The holiday season is a time of tremendous joy, happiness and all-around warmth. However, as any seasoned parent can attest, it’s also a time of consistent messiness. (I mean…more so than usual.) With every member of your household on vacation at the same time and various guests coming and going, there are ample opportunities for messes to be made. Furthermore, the festive decorations most households are adorned in tend to be much easier to put up than take down. While working up the resolve to clean your home in the wake of the holidays may prove somewhat challenging, a little bit of follow-through and assistance can go a long way.
When preparing to clean your house after the holiday rush, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. After all, with so many tasks to undertake, it’s hard to determine where you should even start. Many people respond to this stress by putting post-holiday cleaning on the backburner. However, while this may provide relief in the short term, it will ultimately make the cleanup more difficult to carry out. To prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed, sit down and write up a checklist of every post-holiday cleaning task you need to tackle. Once this list has been created, attend to each individual task one-by-one, taking care to place a checkmark beside each completed chore. On a subconscious level, many of us crave structure, and adding a sense of organization can make even the most arduous post-holiday cleanup seem considerably more manageable.
Adhere to Neighborhood Policies Regarding Decorations
Many neighborhoods, apartment buildings and condo complexes have rules regarding how long holiday decorations can be left out. While the exact timeframe varies from location to location, these rules typically dictate that all outdoor holiday decorations must be taken down shortly after the first of the year. Failure to adhere to these rules can result in fines and stern condemnations from neighborhood associations, landlords and building managers. Keep in mind that some locales are far stricter about enforcing these rules than others, and the consequences can range from mild to severe.
The great road trip has fast become a quintessentially American tradition, accounting for nearly 39% of all vacations taken. From the Pacific Coast Highway to Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia (where I grew up traveling to), there are a plethora of gorgeous natural areas to drive through and stop for a few days. Hey, you can even fly abroad and then rent a car to explore the best Asia destinations, if you’d like your road trip to stretch even farther! After all, road trips appeal to America’s love of independence and freedom. It can be extremely liberating to let your wishes be your guide, and to take every day as it comes, sleeping in your very own RV or booking local hotels with charm. If you are keen to take your very first road trip and you need some advice for traveling with children, keep these considerations in mind and enjoy a fun-filled bonding experience with those you love.
Because a road trip enables you to visit more than one site, ask everyone in your family to come up with their own ‘bucket list’ that covers the general area you are visiting. If everyone feels like they have chosen at least one top destination, the trip can be a little more satisfying for everyone involved. There is one proviso when it comes to lists, of course. Some places are particularly magical and may entice you to stay for longer than envisioned. For this reason, you should keep your bucket lists fairly ‘loose’ and agree to slightly alter your route if you become enamored by a new spot.
Selecting and Preparing Your Vehicle
If you are traveling with children (and let me tell you: you haven’t travelled with children until you’ve traveled with 3-year-old twins!) or simply taking a road trip spanning more than a long weekend, a spacious RV-style vehicle will certainly make travel easier and more convenient. On the one hand, items like strollers, toys, and other essentials can be easily stored, as can sports equipment and sportswear – including items like boots, thick coats, and the like – without worrying about space. Check your vehicle maintenance book and ensure that your oil and filter are clean/new, change your spark plugs if need be, ensure spare tires are in good working order, and obtain extra items such as car belts and other essentials. If a maintenance check is due in the next few months, pull up the date slightly to ensure you don’t go over the stipulated mile count.
Do you know what I did this morning? I unpacked the last box from when we moved into our current home! Woot woot! (Never mind that we moved in about a year-and-a-half ago…I’ve been busy, okay?!) Once that box was empty, I took a moment to be thankful for our home – this one and the two we’ve had previously! There’s just something about…HOME.
For many, buying a house might be a dream. The cost of real estate is always on the rise; hence, you may be tempted to think that you can never afford to purchase that home you dream of. As tricky and challenging as it might be, it is not an impossible task. There are many clever ways that you can save up for your house deposit slowly. Here’s how:
Always have a budget
Often the biggest excuses people have for not being able to save up for a dream house is because their budget isn’t enough. However, the reason why saving is almost close to impossible is that you aren’t working on a budget. When you write down all your expenses and have a budget in mind, you can see where each amount is going to; hence, you can better manage the same.
If you are like most homeowners, spring is a time when you get to work tidying up around your spaces. The season is a great time to declutter and straighten up your home. This year, there are many tips you can follow to help you streamline the process, and having an “order” to your spring cleaning can help you spend less time on the process overall!
Declutter and Downsize
To begin, declutter and downsize. Think about areas in which you have a plethora of STUFF. A closet is a great place to start! Most people have tons of clothing in their closet and never wear it all. You can essentially create an amazing amount of new space in your home by decluttering just one closet. The kitchen is another area where you might have a ton of items that need to be weeded through. Take some time to think about additional areas in your own home that hold the most stuff and focus your attention on those spots!
Everyone knows that home energy bills always become higher during the wintertime. Fortunately, there are a few simple tricks to keep costs down. Here are five top energy conservation tips that you can implement this winter. (And you know what the great thing about these ideas are? You can “reverse” some of them and use to stay cool in the summer!)
This may come as a big surprise, but your fireplace could actually be the place you’re losing the most heat from. Wood-burning fireplaces, for example, can end up letting a lot of heat escape through the chimney. Make sure this doesn’t happen by installing airtight doors and inflatable draft stoppers. Another way to stop air escaping is with a flue sealer, which can be easy put in place by anyone.
Add attic insulation
Insulating your attic is one of the best ways to keep energy costs down. You can tell when a house is poorly insulated because it quickly becomes a very unpleasant place to live. It will save you a ton of money in the long run, and even more if you can do the insulating yourself. The recommended minimum level of insulation for attics is R-38, which equals about 12 inches. According to Habito, improving insulation also makes a huge difference to your property valuation and ease of sale.