Pests are one of the most common and difficult problems that homeowners face. Not only can they be a pain to get rid of, but they can be hard to find, often ending up hiding in walls and under the floors. In order to avoid pests, you need to make your home pest-proof, and the following are ways that you can do that before winter comes.
Making sure to keep your home clean will help you to avoid pests and make your home a safer place during the pandemic and beyond. Vacuuming, dusting, disinfecting, and sweeping the surfaces around your home will help you to keep it clean and avoid unwelcome guests. Sanitizing surfaces often and making sure that your home is a clean place will also help to keep your family safer from COVID-19 and other illnesses that can be transmitted by touching infected areas. If you have small children, especially, make sure to use safe cleaners and keep them away from your children as much as possible.
Seal Up Your Home
When checking your home to make sure that it is safe from pests, make sure to seal up any cracks and spaces that they could enter in through. Many pests make their homes in the cracks and spaces of your house. Having areas that are sealed will help you to manage what comes in and out of your home easier and, hopefully, decrease the number of pests that come into your house in the future. Sealing the cracks and spaces in your home will help get rid of the nests they’ve made and keep your home pest-free.
Keeping debris away from your home and checking the outside areas often will help you to avoid any pests entering your home or causing problems on the outside of your home. Checking the perimeter of your house itself and checking your yard can help you find places where you may need to spray or have a pest control company come and treat your home.
Insects and other animals can be one of the most frustrating parts of having a home. However, just because they are common and can cause you problems doesn’t mean that they are an unavoidable part of having a property. There are ways, like keeping your home clean and sealing the cracks and spaces in your home, to kill pests and prevent them from entering your home in the first place.
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For many families first starting out, a small home is the best option for affordability. They tend to come with lower maintenance costs, utility bills, property taxes, and mortgages. As the family grows, however, living quarters become increasingly cramped. That doesn't mean it's entirely unmanageable though. Here are some suggestions you might find useful for managing a growing family in a small home.
Look Into Upgrading
Depending on your situation, upgrading to a bigger home might be a good option for you. Sometimes you just need a bit more space to spread out for the sake of preserving some family harmony. If you live in an area with a strong housing market, you might be able to find a larger home in an area with a less expensive market for a similar price, which can help offset the expense of living in a larger home. On the other hand, upgrading your living conditions might consist of remodeling your home. If you have the space on your property, you might consider adding additional rooms on to your home. Figuring out how much your addition will cost you will depend on a variety of factors, so make sure you look into everything before moving forward.
Of course, your situation may be such that moving to a new house or adding on to your current house may not be the best option for you. One of the concerns many homeowners have is that there are enough bedrooms to accommodate their family. If you have a growing family in a small house, there's a good chance you're going to have to rearrange the bedrooms at some point. This could be as simple as replacing single twin beds with bunk beds that accommodate more children but use up the same amount of horizontal space as a regular bed. If you have different sized bedrooms and a different number of boys and girls, consider giving the largest one to the larger of the two groups.
Get Rid of Old Junk
Most people have a tendency to accumulate a lot of junk over the years. This can be a problem if you live in a small house and have a growing family. If you find your belongings are making your home feel crowded, it's probably time to go through them and get rid of things you no longer need. You might try sorting your belongings to start. Throw out any garbage. Consider hosting a yard sale to get rid of items that are in decent condition. This way you can make some money while clearing out space in your home. You may be able to donate whatever's left to local charities. Just be sure you understand what things they can and cannot accept before dropping them off. You can even rent a dumpster for things that are broken that aren’t worth donating or saving.
Add Storage Space
Storage space is another common concern people have when living in a smaller home, whether or not their family is growing. If it is, that tends to put even greater demands on available space. Lots of people use their garages as additional storage. If you don't have a garage, consider adding one if your property allows you to. You could build one onto your house on site, or you could have a prefabricated garage built and transported to your house. Some people have concerns about the stability of prefab garages, but those concerns are generally unnecessary. Offsite prefab garages aren't less stable than onsite garages. They have to be stable to withstand the transportation and delivery process. You can rest assured that it should be stable enough for your needs if you choose this route.
Get Creative with Closets
Small houses tend to have smaller closets. For a growing family, that might mean you need to get a bit creative with how you make the most of your closet space. One of the keys to making the most of your closet space is to think about ways you can use the available vertical space. You might add extra storage space to closets by using hanging organizers. Adding another bar you can use to hang clothing is another option to make the most of space. If you have shelves or drawers you use to store clothing, learn space saving ways to fold clothing.
