Archive for ‘For Sellers’

October 30, 2014

20 Moving Tips That Will Make Your Life Easier

Moving from one house to another can be stressful and exciting all at the same time. Staying organized, making lists, and planning ahead make the whole process a lot easier, but so does having a few handy packing tips and tricks up your sleeve!

 

move

1. Make a Packing Supplies Basket

 

Put together all of the things you need for packing in a basket so you aren’t constantly trying to remember where you put the tape. This way you can carry it around with you and have everything at your fingertips. You might want to include: packaging tape, labels, scissors, Sharpies, a screw driver, baggies, and a utility knife.


Source: A Bowl Full Of Lemons

 

2. Make your last Grocery Trip Two Weeks Prior to Moving

The more food you end up using before moving, the less you’ll have to throw out.

 

mirrora   

    3. Masking Tape on Mirrors

Use masking tape to place a large X on your mirrors and glass frames. It won’t prevent it from breaking, but it will absorb shock and keep the glass in the frame in the case that it is dropped or shuffled in the moving truck.

 

 

 

Source: Martha Stuart

 

box handles

4. DIY Box Handles

Make picking up and lifting heavy boxes a little easier by cutting handholds in two sides of the box with a utility knife! Leave the top flaps of your triangular cut-outs attached and simply fold them in

 

 

 

 

Source: Martha Stuart

 

5. Use soft items for Padding & Space Fillers

Place stuffed animals, pillows, sheets, blankets, and other soft items in trash bags and use them as padding next to fragile items in the moving truck. It also helps fill up irregular empty space in the truck so your belongings won’t shift around during the move.

 

6. Defrost Your Refrigerator

Plan ahead! Don’t forget to defrost, towel dry, and clean your refrigerator 24-48 hours before moving day. This will help prevent a stinky, wet mess.

 

7. Take a Photo of Your Cords

Before you disconnect them to be boxed up, take a quick snapshot of the cords on the back of your television and other electronics so that you can remember where they all go!

 

8. Pack Plates Vertically

platesSource: apartmenttherapy.com

Pack vertically like records. When packing vertically, don’t forget to create a barrier between each plate. You could place newspaper or even a foam plate in between to protect your delicate glass and ceramic plates. Place one in-between each place to prevent them from chipping or breaking.

 

9. Press n’ Seal Will Be Your Best Friend

Dresser drawers are like their own moving boxes — this will keep you from having to unpack and re-fold their contents. It’ll also make moving the actual dresser much more manageable. Press’n Seal is also great for keep jewelry displays intact. You can also use plastic wrap to keep items in their place! No sense in emptying your drawers or silverware tray when you can use plastic wrap to keep drawers shut or smaller items in their intended container

plastic bags

 

10. Use Sandwich Bags

Keep sandwich bags handy for holding any small parts of things you have to take apart, like curtain rods or mounted flat-screen TVs. Tape the sandwich bags to the back of the item they correspond to. ALSO: use this method with the cords for your electronics.

 

 

 

11. Rolling Luggage

If you’ve got them, use your rolling luggage bags for really heavy items like books. Now you can avoid the heavy lifting and simply roll the bags onto your moving truck.

 

 

clothesgarbage

12. Put Hanging Clothes in Garbage Bags

Keep them on the hangers while still protected in garbage bags! This saves the hassle of taking them on and off of the hangers. It also keeps your clothes all together in the order you had them hung, less wrinkled, and ready to hang up when you get to your new home. You can also put the bag on the opposite way; hangers go in first. Just poke a hole for your hangers to fit through the bottom of the bag. You can’t fit as many clothes in this way, but they stay in better form, and you can tie the bottom off with the drawstring closure. Label each bag and then you can hang them up where they belong before easily ripping the bag off.

 

 

Source: Wicker House Blog
glassware

 

 

13. Use Wine or Beer Cases to Carefully Store Stemware and Glassware

Visit your local bar, restaurant, or winery, and you’re bound to come home with several empty wine box cases! The inserts in these boxes are perfect for protecting glass cups, wine glasses, and vases

 

 

14. Enlist in the Color Coding System

Pick a color code for each room and label that room’s boxes accordingly. Label the door of each room with the corresponding sticker/tape so that movers know where to place the boxes.

