Showing posts with label home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home. Show all posts

Sunday, July 7, 2019

A Quick Review of Unique Ways to Add Value to Your Home

Unique Ways to Add Value to Your Home

If you're a fan of extreme home décor, you'll want to take a look at the professional designs featured below. There's a link to each in points 1, 2 and 3.

You can hire a decorator or use these designs to inspire your DIY side. Visit each of the three featured professional designs to view the architecture, color combinations and accessories.

1. Professionally Designed Baby Rooms with a Nautical Theme

If you love the crisp, fresh and airy feel of nautical décor, you'll appreciate these four creative designs. One features a boat shaped crib, while the others utilize the walls and floors for the greatest impact. The fourth baby room has a partial seafoam colored wall and soft rustic wood floors. It's my favorite. The space is open, airy and cheerful. The few pops of color use carefully positioned accessories. Check out the baby room designs here.

2. Design an Indoor Playhouse Using the Area Under a Staircase

Whether the staircase is on the main or lower level, that unused area can serve a purpose. Some of the playhouse designs featured at the link below are over-the-top, but they make an excellent addition to the higher use and value of the home itself. If you're lucky enough to know a handy person, use these ideas to inspire your own unique under-the-stairs design. If a playroom isn't practical, design the area for storage, a closet, or a pet house.  Check out the staircase playhouse designs here.

3. Add a Dog Washing/Cleaning Station to Your Home

This particular design will require a renovation. If you're planning to make structural changes to your home consider a dog washing or cleaning station. Some of the designs are extremely elaborate while others are as easy as removing the laundry sink and replacing it with a walk-in or walk-up mini shower. A dog washing station, which also serves other purposes, will add value to your home and best of all is a perk most houses don't have. You'll separate yourself from the crowd with this particular addition. Take a look at several pet washing stations here.

Features in a Home that Buyers Prefer

Home Buyer Must Haves
The above suggestions qualify as perks. Adding any one of them can help to generate a quicker and/or higher price.

Most sellers understand a home must be prepped for sale with neutral color tones. However, neutral doesn't mean lacking in texture and distinctive elements. To secure the undivided attention of a potential buyer, don't hesitate to add textured walls, wainscoting, unique storage ideas, feature walls, or, money permitting, some of the above perks.

If you're renovating before selling, Extraspace.com lists 15 features buyers prefer.

You're more than likely familiar with most of their suggestions; hardwood floors, open concepts, modern kitchens and finished basements.

However, they mention a few less standard ideas such as a full bathroom on the main level and flexible rooms (rooms left to the discretion of the buyer). A full bathroom on the main level is a tremendous idea especially in combination with a main floor guest room. With an aging population and multi-family living, a home with this feature can appeal to several demographics.

Your home is your sanctuary until you decide to sell. You can always change the colors, but it's difficult to change the layout. When renovating, think ahead and renovate wisely.








Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, March 2, 2017

13+ Best House Cleaning Tips to Make Spring Cleaning Easier Than Ever

Best House Cleaning Tips Reviewed


Turn dreaded chore time into not-so-bad time with satisfying, built-in rewards when you use these 13+ best house cleaning tips ever.
Do the words "spring cleaning" make you cringe? Does the mention of "Saturday chores" send your kids into hiding?

Never fear! With the house cleaning tips you'll find below, you'll learn how to turn dreaded chore time into not-so-bad time with satisfying, built-in rewards.

So get comfy as you peruse these 13+ tried and true, best house cleaning tips ever, provided by yours truly and some of my fellow Review This! reviewers.

How to Make Housework Less of a Chore


1. Set the Mood With Music. Listening to upbeat music keeps me groovin' while I'm movin', getting those kitchen chores done! The Temptations didn't sit still and neither do I when I play my favorite Temptations music while I'm cleaning the house or washing the dishes. It's amazing how much housework I get done during the 2 minutes and 45 seconds of "My Girl," cleanin' to the smooth rhythm, singin' along in my private kitchen karaoke.

Music is a great motivator. Why not make a game of it? Can you (or the kids) finish folding the laundry before the last note? See how many pots and pans get washed while "you do the things you do" (don't forget to sing along!). Before you know it, your work will be done and you'll still be smiling and boppin' to the beat. Try it. I think you'll like it!

2. Set a Timer. Imagine this scenario:

Mom: "Come on, kids, it's time to do chores."
Kids: "Oh, boy! We get to use the timer!"

I can't promise you that using timers and other fun tools will make your family excited about doing their chores, but it couldn't hurt. In fact, using minutes as motivation is something that is appealing to me as an adult having to do housework on my own, without the company of my now-grown children. Even adults like to play games, and games make chore time go by a lot faster. While the reward is getting to look around and see floors and tables shiny and clean instead of dusty or dingy and kitchen counters clear instead of cluttered with dirty dishes, the fun can be in the getting it done.

Dustmop slippers make quick work of dog hair and dust bunnies on hard surface floors.
The author's feet in her dustmop slippers.

