The Gloves Are…On?

Dust Kittens

 

Cleaning. It’s the bane of many a homeowner’s life. You can do your best to keep things clean, but the muck has an annoying habit of building regardless. Worse, it builds the moment you finish cleaning. All you need to do is turn your back, and the dust is there again! Though the cleaning conundrum applies to the whole house, some rooms are worse than others. It goes without saying that the kitchen is a crucial place to keep clean. And, also one of the hardest. But, the bathroom has it beaten in those stakes. And, the bathroom sees a lot more muck and unpleasant stuff than the kitchen side! So, we’re going to look at how to perfect your bathroom cleaning methods. It’s time to tackle the beast!

 

Yellow Rubber Gloves

 

THE RIGHT PRODUCTS

Buying the right cleaning products should be top of your list. You’re going to be using some heavy duty chemicals. It might be worth stocking up on some rubber gloves, too! Knowing what products you need can be difficult. There are many on the market. For the most part, though, a lot of the options available are unnecessary. For your general cleaning, you should be okay with a bottle of cream cleaner and some bleach. Oh, and don’t forget a washcloth! Other jobs require other products, but these aren’t necessary every time you clean. You may want to buy some glass cleaner for your shower enclosures. In general, the cream cleaner will work on these too. A specialised cleaner may be necessary for getting those stubborn water marks off. Depending on your toilet, you may also want to keep a rim cleaner on hand. Not all toilets need these, but those with small bowls or deep rims could benefit!

 

bathroom cleaning

 

SPOT PROBLEM AREAS

It’s also important that you know what things to look out for while you clean. Some areas are going to cause more problems than others. Any tight corners could invite a buildup of muck. Make sure you clean behind your door, and behind your toilet. Areas like these are easily forgotten, but they’re notorious for dirt. Think, too, about problem areas like grouting. If you have shower tiles, it’s crucial you clean the grouting with cream cleaner. You may notice a slightly pink colouration each time. If you don’t wipe that away, it can cause blackening and breaking. If you let jobs like that slide, they’re a lot harder to cope with!


HINTS AND TIPS

Hints and tips will also help in your cleaning quest. After all, you can’t get things right if you don’t know what to do. This is especially true when cleaning those problems areas we spoke about. Get advice about the best way to stop your grout from rotting. Find out, too, how best to clean behind the toilet. You can find out most things online. It might also help to talk to friends and see if they have any tricks to share. A problem shared is a problem halved, after all.

 

Image credit:

Image 1 – https://flic.kr/p/6YrFq2
Image 2 – https://flic.kr/p/adNn8V
Image 3 – https://flic.kr/p/8WWEnt

 

 

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How Self-Employed Workers Can Prove They’re Professionals

Stories abound every year about how unscrupulous self-employed contractors and other professionals take advantage of people and don’t, or can’t, perform the services they were hired to do. These types of news stories make it very hard for honest and respectable self-employed individuals like plumbers, carpenters, electricians, and roofers to gain the confidence of potential customers so they can get hired and earn a living.

 

Self-Employed Workers

 

Here is an overview of what you as a self-employed individual should do to help convince a potential customer that you are a true professional and the right person to hire to get a job done.

 

Certifications

Regardless of what services you offer to people, you should show that you have the knowledge necessary to fulfil your promises. The best way to show you have the training necessary to do the job which you are trying to get hired to do is by showing your potential customer your certificates from the training you have received from trade schools and other places. You should put copies of the certificates in a binder to keep it and other paperwork on hand to show potential customers you know how to do the work.

 

Experience

If you have a track record of doing the type of work your potential customer wants to get done, you should create a list to show it. You can keep an on-going log of completed jobs in a database on your computer that you can print up and put into your binder. The list should be broken down into the different tasks you perform. For example, if you are a plumber, you should have separate lists showing the septic service repairs or maintenance tasks you have done and a separate list of the indoor plumbing projects you have done like emergency pipe or toilet repairs.

This way when you are talking to a customer, you can look up a task you’ve performed that matches what the potential customer needs and have a discussion on how you handled the previous repair or service.

