Category Archives: Home Improvement

11 Smart Ways to Maximize Desk Space

How should my office be organized so I can be the most effective? Here are a few things to consider but first and foremost it should start on your desk.

A few years ago, I had a large office with a big desk at work and my home office was a 500 square foot unfinished basement with six tables set up to make a very large desk area. Fast forward to today, and my workspace has been reduced to a small cubicle at work and no desk space at home. Yet I am more productive than ever. How did I increase my productivity after losing almost all of my desk space?



For one thing, I wasn’t getting much value from my copious amount of desk space. I used my work surfaces mostly to store stacks of papers and research materials I was saving and various office equipment and supplies. It was sometimes handy to have most of my stuff out where I could see it, but the chaos of this arrangement outweighed any real productivity benefits. With all of the stuff piled around on my desk space, I effectively had a small desk anyway!

Having precious little desk space has forced me to stay highly organized. Instead of setting things aside to sort or file later, I take control of potential clutter before it takes control of my desk. When I am ready to work on something, I can quickly find the needed items and get only these things out to work on. It is easier to focus on the task at hand without so much unfinished business staring me in the face from all corners of my desk.

Read more:


Top 10 Tips for Renovating for Resale

Can renovation or additions help raise the price? When it comes to renovations that add value to your home, you want to stick to the trends of the day. You will have to consider a lot of factors in renovating your home allowing you to sell it easier.

Everyone has an opinion on how to achieve the best result in terms of adding value to a home; after all, we Kiwis are fanatical renovators. Luckily we’ve got expert advice from Barfoot & Thompson on the top 10 projects to consider when you’re renovating for resale.



The main thing to remember is no matter which areas you decide to focus on, make sure your renovation budget is relative to the overall value of your house. If prices are modest in your neighbourhood, for instance, there’s no point in installing a new state-of-the-art kitchen or a fancy outdoor fireplace.

1. Consider your street appeal

‘Street appeal’ is a term much loved and there’s no doubt that the first, outside impression of a home can dramatically influence its saleability. Start by cutting back overgrown trees and replacing tired plants (including the lawn) to make the property look fresher, lighter and more spacious.

Or you could invest a little more money by resurfacing a cracked driveway, repaving and widening an old footpath, adding an off-street parking area or building a larger front porch. Does the front fence need repainting or replacing? Likewise the letterbox, front and garage doors? Even a new house number in a style that complements the architecture of the house can help revitalise the exterior of a home.

Read more:


Basics of Chimney Cleaning

A chimney is a structure built mainly for venting out smoke or hot gases. Chimneys are available in residential homes, buildings, ships, and steam locomotives. In countries where there is winter weather, people make use of fireplaces and chimneys to ensure they are warm in their dwellings. Nevertheless, to make certain adequate functioning of their chimneys, it is best that they accomplish regular chimney cleaning one or more times a year.

(C) Burlington Fireplace

(C) Burlington Fireplace

It doesn’t matter whether you have the chimney cleaned by a professional sweeper or you do it yourself, you ought to have know how about the cleaning process in case you have one installed at your house. Some of the tools and stuff which will be needed in the cleaning of the chimney has gloves, a chimney brush, a ladder, dust mask, a rope, flash light and protective goggles.

‘Top-To-Bottom’ technique with flexible rod is most preferred method for professional chimney cleaning. With this method the debris, soot and creosote all are cleaned without letting them get over the floor and furniture in the home. Through the help of ladder, sweeper has to reach the top of the roof and open the chimney cap. A suitable sized chimney brush is connected to the flexible rod and placed from the top of the chimney to scrub the chimney liner from top to down and dragging the brush back to the top via flexible rod till the chimney is cleaned and verified by flashlight or mirror or both.

In case of longer chimneys (height), you may adopt the application of weights method to clean them more efficiently. Put a suitable weight on one end of your brush, take care of the weight, it shouldn’t be large because it could cause you a lot of difficulty in cleaning and could distress your hand leaving it with a lot of pain as soon as the cleaning is carried out. Then reduce your brush down into the chimney along side inner side walls.

The other method involving utilization of the rod is whereby a chimney brush attached to a rod is inserted from the bottom rather than the roof. This might however not be effective since it is difficult to seal the kitchen area. Soot will consequently spread all around the area.

The Duel line method is the another method that you will need 2 people. A rope (and pull ring for holding onto if you like) is linked to both ends of the brush. Each individual takes turns pulling the rope, in order to work the brush down and up to completely clean the walls of the chimney.

One reliable way in which does not need such cleaning material is using cleaning logs. These logs emit some chemical compounds which dissolve and loosen creosote so that it will not stick to the chimney walls. Instead, the soot drops to the base in which it’s effortlessly collected.

