Top 5 Tips on Managing House and Home Office

What I do is not inherently appealing to most people – that’s why my clients pay me to do it! If you check the dictionary you’ll find Administration somewhere in there between Yawn and I’d Rather Watch ‘The Shire’.

Which makes writing a blog about it as difficult as trying to fit gravity into a Grand Unified Theory.

Holding down house and home office is a juggling act and I’m often asked how I manage to make my living from being organised and organising other people’s lives and businesses. Let me tell you – it isn’t easy, and it doesn’t come naturally! I had the fortune of inheriting the scatter brain gene so I’ve had to work very hard at creating a system of checks and balances that allow me to function with a certain degree of efficiency.

Here are my Top 5 Tips to managing House and Home Office:

  1. Write Everything Down, be the Crazy Cat Lady of Lists!

Some people like to go old school, write reminders down on paper, white board, the backs of their hands etc. Some people live by their electronic calendars, making tasks, setting up meetings, syncing notes on their iPhone and so on. I say: DO THEM ALL! My fridge feels lonely without a shopping list or a list of house chores on it. My Outlook Calendar is ridonkulous – EVERYTHING I need to do is in there and it’s synced to my iPhone, it provides me with a list of things I need to do each day, bills to pay, tasks to complete, meetings, phone calls and even personal things like movie dates and birthdays. Don’t keep all the junk in your head, it will send you mad. Write it down, it’s one action step closer to completing what needs to get done.

  1. Look after the Pennies and the Pounds will look after themselves.

This doesn’t just apply to money, but also with life. Attention to detail, following up and taking care of the small things adds up to the bigger picture. Letting the small things pass can become a habit, and when an unforseen stressful situation occurs it can quickly overwhelm you because you weren’t ready for it. This is where good administration in a business is vital. Good administration is essential for the success and growth of any business. It is the framework around which a company is built, but often neglected by business owners, who are more focussed on sales and marketing, where their talents lie.

  1. DON’T wear too many hats at the same time – not a hot look for Spring 2012

We don’t know it before we have kids, but you can’t work from home with a toddler. You can try, I certainly did, but you end up split between two worlds and not present in both. If you can, get daycare when you’re bub is ready and organise your work time around their schedule. Clients are people, many with children of their own, they will understand. And I know how hard it is when the office is at home, you can be tempted to log on and check your emails with the baby at home, or do a load of washing (and watch Ellen) when you should be working. But try to keep them separate, take your work time seriously, soon enough the kids will be home and all hell breaks loose!

  1. Read. Read. Read.

Whether it be fictional, biographical, spiritual – or 50 Shades of Grey, you gotta carve out time for yourself somewhere in your day. A book is perfect because it’s portable and something you can put down and go back to without much fuss. A book also helps transport you to another world away from your own reality. Sometimes just knowing I’ve got my fantasy sagas to open at the end of a stressful day stops me from pulling a Forest Gump and spending the next 3 years running across the country and growing a serious ZZ top beard.

  1. Plan to Plan Nothing

Literally. Make sure that at least 1 day a month tell your friends no, don’t work, don’t check your emails, put your phone on silent, don’t even plan a picnic with the family. Just go to bed the night before with nothing planned the next day, see where it takes you!

The 5 Essential Sciatica Home Treatment Tips

Sciatica is a common form of lower back pain. It can be a ‘real pain in the butt’ for you and those around you. It can limit your activities so that you miss out and so do your family and friends. Sciatica can be helped and help is here…

There are 5 essential sciatica home treatment tips. Follow these and your sciatica will ease and disappear quickly. Tip 1in the first 48 hours use ice. Ice will reduce the inflammation around the nerve and can stop sciatica before it starts. So put ice on the area for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes and then repeat the process two more times. Ice is only effective for the first 48 hours, so don’t delay using it. It can be a life [pain] saver in those initial stages.

Tip 2Stretch your Piriformis muscle. The Piriformis muscle has the sciatic nerve either running through it or next to it. If the muscle tightens then sciatica is common. Stretching the muscle can ease your sciatica quickly.

Tip 3Balance your Pelvis. The pelvis is like a foundation to a house. If the foundations are in balance, the rest of the house won’t creak. The same for back pain. If the pelvis is balance tension eases off other areas quickly. You can check if your pelvis is okay by lying down. Place a hand under each side of the pelvis at belt height.

