Category Archives: How To Care For Your Home

4 Simple Pesticides for Your Garden

Check out these easy and natural pesticides that you can make at home.

Spring has arrived. It’s only a matter of time before insects arrive in droves to your garden. Begin protecting your lawn and garden with pesticides now so that the impact of them will be less throughout the growing season. Check out these easy and natural pesticides that you can make at home:

1. Oil Spray Insecticide

If you see a lot of aphids, mites, or other small insects on your plants consider making an easy oil spray to help kill these pesky insects. Simply mix together 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of soap in a jar. Mix two teaspoons of this mixture to spray bottle filled with one quart of water. Shake the mixture and spray directly onto plants to help eliminate insects. The oil will keep insects away without hurting your plants. Spray affected plants every 10 days to keep insects at bay. As suggested by landscape experts, make sure to apply your solution carefully as natural remedies sterilize the surround soil as well.

2. Diatomaceous Earth

This commonly known natural product is regularly found in the Earth’s crust. Diatomaceous Earth is made up of the sharp remains of miniscule fossilized plants and can be easily found in garden centers. For a do-it-yourself version, rinse and breakdown egg shells into a granular state. Use this natural compound by sprinkling it around plants in your garden. The sharp contents will keep insects away without harming your plants at all.

3. Sprinkle Soap

For those homeowners who have a high population of deer in their area, sprinkling soap around gardens is a great way to deter deer from eating your prized petunias. Soap can be used in a few different ways and is a great way to easily deter pests from the garden. Full bars of soap can be used if put on spears in the garden or slices of soap can also be used around the garden area as well. If you have just planted seedlings, consider shaving soap and sprinkling it on the garden bed.

The soap deters deer who don’t like the fragrant aroma and will also help to keep bugs away as it dehydrates them in the soil. Soap won’t hurt plants and will last as long as the rain allows it to before being washed away. Highly fragrant soaps, like Irish Spring, are the best choice when using in your garden as a deterrent.

4. Order Ladybugs

Ladybugs are not only pretty to look at but they also are quite the helper when it comes to ridding your garden of unwanted insects like aphids. One ladybug can eat up to 50 aphids a day and they also will help rid your garden of other insects like boil worm, corn earworm, scale, leaf hopper, and mealybugs. Ladybugs can be ordered online and will arrive at your door hungry and ready to feast. Simply open the container at sundown to encourage them to scatter, without flying away, and they will go to work on ridding your garden of insects quickly!
Keeping your outdoor space free from pests is easy with these simple things that you can do at home. Mix up some oil spray, slice some soap, or order some ladybugs to quickly rid your garden of insects this growing season. #cbrmr

Selling? Low-Cost Home Improvement Fixes that Make Your Home Shine

When selling a home, even tiny fixes can have a big impact. Fortunately many fixes can be done quickly and with a small budget.

Here are 10 of the best low- (or no-) cost home improvement fixes to make your house stand above the competition:

1. Address the Heart of the Home
In real estate, the kitchen is a main selling feature and can be a make or break deal for potential home buyers. If a new kitchen just isn’t in the cards, consider replacing smaller ticket items and de-cluttering. Low- and no-cost fixes for the kitchen include:

New cabinet hardware
New faucets
Installing a new backsplash
Storing countertop appliances to create more work space
Replacing dark valances with lighter fabric or removing them altogether

2. Update Switch Plate Covers
Switch plate and outlet covers are brittle, and can crack and yellow over time, resulting in a home that, no matter how well updated, still looks dated. New outlets and covers can be replaced in a snap for generally under five dollars, making it one of the lowest cost updates available. Consider flat switches that create a modern, streamlined silhouette and stick to white for a timeless look.

3. Beautify the Bathroom
An updated bathroom comes only second to kitchens in a buyer’s list of must-haves, so showing them a clean and uncluttered bathroom will score points with any potential buyer.

New flooring can give an otherwise tired bathroom a much needed facelift and create a newer looking bathroom overall. Coordinating linens, a new shower curtain, and thoroughly cleaned grout can top off this easy home improvement investment.

4. Address Storage
Storage is always a concern for buyers. Installing low-cost closet organizers to your existing space will increase storage and organization in your home. Add storage baskets to hide clutter and you will have beautiful storage spaces that will make any buyer envious.

5. Deep Clean for a Good Return
If your home contains wall to wall carpeting, clean carpets can make a world of difference to a buyer. Cleaning carpets can easily be completed in a weekend with a rental cleaning machine, and it creates a noticeably clean, odor free environment for buyers to tour.

