Maintenance of the Month

This winter has been brutal. One can only imagine what their house is feeling during the winter months. There are some monthly maintenance items that you can check off the list in order to lessen your poor home’s burden. A few little up keeps can help your home work and look its best despite the dreary weather.


One thing you can do to help your air circulation is remove your vents to vacuum the dust from them. Just like you remove lint from the dryer, you remove dust from the vents to promote clean air and keep your systems from working harder than they should have to.


Grouting the floors, showers, and back splashes. I’m sure it has been a cool minute since those cracks have been updated. After years, grout can slowly wear away and collect stains so a new grout job will refresh its look. If your grout is newer then it may be a good idea to give it a scrub down.


Clean out the gutters. If the seasonal sludge has blocked up your gutters, it may be a good time to clean them. Investing in gutter guards may save you some time and effort in the future.



For safety purposes, check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors for dead batteries and if they are properly working. “This Is Us” fans will know the importance of this crucial step. Nobody wants another faulty slow cooker situation.



Keep your HVAC cleaned up. Replace the filters on it as well as schedule a routine maintenance appointment for it. It could save you money in the future to do small things to keep it running smoothly now.


y-door rot

Check for rotting wood. The frame of your house is an important structure that needs attention just like any part of the house. Check for rotting wooden beams in the attic, porch, and indoor frame. Have them replaced as soon as you can if they are eaten by termites or moisture.

These are just a few things you can start with now before full blown Spring cleaning commences. A few things each month will keep your home on the right track to a clean, safe and efficient home.






Life Hacks for Energy Conservation

Energy conservation in the home is often overlooked when it comes to budgeting. When done the right way it can be an effective tool to help you unexpectedly save in everyday finances. Here are a few of our recommendations to get you started in cutting those energy costs.



To start small you can invest in energy efficient appliances. This can mean replacing your old washer, dryer, or dishwasher with new energy efficient lean and green machines. Instead of replacing the dryer, you can at least remove the lint from the lint trap every time you dry a load of clothes. A full trap can use up to 30% more energy than an empty one. Two or more loads in a row can also take advantage of an already heated dryer.


pexels-photo-256307.jpegIf that’s a little out of your price range at the moment, another significant step is to replace your light bulbs. Most labels at the office or home supply store can tell you which are the bulbs that will last you for several years and the most energy friendly. They usually consist of LED or CFL bulbs. Don’t forget the outdoor lights as well. It may be a small step but you’ll notice a great change on your bill.



Saving on water can be as simple as changing your shower head. On average it takes a shower 20 seconds to release a gallon of water. Choose a new shower head that flows about 2.5 gallons per minute. If you reduce the temperature of your water by 10 degrees then you can save an additional 3-5% in energy costs.



A little caulk never hurt anyone. Windows and frame caulk can crack over the years leaving your house drafty. A fresh round of caulk is a great way to seal out the draft. This will prevent heat and air conditioning loss thus saving you dollars in the long run.


Replacing the air filters consistently and cleaning the heater filters is another way to lower your out of pocket expenses over time. As well as replacing the thermostat with a programmable one so that when you’re away you can set the temperature to 7 degrees lower or higher since you don’t need your home to be warm or cold if you are not in it.

We hope that some of these really drive home some ideas to more energy consciousness and financial savings. “Why would I want to save money?” Said no one ever.



Upcoming Event: 2/17/18 – Free Homeowner’s Q+A Sessions – FB Event Link

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Quick Rental Fixer Uppers

Keeping your rental unit looking its best can be tricky. You want it to look great but also don’t want to spend a lot because it’s purpose is to bring you income and not the other way around. Fortunately, there are some low cost ways to ensure your rental looks modern and well groomed before your next potential renter tours their future abode.


The first place renters are going to see is the front door area such as the foyer or entryway. This area should be a large focus since it is what creates the first impression. Tile that matches the kitchen or vinyl is a clean refreshment to this area that will tie it together. The kitchen is also a main interest of buyers. You will want the cabinetry to be appealing. If they need a little love then an easy way to do this is to wipe on a little liquid scratch if they are in fairly good condition. If they are in need of loads of love, then cover them in contact paper or paneling. Once accomplished and they still don’t meet your satisfaction, replace the knobs with some cool trendy ones to finish the motif.