If you notice there s more pressure on one side compared to the other then your pelvis is not balanced. Tip 4 – Keep moving. You do not need to move fast but you need to move. If you rest and do not move at all, muscles will tighten quicker. This is why you may pain is worse in the morning after a nights sleep. Once you move your pain can ease considerably.

Tip 5 – If pain persists… seek help. This doesn’t necessarily mean consulting a practitioner. But if you have had a fall or injury, you should. Seek help from those who are experts in treating sciatica. Gain their knowledge and expertise to learn simple ways you can eliminate your sciatica with.

Sciatica home treatment is easy if you know what to target, how to target the areas and how to effectively eliminate your pain. Sciatica is a common condition, but you have the tools to make it disappear quickly. All you need to do is follow some simple tips for sciatica home treatment.

Best Home Inspection Tips

What are the best home inspection tips? Should you hire a home inspector?  If you are new to buying a home or even if you have purchased homes in the past, it’s always easy to overlook a problem. Even professional home flippers make mistakes and find unknown problems after closing. But if you take the time to do a pre-inspection before you make an offer, you can save yourself lots of time and money.

Before you look at a house, you should arrive earlier than the Realtor and drive the neighborhood. Look carefully at the conditions of the homes in the neighborhood. Take a street photo as well as a picture of the exterior of the house you are looking at. If you look at a lot of houses, a digital photo will help you keep clear in your mind what the good and poor aspects of this house are.

Remember to bring a flashlight with you. Often empty homes do not have utilities and some areas of the house do not have adequate lighting to inspect fully.

Here’s my list of the best home inspection tips:

  1. Inspect the roof carefully for worn or curly shingles. A worn roof can cause lots of problems inside that you might not see if water has infiltrated the structure and mold has built up.
  2. Look at the foundation walls carefully for cracks or signs of poor drainage. Foundation problems can be either a big red flag or an opportunity to get a really low price from the seller.
  3. Look for stains on the ceilings – this could be another sign of roof problems
  4. Check the windows for proper operation and signs of rot. Does it look as if they are allowing lots of air infiltration. If they are double pane windows, is there moisture between the two layers of glass?
  5. If there is a crawl space or basement look for telltale signs of termites. A pocket knife can help you check how solid the wood is.

Once you have made an offer on a house it is a good idea to hire an home inspector. I’ve used home inspectors to learn the skills needed to be able to do a pretty thorough inspection.

7 Tips to Buying the Perfect House

-Write down your list of wants.

Before you start your house-hunting journey, sit down with your family and brainstorm. Think about what you’d like to have in your perfect house. You may not be able to have everything on your list. But if you know your ideal, you can better decide whether a house is right for you or not.

-Get pre-approved.

Getting a pre-approved mortgage is one of the most important steps in buying the perfect house. Until you know your loan amount, you’ll be house hunting in the dark. Finding out how much you can afford will narrow the real estate market for you. It’s no fun to fall in love with a house, and then find out it’s out of your price range. Or settle for a house when you can afford much more.

-Look at the square footage price and not just the total.

The real estate listing should have two different figures, the total sale price and the price per square foot. Many buyers only focus on the total. Sometimes you can find a great deal on square footage just by paying a little more in total sales price. If one house has 1700 square feet and costs $175,000, and the other has 2000 and costs $185,000, the second is the better buy even with the higher price tag. It allows you to get the most for your money.

-Keep an open mind about As Is Homes.

Ideally, you’d love to find a move in ready house. But that isn’t always the case depending on your price range or neighborhood. Just because a house has a little wear and tear doesn’t mean you should pass it by. Keep repairs in perspective. A broken tile here and a hideous wall color there is much easier to fix than a decaying roof or structural damage.

-Look for neighborhoods on the rise.

If your house budget is tight, consider moving into a “neighborhood on the rise.” Local residents and newcomers are renovating these neighborhoods, which are mostly in urban areas. The homes are older, and the neighborhoods have a lot of charm. Just because an area was considered “tough” a few decades ago doesn’t mean it’s still that way.

-Drive by at different times of the day.