 

15. Read the Fine Print 

If you hire movers make sure you read the fine print and find out if there are any weird rules. For instance, some movers will only move things in boxes, not garbage bags. Which means you’ll be paying them extra for unnecessary boxes at a marked-up price.

 

16. Change Your Address

Two weeks prior to moving make sure you change your address. This might seem like a no-brainer for important things like utilities and cable but don’t sweat the small stuff. You will want to change the address on your credit cards, bank account, magazine subscriptions, and all other mail.

 

17. Utilize Everything!

Think outside of the box! Use your pot holders to safely hold knives, store socks inside of shoes and boots, use the inside of your washer and dryer for storage — anything you can think of to fill up empty space. This will save much needed room on the truck.

 

18. Pack The Truck Like An Expert

mvoeSource: My Move

****For those who are moving themselves and not a moving company here is a simple way to pack the truck. Depending on the items you are moving, and how much, there are different techniques to packing a moving truck, but there are also the basics that will help you pack fast and efficiently.

 

19. Pack A First-Night Box

Chances are, you’re not going to be able to unpack and organize everything the first day of your move. You will want your essentials within easy access. Pack a labeled box/bag with all of your first-night essentials and load it into your own vehicle.

*You might want to include: toilet paper, toiletries, medications, snacks, basic cleaning supplies, COFFEE and coffee maker, a first-aid kit, a utility knife, pet supplies, a night light for the kids, bedding, disposable plates, cups, and utensils.

It is also a good idea for each member of the family to pack a small bag that contains personal belongings that they might need for the first couple of days. Just pack as if you’re going on a short trip! This way everyone has a change of clothes and anything else they might need.

 

And lastly……….

 

20. Have A Sense Of Humor

Relax! You’ll get there eventually. Moving day is probably the easiest excuse to get frustrated. Remind yourself before the day starts that everything will be ok.

 

A little planning will help you and your family to navigate the thrills and frustrations of moving and get you well on your way to having fun and making memories in your new home!

 

Relocating to Maryland or Pennsylvania? Take a look at our relocation services to help you with all your needs in the search of a new home.

 

 

 

October 27, 2014

Living In Your Home While It Is For Sale

You have decided it is time to move and put your house on the market. You have made a big decision, congratulations! When the for-sale sign is placed on your lawn, dozens of interested buyers and real estate agents will be trudging in and out of your entire house. You will have unfamiliar people examining every nook and cranny of your home.

Selling your home is a huge financial undertaking, so you will want to give your home the best chance to sell for the maximum price….while you still comfortably reside there.

Follow these steps to maintain a livable home and still sell it at the highest possible price.

Start Packing Now

As of right now, you may only have 3-4 months until the moving truck arrives and it is time to move. Therefore you need to remember that you are not going to need all of the decorative furniture or little knick-knack items that are currently filling your rooms and closets over the next few months. So if it is October and you lviein Maryland or Pennsylvania, you won’t need your spring and summer clothes; pack them up. The secret to getting a house clutter-free is to have the mindset of removing all the things you can live without while your home is on the market (it’s only a temporary).  With that in mind…….

 

Keep it, Store it, Toss it or Donate it!

Clutter can eat away equity and kill potential deals. The concept of less is more – removing clutter – is at the heart of preparing to sell a home because space is an important commodity. Showing that you have a little extra breathing room and a sense of expansiveness in your home gives off the feel of luxurious, calming and uplifting. As obvious as this seems, buyers will be more attracted to a home that feels like it has extra space, which is why removing unnecessary clutter from your home is essential when preparing for an upcoming move.

 

Scrub Away

After you have de-cluttered your home, it is time to start cleaning. Say farewell to all the cobwebs, dust, grime, rust, mildew and carpet stains. The windows, glass and mirrors must sparkle. The sinks and toilets should look ‘five-star hotel perfect.’ Most people dread cleaning, but the payoff is worth it in the end.

