Creating a Designated Sick Room for Cold & Flu Season

Being sick can be a total drag on your daily routines. It not only affects us physically, but it can be emotionally disheartening as well. Fortunately, we can take some precautions to avoid illness; however, sometimes the inevitable catches up with us and bed-bounds us for weeks. Besides exercise, nutrition, and health habits, we can take other defenses to prepare us for these miserable times. If you have a spare room in your home, consider creating your very own sick room. You can stock this room with some medicines and other elements to help make your sick experience a little better. Here are some essentials to consider adding to your sick room to help speed up recovery and comfort during this time of need.

Bedroom Essentials

This bedroom should be more focused on functionality than design. All white sheets would be ideal so you can bleach them after each use of the room. You should have tissues readily available and a nearby trashcan with a lid. You may even want to include a bin in case someone gets sick and needs to vomit. Other additions to consider adding to the room would be a humidifier. Moist air can keep bacteria in it longer and keep the airborne virus alive longer. You may also want to have facemasks and hand sanitizer readily available. These can be worn by the “caregiver” who enters the room to help whoever is sick in the room. Do not forget to add standard bedroom essentials like a clock and nightstands as well. This room should provide superior comfort to help aid whoever is in the room ill.

Bathroom Essentials

Ideally, it would be best if you could have a sick room bathroom attached to the room. This bathroom can be used by the sick person in your household during this time. Stock this bathroom with a thermometer, trashcan with lid and garbage bag, and some common over-the-counter medicines. Make sure these medicines are out of reach of children and pets. Also, include cotton balls, rubbing alcohol, latex gloves, and measuring units to dose medicine. Generic medicine you may want to include would be Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, or some Electrolyte solutions like Pedialyte or other brands. Remember to stay hydrated while sick. You may also want to have a unisex robe and slippers on hand.

It can be hard to want to drink or eat when under the weather, but it can help pass the illness. Being sick is no fun, so get plenty of rest to help you recover. By preparing a sick room, you can be better prepared for the tough times before they happen.

Ideas to Declutter Your Home

How often do you walk past items that are stacked in a corner or piled up on a table? If you are like most people with busy lifestyles, it is almost a given. We get so busy with work, school, children, and home life that we start to ignore those messy spots and even program ourselves to walk past them.

Fortunately, winter is the perfect time to declutter and purge unneeded household items. Just by decluttering one room per week or month, you will be surprised at how much better you feel and how nice and tidy the house looks! Our easy tips and tricks are listed below for creating a better work/home balancing act just by decluttering. Let’s take a look!

The Bathroom

Start in the bathroom using a 40-gallon heavy-duty yard bag and begin cleaning underneath your cabinets and inside of your drawers. You will want to remove all old and unused bottles as well as expired beauty and bath products. Of course, with expired medicines, remove or mark out the identifying information. For the eco-friendly person, simply drain the remaining contents of plastic bottles and containers, rinse with water, and place it in your recycle bin. Just be sure to safety dispose of all old medicines.

The Kitchen

Next, head to the kitchen. We know the kitchen will take some extra time, especially if you declutter well. Begin in the fridge and check all the bottled and packaged items’ expiration dates on the labels. Next, move on to the freezer and do the same thing. Again, use a large yard bag or take the time for the environment and recycle the bottles and plastic containers, etc.

The Home Office

The unwanted paper around the house like junk mail, advertising flyers, old homework, and expired newspapers should be removed next. Again, place in a large yard bag or recycling bin, but make sure you use a shredder for anything that has personal confidential information.

The Playroom

Old, broken toys and sports equipment are always a given and should be discarded for safety purposes. Many of these items are large and take up a lot of room. Also, many of these are covered in dirt, and other things we do not want to think about that will most definitely contain bacteria. If there are items that are still in good shape, donate them, sell at a consignment store, or sell them online.

As always, please let us know how your task turned out, and please share your thoughts and ideas below in the comment section. Happy decluttering!

Iconic Uses for Essential Oils in Your Home

Essential oils are great for making your home smell great; however, there are many other valuable uses for them around your home. In fact, essentials oils can be used in many diverse ways. Finding a variety of methods to use around your home will not only liven up your environment but keep your home smelling fresh. If you are exploring the world of essential oils, here are some neat tricks to consider using around your home:

Cleaning and Natural Disinfectant

If you are looking for an all-natural cleaning agent, you can create your own. Simply mix some water with vinegar. Vinegar is a great natural cleaning product; however, it can leave an unpleasant scent. You can spruce up the fragrance by adding some essential oils. Do 1/3 of your mixture as vinegar and the remaining with water. Drop in some of your favorite essential oil scents to help create a better smell. Some essential oils can also serve as an excellent disinfectant as well. Try lemon and other citrus scents for a refreshing, clean smell.