The sink and faucet fixtures should be in good repair. Unable to replace them right now? Paint them. Yes, I said it. There are plenty of tutorials out there on your to paint your sink and fixtures, and not the terrible paint jobs like the painted tub in your college efficiency. I was a non-believer until my own mother, who is craftier in ways I will never be, painted her sink a dark gray and it was stunning. No one could even tell that she didn’t buy it like that.



Light fixtures and ceiling fans are a cheap investment that can update a space. Choose fixtures that are all matching colors and finishes to be consistent throughout the rooms. Are your switch plates ugly? New switch plates and plugs can also achieve a fresh and subtle look. New trim can liven up your borders. Especially if you current trim is cracked or worn, it can make a house seem outdated and unkempt. Off white Mini-blinds are so boring. Change them out with wood blinds, curtains, or shades to go from disgust to upper crust in minutes.

There are plenty of ways to make an old space look new. All you have to do is think outside the toolbox.




Hacks to Paint Like a Pro

Painting your house or rooms can be exciting to renovate a space but at times the actual act of doing it is a chore. I honestly dread it. The best part is picking out a color. I like to bribe friends and family to help with the rest because it’s not my strong suit. In order to prevent having to bribe and beg and your fear of painting, here are a few hacks to keep your paint rolling smoothly.


In the middle of painting, but have to go pick up Snicker Doodle from the groomers? Save your wet roller in an empty Pringles can and store it in the fridge so it doesn’t dry out. It will keep it perfectly ready-to-use until you get back. If you aren’t into Pringles, Press and Seal wrap will do just as well.



If your media of choice is spray paint, put the object you are painting in an oversized cardboard box to prevent fumes and overspray from accidentally coloring your backyard or garage.



Make those crusty brushes like new again by soaking them in hot vinegar for 30 minutes. It will soften the dried paint.



Put Vaseline on any area that you do not want paint on. It will resist the paint and will be a lifesaver later.



Dry Swiffer your walls before you start a project. It will remove the dust. After that, use tape to remove fuzzies from your roller. This will prevent you from having to pull dust balls off your walls.



If you’re painting around a toilet then cover it with a trash bag. No worrying about getting paint on your toilet.



Cover doorknobs and fixtures with aluminum foil for quick masking material. Foil can also be used to cover a paint tray for easy cleanup.



Of course, we always forget one crucial item. When in need of drop cloths, run to your nearest dollar store and buy shower curtain liners in its place.



Put a rubber band around your paint can over the opening at the top. This will serve as a way to wipe excess off your brush without leaving paint in the lid’s crevices. Next time you use your paint the lid won’t be glued to the can.



Buy quality brushes. Cheap brushes will shed and leave bristles or streak marks in your beautiful paint job. Save yourself the hassle and spend the few extra dollars.

I’m feeling better about my next paint project already. Arm yourself with the right tools and helpful hints and you can paint the town, literally and metaphorically.




Cooler Weather Makes Cooler Chores

The temperature is dropping and so is the need to stay indoors from the heat. Now is the time to get up and be as productive as the attention span allows. In preparation for the cooler times ahead there are a few items on the to-do list for the apartment or home that can be easily crossed off in a matter of minutes.


Air out your mattress. Our mattresses collect bacteria and skin cells over the years. Every so often it is good to give it a sunbath for its protection and ours. Setting it out in the sun for a few hours will kill potential bacteria and mold. This can make your mattress firmer and less liable to sink in the center. It will also give it some fresh air so that it will smell like new…maybe. Now that it’s not blazing warm out, it will be easier to maneuver your bulky bed to the outdoors and inside with ease.


Waterproof your shoes. Just because shoes are canvas doesn’t mean they have to hide in the back of the closet for colder seasons. Make your canvas shoes waterproof by using Neverwet for fabric. This is an easy and cost efficient way to use your favorite shoes all year round. Don’t want to drive to Target (Let’s face it, the only place to shop)? Then you can take an unscented candle from home to rub over the canvas of the shoes, heat with a hair dryer and you can then wear your tennis another season.


Optimize the nice weather. Open windows and doors and throw open the sashes. Now that the heat is beat you can now enjoy the afternoon breeze before it turns again. This will keep energy costs down if you turn off your AC or heat as well as refresh your space.


