How to Use Carpet Remnants

If you recently put carpet in your home and you have carpet remnants you’re not sure what to do with, we have six different solutions for you:

  1. Move furniture: Sure, you can buy little stickers to put on the bottom of furniture when you move it around, but instead of buying cheap stickers that may end of scratching your floors, you can use a square of carpet underneath and move it around that way.
  1. Cushion your knees: Whether you’re kneeling on the ground when gardening or you’re working on hardwood floors or cleaning the floors, take a carpet remnant, fold it over and kneel on it so it’s not so hard on your knees.
  1. Scratching post: If you have a cat that scratches your furniture, use leftover carpet remnants to create a scratching post.
  1. Muffle noises: Do you have a laundry set that makes a lot of thumping noises when it’s running its cycle? Place carpet squares underneath the set to drown out the sound.
  1. Create an exercise mat: If you have a large, excess amount of carpet remnants, cut out about 3 feet of the carpet and roll it up for when you’re not using it.
  1. Car mats: To keep your car clean, you can use carpet remnants to put on the floors of your car to keep dirt from spreading or to keep your feet comfortable while driving.

Do you have other tips on how to use carpet remnants in your home? Share with us in the comment section below!

© Can Stock Photo / popovaphoto

Decorating Your Home for Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner and we want to make sure that you have all the essentials to get your home in the spirit for the best holiday in October! Here are a few tips on how to decorate your home for Halloween:

 (c) Can Stock Photo

  • Front porch: Sprinkle Halloween on your front porch with pumpkins that have either been carved, painted or anything else creative you can think of. You can also decorate your front porch with straw hay that’s bundled together with themed Halloween ribbon.
  • Doors: Decorate your doors with Halloween themed wreaths. You can make your own wreath with your favorite ribbon, pumpkins, spiders or anything else that fits your decorating needs. You can also buy Halloween wreaths at your nearest craft store.
  • Windows: Place Halloween themed window clings on your windows, create silhouettes to hang in your windows, or if you really love Halloween, you could hang window treatments to really get your home in the spirit!
  •  Entry-Way: When trick-or-treaters arrive at your doorstep, you want to make sure they see the fun decorations you have for Halloween. You can set up a cauldron with a fog machine inside the pot, witches’ shoes, dimly lit electric candles or tall pillar candles.
  • Inside Your Home: Strategically place candles or fake skulls that you got from a Halloween store around your home. Add fake frogs or eyeballs in jars to really get into Halloween or dress up your walls with “spooky” paintings or spider webs.

Do you have other tips on how to decorate your home for Halloween? Share with us in the comment section below!

Deep Cleaning Your Home On Moving Day

Getting ready to move into a new place? Getting your new place ready is more than moving boxes and placing everything how you want to, you also should have a fresh and clean home to move into on that special day. Here are tips for you to deep clean your new home on moving day:

  • Start in the bathrooms: First step is to replace the toilet seat covers. Then you’ll want to clean behind the toilets, clean out the shelves of the medicine cabinets (if there are any), and make sure you give the bathtub and shower a good scrub down.
  • On to the kitchen: Remove the top knobs of your stove and give it a deep clean. Then, wipe down the counters, kitchen appliances and inside the refrigerator. If your oven doesn’t have a self-cleaning feature, you’ll also want to wipe out the oven. The biggest part of cleaning the kitchen is cleaning out the cabinets. Wipe down the shelves and drawers, and if you’re considering using a liner, this would be the time to put those in.
  • Wash the walls: If you’re going to do this, make sure you are using a safe cleaner for that particular surface. And don’t ignore the molding along the tops and corners of the wall.
  • Dust: Dust doorknobs, light fixtures, tops of the doors, window sills and anything else you can think of. The last thing you want in your home is a place covered in dust mites.
  • Wash windows: When you’re washing windows, don’t forget the window panes and screens that are notorious for catching dirt.
  • Carpets: Before you move in your furniture, you’ll want to give your carpets a fresh, clean scrub down. You can do this yourself by renting a steam cleaner or paying a professional carpet cleaning service to do the work for you.
  • Vinyl or tile floors: Sweep up and mop down those floors, getting in between the nooks and crannies to make sure they are spick and span.
  • Hardwood floors: Use a cleaner that is designed to clean hardwood floors. Each wood grain is different, so use something specific to your flooring. Avoid using wax, oil, ammonia, cleaner that is silicone-based, as well as water.

Do you have other tips on how deep clean your home on moving day? Share with us in the comment section below!

