Cleaning Hacks to Save You Time

If you're always on the go yet enjoy a tidy house, you're probably managing to keep your household mess under control. Now, imagine you could make your home spotless in no time with a number of tips that help speed up the cleaning process and make your life easier. Here are six cleaning hacks that will save you valuable time and tips on how to incorporate them into your household care routine.  

1. Line your toaster tray with foil

If you cook meals in your toaster oven on a regular basis, you've probably wasted time cleaning it afterward. Put aluminum foil on your toaster tray before you cook your food to keep it clean, so all you need to do is throw the dirty foil away when you're done.

2. Recycle your dryer sheets

After you finish doing your laundry, you can carry on your cleaning routine by repurposing the used dryer sheets. Brush away hair and dust from your baseboard with the dryer sheets in a few quick strokes without having to find a rag.

3. Clean your blinds with vinegar and water

When you're out of cleaning products and need a quick fix, you can use a 50-50 combination of vinegar and water to wash your blinds. Combine these two ingredients in a bowl, dip an old sock in the concoction and run it across each slat to get rid of dirt and dust.

4. Refresh your couch with baking soda

If your couch produces odors or exhibits stains, you can use baking soda to tackle them. Clear the couch surface, sprinkle baking soda on the affected area and, after about half an hour, vacuum it up for a spot- and smell-free surface.

5. Pick up messes with a lint roller

When you're pressed for time and need to clean up dust, dirt or crumbs, you can employ a lint roller to pick them up quickly and efficiently by rolling it over the unwanted substances. If you're in a big hurry or don't have a lint roller, grab some tape and dab the dirty spots for a fast solution.

6. Run your blender with soap and water 

After you eat breakfast and before you leave for your busy day, you can easily wash your blender — just fill it with water, add a touch of dish soap, blend for a few seconds and rinse for a fast, pain-free cleanup.

8 Ways to Add Style to Your Home for Under $50

Have you been browsing home improvement magazines and blogs, lusting after all the new, fun trends? If you’re desperate to update some of the rooms in your home but don’t have the budget for big-ticket renovations, look no further than these eight projects, all under $50, that will add style and personal flair to your home.

Bathroom backsplash with wall decals

A fast and affordable way to update the look of your bathroom is to purchase backsplash wall decals. They are easy to install and inexpensive. There are tons of designs out there to choose from. Check out some of the options on Houzz.com, where you can purchase decals for around $12 per square foot.

Paint old flooring or use stencils 

Many older homes have outdated linoleum flooring. Instead of installing all new flooring, paint over it in an interesting pattern, laying down painter’s tape as a guide. Finish with a layer of polyurethane over the floor once it’s dry to protect it. Or, you could use stencils to create a unique look. This is a cheap and easy solution to quickly update a kitchen or bathroom.  

Make your own window treatments

There are lots of sources for inexpensive curtains and other window treatments, but if you’re crafty, a simple curtain is easy to construct. Pick out a fabric that you love and that will freshen up the room you’re making over. All the fabric needs now is a bottom seam and a wider seam at the top, big enough to fit through a curtain rod. 

Paint kitchen and/or bathroom cabinets

It seems that new cabinet trends are always popping up. One way to keep up with the times, or just to infuse some color into your home, is to paint your kitchen or bathroom cabinets. It’s as easy as picking a fabulous paint color, removing all the doors on your cabinets and spending a weekend afternoon freshening them up with a new coat of paint. 

Refinish old furniture

If you have old wood furniture, it’s easy to refinish it and give it a whole new look. What you’ll need: chemical stripper, sandpaper, sealer, wood stain or paint, and a clear coat. Once you strip the original finish and sand the piece of furniture, you can apply a new stain or paint it. Lots of people use white paint to get that shabby-chic effect. Lastly, apply a clear coat. 

