Updating Your Home for Resale Value

Putting your home on the market goes far beyond just hiring an agent or listing your home for sale. You need to ensure that your home is attractive to potential buyers, and this will likely require some work. The idea of spending more money to sell a home sounds counter intuitive, the return on a few investments in or around the home can greatly increase the resale value.

Bathroom Renovations

A few small changes in the bathroom can greatly improve its appearance. (Check out our recent post on updates here!) Switch out old appliances or features for something modern and streamlined. Sometimes just going for a new piece, even at a modest price, will really enhance the look of a room without much else. Everyone likes to feel like they’re walking into a clean bathroom with a shiny sink and fresh looking ready to assemble vanity cabinets! Clean up the bathtub, consider a new shower head attachment, and make sure the flooring it clean. Even if you can’t upgrade the flooring, if it’s clean it’ll go a long way for impressing potential buyers.

Kitchen Update

The kitchen is a very important room to just about every home buyer. Even if someone doesn’t love to cook, the kitchen is often a gathering point for house guests. Creating an inviting, warm setting for your kitchen is important to the overall aesthetics and value of a home. Cabinets can be painted to easily refresh the look, as well as switching out knobs or pulls for a change. Basic fixtures like lighting and faucets should be cleaned or replaced. The kitchen is often the part of a home that stops a buyer from moving forward, so don’t skimp on making the necessary updates here!

Changes to the Home’s Exterior

Updating the exterior of your home can be expensive with full-scale improvements, but there are a few techniques that will spruce up the look of your home without breaking the bank. Instead of trying to paint the whole house, just go for the doors and trim, as well as any shutters. Stick to neutral colors to appeal to all potential buyers. This update often yields a full 300% return on your investment, so it’s definitely worth the time – especially since it’s the first visual representation any new buyer will see!

Outside of painting, make sure to take a serious look at the siding and trim of your home to see if they need replacing. You can use vinyl for the replacement pieces to keep costs down. Replacing windows and doors can also yield nearly 85% of a return if you choose energy efficient replacements. Most buyers these days are looking for energy efficiency in all aspects of a future home to save on waste and energy costs.

Extras

A few straggler items to consider are certain tacky or outdated items in your home. That wacky light fixture or ill-suited bookshelf you may have become immune to over time would best be removed before trying to sell. Additionally, unsightly wallpaper or bold room colors should be removed or updated.

Bring Spring Into Your Home

Now that we are officially into spring, it's time to update the look and feel of your home to match the season. There are variety of ways to bring spring into your home without spending a fortune or using up all of your free time. Here are a few of our tips- what do you do to bring spring into your home?

One way to bring spring into your home- literally- is with fresh flowers and plants. Place fresh flowers from your garden in a nice vase and place them on your dining table as a lovely centerpiece. Flowers also look lovely in the bathroom on the vanity top, especially if you have guests coming over.



If fresh flowers or plants aren't your thing, you can still bring those elements into your home in the form of items such as decorative hardware. Floral knobs or leaf pulls can easily be taken off and replaced seasonally if you prefer- although leaving them up year-round will make every day feel like spring.



Spring decor is typically related to brighter and bolder colors. You don't need to paint your walls or furniture each time the season changes- that would be a bit excessive. By simply changing up the rugs, pillows, paintings and other items, you can give your home a new, spring look. Eliminate darker colors from winter and opt for whites with touches of brighter colors such as yellows, greens and blues.



If you can, allow for natural lighting during the daytime. Make the most of the extra hour of light by opening your blinds and curtains. This not only brightens your space, but also will let you save on your electricity bill.




Although many homeowners dread this time of the year for this reason, spring cleaning is a must. Work on de-cluttering each room, eliminating dust, washing fabrics and organizing your closets. Items such as shoe storage, closet storage pullouts, hampers and pant racks all let you easily organize your closet. You should also give your RTA cabinets a thorough cleaning to restore their shine and color.

All About Murphy Beds

murphy bed

One of the most underrated ways to save space in your home is to install a Murphy Bed. These beds, also commonly referred to as fold-down beds or wall bed, are a great way to save space in your home.

Murphy Beds are built into the wall and fold down when in use. When you are done sleeping, you simply lift them up and they hide in the wall, providing you with a few extra feet of space. The beds are easy enough to fold up by yourself, although fancier versions may include a remote-control device to lift the bed up and down.

