Small Ways To Make Your Home Fit Your Family’s Needs Better

Small Ways To Make Your Home Fit Your Family’s Needs Better

Small Ways To Make Your Home Fit Your Family’s Needs Better

Getting ready for the Holiday Season is joyful, but also , in my case realizing that I had too much stuff that could be eliminated or given to a charity. While digging out my Christmas decorations I felt so overwhelmed by the stuff that I have beenSmall Ways To Make Your Home Fit Your Family's Needs Better collecting that I really felt claustrophobic in a strange way, so I wanted to share some advice to my Oakland County home owners and maybe future home buyers. If it seems like the walls are closing in around you, it might actually be true. More stuff? More kids? New pets? Children grown but not yet out of the house? Maybe your elderly parents have moved back in? Maybe you’re even running a home office from your residence? All these changes—and all the extra stuff that comes with them—can make any home feel cramped.

What can you do—short of moving? Here are five proven tips to make your home “live bigger.

Before you buy it, think
What will you toss, recycle or give away when you bring something new to your home? If you are just adding to your stash, reconsider. If it’s “just nice to have” or you’ll “use it later,” hold off.

If it’s flimsy, avoid the clutter and hassle of dealing with it after it breaks. Sometimes waiting to buy the well-made, but more expensive item makes more sense.

Review your belongings, one-by-one
Do a deep declutter. Unpack every closet, drawer, cubby, container and bin. Pretend you’re moving. Be ruthless with the 5-Pile-Moving-Mantra: Sell, Return, Give/Donate, Toss/Recycle or Keep/Use. You don’t have to do this all at once. But carve out time to cut back your stored stuff.

Don’t hide things
When items are stored in opaque bins and closed boxes, no one can remember what’s inside; out of sight, out of mind. Bury the bins in closets, attics, crawl spaces, basements or under beds, and the memory gets even dustier. Inventory each box using the 5-Pile standard, and you’ll be amazed how much unwanted stuff you’ll clear out.

Double duty wins
Make sure new purchases can do multiple things, making them more useful. If you find a desk that has lots of storage space and a chair can fit completely under it, that desk can make a bookcase unneeded and more practical than a desk with a chair that sticks out.If the dining room is rarely used, convert it into your home office with a cabinet desk or get a credenza so that you can put away your work gear when meal time arrives.

Know when to throw in the towel
Sometimes, a home truly isn’t going to feel spacious no matter what you do. If you’ve worked through these declutter tips, but your home’s still not big enough for your needs, give us a call. We can help you sell your home and find a new one that is just right for you. Best of all, the packing for your move is mostly done!

Decorating For Small Spaces

If you live in a smaller home or condo, you face some particular decorating challenges.  Getting comfort and style while reducing clutter in a small home can be done with a few smart furniture choices and a good understanding of colors and placement in small rooms.

 Keep It Light And Bright

Dark colors make a room look smaller, so stick to lighter choices for small rooms.  If you absolutely love dark red or chocolate brown, there is no reason you can’t make it a part of your room, just use it as an accent color instead of painting the walls in that color.  Try to choose lighter tones for flooring, wall paint, and the largest pieces of furniture in the room.

Darker, more vibrant colors are perfect for things like throw cushions, place mats, candles, and decorative vases and other art pieces.  They will bring those richer colors into the space without overwhelming it and making it feel dark and cramped.

Choose Furniture That Does More

Save space by making your furniture multi-task for you.  Look for coffee and end tables that include storage for books, remote controls, and magazines.  Choose storage ottomans where you can stash extra blankets and other items.  If you occasionally need a larger dining room table, pick one with a butterfly leaf that can easily be tucked away when not in use.

Look for an all-in-one entertainment unit for your television and home theater components that will allow you to tuck things away out of sight to prevent clutter.  A unit that includes storage for DVDs and CDs provides even more use—but watch that the piece is not so large as to dwarf the room.

 Simple Walls And Windows

Putting too much on the walls contributes to the clutter feeling, so keep it simple.  Choose a few favorite paintings or carefully placed floating shelves showcasing your favorite vase or candles.  Keep framed photos simple; avoid fancy frames and don’t hang too many photos in one place.

Choose sheer or semi-sheer window coverings in light colors to allow more light into the room.  Dark, heavy curtains will contribute to the small and claustrophobic feeling small spaces can too easily have.

Small spaces can be just as elegant as large ones, and feel a lot bigger than they are if you make smart decorating choices.  Make the best use of all your square footage, and keep it light and airy for the best results.

