Giving Your Home an MOT

When we first move into a new home, we spend a long time getting the décor just right, making improvements and changing the home to suit our needs and tastes. Then, aside from the odd repair, improvement or replacement, we mostly leave it alone. This is fine; sometimes, it’s nice to simply enjoy our homes as they are, without planning the next phase of changes. You certainly wouldn’t want to spend your life constantly decorating and living in disarray.

But, this means that our homes can quickly become tired and dated, not to mention inefficient and wasteful. We spend a lot of time at home, cooking, cleaning, eating, entertaining and generally living. If you’ve got kids or pets, things can wear out and become dirty or broken even more quickly. So, once a year it’s a good idea to give your home an MOT, just like you would your car. Use this as an opportunity to check that it’s still in good condition, that you’re not wasting money on your utilities and that everything is working at its best. Performing these checks and making a few small changes once a year could save you vast amounts of money, by spotting problems before they become expensive to repair or replace. More importantly, however, they could keep your home and the people in it safe and happy. Here are a few of the things that you should add to your home MOT checklist.

 

Outside Areas

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It’s always a good idea to start with the first thing that you see. In the case of your home, it’s the front garden and entrance. Doing your outdoor areas first also means that you don’t need to worry about walking mud and dirt into your newly refreshed home. Nor will you have to carry any gardening equipment through.

So, start by taking a good look at the outside of your home. Start at the top. Roof tiles can become damaged over time by weather damage and sunlight. A leaky roof can be expensive to repair, as well as leaving you with a cold and damp home. If you’re not comfortable checking your roof yourself, hire a roofer to help.

The next step is your guttering. This can also become blocked and damaged over time and should be cleaned out regularly to prevent trapped water seeping into the bricks of your home and causing expensive to repair damage to its structure.  Again, if you’re not comfortable getting up there yourself, hire help.

Continue working down your home by getting your windows cleaned and checking that the seals are all clean and undamaged. Replace any that need it. Then, all that is left in your door and gardens or drive. Your door is your homes best defence from burglars and unwanted guests, so make sure that it is safe and secure, as well as undamaged, just like your windows.

When it comes to the garden, a good clean up should be your first step so that you know where you stand. Then, take a good look around. Do you need to spend some time removing weeds? Or replanting? If you’ve got a pond or pool, check the PH levels of the water and give it a good clean.

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Matt Damon Is Right – We Should Downsize!

Matt Damon is a legend for a reason. He’s one of the youngest Oscar winners ever. He’s famed for his persona and personality. And, in 2015, he survived on Mars for months by farming potatoes. More recently, he starred in a film called Downsizing. Apart from being another Damon triumph, the movie has lots of parallels with modern life.

Let’s face it – who doesn’t want to downsize? Life can be hectic at times, especially for families. Sometimes, it’s better to have a small amount of quality than a great deal of quantity. In today’s society, it’s a theory that’s difficult to remember but Downsizing does it perfectly.

So, with that movie firmly in mind, let’s apply it to the home. A person’s house should be their castle, but a fortress is far too big. Here’s how to minimize it and everything else on your property.

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Simple Floor Plans

Walking through a modern living room is like trying to get out of a maze. It’s impossible to head in a straight line and find an exit. The reason, aside from the clutter, is the complicated layout. To try and mix feng shui and natural elements, homeowners scatter furniture and accessories all over the house. Minimalist houses are much less complex and far easier to navigate. Why? It’s because these properties stack belongings on top of one another to create extra space. A coffee table with a lamp is a prime example and one to keep in mind. Bookcases and high shelves also work wonders. Items that double as storage are fantastic space-savers, too, as are minimal walls.

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Add Warmth To Your Home This Winter

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Winter is now upon us, and at this time of year many people want to add warmth to their home – often in the form of soft cosy fabrics that transforms the interior from feeling like a cold house into a warm and inviting home that makes them feel cosy and protected from the bad weather.  There is, of course, a balance in terms of saving energy, as energy bills can spiral out of control at this time of year.

This article therefore explores four simple things you can do this winter to ensure your house feels cosy throughout winter, from an aesthetic perspective, that doesn’t involve increasing your thermostat.

CHOOSE YOUR COLOURS CAREFULLY

If you want to add a feeling of warmth and cosiness to your home, then you need to choose warm colours, such as those associated with fire.  The reds, yellows, oranges, and certain shades of purple bring instant warmth – whereas cooling colours such as blues and greens take warmth away.

