Make a list: Spend some time taking stock of the kinds of maintenance and improvement projects you’d like to begin. A well-considered list will help you to set reachable goals. Assess your skills: Make sure that you carefully consider which projects you are fully capable of completing. For example, unless you have sufficient experience with electrical, plumbing or construction work, you should probably leave those tasks to the professionals. Establish priorities: Which projects are most important to you? Which projects will be the most costly? Which is more important: timeliness, quality or cost? Before beginning any do-it-yourself project, it is always wise to determine specific goals and priorities so that you are fully prepared when it comes time to begin. Create a budget: For each project that you want to complete, make certain that you have a firm budget in place. Allowing for unexpected circumstances (such as errors or the need for additional materials) in your budget will keep you from overspending. One step at a time: When it’s time to begin, remember to pace yourself! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your new garden terrace will take time as well. Complete one task at a time, and soon you’ll feel the wonderful sense […]
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First, you will need four cardboard boxes and a large trash can. Label the boxes as follows: Put Away Fix Set Free Mementos Set an alarm clock to go off in one to two hours. You don’t want to overdo things! Open the closet or junk drawer and select the first object. Now we will use the four definitions of clutter to help us decide what goes in the trash can or which box to use for each item. The trash can. You will find plenty of stuff that is absolutely unusable. Be ruthless. The “Put Away” box. Anything goes in here that is out of place and would be better off in a more convenient location. As soon as the alarm clock goes off you will take ten minutes or so to put all the items in this box where they really belong. The “Fix” box. If the item is damaged or missing a part, but you are certain you would use it regularly if repaired, put it in this box. Objects can only reside in the fix box for one week before they have to change residence! If you do not repair the item by week’s end it […]
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The first step in winning the Clutter Wars is to de-bug your own mind! Most of us don’t recognize clutter when it falls out of the closet onto our heads, so how in the world will we conquer it? Let’s start by defining what clutter is. Clutter is anything in your home: That is out of place That is broken That you have not used or worn in more than a year That you dislike Now don’t panic. I won’t be telling you to throw away everything that falls within the above definition of clutter. BUT once you get a clear picture in your head of what constitutes clutter you will be better able to deal with it! In the next installment we still start in one small place to give you some practice in sorting through all that clutter. Image Credit: @cannelle.olga via Twenty20
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Let’s look at some ways to prevent the clutter in the first place. You can call this your Homeowner’s Declaration of Independence. Garage sales are events you stage, not events you attend. Unless you are a professional junk or antique dealer, there is no reason for you to ever attend a garage sale. Think of them as the entry level drugs offered by the clutter “drug lord” to get you hooked. Discover the joys of borrowing. Let’s be honest. There are some things you might only use two or three times a year (fondue set, espresso maker, sewing machine, Super Dooper Foot Spa, etc.). You don’t need to buy these things! Your friends will be happy to dig them out from under their beds and loan them to you upon request. Throw away those full-color store ad inserts in your newspaper and the mailbox—do not browse them first. I’m talking about the good ones from Walmart, Kmart, Target, Kohl’s, etc. Those ads exist for one reason only—to make you think you need more stuff. I know, you think you are just window shopping, but that is the first step to buying a juicer with ten attachments, a second George Foreman […]
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Have you ever noticed how some people seem to have a knack for creating inviting rooms? One of the joys of owning your own home is having the freedom to decorate a room to please yourself. The only problem is, most of us don’t even know where to start! Today I am sharing with you some simple tips on re-arranging a room that can make the difference between “okay” and “wow!” Before you start your room re-arrangement, first empty the room completely. Take down all the wall décor and remove any rugs. Now, look at the room as if you are seeing it for the first time. Consider what activities you want to take place in the room. Let form follow function. The number one mistake people make is to push all the furniture back against the walls of a den or living room. This makes conversation difficult and creates a walkway through the middle of the conversation area. Try pulling your furniture out into the room into a cozy grouping for conversation. Experiment with placing the seating group at an angle instead of neatly lined up with the walls. A rug and a coffee table can anchor the seating […]
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One of the easiest ways to cut your heating and cooling bill is to make sure that your attic has seven inches (R-22) or more (up to R-49) of fiberglass or rock wool insulation. A simple step we often ignore—replace or clean your AC vents once a month. Don’t leave your bathroom ventilator running longer than necessary, as it can drain your entire house of cooled or heated air in about an hour! During the summer keep your drapes closed in the heat of the day. In the winter keep the south facing window drapes open. Make sure all windows are caulked and weather-stripped to save 10% on your H/AC bill. White window shades or blinds will deflect the heat away from your house. Lower hot water costs by installing low-flow showerheads and faucets. Insulate your water heater and set its thermostat at 115° F. You can cut up to 50% on your lighting costs by replacing 25% of the bulbs in your main-use areas with fluorescent lighting. Fluorescent lights are more expensive but also last six to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs. Plant trees ASAP. Well-placed trees will not only lower your energy costs but will increase the […]
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