6. Boost Curb Appeal
Nothing boosts curb appeal like a tidy yard. Trim and edge walkways, weed gardens, and trim shrubs for maximum impact. If you have a porch, consider potted, seasonal plants to bring the look together.

7. Improve the First Impression
As buyers approach your home, first impressions matter. Ensuring your entryway is clean and inviting with something as simple as a new mailbox or updated house numbers will make buyers feel welcome. Clean windows and doors for extra impact.

8. Add a Coat of Paint
Freshening up your living space with neutral colors will invite buyers to imagine their belongings in your home and will cover up any nicks, scratches, or dents your wall incurred over years of daily living.

9. Update Lighting
While not the lowest cost solution on our list, you will find that a new light fixture or two really breathes new life into key living spaces. If your budget is tight, look to kitchen, dining, and living rooms for the most bang for your buck.

10. Add Some Decor Pizzazz
Finally, a fresh look can be completed with nothing more than some colorful fabric. Inexpensive pillows and throws in a coordinating palette through your home will create a unified look that will have buyers hooked. #cbrmr

Effective Improvements for a Faster Sale

You have decided to sell your home, and you are eager to sell it ASAP!   Here are some of the best ways to efficiently and effectively improve your home for a speedy sale.

First, curbside appeal.  This is the first thing every potential buyer sees so make it stand out!  Some suggestions:

  • Hire a gardener to clean and spruce up the front entrance
  • Remove superfluous items from the front of your home, i.e. garbage cans, strollers, etc.
  • Put a fresh coat of paint on your home’s front door.

Second, this is the time to clean and eliminate all clutter inside your home.  Here’s how:

  • Give away or store extra toys, clothes, and anything else that makes it look crowded or disorganized
  • Organize the kitchen countertops and closets
  • Place bulky items in storage

Third, landscaping matters.  A large yard cannot shine if the plants, grass and trees are in bad shape.  Try the following ideas:

  • Make sure the grass is mowed and driveway and walkway clear of snow
  • Plant or hang fresh flowers if its summer

Fourth, look under the hood.  Make the inside of your home look as good as possible.

  •  This is the time to do some of the minor repairs you have been putting off.  This will make your home look better and may eliminate certain issues during the Inspection Period.
  •  Yes, it seems expensive or time-consuming.  However, if you hire a handy person, this can truly make the difference and get you more money in less time.

Finally, hire a professional, licensed  full time realtor like “The Mash Team”.  We are realtor’s with experience and expertise that can help sell your home quickly for the best price. #cbrmr

Best of luck!

Ambient Lighting Tricks to Warm Up the Whole House

They say setting the mood is like flipping a switch and we couldn’t agree more. Lighting plays a lead role in making your house feel like home. Here are 10 lighting tricks to enhance your home’s aura

They say setting the mood is like flipping a switch and we couldn’t agree more. Lighting plays a lead role in making your house feel like home. Here are 10 lighting tricks to enhance your home’s aura.

1. Control natural lighting. If you thought only stormy weather could make a breezy beach house look dark and moody, take a second look at the photo above. The lucky homeowner can draw the sheer curtains closed without completely blocking out the sun. They also get a postcard-worthy view of sunrise and sunset every day from their glass doors. The dimmed fixture above casts a warm light in an all-white room while the cloudy landscape photo tones down the views of the beach.

2. Be picky about your paint. Ask a professional about a paint’s light reflectance value (LRV) before you commit to a color. Lighter colors tend to be more reflective than dark shades. Pay attention to sheen level too since glossy finishes are more reflective than matte finishes.

3. Experiment with materials and finishes. When mixed and matched strategically, these seemingly small details can determine the mood of a whole room. This white and grey bathroom would look stark and cold without the brass fixture above. The candles around the tub help warm the room up too.

4. Install a dimmer switch. There’s nothing relaxing about straining your eyes in a room that is too bright or too dark. Use a dimmer in addition to layering your light sources for ultimate light control. Believe it or not, installing a dimmer switch can be a DIY project.

5. Recess your lights. Even if the bulb is not that bright, a central fixture with multiple bulbs and a shiny finish can be overpowering. Recessed lighting conceals the bulbs and therefore can lights feel softer. You could also hide strip lighting underneath cabinets for a nice nightlight on your way to the kitchen or bathroom. Check out this ultra contemporary island that appears to be floating mid-air.

6. Go a different direction. Uplights, like sconces and track lighting, create a soft glow. On the other hand, downlights cast ominous shadows that can really add mystery to a romantic room. Get creative by backlighting wall decor for a play on color and shapes.

