Small Home Improvements that Add Resale Value to Your Home

Times continue to be tough, and the housing market can be scary. If you’re thinking of selling your
home someday, you probably want to begin figuring out ways to improve the resale value of your
property without breaking the bank. Think about these tips that will help you save money as well as
bring your house into a more inviting condition.

The exterior. Consider the curb appeal of your home, which simply means looking at your from a more
objective viewpoint, usually that of a potential buyer. The first thing anyone will see of your home is
the outside, including your yard. This is one place that doesn’t take a lot effort to keep up. Make the
sure lawn stays mowed and watered. Pull any unsightly weeds. If you feel that you are lacking in the
landscape department, add a tree, a hedge, or some flowers (window boxes are attractive). Fix anything
that is broken or ugly. Add a coat of paint to windowsills or trims.

The bathroom. Along with the kitchen, this is one of the most important rooms in your house, and one
that buyers are going to want to investigate before they make any decisions. Replace the toilet seat or
even the sink, or simply add new handles. If the floor has seen better days, you can apply new tiles or
sheet vinyl directly over the old one.

The kitchen. Rather than hire someone to do it for you, practice your own kitchen remodeling
skills. Visit a home improvement store and pick out new cabinet doors and up-to-date handles, then
install them yourself. Slap on a fresh coat of paint in the pantry. You’ll come off as savvy as well as
environmentally conscious if you replace your old light bulbs with energy efficient light fixtures that will
help you save now as well as later.

Living room. Help yourself out now by establishing a cleaning regime for the windows and then keep
them clean regularly. Pick out new curtains, the lighter colored the better, so as to allow in more
natural light and give your living room a fresh new feel. Take a close look at light fixtures and outlet
covers, which may be cracked or old. Since LED lighting is currently in vogue, consider replacing your
light bulbs as you did in the kitchen.

The bedroom. Spruce it up with a new coat of paint, or touch up any areas to give it a fresh look.
Consider adding a wallpaper border just below the ceiling. You can clean the carpets yourself by renting
a cleaner (which you can do from your nearby grocery store) and saving money at the same time.
Coordinate the colors in your room by adding a new bedspread or comforter.

You can make little changes along the way by picking out area rugs to conceal any stains that you are
having trouble removing. And remember that sometimes all you need to do to feel better about your
home is to make sure it smells just right by adding a few scented candles.
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Decorating Your Home to Minimize the Time You Spend Cleaning

Home décor is not just a way to fill your space; it is a method of making your house into a home by
instilling the aesthetic you prefer. But every piece you add to the rooms in your house, from furnishings
and electronics to accessories like photos, lamps, pillows, and rugs, is one more item you have to clean
(or clean around). However, you don’t want your home to look like a monastery just so you can cut back
on housekeeping. So here are a few ways to decorate your space in order to make it both beautiful and
easy to clean.

1. Put furniture on sliders. You may not need to clean under and around furniture every time
you pull out the vacuum or mop, but you should do it once in a while, if for no other reason
than preserving your health. And if your furnishings are too bulky and heavy to move easily,
you’re probably not going to exert the effort very often. So think about putting them on sliders
or wheels (depending on the surface they’re on). This will make even large pieces easy to
maneuver for cleaning purposes and keep your hard flooring surfaces from becoming damaged
during cleaning.

2. Avoid unnecessary knick-knacks. The more stuff you have, the more time it will take you
to clean; that’s just common sense. Things in your home will not only need to be cleaned
themselves, but you’ll also have to clean around them. So if you find that the time needed to
clean your space keeps getting longer, perhaps you should think about ways to minimize the
clutter.

3. Keep collectibles enclosed. You may have display items that you want to showcase in your
home. But since cleaning them can be difficult and even dangerous (especially if they’re
breakable) you don’t want to do it any more than absolutely necessary. For this reason, it
behooves you to keep these items in enclosed display cases rather than on shelves so that less
dirt and dust gets in.

