Moving House on a Budget: Getting a Discount on a Moving Truck Rental

Young Family Moving Into New HomeMoving house is not just one of the most stressful life events, but it can also be extremely expensive. Hiring a moving company and truck can cost thousands of dollars for a relatively short move. An interstate move can easily cost in excess of $10,000, especially if you have a household full of items to move. Of course, if you are relocating for work then your new employer may pay this, or a portion of this, cost. However, if you are not in this situation you may find that it is simply too expensive to move your items. [Read more...]

Creating an Organized Lifestyle

organized_lifestyle_01Organization is critical in all areas of your life. If your work space is messy, you are going to find it extremely difficult to get the tasks you have to complete done, during the course of the day. So, by creating an organized lifestyle, you are not only going to find it easier to find the items you are looking for, you are also going to find it easier to complete all of the tasks you have to complete during the course of the day. [Read more...]

Wall Coverings for Your Home

Interior Design ConceptLet’s talk about the basics and fundamentals of wall coverings 101, we start by having in mind the design you’re thinking of, either a raw idea or copy the design from online. Depending on the room, your overall design imaginative and material to be used, and even the amount of visitors a room will see, your wall protecting selections may change drastically. In terms of selecting a wallpaper type design or type is just one part of the questions; sensible questions like upkeep necessities, ease of installation, and even your capability to spend for your quality wallpaper are all elements that will affect your decision.

Let’s begin with the basics. Paint and wallpaper are the everyday indoor wall coverings in most homes today. But, even inside these two categories, there may be all kinds of choice. Paint for example is accessible in matte finish, flat enamel, eggshell end, satin end, semi-gloss, and glossy simply to name a few. Wallpapers are made of a wide range of materials.

Wallpaper and paint should not your only choices when it comes to choosing wallpaper. Many of those options are dearer than conventional paint or wall paper designs, but additionally they are usually sturdier, and will be cleaned with relative ease.

Fabrics are increasingly fashionable wall coverings not solely because they characterize a recent design idea but also as a result of they have an effect on the ambiance of a room. Fabrics also provide a textural aspect often misplaced with paint or wallpaper and will provide more warmth than tile, marble, or stone alternatives. Materials make nice wall coverings in apartments or condos as a result of in addition they enhance soundproofing.

As you may clearly see, the number of design choices accessible for wall coverings is basically limited solely to your imagination. When choosing a wall overlaying project think about colors rather than simply design. On the finish of the day, choose a wall masking that suits your design vision while maintaining a clear understanding of practical components akin to durability.

Let’s talk about the basics and fundamentals of wall coverings 101, we start by having in mind the design you’re thinking of, either a raw idea or copy the design from online. Many of those options are dearer than conventional paint or wall paper designs, but additionally they are usually sturdier, and will be cleaned with relative ease.

Fabrics are increasingly fashionable wall coverings not solely because they characterize a recent design idea but also as a result of they have an effect on the ambiance of a room. As you may clearly see, the number of design choices accessible for wall coverings is basically limited solely to your imagination.

3 Best Ways to Organize Your Closet

The sight of your closet can motivate you to dress up or down depending on how you have organized it. A disorganized closet will leave you reaching for and wearing the same clothes over and over again especially if it’s overcrowded. In this case, the thought of having to go through all of them drains you hence opting for the easy way out. It is therefore advisable to organize your closet from time to time by moving clothes around to ensure that all are worn equally. This also gives you a chance to upgrade it by getting rid of old clothes and replacing them with new ones. There are 3 main steps that will guide you towards keeping your closet organized.
organized closet1. Sort by use
The first step towards organizing your closet involves sorting out the clothes by use. Empty your closet then sort the clothes in three piles; those that you want to keep, clothes to get rid of and those that you aren’t too sure about. Set apart those than you need to get rid of then sort the “maybe” pile by taking in those that you’re sure you need. It has been proven that most closets are over crowded with clothes that are rarely worn. Getting rid of them will definitely create ample space. Clothes that are rarely worn or are out of season, for instance sweaters and those that are out of season should be sorted and put in boxes and suitcases. You can choose to label them for easy identification.

2. Sort by Type
The next step entails organizing the clothes according to their sizes and use; dresses, shirts, sweaters, skirts and pants. This creates uniformity in the closet unlike having dresses hang randomly in the midst of shirts. Ensure that they are arranged in uniform height. This also makes it easier for one to find exactly what they are looking for and where to look. Shirts can only be looked for in the shirts section and not in the pants’ section.

3. Sort by Color
Color is also a great idea when it comes to organizing your closet. Sight is the most important sense when it comes to working around your closet. Clothes of multiple colors mixed around in the closet bring about confusion to the eye hence disorganization. This is because one cannot stand the sight of their closet hence opting to spend as minimal time as possible in there. Start of with dull colors such as black and red and proceed along the rail with brighter colors like pink, yellow and white. This creates a calming effect to the eye and the brain hence motivating you to keep it that organized.

The secret to a well organized closet lies within working with what you’ve got and what pleases you. I love being organized If you’ve got no idea on how to start, invite some friends over and ask them to help you to organize your closet. They will be of great help especially with the pile of clothes that needs to be gotten rid of. You can also take a peak at theirs or a fashion magazine in order to get an idea.

Check out where I get some of my ideas – Alejandra Costello has over on her YouTube channel Organizing Home

How to Establish A Flower Garden

As a beginner gardener, there are a few factors to consider when it comes to gardening. Knowing how to establish a flower garden is more than just planting flowers, it is going to require some research into growing patterns, climate, types of growth, and what can slow down growth. Proper maintenance, and knowing what can grow where, are also important factors to keep in mind when you are creating a flower garden.  I found this short video helpful when I started a new garden.

Flower types -
There are three types of flowers: annuals, perennials, and bienniels. Annuals are grown from seeds, and bloom each year, and once their season ends, you must replant them. Perennials can continue to strive even during off season, and generally do not die out. These are the two types of flowers to look at when you are just starting out.

Fertilizer -
It is also important to consider the fertilizer; knowing what will help with growth, and growth rates, will make it easier to select the flowers, and growth seasons. Depending on the type of flower garden you want to establish, different fertilizers will work well with certain seeds or plants, while others will not be as potent. Even with great soil ratings and pH levels, good quality fertilizer is necessary.

Watering & sunlight -
Proper placement, and watering your flower garden often enough, is essential to growth and survival. Depending on the climate, and sunlight needs, certain flowers are best grown in an indoor setting, with growth lamps; others will thrive in outdoor weather, and with natural sunlight. So, depending on whether you are growing roses, which should be watered daily, and get natural sunlight, or other flower groups, you have to know what the best growth location, and maintenance is for these flowers.

flower gardenGrowing conditions -
A final factor to consider is where, and what growth conditions are optimal, for the type of flowers you want to grow. Depending on the amount of time you can invest, money, and how much you are willing to do for your garden, different people will choose different flowers to grow. Some require little to no maintenance, others will require you to water them a few times a day; make sure you know what the optimal growth conditions are, before you start.

Knowing how to establish a flower garden will begin well before you choose the flowers you are going to grow, and where you are going to plant them. It is important to do some research prior to purchasing the flowers; by doing this, you are not only going to learn whether you are going to have the time to properly maintain the flowers, you will also find out which flowers are going to blossom the way you want them to, with the least amount of work. You have to do some research before you get started, and it is important to find out which flowers grow best in the region you live in, so that you can create a beautiful flower garden, and one that is going to strive in your locale.

Home Improvement Ideas on a Budget

Just because you are on a tight budget, does not mean there is nothing you can update in the home. There are quite a few DIY home improvement ideas on a budget that you can take on. Depending on what you want to update, which rooms of the home you want to work on, and what look or style you are going for, these are a few fun ideas that you can try out, which are not going to break the bank.

1. Change the lights -
A simple new light switch, or new pull cord for the lighting system in your home can go a long way to modifying the look in a room. If you purchase a metal plate for the wall cover, or if you purchase an ornate covering for the light fixtures in a room, this can spruce up any room, and create a more decorative, or more lavish appearance in the space. This project takes little to no effort, and can cost as little as a few dollars, or you can spend a bit more, for something decorative in style.

2. Make new pillow covers -
If you have an old denim shirt or jeans, or if you have colorful fabric lying around, you can create pillow cases for your home. Whether it is the bedroom, or throw pillows on the sofa, you can choose from a number of great design ideas and patterns. You can purchase fabric, or you can even purchase pleather or similar materials for a high quality look, for a fraction of the price that it would cost you to buy new pillows, or to buy the pillow cases that are already assembled for you.

