4 Low-Effort Ways To Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

4 Low-Effort Ways To Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

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.

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Paint that Front Door

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.

Atmospheric Lighting

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?

 

Don’t Waste Time In Your Garden Again With These Cool Hacks

Don’t Waste Time In Your Garden Again With These Cool Hacks

Gardening is supposed to be fun and cathartic, yet it can be stressful and time-consuming. Too many of us freak out because there aren’t enough hours in a day and there is too much to do. So much for a relaxing hobby!

Obviously, the key is to be efficient with your seconds to make life easier. However, it’s easier to say it than it is to put it into practice. What you need is a list of awesome hacks which can half your time in the backyard with minimal fuss.

As it turns out, you’ve come to the right place because below you’ll find such a list.

Feed The Soil

Most of the time you spend in the garden is dealing with the earth. If the ground isn’t fertile enough, then nothing will grow properly and your plants and flowers will die. So, it’s tiring work checking the PH levels on a daily basis. The good news is you don’t have to as long as you feed the soil regularly. As long as the levels are on point, all you have to do then is add mulch or compost every couple of days. Do it properly once and it’s plain sailing from there.

Don’t Choose High Maintenance Plants

The last thing you need is high maintenance greenery as it will force you to trudge out into the garden morning, noon and night. Instead, opt for the vegetation which can take care of itself, or only requires a small amount of your time. A “Blazing Star” is a prime example as it doesn’t need lots of water and usually grows in most soils. Thespruce.com has plenty of alternatives if you want inspiration. Anything which doesn’t need deadheading, pinching or staking should be high up on your bucket list too.

Invest In Equipment

Yes, the right tools will cost quite a lot of money depending on your needs, but forget about money and focus on time. Without a sprayer and spray nozzle from fertilizerdealer.com, you can’t cover the garden with nutrients in a matter of seconds. Instead, you have to do it by hand. The same goes for common tools such as lawn mowers. Don’t bother with the hand-held stuff; opt for the motorized version instead. The more machinery you have doing the heavy lifting, the less work you have to do. Just make sure you need it before splashing out or else you may break the bank.

Group Plants Properly

Typically, gardeners will group plants based on their features. For example, the space savers will go next to the flowers which only need a small amount of room. That way, there is no fatal competition. Although it makes sense, it means wasting time catering to every individual plant. It’s much better to put the ones with the same traits in one area and deal with them together. For instance, you can soak flowers which drink lots of water with the hosepipe and move onto the next group.

Are you a time-waster in the garden? Can you beat the clock?

9 Money Rules All Parents Need To Know

9 Money Rules All Parents Need To Know

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You can’t choose the time in which you’re born any more than you can choose the country or your immediate family. If you were born thousands of years ago, the concept of money would have been alien; you’d have to get by with your wits. Since you were born at a time when money makes the world go around, you have little choice other than to treat it seriously. Though there are people who live their life without dollars and cents, life, on balance, is probably better with it. But that doesn’t make it easy. They don’t teach this stuff in school, after all, even though they probably should. Below, we take a look at ten money rules every parent needs to know. It’ll make managing it much easier!

Keeping Tabs is Imperative

There are many things that can lead to poor finances, but there is usually one recurring element that underpins most money troubles: failing to keep tabs on spending. Indeed, the most healthy practice for sound financial health probably isn’t having more money…it’s just making sure that you’re spending the money that you do have responsibly. If you’re consistently spending more money than you earn, then you’ll quickly end up in a situation that can be difficult to get out of. Watch your pennies are going…you might be surprised at what you find.

There’s Good Debt and Bad Debt

When people hear the word ‘debt,’ their mind normally goes to a negative space. But this is not the right approach. There are two kinds of debt: ‘good’ debt and ‘bad’ debt. Bad debt would be spending more money than you currently have on something that won’t bring any lasting rewards; say, getting a loan to go on holiday. Good debt would be using a loan to take a course that’ll increase your chances of getting a better paying job. If you’re going to go in debt, make sure it’s going to be worth it in the long-run.  

