Posts in Kijiji for the Home

The Benefits of a Piano (and how to get a beautiful piano for free)

Pianos are one of the musical instruments most often given away for free on Kijiji (there are currently over 600 pianos across Canada offered for free), likely due to the cost and effort of moving one. There are some amazing deals to be found on an instrument that not only provides many benefits, but also creates an instant focal point in whatever room they are placed in. Whether for yourself, or for a child or even as a very generous gift, it might surprise you to learn that playing the piano isn’t just for wowing guests when they come over to your home.


Here are 5 surprising ways that playing the piano can make your life better:

Improves Cognitive Thinking

Piano has been proven to stimulate the brain by connecting neurological pathways while you play. Think of it like a muscle- the more your brain is trained to operate this way, the more naturally it’s going to be able to do it whether you’re playing the piano or not. In turn, high-level cognitive thinking transfers over to academics as well as work.

Helps You Learn New Languages

There is research that shows that people who play instruments such as the piano are able to learn language much easier and quicker than people who have no musical background. It may seem like an odd connection, but what happens is playing piano helps train your brain to pick up sound patterns in the midst of noise, which is similar to how we pick up a new language. When a language is new to us, we focus more so on sound than on meaning before it begins to register and make sense.

Teaches Important Life Skills

Learning to play the piano requires an extraordinary amount of positive character traits that can carry over to all other aspects of your life. At any age, people who learn to play the piano are infused with a sense of determination, structure, and discipline. From learning the keys to the intervals, from building dexterity in your fingers to building strength, and from practicing scales to full length sonatas- the time and patience it takes to really learn how to play the piano is immense.

Reduces Stress

Playing the piano as a leisurely activity once you’ve learned the skill is actually known to reduce stress and lower the chance of burnout. Much like running, biking, painting, or other common hobbies, playing piano allows your to zone out from the outside world and just focus on what you’re creating with your music.

Develops or Enhances Coordination

This benefit not only helps younger children but adults as well. For kids, playing the piano builds on the coordination and motor skills that they’ll need throughout their lives. They need to learn how to control the force in which they press the keys and they have to be able to play different notes with two hands while going up and down the piano keys. For adults, playing the piano keeps your fingers from getting stiff, which is a natural part of aging. Think of it as exercise for your fingers- with regular playing as an adult, you keep your fingers loose and dexterous which your hands will thank you for later on in life.

Extra Tips:

  • if purchasing a second-hand piano, always get a professional to come check the piano out with you
  • ask the seller how often the piano is tuned or maintained
  • check carefully inside the piano as well as outside the piano for dents, scratches, parts that may be loose, etc.
  • if you choose a free piano, don’t forget to consider the cost of piano movers and any maintenance that has to be done to it
  • negotiate: if the seller isn’t willing to tune the piano or have the regularly scheduled maintenance done to the piano before you purchase, see if you can get the price down a little lower to make up for what you’ll be spending on the tuning and fixing-up
  • 5 DIY Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions You Can Whip Up At Home

    Rather than fall for the gimmicks of commercial cleaning products, we here at Kijiji are all about sustainable, eco-friendly, and people-friendly cleaning products that can be whipped up in your own home saving you money and keeping you green throughout the summer months.

    green clean

    Here are a few cleaning solutions to get you started and ready for the summer adventures that lie ahead!

    1. “Green” Grass Stain Remover

    Whether you’re playing soccer outside or you have little ones running wild in the yard, grass stains are an almost guaranteed mess you’ll have to clean this summer. Using 2 tbsp. of hydrogen peroxide and 1 tbsp. of dish soap with hot water, let your grass stained clothing set for about ten minutes before soaking them in the peroxide solution for another ten. After this is all done, scrub with a brush (toothbrush probably is the most handy) and watch the stain disappear!

    2. Grapefruit and Kosher Salt Bathtub Cleaner

    Hot, humid weather means more showers and more grime being washed off everyday. To keeping the bathtub sparkling, one very easy cleaning method uses 1 grapefruit and coarse salt. All it takes it cutting the grapefruit in half, sprinkling a generous amount of the salt on it and then scrubbing the areas that need cleaning. Extra grimy areas can be juiced with some of the grapefruit juice first before scrubbing. Not only will your tub be shiny and new again, it will smell amazing!

    3. Simple Toilet Ring Cleanser

    You’re not always going to have the time to scrub your toilet bowl down every other day, so for those lazy summer days or when the buildup isn’t too much but you have a few guests coming over, an easy cleaner you can make at home requires only one ingredient you’re sure to have in your cupboards: vinegar!
    Pouring one cup of vinegar and letting it sit for ten minutes should be enough to loosen the grime creating the ring in your toilet bowl.

