A Comprehensive Guide on How to Declutter Your Home

Largely driven by the culture of owning more, most people find their homes with overwhelming stuff. Well, that’s not exactly an issue if you know how to organize and when to toss them away. The problem surfaces when your home becomes a clutter jungle, brimming with mess here and there. In this case, you certainly need to fix a schedule for a much-needed decluttering session of your entire home.

Getting rid of clutter is not a simple feat. Time and labor are required. Some people may not just have the knack to go over their things. However, doing so will free you from the stress caused by the mess. In fact, in an average space, you get to eliminate 40 percent of housework simply by decluttering home. 

To help you out in your routine, this comprehensive guide on how to declutter your house will be with you every step of the way! This will serve as your room-by-room reference to make sure you successfully declutter every corner in your home.

 

6 Signs that It’s Time to Declutter Your House

 

1. You Can’t Always Seem to Find Missing Items.

A hide and seek game can indeed be fun. But it’s definitely an entirely new story when you’re already late for work and the stuff you’re searching for has no way to surrender itself to you. Whether it be your favorite shirt, the necklace that your mom gave you, or even the car keys you keep fumbling in your pocket every morning, having a hard time finding the things in your home definitely calls for a must-done tidying up routine. 

2. You Feel Embarrassed When People Come Over.

You know it’s time to declutter if the moment a guest steps foot in your house, one of the first things you’d do is apologize for the mess. Sometimes, you’d even wish you can magically hide traces of trash as your visitors walk around. Don’t let a disorganized home hinder you from hosting people. Decluttering a home may demand a fraction of your time and effort, but at least you can keep your space occasion-ready at all times. 

3. You’ve Been Storing Products that Have Already Expired.

One way to know for sure that you’ve been long been holding on to things you no longer need is when you find products that have gone past their expiration dates. The eyeshadow that you bought three years ago, the chocolate that expired last Christmas, or the shampoo that you’ve been keeping in your travel bag since 2005 – all these should already be waving hello to your bin. If these items could talk, they would have snapped at you long ago.      

4. You Find a Lot of Unopened Boxes.

This can mainly be applied to people who frequently move houses. If you happen to be part of that population, storing a lot of boxes is not new to you. Having too many boxes is fine, as long as you open them right after relocating. But if you are guilty of stacking unopened boxes in your attic, then here is a decluttering routine begging for attention.  

5. You’d Rather Not Stay at Home.

Nobody probably wants to live in a place dominated by a jungle of clutter. Imagine having to be greeted by trash and mess as soon as you enter the door. Definitely not the most pleasant way to welcome the homeowners, right? This can sometimes give the urge to avoid being home and escape somewhere else. No matter how busy life at work keeps getting hold of your schedule, you should never neglect to declutter your house. 

6. You Constantly Feel the Need to Organize.

Ever felt like the mess does not completely go away that you always find yourself picking up pieces of clutter around? In this case, a decluttering session should already be underway! Simply moving items around does not mean you’re cleaning up. It only means you’re transferring the clutter to a new position without completely getting rid of it.

 

5 Positive Effects of a Clutter-Free Space

 

1. Increased Focus and Productivity

A cluttered space means more points for distraction. The crumpled paper on top of the side table, the toys on the floor, and the books scattered on the shelves all compete to take hold of your attention. A study conducted at Princeton University found that clutter can negatively affect your ability to concentrate. If you take the time to tidy up the environment, not only will you embody cleanliness but you can also improve your focus and productivity. 

2. Less Stress and Anxiety

Some people feel scared when things are not in order. Think, for example, of people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. They find calm in cleaning, organizing, or counting things. But even for people who don’t suffer from this behavior, having a decluttered space can also alleviate stress. Researchers from UCLA conducted a study among mothers to determine their mood patterns based on self-guided home tours. It revealed that respondents who described their living space as “cluttered” tended to have an increased depressed mood the entire day. 

3. Reduced Tension in the Family

Noticed how a simple mess can easily trigger fights at home? Think of the times you scolded your youngest child for leaving toys on the floor, or when you kept on complaining about missing items that you’d even find yourself running late for work. To some extent, a mess can truly cause stress. One viable solution for this is to learn how to declutter your house! This way you can help break the tension in the family and bring back harmony.    

