Winterize Your Home + Free Downloadable Checklist

It's the first of December, which means there are only 20 days till it's officially the winter season. Here in the Pacific Northwest, that means a lot of rain, ice, and potential for snow. Protect your home with our handy winter home maintenance checklist:

INTERIOR - 

1. Have a professional clean and inspect your chimney/fireplace

2. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans (and make sure you clean them so they don’t fling dust everywhere when you turn them on – in fact, you should dust the whole house before you bring out your holiday decorations)

3. Replace the batteries in your smoke and CO2 alarms

4. Test your furnace and thermostat – have a professional take a look as needed

5. Pull out the space heaters and thick blankets – make sure everything is clean and in working order to keep you warm throughout the winter

6. Clean out your fridge and freezer – pull everything out, give the appliance a deep clean, and only put things back in that aren’t expired – pull the fridge out from the wall and clean behind it too

7. Give your oven a deep clean before you start your holiday baking

8. Rotate and/or flip your mattresses

EXTERIOR - 

1. Inspect the exterior of your home for any small holes or cracks and make sure they’re sealed up to keep bugs and rodents out

2. Turn off the water to your exterior faucets to prevent them from freezing and potential pipe bursts; drain, roll up and stow away your hoses

3. Check your roof for potential leaks and formations of ice dams

4. Clean out your gutters

5. Remove excess lint from your dryer vents to prevent fires

6. Cover your A/C compressor to keep it from freezing – you don’t actually have to cover the whole thing, but Family Handyman recommends putting a piece of plywood on top to protect it

7. Put away your gardening tools for the season and put your snow shovel and sand in an easy-to-reach place

8. Plant bulbs for the spring

9. Check out this helpful list of garden chores from The Oregonian

OTHER - 

1. Have snow tires put on and replace your windshield wipers

2. Put together a winter weather vehicle emergency kit – here’s a checklist from 5 Minutes for Mom

3. After the holidays, carefully go through, organize, and store your decorations or give décor you don’t use to charity

4. Once your holiday décor is put away, give the house a deep clean

 

You can download this checklist for free here.


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Thriving in Place: A How-To

Aging is become more and more of a concern for the population as baby boomers continue to retire in masses. A topic quickly gaining in popularity for home renovations is making a home safe for "aging in place." Beyond just aging in place, we want you to be able to thrive in place. Your home is just that, your home, and you probably want it to stay that way. Here are our remodeling tips to help you thrive in place. We call them the 7 R's:

1. Re-view the Laundry

If you're washer and dryer are front load, (as most are these days), you'll definitely want to put in a stand (approximately 6" tall) to raise them up and limit back pain from constantly bending over while doing laundry. Another thing to consider is the location of your laundry - the less stairs the better, and so much better if you can move it straight into the master closet.

2. Remove the Bathtub

The bathtub definitely presents an issue when it comes to stepping over the side. Remove the bathtub in favor of a low-profile shower. (We work with a great company called Onyx to install low-profile and ADA compliant shower stalls. Onyx makes a great in-shower seat, too.) Or, if you can't bear to part with your tub, get a walk-in bathtub.

3. Raise the Bar

The grab bar, that is. Install at least one grab bar in your shower and consider adding one next to your toilet as well. We recommend this one from Moen; it comes in three sizes.

4. Ramp It Up

Remove front entry and backyard stairs in lieu of wheelchair-accessible ramps. Add rails for extra safety.

5. Re-think the little things

Door handles and faucets should all be changed to lever-styles to make them easier for your hands to grab and maneuver. Change cabinet knobs to bars that won't get clothing caught on them, like these Delta ones.

6. Radiate light

Bring in all the exterior light you can get by making windows taller where possible, adding new exterior doors with glass panes inside, and adding recessed canned lights to the ceiling anywhere that needs more light for safety (like over the staircase or in the kitchen).

7. Rid the trips

Smooth, potentially slippery surfaces are just trips waiting to happen. Save yourself the trouble and install grip tape in places that could become a hazard such as the steps of a staircase or the tiled entryway. 