 

Maintain your Privacy and Safety

Believe it or not, people are nosy and may look through your drawers, closets, medicine cabinets, etc… at your open house or showing. Don’t keep anything in the house that you do not want other people to see; personal documents and valuables. Don’t leave mail sitting around, lock up all checks, credit cards or any other personal information. Be extra cautious about anything of monetary or sentimental value. Although this type of behavior is rare, it is better to be safe than sorry in this case,

 

Send your Pets on a Holiday

Animals are a wonderful addition to any household; however they may not be the best addition to an open house or listing. Therefore you should plan accordingly, ask friends and family to take your pet(s) for the day or at least a few hours, while the house is being shown.

 

Prep Like a Pro

When you are living in a house that is on the market, you need to be prepared to “Show Prep” you home for each showing. Even though your real estate agent is constantly working hard for you, they are busy and often arrive at the same time of the potential buyers. This means they may not have the opportunity or time to prep the house. When those buyers arrive, your house must be ready to go. Every light set perfectly, the doors and windows open if weather permits and the temperature exactly right.

 

Involve Your Kids in the Process

If you have children, you most likely have a lot of toys laying around to entertain them. And of course, your kids need to be able to play and continue on with their everyday lives. So how do you get the house looking perfect for every showing? Involve your kids. Make the process a game and get them to participate. Let them understand that it’s time to put the house “on show” and you all need to set the stage together. Have them pick up their favorite toy and stuffed animal to showcase in a perfect spot each time for the show, and put the rest of the toys away. You will be surprised how cooperative kids are and how much fun they have when you announce its “Show Time!”

 

Get it Ready and Get Out

Once you have gone through the checklist and completed everything that needs to be done before each showing, it is time to get out! You want the potential buyers to feel that this could be their future home. After you have worked so hard to create the perfect atmosphere for their experience, the last thing you want to do is ruin it by hanging around. The real estate agents and the potential buyers need to be able to speak openly and honestly with one another, and if you are present, this most likely won’t occur.

 

Final Panic – “I can’t live like this!”

Don’t let the pressure of maintaining a clean house overwhelm you. You will be concerned that you won’t be able to keep your house sparkling clean every day. But don’t worry, if you truly dress up your home for sale the process of prepping will be easy. Since your things are packed and organized, and your down to the essential basics, moving will be a easy-breezy.

 

 

Source: http://goo.gl/1EIPfq
October 20, 2014

Shut the Front Door

 

What is the first thing a visitor sees when they visit and the last thing they see when they leave? Your front door and entryway of course! First impressions count. Therefore if you are hosting a dinner, having family over for the holidays, etc, you should take some time to spruce up your entryway. Here are a few quick, cheap and super simple tips to achieve instant results!

 

DIY_Paint_Front_Door_1

 

 

1.) Wash it down

It is surprising how much grime and dirt builds up on your front door. You will want to grab a sponge and wipe it down with warm and soapy water. If you have a door with older paint, make sure you use a soft sponge and wipe it clean carefully to make sure you don’t accidentally take some of the paint off.

 

 

 

Paint-your-Front-Door2.) Roll on the paint

After you have washed your front door, you may be left unsatisfied. If it seems something is missing and washing the door hasn’t done the trick, it is time roll up your sleeves and go to the paint store. Take your significant other, family member or friend to the paint store and pick out a nice new color or polish for your front door. Since this is a DIY project make sure you give yourself enough time to do it properly. This project could be timely; sanding, primer and two coats of paint.

 

 

 

funny-doormat-2

 

3.) “Welcome”

Perhaps your home is not as welcoming as it could be. If you have an old front door mat that is worn by both age and more shoes than you remember then it is time to find yourself a new one. A new mat can make all the difference in the world.

 

 

 

pretty-fall-porch-decor-ideas-49

 

 

 

4.) Character

Add some color and pzazz to your front door. Transform your doorway into a bright welcoming entryway. This can be done with seasonal decorations, plants, or anything you see fit. You could even choose something hearty that looks good throughout the year and doesn’t require much maintenance.

