Taking charge of the laundry is vital to a smoothly run household. Whether items are hand wash delicates, dry cleaned or run through a regular cycle, it takes planning and follow through to stay on task.

Maintain Adequate Supplies of Laundry Care Products

The Boy Scouts have a wonderful motto about always being prepared. This life lesson should definitely be applied to managing the laundry. Keeping a well stocked cupboard, complete with stain wash, laundry detergent, bleach for colors and whites, fabric softener and dryer sheets ensures that there’s always time for a load of laundry and that there are always clean clothes in the house

Develop a Laundry ScheduleA laundry schedule can help any household to master this chore. Best done in weekly increments, this schedule should include time for delicates to air dry and one or two ironing days for those items that require pressing. Adherence to the schedule is the best way to conquer laundry. Setting a frequency for doing laundry is based on several factors. The size of the family, the age of the people in the house and the number of sporting activities can impact the number of loads.

Designate a Sink for Soaking Laundry

When spills happen, the best course of action is to soak them. Apply the right spray then set the laundry in cool water. If the house is equipped with a laundry room sink it is easy to designate the soaking area. In homes where sink space is at a premium, a clean bucket can take the place of a soaking sink.

Assign Laundry Tasks to Family Members

Everyone dirties clothes. So everyone should be part of the solution to get the clothes clean. The best way to accomplish this is to assign tasks to everyone. Children as young as three or four can put clothes away. Five and six year olds can fold towels and pillow cases. Older children can be taught to turn on the washing machine and dryer.

Find a Dry Cleaner Who Delivers

Taking dirty clothes to the dry cleaner takes time. If this is a weekly occurence, look in the phone book under “D” for Dry Cleaners, then call around and inquire which dry cleaner delivers. Asking around the neighborhood is another way to find a reputable company to handle this time consuming chore.

Be Consistent With Laundry Tasks

Staying ahead of laundry requires planning and consistency. Gathering dirty clothes, sorting the laundry, placing clothes in the washer and then in the dryer, folding the laundry, ironing and putting the clothes away are all part of the laundry cycle.

In order to put laundry in its proper place and prevent it from building up to unbearable levels. Be consistent. Stick to the schedule. And don’t be afraid to get the rest of the family involved.

This is a great article and very informative too!

Window treatments are essential in a bedroom since they add privacy, make it easy to adjust the lighting, and help maintain a steady temperature. There are many different types of window treatments, however, so it can be confusing to choose the right one. To help you decide which type is best for your room, here is a list of basic window treatments along with a few examples.


Curtains are one of the most common types of window treatment used in homes. They are especially popular in the kitchen, although they are also frequently found in the bedroom. They are available in many different styles, colors, and patterns. Typically, curtains are made of lighter weight fabric than drapes, and are sold in packages containing two panels. They typically hang from a curtain rod, or curtain rings attached to a rod, which is installed just above the window frame.

Since curtains come in many different lengths–to fit basic window measurements–there are several ways to hang them, and several ways to tie back the panels, as well. Some methods include puddling the curtain panel on the floor, basic right or left tie-back, and cascading.


Drapes are similar to curtains–sold as panels of fabric with many different lengths, colors, and patterns—but are normally made of heavier fabric, lined, pleated and hung on a traverse rod with a string so they can be easily opened and closed. Drapes are more formal than curtains, and are used in many rooms of the house, including the master bedroom, living room and dining room.

Designer Tip: Having trouble sleeping because your room is too light? Blackout drapes – they have a heavy lining that blocks out all light —  are a great solution for not only keeping out daylight, but also blocking cold drafts or heat from leaking through the windows.


As the name suggests, sheers are lightweight curtains made from sheer fabric. They add a dose of dainty charm to a bedroom, but don’t provide privacy or block out light, so they are typically layered over a blind or shade. Sheers are a nice choice for a small bedroom, as their gauziness gives the room an open, airy feel.