4. Improved Eating Habits

Did you know that those who live in an untidy home are 77 percent more likely to be overweight? Clutter has been linked to frequent consumption of sugar-rich foods, especially when they feel stressed roaming around a chaotic kitchen. 

5. More Active Lifestyle

Knowing how to declutter your house can also reap physical health benefits. In the process of tidying up, you will be required to walk around, move stuff, bend and stretch. If you want to burn some fat the most productive way, then decluttering home can help supercharge this! 

Not only will you be able to engage in some form of exercise, but you also get to divert your attention from work. Decluttering your house can serve as a way to hang loose while paving the way for some lightbulb moments. Moreover, it can make you feel energized, especially when you’re in a mood where you actively get things done.

 

The Process of Decluttering Home In a Nutshell

 

Step 1: Establish Goals

Decluttering home can be a  grueling process. This is why it is important to make a plan before you start pulling things out. Otherwise, you’ll most likely lose motivation in the middle of the process. Just like in anything that you do, having goals is a smart move to help you attain the desired end. Make a thorough checklist to guide you. It will also allow you to monitor your progress and know which tasks are yet to be fulfilled. Here are two of the most important things that you need to consider when creating a house decluttering plan.

Schedule

Involve every member of the household in the decluttering process. Agree on a common schedule that works for everyone. The expected completion date should also be included in the plan. You can either choose to make it a one-time big-time affair or go through it little by little. If you have the energy for it, you can take advantage of long weekends and holidays and finish the decluttering routine in one go. The problem with that is it can sometimes become unrealistic. You will most likely lose the energy and enthusiasm after about 8 hours. What others would usually do is allocate a few hours a day in a span of one month. It’s really up to you. The important thing is that you set a timeline and stick to it. 

Order of Cleaning Up

If you decide to declutter on a room to room basis, make sure to plot which room will go first, what comes next, so on and so forth. It might be wise to begin with the top clutter hotspots first, then leading to the areas with lesser mess. 

Step 2: Sort Things Out

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you are bombarded with stuff without knowing where to place each one of them. You put an item to a temporary location and the next minute you forget where it is. If you make a sorting system, you can easily organize things and decide right away what goes where. 

In decluttering home, people ideally label the boxes where each has a designated purpose. For instance, in the “The-Box-Method”, you put out boxes or containers categorized into three: Keep, Put Away, or Donate. But the descriptions actually depend on your preference. You might even want to include two more boxes for “Fix/Repair” and “Storage”. As long as you adhere to the idea of using labeled containers, then you’re on the right track.  

Step 3: Discard or Dispose of Clutter

This is when the clutter must get evicted from your home. Not only will your home feel spacious, but a heavy can also be lifted off your shoulders as you toss away a box full of trash. 

Step 4: After-Decluttering Remedies

Remember those boxes that you set as you went along your stuff? They can come in handy even to this stage! Of course, not all the items you’d find deserve a spot in the garbage bag. Some might only require a few patches and stitches but are still good for use. Others might still be qualified for donation. You always have to undergo home decluttering with practicality in your mind. Here are some of the possible destinations for clutter that belong to neither “toss” or “keep” box. 

 How to Declutter Your House: Other Options Aside from Disposal

  • Recycle. You might have found glass or jars that can still be transformed into a posh flower vase. Or pieces of paper that can still be a perfect candidate for an origami making activity. 
  • Donate.  Got clothes that no longer fit? Or books you don’t mind sharing? Other people might still put them to good use. Line them up for donations. 
  • Fix or Repair. Before you completely discard of an appliance or tool, check first if a few tinkering touches can still be done. 
  • Garage Sale. Another good thing about decluttering home is that you can make cash out of what could have been put to trash! See if there are fashionable finds in the box or a bike that your toddler got tired of. Even if you sell them for a low price, that’s still way better than letting them collect dust in the darkest section in the attic or simply dropping them off in a garbage site. 
  • Hire a Dumpster. If you’re the type who wants to steer clear from the hassle of disposing of clutter by yourself, a few amounts on a dumpster service is an ideal option for you. This is especially helpful if you have many items that are larger in size.

