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Tips For Renters Part 4

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Tips

Let’s keep up the good work and continue leaning how to be a savvy renter. Find here the next four pieces of advice for living happily in the home your rent!

  1. You might want to ask about the size and efficiency of the water heater. For a single person it isn’t likely to be important. But if you have a family and the water heater is small and ineffective, you might end up with a lot of dirty kids, heaped laundry and messy dishes on a daily basis.
  2. Find out if there is a washer and dryer, or hook ups. You will need to provide your own machines if there are only hook ups. (There are always used ones available on Craigslist.) It’s also good to confirm that the laundry facility is in the apartment. Older communities still have shared laundry facilities that are used by all of the residents.
  3. If you want to run any kind of business out of the home you rent, give careful consideration. Some leases don’t allow it. Especially if there’s any potential liability. They might evict you for breaking the lease if you operate a business on the property without permission.  At a minimum,  you might be required to take out a renter’s insurance policy with a broader scope of coverage than is standard.
  4. Remember personal safety. Ask where the fire extinguisher is, check batteries on smoke alarms, and ask if a carbon monoxide detector can be installed if there isn’t one. Check out all of the doors and window to ensure they are properly installed and can be completely secured, to deter intruders. Find the fire exits, and be especially inquisitive about them in a finished basement. Even if a basement if beautifully finished, it doesn’t offer the same ease of exit as the main part of the home. If you’re going to live in a multi-level apartment complex or a home with windows higher than you care to jump out of, buy an escape ladder. They’re specially made to hang out the window and so you can get to the ground safely if you need to evacuate through a window.

Next read guidelines #17-20. Leave us a comment with a funny story about running out of hot water in the house!

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Tips For Renters Part 3

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Tips

Next in our series, we provide additional pointers on how to successfully rent a space and live there happily! Don’t forget to go back and read Part 1 of tips for renters and Part 2 of tips for renters!

  1. Determine how much light you need to be happy. If you suffer from depression or seasonal dysphoria, a dark dwelling in a basement apartment is not a good idea. If light is really important, you may also want to narrow your search by dismissing any north facing windows. They do not offer much light or warmth. Also, look for rooms that don’t have overhead light fixtures. You’ll need lamps for those rooms right away.
  2. Take a look at entries and exits as they relate to moving furniture and appliances. Some properties have exceptionally small doorways and tight hallways. If you have huge furniture you may run the risk of not being able to get it inside. Keep in mind that there is often a window that might solve the problem if both panes are removed.
  3. If you don’t own much furniture and/or you have very limited space in your new place, favor properties that have built-ins. There will be less to buy and less to move. Many homes have built in desks, armoires, entertainment centers, and so on.
  4. Consider how you’re going to manage your pets. Most people just ask if dogs or cats are allowed. But, there are lifestyle decisions that are part of owning a pet. For instance, if you don’t like walking your dog three times a day, then you need a yard. If you’re gone all day, you need a doggie door. If you prefer playing in a natural setting or having some alone time with your dog, a city apartment would not be a good idea. City life requires you to leave the building, be in a busy public setting, and walk on concrete. Also, many residences have exotic animal restrictions and don’t allow bunnies, ferrets, or large fish aquariums. With any species, there is almost always an additional cost when you bring along a pet. Typically an extra deposit and sometimes even pet rent. Fido might have to get a job!

Next read guidelines #13-16.  Leave us a comment with your worst horror story about an item not fitting through the doors of your new home, and how you overcame it!

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Tips For Renters Part 2

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Tips

#5-8  Advice on pests, parking, furniture and appliances, home improvements.

Continuing our series, find here the next five pointers on how to successfully rent a space and live there happily! Don’t forget to go back and read Part 1 of Tips For Renters!

  1. Ask about pest control.  Many landlords will cover the cost of pest control because it is in the best interest of the property. But if they don’t, you could end up with a costly problem. You don’t want to end up sharing a bed with 16 spiders. Also ask about wildlife in the area if you have small children or pets.
  2. Inquire about parking. Is there a garage or car port to protect your vehicle from the elements? Or, is it street parking? Are spaces reserved or first come first serve? Find out if parking is an additional cost. Once you know how parking is handled, make a mental note of the furthest potential distance between your car and your potential home. Is it a long way, and does it include stairs or an elevator? You’ll be making the walk on a daily basis so give it thought.  If it’s the dead of winter or your carrying eight bags of groceries, two blocks will feel like a mile and stairs will feel like a form of punishment.
  3. Before visiting properties, make a list of large items you own so can determine if they will fit. Places often seem bigger or smaller than they really are. Once you know, you can plan to sell anything that won’t fit before you move so that you don’t have to move it.
  4. Determine home improvement changes you may want to make so you can ask if they are allowed. A lot of landlords these days are totally open to cosmetic changes such as flooring, paint, and fixtures as long as you pay for them and get permission first. Some landlords will even deduct the cost from the rent in exchange for you coordinating the upgrade. If you decide to paint, schedule a time prior to your move-in to do so. It is far easier to paint an empty room! To get the most out of your investment, choose upgrades that are easily removed and transported to your next home. For example, light fixtures, bathroom hardware, and temporary flooring.

