Reasons You Need to Get Better at Home Maintenance

You own your home, which means it is your responsibility when things start to break down. Sure, you could ignore your home maintenance obligations – but then you have to suffer the consequences. Here are a few common results when you don’t bother with critical home maintenance tasks:

Your Bills Go up

Home maintenance may take your time and energy, but failing to perform maintenance – even the smallest tasks – will take your money. Maintenance tends to ensure the efficiency of various systems around your home. Over time, dirt, grime and other factors clog up and break down certain components, which are critical for the smooth function of your systems. This forces your systems to work harder to produce the same effects.

Home Maintenance
By HumanAdventureOwn work, Public Domain, Link

There are many examples of this. You might look at your refrigerator, which can’t cool properly because the rubber seal around the door has worn down. You might consider your HVAC system, which has to suck air especially hard through an air filter that is clogged with dust.

When your systems have to work harder, they often have to turn on more frequently. This means they are drawing extra energy, increasing your utilities bills. Some studies have found hundreds of dollars-worth of annual savings due to efficiency-related home maintenance tasks. Since many of these chores are relatively infrequent – requiring attention between one and four times per year – it makes financial sense for you to get better at home maintenance ASAP.

Your Stuff Breaks

If you allow the systems around your home to work harder for too long, the inefficiency will transform into uselessness. This is because increased effort over long periods of time degrades various components of your home systems, and eventually, those components will break and become unusable.

There are a few good examples of this. When the coils on your stove become so covered in grease and grime, they won’t be able to heat up your pots and pans efficiently. That buildup might migrate to the coils’ connectors, preventing them from heating up at all – and resulting in an essentially inoperable stove. Meanwhile, if you aren’t addressing drips or clogs in your pipes, your plumbing is likely to rupture, causing further damage to your home and necessitating extensive (and expensive) repairs.

There’s a reason you have various systems in your home: to make your life easier. However, if you aren’t performing adequate maintenance, your life will undoubtedly get much, much more difficult.

Your Insurance Doesn’t Work

Your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover problems that arise because of your own mistakes or mishandlings. Even home warranty companies plainly state that they won’t cover costs accrued due to insufficient maintenance on certain systems.

Your water heater could explode, (because sediments you didn’t drain clog up the emergency release valve) and it’s likely that your various forms of insurance won’t help you pay for much of the damage. This is because your own negligence brought this catastrophe upon you; it was no act of God or unpreventable event.

Because it is inexcusable not to have homeowner’s insurance and a home warranty to protect your property, you should do your utmost to ensure these protections remain in effect. That means being diligent about maintenance, especially of those systems covered in your policies.

Your Neighbors Hate You

When you aren’t attentive to your home’s maintenance needs, it shows. Slowly but surely, the exterior of your home will start to degrade, and your neighbors won’t appreciate the lack of effort you are putting into maintaining your property.

This is because their property values depend, to some extent, on the value of yours. When there is an eyesore in the neighborhood, prospective buyers won’t be willing to shell out as much dough for a home nearby, believing that neighbors aren’t conscientious and that the area isn’t very desirable.

Regardless of whether you are a person who cares what your neighbors think, you should invest in home maintenance. For the sake of your home’s value, for the sake of the safety and comfort of the neighborhood, your home should be well-cared-for – and look it, too.

Home maintenance isn’t hard. Over the course of the year, you need only devote a few weekends to performing the cleaning and maintaining duties necessary to keep your home in tip-top shape. You can save money, improve relationships with those around you and enjoy a functional home thanks to home maintenance – so you should get in the right maintenance habits today.

 

Keep Your Dog Happy and Well by Ensuring Your Yard Is Safe

With the holidays being a time when lots of families add a four-legged friend to their midst, or alternatively go out numerous parties and other events and leave animals home alone more often, it’s important to be sure your yard is safe for your loved pooch.