Murphy Beds are typically seen in small apartments (usually lofts or studio apartments in urban areas) where space is limited. They are versatile enough to be used in any room in your home, since they instantly turn any space into a bedroom. If you have an extra room in your house but can't decide whether to use it as an office, storage room or a bedroom, why not install a Murphy bed? When guests come over, pull the bed down for them to use. When guests aren't over, the bed is hidden in the wall and you can use the space for whatever purpose you would like.

You can customize the look of your wall beds in a variety of ways. If you hate the plain, boring look of the bed when it is hidden in the wall, you can paint it, move a bookshelf in front of it to hide it, or even conceal it with a rolling door or hidden door. Guests will be surprised to know that a fold-down bed is actually hidden behind there. In addition to this, you can find Murphy Bed kits that work with any size bed. More modern versions now include add-ons such as lighting, cabinets and nightstands.

A variety of retailers offer Murphy Bed hardware kits that allow you to easily install them yourself. This saves money you would typically spend hiring a contractor to install the bed. Due to their inexpensive cost and easy, DIY installation, these wall beds have become increasingly popular over the past few years.

Shoe Storage Ideas

In every home, storage is a large concern. This concern becomes even larger in terms of bedrooms and closets, where the items typically outweigh the amount of space designed to store them. In addition to clothes, shoes take up a large area of space in homes. In order to make the most of the space you have, you must learn how to organize and store your shoes in the most effective way.

First, you should go through your shoe collection and decide which items should be saved. Try to get rid of anything you don't wear at least a few times a year, things that don't fit anymore, and anything that is starting to look discolored or has tears or holes. After this, your inventory should be a little smaller and it will be easier to work with.

After you've gotten rid of unwanted shoes, try to organize the rest of your space (whether it be your closet, bedroom area or mudroom) to make room for the shoes. You'd be amazed at how moving around furniture or locating your T-shirts to a new dresser can make a huge difference. Then it's time to find the best types of shoe storage for your space. Here are some great ideas for how to store your shoes.


shoe shelves(source)

Floating shelves– These attractive shelves are great for showing off shoes that are interesting to look at or a designer brand. Displaying them higher up on a shelf not only makes them the focal point of the room, but it also prevents them from getting dirty or marked up from being next to other shoes.



door shoe storage(source)

Over-the-door organizers- Make use of every inch of your home by hanging your shoe collection on the back of your door with one of these organizers. This not only hides the shoes when the door is open, but keeps them protected and organized in their own separate pockets.



shoe bookcase(source)

Bookcase– Instead of displaying your favorite reads, why not display your favorite shoes? Bookcases are usually the perfect height and width to store your typical heels, flats, sneakers and sandals. You can also group them by shoe type, season or color to create an organized area and make choosing a pair easier. Make your shoe collection look like a prized piece of art!




Regular shelves– Organize your closet so that the old sweaters or purses that took up your shelf space reside in a new home, like a dresser or hanging racks. Then use the new shelf space to store your shoes. Since shoes are shaped differently than clothing that can be laid flat, it's best to store oddly-shaped items where they will fit. The sweaters and tees can fit just about anywhere, so simply rearrange where each item goes to make more room for your shoes.



wire shoe rack(source)

Wire railsWire shoe rails can be installed to any existing drawer or shelf to keep shoes organized and stay in place.



pullout shoe drawer(source)

Pullout organizers– Drawers or shelves that pull out from a cabinet or closet help save a ton of space. They also make your closet look much less cluttered, since the shoes are hidden away when not in use. Pullout organizers and their hardware are available at many hardware stores and are fairly easy to install yourself.



shoe lazy susan (source)

Lazy Susan- Much like the version you'd see in your kitchen cabinets or pantries, a shoe lazy Susan holds your favorite footwear on all areas of the product. Simply spin the organizer to see all the pairs- it's quick, easy and fun.



shoe box storage(source)

Re-use old shoe boxes– Most of us probably throw away the cardboard boxes that our shoes come in, but you can reuse them to store some of your favorite pairs. Stack them up in a bare section of your closet or room. To keep track of which shoes are in which box, photograph each pair of shoes and tape the photograph to the side of the box. There's no need to rummage through your closet trying to find your favorite pair- you can just find the picture and open the box. If the old boxes seem too ugly, you can always wrap them in attractive paper to match your home.



shoe ladder(source)

Ladder- Storing shoes is probably one of the last things you would think of when it comes to rolling library ladders. However, you'd be surprised how easily your high heels hang over the rails. The vertical height of the ladder allows it to easily fit in a room without taking up too much space. Try fitting a few pairs of your favorite heels on an old ladder for a chic way to keep them organized.

