Marianne Belanger's Blog
Owning a home is expensive. Aside from your mortgage, you also have to pay for insurance, utilities, property taxes... the list goes on.
It may seem like there are few ways to cut back on the expenses of owning a home. However, one of the most effective things you can do to save money as a homeowner is to do your own maintenance. The cost of home repairs can add up, especially if you live in an older home or in an area where services like plumbers and electricians aren’t accessible or affordable.
With a little research and some hard work, however, maintaining your home can be a source of pride and of saving yourself money.
In this article, we’ll cover the basic home maintenance and home improvement knowledge that will save you money, and point you in the direction of some resources that will help you attain those skills.
Maintenance is key
To increase the longevity of appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers, you’ll need to perform some mundane tasks regularly. That includes cleaning filters, fans, and going online to order new ones when necessary. In the same way that failing to change your oil filter will result in a much more expensive issue, so will failing to properly maintain your appliances.
In a world where companies are making it increasingly difficult for consumers to repair their own devices, it’s more important than ever to learn the basic skills needed to make simple repairs.
What you should do before repairing anything
There are some precautions you should take before repairing or maintaining things like appliances. First, always be sure the item is turned off and unplugged before working with its components.
Next, refer to the manual first, but if that fails, search for tutorials online such as on YouTube for your particular model. Always keep in mind that sometimes warranties are void if you attempt repairs yourself, so make sure the repair you’re attempting is easy enough so that you don’t risk losing your warranty.
The right tools for the job
It might be tempting to go down to The Home Depot and fill a cart with power tools when you buy your first home. Remember, however, that certain tools are more useful than others. Find out which tools you’ll be using most often. Odds are they’re simple, inexpensive hand tools that will fit in a small toolbox. Some power tools, such as a cordless drill, will probably be worth the investment as long as you take care of the batteries.
Don’t throw out good materials
Ample storage space is a problem many homeowners face. But if you can spare the space, hold onto materials from previous projects that might come in handy. Some examples include:
Paint. You don’t want to have to go back to the store and mix a new can of paint just for a touch-up.
Nails and screws that come with your purchases. Sometimes the screws are designed specifically for whatever you’re building. Save your backups so you don’t have to buy a new bag if one is lost.
Wood. Having extra wood around can come in handy for any number of home improvement projects.
There are plenty of DIY projects that you can find around your home. Some of these activities save you more time and money than others. Many times, trying to tackle a project on your own reaps more benefits and feels more rewarding. Re-caulking your shower is something that needs to be done to protect your bathroom. It’s a fairly simple project that can be done in a day’s time, so with the right instructions, you can avoid hiring a professional. By completing the project, you’ll also avoid the need for costly repairs down the road.
Cracks in the shower happen due to a natural expanding and contracting of the walls based on changes in temperature and humidity. The seams of your tub are also vulnerable to these changes since these seams are affected and jarred when people step in and out of the tub.
While this all sounds kind of complicated, doing the job of re-caulking yourself can really save you a lot of money in the long term. Noticing that there is a potential problem with your tub is the first step to saving money, as it will prevent bigger repairs from being necessary later on.
Here’s What You’ll Need:
Water or silicone based caulk
First, you’ll need to prepare your shower. You should clean both the shower and tub thoroughly. This will get all of the residue and mildew off of your walls. Next, you’ll need to dig out all of the old caulking from the seams of the tub and the shower. The idea here is to leave a clean slate to put in the new caulking.
Now, you’re ready to apply the new caulking. Cut the opening of the applicator to 1/8 inch in diameter. Next, squeeze out the caulking continuously in long lines. Caulk dries fast, so you’ll need to complete this task one section at a time.
Finally, you’ll want to smooth the line that you have created from the caulking. As soon as you lay the caulking, you should smooth it with your finger. Then, wipe away any excess caulk with a rag. You can reform any joints with warm, soapy water and your fingers. If any excess caulk dries around the tile, use the knife to remove it. You really should be prepared to get your hands dirty for this project.
You should wait about 12 hours to use the shower to allow the new caulking to dry completely. This simple do-it-yourself project can really make your bathroom look better and cleaner.
Hectic mornings can make for messy, disorganized bathrooms. Between the mad dash of getting the kids ready for school and ensuring you look presentable for the office who has time to put the toothpaste or hairspray back nevermind neatly so? If you’re dreaming of a clean, organized space to get ready for the day keep reading for some easy to implement tips.
Begin your project with a clean slate by tossing out any outdated products or items you simply don’t use. Check how long to keep an item for by the image of an open container with a number followed by a capital m inside of it. This indicates how many months to keep a product for after opening. If you can’t even remember when you bought a product it's safe to assume its time for a replacement.
Take a tip from the minimalists and keep only what you truly use. After all, the less you have the less you will have to dig through to find what you are looking for. Common culprits are hair products, spa-like bath products and piles of towels. If an item is really something you can’t let go of but don’t use often consider moving it to a nearby linen or storage closet.
Once you’ve decided what stays it’s time to put your items away. But before you start shoving everything back into drawers and cabinets take a few minutes to draw up a plan that gives each and every item a “home”. When everything has a dedicated space it belongs in it makes cleanup a breeze, especially on those hectic mornings.
Keep items off the countertops for an uncluttered magazine worthy countertop. Instead, place your families’ go-to items inside the medicine cabinet or top drawers. Try to keep everything in neat organized lines where you won't have to reach behind products to get the one you are looking for. An orderly lineup prevents chaos and products spilling down each time you reach to the back.
Installing clever organizers for small spaces helps to make the most of tiny bathroom spaces. Think more shelves, lazy susans, drawer organizers and roll out trays to get more out of cabinet spaces. A heat tool corral keeps pesky hairdryers and irons neatly organized and at arms-length.
Maximize empty and therefore unused space throughout the room such as over the toilet by installing shelving. You may also consider adding more hooks if you need them to hang up towels and keep them off of the floor.
It may seem like there isn’t any time for keeping an orderly bathroom when you’re just trying to get out the door in the morning. However, with a thorough cleanout and thoughtful organization your bathroom could be even more tidy than you first imagined. It just takes a little time and creativity to make the most of your unique bathroom space. Happy organizing!
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