If you've already reorganized bedrooms and still need more sleeping space, consider repurposing other rooms into bedrooms. If you have a room you use as an office, you might consider downsizing your office to a corner of the living room and turning that room into an additional bedroom. Alternatively, you can get creative with less conventional sleeping areas. For example, you might partition off an area of another room to be used as a sleeping area. If you choose to do that, carefully consider what room you'll use, who will be using it, and how the rest of that space will be used at which times. It doesn't do much good to assign someone a new sleeping area if the adjoining area is noisy while that person is trying to sleep.
Spend Time Outside
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to manage living in a small home with a growing family is to spend ample amounts of time outside. Spending time outside has multiple benefits, in addition to helping you not feel so cramped in your own home. You might enjoy playing sports outside as a family, doing some gardening, or taking a walk to a nearby park to play. It can be a good chance to get some much needed alone time. Those health benefits you gain from being outside can help you start to feel better in no time.
If you're the homeowner of a small house with a growing family, it isn't news to you that close quarters can be difficult to deal with at times. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make it more manageable. Try out some of these suggestions and see if they make a positive difference in your living situation. You may find yourself falling in love with your small home all over again.
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Most people have driven around in neighborhoods and found that one house that really stands out (in a good way). Whether it's the unique landscaping, the fresh coat of paint, or the quality of the materials, there's something about the exterior design that sets it apart from the rest. If you want your home to be the one that stands out, here are some suggestions you can use to get started.
Give It a New Paint Job
Painting your home's exterior is a relatively simple way to make a major change to how your home looks. To get started, pressure wash your house. Painting works best on clean surfaces. Identify and repair any damaged surfaces. Once you've done that, remove any existing paint that's chipped or loose. Then you'll need to caulk the trim and prime any stains or wood knots. Protect areas you don't want covered in paint such as doors, windows, and lights. Then you'll add one to two coats of your chosen paint color. Keep in mind that you may need to start with a primer, depending on how the color you've chosen compares to the existing paint. Paint the trim and doors, if that's included in your project.
Replacing your existing roof with a metal roof is another way to give your home a unique look. Metal roofs are often made at least in part of recycled materials and are recyclable when their life as a roof ends. They can reflect the sun's heat, making them energy efficient when it comes to cooling your home. They tend to be both durable and fireproof. They're also incredibly long-lasting, depending on the material used. Replacing a roof is expensive, so unless you've got a lot of cash to burn on a new roof before you need one, this is one exterior design project that might be better left until you need a new roof.
If your exterior walls are looking a little shabby, consider replacing the siding. There are lots of different siding materials to choose from, each with their pros and cons. You'll also have different colors and textures to choose from. Finding an option that will give you the look you want to achieve shouldn't be too difficult. Be aware that which material will work best may be somewhat dependent on where you live, so take that into consideration. You'll also want to make sure you understand the best way to maintain your chosen siding so you can be sure to keep it in good condition.
Doors With Windows
Sometimes you don't need to do crazy big things to give your exterior design a face lift. Just changing the front door can be enough to make a noticable difference. If your front door doesn't have windows, consider swapping it out for one that does. This can be a great way to brighten up your entrance way to your home using natural light, and give your exterior a more stylish, classy look. If the extra natural light entering your home causes you concern because of UV light, no need to worry. Low-E glass entry doors minimize UV light that enters your home. You'll be able to enjoy the beauty of the glass and natural light without so much of the UV light entering your home.
Most of these changes are great for during the day, but may not have as much of an impact at night. Getting new lighting for your house, on the other hand, can make your house really shine at night. Lighting your house well can make your property safer for those walking up to it. It can also deter criminals from targeting your house. You can also use lighting to add a more personal touch to your house. Jellyfish lighting is a permanent lighting system that blends in with your home and can be controlled through an app on your phone. You can then customize it with different colors to celebrate holidays, your favorite sports team, or whatever else strikes your fancy.
Try a New Trim Color
Painting the entirety of your home's exterior is a pretty big project. If that's more than you want to take on, consider tackling just your trim instead. Changing the color of your trim can have either a subtle impact, or a rather stark one. The level of impact will depend on the color you choose and how it looks in comparison to the color of the rest of your house. Trim that is more similar in color to the siding color will have a more subtle impact than trim that is more contrasting.
Change Your Landscaping
Changes to the house itself aren't the only thing worth considering. Your landscaping can have a significant impact on how your house is presented to the world. Whether you choose to have a grass lawn, artificial turf, or xeriscaped yard, there are a lot of fun, creative options you can use to personalize your front yard. You also might consider redoing your front walkway. Concrete may be the most commonly used material for sidewalks and walkways, but there are some alternative walkway materials you can use that make your home more unique and stand out.
Add New Plant Life
Speaking of landscaping options, adding new plant life is another great way to change up your home's exterior design. You can use trees and shrubbery to frame your house. Keep them neatly trimmed to ensure that they, and your property, look their best. Add a variety of flowers and other plants of different colors and heights to give your property more color and depth. The possibilities here are nearly endless. Just keep in mind the overall balance of the property to ensure you have an optimal result.
