141 articles Articles posted in Home

Cutting Costs On Owning Your Home

If you’re someone who owns your own home, and you’ve recently been able to afford a mortgage and find the perfect place to settle into, now’s the time to ensure you’re cutting as much of the costs as you possibly can. Because home ownership and management is one of the most expensive things in life, and being able to save as much as you can is integral to living happily and healthy in your new home. So, without further ado, here are some of the most legitimate and effective ways to cut down the costs of owning your own home. 

Owning your own home

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Know Your Mortgage Rates

How much are you putting towards the mortgage, on a monthly basis? Because it might not be the best deal for you! Tracker rates are often much better than standard variable rates, and knowing the difference between the two, before you settle into a mortgage (and for switching afterwards) is key to saving money on your own home. 

So, your mortgage rates might be off the charts right now, and that’s not fair to you, and it’s not very productive for your household. Make sure you know about what you’re paying, whether it can change, and how much money you could save because of this change. 

Get the Right Insurance

Insurance is key to saving money on your home, especially if something breaks, goes missing, or there’s a security risk. And in the modern day and age, these are all big concerns, so you’re definitely going to need a good policy or two to keep you on track. 

Property insurance, car insurance, contents insurance, etc., are all viable types you’re going to want to look into. But, if you want to properly get to know the kinds of insurance you’re going to need, be sure to click here for more information. Maybe it’s time to change your policy, or get a better rate, or take out your first line of insurance before something goes wrong. 

Get to Grips with DIY

How do you feel about your DIY skills? Because you’re going to need them to save money on managing your new home! Overall, DIY is always going to be useful to a homeowner. You’ve got a lot of maintenance and repairs to keep up with, and when you’re paying upwards of £700 per year to keep your house in good shape, you should think about learning how to carry out basic skilled jobs yourself. Indeed, there are plenty of projects you could be getting on with right now, and each of them save a bit of money. At the end of the day, the pennies really do add up. 

Cutting costs on owning your own home doesn’t have to be hard. You just need to do a little research, make some preparations, and don’t be afraid to ask questions! Switch when you need to, push for better rates, and make sure you’ve got a tool belt to make some good use of. 

How to Choose the Best Home Theater Speakers

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Whether you like watching blockbuster movies in your free time, jamming to your favorite playlist, or playing video games; a quality home theater system is what will take the experience to the next level. Luckily, there are plenty of audio systems in the market for you to choose from.

But picking the best out of so many options is no walk in the park. There are different types, different layouts, and different features to look out for. We haven’t even considered the many brands selling these speakers. 

Not to worry, the guide below will explain to you how to choose the best home theater system!

Choosing the Best Home Theater System

The following factors need to be considered when shopping for the ideal home audio system:

Size of the Room

Before buying the speaker, you have to ensure that they’ll fit inside the room you want them installed. If you’re going for a powerful system, the room has to be large enough to prevent there being sound overkill. In the same way, a smaller room will be better suited to less powerful speakers.

Furthermore, the characteristics of the room will also influence the placement of speakers you’re going to get. For some living rooms, a soundbar is all you need to get the difference you need while others will be okay with shelf speakers or even floor standing speakers

Type of Speaker 

A home theater audio system comes with all the speakers that are needed to give your space a full surround set up. There are different speaker layouts you’ll have to choose from and this will mainly be guided by your preferences as a buyer.

A 5.1 speaker system comprises right and left front speakers, a center speaker, two surround speakers, as well as a subwoofer. On the other hand, a 7.1 speaker system features an extra pair of surround speakers that you can install at the back of the living room.

Depending on the size of your space and the amount of sound you see fit, this is an important choice that will affect the overall quality of sound. 

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Testing

When shopping for an audio system in stores, most people make the mistake of listening to new material, usually a demo DVD or CD that the store provides for customers. This robs you of the chance to scrutinize the sound quality effectively and tell whether it is the right product for you.

Ideally, you should bring along a CD from home that you’ve had an opportunity to listen to over and over. This way, you’ll be able to notice any difference between the speaker systems tested and choose the stand out for you!