3.  Use Fun Cleaning Accessories. Wish I would have invented dust mop slippers! They're great for hardwood, laminate, or tile floors and come in various styles with sizes to fit everyone in your family. I've tried them (those are my feet in the picture) and they work great for picking up dog hair and dust bunnies. My fellow reviewer, Barbara Tremblay Cipak, explains more in her review, How To Sweep Your Floor Without Lifting a Finger.




Clean Green! How to Make Housework Environmentally Friendly


4. Make Your Own Cleaning Products. Okay, so housework can't be all fun and games. If you're seriously concerned about cleaning with chemicals, make it a point to learn how to use "green" methods to clean all of the surfaces in your home, from floors to countertops and even clothing. Learning what's in the products that you use will really help push you along the road to getting those toxic cleaners out of the house for good!

When it comes to using chemicals and household cleansers, it's important to know what you're handling and to keep your family safe. One way to do that is with homemade cleaning products. For my favorite solution, read Best Homemade Tub and Shower Cleaner Recipe (http://www.lifeinout.com/2017/02/best-homemade-tub-and-shower-cleaner.html).

5. Use White Vinegar For Cleaning. In addition to my two-ingredient homemade bathtub cleaner, don't miss Bev Owens' White Vinegar for Cleaning Review for more ways to use this old-fashioned but very effective one-ingredient product that you probably already have in your kitchen.


Use the Right Tool For the Cleaning Job


6. "Honey, Where Did You Put The Extension Cord?" One of the best (though fairly obvious) pieces of advice I've ever heard about cleaning is to make sure the vacuum cleaner has a long cord, even if you have to use an extension cord, and plug it into an outlet in a central location. I used to have to stop and unplug and re-plug the sweeper halfway up the stairs. Is that silly, or what? When I discovered that I could just use the plug at the foot of the stairs and it would get me through three rooms and all the way up the stairs, well I wish I had a dollar for every time I didn't have to unplug and re-plug from then on!

My bObi Pet robotic vacuum cleaner speeds off to clean under the bed.
"Bobi" speeds off to clean under the bed.
That's part of what I mean by using the proper tool. Of course if you have a robotic vacuum cleaner (I love my new bObi Pet robotic vacuum cleaner), the cord might not be the issue. Another tool that I finally bought was a handheld vacuum cleaner for the furniture. I have lots of attachments for my upright, but to use them I'd have to get the long hose and add it to the short hose and find the furniture attachment. . . Forget all that. Now I have a wonderful handheld vacuum that I can use for all the furniture without lugging accessories around. This very affordable investment was a no-brainer.

7. Toilet Tools. Another excellent tip that I've learned is to have a set of cleaning tools and cleaner in every bathroom and on every floor of the house. There's no reason to run downstairs for the toilet bowl cleaner when you have a second bottle in the upstairs bathroom. A variation on the theme is to use a handy-dandy tote for your cleaning products and carry them from room to room as you clean. That works well, too. The cleaning tote is an excellent tool, just as important as what's inside.

I also keep a roll of paper towels in every bathroom, handy for quick wipe-ups when I just want to throw away the towel and not wash and reuse it. I actually like that better than keeping the roll in the tote since they're always right there when I need them (or when the cat throws up on the bathroom floor).

8. Cleaning Furniture. In recent years, microfiber fabrics have become popular for everything from clothing to furniture. Furniture upholstered in microfiber is comfy,  attractive and, actually, fairly easy to keep clean. Don't put off what you might think is a major chore. Read my article on Cleaning Microfiber to learn how to clean yours.

9. What's Better Than Microfiber? It's easy to find cleaning cloths made from microfiber, but my preference is a cloth with an even finer weave, something called Mirafiber. I use it for everything from cleaning mirrors and dusting the television and computer screens, to cleaning the kitchen appliances and the bathroom sink. Read my Review This! article, Best Cleaning Cloth? The Ultimate Cloth, to learn why I recommend it.

10. Cleaning Hard-to-Reach Places. Once again, reviewer Bev Owens comes to our rescue with a helpful review of one of her favorite cleaning tools in Review of a Telescoping Corner Broom.

11. Cleaning Grout. Some cleaning jobs are more challenging than others and when it comes to cleaning grout, sometimes you need to go the extra mile. If your grout situation has you stymied and you want a solution that will really work, Barbara provides information on the products and methods that her family used to successfully tackle their grout in her article, How to Successfully Clean Grout.


More of the Best House Cleaning Tips Reviewed


12. Got Kids? Review This! contributor Wednesday Elf has put together a compilation of house cleaning tips and tricks that are especially useful for people with kids. But don't take my word for it. Click through to read her A Review of Spring Cleaning Tips to learn more.

13. One Last Best Tip.  If you need help with housework, especially the big jobs, hiring a local pro or handy-person can be a very worthwhile splurge. To find help with house cleaning, yard and outdoor chores, window or carpet cleaning, floor refinishing and more, check out the new Home Services department from Amazon. While many services are only available in select cities, one of those locations might be near you and pros are being added to the service providers every day. Services are described in detail and price is determined up front based on your needs. It's easy to request a no-obligation estimate. Just use the link above or click on the graphic below.