More Than Your Paycheck

The majority of parents could do with a little extra money in their bank account. But they look at their paycheck, costs, and, yup, it’s just not possible. Or so they think. In actual fact, most people have access to much more money than they realize. If you and your partner are both working and have never asked for a raise, then it’s worthwhile talking with your boss. Most employers are eager to retain their best staff and are open to discussions about raising a salary, but they’re not going to just walk around the office and hand them out. Speak up!

It Pays to Save Early

You’re probably sick of hearing about saving, but it’s worth repeating simply because most families still don’t save. Indeed, a recent study found that most Americans would struggle to find $400 in an emergency. Now, we know that most families want to save, it’s just that they can’t because all their money is currently accounted for. But there’s nearly always a way. You can look at trimming down your avoidable expenses, or taking your lunch to work rather than buying it while you’re there. These are things you’d prefer to have, but when it comes to finances, the eyes need to be on long-term benefits. You’ll be much happier for your decision in twenty years when you have a large savings account!

There’s a Right Approach

The reason it’s important for families to take a hands-on approach to their finances is because there is no “one size fits all” approach that applies to all families. Everyone’s circumstances and needs are different. You’ll know how much you need to spend on, say, education, and will need to adjust your budget accordingly. You’ll need to find the financial aspects that suit your needs, from which credit card you choose (you can read this article to see which card would help reach your financial goals) to how much house you can afford to buy. Figure out your needs, and you’ll be able to tailor your approach to suit them.

Eyes on the Credit Score

When you’re a parent, you’re consistently chasing the next milestone, be it upgrading your car or sending your child off to college. Most of these milestones will involve the help of financial institutions, and if you have bad credit, then you might find it difficult to get access to the capital you need to make them happen. Keep an eye on what your score is, and if it seems to be dipping into the danger zone, then look at taking steps to move it upwards

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Everything Is Negotiable

The costs just keep on stacking up when you’re a parent. There are the toys, the beds, the, well, everything. If you shell out for the top of the line versions of everything, you’re going to be in financial difficulties! Instead, it’s best to get crafty with how much you spend. Do you really need a new item, when a barely used second-hand item will do? Every cost is negotiable.

Some Knowledge Goes a Long Way

The money game is always changing, so make a habit of reading financial blogs and the like. It’s not the most exciting activity on earth, but treat it seriously, and you’ll be less likely to go off-piste.

 

It’s Not a Secret From Your Kids

Your children learn a lot from you, that’s not new information. But did you know that they learn more than just things that you tell them? Yup, it turns out that kids are watching our behavior closely…and that means our attitude towards money. If you’re irresponsible with your cash, then the chances are that they will be when they grow up too. So first of all, be smart with your money: they’re watching. And second, try to involve them in the money process as soon as possible. As we said above, they don’t teach this stuff in schools! By giving them the info they need, you’ll be giving them a head start when it comes to handling their own money.

 

 

Keeping Cool on Hot Summer Nights

Keeping Cool on Hot Summer Nights

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There are many health benefits of the sun, yet when we are trying to get to sleep on a hot summer night we often find ourselves longing for the cooler winter months just so we can get some sleep.  Indeed, there are few things more frustrating than tossing and turning all night in a bed that’s damp due to the sweat pouring from your body in a hot stuffy bedroom.

Not that sweating is a bad thing, indeed it’s very good for you to sweat, as the process of sweating is what actually helps regulate your temperature and cool you down.

When your body temperature rises above a certain point, your internal thermostat kicks in, and tells your body it’s time sweat, as sweating releases moisture onto your skin in an attempt to cool you down.  Whilst this can be advantageous to the jogger running in the park, where the wind circulates around their body, hitting the moisture, which is what cools the body down – whereas, when you’re in bed, all that damp claminess gets absorbed into the bedsheets and mattress; meaning, you’re often uncomfortable as a result of sweating.

The challenge is that sweat will only evaporate when there is enough of an air supply, and often times, in bed, it’s quite a humid environment that doesn’t have adequate air supply to interact with the sweat molecules – meaning, rather than cooling you down, you end up just lying in a puddle of sweat.  This is where a fan comes in so handy.