3. Make a coffee table -
If you have a glass coffee table, you can really get creative. You can add mosaics, tile pieces, fabrics, or you can create your own collage with family images. No matter what you choose, from cut out newspaper articles, to creating a collage from a family vacation, this can light up any room, and it is a free project for you to create, when trying to add value to the space.

cabinet_knobs4. Change the knobs -
Whether it is the knobs on the dresser and drawers, or kitchen knobs, you can purchase a variety of styles when it comes to new knobs, for a low price. A nice, metal finish piece can add style and class to a living room; if you have kids, a fun shape or colors can add depth to their bedroom. No matter what space you are shopping for, or which knobs you are going to replace in a room, you can purchase these items for only a few dollars, and they can really transform the look and appearance of the rooms you are going to buy them for.

Of course painting is another idea, but it might be a bit pricier. New furniture, rearranging the furniture, or de-cluttering any space, are all great ideas, that are going to cost virtually nothing, and will create an entirely new look for your home.

The Different Types of Granite

Granite is an igneous rock that is fairly common and has a crystalline and granular texture. It primarily consists of mica, quartz, and feldspar. It is made up of 20% quartz at the least by volume. In some instances and largely depending on the types of granite, some crystals found in granite called phenocrysts may be bigger than the groundmass or matrix of the rock. When this occurs, the texture of the rock becomes poryphyritic.

types of graniteGranite rocks can come in a wide variety of colors based on the rock’s mineralogy and chemistry. Note that it is different from granodiorite since granite has at least 35% alkali feldspar and not plagioclase as in granodiorite. Alkali feldspar is actually what gives the many types of granites their unique pink shade. Primarily, the different types of granite include these four:

Biotite Granite

Includes quartz, K-feldspar, biotite, and plagioclase. This granite type is available in a range of shades and is the most commonly used granite rock for building. It can be used in outdoor and indoor environments since it is the most durable of all types of granite.

Hornblende Granite

Also commonly known as Syenitic granite, it is made up of mica and hornblende. It is also very durable and offers the darkest shades.

Tourmaline Granite

types of granitePrimarily made up of tourmaline, it is one of the most delicate granite types so it is not suitable for environments with heavy traffic. Although it comes in a variety of shades, white tourmaline granite is very rare.

Talcose Granite

This kind of granite is the least used of all types of granite since it is one of the more delicate forms available. It is usually used for decorative purposes and not as kitchen countertops, flooring, or for outdoor usage.

 

Among these four types of granite, biotite granite is the most popular because it is beautiful, yet very durable and functional. The shades and varieties of granite are inherently connected since the color of a granite type is one of the main components for each type such that a particular granite type is more often than not classified according to its color. Granite can come in a multitude of colors; from white to black and everything in between.

Multicolored types are available as well and these have a combination of shades that produce exceptional aesthetically pleasing patterns. For kitchen countertops and floor tiles, white granites, black granites, and brown granites are popularly used. These colors are typically used to complement the décor of the house, while lending a comfortable, yet elegant ambience to the space.

Countertop Ideas To Perk Up Your Kitchens Looks

Every housewife worth her salt knows that the countertop is the main star in a kitchen’s total appeal in terms of style and tone. Each housewife, of course, has her own list of countertop ideas. Many housewives, however, are unsure which one works best, given the many choices these days, which can be confusing.   

Sometimes, the total look can be very familiar, too predictable with matching chairs and cabinets, the kind one sees in showrooms. Your countertop and the overall appearance of your kitchen could be very beautiful but you feel it is not exactly your choice.

The following are some pointers to flesh out those countertop ideas you’ve always wanted for your kitchen’s centerpiece.

Considerations

The first important factor is your budget. For those who want the best but do not want to overspend, there are many excellent choices to check out. For instance, materials like laminate or stainless steel are friendly to your pockets. (On the other hand granite, stone and glass are excellent for those who want to splurge.)

countertop ideasIf you have children, you need materials that are durable and stain-resistant. For those who like to cook, a hard-working countertop is best. For those who frequently entertain at home, it should be stylish and elegant while convenient at the same time.

The last consideration for your countertop ideas is your personal style. You would know from your choice of clothes and other things which colors, textures, and forms are appealing.  Of course, your choices should not bank on looks alone. Costs, durability, and easy maintenance are the other factors you need to remember, too.

Materials

countertop ideasHands down, granite is the most preferred among the many countertop materials. The cost varies depending on the finish, color (black, white, coral and green), and where the stone comes from.

Marble, limestone, and soapstone are the other preferences. Unfortunately, they are softer and need greater care. Engineered stone, meantime, resists stains. However, it costs roughly the same as granite.

Concrete comes in several finishes – smooth, sanded, and pressed. Wood countertops are the easiest to clean and scratches can be sanded out. Laminate is the most affordable. With this list, any one of your countertop ideas can be realized.

