How to Keep Your Plants Alive & Well

Some homeowners have the magic touch when it comes to growing plants indoors. Other homeowners may struggle a little bit with letting plants flourish and grow to their full potential. We have three tips and tricks on how to keep your plants alive and well this fall! Let us get started:

 

Tip No. One: Water only when needed (not necessarily when you think): Watering plants can be one of the most tricky things for homeowners to get right. Homeowners tend to lean towards overwatering their plants rather than under watering the soil. If you want an easy trick for watering, stick your finger into the plant’s soil. You will typically want to place it near the edge of the pot to get a good read on its dryness. If the soil is dry, you can water your plant! Experts recommend doing this until you understand your plant’s watering schedule. When you water your plants, lift up the leaves and, using a watering can dampen the soil. You can have a little bit of water underneath your plant, but clean up any excess water that may have occurred. 

Tip No. Two: Use something to help with drainage: From pebbles to gravel, there are solutions for you to help your plant with its draining system. The key to proper drainage is to keep water from your plant’s roots. The excess amount of water can lead to rotting and that means bye-bye plant. If the pot for your current plant does not have holes, you will want to replant in a pot with holes to avoid rotting.

Tip No. Three: Understand what your plant likes: Whether you bought it from a local florist or at a grocery store, you will want the rundown on your plant. You will want to research your plant to the best of your ability to learn things like: does it prefer direct sunlight? Once you understand its lighting and eating preferences, you will be set up for greater success. Say that you do not know what type of plant you own, you can always take it into your local nursery and ask them. They may even give you some tips and tricks that are personalized to your plant type. 

 

We hope you enjoyed these three easy tricks. Make sure to check back weekly for more blogs and updates. 


5 Tips Towards Reducing Clutter

Clutter can overtake our lives. Sometimes, we grow so accustomed to it that we do not feel like we do need to do anything about it. It is a scary thought to think that we are okay with the clutter-filled lives that we live. Let us be honest, we are not minimalists and we are not saying you need to be one. But reducing clutter can lead to a happier lifestyle, a healthier home, and reduced stress.

 

Before you jump into reducing clutter on your own, we have five tips that we think will be useful for you: 

 

Tip One: Make a Difference. Getting rid of stuff can be difficult, especially when you get in your head. Thoughts like “what if I will need this for ___ one day” or “I have always wanted to use this, but I just have not gotten around to it.” There will always be an excuse or a reason to keep something. A good way to look at it is that you will be making a difference through donations. Donating can help the less-fortunate find items they truly need. While going through your belongings, think of the families in need that you will be helping. You can make a difference right from your own messy garage. 

Tip Two: Only One. The rule of “only one” will help you in rooms like your kitchen, bathroom, and living room. You only need ONE of each thing. For example, you only need one spaghetti strainer or one bottle of bubble bath or one television remote. Once you have reached one, donate the others. 

Tip Three: It Needs a Place to Call Home. A great way to reduce clutter is to only keep items that have a place to be stored. No more storing a massive load of untouched boxes in your garage. Go through all of the items and if you do not have a place to store it, pitch it or donate it. There will definitely be exceptions like if you are housing something for someone else, the items are seasonal decorations, etc. 

Tip Four: Tackle The Untackled. Typically, we avoid sorting and cleaning out areas of our home that are unorganized and messy. That ends today. You want to take a good look at the areas you are ignoring and avoiding and start with those areas. There may be a ton of stuff that you did not even realize you owned! It is a great time to get a fresh start and donate these unused items. 

Tip Five: It Will Not Happen Overnight. A lot of homeowners get stressed and overwhelmed during this process. To reduce stress, give yourself breaks. Whether you go out for a walk or watch a television show, you want to be able to walk away from the project and come back at a later time. Do not over-frustrate yourself. It will get done. It just takes time. 

 

Getting rid of items that you own can be difficult and we understand that. As a reward, you should treat yourself with something special. You worked hard! Go on, you deserve it. 


How to Hang Artwork

Hanging artwork can be very time consuming, frustrating and expensive if you damage the sheetrock. Just like everything else, there is a right and wrong way to hang artwork. We will share a few tips below that reveal how to hang the picture properly.  Follow these tips to help hang almost any frame and make your wall the perfect focal point in the room!