Reupholster outdated chairs or sofas

Reupholstering furniture may sound like a lot of work, but if you set aside a weekend day to do this project, you can completely transform your furniture on a serious budget. What you’ll need: staple gun, new fabric of your choice, hammer, pliers and a sewing machine (optional). Once you pick your fabric, remove the old fabric from your couch, chair, etc. Next, measure the amount of fabric you’ll need to cover the furniture and cut accordingly. Sew the fabric to fit the furniture, if necessary. You can use the original fabric as a guide. Lastly, staple the new fabric to your piece of furniture. Add any extras, such as buttons or pom-poms if it’s a pillow. 

Create a wall of vintage photographs or mirrors

A great way to add flair to a room is to decorate a wall with photographs or mirrors arranged in a stylish way. If you have lots of old black-and-white family photos, frame them using frames of varying size and arrange them on the wall. You could also frame old maps, calendar pictures or even fun wrapping paper. Another popular option is to do a wall of mirrors. Rummage through flea markets to find antique mirrors in the same color scheme and hang them on one wall. This will also add depth to any room. 

Paint your staircase

You won’t be able to use your upstairs for probably a full 24 hours, so plan this one ahead of time, but painting your stairs is a quick and cheap way to spice up your home. You could paint your stairs a funky color or even do zany patterns. The next time you feel inspired by a new design trend, you can repaint your stairs. Do it as many times as you like! 

When to Adjust Your Homeowners Insurance

Homes often grow and change alongside the people living in them. If you've added expensive furnishings or made substantial upgrades, it's important to re-evaluate your homeowners insurance and make sure your policy reflects those changes. Here are four instances when it may be beneficial to review and adjust your coverage.

Remodeling or Renovation Work

Home improvement projects typically increase the value of your home, which usually calls for more coverage. But that doesn't necessarily mean your insurance rates will automatically increase. In fact, some projects, like adding a new roof, may help you save on your monthly home insurance premiums. Just be sure to notify your provider before any work begins.

Adding a Pool or an Outdoor Trampoline

Because these fun home features come with increased risk of injury, they're labeled an attractive nuisance. Upping your liability insurance can help keep you protected if there's ever an accident on your property and a subsequent lawsuit.

Acquiring New Valuables

Whether you inherit them or purchase them, expensive goods such as jewelry, art, rugs and antiques should be added to your policy. Increasing your coverage is the only way to safeguard them in the event of damage or theft.

Starting a Home Business

Many home-based business owners don't realize they have little, if any, coverage from a homeowners or renters insurance policy. Since a new home business likely means purchasing new technology and expensive equipment, you may need to get additional protection.

You worked hard for your home. Secure your belongings by updating your coverage to match your circumstances.

Understanding Title Insurance

Prior to the development of the title industry in the late 1800s, a homebuyer received a grantor’s warranty, attorney’s title opinion, or abstractor’s certificate as assurance of home ownership.  The buyer relied on the financial integrity of the grantor, attorney, or abstractor for protection.  Today, homebuyers look primarily to title insurance to provide this protection.  Title insurance companies are regulated by state statute.  They are required to post financial guarantees to ensure that any claims will be paid in a timely fashion. They also must maintain their own “title plants’ which house duplicates of recorded deeds, mortgages, plats and other pertinent county property records.

WHAT IS TITLE INSURANCE?

Title insurance provides coverage for certain losses due to defects in the title that, for the most part, occurred prior to your ownership.  Title insurance protects against defects such as prior fraud or forgery that might go undetected until after closing and possibly jeopardize your ownership and investment.

WHY IS TITLE INSURANCE NEEDED?

Title insurance insures Buyers against the risk that they did not acquire marketable title from the Seller.  It is primarily designed to reduce risk or loss caused by defects in title from the past.  A Loan Policy of Title Insurance protects the interest of the mortgage lender, while an Owner’s Policy protects the equity of you, the Buyer, for as long as you or your heirs (in certain policies) own the real property.

WHEN IS THE PREMIUM DUE?

You pay for your Owner’s title insurance policy only once, at the close of escrow.  Who pays for the Owner’s Policy and Loan Policy varies depending on local customs.