Accessories and Aesthetics

Some speaker systems come with special features that are not common for all brands. For instance, things like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatibility are considered to be crucial features that will improve the overall functionality of the speaker. However, these can only be found in a select number of models.

Another thing you might be interested in is the general aesthetics of the audio system. This will include things like color, build, and even shape. If you are the one to care about the outlook of your space, you can get a speaker system that enhances the décor of your living room.

Brand

Before choosing a speaker to buy, remember to look at the brand you’re choosing from. There are numerous manufacturers in the market but not all offer the same kind of quality. If you’re not very sure about the best speaker features, you can look at the manufacturer’s brand for guidance.

Make sure that the company has a good reputation in the market and if possible, go to the internet and see what previous customers have to say about the brand. This will also be a nice time to check whether the manufacturer offers a warranty and the duration before it expires. 

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Conclusion

A good home theater system can greatly enhance the entertainment value of your home. It might just be the new reason why everyone in the family is always looking forward to “movie nights”.

However, you have to play your cards right to get the perfect device for your space. The above factors are just some of the essential considerations you should make when searching for the perfect home theater speaker system!

Keeping Your Family Safe from Rodents

At best, rodents are a real nuisance to have around, and if they manage to get into your home, they can be outright dangerous for both adults and children. Mice and rats can spread several different diseases, and it doesn’t take much to expose you or your family to them.

Hantavirus: Hantavirus includes a group of viruses that are most commonly transmitted through rodent droppings and urine. It can progress to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in time, which unfortunately can be deadly.

LCM: Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis is an infectious disease commonly carried by common house mice, and is transmitted through droppings, urine, or the bite of an infected rodent. This disease begins with flu-like symptoms and can progress to temporary or even permanent neurological damage. This infection can also spread to pets such as hamsters if they are exposed.

Salmonellosis: A bacterial infection that can cause illness in both humans and pets, spread through feces-contaminated food or water.

So if you don’t want any of that around you or your kids, and I’m sure you don’t, here are some things you can do to discourage rodents from seeking refuge in your home. Prevention is the first line of defense!

  • Make sure to store food in airtight containers:
    This is the very first thing to consider. If the rodents can’t see or smell any food, they’re less likely to bother coming in. Avoid thin bags and cartons that can be chewed through, and keep those containers off the floor. Don’t keep food waste or other refuse in plain sight; keep them in sealed cans, stored away.

 

  • Keep up with the housework: Surfaces covered with crumbs, dirty containers or leftover pet food are a calling card for rodents. Clean up regularly, and encourage your children to do the same.

 

  • Lock it up: Aside from leaving food out, an open door is the simplest of mistakes, but one that can be very inviting for rodents, especially in the colder months when they seek warm refuge. Install bristle strips and patch up any holes in doors and gates, and keep them closed! Once again, let your children know why it’s important to keep the house secure.

 

  • Give them nowhere to hide: Trim back bushes, shrubs and trees that come near the house. Rodents will take any route they can find, and they’re excellent climbers. Giving them fewer options for hiding and/or climbing makes things harder for them.
  • Plug the gaps: Look for any potential openings, holes around where pipes and cables enter, vents, loose roof shingles, and even chimneys. You can plug any holes with a number of different materials, depending on where the hole is. Chimneys should be capped, and any open vents screened with wire mesh or vent covers. Find out more about preventing rats from getting into your home through these holes at atticnoises.com

 

  • Last resort: If prevention hasn’t worked and you believe you have an infestation, leave traps around the house near any suspected locations. Keep any toxic pest control substances well away from children.

Lastly, if all else fails, call a professional to eliminate the problem for you. Nobody wants rodents in their home, and the numbers can get out of control very quickly. Find professionals near you here at rat-control.com.  Be vigilant!

 

Obligatory DIY House Repairs Every Homeowner Must Learn

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I think no one will argue that keeping houses free from any trouble is challenging for any person. Whether you own the place or simply renting it, it becomes a huge and overwhelming responsibility to make sure that everything is in place and things are working well inside and out. 