Next read guidelines #9-12.  Leave us a comment telling us the most awesome rental fix-up idea you ever used to improve your space!

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Tips For Renters

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Family

There are numerous reasons why you might soon be living in a rental property. Changing locations, leaving home for the first time, or fatigue with the hassles of home ownership are all possibilities. No matter your motivation, there are ways to plan well for the transition. We often stop to consider the most basic facts about a potential new place to live. But, there are actually several details that, if overlooked, could eventually make you unhappy. Here are the first four guidelines to help ensure your happiness in a rented home!

 

  1. Gather plenty of resources for finding a new place. Online resources such as Craigslist or Zillow post listings. Save time and energy by learning how to use the ‘favorites’ and ‘alerts’ functions that help you to track your search! Leave plenty of time in your schedule to visit properties.
  2. Find out how utilities are billed, including gas, electric, water, trash, TV an internet. Are they charged straight to you through a provider, or paid to the landlord? Also, if it’s a multi-unit property, determine if your use is individually metered or evenly distributed among the units. The option of paying all utilities to the landlord is excellent because you will not have to set up or transfer an account, go through the provider’s credit check, or deal with a separate bill each month.
  3. If you have to pay for curbside trash pickup, set your account up before you move in because there’s typically a lot of trash and recycling involved in a move.
  4. If you have to pay service providers directly for TV or internet service you can save a lot of money by getting quotes from multiple sources. For instance call, email, go to the website, and do online chat. You’d be surprised how many different prices you get from one company! Also ask about the level of service they’re able to provide in your specific area. Some companies only offer high speed internet in certain places. If a standard internet connection is too slow for your computer use, you want to choose the right company for your needs (gaming, uploading, streaming, etc.)Also ask about bundling these two services to save money and condense two bills into one by going through using the same provider for both.

You’re well on your way to being a savvy renter! Leave us a comment here before you go! Let us know how you find the best deals on internet and TV.

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The Perfect Party Playlist

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Holidays

The Fourth of July is almost here.  Independence Day means family gatherings, food and decorations.  July is an amazing time, the middle of summer; marked by the outdoors, warm nights and fireworks in the evening air.  Throughout the country memories are made in very separate locations and yet have much in common with one another, from helping a father with the grill in Seattle to chasing fireflies with neighbors in the Appalachians or waving a flag at a parade in Phoenix. 

Creating these memories alongside friends and family can be one of the best inspirations for celebrating and celebrations are often the best time to play music!  A perfect playlist fits the mood and rhythm of the occasion and inspire memories down the road for all those listening.  The playlist below may just help create those moments for the guests on your special day.

  • Born In The U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen
  • Hotel California – The Eagles
  • Georgia On My Mind – Ray Charles
  • City of New Orleans – Willie Nelson
  • Miami – Will Smith
  • Texas Women – Hank Williams Jr.
  • Save Me, San Francisco – Train
  • Rocky Mountain Way – Godsmack
  • New York State of Mind – Billy Joel
  • Los Angeles – Anya Martin
  • Arizona – Mark Lindsay
  • Ohio – The Black Keys
  • Florida Moon – Gene Mitchell
  • Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Viva Las Vegas – Elvis Presley
  • Albuquerque – Sons Of The Desert
  • Wild Montana Skies – John Denver
  • Sunny In Seattle – Blake Shelton
  • Sweet Home Chicago – Eric Clapton
  • East St. Louis Toodle-Oo – Steely Dan

 

The above is just a start – can you think of more songs about American cities?  Using this list, craft your own collection to inspire mid-summer memories. 

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Indoor Activities for Rainy Days

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Family

The late spring season into early summer can bring unexpected rainy days. If you are home with the kids all day or after school, the rain can make time stand still before dinner and bedtime. If it’s a weekend day, kids can really get antsy sitting indoors for hours on end. Here are a few fun indoor activities to enjoy with kids if you are caught with a rainy day outside.