    4. Quick and Easy Glass Cleaner

    Streaky windows from smudgy hands of children on their summer break are an eyesore, but instead of taking out a commercial cleaner, a “Green” alternative is to create a solution made of 2 cups water, 1/2 cup vinegar, ¼ cup rubbing alcohol, and about 2 drops of any citrus oil. Mix it all together in a spray bottle .

    5. DIY Laundry Softener

    If there was ever a season where fabric softener and freshener was strongly needed, it’s summer when kids and adults are out all day sweating and doing active, outdoor activities. This fabric softener alternative to commercial softeners is chemical free and safe for everyone. Lavender water or your favourite scent of essential oil (think citrus, rose, etc.) mixed with water in a spray bottle creates the perfect solution. All you have to do is spray the mixture on your laundry before it gets put in the wash, and just like that, fresh smelling laundry ready to take on the summer grime!

    While you are cleaning up, sell your unwanted items on Kijiji!

    Kijiji Guide to Protecting Collectibles

    Love to collect items but don’t have proper storage set up? Very old, delicate, or valuable items may have specialized care requirements. However, if you are just looking to keep your collections organized and out of harms way, here are some handy tips to keep in mind.

  • Any collectible item made from a natural source material such as paper, fabric, leather or wood has the potential to be damaged by mold and mildew. First edition books, treasured rookie cards, stamps and postcards can easily be ruined by improper storage. Mold thrives in humid and poorly ventilated areas such as attics and basements, which are the worst place to store these delicate valuables, and can cause significant deterioration in the condition (and thus the value) of your items.
  • Store your paper, stamps, books, and collectible cards in a room that has good air circulation, and a relative humidity somewhere between 35% and 50%. Buy a dehumidifier to keep the humidity levels within this range. If you have certain rooms that are air conditioned, these are also better places for storing these items.
  • Treating your items with fungicides may seem like a good idea, but this can lead to them being even more susceptible to mold and mildew after the treatment. These harsh chemicals can also damage the item or be bad for your health, so utilize extreme caution if you are considering this method to get rid of mold or mildew.
  • Try to avoid acquiring more delicate paper collectibles than you have time to care for. Seek quality over quantity, as mold or mildew from one item may spread to your other items if improperly stored.
  • Protecting Collectables

  • Ensure that collectible cards are kept somewhere that protects their corners. For bulk collections, a binder with clear storage pockets is a good way to maintain their condition that is still easy to view. If you have any really valuable cards, look into hard plastic or acrylic cases that screw down to protect them from damage, and display them if you so choose.
  • You may want to display your collectible items proudly. For instance, having sports memorabilia on display is a great way to start conversations or to decorate a “man cave” or den. Framing items is a great way to protect paper, tickets, event programs, and any other flat object you want to preserve. Make sure to take your valuables to a professional framer who knows what they are doing and only use acid free matting and backing.
  • For pottery, glasswear, china or acrylic collectibles, the main risks are from breaking on impact. If you live in an area that is hit by earthquakes, consider attaching any valuables on display to the wall securely. Displaying treasured items in a china cabinet is a great way to keep them away from pets, kids, and guests with butter fingers who may damage the objects as they admire them more closely.
  • How can you tell the difference between crystal and glass?

    At times of celebration, crystal glasses are often brought out to mark the special occasion. After all, experts say that good stemware will enhance the taste and sensory experience when drinking fine champagne or wine. But the average person typically can’t tell the difference between a regular wine glass or champagne flute and its crystal counterparts at first glance. Distinguishing from the variety stemware offered these days can prove to be difficult task — the answer isn’t always crystal clear. Being able to identify the difference can help you score amazing deals at yard sales or flea markets. If you’re curious to know the difference or are looking to invest in the finer stemware consider these tips on what to look out for. Like buying a diamond ring and taking into account the four Cs — clarity, colour, carat and cut — crystal has distinguishing properties you should look out for.

    Defining glass and crystal
    Your everyday juice glass and other glassware are typically made of traditional soda-lime glass, which is made up of a combination of lime, sand (silica) and soda. It’s generally more affordable and is made to withstand dishwashers and the variety of temperatures.

    Crystal
    Crystal is actually a special kind of glass that has about 24 per cent of lead oxide in it. Anything lower is not considered crystal. For that reason, it’s often referred to as lead-crystal, which will actually sparkle more as the lead content gets higher. Crystal is also much more expensive.

    How do you tell the difference between glass and crystal?

    How do you tell the difference between glass and crystal?

    How to tell the difference

    Clarity: Hold it up to the light and you’ll probably see a rainbow because crystal and its cuts will act as a prism. Crystal is clear and bright where as glass may have tints and is generally cloudier.

