How to tackle deep-cleaning tasks around the house
(BPT) - You know it must be done, but you just don't want to. It's been on the to-do list for far too long. You may try to ignore it, dodge it or even cover it up. It's your mess nemesis — your least-favorite cleaning task — and you dread having to tackle it.
Not all cleaning is equal
While some people enjoy cleaning more than others, everyone can agree that not all cleaning tasks are created equal. In fact, 88% of American adults have a least-favorite cleaning task, according to a new survey from the makers of home cleaning brand CLR (pronounced "clear"). When asked to liken their least-favorite cleaning task to a person, 33% of Americans said it's like a scam caller. When asked to choose between activities, almost half (43%) would rather go to the dentist than handle their least-favorite cleaning task.
Cleaning during quarantine
Considering the extra time people are spending at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, messes are more frequent and can quickly become bothersome. The frequency of cleaning has increased for most Americans over the past several months, but Americans are, understandably, split on their level of cleaning productivity during this time: 53% have tackled a cleaning task they've been avoiding for years during the pandemic and 42% have avoided at least one cleaning task during the pandemic.
Tips for conquering a mess nemesis
Whether it's soap scum, mildew, rust, stinks, stains or spills, it's time to show your mess nemesis you mean business. Follow these tips to get the job done right:
1) Set a date: It's easy to keep avoiding tasks you loathe, so set a time for when you plan to focus on cleaning and be specific. For example, at 10 a.m. Saturday you're finally giving the boot to that lime and calcium buildup on the shower door. Put on some cleaning clothes, play some motivational music and focus on getting the job done once and for all.
2) Stock ample supplies: Stock necessities, such as sponges, scrubbers and rags, before diving into any cleaning mission. Having the right supplies for the specific job makes tasks simpler. Use proper cleaning formulations for your task, such as the CLR line that has products designed to get rid of the grime in areas of the home, from the kitchen and bathroom to the patio, garage and beyond.
3) Follow directions and use safer products: Always follow the directions on any product to ensure you get the results you want without making the mess worse or damaging the items. Use products that clean effectively without unnecessary use of harsh chemicals. Look for products approved by the EPA Safer Choice Program, meaning they’re recognized as a safer alternative to traditional cleaning options that rely on the use of harsh chemicals to be effective, such as bleach.
4) Rally the troops: Whether it's a big mess that requires multiple sets of hands or a tough mess that requires a few people strategizing, help can make a big difference. Even if you need to focus on the mess nemesis while other people handle regular household chores, this can keep things moving forward thanks to teamwork. Get your partner, spouse, kids or roommates in on the action.
6 ways to improve the time you spend at home
(BPT) - After spending so much time at home in 2020, you might be running out of ideas to keep yourself entertained. If you find yourself with extra time on your hands, you’re not alone. Many people are looking for new ways to improve the time they spend at home. Follow these tips to revamp your space and enhance the time you spend at home.
1. De-clutter to cultivate calm
Make your home your happy place away from the hectic world. Target the hot spots for mess and get organized to regain peace of mind. Do a bedroom makeover to create a space more conducive to sleeping. Whatever you decide, your body and mind will thank you.
2. Binge a new podcast
Though they’ve been around for years, podcasts continue to grow in popularity. While you’re spending time at home, they can make you feel like you’re part of a fascinating conversation. Search for a subject or topic you’ve always wanted to learn about and dive in. And if you’re looking for a device with the latest technology to help you stay informed, check out LG’s newest smartphones --Wing, Velvet or K92.
3. Watch something out of your comfort zone
Sure, you could turn on another season of your favorite show, but why not try something completely different? Choose a topic you don’t know enough about and turn on a documentary. Or choose a show or film from a genre you don’t typically follow and see what all the hype is about. To help you stick with your new favorite, LG’s OLED TVs deliver the pinnacle of picture quality and offer access to the most popular streaming sites so you’ll have a vast library of content to explore.
4. Up your work-from-home game
If you’re working from home, you might be getting tired of sitting at the kitchen table or lounging on the couch. Make your work setup official by finding a designated office space within your home. Customize your space to help with productivity — like swapping your small laptop screen with an LG UltraFine Monitor for easier multitasking and an unencumbered view.