Spotlight on the Iron-A-Way

ironaway

Built-in ironing centers are a practical way to save space in your home. Whether you typically iron clothes in your laundry room, living room, kitchen or bathroom, having the hardware built into the wall certainly will come in handy. These ironing centers are constructed with the typical homeowner in mind, helping them get their household tasks done with ease while saving space in their home. One of the most popular types of these ironing centers is the Iron-A-Way.

This innovative product will make your home function more efficiently. When not in use, the Iron-A-Way resembles a typical cabinet on the wall. The iron and other hardware is neatly tucked out of sight, leaving your room looking clean and tidy. When you are ready to use the ironing board, just simply open the door, pull the ironing board down and begin ironing.

The Iron-A-Way eliminates the hassle of typical ironing. Ironing boards are bulky and long, which makes it hard to find space to effectively store germanonlinecasinos.com them in your home. You may have to store your ironing board in a room far away from where you do the ironing, making each time you iron a long process. This product allows you to install the hardware in the room you typically iron in, saving you time and space and eliminating the hassle.

Each Iron-A-Way comes with a ventilated ironing board, premium hot iron storage, a timer, storage shelves, the ironing board's cover and pad, a hot iron rest, a garment bar for hanging your freshly-pressed items, and more.

There are also a variety of customizations you can make to your ironing center. Some of the ironing centers have a swivel which allows you to turn the board horizontally for easier ironing. The doors can come in a variety of wood species and can be painted or styled to your liking to match your room's decor. Or, if you'd rather not have a door, that option is available as well. The various models are different sizes to fit your wall space perfectly. You can install the ironing board at the height of your choice and even install it so it is flush with your wall or cabinet.

Eliminate the chore of ironing with the help of this Iron-A-Way ironing center and our various ironing accessories- including ironing board covers and our pullout/foldout ironing board.

Organize Your Office Space

Whether you work in a corporate office or have your own version in the comfort of your home, keeping your space organized can lead to increased productivity. Installing a few pieces of hardware or purchasing some storage items will give your office an entirely new look. Here are a few products to help you organize your office space or media center.

keyboard trayKeyboard trayKeyboard trays usually slide out from underneath the main desk and provide ergonomic support for your hands while you type.  Some versions, like this one, even feature a mouse tray and flip-up compartment to store pens, paper clips and other small office supplies.



laptop drawer with lock

Notebook drawer with lock. Keep your laptop safe and secure by storing it in a pull-out drawer that’s fully equipped with a lock. This not only saves space in your briefcase and on your desk, but it also hides your expensive computer from potential theft.



 cd holder

CD holder. These handy organizers will store your CDs- whether they are music CDS or computer programs- effectively and allow you to see the titles of each. Since they are rather thin and vertical, they easily fit into any office space or media area.



file folder kit

File folder kit. This kit allows you to organize your various folders in a logical way. Once you assemble the file folder kit, you simply place it in a cabinet or drawer for easy access. This will keep all of your important documents in one place and group similar items together.



cable grips

Cable grips. In any office setting, there are typically a large amount of wires, extension cords and plugs. Cable grips help keep the cables and cords organized by grouping and separating each one to your liking. This is great for shared office spaces where two or more employees share a desk area or outlet.



desk grommet

Grommets. Grommets will help to protect wires, cords and cables for your computer and electronic equipment. They protect the wires and cables from damage and debris and usually come in  a variety of colors and sizes to match the decor of your office or home.



power strip

Power strips. Since a typical 2-plug outlet usually won’t suffice, power strips come in handy in office settings. These allow you to plug in 5 or 6 different appliances or electronics at once, which is very useful when working with computers- since you’ll need a plug for the modem, monitor, printer, etc.



usb connector

USB connectors. It’s always helpful to have various USB connectors at hand for projects that may involve extra computers, monitors, or other audio needs.