Because maintaining a nice home is a serious commitment, there is a great need to learn basic skills to address occasional repairs, to resolve issues such as the humidity in your basement.  To save yourself from future troubles, there are a couple of effective hacks you can do by yourself in fixing household problems. 

Basic home problems can be solved without needing to spend lots of money. In this article, I have listed a few items that can be quickly repaired with a little persistence and patience: 

Toilet Lever

The usual home repair issue occurs in one of the essential sections of a home- the toilet. No one can stand a problematic toilet situation, and that is why there is a need to master repairing the common issues that you may encounter in your comfort room. 

Among these problems includes a broken toilet lever, which causes trouble in flushing the toilet. Replacing or fixing a toilet lever is considerably easy and cheap. 

Here are a few points to ponder when dealing with this trouble:

  • After popping the tank open, you have to re-attach the chain first. 
  • If it still does not work because the handle or the connector to the flapper is completely or partly broken, you are left without another option but to replace the lever itself.  
  • There are replacement toilet lever kits available in your local hardware stores and online that you can choose from.

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Toilet Bowl

A clogged toilet bowl is not a pleasing situation for anybody. Unclogging the toilet does not need a plumber immediately because there are several alternatives to remedy the situation. Two things may save you from spending too much: a plunger and an auger. 

A good first try is using a toilet plunger, preferably those with flanged or accordion styles. Take note that you should not confuse the sink plunger from a toilet plunger. 

If the toilet is the culprit of your household troubles, use a toilet plunger and not the other way around. To effectively use the plunger, you have to make at least eight downward thrusting motion in the bowl. 

If the plunger remedy does not work, it is the best time to use the toilet auger which is intentionally designed to solve massive clogs. Make a perfect grip on the auger to pull the unwanted clogs out of the bowl. While it costs relatively higher than plungers, it can still prevent you from paying someone to do the job.

It also helps to invest in durable and cost-saving bathroom fixtures that have a long, useful life or one that requires minimal maintenance. Look into upflush toilets for bathroom additions or renovations. These toilets are convenient to install, their macerating systems tested to last for 50,000 cycles, and their motor requires no maintenance.

Water Pipes

Pipe and faucet leaks can cause significant inconvenience at home. While this kind of problem is commonplace, the statistical data shows otherwise. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that at least 11,000 water gallons are wasted in every home each year due to leakages. The wasted resources cost great sums of money if left unfixed.

In fixing pipe leaks in kitchens or restrooms, the simplest thing to do first is to turn the water off. Usually, you can shut off the valve near the sink. In other houses, you can turn off the water system located in the basement. The next steps would involve placing a bucket underneath the pipe and twisting off the compression nuts. 

Conclusion

Most people devote time and effort in checking parts of their home regularly and allocate a good cost for the upkeep. Financial expert Eric Tyson once advised that at least a percentage of the total value of the home shall be set aside for purely home maintenance purposes as a matter of foresight and preparedness.

Unfortunate events are beyond any person’s control and may require immediate action. Homeowners are in a better position if they can address the issues quickly without having to wait for a technician or plumber to fix stuff at home. Aside from the ease and convenience of fixing things, it can save homeowners significant costs from paying repair and maintenance services. 

Learning these simple home repairs need no bachelor’s degree. By mastering these easy-to-do repairs, you can save money which you can use to buy other essential things for your home. There are several do-it-yourself repair tips you can find in your bookshelves and online.

If you can do things on your own, why still hire and pay someone? This handful of tips you have read helps you jumpstart your DIY home repair journey.

5 Important Things To Keep in Mind Before Renovating Your Home

Your house is more than just your home. It’s also an investment. It will look after your money for you as you get older, and potentially provide a fantastic nest egg for you when you choose to retire. When you own your own home, you always have collateral so you can finance anything from a new business startup to making the home of your dreams even dreamier. Renovating your home is a great way to help ensure that you’ll get a greater return on your investment if you eventually decide to sell. More than that, however, it can help you to breathe new life into the old place and ensure that you get more pleasure and enjoyment out of every moment you spend in your home.

