Prioritize Your Home Improvement To Do List

hand-written home improvement to-do list

Last night, after work and dinner, I sat down to realize that I still haven’t even begun to scratch my home improvement list.  Perhaps I was overly enthusiastic when I wrote it, because what originally was a mere 3 or 4 projects has now become a total overhaul.  So for those of us who have taken to hiding our to-do list in a drawer, I have made a strategy to get the list back out.  Let’s get to the bottom of all of our whizzing needs, dreams, wants!

  • First things first – Prioritize.  Read through your home improvement list and rank the tasks.
    •  Needs.  These are time-pressing repairs, overly noticeable damages, seasonal needs, or anything that impedes your day-to-day life.  For example: broken faucets, large holes in drywall, adding insulation for winter, or a broken front step.
    • Wants.  They are not unreachable goals, but they aren’t pressing.  Things like updating the paint in a room, re-caulking the bathroom, creating more storage in a laundry room, removing old wallpaper, etc.
    • Dreams. Looking through Pinterest, or Better Homes & Gardens, typically these kinds of magazines breed extensive projects.  New kitchens, or appliances, knocking down a wall, building an extra bedroom, finishing a basement… These projects are the remodels.
  • Now, once you have divided your list, things will become a lot easier to plan and strategize. Each month pick 2-3 items from your list of Needs, and 1 item from your list of Wants.  Then set aside a couple of days throughout the month to accomplish these tasks.

As far as your list of Dreams go – these will be your most time consuming and costly tasks.  Plan these out by year, save up for the expense and then set aside a fairly large chunk of time to complete them.  You can also use them to help shape your Want list, to create a more gradual build-out of the plan.

For Example, do you want to redo the kitchen? Consider breaking up the tasks into gradual repairs that you can occasionally check off of the want list.

Paint the kitchen walls one month, replace the sink the next, install a fridge after that… Adding small tasks to your want task that are geared toward a dream will make it ultimately more attainable.

Busy schedules can make home improvement tasks tough.

If you need help, call a company you can trust – Handyman Matters, 866-FIX-MY-HOME.

We have a new half-day package that is perfect to help you shrink that newly organized to-do list.

Six Simple Steps For A Clean And Organized Garage

organized garage
Image Courtesy: Rubbermaid

Your garage’s main function is usually to safeguard and store your car, truck or motorcycles. That can’t take place if your garage has turned into a glorified storage unit, stuffed to the rafters with boxes, toys, tools, bikes, strollers and everything else you either don’t have room for or just don’t want in the house.

Here are six easy to follow steps that will help you clean and organize your garage and seize control once again:

Step 1 – Categorize

Get everything out of the garage and sort it all into groups. Categorize it all and put everything into groups with like items.

For example: toys with toys, carpentry tools with carpentry tools, yard tools with yard tools, etc.

Make a pile for trash: anything you don’t want that you can sell in a garage sale and items to give away.

Step 2 – Get Supplies

Get the appropriate organizational tools and supplies.

After you’ve grouped everything, decide on exactly what tools and resources will help you organize these items better.

For example:

Do you need shelves? If so, what kind? A free standing shelving system or shelves mounted to the wall?

Do you need:

Get what you need now so it’s ready to go for step 5.

Step 3 – Clean

Clean the garage. As soon as you empty your garage, it’s important to take time to sweep out all the loose debris and remove cobwebs.

You’ll appreciate your garage much more if it’s clean, so make sure to sweep and dust routinely.

Step 4 – Freshen Up

Décor. This does not mean you need to remodel your garage into pseudo-living room; however you could think about a fresh coat of paint on the walls.

Lots of people prefer to paint and seal the floor of their garage to protect it from stains and also makes cleaning easy.

Transforming your wall and floor surfaces will have an enormous effect on the appearance of your garage.

Step 5 – Arrange

steps for a clean, organized garageArrange Items For Storage. As soon as you’ve cleaned the garage (floor and walls) it’s time to put everything back. Place those items that you use on regularly within easy reach.

Put items less frequently used further back in the garage or higher up on shelves or in cabinets.

Putting labels on shelves, bins and boxes will make it a lot easier for you to find what you’re looking for.

Step 6 – Rules

Lastly, make some rules for yourself and family members and implement them. Rules along the lines of, “Always return the items you used back to where you got them,” need to be enforced at all times; it’s simply too easy to slip back into previous sloppy, relaxed habits.

If you follow these six simple steps, you will have a clean and well organized garage. Not only will you be able to park your car in it, but you’ll also be able to find anything want without a lot of time wasted in the search.

And one more thing:  Don’t forget to have a garage sale to help get rid of all those unwanted items and put some cash in your pockets!

De-Clutter Your Home With These Organizing Tricks!

De-Clutter your Home

When clutter gains a foothold, it turns into an unstoppable force that resists all challenges to tame it.  It’s an energy-drain and if left unchecked, becomes a self-sustaining monster.  But all is not lost!  Here are a few tips for tackling the beast and beginning to de-clutter (or tame) it a little at a time.

