Keep Safety in Mind While Decorating Your Home for the Upcoming Holidays

Even as we prepare to deck the halls for the upcoming holiday, don’t let the holiday spirit so overtake you that you forget to keep a few fundamental safety tips in mind!

Let’s begin with the fireplace.  This needs annual maintenance, with or without any holiday decorating taking place.  Have it checked out by a Handyman Matters craftsmen to prevent the build-up of creosote and other dangerous materials that can begin to clog your chimney, causing all kinds of hazards, including an unexpected fire.

While a fireplace looks especially festive over the holidays when trimmed with boughs of branches or with pine cones and other types of decorations along the mantle, it’s not just the stockings that need to be hung with care.  All potentially flammable items should be kept well out of the reach of flames, and monitored closely.  Don’t sacrifice safety in the name of a festive atmosphere!

Never, ever leave lit candles unattended, even if you are stepping out “just for a minute or two.”

Whether you are placing your gifts under a real or an artificial tree, there are basic things to keep in mind—you’ll need a sturdy and substantial tree stand that will support the trunk and eliminate any danger of the tree toppling.  If you have curious pets or small kids, take extra precautions to anchor the tree in place.

If you are buying a real tree, check it closely before purchasing.  Stroke a branch or two with your hand, tugging very gently on the needles; if they are spilling off even before you get it home, the tree is past its prime and shouldn’t be standing in a corner of your home drying out even further.  As soon as you get your tree home, saw about an inch to an inch and a half off the base, which allows the tree to “drink” more easily.  Keep the base thoroughly immersed in a few inches of water, checking daily to add more if needed.

Check every string of lights carefully before hanging it, whether it’s for use indoors or outside.  And of course, make certain that all outdoor decorations are rated for outdoor use.  If any cords are frayed or worn, don’t try to nurse “just one more year” out of them.  NOW is the time to replace with new strings of lights that won’t compromise the safety of your house, your loved ones, or you!

Don’t overload circuits with too many strings of lights.  Employ some of the newer, portable power strips that come with a built-in circuit breaker that will trip and reset the switch if you overload the circuits.

Use only good quality extension cords, UL approved and rated for whatever use you intend to put them to.  And take care to tape them down or otherwise place them so that they don’t create a tripping hazard.

Many decorations will require the use of a ladder, and not just any old ladder.  You want one of solid construction and placed only on solid ground.  Never stand on the topmost rung of the ladder, not even “just for a second.”  One second and one misstep is all it takes to send you toppling to the ground and ruining all of your holiday plans.  And remember, it is never a bad idea to have someone standing nearby monitoring your progress when you are on a ladder or any other precarious location.

Just a few common sense precautions can make all the difference so you can be sure your holidays will be merry and bright. The professional craftsmen at Handyman Matters can get your to-do list done and make sure that your home is safely decorated for the holidays. Call us today to set up an appointment or a consultation at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find a location near you!

Making Better Use of Your Home’s Space

Many times it’s possible to rearrange spaces within an existing house to allow yourself a considerable amount of more living space.

In this tight economy, homeowners who are face “growing pains” within their living space are finding new and innovative ways to “increase” the size of their homes rather than making the much more expensive choice of buying a house with larger square footage.  Many times it’s possible to rearrange spaces within an existing house to allow yourself a considerable amount of more living space.  By opening up floor plans, moving stairs, even moving bedrooms and living spaces, it’s possible to create a plan that is appropriate for today’s living.

Let go of preconceived ideas of how rooms should be arranged, and you may be able to arrive at a solution that you couldn’t imagine before. That may mean that the master bedroom needs to go where the living room is. Or moving the kitchen may solve many layout problems.

Consider moving your staircase; it can often be designed to better connect different floor levels and improve your family’s traffic pattern even while allowing for expansion of a living room or landing.

Fireplaces are an attractive draw for buyers looking to purchase a home, but let’s be realistic.  How often do you make use of yours?  Is it more the focal point of the room or a charming decorative spot rather than a functional part of the home?  Could you make do just as easily with a smaller one, or eliminate it altogether?   With the advent of modern prefabricated metal fireplaces, it’s possible to remove an old masonry fireplace, and replace it (possibly in a new location) with a smaller and more efficient unit.

While it’s not always possible to eliminate a hallway, it is doable in some instances.  Halls don’t generally make a house feel larger or more expansive.  If you can connect rooms to each other without hallways, you’ll end up with space that feels larger and flows better.

By making bold and perhaps unexpected design moves, rearranging spaces, and thinking outside the traditional remodeling box, it’s possible to make better use of your home’s existing square footage and practically feel as though you’ve moved into a large house. Call Handyman Matters today at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME for all of your exterior projects or enter your zip code above to find a location near you!