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Blog Archive for November, 2014

How to Move in Without Destroying Your New Home

Categories: Blog | Posted: November 26, 2014

moving

Moving is a stressful time. You have to pack up one home—and are always surprised by how much stuff you have—and then handle the transport to and unloading in your new one. You take care to protect your precious possessions from all the threats of being shifted, lifted, and jostled. How do you protect them during the last leg of the journey? Here are some moving tips to help you move in without destroying your new home.

Plan, plan, plan. Minimize the moving time and effort (particularly if you are paying professional movers by the hour) by creating a moving plan and floor layout.

  • Take measurements of your new space, room by room, so you know where your furniture will fit.
  • Measure your furniture and create a floor plan, making sure you leave space for walking.
  • Measure the doorways and stairways to make sure the pieces will easily fit through, so you don’t scrape them or your furniture. You might need to have some doors removed temporarily until all the furniture is in place.

Protect the floors. While your floors are certainly designed to withstand traffic, there’s no need to put them to the test during your move. From scrapes on your hardwood to stains on the carpet to cracks in the tile, your flooring is at risk of damage when you’re hauling in a houseful of possessions.

  • Provide a protected pathway through your new home by laying down a trail of plastic sheeting.
  • Put a moving blanket underneath large pieces to drag them easily and without leaving scratches behind.
  • Place a doormat or flattened moving boxes outside and inside the entryway so that people aren’t tracking in dirt.

Protect walls and railings. Do a walk-through of your new home before moving day. Look for places that might be at risk of scrapes, scratches, dents, and dings.

  • Wrap the banisters with towels or sheets.
  • Hang moving blankets or drop cloths on walls and corners.
  • If you have furniture that will be pushed up against walls (e.g., bookcases, headboard, dressers), protect the surfaces by attaching felt pads to the back corners of those pieces.

Move from back to front. Reduce the traffic in and out of your new home during the move by first unloading the items in the farthest reaches, like the upper floors before the main level, or the back of the house before the area close to the entrance. By following this pattern, your move will not only go faster, but you will have less back-and-forth foot traffic in the rooms and spaces farthest from the entrance.

  • Look at the plan you created in Step #1. Number the rooms and then number your boxes and furnishings accordingly (#1 for the first room to be unloaded) Then ask your movers to load everything in reverse order, so they can unload “by the numbers”.

Your new home is a significant investment. Follow these moving tips to protect its value right from the start.

A Better Outlook: How to Choose Window Treatments for Your Home

Categories: Blog | Posted: November 20, 2014

Tuskes Homes

Windows shed light on the interior as well as provide a view of the world outside. That’s the function, but what about the flair? How do you choose window treatments for your home?

From protecting your privacy, to blocking out the hot rays of the sun, to adding color and style to a room, window treatments serve many purposes. But with so many choices—blinds, shades, shutters, drapes, curtains, valances, jabots, swags—where do you start? Here are some tips and ideas to jumpstart your design.

  1. Look at the fundamental purpose of the window and its treatment. Will the window be opened to let in fresh air? Does it afford a stunning view you don’t want to obstruct (or, conversely, one that you do)? Do you want to add a level of privacy or simply provide a little protection from the bright sun (which can bleach your upholstery and dry out your wood furniture)? Are you simply looking for a splash of color or style? Before you select your window treatment, be clear about the function you want, and let that guide you to the options that serve the purpose.

You don’t have to sacrifice one function for another. If, for example, you want to be able to darken your bedroom when you need to rest, but still want the aesthetics of something lighter, choose a room-darkening shade and accent it with lighter curtains that suit your style.

If saving energy is a primary consideration, look at insulated fabric or lining, or install shutters to conserve on heating and air conditioning expenses.

  1. Determine the privacy factor. Rooms that look onto a public space (the road, a common area, your neighbor’s back yard) may require a window treatment that affords you more privacy. That doesn’t mean you have to cover it with a heavy curtain or drape. You can add a privacy liner to your desired curtain or drapes. Window film is another option. Window film comes in your choice of textures, patterns, and designs (like stained glass), and is easily applied directly to the glass, without an adhesive.
  2. Accent your décor. Where does your taste flow? Do you like the formality of drapes, the lightness of sheers, the creativity of layering? As for texture, do you prefer silky smooth or perhaps something with more tactile appeal? Are you sparked by sparkle or tend towards subtle? And do you want your windows to take a back seat to the room or draw attention to their beauty? If your room is filled with patterned fabrics, consider a solid color on the windows.
  3. Think how they measure up. Are your windows wide, narrow, tall, or short? Do you have unusual shapes, like atrium or bay window? You can use your window treatment to enhance the size and shape of your window. For example, make a short window appear taller by mounting the rod a foot above the top, then use a swag to cover the wall space between the rod and the window. You get full use of the limited window and create the illusion of something larger.

You have so many window treatment options today. Talk to a decorator, visit home stores, and browse magazines and websites to see what other homeowners are doing.

A Stress Free Thanksgiving

Categories: Blog | Posted: November 13, 2014

Tuskes Homes

Thanksgiving is arguably the biggest meal of the year.