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5 Ways To Freshen Up Your Home

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Do you ever feel like you home is just lacking, in some way? If you do, then you’re not the only one. Because so many of us will admit that when our homes just aren’t quite feeling right, it sets us off into a bit of a funk. And when this happens, you definitely have to think about freshening up your home a little. Whether you have a dog, or you just feel like the place needs a complete spruce, there are ways that you can easily improve the look and feel of your home in a few simple ways. So we’re not going to take a look at five different ways that you can keep your home looking and feeling fresher for longer.

 

Lay Out A Strict Schedule

Life is busy, we all know that. Whether you have children to look after, a job, or even both, you probably find that your agenda is all over the shop. This can often mean that you tend to get your cleaning done as and when you can. However, this may then also mean that you miss days, push things back, and forget where you’re at. All of the above can cause your home to feel less than fresh at times. So, you’re going to want to work on a house cleaning schedule that you can stick to. When you know you have set things to do on set days, you’ll find it so much easier to stay on track.

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Mold And Me: Fighting Back When Mildew Spreads

There is nothing worse than finding mold in your home. Not only is it disgusting, but it’s a health hazard which puts the whole family at risk. Oh, and there is the fact that it’s almost impossible to move! Often, homeowners have to call in the experts and pay a fortune to get their house back. Sadly, the average property owner doesn’t have the funds and can’t afford an exterminator. So, are you supposed to sit at home, staring at the green walls and breathing in toxic oxygen? No, of course you aren’t. What you should do is tackle the situation head-on and chip away at the mold slowly but surely.

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For the people who don’t know how to do that, below is a selection of tips which should help.

 

Keep The Meter Running

Because the price of energy is sky high at the moment, turning off the central heating seems like a savvy move. After all, it will save you money. Even if it does, which studies say it does not, there is a bigger, mold problem to consider. The bacteria love wet and muggy conditions and will spread if the environment is right. Obviously, you have to make sure the house is inhospitable, which is where the central heating comes into play. Keeping the property nice and warm should prevent mold from growing and covering the walls as there is less moisture in the air. If you are worried about the cost, play with the thermostat until you find the perfect temperature.

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Keeping Your Home Clean and Tidy With Kids

Keeping a house clean and tidy with young children around can seem like an impossibility. You may dread the days when visitors turn up unannounced because you haven’t had the time to tidy up after your children and you worry people think you’re incapable. You’ve probably visited other parents’ homes and wondered how everything looks so neat. Well, you aren’t alone, and you shouldn’t feel defeated. Here’s how to get your home organized, even with kids around.

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Storage

You can’t tidy up all of the kid’s toys if you haven’t got anywhere to put them. You should be able to say, ‘pick that up and put it away please’ to your kids and your kids should know exactly where to put it. It could mean having a storage or toy box under the stairs or giving each child individual storage in their bedrooms. It doesn’t have to be a toy box dedicated to toys; a simple cupboard that’s fit for storing anything will do, and it will last as the kids grow up.

 

Don’t Put Chores Off

A cup of tea and a magazine is so much more tempting than vacuuming or doing dishes. When you’ve just put the toddler down for a nap, the easiest thing to do would be take a break for yourself too. After all, you deserve it. However, when you skip the chores in favor of your favorite TV program, it will just make you feel worse in the long run. Getting some of those nagging chores done while you have the time will mean you aren’t so overwhelmed by the growing to-do list later on. Spread the chores out throughout the day so you still get a little time for yourself.

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7 Ways to Make The Winter Season More Bearable

Some people love everything about winter. They seem to take to it like a duck and water, and fully embrace the cold weather and lack of social time. For other people – most people – it’s a season that they have to endure, not embrace. However, while many might struggle to see the benefits of the cold weather months, there are things you can do to make it more bearable – and, dare we say it, even fun! Below, we take a look at seven ways you can make sure you don’t have to wait until spring to start having fun again.

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Embracing Hygge

Have you heard of ‘hygge’? It’s a Danish concept, one that doesn’t have a natural English translation, but it’s effectively about embracing the winter season. And if you’re going to do that, then you’ll need to give your home a ‘hygge’ makeover. Invest in candles, buy a few warm throws, and go shopping for some high-quality loungewear. Whether all these purchases will make you fall in love with winter remains to be seen, but you’ll have a relaxing time finding out, that’s for sure.