Preventative maintenance has always been the best way. It will save you from the expensive price of making maintenance when damage has been done. In addition that, regular chimney cleaning cannot only save money but it could also guard your investment and the lives of the people residing in your residence.


New Options in Home Safety

When it comes to your residence, you wish it to be your sanctuary, a safe place where you and your family can be cozy. Thanks to today’s technological advances, now there are many innovative accessories and tools accessible to make your home as safe as possible. Here are a few of the remarkable items you could add to your house.

Fire Monitoring

These fire monitoring and prevention systems are believed to be crucial for houses and market sectors. Equipment just like extinguishers, fire hydrants, sprinkler systems and emergency call boxes are simply a couple of first firefighting equipment that you can possess in the home. Additionally, technology has developed that equipment can easily detect fire such as smoke and fire safety alarms which alerts the residents, alerts people in the surrounding area and summons the fire service.

(C) Digital Trends

(C) Digital Trends

The Smart Home

Technology for home security systems is constantly progressing. While you can still find the conventional home security system, these day there are so many choices for everybody in the market. The new technologies are fascinating while giving homeowners better peace of mind. These home security systems developments consist of fingerprint door locks, surveillance camera, electronic pet doors and personal emergency response. Fingerprint door locks operates to allow someone get into a property using his fingerprint or a code. For surveillance cameras, this cannot be monitored at home alone but you will find today a system that you could keep track of your home thru mobile. While personal emergency response, this is a technology in which somebody ill or met an accident can call for help when nobody else is at home.


Innovative gadgets and today’s technology are helping people to cope with daily life particularly older people. You’ll find devices that keep track of heart-rate and body-temperature changes with all the details being sent real time to medical centers or to family. Also, we can see wearable gadgets just like necklaces and bracelets which could automatically detect falls and send alerts to family members over the internet specifically for emergency condition. These devices may also be used by any family member to ask for assistance in serious conditions.


Home LED lighting is certainly a cut above the rest when it comes to energy-efficiency. It really is the most effective lighting technology development that benefits not only the people but the environment as well. As compared to incandescent lighting, LEDs wins every time where energy utilization is involved. Its a powerful light output also causes it to be ideal for outdoor floodlighting and path illumination, thus protecting against intruders and burglars from targeting your home.


4 Tips to Determine If You Need a New Roof

Walking on your roof could cause damage, it’s especially harmful in the event the roof is at extreme temperatures. This really is one of many hardest parts for many property owners, how will you truly evaluate your roof? Most house owners don’t even own ladders reaching the top of their roofs and some wouldn’t climb up there when they did

Many roofs have a life expectancy of 20 years. Only when it’s time to get a new roof, you will see signs. These do not include leaking simply because whenever you notice leaking, it implies that the issue might need a lot more extensive fixes since now the home structure may be compromised. You don’t want to wait until you have to use your unused pots to collect rain water in your home. As you can always fix a small problem every now and then, a replacement may be needed before you know it. Here are the to signs which will let you know if you need new roofing for your residence.

Step 1

(C) the journal record

(C) the journal record

Many indications of damage are visible from the interior of a residence. A damaged roof lets extra moisture in to a home, which can further damage the framework of the house. You might have a problem if you see water spots or obvious leaks in the ceiling. Other things to watch out for include cracked walls and paint, peeling wallpaper, mold, discolored plasterboard, or obvious signs and symptoms of moisture in an attic.

Step 2

Is there a light shining through your ceiling? Chances are your homes roof has missing shingles. This usually takes place when the pieces aren’t fastened securely or when strong gusts of wind blow them away.

Step 3: Metal panels buckle as a result of weather exposure and wrong installation. In the first case, many years of exposure to fluctuating temperatures may warp panels, or the widening of the screw holes and the deterioration of joints may allow wind to raise the panels up. It doesn’t matter what causes the panels to buckle, they pose two problems: they cause leaks, and they could blow away during a storm.

Step 4

With respect to the specific materials utilized, the average life span of a structure is about 20 to 25 years. For those living in a place with heavy snowfall or high humidity, this life expectancy may be relatively shorter. The best way to identify the integrity of your roofing structure is to hire a contractor who can carry out a thorough inspection.

If you wish to confirm if you need to obtain brand new roofing, contractors are the go-to-persons. Ask what plan of action they advise and get an estimate of the costs it’ll incur. Bear in mind removing and replacing your old roof isn’t a DIY-type of project. You will need the assistance of roofing contractors to make sure you are starting over on the right track.