Fall Decorating Tips for Your Home

Happy first day of fall! What better way to welcome the season than with cooler temperatures, hot apple cider by the fire and, of course, fall-themed décor. With these decorating tips, your home will be autumn ready:

  • Bring the outdoors to your front door: Decorate your front door with a fall wreath made with fall foliage you’ve picked yourself or purchased at a craft store, adorn the steps with pumpkins and gourds, or put together a flower arrangement.
  • Rustic charm with firewood: Firewood isn’t meant for only making your home warm. You can also use it as stand to hold other decorations in place or as a serving platter—get creative! Make sure you clear off small twigs and branches, and brush off and bugs or spiders before bringing the wood inside.
  • Fresh flowers: Sunflowers, mums, chrysanthemums, and many more fall flowers are ready and waiting to be arranged into something beautiful. Use a vase or make your own to add a little floral charm to your fall-themed home.
  • Fall hues: No need to repaint your furniture, but if you can bring in some accessories colors such as a deep red, a bright orange or a golden yellow to get your home in the spirit of fall.
  • Candles: Fill up hurricanes or lanterns with fall-themed décor such as acorns, coffee beans or candy corn. Make sure the candle doesn’t burn below the filler.
  • Make over your mantel: Get creative with your mantel. String fall foliage across your mantel. You can also decorate it with miniature pumpkins or a vase filled with decorative branches.

Do you have other tips for decorating your home for the fall? Share with us in the comment section below!


 (c) Can Stock Photo

How to Throw A Great Labor Day Party

What better way to celebrate the end of summer than with a Labor Day party? Whether you’re having an outdoor barbecue with friends and family or your shindig is going to be inside, here are some tips to help you throw a memorable get together.

  • Test out recipes: If you’ve been itching to try that appetizer recipe on Pinterest, your Labor Day party would be the perfect time to test it out. Let your guests be food critics for the day and try some awesome recipes.
  •  Play games: Whether you’re partial to a jumbo-sized version of Jenga, Twister, cornhole, or a simple baseball and glove, it doesn’t matter. Get outside and have a blast with friends and family while doing something active. Encourage guests to bring any other games they think would be fun to have at your party, as well. 
  • Decorate with a theme: The typical go-to for a Labor Day party is a patriotic theme. However, if you’re celebrating going back to school or want to throw a beach party to relive the beginning of summer, you’ll want to decorate accordingly.
  •  Invitations: Get creative with fun DIY invitations or send out a simple online invitation. Don’t forget to add an RSVP date so you can keep yourself organized. 
  • Ask for help: Don’t feel like you have to do everything yourself. Let your guests bring different food or games. That way the pressure is off you to do everything and you can relax.

 We hope you have a great Labor Day weekend! Do you have any other tips on how to throw a great Labor Day party? Share with us in the comment section below!


The Best Wood Stains for Your Patio

Summer is getting ready to make its exit, but because of the sunshine and rain’s effect on your wooden patio, it’s important to consider some maintenance and care to keep the natural look all year long.

Wood stains come in three different varieties—clear, which will show off more of the grain and natural look of the wood; solid, which covers the wood completely; and semi-transparent, which is a mixture of both a solid and a clear stain.

If you’re looking to freshen up your patio, these Consumer Reports top-rated wood stains might be what you’re looking for:

This clear wood stain provides strength and protection from mildew and UV ray damage. The formula is water based, so it’s easy to clean up. Best of all, it’s a one day project, so you can apply to damp or dry wood in just one coat and go on with the rest of your day.

If a solid stain for your deck is what fits your style, this 100 percent acrylic formula seals out water and protects from UV ray damage. This wood stain can be used to prepare new to heavily weathered or cracking wood stains.

If you fall in the middle and want a wood stain that’s semi-transparent, this product also had high ratings from Consumer Reports. The formula for this wood stain is also acrylic, seals out water and protects from UV ray damage. You can use it on properly prepared new to moderately weathered, unsealed exterior wood surfaces.

What qualities do you look for in a wood stain? Let us know in the comments!

Staying on Top of Home Maintenance Tasks

Keeping up-to-date on your home’s maintenance is important to save you money and headaches later on. Here’s a good list of regular maintenance tasks to help you get started:

  • Inspect HVAC filters and change them if necessary. Depending on the size of your family and whether or not you have pets, you may need to change filters every month or as infrequently as every three months.
  • Inspect your fire extinguishers once a month. Make sure it’s in an easy to reach place, there is enough pressure in the extinguisher and that it still looks like it’s in good condition.
  • Clean your garbage disposal at least monthly. Make “ice” cubes out of a 75/25 mix of white vinegar and water (make sure to label them clearly while they are freezing!). Turn on the disposal and throw in some of the cubes. Follow up with lemon slices to clean and deodorize the disposal.
  • Clean the range hood filters at least every other month, depending on how often you cook. Use degreaser from an auto parts store mixed with hot water. Let it soak for a few minutes and then rinse.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly. Replace the batteries immediately if necessary.
  • Deep clean the house in the spring and the fall.
  • Vacuum your refrigerator coils to keep it running smoothly. At least once a year should help!
  • Inspect your exterior in spring to check for any damage it’s suffered during the winter. Check gutters, roofing, trees, siding, drainage, window screens, pavements and any other potential areas that might cause you trouble down the road.
  • Service your air conditioner in late spring to make sure it’s ready for the summer heat!
  • Check on water pressure in faucets and toilets, and look for any potential leaks to prevent larger (and more costly) problems from appearing later.
  • Clean out your dryer vents and other exhaust vents at least once a year to prevent fire hazards.
  • Get your home ready for winter with this fall maintenance list!