As a valued part of your family, your dog should be happy and well – and you should want to do everything you can to keep it that way. And, by doing this, you’ll save yourself from having to pay for expensive and unexpected visits to the vet. Read on for some top ways you can make your yard secure today, and ensure your fur baby stays safe.

Get Rid of Toxic Plants

Get rid of any plants toxic to dogs. With exposure to the wrong things, pooches can display symptoms such as sore eyes, irritated skin, seizures and more. In some unfortunate cases, death can result.

Go through your garden to see if you can spot any plants that could be an issue, and remove them or stop your dog from being able to access them. Also, when buying new plants, check to see if they could cause any dramas for your four-legged friends before you bring them home.

The list of potentially dangerous plants is long, but here are some of the most common ones:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Tulips
  • Hydrangeas
  • Sago palm (particularly nasty, it can lead to severe liver failure)
  • Rhododendrons
  • Marigold
  • Wisterias
  • Ivy
  • Lily of the Valley (it can cause cardiac arrhythmias, amongst other things)
  • Sweet pea
  • Daffodils
  • Geraniums
  • Bougainvillea
  • Cyclamen
  • Azaleas
  • Oleanders
  • Lantana
  • Wisterias
  • Crocuses (the fall crocus, Meadow Saffron, is an especially nasty one to be on the lookout for, as it can cause multisystem organ failure)

Keep Pests at Bay

Look for ways to keep pests at bay in your yard, too. For instance, keep your lawns trimmed regularly so there is less coverage for pests to hide in. Also, ward off mosquitos by removing standing pools of water. If these biting insects remain a problem even after you do this, consider using a specialist mosquito service to help you remove infestations.

Mosquito bites can give your dog diseases, just as happens with humans; plus if dogs scratch at bites on their ears or other areas, they can develop hematomas and skin conditions. As such, a safe yard must be safe from such pests.

Don’t Use or Leave Harmful Chemicals and Other Substances in Your Yard

Next, be careful about using and leaving harmful chemicals and other substances in your yard that could make your pet very ill if ingested. For example, pest sprays and fertilizers can be a problem, as can blood and bone meals. These smell great to dogs as they’re made up of dried, ground-up, flash-frozen animal bones, but if canines eat a lot they can get bad cement-like blockages in their GI tracts.

Steer clear of mole, rat, gopher or other baits around your property because if your dog eats any of these they could develop severe health issues and even die. Be wary about the mulch you use in your gardens, too. This trips a lot of pet owners up, as it doesn’t seem like an issue. However, many mulches are made from the discarded shells or hulls of cocoa beans. These contain the two toxins which are the reason behind why we can’t feed our pets chocolate treats – caffeine and theobromine.

Keep Your Dog Happy and Well

Ensure Dogs Can’t Get Into Dangerous Areas

Another way to keep your dog happy and well is to ensure it cannot get into any dangerous areas in your yard. For example, deny furry friends access from spaces such as garden sheds containing sharp objects; pools, ponds and other deep water sources; and netting, in which they could potentially get trapped in and choke. Also, stop dogs from being able to enter neighbors’ yards as you don’t know what kinds of risky areas or items could be in there.

Keep your dog well away from compost heaps. Again, this might not seem like such an obvious risk, but these piles often contain organic materials which attract dogs because of their smell (e.g. food scraps), but which can lead to health concerns. On top of there being generally dangerous substances in your compost for dogs, note that another problem is that organic materials in compost heaps sit and mold. When this occurs, harmful mycotoxins arise. These can cause your pooch to develop tremors, seizures or vomiting attacks or fall ill in other ways. Keep any compost stored securely in a container your dog cannot dig into or tip over.

Image source: pixabay.com

How to Showcase Your Milestones in a Photo book

Photos make the best souvenirs for special occasions and milestones. These photos are usually placed in albums, scrapbooks, or framed for display. But for special milestones like a wedding, these options simply won’t do.  Wedding pictures are best immortalized in books that tell your story, and this is what a photo book from Mixbook can do for you. Now if you want a book that is worthy of a spot in your coffee table, then this is what you can do.

photo book

Take time to choose your pictures.