 

 

 

 

 

5.) Knock, knock

Who’s there? Go to your local hardware store and pick yourself out a door knocker. It is a nice alternative to a doorbell and when someone knocks you will actually be able to hear it. Adding a door knocker will create a design-savvy point of interest which you are more than welcome to take all the credit for.

doorknocker

 

 

 

October 16, 2014

To Move or Improve?

 

remodeling

 

 

 

Are you considering renovating your existing home or starting completely over by moving? If you ask around, you’ll receive mixed opinions, but the ultimate decision is up to you (and perhaps your significant other). But how will you come to a decision? What criteria should you use to make a rational decision on whether to stay and renovate or pack up and move on?

 

 

Here’s some criteria to help you decide:

 

1.) How do you feel about your neighborhood?paper home

  • Is it a place you enjoy?
  • How well do you get along with your neighbors?
  • Would you miss your neighborhood community
  • Are you and your children happy with the local school district?
  • Is your neighborhood a good fit for you (and your family)?
  • You can always fix a house, but you can’t fix your neighborhood

 

 

2.) Is there an intangible quality to your house?

  • While not every house has significance beyond simply providing shelter, many do. Whether it is the age, design or historical quality, a home that has significance shouldn’t be subjected to the wrecking ball. Expanding, renovating and adapting homes of such value are sure ways to keep the significance alive for years to come.

 

 

 

3.) Does renovating make sense financially?moeny

  • There are a handful of factors to consider when it comes to the question of ‘How much will renovating cost?’. If you are renovating, there are going to be other costs. For example an associated cost could be temporary living quarters while your house is under construction.
  • However it can also cost money is you stay and you are in the way. Some contractors may charge more where clients stay because there will have to be additional cleanup on a daily basis, a rush for certain mechanical work (i.e. plumbing, electric), and even something as simple as socializing with the onsite homeowners (wasting time on the clock).
  • If you are planning on moving, there will be associated costs with purchasing your new home as well. Costs will include: realtor fees, decorating the new home, moving truck costs…..etc.
  • Determining whether to stay or move requires you to evaluate all the costs on both spectrums before making a decision.
  • This decision is best to determine with a contractor. If you have never been to a house that is under-going a remodel, you should so you can understand how much of your home/life will be affected by what you have planned.

 

 

4.) Does your existing house have a sturdy foundation?

  • Not every house is an ideal candidate for a renovation. While there might be a good reason to renovate an old historic barn that is full of family memories, a 20 year old house with a collapsing foundation or other significant defects would not be a good candidate. Therefore make sure you asses (either yourself or professionally), the bones of your house to see if the base of your home is structurally solid.

 

zoning5.) Are the new zoning restrictions going to affect your renovation plans?

  • Depending on the age of your house, the zoning restrictions may have been different during the time it was built.
  • While the house you currently reside in may fit you perfectly (due to the previous lenient restrictions), a new house in its place might not.
  • You should evaluate height/distance to property lines, yard dimensions…..etc., to see if saving the existing structure of the house is worth your while.

 

 

 

6.) Are you willing to have patience and fun with a renovation project…..even when it is not going well?

moneypit

  • Whether you are remolding or even building a custom home, you will have to make numerous decisions. Some of the major decisions include: size, budget and time frame. While some of the other decisions come down to minor details but are extremely important to the whole aesthetic and feel.
  • Make sure you keep your sense of humor. If you are considering renovating, you should watch The Money Pit. The dialogue is filled with classic lines, such as “two weeks” as the stock answer to the question about when the project will be finished. Just remember that renovations may not go as smoothly as planned, but that it’ll be all right in the end. So do your homework, trust in the professionals you’ve hired and enjoy the ride.