How to Maintain Home Appliances

We all adore to embellish and organize our things in the home. We tend to obtain different decorations to make our home more lovely and desirable for the guests. Not only that, we even purchase several home appliances that we require and those which we simply love to display. But then, there are occasions that we feel idle to clean up the appliances we’ve got and we barely had the capacity to maintain some of our appliances for the home. This may not be good since our appliance can possibly be ruined, appear old or may even contribute to accident if not appropriately maintained. Looking after your home appliances is simple when you know the basic tips that ought to be carried out to make sure that your home appliances are in great working condition and will work for a long time.

Not all the appliances we’ve got, demands the same maintenance. The appliances we’ve got such as kitchen range, oven, refrigerators, washing machine, dishwasher and more at home will need different cleaning techniques so you should be extra careful in doing so. There are those who are just easy to clean but there are also those that are intricate.

(C) JX Baby Home

(C) JX Baby Home

Freezer. The very first thing you have to bear in mind is to clean the interior and exterior of the fridge weekly. Wipe the spills and stains and remove the old food. The next phase is to clean up the drip pan and drain hole. The drip pan ought to be removed, extensively scrubbed and cleaned, then place back in position. Should your refrigerator includes a built in water or ice dispenser, then you’ll definitely need to clean that as well.

Washing Machine/Dryer. Clean the washer by putting lemon juice or two cup vinegar along with hot water. Then, put in a hot water and run the washer. While the washing machine is working, check all the hoses for leaks because this can lead to leaks and bursts.

Microwave. In a small microwave safe container and put 1 cup of warm water and a number of drops of dish soap plus 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Mix the mixture and cook on high for 3-4 minutes. As soon as the time is up, leave the door firmly shut for a additional 15 minutes before opening..

Dishwasher. Be sure to clean the dishwasher at least once a month to make sure that your dishes are being released clean. Clean the spinning arms with cloth and ensure that the holes on it do not have debris inside. Then you’ll need to clean the doors and the bottom of the dishwasher and wipe away any debris with a wet cloth or sponge.

TV/ Computer. Make certain you only use damp cloth or paper towel in cleaning its surface as you do not want it to result in scrapes of marks.

Kitchen Range. Baking soda is ideal for stuck on food particles in your kitchen range. It is important to wipe the mixture gently with soft cloth.

In general, appliances must be cleaned at least once per week to ensure that they will work well. It’s also advisable to check their plugs and if the appliance should be repaired, call a skilled repairman or electrician. Do not attempt to fix it yourself for it could cause more harm to the appliance. Allocate time to clean your home appliances so that they’ll last long and you won’t have to frequently buy new appliances.


Home Extension Tips

Perhaps, you now find yourself looking over home extension plans to see how and where you can add another room to fit everyone more pleasantly. Or perhaps you would like more room to entertain your mates or present a lovely guestroom to house guests. Before going ahead in your plans, you need to take points to prevent problems.

Decide on a Professional

Each time going for home extensions, it is best to go for a qualified specialist. A knowledgeable professional won’t only allow you to plan better, but will even help you to reach the best decision, by offering a neutral opinion. Yet, you’d probably prosper to confirm his / her background and prior work. An architect will first of all come and inspect your own home and site, and he will then have the capacity to assist you over the maze of building regulations to ensure that your plan is going to be approved.



Permits and Codes

Planning authorization is a difficult area for home owners who are intending to extend their house. The reason why it was put in place was to safeguard the public interest with regards to the local environment and strict control of your planned development needs to be maintained to be sure that the type and requirement of your area will not be adversely damaged.


Learn the way much they reckon it’s going to cost you to have the work performed and find out if you have more than their quotes available for the job. Things can go wrong and you do not desire to burn up all of your funds as this can then lead to half a job being performed which is obviously a circumstance you would like to avoid.

Employ Electricians

Additionally you should work with an electrician when expanding your home. Making sure the electrical concerns are looked after in the correct method is very important. When people have access to electricity light is much easier for these individuals. Being sure that life is simple for those people who are trying to maximize their home environment is one thing that a lot of people are trying to do.

Increased Home Value

Whenever a licensed contractor wraps up a home extension, it will boost the value of the home, and the owner will recoup the cost of the project by making a bigger revenue when the property is sold. A professional will ensure that the project enhances the visual appeal of the home rather than detracting from it.


How to Care for Your Home Library

Your home library is your space for self-enrichment, and that is what makes it so important to carefully clean and organize everything in it. I may not own a wide selection of books but this article might probably help me for future use.

(C) Trendir

(C) Trendir

I’ve harbored a passion for books as long as I can remember (my first job, in fact, was as a page in my hometown library), and I can spend endless hours perusing bookstores and library stacks. Whether you swoon for rare first editions or romance novels, keeping track of your beloved books will ensure that they will be easily found when you need them and will remain in good condition for years to come. Here are a dozen ideas for organizing, caring for and enjoying your home library.