Make a cool tunes playlist. Nothing prepares the soul for a season change like a heart felt playlist that will set the right tone. Use it for the commute to work, while cleaning house and for a background for relaxing book reading. You know in the movies when a person is driving through the color changing trees with the car windows down and the perfect melodic yet inspiring song comes on? Be that person.

Flower Pots Begonias Potted Flowers Garden

Outdoor home maintenance. There is not a more perfect time than to do all the outer housework that you have been meaning to get to. No more excuses. It is no longer “too hot” or “too rainy” or “It’s such a nice day out how could I possibly waste it on house chores.” Now everyday is a nice day at least for a few months. So get out there and clean gutters, freshen paint, put perennials in those terra cotta pots. You’ll be proud of yourself after.

These aren’t all the items you need to accomplish this season but it will give a running start. Make your minutes count in the lovely weather because you don’t know how long it will last in Oklahoma.



Making Back-to-School Rule

Going back to school is always a trip on the struggle bus. This year it’s time to reclaim your “Parent of the Year” status with some organizational techniques that may keep those wheels going round and round more smoothly. Even in the midst of morning madness these helpful hacks will be sure to keep your family on the right track back to school.


We all know that feeling wrestling a child into clothing or having them dress themselves. Whether it’s your child, little brother, babysitting Sally Screamer down the street, it is a long drawn out fiasco. Then you have to tempt them with corn dogs and pudding snacks to comply. The least we can do is make sure an outfit is completely put together before the battle goes down. Get a small five shelved stand or bookcase and simply place and entire outfit from hair ties to a set of shoes on each shelf in accordance with each school day. This will save you so much time searching for tiny socks that match when you could be making your mid-morning margarita. Then you don’t have to worry about if the laundry is done because you know at least the kid has clean clothes for the entire week.


Lunches can be a pain to make in the morning. Especially with attempting to make breakfast and make sure everyone is getting ready in time. In order to save a little time, create a lunch organizer in your pantry or fridge. This can be separate sections of fruit cups, cheese sticks, pudding snacks, chips, prepped popcorn or snack bags, and bite-sized veggies that you can grab and throw into a lunch box to complete a well-balanced meal. Less mess, less stress.


Print or write your own backpack checklist. Kids will have fun checking off their new school supplies. In the evenings, have each child go through a backpack checklist to make sure they have all their necessities for success. Select a specific place for all backpacks to set so they are all together and ready to grab and go as they leave for the day. This may be a given but little habits can save big time.


Set aside a file for specific paperwork that the kids bring home from school. They can place the report cards or field trip releases in the file so that you can go through them all at once and always have it together. It also ensures that the kids don’t forget their papers and that you don’t forget to sign them. It’s a win-win for both busy parties. Now you can rule over the dreaded back to school.





Keep your Cool

You love blasting your AC. I know it. We all do. But then you get your paperless billing statement and want to hide it from your spouse because they might cry. You don’t want to see them cry. When they do you are not sure if you should comfort them or put on armor because war is coming. That’s why we have a few helpful pointers on how you and your significant other to keep your cool mentally and physically.


A more inexpensive investment would be to purchase some blackout curtains. Most heat throughout the day comes in through windows creating a greenhouse effect in the home. Simple changes like having heavy curtains, shutters, and keeping blinds closed can lower your average home temperature by up to 20 degrees. If you are home during the day and need some natural light then just keep the westward and eastward windows covered which is where the sun hits hardest.


The AC unit is the most abused, blamed and neglected appliance in our possession. To save from wanting go out and kick it, try cleaning it instead. Once upon a time, my family was miserable. We blamed the AC for not being big enough for the square footage in our house. My savvy uncle goes out to look at the unit. It was COVERED in thick pollen. I mean one would think we painted it yellow. No air was able to enter the unit thus unable to enter our home. We shop vacuumed the entire thing and, like magic, we had AC again. Dirty air filters just like two inches of pollen also prevent efficient air flow throughout the house. Changing the AC filters regularly and maintaining a debris free unit can be cost effective ways to ensure your family doesn’t have a meltdown.