Shades are one of the most popular types of window treatment throughout the home, thanks to their nearly endless range of styles, colors and patterns, and also because they work well with just about any decorating style. A shade is basically a length of fabric or a similar material, cut to the width of the window, and attached to a rod or frame that allows the shade to be lifted up and down with a pulley or roller system. There are many varieties of shades, including bamboo, cellular (translucent), Roman, pleated, solar, motorized, balloon and roller (the most basic type).


Blinds are simple, modern window treatments that are wonderful for bedrooms because they add privacy and do a good job of blocking out sunlight. Blinds are made from hard materials, such as wood, metal, or vinyl. They have slats or louvers, which are tilted open or closed by cords running through the length of the blind. The entire blind can also be lifted or lowered. Blinds are typically hung horizontally over smaller windows, or vertically over a sliding glass door or very large window. There are many different styles of blinds, as well as many different colors.


Shutters are an old-style window treatment that look wonderful in a coastal, cottage, country or rustic bedroom. They are typically made from painted or natural wood, although faux wood is another option. Shutters are fitted within the window frame, and have hinges that allow them to swing open or closed. They also have small louvers that can be open and shut with a lever to filter the light. You’ll find shutters in a wide range of colors, although white and natural wood tones are the most popular.


Valances are decorative top treatments used with drapes, curtains, shades or blinds to conceal the mounting hardware and also add a touch of color or extra pizzazz. Basically, valances are swathes of fabric draped around the top of a window frame. Their many styles include pleated, arched, gathered or flat, straight or shaped, and mounted on dust boards, poles or rods. Due to their dramatic effect, they’re normally found in formal rooms, such as master bedrooms, parlors, or dining rooms.


Cornices are formal window treatments that are typically made from wood or similar hard materials. A cornice is shaped like a box and fitted over the top of the window frame to hide the mounting hardware for the underlying window treatment. The cornice’s wood might be left natural; or painted, covered with fabric, padded for extra texture or even covered with wallpaper. The bottom of a cornice can be shaped and trimmed in many different ways, and some opt to have their cornices custom-made to match the material of their furniture.

Swags and Cascades

Swags and cascades are popular top treatments that add a touch of dramatic elegance to a window. They are forms of valences, and as such, are layered over another window treatment that provides privacy and blocks light.

Swags are typically draped over a horizontal rod in folds. They might match the underlying window treatment, or more often, add a contrasting dose of color or pattern to enliven the room.

Cascades are lengths of fabric that either drape down the sides of the window in a zigzag of fabric, or puddle across the top of the window. They can be used underneath or over swags, curtains, or shades.

Don’t underestimate the style impact of your kitchen sink. It’s worth going beyond the basics for this kitchen workhorse. There are hundreds of design elements that can make your kitchen beautiful, but the sink can really set the stage. Consider one of these sink styles for your kitchen renovation — at least one should fit your space and budget.

Repurposed. If you’re on a tight budget, you don’t need to skimp on your sink’s style. Reusing a salvaged sink can add tons of character to your new kitchen.

Browse local thrift stores, salvage shops, Craigslist or the newspaper to find a hidden gem. While most nicks and scratches just enhance the sink’s character, they can often be easily repaired by a professional if you like.

Custom. Is your kitchen full of windows and lacking in wall space? Get creative and work with a designer to custom design a sink. The designer placed this floating sink directly in front of floor-to-ceiling windows.

Do your research and find a professional, artist or manufacturer who can build your sink within your budget. If you take the time to do your research, custom pieces can sometimes be more cost effective than store-bought ones.

Professional. Are you a professional chef? Or maybe you just like to cook like one. Either way, you may want a professional-grade sink to stand up to your heavy-duty cooking.

A heavy-gauge stainless steel freestanding sink like this one can take a beating and provide tons of washing space in the superdeep basin, making cleanup a cinch.

Fully integrated. There is no molding, caulking or sink edge to work with and clean around when you have a sink connected directly to the countertop. A fully integrated sink is made of same material as the countertop, connected with virtually invisible seams.

These made-to-order sinks mean you can choose the exact size and sink depth. However, this can get expensive with certain materials. If you’re set on this style but want to cut costs, look into fully integrated solid-surface sink options.