12 Kitchen Countertop Materials to Consider

Because of the many kitchen countertop materials out in the market, it can be quite confusing to choose the perfect one for your kitchen. To help you on your quest, below is a rundown of 12 kitchen countertop materials.

  1. kitchen countertop materialsGranite – Considered as the most durable natural stone countertops, granite is greatly resistant to scratches, water, heat, and stains when correctly sealed. It is available in a multitude of shades and patterns and has excellent resale value. It can however be pricey and may need resealing annually.
  2. Marble – Comes in many patterns and colors and resistant to heat, dents, and chips. It can have a high price tag and even if sealed, may be stained with acids or scratched with abrasive materials.
  3. Engineered Stones – These types of kitchen countertop materials can generally hold up to stains and scratches and do not need sealing. They usually look like natural stones, but with a more uniform appearance. Can be quite expensive depending on the stone type and most are not heatproof.
  4. Wood – Very suitable for kitchen prep areas, chopping food stuff, and for fragile china. Requires more maintenance since it is very susceptible to scratches, stains, dents, and burns and needs food-friendly sealer.
  5. Stainless Steel – Very durable and economical, low maintenance, and resists spills, stains, and heat. It is however vulnerable to scratches and can be very noisy in home kitchen environments.
  6. kitchen countertop materialsSolid Surfaces – Offers a smooth and tough surface, as well as plenty of pattern and shade options. These types of kitchen countertop materials can also duplicate the look of marbles, granite, or concrete among others. These are however prone to stains, dents, and scratches and heat damage.
  7. Ceramic Tile – Very low maintenance, sturdy, and resistant to moisture. However, surfaces may be uneven and can get chipped, cracked, and scratched if not taken care of properly.
  8. Concrete – Offers an array of shade and texture options, sturdy, smooth, and resists scratches and heat. But, concrete is relatively porous, prone to cracks, and requires expensive custom casts, waxing and sealing.
  9. Laminates – These types of kitchen countertop materials are very affordable, easy to maintain, comes in a range of colors, and resistant to water and stains. They are however harder to mend and not resistant to heat, scratches, and cracks.
  10. Soapstone – Has a natural and classy gray shade with a matte and smooth surface. Can generally resist stains and acid etches and scratches may be oiled or sanded. Requires frequent maintenance and the color usually darkens over time.
  11. Paper based Composite – An excellent green alternative since it is created from recycled paper. Sturdier than wood and can hold up to heat and stains to some degree. Needs sealing since it is not entirely heat, stain, and scratch resistant and can darken.
  12. Paper and Bamboo Composite – Similar to paper based composite but with bamboo and won’t darken. May require more maintenance.

White Granite for your Kitchen

white graniteThinking of sprucing up your drab and small kitchen space? Consider using white granite for your countertops or floor tiles. This type of granite is classified into a number of types and based on the place where it was sourced, overall texture, and color. For example, white Bethel granite can only be found in Vermont’s Green Mountains. This granite type has a distinct whitish blue shade and is commonly utilized in modern and traditional design philosophies. Another commonly used granite is white Kashmir granite that can only be sourced from Madurai, India. It has a unique, whitish grey color.

White granite, whether on your floors or your kitchen countertops will lend a more sophisticated, elegant, yet surprisingly homey look to any home kitchen. Likewise, it is very ideal for smaller kitchen spaces since white lends the illusion of more space when there is really none. Not only is it exquisitely beautiful, but it is also one of the toughest materials you can use in the kitchen. Granite is known to have high resistance to kitchen stains of different kinds, which allows your countertops or your kitchen floors to retain their original look years from now. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it is likewise very functional and practical.

white graniteGranite is popular for interior decorators and homeowners alike since it offers exceptional hues and patterns. White granite, for example, offers a combination of interesting shades and patterns that can further highlight the stone’s depth and beauty. As for stone hardiness, this type of granite is just after diamonds which makes it highly resistant to chips, cracks, and scratches that can come from a wide array of kitchen utensils.

Likewise, white granite is also highly resistant to heat, which makes it very suitable in the kitchen environment. You can easily place hot plates, pans, and pots on your countertops without having to worry about damaging your countertops. This will also ensure that all your kitchen work will be finished on time. This granite type likewise offers the same classy appeal as marble but is more reasonably priced.

In addition, granite is known for its versatility; stonecutters can cut it into different sizes and shapes as required by homeowners or interior decorators. Because of this, craftsmen are given many chances to try out different styles and designs. White granite is also a very low maintenance stone. Cleaning it is easy as you only have to wipe it regularly with a damp sponge or cloth that is non-abrasive. Gentle surface cleaners can also be applied once a week just to make sure that no bacteria, stains, or dirt will accumulate on the surface.