Prolong Fruit and Vegetable Lifespan

Having fresh fruit and vegetables in your home can be a healthy, quick snack option. Unfortunately, these products can go bad rather quickly. To help prolong the life of your produce, you can use lemon oil. Saturate your fruit in water in a bowl and add some lemon oil. Allow this to sit for several hours. Once you strain your bowl, you can put your fruit away in the refrigerator. Your fruit and vegetable shelf life will be exponentially longer after using this handy trick.

Laundry Freshener

Essential oils just smell all-around amazing. This use can be a great trick to incorporate in your own laundry routine. Just make sure the essential oil of your choice is not too aggressive for your clothes. You can add several drops into your load to help soak in these unique fragrances.

What are some tricks that you use with your essential oils? Have you done any of these tricks? Let us know some of your favorite essential oil uses below in the comment section, and for more great tips and tricks, make sure to subscribe.

Salt vs Chlorine Hot Tubs

There are many attributes that can make a house feel like home. From the interior to the exterior of your property, every spot has a chance to become more tailored to your needs. Your home should have areas that can allow you to escape from the world and relax and rejuvenate. One great way to accomplish this is with a hot tub! If you are searching the market for a hot tub, there are typically two kinds of systems: chlorine and salt. Both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let us explore both options to help you decide which is best for you.

Chlorine

When it comes to hot tubs, you have two leading solutions for sanitation consisting of either salt or chlorine. Traditionally, chlorine was used as a chemical to help sterilize and neutralize bacteria in the water. Both systems require standard upkeep to allow the systems to be working properly. Chlorine is a powerful chemical that is great at killing bacteria. However, the downfall to this chemical is a strong odor as well as it can agitate sensitive skin.

Salt

Saltwater seems to be the new buzz on the market. This more natural approach is less aggressive on your skin. While it still takes upkeep to have the right concentration, the simple upkeep can be less time-consuming. You will also not need to drain your hot tub as often for maintenance. Some of these benefits alone have made many homeowners switch to salt. Yet a downside is saltwater pools can traditionally be more expensive as an initial investment.

Which Is Best for You?

Both hot tub systems come with their own pros and cons. While chlorine may be a harsher chemical to soak long in, the initial investment is much less expensive. Chlorine tubs will also use less electricity while being fixture friendly. The choice comes down to personal preference.

Many people have preferences on which they like best. What do you think about each hot tub system? Have you owned either? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and remember to subscribe!

Painting Exterior Stucco

Southwestern-styled homes will traditionally use stucco as a decorative siding and finish to homes. Stucco is a fine plaster coated onto walls wet, which dries with a very grainy texture. This plaster handles great against the desert heat and looks great as well. However, these extreme climates can really wear down and fade the paint on the walls over time. If your paint is beginning to fade, it may be time to repaint the exterior of your home. With stucco being so texture, it can propose several dilemmas. To help, here are some of the best ways to paint stucco:

Prep

Before you are going to start painting, you will need to prep the surface. For the exterior of your home, you will just want to remove all the outdoor dust and dirt that has accumulated on your home. This step can easily be done by spraying your house down with a hose. Let it air dry completely before you begin to paint. Tape off or tarp any areas you do not want the paint to get.

Roller

For stucco, there are generally two main ways of painting. A roller is less effective but generally foolproof. When you get your paint, let the supplier know you will be rolling the paint. This paint will be sold much thicker and can be applied with a roller. You will still need to use a brush for harder areas like corners and edges.

Spray

A more effective technique but takes practice and equipment is spraying the paint onto the stucco. With such an aggressive texture, this will allow you not to have to go over the same spot multiple times, as the roller may. Simply add the paint and spray it directly onto your home. You can keep the spray gun very close to the house because bleeding paint is uncommon with this high of texture.

Stucco is excellent but will need to be repainted after many years of sun exposure. Make sure you can complete the task before starting it. If this seems too far out of your expertise, you may want to consider hiring a professional. For more tips and tricks on home improvement, make sure to subscribe.

