20 Easy DIY Home Projects to Spruce up Your Space

20 Easy DIY Home Projects to Spruce up Your Space

Is spending so much time inside making you go stir-crazy? Well with life outside seemingly on hold, this may be the perfect opportunity to make a few easy home improvements to transform your house into a nicer and more refreshed place to spend your days. From adding a pop of color to your front door to cleaning out your closet, here are 20 DIY home projects you can tackle to spruce up your space while you’re hunkered down. 

Put leftover paint to use 

Many of us probably have an extra can or two of paint lying around. So why not use it to add some pizzazz and depth to your rooms with these DIY home projects.

1. Give your cabinets a makeover

Painting kitchen cabinets a fresh new color is a fantastic way to completely transform your kitchen. If you tend to be more adventurous when it comes to color, your cabinets are a great place to have some fun. If you already have a lot of color in the room or if the space doesn’t have much light, it’s best to go with white or neutral cabinets.

2. Make your mailbox the star of your front yard

Your mailbox is one of the first things people see when they pull into your driveway, so why not give your visitors a great first impression. Whether you live in a ranch-style house in Phoenix, AZ or you just bought a craftsman style home in Portland, OR, you can instantly boost your curb appeal by adding a fresh, vivid coat of paint to your mailbox. 

3. Add a pop of color to your front door

Changing out your front door can be expensive, so painting your exterior door is an easy way to give the front of your home a makeover and also save some money in the process. Painting the inside of your front door is also a fun way to add a bold pop of color and some character into your home.

4. Give new life to old furniture

If the paint is chipped or wear and tear has gotten the best of some of your older furniture, a quick paint job can give it a new life. Transform a dated (but functional) dresser, nightstand, or bookshelf with this fun DIY project for a fraction of the cost it takes to replace it. 

Clear the clutter

Getting organized can feel like a major undertaking, which is probably why a lot of us tend to put it off, and then put it off again and again. But since you can’t go anywhere, you might as well spend a morning or afternoon tackling the clutter you typically ignore. 

5. Maximize the utility of unused corners with shelving

Running out of storage space? It’s time to finally make use of the corners in your rooms. Installing floating shelves is one of many DIY home projects you can try to create more space. It’s a simple way to spruce up your wall decor while adding more storage in your home.

6. Clean closets

Chances are, you’ve opened up your closet and grabbed one of the same few items since spending most of your time indoors lately. Now’s the time to carefully clean out your closet and decide what you really need from those you haven’t touched in a few years. Start by taking every item out, setting aside the items you don’t need, and cleaning the inside of the closet. If you’re organizing a closet full of clothes, sort clothes into piles by season. Put clothes that you’re not currently using in the back of the closet, like that holiday sweater. Keep frequently used items in the front for easy access. 

7. Organize photos

In a digital age, it’s likely that most of us have our photos stored online. But for those that still have hundreds of photos stored away in boxes, now’s the time to organize them. Start by grouping photos by date or event. Use leftover flashcards or cut up pieces of printer paper as an easy way to separate groups of photos in boxes. If you already keep your photos organized, think about digitizing them. You can use Google’s PhotoScan app to scan old prints and upload them. Organize your photos online into albums to better keep track of them and finally find that picture of your puppy when someone asks.

8. Rearrange bookshelves

Bookshelves may not initially come to mind when organizing, but they can easily make a space feel brand new. Think about taking some of the books you’ve got hiding away in a back closet and swap them with the current selection on your bookshelf. Wondering what to do with that collectible mug? Add it to your bookshelf for a fresh take on your decor. Best of all, it’s a free way to change up your space.

9. Tackle under-sink storage

The last place you probably think to organize is under your sink. From the bathroom to the kitchen, it’s likely filled with near-empty cleaners, dishwashing soap, or even makeup wipes. Set aside 10 minutes to toss out those old household supplies, instantly freeing up space to make way for all that hand-soap and disinfectant you just bought.

10. Organize your pantry

You may or may not have months’ worth of groceries in your kitchen right now. Before things get too cluttered, take this time to reorganize your pantry – move things around to maximize space, group like items together, and throw away expired items. You may want to break down the work into smaller parts to avoid being overwhelmed. For example, instead of cleaning out the entire pantry, just do one shelf or area at a time. It will be so refreshing to see the pantry all neat and tidy with everything in its place.