  • Placement – I know you find yourself standing there staring at a blank wall and are unsure of where to hang your artwork. If you have only one or two pieces to hang, stand back and visually place in your mind where you want the art to hang.  Often people hang art too high, hang art at eye level! Physically take the art and place on the wall in your desired spot. With a pencil, draw a centered short line on the wall at the top of the frame. If your frame has a wire on the back of the art, simply measure from the top of the wire in the center to the top of the frame. Go back to your line on the wall and measure down from the top line to the distance of the centered wire hanger and mark. Erase the original top line, so you don’t get confused about the proper placement mark. If you have multiple pieces of art, start out by placing the pieces on the floor for a symmetrical or asymmetrical look, whichever fits your taste. As you stand back at look at the items on the floor you can visualize how they will look once hung. You can also move and mix until you get the desired look!
  • Techniques for Strength – If possible, drive the nail into a wall stud for the most strength. Invest in an inexpensive stud finder.   Although in most cases, where you want to hang the art, a stud will not be present. Generally, studs are every 16 inches on center and are 1 ½ inches thick. For small and medium art, a 1 ½ or 2-inch nail in the sheetrock will suffice and hold securely. Always drive the nail into the wall at a 45-degree angle. This technique ensures a stable and secure hold. For large pieces of art, purchase hollow-wall anchors with screws.  Anchor sets will match the weight of the artwork. Use a small drill and choose a drill size to match the size of the anchor. Once you drill the hole, tap the anchor into the sheetrock and simply screw the screw into the anchor.
  • Straightness – If your artwork is not hanging level and straight, simply purchase some small plastic bumpers that attach to the back of the frame with self-stick tape. What a simple fix!

 

Have fun turning your home into your personal art gallery!

Decorating with Area Rugs

Rugs can transform a cold, stiff room into a comfortable, cozy getaway with the touch of your toes. If you are looking to transform your room, look no further because we have four easy tips on how to decorate with an area rug! 

 

How to Decorate with an Area Rug

Tip No. One: Begin the design process with your area rug. 

Choosing your area rug first can help with a load of design questions like wall colors and color scheme. But some and even most of you, will not have the luxury of choosing an area rug first. If you find yourself picking out a rug last, just try to pull colors from your room and look for it in your rug. You can have the same color in different values and hues, but try to stay in the same ballpark when choosing a color. 

 

Tip No. Two: Follow the 6 to 2 rule. 

A rug can be placed as little as 6 inches away from your wall, but no more than two feet. This will help your room feel just right; therefore, you will want to take measurements of the room. Once you understand the measurements, you can decide on different rug shapes and styles. You want to make sure that the rug is not too big or too small for your room.

 

Tip No. Three: Doorways and front entrances are different. 

If you plan to place a rug in front of your door, you want to make sure that is the exact size of the door or just a few inches less. For your front entrance or foyer, you can place the rug underneath wherever the main light fixture is placed. 

 

Tip No. Four: Know how to place furniture. 

Furniture on rugs can go one of three ways:

  1. All furniture legs are on the area rug.
  2. All furniture legs are off the area rug.
  3. The front legs of your furniture are on the area rug. 

 

A Cozy Bed

Imagine falling into a soft cloud at the end of your long work day. Now imagine that the cloud was actually your bed this whole time. Creating a soft place to rest your head is easier than you may think. With the colder months approaching us, a warm and cozy bed sounds more and more appealing to the average folk. Transform your bed this season with our six tips for creating a cozy bed:

 

Tip One: Soft to The Touch

A perfect bed begins with soft sheets. The higher the thread count, the softer your sheets will be. That being said, the higher your thread count, the higher the price tag. Do your research and you will be able to find good, quality sheets for an affordable price! 

Tip Two: We Can Top That

If you are looking for a little extra support, you may want to think about buying a mattress topper. Depending on your needs, you can find mattress toppers that will add more firmness or more softness. 

Tip Three: Heat Zone

An easy way to add warmth and comfort to your bed is to buy a heated blanket. Heated blankets are perfect for when nights get extra chilly. 

Tip Four: No More Bed-Head

Treat your head like royalty with silk pillowcases. They help prevent bed-head and they are soft to the touch! 

Tip Five: Diffused

If you are having difficulties sleeping, you may want to try using an essential oil diffuser while you sleep. You can diffuse oils like lavender or roman chamomile for a good night’s rest. Also, you can buy pillowcases that allow you to add some drops of essential oil to them. This way you are breathing them in all night long. 

Tip Six: Meant to Comfort. 

Finish off your cozy bed with the perfect down-comforter. This will add an unreal amount of comfort and coziness to your bed, we promise.

