genius! It just makes it a lot more solid so you might have to put in a bit of extra muscle to get the knife through. Plus, it definitely doesn͛t make for pretty bits of raw onion – they end up all soggy and misshapen. I͛d only use this for when you͛re cooking them down; definitely not for salads or burgers.
  2. Sharpen your knife. If you don’t have any frozen onions on hand or if you need even slices, sharpen your knife. Similarly to how it hurts less to accidentally cut yourself with a sharp knife than a blunt knife, you get a much cleaner cut in your onion and less onion blood (juice) squirting around when you use a sharp knife.

    onions 1
    Another helpful tip
  3. Food processor. You can easily get a fine dice in a food processor, just be careful not to over-process, lest you end up with onion mush.

  4. Soak your onions. After chopping a raw onion in half and peeling it, put it in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes to draw out some of the juice. It shouldn’t compromise the taste, and it might help to make the task a little more bearable.
  5. Onion powder. If you really, really hate cutting onions, let Masterfoods do the work for you. It will probably taste like crap, but at least your eyeballs and dignity will be saved.
Images: http://www.girlsaskguys.com/other/q1955236-your-onion-chopping-or-peeling-resistance-to-crying-10


Vivisection and Why We Don’t Use Products Which Have Been Tested on Animals

In 1933, one unlucky cosmetics company caused the death of an even less lucky woman with a mascara they produced, as well as injury and blindness in many other users[1].
In 1937, a pharmaceutical company of equally bad luck accidentally fed a toxic strep-throat remedy to the world that killed hundreds of people[2].

Understandably, these cases led to the regulation of safety tests to be carried out before any chemicals go to market – this includes food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and cleaning products, among others. This came in the form of the 1938 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, which required all drugs to be tested on animals.
In 1966 the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) swooped in to regulate the treatment of laboratory animals, and is still used today as a standard. Unfortunately for rats and mice, they are not considered as ‘animals’ in the AWA, and therefore are not covered by the Act’s requirements of humane care[3].

The issue of what is ‘humane care’ is interesting, considering that despite this act, cats (and kittens), dogs (and puppies), rabbits, chimpanzees and many other animals are still subjected to mutilation and infection every day. This is called vivisection; where living creatures are operated on for the purpose of scientific research, particularly when they are dissected or cut open. But even when we put aside any moral or ethical considerations, animal testing is still pretty pointless. It is expensive, time consuming and not altogether that reliable. This renders the entire process highly inefficient.

For one thing, other species of animal are biologically very different to humans. What works to cure human disease in a bunch of guinea pigs, isn’t necessarily going to help in humans. As an example, check out any information on the drug Vioxx, which was shown to be safe on rats and mice, but went on to cause heart attacks, strokes and even death in humans and has since been withdrawn from the market.[4]
An article on adapt.org puts this in perspective: ‘After talking with several veterinarians… I asked them, “When you were in vet school studying feline leukaemia, which animal did you study upon?” They all replied, “Cats.” I asked them why they didn’t use dogs for feline leukaemia research. They replied that studying dogs for feline leukaemia didn’t make too much sense scientifically. I then asked why dogs, cats and other animals are used for human leukaemia research. Their silence revealed the scam.’[5]
Furthermore, John J. Pippin of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) explain that there are ‘significant and immutable differences among and within animal species (including humans) regarding anatomy, physiology and drug metabolism.’4 This includes chimpanzees, even despite sharing most of our DNA with them.

Another point in favour of not testing on animals, is that there are several more reliable alternatives which are already being used or are currently being developed. One of these methods is to grow live human skin cells in a lab.[6] This would obviously be more effective, as the skin cells used to test the product come from the same species as those going to use the product. This is just one of many alternatives, others including 3D printing technology, human clinical studies, in vitro (e.g., in a test tube) research, in silico (computer-based) techniques and advanced imaging methods, to name a few.[7]

So why, with all of these cheaper, more reliable and more ethical alternatives, do scientists and doctors still test on animals? Probably because it has been done that way for so long.
Remember Grace Hopper, American computer scientist and pioneer, and US Navy rear admiral, and her poignant quote: “The most dangerous phrase in the language is: ‘we’ve always done it this way’.”