 

Bake

Even if your kids are young, you can make this activity fun for them. Pick a cookie or other baked good recipe and get your aprons on. Try a family recipe from Grandma’s recipe box and tell the kids your favorite stories from growing up. Or, pick a fun recipe like “Kitchen Sink Cookies” and have the kids pick any ingredients they want to add to a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe. Anything from coconut flakes, peanut butter chips, walnuts, craisins or raisins will be tasty and fun for the kids to bake with.

 

Pinterest-inspired craft

If your kids are into crafting, ask them to search Pinterest boards to find an easy afternoon craft. Set up the kitchen table with any and all crafting supplies and encourage them to make something for the playroom or their bedrooms. This will get their creative juices flowing and pass a couple hours of bad weather any day.

 

Charades or board games

Kids love to play charades, so write down several fun characters to play out, cut them up and play a few rounds of charades. Then, grab some board games suitable for kids, set out snacks and blankets and gather around the family room table for an afternoon of games.

 

Movie and a snack

If it’s a particularly gloomy or lazy day, invite the kids to the family room or basement for an afternoon of movies, popcorn, candy and cuddling. Have them put on their comfy PJs and agree on a movie or two to pass the time.  

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Hardwood Floor Maintenance Part 2

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance


This is a two part series where we are discussing simple daily maintenance that will help to ensure a longer life for your wood floor. Long term maintenance considerations are important, but the daily routine is what is practical for guarding your floor from damage ever day. In Part 2 we discuss how to protect your floor from objects and how to move items from place to place. 

On The Top

  • Shoes are not friendly to floors.  Especially high heels! These shoes seem to be made with a vengeance towards your wood floors.  The sharp tips of the shoes can cause small indentions and divots.  Some can be repaired, but not all!  Scars can be avoided by either removing shoes when walking on hardwood floors for extended periods of time or by buying heel protectors that slip over the heel tip.
  • Does your dog spend time inside?  Make sure your pet has his nails trimmed occasionally. Indoor pets can damage wood floors if their claws are too long.
  • Protect your wood floors from furniture!  All furniture that sits atop your wood floors needs to have a barrier between itself and the floor.  Many options exist, but check with the manufacturers recommendations for the best ideas.
  • Keep your floors dry!  Use mats in spaces where water is going to splash like the bathroom or kitchen.

Moving Around

  • Your furniture can seriously scuff or scratch your floors if pushed around without proper precautions.  Once again, there are multiple products on the market specifically for helping with this.  However, be sure to check with the manufacturer to find the best product to use with your floor.
  • Seemingly against the previous point, you should move your furniture around occasionally to ensure even wearing.  Just make sure you move it safely!
  • A furniture dolly can help with moving larger furniture, but make sure to plan for the weight and wheels!  Protect floors at this point as well!

Your wood floor maintenance doesn’t need to be overwhelming.  It’s easy to take care of your beautiful wood!  Flooring trends may change, as might your taste and style, but your floor is meant to be there for you through thick and thin. Don’t forget to read Part 1 of the Hardwood Floor Maintenance guide. 

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Hardwood Floor Maintenance Part 1

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance

This will be a two part series exploring the easy tasks you can do daily to ensure a long life for your wood floor. Major maintenance considerations are always important, however they aren’t practical for guarding against normal life routines. The following tips are simple enough for even the busiest person and can be performed on a regular basis. This post will cover how to protect your floors from outside influences and simple cleanup. Part 2 will cover the proper way to set things on top of your floor and how/when to move them around.

Threats from the outside

  • Window treatments are the first line of defense against the UV rays from the sun.  Make sure to keep this in mind when purchasing your window coverings.  Wood floors are expected to naturally change shades and colors over time due to sun exposure, however with the right protection this can be controlled well.
  • Mats and small rugs are the trusted guards who protect your floor. These ever vigilant protectors can grab ahold of a large amount of dirt and grime before it ever makes its way into your home.  Sand, dirt or gravel can be tracked in on the bottom of shoes.  These are a very real enemy of your floors. These highly abrasive particles will do slow but steady damage to the floor. These can be placed at every entrance to your home, outside or inside.  Be sure to buy a mat or under-pad specifically made for wood floors so that the backing doesn’t do any damage.
  • The climate where you live can also make a big difference. Wood floors respond best to consistent humidity levels. This helps avoid contraction and expansion of the wood. All air regulation systems can help: humidifier, air conditioner, dehumidifier, or heater. 

Gentle Clean-up.  Quick!