4. Get an e-reader. A lot of people love to read in their spare time, but if you’re spending all day
dusting shelves of books, you may not have much time for reading. By getting yourself a Kindle
or Nook you can house a whole library in one tiny package, drastically reducing the amount of
time you spend cleaning. You might also consider switching to a streaming movie service and
buying only MP3s instead of filling your shelves with CD and DVD cases that have to be dusted
frequently.

5. Look for stain-resistant fabrics. Everyone is bound to have accidents and spills here and there,
but you’ll have a much easier time cleaning them up with stain-resistant textiles on your side.
Couches, chairs, curtains, and rugs can all be found in materials that have been treated to make
it harder for stains to stick. So unless you want to be on your hands and knees scrubbing the
carpet or the couch to remove stuck-on stains, look for stain-resistant materials whenever you
buy items to decorate your home.

Evan Fischer writes for Suspended Ceiling Shop, where you can find Dune Supreme ceiling tiles and
other ceiling accessories for your home improvement needs.
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Create a Labeling System to Get Your Home Organized

All of us would like to live in a house like Donna Reed’s, a spic-and-span domicile with nary a spec of
dirt or a couch cushion out of place. But the reality of most modern homes is that both parents work
(or there is only one parent in attendance) and between jobs, kids, pets, and everything else that life
throws at you, keeping your home clean and organized is the least of your worries. So you let things go
until suddenly you start to wonder if your house could be featured on an episode of Hoarders! Okay, it’s
probably not that bad, but if you’re facing some serious clutter and you’re not sure how to get it under
control, one of the best ways to organize your space is to create a system of labeling that ensures every
last thing has a place to go.

You’ll want to start, of course, with a massive decluttering. Sift through “stuff” in the living room,
dining room, bedrooms, bathrooms, home office, and even cupboards and closets. Clear out everything
that you don’t need and won’t use. Donate usable items to charity thrift stores (they often pick up),
including extra furnishings that are just taking up space, and toss anything that is broken, worn, or no
longer functional. Now that you’ve figured out what you’re going to keep, it’s time to decide where it’s
going to go; and storage space can be a problem.

If it quickly becomes clear that you really don’t have adequate storage to accommodate all of your stuff,
you need to see what you can do to expand your storage solutions. Cabinets and shelves can both be
helpful as long as they are appropriately sized for your space. Modular furniture stores like IKEA can
help you here with pieces that are moderately sized, but easily expandable. You’ll want cabinets with
doors and drawers to hide items like media (CDs, DVDs, video games, etc.) while shelving units and even
free-floating shelves can help you find a spot for books and curios that then to pile up around the house.
You may also want to get tasteful bins for common spaces (office, living room) and colorful ones to place
in cubbies in the kids’ rooms. And organizing units are great for small items like office supplies (pens,
pencils, paperclips, etc.) and toiletries.

Finally, it’s time to start labeling. Of course, you may not want to slap labels all over shelving in areas
that guests may frequent, but there are many spaces that can benefit from easy-to-make stick-on
labels. In the office you can put them on bins and even shelves so that when kids come in to grab office
supplies for a school project they know just where leftovers should be returned. Labeling file folders is
also a must to ensure that everything is in order come tax time. Hidden storage can also get the label
treatment, so set up alphabetized shelves in your media cabinet so that you can always find the movie
you’re looking for without having to search through hundreds of DVDs that are in no particular order.
Even kitchen shelves can benefit from labels, with areas for dry goods, canned food, pasta, cereal, and
more. And when it comes to the kids, label cubbies for toys, books, stuffed animals, and so on (you may
even want to consider see tamper proof labels www.assettags.co.uk for this one).
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W!N Big Red Tulip Boutique! Enter Here! 50.00 G!veaway @RedTulipBoutiqu

Red Tulip– everything for a city girl or a cowgirl! Your one-stop shop for all things home, accessory, shoes, jewelry, and decor!

I have a best friend who loves all things western. She is all about riding horses as well- and the girl does spend a lot of time on them! Since Red Tulip Boutique has gifts for both the Country Girl and City Girl- or the suburban girl, as the case may be!- it’s a great place to shop this year. I let my girlfriend pick out a purse from this site, since I knew she would go bananas for it- but when it got here I was SOOOOO jealous!