If you’ve settled on a particular house, do some investigating before you make your offer. Driving by the home at different times during the day will give you an idea of what it’s like to live there. You can find out more about your potential neighbors and address any safety concerns.

 

 

Power Outage Happy Home Tips

5 Tips to a Greener Home

Things have changed about the way we look at remodeling our homes. Green home remodeling has become the best way to improve the value of your home while reducing the cost of living overall. “Smart houses”, sustainable lifestyles” and “green building” are phrases that are appearing more and more in the housing and construction market.

Green is the new black as far as smart investments in home remodeling. We are keenly interested in keeping the cost of living down as well as making our homes “smarter” by redesigning the way they function. Alternate forms of energy like solar panels or wind turbines, energy saving appliances, windows that can take advantage of cross breezes instead of using air conditioning, using recycled building materials and even downsizing a home are all ways we can reduce our carbon footprint with green home remodeling. And, there is no better way to prepare a home for resale or to increase its value nowadays than by making it as “green” as possible.

Here are some green home remodeling tips to make any home more energy efficient and improve its value:

Remodeling Design
The design of your home remodel is crucial. Elements such as: room size, recycled or sustainable building materials, non-VOC paints, placement of windows and doors, insulation, and passive heating and cooling considerations are all factors that can make a difference in green home renovation.

Windows and Doors
Up to 35% of your home’s heating or cooling is lost through windows. This makes it essential that you increase the thermal performance of your windows. Placement of exterior windows and doors can be optimized to take advantage of natural light and heat and to open up air flow. Double glazing will reduce heat loss in the cold of winter and louvered windows can catch a breeze in the heat of summer.

Alternate Energy
The cost of electricity to run lights and electricity or using gas and oil has a huge impact on both the budget and the carbon footprint. Photovoltaic panels catch the sunlight and transform it into energy which can be used in place of traditional energy sources. Water heating can be one of the biggest heating expenses. By replacing an old water heating system with a more energy efficient system that employs the use of solar energy or a high efficiency tank your savings can be significant.

Rain and Grey Water
An exterior rainwater tank to harvest rainfall is one method of getting free water. This can be critical, especially in areas where water is scarce. Water collection tanks don’t have to be fancy. They can be as simple as those you find through agricultural outlets. A grey water system which recycles waste water into the garden or sewage system is also a valuable consideration.

Power Outage Happy Home Tips

Our Power Outage Happy Home Tips

– During a recent power outage, it occurred to us that not everyone out there is ready for such an event, or equipped with the items needed to lighten the sometimes stressful environment it can create.

We have put a few tips together that we hope everyone will find helpful when the lights go out.

Lighting

Candles:

(Keep candles handy; use them to decorate your home if at all possible. They look good and when the lights go out you can ease the tension room by room, lighting one decorative display at a time.)

A: If more light is needed, a piece of tinfoil carefully placed behind the candle will reflect the light into the room instantly doubling the candles lighting capacity.

B: You can also take a piece of tinfoil about 15″x 15″, and place a piece of tape (duct tape works great) on one side and tape it around the base of the candle. Make sure that it is a larger candle around 6 to 8″ tall, and as big around as the average sized soup can. This will allow it to burn longer without melting down to the base. Allowing the tape to remain cool and keep the foil attached.

This type of set up will ultimately allow you to shape the foil around the top of the candle in a bowl shape creating a cheap easy version of a lantern allowing you to focus the candles light where it is needed.

C: There are many different types of candles out there that are designed for survival situations and are meant to burn for long periods of time without issue, but for your typical power outage most display candles found in stores are sufficient. You may want to limit the amount of scented versions, because you will have many candles lit and the mixed smells could become overwhelming.

D: Finally 2 major rules to live by when candles are used:

1: Keep all lit candles stationary to prevent fires, if you need to walk around the house use a flashlight.

2: Above all before going to bed or leaving a room unattended put out all lit candles to prevent a fire. We suggest gathering everyone into a central area (Living room or dinning room) during an outage and only lighting candles in that occupied area. This might be a good time to reconnect and break out some board games.

Household rules

Bathroom courtesy:

(It may sound funny but when there is no power that usually means that the water is gone as well. In most cases you will be lucky to get 2 or 3 flushes per toilet before the reservoir tank is out of water for this we have one rule.)

1: If its yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.