Whether you're preparing your home to sell or just want to change things up, making improvements and changes to your home's exterior design can really boost your curb appeal. While far from an exclusive list, these suggestions can provide you with some ideas for how to get started. You'll be on your way to making your house the one that really stands out.
Prepping your home and family for winter is important—particularly if you live in a northern climate. While you are busy getting your holiday plans in order, you might forget to take care of certain parts of your home. Particularly, areas that—if left unattended would result in significant property damage.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources you can find online to help you get ready for winter. While you may not have to do all of these, you should look objectively at your home and make a personalized checklist to get it done before the snow rolls in.
One of the first things you should do before it gets cold is thoroughly inspect your heating and air conditioning systems. Many professionals recommend switching out air filters at least yearly—especially before winter. You should also inspect these systems (or hire a professional to do it) if you notice any problems. There are several reasons for this.
First, having clogged filters and poor technology will drive up the cost of your energy bills. This is a result of your HVAC system having to work harder while offering sub-par heating and cooling results. If you want to make sure you have a pleasant winter, get your HVAC system checked out.
Sweep Your Fireplace
If you have a fireplace, you are going to want to clean that as well. Because people use their fireplace most often during the winter, you might not think to clean it until it will cause problems for you. For instance, heat escapes through a fireplace chimney if you don’t maintain it well. This costs you money and wastes precious heat.
The most dangerous result of an unkempt fireplace can do the opposite—it can fill your home with smoke and potentially suffocate you if you aren’t careful. If you don’t use your fireplace often, you might be able to get away with not doing this one.
Cleaning your gutters is a nasty but essential chore. If you live somewhere that is temperate with vibrant trees and heavy snow, this should be a priority for you. Leaves, rainwater, and other things can get lodged in your gutters, which can cause poor irrigation and potentially break them once the snow falls. Make sure your gutters are clean of leaves and other debris.
Though rain gutters are often forgotten, maintaining them can prevent your home from flooding and save you a load of money. Getting it done early will keep it from becoming more dangerous and less icy, too.
Vacuum Carpets and Upholstery
Not everything that you need to clean and prepare for is outside. You should also make sure to vacuum your carpets and clean your furniture. While this is not an issue of home damage, taking care of your property can make your inside more pleasant to stay in once it is colder.
By vacuuming regularly, you can protect your carpet from mold and mildew damage. You can also eliminate food products, hair, and other mischievous things that get stuck in your floor. Taking care of your furniture will also eliminate unwanted odors and improve your home’s livability.
Fill in the Cracks
One huge problem many people face is basement flooding. While you can eliminate some of the risk by cleaning out your gutters and properly irrigating water downhill, you also should fill in cracks in your home’s foundation as soon as possible.
Window cracks and door cracks can let cold drafts of air into your home. In the coldest places, drafts can be horrendous and dangerous to your home’s integrity. If you notice drafts invest in weatherstripping and caulking for your windows and doors. These practices will keep your home warm and happy.
Declutter Your Storage
There is a reason there is “spring cleaning” after a long winter. During the cold months, people find that they are more willing to have clutter in their home. If you develop a mountain of clutter over the course of one season, you might need a system to declutter your home. Starting in the fall can save you some grief in spring.
The best way to declutter is to have a system. Start with an area in your living room, for example, and spend an hour or two there. As you gradually work a little bit each day, you will find cleaning can be enjoyable—not overwhelming.
One of the most important areas of your home to clean and prepare is your garage. Garages tend to be a place where people stick things if they do not have room elsewhere. Because of this, they can be cluttered and potentially dangerous to walk through.
Start by sorting your items into different piles: the needs and the junk. Once you do that, the difficult part comes up: how do you organize this stuff? Luckily, there are plenty of shelf options, storage units, and organizers you can look for to break up your items and keep them organized.
Deep Clean the Kitchen
The kitchen is potentially the most-used room in your home. Family gatherings are also frequent because of the holidays happening during fall and winter. Because of this, giving your kitchen a true deep clean can be a huge benefit. But what is the difference between keeping your kitchen clean and deep cleaning?
The intensity and variety of ways to clean the kitchen sets a deep clean apart. Make sure your oven gets cleaned, sweep behind the refrigerator and stove tops (you will need to move them), sterilize all the counters, sort everything in your refrigerator. These chores will make your kitchen feel better to cook in.
Cleaning your home will keep you happier and less stressed in your own home. While you may not have to do all of these, if you find at least one or two of them to accomplish, you will feel more rewarded and relaxed later.
Whether you decide to organize your kitchen, garage, or fireplace, you should always feel safe in your home. The winter months can be hard if you are not prepared. But this list can give you the guidelines to start based on your home situation.
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