It is up to us as consumers to make educated decisions regarding the products we buy and where they have come from. There are plenty of resources online which can help us to make conscious decisions, such as leapingbunny.org and even choice.com.au. If you are unsure about a certain product, do a quick google search and check out what the company has to say about animal testing.

At Flash, we are proud to clean windows with products that are not tested on animals.



[1] http://ssrn.com/abstract=2819163

[2] http://www.medicaldaily.com/animal-testing-long-unpretty-history-247217

[3] http://ssrn.com/abstract=2819163

[4] http://www.pcrm.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/research/testing/exp/COX2Report.pdf

[5] http://adaptt.org/animal-rights/whats-wrong-with-vivisection.html

[6] http://www.bbc.com/news/health-27129861

[7] http://web.b.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=09767126&AN=118973252&h=saOV64Fz9s05lj%2b55CDV6oP5FZCa6XTHEcmP%2f4ueBHc%2bJBOIiPo0YwW3JsjXAWJlOZxN51mfeEZIYolK9paifA%3d%3d&crl=c&resultNs=AdminWebAuth&resultLocal=ErrCrlNotAuth&crlhashurl=login.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26profile%3dehost%26scope%3dsite%26authtype%3dcrawler%26jrnl%3d09767126%26AN%3d118973252

Image: Warren Photographic

Review: ‘Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’

Were you one of the people who rolled their eyes at the prospect of a FIFTH addition to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise? Did you even realise that this was number 5? The actors are getting older, and so is the audience. The first film, The Curse of the Black Pearl, came out fourteen years ago. Since then, we have had a fairly steady stream of Captain Jack Sparrow into our lives… and we can’t seem to get enough. To put it in perspective: since it opened a few weeks ago, Dead Men Tell No Tales has made $606 million worldwide – already close to what The Curse of the Black Pearl has made in total. Granted, the first film is the lowest grossing of the franchise, but I definitely remember it being quite popular. The fact of the matter is this: I wasn’t expecting to like it, because often I find film franchises to be very tedious and cheesy. But I did like it, quite a bit. That’s not to say it wasn’t tedious or cheesy in parts, but I did like it.
The film centres around the quest to find the Trident of Poseidon, a powerful and legendary object said to be able to break every curse of the sea. Jack Sparrow teams up with two headstrong young partners Henry Turner and Carina Smyth (each equipped with their own daddy issues) to track it down, all the while being pursued by an old nemesis, Captain Salazar, and his crew of dead Spanish navy men. The new main characters in the film were very well done. Notably the malevolent Captain Salazar, played by the master of vengeance and tension, Javier Bardem. It took me a while to figure out why he always looked like he was floating, but it’s actually quite a nice touch.
Brenton Thwaits plays Henry, the son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan. His character fills the role of the much needed antithesis to Jack Sparrow’s (Johnny Depp) behaviour, being kind, innocent and determined. The other role to fill is that of the girl, who in this film is Carina Smyth, played by Kaya Scodelario. A thoroughly independent astronomer and horologist, she comfortably dodges any cringe-worthy movie clichés of being an attractive woman surrounded by men (something that the Pirates franchise has always been good at). I will also give a brief mention to David Wenham who plays Scarfield of the British Navy, simply because I have a huge soft spot for this Australian actor and anything I have to say about him will be unfairly biased. He does do a good job though.
In what I would imagine to be a team effort, directors Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg and actor Johnny Depp have managed to avoid tedium or cheesiness in the most likely of places: Captain Jack Sparrow. He isn’t drunk throughout the entire film, and his classic Johnny Depp mannerisms still find new ways to be amusing. He still gets stuck in awkward situations which bear no consequence to the rest of the film, and somehow it’s not tiresome. But while it is successful in being an iconic and highly-stylised caricature performance, I would, deep down, love to see Johnny Depp bring out his dramatic acting skills every once in a while as well.
Despite an overall enjoyable story, there were a few parts which didn’t quite sit right with me. Two of them related to Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly. I physically could not restrain myself from rolling my eyes (I tried, I promise) at the pointlessness of Keira Knightley’s silent cameo. And why are there no other crew members from the Flying Dutchman around when we see Will Turner? And while we’re on the topic of the Flying Dutchman, the events in the film have some serious implications on this ship and its crew, and I think this needs to be addressed. It basically makes the entire Dead Man’s Chest film – the highest grossing of the franchise – completely redundant. In fact, it sort of makes all of the films redundant. Similarly to the question of ‘why didn’t Gandalf just get the birds to take Frodo to Mt Doom in the first place’, I have to ask, why didn’t they just suss out this curse-breaking trident in The Curse of the Black Pearl (I’m looking at you, Barbosa)? Without giving too much away, it would have saved them all a lot of messing around, and saved Will Turner a bunch of facial barnacles (not a metaphor – literal facial barnacles). But, these eye-rolls are only minor in the scheme of Dead Men Tell No Tales. There were plenty of moments where I laughed out loud or found myself on the edge of my seat. In future, maybe I won’t be so quick to write off the fifth instalment to a movie franchise, or for that matter, the sixth Pirates of the Caribbean film.