 

 

October 9, 2014

Maryland Ranks on Top 100 Best Places to Live

 

Livability.com recently came out with their second annual ranking for the Top 100 Best Places to Live 2015; small to mid-sized cities in the United States.  Some new places made list, some moved up or down and some continue to score well. Over 2,000 cities were ranked, so every city on the list is in the top 5% of livable communities in the United States. The criteria for ranking was based on 8 categories; amenities, demographics, economy, education, health care, housing, social & civic capital, and transportation. Of the 100 cities, 5 are located in Maryland; #19  Rockville, MD; #32 Frederick, MD; #42  Towson, MD;  #64 North Bethesda, MD; #72 Silver Spring, MD.


#19 City of Rockville, Maryland

map_of_rockville_md
-Rockville is located in Montgomery County, MD. Rockville has a population of 60,960, and a median home price is $481,700.

-There are 34 elementary schools in Rockville which are primarily served by Montgomery County Public School District. Parents who are looking for an alternative to public schools have the option of choosing from 44 private schools.

-Since Rockville is a great place to live, it also means it is a great place to work. The economy in Rockville is led by the Corporate, Subsidiary, and Regional Managing Offices industry. This city is also a great entrepreneurship community.

-Rockville residents are part of Montgomery County, which ranks 1st for health outcomes and 2nd for health factors out of the 24 counties within the State of Maryland.

 

 

#32 City of Frederick, Maryland
frederick- Frederick is located in Frederick County, MD. Frederick has a population of 65,171, and a median home price of $255,600.

- There are 40 elementary schools in Frederick which are primarily served by Frederick County Public School District. Parents who are
looking for an alternative have the choice of 26 private schools to choose from.

- The economy in Frederick is led by the Commercial Banking industry. This city is also a great entrepreneurship community.

- Frederick residents are part of Frederick County, which ranks 3rd for health outcomes and 3rd for health factors out of the 24 counties within the state of Maryland.

 

 

#42 City of Towson, Marylandmap_of_towson_md
-Towson is located in Baltimore County, Maryland. Frederick has a population of 55,811, and a median home price of $339,400.

- There are 31 elementary schools in Towson, which is primarily served by Baltimore County Public School District. Parents who are looking for an alternative to public schools have the option of choosing from 52 private schools. After high school, the University of Towson is a great choice for college.

- Towson residents have access to 69 acute care hospitals within 60 miles. Towson residents rank 14th for health outcomes and 12th for health factors out of the 24 counties within the state of Maryland.

 


#64 City of North Bethesda, Maryland

-North Bethesda is located in Montgomery County, MD. North Bethesda has a population of 42,894, and a median home price of $494,200.

- There are 28 elementary schools in North Bethesda. Parents who are looking for an alternative to public school have the choice of 54 private schools to choose from as well.

-The economy of North Bethesda is led by the Corporate, Subsidiary and Regional Managing Offices Industry. There are 116,634 business establishments in North Bethesda with fewer than 10 employees, which is a good indicator of the entrepreneurship community.

- North Bethesda residents are part of Montgomery County, which ranks 1st for health outcomes and 2nd for health factors out of 24 counties within the State of Maryland.

 


#72 Silver Spring, Maryland
silver spring
-Silver Spring, Maryland is located in Montgomery County. Silver Spring has a population of 74, 476, and a median home price of $453,900.

-There are 35 elementary schools in Silver Spring and 49 private schools.

- The economy of Silver Spring is led by the Corporate, Subsidiary and Regional Managing Offices Industry. There are 116,634 business establishments in Silver Spring with fewer than 10 employees, which is a good indicator of the entrepreneurship community.

- Silver Spring residents are part of Montgomery County, which ranks 1st for health outcomes and 2nd for health factors out of 24 counties within the State of Maryland. Residents have access to 61 acute care hospitals within 60 miles of Silver Spring.

 

 

 

Maryland is a great state to live in. Whether you are looking to relocate from another state or simply move to another town/city, our Real Estate Professionals at Homesale Realty are here to assist you every step of the way.

 

 

 

October 1, 2014

How to Prepare for Relocation

Are you relocating? Perhaps you are looking for a change of scenery or are taking on a new job. Either way, you want to be prepared when you make the big move. Here are a few tips to consider, and don’t forget your Homesale real estate professional will also be well equipped with knowledge if you have questions or concerns.