 

12 General Decluttering Tips You Need to Remember

 

1. Keep in Mind the 80/20 Rule

Also known as the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule essentially says that 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of causes. Applying this decluttering tip into practice, it generally means you only use 20 percent of the things you own 80 percent of the time. For example, out of the 20 pairs of shoes in your storage, you only get to use 4 of those on a regular basis. So the goal is to get rid of the things you don’t use 80 percent of the time.     

2. Let Go of Sunk Costs

The term sunk costs refer to the money that was already spent and cannot be recovered. This concept can better help you decide what items must be kept and the ones that should be evicted. Here’s an effective decluttering tip: think of the things in your house that are considered sunk costs. Consider them as clutter unless you believe it still carries worth that you can enjoy in the future. However, as you go along your stuff, remember that value increase may happen in rare cases. In this case, you might want to put it on sale instead.  

3. Track the Last Time You Used an Item

You will know that something is necessary when you cannot go on for months without using it. Every time you find an item, try to remember the last time you used it. If you think it has been almost a year since the last time it fulfilled its purpose, line it up for disposal. It’s the core idea of this decluttering tip.

Unless it’s really not meant to be used regularly, such as hardware tools that you only pull out when something needs fixing. Even a clutter you haven’t seen for a long time that you already forgot you own it needs to be tossed in the bin as well. 

4. Be Decisive

If you follow the box method, you should already know that the right process of decluttering home leaves no room for indecisiveness. Once you pull out something that’s been stashed away, make up your mind which container to drop it to. As a decluttering tip, remember that the boxes don’t overlap, and you should think that way as well. 

5. Discard Expired and Unrepairable Things

If something is a lost cause, you don’t even have to think about it. Toss it in the “Get Rid” box right away. This decluttering tip basically tells you that any expired or unrepairable items only means that its eviction from your living space has long been overdue. 

6. Begin with Small Decluttering Projects

When it comes to decluttering home, you’ll never go wrong with baby steps. Take things little by little, room by room and the next thing you’ll know, the entire house has been tidied up. 

7. Keep Flat Surfaces Clutter-Free

Any flat surface in your home is notorious for harboring clutter. The human hands always have the tendency to drop the object they’re holding to countertops and shelves. Unknowingly, what was once a clear table has now been filled with books, keys, and water jugs. It’s not a problem if the things you put on top are meant to be there. Those that you intentionally put for display or the ones you use regularly. But if the clutter has been growing in stacks week after week, then decluttering home is the only way to resolve that. 

8. Categorize Things

Categorizing is the not-so-secret decluttering tip for making your tidying up routine easier. You should apply this mindset not only during sorting the clutter for storage or for disposal. You should also keep things that are alike together when reorganizing stuff. When choosing a new home for the items, keep in mind to store them where you will use them. 

9. Return Things You’ve Borrowed

Here’s a must-remember decluttering tip: if you’re having a hard time letting go of things that once incurred value in your life, then getting over stuff that you don’t own in the first place should be an easy feat. Whatever you’ve borrowed, return it to the rightful owner. 

10. Use Space Creatively

The ability to keep things in order is commendable. But if you can inject aesthetics into what could have been a simple, bland space – that’s golden talent right there. Note that in learning how to declutter your house requires the perfect mix of having the right arrangement, color appeal, and visual presentation for display.  

11. Take Before and After Pictures

Among all the decluttering tips mentioned, this might not exactly be an obligatory routine. But it can definitely turn that motivation button on once you see evidence of progress captured on camera. Taking before and after pictures will also help you figure things out on how you will organize the other rooms. 

12. Sleep on it

Especially when you’re already tired from all the home decluttering to and fro, you might not be able to make sound decisions. This is the point where your main goal would be to finish things up right away. In this case, you’ll end up tossing everything blindly since. Here’s a friendly decluttering tip – sleep on it. Let your brain recharge and return in the morning with a more relaxed mood. You’ll never know, you might even have a few light bulb moments when you wake up!