Thinking of Cleaning Your Windows? Here’s 5 Reasons You Should Hire a Professional

It might seem cheaper, easier and less hassle to clean your windows yourself. I’m here to tell you that this is often not the case! Here are five reasons you should save yourself the stress and hire someone else to do it.

It’s not as easy as you think it is. Window cleaning is actually quite a strenuous activity. Aside from all of the physical effort involved, it takes extraordinary attention to detail to actually achieve a favourable finish. Window Cleaners are trained to see glass in a different way to the rest of us. That might sound weird but it’s true! I will admit, I, the writer of this post, am not a window cleaner. But on one occasion, one of Flash’s cleaners decided to try to teach me how it’s done. I couldn’t even do one window and my shoulders were tired!

Windex isn’t very good. Windex is marketed as a streak-free, easy solution to cleaning windows, glass and mirrors in your home. I don’t know about anyone else, maybe it’s because I’m not very good at cleaning windows, but I’ve never achieved the streakless finish pictured on the bottle. As well as that, it’s not good for your body to be in such close proximity to all those fumes. Windex contains ammonium hydroxide, which doesn’t just sound scary, but is actually poisonous. You don’t really want to be breathing that in! Flash uses non-toxic cleaning products that won’t hurt your home and wont poison them!

It can be dangerous. Aside from the risk of straining a muscle when trying to clean your windows, there are a few risks involved. Namely, if you have any windows that you need to use a ladder to access, this can really cause issues. Ladders are heavy and unsafe, as well as unlucky! At Flash we have efficient and affective extension poles and water-fed poles which eliminates the need for any ladders. We also have strict OH&S guidelines and liability to help manage any risks. We can also help to retire your ladder with our StreamVac gutter vacuum, where we can clean your gutters with our feet firmly on the ground!

It’s very time consuming. Do you really have three hours to go around, scrubbing all of your windows? You’re a busy person. You have better things to do. Just think of all of the other things you could do in that time. You could catch up on Game of Thrones. You could walk your dog and take your kids to the park. You could cook a gourmet meal. You could learn a new skill. The possibilities are endless.

Honestly, who can be bothered? Seriously, all that fly screen removing, fly screen replacing, cob web brushing, scrubbing, re-scrubbing… it’s all too much. Who can be bothered? Well, the team at Flash Window Cleaning can.

Give us a call today (9887 1822) to book in your next clean!

Or visit us at http://www.flashservices.com.au

Thanks for reading 🙂


Why Clean Your Windows?

