Archive for the ‘Useful Tips’ Category

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Why Curb Appeal is Important Even if You’re Not Selling Your Home

February 16th, 2018

It’s a common misconception that only people selling their home need to feel concerned with curb appeal. The realtor’s term means how a home appears from street-level to someone walking or driving by it. However, having attractive curb appeal is beneficial for homeowners even if they have no intention of selling anytime soon. It’s a welcome sight at the end of a long day at work and it makes for better relationships with neighbors as well. Here are some simple things all homeowners can do to improve the curb appeal of their home:

  • Take care of yard clean-up: Mow and edge the lawn, trim trees and bushes, weed overgrown flowerbeds, and apply a new layer of mulch every spring.
  • Improve lighting: Replace any dead or broken bulbs, replace corroded or otherwise damaged light fixtures, clean glass panels and shades, and dust off any cobwebs.
  • Clean regularly: Pick up debris, sweep the sidewalk and steps, pressure wash siding, and clean all windows.
  • Make frequent repairs: This could include repainting the front door, resurfacing the driveway, replacing a damaged mailbox, or adding a coat of paint trim to the house.

By keeping up with these basic chores, homeowners will have continually good curb appeal and won’t feel overwhelmed by the thought of doing everything at once.

Good Curb Appeal Helps to Detract Criminals

When a home’s trees and bushes become overgrown, it makes an ideal place for criminals to hide. If a neighbor can’t see the windows, they won’t be able to spot a burglar trying to case the home either. Trees and bushes should be no taller than three feet high since this allows the homeowner and possibly the neighbors to see a potential burglar. Any entrance to the home should contain bright lighting for a further deterrent. Lastly, homeowners should consider placing gravel around the windows that makes a loud crunching sound when someone steps on it. This will alert them that someone could be trying to break in.

Strategically Placed Trees Can Help Homeowners Save Energy

Besides offering better curb appeal, trees and shrubs can also help to block wind and sun. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, planting trees on the east, northwest, and west of the property provides natural protection from the sun and cuts down on cooling costs. Homeowners just need to be careful to trim trees and shrubs so they don’t block the window view, cover solar panels, or cover an air conditioning unit.

Improves Property Value Over Time

Buying a home is the biggest investment that most people make in their lifetime. It just makes sense to keep it looking and functioning well. An attractive view from the street increases property value, even for homeowners not planning to move. The increase in property value can extend to the rest of the neighborhood as well. Keeping the property well-maintained already improves neighbor relationships, so increased value street-wide will only add to the sense of goodwill.

Tips for Winter Clean-Up of Your Home and Yard

November 13th, 2017

While spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition, the transition from autumn to winter is also a good time to organize the house both inside and outside. Although the climate here doesn’t require as much Winter clean-up and preparation as places with snow and freezing temperatures, all homeowners can benefit from completing some seasonal chores. That way, everyone will feel cozy and relaxed when the winter nesting instinct hits.

Rotate Food and Seasonal Clothing

Many people store extra food in their pantries and then forget to use it or it becomes hidden by newer stock. The calendar turning to the winter season is a great time to go through the food pantry and toss anything remaining there past its expiration date. It’s also an opportunity to donate non-perishable and non-expired food to a local food shelf. Everyone wins in that situation. The homeowner gets a clean pantry and people who might otherwise miss a meal will get the nourishment they need.

The change in seasons here means wearing slightly warmer clothing, so going through drawers and closets is also a good idea. A good rule of thumb is to remove and store clothing that no one will wear for at least the next few months to make room for more seasonally appropriate items.

Give the Yard a Once-Over

The normal activities of autumn can make even the nicest yard look unkempt. However, most people are extremely busy once the holiday season hits. There’s still a few weeks for homeowners to complete yard clean-up so they can focus their time and energy on the holidays ahead. Some ideas for seasonal chores include:

  • Clean the rain gutters. Leaves, branches, and other debris that falls into gutters can attract insects, moisture, and mold if left sitting for too long. Removing the debris at least once a year ensures that rain water can flow uninterrupted through the gutter.
  • Clean up flower beds. Weeds, leaves, and twigs that fall into a garden can attract pests that could end up killing some of the plants. Cleaning flower beds annually is a good idea. Roses need special attention because the foliage they produce invites disease in cooler weather more than other types of plants.
  • Aerate and fertilize the lawn. Aeration breaks up deep layers of soil so grass can receive proper nutrients through water, fertilizer, and direct sunlight. Homeowners with larger yards can rent a walk-behind aerator for this job. It’s also a good time to fertilize the lawn with a professional-grade fertilizer containing a large amount of phosphorus.