8 Household Uses for Masking Tape

One item that should be in every tool kit or drawer at home is a roll of masking tape. Masking tape comes in many different widths and colors and can be used for a variety of purposes in and around your house. Here are 8 household uses for masking tape that you may have never thought of.

masking tape for painting

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Painting. Masking tape, particularly the blue masking tape, can mark off areas you don't want to get pain on, such as trim around a door, a baseboard or the ceiling. This allows you to get a clean paint line and a professional look. Make sure you apply the tape in a perfectly straight line and seal the edge to prevent any bleeding paint.



masking tape label

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Labeling. Label your tools, wires, foods, containers and more with a piece of masking tape and a marker. Depending on what type of surface you are applying it to, the tape can be temporary or permanent.



masking tape cutting wood

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Cutting wood. To prevent splinters and frayed ends, apply a piece of masking tape around the wood at the line where you are about to cut it. Cut the wood as usual (cutting directly through the tape as well) and then remove the strip. The wood will have a clean cut without splinters or rough ends.



masking tape lint roller

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Picking up lint and debris. To quickly pick up pet hair, lint, excess glitter, sawdust or other materials, wrap some masking tape around your hand and get to work. Most small particles will stick to the tape easily and quickly.



masking tape streamers

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Hanging decorations. Masking tape doesn't leave a sticky residue like clear tape or other adhesives, so it's good for hanging decorations like birthday streamers. Try a clear masking tape so it will be less noticeable.



masking tape projects

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Holding two things together. Masking tape can temporarily hold two parts together while the glue or adhesive sets. It then can be removed once the glue is dry and the two parts are forged together.



masking tape game

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Entertain the kids. Give your kids a roll of masking tape and watch them create something special. Masking tape can be temporarily adhered to the floor (tiles, wood or carpet) to make a hopscotch board, a road for their toy cars, and much more. The possibilities are endless!



masking tape bag

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Seal opened bags. Whether it's a bag of potato chips or the flap on the cereal box, applying a piece of masking tape is an easy way to keep foods sealed so they will stay fresh. The tape easily removes when you want to open the food and then seals right back up for future use. You can also use a heavy duty masking tape to seal packages you will be sending in the mail.

How to Install Shelving in Your Home

An easy way to add storage and give your room a new look is to add shelving. While certain home remodeling projects should be left to the professionals, installing basic shelving in your home is fairly easy if you have a couple hours, a little cash and some DIY talent. Here is a basic guide on how to install shelving in your home.

What you’ll need:

a level

adjustable shelf brackets

shelves

wall standards

screws

pencil

stud finder

electric drill and drill bit

tape measure

Directions:

1. The first thing to do is to measure and prepare. Figure out how many shelves you want and what size each needs to be (width and depth). Choose what type of material you want your shelves to be (wood, MDF, metal, etc.) and if you need to sand, prime or paint them before installing.

2. After all the preparations are done, it’s time locate the wall studs. Use a simple electronic stud finder to locate the studs before you start to install the shelving. You can find these at your local hardware store for a reasonable price. The sensor will beep or light up when you have indicated the stud’s edge. Repeat doing this on opposite ends of the wall and mark these spots with a pencil. Typically studs are located either 16 or 32 inches apart from one another.

3. Now it’s time to install the standards, which are the bars that hold the shelving brackets. After you’ve located and marked the studs, use your electric drill to screw the first standard to the wall corresponding to the stud locations. After the first standard is installed partially, use a level against the edge of the standard to make sure it is vertically centered. Put screws in the bottom hole, then the rest of the holes to finish installing your standards. Make sure you install enough standards to hold the contents that will be placed on the shelves- you don’t want the shelves to sag (twin-track standards will take more weight than single-track ones).

4. After the standards are in place, it’s time to install the brackets for extra support.

Make sure that they are wide and long enough to support the shelves, and that you install two or three for extra support. These can be screwed in with an electrical drill right into the standards or hooked into them depending on how they are made. Again, make sure you use a level in this process before securing the screws in all the way. If you want to add drama to your shelving unit, install corbels and supports with intricate details and carvings.

5. Place the shelves on the brackets and screw them in to the front of the bracket for added support.

Ways to Lower Your Heating Bill This Winter

thermostat

The late fall chills are a sign that winter is just around the corner. As the colder months approach us, our heating bill inevitably rises. Since efficient heating is important to your health and happiness, it’s hard to avoid it all together. However, you can take action to reduce your heating bill this winter.

First, you should clean and check your heating systems. Much like cleaning out your air conditioner right before summer, late fall is the best time to do so with your heating system. Check that your heat pump, furnace and stoves are all operating properly and replace and clean any filters. This makes sure that your heat will come out efficiently. If you have an old heating system, it may be time to invest is a new one, since older versions are less competent than newer versions. This will ultimately cut your heating bill a bit and increase the value of your home in the long run.