5 Important Things To Keep in Mind Before Renovating Your Home

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However, a renovation is a major commitment, and it’s essential to go in with your eyes wide open. Here are 4 important things to keep in mind before embarking on a renovation project…

You can refinance to finance your project

When it comes to financing your project, be wary of spreading the cost across several credit cards or incurring the high interest rates of most loans. Instead, you may wish to consider refinancing your home to fund your renovation. You may benefit from a much better rate of interest and improved borrowing power.

Not everything needs planning permission

If you’re worried about the lengthy and confusing process of applying for planning permission for a major renovation, don’t let this put you off getting the most out of your home. The truth is that there are lots of renovations that can be carried out under your permitted development rights that do not require planning permission at all, from minor repairs to extensions and garden buildings. Get in touch with a local architect to advise on whether or not what you have in mine requires the granting of planning permission. However, you may well be pleasantly surprised.

Add a 10% margin onto your estimated costs

If you’ve ever watched a property show, any property show, you’ve likely seen how often even a modest renovation goes over budget. No matter how long you agonise over calculating the costs before breaking ground, there’s a chance you could go over budget. This is why it’s good practice to add a safety margin of around 10% to ensure that you don’t encounter any unpleasant surprises.

Never choose a contractor on the basis of cost

It’s not that there aren’t many, many reasonably priced and eminently capable contractors out there. It’s just that making these kinds of decisions on the basis of cost can set you up for a fall. Instead, you should choose someone who asks a lot of questions and gets excited about your project. Someone with a proven track record and reliable references who has lots of experience handling jobs just like yours. And if you hire an electrician, make sure they have the best multimeter on the market.

If you get cold feet, remember you don’t have to renovate

Finally, there are so many logistical and monetary considerations when it comes to renovations that it can make your head spin. Just remember, even if you get cold feet, there are still lots of great ways in which you can spruce up your home without the need for renovations.

Light Up Your Life with a New Lighting Scheme

There are certain things that I like in a living room. A sofa which is big enough for the whole family to snuggle on, plenty of wall sockets for plugging things in, a fireplace, and plenty of flexible lighting options. I think the latter might be the one which is most important to me; I hate sitting in a room at night with the bright, overhead light on as it’s really not condusive to settling down and relaxing, so I need ways to light a room which aren’t so harsh. With this in mind, I thought I’d take a look at some creative ways to light a room which give you flexibility on how the room is lit at different times of the day:

Pendant Lights

Light - Pendant Lights

Okay, so I know I said overhead lighting wasn’t my fave, but there are ways to get creative without having to alter the room too much. There are some beautiful lightshades which can be opened and closed with a little pulley to allow more or less light (or more direct light) to be shone from the fixture. They can be used with pendant lights from lights.co.uk and allow you to have complete control over how bright your room is.

LED Strips

Light -LED Strip

As time goes on, LED strip lighting has become cheaper and more accessible, and can now be used in all types of settings. I absolutely love the look of furniture with LED strips added in an almost hidden position, such as on the underside of the opening of a Welsh dresser to create a really subtle glow around a room.

Candles

Light - LED Candles

Gone are the days when candles were too much of a fire risk – LED candles are all the rage right now and they actually produce a really gentle light which looks like an authentic candle glow. We love LED candles so much that the kids have even got them in their bedrooms too – essential when you live in the middle of nowhere, like us, and have power cuts  more regularly than you have hair cuts!

Neon Signs

Light - Neon Signs

It wasn’t until I saw a programme a few years ago where the presenter went and made her own neon sign that I realised how accessible this type of design is for the home. I’d love to, in time, have custom-made neon signs for the girls’ bedrooms as I think they’re such a funky, modern way to add both style and light to a room.

Lamps

Lamps

The most obvious way to make your lighting scheme work for you is by placing lamps in all of the places that you want to add extra light. A well-placed lamp can change the tone of a whole room and I love experimenting not only with different locations for a lamp and what they do to a space, but also changing the types of bulbs that you use – at one point, we had a remote controlled bulb in one of our bedroom lamps which could be just about any colour of the rainbow, as coloured light is so much better for the eyes when you’re trying to get ready to sleep.

