Blog Archive for January, 2016

8 Easy & Simple Closet Organization Tips

Categories: Blog | Posted: January 28, 2016

What’s lurking behind that closet door? Do you open it slowly, in fear of what might come tumbling out? It’s easy to ignore your storage clutter, but why not just invest the time to take control, rather than the other way around? Here are some closet organization tips to guide you on your way.

  1. Start on empty. When you de-clutter, you need to give yourself a blank canvas to start all over. Don’t just move around what’s already in there; that’s like painting over a mistake. Take a deep breath, open the door, and remove all of the contents of your closet.
  2. Sort through everything you’ve removed from the closet and place each item in one of three piles: Keep, Donate, Move. The “Keep” items will go back in the closet once it’s reorganized. “Donate” goes to a charity. “Move” will be stored elsewhere, in a place where it might be used more often by being more accessible. For example, if you have shoved toys into your bedroom closet to get them out of the way, move them back to the kids’ rooms.
  3. Take inventory. Look at the items you want to keep in the closet. How do you want to store them? Are you going to fold the clothes or linens? Will they be in bins or boxes? Do you have oversized or heavy items that will need a larger or stronger space? Determine how many things will need to be on a hanger; you might discover that you don’t need a rod that extends across the full length of the closet, freeing up more space for shelves or open storage. If you have more short clothing items (shirts, jackets) than longer ones (dresses), maybe you’ll benefit from a double rod where you have two rows for your clothing, one above the other.
  4. Take measurements of your closet space. This will help you choose closet organization systems that fit. If you have lots of shelves, measure the height between each. You might determine that you should remove one or two shelves to store taller things. Plan to limit your stacks to no more than a foot to avoid toppling, and allow about four to six inches between the piles to reach between them.
  5. Maximize the space. Don’t forget to include the closet door and floor in your storage planning. You could hang a shoe tree or jewelry organizer on the door, or mount pegboard for easy access to things, like tape, scissors, rulers, notepads, jewelry, and other items that often get buried in a drawer. Organize the closet floor space using boxes on casters for shoes, toys, and other pieces you want to access easily. Mount hooks on the door and walls of the closet for extra hanging space, for things like scarves, neckties, handbags, and jewelry.
  6. Assemble your storage space. Now that you have an empty closet and have sorted out the things that will be going back in there, install the racks, rods, and shelves. Next, label the bins, boxes, and baskets with whatever will be stored in them. There are plenty of creative ways to tag your storage, like luggage tags, chalk-painted adhesive labels, and even photos (perfect for children’s storage).
  7. Light it up. If you don’t already have a light in your closet, add one. Save yourself the time of digging around in the dark and messing up your beautifully organized closet. If you don’t want to hard-wire a light, use a battery-operated light that sticks to the ceiling or wall.
  8. Restore your storage. Be mindful as you replace the items in your closet. Make sure the things you use the most are also the most accessible. Group clothing items together (stack t-shirts in one stack, sweaters in another). Hang up your clothing by shirts, blouses, jackets, pants, and skirts—all facing in the same direction. When you wear something and hang it back up, face the hanger in the opposite direction, so you can easily see what you’re not wearing.

Most importantly, once you’ve invested the time in re-creating your closet storage, be vigilant about keeping it organized. Follow your new system, and urge others in your household do the same.

Is multi-generational living right for you?

Categories: Blog | Posted: January 21, 2016

Lifestyles have shifted over the past decade. The powerful population of Baby Boomers has reached retirement age, whether they choose to retire or not. Gen Y and Millennials—people born from 1980 to 2000—represent an even larger number, and their lifestyles are different from their grandparents. Gen Yers don’t have the same commitment to job or place as Boomers. They’re also far more likely to move back home than their parents were. As a result, we’re seeing a growing trend in multi-generational living—two or more adult generations under one roof. In 1980, 28 million Americans lived in a multi-generational household. In 2008, that number soared to 49 million.

There are many positive aspects of living with older and younger family members. But before you make the move, is multi-generational living right for you?

