The festive season is almost here and with that the many family visits that will be taking place at your house. Whether it’s your first time hosting guests for Christmas or you’ve been doing it for years, preparing your house can take some serious time, effort and money.
With that in mind, here are 6 ways to prepare your home for lots of visitors this Christmas:
Make Sure You Have Lots Of Beautiful Decorations
One of the best things about hosting people for Christmas is that you get to be even more extravagant with your decorations. Having the whole family around is a great chance to show off your incredible decorations to everyone – so have fun making them the best they can be! For inspiration, you can visit sites like Pinterest or Instagram.
Fix Any Issues Before People Arrive
Throughout the year there may be small issues that need fixing, but you never get around to doing them. Whether it’s a broken cupboard door, a loose tile or something else – fixing them before your guests come to stay is the best time to get these smaller tasks out of the way. Not only does it make your house feel like it’s in order, but it’s much safer for your guests too.
Redecorate Any Rooms That Need A Little TLC
If you’re hosting guests for a few days, you may find that your guest rooms need a little bit of TLC before they can stay in them. As they often become the forgotten room that’s only used to store things, they’ll probably need more than a tidy before your guests arrive. If you’re on a budget you can change the look and feel of a whole room with some wallpaper and a coat of paint. It’s surprising what you can do!
Update Any Old Furniture
Christmas is a great excuse to buy new furniture to replace the bits you’ve been dying to replace for months! Whether it’s a new sofa bed for the guest room or a bigger dining room table – treat yourself to something new before everyone arrives. For inspiration, you can visit Wayfair reviews here.
Get Rid Of Any Junk To Make Extra Space
If you’ve got lots of visitors coming round you’re going to need all the space you can get. Getting rid of any junk that you no longer need (or storing it in the loft) is a great way to free up some space in your house. If you’re really struggling, invest in some extra storage that will allow you to store things in a much smarter way.
Buy Extra Bedding And Towels Just In Case
If your guests are coming to stay then it’s always handy to have extra bedding and towels on hand. If they’re not planning on staying it’ doesn’t hurt to buy extras just in case – you never know what may happen!
Are having lots of visitors this Christmas? How will you be preparing your home? Let me know in the comment section below.
Given that food is such a crucial part of life, it’s strange that so many people are unaware of the origins of the things they eat. Whenever you sit down for a meal, you could be eating food from across the world, even if it something which can be found at home. To give you a better idea of where the stuff on your plate came from, this post will be exploring the most common starting points for various types of food, giving you an idea of what to expect if you ever decide to read the packets on the items you buy.
Meat is one of the most diverse sides of this, with almost every country around the world farming some sort of land-based livestock. India is the biggest exporter of beef in the world, while Brazil exports more chickens than anyone else, showing just how many countries have their fingers in this pie. The best way to buy meat is from a local source, as this will lower the emissions which come from it, while also helping to support a local farmer who would otherwise struggle to make a living. You can find products like this on markets and in some large stores.
Fish isn’t as easy as meat to farm, as you can’t really put fences in the Ocean, and creating a fake one isn’t a viable option, either. This results in a lot of fish being caught in the wild by large boats dragging nets behind them. Destroying coral, killing other wildlife, and polluting the seas, this is never a good route to go down. Organisations like the Global Salmon Initiative are trying to combat this with special pods which can act as Ocean-based farms. While this idea is quite new, it is already starting to have an impact on the way that fish are produced. Of course, though, it takes a long time for everyone to catch up.
When it comes to plants, every country has its own common exports, and this is biggest area in the food market. Unlike in the past, though, market share in this area isn’t dictated by natural climate, anymore. Instead, places with the best environment management technology are able to grow more food than anyone else, with countries like China taking advantage of bio tunnels and greenhouses to grow their fruit and vegetables. This sort of produce is very important, feeding billions of people around the world, while also providing countries which can’t grow very easily themselves with enough to keep their populations healthy.
While everyone needs food to live, some people have much easier access to it than others. This isn’t exactly fair, though, especially when you consider that those growing crops and raising livestock often struggle to feed their families. To overcome this sort of issue, it is always worth looking for the ethical and environmental options when you’re buying your meals. When you have the choice between something grown at home or overseas, it always makes sense to choose the former.