Cheap Ways to Give Your Home a Makeover

Cheap Ways to Give Your Home a MakeoverPhoto by Jagoda Kondratiuk on Unsplash

With Christmas out of the way, many of us are starting to think about ways that we can give our home a makeover for the year ahead. However, the dent that the festive season left in our finances is probably still a factor for most of us, which means that any home improvements need to be done cheaply, or even better, for free. With this in mind I thought I would look at five ways that you can improve your home on a very tight budget.

Recycle

One way that you can improve your living situation is to go room to room and do a full inventory of all of the furniture and fixings that you have in each space. You may realise that one piece of furniture isn’t working for one room, but with a lick of paint or a rub down it might be perfect for a different space. Our TV unit doesn’t really go with the rest of our room, however we’ve been thinking lately that we might mount the TV on the wall, give the TV unit a makeover with a coat of chalk paint and use as a coffee table.

Freecycle

Freecycle is such an amazing place to get things that you need without spending any money at all. If you want to declutter, giving old items away on Freecycle is a great way to do this as more often than not people will come and collect them, meaning you have to make little or no effort to empty a space. Asking for things on Freecycle is also a great way to obtain the resources you need to transform your spaces. We once managed to get hold of enough laminate flooring to recover the floor of a whole bedroom and it didn’t cost us a penny!

Ebay

Finding things cheaply on eBay can be really easy, although sometimes you may need to spend a little extra time seeking out those bargains. However, one trick that I learned years ago is to search eBay with misspellings. This might sound weird, but sometimes you’ll find things with a low reserve and absolutely no bids because they haven’t shown up in anybody’s search results, thanks to a misspelling in the listing. If you can find these listings, these are the holy grail of eBay and often mean that people can get things for next to nothing if you’re willing to put in the time to find them.

Swaps

If you’ve got stuff to give away you might find that someone else has something that you want and is willing to swap with you. Facebook is a great place to find swaps for your items and you may even find that there is a local event where people take their items for swap seats. Hey, if there isn’t a local event maybe you could organise one, if you have the time!

Plants

If you haven’t got the money to do a full makeover of your home, sometimes adding little touches like house plants here and there can make a massive difference to your living spaces. As well as plants giving a burst of colour to a room they are great for your well-being, help to produce clean oxygen and will make your room look stylish and put together.

Kitchen Cabinet Trends For 2020

Upgrading Your Kitchen With Modern Options

In some areas, modern kitchen designs aren’t what’s locally chic. Well, we’ll briefly examine a few choices that don’t really care about what year it is, and are trending. For the most part, though, top-tier trends are altering interior décor, and can be worth your consideration. Following, we’ll explore some 2020 kitchen cabinet designs you might want to think about. Furniturebox supplies contemporary furniture for the whole house, check them out if you’re thinking about redecorating.

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The Open Shelving Approach
Open shelving has a lot to recommend it. You can see where everything is easily. Plus, the actual space of the kitchen is expanded substantially, and such organizational motifs allow clutter reduction. However, bump into a shelf with your shoulder accidentally and you might have a mess on your hands. Still, this is a sort of “naked” kitchen design that’s quite stylish.

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Slick, Smooth Slab Doors
There’s nothing old school about smooth slab doors. These are a sleek modern innovation that’s got much recommend it from a lot of different angles. For one thing, they’re frameless in the front, and you can get a glossy finish if that suits you. If you’re unfamiliar with slab design, think “Ikea”. There are plenty of glossily-finished cabinet options available through that group.

Minimalism is that which ultimately produced smooth slab doors. In Sweden, minimalism is, ironically, a big deal. If you’re looking for a simple, sleek way to modernize your kitchen, you might want to look into slab doors. Will they be stylish in a few years or decades? Well, that remains to be seen—but the minimalistic element is very practical, so it’s likely they will be.

Shaker Cabinets And RTA Cabinetry Options
Shaker cabinets are very familiar. Though they’re modern, shaker cabinet options have a more aesthetic design than common square or rectangular cabinets. With shaker cabinets, the door is recessed, but there’s a modern flavor to the simple lines which define their shape.

