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Make Your Home Holiday Proof With These 7 Helpful Tips

December is a busy month for almost everyone, you’re trying to plan family get-togethers, you’re finishing up last minute Christmas shopping, and also trying to keep your home looking clean and fresh. Sometimes, there just isn’t enough time to do all the things you want to do. That’s why HouseLogic has created a list of ways to get through your never ending list of December to-do’s all while keeping your home looking presentable for any potential guests planning on showing up. Follow these tips to create a Better home for the holidays!

1. Embrace the List

“Begin the holidays with a brain dump, listing every single itsy-bitsy, annoying task you need to handle between now and New Year’s. Taxes? Dealing with child care? Decorating your front yard? Buying gifts? Cleaning the windows? The Q4 rush back at the (sigh) office?”

Then, “go back through the list and remove everything that you don’t have to do,” says Massie.

“Prioritize the home-related tasks that actually matter and ditch the ones that go beyond surface cleaning your guests might notice. Feel free to cackle with glee as you cross off “mop the upstairs bathroom.”

2. Cheat Your Way to a Great-Smelling Home

“Great-aunt Tilda’s rosemary roll recipe always makes the house smell lovely — but who has time for all the kneading and rising in December?”

“There’s an easy way to give your house that just-baked scent: Simmer vanilla, lemon, and thyme in a pot on the stove — no baking needed.”

“Even better, make your sneaky simmer part of the party. Massie recommends warming something delicious in your Crock-Pot. Try mulled cider, which requires only apple cider, a few spices, and rum or brandy — if you’re feeling daring.”

“This will make the whole house smell good while not taking up an extra burner on the stove, and give you something delicious to enjoy,” Massie says.”

3. Don’t Sweat Your Kids’ Mess

“Let go of putting every single toy away each night before bed,” says Didi Wong, an integrative wellness and life coach.”

“The kids are on vacation, and when they wake up, the fun begins all over again,” she says. So let junior relish in his freedom and scatter his toys across his room or some other designated area. That’s at least one less battle a day, right?”

4. Focus on the Obvious When You Clean

“OK, that’s stating the obvious. But sometimes you need to give yourself permission for everything to not be perfect.”

“Of course you want a clean home, but you don’t need to clean every closet and shelf,” says professional organizer Robyn Reynolds.

“Instead, focus on the places your guests will see and use. Clean hand towels in the bathroom along with a sparkling sink and toilet will give the impression your entire home has been deep-cleaned recently — even if there is a bit of dust on your coffee table.”

5. Outsource Some Jobs

“You might be a die-hard DIYer, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything.”

“Outsource anything you’re not good at or comfortable with,” says Massie. “The investment will be well worth the savings of time and sanity.”

“Professional cleaners can do in a few hours what would take you days. And if you really want those lights strung outside, there are people for that, too. So maybe you spend a little less on gifts this year, but more on your family’s ability to enjoy home over the holidays. Totally worth it.”

“Outsourcing doesn’t always have to have dollars attached. It could be teaming up with friends and family. Maybe a friend of yours who’s got that handyman knack but no baking skills will be willing to string your lights in exchange for some holiday treats you’re making anyway? That’s a win-win.”

6. Give Artificial Trees a Chance

“It’s time to get over your holiday tree nostalgia. Sure, tromping out to the woods with dad to pick out the perfect fir was a delight, but back then, you weren’t the one who had to keep the thing watered all month and sweep up the fallen needles every night.”

“Artificial trees come in a variety of natural-looking shapes and sizes. Or go all out with silver, gold, even fluorescent pink! Bonus: When you reuse the same tree year after year, you’re actually doing something nice for the earth (especially if you buy yours secondhand). Miss the evergreen smell? That’s what scented candles are for.”

7. Keep It Real

“If your big family dinner comes and the ham is on fire and your dog peed in the living room and little Mackenzie won’t stop banging her darn blocks against the window, don’t panic. Wonderful days have been salvaged from worse. Guests only care that you’re together.

“If you approach the event with good intentions, it may not turn out to be exactly what you envisioned, but your family and guests will still thank you and be appreciative of your time and effort in putting together such a wonderfully festive get-together,” says Wong.”

Quoted Content Sourced from HouseLogic

Don’t Overlook These Minor Projects

Moving in to your new home can be both an exciting but also stressful time. There are so many projects to do that we often overlook some of the most important ones. At first glance, these tasks may seem unimportant and can easily be placed on hold, but look again, these are actually the projects you should take care of right away. Realtor.com has called out eight projects that you should take the time from unpacking and focus on. They may seem minor, but if not attended to could create larger problems later.

Change the locks

“Before moving even one tiny piece of furniture into your new home, change the locks—or at least have them re-keyed. It’s not that you don’t trust the sellers (who are, we’re sure, perfectly respectable and upstanding citizens). It’s that you shouldn’t trust everyone who’s had contact with those keys over the years, any of whom could have copied the keys for some unsavory purpose.”