Apron. You don’t have to have a traditional-style kitchen to install an apron sink. These sinks have a decorative exposed front, called an apron. Contemporary colored cabinets contrast the old-world style of the apron farmhouse-style sink here.

If you’ve decided that your new kitchen design calls for an apron sink, make sure to tell your kitchen designer right away. The dedicated base cabinet for this sink has to be custom made.

Hand painted. Add some of your own personal flair to your kitchen by selecting a stunning hand-painted sink.

These one-of-a-kind sinks do have a hefty price tag, but depending on the manufacturer, you may be able to custom design yours in the color and style you like best.

Stone. A sturdy stone kitchen sink is classic. This particular sink is made of the same stone as the countertops, but if you’re looking for something bolder, choose a contrasting material.

Tile. Not everyone considers tile for the surface of their new sink — but these homeowners did. This metal mosaic-tile sink is fabulous!

Many spectacular tiled sinks can can be purchased as tile over stainless steel for extra durability, but they tend to be expensive. If you have your heart set on this look, contact a local tile worker who specializes in mosaics. His or her bid might end up surprising you.

You do the laundry, you get tired but it shouldn’t stop you to change the appearance of your laundry room. You can make it chic and make you enjoy being in the room itself.


Cleaning the house is a task that most people dread. Busy schedules leave little time for managing daily household chores and weekly cleaning schedules often fly out the window. Then the last minute phone call comes: in-laws are coming to town, someone important is coming over for dinner, the neighbors need a place to meet.

If there’s a house cleaning schedule already in place, last minute cleaning can be a simple task. Even if it hasn’t been followed, house cleaning with a focused plan can be quite effective.

Pick Up Clutter Before Cleaning

Removing clutter from the house can go a long way to making it look and feel clean. The biggest mistake most people make is to start cleaning before picking up messes. To remove clutter, start in bigger, high-traffic rooms like the family room, living room, den, kitchen and dining room. Use a large tub and place everything that doesn’t belong in the room into the tub. Toys, books, magazines and envelopes can pile up readily in these rooms. Removing these items opens up the surfaces to make cleaning the room easier.

Fill a Cleaning Caddy With the Right Supplies

Nothing causes delay like not having the right supplies. Fill a bucket or basket with several towels, window cleaner, sanitizing cleaner and dusting spray. Carry this caddy throughout the house during the cleaning process.

Assign Cleaning Tasks According to Skill and Ability

Children are wonderful helpers. Even kids as young as two or three can be responsible for putting toys or papers into a basket or wiping down baseboards. They require a bit of supervision to succeed, but this early investment can pay rich dividends in years to come. Older children can be asked to wash and put away dishes, sweep floors, run a vacuum, or even dust. When cleaning on a tight schedule assign simple tasks to the youngest and ask older children to pitch in on harder jobs. The saying that many hands make light work is very true in housework.

Start Cleaning Up High and Work Toward Lower Areas

When cleaning a house, don’t work against gravity. Clean counters and cabinets before moving to floors. Wipe table tops and desks before running a vacuum. By taking a logical, systematic approach to cleaning, the house will get cleaner faster.

Prioritize Areas to Clean

If the cleaning is being done in anticipation of a party, focus on high-traffic areas. If necessary, choose one room to be the closed door room and move everything that can’t be dealt with immediately into that room or closet. When prioritizing, consider safety and comfort first. Kitchens and bathrooms should be high on the list as these areas receive the greatest amount of traffic.

Start with the counters and major appliances. Save the deep cleaning for another time. This is not the time to take a toothpick and clean the grout. This time should be focused on making the house presentable for visitors. Wipe down cabinet fronts, chairs and table tops. Don’t forget to clean the sink. Sweep, then pass a mop over the floor and move on.

Do the same type of cleaning in bathrooms. Wipe mirrors and door handles. Make sure the room looks appealing. Once these rooms are clean, move to the sitting areas. Follow the top down approach with vacuuming being the last step. Finally, move to the bedrooms. Make beds, fluff pillows, dust furnishings and pass the vacuum.

