Len and Leslie Marma's Blog
The thought of trying to declutter your home could stress you out. If you put off the act of organizing, however, you could end up even more stressed out. Clutter in the home is proven to be a cause of stress. Not being able to find what you need can cause you to feel that you’re living in chaos. There’s a few tips that you can take into consideration to help you declutter, destress, and get organized for good!
When Planning Storage Solutions, Measure First
If you shop for containers and other storage organization tools first, you’ll never know what will fit properly. Taking the time to measure things out and get the right size containers can help you to avoid creating more clutter for yourself. Measuring spaces helps you to come up with a plan for what your vision is for that space.
Declutter For Less
You don’t need to go into a huge debt to declutter your home. You can shop at the local dollar store to find containers, hooks, and bins to help you stay organized. Organization doesn’t need a lot of fancy tools.
For Kids, More Is Better
When it comes to finding containers and bins for a child’s room, more is definitely better. Having many separate compartments really helps the kids to stay organized and find what they’re looking for when they want it.
A Junk Drawer Is Actually A Good Thing
You can actually keep that junk drawer or bin that you have in the house. A junk drawer is a great place for collecting items. Just learn to keep it organized. If you have a bin, make sure that you clean it out from time to time so that tons of things don’t end up building up there in a pile. If you have a junk drawer, try to compartmentalize it with categories and separators for a “lost and found” or “things that need to be put away.”
Every Door Is An Opportunity
In your home, think of each and every door, cabinet door, or closet door as an opportunity to create more storage. You can hang things on the backs of these doors including spice racks, shoe racks, hooks for coats, and so much more. Don’t miss out on a simple yet very effective space saver.
In each room, there’s places where the same activity is done over and over again. Creating zones helps to reduce clutter and increase organization. In the kitchen, for example, you probably have a dedicated prep space along with a clean up station. In bedrooms, there’s a place where you get dressed, throw your dirty clothes, and get ready for the day. Have everything that you’ll need in each “station” or “zone” so that you can stay on top of being tidy.
- A step stool and a ladder You'll use both of these quite often, especially when you're moving. In my house there are a few top kitchen cabinets that are just out of reach, so I'm constantly pulling out the step stool. However, they're also useful around the house like in closets or reaching high spots while cleaning and painting. Equally important is a ladder. You won't want to mess around climbing on unsteady chairs for changing lightbulbs or smoke detector batteries. Plus you'll need one for access to the roof of your shed or house.
- A whole-house fan or air conditioner When you move into a house, especially in the summer months, you're going to want to stay cool while setting up and cleaning your new home. A great way to bring lots of fresh air into the house is to use a whole house fan which draws air into the attic and therefore causing air from outside to flow into your open windows. Window fans are a suitable substitute, so long as they have an exchange mode to bring air in and out.
- A bucket and a wheel barrow Both of these items are easily overlooked but will be invaluable when it comes to cleaning your house and maintaining your yard. Reddit user shuggins points out some of the myriad uses for a bucket: mopping the floor, pulling weeds, watering plants, washing the car, washing the dog, and even turn it upside down for a stool when you need a break from all those chores. And in the unfortunate event that someone is sick and queasy, a bucket can be a lifesaver.
- Drain stops and screens It won't take long for your drain pipes to get clogged up with food in the kitchen and hair in the bathroom without drain screens. Plus, having a drain stop for your sink will turn it into--you guessed it--a bucket! Buckets are the best.
- New locks Who knows who has copies of the keys in and around your home. It's important to change all the locks, including padlocks to your shed. There are many horror stories of new homeowners getting all settled in only to be burgled soon after.
- Batteries all sizes Reddit user typhoidmarry accurately describes the necessity for extra batteries when they write, "Your smoke detectors battery WILL die at 2am. It will." Play it safe and get extra batteries for your all of your electronics to avoid frustration and rage when you can't watch Netflix because your remote battery died.
Want to buy a house for the first time? Create a budget, and you can move one step closer to transforming your homebuying dream into a reality.
Now, let's take a look at three budgeting tips that every first-time homebuyer needs to know.
1. Don't Wait to Start Saving for a Down Payment
In most instances, a down payment on a home ranges from 5 percent to 20 percent. With a large down payment, you may be able to reduce your monthly mortgage expenses.
A lender may be more willing to provide you with a favorable mortgage if you can afford an above-average down payment. This means if you have plenty of money for a down payment, you could save money over the life of your mortgage.
2. Take a Look at Your Outstanding Debt
Student loan charges, credit card bills and other outstanding debt may make it tough for you to get the financing that you need to buy a house. Fortunately, if you pay down your outstanding debt as much as possible, you can boost your chances of buying your dream house.
Evaluate your current spending and make cuts if possible. For example, if you dine out several times a week, it may be more cost-effective to buy groceries and cook your own meals. Then, you'll have extra money that you can use to pay off outstanding debt and save for a house.
3. Understand Your Credit Score
Do you know your credit score? If not, you may be missing out on opportunities to eliminate outstanding debt and increase your home savings.
You are eligible for a free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Take advantage of this perk, and you can receive insights into your credit score.
If you obtain your free credit reports and find outstanding debt, you should try to pay off this debt sooner rather than later. Because the longer that you wait to pay off outstanding debt, the longer it may take you to acquire your ideal residence.
Furthermore, if you discover errors on a credit report, contact the reporting bureau immediately. This will enable you to fix any report errors before you get a mortgage.