The Three Things to Look for While House Hunting

When house hunting, it can feel like there are endless options. Focusing on the wrong areas can make the search an even more daunting and burdensome task. To properly search for your next home, there are only three things you need to be considering. With these in mind, your search becomes a little easier. Here are the three things you must look for while house shopping:

Ignore the Theme

It is easy to get caught up in the little things. Make sure the reason you are not selecting a home is because of variables that are unable to be changed. Not architecturally speaking, but the theme of the house was created by the previous homeowner. Do not put a home at the top of your list because it has your favorite color painted walls, or you love the Rustic themed living room. These are all variables you can create in any home. It is easy to be blinded by a well-designed atmosphere and start imagining yourself in it. Try to take a few steps back and analyze the home for what it is at the root, not what they have done to the design.

Location

Location matters! Make sure you love the location. Visit the property during different hours. This is a constant factor that you cannot change once you move into the home. For instance, how easy is it to access your driveway? Is the neighborhood safe? How is the school system in the community? How does this home feel during rush hours in traffic or at different times of the day? Is it quiet or noisy? These are just several of the thousands of questions that should be running through your head. Pay attention to the noises at the property while you are visiting. These can all be things that you cannot see when looking at the property online.

Layout

Does the home’s layout work for you? This is another factor that you cannot easily change. Even if you are considering adding onto the property, make sure that city restrictions and zoning allow that possibility. Bedrooms, bathrooms, location of the washer and dryer, parking, and many other factors need to be considered when looking at properties.

With these three factors in mind, you will be able to scan through properties much quicker and zero in your search. Remember, location and layout are constants and try not to get caught up in the homes’ other aesthetic features because most of them can be changed.

Pros and Cons of Incandescent Lights

The lights you put into your house can have an effect on your perceived environment. Incandescent bulbs are one of the most traditional and timeless light bulb options to use in your home. However, there have been many advancements in lighting options. Having uniformed bulbs in your home can be substantial. Loading mixed bulbs into a light fixture can look disheveled and out of place. If you are using incandescent bulbs or are considering it, here is everything you need to know:

Pros:

Cost

If you are looking for a conventional and affordable light bulb, this is it. Incandescent bulbs are some of the most affordable bulbs on the market. They have been around forever and are massed produced to be the most common lighting in homes today.

Natural Feel to Light

These bulbs are great for general-purpose lighting. They mimic natural light with a more warm and yellow hue to them. They can be great to add to rooms that have no window exposure because they have a more natural feel even when the sun sets.

Timeless

When you think of traditional light bulbs, this is the image that most likely comes to mind. These light bulbs are timeless and for a good reason. These timeless bulbs are very good at illuminating homes as well as giving a clean natural look to the light.

Cons:

Not Efficient with Energy

While they are very common, they are far from being the most efficient. These light bulbs can use a lot of energy and raise your electricity bill. Remember to keep these lights off when you are not using them.

Halogen Bulbs Can Be Very Hot

Halogen bulbs are a type of incandescent. Halogen bulbs are filled with halogen gas. This gas keeps the filaments in the bulb from burning down. However, this feature allows the bulbs to burn much hotter. You need to be cognitive of this heat for extended periods of time. Placing any combustible or flammable materials near these bulbs can quickly lead to a fire.

All in all, these light bulbs will always be a great selection. Know that they are not the most efficient and can burn hot. Plus, there are many other great bulbs available on the market. It is all about choosing what works best for your environment, lifestyle, and home.

What to Do with Your Spare Room

As we get older, our needs and lifestyle change. Maybe the home that you have been in for ten years now has a spare room available. Whether you are a new empty-nester or you have additional bedrooms from the get-go, there are plenty of ways to tailor this space to your needs. In fact, your spare room is a blanket canvas ready to be molded into whatever you desire. However, not every spare room will serve the same purpose for every homeowner. To help you narrow down the decision, here are some great ideas for modifying your spare room:

Guest Room

If you know that you will be hosting guests, you can make your spare room into a guest room. Simply add a bed and some nightstands to furnish the room. You can also add some of your favorite décor pieces to help spruce the space up and help it feel homey for your company.

Office or Study

A home office or study is another perfect idea. In fact, you can make this the quiet room of your home. Simply load this space up with a desk, computer, printer, and internet access. You can use this room to slip away to read, study, do homework, or get work done. This option is a great renovation for scholars and book lovers.

Home Gym

Getting time to go to the gym can be quite a hassle. However, you can eliminate the commute to the local gym by creating your own home gym. Simply add some rubber flooring and the exercise equipment that you use the most. For instance, you may want to look into buying a universal home gym that can allow you to accomplish multiple and full-body workouts in the comfort of your own home.

Studio

Do you like videography, singing, playing an instrument, or even painting? Make your own tailor-made studio for your creative passions. This idea can be a great outlet for getting away from everyday distractions and gives you time for the hobby you love.