Transform your space with lighting

Nothing can change the look and feel of a room quite like choosing the right lighting. The perfect lighting can lift your spirits and make your home a more comfortable place to spend time. 

11. Replace your lightbulbs

If you have a few extra light bulbs lying around, go from room-to-room and replace any that are burned out. You can also completely change the ambiance in your home simply by replacing any harsh white bulbs with calming yellow ones. 

12. Switch up lamp shades

Lamps are commonly overlooked in the design of a home, but they add a lot of character and style to a room. So take a look at the shades on each of your lamps. If you have a similar size lamp in another room, swap the shades to give your space a new feel. You can also update a boring old lampshade with a few DIY home projects such as adding fun print or pattern, or a coat of paint. 

Tackle those forgotten about cleaning projects

Since you’re spending so much time inside, you’re probably noticing all of the overlooked cleaning projects around the house. If you tackle them now, you’ll be rewarded with a living space that feels brighter and refreshed.

13. Restore rugs and carpets

By now, you’ve probably noticed that your carpets and rugs might not be in the same state they were when you moved in or had them replaced. Maybe you don’t even remember the last time they were properly cleaned. Even if you can’t hire a professional to clean your carpets, you can likely rent a carpet cleaner from your local hardware store or carpet cleaning company.

14. Clean under your bed

When was the last time you looked, let alone cleaned under your bed? This is one of those DIY home projects that everyone needs to tackle. The space under your bed is a breeding ground for everything from dust to forgotten items. If you use the space under your bed for storage, like seasonal clothes or extra bedding, make sure you’ve stored those items in vacuum-sealed bags to prevent moisture and mold buildup. Bed skirts also collect dust so throw those in the wash while you’re busy vacuuming underneath. 

15. Refresh tile grout

Refresh your entire bathroom by cleaning and brightening your tile grout. Cleaning grout requires two things: a grout brush or sponge and a suitable cleaner. While there are plenty of store-bought grout cleaners available, it is just as easy to do this with ingredients you already have on hand, such as vinegar and baking soda. 

16. Pressure wash your home’s exterior

Get some fresh air and restore your home to its former beauty by pressure washing the exterior of your house and hardscape areas. You can even bring back to life patio furniture and cushions.

17. Deep clean the refrigerator

With the extra groceries you’ve probably bought lately, it’s time for a refrigerator clean. First things first, throw out any leftover takeout or expired items. When cleaning your refrigerator, use a surface-safe all-purpose cleaner for the exterior and warmer soapy water for the interior. Be sure to wipe down surfaces before putting your items back inside. Keeping similar items grouped together when refilling your fridge will make finding your favorite condiment or coffee creamer easier to find. 

Rethink your wall design 

Redoing your wall design is a fast way to transform the look of your living room, bedroom, or really any space in your house.  

18. Rearrange or hang up a gallery wall

If you’ve always wanted to try to create the perfect gallery wall, this is the time to go for it. If you already have one, change it up to revive the space. Try pieces here and there: a new mix-up might surprise you and showcase your photos and art in an entirely new light. 

19. Use empty frames

Go through the house, pull out any empty frames and put them to good use. Dust off those old photographs and display them proudly or find some printable art online. Hang your frames throughout your home or place them on tables, dressers, and desks.

20. Put old fabric swatches to use

When we think of fabric, we usually think of curtains, linens, or pillows, but there are plenty of DIY home projects you can do to turn a basic piece of fabric into a statement piece of wall art. So dig up any fabric swatches that you have laying around the house and put them to use. You can wrap the fabric around a canvas, hang it in a frame, and much more, letting your creativity soar.

Originally published by Redfin

How to Prevent Black Mold Growth

How to Prevent Black Mold Growth

Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, can cause a vast array of physical ailments including breathing difficulties, coughing, disorientation, eye damage, and brain fog, just to name a few. Due to its extremely toxic nature, it is essential that you learn how to prevent black mold growth in your home so that you can protect the health of you and your loved ones. 

