Category: Home + Lifestyle

How to Protect Your Home While on Vacation

Maui real estate
According to the Department of Justice, there are 10 percent more burglaries in the summer than in the winter. Additionally, the rate of household property victimization and household larceny also peak during the hottest months of the year. This time of year also happens to be when most of us pack our bags and head out for vacation.

While you’re out enjoying the summer weather, you don’t want to worry about what’s happening at home. Here are 10 tips to protect your home while on vacation.

Lock All Windows and Doors Before You Leave for Vacation

Over 30 percent of burglars enter a home through an unlocked window or door. A few weeks before your vacation, check the windows and doors of your home to be sure they shut and lock properly. Make repairs as necessary, and verify they’re all secure on the day you leave for vacation.

Install a Home Security System

In addition to reducing the chance your home will be burglarized by 300 percent, many leading systems offer remote access so you can check your home security from your phone. You can even use your device to lock/unlock doors or check on pets via security cameras. Plus, your insurance provider may discount your home insurance premium by up to 20 percent when you install a security system – and that savings could help pay for your vacation!

Avoid Garage Break-ins While You’re Out of Town

Many homeowners focus on the main body of their home and forget to secure the garage. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to help protect your garage from a break-in, including installing motion detector lights on the corners of the garage, ensuring the garage service door is locked, and hiding valuables out of sight. If you leave a car in the driveway, be sure to remove the garage door remote. A burglar won’t think twice about breaking into your car and using the remote to access your garage.

Use Light Timers While You’re Away

Light timers are affordable, easy to install, and can help deter criminals by making your home look occupied. Choose a timer with a “random on/off” option, so your lights turn on and off at various times throughout the day and night, making it difficult for burglars to determine if the home is vacant.

Remove “Hidden” Keys While You’re on Vacation

Over one-third of burglars enter a home through the front door, often using the homeowner’s “hidden” key. If there’s a key under your doormat or in another obvious location, remove it. You may also want to consider replacing your traditional front door lock with a keyless lock so you don’t even have to worry about keys.

Tell Your Neighbors You’ll Be Out of Town

Assuming you trust your neighbors, it’s a good idea to inform them you’ll be on vacation and leave a number where you can be reached. Make them aware of anyone who might be going into your home, such as a house sitter or dog walker. For extra protection, ask your local police department and neighborhood watch to be on the lookout for any unusual activity near your home.

Tidy Up Your Yard Before Vacation

Prepare your home for your departure by putting valuables – grills, bikes, and tools – in a secure shed or garage, and trimming shrubs so burglars can’t conceal themselves while trying to break into your home. If you have a gate that provides access to your yard, make sure it shuts and locks. Scan your property for anything a burglar might use to break into your home, such as a brick or hammer, and take it inside.

Keep Your House Safe with a Sitter

Enlist the services of a house sitter to keep an eye on your home while you’re away. He or she can pick up fliers left at the door, bring in the mail, and take garbage and recycling bins to the curb. These things help hide the fact you’re not home.

Take Safety Precautions with Utilities

Protecting your house from a break-in is important, but you also want to avoid problems with utilities, like electricity or water. Unplug appliances, turn off the water valves to all sinks, the dishwasher, and washing machine, and test your smoke detectors.

Arrange for Lawn Care

If your lawn is overgrown, it can be a telling sign to people that no one is there to do upkeep. If you don’t have a regular lawn service, consider scheduling lawn maintenance once or twice while you’re away.

8 Simple Secrets to a Forever Dust-Free Home

Dust can be a huge drag, and if you’re an allergy sufferer or just a lover of a clean house, you might feel like you’re engaged in a never ending battle.

But don’t worry, you can win the war. There are plenty of things you can do to keep your home dustless and your air clean. Here are just a few of the things you can do:

1. Dust with something that actually traps dust and doesn’t just push it around or allow it to end up in the air.

2. Consider getting a special vacuum. Certain types of vacuums called HEPA vacuums trap dust instead of letting it circulate.

3. Clean your blinds. And if you’re really serious about a dust free home, you might even consider replacing your blinds with ones that are easy to clean.

4. Purify your air. Enough said.

5. Remember that the fewer knick knacks you have, the fewer knick knacks you have to dust.

6. Wash or change your bed linens every week so the fabric doesn’t collect dust.

7. Don’t clean your pets on carpet.

8. Dust your plants. They need love too.

Read the source article at Apartment Therapy

Best Cyber Monday deals on furniture, decor, smart home, and more

You’d better sit down for this: After last week’s deluge of Black Friday deals, savings for the home will roll on in many a Cyber Monday promotion.

Some of the best Black Friday sales—like those at Wayfair, Target, and Article—are extending through Cyber Monday, November 27, if not the rest of the week. Meanwhile, AHAlife and Kaufmann Mercantile have both upped the discount for Cyber Monday.

Savings range from the affordable retailers, like up to 40% off certain homeware from Target, to higher end stores like Design Within Reach that offers up to 30% off certain items.

Happy shopping!

Read the source article at Curbed

These Are The Top 10 Best Cities to Raise a Family

Planning for a family can also mean relocating to a more family friendly location. And if a family related move is in your future, you might be wondering what some of the most family friendly cities are.

A report conducted by WalletHub determined the top 10 best cities for raising children based on the following criteria: fun, education, safety, affordability, and economics.

Their results found 10 cities with great school systems, reasonably priced cost of living, and/or plenty of family friendly activities.

Here are the results:

1. Overland Park, KS

2. Madison, WI

3. Plano, TX

4. Seattle, WA

5. Fremont, CA

6. Minneapolis, MN

7. Virginia Beach, VA

8. Sioux Falls, SD

9. Irvine, CA

10. Lincoln, NE

Read the source article at Apartment Therapy

Spend a Little to Make More: Inexpensive Curb Appeal Upgrades That Will Improve Your Home’s Value

Planning on selling soon? I’m sure you know that kitchens and bathrooms are a great target for your makeover dollars, but they also are the most expensive places to renovate. If you have just a little cash but want to make a major impact, step outside and check out the view from the curb.

1. Let your front door make a good first impression.

2. Keep your plants looking pristine.

3. Plant more plants.

4. Create easy access to your door.

5. Make sure your address is easy to spot.

6. Light it up.

7. Get a distinctive mailbox.

Read the source article at Apartment Therapy

Drafts No More: How To Add Weatherstripping to Your Doors — Apartment Therapy Tutorials

It’s inevitable – unless you take this time to escape to warmer climates, those cold winds will find you this winter. To help keep your home cozy (and your energy bills from skyrocketing) add foam weatherstripping around your windows and doors. It’s a good idea if you live in a newer home, but a must if you live in an older home with drafty doors and windows.

Read the source article at Apartment Therapy

Science Has Figured Out Just How Long Our Vacations Should Be

A vacation is supposed to be fun, and once you’re there, it definitely can be. But planning a vacation can be stressful, even under the best circumstances. From choosing a destination to picking the best and most affordable flight, you’re inundated with choices starting from the moment you decide to get away.

Fortunately, science has made the process a little easier by determining exactly how long your vacation should be.

And the answer is… 8 days! Studies have found that 8 days gives you enough time to enjoy yourself without getting too homesick.

If that sounds short, you can always take more vacations!

Read the source article at Apartment Therapy

The Benefits of Shopping Seasonally

 

You’ve probably heard about shopping seasonally, but you might not know about the benefits.

Eating seasonally means buying produce that’s grown around the time you purchase it rather than produce that’s stored for long periods of time or grown through artificial means. 

Each season is known for naturally producing specific fruits and vegetables, and there are plenty of benefits to buying what’s in season. Here are a few:

  1. It tastes better. Seasonal produce tends to be harvested naturally and ripened on the vine. And it’s picked at the right time, so it’s got maximum flavor. Think about the best strawberry you’ve ever had; you probably ate it in early summer.
  2. It can be healthier. When the sun ripens a fruit or vegetable, that piece of produce gets more nutrients, naturally. When produce is stored for long periods of time, it actually begins to lose some of those nutrients.
  3. It’s cheaper. Naturally harvested fruits and veggies are cheaper to produce than artificially harvested ones because the sun does most of the hard work. There are also fewer travel and shipping expenses. You’ve probably noticed that some parts of the year, avocados are more expensive than other times. This is why.
  4. It’s more environmentally friendly. It takes less energy to produce something that can be naturally produced. So you can feel good while you bite into your delicious pear.

What’s in season now:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Persimmons
  • Pumpkins

Sources: Lifehacker.com and Time.com

10 Quick Home Improvement Projects for Under $100

Working on your home can be satisfying, but it can also increase your home’s value by making it more attractive to perspective buyers.

Not only that, but it can also be fun, and the result is a more comfortable and personal space. And the best part is, it doesn’t have to be expensive!

Here are 10 home improvement projects perfect for fall that can be completed in a weekend and that won’t break the bank:

  1. Paint or refinish your furniture. Over time, furniture can get dirty and scuffed, and those imperfections can really show your furniture’s age.
  2. Clean or paint your baseboards and trim. Your home will automatically look spiffier.
  3. Replace your kitchen cabinet handles with new ones. You’d be amazed at what a difference this makes. Check out IKEA for inspiration.
  4. Plant flowers along your entryway. This project will take more than a weekend to materialize, but when your flowers bloom, it’ll feel that much sweeter to get home.
  5. Add an accent wall. It’s a quick paint job and it’ll give a room new life.
  6. Update a few lighting fixtures or ceiling fans. New ceiling fixtures can make your home look much more modern, and they can light and cool your home more efficiently.
  7. Add some texture to your bathroom. A wallpaper finish can make a drab room really pop. And if you want your bathroom to feel luxurious, wallpaper is a great and affordable first step.
  8. Go bargain hunting for interesting furniture or decoration at your local thrift shop and refinish your new purchases. Not only can you find some one of a kind pieces for a fraction of the cost, you can update your home.
  9. Paint your staircase. You won’t believe what a difference it can make.

10. Get rid of rust and water spot stains. Shiny steel always looks new.

With a little elbow grease and a “can do” attitude, there’s no limit to how much you can accomplish!

5 Tips for Getting the Perfect Paint Job

Painting can breath new life into a room and change the look of it entirely. But if you don’t prepare, painting can be tricky business. With these simple tricks, you’ll love the outcome and may even enjoy the process! 

Here’s what you should do:

  1. Prep your walls. You may think that a new coat of paint will cover any imperfections, but it won’t. In fact, dirty walls can even prevent paint from sticking. Also, be sure to remove any electrical covers and light switch covers before painting.
  2. Determine how much paint you’ll need. The rule of thumb is that one gallon of paint will cover about 400 square feet. And if you’re still unsure, try a paint calculator.
  3. Don’t forget about primer. A primer will help your paint look smoother and last longer.
  4. Use a paint visualizer to help you choose a color. Paint visualizers allow you to upload a picture of the room you want to paint and let you virtually test out different paint colors before you buy paint. That way, you can avoid painter’s remorse.  They aren’t perfect, but they’re a great place to start.
  5. Paint trim, then interior. Don’t skimp on the painter’s tape. And when you paint the interior, work in a “W” shape so that your roller doesn’t leave the wall until you’re ready to dip.

Happy painting!