Clean the Windows and Floors

Streaked windows are not only unattractive, they can prevent sunlight from reaching the home. Vinegar mixed with water tends to work better than commercial cleaners at getting windows sparkling clean.

Since people tend to spend more time indoors in the winter, carpets and hardwood floors get dirty faster. Steam clean the carpet or manually scrub tiled floors. This ensures that both are prepared for the increase in foot traffic in the months ahead.

To dispose of household junk, yard clippings, unwanted furniture, or anything else you need to address in a Winter clean-up, call Fast Haul today or schedule a free estimate online.

Home Clean-Up Tips to Get Holiday Ready

October 6th, 2017

Whether your home is the regular meeting spot for the holidays or you’ve drawn the short straw this year, having guests into your home during an already stressful season can send you over the edge. The good news is that there are simple things you can do to lessen this strain and make your home the perfect place to celebrate any holiday. Here are seven home cleanup tips to get your home holiday ready.

modern white mop cleaning wooden floor in house

1. De-clutter Your Home

Who doesn’t accumulate at least some clutter in their living space? Most of us have plenty! Before you can even think about cleaning your home for guests, you’ll need to go through every room and either get rid of or store those stacks of papers, old magazines, and children’s toys.

2. Clean Windows and Drapes

One of the highest impact items in your home is its windows because they bring in natural light. Thoroughly clean the windows in your main living space and then freshen your drapes. You don’t need to pull down drapes or hire a professional to give them new life. While still hanging, shake them gently and then spray them (from a distance) with a good fabric spray.

3. Get Rid of Stains and Dust Bunnies

Now that you’ve released some dust into the room by shaking your drapes, it’s time to clean your surfaces. Dust all of your room’s surfaces and clean your floors, making sure to get the dust bunnies under and behind your furniture. Finally, grab a Magic Eraser to instantly remove stains from walls and cabinets.

4. Wash Throw Pillows

One item that is often ignored is your furniture’s throw pillows. You can revitalize your pillows with a quick wash. Toss the pillows in the wash on gentle cycle with a scented detergent. Depending on their material, some throw pillow covers can also be washed at home while others may need to be dry-cleaned.

5. Deep Clean Kitchen and Bath

Now that your living space is clean, it’s time to scrub down your kitchen and bathroom. Remove unnecessary items from these rooms as well prior to cleaning. Remember, houseguests and holiday visitors tend to congregate in the kitchen, so you will need to spend some time here. Not only will a clean kitchen make this time more enjoyable, but it will also make holiday cooking and cleanup easier.

6. Stock Up the Kitchen

Now that you’ve cleaned and decluttered your kitchen, it’s time to restock it for your incoming guests. Have fresh coffee ready to make, snacks on hand, and plenty of napkins, utensils, and plates handy. If you’re worried about the constant turnover of dirty dishes, this may be the one time of year to invest in some festive paper plates.

7. Guest-Ready Your Extra Bedroom and Bath

Your houseguests should feel at home and as comfortable as possible when they come to visit. Granted, you don’t need to do a turndown service or offer breakfast in bed, but a welcoming space is a nice gesture. Put fresh sheets on the bed and make some space in the closet for their clothes with extra hangers. Clear space for them in the bathroom and provide fresh towels for their use.

Hosting family and friends during the holiday can be a delight as opposed to a chore. With some careful planning, you can not only make your home holiday ready, but you will also provide a space that is sure to deliver lasting memories for you and your loved ones.

5 Tips on How to Stay Waste-Free at Work

August 23rd, 2017

recycling and composting at work

Businesses are producing large amounts of unnecessary waste. Despite the fact that about 80% of office waste is recyclable or reusable, the vast majority of office items end up in a landfill due to the lack of proper systems.

However, more and more offices are striving to be more eco-friendly and push to “go green.” There are different ways to do so. For example, it may include recycling electronics and office supplies, use of low-watt bulbs, turning off printers when and/or computers when not in use, etc.

Here are a few tips on how to stay waste-free at your work.

1. Start with Preparing Your Office for Recycling

Before facing your office waste, you should prepare for recycling. This include:

  • Finding the best recycling program that addresses office recycling;
  • Searching for state or city incentives for eco-friendly offices;
  • Hire a professional to head up a waste reduction or recycling program;
  • Establish the general list of rules all employees have to abide.

