How to Reduce the Risk of Fire While Heating Your Home


As the weather begins to get colder, many people inevitably need to find ways to stay warm during the autumn and winter months. While heating equipment can be useful in keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, it is important to remember that these devices can sometimes pose a safety risk. The following are a few ways that you can reduce the risk of fire when heating your house.

1. Keep Chimneys and Fireplaces Clean and Supervised

If your home has a fireplace, this can be a convenient, and beautiful, way to provide warmth to the area. However, you need to be very careful when using this method. Loose embers can cause a fire that may begin to spread, so it is best to use fireplaces only when they are properly supervised. Keeping the area clean will reduce the chances of a chimney fire.

2. Plug Devices Into a Wall Outlet

While a power strip can be useful when you need to power many devices at once, these are best left to items that do not use a large amount of electricity. Plugging your heating equipment into a power strip can cause it to overheat, melt, and start a fire. Instead, always use a wall outlet for your heating devices. You may want to avoid plugging anything else into the same outlet as well.

3. Maintain Your HVAC System

Using a central heating system is often the safest option, but that does not mean it is without its own share of risks. When lint or dust begins to build up, it is possible that these materials could contribute to a fire. Damaged wires or heating parts can become a hazard as well. For this reason, it is important to have inspection and maintenance done regularly.

4. Keep the Area Around Devices Clear

No matter what kind of equipment you are using, you should be sure to always keep the surrounding area free of flammable materials. Liquids such as gasoline and alcohol are highly combustible and should be removed from the area. You should also avoid placing items such as papers, cloth and wood too close to your heaters. If you are using central heating, make sure there is nothing covering the vents.

5. Turn Off Devices Before Going Out or Sleeping

While the idea of returning home to a cold house or waking up to a chilly bedroom may not seem appealing, it is a much better choice than the alternative. If you are not around or awake to keep an eye on your devices, then it is best for you to turn them off. Unattended devices can overheat or create sparks that result in a fire. If you are not able to react quickly, then it could cause a large amount of damage to your home and can compromise the safety of you and your family.

While many home fires are the result of using heating equipment in the house, you do not need to be afraid to keep your house warm. If you take the right precautions, you can stay comfortable while remaining safe, no matter how you choose to heat your home.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Dawn Peterson

4 DIYs for the Laundry Room


If your laundry room is anything like mine, it’s sort of a mess. The laundry room is definitely not the most glamorous room in the house. But it deserves some credit. It’s where those stinky clothes get washed, where the kids’ backpacks get hung, and where I hide the dog when visitors come over. There are several ways to tidy up the laundry room, here are 4 DIYs to organize and beautify your laundry room.

1: Countertop Over Your Washer and Dryer

This DIY only works with front loading washers and dryers, but if you do have front loading machines, this DIY has a lot of practical and visual uses. It’s pretty common practice to store things on top of the washer and dryer, but this can make the laundry room look messy, crowded, and maybe even cheap. Installing a countertop above the washer and dryer gives you a proper place to store your detergents and fabric softners. Plus, if you go with a beautiful wooden countertop it can help establish a rustic aesthetic in your laundry room.

2: Wooden Pallet Hat and Coat Rack

Every laundry room needs to have a sturdy coat rack, especially if that room is being used to store backpacks. This DIY repurposes wooden pallets to create a rustic hat and coat rack. All you need is a pallet or two, which you can buy from Challenger Pallet and Supply, some coat hangers, nails, and paint. The nice thing about creating your own coat rack is that you can customize it to fit your exact needs. You can install the perfect amount of coat hangers. You could even use some paint to write everyone’s names above their hanger to give it a personalized touch.

3: Drying Rack

Most clothes can be dried in the dryer, but there are always a few delicate items that really should be air dried. I use to always air dry my delicate clothes on the back of my couch, but it was such a pain to leave them there as they dried. A drying rack gives you a space, that’s tucked out of the way, that’s dedicated to only air drying clothes. Installing a drying rack in the laundry room makes a lot of practical sense. It may not be the prettiest edition to your laundry room but it’s small and won’t catch too much attention, and I believe its usefulness far outweighs its lack of good looks.

4: Folding Table

I’m not talking about the cheap folding table you keep in storage, I mean install a table dedicated to folding clothes. I typically just fold my clothes on the couch or the bed, but lacking a hard surface to fold on sometimes irritates me. Plus, if I’m being honest, my freshly folded clothes normally sit on the couch for a while before they actually get put away. If you have the space in your laundry room, installing a folding table can help you get your laundry room more organized. Plus it’s easy to take your clothes from the dryer straight to the folding table. And, if you’re like me, if you can’t bring yourself to put away all those clothes after folding them, at least they’ll stay hidden in the laundry room and not take up half of your couch.

partnered post • image by Dan Gold and Unsplash

H&H Maher Clock 2

George Washington Maher was one of the central figures of America’s Prairie movement, and was known for blending traditional A&C design with the wider uninterrupted lines of the Prairie aesthetic. Along with Wright, his interiors were just as impressive as his exteriors, and unlike Wright, he was a very competent engineer, too.

Recently, the artisans at Fair Oaks Workshop came up with a very attractive mantel clock design that channels Maher’s aesthetic. It’s under $200 and gorgeous – a perfect holiday gift for anyone who is a fan of Prairie and Arts & Crafts style.

4 Things to Be Aware of & 3 Things to Ignore When Searching for the Perfect Home


Searching for the perfect home can sometimes feel like finding a needle in a haystack. Your wishlist has needs that you aren’t willing to give up on… like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. While you might be concerned with your wishlist, there are some things you need to be especially aware of, while some things you can ignore. 



It’s pretty difficult to move a house, so be aware of the location when you tour. If it’s close to a highway or busy intersection, the home may have decreased value. Likewise, if it adds to your morning commute or isn’t in a good school zone, you may want to look somewhere else. 