The idea of shaker cabinets isn’t to be a focal point, but to represent a useful, perfectly-conformed piece of furniture in your kitchen. They come in multiple colors, though white shaker cabinets seem to be some of the most popular. As a matter of fact, you can find some especially cost-effective options among this particular type of cabinet.

Are you familiar with RTA cabinets? RTA stands for “Ready To Assemble”, and essentially refers to a sort of cabinet that you can specify in terms of dimensions online, then have shipped to your premises for assembly.

If you’re not quite sure which sort of RTA option makes the most sense for your property, you might peruse some of these RTA cabinet reviews. On that note, check out this Ice White Shaker (Forevermark) Review: stable, clean, impressive RTA Cabinet options like these are especially recommendable for remodel in 2020.

Blue, White, Gray, And Two-Toned Coloration
Different colors tend to define a generation. Oftentimes the automobile industry sets the stage, and what’s popular cascades from there. For example, look at the avocado green and neon orange color motifs of the seventies. Many cars had similar color schemes. Today, in 2020, several very popular colors include blue, white, gray, and two-toned mixes.

White and gray are some of the safest colors to go with if you’re looking for a long-term solution. These colors go with practically any décor, so when future shifts alter the furniture coloration that’s popular, you won’t have to worry about any clash.

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The Natural Wood Approach
Natural wood cabinets of the type seen in mountain cabins will always be stylish, no matter the era. However, if you’ve got a home full of natural wood furniture, it’s likely you’re not paying too much attention to future trends anyway. This is what may be referred to as “evergreen” style. As in: regardless of the era, there’s always a place for it.

Choosing The Best Cabinetry For Your Kitchen in 2020
Ultimately, what best suits your property is up to you. While staying stylish can keep you contemporary, some styles stand the test of time better than others. Presently, 2020 color schemes include blue, gray, and white options. Shaker cabinets and RTA options are also very stylish today, as are smooth slab cabinets and open shelving arrangements.

If you’re into “legacy” designs, natural wood options may also be recommendable. Before making any decisions, it may be wise for you to sit down and explore what’s available. There are quite a few different styles from which to choose. 

 

Storage Ideas For Small Kitchen

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No kitchen is too big to run out of storage space or be overwhelmed with clutter. But this problem is far more likely to affect tiny kitchens than large ones. If you have a small kitchen, you’ll inevitably find yourself struggling to find space to keep even the most essential items.

Yet, having a small kitchen doesn’t have to mean you have to live with chaos. There’s actually plenty of space in your kitchen that is unused or underutilized. Here are some practical ideas on maximizing your small kitchen’s storage space.

1.    Harness the Space Between the Refrigerator and the Wall
The kitchen refrigerator won’t always fit snugly into its assigned space. That’s sometimes because refrigerators may be replaced and the space originally intended for it when the kitchen was built may end up being much larger than the fridge.

There’s no need to let this space go to waste, especially in a small kitchen. You could for instance slide a folding step stool between the fridge and the wall. Or if the gap is big enough, you could explore the possibility of fitting a free standing shelf that will form or extend your pantry.

2.    Use the Sides of Cabinets
Like refrigerator space, chances are that not all your cabinets (or at least not all sides of your cabinets) are butted against a wall or another cabinet. Whether your kitchen cabinets are shaker style (see https://www.bestonlinecabinets.com/rta-kitchen-cabinets-shaker-style) or any other design, this is bonus square feet of storage space you can make use of. Add shelves, hang a pot rail and do more.

3.    Use the Space Above Your Stove
This is one of the more overlooked spaces, perhaps because of a legitimate concern about placing anything above the place where you cook your meals. You certainly wouldn’t want anything up there that could ignite easily.

However, it’s space that you can use if your kitchen doesn’t have a hood. You can exploit this space via a pot rail or shelf. This will create room for fire-resistant cooking utensils as well as larger cookware.

4.    Add Shelves All Over

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Speaking of free standing shelves, shelves in general are in fact the dirty little secret of extending storage space in small kitchens. Unlike storage cabinets, you can actually fit shelves in all kinds of places in the room without making the small space feel cramped.

