Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ways to bug-proof your home

In all honesty, it's impossible to bug proof your home completely. Like it or not, some insects will find a way into your home. But you don't have to make it easy for them! Invest a little time in home maintenance and housekeeping, and you will greatly reduce your chances of insect infestation.

When attempting to bug proof your home, you need to do two basic things: prevent insects and spiders from getting inside, and eliminate bug habitat in your home. Your goals are to keep as many bugs out as possible, and to make your home is inhospitable to the few that find their way in.

1. Install and maintain screens on all doors and windows.
If you don't have screen doors on your home, install them. Repair or replace any torn or damaged window screens. Use fine mesh screening to prevent all but the tiniest insects from entering your home.

2. Seal around all doors.
If air and light can pass through, bugs can get in. Install tight-fitting thresholds and door sweeps to the bottoms of exterior doors. Use door seals to fill the gap around the sides and top of each door, too.

3. Seal cracks in your home's foundation and exterior walls.
Any crack in the exterior walls of your home is a welcome sign to insects. Grab a tube of caulk and inspect your home from top to bottom. Seal any cracks you find.

4. Seal around utility lines and appliance vents.
Insects may enter your home through tiny gaps around your dryer vent, gas line, or even telephone line. Caulk crevices on the outside of your home. You might also want to seal these areas from the inside using a spray foam product.

5. Eliminate moisture by fixing leaks.
Most insects (except for those that live in arid environments) require a certain amount of humidity to survive. Any source of moisture can attract them. Fix any plumbing leaks, however minor, promptly. Even condensation on pipes can drip and create suitable places for bugs to live.

6. Keep a tidy kitchen.
Where there's food and water, bugs will happily make themselves at home. Do all you can to keep your kitchen clean and tidy. Wipe up crumbs, sweep or vacuum the floor, and clean up spills right away. Don't leave dishes in the sink overnight. Clean out the toaster and microwave regularly. Throw away food scraps and packages.

7. Get rid of clutter.
Insects need places to hide, and a cluttered home is a bug's paradise. Recycle unneeded boxes and newspapers promptly. Keep laundry in clothes hampers. Keep your floor clear of belongings, and put things away after you use them.

8. Take the garbage out frequently.
If you can smell it (even a little), it's going to attract bugs. In fact, insects are much more sensitive to odors than we are, so even if you can't smell it, it may still attract bugs. If you're really worried about insect pests in your home, empty your garbage often.

Based on an article by Debbie Hadley

Friday, August 19, 2011

Decorating Ideas for a condo

Decorating a condo does not have to be much different than decorating a house. You should decorate in the colors and styles you prefer. Still, there are some things to think about that are unique to decorating a condo. For example, the footprint of a condo is usually smaller than a house, and similar to every other condo in the building. Also, storage space is usually at a premium. Create the feel of a larger space and add storage to your condo using the following tips.

Fool the Eye

The biggest difference between a condo and a house is that a condo usually has less square footage. Therefore, when you decorate a condo, think about how to make the space seem bigger. Most condos have one "great room" rather than a separate living room and family room. This room is often rather small, even though the name of the room indicates otherwise. To make the room seem bigger, try installing some mirrors on the walls. If you can install a mirror opposite a window, the mirror will reflect the window and bring more light into the room, making it feel larger and brighter. A mirror over the dining table also has the same effect. In any small room, not just the great room, limit window treatments to very light, sheer curtains or even nothing at all. Instead, hang a blind that can be pulled up, and install molding around the window to frame it. Painting the walls in a light, neutral color and the ceiling one shade lighter also will open up any small room.


Choose furniture wisely when you are shopping for your condo. Look for furniture on a smaller scale, so the pieces don't overwhelm smaller rooms. Clear glass on a tabletop or coffee table makes a room feel larger. In addition, shop for furniture that can do double duty. A futon can double as a guest bed. Drawers underneath a coffee table add extra storage, which is usually lacking in a condo. Some ottomans also lift up to feature storage. Hiding your television in an armoire can make the room look more formal and turn it into a dining room when you don't want to watch television. In fact, instead of trying to squeeze a dining room table into a great room, invest in a large coffee table, some luxurious floor cushions and then eat on the floor, Asian style. Or, invest in a great-looking set of TV trays.

Make it Unique

Finally, use some unusual decorating techniques to make your condo stand out from the others in your building. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use ceiling molding, wainscoting and chair rails on the walls. Install wainscoting a third of the way up the wall, top it off with a chair rail and then paint the area above it. Then, install molding around the edges where the walls meet the ceiling. Alternately, choose one wall and wallpaper it with a light-colored but sophisticated print. If you know a carpenter or are handy with wood, build yourself some built-in bookshelves around the doorway, then paint them to match the wall.

Based on an article by April Sanders.

Friday, August 5, 2011

5 items to consider when buying your first condo

The pictures look great and it's fitted with all the features you require, but before you put your deposit down on that seemingly ideal condominium, there are five key factors to take into consideration when going to view a new condominium.

1. The Condition of the Lobby and Hallways

While many people don't consider the communal areas of the building to be of vast importance during their first purchase, they can act as a key indication of the care with which the building managers conduct their work, and thus provide you a good idea about the condition of the building overall. If you're greeted by dusty odours and a stained carpet; you may wish to think twice about purchasing the condo, despite its apparent appeal on first glance.

2. Getting a Second Opinion

While the first impression may have taken your breath away, it's imperative that you go to the condo at least twice before making your decision to purchase the property. On the second occasion, be sure to bring a friend or family member, as well as real estate agent as they will help you to notice some of the smaller, less noticeable details that might have escaped your attention first time around.

3. Storage Space

One especially important aspect of condo living is ensuring that you have enough space to store all of your personal items. In many cases, the condo building will offer you an area in which to store items that are too large to place inside your condominium. This consideration is especially important for those with large families, who may require extra space for items such as out-of-season clothes, sporting equipment and other possessions that can add clutter to a space.

4. The Elevators

In most modern buildings, elevators are designed for streamlined performance no matter how many people use them per day. However, in some older condominium buildings, the elevators can sometimes break down or experience ongoing dysfunction. When visiting the building in which your chosen property resides, be sure to test out the elevators to see how well they function. Poorly performing elevators can have a knock-on affect on your overall work day. Thus, it's imperative to consider these seemingly insignificant machines before making the decision to purchase that "perfect" condo.

5. Security Arrangements

Although especially important for those buying a condominium for their families, security should be on your agenda when considering any property. Ask the condominium owner about their security apparatus to see whether you're going to be truly comfortable with your loved ones living in the property. Most new developments will have a door person attending to the lobby area 24-hours a day. Make sure that the property you choose has a similar service and enquire as to the property's additional security measures before making any decisions to buy.

Based on an article by Ian P. Marshall