Floor Plan

A floor plan isn’t an easy change. Although HGTV shows make fixer-uppers look easy, they’re not. Changing the floor plan of your home will lead to extra costs, extra waiting time before moving in, and extra resources. If you aren’t up for the challenge, move on to a different home with a floor plan you can work with. 

House Age

Old homes don’t always have problems, and if you are looking for history and charm, they’ll most likely have it. However, old homes are more likely to have lead pipes, termites, or other repairs. You may want to make sure you aren’t in over your head before bidding on an old home--you don’t want to accidentally sign up for a fixer-upper. 

Lot Size

If you are 100% set on having rolling acres of fields for your backyard, stop touring quarter-acre plots. Let your realty agent know how much land you expect so they can only show you the best homes for your wishlist and budget. If along with lot size, you are also worried about the view, consider looking at homes at for gorgeous property along green expanses of a golf course.


Paint / Wall Paper

While bright or drab walls can sometimes feel overpowering, they mislead buyers from truly being interested in a worthy home. Odd paint and wallpaper adorning the walls is an easy fix. Plus, if you mention that you’ll need to paint the walls, you may be able to knock a few hundred bucks off the asking price. 

Curb Appeal

When you get to the front step of a new house to tour, keep an open mind. While the current residents may have left their lawn to the elements, it doesn’t mean you have to. Imagine the home with new landscaping, window boxes, and shutters, and you might have found the perfect home. 


Carpet can seem like a big deal. So when you walk into a room with hideous shag carpet covered in hair, don’t panic. Carpet, like paint, is actually a simple fix that can help you negotiate the price to a lower offer. Replacing carpet isn’t very time consuming, plus, you’ll get to appreciate the brand new flooring in your home instead of living with worn-out carpet. 

Before you decide to buy a house, make a list of your priorities--what does this house need and what can you sacrifice? Let your agent know what you expect so they can help you find the perfect new match for you.

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New Home Move-in Checklist

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Packing up your entire home and relocating can be extremely overwhelming. In order to make the move a smooth transition, there are a few things to check up on at your new home prior to moving in. Avoid any extra stresses by checking off these five tasks for your new home.

  • Change the Locks

Changing the locks on all your doors is an important step to feeling safe in your new home. As kind as the previous owners may have been, it’s nice knowing there isn’t anyone out there but you that has a key to your home. It’s best to schedule this task before moving all your belongings in to avoid any time period of unsecured doors during the transition. 

  • Deep Clean the House

 Hopefully, the previous owners took care of cleaning and preparing the house when they first moved out, but there are some areas to check on just to be sure the place is in pristine condition. It’s easiest to clean the hard-to-reach places before you move in and there aren’t any objects in the way. Some areas to deep clean might include inside cupboards, the washer and dryer, fridge, oven, stove, and dishwasher. 

  • Inspect for Mold

The last thing you need is to settle into your new home only to discover it has a mold issue. The minimum you should do is at least inspect for leaks, odors, or visible signs of mold throughout the house. However, now is the prime time to schedule a mold inspection and cleanup to detect the air quality of your home and find any hidden mold. 

  • Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Speaking of air quality, make sure to check the carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarms throughout the house. It’s a relief knowing that your home is equipped with up-to-date and working monitors for you and your family’s safety. If the house doesn’t have a carbon monoxide detector yet, then now is the perfect time to purchase and install one before moving in.

  • Inspect the Plumbing

Make sure that the plumbing is in mint condition before moving in rather than discovering it too late. Check for leaks and any signs of water damage, and make any appointments you need to fix leaks and issues. This will not only make things run smoother, but it will also save your water bill. While you’re at it, take a look at the water heater as well. Now is a good time to flush your water heater of sediment and check if it has a water softener as well.

There is already a long list of to-dos when it comes to moving out of your house, but many things go overlooked and forgotten when it comes to the new house. Give careful consideration to the different tasks listed to make your new major change a little easier. You will feel confident and relieved moving into your new home knowing you’ve changed the locks, deep cleaned the place, inspected for mold, checked the air and alarms, and inspected the plumbing.

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5 Home Decor Trends to Follow for 2020

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As 2019 comes to a close, new home decor trends are on the rise for 2020. Some of our favorite trends this year are making their way into the new year, while other trends are just starting anew. Keep your home trendy and classy with these five ongoing and new home decor trends.

  • Bring Life to Your Home

Add some freshness to your home with tasteful houseplants. If you’re not much of a green thumb, then look for low-maintenance plants such as succulents, snake plants (don’t worry, this plant gets its name solely from its looks), aloe vera, and Dracaenas. 

Not only will these plants add beauty to your home, but they also provide other benefits. For example, the juice from an aloe vera plant contains antibacterial properties, improves skin, and lowers blood sugar. Dracaenas help rid the air of harmful chemicals, which will ultimately increase the freshness and purification of the air in your home.  

  • Natural Wood Accents 

Cozy-up your home by adding some natural wood accents. Along with plants, wood seems to follow the trend of natural-elements that’s becoming more and more prevalent. Add wooden elements through picture frames, furniture, mirrors, and shelves. Complement your small succulent plants with custom floating shelves for your home.

  • Painted Parquet

Speaking of wood, give your home a creative pop with painted parquet floors. This new trend challenges the recently revisited trends of wallpapered walls and patterned tiles. Try to follow the overall feel of the space before painting the floors. If it’s a busy room, consider a simple wood stain. If the room is clean and basic, you may try adding a painted pattern to the floor, such as large diamond shapes.

  • Chalk it Up

While the farmhouse trend has slowly started to die down, we haven’t quite let go of the fun chalkboard decor that came with it. You can incorporate the natural wood trend by lining a chalkboard with thick wooden strips. Practice your lettering and calligraphy with chalk markers–which will withstand smudging 10x more than regular chalk. 