Fridges & Freezers:

(When the power does go out most of us have no way of knowing exactly when it will be coming back on again. If left closed, on average you can go between 1 & 3 days without power before your current stock of chilled foods is lost to spoilage. We advise the following three rules to prevent early spoilage.)

1: If possible prepare meals that don’t involve items kept in the fridge or freezer to maintain their temperature as long as possible.

2: Avoid opening either of them unless absolutely necessary. If it happens to be winter and you have snow on the ground, setting items outside in the snow could save you from having to repurchase your freezers contents.

3: Last but not least if you do need to get something out, think ahead about what you want and get in and out quickly. Don’t make it Christmas shopping on Black Friday and let all that cold air out looking around with the door open.

Heating:

(Most heaters need electricity to work or can give off dangerous fumes when used indoors. If you have a gas stove it may not light when you turn the knob, but the gas is still there. If you turn it on you can easily light it manually with a match, we recommend the extended grilling lighters to avoid burns. Use it to keep warm or cook as usual with one rule in mind.)

1: Above all make sure when you are finished you shut off the gas. We recommend trying to relight it immediately after shutting it off to make sure no gas is still coming out.

Appliances:

(In almost every case the power will come back on, keep this in mind when going to bed or putting your little ones to sleep. You don’t want to get the good news at 3am and have your house light up like the 4th of July!)

1: Before heading to bed check the light switches, TV’s, Radio’s and Computer or all of the above to make sure they are off. If you can’t remember if it was on when you lost power just unplug it until morning and save some energy in the process.

Water

Drinking water:

(If you’re up on your storage needs you should have some set aside, but for convenience sake keep a gallon or two in your fridge. Just make sure you take them out as soon as you loose power to maintain the cold and put them into a cooler to have some cold drinking water on hand.)

Useful water:

(If you can get yourself a 55 gallon drum and attach a faucet onto the base, it can be filled with tap water or collected rain water. It may not be drinkable but can be handy to carry in by bucket in case someone breaks the (Don’t flush the toilet rule) to refill the reservoir tank on the back of the toilet.)

Kids

Babies:

(With young children these types of situations can be scary so try to plan ahead and talk to them about what to do when it happens. Try to also plan ahead to ease the situation by finding creative ways to maintain any routines they are used to.)

1: Get a few of the dome shaped push to turn on infomercial lights to substitute as a battery powered night light.

2: Use a MP3 player or Walkman with some simple portable speakers that can run off the built in earphone jack so they can still listen to their lullaby music if that is what they are used to. Any interruptions in a structured routine will result in a difficult time getting them to bed.

Younger children:

(The older the child the less help or comforting they will need but it is still smart to give them tools to adapt to the new circumstances.)

1: Give everyone their own flashlight, it will make them feel safe and come in handy if they need to use the bathroom. Don’t be surprised if the batteries are dead the next day, even big kids can be scared of the dark.

2: Keep a few glow sticks in the freezer; you can usually find cheap little sets at the dollar store. They can help to comfort them and save on flashlight batteries as well as turn a potentially scary night into a fun and cool night playing with glow sticks. Depending on the child’s age use good judgment or buy ones with a thick shell so they don’t break or crack and leak the fluorescent liquid, you never know if its toxic or not but if it glows it cant be that good.

Final Thoughts

Power outages can be scary but, when properly prepared and planned for can make for a night of peace and quiet. Free from the loud crazy TV, Video game, Radio and rumbling background appliance filled world we are all so used to.

It can give you a chance to sit down, read a book or take the opportunity to play an old fashion board game. Grow as a family and really begin reconnecting to those strangers we all so often take for granted (Our family).

4 Tips To Keep In Mind When Buying House And Land Packages

Is 2013 the year you’ll be buying a new home? Builders offer many exciting choices in house and land packages, so as you pour over floor plans to find the one with the best traffic flow, space, and general appeal, don’t forget to consider the land the structure will sit on.

Make Sure Your Floor Plan Is Right For Your Lot

Finding a lot with a view is easy, and there are plenty of designs that will look stunning there. You need to make sure the design you pick is the right one for the land. If you are looking at a home in a development, where the positioning of the units is predetermined, make sure the one you will own will be well placed on your lot so it offers scenery and privacy.