 

Oct 14 IOV - Ecard

September 29, 2014

Cleaning Projects

Cleaning ProjectsView in Piktochart

http://goo.gl/0bs627

September 25, 2014

Neighborhood Spotlight- Annapolis, MD

Main Street, Formerly Church Street, Annapolis, Maryland, USASource: http://www.expedia.com

Thinking about moving to Maryland? Anne Arundel County is known as “the land of pleasant living”, and has a diverse selection of neighborhoods and locations to choose from. The Chesapeake Bay area’s quality of life and rich history, makes Anne Arundel County a great place to live and work.

Situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, only a few miles away from Baltimore and Washington D.C., is Annapolis. There are three distinct regions of Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay. Annapolis City, the State Capital of Maryland, is world-renowned as America’s Sailing Capital. The Annapolis Countryside, offers hundreds of miles of Chesapeake Bay Shoreline and a wide array of American history. Annapolis-Baltimore is home to Arundel Mills Mall, Maryland Casino and BWI Thurgood Marshall.

If you are considering moving, you should take a few days to explore your potential new town. Whether you are solo, moving with friends, a significant other or your family, here are a few ideas to get you acquainted with the new area.

 

 

Take a Day to Relax

Are you in the mood for little R&R? Have a spa day and get away from it all at the highly rated Robert Andrew The Salon and Spa. Take advantage of all their exclusive offerings and be sure to check out their “Zents-ability” services, which will leave you feeling calm and at peace.

 

121208-N-OA833-001

Have Fun with the Children

When it comes to family-friendly activities, there are a handful to choose from. A great idea is to check out the action with the various sports Annapolis has to offer. Get ready to start cheering on the Chesapeake Bayhawks Major League Lacrosse, Baltimore Ravens and U.S. Navy sports teams. Since it is football season, plan a trip to watch a U.S. Navy game, while also exploring what else Annapolis has to offer.

 

 

Source: http://navylive.dodlive.mil/

Go for a Walk 

If you thought Annapolis was all inner harbors and boats, you are dearly mistaken. The Annapolis Countryside region will open your eyes to numerous acres of historical land. Experience history, archaeology and horticulture on the Historic London Town & Gardens. The 23 acre park features reconstruction of colonial buildings, tours of national landmarks, an 8-acre woodland garden and 2 historic gardens.

 

Shop until you Drop

Even if you come to Annapolis to enjoy the water, take in the history or simply appreciate the surrounding beauty, is it easy to make shopping part of the experience…..or the entire experience. Annapolis is filled with boutique shopping, convenient malls and town centers, and the largest outlet mall in Maryland, Arundel Mills Mall.

 

 

blackwallhitch

 

Wine & Dine

Stop by one of the town’s newest restaurants in Eastport, called Blackwall Hitch. It gives off an “urban chic” ambiance. Inside includes an oyster bar, two large dining areas, several private dining rooms, rooftop dining space, and a private VIP room, called “The Living Room”. The restaurant serves modernized American cuisine, while accommodating plates for seafood lovers as well.

 

 

 

Real Estate Overview

With a desirable combination of highly rated school, low crime, and historic locations, Annapolis fits the features that families look for when choosing a good community to raise children. If you’re interested in buying a home in Annapolis, please contact one of our local real estate professionals.

 

 

September 18, 2014

Freshening Up for Fall

With the season beginning to change, you may want to refresh the interior of your house. Refreshing may mean some light cleaning, a fresh coat of paint, new air fresheners, etc. However, you may want to consider some places within your house that you probablly have been neglecting to clean.

 

5 Places You May Be Forgetting to Clean

 

1.) Air conditioner/heating intake vents

Out of sight, out of mind is how many people treat their vents. Your intake vents may not be visible or are purposely hidden, which allows you to “unknowingly” forget to clean them. It is important to keep your vents clean in order to reduce potential damage inside your heater/air conditioner system. Cleaning off the vents will allow for better air flow and reduce the amount of dust/dust bunnies floating around your home. To clean the vents, you can simply wipe them down, thoroughly clean them by unscrewing the vents or you can have a professional come in and clean them (if necessary).

vacuuming-vent

 

2.) Curtains

Your curtains are another place that hair and dust are able to easily accumulate. If you have medium to heavy weight curtains, you can use the upholstery brush on your vacuum to give them a quick once over.
 