These elegant chalkboards are great for weekly scheduling, inspiring quotes, holiday themes, and silly sayings. You can place them in front entry-ways or prop them on an easel on a shelf for all your guests to admire. 

  • Lighten to brighten

Bright is the new black. For this trend, “bright” isn’t referring to throwing fluorescent colors all over your walls. Rather, the key is to brighten your home with the use of light. The more windows in a room, the better. However, not all rooms have the luxury of light access through windows. Even without windows, your home can feel bright through additional light fixtures and light tones. Brightening your home will create a more open and inviting space.

Keep up to date on the latest home decor trends by adding plants, wooden elements, painted floors, chalkboard art, and brighter themes to your home. Not only are these changes beautiful and trendy, but they will improve your living space through the use of air-purifying plants and brighter atmospheres.

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6 Ways to Make Move-In Day Go Smoothly


Moving into a new home or apartment is a very exciting time. Whether you’ve made a move across the country or just down the block, there’s a lot to do to get ready to move, actually move, and move-in. Here are a few ways to help your move-in day go as smooth as possible.

1) Prep the House

Homes are rarely ever empty. Especially bare-bones, nothing but the walls and floor empty. The perfect time to get a deep and crazy thorough cleaning of your house is right before you move in. Who doesn’t want to move into a perfectly clean house? Take a day before your actual move-in day to deep clean. While you are at it, be sure to be checking the basic features of the house. Check to make sure the hot water is working, the stove turns on, the freezer gets cold, and the heater or AC work. If it doesn’t work, call a company that does heating services near you and get it fixed ASAP. Moving is stressful; don’t add to the stress by having to deal with a broken furnace or water heater.

2) Label

Label, label, label. Label everything. Moving equals hundreds of cardboard boxes and storage containers. It is such a pain to try and locate things when nothing is labeled. Make life easier on yourself and as you pack up your stuff label the boxes. Write down the room the things belong to, and what items are inside. This way, after a long day of moving, you’ll know where the silverware is so you can eat that hard-earned Chinese takeout.

3) Start Early

Moving in takes a while. I promise it will take longer than you think it will. First, you have to unload the truck, get the boxes to the right room, and then unpack it all. Start early in the morning to give yourself an entire day to move in. There’s no way to make moving in a super fun process, so just realize that your entire day will be dedicated to moving. Trying to get it done as quickly as possible might make the process less painful though.

4) Have a System

Gameplan how moving-day is going to go before it actually arrives. Moving will go much more smoothly if you focus on doing one task at a time. The first task: unload boxes from the truck and put them in the room they belong to. Second up, or it could be first (depends on how you packed the moving truck), move in the heavy furniture. Third, unpack what you need for the night. You won’t have time to unpack everything the first night, and maybe not even the first few days, and that’s okay. Use your labeled boxes to find what you need for the first night like bathroom supplies, bedspreads, and pajamas, and don’t stress about the other boxes for the night.

5) Recruit Help

There’s a reason professional moving companies exist. Moving is not exactly a one-man job. So recruit some help! Ask friends or neighbors, or a local church leader if they know anyone who could help you move in. Be polite and don’t monopolize their day, but having an extra set of strong arms to move heavy furniture will be extremely useful.

6) Get Ready to Work

Moving in is kind of a mental game. It’s a bit mundane bringing box after box into the house, but there’s no way around that work. So mentally prepare yourself for the long day ahead of you and find the determination to get it done. Motivate yourself with a hearty breakfast, yummy lunch break, and reward yourself that night by eating out. I promise you won’t want to try and cook the night you move in, plus all your pans will probably still be in boxes.

partnered post • photo by Erda Estramera from Unsplash

What is Code Scaffolding in the Construction Industry?


Code scaffolding is a term that gets thrown around quite frequently, in many industries. 

Scaffolding is now such a ubiquitous term that any form ‘supporting framework’ or structure is referred to as a scaffold, even if it is a virtual thing, such as the framework that computer code for applications is built around.

What interests us, of course, is not that kind of scaffolding but rather the construction form of scaffolding. 

There are codes of practice for how scaffolding should be used, and the way that it should be erected, to keep people safe. 

Code scaffolding focuses on how to ensure that people are safe and that the scaffolding is rated to support the right amount of weight, etc, when in use.

Scaffolding Best Practices

You may be familiar with building codes and regulations. Scaffolding is not classed as a building, so it is not subject to quite the same regulations.

However, there are still health and safety rules that govern how scaffolding should be erected and the type of scaffolding that can be used in a given situation.

Those rules differ for different parts of the world, but they are broadly similar in most developed countries with strict requirements on how tall scaffolding of different types can be and the number of platforms allowed at different heights.

Scaffolding Regulations and Requirements

Since scaffolding is not a permanent structure, it is governed by the general health and safety regulations for things such as working at heights. 

There are strict design requirements for scaffolds to ensure that they are stable on the ground and that they will not sink into the ground. 

The regulations also limit the minimum width of scaffolding to ensure that workers are able to move around safely while at a height, and they dictate how much weight a scaffolding installation should be able to safely handle, based on the height and intended use.

Scaffolding must be rated to handle the appropriate live load (usually 120kg per sq m for light-duty scaffolding) and also be able to support the weight of its own structure. 

This means that the design must take into account the number of expected platforms. 

Scaffolding is usually categorised into light, medium and heavy-duty applications. Light duty covers day to day use for things such as painting and decorating. 

Medium duty covers things like bricklaying and tiling, and heavy-duty is for other operations where someone may be moving large or heavy objects, working at elevation, or in a dangerous environment.

Putting Health and Safety First

Scaffolding is a tool, and when it is employed properly it makes working in hard to reach places and a height easy. 