 

Before and After Pictures

You should take pictures of what the job site looked like before you started and what it looked like once you were done. You should also add pictures of what you did to complete the job. The pictures should also be put into your binder and will provide you with a visual aide you can use while explaining what the problem was and how you fixed it.

 

Tradesman Insurance

Reputable self-employed home improvement contractors and tradespeople will have a tradesman insurance policy. A tradesmen insurance policy protects both you and the customer in case of injury or property damage that might occur while you are working on a project at a business or home. Contractors who skip on getting a policy is a warning sign to potential customers that if anything goes wrong they could be liable to cover the cost of the damage or injuries that occurred on their property. You should have a policy and a copy of it should be put into the binder.

 

Trade Association Memberships

Trade association memberships show a potential customer a number of things including that you appear to be a valuable member of your professional, are aware of updated procedures and laws affecting your profession, and that you have easy access to continuing education courses.

Trade associations typically don’t allow disreputable contractors who could bring dishonour to the association to be members. You should keep copies of the certificates of membership and continuing education courses and seminars you have attended in your binder to show your potential customers.

 

References

People appreciate when they have been treated well and a job has been performed to their satisfaction. You should always ask a satisfied customer if they would be willing to provide you with a character and job reference that you can give to potential customers to give them an understanding of your work performance.

In some cases, especially if the work you have done can be viewed from the outside, a satisfied customer may allow a potential customer to stop by and view first-hand the work you have done.

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4 Things to Look for in a Good Pet Sitter

Whether you have a cat, dog, rabbit, horse, or even a hamster, most pet owners will agree that their animal is a huge part of their family. So, if you have booked a vacation and are unable to take your furry friend along with you, you will want to ensure that they get the best possible care and are looked after and loved during your absence. In order to do this, the best thing to do is find a reputable pet sitter who will look after your pet as if they were their own. We’ve put together some top tips to help you find the perfect pet sitter.

 

pet sitter

Home Visits

Staying in a boarding kennel, a cattery or another facility for pets can be very stressful for your pet, as they will be in an unfamiliar environment with strange surroundings and other animals in close proximity. Although certain pets may be able to thrive well in this environment, others, for example cats, may become anxious and distressed when away from the place that they call home.  So, when looking for a pet sitter, be sure to ask whether or not they provide a home visit service, where your pet can receive the care and attention that they need without having to stay elsewhere.

 

Type of Pet

Some pet sitters will happily look after a wide variety of pets, for example, Classic Sitting Services.  However, in some cases it may be essential to find a sitter who specializes in looking after a certain type of animal. For example, if your pet is more exotic than mainstream, such as a snake or a lizard, you will have better peace of mind when leaving them with somebody who is experienced with looking after that particular kind of pet.

 

Insurance

When looking for a suitable pet sitter you should ensure that your pet insurance covers any accidents that they might have whilst you are away. A good pet sitter may even provide their own insurance and will have contacts in the form of local veterinarians so that you know your furry friend will be in the best hands should anything go wrong. When searching for somebody to care for your pet, it’s important to ensure that they are registered with the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.

 

Training, Qualifications and Experience

It’s certainly true that you don’t need any special training or qualifications to look after a pet. So, before you hire a pet sitter, it’s important to consider any experience that they have along with training and qualifications. For example, somebody with no qualifications but a lifetime of owning and looking after their own dogs will still be able to give your dog a great standard of care. When interviewing any potential pet sitters before hiring them, be sure to enquire about the amount and type of experience that they have so that you can determine how suitable they will be for your pet.

 

pet sitter

 

Leaving your pet behind when you go on vacation is often essential, so ensure that you’re both happy and stress-free with a good pet sitter.

 

Photo credits to my dear friend Marie Gizelle

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Tips to Overcome Design & Operational Challenges in Loft Conversions

loft conversion

 

No one can argue the benefits a loft conversion brings. It’s the easiest and most cost-effective way of adding extra space without having to move to a new home. It increases the value of your property, and it’s a great way of improving the energy efficiency of your home.