1.  GET A FAN

The reason fans, or fresh air from a window comes in so handy is that it forces air onto your body that interacts with the sweat molecules – thus evaporating them, and this is what you want, as the quicker the sweat molecules evaporate the cooler you will be.

2.  DRINK WATER

Something to consider, is that on hot summer nights, you want to ensure you have some water next to your bed – as your body uses a lot of water to release sweat, and if you don’t replace that water then you’ll become dehydrated.

Sleep is a time for your body to replenish and repair itself, and water is vital for this process to function normally.  

Therefore, by drinking a bottle of cool water before bed, you are stocking up on the water required for your body to keep cool at night – and don’t worry too much about then needing the toilet, as if it really is hot, you won’t need to go to the toilet as the water will be processed in the form of sweat anyway.

3. OPEN YOUR WINDOWS

This might sound obvious, but a lot of people in the summer months insist on sleeping with their windows closed in fear that bugs might get it, or perhaps the risk they might be burgled, yet the simplest solution to keeping cool at night is to ensure you have plenty of cool fresh air circulating in your room.

If your windows don’t fully open this can be frustrating, and it might be time to consider getting some replacement windows, as a supply of fresh air really is essential to getting a good night’s sleep on a hot summer night.  After all, there’s nothing worse than trying to sleep in a stuffy sweatbox of a room.

The majority of modern windows now have a security feature that will allow you to lock them with a slight opening, meaning that air can still flow through the window into your space, but nobody will be able to get in through the window as the window is locked in that position.

4.  AVOID AIR CONDITIONING

This might sound counterintuitive, as surely if you have air conditioning in your room, then a hot summer night is the perfect time to blast it out; yet sleeping with air conditioning on is known to dehydrate the body and can leave your skin looking dull and grey, it can also cause a sore throat, as well as earache.  

You therefore, want to blast the air conditioning unit out until you go to sleep, but turn it off, at the point you are actually going to sleep – or set it on a timer to switch off.  In fact, some modern air conditioning units come equipped with a timer that allows you to set it to come on in short bursts, throughout the night, just topping up the supply of chilled air

5. TAKE A SHOWER BEFORE BED

Many people take showers or have a bath before getting into bed, but the tendency here is to use nice warm water to relax their aching muscles.  In contrast, on a hot summer night, what you really want is a short, sharp, cold shower as this will rapidly reduce your body temperature and then welcome the warm ambient temperature.  There are a number of health benefits associated with taking regular cold showers too.

6. FLIP YOUR MATTRESS

The majority of mattresses today have a summer side and then a winter side, where the technology of the mattress is designed differently – one is to trap and radiate heat whilst the other is to wick away sweat and keep you cool; similar to the fabric technology employed within running and cycling gear.

 

7.  USE CONTRAST TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

Have you ever walked off the hot high street into an air conditioned shop?  If so, you’ll have felt the contrast between the warm weather outside and the welcome chill of the store.  You can recreate this, within your bedroom, and it’s a very simple way to trick your brain into thinking it’s much cooler than it is.

 

Quite simply, let’s say your spending time in your living room for a few hours before bed – in this room, turn off the air conditioning units and fans, so that when you open the door to your bedroom (that has had the air conditioning on) it will feel like that feeling of walking into a cool store after coming out of the sweltering sun.

 

8. VENTILATE

The final tip, as mentioned above is somewhat of a repetition but this is intentional as it’s the most important point when it comes to keeping cool on a hot summer’s night, which is to ensure you have an adequate supply of fresh air coming into your property – which can be enhanced by a pedestal fan if required.

 

3 Family Car Problems – Solved!

3 Family Car Problems – Solved!

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In the 21st century, many families find that their lives are nigh-on impossible to run without a vehicle. With the school run, playdates, commuting to work, and running household errands, the need for a vehicle is undeniable. The convenience that running a family car offers is hugely beneficial – but it’s not without its problems.