You cannot afford to cut corners on scaffolding or use the wrong platform for the job. 

If you are not sure what kind of scaffolding you need for your construction project or you have any concerns about the practicality and safety of the scaffolding you are using, call a scaffolding expert like Skelscaff who offer everything from basic installation and rental to temporary fencing, heavy-duty scaffolding and more. 

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Andrew

Pool Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Pool Clean


A pool is a great asset to add to any home, and can be a great way to cool off after a warm day. However, if it is not properly maintained, it can become dirty and undesirable to take a dip in. Fortunately, there are simple interventions that you can implement in order to maintain its cleanliness. Here are some useful tips that you can use in order t keep your pool clean.

Clean Lint Pot on Front of Pool Pump

This is something that should be done as needed, but it is recommended to clean the lint pot located towards the front of the pool pump at least once every couple of weeks. In order to do this, turn off the pump and release the pressure on the system. 

As an alternative, you could clean out the debris catcher or the leaf basket. To expedite this process, it is recommended to get a debris removal system or a leaf trapper. In addition, you should also get a 2-speed pump if you have yet to upgrade. Having the proper pool supplies is important in consistently maintaining cleanliness. 

Check the Water Levels

The water levels of your pool are also important in order to maintain pool cleanliness. The water needs to be at the center level of the pool tile for optimal performance and cleanliness. The pump can run dry if the water levels are too low, and if it is too high, the skimmer will not work properly. This is especially important since the skimmer door is what keeps debris inside. 

Clean the Pool Filters

This is also something that should be done on a regular basis. However, depending on the condition of the pool and how it has been maintained, cleaning it every 4-6 months should suffice. Over time, especially after events such as big storms, can cause debris, garbage and other foreign materials to form in the pool. This can make it significantly harder to clean over time. 

Dirty filters should ideally be soaked in a solution comprising of 10% muriatic acid or trisodium phosphate. You will need a rubber trash can, eye protection and gloves. You can always add acid to water, but never add water to acid, lest you run the risk of increasing the concentration of the acid.

Check The Chlorine Generator

If you have a salt system style of pool, then you should place checking the chlorine generator as one of your priorities in maintaining cleanliness of a pool. The chemistry of the pool can become drastically altered if this step is overlooked.

Your pool requires the proper chemistry balance to function optimally and maintain cleanliness. Keep this clean and make sure debris do not get near it. While they can be costly, it will enhance your pool experience and make cleaning less of a hassle. 

partnered post • cc-licensed photo by Robert Wallace

Preparing Your Yard for Winter

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Brown — sometimes that’s all you see after an especially cold, long winter. Your yard is one of the parts of your home that can be a place of refuge and rest, so having to bring it back to life after every winter season may not be your idea of fun. Fortunately, you can protect and preserve your yard by preparing for the cold winter with some simple steps. 

Mow Your Lawn

It is important to keep mowing your lawn until the ground freezes. If your lawn is too short, you run the risk of roots dying and seeing dead patches when summer rolls around. If your lawn is too long, you run the risk of fungus damage.

Drain Water

Pools, ponds, and other water features around your lawn should be drained of any water. In order to make sure that the features are properly drained, it’s important to hire specialists to check as the water features could end up being destroyed from freezing in the water lines. Sprinkler winterization can also be done by some companies to keep your sprinklers safe through those long winters. Draining water also goes for small containers or other areas with water, as you do not want to provide breeding grounds for mosquitos. 


Adding fertilizer during the fall can help your lawn survive the long winter when it won’t receive any nutrients. Choosing winterized fertilizer can help your lawns grow thicker roots and help it survive through the winter. 


As it gets colder, your grass will focus more on growing its roots instead of the blades. It will greatly benefit your soil if you aerate the ground to promote the growth of these roots. When you aerate your lawn, there is better water drainage and it also gives your grass more oxygen. Adding new seeds in thinner areas is also a good idea as you will want to compensate for the winter months and have your lawn green in the spring.

Decrease Watering

When it gets closer to winter, it’s best to water your lawn less as your lawn will not need as much water as it gets colder. However, it’s important that you do not stop watering until the ground freezes as your lawn is using the water supply to get nutrients from the soil. Your lawn will need all the time it can get to prepare for winter. 


Whether you like it or not, you will have to do something about those leaves piling up in your yard. If you already have, good on you! Leaves on the lawn will smother the grass and you will end up with dirt instead of grass come springtime.  Luckily, you have options when it comes to dealing with the leaves. Mulching the leaves can be the easiest, as you simply must cut the leaves into smaller pieces with a lawnmower. Raking is the default option and is best when the leaves really pile up. If the leaves pile up too thick, it’s best just to grab a rake and get to work.

With these steps, your lawn will be green by spring despite all the snow and you’ll have a sanctuary to rest, relax, and admire. 

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5 Essential Moving Tips and Tricks For Your Family


Today, it is not uncommon for the entire family to pull up stakes in one city and move to another state or country. The moving experience for every family can be vastly different based on the plan that they create and the parameters in the time that is available. In some cases, the family may only have a month or two to get everything thing done properly. However, they may have enough lead time that gives them six months or more to prepare for the move that needs to be made. In either case, here are some great easy tips that can help your move go very smoothly and on time.

1. Save money on moving by looking for moving boxes at your neighborhood's recycling drop-off point

Moving can be very expensive to the family’s budget. Even if the move is being funded by the company that you are moving to, you may need to cut corners wherever you can to reduce the amount that will be paid out. Thankfully, you can cut part of the cost by looking for alternatives to paying for every expense that is incurred. For instance, one of the first places that you can save is on the moving boxes. You can save money by checking with your local neighborhood recycling drop off point for free boxes. Boxes are often available that have been dropped off by neighbors and the number that is available can be what you need and much more.