It is a time when friends and family come together to share food and enjoy one another.  But there is usually a lot of stress that goes into preparing for the Thanksgiving meal.  The key to a stress-free holiday is advance planning.  Here are a few tips that will keep your stress levels in check:

.   Make a holiday meal plan.  Write out the dishes you have in mind and the names of the guests you are expecting.  Be sure and allow for an uninvited guest or two.  Remember, part of what people look forward to on Thanksgiving is leftovers for days to come.

.   Start shopping early.  Grocery stores usually begin running holiday sales on turkeys, hams, and dessert items in late October and early November so there is no reason not to take advantage of those pre-holiday specials.  Remember, most people wait until a few days before the holiday to shop.

.   Cook ahead.  Many dishes can be made, at least in part, ahead of time.  Casseroles can assembled and frozen.  Pie crusts and bread dough can be prepared weeks before the big day and frozen.  You can even mix all but the wet ingredients in cake and muffin mixes before holiday festivities begin.  Doing what you can far in advance of Thanksgiving will be a real stress-reliever – not to mention a time-saver.

.   Plan a buffet-style meal.  Serving a meal buffet-style eliminates the need for one person to be responsible for serving a large group.  It also eliminates the need to set a table to perfection.  Just stack up some plates and lay out some silverware and let everybody get their own plate.

.   Make it potluck.  Gone are the days when just a few good cooks carry the burden of all the holiday cooking.  There’s nothing wrong with requesting that everybody pitch in.  Call your guests ahead of time and ask them to bring appetizers, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, or paper products.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that should be spent being thankful for blessings and spending quality time with family and friends.  It shouldn’t be a time of stress and anxiety.  Follow these tips for an unforgettable and stress-free Thanksgiving meal.

Squeaky Clean

Categories: Blog | Posted: November 6, 2014

Lemons growing on lemon tree.
How many times have you stood in the cleaning products aisle of a store and compared item after item, trying to make the right choice? There’s such a broad array of cleaners, each one promising sparkling, shiny, fresh smelling, and bacteria-free results.

Then you read the ingredients and wonder how safe these products are for your home and, more importantly, everyone who lives there.

With just a few basic ingredients, you can make your own natural cleaners. Save yourself the cost of store-bought cleaning products and the worry about toxic chemicals in your home.

Here’s your shopping list:

  • Lemons or lemon juice
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Borax or other washing soda
  • Liquid soap or detergent (Dawn is a great choice)
  • Olive oil

Baking soda is a natural scrub and deodorizer. Leave an open box in your freezer, refrigerator, or laundry room. You can also use orange or lemon peels to naturally refresh the air. Even put the peels in the garbage disposal to give this smelly spot a more pleasant fragrance.

Lemon juice works well as a cleanser because of its citric acid. Cut a lemon in half and rub it on tarnished brass or copper, and even the hard water stains on your glass shower door. Try squeezing lemon juice on an old toothbrush and then scrubbing soiled grout. Add a few drops of lemon juice to your dishwashing detergent to boost its degreasing power. And give your microwave oven a good cleaning by placing a cup of water in a bowl with 4 tablespoons of lemon juice. Heat for 2 minutes and leave the oven door closed for 10 minutes. Wipe it out and let it dry, leaving a clean, lemony fresh interior. Lemon juice can bleach some surfaces, so be careful and do a test before squeezing it too freely.

White vinegar is another wonderful cleaning product. Dab it on ballpoint ink stains. Wipe dirty or sticky scissor blades with a vinegar-soaked cloth. Disinfect your cutting board by wiping it with white vinegar. And to get rid of sticky residue, spray the area with white vinegar. Wait 15 minutes and then scrape with the edge of a plastic card, like an expired credit or gift card. You can also clean chrome and stainless steel surfaces with a spritz of white vinegar and buffing with a soft cloth.

And here are some recipes for natural cleaning products:

All-purpose spray cleaner: Combine ½ teaspoon of washing soda with 2 cups of hot water and a tiny squirt of liquid soap in a spray bottle. Shake to mix it up.

Soft scrub: Dilute ½ cup of baking soda with enough liquid soap or detergent to create a paste-like texture.

Window cleaner: In a spray bottle, blend ½ teaspoon of liquid detergent with 3 tablespoons of white vinegar and 2 cups of water. Shake it to blend.

Oven cleaner: Spray water on the bottom of the oven and then cover it with baking soda. Spritz more water on top of this white layer. Let it sit overnight and then wipe with a damp sponge.

Furniture polish: Mix 1 cup of olive oil with ½ cup of vinegar or lemon juice. Use a soft rag to wipe it onto a furniture surface.

Floor cleaner: Mix equal portions of white vinegar and warm water. If you want to infuse a fragrance, add a few drops of essential oil.

Toilet bowl cleaner: Blend a cup of white vinegar with ¼ cup of baking soda. Flush the toilet and pour the mixture in the toilet before the water refills. Let it sit for five minutes. Scrub with a toilet brush and flush to rinse.

Drain cleaner: Slowly pour ½ cup of baking soda into the clogged drain and then pour in a cup of white vinegar. The combination should cause a foamy reaction. When the foaming stops, run hot top water to flush the clog. Wait five minutes, and run cold water into the drain. This cleaning method not only unclogs the drain, but also kills odor-causing bacteria that thrives in the dark space.

Keep your pantry stocked with these basic ingredients and you’ll never be at a loss for natural cleaners.

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