 

The Ultimate Guide on How to Declutter Your House Room by Room

 

How to Declutter the Living Room

 

Designate Storage for Everything

One of the frequently-used areas in your home, making the living room free from clutter is generally a challenge. For example, the remote will often find its way on the couch, tabletop, floor, and maybe even in other corners of the house. But if you establish a fixed location for every item, you’ll develop a habit of storing things in their proper places. 

Steer Clear from Excessive Decorations

Pinning a few art pieces on the wall is fine. Embellishing the tabletop with vase is also fine. But bombarding the living room with decorations here and there is definitely a no-no. As the popular adage goes, too much of anything is bad. If you feel like the decorative pieces in the living room are starting to feel like clutter, then you have to stop. Take down what seems to create more chaos. This is the golden rule on how to declutter your house. 

Organize the Wires and Cables

A living room won’t be complete without appliances and devices. This is usually the gathering section for family and guests so it’s only important to supply it with forms of entertainment, such as a television set or sound system. However, the problem now roots from the wires and cables which will most likely tangle if not organized. To declutter this part of the home, make sure to keep them neat and orderly. Keep the devices close to the electrical outlet so you want have to walk around a maze-like path. 

Declutter The Living Room on a Regular Basis

Once you start organizing the living room, try to keep it that way all the time. This way, you won’t have to feel embarrassed when guests pay a surprise visit. By simple ways of arranging the pillow case or returning the magazine in its rightful place, you won’t have a hard time keeping the living room clutter-free. 

How to Declutter the Bedroom 

 

Start with Bedroom Drawers

The drawers in the bedroom can be your go-to storage for almost anything, so expect it to be full of shuffled clutter. Well, for one it can easily hide evidence of mess. Empty all the drawers first and if you decide to retain or store an item. And as a decluttering tip, make sure to always categorize them.   

Clear Off Flat Surfaces

Here it goes again with the flat surfaces. But you have to admit, the bedside tables have the tendency to become a source of clutter issues. Let them accommodate an item or two – that’s okay. But if you find the tabletops brimming with stuff you initially did not plan to put there, it’s certainly time to evict excess. Learning the art of decluttering your house requires knowing what items to toss away and when to do it. 

How to Declutter the Closet

 

Begin with the Bottom Part

It’s probably part of human nature to start with the top part first. But when it comes to decluttering home, it should be the other way around. The initial clean up should begin with the lower spots. If the bottom is designated for the shoes, empty the racks first then clean the shoes. Arrange them back neatly and stick to a pattern as you do so. The same applies for clothes. Be it in terms of size, color, or kind, there should be a system for arrangement. 

Toss Unused Clothes and Shoes

It’s normal to come across clothes and shoes that you last worn ages ago. Some may no longer fit you or the damage can tell. If you also happen to find apparels which you think do not fit your style, toss them as well. The rule on how to declutter your house isn’t always about throwing things away. In going through your possessions, always see if they can still be qualified for donation or garage sale. The goal is to keep only the things that you actually use and like to wear. After all, it’s not really a bad thing to donate or throw things that you never really liked in the first place.

Declutter Closet Shelves

Empty the entire closet shelves first, then go on with dropping each item in its designated box. When organizing, make sure that everything is visible and not buried under hanging clothes. If you want to utilize boxes and containers, you can do so but only for smaller items. Given that after the tossing part and you realized that a few shelf levels have been emptied, don’t be tempted to put back clothes you’ve already decided to throw! You can instead use the space for a vacuum cleaner or storage bins. Also, try adding hooks to the doors for brooms so you won’t have any excuses to delay your regular clean-up routine in the closet. 

How to Declutter the Bathroom

 

Take Out Everything First

Similar to the process of decluttering in other parts of the room, you need to take out all the items first. This will allow give you an idea of how much clutter has been living in that area. It will also ensure that you’ve gone through every bit of trash in the bathroom. The drawers, countertops, shelves – everything has to be emptied. It is recommended to declutter several bathrooms altogether. You might be able to find soaps nearing its expiration date. You can then decide to place them on the go-to bathrooms that are frequently used. 