2. Reuse original boxes for electronics and appliances

If you happen to run short on the number that you can obtain from these drop off centers, you can use other methods to gather the moving boxes that will be needed to. For instance, if you have boxes in the home that have been previously used for your old appliances, electronics, and other items that you no longer have in your possession, you can use these boxes to begin packing your possessions for the move. Talk to family members and friends about your move to see if they can help you obtain all of the boxes that will be required.

3. Hire a moving company to assist with making the move

To prepare for the move, you need to know who will be moving all of your possessions to the new location. When making the choice, you have more than one option that you can make your selection from. Based on the timing and how much you have to move, you may want to hire a moving company and let their movers do the work for you. You will not go wrong by choosing North American Van Lines for your moving needs. For instance, the moving company can benefit from having a new customer and you can benefit from the added help for the move that needs to be made. For instance, when the moving company's representatives arrive at your home, they will not only be prepared to box every item up but also to move every box into the moving van. Because of their expertise, they can get these jobs done quickly, safely, and without breaking your valuable possessions while in transit.

4. Make a checklist of things that need to be done before the move

As you make plans for the move, you need to make sure that you are creating a list of things that must be done before you drive your van from the old location to the new area that you will be residing in. This checklist will help you in planning each step of the way and will give you the details that are needed to ensure a smooth transition. For instance, the checklist that you document will help you determine which furniture you will take with you and what needs to be purchased to furnish the new home. This is a very important part of the move since you may want to save on the cost of moving all of the old furniture into your new residence.

5. Want to save additional money? Move mid-week

When you have the option to choose a specific date that you want to move, it is important that you take into account the high traffic times. The highest demand for a moving company is on the weekend, so you want to choose the middle of the week for your best option.

partnered post • cc-licensed photo by Nicholas Huk

4 People You Can Hire to Make Property Ownership A Lot Easier


Owning property seems like it is a super simple way to make money. You have an apartment, charge rent, and watch your income increase. 

While property ownership can be a great source of income, it can also be a lot of hard work. There are enough needs of the apartment and tenant that can keep you busy like this is your full-time job. 

There are a number of people you can hire that will make this process easier for you and that will cause you to spend less time at the rental property.


If you are strong with math and bookkeeping, this may seem like a waste of money. You should definitely put every effort you can into saving money by doing things yourself. 

If you have a lot of property, it may be worth it to hire an accountant to help you manage your finances. They know how to manage these situations and make sure you are financially in good shape. Plus they are a huge help once tax season comes around.


Your rental property only does you good if someone is living in it and rent is coming in. In order to do that you will need to make sure people can find your rental property. 

Hiring someone to market your property can really help find tenants. 

If done well, you won’t ever have to have a month when you aren’t having rent paid on the living space. Marketing can be as simple as posting to a Facebook group of people looking for housing, but hiring a marketing professional team will help you find versatile ways to keep your property filled. 


If you are good with tools, maintenance is an easy thing to do on your own. If you aren’t so handy or own a lot of property, it can difficult to do all the required upkeep.

Hiring a maintenance team can help ease your burden. They can quickly and effectively solve problems and keep your property looking and working great. Hiring professionals can cost more money but can be worth it because they can handle a higher volume of problems, as well as the harder ones.

Property Manager

Property managers are the superstars of the rental property world. They can do just about anything you ask to help your property run smoothly. 

They can work in the front office, take payments, maintain the property, handle evictions, and find new tenants. Many property management companies offer all these services and more.

They are your Ace. They can do it all, including all of the functions previously mentioned. 


Managing property can get to be a lot of work. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself though. By hiring good professionals to handle some of your tasks, you can cut down on your workload and still get quality results. If you own property, I would definitely recommend looking into property management professionals, they will make your life so much easier, and let you get back to your free time.

partnered post • cc-licensed photo by Étienne Beauregard-Riverin

Process of Installing a Concrete Driveway

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Installing a concrete driveway requires a lot of planning and heavy labor. When well done the drive you will offer service for along time. Below is the process of installing a concrete driveway.

The most critical requirement of a good solid concrete driveway is the sub-base beneath. Too soft and wet soils make the bearing rock shift, leading to the failure of the concrete. If the substrate is dry or has had proper under drainage installed, placement of a leveling course of a suitable material is then required. 

After the sub base is set, ensure the angles of the slopes are what you want on top of the concrete. Make sure the grade slopes away from buildings and do not cause any ponding areas and that all the captured water runs to the area you wish it to go.

Layout the finished driveway using your pins and string line. Set the string to the top elevation of the concrete for the driveway. Once all the string lines are in place, take a look at what you have created. Do the curved areas have neat and smooth lines? Are the square areas square? Are all the slopes correct? If not, make the adjustments. Now install your wood forms, making sure they can handle the pressure from the concrete.

Once that's done it's time to plan the concrete pours. If the driveway is large, pouring it all at once is not practical and you won't have time to properly install it. A sudden rain shower or broiling sun can cook the concrete or destroy the finished surface. Carefully watch the weather for the day of the pour. Concrete panels should not be poured larger than twenty or twenty-five feet in length and fifteen feet wide.

A joint expansion material is used after every panel to cater for the expansion and contraction. Sealing the joints prevent water entry to the slabs, controls any weed germination in warmer days and curbs ice forming that may crack the slabs when the climate is cold.

You can use reinforcing bars on the driveway to prevent ready-mix trucks from accessing the form.

 A good concrete Driveway should be about 3000-pound to 4000 pounds to sustain more weight. Roadway edges should be double-reinforced with bars to block any chipping or cracking. 

After the concrete is done, smoothing the surface is next. Power trowel gives a smooth surface which is not polished. Other people may prefer a broom to finish the surface.

If you intend to use colored concrete, all the concrete must be purchased from the same seller. Even if two suppliers use the same dyes, the same stone, and the same water supply, different sands will cause different shades in the finished product. Different brands of dye with the same color name will cause ugly shading in the finished product as well.

Making the right choice of a concrete contractor for your project is an important stage to help you achieve what you want. There are several key areas that you should focus on as a homeowner.

Years of Experience

A contractor like Concrete contractors Bellevue WA with at least five years of experience has been in the business long enough to know the dos and don'ts. The damage is minimal as they are less prone to mistakes. If you are unsure of something, they can guide you on the right path. No one wants a contractor that will end up damaging your property.

Proper Insurance and License

The right insurance coverage and licensing are of more importance than experience years. In case an accident occurs to a person or the property is damaged by the contractor, it will be safe for you. Consult with the insurance company to know whether their insurance is valid for the time they will be working for you. 


Ask for at least five client references from the past two years. Past clients are often a good source for the concrete contractor's past work. You'll find out more information about them from a third-person point of view. A contractor with more positive references shows they are credible.


The type of service that a concrete contractor offers is very vital. Some contractors are of specific service others are general in their work. Note carefully what the contractor is specialized in and hire those who are in the line of your project. Those that perform concrete driveway installation should be highly experienced in it.

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Simple Residential Repair Jobs


You don’t have to assume that all repair jobs are always difficult or time-consuming. You don’t have to be a bonafide handyman in order to tackle basic home repair projects at all. If you notice any issues that pop up around your living space, you may be able to tackle them all by yourself without recruiting the assistance of a professional. Don’t assume that handling D.I.Y. projects around your home has to be as complex as managing Mars forklift repairs. It does not. There are actually quite a few residential repair jobs that the vast majority of individuals can take care of independently, believe it or not.

Hardwood Floor Refinishing

Hardwood floor refinishing is truthfully something you can manage without having to request outside assistance. If you want your hardwood floors to appear as good as new, refinishing work doesn’t have to seem out of reach for you at all. You may want to even think about doing a bit of sanding. 

Garbage Disposal Cleaning

Garbage disposals are household appliances that are spotted in the vast majority of kitchens. If you have a garbage disposal that's taken on a rather unpleasant stench, then you do not have to go into panic mode. That’s because clearing out garbage disposal muck tends to be a total piece of cake. Cleaning can also extract persistent odors. If your splashguard calls for replacement, you’re A-OK as well. That’s because this is a job that doesn’t even call for half an hour total. Garbage disposal replacement tends to be a cinch for individuals who are detail-oriented and thorough.

Wallpaper Extraction

Wallpaper can lead to an interior design scheme that’s elegant and pleasant. If you have wallpaper that’s on the old side, however, it may actually interfere with the look and vibe of your home. If you have tired wallpaper that’s peeling and that’s negatively influencing the way your home appears to everyone else, then you don’t have to hire a professional to do away with it for you. That’s because wallpaper extraction work is actually pretty straightforward. It’s something that doesn’t demand a substantial time commitment at all.

Flooring That Makes Squealing Noises

It can be so exasperating to walk on floors that, simply put, just will not shut up. If your floors constantly produce high-pitched squealing sounds, though, you don’t have to set aside a lot of money to call a professional for repair work. If you want to manage a floor that's loud and irritating, you can coat it lightly with a bit of talcum powder. Push this powder into any splits you notice. If you plan on handling floor refinishing work, then you need to make a point to meticulously eliminate all remnants of stubborn powder.

Fixture Painting

You don’t have to buy costly new fixtures for your home. If you want them to appear better than ever, you can think about painting them again. Fixture painting isn’t tough. It’s also a pretty swift job.

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Furniture Plays A Crucial Role In The Home

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The essence of a home is felt by everybody who steps foot in it. Whether one is a hermit or not, the quality of a home comes from its many layers. Furniture finds a place in these layers. This place is of no small importance and a homeowner wants to be mindful with how they go about choosing furniture for the home. One of the most important parts is the mattress.

Whether it be a mattress, bed frame, dresser, or any other part of the bedroom, a consumer is going to want quality when searching for furniture. Quality comes not only from craftsmanship but through materials. There's much to be processed when someone looks to buy furniture. Needs matter.

Enhance The Space

Furniture enhances the space. Choosing furniture can be difficult. Without the right guidance, one may get stuck with a product that will last a little while before falling apart. One should take a real assessment of the space in his or her home before deciding what furniture will best enhance the look. It's about quality and comfort and how the occupants can be best served. Good furniture will give utility with durability. Paying for products that won't last simply becomes expensive and wasteful.

Finding Pride In What You Buy

Whatever furniture one decides to put in their home, it can be said that there is an artistic element to a well-built specimen. Those responsible for building furniture should take pride in the work. A good builder invests in the product by taking the time to do it right. Just as a table made by an artisan is something that was crafted to withstand time, a mattress that was built right means that it will last longer. Lasting longer will mean it will serve one's health while simultaneously helping their bank account. This is only one factor when looking for a mattress. From mattress sizes to the quality of the materials outside and in, a pragmatic consumer has to reflect on the options.

Size Matters

Space is simply limited. The way one designs the furniture in their home can directly impact several factors about the living environment. One has to be mindful about maximizing the flow of the home. Creating a maze with ill-placed furniture can be frustrating. You will have to adjust the furniture to the size of your room.

If a mattress takes up the whole space in the room, it isn't functional. One needs space to stretch, walk, and live. Needs should drive a purchase decision. If one has a need for a queen mattress, they would be wise to look for quality in that size. Quality comes in size, but it also comes in material used.

The Very Best Sleep

One can spend copious amounts of time thinking about how sleep helps them. Good sleep has many health benefits attached to it. A gateway to good sleep? The right mattress. Maybe you are allergic to the material of a mattress. If spending eight-plus hours on something you are allergic to sounds like a healthy thing, you must be from another planet. Comfort is something that ought to be synonymous with a quality mattress. What is comfortable for your uncle may not be comfortable for you. Think about your needs.