We’re known as the ‘indoor generation’. Most of us work inside, socialise inside and generally spend most of our days cooped up indoors, and as you can probably guess, this isn’t great for our health. Not only does spending more time inside correlate with less physical activity, but we’re also constantly breathing indoor air which comes with its own set of issues. Toxins from cooking, woodburning stoves, cleaning chemicals and more can all fill the air, and if you’re spending most of your time in the house then you’re never going to get away from that. Even if you’re very careful and only use organic and homemade cleaning products, common materials around the home can break down, and other sources of indoor pollution can all impact your health. When the weather is cold and wet it’s tempting to want to hibernate, but fresh air is so good for our wellbeing and the extra activity will benefit us physically. Here are some great reasons to get outside more this winter!
Raise some animals
If you have a large garden or land surrounding your property, have you considered raising animals? You could keep chickens and enjoy their fresh eggs. You could adopt rabbits, alpacas or even abandoned horses. Companies like Vale Stables field shelters can ensure your enclosures stay up to scratch all year round. Getting out there and taking care of your animals is a wonderful motivator to get your wellies on, and get up and outside! If it’s something you’ve always wanted to do then why not take the plunge now, animals can add so much to your life and as an added bonus you’ll be up and out of the house more too. Another option would be to adopt a dog, there are thousands in shelters in need of homes and so bringing one into your life could be hugely beneficial for you both. You won’t mind getting up and out in the rain if it means taking your doggy friend for his much loved walks!
It might seem like this time of year isn’t the best to get gardening, but actually there’s plenty you can do to get established for the spring. Buy some bulbs and seeds, put these into the ground now and they’ll be ready to pop up when the weather warms up next year. You could buy a greenhouse and plant all kinds of crops in here. Thanks to the fact that you can control the temperature, you can keep the growing season going all year around.
When it comes to exercising, going to the gym is the preferred choice for most at this time of year, it’s indoor and out of the elements. But actually, braving the cold can really add to your workouts. It’s always going to be better running outdoors and enjoying the scenery and fresh air compared with a stuffy gym- even if you do have to deal with a little drizzle! If you live by scenic surroundings, you could practice yoga in the country or on the beach on a dry morning or afternoon.
There are a lot of things you can do that will help you to improve the home as much as possible. It is important that you are focused on helping and improving the property for the future, but you should also think about making money for the home as well. This is something you need to make a priority in your life, and there are a lot of things you might consider doing if you want to make money using your home in 2018.
By using the different ideas on this post, you should be well-equipped to start making money at home as soon as possible. Turning your property into a revenue stream adds an extra dimension to it, and helps to make it an even more precious family asset. This is why you need to look at the different things that play a role in helping your home generate more money for you moving forward. Use these hacks as a great way of bringing more money in for the family, and exploring other avenues of money making in 2018.
You need to consider the most important parts of the home, and how they can be utilised to make money now, and in the future. There are so many great choices to keep in mind, but the main one is to do with solar power. You should look at getting solar panels installed somewhere on your property, as this is going to be a great way of making your property more eco-friendly, as well as making you money in the process too. Click here to find out all about solar financing and the best way of realizing your solar dream! Investing in solar energy is so important because this is a great way of allowing you to make more money while keeping your home greener at the same time.
Rent Your Driveway
This is a bit more of a modern concept, but it is no less effective – try to make sure you rent your driveway out for a bit of extra cash. There are even apps these days that will allow you to do that as much as possible. Consider what it takes to make more money on a daily basis, especially with a family. Every little bit is going to be helpful, so if you have the space to rent out part of your driveway, this is definitely something you should do. It’s best for localised dealings, but it is a good way of enjoying a small cash injection moving forward.
One of the most effective ways of using the home to generate more revenue is to rent out the spare room in your home. This is something people have been doing for a long time, and taking on lodgers can’t be something of a mixed bag. It is definitely not for everyone, but, if you can find the right lodger, it is an excellent way of making more cash and helping the family home thrive. It also makes it a more sociable space and allows you to have a more vibrant home life. Just make sure you are careful when it comes to the screening process, and be sure you get references for your lodger before you accept them into the home.