This is the Amanda Buckle Hobo in Black faux leather with a Tooled look- super cute. It’s fully lined, single handle, top zipper, inside pockets, back zippered pocket, and rests on four feet.
Speaking of cute- how cute is this???

The All Girls Rodeo Burnout Tee by Original Cowgirl Clothing Company- and if I had seen this shirt, my girlfriend may not have gotten the purse, LOL. OK- she would have still- but I LOVE it!

Can we talk shoes for a sec? OK, yeah, it’s winter, but I am soon to be in Florida for a few days, and these Flat Sole Black and Turquoise Flip Flops are looking super fab- they want to be on my feet. They do. Can’t you tell? You can, right? OK, now tell my hubs that they told you so as well! 😛

Can’t make a decision? Don’t know what to get? Fear not- Red Tulip has gift certificates. And me? I’m kind of wanting a bit of everything- LOL- OK, I’m greedy! It’s been a rough year with the flood and demolition and all, and seeing all the “pretty” is kind of making this chick drool! Ha!

Hehehe….I love this one.
OK- enough of this- it will just keep going on, LOL. Who wants to win a prize? (Of course, you can always buy now from the site!)

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WAHM Home Office Design Tips

This is for all the work-at-home moms out there that are spreading their work hither and yon
throughout the household as they follow their kids around all day long: stop using your home as an
office! Okay, so if you’re working from home you might not think you have much choice, but the truth is
that you walk a fine line when you commingle your work with your family. And ultimately, you risk failing
at both pursuits if you don’t learn to divide them into two separate spheres. Your work suffers when
you’re distracted by kids, errands, and a house that needs cleaning, and your kids suffer when your
attention is split between them and your job. So do yourself a favor and set up a home office (with set,
but flexible hours). Here are a few design tips that will help you make the most of your work space.

1. Pick your paint. Believe it or not, the paint color you choose for your office could make a big
difference in how much work you get done in there. Even if you’re not into feng shui, you
probably like certain colors better than others because of the way they make you feel. So there
are two ways you can go. If your world is in chaos most of the time, you might want to go with
soft neutral shades or pastel colors (blues are especially nice) to calm you so that you can focus
on your work. But if you need some energy and inspiration, choose a bold and saturated color
that speaks to you. Warm tones like reds, oranges, and pinks will brighten your space and get
your creative juices flowing.

2. Furnish accordingly. Most people use the smallest room in the house for the office, which
means you will necessarily have to choose smaller furnishings. By going with modern, modular
pieces you can ensure that everything fits (and fits together). As a bonus, this type of furnishing
is often less expensive and easier to move than heavy, old antiques. Keep in mind that you
may be hosting clients or other business associates at some point, so think about adding
a “conference” area that includes chairs or a couch.

3. Storage solutions. You will almost certainly need storage for client files, projects, reference
materials, and so on. But if you have little space to begin with, this could be hard to
accommodate. Consider that many desks come with storage solutions like file drawers and
compartments for office supplies (pens, paperclips, staples, etc.). So keep an eye out for
functional furnishing. And don’t forget that there’s plenty of space over your head. By adding
shelves with plenty of bins you can maximize your space and declutter your desktop.

4. Accommodating kids. There may be times when you have to work while watching the kids.
Since you don’t want to follow them around the house with a laptop and an armload of papers,
why not give them space in your office? Set up a small work table for kids to do craft projects
and give them storage cubbies or shelves at their level for easy access to supplies (not to
mention easy clean-up).

5. Equipment and services. You probably have a good idea of the equipment you’ll need to run
your business from home, such as a computer, printer, and smart phone. But when it comes
to finding quality tech services you may be at a loss. So start by comparing internet and phone
services available in your area to get the best prices and business solutions. Then ask for
referrals if you need a website built or other technical assistance.