Here are some useful tips for transitioning to and thriving in a multi-generational household.

  • Plan ahead. Discuss the boundaries in your combined home. How will the space be used? And by whom? How can you maintain open communication to resolve issues, like leaving dirty dishes in the sink, annoying bathroom habits, and territorial habits with the remote control!
  • Identify caregiving responsibilities. A multi-generational household presents caregiving challenges, both for the youngest and eldest members. Do you expect the grandparents to help with their grandchildren? If so, be clear on what you’d like to happen, such as attending school events, sports, and recitals. Will grandma be charged with after-school care or helping with the cooking when the parents are running late? Don’t make assumptions. Make roles and rules!
  • Discuss parenting. You might not share the same parenting approach as your parents or grown children. Before moving in together, discuss how the children in the household will be raised, from managing the picky eater to spoiling the children to doling out discipline.
  • Organize shared expenses. Money is often at the root of shared living problems. Develop a budget of household expenses and determine, in advance, how each person is going to contribute. Consider establishing a household account where everyone contributes a pre-determined amount toward the expenses.
  • Split the duties. When one person feels overburdened with household responsibilities, the atmosphere can become tense. Discuss regular household chores—from emptying the trash to scrubbing the bathrooms—and distribute the workload fairly.
  • Invest in family time. Different members of the household will go their own ways most of the time, but to keep a happy, cohesive home, plan on sharing time together. Family time could be a movie or game night, a weekly dinner where everyone pitches in or attends, or some other activity that can be enjoyed by every member of your multi-generational home.
  • Meet regularly. Plan a household meeting to occur at specified intervals; e.g., monthly or quarterly. During this casual gathering, be prepared to talk about any issues that involve other members. You can talk about changes to the household budget or chores, ask for help or suggestions, or simply offer appreciation.

Living with multiple generations offers a wealth of benefits. Children build a closer bond with other family members and learn more about their heritage. Adults can care for their aging parents in a more comfortable atmosphere. Grandparents experience a renewed sense of purpose. Planning for the challenges of multi-generational living will help you maximize the enjoyment!

Tuskes Homes Awarded Best of Houzz 2016

Categories: Blog | Posted: January 16, 2016
Untitled design (1)

Best of Houzz 2016 Tuskes Homes

Tuskes Homes 
Awarded Best Of Houzz 2016

Over 35 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,
Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

(Bethlehem, PA) January 15, 2016 – Tuskes Homes has won “Best Of Customer Service” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The Lehigh Valley’s most trusted home builder for over 50 years was chosen by the more than 35 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 35 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2015. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2016” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“It’s great to be recognized by Houzz! We are looking forward to adding more projects, idea books, photos and quality design ideas for our followers this year!” said Martha Clifford, New Home Specialist for Tuskes Homes.

“Anyone building, remodeling or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented and service-oriented professionals” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We’re so pleased to recognize Tuskes Homes, voted one of our “Best Of Houzz” professionals by our enormous community of homeowners and design enthusiasts actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

Follow Tuskes Homes on Houzz here:

About Tuskes Homes
With over 50 years of experience welcoming thousands of families home to a better quality of life, Tuskes Homes offers what no other builder in the Lehigh Valley area can. As a third generation, family-owned, local builder, we are dedicated to building lifetime relationships with homeowners well rooted in a community we call home too. We’re not just your home builder, we’re your neighbors, too. As a widely respected industry leader, Tuskes Homes focuses on exceeding expectations, not just meeting them. We set very high standards for ourselves – and our homes and neighborhoods.

For more about Tuskes Homes call 484-515-5126 or visit

Why 2016 is a good year to buy a new home.

Categories: Blog | Posted: January 14, 2016

New house and lots of money.

After years of ups and down in the housing market, financial experts predict that 2016 is a good year to buy a new home.

Housing inventory will increase.

