December 2011

New Year's Means New Stains

The one thing that you can guarantee if you are hosting a New Year's Eve party is that someone will spill something. The last thing you want is a red wine stain on your new carpet or that stale beer smell invading your apartment.

Start by pretreating your carpet by using a carpet cleaner with stain resistant properties. This helps keep those stains from setting in. The next step is to be prepared. The stains are going to happen, so you might as well keep a clean cloth and some cleaning agents ready at a moments notice.

When the stain happens, grab the cloth and the cleaner and dab don't rub the carpet. All rubbing does is push the stain into the fibers of the cloth and possibly the padding of the carpet. Once it gets there, good luck every getting the stain completely out.

New Year's Housewarming Gift Idea

Are you having a hard time finding the perfect gift for the close friend or relative that's moving into a new home at the beginning of January? Rest easy with the idea of giving him or her a pair of champagne glasses. When all is settled, he or she can uncork a bottle of bubbly or non-alcoholic cider to toast the New Year and their new home. The nice thing about a gift such as this one is that you can purchase them at discounted prices, depending on where you shop such as at discount super centers.

Know When Not to Do It Yourself

"There are plenty of opportunities to save money on minor repairs"

There are many projects around the house that can be done by even the least experienced home improvement buff.  With proper tools and a little bit of research, homeowners can fix leaky faucets, replace power outlets and perform other minor repairs.  There are some jobs, however, that only a professional should take on, and knowing what you can and cannot handle will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Do Spring Cleaning In Winter

For some reason, people have always wanted to give their home a good cleaning during the springtime. Maybe it's the idea of birth and growth, or the fact all the colors come back to the trees. I have never been one of those people.

Why wait a whole year to give your house a massive cleaning when the winter time is so much more opportune. Everyone wants to go outside and enjoy the spring, so why would you want to be cooped up in house dusting behind your refrigerator? You could be outside gardening or making other improvements to your home's facade.

The winter is cold and harsh. No one wants to go outside for very long and there can literally be days where you are stuck inside the house as the winter winds roll through the neighborhood. This is the perfect time to give your home a good once over.

Holiday Housewarming Gift Idea

Unlike with some of the other topics I write about I didn't have to search far and wide for information in order for me to find the perfect holiday housewarming gift idea. Last year, when my husband and I moved into our new apartment, my parents gave us a huge holiday wreath that my dad had won at a party. It's homemade and beautiful, filled with an assortment of items designed to promote holiday cheer. While we lived in a fairly safe area I was worried that the wreath would get stolen if we placed it on our front door and since I spend most of my time working indoors, I wanted something pretty to look at during the holidays. Others I know enjoy placing a decorative wreath outside where everyone who comes up to the front door can see it.

Going Green: It's Easier Than You Think

You can't turn on the television or open a magazine without being inundated with messages for improving the environment and going green. It may seem like a daunting task to add being green to your already long list of daily to-dos, but it's really easier than you might think.

You can start out as simple as using reusable shopping bags instead of plastic or paper. While paper will degrade, it still takes trees to make those single use bags. Reusable bags can sit in your car until needed and all you need to do is clean them every now and then.

Recycling is a way for you to not only help the environment, but also save a little money. Many municipalities limit the number of trash bags you can put out during a week. Any more than that, and it requires a sticker, and they cost money. There isn't a limit on recycling, so you can save some serious trash bag space by separating your paper, plastic and glass.

Installing a Baseboard for a Finished Look

"In homes with laminate or hardwood, baseboard helps cover the necessary gap around the edges of the room."

Whether your home has carpet, linoleum, laminate or tile, you can create a professional, finished look by installing baseboard around the perimeter of each room.  Baseboard will also help protect the bottom of your walls from scuffs, dings and dents while looking beautiful and accenting your flooring.

Bring in Your Plants To Save Them From The Cold

Sadly, not every plant can die in the winter and then come back strong in the spring. There are many plants that once they're are gone, they're gone for good. It can be expensive getting new seeds every year and not seeing them reach their full potential.

Frost and winter snow will kill everything outside, so if you want to save any plants, you're going to have to transplant them and bring them inside. The first step it to research and understand their sun, food and water needs. It's best to go out before the ground freezes and fill appropriately sized pots with dirt from your own garden.

If the plants are growing well in the dirt, so mess it up by using potting soil that may not have the right acidity, etc.

How to Give a Housewarming Gift that Combines Symbolism and Creativity

Housewarming Gift Symbolism and History

The practice of bringing gifts to a housewarming for the purposes of welcoming a family or individual into their home has gone on for centuries. The first known case of someone receiving a housewarming gift was in Russia where a couple named Boris and Yelena presented a traveling dignitary with a loaf of bread and a tiny bit of salt. As the story goes, the dignitary asked the couple why they were giving him the two gifts. The couple answered him by explaining that the loaf of bread stood for good health and the salt represented a long life. Since then, people throughout the world have upheld the tradition of presenting new homeowners with a housewarming gift. Below is a list of popular housewarming gifts and the symbolism behind them.

When To put Up Christmas Decorations

"While this is my own personal preference, there is a sound reason behind it."

The month of December has begun and thoughts of Christmas decorations are in your head. Once Thanksgiving is over, it is perfectly acceptable to put up the Christmas tree and indoor decorations.

It's not really acceptable to put them up prior to Thanksgiving because the end of Thanksgiving has always been a symbol of the Christmas season. Unless you live in an area that he beset with cold weather and heavy snows in late November or early December, then its too early to put out the outdoor Christmas decorations.

While this is my own personal preference, there is a sound reason behind it. If you put the lights out too early, then you end up being “those neighbors.” You know the ones everyone looks at little oddly. I like to have the outdoor lights out around December 10. That way they are out a good amount of time and you will fit in with the neighborhood.

Do It Yourself: Caulking

Tips to keep your caulking in tip top shape.

If you own your own home, one of the yearly maintenance tasks you should attend to is caulking around your shower, sinks and other areas with high water volume.  Caulking prevents mildew buildup and provides a seal to keep moisture from leaking behind your fixtures and shower walls.  If you do not caulk these areas, you are opening your home up to potential disaster from water leaks.