Following these steps doesn’t eliminate the need for deep cleaning but it will allow for the house to be cleaned for guests.

hurricane disaster preparation

Homeowners who have recently moved to the gulf coast area may not yet be aware of the history of tropical storms and hurricanes in their particular area. It’s important to know the risk. Good sources of historical information are the local American Red Cross chapter and emergency management office.

hurricane disaster preparation checklist

Things to do Before the Threat of Natural Disaster

First, assess the replacement value of the home, not the market value. This will determine the amount of homeowners insurance needed. Update the policy if needed. In addition, flood insurance should be purchased if the property is in the flood plain or close enough to the coast to be affected by storm surge. A policy may be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

disaster emergency kit

Take time to assemble a disaster emergency kit. This should include standard first aid medical supplies, candles, matches, a flashlight, and a stock of batteries. It’s also a good idea to invest in a Leatherman multi-tool and a camping stove and lantern. Set in a stock of canned food and bottled water. A weather radio with a hand crank will help to stay up with changing weather conditions.

Things to do When a Hurricane is Threatening

The windows must be protected with storm shutters or plywood. Metal storm shutters are best, but more expensive. Roll-up motorized ones are the most convenient, especially for second story windows. If plywood is used, Plylox hurricane window clips make the job easy. Don’t wait until the last minute to go shopping at the home improvement store.

The gable ends of the roof should be properly braced to prevent collapse during high winds. This is usually done during construction to conform to the building code, but it doesn’t hurt to check. Hurricane straps offer an added degree of roof protection. These galvanized straps secure the roof trusses to the exterior walls.

Garage doors are often overlooked during disaster preparation. It’s important that they’re secure because if not, the storm may enter the home through the garage. If the doors are wood, inspect them for rot and repair as needed.

Although not a strict requirement, it’s nice to have an emergency back-up generator with plenty of fuel. When the power goes out, it sometimes takes weeks to restore it. Be sure to secure trash cans, patio furniture, and anything else that may blow around. One of the last things to do is fill your largest ice chest with ice. Finally, be sure to have a good supply of any prescription medications.

home improvement project

There are a number of reasons to be frugal during times of high unemployment and less expansion of a business sector leery of proposed tax increases across the board. When it comes to home improvement, this translates into focusing on projects that add to home resale value and maximize return on investment. Here are 8 common ones to reconsider.

home remodeling

Don’t Add an Extra Room

Considering a room addition? An additional room is almost always a welcome remodeling project. After all, don’t real estate ads begin with x number of bedrooms, x number of baths? This just goes to show that it’s an essential part of the valuation of a home, both for resale value and homeowners’ insurance purposes.

But the bottom line is that it makes more economic sense to finish a basement, turn a garage into a home office, or convert an attic space into living quarters. Actually building an extension to a home is a much bigger financial investment because of foundations, exterior framing, the toll on the HVAC system, and roof extensions. Choose to improve what’s already existing.

Choose Practical Kitchen Makeovers

Upgrading to an overly-ornate kitchen. Since it’s common knowledge that the kitchen is one of the highest ROI areas of the home when it comes to a make-over, many homeowners go for “fancy” rather than functional. But when the dollars get tight, buyers would rather pay for comfort and function.

Avoid Costly Bathroom Fixtures

Whirlpool spa bathtubs are out. These may work for the idle rich, but with so many layoffs, people remaining on the payroll have fewer free hours because they are working more to take up the slack. So for one thing, there’s no time to use it, and secondly, it costs too much to fill, heat, and circulate the water.

Don’t Splurge on Home Elctronics

Dedicated home theaters don’t pay off in the long run. They’re fun and they certainly went through a period of popularity, but what a waste of space and a remodeling budget. It makes more sense to sink a fraction of the cost into a nice wide screen TV and a comfortable sofa.

Most Home Automation isn’t Thrifty

Science fiction-type home automation is just impractical. These upgrades really played well in futuristic science fiction novels and movies, but now that the technology has arrived, the convenience vs price factor is questionable. The exception? A 7-day programmable thermostat does make sense and will pay for itself rather quickly.