Start a Business
These days the 9 to 5 job is starting to become a thing of the past, and more people are starting to gravitate toward starting their own businesses or freelancing. And this is another area where you can utilise your home to make money. It saves you having to rent office space, and provides you with a working environment to help get your new business off the ground. So, you need to make sure you use the home as your base of operations for a new startup. That way you can be making money from home even without having to change out of your pajamas! You should definitely do this though…
Sell Unwanted Items
While we’re on the topic, you should also take a look at some of the unwanted items in and around the home. These are literally cash lying around, and you need to sell them to help make some money. It might seem like a pain, but using sites like eBay or Facebook to shift your unwanted possessions is an excellent way of building up some cash, and having a much-needed clear out at home as well. Make sure you get rid of as much of your unwanted stuff as you can right now and take advantage of all the cash you can make as a result.
Improve the Home
There are plenty of things you can do that are going to help you make money from your home, and sometimes you need to think long-term. The fact of the matter is that the home itself is a huge asset, and you need to think about how you are going to make the property more valuable for the future. There are plenty of ways of achieving this, and considering things like extension and renovations are the best place to start. They can add significant value to the home in the future, and provide you with an excellent asset moving forward.
Sometimes you can make money by saving money, and this is a mentality you need to embrace in and around the home. There are plenty of ways you can save money as a modern family, and things like couponing and smart devices are a great way of achieving this. So, you need to make sure you think carefully about what you can do to save as much money as possible. Get this right, and you will have more money left over to play with and improve things.
Coming up with plenty of ideas that are going to help you improve and enhance your home, and help you to generate more cash as well. This is something that is going to make family life more comfortable and will allow you to maximise the potential of the family home. Make sure you look at as many different ways as possible of making money with your home, and you will find that this is actually more achievable than you would think.
The journey of a homeowner is filled with exciting home improvement projects that are designed to increase the value of your home. From remodeling the kitchen to enhancing the garden, most homeowners spend a lot of time considering the costs and benefits of their decisions. But it would be foolish to assume that all home improvement projects are equal. Aside from cost considerations, you need to evaluate the risks and long-term consequences of your design decisions. Indeed, some add-ons can affect your home negatively. These are the four most cost-wasting and dangerous trends in home enhancement. Be careful to avoid them at all cost!
Around 16% of American homes have a swimming pool. And the trend is increasing as more and more families are considering applying for pool loans to build a pool in their garden. The reason why pools are so popular is that they are the perfect remedy against hot weather in summer. If you add a protective roof, you can enjoy swimming up to 9 months of the year – sometimes longer if you live in a warm area. However, don’t be tempted by the addition of an indoor pool. Indeed, an indoor construction is likely to increase the moisture in the air and lead to mold patches. Additionally, you will need to use a variety of allergen-heavy products to treat your pool in an attempt to reduce moisture and keep it clear. The presence of these cleaning particles can lead to allergies, which can be harmful to children. If you’re keen to keep your home allergen-free, an indoor pool is the worst thing you can do for your family.
#2. Forget the luxury waterbed if you want to sleep tight
Waterbeds are often described as the epitome of the luxury bedroom. But in reality, they bring more issues than advantages. For a start, they are heavy – a king-size waterbed can weigh around 1800 pounds – which can put your internal structure at risk. As a result of the potential danger they represent, you’d find that not all home insure covers cover waterbed damages.
#3. The impossible kitchen trends
So, you’ve spent a long time deciding on your kitchen design, and finally, you’ve opted for a thick marble work area and ornate cabinetry and a cute island in the middle. But the question you want to ask yourself is: Will it still look good in 10, 15, 20 years? Spoiler alert: It probably won’t. Dark colors, wooden accents, old-fashioned and heavy materials, excessive use of vintage-styled tiles and seasonal tones might rapidly feel outdated.
Is there anything that describes a luxury lifestyle better than a whirlpool or hot tub? But don’t be fooled by your imagination. In reality, hot tubs are a waste of money. They’re expensive to buy, install and use – your energy and water bills will go through the roof. And most homeowners end up not using them because it’s too time-demanding. Besides, if installed indoors, you might struggle with increasing moisture and potential mold formation.