Fit shelves on walls and above your kitchen counter. Fit shelf risers in your kitchen cabinets to further increase the space you have.

5.    Add Toekick Drawers
The toekick is the space between your cabinet and the floor that provides a recess for your feet when you are doing something on the kitchen countertop. It certainly provides comfort but it’s a luxury you can easily do without if you have a small kitchen.

Instead, you should consider installing toekick drawers in this space. It’s a great way to transform a rarely or never used space into somewhere that can hold your linens, pans, cutlery or pantry items.

6.    Use the Inside of All Doors
That plain interior of your pantry or cabinet door is really not living up to its storage potential. The kitchen is teeming with plenty of items that could find a home here. Hang your cutlery, small appliances, measuring cups and bulletin boards. And if there’s sufficient space for it especially in your pantry, you could even fit shelves on the inside of the door.

7.    Use the Undersides of the Cabinets

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This is probably not one of those places that will immediately come to mind when you are thinking about extending storage space but if you have a tiny kitchen, every available opportunity will make a difference.

Just when you thought your cabinets can’t take any more stuff, the underside of them will surprise you. Add hooks to the cabinet bottoms that will hold your small tools and mugs. A magnetic strip could convert the underside into a floating spice rack.

8.    Magnetic Knife Rack
A magnetic knife rack is a handy tool you can use to squeeze out more storage space from thin spaces on your kitchen walls. And it doesn’t have to be horizontal as per assumed convention. A knife rack can run vertically as well proving that no wall space is off limits when it comes to where you can place it.

Maximizing small kitchen storage comes down to a shift in your mindset. You have to stop planning your storage around conventional, big kitchen thinking and start to explore the creative ways you can make the most of the space you have.

Top Reasons Why Dogs are Good for Kids

Top Reasons Why Dogs are Good for KidsIf you know us, you’ll know that we’re a family animal lovers. Husband and I got Chuck in 2006, just a couple of months after we got married and he wa a huge part of our lives for 13 years. We’ve had other pets over the years, too – Happy the hamster, Maureen our Staff-Frenchie-Boxer cross, Bagel and Biscuit the budgies, plus various dogs we’ve fostered over the years.

We’re huge believers that pets make a home complete and that it’s great for kids to have pets too, as it teaches them responsibility…even if it is always be cleaning out Bagel’s cage instead of Sausage! With this in mind, I thought I’d share some reasons that dogs are great pets for kids (and why investing in scratch-proof flooring is a good idea if you want one!)

Bonding

Having a pet helps to build family bonds as animals are often the focus of family activities. From walking the dog together to grooming or feeding the pet, these simple but enjoyable tasks allow everyone to slow down, enjoy each other’s company and communicate with one another.

Exercise

Having a dog means that you have to go for walks. Come rain or shine, dog need exercise, no excuses. You have to remember, that as well as for their physical health, dogs need exercise for their mental health. When they’re at home, they can’t sit and read a book or watch the TV, that’s their equivalent of getting out and having a sniff around the neighbourhood!

Responsibility

The daily commitment of caring for an animal is a great way to teach kids the importance of dependability and responsibility. To be a dog’s provider is an honour that requires a lot of patience and work. We make sure that Sausage and BB help to keep Maureen’s water bowl clean and refilled, put her food down, and make sure her bed is nicely plumped up for her to rest in.

Mental Health

It’s actually been scientifically proven that spending just 15-30 minutes with your dog can help you feel more calm and relaxed, reducing stress and increasing happiness. Playing with your pup increases your brain’s levels of dopamine and serotonin, both of which are neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and tranquility. Just having a dog around can give your mental health a huge boost.

Comfort

Having a dog can be a huge source of comfort in so many situations. When my kids are ill, Maureen (as did Chuck) will always be the first one to sit with them while they’re recovering on the couch, she’s always there with face licks when the girls are crying and she lets us know if anyone o much as breathes wrong within a 100m radius of the house. She’s a huge source of comfort for us all and loves nothing more than a snuggle with her pack…except maybe for a 5 mile walk where she gets to chase pheants!