Sort Like Things Together

The concept of category is always the best tool when decluttering any room. The towels, cosmetic products, toiletries, medicines, curtains – pile them up together like they’re one family.  

Discard Items You No Longer Need

You need to learn the art of letting go if you want to master the process of decluttering your house. If you find expired products or ones that you think you can live without for the next few months, then they should find a home in the trash bag. In cases where you’ll find the same several half-used conditioner and lotion, embrace practicality and combine similar products in one bottle. Afterwards, bid goodbye to the other containers.  

Use Small Boxes to Organize Drawers

If you already have a basic idea on how to declutter your house, you might agree that bathroom drawers always tend to magnetize clutter. Make your life easier and create small compartments inside it using small boxes (which you can also DIY) to clear the tiny items floating around. This way, you won’t have to fumble through the corners trying to find the shaving cream only to prick your finger by a blade.  

Tip: If you want to free up more space in the bathroom, try these space-saving bathroom design ideas

How to Declutter the Kitchen 

 

Empty Each Space

In decluttering this section in your house, make it a habit to pull out all the items first, as this will also give you the chance to wipe off dirt and stains. Begin with the upper cabinets and pantry, moving to the lower sections and until you reach the space under the sink. 

Organize Kitchen Countertop

The countertop is one of the spaces you need to focus on when decluttering the kitchen. This is usually inhabited by stacks of disorganized clutter such as household tools, mail, and other paperwork. Remember to minimize the amount of materials that sits on the countertop, ideally around 3 to 5 essentials only. Find a new home for other items, either in storage or in one of the boxes for disposal.

Assign Zones in the Kitchen

When decluttering the kitchen, it’s better to do it per section. The same holds true when relocating back the kitchen tools and essentials. For instance, if you are fond of baking, then reserve one part of the cabinet that is solely for baking materials. You can also place the pots and pans near the stove. Just bear in mind that the goal is to make it convenient for you to move around the kitchen. Creating zones will help you achieve that.

Try the One-Month Cardboard Box Test

It’s hard to know for sure whether to retain or toss away a kitchen tool. There are items you seldom use but will eventually come in handy at some point. Here’s a decluttering tip: try doing the so-called “one-month cardboard box test” in order to help you weigh the value of an item. 

The idea is to put the ‘undecided’ items in a cardboard box first and you only take out an item if you’re going to use it. Once it has left the box, store it somewhere but never return the used item in the box. Come one month and some tools only remain. Those are the things that should be lined up for disposal. 

How to Declutter the Dining Room

 

Have a Single Storage for Dining Essentials

If you set aside tools and essentials especially intended for hosting celebrations, make a separate storage for them. As a decluttering rule, sort out everything – the table napkins, wine glass, and utensils. If you have a cabinet with glass doors, you can also use it to display the items. Just make sure to arrange the items neatly. Most importantly, everything should be kept for utility and not for mere display.   

Avoid Filling the Table with Unnecessary Items

As the name suggests, the dining room should be meant for dining. If you happen to do your paperwork in this area, you’ll probably leave pieces of paper or pens on the table. Make sure to clear it from clutter. Centerpieces, like fruits or flowers, are fine as long as they’re not over-the-top. 

How to Declutter the Home Office

 

Deal with the Paper Trail

The paper trail is usually the main culprit for a large fraction of your clutter in the home office. The bills, documents, receipts, mails that have piled up due to your failure to attend to them call for some decluttering now. 

To organize them, set out three categories – Keep in Files, To-Do, and Trash/Shred. Make sure to carefully check the paper before tossing it out in the bin, you might end up throwing an important document away. You can also make a digital copy by letting the paper go through a scanning device. 

Organize Your Desk

Keep the top of your desk clear! Desks always have the tendency to attract clutter, so the goal of this rule on how to declutter your house is to include only the essentials – a desktop computer, lamp, etc. 

Declutter Shelves and Drawers

Take out everything and throw away any trash that you’ll find. Afterwards, store the pens, staplers, folders, and other materials in drawers. You can create small compartments or containers to better organize small items. On the shelves, arrange the books and folders. As a rule of thumb in home decluttering, always sort like things together. 