7. Take a refresher course in lightbulb basics. The type of bulb is equally important as its fixture. Halogen, fluorescent and LED bulbs have a range of temperatures from warm (or yellow) to cool (or blue) hues. This is a matter of personal preference, but typically yellowish bulbs warm up cool-colored rooms nicely and vice versa. Bluer bulbs also help brighten darker spaces, like basements and windowless bathrooms.

8. Find your favorite shade. Bright colors, playful patterns and funky shapes can bring personality into a stale space. Smoky glass chandeliers intensify intimate vibes in a dining room while big paper lanterns enliven sophisticated home offices. The teal shades on this fixture match the pillows and put an icy sheen on the large dark walnut bookcase.

Note: This ceiling light is reflected in the whimsically shaped mirror that will help spread light further into the room.

9. Try twinkle lights. Not limited to holiday decor, you can use twinkle lights all year round. Drape them over windows for some extra sparkle or fill jars or empty wine bottles with a bundle of battery-operated fairy lights for an illuminated vignette.

10. Open flame. It’s no secret that candles are customary to ambience, but they’re often reserved for after dark. Next time, try starting a fire first thing in the morning and you’ll find that candles are as effective for waking up as they are for winding down. The heat will naturally draw you out of bed and the rising sun will energize you. We’re channeling all the feels from this rustic bedroom. The corner fireplace and candle chandelier are nothing short of mesmerizing.

 

Household Tip: Cleaning with Condiments

KETCHUP: Rub ketchup on your copper pots to make them gleam again; it’s acidity helps dissolve tarnish and stubborn spots.

MUSTARD: Mustard powder can actually be used as a deodorizer in containers that have acquired a smell from its previous contents, or pans that have cooked strong-smelling meals such as curry. To get the smell out, mix mustard powder and hot water together in the container, let it sit for half an hour, then wash out as usual.

MAYONNAISE: Use mayonnaise to rub unsightly water marks out of wooden furniture, and to remove sticky adhesives and glue from glass. Bring the shine back to large-leafed houseplants by wiping leaves with a mild soap and water mixture first, then using a paper towel to rub a dab of mayo into the tops of leaves.

VINEGAR: Vinegar has a huge cleaning capacity, from windows to floors, to getting stains off shower doors and disinfecting your cutting boards. Consider mixing vinegar with lemon juice to cut the pungent smell. $cbrmr

Toss These 5 Things Before You Move For a Fresh New Start

While you’re packing, consider throwing out these household items and give yourself a fresh start in your new home.

Houzz Contributor, Aly Finkelstein

It’s a great feeling to walk into your new home and know you have a blank space to work with. But making sure your new home stays this fresh, clean and exciting is much harder. Here are five things to consider throwing away before your next move.

1. Old trash cans. Old and used garbage cans and bins can be dirty and in bad shape. And nothing says “yucky” like an old trash can that you’ve used for years.

If your family is anything like mine, you have gum, stains and sticky spots on even the cleanest of indoor and outdoor trash cans. Do yourself a favor and throw out the old bins before you move to your new home. You can buy new trash cans that match, fit the space and are clean. This rule may also apply to recycling bins you have around the house.

If buying all new cans isn’t in your budget, definitely clean your cans before packing them into your moving truck or car. Fill the inside of the can with dish soap and warm water and let it soak. Then scrub. The soak will make scrubbing easier.

2. Toys. Moving is the best time to clean out the things you haven’t used and the things that won’t serve you in your new space. Toys are a major clutter culprit, and often many of them just aren’t being used anymore. My motto: Keep the favorites and toss the rest. Once you’re in your new space, you can buy a special new toy to celebrate the move.

Pro tip: If you feel too guilty about getting rid of your child’s toy, pack up the ones you think your child may miss and leave them in a separate box in the garage. If they don’t ask for them after a certain amount of time, get rid of them.

3. Old paint. Every client I work with has gallons of old paint. Chances are the colors match your old house but not your new one, so this is a great time to clean out all the old cans.

Before disposing of paint, check your town’s rules on recycling or disposing of it.

Pro tip: If you loved some of those colors, add them to a spreadsheet on your computer. Make sure you list the room a paint was used in, for future reference. Make sure to update the spreadsheet as you repaint in your new house too.

4. Paper. As long as you’ve rectified your statements, paid your bills and set aside important documents and receipts, you don’t need to keep all the paper that’s weighing you down. File the things you need to keep, such as tax documents, health insurance paperwork and property records, and get rid of the rest.

I keep three files on my desk at all times: bills to be paid, business receipts to keep and paid bills. Once I see online that the paid bills have been registered as paid, I throw the paper versions out. This keeps the files small and manageable year-round.

Pro tip: In the weeks before you move, carve out five to 10 minutes a week to tackle the paper piles you have around the house. Almost all of the items in these piles can be thrown away if you take the time to go through them.