That said, the problem with loft conversion is that they’re among the home renovation projects most likely to go wrong. According to a recent survey, loft conversions and bathroom remodels are some of the most problematic home improvements.

To help you keep your project under control, we’ve gathered some of the most common problems you might encounter during a loft conversion.

Here’s what you need to keep your eye open for:

 

  1. Costs Are Piling Up

One of the most common problems homeowner encounter when converting their lofts is that the entire project is burning a hole through their wallets.

A loft conversion is an investment and, just like any other expenditure, you need to plan everything in advance. Try to think of everything before you lay out a budget – from the cost of materials to contractor fees. Look for ways that can help you maximize the gains while minimizing the costs. Keep in mind that price is what you pay; value is what you get from your investment.

 

  1. You Didn’t Think the Design Through

It’s easy to get excited about loft conversion construction and design. It’s one of the rare opportunities you got to create something that’s entirely yours, and that’s well-worth getting excited over.

While this process seems like fun and game to most people, they quickly realize that the ideas they’ve scribbled on a piece of the napkin are not enough if they want to design something that actually brings value to their property.

The design of your loft has to be in line with your home. You might have difficulties selling the house if the overall design is classic but the loft is ultra-modern.

Another problem most homeowners stumble upon is that their design ideas don’t fit the practicality of their loft. Don’t forget to take the structure of your attic into consideration when planning your design. If your loft is too low, for instance, you may need to get a bit creative.

 

  1. You Hired the Wrong Contractor

A lot of homeowners make the mistake of settling for the first contractor they find. Or, they pick the cheapest one thinking that if they save on construction they can spend more on design. But, as the project progresses, they quickly discover that by sacrificing quality over costs they’ve jeopardized their chances of finding a buyer for their homes should they ever decide to sell it.

Make sure you do your due diligence and research the market carefully before deciding on a contractor. Ask them to show you different projects they’ve worked on, read reviews, ask for references, and make sure they are licensed. Remember, a loft conversion is an investment. Make the most of it by paying attention to every detail.

A loft conversion is one of the cheapest and easiest ways of adding an extra bedroom to your home. However, you need to plan everything with care if you want to create a space you will enjoy using. If it’s well executed, a loft conversion can not only make your living situation more enjoyable but also add value to your property.

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Three Hidden Dangers That Might be Lurking in Your Home

Even though you may consider your home to be a relatively safe environment, there could be some hidden dangers that might be harmful to both your property and your health. Fortunately, some of these problems can quickly be remediated if the right measures are taken. Here are a few of the top hidden dangers that might be in your home.

 

hidden dangers to your home
Image source: Bart Everson – https://flic.kr/p/5cmQt

Radon

This noble gas comes up through the soil and often makes its way into homes through cracks in walls and foundations. What makes radon particularly dangerous is that it has no odor or color and can cause serious harm to anyone occupying a home or business. It has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer and other respiratory problems. A radon testing quit can help determine if this gas is present in your home.

Mold

Mold often forms as the result of indoor flooding, leaking pipes or poor ventilation. This fungus can grow in areas that are not always easily visible to the human eye and put you at risk for getting respiratory infections and allergic skin reactions. Mold can also damage the quality of your home and attract mites and other pests. If you believe that mold is growing somewhere in your home, mold abatement specialists can take the appropriate steps to solve the problem.

 

hidden dangers - mold
By Martin Grube – This image is from the FEMA Photo Library., Public Domain, Link

 

Asbestos

If you live in a home that was built before the 1980s, your insulation, siding and other components of your building may contain asbestos. This natural mineral was often used in building materials because of its resistance to heat and electricity and ability to absorb sound. The problem with asbestos is that it can cause a particular form of lung cancer known as mesothelioma and other lung cancers if its particles are inhaled over a prolonged period of time. Although health problems are not always imminent with asbestos exposure, you may want to consider moving to a new home if your building materials contain high levels of the mineral.

These potential dangers can wreak havoc on your health and home life, but they can possibly be remediated if you act right away. Whether you want to try solving the problem yourself or calling in professionals to do the work, eliminating these dangers can help preserve your home’s quality.

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