Evan Fischer is a contributing writer for Quality Tech, offering data center solutions and colocation.
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How to Know if You Have Bedbugs in Your Home

For quite a while, it was assumed that bedbugs had gone the way of the dodo, at least in places like
America where it seemed they had been eradicated by chemical pesticides. Unfortunately, they weren’t
even close to being completely exterminated throughout the world, and considering their penchant
for travel (and the fact that they can survive for up to a year without feeding), it’s no surprise that the
increase in global travel has allowed them to piggyback to places where they were previously thought to
be banished for good. But how can you tell if they’ve made their way into your home? Here are just a
few tips and tricks to help you identify bedbugs so that you can get them out for good.

First you need to learn what signs to look for, and contrary to popular belief, bedbugs are not hard to
spot. They are often confused with their microscopic cousins, mites. But in truth, an adult bedbug can
grow up to five millimeters in length (a little under a fourth of an inch). So if you’re looking for them,
you’ll find them. But how do you know where to look? And how will you know when you should start
looking?

The first thing you need to know about bedbugs is that it is exceedingly rare to find them on a person
or pet. They like to come out at night and feed (on your blood, unfortunately) and then return to their
hiding spots during the day. They prefer to nest in plush materials, which is why beds are an ideal home
for these critters. You may also find them in carpeting, furnishings, and even clothing. Pretty much
any surface in your home that isn’t hard could provide a comfortable nesting place for bedbugs, and
you will find them there if you look. Start by checking your mattress for the telltale spots (they’ll look
like pepper on your mattress) that indicate the presence of bedbugs. You should also check carpeting
(around the edges) and your headboard (which they can live behind undisturbed).

Of course, you probably won’t be alerted to the presence of these parasites in your home until they
start using you as a snack. And once they find a food source they will certainly begin to breed (and how!
). But you need to know what these bites look like in order to eliminate other potential biting pests
like spiders. It’s important to remember that different people have different reactions to these bites,
but you will likely see small red bumps when you wake up in the morning that weren’t there the night
before. They may itch and swell and they will look and feel a lot like mosquito bites. You might start
with one or two, but over time the number will probably increase (as their numbers grow). Look online
for bed bug bite pictures…there are a lot of them out there.

The possibility of bed bugs should not be taken lightly, so if you suspect they have infiltrated your home,
it is in your best interest to call an exterminator immediately to diagnose and deal with the problem.
At the very least, you’ll find out if bedbugs are the cause of your discomfort or if there is some other
harmful pest in your home. And at the best it could ensure that you stop serving as a nightly buffet (and
halt their spread throughout your home).
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Beautiful Sterling Anabella Palm Beach curtains- Perfect for your Little One’s room

I had a really, really hard time finding curtains for my son’s room.  As you know, we re-did it a few months ago, when he got his “Big Boy Bed”, and the only 2 things that I didn’t finish, were the curtains, and the toy box.  While I still have not found just the right toy box, I HAVE found great curtains, at Baby Bedding Zone.

These Sterling Anabella Palm Beach curtains are great- theyare heavy-duty to block out the sun in the early morning, which as any parent knows is a MUST HAVE for children’s or baby’s window treatments.  They are also very thick, and are lined, which keeps the drafts out in the winter, and the air conditioning IN in the summer. 

They would work well for windows of many sizes, since they are very long.  I had to hem these a bit, but there was no problem doing so, and they still look good in my little guy’s room. 
I was not originally going to go with white for his curtains- but since the rest of his room is so colorful, it really worked nicely, I think.  The green sash and boarder works with the rest of the room’s theme and colors, as well.  All in all, I think these would be a solid addition to any nursery, and would grow nicely with the child into their big kid rooms.

Here is a little more information about Sterling Anabella Palm Beach curtains-

“Never before has it been so easy to create the perfect room for your child. Each luxurious, soft-to-the-touch cotton drapery ensemble by Sterling Anabella has been designed to complement your sophisticated sense of style.
Set of 2 white pique drapery panels with scalloped edge trim in blue. Includes double sided tie back in white pique with blue accent color on reverse. Rod pocket top and white lining. 96″ long.
Made from 100% Egyptian cotton.”

