Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Using Your Doors for Storage

Tips for Tuesday

We’ve all seen storage racks for the door.  They can be used for shoes in your closet or mud room.  They can be used to hold towels in the bathroom or spices in the pantry.  But there are many more uses for door storage if you think outside the box.

For example, those shoe pockets come in handy for flip flops, but how about using it for hair accessories, small stuffed animals or socks for your child.  And those pantry racks are useful for canned goods, but they can hold paperback books, DVDs or accessories in your teen’s room. 

Here are more ideas for over-the-door storage:

·        Several towel bars can hold extra blankets and linens.

·        Hooks can hold purses and handbags

·        Small hooks inside a cabinet can hold measuring spoons.

·        Use pockets for a family communication center--mail, mp3 players, notepads,dog leashes, etc.

·        Use pockets inside your pantry to hold spices, small bags of food, plastic bags, etc.

·        Use a rack for giftwrap storage.

·        Use a rack or pockets for craft supplies.

·        Use “S” hooks to hold umbrellas.

What have you stored on your door? 


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Remove Tripping Hazards for Seniors

Senior Thursday

We have all fallen at some point in our lives.  Maybe it was down a flight of stairs, or perhaps in a slippery tub or on a patch of ice.  With luck, we pick ourselves up and continue on.  As we age, though, these falls not only become more frequent, they also become more dangerous. 

Consider these statistics from the CDC:

·        One out of three adults age 65 and older falls each year.
·        Among older adults (those 65 or older), falls are the leading cause of injury death.
·        In 2010, 2.3 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments.
·        In 2010, the direct medical costs of falls, adjusted for inflation, was $30.0 billion.

These are serious figures.  So what, exactly, causes this increased risk?  Medication is one.  Some meds can cause dizziness or drowsiness.  Another is poor eyesight.  And finally, tripping hazards.  Meds can be adjusted, and poor eyesight can be treated.  And yes, tripping hazards can be removed.  Here are some tips to help protect the seniors in your life:

·        Remove all throw/area rugs from the home.
·        Make transitions between rooms smooth.  Thresholds are dangerous even at a 1/4” high.
·        Install grab bars in the bathrooms.
·        Install railings on both sides of the staircase.
·        Improve lighting in the home.
·        Have the senior wear shoes or slippers at all times.
·        Have the senior use a walker if they are unsteady on their feet.
·        Purchase recliners that lift for getting up/sitting down.
·        Install a bath transfer seat.
·        Remind the senior to never climb on chairs.
·        Purchase a step stool with a handle for support.
·        Keep floors clear of clutter.
·        Keep sidewalks clear in the winter.

Keep the seniors in your life healthy and happy.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Re-Use It Before Discarding It

Frugal Friday

Our society is so quick to throw things away.  And I don’t mean garbage.  We toss shirts missing buttons, or socks with holes or old electronics we’ve replaced with a newer and better model.  While this is good for the economy, it is destructive to the environment.  There are so many items we use in our everyday lives that can easily be re-used and kept out of the landfill--for a while at least.

Here are a few ideas for re-using everyday items:

  • Butter wrappers - Use empty wrappers to grease baking pans.
  • Opened envelopes - Use as scratch paper for your “To Do” lists, or for a grocery shopping list.
  • Inner envelopes - These are the ones that come in your bills, and are left over if you pay bills online.  Buy large stick-on labels and cover the window or pre-printed address and write the new address on the label.  Or use them to sort coupons.  Write the coupon category on the outside of the envelope, then put the envelopes in your glove compartment so you always have them when you are out shopping.
  • Plastic grocery bags - Use as liners for small trash cans, or to wrap paint brushes and rollers in the middle of a paint job.
  • Plastic bread clips - These make good cord corrals or small scrapers.
  • Styrofoam peanuts - Keep them to store fragile holiday items or to pack and ship holiday gifts.
  • Cereal liners - Clean and cut them, then place between meat patties before freezing, or covering food in the microwave.
  • Toilet paper rolls - Use upright to start seedlings in the spring, cut down and place in storage boxes for separating small items like beads, or use to protect small, fragile items when packing.
  • Shredded documents - Use for packing materials, whether moving or storing. This is especially useful for odd-shaped items.
  • Business cards - Turn over and use the back as a label for cartons or storage boxes.
  • Plastic bread bags - Use for liners in children’s boots to keep feet dry, or use to store your own home-made goodies.
  • Newspaper - Use to line bird cages, or as filler when packing.

How have you re-used some of your “trash”?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Remodel Now, Reap Rewards Later

Moving on Monday

When selling your house, the question usually arises--should I invest money in remodeling my home for a higher selling price, or leave it as is and take whatever offer I get?

This is never an easy answer because of the many variables.  When do you plan to move?  Do you want to enjoy the upgrades yourself before selling?  How fluid is your cash?  Can you afford to lose 50-60% on a project you undertake?  Would the house benefit greatly from the improvement even if you don’t get 90% back on the investment?

Answer these questions honestly before starting a project.

Should you go overboard and start putting in high-end appliances and granite countertops if you can afford it?  Or scale back and replace door fronts instead of all new cabinets?  

Before undertaking any remodeling project, consult with a real estate agent as to the return on investment you can expect.  If a $25,000 kitchen make-over will only net you 60% return, is it worth it?  Especially if a $5000 investment might net you 110%?  

According to Remodeling magazine’s recent study of the cost of various home improvement projects versus their resale value, some of the biggest bang for your buck is in the smaller projects.  For example, a new garage door can greatly improve a home’s exterior.  This is important when potential buyers are driving by to determine if they want to see more.  An average $1878 cost of a door yields a 62% return.  Vinyl siding can yield a 64% return.  However, a $54,000 bathroom addition added only about 42% of the value to the selling price.  

That isn’t to say you shouldn’t do any remodels.  If you will be in the house for a while, you can certainly enjoy the new spa bathroom.  But be prepared to eat 60% of what you laid out when the house hits the market.