Change the alarm batteries

“Making sure your fire and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries may not seemlike a pressing issue while you’re in the middle of a stressful move (and aren’t they all), but it’s the kind of thing that gets ignored and then forgotten. Better to deal with it now, when the home is empty and you can make a quick sweep of the house—without lugging a ladder around furniture.”

Review your home inspector’s report

“Can’t find your inspector’s report? Minto says reports are often filed with the escrow papers—but don’t wait until something goes wrong to pull them out. A good home inspector will outline the most important issues in their report, so use their expertise as a guide for your first few days of ownership. If they’ve marked anything as particularly pressing, make sure to handle it before moving in.”

Find the circuit breaker

“If you were there during inspection, you should know where your junction box is, but if you don’t, finding it “should be the first and foremost thing that should be attended to,” Minto says. During a move, when you’re plugging all sorts of electrical doodads into the wall, you don’t want to be lost in the dark hunting for that elusive metal box. (While you’re there, find the water shut-off, too.)”

“Then, get familiar: If it’s not already well-marked, have your spouse or another family member stand in different parts of the house while you flip different switches, and make a note of which ones handle different rooms.”

Deal with any water problems

“Looking at that inspector’s report? Deal with water-related issues immediately, says Minto. These tend to be troublesome because they’re so easily ignored—”out of sight, out of mind,” he says. A leaky toilet might seem minor, but the steady drip can damage internal structural components.”

“Check your roof, too: If the rubber vent boots on your roof are leaking, you might not know it for a while.”

“By the time they see it in a ceiling, there’s been a fair amount of water,” Minto says.”

Caulk everything

“This one isn’t mandatory, but caulking is a whole lot easier if you do it when the house is empty, letting you see all the nooks and crannies that might need a little sealing—and don’t forget the exterior. Minto says he sees caulking issues on “every home,” and while they might seem minor, it doesn’t take long before cracking gives way to leaks and even more water issues.”

Plan your emergency exits

“Before you begin bringing in furniture, walk through every room and decide how you would escape in an emergency. This can help you spot problem areas or rooms that need some adjustments—say, removing bars or adding egress windows to a basement.”

Clean your gutters

“BO-RING. Right? You can put this off until Day 2 of your big move, but don’t let the dullness of the task push you to procrastination: If the previous homeowners didn’t clean the gutters, you need to do so ASAP.”

Quoted Content Sourced From Realtor.com

Five Tips To Perform a DIY Home Security Check

Family vacations should be filled with relaxation, you shouldn’t have to worry if your home is under a potential security risk with you being out of town. Conducting a DIY security check of your home is a simple project that can help you reduce the risk of break-ins occurring at your home while your family is on a vacation. By inspecting your home, you can pinpoint what potential home security systems you would need to install in the future. Check out the below tips from HouseLogic to see what they suggest you can do in five simple steps to perform a DIY home security check.

1. Keep your home well-maintained on the outside.

“Burglars want an easy target. Stand on the street outside your house and ask yourself: Does my property look neglected, hidden, or uninhabited? A front door or walkway that’s obscured by shrubbery offers crooks the perfect cover they need while they break a door or window. To improve security, trim shrubs away from windows and widen front walks.”

2. Install motion detector lights.

“All sides of your house should be well-lit with motion-activated lighting, not just the front. Simple motion-activated floodlights cost less than $50 each, and installing them is an easy DIY job if the wiring is already in place.”

3. Store your valuables.

“Thieves want easy-to-grab electronics, cash, jewelry, and other valuables, though some are not above running down the street with your flat-screen TV. Most make a beeline for the master bedroom, because that’s where you’re likely to hide spare cash, jewelry, even guns. 

Tour each room and ask yourself: is there anything here that I can move to a safe deposit box? Installing a home safe ($150 to $500) that’s bolted to your basement slab is a good repository for items you don’t use on a daily basis.”

4. Secure your data.

“While you probably won’t be putting your home computer in a safe anytime soon, take steps to back up the personal information stored on it. Password protect your login screen, and always shut off your computer when not in use (you’ll save energy, too!) Don’t overlook irreplaceable items whose value may hard to quantify, like digital photos.”

5. Prepare ahead of time in case the worst happens.

  • “Take a photo or video inventory of items of value in your home, and store the file online or in your home safe.
  • Check that you’re properly insured for theft. Note that high-ticket items in your home office, such as computers, professional camera equipment, or other business essentials, may require an additional rider or a separate policy.”

Quoted Content Sourced From HouseLogic

Homeowners Beware: Six Ways Your DIY Tiling Project Could Go Wrong

One of the most common DIY projects that homeowners attempt to try on their own is tiling. What may seem like a simple and fun project for a homeowner can go wrong in a hurry if you don’t plan properly or pay attention to the detail of the basics, or even try cutting costs buy purchasing cheaper materials. From not prepping properly to choosing the wrong tile, things can go wrong in a hurry if you don’t have a solid plan in place for starting and completing the project.

Courtesy of Realtor.com, here are six ways that your DIY tiling job could go wrong:

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