If you need additional assistance as you map out a homebuying budget, it often pays to collaborate with a bank or credit union. In addition to providing you with multiple mortgage options, a lender will offer expert recommendations to help you budget for your first home purchase.
Lastly, don't hesitate to reach out to a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional is happy to help you get in touch with the best lenders in your area. And when you're ready to kick off your inaugural homebuying journey, a real estate agent can provide you with the support you need, precisely when you need it.
Use the aforementioned tips, and you can establish an effective homebuying budget.
A row house is a good fit for someone who grew up in apartment homes. There are people who spent their childhood living in apartment homes who feel more comfortable residing close to other people than they do living in a single home.
Row houses aren't always a good fit even for apartment home lovers
Single homes spell distance and an inability to communicate with neighbors as freely as they'd like to people who love apartment home living. Downside to living in apartment homes indefinitely is that you despite how much and how long you continue to pay rent, you generally never end up owning the residence.
Buying a row house can ease the transition from an apartment into a house. Yet, the transition is not a good fit for everyone. Even some apartment home lovers might not appreciate everything that comes with living in a row house. In particular, when it comes to row houses, people might not like:
- Trying to fit three or more cars in a short one lane driveway
- Lack of yard space - Row houses are notorious for having small front and back yards. Yards at your row house might not provide enough outdoor space for large pets to play and thrive in.
- Noise from next door neighbors - While it's a fact that you might not ever hear your neighbors, especially if your neighbors are particularly quiet, living in row houses can easily increase the likelihood that noise that your neighbors make will spill over into your home. This could happen even in the wee hours of the morning.
- Barking dogs - If your neighbor owns pets, you might hear dogs barking in the background throughout the day and night. You may not mind the fact that your neighbor's dog barks during the day if you work outside your home. Telecommute or work from home as an independent contractor and your neighbor's barking dog could wear on your patience.
- Stairs - The chance to live in a one-level house is probably out of the question if you buy a row house. Many row houses are four levels, causing you to have to climb stairs.
Downsides to living in row houses
Row houses offer a tighter sense of community. The houses have been around since the late 1700s. You'll find a large number of row houses in cities like Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia. A step up from apartment home living, row houses are one of the best ways for millennials and first time homeowners to buy an initial property. Yet, there are drawbacks to owning row houses.
Move next door to loud neighbors and you might be forced to listen to someone else's music for hours. Your neighbors' dog also might find its way onto your porch every day. Worn down grass, blades flattened from neighbors walking on your lawn, unwanted pests and lack of street side parking space are other drawbacks to living in row houses.
Finding an apartment or a house that you can afford to rent can take a lot of stress off of you. If the actual apartment or house that you move into looks as beautiful as the model that the landlord or leasing agent showed you,count yourself as fortunate.
The fact is, unless you’re renting a place that has been fully upgraded or newly built, the actual space that you live in probably won’t look half as attractive as the model you were shown, the seemingly perfect unit that you based your decision on where to rent on. That happens with many rental units.
Protect yourself from renting from a rogue landlord
Instead of getting a unit that mirrors the model, you could step into areal estate nightmare. Notice two or more of the below signs where you rent, and it might be time to move.
Structural damages like cracked ceilings, water stains on the walls and discolored carpeting are signs that you’ll likely notice immediately if you move into a rental unit that has been properly maintained. Report these conditions immediately, as they could indicate that there is further damage to the property. Even if you don’t move out, you don’t want the landlord to hold you responsible for the damages. Other signs that you could be dealing with a rogue landlord include:
- Poor to no heat in the apartment or house that you’re renting – And it’s not just that there is no heat or poor heating. When you alert the landlord, she does nothing to repair or replace the heating system.
- Inadequate air conditioning – If you’re paying for central air conditioning or a window air conditioner that the landlord owns, those systems should function properly. A good landlord will make sure that all systems are operating adequately before you move in.
- Unsafe drinking and bathing water – Brown water could indicate that the water is contaminated with a chemical or rust. A rogue landlord may keep telling you that the water will eventually clear on its own.He may also indicate that you have to just deal with the unclean water.
- Mold – Mold can cause you and your family to become ill. Spot mold at your rental unit and you’ll know that the landlord has not been ensuring that the unit is cleaned between leases or as one tenant moves out and another tenant moves in.
- Pests – Cock roaches should not be your co-tenants. Neither should ants, rats, mice or termites.
- Lack of exterior building lights – Poor exterior lighting can attract people who choose to commit crimes. A rogue landlord won’t care enough about your safety to install good lighting, security cameras or an alarm system.
- No interior safety lights in stairwells – If you rent an apartment that has an exterior stairway, this area should be lit when it gets dark.
- Rising rents that are too high to be competitive with area markets – A rogue landlord might raise your rent with short notice. They also might raise rents until the rent is no longer competitive with the market or the type of apartment or house you’re renting.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from a rogue landlord is to thoroughly review a lease agreement. There are several details to include in a rental lease. To protect yourself, in general, you’ll want to make sure that the lease agreement is in writing, and that the agreement indicates who is responsible for repairs. Also, make sure that the written lease agreement states when rents could increase and how much notice must be given before the landlord raises the rent. And ensure that the written agreement states how much the security deposit is, under what conditions the deposit can be withheld and how many days after you move out the security deposit will be refunded to you.