This is perhaps the most tedious task in creating a photo book. There are usually hundreds of pictures to go through and it can be difficult to choose which ones to put in your book. It would help to brace yourself for the task so that you won’t get overwhelmed in the middle of it. To make things easier, you can ask someone to assist you in sorting the pictures. Remember to choose high quality pictures only so that everything will look good on your wedding book.

Choose a photo book format.

There are various styles and themes that you can use for a coffee table worthy photo book. Modern formats usually adopt a photojournalistic style that features more candid and out of the box photos. On the other hand, a classic format often makes use of formal poses and are strictly arranged chronologically. The good thing about Mixbook is that you can have a free hand to choose any format you want including a mix of modern and classic styles.

Lay your pictures and decide on what story to tell.

Take a good look at the pictures you’ve chosen and decide on a story that you want to tell. Are you going to tell a love story that culminates in a wedding ceremony? Or would you prefer to focus on the wedding itself? While it is true that pictures alone can tell a story, your book will still be better with some text in it.

Arrange your pictures and check your flow.

If you want to tell a good story, then you have to make sure that the pictures on your book will flow smoothly from one page to the other. Keep an eye out for transition shots that can effectively link pages together.

Choose lay out and book material carefully.

Your best wedding pictures can be ruined if it is printed on poor quality material. Images printed on low quality paper tend to be less vivid and fades easily. It’s going to be a pity if your tedious work ends up badly due to poor choice of materials.

Mind all the details.

This means checking the print quality, materials, and craftsmanship for your book. Remember that weddings are a very special milestone that merits flawless souvenirs. As such, it is important to aim for an impeccable photo book for everyone to admire. This can be done by making sure that your supplier or printer understands your standards and complies with them.

Image credits to: https://www.mixbook.com/photo-books

How to Start an E-commerce Business for Your Home Goods

Creating your own home goods is a wonderful achievement—especially if you’re a stay at home mom with a fairly busy schedule. It allows you to hone in on your craft, sharpen your entrepreneurial skills, keep occupied when the children aren’t around, and of course, bring in a little extra money.

Ecommerce Business for Your Home Goods
Homemade Scented Wax Candle

If you aren’t already making homemade goods, there’s still plenty of time to get going. And there’s an endless amount of things you can make, spanning the gauntlet for everything from homemade wax candles to homemade flavored shisha. The key is to create around your hobby, so that it rarely ever feels like work. Once you’ve decided what you want to focus on, you’ve taken the first step towards making it happen. Here’s a few tips for starting an e-commerce business:

Set Up Your Website

Of course, as an e-commerce business, one of the most important aspects you need to focus on is your website. You’ll need to choose a platform, and should explore each (and watch introductory videos). Two of the most popular platforms are Shopify and WordPress. Shopify offers a free trial with full features, which you should take advantage of. While WooCommerce doesn’t necessarily have a free trial, they do have more options for themes and customizable stores. And because your design creates the first impression, it’s crucial that you start thinking about what your digital aesthetic will look like beforehand. Although Shopify and WooCommerce make it easy for newcomers to jump in, if you aren’t web-savvy, consider hiring a freelancer on a site like Upwork or working with a web design agency.

Consider Listing on Dropshipping Platforms

Dropshipping makes it possible for entrepreneurs to sell products without ever holding any inventory. For example, as a dropshipper, you would list products on your website that you don’t actually have. You’d market them well so that they appeal to your target audience, and when an order is placed, it ships directly from the manufacturer.

As the creator of a product, you can opt to allow other entrepreneurs to dropship as well. However, keep in mind that you do lose some of your profit in the process, as it’s shared with the person who sells it. On the plus side, you can leverage the marketing expertise of many individuals who have the skills and know-how to get your product out there.