Bedroom Organization

Your bedroom is an escape from every stressful thing life has to offer. That is why your bedroom should be an organized haven to relieve you from everything. If you are looking for bedroom organization ideas, you came to the right place! We have made a list of five simple ideas you can start using in your bedroom to make it the most efficient, organized room in your home (no joke). If our bedroom is our “escape,” should not we be “escaping” the mess? 

 

Bedroom Organization

  1. Get it gone

Your bedroom’s main problem is most likely your closet. Take an hour and go through your entire closet. Sort through your clothes and decide if you want to keep, donate or throw away certain clothing items. Once you have finished sorting, organize your clothing appropriately by following idea number 2! 

  1. Groupings.

For a better organization system, you can group your clothing by color or type. Depending on your preference, you may choose to find your clothes by their color or by what they are. A better-organized closet can help assure you put things away properly. 

  1. Down where it is better

Is the space underneath your bed being used for anything? If you answered no, why not? Underneath your bed is the perfect place to store your out-of-season clothing! Do not let this space go to waste. Buy some inexpensive flat tubs to store items underneath your bed frame and you will never regret having that extra storage. 

  1. To the window, to the wall

Think about all the storage possibilities that are available when you look at your bare walls. Your walls hold so much storage potential! You can incorporate wall hooks, hanging cabinets, and clothing bars on your walls for storing items. The best part is that you can buy stylish versions of these organizational pieces and they can double as wall decor. 

    • Try to find a couple antique door knobs and use them as coat hooks.
    • Add wall shelves to hold your decor and other essential items.
  1. Like in poker, we fold

Most homeowners hang their sweaters, but we do not encourage doing this. You should always fold your sweaters. Folding will ensure that they will not get misshaped or snagged from a hanger. Plus, you can store your folded sweaters underneath your bed by using idea number 3! 

 

We hope you enjoyed these five easy ideas for organizing your bedroom.


How to Care for your Heating and Cooling System

What keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer? You guessed it, your heating and cooling system. We want to help inform our customers on how to care for their heating and cooling system. These seven quick tips can help save energy and money to the consumer. 

 

How to care for your heating & cooling system: 

  1. Filters. Changing your filters can help reduce the energy used by your heating and cooling system. The more clogged that your air filter gets; the harder it has to work. Also, it can damage the system by causing premature wear and tear. You should change your disposable filters regularly (approximately once a month).
  2. Compressors. Your compressor is located outside because it trades hot air for cold air. In order for it to work properly, your compressor needs to be free of surroundings. You should check your compressor around fall and spring time to see if anything has begun to obstruct it. Take away any leaves, debris or tress that may be in the way of the compressor. 
  3. Air Filtration Systems. Newer homes tend to have air filtration systems and other households use portable air-filter systems. We encourage you to check how to change your air-filter systems because pollen and debris can be caught up in your filter.
  4. Service Calls. Experts advise homeowners to call for maintenance before the first cold or hot night. Do not wait until the last minute. 
  5. Thermostats. Try to keep the heat down during bedtime and when you are not home. You can turn up the thermostat during the morning and dinner hours. If you keep your thermostat on a steady routine, it can help lower costs and save energy. 
  6. Reduce Heat Costs. Use curtains and blinds to help conserve home’s heat. Blackout curtains are amazing for reducing heat loss in homes. 

 

It is extremely important that homeowners probably maintain their heating and cooling system to reduce costs and energy. The U.S. Energy Information Administration states that 41% of a home’s energy is space heating and 6% air conditioning. That means that 47% of a household’s energy use is from our heating and cooling system; therefore, it is critical that homeowners reduce energy used by this system.


Hosting Overnight Visitors Without a Guest Room

When space is limited and guests need overnight accommodations, it’s easy to get a little stressed out. With some creativity and thoughtfulness, you’ll be able to open up your home to them with confidence. Use some of these tips to make the available space you have into a makeshift guest room.

 

First and foremost, make sure that any room you choose is clean. The room may not be spacious, but the fact that it is clean will be appreciated. No matter what you do to make the space accommodating if the area isn’t tidy, your guests will be sure to notice. Next, try to create more surface area for your visitors to work with. If there are miscellaneous items sitting on the floor that you were going to “get to later”, now is the time to clear them away. Any small furniture that can temporarily be moved to another area is also a good way to free up some space as well.  This will give guests room to place their overnight bags and essentials.