Sellers who have been watching and waiting for prices to increase will see that trend level out. Home prices rose 8% in 2012, 11% in 2013, and 5% in 2014, according to Barron’s. In 2016, Zillow’s Chief Economist Svenja Gudell expects the climb to plateau somewhat, with only a 3.5% increase. That means more sellers who have been on the fringe will seize the opportunity to put their homes on the market and capture the steady flow of new homebuyers.

In addition to the resales, however, homebuilders will become more aggressive, particularly in building starter and middle-range homes.

Mortgage rates are climbing.

The historic low interest rates on mortgages will creep upward. With the Federal Reserve expected to increase rates, new homebuyers should recognize that waiting much longer will cost them.

“You are likely to get the best rate you will possibly see, perhaps in your lifetime, through the majority of next year,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at in December 2015.

Employment has become more secure.

Businesses are hiring again. Unemployment figures dropped nationwide to 5.3% in June of last year, a dramatic improvement over the 10% unemployment rate in 2010. With more people off the job market, more buyers should qualify for the housing market.

Rents keep going up.

Supply and demand in the rental market favors the landlord. Expect monthly rent to keep rising every year. Meanwhile, you could get a low-interest mortgage (with a low down payment) that will not be subject to the same fluctuation.

Bottom line? Stop procrastinating. Make 2016 the year you reap the rewards of homeownership.

What do Millennials want in a new home?

Categories: Blog | Posted: January 7, 2016

The sheer size of the Baby Boomer generation enabled the 78 million members to dominate the consumer marketplace for generations. Now, 87 Millennials (also known as Gen Y and Echo Boomers)—born between 1980 and 2000—are taking over. With a large number now in the homebuying age range, homebuilders are taking a close look at this unique demographic segment, which happens to view their “dream home” in a very different way from their parents and grandparents.

For one thing, they’re more cautious. They’ve seen older family members and friends lose big time in the real estate market. Many of them are comfortable renting, or moving back in with their parents for an undefined period of time, to the chagrin of mom and dad.

So, they don’t seem to be in a rush, but a recent Redfin Research Center survey showed that, of the 2,000 Millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 who responded, 92 percent who do not currently own a home plan to buy one in the near future.

What do Millennials want in a new home?

They aren’t seeking their “location, location, location” in suburbia. Millennials love their independence. They’ve grown up with the technology that keeps them wirelessly connected with their vast world, so they’re not accustomed to restraints. This includes vehicles. Millennials are often attracted to urban locales, within walking distance of or public transport to the services they need.

Size matters, as long as it’s small. Unlike Baby Boomers who enjoyed spreading out, Millennials look for less space and more flexibility. They want functional space that maximizes every square foot, and open floor plans. A formal dining or living room has far less appeal than an open space, like a great room or media room. A kitchen island should serve as both a prep and conversational/eating area.

Green is their favorite color. Expect your Millennial homebuyers to ask about the sustainability of your building materials and practices. They are committed to eco-friendly, energy-efficient homes—with ENERGY STAR appliances, programmable lighting and thermostats, and other high-tech, low-carbon-footprint amenities. Not only can they spell “LEED”, but they want this building certification.

Carefree is preferred. No one really likes unnecessary effort, but Millennials zoom in on low-maintenance features. Features like easy-care flooring and a gas fireplace give them more freedom without compromise. They also don’t concern themselves with large outdoor spaces, as long as they have room for play, cooking, and entertaining.

They know they get dirty. While a mudroom has been an afterthought in the past, Millennials have revived this functional space for organizing clutter. It’s a small space, but a big plus to these homebuyers.

Showers and closets can never be too large. Your Gen Y/Millennial/Echo Boomer homebuyer wants their living space to work intelligently. When it comes to the bathroom shower and storage, that means, go big. Incorporate plenty of storage space and walk-in closets. Make the shower larger, even eliminating the tub altogether.

The Millennial generation sees their home as a life comfort. It’s not a status symbol, nor do they view it with the same investment potential as their elders. By understanding the mindset of this growing number of new homebuyers, you can better guide them toward the right home.

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