Build A Showplace, Not A Fishbowl

Open floor plans are quite popular in modern residential design because they offer flexibility and flow and can be built to be energy efficient. Even when the home incorporates large amounts of glass, you still do not want to feel like you’re living in a fishbowl. The design you choose and the positioning of your home on the lot can compromise your privacy if you do not consider the proximity of homes and passing traffic. Do you really want your master bedroom with floor-to-ceiling windows to face the neighbours?

Work With The Sun

Having air conditioning in a home is a given, but the way your home is situated affects the temperature inside and climate control costs. Experts suggest that your rooms face north, with features such as bathrooms, utility rooms, storage areas and theatre rooms located at the southern part of the home. Doors and windows that face the west should be as small as possible. Unless you have trees or other homes to block some of the southern exposure, you should have window overhangs of about 900mm to allow light, but reduce some of the heat and glare. Even within the same subdivision, certain plans might work better on specific lots, so be mindful of both the design and the lot you choose.

Avoid Zoning Nightmares

When you buy a home/lot package from a builder, they have most likely worked out all zoning considerations with the local council, but you should still do your due diligence on the property. To keep costs in check, avoid building in a bushfire-prone zone where you will need to add sprinklers or in an area that requires a Flora and Fauna or geological study that might limit where you can build on the property. A few calls to your local counsel should assure you that your building plans will not be unexpectedly interrupted by a visit from the local council housing inspector.

In order for your home to live up to the dream, do some thinking and research on your own before you commit to one of the biggest purchases of your life.

Home Remodeling Tips You Need to Know About

Almost everybody is working on a budget. If you aren’t working on a budget you can hire a decorator to give you home remodeling tips. Otherwise, doing a little research and getting creative with your remodel can produce awesome results. There are so many excellent projects you can do by yourself to freshen up rooms, give them attitude and make them feel comfortable. There is no room in your house that is untouchable, and no project that you cannot tackle if you have the time and devotion to do it.

Whenever interior decorators are interviewed about their work, their responses are simple. They say that making the project fun is the key. That should catch your attention. Don’t start tearing a room apart grudgingly just because you feel it is time for a change. Instead, let yourself dream. And as you dream realize that whatever you can see in your head, you can bring to fruition in your home. The best home remodels are often the most inexpensive.

For example, one of the leading trends in the industry right now is called acid treatment. It’s a project you would do on a cement floor and if applied correctly can make plain old, foundational concrete floors look like beautiful tile of any style. Plenty of How To articles can get you started working with your own concrete floors. An entire basement could be treated, and sealed for less than five hundred dollars-assuming you are performing labor yourself. It lasts longer than carpet and adds an element of unique style to a room that can otherwise be hard to design.

Often times, the simple things, like acid treating a floor, are the very things people think of last. It’s as if they feel boxed in by a set of invisible rules. Most people think that it is against the rules to flip flop the painting scheme. Somewhere back in the cloudy past, somebody stated a rule that lighter colored paint had to be applied at the top of walls and darker colors had to be applied at the bottom. If you want to give a room a more bold feeling, break this rule. Who needs it anyway? Apply a simple wooden trim around the center of the room, paint the bottom half cream or tan and let the top of the wall shine in deep rich color: reds, greens, blues, you decide.

The worst thing you can do is get boxed in. With so many elements of style, let your imagination run wild. Painting is a cheap way to give your house a brand new feel. Floors are a bit more challenging. Plumbing and electricity will require you to study, but even that should not limit your options. A brave dream will lead to a beautiful home.

 

Tips for Giving Away Unwanted Supplies Or Scrap Materials

Are you remodeling a house? If so, you are going to end up with a lot of trash. However, you will also notice that some items are salvageable. You should consider listing these items for free on a classified website like Craigslist.org. Before doing so, keep these helpful tips in mind.

Can You Make Money?

When you are doing a large scale home remodeling project, you will end up with a lot of leftover junk. It is common to have scrap lumber (from studs or trim), but lets say you redo your kitchen and replace that “okay” stove with a brand new one. That okay stove isn’t old enough to trash and it is nice enough that you don’t want to give it away for free, so try and sell it. Whenever possible, see if you can make money. You have nothing to lose by trying. And say that old stove sells for $50. That is $50 you can use towards your new home improvement project.