2. Clean Up Your Office Thoroughly

Why is it important? While cleaning your office, you will be surprised how many things make the waste in your office. Thorough cleaning will help you determine what items you don’t need at your office. Your best choice is to hire an expert in office cleaning that offers personalized services. Check out these cleaning services in Mississauga as an example of how to make your workplace feel fresh.

3. Reuse Office Supplies

Most of the office supplies can be recycled or reused. What can you do? Create a special room where the employees will be able to shop or leave used office supplies such as paper clips, hanging folders, file folders, binders, rubber bands, pencils, and pens. Even better, do not allow employees to access new office supplies by keeping them under lock and key. That will make people start thinking how to reuse office supplies.

4. Cut Down On Paper

Think twice before posting or printing. Posting and/or printing something out that you will never use becomes a waste in your office. You can recycle most office paper, but it’s just an additional expense for you. Instead, try to reduce recycling program budget by cutting down on paper. Here’s what you can do:

  • Consider whether you really need a paperwork or not;
  • Email rather than posting/printing out;
  • Ask your employees to post and print only what is truly necessary;
  • Use the double-sided printing whenever possible;
  • Avoid using stapled and colored paper because it’s not recyclable.

Over the time, the paper will overcrowd your office and you will need to recycle it. That’s why you should put a lot of paper recycling bins or boxes throughout the workplace. Choose the convenient areas for this purpose. Make sure to position recycle bins next to the desks and put a few of them in non-office rooms such as the warehouse or kitchen. That will encourage the employees to chuck paper in the recycle bins.

5. Recycle Old Computers, Accessories, and Appliances

When buying a new computer, ask the seller to buy back or take back your old one. Many companies provide e-waste recycling programs that allow this. Others may charge you a small recycling fee. You may also donate the old computers that are still in good working condition to organizations which refurbish electronic devices. Aside from computers and computer accessories, you can also consider recycling old televisions and other appliances.


Be sure to follow these five tips and get rid of office waste!

Why You Need to be Composting (…and How to Do It Right)

August 14th, 2017

Compost is a valuable material that helps plants grow when added to soil. What many people don’t realize is that up to 30 percent of the materials for a compost blend come from yard waste and food scraps. Not only does composting aid in plant growth, it keeps a potent greenhouse gas called methane out of local landfills. Compositing is a simple process that anyone can do.

Basic Ingredients Needed for an Effective Composting Mixture

A compost pile needs to have equal amounts of brown and green materials. Branches, dead leaves, and twigs make up the brown portion while coffee grounds, fruit scraps, grass clippings, and vegetable waste make up the green portion. It also needs to include water to provide much-needed moisture. Some specific examples of items to include in a compost pile include:

  • Coffee filters and grounds
  • Egg shells
  • Tea bags
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Wood chips
  • Yard trimmings and grass clippings
  • Lint from the vacuum cleaner and dryer
  • Straw and hay
  • Sawdust

It’s also important to understand what not to put in a compost pile, including the following:

  • Pet waste
  • Any yard trimmings treated with chemical fertilizer
  • Fish and meat bones
  • Ash from charcoal or coal
  • Dairy products such as butter, eggs, and milk
  • Lard, oil, or other types of fats
  • Diseased plants
  • Twigs or leaves from black walnut trees

Several of the above items attract rodents and other pests while others contain harmful bacteria.

Creating a Compost Pile for the First Time

After gathering the contents for a compost pile, the next step is to place them on a spot of bare earth. The pile will likely attract worms and other types of organisms that can help to aerate the compost pile. Next, place straw or twigs two to three inches deep to further aerate the pile and help with drainage. Now it’s time to start building the pile while alternating between dry and moist items. The compost pile now requires a nitrogen source. Manure is a common choice.

Compost piles need frequent watering, which people can do manually or allow it to become soaked by rain without getting drenched. It should have a cover on top of it at all other times. This keeps heat and moisture in, both essential elements for healthy compost. The last step involves turning the compost pile with a pitchfork or shovel every few weeks. This method also works for adding new materials.

The Many Benefits of Composting

While reduction of waste is the primary benefit of composting, it has several others as well. The process helps to conserve water because the compost pile soaks it up and releases it to the plants. This also prevents evaporation of water at the plant’s root level. Additionally, organic waste contains water that’s heavy and costly to transport. Composting the materials instead saves both energy and fuel.

There’s no question composting benefits the environment, but it also offers individual benefits. The less trash a homeowner throws away, the lower the cost of garbage pick-up. It also saves on the cost of purchasing similar materials from a local nursery. For those looking to cut household expenses, composting is a quick and easy way to do so.

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