Read more about which papers to toss and which to keep

5. Storage containers. Do yourself a favor and get fresh storage containers for your new home! The container drawer is often a major source of clutter and frustration for my clients. Your new home will feel even newer with a full set of matching storage containers.

I store my containers with the lids on so they don’t get separated. If for some reason the lid does go missing, I repurpose the bottom or get rid of it. I’m loving glass containers these days because I can microwave, store and eat from them. They can do it all and then go back into the drawer with their matching lids.

Pro tip: Buy storage containers based on your family’s needs. For example, if you cook often and send friends and family home with leftovers, buy inexpensive, disposable containers. If you use your containers weekly for whole meals, buy larger sizes. #cbrmr

How to Winterize Your Bedroom for Cozy Comfort

Pile on fuzzy textures and transform your bedroom into a snowy sanctuary for naps and lounging.

By Michelle Lee, Houzz

Get ready to cuddle up in bed with your significant other, furry friend or a good book this month. Pile on fuzzy textures and transform your bedroom into a snowy sanctuary for naps and lounging. Stock up on these essentials for the warmest season yet.

Invest in High-Quality Bedding

Your choice of sheets and blankets will really matter in the dead of winter and can dramatically improve your quality of sleep by wrapping you in a warm embrace. Look for ones made of insulating wool, cashmere or flannel to ensure warmth all night long. If your budget allows, splurge on an electric blanket for the room too.

To add even more warmth, shop for a goose down duvet or quilt. This fill provides thermal protection against the cold while also being breathable for ultimate comfort. For those with allergies, cotton and microfiber options are comfortable, budget-friendly alternatives.

Gather a bunch of pillows and throws on top of your bedscape. A stack of fluffy pillows provide back support for reading in bed, while layers of throws make heat control easier. Go for fleece or velvet for an irresistible look and use this opportunity to experiment with color and pattern.

Warm up Your Palette

Swap summer blues and autumn reds for creamy neutrals this winter. White is not only a foolproof choice that pairs well with every color on the spectrum, but it also helps reflect and spread the scarce daylight we have this season. Dip your toes into the timeless Scandinavian style trend by testing out a bright white palette in your bedroom. Spring to life in milky white and soft yellow hues or pair pale blue and gray together for a relaxing look.

Accent a neutral palette with warm wood around the room. As seen in this Montreal bedroom, the paneled ceiling and trim lend a cozy cabin vibe amidst the bleak winter landscape outside. You can replicate the look in smaller doses with a wooden nightstand, stool or headboard.

If you’re willing to venture past your color comfort zone, use a bold hue or two sparingly for a much-needed mood and energy booster. Welcome a bright yellow, pink or teal through accessories like decorative pillows, bedside lamps or overhead artwork.

Light it Up

Since the sun now sets hours earlier than it does on long summer nights, we have to substitute the lost hours of daylight all on our own. Invest in a layered lighting plan to illuminate every dark corner and visually enlarge your space. A great combination is having an overhead fixture, such as a statement chandelier or a cluster of pendants, and adding smaller lights where they’re needed, like lamps or wall sconces. Shop for LED bulbs for energy efficiency or incandescents to mimic the sun’s yellow tint. If you’re still in the holiday spirit, you can also hang string lights above the headboard or along a spare wall for an extra homey feel.

Stash the Nightstand

When you’re too comfy in bed to get up and venture to another cold room, look to your nightstand for one or two of your daily essentials. Choose from a humidifier to combat the dry season or an aromatherapy diffuser to set the mood; succulents or fresh flowers for a welcome burst of nature; a small tea or coffee maker for early mornings; and a journal or good book for inspiration. If your bedside table is looking a little worn out, upgrade it now to one with multiple shelves or drawers for year-round storage. #cbrmr

 

How to Achieve Modern Minimalism

Modern minimalism is evolving to incorporate color and evoke a calm, homey feel. Here are six minimalist techniques to try at home.

Guest post by  Michelle Lee

When we think of minimalist style, blank white interiors similar to hospital rooms are often what first come to mind. However, this style is evolving to incorporate color and evoke a calm, homey feel. It doesn’t require throwing away all of your possessions or taking a bucket of white paint to everything in sight, but rather choosing things with meaning and honing in on nature’s beauty. Here are six minimalist techniques to try at home.

Selectively Cut Clutter

Decluttering is always a hard process and you’ll often find sentimental reasons to keep everything, but press further. Ask yourself what you really need and love. Keep things that have practical use value, then tackle the rest by digitizing old photos and oversized mementos, donating unwanted hand-me-downs and engaging the entire family in a whole-house decluttering effort.