First off, don’t think big.  That’s the stumbling block that has felled any number of people in their well-meaning efforts to de-clutter.  The accumulation didn’t happen in a day, and it isn’t going to go away that quickly, either.

If you attempt to tackle the entire project as a whole, frustration will quickly cripple your efforts.  Instead, allow yourself a specific amount of time to tackle a single cleaning task.

Focus on one area of one room—a desk, a cupboard, a bookcase.  There’s great satisfaction in taking back control of even just a small space.  Break all of the tasks into small, manageable chunks you can finish in an hour or two:

  • Organize first, buy second.  There’s little point in buying storage containers or any supplies intended to assist with the cleaning-out process before you know what will remain after the purging.  Purchasing containers is just giving yourself the temptation to store even more things you don’t need.  For the same reason, this is certainly not the time to contemplate building new shelving or adding more storage space—it only enables you to hold on to items that should be departing now.
  • Complete cleaning tasks entirely.  Experts advise approaching cleaning with three goals in mind.  As you begin to de-clutter your home, everything should be designated for one of three destinations:  Trash, donate, or keep.  Once everything has been classified, act on it immediately.  Trash goes directly to the curb.  Keepsakes go back onto the shelves or into the drawers.  Donated items must leave your house ASAP.  The longer you allow the boxes or bags of things destined for a charity or thrift shop to sit around, the less likely they are going to leave at all.  Make a firm agreement with yourself that once separated, no items remain in limbo for more than a day.  Haul those things to be donated out to your car right away, and don’t leave them in the trunk!  Place them in the back seat where they are a constant reminder—and an inconvenience—until you’ve dropped them off at your local thrift store.
  • Leave sentimentality out of it.  Don’t de-clutter your home when you’re feeling nostalgic.  The “if you haven’t used it—or even seen it—in eighteen months, then out it goes” rule is harder to enforce when emotions are ruling your decision-making process.  If something is merely going to go back into a box or a drawer or cupboard and not be seen again for another five years, then ask yourself how much you really need it.  You probably don’t.
  • Keep an eye on the new clutter.  Once you’ve winnowed down your stuff to a manageable level, you need to stay disciplined so that it doesn’t begin to take over your life once more.  One tip for keeping “the paper monster” in check is to place all mail and assorted paperwork in a tray or shelf in plain view—neatly stacked, of course—on a desk or an entryway table.  Never allow the stack to grow higher than half an inch.  When it approaches that mark, promptly set aside the time to tackle what’s there and then send it on to its permanent destination.

Only after you’ve made a good, solid sweep of organizing and eliminating clutter, will you realistically understand your present and future storage needs.  This is the time to determine whether additional closet space or extra shelving is appropriate.  Consult with your local Handyman Matters office to see what tips and assistance they can provide to expand your home’s storage capabilities.  But above all, stay on your guard!  Clutter has a way of creeping back in when you least expect it.

Locate your local Handyman Matters by calling 1(866)FIX-MY-HOME.

4 Benefits To Installing Low-Flow Appliances In Your Home

It’s never a bad time to make your home a little bit greener. The benefits are overwhelming, and most common upgrades will pay for themselves within a year or two, and then again when it comes time to sell your house. One easy way to make your home more efficient is to install low-flow fixtures and appliances.

Low-flow fixtures come in many different shapes. Some, like aerators for showers and faucets, are either screwed right on to the opening or installed somewhere in the plumbing near the actual faucet or shower head itself. Others take the shape of full appliances that can be replaced wholesale. No matter the shape, though, low-flow upgrades offer many benefits for your home.

1 – They Save You Money

This is doubly Low-flow water fixtures help to save on energy coststrue for appliances and fixtures that are used all the time. Showers and faucets, for example, which are used multiple times per day, will pay off the cost of upgrading in less than a year. The EPA estimates that if everyone in the country switched to water-efficient appliances, the country would save $8 billion annually.

2 – They Save Energy

When most people think of conserving with low-flow appliances, they generally think only of the savings on the water bill. That’s not the whole story. In fact, switching to water-efficient appliances and fixtures will also save money on energy costs, as you end up using significantly less hot water. You also extend the life of your water heater.

3 – They Save the Planet

Few people realize that one of the biggest quality of life issues facing the world today is a severe shortage of fresh water in many regions. Switching to low-flow appliances and faucets lets you do your part to help out. This is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to make sure that we leave the planet a little better off than when we found it.

4 – Many Communities Offer Incentives

If all of these reasons weren’t enough, many communities, municipalities, counties, and even states offer incentives for installing low-flow and water-efficient appliances and fixtures. And since the EPA claims that ultra-high-efficiency WaterSense products perform better than traditional counterparts, a tax incentive is basically free money to upgrade to higher quality fixtures and appliances.

The expert craftsmen at Handyman Matters can help you save energy and money by installing low flow fixtures and appliances. Enter your zip code above to find a Handyman Matters in your area or call us today at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME to schedule your appointment.