So, you've been working like mad so you can take a few days off over the holidays and Christmas shopping like a champ in your free time. Now it's days - or maybe hours - from when your family will be descending on your home, and it looks like a Ronda Rousey fight just took place in your living room. When you don't have time to call a housekeeper or do a top-to-bottom overhaul, you need tips for quick fixes to pull it all together.

1. De-clutter in a pinch

"If you have heaps of laundry and a mishmash of toiletries in the bathroom but no time to get to them, throw it all into the bathtub and close the curtain or door," said KCET.

2. Or, throw it all under the bed

This hidden space is great for all the stuff you don't have another place for.

943 Views, 0 Comments

Being prepared helps families alleviate fears and reduce potential losses related to disasters. In the event of emergencies or disasters, injured people need to receive help within the first hour of the incident. Often family members and co-workers are the first responders. First-aid kits are a necessity for attending to victims and should be kept in homes, vehicles, schools and workplaces. 

You may purchase first-aid kits or customize your own kits for families, schools and businesses. Some kits are designed for specific activities, such as hiking, camping or boating.

Make sure your kits have all the supplies you may need. Include personal items, such as mediciations and emergency phone numbers, or other items your health care provider may suggest.…

529 Views, 0 Comments

Midwinter is a good time to check for ways to reduce home energy consumption and prevent appliance and equipment breakdowns.

Here are eight home maintenance tips to improve energy efficiency and keep appliances and heating systems running well. 

  • Pay attention to changes in the performance of appliances and heating and cooling equipment. 

    Changes in performance are often signs of larger problems. Troubleshoot and complete repairs as needed to improve energy efficiency and avoid costly repairs later. 
     
  • Change the furnace or air-handler air filter.

    This should happen every three months, or more frequently, depending on the region. A clean air filter is critical to home air quality and to the proper furnace or air-handler operation. Homeowners should…

441 Views, 0 Comments

If you want to ramp up your curb appeal before you go on the market or simply want to make guests feel more at home, adding a few special touches to your front porch can go a long way. It's a way to show your personality and style before people even set foot in your house. And the best part is that it's easy enough to make into a weekend project.

Don't try to reinvent your style with the front porch--it should be an extension of your interior decorating, just a more outdoor-friendly version. For example, if your interior style is modern with sleek lines and pops of bright color, it's not really cohesive to choose porch decor that follows in the English Country tradition. But it might make more sense to choose lighter, less substantial furniture or…

573 Views, 0 Comments

A large, open kitchen may be the dream of most homebuyers today, but with restrictive budgets, smaller square footage, or homes that were built before this trend took over, not all are making the grade. If you find yourself with a smallish kitchen, there are ways to make it feel more spacious.

Knock down a wall
Removing a wall that blocks light or that separates the kitchen from the living or dining room is an easy choice for experienced renovators.

It's not a DIY job unless you or your friends/family are experienced in demolition, electrical, plumbing, drywall, flooring and ceiling repairs, and any other stuff that comes up.

Expect to pay in the $2,500 to $3,000 range.  And that's if the wall isn't load bearing; if it is; you could be looking at…

513 Views, 0 Comments

It only takes one storm to change your life and community. Tropical cyclones are among nature's most powerful and destructive phenomena. If you live in an area prone to tropical cyclones, you need to be prepared. Even areas well away from the coastline can be threatened by dangerous flooding, destructive winds and tornadoes from these storms. The National Hurricane Center issues watches, warnings, forecasts, and analyses of hazardous tropical weather.

 

Hurricane Hazards

The primary hazards from hurricanes are storm surge flooding, inland flooding from heavy rains, destructive winds, tornadoes, and high surf and rip currents. While hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property, tropical storms and depressions can also be devastating.…

1096 Views, 0 Comments

MAKE A WISH LIST - Decide where you want to live and how many bedrooms and baths you'll need. Consider lifestyle -- condominiums offer shared amenities, with little responsibility. Single-family homes offer more space and privacy, but they also require more exterior and yard maintenance. Consider buying a fixer-upper for a reduced cost so you can remodel it to suit your needs.

GET PRE_APPROVED - You can prequalify yourself on the internet, but it takes a lender looking at your personal financial information to get prequalified. Your income, credit scores, revolving debts, obligations such as child support as well as the type of loan you choose will influence how much home you can buy. Other factors such as the down payment, interest rate and terms…

523 Views, 0 Comments

Protecting your home and your family is important. Some people pay for expensive home security systems and pay monthly contracts, but you don’t have to. If you’re looking to spend some time around the house, here are some do-it-yourself home security improvements you might want to make.

Make It Difficult

Most thieves are looking for something easy to grab. Because of this it’s important not to leave valuable items lying around. An unsecured ladder is gold to a thief. Either he’ll steal it, or use it to climb up and force entry through a high window. Make it difficult for an opportunistic thief to steal or use your ladder by securing it with a lockable storage hook, like those sold by Pro-Hook. These can be bolted to your shed or garage.

If you…

481 Views, 0 Comments

Now that the snow has melted, the trees begin to bud, and the flowers start to sprout, you're probably itching to get your spring-cleaning on. But before you break out the rubber gloves, here are some ways to make sure your home's air is fresh, clean, and pleasant, just like the new season upon us!

1. Open up those windows: This may be an obvious tip, but it's easy to forget when you're rushing to work during the week with little time to do anything else. Don't save cracking open those windows until the weekend when you're free, try making a habit of opening some windows when you first wakeup and closing them before you leave. Something this simple can lower concentrations of toxic chemicals and carbon monoxide.

2. Move smoking outside: The smoke…

532 Views, 0 Comments

After years of dark floors, we're finally lightening up again. But don't start to panic about light maple elbowing its way back into your home. The new light wood has more texture, more color variance, and more beauty. And, its return to vogue may also signal an important economic trend.

During the economic downturn, people gravitated toward the traditional dark colors. But with the economy improving, (there is) a rise in the demand for lighter tones," said the Orange County Register. "Some of these are finished to look like driftwood or washed in white to make them look beachy. The look is popular on both coasts and is growing elsewhere in the country."

The newspaper also sees "a growing popularity in what are referred to as ‘domestic exotics,'…

535 Views, 0 Comments