 
3.) Under Your Area Rugs

Dirt, dust, allergens and pet hair all seem to gravitate underneath the rugs. You don’t want this grit and grime rubbing into your nice hardwood floors with all the foot traffic; therefore you will want to vacuum or sweep when needed.
Cat-under-the-rug

 

 

4.) Upholstered Furniture

Eating snacks and other foods that easily fall in between cushions can cause quite an accumulation of crumbs overtime. Be mindful to vacuum underneath your furniture’s cushions, and you may even find some loose change…….don’t spend it all in place.

 

 

5.) Above your cabinets

The tops of your cabinets have most likely not been cleaned for a long time. Dust and cobwebs accumulate quickly up there, so every now and again you should dust and vacuum along that top area.

 

 


 

Now that your home is looking great, your hope is to have it smell great as well. Whether you want to add an extra touch to your home because your house is on the market or you are feeling adventurous, here are a few ideas on DIY Fall Air Fresheners. These DIY recipes will put your kitchen scraps to good use while creating a really wonderful welcoming atmosphere.

 

The Scent of Fall

yum

What You’ll Need:

  • Apple peels and cores
  • Peel of one orange or one lemon (optional)
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon dried cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried allspice
  • Small saucepan
  • 4 cups water

Directions:

Add all the ingredients to the small saucepan, fill with water, and simmer over low heat. You can keep adding water as needed, which makes this pot-o-happiness smell wonderful all day.

At the end of the day, toss what’s left in the pot in your compost, or store in a zip-top baggie overnight and then boil again the next day for scenting your space, adding water as needed. After three days, the mixture should be dumped and made fresh.


Fresh and Clean (Crockpot)

fresh

What You’ll Need:

  • A few drops pf lavender essential oil
  • 2 lemons (sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Water

 

 

 

That’s just “Pine” (Crockpot)

pine

What You’ll Need: 

  • A few sprigs of fresh pine
  • A couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • Water

 

 

 

Apple Cider” (Crockpot)

Screen shot 2012-11-08 at 1.46.00 PM

What You’ll Need:

  • Peels of 2 apples
  • 4-5 cinnamon sticks
  • Cloves
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • Water

 

 

Directions for All Crockpot Recipes:

Add all the ingredients into a crock pot, fill with water, and turn on. As the water cooks away, you can keep adding more.

 

 

September 15, 2014

Preparing Your Home for Fall

The days are becoming shorter and the weather is becoming cooler; fall is right around the corner.  Now is the perfect time to get a jump start on accomplishing a few house chores before the cold weather strikes and it is too late. A lot of things are overlooked by homeowners when making the change from summer to winter. So, here is a guide on Preparing Your Home for Fall to help you remember all of the important tasks to get done to guarantee a safe and warm home for the upcoming cold weather.

 

 

Clean Out Your Gutters

gutterSource: http://www.pondarosahomes.com

It is best to put this first on your list of things to accomplish. You will want to clean out your gutters during the last few days of summer or the first few days of fall. However the most ideal time for gutter cleaning is after the last heavy rain or thunderstorm. The rain will have washed away any debris that accumulated on your roof down into the gutters. You will want to start at the opposite end of the downspout and then work your way down the gutter. Once you reach the downspout, take a hose or a bucket of water to flush out the spout. If your downspout appears to be clogged, you will want to eliminate it with a plumber’s snake. Clogged gutters are prone to rust and corrosion, can lead to damaged exterior surfaces and to water in the basement.  Stay ahead of the weather, have your gutters cleaned then covered with mesh guards to keep debris from returning.