5. Increase your cleaning efficiency
Since you’re spending more time at home, you’re likely spending more time doing mundane chores. Get your cleaning done better and faster by boosting your laundry room setup. With a style-forward design that takes up half the space of a typical washer and dryer, the LG WashTower gives you the freedom to reinvent your laundry space. You'll have room for more storage, a pet wash station, or even a new desk set-up for work or hobbies.
6. Do nothing
When you’ve run out of activities, work and chores, there’s nothing wrong with just letting yourself be. Many people don’t take enough time to decompress and recharge. Take advantage of some downtime to de-stress and relax.
Small and simple actions can help make the time you spend at home more enjoyable. Follow these tips to get the most out of your downtime.
Discover Nature-Inspired Paint Trends for a Calming Home
(Family Features) When it comes to home design, color can change everything. From understated, clean hues and calming neutrals to soft greens and mid-tone colors with artistic qualities, a whole new style is just brush strokes away. With the right color palette, you can transform your space to highlight contemporary trends while creating your desired ambiance.
These curated Clark+Kensington color palettes, showcasing on-trend looks for 2021, are heavily inspired by nature and natural materials like raw cotton, linen, wood tones and soft, peaceful greens. The colors invite the best of the outdoors inside so you can design a personal refuge where you’re free to relax and unwind.
Each of these three collections, assembled by the experts at Ace Hardware, can help conjure a sense of calm and offer inspiration so you can thoughtfully incorporate color into your home.
Any color in these palettes can be selected and ordered from the comfort of your home online using in-store pickup, curbside pickup or delivery from your local store. Start with color samples to test your colors on your walls in different locations and under different lighting then order your gallons and painting supplies when you’re ready to complete your project. Find more inspiration and all the supplies you need to transform your space with paint at acehardware.com.SOURCE:
At some point, most homeowners will find themselves in the middle of a home improvement project. It might be because they're trying to build equity in the home to prepare to sell or refinance their mortgage, or it could just be the desire to make their home suit them better. Whatever the reason, there are some improvements that can really pay off when it comes to improving the value of the home.
A Large Master Bedroom
Having a master suite in the home is usually something of a given these days, but not all suites are the same. The ideal master suite features a comfortably sized room, a walk-in closet, and a comfortable adjoined bathroom. Keep in mind that bigger isn't always better when it comes to creating the most value here. Upscale master suite renovations don't have a high return on investment, so if that's your main reason for renovating, you're best sticking with minor upgrades like replacing the full bath with a walk-in shower. On the other hand, if ROI isn't the only reason for renovating and you intend to enjoy the end result, feel free to go more upscale. Just remember you won't be seeing the returns you might expect.
A Modern Kitchen
People tend to spend a lot of time in kitchens. Upgrading your kitchen to be more modern can be a good way to improve your home's value. Minor upgrades will get you a better ROI than major remodels will, so again it's important to consider the purpose of your renovation. Minor upgrades include things like replacing cabinet and sink hardware, refinishing the cabinets, and replacing appliances can do a lot to transform your kitchen. In addition to giving your kitchen a more updated look, new appliances tend to be more energy efficient. You should see a corresponding change on your energy bills afterward.
Replacing Your Roof
Roofs last a long time, so you don't need to replace them often, but eventually there will come a time when a roof replacement is a good idea or even necessary. You may find yourself needing to replace your roof if it's been on your home for about 15–20 years, especially if it's become weathered. This isn't a project you want to undertake unless you need to, but if you do it can be a good opportunity to improve your home's value. There are a lot of different options for materials to choose from, each with their own pros and cons. Spending more on roofing materials can be a good choice over the long term. More expensive materials tend to be more durable and last longer, which can really help your money go further in the long run.
Curb appeal matters when selling your home. It's what gives buyers a good first impression of the property. The higher the curb appeal, the higher the value of the property. Even if you aren't selling right now, it feels good to come home to a property that has an attractive exterior. You may not think about your home's siding very often, but it can make a difference in your home's curb appeal. If you choose to replace your siding, there are different materials to choose from. Your choice will impact the return on your investment, so you'll want to balance that with the pros and cons of the different material options.