Baby Bedding Zone is a great place for all your bedding needs!  Some of the cutest cribs in my opinion are the pirate crib beddingfrog crib bedding, and of course- jungle crib bedding!  Check them out for your decorating needs  🙂 

Disclosure- I received the above mentioned product for review.  All opinions are my own, yours may differ. 
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A Lucky Horse Shoe Wall Art- Review and Giveaway

OK, the first thing I have to say is WOW- this company was started by a 14 year old girl who wanted to help out and save money for college, as well.
I think you know that we just re-did Little Man’s room, and the theme is Wild Animals/Jungle.  He SO loves that Safari Bed, lol.  When we saw the Cute Monkey and Bird decal, I knew it was just perfect for his room!
We put it over the spot reserved for his Toy Box, the one thing we still need for his room.
How adorable is it?

It goes so well with the rest of the room, and it retails for only $16.00!
Here is a bit more info on the Decals- (by the way, they sent us a few little brown birds, and a butterfly as a fun surprise!)

This cute monkey and bird on a tree branch measures approx. 22 inches X 12 inches as shown in the ad. The monkey and bird are separate, so you can arrange them as you like. You can choose the color of the branch, monkey, and bird. Please use the contact seller tab with your choices upon checkout.
$
16.00    

Since I was really amazed at the age of this young girl who created a business, I am happy to share with you an interview with her!
1. Where are you from and can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m from WA and I’m a horse person. I own a morgan mare and I love to do horse shows!

2. When did you start making the items in your shop?
I started my shop in Nov. of 2009

3. How did you decide the name for your shop?
I always wanted to name my own barn A Lucky Horseshoe but, this is the closest I could get.

4. What is your favorite thing about owning your shop and being a seller?
My favorite thing about owning my shop is the feeling of getting a gift when I get a order.

5. What inspires you to create such beautiful pieces?
We make things that brings a smile to our face!

6. What is your favorite item in your shop and why?
The ‘Eat My Dust DUDE’ barrel racer decal because it makes me smile and I think its true.

7. Is there anything new you plan to add to your shop?
I have no idea, usually things just pop in my head and I put it in my shop.

8. Anything else you would like to let us know?
This was my 1st internet store and now we have 4, the more the merrier!

9. Are there any other places on the net we that we can find you?
I have shops on etsy.comshophandmade.comamazon.comecrater.com, and my own website: www.aluckyhorseshoe.com

One of you will win a $25 gift certificate.
Here is how to enter-

 Mandatory entry
You must be a public follower on Google Friend Connect.
Leave me your email so I can contact you if you win.

 Extra Entries
Leave a separate comment for each entry.

-Besides the Cute Monkey and Bird, what is your favorite decal?

-“Like” me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Have-Sippy-Will-Travel/118293111555385
+2 entries

-Subscribe to Have Sippy Will Travel by email, and confirm subscription
+3 entries

Follow me on Twitter ( or you can use my adorable button to the side!) and tweet about this contest
#Win A Lucky Horse Shoe Wall Art- Review and Giveaway http://t.co/AaCsOrq @HaveSippy

Please make sure you follow first!
+2 entries

– Email a friend about this contest, with a CC to me at  [email protected]
(you get an extra entry if they enter, too!)

 -Add my button to your blog, and leave me the link so I can find it

– Follow me on “Networked Blogs”

– blog about this giveaway, and link back to this contest (leave me the URL in comment, please)

-Add me to your blogroll, with a link back to me

– Vote for me on “We’re On The Fence!”  (Just Click the Button to the left that says “We’re On the Fence” until it confirms you voted for your’s truly!)

– enter another one of my giveaways

– comment on a non-giveaway post

OOO, so many ways to win! Good luck!

DISCLOSURE: This is a MamaBuzz review. The product was provided by A Lucky Horse Shoe for reviw.   I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited by law.  Open to US and Canadian shipping addresses only; restrictions may apply, 18 years old and above.  Sponsor is responsible for providing and mailing prize. Ends June 3, 2011.