Find your library style. No matter your reading preferences, the books you choose to keep in your home should hold special meaning for you — books that are only so-so aren’t worth making room for on your shelves. Once you’ve decluttered your library, it’s time to decide on a sorting method. Here are a few to consider.

  • Bookstore-style. Sorting nonfiction books by subject and fiction alphabetically by author works especially well for larger book collections, for which other organizing methods would fall short.

Read more:


Various Tree Stump Removal Methods

As valuable as landscaping trees might be to a residence, there are reasons that some house owners might opt to have a tree removed. If you have ever before had a tree eliminated, whether purposefully or otherwise, an unsightly stump might continue to be. After a tree is gotten rid of from an location, an unsightly eye sore called a tree stump is left as a haunting reminder of the dreadful action.

(C) The Spruce

(C) The Spruce

Sadly, even if it’s not a problem right now, that stump might become a severe problem in the future. Dead tree stumps can end up being dangerous and bothersome. Contact a tree services specialist for stump removal and look forward to a smooth, risk-free, stump-free lawn.

By Hand

Eliminating stumps by hand functions just on small, old or deteriorating stumps. A chainsaw, digging bar, pick mattock, an axe, length of chain as well as a vehicle with four-wheel-drive are required. Making use of inappropriate tools will provide the procedure pointless or half-done. Bear in mind, the stump might not live however its origins still spread out a excellent distance so it’s challenging making it provide. What needs to be done, then, is to cut the major origins and the exposed ones with an axe or chainsaw. They may be pried making use of the pick mattock and the digging bar.

By Grinding

The quickest method for tree stump removal is stump grinding. There is typically much more expenditure involved with this method, yet the equipment used by professionals is a lot more effective than the various other choices. Speak with a tree cutting professional to find out more pertaining to treatments as well as total expense. Certainly, stump removal through grinding could be done for visual purposes, but there is likewise some functionality to it. If a stump is gotten rid of by grinding listed below quality degree, after that new grass can grow and also mower blades are less jeopardized.

By Burning

Burning is an economical method to remove stumps and is a common technique applied in areas that don’t have accessibility to stump grinders . In this approach, the stump isn’t really merely lit. Holes are tired into it and also full of potassium nitrate. Water is poured into the holes to dissolve the chemical and scrap wood is put on top of the stump before ignition. Exploration holes and also burning the within the stump ensures that the whole piece burns well. Residues are removed and also plants enabled to expand over the location if building and construction or setup of frameworks is not promptly required.

By Chemicals

Chemical removal is one more method that is economical. Nonetheless, it requires time for the stump to break down. Potassium nitrate is filled up right into holes pierced not in the stump however around it. Water is poured into the holes and also the mix is delegated sit for about a month or even more relying on the state of decay of the stump. The waiting duration ends when the stump ends up being squishy and can be torn using an axe. To facilitate even more rotting, the stump can be doused with kerosene as well as made to sit for one more number of weeks before axing it. Or, it can be burned to make elimination of debris less complicated.


How to Maintain a Septic Tank

If your home has a septic tank it is your responsibility as a homeowner to maintain it. You may not like the sound but you need to keep your septic tank well-maintained. This article explains the process of how you maintain your septic tank system.

If your home uses a septic tank to dispose of waste water, it’s important to know how to keep it in proper working order. Here are the basics you need to know to maintain the septic tank system for your home.
How a Septic Tank Works
A septic tank consists of a large, underground tank with an inlet for the drain pipe coming from your house, and an outlet going to the field lines buried in the yard. The tank allows solid waste to settle out and begins the decomposition process using the natural action of anaerobic bacteria.

Baffles in the tank retain the solid material while allowing liquid to flow into perforated field lines buried in the yard. As it soaks into the soil, the action of aerobic bacteria complete the process of breaking down any remaining waste material.

How to Find the Location of Your Septic Tank
The first step is to determine the location of the septic tank in your yard so it can be inspected and serviced. Septic tanks are usually located at least five feet away from the house with the top buried up to several feet below ground.

  • Here are some tips on how to locate your septic tank:
    A plat of your land (available from your county environmental office) should show the location of the septic tank in your yard.
  • Often the general location of the tank and field lines will be evident by greener grass or lush vegetation in the yard.
    If you’re still not sure of the location of the septic tank in your yard, a video camera can be inserted in a drain to track the distance to the tank.
  • Once you know the general location of your septic tank, a probing device—such as a thin metal rod—is used to find the top of the buried tank. Take care when probing to keep from damaging drain pipes, field lines, sprinkler systems, or buried utility lines.

Read more: