Monthly Archives: April 2015

  • Weekend Warrior: Beginner Bathroom Makeover

    Transforming an outdated and ugly bathroom does not require unlimited time, or even an unlimited budget. The average range of a bathroom renovation is  $8,000 - $12,000. That being said, individuals can make cost effective minor changes to give an old bathroom a much-needed facelift. No need for ripping up tiles, doing demo work, or hiring a professional. Here are some ideas that can be done over the course of a weekend to help update any bathroom: Bathroom

    Switch out the mirror. Check out yard sales in the neighborhood or use a mirror from another room in the house. Add some flare by painting the borders or adding new molding.

    Replace the shower curtain. While focusing on the shower curtain, make sure to replace the liner. The liner can be used as a paint drop cloth in the future. Choosing a shower curtain is a big deal from a design perspective because it affects the look of the entire bathroom.  Based on the ultimate style that you are trying to achieve, shower curtains can range from minimalist to shabby chic.

    Add a coat of paint. Using the old liner mentioned above, prepare the bathroom walls for a fresh look. A new color can change the look of an entire bathroom. Cabinets can be painted to hide old marks or scratches. When choosing a color (or colors) for the bathroom, test out a few samples. Darker colors tend to make a room look smaller, while lighter colors create the illusion of a larger space.

    Scrub away mold from tiles and grout. You can use bleach, borax, vinegar, or ammonia to scrub away dirty mold and mildew from the tiles in and around your bathtub. Once clean, your bathroom will look even more pristine. When dealing with highly toxic cleaning liquids, just be sure to wear safety masks, which can be purchased at

    Replace your bathmat. You can get so used to your bathroom mat that you don’t realize how dirty or worn out it has become. Consider implementing rag rugs and even small kitchen rugs for a new twist.

  • A Clean Slate: Restoring Dignity to your Garage

    Cleaning out your garage might seem like an impossible task. It's daunting to throw out all of the junk that has accumulated over the years. But, what if there are valuables hidden in your heaps of stuff? Don’t be a hoarder. It's time to clean the clutter and restore your garage to its former glory.

    A Clean Slate Infographic
  • Safety and Sanitation: Prevent Cross Contamination in the Kitchen

    Safety in the kitchen is not limited to securing sharp or hot objects. Cross contamination can result from foodborne illness and food poisoning. Cross contamination occurs when bacteria is transferred from one food to another. This transfer can occur while grocery shopping. It can also occur when transporting, storing, or preparing food. Items that are not stored or cooked properly can allow bacteria to grow in food, making individuals who eat the food susceptible to sickness. People who have a compromised immune system are especially at risk for foodborne illness. Kitchen

    One of the most common cross contamination scenarios is when bacteria from meat leaks onto produce that will be eaten uncooked, such as lettuce. In addition, bacteria can be commonly transferred from a cutting board, counter surface, or a person’s hand.

    To prevent cross contamination when shopping:

    • Separate meats, poultry, and seafood from other items in the grocery cart.
    • Place the above-mentioned foods in clear plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping onto other foods.
    • Pass meats, poultry, and seafood on the checkout counter after all other items.

    When packing food in the refrigerator:

    • Keep eggs in their original carton and refrigerate as soon as possible.
    • Place raw meats, poultry, and seafood in containers or sealed plastic bags to prevent the juices from contaminating other foods.

    When cooking food:

    • Wash hands regularly. Use soap and hot water before and after handling the food. Always wash your hands after using the restroom, handling pets, and changing diapers.
    • Wash kitchen surfaces regularly. Use hot, soapy water to wipe kitchen surfaces and any spills that occur. If you use cloth wipes instead of paper towels, you should wash the cloths often in hot water.
    • Dishes, cutting boards, and counter tops should be washed with soapy water after preparing one item, before moving on to another item. Make sure to keep a stash of utility scrub brushes from handy for cleaning purposes.
    • If possible, keep a separate cutting board for fresh produce.
    • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables in running tap water to remove visible dirt and grime.
    • Discard the outer leaves of lettuce and cabbage.

    When serving food:

    • Use clean dishes.
    • Do not place cooked food on a surface that previously held raw food.
  • Safety: Home Security for Seniors

    Aging is a natural part of life. It’s understandable that seniors may face challenges doing things around the house as they get older. More and more individuals are opting to remain in their homes instead of moving to assisted-living facilities, because they feel comfortable in a familiar environment. Fortunately, it is possible to make a home safe for seniors without a huge budget or time commitment. Here are factors to consider when getting started: Senior Citizen

    • Make sure all fire-escape routes are clearly marked, even if that means sticking neon-colored tape against the floors or walls. Alternatively, you could use bright paint to indicate a way out in case of an emergency.
    • Install smoke alarms on every floor, changing batteries regularly.
    • Install a video system that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. With this, seniors can monitor the house without having to walk to every room.
    • Add more lights to the house, especially near stairways, porches, and outside walkways. Purchase a portable lantern from that will allow seniors to feel more safe and confident as they move around the house.
    • Replace doorknobs and faucets with lever handles, so they can be turned with the entire hand instead of a few fingers.
    • Get rid of throw rugs and other clutter on the floor.
    • Remove raised doorway thresholds.
    • Place rubber tips on walkers and canes.
    • Add handrails to stairways.
    • Install grab handles in the bathroom.
    • Use nonskid mats inside and outside the tub, and near the toilet and sink.
    • Add a shower chair or bath bench.
    • Consider installing a curbless shower, which will eliminate the need to step up and over.
    • Raise the toilet a few inches.
    • Use the lower shelves in the kitchen to stock food and supplies.
    • Purchase a reaching device so items that are too high up can be accessed easily.
    • Rearrange furniture to allow seniors to move around freely and reduce the risk of falling. Discard unstable furniture such as chairs with broken legs.
    • Set up a communication system that will allow seniors to get help or trigger an alarm with the push of one button.
    • Throw away unused or expired medication. Label all new prescriptions in large, bold print that is easy to read.
    • Remove doors to facilitate use and movement of wheelchairs or walkers.
    • Install a ramp at the entrance of the house so that seniors can avoid climbing stairs.
  • Safety: Tips to Prevent Burglary

    A home burglary can mean the loss of thousands of dollars worth of electronics, jewelry, and other cherished items. It can also mean the loss of security and peace of mind in the home. While all individuals don’t require an expensive, high-tech alarm system for their properties, a few well-placed locks and security devices can go a long way. Reduce the risk of falling victim to a burglary by employing one, some, or all of the following tips:


    Locks Doors and Windows: While it may seem obvious, many individuals forget or simply neglect to lock doors and windows when leaving the house for short or extended periods of time. Even when at home, keeping doors locked can prevent home invasion situations. Almost 25% of break-ins occur through first-floor windows. There are a handful of wireless alarm kits on the market that will sound if a door or window is opened. Most of these kits cost around $25.

    Make The Landscape Work For You: Thorny rose bushes strategically placed under windows are not appealing for burglars. Robbers may think twice about choosing your home as a target. Ensure all bushes and hedges are trimmed regularly with shears from to eliminate a place where thieves can hide while scoping out the property. Utilizing gravel or loose stones around the house can alert you (or a dog) if someone is approaching the house. Motion-activated security lights near grade-level windows or entrances can also help to expose burglars.

    Do Not Put Valuables on Display: If passersby can see the 50-inch flat-screen TV from the sidewalk, rearrange your living room layout. Ensure that valuable items are hidden to reduce that chance of becoming a break-in victim. Invest in privacy curtains so that items in your house can be hidden during the workday. During holiday seasons, keep both wrapped and unwrapped gifts away from windows.

    Invest in Double Key Deadbolts: About 35% of thieves enter homes through the front door. Double key deadbolts require a key not only to enter, but to exit as well. Therefore if someone breaks in through the front door, they will have an extremely difficult time getting out. They would have to break the door down and cause negative attention.

    Make the House Appear Occupied: When going out of town, set up a timer for lights, the radio, and even the TV. As an alternative, ask trusted neighbors, friends, or family members to stop by at various times to pick up mail, flyers, and other boxes that may stack up outside the front door while you are away.

    Other Simple Tips:

    • Keep the garage door closed and locked when not in use.
    • Arrange for the lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended period of time.
    • Keep lawn mowers, barbeques, and bicycles out of sight.
    • If there is no security system for the house, stick a security sign in the front lawn to deter burglars.
    • If you have a security system, make a habit of using it.
  • Handyman Help: Keep the Handyman Workshop Clean

    Well-organized workshops are a dream for serious handymen. But once DIY projects start piling up, it can be hard to keep a workspace in proper order. Stray nails, tools, and random items from around the house create clutter, leaving the space unappealing and messy. An orderly space promotes efficiency and saves time because it eliminates the need to look through a dozen different places to find the necessary tools for a project. Workshop

    The first thing to do when it comes to getting a workshop back in good working order is to group your most utilized items based on frequency and size. Once this is done, taking care of the mess is a must – address the mess early on in the process. De-clutter the worktable, review which items you actually need versus what you can toss or donate, and divide the workshop into smaller sections, to make the clearing out process more manageable.

    Create a storage system. This is a step where those DIY handyman skills can come in handy, in terms of creativity. Some individuals may want to build colored drawers, while others may opt for numbered bins. Come up with an overall theme for the workshop, to give it a unified look.

    Maximize the space by adorning the walls and ceiling with wall hooks, pegboards, chicken wire, and freestanding shelves. If the workshop is in the basement, the space under the stairs should be used as storage.

    Once the workshop has been cleared out and organized, make a regular practice of clearing up the clutter at the end of the day, to avoid small messes that can build up over time. Store frequently used items near the worktable so they aren’t left out all night.

    Other tidy tips include:

    • Using old socks to keep safety goggles safe.
    • Washing safety glasses in the dishwasher to remove grime after a messy project.
    • Instead of shelf liner, cut a nonslip rug mat to fit into any drawer to keep tools in place.
    • Place foam carpet pad on the floor to make standing more comfortable.

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