Choose a Neutral Color Palette

Black and white are some of the most popular colors seen in minimalist spaces, but you don’t have to limit yourself to the two ends of the spectrum. Welcome muted shades, such as cream, beige, brown and gray, into your palette and layer them for depth. If you can’t paint your walls, incorporate these colors with decorative accents and furnishings, like the rug and pillows seen here.

Embrace Mother Nature

A key element of minimalist style is to connect with the outdoors as much as possible. Expansive floor-to-ceiling windows are common in minimalist rooms and capitalizing on any and all natural light sources are crucial to getting the light and airy look.

Bring nature indoors too with fresh flowers or indoor plants to add a pop of color and life. Also consider organic and natural materials for your decor, like handmade wooden tables or linen bedding.

Go for Sharp, Straight Lines

Straight lines have the power to capture one’s eye immediately. Minimalism usually maximizes on this idea. From windows and doors to bed frames and even sofas, you should be able to easily spot crisp edges everywhere. The idea of straight lines is not limited to rectangles and squares, but can be angled to create cool geometric shapes and patterns.

Make a Statement With a Few, High-Quality, Large-Scale Pieces

The famous saying “quality over quantity” really comes into play here. You’ll often see only a few furnishings in minimalist spaces, such as one ornate chandelier in the center of a room or one big painting on a wall, rather than several smaller ones. These pieces are chosen with intention and speak volumes by themselves. Put a lot of thought into every purchase to achieve this modern look.

Structure Rooms With the Right Layout

An essential rule of minimalist style is to create a sense of openness with the least amount of furniture and decor. After you’ve bought your key pieces, browse different layouts before placing them in a room. A good practice to follow is to group pieces in a corner or against a long wall, rather in the center. Leaving big, open spaces in common areas and hallways helps achieve the ideal sense of spaciousness.

Weed Away!

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In our quest for a perfect, green lawn that more resembles AstroTurf than anything Mother Nature could create, we may find ourselves blasting gallons of weed killer onto our lawns throughout the summer. Instead of filling our lawns — and our lungs — with noxious chemicals, give these natural weed-eliminating methods a chance.

Crowd them out. Over-seed your grass to not only create a thick, luscious landscape, but also to ensure there’s no room for unwanted, weedy invaders.

Smother them. While not practical for weeds scattered throughout your lawn, mulch is a must for keeping weeds at bay around your flowers and vegetable beds. Keep the mulch about two inches deep to eliminate the light and air that weeds need to thrive.

Scald them. If you can boil water, you can kill weeds. For an economical and effective weed killer, carefully pour boiling water onto young weeds popping out of cracks on sidewalks and driveways.

Try vinegar and soap. Mix four cups vinegar with two teaspoons of dish soap in a spray bottle and spray weeds only (avoid grass).

Use elbow grease. Weed the garden regularly, pulling up weeds manually before they go to seed.

And if you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em! Your next plate of nutritious greens can be as close as your backyard. Young, tender dandelion and chicory leaves can be enjoyed raw, in a salad, or steamed or stir-fried as a cooked side dish. Some people even make tea with the leaves and roots. Those pesky weeds include impressive amounts of nutrients and vitamins — just be sure you know what you’re picking and that you wash them well!

The Psychology of Clean

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Does mess equal stress? An article in Psychology Today* says “yes!” But the good news is, clutter is one of the easiest life stressors to fix.

Clutter both at home and at work can stress us out on a number of different levels, making it difficult to relax, both physically and mentally. It signals to our brains that our work is never done, and creates feelings of guilt and embarrassment. Clutter also creates a feeling of frustration by preventing us from quickly locating things we need, from keys to paperwork. There’s simply nothing good about mess, so here are some tips to help you tackle it.

    • Address one area at a time, and finish de-cluttering and cleaning that one area before moving onto the next. This creates a sense of accomplishment as you fully complete one task or one room at a time.
    • When it comes to getting organized, setting up more shelves and storage areas isn’t always the answer. Downsize your belongings first by getting rid of things you don’t use or need – donate or toss as necessary, then create designated areas for the rest, ideally in closed spaces such as drawers and cabinets. Simply re-organizing things on open shelves doesn’t take care of “mess stress” as your clutter is still in sight, creating visual stimuli that your mind continuously has to process.
  • Once you get your clutter under control, keep it that way by getting in the habit — making a resolute effort every time — of putting things back where you got them. It sounds simple, but it’s a repetitive process that needs to be continuously reinforced before it becomes routine.

www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octanewomen/ 201203/why-mess-causes-stress-8- reasons-8-remedies