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Greater Oakland County Home Energy Check 2014

Greater Oakland County Home Energy Check 2014

It’s that time of year again in Greater Oakland County Michigan when winter approaches, so there’s no better time then now to give your home an energy check up. Energy costs have shot up, and you may be paying a lot more than necessary to be comfortable in your home throughout the year. Most homeowners in Greater Oakland County have a number of easy, inexpensive options for reducing energy consumption and energy bills. The older your home, the more likely it is you canGreater Oakland County Home Energy Check 2014 dramatically cut your utility costs, improve your comfort level and be environmentally responsible in the bargain. As we can clearly remember Winter 2013 in the Greater Oakland County area was the toughest in years and it really took a toll on may homeowners and their tight budgets.

Here’s where to look for opportunities to save as much as $500 a year on energy expenses:

Heating And Cooling Systems

  • How old are your systems? If brand-new, you’re likely to have super high-efficiency units. If less than five years old, they’re likely to be high efficiency and certainly worth keeping. Older systems may or may not be costing you more money than necessary. If yours are 20 years old or more, replacing them could keep you more comfortable and cut your utility costs by a third or better. You may want to look at solar heating (free energy!) as part of a heating system upgrade. Though the initial investment in any new system may seem steep, consider that dramatically lower bills will recoup your cost in just a few years. After that, it’s pure savings.
  • Make sure your heating and cooling systems get a tune-up every year. For under $100, a professional cleaning and maintenance check annually should more than pay for itself.Do you change your systems’ air filter monthly? Doing so costs little, but improves system efficiency, thereby saving money.
  • Do you have an electronic thermostat? If not, install one and program it to use less energy (higher temperature in summer, lower in winter) while you’re away from home during the day, and at night while you sleep.
  • Before going on vacation or a business trip, turn the thermostat down to 55°F in winter, or up to 80°F in summer. That’s comfortable enough to keep indoor plants alive, and to keep pipes from freezing during cold weather.

Hot Water

  • How old is your water heater? Is it a high-efficiency unit? If your heater has given you 10 or more years of service, you would probably save money by replacing it.
  • What temperature is your water heater set to maintain? Most factory settings are at 140°F, usually higher than necessary for a ready supply of hot water. Experiment with turning the temperature down and see if you even notice a difference. Start with 130°. If you find that adequate, drop it to 120°.
  • Don’t forget to turn the water heater way down (preferably off) when you’re away from your home on business trips or vacation. Why pay for hot water nobody is going to use?
  • Does your water heater have an insulating blanket? Are exposed hot water pipes wrapped in insulation? Keep them wrapped and you’ll spend less.
  • Have you installed low-flow shower heads? Again, the cost of the fixtures will be repaid with annual savings, not only in reduced energy to heat the water, but also in lower water bills.

Air In/Air Out

  • Do your outside walls and attic have insulation in them? To check the walls, remove a cover plate from an electrical outlet on an outside wall. If you can’t find any insulation, make the investment to minimize the amount of expensive “conditioned” air that escapes your home. Also consider adding attic insulation if you have 3″ or less. Go up to 12″.
  • Do some of your air ducts run through your attic or basement? Make sure they’re wrapped in insulation.
  • Does your home have more than one return register per floor? It probably should. No matter how many you have, make sure they are not blocked by furniture or curtains.
  • Do you use your old fireplace? Though charming, fireplaces are certainly not energy efficient in today’s homes. Consider replacing it with an airtight woodstove or fireplace insert that sends heat back into your home.
  • If you must use your old fireplace, make sure it has a flue that closes tightly and keep it closed when you are not using the fireplace.
  • Does your home have new, energy-efficient windows, doors and storm doors? If not, consider investing in replacements with low-E or thermal-paned glass.
  • Do windows and doors have properly installed weather-stripping and caulking in good repair? If not, it’s an inexpensive fix that takes a little bit of time but pays high rewards in savings.

Appliances

  • Is your refrigerator less than 2 years old and energy-efficient model? Consider replacing refrigerators over 10 years old. At the very least, replace gaskets if they no longer fit tightly.
  • Does your dishwasher have an energy-saving feature? Be sure to use it!

Lighting

  • Consider replacing often-used incandescent light fixtures with fluorescent fixtures.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Use lower-wattage bulbs throughout the house.
  • Replace outdoor security lights that stay on all night with motion-sensitive fixtures.

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