Your Needs

Remember who you are buying for. This is something that should never get lost in the purchasing process. It is easy to get distracted when choosing a mattress. You may hear somewhere about a particular type that is superior to the rest. If you are buying a mattress for yourself, manage the buying process right by looking for quality mattresses that meet your needs.

Don’t use your mattress as the sofa and office chair. A mattress is meant to be a safe haven for a person to get proper rest. Proper rest allows a person to nail the exam, perform well at work, or give an important speech. Life starts with rest. Human beings need it. Furniture is about meeting needs. There is a lot to be said about a chair that enhances a space or a mattress that was made with quality materials that last. A consumer wants to maximize an investment, not waste it. Furniture is important for many things in life. One can help themselves by electing quality to serve them.

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The Craftsman's Skills Create Experiences


A craftsman is a maker of goods that are usually formed using an artistic ability. This makes the craftsman's work very valuable. Craftsman's pieces can be made with tools or with their hands. The skills that they use to create the pieces are often of professional quality. Craftsmen often have to receive some form of education or training to perform these valuable skills. There are lots of different craftsmen in different industries today.

  • Woodcraft
  • Jewelry
  • Pottery
  • Glass
  • Metal

People who master these handy crafts are usually very good at helping others appreciate their surroundings and environmental perception. Craftsmen have the ability to make something simple look expensive. They create pieces that have the potential to add value and purpose to property.

The Value of our Craftsman Works And Moving

Every well-developed system or facility should be able to demonstrate the ability to adapt, change, or even move. Have you ever heard the saying, "You can take the boy out of the streets, but you can't take the streets out of the boy?" This same concept can apply to a building. Oftentimes, people wish that they could change their location without changing their home.

After discussing the topics about furniture and purpose, you will realize that people could have developed a connection to these pieces and places. This is why it can be helpful to hire Allied Van Lines to ensure that your craftsman pieces keep their value and sustainability and that moving is done correctly.

This will help to allow your new place of residence to give you a feeling of comfort. If your old pieces do not fit their old purpose, then you can also use some craftsman skills of your own to give them other uses!

Craftsman’s Furniture and its Capabilities

When a craftsman successfully makes the perfect furniture, everything that furniture comes in contact with looks more expensive in a sense. Think of it like this, a nice patio can give someone a beautiful view of the world around them. Now, imagine if the perfect patio table were there to compliment every moment that someone spent on that patio. Or, even better, imagine if there were outdoor couches and Martinique sofas available to help throw the perfect get together or meeting? This is only one of the craftsman's capabilities that he can use to provide an establishment of positioning and level of comfort.

Architecture Made by Craftsman

Architecture is another fascinating factor that craftsmen can manipulate. Yes, we can sit on couches and squat on chairs but what about architecture? Our ceilings, walls, doors, and floors all have the ability to enhance or deplete the quality of our surroundings as well. The architectural pieces and structures of society are very influential components that represent our status of development and cause.

Professional craftsmen or architects can design the perfect building that encompasses a particular use, or purpose. This is a very important component that can influence the amount of productivity and positivity that is exerted in that area. For example, a school would most likely be more effective or productive in an area that is designed to promote concentration and learning. This means that the ideal school would have lots of classrooms but no features that would promote distraction or chaos. This would be the complete opposite of a night club or any other area that thrives by promoting lively activity and fun. This type of place would benefit from architectural features like a dance floor with a patio or even a ceiling that also has a patio based design.

When architects incorporate these types of concepts into their designs, they help to set the mood for the facility's use. Architecture or real estate is also one of the leading businesses around the world. It is highly effective in influencing factors and perceptions about areas. For example, there is a dramatic difference in the way that people perceive a huge city compared to an underpopulated rural area. People may see the tall pieces of architecture of the city and think of convenience or even opportunity. On the other hand, a rural area may be associated with isolation, limited opportunity, and even poverty.

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5 Non-Decor Uses of Pallets


I’m sure you’ve been online and seen many articles written that detail the many uses of pallets in home decor. Nothing wrong with that, people have made some really cool stuff that way.

I wanted to suggest a handful of uses for pallets that get outside the home decor arena. Some of them fall into the category of home improvement projects, but not as decor. 

Fire Wood

If you have ever decided to start a fire to sit around and cook with, you will know that it requires a lot of wood. A pallet is a perfect item to use. It is big enough that you have a lot of wood to use. The smaller boards can have parts shaved off to use as kindling, and then can be broken to meet the needs of your growing fire. 

The bigger boards would be for when the fire is growing strong. Whatever your need in firewood, a pallet is a great option.


You can stack pallets easily, that is what they are made for. If you have a need for some extra shelves, then look no further than pallets. All you would need to do is build small posts in each corner to give some space in between the pallets, and voila! You have some easy shelves to increase your storage space.

Again, I consider this home improvement rather than home decor. 


Storage is much needed. Many homes just don’t have enough. Pallets are great for storage, as noted above. The reason I separated this from the shelves category is that pallets are versatile in their storage capability and don’t need to be made into shelves. Plus, there are lots of things you probably wouldn’t put on a shelf. 

If you have some heavy items you are worried about putting marks on your garage floor, a pallet is a perfect answer. It is low to the ground, so it makes for minimal lifting. Pallets are strong and can hold heavy objects. They also won’t be as easily moved as if you put a mat or pad down. 

It can also keep things off the floor in case of flooding. You can avoid damage to your possessions without spending a ton of money. Pallets for the win. 

Scrap wood

I can’t tell you how many times I could have used a piece of wood for something around the house. The last time was when my AC unit didn’t have a plastic guard to make sure the window was covered. I really just wanted a couple pieces of wood to put on either side of the unit so bugs couldn’t get in.