Don’t Forget About Your Marketing

Your marketing efforts set you apart from the competition, and get you ready for success. Think about your marketing as the story you create around your brand. As a homemade goods company, you don’t want your product labeling or website design to look mass-produced. All marketing efforts should be cohesive. Furthermore, your marketing language should emphasize your “homemade” tag, and poise your company as a lifestyle brand if applicable. You’ll also want to post plenty of high-res, high-quality photos. Make an effort to showcase products that your customers have purchased, and refrain from copying strategies that mass-produced companies employ.

Start a Blog

Once you’ve started your homemade business, a blog is necessary. A blog builds search engine optimization (SEO) around your brand, which makes it easier for people to discover your business. You can use your blog to not only post product announcements, but to detail your experience starting your own company. You never know what will attract readers and buyers until you test the waters and create a variety of content. By writing about your journey, you’ll also be humanizing your brand, which makes it easier to establish trust with potential customers. Furthermore, you’ll be helping other moms who hope to be in your shoes one day, too.

Take Advantage of Etsy

There are pros and cons to using Etsy as a platform, but when you’re selling homemade goods, it’s one of the easiest to put your work out there. Etsy makes it easy for homemade goods stores—no matter how new or established—to put their products in front of relevant audiences who are looking for products like yours.

The drawbacks of using Etsy can be balanced by having your own website as well. For example, Etsy doesn’t offer much creative control over how your online store appears, and they always show related products that make it easy for shoppers to stray away from your page. Furthermore, it may be difficult to capitalize on marketing potential, like creating an email list, but with a website, you can tip the scale in your favor.

 

Choosing The Best Metal For Your Engagement Ring

Best Metal For Your Engagement Ring
Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/YtRJtK

When it comes to purchasing an engagement ring, there are lots of different choices to make. You can choose the style of ring, the settings, the precious stones, and the type of metal used to make the ring. It is an essential part of the process to choose the best metal for your ring, and below you can see some advice to help you make the right decision.

Gold

Gold is the traditional metal that is used for most types of engagement and wedding rings, so it is a firm favourite with people. There are different types of gold available such as yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and green gold, and each of these has differing properties. You will want 70-75% pure gold, or 18 carats, as anything purer than this is too soft and will get damaged easily. Rose gold is an excellent choice as this colour goes with just about any skin tone. For a wide selection of rings in different types of metal, make sure to visit The Diamond Jewellery Studio in Brisbane.

Platinum

Platinum is also a trendy choice as this metal is very hard wearing, making it very durable. Usually 95% pure, platinum is a rare white metal which is also hypoallergenic, which means that it is safe to wear for even the most sensitive skin types. Although all metals scratch, platinum can withstand years of wear and tear, and very little metal is lost if it does get scratched.

Palladium

Palladium is a metal which belongs to the same family as platinum, which means this is also a hard metal which stands up to the test of time. It is a dense metal and rings are usually 95% pure, and this is also another rare metal and has a similar price to white gold. Palladium needs very little maintenance unlike platinum and white gold, and the silver coloured metal is perfect for diamonds and colourful gemstones.

Sterling Silver

Silver has been used for jewellery for thousands of years, just as gold, but is the most affordable of all the different precious metals available. It is usually 92.5% pure and is a hard-wearing metal that will require some maintenance as it is prone to scratching and can tarnish if not cleaned regularly. The colour of silver can vary from shining white to a greyish white, and you can have a shiny, smooth texture, or one that is matte.

Titanium

Titanium is becoming increasingly popular for engagement rings, and just as with platinum, it is hypoallergenic and very hard-wearing. The metal is surprisingly light and has a darker colour than platinum, and it is easy to keep in excellent condition. It is unlikely to tarnish, and if the ring does get scratched, you can easily have these polished out. For more information on this precious metal, you can check out online jewellery shops or contact a reputable shop.

To know more about the details of the different types of metal you can use for your engagement ring, you can check out metal glossaries available online. Above are some of the most popular metals that are used for wedding and engagement rings, but there are also others such as tungsten, zirconium, and even steel. Familiarising yourself about these metals will help you decide on what is best to use for the engagement ring.