Man/Woman Cave

Another great personal option is creating your very own man or woman cave. Create a getaway with whatever your personal passions are with a room dedicated to you. Just remember it is your cave = your rules.

Kids’ Playroom

Children can make a mess with their toys scattered around your home. Confine their play area to a playroom. Have cubby-hole to tuck away their belongings and toys in order to help give structure to the room. Plus, playrooms can be a great and fun room in the home that your kids will love!

Home Theater

Lastly, a home theater is a fantastic home luxury that you can create in your spare room. Simply invest in dark wall paint, a projector, seating, and surround sound. You can quickly turn a boring, mundane room to the most entertaining room in your home.

These are just some fun ideas to consider in your own home. We recommend customizing your spare room to your home’s desires and needs. What do you want to do with your spare room in your house? Stop letting that room be wasted square footage. Try renovating your extra room to become your new favorite room in your home.

Gas Versus Electric Stovetops

The stove is an essential element of any kitchen. Your stove can serve many purposes for cooking all sorts of meals. When it comes down to which stove is right for you, there are two general stovetops to consider: electric or gas. Both are excellent choices, but like anything, they come with their own sets of pros and cons. You will want to consider both options and look at which set up may be more ideal for your home.

Electric

Electric stoves are generally going to cost less money. Typically, most houses are preset to have an electric stove installed in the kitchen. They are easy to clean with a very smooth surface. They can also turn on by simply turning a dial and do not require an ignition. Electric stoves also have more even heat distribution. This feature can allow you to monitor your cooking easier. However, they do require a power source and use electricity. They are also not as durable as their counter comparison, the gas stove.

Gas

Gas stoves are very durable. They do not need a power source where the electric ranges do. With a flame present, they are much quicker at delivering instant heat. Also, they cool down faster, which can allow you to leave food on the stove after you are done cooking without overcooking it. Plus, if you like to broil food, gas ranges are excellent at applying direct heat in partial areas. Yet, the heat distribution is most prominent wherever the flames are present. This feature can also become a setback. You must have the flame present while cooking, which can also be annoying if you have a fan going or open windows. Gas ranges are also more challenging to clean and have an uneven surface in comparison. If your home does not have a gas line present, you will need to install one to have a gas range. This can be an additional cost to consider with an already-pricier stovetop.

Ultimately, it comes down to preferences. Some people prefer the authenticity of the open flame on a gas range, while others may like the simplicity of an electric stove. Which stovetop do you prefer? Let us know below in the comment section.

Tips & Tricks for Keeping Your Home Smelling Fresh

You can easily master your design, yet if your environment does not smell fresh, your home’s presence can quickly be ruined. You may not be a messy or dirty person; however, our lifestyles can contribute to unwanted odors in our homes. Pets, children, long hours at work, and many other factors can give our rooms a foul scent. You spend too much time making your home beautiful to ruin it with unwanted smells. There are two main ways to tackle this problem: eliminate bad odor and create pleasant ones. Here are some great ways to help enhance the smell of your home:

Drawer Scented Sachets

When clothes and lines sit for extended periods of time, they can start with hold scents. Drawer scented sachets are packets that can be placed at the bottom of all your linen drawers in your home. They can provide a pleasant smell in your drawers and will also help scent your linens.

Scented Dryer Sheets

After washing your clothes and throwing them into the dryer, throw in some scented dryer sheets. Investing in some good fragrance dryer sheets can help put the scent into your clothes. It is especially nice when you wash your sheets. Nothing better than hopping into a lovely lavender-scented bed after a long day at work.

Air Freshener

Air fresheners are another must-have in your home. There are thousands of scents to choose from for your home. Find a scent that you love and apply it to your home. Plus, air fresheners come in a variety of ways to allow them into the atmosphere. You can get a simple spray for manual use or invest in an automatic time-released air freshener. Either way, air fresheners are great for sprucing up your home’s aromas.

Closet Fragrance Freshener

Like your drawer scented sachets, you can also get closet fragrance fresheners. These typically come on a hanger that can be hung in your closet. They are another great way to freshen an area of your home and improve the scent of your clothes!

Candles

Add some warmth to your atmosphere by investing in some candles. Candles are a great way to make your home smell better. Try to find candles that work with your personal taste. You can even invest in seasonal candles like winter scents or spring scents for different times of the year.

Smells can be an essential element to control in your home. Remember, your task is not just to mask smells with new ones. Instead, try to eliminate any unwanted smells in your home first. Additionally, remember to keep your home clean to prevent undesirable odors.