Quartz vs. Granite Countertops

There is no doubt that the issue of quartz vs granite countertops is a hot topic since both stones are durable, classy, but very functional. In general, granite and quartz kitchen countertops come in a slab, modular, or tile configuration and regarding quartz vs granite countertops, the one you decide on must be based on your requirements, budget, and the look of your kitchen. In the end however, the most ideal countertop for you will still come down to your personal preference and concerning the issue of quartz vs granite countertops, note that both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

quartz vs granite countertopsQuartz kitchen countertops are manufactured from a combination of 7% resin and 93% crushed quartz. It comes is a variety of patterns and shades, which is ultimately dependent on how roughly crushed the quartz is and its colorant. Since quartz countertops are not natural and are engineered, they offer a more standardized look with no pattern varieties and irregularities. They are very durable and do not require sealant application due its non-porous nature.

Countertops made from quartz are also very easy to maintain since it resists the growth of many common bacteria types—all you need is a smooth cloth and water or very mild cleanser. On the other hand, since quartz is not a natural stone, it is very difficult to copy the natural patterns and veined look you see in natural granite countertops. It is also very hard to mend damaged parts and even though it is known to be highly resistant to heat, appliances that use high heat may cause damage to the surface of a quartz countertop. Additionally, one of the main disadvantages of quartz is that not all can afford its expensive price tag. Granite kitchen countertops are manufacture from granite stone.

quartz vs granite countertopsGranite is an igneous rock made up of quartz, mica, and feldspar. It is mined in huge blocks and cut into various sizes for home and commercial applications. One of the main advantages of granite over quartz is that it comes in a plethora of shades. It is holds up very well to heat and is considered to have the second highest rating in the Mohs mineral hardness scale just after the mighty diamond. Granite can also last you a lifetime if properly taken care of and sealed with a heavy duty sealant.

Also, granite kitchen countertops are actually capable of increasing your home’s overall value in the event that you are on the market to sell your home. On the other hand, when talking about the quartz vs granite countertops issue, granite can be quite pricey (though not as pricey as quartz), but is slowly becoming more reasonably priced these past years. It also requires more maintenance than quartz because some granite types can absorb stains when not properly sealed with a high quality sealant.

Simple Ideas to Spruce Up Your Landscaping

If your outdoor space has a few flowers, or dead shrubs in the front and back yard, this is not only going to drive people away, it is going to hurt you in the long run, if you are trying to sell your home. Curb appeal is key to selling, and even if you are not selling, you want your home to look good from the inside out. So, these are a few simple ideas to spruce up your landscaping design and outdoor space, regardless of how much time or money you have to invest in the project.

Create a walkway – (check out the video I found last year that was helpful)
If you have a large yard, a walkway is a great addition to that space. You can either add bricks, stone, or other paving materials, or if you are short on budget, you can simply carve out a space, and cover it yourself with wood mulch or other lower priced options. Either way, it will create contrast, it will create different finishes in the yard, and it will create balance between the green space, and other material finishes.

Use plants as borders -
You can add lined plants as a border to window frames, you can place plants on the side of your walkway to create a border, or you can create distinct shapes, and use plants and certain color arrangements as borders. No matter what you choose to create a border around, this is an easy way to create a fun outdoor space, to have distinct colors outside, and to showcase something that you have worked on (such as the walkway you have created), by placing a specific border around that piece.

Use raised beds/ container gardens -
If you want to have a certain type of flower, or an area of the landscape to stand out, raised beds are a great way to do this. It will not only raise the flowers that you want to show off, higher than the rest, it will also create a distinct line between the types of flowers you have in the outdoor area. You can create color coordinated raised beds, or you can use only one layer to raise up a specific floral arrangement you want to showcase in the outdoor space.

I love this idea of a sort of centerpiece in the yard!

raised garden bed idea

Of course adding lavish plants, bold colors, shrubs, fun fountains, and other yard ornaments are all ways to spruce up the outdoor space as well, but these are simple solutions anyone can do, and are going to be a cost effective way to create a great looking outdoor area. Due to the fact that each home owner has different amount of time and money to spend on the project, you can choose to tackle on, or any number of these ideas, to recreate your outdoor space. When you are trying to add curb appeal to your home, these are some of the simple ideas to spruce up your landscaping design, and to create a new and distinct look for the outdoor areas (front and backyard) of the home that you are working on.