Updating the Bathroom
Like the kitchen, the bathroom is another room in your house you can often rely on to improve your home's value with a remodel. And like other improvement projects, if you want to get the best value for your money and maximize your ROI, your best bet is to go with minor upgrades rather than a full overhaul. You might consider making minor upgrades such as replacing the shower head, replacing the vanity, and upgrading the lighting. This can give the bathroom a more updated, new look that is brighter and more pleasant to be in.
Your landscaping will greatly contribute to your home's curb appeal. It can also have a strong impact on how much you enjoy your yard. It's more pleasant to be in a yard that has been well kept and is neat and orderly than one that has been allowed to grow beyond its boundaries. Avoid the temptation to solely focus on landscaping the front yard. Buyers will look at the backyard, and you'll probably be spending time in it as well, so it's best to pay attention to both.
Replacing the Entry Door
For a much smaller project that still improves curb appeal, try replacing your entry door. Your front door is one of the first things buyers will see, making it an important part of making a good first impression. This relatively simple project can have a huge impact on how welcoming your home is. A steel door offers the best return and can help improve the security of the property. You can boost the welcoming appearance of your home by choosing one with narrow windows on either side that help open up the home and look beautiful at the same time.
Adding a Wood Deck
Decks can add a great deal of appeal to a home, and wood decks can offer you a good ROI. If you have the space to accommodate one, you should consider adding a wood deck to your property. While they can be expensive to add, and proper maintenance will be essential, you should end up recouping a lot of the cost of building it when you sell. Decks offer great opportunities to entertain guests or enjoy some personal relaxation time. Especially with the recent emphasis on gathering outside, having a space to do that will appeal to many buyers.
Home improvement projects are not all created equal in terms of the value they can add to a home, not to mention the return on investment they offer. If you're trying to build equity in your home, your best bet is to focus on projects that will give you the best return on your investment. This will help you get the best value out of your money and maximize your profits when it's time to sell the house.
Read this next: How to Change Up Your Home’s Exterior Design
At some point during your tenure as a homeowner, you're likely to find yourself facing at least one home improvement project. You've probably heard plenty of people tout the benefits of the DIY approach to projects. Sometimes figuring out if that approach is good for you can be a little tricky though.
Know What You're Getting Into
Not all home improvement projects are created equal. Different projects require different skills, different materials, and different tools. Before you get started on a home improvement project, research what goes into getting it done. This should help you get an idea of whether or not you can handle it yourself. Know the common mistakes DIYers make and how to avoid them. Consider that sometimes projects don't go as planned and that complications can arise. Think about those problems. If they're things you feel confident being able to handle, the DIY approach could be a viable option for you.
Don't Be Afraid to Get Professional Help
Even if you started your project fully confident and capable, you may need to call for reinforcements. Sometimes even your best researching efforts aren't enough to handle things when they go wrong. Alternatively, it may just be a project you're best off calling for professional help to get done. Either way, there's nothing wrong with getting professional help. Find a good contractor who has experience with your project. You may find looking into the reviews left by previous customers helpful in selecting your contractor. If you're concerned about review quality, choose your source carefully. Houzz prevents anonymous reviews, so you can be confident in the quality of the information you’re seeing.
Projects You Shouldn't DIY
Depending on the project, making the decision to either take a DIY approach or hire a professional can be very simple. There are some projects you just shouldn't DIY. Major plumbing projects, wall removal, installing new lights, or anything involving your electrical panel are not good DIY projects. It's best to leave roofing projects to professionals as well. These projects are often dangerous, requiring special skills, knowledge, and licensing beyond what your average homeowner possesses.
It's important to figure out what your approach to your next home improvement project will be before you get started. If you aren't already sure, make sure you figure out what you're getting into with the project. Remember, it's okay to ask for help if you need it. After all, there are some projects that are best left to the professionals, and that's just fine.
Read this next: How to Change Up Your Home’s Exterior Design
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.
Read this next: How to Make Your Home Friendlier to the Environment
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.
Read this next: Furniture Styles to Consider for Your New Home
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.
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