Raising children with allergies can be relatively difficult. The most minor things that they come into contact with outside of the family home can set off allergic reactions, respiratory difficulties, or other conditions. But when it comes to your own home, you can regain a little control. There are various steps that you can take to actively make your home an allergen-free safe haven for your little ones. Here are a few different steps that you can take to achieve this!
When choosing flooring for your home, you should opt for hardwood, vinyl, stone, ceramic, tile, or laminate flooring throughout. Carpet may be cosy and comforting, but deep pile provides a breeding ground for allergens such as dust mites, mold, and mildew. This may be fine for the majority of people, but it can kick off negative symptoms in little ones with allergies. Browse different options available to you at Carpet One. This company provides plenty of high-quality alternatives to carpet!
Pets can be great companions for children. They teach them a lot about caring for others and show them that animals are sentient and important creatures with feelings too. However, pets tend to trigger allergies in many people. This doesn’t necessarily mean that children with allergies cannot have pets. It just means that you need to be especially careful with your choices. Many people automatically think that a fish would be the best pet for a child with allergies, but they are not very engaging, are unlikely to develop a bond with your child, and when it comes down to it, keeping a fish in a tank could be considered cruel. Instead, consider non-molting breeds of cats and dogs. Popular choices of dog include Bichon Frises, Poodles, Lhasa Apsos, Tibetan Terriers, Maltese, and soft-coated Wheaten Terriers. There tends to be less choice when it comes to cats, as most cats molt, but the Sphinx is a steadfast favourite amongst families with allergies.
Air Filtration Systems
No matter how careful you may be when it comes to making your home an allergen-free zone, there are always likely to be a few particles of something or other floating around. You can combat these with an air filtration system. This will actively purify the air around your property. If you are saving for one of these, consider using pollen-free houseplants to naturally filter your air too!
Following these simple steps can significantly reduce the amount of reactions that your little ones have when they are in the confines of their home. So, start incorporating them into their lifestyle today!
Your estate agent plays a huge role when it comes to selling your property! It’s important to keep them onside if you want them to make a great effort to sell your home. You obviously want to make sure they are doing everything in their power to make a sale, but you need to approach it in the right way if you want success.
You should definitely communicate frequently with your estate agent for regular updates on your property – Has there been any inquiries? What feedback have you received from viewers? Nonetheless, you should never be accusing with your tone. Don’t give them the impression that you feel they are not doing their job correctly. This will only make them more reluctant to speak to you!
Instead, you should be friendly, optimistic, supportive and encouraging. By doing this, you will be one of the clients they want to speak to and they will approach selling your property with a greater level of enthusiasm and positivity. Of course, in an ideal world, every estate agent would take this approach to every property. But it just doesn’t happen like that.
It is also a good idea to ask for their advice and genuinely listen to what they have to say. They will feel more confident about suggesting other ideas in the future. Share your plans with them. Make it a bit more personal. If they know why you are moving they could feel more compelled to help.
Timing is everything. Did you know that the time of year you put your property on the market can make a massive difference when it comes to selling? It is all about knowing when to strike! So, when is the right time?
Well, it all depends on your buyer! Is your home a family home? If so, you are likely to attract buyers when children are in school – either spring, early summer or autumn. Most families do not want to view a property whilst a screaming child follows them around!
What if your home appeals more to singles and younger couples? If this is the case, then you are best off putting your house on the market at the very beginning of the year. But don’t expect to secure the deal straight away. This type of buyer likes to take their time before making a decision. Who can blame them? It’s unlikely they will have purchased many properties before!
Last but not least, if you are selling a bungalow or a home that is suitable for a retired couple, you can expect a greater number of viewings during the summer months. The elderly do not want to endure freezing and icy weather to view a home.
When you walk into a supermarket you will often see items priced at £1.99 instead of £2.00. This is done to make you think the item is a lot cheaper than it actually is. And, let’s face it, it works! So, a lot of people have applied the same strategy to pricing their home! Yet, can you really base the pricing of your property on the same strategy that’s used for an eight-pack of Cola?