Next, you want to make sure that the heat you are getting from your system stays in your home. Sealing your windows and doors properly is the best way to do this. Windows and doors that have holes or leaks will release heat and raise your bill each month. You may need to replace a window altogether if the cracks and leaks are bad enough. However, you can usually seal up cracks on your own or with the help of a contractor. You may want to have your home properly insulated as well, since this can help your home from losing heat.

Turn the heat down when you are away or sleeping. Since most people sleep better in cooler conditions, turn your heat down slightly at nighttime. Those 8 hours can save some money on your bill each month. When you are away from your home during the day or for an extended period of time (such as a vacation or weekend trip), turn the heat down as well. There’s no need to keep your house warm when you aren't there! Consider buying a programmable thermostat so you don’t have to worry about lowering the heat on your own.

You can also turn down the thermostat on your water heater a small amount to save some money without a noticeable difference. Generally, it shouldn't be set any higher than 125 degrees. If your water heater is old, you may want to install a water heater blanket or look into getting a new and more efficient one in the future. You can also insulate the pipes around the water heater.

Use curtains to your advantage. Opening curtains during sunny days allows the solar radiation to warm your room. At night, closing curtains helps the heat from escaping and the cold air from coming in.

10 Stocking Stuffers for Him

With the holiday season right around the corner, it's time to start thinking about what you should be buying for the special guy in your life. The gift itself is important, but what about the stocking stuffers? Whether he's a handyman at heart or you have an upcoming remodeling project coming up, these ten items will get the job done.

Minolta tape measure

$10.95 / buy here

This metric tape measure goes above and beyond your standard, everyday tape measure. This Pro-carpenter comes with 7 extra features, including an erasable note pad, pencil sharpener, rugged rubberized case, a lever action belt clip and a super thick 1″ blade. This gadget will come in handy for just about any home remodeling project, making it a must-have for the holiday season.


USB wall charger

$12.01/ buy here

This USB wall charger plugs into your wall to charge his favorite devices. Simply plug in the iPod, iPhone or other gadget into its corresponding USB cord and then hook that up to this charger. This stocking stuffer is great for those who like to travel or who are always connected to their devices.


safety gloves

$8.99 / buy here

These Nitrile disposable gloves will come in handy for a variety of occasions. It's important that he keeps his hands safe and protected during all of his projects, so these safety gloves are a must. Whether he's using them for painting, packaging, gardening or as an auto mechanic, these gloves will keep him protected. They are low-powdered and each box comes with 100 gloves to last him for months.


bulls eye level

$2.84 / buy here

This bulls eye surface level is designed to level surfaces in every direction. This tool makes any woodworking job easy with its precise measurement and ease of use. Whether he's using this tool to level appliances, tables or another surface, it's sure to come in handy.


utility knife

$19.12 / buy here

This utility knife with a quick-change locking and folding blade is a must-have for packaging. There are so many uses for this tool, he'll want to keep it around his belt at all times. It comes in handy when opening tough packages, cutting plastic or vinyl materials, trimming carpet or even to remove old screws. He'll end up using this tool for just about everything.


working hands cream

$6.99 / buy here

O'Keeffe's Working Hands Cream will moisturize dry hands that crack and split. It's guaranteed to improve both the look and feel of his overworked hands. This hand cream comes in a 3.4 oz jar and is an oil-free formula developed from moisturizing ingredients to retain moisture and hydrate the skin. Watch as his hands go from rough to healthy with the use of this miracle cream.


tool cleaner

$12.20 / buy here

He can give his tools a nice clean with the help of this tool & bit cleaner. This concoction removes pitch and resin build-up from saw blades, router bits and other cutting tools and reduces friction to make cutting easier. Simply spray it on, let it soak for a few minutes and then wipe away the build-up.


safety glasses

$5.99 / buy here

Keep his eyes safe and protected this year with the help of these safety glasses. With their blue, anti-fog coated lens, a rubber nose-bridge and shatterproof wrap-around lenses, these glasses are both stylish and comfortable. For just under $6, you get 12 glasses- so he can leave a pair at work, at home or anywhere he pleases.


cable grip

$6.99 / buy here

These cable grips make a great stocking stuffer for someone who loves technology. This media storage item keeps his cords organized and separated at the office or for his home entertainment system.


masking tape

$2.40 / buy here

He'll use this masking tape for just about any project. It serves as a guide when cutting or painting, removes lint or other particles from surfaces and is great for labeling items in the tool shed or basement.