Craig Della Penna, Realtor®'s Blog
You and your family spend the most time in your living room. This is a great place for conversation, relaxing, and fun. The place where the family gathers often should also be a place of safety and security for everyone. Every nook of the room should be covered from the floors to the furniture to the fireplace. You can improve the safety of your living space without sacrificing on the style of the space. A safe living space is all part of a safe home.
Be Cautious Of Fires
Fire safety should be a top priority when it comes to your living space. Especially if you have young kids or pets in the home, you’ll need to make sure that little hands and paws cannot get anywhere near fireplaces, candles, or burning incense. Accidents can happen in a matter of seconds with these items. Use baby gates to block off certain areas near the fireplace to keep children and pets away. Burn candles in places that are out of the reach of little hands. Also, anything that’s burning should be secured and unable to be knocked over.
Be Mindful Of Cords
Cords sprawled throughout the living room can spell disaster. These can lead to tripping, electrocution risks, and an overall mess. Use clever ways to keep cords organized and out of sight. You can buy cord keeper units at your local hardware store, or you can create your own. All you need is a box with holes to filter the cords through. This will keep tiny hands and paws out of the reach of loose cords
Install Security Systems
Even when you’re home, it can be a good idea to install a security system. You should always have an alarm system installed near the front door of your home, which typically is near your living space. Security systems don’t need to be an eyesore either. There are plenty of systems that actually blend right into your walls, making them an even better choice to hide them from the likes of thieves or intruders. One idea is to hide the alarm system components behind a painting or wall canvas. This is a good security measure for your children too. They won’t have access to the alarm system, so you don’t have to worry about them believing that it is a toy.
Keep furniture out of walking paths in your living space. It can cause problems for young children who are still learning how to control their own movements. Bulky furniture that gets in the way can also cause a hazard for adults too. You don’t want sharp corners or bulky elements that can contribute to trips, falls, and other injuries. Always keep the safety of the very young and older adults in mind.
Hanging baskets add personal enjoyment as well as curb appeal to any home. If you're the creative type, you may prefer to make your own rather than purchase ready-made hanging baskets from home and garden retailers. However, DIY hanging baskets sometimes fail to thrive. The following tips and tricks help ensure that your baskets look and perform their best from spring through fall.
Choose Plants According to Sun/Shade Requirements
Sun-loving plants such as petunias languish and eventually fail to even bloom if placed in areas that don't meet their sun requirements, while shade-lovers such as impatiens and fuchsia may literally burn up if they're exposed to hours of hot sun on a regular basis.
If the sun requirements aren't listed on the tag that comes with the plant, check online or in your favorite encyclopedia-style gardening book and make sure that you select appropriate locations for your baskets. Also, keep in mind that varieties that thrive in shaded locations often do quite well in morning sun
Choose Plants That Bloom All Season
Most annual plants bloom from spring or early summer until frost, so stick with them rather than using perennials for your hanging baskets. You'll have to replace them every spring, but that helps keep things interesting and fun.
Pick Off Spent Blooms
When flowers go to seed, that sends a signal to the plant that it's time to start slowing down on the blooming process and focus its energy on seed production. Picking off spent blooms, or deadheading, helps fools the plant into continuing to produce flowers. Some annual varieties, such as Wave petunias, have been bred to keep producing even after individual blossoms go to seed, so these make good choices for busy homeowners who may not have time to pay meticulous attention to their hanging baskets.
Use Potting Soil Designed to Retain Water
Plants growing in hanging baskets require more watering than their counterparts growing in cultivated flower beds because their roots can't reach down deep to access water sources. Using a potting soil designed to retain water helps hedge their bets against drying out before you can get a chance to water them.
Use Potting Soil With a Slow-Release Fertilizer
Fertilizing hanging baskets with traditional products is tricky — if you apply too much, you run the risk of damaging or even killing the plants, and if you use too little, the fertilizer won't provide the desired benefits. Using potting soil that's infused with a slow-release fertilizer circumvents both of these problems.
Making your own hanging baskets not only saves you a bit of money at the home and garden center, it also helps you avoid the mass-produced look of the majority of ready-made hanging baskets.
If you're in the market for a new home, one of the first things you need to determine is how much of a monthly mortgage payment you can comfortably afford. A loan officer or mortgage broker can help you figure that out, based on your income, debts, and other information.
One thing they probably won't include in the equation is the cost of home maintenance and other essential services, like garbage collection.
Ultimately, it's up to the homeowner to build in enough "breathing room" in their budget to cover unexpected expenses. Although you can't predict exactly what those expenses will be or how much they'll cost, it's virtually guaranteed that they're going to occur. Whether you're planning to buy a new house or a mid-century dwelling, here's the short list of typical homeowner expenses that could crop up. While all these items may not apply directly to your situation, many of them eventually will.
- Plumbing repairs: Leaky pipes, clogged drains, and broken plumbing fixtures are common problems in most homes. You may also need a plumber to fix or install a garbage disposal, repair or replace a hot water heater, or hook up a new refrigerator to your water supply.
- HVAC services: When you combine the cost of semi-annual routine service calls and unexpected emergency repairs, the cost of maintaining your heating and cooling systems can really take a bite out of your household budget!
- Appliance repair: The typical family depends on at least a half a dozen major appliances to prepare meals and keep their clothes and dishes clean. When one or more of those appliances break down, chaos can ensue! In many cases, it's more cost-effective and practical to call a repair service than buy a new appliance.
- Exterminator services: Regardless of whether you live in the city or the country, unexpected and unwelcome insects, rodents, and other miscellaneous varmints can show up in your home and yard. Sometimes it's even necessary to call a wildlife control specialist to remove skunks, raccoons, and other intruders!
- Electrical repairs and upgrades: Although electrical repairs are occasionally needed for safety reasons, most calls to electricians are more routine in nature. However, when light switches, electrical outlets, and ceiling lights stop working, it can be a huge inconvenience for you and your family. In some cases, you might even be desperate enough to pay extra for emergency electrical service on weekends!
- Miscellaneous expenses: Garage door repairs, fireplace cleaning, swimming pool maintenance, deck repairs, rain gutter cleaning, professional carpet cleaning, landscaping, fence repair, home siding repair, and wet basement problems are a few of the many expenses that may require you to dip into your savings or household budget.
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