Homeowners, what else would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

Decorating Your Home for Summer

Make your home into a summersummer oasis with these decorating tips:

  1. Swap out heavier drapes for sheers that flow in the breeze.
  2. Add pops of color with pillows, lampshades, artwork, dishes and flowers to make a space more cheerful for summer.
  3. Empty out your fireplace – You won’t be needing it for a while! Get rid of any remaining wood and ash, and fill the space up with candles, books or other collection of items you love.
  4. Create vignettes with beachy-décor such as seashells, flowers, sand and anything else that reminds you of summer.
  5. Paint furniture. Go with either a bright pop of color or white/ similar light color to make a room feel airier.
  6. Build or buy a fire pit for your backyard to make s’mores and to snuggle up to during long summer nights!
  7. If you have a canopy bed, add gauzy white panels to make the room feel like a summer getaway.
  8. Create the perfect napping nook outside with a hammock, day bed or a lounge chair with lots of pillows.
  9. Make your outdoor sitting feel casual and inviting by using benches instead of chairs. Bonus feature – you can fit more people around the table this way!
  10. Lighten up your rooms by clearing out clutter and stowing away heavy fabrics and throws. Swap out darker decorations or furniture for lighter pieces.
  11. Bring the outdoors inside! Fill your home up with a variety of plants – big flowing plants, succulents, flowers – whatever brings you joy!
  12. Add lights outside to get the most out of the summer nights. For some great ambience, use strings of paper lanterns, bulbs, or even white Christmas lights in a pinch.
  13. Swap out textures. Use natural, breathable fabrics like linen to make rooms more comfortable and summer-like.

What else would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments!

Laminate Flooring Maintenance

Laminate flooring is great choice due to its affordable pricing and durability. Taking care of your laminate flooring is important, and luckily for you, it’s also easy if you follow these rules.

  • Wipe up spills immediately.
  • Never use a vacuum cleaner with a beater bar because it could damage and scratch the finish.
  • Use protective pads under furniture.
  • Avoid waxes, varnishes, polishes, shine enhancers and other products not designed for laminate floors, as they can leave a residue on your floors.
  • Place mats at entry points to the house to decrease the amount of dirt and other substances being tracked in onto the laminate.
  • Avoid mopping with traditional string mops. Instead, opt for microfiber clothes that require far less water. This is important because using too much water or letting water stand on laminate floors can warp the boards.
  • If you have a pet, keep its nails trimmed to prevent them from scratching the floors.
  • Remove high heels before walking on laminate flooring, otherwise you risk dents and scratches.

When in doubt, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use products designed for use on laminate floors. If you have questions about caring for your laminate floors, give us a call or stop into any of our locations today!

Staging Your Home to Sell

Staging© Can Stock Photo your home is key to getting buyers interested in your home and successfully selling it. While you can hire a professional to stage your home, you can actually do many of the things yourself. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Eliminate clutter – Buyers want to be able to visualize themselves living in your home and that’s hard to do when you’re surrounded by clutter.
  2. Clean – Your home should be white-glove clean, especially in areas like kitchens and bathrooms where dirtiness or mess is more likely to turn off buyers.
  3. Update your flooring – If your flooring is stained or scratched, it needs to be updated.
  4. Stick to neutral colors – Color palettes should be neutral unless you live in an area where you know buyers are looking for more color. Take care to make sure color doesn’t make the room appear smaller if you do choose to use color. Painting is an easy fix in main rooms to give buyers a blank slate to imagine themselves living there.
  5. In the kitchen – If you have a larger staging budget and your kitchen is a bit dated, update appliances, countertops and light fixtures. Old cabinets can be stained or painted and given updated hardware.
  6. Brighten up – Make rooms feel larger and more welcoming by opening window coverings, painting walls a light color and utilizing artificial lighting where necessary.
  7. Furniture – Move furniture around to maximize your spaces and complete rooms.
  8. In the bathrooms – Clean every corner of the bathroom, remembering vent fans, grout lines and other places where dirt and dust gather. If you have a larger budget, update tile, vanities and tubs if they are outdated or dingy.
  9. Updated curb appeal – The outside of your home is the first impression buyers will have of it so it’s important that it’s in good shape. Make sure the porch area is clean and that any landscaping is properly maintained. Paint over any peeling exterior paint and update outdated fixtures. Consider adding little touches to make your home feel more welcoming like floor mats, potted plants and wreathes.
  10. Closets – It might be tempting to shove things out of sight into a closet to make your home appear more organized, but buyers will want to see what kind of storage space is available and they will likely take a peak in all the closets, so make sure they’re organized!

Your home’s age and the number of renovations you’ve completed since living there are factors to consider when you’re determining which of these steps you need to take. You might not need to do anything, but it’s also possible that a more intensive overhaul might be in order. Your realtor should be able to lead you in the right direction if you aren’t sure.