 

Whether you plan to stay in your home as long as you can, or you are looking to downsize, we hope that our 7 R's help you thrive in place.


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8 Things Every Great Laundry Room Needs

If you are lucky enough to have a dedicated room for your washer and dryer, here are some ideas to consider upgrading the space for optimal function.

1. CABINETRY

Space to store things like detergent is essential. Check out this beautiful before and after from Gather & Flourish:

Or, if you don't have enough room for the full size cabinets, try something smaller like this pull out by Manhattan Nest

2. HANGING RACKS

Those "hang-to-dry" pieces need their own space too, like these wall-mounted beauties from Bolig Magasinet:

3. AN IRONING BOARD

And so much the better if it has it's own designated space. We all know what a pain it is to pull out and put away.

You could even DIY this Ikea hack:

4. CLOTHING RODS

Of course, you'll need a place to hang things up when you're done ironing them. I love the location of this one:

5. COUNTER SPACE FOR FOLDING

Even if it's as small as this clever pull-out:

6. A HOME FOR YOUR HAMPERS

How many times a day do you trip over or into hampers that are sitting on the floor? If you're anything like me, it probably happens every time you go into the laundry room. Give your hampers their own place to hang out, like this DIY by Ana White:

7. SINK SPACE

Bring a sink into your laundry room and stop handwashing those delicates in your kitchen.

8. DISGUISE THE BIG GUYS

If your laundry room doubles as your pantry, or if you just don't like the look of your washer and dryer, here's a great idea for disguising them:

Hopefully as you've been scrolling through this post you've noticed that these inspiration photos all feature at least two of the elements I've mentioned. When it comes to the laundry room, it's all about creative use of space. Plus, you want it to be pretty - you sure spend enough time in there.

You can find more laundry room inspiration here.


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Making Your Home Fall-Proof + Free Downloadable Checklist

It's September, and although the weather may not be changing yet, we are quickly headed into fall. Here in the Pacific Northwest, that means one thing - rain.

In an effort to help you get your home ready for fall weather, we've put together this checklist for you:

Exterior - 

  • Clean out your gutters and inspect for weakness. If you don't have gutter screens, consider getting some to keep your gutters clog-free. And remember to check in on your gutters after heavy rainfall, strong winds, and storms - they may need to be clean out again.
  • Check your roof for any potential leaks and other problems and have them fixed now. You don't want to have to deal with that when the weather gets bad.
  • Inspect your siding and trim for any rot or other needed repairs to keep your home water-proof.
  • Trim back tree branches that could become a liability in strong winds and storms. Better safe than sorry!
  • Consider laying gravel or pavers in high-traffic dirt areas before they turn into mud zones.
  • Clean and store or cover any outdoor furniture and decor.
  • Weed out your garden and lawn, plant any spring bulbs, and fertilize your lawn to protect it through the winter.
  • Chop (or purchase) firewood and be sure to store it in a dry place - wet wood does not burn easily.
  • Ensure that all outdoor lights are working properly.
  • Turn off and drain your pool, hot tub, sprinkler system, and exterior faucets and hoses. Clean and cover the pool and hot tub, and store hoses away.
  • Repair damaged concrete. When water gets in those cracks and freezes, it creates bigger cracks, meaning more repair work later.
  • Collect fall tools such as rakes and store them somewhere you can easily access them when needed.
  • Store any removable window a/c units.

Interior - 

  • Check windows and doors for drafts. Weatherstrip and caulk as needed.
  • Prepare your entry way. Purchase new interior and exterior doormats for wet and muddy feet. Make space for wet coats and umbrellas to hang and dry.
  • Ensure your heating system is working properly.
  • Have your chimney and fireplace cleaned and inspected.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke and CO2 detectors.
  • Have a professional come out and inspect your plumbing lines for any leaks.
  • Change your sheets - pull out the warm flannel sheets and heavy blankets.
  • And of course, decorate your home with fall decor!

You can click here to download your free copy of this checklist.


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