 

When it comes to having a place to sleep, there are a couple of options. You may already own a futon that is currently doubling as a couch in the room. If so, great! If not, you might want to invest in a quality air mattress—preferably one that is about two feet from the ground with a non-slip surface so sheets will not slip all over the place while your guests are using it. Make sure to check the label for a mention of easy inflation and deflation so you don’t have to spend too much time on setup and cleanup. Make sure the bedding you use has been cleaned and be sure to provide extra pillows and blankets to accommodate your guest’s sleeping preferences.  Do not use couch pillows, as they can be uncomfortable to sleep on. If you do not have a spare set, it is highly recommended that you invest in them. Your visitors will thank you. 

  

Once the sleeping area has been set up, add things to the space that would make it look and feel similar to staying in a guest bedroom. If this space lacks proper lighting, move a small side table and lamp from somewhere else in your home and temporarily place it bedside. Guests will appreciate somewhere to put their glasses, phone, and book where they can reach it. 

 

Finally, be sure to have spare toiletries available in case anything may have been forgotten.  Place a small basket in the guest bathroom with shampoo, soap, toothpaste and a spare toothbrush. Make sure towels are clean and readily available. A spare hair dryer is also appreciated.

 

Not having a spare bedroom doesn’t mean that you can’t make your overnight guests experience an enjoyable one. Use these tips the next time you need to accommodate friends and family for an extended stay. Your hospitality won’t go unnoticed.

Declutter Your Home

Many people participate in fall cleaning, just as they do with spring cleaning.  If you do as well, or if you would like advice on a quick deep clean of your home, keep reading! It is a big undertaking, but it always leaves you feeling refreshed. This is a time for you to get your home back to the way it should look. 

1. Clean out your kitchen. 

Let us be honest, our kitchen can get unorganized very easily. Cabinets can fill up with expired food and dishes seem to always be misplaced. Your kitchen is a great place to start when you begin to declutter your life. We always put off deep cleaning the kitchen because it can be a giant task. Here is how you can clean out your kitchen:

  • Throw out any empty bottles and expired food. It feels great seeing all the new space open up in your fridge and cabinets.
  • Reorganize the dishes in your cabinets. Check for any broken dishes and throw them away. Look to see if things are not in their designated spots and move them. 
  • Keep counter space only for items you will use daily. Also, consider the items you never use: think if you really need them or if they will be better suited in the giveaway box. 
  • Time to literally deep clean your kitchen. It will feel amazing to have a refreshingly clean kitchen. You can tackle the scum in your oven, countertops, stove, you name it. 

2. Go through your closet. 

Closets are easy to avoid cleaning out because they are hidden from our guests. We get dressed in the morning and start to throw clothes in different spots or maybe you are someone who just uses that extra closet as storage for who-knows-what. What you need to do:

  • Take EVERYTHING out of your closet. We are going to start with a completely blank slate.
  • Separate everything into different piles: shoes, shirts, pants, etc. Make sure you have a pile to give away. We are sure that you will find some things that you do not wear or did not know you owned. 
  • Look at the quality of the item, if it is worn or torn, throw it out. 
  • Lastly, you can put everything you decided to keep back into the closet. You should have far fewer items than what you started with. 

 

You will feel extremely refreshed after “the declutter” and possibly tired, make sure to treat yourself! Decluttering your home will ultimately declutter your life because an organized home is an organized life. Things may get messy again, but that is when you pull this article out and start all over.

 

Creating a Home Office

Home offices are essential for busy homeowners looking for organization. But sometimes, your house does not have an extra room for you to make into an office. If you do not necessarily have space to place your home office, we have the solution for you. We have five tips for homeowners to make an office in any room of their house. 

 

Tips for Creating a Home Office: 

  1. Designated Area & Furnishings

There is nothing more frustrating than not having a specific area to do your office work. That is why it is essential to designate a specific area of your home. Whether it is in the corner of your guest bedroom or the nook of your kitchen, you should decide on an area to get your office work done. Make sure to put a desk in that area and refer to it as the office desk. 


  1. Functionally Placed Electronics

Printers, computers, and home phones can become a bulky nightmare if they are not properly placed in your home office. Try to organize the desk so that it will be easy to use at a moment’s notice. If the office is not functional, you will find yourself frustrated and use it less and less. 


  1. Organized Cords and Cables

Cords and cables can be an eyesore in any home office. Try to tuck cords away and tie them up with twist-ties. Make sure to roll the cords properly because you do not want to damage the cord itself. If you are unsure how to roll them, watch some videos online to see the correct way of storing cords and cables. 


  1. Filing System

Bills and important paperwork should be your first priority in your home office. To avoid losing them, create an efficient filing system for you to sort through weekly. 


  1. Define the Zones

If you and your entire family are using the office, make the office zones to clear to everyone. Make sure they understand where everything goes and what does what.