    Cut: Crystal is often used in chandeliers, fine wine glasses, vases, jewelry and other higher-end items because of its reflective quality. When it has barium oxide in it, it has a high index of refraction. The refractive index makes crystal sparkle like a diamond when cut at sharp angles.

    Weight: Crystal is much heavier than ordinary glass because of the lead oxide content. It’s also thinner than regular soda-lime glass. A direct comparison of two glasses of the same size will show crystal has more of a substantial feel.

    Sound: Crystal makes a musical ping or chime when tapped, whereas glass does not. Try also wetting your fingers and running it around the rim of the crystal glass and you’ll be able to hear a musical ring.

    Potential Health Hazards: Health Canada warns that lead crystalware may release lead into food and beverages it comes in contact with. The risk is lower if the crystalware is only used over the course of a meal. Health Canada recommends avoiding storing food or beverages in crystal and soaking new crystalware in vinegar for 24 hours and rinsing it before you use it. Also wash crystal by hand with a mild detergent. Dishwasher detergent can damage the surface and cause more lead to be released next time it is used. Eating a balanced diet that includes calcium, iron, protein and zinc will also help reduce the amount of lead and cadmium your body absorbs. If you’re especially worried, consider buying lead-free crystal, which doesn’t have the same weight and brilliance of crystal, but is quite similar in all other aspects.

    Buying the Right BBQ

    Every season brings along with it certain joys, and for most Canadians, that joy during the summer is BBQing. Backyard grilling with beers (or lemonade if you’re under 19), while lounging on lawn chairs in flip flops and sunglasses is pretty much the quintessential summer experience.

    Buying a brand new BBQ, however, can be a pricey investment and although we all like shiny, new appliances, it could actually be a lot more sensible to look into used BBQs since they’re usually only used during the few months of summer weather we actually have in Canada!

    Instead, by going the used-BBQ route, you’ll be able to save your hard-earned cash for new big-ticket appliances you would be using every single day like dishwashers or ovens. It's nearly BBQ time - are you ready?

    Here are a 3 things to consider in your hunt for the perfect used BBQ:

    Charcoal or Gas?

    BBQ connoisseurs have long debated which type of BBQ grill is actually superior and what it comes down to is what you prioritize as being the most important features. For taste and authenticity, a coal BBQ is the way to go, but the cons are that fuel gets expensive and it’s not as easy to clean. For convenience and fool-proof grilling, gas is your best bet but it lacks that classic smoky flavor which is especially apparent if you want to grill meat besides hamburgers. You also have to consider the space you’re putting the BBQ into- both the size of the area and whether it’s covered or an open space will impact your decision. If you have a wide-open yard or large patio, your space can probably handle a gas grill and the possible flame-ups (open flames) that flare up from time to time. On the other hand, if your patio is covered in some way either by synthetic materials or trees, a coal grill will be much safer.

    Size

    It’s easy to get a little carried away and want to buy a fancy BBQ that’s larger than what you actually need. Picture an average meal you’ll be serving from the grill and try to get an idea of how much food you’ll actually be cooking- that will give you an idea of the amount of space you need. All those extra grilling racks and side burners may not be necessary if you’re not often serving meals to big parties all the time.

    Maintenance

    Since we aren’t likely to be using our BBQs year-round, how easy or difficult it is to take care of the grill during the off-season is very important.
    Firstly, for any BBQ, it’s a good idea to purchase a cover for it to protect it from dust buildup, damage from any kind of moisture, and rust.

    For a stainless steel BBQ, keeping the exterior shiny and rust free comes from regular cleaning. “Normal” stains can be wiped away with just some soap and warm water, and even when it’s not dirty, the BBQ would benefit from a quick wipe down with clean fresh water. It’s important to make sure you dry the grill’s exterior completely after you’ve finished cleaning it.

    For harsher stains that won’t just come off with a quick wipe, stainless steel requires a specific steel wool scrubber that is designed especially to be gentle enough for stainless steel.

    As for interior maintenance, the racks, plates and grills need to be cleaned with any type of oil or grease removing cleaning product. As well, to rid the grill of all the leftover grease after you’re done cooking, brush the crumbs and extra bits of food leftover from your grilling and turn the burners to high (with the hood open) for about five minutes.

    When looking at a used barbecue, it’s important to take a look to see if the previous owner has kept up with the maintenance of the BBQ. Inspect the interior and exterior for any beginnings of rust, excessive scratches or smells once the BBQ is turned on. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller in what condition THEY purchased the BBQ, what their maintenance routine was, and how often they used it. All these questions will help you make an informed purchase.