 

Use Your Time Wisely

We tend to think of modern life as always being rushed, but really, that’s just not true during fall and winter. If we choose to, we can slow down and take our time. Since there’s nowhere near as much events taking place as there are in summer, we’re given the gift of time: but it’ll only be a gift if we choose to accept it! Over the coming months, don’t spend your evenings watching television. Instead, use it an opportunity to learn a new skill. You could pick up a language, learn to play an instrument, or finally get that creative project you’ve been thinking about underway.

 

Add the Color

Summer is the season of brightness and color; winter is a season of darkness. But who says it has to be this way? Nobody! You’ll feel a lot better if you add color and energy to your day-to-day life. Think about the lighting in your home, and pick up a piece of art or two for the walls. You can’t change the darkness of the outdoors, but you can ensure your home isn’t dark!

 

Hit the Sunshine

By far the biggest complaint about winter is that it’s dark and cold. So why not break up the chilly months by heading to the sunshine for a vacation? There are plenty of winter sun options available to you, both in the United States and beyond. For a week or two, you’ll be able to wear stylish sundresses and drink cocktails; just like you never left summer! Naturally, you’ll still have to return to the cold weather eventually, but it’ll be a welcome break. Who knows, by the time you come back you might even enjoy the season more, knowing that escape is only a short flight away. [Read more…]

Is Your Home Winter Ready?

It might feel as though it was only yesterday that you were sitting out in the backyard sunbathing, but winter is actually approaching pretty fast. Of course, that’s not a bad thing! There are plenty of amazing things about winter. You get to snuggle up at home all cosy and warm, it’s finally time to bring out your chunky sweaters, and no one is going to judge you for drinking hot chocolate all day long! Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything about winter is great. After all, the cold weather can bring a whole host of problems if you’re not prepared for it. This is especially true at home. To help you avoid getting into any trouble during the cold months, here are a few ways to winter-proof your home.

 

Deal with drafts

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It’s incredibly easy not to realise that there are drafts in your home during the summer. After all, you’re probably going to be happy for the cool air coming in! However, when winter rolls around, a draft can be a serious problem. Not only can it let cold air into your home but it allows a great deal of hot air to escape as well. Make sure that you go through your home before it gets too cold and seal up any drafts that you find.

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Make Moving House Less Stressful

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Moving home is a stressful affair, especially when you have a family and a baby to try and organise along the way. Your house will probably be full to the brim with furniture, personal belongings and A LOT of toys. The thought of packing all that up and moving to a new place can be daunting, and understandably might make you want to crawl into bed and pretend nothing is happening at all. However, don’t fret; there are a few ways that you can make the trip slightly less stressful, and it’s all about forward planning.


Never Complete On A Friday

Friday is the most popular day of the week for families looking to move home, and that’s mainly because after the initial move, you then have the whole weekend to get things settled before getting back to work on Monday. However, there are downsides to Friday being the most popular choice. The first one is the fact that removal companies are much busier on a Friday- the issue with this is that removal companies will push up the prices towards the end of the week, so if you can move in a Wednesday instead, that would be much better. The other reason is that if anything goes wrong with handing over the keys or the paperwork, the issue won’t be sorted over the weekend, meaning you’ll be trapped until Monday when people are back in the office.


Hire A Professional Moving Company

If you want to make the move less stressful for you and save yourself hiring a van and enlisting your friend to help with the move, hire a professional mover such as MyBekins moving companies. You’ll save time and money on making several trips with your goods, and also, you’ll be insured for any damages to your belongings in transit. [Read more…]

Getting Back Up When You’re Hit By A Huge Bill

It will happen at some point. You might have a dental crisis that needs paying for. You might have a much larger fuel bill than expected. You might even find that you’ve been overcompensated in some scheme or another and are expected to fork over the difference now. Most people will be hit by a big, unexpected bill at some point and if you’re not ready to deal with it, it can lead to a spiral of financial trouble that can mean real trouble at the end.

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Check the bill for mistakes

Sometimes you are going to get charged when you shouldn’t be. Rarely, are these charges made on purpose, so don’t go burning with righteous indignation. But do be ready to check any major bills you receive with costs you don’t recognize. Medical billing mistakes are especially prevalent so be vigilant. You shouldn’t bank on it, but you could get off with a reduced bill if it’s not entirely removed.

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