There are three key problems that you may experience with a family car. These issues are not overwhelmingly difficult to deal with – and they don’t detract from the benefits of running a vehicle – but they do fall into the category of “less than ideal”. To ensure that your love for the wonders of your family car is never dented by small problems, we’ve put together a simple fix list for those nagging little problems you may experience…

#1 – Car sickness

Nausea while traveling is an issue that impacts all ages, but children are particularly susceptible. If your children struggle with this issue, it may be worth investigating the natural remedies that are available; www.draxe.com has a number of “no pill” suggestions that many families have found to be invaluable over the years. You may have to experiment to find the right solution for your child, but one of the suggested remedies should provide an effective fix that relieves the nausea for your child, as well as your own worries about their discomfort.

#2 – Bad odors

The interior of a car is a haven for bacteria and other causes of bad odors, and many families find themselves swimming against the tide when it comes to resolving the problem once and for all. The most common solution is to grab an air freshener to hang from the rear view mirror – but these genuinely provide little help, and their sickly, artificial scent can actually make the odor problems worse rather than better.

If you are struggling with in-car odors, head to the likes of www.aromatech.com for a natural solution. Using beneficial essential oils ensures you avoid the synthetic scent that standard air fresheners are infamous for, and you’ll also benefit from the antibacterial properties that essential oils are able to offer.

#3 – Trash collecting

No matter how hard you try, trash will collect in your vehicle – often at a rate that seems almost impressive. The most obvious answer to this issue is to remove trash from your vehicle every time you use it, but this simply isn’t realistic for busy parents who find themselves rushing from one appointment to another.

The best way to deal with trash, then, is to opt for a specific receptacle. You could buy a special in-car trash can, but these tend to be cumbersome and expensive. Instead, opt for a plastic bag that is looped over the headrest of the front seats. It’s not the most stylish choice, but it does ensure that every time there is a wrapper or piece of food to discard, you can do so without cluttering up the footwells.

In conclusion

With the small issues above fixed, making use of your family car will be as pleasant as it can possibly be – enjoy!

 

Ready To Get Work Done On Your House?

Ready To Get Work Done On Your House?

Your house is your haven, and it’s the place where you’re going to feel the most relaxed in your life. It’s a functioning space that keeps you safe, clean, fed, and happy, and you wouldn’t give it up for the world! But does your house work as well for you as you think it does? Maybe it’s time to think about the changes you could make, both big and small?

And if you have thought about those changes, now’s the time for you to make sure you’re ready to follow through on your plans. You’ve already focused on how to make the garden a little safer and a lot more fun, and now’s the time to do the same for you house. So if you think your house could do with a renovation, or at least a little bit of redecoration, here’s a quick checklist to run through before you get started.

Before anyone climbs up a step ladder to have a go at the ceiling, make sure both you and your house are ready to undergo a renovation! (Image)

Make Sure You’re Packed Up

As any good home renovation guide will tell you, if you haven’t stripped down the rooms that are going to be remodelled to their bare essentials, you could very likely lose a lot of your possessions during the bulk of the work. Whether this is because your items were lost during the chaos, or broken under the extensive heavy duty work being done in your house, you’re going to be left with a very sour taste in your mouth.

So take the time now to make sure you’ve boxed up everything that could get in the way of your brand new rooms. Seeing as you’ll still be living in the house as all the drilling and hammering goes on, you can’t strip everything away, but Grandma’s china shouldn’t be left in the cabinet.

Keep an Eye on Everything

People are going to be coming in and out of your house for days, and because of that, there could be a huge and glaring security issue in your home during a renovation. Things could be broken, stolen, left dirty and unfinished etc., and that all means you need to keep a close eye on what’s going on.

Thankfully, there’s lots you can here to minimize this risk. You could install a doorbell that has a video camera linked to your phone, making sure you can always see who’s coming in and out of your house when you’re not there. You could also add another layer of security and have a mobile lock linked to your front door from your phone as well. Or you could simply take all valuables and lock them up out of the way!

Now’s a great time to get some work done on your house, seeing as the summer has a lot of free time for us to indulge in. But always prepare for an upheaval in your household, and thank yourself later!