Really, doing chores isn't so bad when you incorporate tried and true house cleaning tips such as these in your daily, weekly, or seasonal cleaning routine. So tell me, did you learn anything new here? Which tip is your favorite?

Happy Spring cleaning!


~Susan
Read more of my reviews.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, December 1, 2016

1byone Wireless Driveway Alarm Review

Let me tell you about the 1byone Wireless Driveway Alarm that we own and highly recommend to help keep individuals and families safe.

Give the Gift of Home Security for Less Than $20

A few years ago at Christmas, one of our thoughtful sons gave us the gift of a 1byone Wireless Driveway Alarm. Having lived here with us for most of his life, he was well aware that sometimes visitors made it all the way to the porch before we had any idea there was someone walking or even driving down our long, rather secluded driveway. What a great gift idea!

After using the alarm for just a short time, not only were we glad we had it, we knew that we never wanted to be without it. Let me tell you about this wireless driveway alarm that we still own, use every day, and highly recommend.

The brand name of the unit we own is 1byone (one by one) and the cost for the motion sensor detector and the receiver system is less than twenty dollars (currently $15.99 as I type this, price subject to change). Even adding the cost of the batteries needed to power the unit, the word "cheap" comes to mind, but I don't want to give you the idea that this is an inferior product as it certainly is not.

How Does the 1byone Wireless Driveway Alarm Work?


The driveway alarm's weatherproof motion sensor uses passive-infrared (PIR) technology. | ReviewThisReviews.com
On the left is a photo of the weatherproof motion sensor with its passive-infrared (PIR) technology mounted on a tree partway down our long driveway. When a car comes down the driveway, the unit senses both a change in temperature and motion, the light on the unit flashes as it sends a signal to the receiver inside the house, and both the alarm and the light on our unit give us a signal that we should take a look outside to see who or what has set off the alarm.

The driveway alarm's receiver with settings on the sides. | ReviewThisReviews.com
On the right are pictures of the receiver which we keep in a convenient spot on a counter where we can both see it and hear it. The unit is on and, as you can see in the photo on the bottom right, is set in the low volume chime mode. Trust me, "low" is plenty loud enough that we can hear it throughout our entire house. If we used the receiver outdoors, for instance if we moved it to the back porch while we were working in the garden, we might set it to make more noise. In some situations, we might turn off the audible signal altogether and just use the light.

In our situation, one sensor for the driveway and one receiver for the house are all we need. However, the device is expandable so that, if you have more than one driveway or area to cover, you can add on multiple sensors and/or receivers. One reviewer uses a set indoors, with the sensor in a child's bedroom and the receiver in the parents' room, so that they can tell if their toddler gets up during the night. Another reviewer uses a set by the back door so he'll know when the dogs are at the door, ready to come back in for the night. With some creative thinking, perhaps you'll come up with even more great ideas on where to set up your driveway alarm system even if you don't have a driveway!

How Long Will This Inexpensive Alarm System Last?


We received our driveway alarm three years ago and it worked perfectly until about six months ago when, thanks to squirrels (we think), the outside unit became undependable. Rather than replacing just the sensor, I simply ordered an entire new system. As for battery life, we have changed the batteries about once a year.

What About False Alarms From the Motion Detector?


Yes, we occasionally get false alarms. Our sensor is mounted on an oak tree and deer love to eat acorns, so recently, as the acorn crop was plentiful this year, visiting deer set off the alarm on a regular basis. We are aware that deer cross our driveway frequently, so we take that into consideration when checking outside after the alarm sounds. We occasionally notice squirrels in the area, too, and occasionally a neighborhood dog passes by. Neither set off the alarm often enough that we complain. An occasional false alarm from our wildlife neighbors is expected and we're fine with that.

Heat is another factor that affects the sensor and can cause false alarms. It is advised that you don't install the sensor in an area that gets direct sunlight, including near a window that absorbs heat that might set off the alarm.

Occasionally, on a particularly windy day, we turn off the alarm to avoid false alarms from blowing leaves or tree limbs. Living in a wooded area, that is just a factor we have to consider and work around.

Would You Buy This Driveway Alarm Again?


Overall, I'd rather have occasional false alarms than not have the driveway alarm. I've come to depend on it when expecting visitors and, especially, when unexpected visitors or delivery drivers arrive.

I like to know anytime someone is coming or going and since I can't watch outside all the time, and because our trusty watchdog isn't always on duty (lots of naps, you know), I am thankful that the 1byone Wireless Driveway Alarm is always on the job.

So yes, I would buy it again and I definitely recommend it to others who care about keeping themselves and their loved ones safe.

P.S. Just a reminder that a driveway alarm system would make a wonderful gift for someone whose safety you care about. This is one of the most thoughtful gifts we've ever received. 

~Susan
Read more of my reviews.
Read even more great product reviews at ReviewThisProductReviews.com


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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