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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).