Don’t set your asking price at £499,999 instead of £500,000 or £999,999 instead of £1,000,000. Why? This gives off the sense that you are desperate to sell. It doesn’t evoke confidence in your home and what you have to offer. Do you really want to take the ‘Tesco’ value approach to pricing your property?
Another disadvantage is when people search for your property on Rightmove or any other property portal or website. Most of these sites will have pricing at rounded numbers, i.e. people can look for homes between £400,000 and £500,000. If you set your house price at £399,999 you are pricing yourself out of this range. Yet, if you priced your home at £400,000 you would appear in searches for both £300,000 to £400,000 and £400,000 to £500,000. Therefore, you enhance your visibility and exposure.
Anyone involved in real estate, home staging, or that has sold a home before, will tell you that the kitchen is your gateway to sale success! A beautiful and functional kitchen can ensure your home sells quickly and for a higher value. But, not everyone can afford to splash the cash on new countertops, so here are some low-cost alternatives…
Add more lighting – One of the biggest downfalls you will discover in most kitchens is that there is not enough light! Light up the countertops for better visibility when preparing food. Why not consider installing a kitchen pendant light over the sink?
Invest in a clean water pump – Ensuring the water is pure and healthy to drink from is another way to upgrade your kitchen. If you have any issues with your current set-up, look towards the likes of Davey Pump repairs to ensure this is fixed before your house goes on the market.
Replace faucets – If your kitchen faucet is worn you should replace it.
Re-paint or stain kitchen cabinets – Instead of spending money on re-surfacing the kitchen cabinets, you should simply strip the finished and re-paint or re-stain them. Of course, this only applies to wooden cabinets!
Buy new pulls and knobs – You don’t need to buy new cabinets, as new hardware can transform the entire appearance of them at a minimal cost.
Re-grout kitchen counter tiles – You will be surprised by how cost effective this is! It is the ideal solution for those that cannot afford to purchase new granite.
So there you have it: the top four tips to help you sell your home!
The decision to finally start a family together with your partner is a big step for most people. It means that everything is going to change – for the better, of course, but change can still be pretty terrifying.
Sometimes, we tend to rush into things just to get the ball rolling and find ourselves stressed out and overwhelmed when there are just a few months left before the baby is born. Make it a bit easier for yourself by preparing for the big day and giving yourself the state of mind that is able to handle these changes.
Here is a handful of the very best things you can do for yourself and your partner before you start a family. That way, you can make sure that you’re both prepared enough and eager to welcome the new chapter.
#1 Talk about your future
Planning and preparation mean that you have so many advantages that those who don’t get to plan these things miss out on. Where would you like to live when your kid is old enough to go to school, for example, and do you want to stay in the same city all these years?
Most children fall in love with their childhood home and you should give your kid the same opportunity. When you have time and room to prepare, you can talk about these kinds of things instead of just taking life as it comes. It will be a huge benefit for your kid, of course, who won’t have to move houses too much during their childhood.
You might want to discuss your career plans as well, by the way, to make sure that you’re both on the same page. Perhaps daddy wants to stay at home with the kids while mommy is working – or maybe you both want to stay home which, of course, raises a set of new questions you’re going to have to answer.
#2 Settle your finances
Having a child tends to be expensive, you know, and it might be one of the least financially wise decisions you can make. We don’t really have kids so that they can help out on the farm or with chopping wood when they come of age either anymore, so you can certainly expect this to be an investment that doesn’t pay off in terms of money.
Having children is, luckily, not just for our own sake, though, and you’d want to make sure that your finances are as healthy as possible before you start your new family. Look into personal debt consolidation loans, for example, if you’d like to start with a clean slate – and remember to set up a proper budget as well.
#3 Talk about parenting
This one is quite tough for most couples as you might find that your partner has a different parenting method than yourself. Many won’t find out about this until they end up always having to be the strict parent while their partner is the fun one and, needless to say, it’s usually not that much fun to be seen as strict. Try to talk about your views on parenting, and make use of this article to guide you a bit along the way.
Parenting is definitely difficult and the better prepared you are, the more you can enjoy the fun and exciting parts.