In order for it to become a problem, black mold first needs something to grow on (carpets, showers, wood, or just about anything else in your home will do), and moisture. Mold typically takes 24 to 48 hours to grow, so limiting the amount of time a surface is exposed to moisture and humidity is the most efficient and easiest way to prevent black mold growth. Opening windows throughout the day and turning on your bathroom’s ventilation fan after showering are effortless ways to keep your home properly aerated and thus greatly reduce the chance for mold to grow. 

If you notice any recurring water damage or prevailing water leaks in your home, get them inspected and repaired immediately. Ignoring water that is pooling up or constantly dampening various surfaces in your home is asking for black mold to grow and quickly become a rampant problem. While it is understood that not everyone has access to emergency funds for water damage upfront, it is important to realize that allowing mold to become a problem will be more costly for your wallet and health down the line. Just take a deep breath, set aside some money from your next paycheck or take out what you currently have in savings, and get it taken care of now. 

If something spills on the carpet, you come in soaked from the rain, or a considerable layer of snow has built up on the wall around your window and is beginning to melt its way inside, take care of these things immediately. Remember that moisture is one of the main culprits of mold growth, so it is important to nip it in the bud as soon as possible, in all circumstances. It can be tempting to head straight for the shower first or convince yourself you’ll get to it in a few minutes, but even that is risky. When you take care of problem areas immediately, you are able to more effectively remove more of the moisture, and you also eliminate any possibility of you accidentally forgetting about them (we are all human, after all). 

Black mold can be scary and have damaging health consequences if left to its own devices. Luckily, preventing black mold growth is as simple as following the tips presented here. By limiting or preventing moisture altogether and promptly addressing water damage, you can help ensure you and anyone else in your home stay healthy and safe. 

 

Wasting Energy The Plastic Way

Wasting Energy The Plastic Way

The biggest energy wasting substance on the planet is plastic. That’s right, plastic. For all the good that comes from plastic substances, it has more downsides than upsides.

The worst part about plastic is that it is made from petroleum. Gas, oil, and other fossil fuels are also made from petroleum, so every new piece of plastic further cuts into petroleum reserves.

On the upside of this equation is the fact that plastic is 100 percent recyclable. If everyone recycled all of their plastic goods, petroleum wouldn’t be needed to make new plastic. The unfortunate problem is that less than 20 percent of all plastics are recycled. The rest of it is thrown away and sent to landfills, which is a completely different problem all its own.

Non-Biodegradable

Plastic in landfills is not easily biodegradable. In fact, as the plastic begins to deteriorate, the chemicals used to make plastic leach out into the soil. As this happens, the soil around a landfill becomes akin to toxic waste, which is why no one wants to live near or around a landfill.

Plastic bottles and plastic grocery bags are the two main sources of plastic use. Once again, both the bags and the bottles are easily recyclable, but most of the time it is just a lot easier to throw them away in the regular trash than to separate them into individual containers. Consequently, the more plastic gets thrown away, the more energy is wasted to make more plastic.

Now, nobody can  knock plastic as a useful substance. Plastic that has been used in the medical field has saved countless lives. Plastic is cheap and easy to mold, making it an incredibly versatile material.  But plastic seems to be taken for granted, as though it is an infinite resource, yet that is the exact opposite of what it is.

Everyone can do their part to stop this waste of energy and raw materials.

Alternatives to Using Plastic

Here are two simple things that anyone can do, which is less expensive for the bank account, saves energy, saves petroleum products, and makes you feel good about doing it. Firstly, get a reusable grocery bag. There are many types out there, from canvas to nylon, and even heavy-duty plastic types that can be used for years. Using (and reusing) these is far better than getting new plastic bags every time you go to the store. In most cases, the reusable bags can be washed and dried with regular laundry, and they will be clean and good to go for the next shopping trip.

Another way to end plastic waste is to stop drinking bottled water and purchase an inexpensive faucet filter. Numerous studies have shown filtered tap water is as good as bottled water. Fill up your own bottles with filtered water, put them in the fridge to cool them down, and take them with you the next day. This is a huge money saver, as the cost of a water filter will pay for itself within a week or two, and it probably won’t need to be changed for months. Reusable plastic or aluminum bottles are available everywhere for about the same price as one 16-ounce bottle of “designer water.”

Stop wasting energy the plastic way. There are easy, money-saving alternatives to the plastic lifestyle, and they all begin with you.