As mentioned in this article, cleaning your windows can be boring, strenuous and dangerous. So you might not want to bother at all. However, making sure your windows are clean is more important than you might think. Here’s five reasons why.

Removing allergens. The dust on your windows can collect over time and cause hay fever. Most humans are allergic to house dust, so if you find you’re particularly sneezy or your eyes are particularly itchy, maybe it’s time to get your windows cleaned.

Dirty windows are unsightly. This is harsh but true. Windows just happen to look a lot nicer when they’re clean! Your house guests will be jealous of your shiny clean windows and lovely views into the back yard (you’d be surprised what a difference it makes). You will feel house proud and hygienic.

Natural light is good for you. Following on from your shiny gleaming windows being prettier, you’ll be more likely to open up your curtains to let the natural light in. Also, a build-up of dirt can create a film on your windows that might stifle the amount of light that is coming in. By allowing more light in, you’ll get more vitamin D, which is an essential nutrient that the human body cannot produce on its own. Exposing yourself to more natural light will help your circadian rhythms, or sleeping pattern, which in turn will make you a happier, more productive person!

You’ll save electricity. And once you’ve started opening your curtains more often, you won’t need to switch on the light as much! This will save you money on your energy bill, and help the environment.

Avoiding hard water stains. When you regularly get your windows cleaned, you can help to avoid hard water stains. These are drip-like marks on your windows which do not go away with regular window cleaning alone. This can be very expensive to rectify, and could permanently affect your windows!

If you think you’ve heard enough, give us a call! We can help you get your windows clean in a Flash.

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas on a Budget

In a similar vein to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day gives you the opportunity to show your loved one how much you truly appreciate them, because lord knows you probably don’t do it year-round (this is a joke – you definitely should do it year-round). But even though we don’t really need a single day of the year to spoil our significant others or, better yet, tell someone how you really feel, it’s still somewhat expected of you to acknowledge February 14th. If you’re stuck on ideas for gifts, here’s some inspiration for you that won’t cost your life savings.

Bake something. It’s a widely acknowledged fact that the way to a man’s heart is through his belly. I would say the same is true for females too. This is the cheapest way to make someone feel special and like you’ve really put some effort in. Make some heart-shaped cookies or a decadent dark chocolate brownie. Chuck them in a nice box and voila! You have one dirty kitchen and one happy boo.

The cheesiest, lamest, sappiest object you can find. Rather than giving your better half something meaningful, why not be ironic and head down to the $2 shop and grab a small teddy bear holding a heart-shaped red pillow with some kind of cringe-worthy phrase on it. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like tacky clichés.

A night at the arcade. Because you probably can’t afford a real diamond ring, but if you score yourself enough tickets you might be able to trade them in for some kind of plastic alternative. And your partner will know how hard you worked for it.

Pick some fresh flowers. Getting an elaborate bouquet of flowers can often end up being incredibly costly. Instead of all that, sneak into your neighbour’s backyard where they work tirelessly all year to perfect their manicured lawn and immaculately designed flower bed, and clip off a few of their roses. Hand-deliver them to your lover for extra effect, but just make sure said lover doesn’t go bragging at community meetings about it.

Easter chocolate. Why be traditional when Easter chocolates are already in the supermarkets? Everyone knows Easter chocolate tastes better than normal chocolate, and better yet, they come as super cute bunnies or baby chickens or even bilbies if you know where to go. Plus, I’m pretty sure Coles currently has a two for one deal on mini eggs rn. Everybody wins.

Get their windows cleaned. I know, cheap shot. But hey, there’s nothing more beautiful than your own house, and imagine how thrilled your partner would be to have crystal clear windows for Valentine’s Day. It’s a practical gift that your lover will love. And if you get it done with Flash Window Cleaning, it definitely won’t break the bank!
Better yet, mention this article and get 14% off your next clean, in honour of February 14th!

Valid only for residential cleans booked between 10/02/2017 and 14/02/17.
Terms and conditions apply.