 

 

Put Away Your Gardening Tools

garden-tools-cleaningSource:  http://sjcmastergardeners.wordpress.com/

Once you are finished with your gardening projects, you should properly clean your tools and store them away for winter. Thoroughly clean off all your spades, clippers, shovels, etc. and consider coating them with a thin layer of mineral oil to prevent having to replace them due to rusting over the winter months. After cleaning and coating your tools, make sure you put them in a safe spot like a garage or shed so they won’t be affected by the cold weather.

 


Check the Weather Stripping

window-weather-stripping-replacement
Source: http://beyondinteriorsdesign.com/


Gaps around door frames and windows can account for roughly 10% of your heating bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Don’t lose money by not checking for air leaks in your home. Weather-stripping is a cost-effective way to take control of your home’s heating and cooling costs. It is important to check this material periodically because it can deteriorate over time. If the weather stripping in your home appears to be questionable in certain areas, there are a few options for checking.
– Close the door or window on a piece of paper. If the paper slides easily or automatically falls, your weather stripping needs to be replaced.
– Or light a candle and trace the frame of the door or window. If the flame flickers at any spot along the frame, then there is an air leak.
You should also check for missing or damaged caulk areas around windows, door frames, and any other entry points (pipelines, electrical wiring). If there are any areas where air is leaking seal the gaps with caulk.

 

 

Driveways, Walkways and Steps

justiceconcretedrivewayrepairbefore
Source:  http://www.signature-concrete-stain.com/

When any of these concrete areas are damaged it becomes a hazard year round, but the real danger arises when the weather turns icy. Fixing this type of problem in the fall is important in preventing a minor problem now from becoming an expensive headache down the road. Look for cracks, uneven sections, loose railings, crumbling of asphalt and loose-filled pathways. The majority of the cracks you will encounter will be within the ability to do-it-yourself.


 

Inspect your Fireplace

Bert-mary-poppins
Source:  http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Bert

No matter how often you use your fireplace, it is important to check it annually for damages and hazards.

- Flue: Check your flue (chimney) for creosote. Creosote is a flammable by-product of burning wood. If accumulation occurs, the result poses great danger to your home.

Therefore you should consider having your chimney inspected annually. For most people, the best option is to have the entire chimney system inspected by a chimney sweep. Once you know what to look for, you can perform an inspection yourself by shining a flashlight up the flue. Look for deposits approaching 1/8inch in thickness. If you suspect any deposits, then it is highly advised to have the deposits cleaned by an experienced chimney sweep.

- Look for flue blockages: Birds love to nest at the top of an unprotected flue. A chimney cap can prevent this from happening. If you don’t have a cap, look up the flu to ensure that there are no obstructions.

- Exercise the damper: The damper is the metal plate that opens and closes the flu just above the firebox. Move it to the open and closed positions to ensure that it is working properly.

 


Check Your Smoke Alarm Batteries

A lot of local fire departments will run campaigns urging you to change your fire alarm batteries during Daylight Savings time changes. Take this into account. Always be sure to check that any alarms you have that run on batteries, or ones that are connected to your home’s electrical system to ensure that they’re working.

 

 

Change Your Heat Filters

filterSource:  http://www.timesrecordnews.com/

If your home has a forced air centralized heating system, you need to replace your air filters. Whether they have been running continuously all year, or if your heater has been turned off all summer, you need to change them regardless. They will either be dirty from running all year, or they will be stale and possibly growing mold or mildew due to inactivity. Luckily, filters are cheap and easy to replace. When you’ve decided on a time to replace your filters, set aside a day to turn on your heating system for a few hours so it can blow out all the dust that built up over the summer months. A good time to do this would be when you’re going to be away from the home for awhile so you don’t have to endure a heated house, and the smell of burnt dust, when it’s still warm outside. Once you’ve had the heating system on for a few hours or more, turn it off and let your home air out.

 

 

Preparing your home for the fall can sometimes be a tedious job, but you’ll be thankful once the winter weather arrives. Whether you just moved into your new home or are planning on selling in the near future, stay one step ahead by preventing minor problems from escalating, while also saving money.

 

 

 

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