This is the Wrong Time to Install Hot Tubs and Pools

Hot tub sales are tepid. Hot tubs make more economic sense than putting in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, but like whirlpools, they don’t always get enough use to justify the cash outlay. Plus, there’s always the issue of maintenance cost.

So when considering adding a “treat” remodeling expense, building a deck may make more economic sense.

kitchen counter scratches

After continued use, scratches can become apparent on a solid kitchen countertop. The damage is typically caused by regular use or cutting food directly on the counter or banging pots and pans or cups against it. This takes away from the attractiveness and appearance of the counters and can lower the value of your kitchen.

solid kitchen countertop

You can make these minor scratches disappear without spending a lot of money if you do the job yourself. However, If the damage is severe or the scratches are deep, then you may want to instill the help of a professional to repair the counter. It will take about an hour to repair the scratches and you will need a few materials and tools to complete this task.

Repairing the Laminate Countertop

repairing the laminate countertop

Dispense about 1 tbsp. of rubbing alcohol onto a clean paper towel to remove any dirt and debris prior to repair the counter. The laminate paste you will use to repair the counter will adhere better if the surface is clean. Wipe the paper towel on the entire surface of the kitchen countertop. Thoroughly dry the counter with a lint-free cloth so it does not leave any particles behind.

Spread laminate repair paste on the affected areas of the countertop with a putty knife. Try to match up the paste to the color of the countertop as closely as you can. This repair paste can be found at a local hardware store and is relatively inexpensive. This paste is specifically made to adhere to laminate surfaces. There are many colors to choose from and you can mix and match colors to create the color combination of your counters.

Carefully work the paste into the scratches and chips with the putty knife. Spread the paste out until it is even with the surface of the countertop so it blends in with the rest of the area.

Allow the repair paste to dry for 24 hours prior to using that section of the countertop. Keep the repair paste on hand or note the type or color you used for any future repairs.

Preventing Scratches

Some scratches and cut marks can be prevented on countertops by taking certain precautionary measures. Always use a cutting board when chopping up food and do not cut directly on the countertop surface. Avoid placing hot pans and plates directly on the countertop. Use trivets or hot pads to place hot pans on so it does not create stains or burn marks.

It is hard to notice your gutter until the rains start to pound and you realize that your ceiling is darkening which is a bad sign. Then you go outside and you notice that the gutters that you have neglected for a while are overflowing with leaves and debris leading to the leakage on the roof. Perhaps it has been raining for a few hours then you noticed that your basement is leaking or your foundation has suffered some damage. What if you had inspected these gutters early enough and fixed any hitch? Would you start dealing with leaky basements and eroding foundations?

Forget about cleaning gutters on your own

According to experts, you should never clean gutters o your own if you are not trained to do so. Cleaning the gutter is a dangerous task that requires safety precautions to be observed. First there is the balancing of the ladder trying to reach the slimy, smelly decomposing leaves and trying to make repairs to the roof or the gutters. You can decide to handle the cleaning yourself on a given weekend or hire a professional contractor. Whatever your choice is, leaving your gutters unattended will lead to leakages through winter.

You need to observe safety precautions if you choose to do it yourself.

First you must make sure that you use a sturdy ladder that stretches way up the roof to avoid stepping on the top rungs. You should have someone to spot you and make sure that the ladder seats securely at the bottom.

   Wearing sturdy gloves use your hands to clean the debris out carefully. A plastic gutter scoop can also do the work. It is safer to use a disposable tarp on the ground rather than a bucket.

Use a water hose to wash the gutter while making sure that the       water flows through the gutter and out of the downspout.

You can decide to place gutter guards on top of the gutters. They help to prevent debris from entering the gutter and allowing the water to pass through. You can use metal gutter guards that fit in perfectly into the gutters; use plastic ones that are held on the last shingles, or wide flexible wire mesh that also fit perfectly on top of the gutters.

If you aren’t sure of what to do when it comes to gutter cleaning, you would rather hire an expert rather than starting a task that can leave you with a broken leg (when you fall off the ladder).