There are many uses for scrap wood around the house. A pallet is great because it provides a lot of wood that can be used in that way, and it isn’t terribly hard to tear apart with the right tools. 


I have known some people that will get a pallet, tear it apart as they need it and keep the nails. It works great for them as they just hang onto those nails and use it the next time they need a nail or two. 

It may not make a huge difference unless you consistently buy pallets, but it is a plus. Some pallets are held together with staples which may be less effective for your next home improvement project. 


Pallets are versatile, handy things to have if you like doing your own home improvement projects. You can easily contact nearby businesses and see if they have any used pallets they will just get rid of, or if not a search for “pallets near me” can help you locate a pallet supplier. 

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5 Things You Need to Know Before Building a Log Home

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Have you ever dreamt of building a log home? Many of us dream about living in a beautiful, towering log cabin somewhere, surrounded by nature and cozy wooden walls. 

Building your very own log cabin isn’t as simple as it may seem, however. There are many things that people who dream of building a log cabin aren’t aware of. Financial factors and other unforeseen variables can derail your dream before you’ve even begun the building stage if you aren’t informed on the process. 

Let’s go over 5 crucial things you need to know before building a log cabin, so you can put forth your best effort at turning your dream into a reality.

  1. The Cost

On average, it costs about $35 per square foot when using a kit to build a log cabin. That’s not all, though! You’ll also need to take into account the cost of labor, utility lines, site preparation, permits, and the land itself.

One way to estimate the approximate cost of building your log cabin altogether is to take your building kit cost and multiply it by 2.6. If you are handy enough and decide to build yours straight from scratch, the cost will be a lot lower (though it will probably take much longer). For example, one man built a log cabin from scratch in a month for somewhere in the neighborhood of just $500.

You should factor in log home restoration costs as well as general log home repairs.

  1. Shrinkage and Settling

Even a log cabin built with kiln dried logs will shrink and settle a bit. This is due to the wood losing its moisture content once felled. To plan for and adjust to this, you’ll need to use chinking, caulk, and the appropriate finishes to prevent the cabin from experiencing air leakage. 

  1. Maintenance Will Be Continuous

Like a regular house, your log cabin will require maintenance. You should inspect it at least 2 times per year, in the spring and fall. This will involve inspecting the chinking, looking for any pests infestations, and assessing the overall condition of your log cabin. You should wash your cabin at least once per year to clean off all the surface level dirt. You’ll also need to stain it at least once every 3 years. It’s extremely important to stay up to date on your log home maintenance.

  1. Location is Vital

Depending on where you build your log cabin, there will be different planning laws, zoning laws, and other varying factors to consider. In addition to this, you’ll also need to consider amenities and resources. You need to be close enough so that you can have things like running water, power, phone service, and access to emergency services. Unless, that is, you want to live completely off the grid. 

  1. The Energy Efficiency of a Log Cabin

Log cabins are notoriously energy inefficient unless properly insulated. If you insulate the floor and the roof while sealing up all air leaks, your log cabin will likely be more energy efficient than the average residential home. This is because logs absorb and radiate heat.

Consider Everything Before Building a Log Cabin

If you take into account everything in this article and plan accordingly, you should have no problem building an energy efficient, sturdy log cabin that’s well within your budget. 

By considering all the various factors you need to, you can build the log cabin of your dreams without running into any unexpected roadblocks. 

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Farmhouse Flooring Ideas for Your Home

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There are many different flooring materials to choose from to achieve the look you want for your home. Today, farmhouse styled design is at an all time high. When it comes to your flooring, homeowners can use rustic materials to bring their farmhouse design to life.

There are several ways to get a rustic look with your flooring, including hardwood and wood planks. By adding farmhouse flooring to your home, you have a base in which to create a rustic design. Learn more about the flooring options below to get started on your new farmhouse styled home. 

  1. Distressed Hardwood

One of the most popular options for farmhouse flooring is distressed hardwood. Manufactured and created from reclaimed wood, this flooring type will be durable for many years to come. Such wood is found in old barns and buildings then reconfigured to be used as flooring. With distressed hardwood, you have the perfect backdrop for a farmhouse style in your home.

Distressed hardwood can be installed in a variety of wood types as well as coloring. Choose to go dark or light, or even have wood planks that vary in color for more visual appeal. Easily find a style you like and have it installed in your home. The wood pieces will add character to any room, adding to the overall design. 

  1. Whitewashed or Grey Wood Planks

For a lighter and brighter look, whitewashed or grey wood floors are a great option to consider. This type of flooring is created with planks of wood that have been painted in a particular way. The whitewash look is a painting technique that involves watered down white paint. The flooring creates a light base for your room, perfect for that farmhouse look. This option can be installed in any room and give you the foundation for a newly designed home. 

  1. Neutral Carpet

If you enjoy a plusher flooring type, choose to install new carpet throughout your home. Many homeowners like the comfort carpet has to offer, especially in the bedrooms. You can still achieve an overall farmhouse look with carpet. To maintain the farmhouse style, choose neutral colored options. Opt for a beige or gray tone to compliment the overall style of your property. 

  1. White Tile for Bathrooms

In the bathrooms of your home, tile is the best flooring type. You want to use a material that does well in a wet environment. Tile is durable and can easily last for many years to come. When choosing tile for a farmhouse style, white is the top choice among homeowners. White tiles can be added in a solid with no pattern or with texture or pattern to create interest. 

Choose to add larger tiles or smaller settings depending on the size of your space. You want to add tiles that will make smaller rooms look larger or create the right foundation for a larger space. 

These are just a few ideas you can use when it comes to flooring and creating a farmhouse style home. Consider the rooms in your home that need flooring and how you can integrate any of these options to achieve your overall design style. 

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