  • A cheap broom won’t save you money in the long run.  Buy a high quality broom and dust and sweep your floors as often as possible.
  • Liquid messes cannot be cleaned up later.  Paying attention to small messes can save you heart ache.  Take the necessary time to quickly blot the mess with a soft cloth.
  • Be careful about using a vacuum on your wood floor. Using one without a beater bar is a great option, or your vacuum may have come with a hardwood floor attachment.  This is incredibly helpful in removing dirt from crevices where a broom will not reach.
  • Stains and spills are not fun.  For candle wax or chewing gum, try using a credit card to remove the excess. 

With a little care and time, your wood floor will thank you with years of use.  Treat it well!

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Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Summer

Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

Choices in gardening can be overwhelming for those who have never tried it before.   However, even a few vegetables can show a benefit with regular watering and care. Container herb gardens can grow starter herbs like basil, chives, thyme or rosemary. Even small spaces can be home to a beautiful garden! Your home and family will thank you for the effort!

 

Try these suggestions for tips and plants to start you on the road of gardening.

 

Tomatoes

This is one of the most popular plants for beginning gardeners.   Tomatoes not only come in several varieties but also a variety of sizes. These plants can be quite prolific, so you may want to start slowly. Hanging baskets and pots can be a great choice for those with limited space considerations.

 

Don’t forget that tomato plants need lots of sunlight.  Be sure to plan strategically.

 

Zucchini

Zucchini is another prolific plant.  It can easily take over your garden if you don’t plan correctly! Start with only one or two plants in your first garden.  Zucchini plants also need plenty of sunlight along with water – not an area to try to skimp! With this plant, either the blossom or the resulting vegetable can be harvested or eaten.  Both are delicious. There is a reason that so many recipes contain this ingredient.  Zucchinis will grow quickly, even overnight.   If a specimen looks ready to pick, then grab it!

 

Green beans

Like tomatoes and zucchini, green beans come in many varieties for the home gardener. A vine-growing bean is a great choice for those who are lacking in horizontal space, and bush types are available for those looking for a lower maintenance variety. Seeds only need to be planted in fresh soil where they can receive plenty of sunlight.

 

Lettuce varieties

Another incredibly easy plant to grow is lettuce. Many varieties of lettuce are available – baby romaine, red or green leaf, some spicy and some sweet.  This vegetable has the benefit of taking up only a little room needing small amounts of sunlight. Lettuce can also be harvested on a continual basis.  Just tear or cut the leaves allowing the base of the plant to remain.  The leaves will continue to be produced through the growing season.

 

Careful selection of plants for first time gardeners is a great way to see the benefits of growing plants at home.  With a little bit of care, a wonderful harvest will be reaped!

Enhance the Functionality and Character of Your Foyer

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

The foyer is usually the first impression that visiting guests have of your home. Since it has multiple functions, this space should feature items and furniture that are not only attractive but also practical. Decorative items can also be very useful for presenting a warm and welcoming environment.

 

A stylish mirror where you can check your appearance before going out, for example, can be hung from the wall. Instead of a painting, a striking clock can be displayed. If needed, a pair of accent stools can also be placed under a table. For storing small items such as keys and spare change, bowls or jars with wide openings can be used. If ever you need more storage space, a small chest can be used instead of a table.

 

Ambient lighting can be achieved using wall sconces. To highlight decorative features such as the unusual-looking clock or intricately made jar, accent lighting can also be added. Aside from overhead lighting, additional light when putting on and taking off shoes can be provided by a small lamp placed on top of the table or chest. If you want to cut costs, adjustable lighting might be more efficient.

 

Despite the primarily functional use of foyers, aesthetics should not be disregarded. Upon entry to your home after a busy day outside, the foyer is the first thing you see. It should, therefore, exude a relaxing and inviting ambience telling you that you are home. It also gives the visitors their first impression of the interiors so it should be a dynamic reflection of yourself and your lifestyle.

 

Enhancing the sense of entry can be achieved by having a different scheme for adjacent areas. Since the space for the foyer is usually very small, you can get away with using very busy and eye-catching patterns. Combined with furniture of solid colors, harmony can still be attained. Bright colors can also be used to introduce vigor to your home.

 

A vase filled with freshly cut flowers can bring in a little bit of the nature outside into your entryway. Tall, vertical plants and hanging terrariums can add even more character to the area. Various wall displays, which do not take up valuable floor space, can immediately engage visitors.

 

Despite being a small area, the foyer is a significant part of your home. It can be a very suggestive space so taking the time to think about how you would like it to be designed is important.