Minimalism: Why Less Might Mean More

Minimalism: Why Less Might Mean More

Have you ever dreamed of having a clutter free household? Perhaps having a little extra time and money on your hands? Now ask yourself this: Have you ever thought that minimalism might be the step you need to take in your life to get all three? Many have discovered the wonderful benefits that a minimalist lifestyle can bring. And though the minimalist lifestyle may not be for everyone, you might want to check out if some of these advantages might be for you!

More Space!

Once you’ve tossed most of your unused and unnecessary clutter you’ll begin noticing areas of your house you haven’t seen in a while. With all those old shoes gone you might get a glimpse of your closet floor. All that shelving you installed in the garage last year? Now you really can appreciate the handiwork and effort you put in! While it may be difficult to part with some of your stuff, you’ll come to realize that less of it laying around will mean more space for you.

More Time!

Guess what you don’t have to do when you don’t have excess things sitting around? You don’t have to spend your time cleaning them! If you’re trying to keep a tidy household you’ll save yourself tons of valuable time if you’re not having to pick up every single thing sprawled across your counter tops or dusting objects lying around on shelves. Each odd and end you have to move or pick up during vacuuming is just adding to the numerous hours you’ve already lost over the years to these chores.

More Money!

If all your clutter was once cash and if time means money think of what you’ll be saving when you switch to minimalism? That’s right! The more you emphasize that “window” in “window shopping” the more change you’ll keep in your pocket! One of the great things about minimalism is how much you save when you’re not buying extra, unnecessary things. Do yourself and your wallet a favor by staying off the buying bandwagon.

A little extra space, some more time and money can all be yours when you consider adding a little minimalism into your life. And the best part of the minimalist lifestyle? You get to choose how much you decide to keep and what you decide to lose. So take a moment and look through some of those old boxes sitting around. Breeze through that spare bedroom piling up with unused junk. You might just surprise yourself with how much you are willing to throw away.

Keep Your Kids Safe in the Cape Cod Sun

Keep Your Kids Safe in the Cape Cod Sun

Time spent outdoors is invaluable for kids. Outdoor activities increase physical activity levels and improve fitness among children, enhance their mental wellness, aid social and emotional development, and may promote greater academic achievement. Spending time outside also boosts vitamin D levels, which not only strengthens their growing bones, but may help to reduce kids’ risk of future health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. However, while UV light is essential for vitamin D production, it is important that your children don’t burn in the sun, as just a few episodes of burning can leave them vulnerable to skin cancer as an adult. To protect your kids’ skin this summer, follow the easy steps outlined below.

Avoid the midday sun

Ultraviolet rays are strongest between 11am and 3pm, so during this time, indoor activities are a better bet. If your kids are outside around the middle of the day, get them to stay in the shade by using a sun umbrella, tent or tree.

Choose sun-savvy clothing

Dress your kids in long-sleeved tops and pants, choosing tightly woven materials and darker colors for greater sun protection. You might also like to invest in some clothing for your kids that are certified to offer protection against UV rays. Don’t forget that your little ones should wear a hat too, with hats shading their scalp, ears, neck and face offering greater protection than baseball caps.

Remember sunglasses

If your children wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from UV light, they are less likely to develop cataracts when older. Wraparound sunglasses are ideal and choose those shades that offer complete protection from UVA and UVB rays.

Apply sunscreen

You should use sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15 on your kids’ skin, considering an SPF closer to 50 for babies and children with a fair complexion.  Make sure that the sun block you choose also protects against both UVA and UVB rays. If your youngsters have sensitive skin, consider using one of the hypoallergenic sun creams available. Besides applying sunscreen half an hour before your kids go outdoors, make sure you reapply the sunblock every couple of hours, particularly after going in the water or being active. You might be surprised to hear that even water-resistant sun creams are less effective once the skin is wet. Finally, when using sunscreen, don’t forget to apply it to your children’s ears, hands and feet, and use a lip balm that offers sun protection.

Check out the Environmental Working Group’s breakdown of the safest sunblocks.

Kids tend to burn when you least expect it. A classic example is when youngsters spend a day outdoors when it’s cloudy, as clouds only filter out a tiny proportion of UV rays. Therefore, always have sun protection to hand, so whether you’re at home or out for the day, your little ones will stay safe in the sun.