Post Pictures

If you use a website like Craigslist.org, which is recommended because it is free to post for sale or free items on the site, you have the option to upload up to 4 pictures. Take at least one. Whether you are giving away a free bathroom vanity or a scrap pile of lumber – take a picture. This way anyone interested sees for themselves upfront what they are getting. This results in less wasted time for you.

Provide a Good Description

This is inline with uploading at least one picture for your “free” ad on a classified website. Basically, you want to make sure that all interested consumers know upfront what they are getting. So say that scrap pile of lumber still has nails in it. By stating so, you aren’t going to waste time meeting a consumer who changed their mind because they felt you should have removed the nails first.

Avoid Curb Alerts

Curb alerts or driveway alerts are when you post information on what you have for free, give your address, and say “whoever comes first gets it.” If you are still in the middle of your home improvement project, you don’t want to have to stop every hour to greet someone who shows up. Leave a phone number. Only agree to meet interested takers when it is easy and convenient for you.

Remove Your Listing Afterward

So lets say your stack of scrap wood is gone or that old stove is gone – someone took it for free! Great! Now, you need to remove the listing from online. All classified websites make this very easy and it should take no more than 5 minutes. Whether you have people calling you, emailing you, or just showing up at your house to pick through your scrap home improvement supplies, it takes time away from your remodeling project. So avoid the hassle and remove the listing as soon as possible.

You Won’t Load It

Finally, if you have any large items (such as an old stove or old heavy studs), make it known in your online listing that you are not going to deliver the item or help them load it. Simply state that pickup and loading is their responsibility.

10 Hot Home Remodelling Tips

Are you planning to have a home remodelling session? Are you ready for the hassle and trouble? Do you feel lost and do not know where to begin from? Stop worrying and read on. These great home remodelling tips will set you straight on your path. Just plan as early as you can and give as much of time as you can as the improvement of your home is a personal prospect. You must like the changes after they are made to live in them. Your home is your own world.

Tip 1

Know exactly what you want. Even if you aren’t very good at drawing, make a rough sketch of your home at present. Mark areas that are problematic and need remodelling or improvement. You can remodel particular parts as well as the entire house. After you have decided what exactly needs to be changed and where, make another rough sketch of the changed appearances. This will give you a picture of what is going to be and should help you in taking decisions.

Tip 2

Talk to an interior designer or home designer and find out what you actually need to change. Ask details and jot theses down. Take notice of plumbing or electrical outlets and water passages. These are important aspects and need attention and thought.

Tip 3

If you want to change the furniture along with other changes, try to jot down what facilities you lacked before and what you need or want now. Talk to the furniture stores and tell them your needs.

Tip 4

If you want changes in lighting, decide on what type of lighting. If you want to play with sunlight, you must talk to your builder about it and describe what you exactly want – larger window or back porches or verandas or kitchen gardens. These are necessary information needed before work starts. For other lights, talk to your electrician and tell him in detail your requirements. Understand every aspect of the deal.

Tip 5

Decide if you want to do some exterior work like gardening or garage as well. This has to be done before hand. Pay attention to spaces like basements and attics and utilize them well.

Tip 6

After you have decided on the changes, make appointments with home builders and construction workers. Of course, this should be done only if you want to remodel concrete parts like walls and rooms or the entire house and not just the furniture and lighting. Before you give the deal to the contractors, do find out about the company in detail. Once construction starts, you can’t back out. Be communicative and discuss the entire plan with them. Decide your budget.

Tip 7

Talk to your plumber and electrician and interior decorator and ask them to have a discussion with the builder with you presiding over the talk. This will save later troubles and misunderstandings.

TIP 8

Before your home builder or workers start digging the ground, visit the local utility centre and find out what’s below the earth. Make sure you do not damage anything that is already there. Save unnecessary repair bills.

Tip 9

Ask your painter to leave a bit of the paint for you to do final finishing or touch ups. You can even use this for changing a tiny bit here and there that you don’t like. You can even offer your child to redecorate his/her room by painting in various shades that complement each other.

Tip 10

Before your home remodelling is complete, make sure your home is safe for your baby. Ask your electricians to install socket covers and wire insulations. Install baby gates before a stair case or in places where your baby can have an accident.