Most people are pretty good at making improvements to the interior of their home, mostly because it’s where they spend the most time. They have more of an opportunity to see all the areas that could be improved. But the exterior? That’s a different matter. Homeowners normally only return to their properties once or twice a day, and rarely take the time to inspect what areas could be better. But your home’s curb appeal really is important: it influences the overall feel of the house, boosts value, and shows the world that you care about your property. Below, we take a look at four low-effort ways you can make the outside of your home better than it currently is.
How much of a difference can a door make? Quite a lot, actually! If your current front door is looking a little bit tired and faded, then it’s time to get out the paintbrush and give it a bit of life again. The general rule, when it comes to homes, is that everything you paint should be neutral colors, but the rules are laxer when it comes to front doors. You can choose a color that’s a little bit bolder than your average; in fact, it’s encouraged. It’ll make your property stand out from the crowd.
Get Professional Help
If you have a large front, then there’s a chance you look at it and think “I’d rather be doing anything else than making that look good all the year round.” And sure, that’s understandable: you have enough work to do, you don’t want to get onto your hands and knees when you return after a long day, and the weekends are for having fun and relaxing. Fortunately, it is possible to have a beautiful yard – front and back – without exerting any energy whatsoever. It’s all about working with the experts. Hire a residential landscaping company to handle the exterior of your property, and you’ll always have a beautiful outdoor space to greet you when you return home. And it won’t eat into your free time whatsoever.
Deep Wash The Driveway
Your driveway will always be prone to accumulating dirt and grime, especially if you’re parking your car there. Over a period of a few years, your once sparkling driveway might suddenly look a little worse for wear. But fear not, because it’s usually just surface issues. Buy or rent a deep clean power washer, and you’ll be able to quickly blast all that dirt away.
If you’ve put all this effort into boosting your home’s curb appeal, then show it off to the world. Outside lights are a great way to highlight your home throughout the night, and put it on display for all the people who walk past. And this approach comes with the bonus of deterring would-be criminals from targeting your home, too.
Take the steps above, and you’ll have significantly improved the exterior look of your property. Is it now as beautiful as the interior?
Make no mistake, there are significant threats to the garden. However, when it comes to treating them, we often rely on artificial and chemical methods that can do more harm than good in the long run. Chemical pesticides, fertilizer, and weed-killer can harm the natural ecosystem surrounding our garden, as well as infiltrating the water system. So, what are some of the natural solutions on hand?
You don’t want weeds choking the life out of your grass and stealing sustenance from your own plants, that’s clear enough. However, chemical weed killer isn’t friendly to the soil, nor any animals you might have in the garden. Read more about homemade solutions using vinegar, table salt, and just a little dishwashing liquid. Wait until a dry hot day, when the weed killer can do the most damage. Bear in mind not to spray anything that you don’t want to shrivel up and pull by hand any weeds that are too close to valuable plants. This concoction will affect grass and other plants just as readily, so be ready to replant when it’s done.
Chemical pesticides come with many of the same concerns as chemical weed killing agents. However, there’s a lot you can do to naturally stop pests from eating up all your produce. Learn more about attracting wildlife, including predators like birds and ladybugs, you can create a much more dangerous environment for them to live in. What’s more, there are some plants like chives and cilantro that are particularly pungent to things like slugs and ground beetles. Put these companion plants next to your at-risk vegetables.
If your garden is on uneven ground, it could result in your garden tumbling or plants getting eaten up by shifting soil. Erosion is a natural process and there isn’t much you can do to strengthen the soil to stop it from happening. You can, however, construct barriers that keep the soil in place. Check out hardscaping to read more about retaining walls. These can stop a garden at the top of the hill from collapsing or prevent any higher up soil from falling onto your garden. With textured stones, a retaining wall can even add a nice dash of curb appeal to the garden.
Without water, the garden is destined to shrivel up and dry. However, a lawn that is too wet will have problems of its own. For one, waterlogged lawns provide the perfect conditions for outbreaks of moss. Furthermore, sitting water can drown seeds. Both issues can make it impossible for grass to grow healthily. Improving the drainage of the garden might involve a little DIY, so do some research and read more about installations that can help keep your soil from getting too wet.
Become a more conscientious gardener means thinking about the impact that not only your garden has, but your methods of preserving and invigorating it, as well. There are natural alternatives for almost every garden product available, so do your research ahead of time.