Maybe you’re doing all these things already and need a stronger tactic. Maybe your home is older and you haven’t made repairs on it since you bought it. A good start is to check the insulation. Insulation is the best defense to protecting a home’s temperature. Experts say if there are visible floor joints in the attic then it is time to replace the insulation. To begin you can get an energy audit. A professional will come out to inspect your home for air leaks, check your furnace and water heater to make sure it is working properly, and look for any insulation issues. From there you will have a better understanding of what you should address.

These are just a few of the numerous things you can start to prevent a heat stroke or mild heart attack at the sight of your energy costs. We are just looking out for your health and hospital bills.




The steps to make an old bathroom new again!

1. Clean the grout.
Whiter-than-white grout will make your bathroom look like new again. We promise. There are plenty of grout cleaning methods out there, or you could just use this Miracle Grout pen. Easy.

2. Think about storage.
First, declutter (you don’t need four hairbrushes, OK?) and then have a think about the way you use your bathroom. Where do you cleanse? Do you apply makeup and perfume here, or in your bedroom? Once you’ve had a think, strategize your storage. It’s simple, but planning your storage ensures you’re using your bathroom effectively.

3. Invest in extra storage.
Got a spare bedside table or stool lying around? Use it in the bathroom as storage.

4. Arrange a candle shelf.
There’s nothing more luxurious than a whole cluster of candles lit at once. If you have a spare shelf, or a window ledge, arrange a line of candles (varying shapes and sizes work best) along it. This works especially well if you want to hide ugly frosted glass or cracked tiles.

5. Use old or mismatched teacups, vases and bowls as bathroom storage.
They’re perfect for makeup, hair ties and cotton balls, among other things.

6. Have coloured tiles that aren’t exactly your cup of tea?
Instead of trying to change the tiles themselves (a major overhaul), why not work with the colour? Paint the walls a complementary shade and just roll with it. Pink tiles would pop on dove grey walls. Bright yellow looks great with navy. Peach tiles will pair well with minty green. Painting the walls is far easier than changing the tiles. And if you hate it? Just paint over it with white.

7. Give your towels new life.
This is simple but it’ll make a difference. For old, hard towels, add ammonia or white vinegar to a wash, and indulge in towels as fluffy as marshmallows.

8. Add greenery.
Potted or hanging plants are unexpected – but beautiful – in bathrooms. Use a bathroom ledge or a pot stand, or hang from the ceiling.

9. Go minimalist.
Clear off your vanity, and swap your shower toiletries for clear, label-less bottles. There’s something lovely about not seeing product names and labels everywhere.


Quick and permanent fixes for scratched wood floors!


High-heel dent
THE FIX: If the heel left an impression without breaking the surface, you can steam it out. Fold a damp dish towel into quarters and lay it over the dent. Set a hot iron on the towel and turn on the STEAM function. After about a minute, check your progress. The steam should cause the wood to swell and even out the dented portion. If necessary, sand smooth and refinish to match the surrounding area. Warning: Steam can turn some floor finishes white, so test this method on a hidden part of the floor first.


Doggie nail marks
THE FIX: For shallow pet scratches, rub a small amount of tinted paste wax directly into the spot with a clean, soft rag. Let the wax dry, then buff the scratch and the surrounding area so that they blend seamlessly. If your floors have a darker stain, use a paste wax formulated for dark woods, such as walnut.


Dragged-credenza gouge
THE FIX: For a deep scratch that reveals bare wood, use fine-grit paper, working with the grain, to sand the scratch. Rub mineral spirits over the sanded area to pick up any fine dust. Using a plastic putty knife, fill the scratch with stainable wood filler. When dry, carefully sand away the excess with fine-grit paper. Stain to match your floors, then reseal the spot with polyurethane.


Selling or just decluttering this Spring? A storage space may be your answer!

You might think the easiest way to declutter your home is to shove everything into the closets. Bad idea: Anyone who tours your home is going to check out the storage spaces, and disorganized, overstuffed closets only serve as evidence that your home is lacking. Opt instead for a storage unit to house the things you won’t need while your home is on the market. The general rule? Get rid of a third of your stuff. “If you don’t use it every day, store it,” says Justin Seeby, principal at the Graham Seeby Group with Keller Williams Intown Realty in Atlanta, GA. Holiday decorations, baby gear, seasonal clothes, that bread maker you’ve never used — they can all go into storage. Bonus: If you choose a portable unit, it can be transported to your new home, making moving day a cinch.