Arrange the Cords

Cords can easily be a source of irritation if not arranged properly. Loosen the tangled wires and keep them off the pathway. It’s also a smart move to tie unused cables and cords. Just be sure to label them with washi tapes so you know to which device it belongs. 

How to Declutter the Laundry Room

 

Make Use of Vertical Space

Installing shelves on the wall is a step in the right direction, especially if you’re short on space. Use them as storage for your laundry essentials such as detergent, stain removers, and sheets. The vertical space has so much to offer if you know how to take advantage of it.

Store Detergent in a Glass Container

If you transfer detergent in a transparent jar, you can easily determine when the supply is running low. Another common mistake people do is to open another sachet without fully consuming the first one. This could mean clutter in the long run. 

Pre-Divide Whites from Darks

Creating a pre-sorting system can be an effective motivator to keep your laundry room organized all the time. Make it a habit to divide white clothes from the dark-colored ones. It will help reinforce the idea of decluttering your home for good. Moreover, this can save you a lot of time when laundering. 

Refrain from Putting Laundry on Top of Washing Machines or on Floors

It seems that finding pieces of clothes on the floor and on top of washing machines is not an uncommon thing at all. Decluttering home means breaking away from this bad practice and designating adequate bins for laundry. 

How to Declutter the Attic or Basement

 

Pull Out Everything from the Room

The attic or basement is considered as a clutter-friendly environment. Here you will find stacks of boxes and bins that some, you might have already been long-forgotten. Take out everything that you can lay your eyes on! Just a friendly reminder to put on some mask as you declutter this area in the home unless you’re ready to be welcomed by dust.

Work from Zone to Zone

The next thing you’d want to do is establish zones in the attic or basement. It will be a strenuous decluttering activity to work in a room with a plethora of clutter. So make your life a little bit easier by dealing with one section at a time. Begin with the shelves, then proceed with the boxes and jars. If you want to make the room more spacious, there are space-saving shelving ideas that you can follow.     

Keep Unused Things Outside the House

Here’s a must-know rule on how to declutter your house: everything that didn’t find its way to the “Keep” box must be moved out of the house. Let them go straight to the dumpsite unless they’re intended for donation or garage sale. 

Label the Boxes

To make it convenient for you to determine what is contained in the boxes, label them accordingly. Decluttering home also entails grouping together things of the same kind – be it Christmas decorations, childhood pictures, toys, etc. 

How to Declutter the Baby’s Playroom

 

Categorize Storage for Toys

Scattered toys are no news to a baby’s room, especially if you already have toddlers playing around. In decluttering this section of your house, make sure to create a system of classification for the bins and storage. For instance, all stuffed toys should go on the shelves. The tiny items, on the other hand, must be kept well in the box out of children’s reach. You probably don’t want to find a child with a toy truck in his or her stomach. While maintaining order in this room requires constant labor, doing so will render favorable results. 

Keep Items Off the Floor

It’s only normal for kids to leave toys on the floor. After all, they’re still young and so are their minds. As an adult, it is part of your job to look after these mess. Everytime you see an item on the floor, pick it up and place it on the shelf or bin. You’ll be surprised, the kids might even learn this useful practice on how to declutter your house. 

How to Declutter the Garage

 

Keep Like Things Together

You’ve probably read this too many times. But sorting things that are alike is a tried and true method to effectively declutter almost any corner in your home. Group the tools and equipment according to their kind and purpose. 

Get Rid of Unrepairable Items

Among a myriad of things you’ve kept in the dark dungeon of your garage, there will most likely be finds that are no longer functional. There’s no reason to keep them in your possession if you think they’re already a lost cause. Once something can’t be repaired, it automatically belongs to the trash bag – that’s the central focus of decluttering your house.

Rent Extra Space if Necessary

This is supposed to be one of the things you should try to avoid. In fact, this is one of the reasons that drive people to declutter home – to avoid the costs of renting a pod for storage. However, if you are a hundred percent certain that all stuff are still of value and you got nowhere to tuck them in your home, then this option can do you good. 

Did You Know? A quarter of people with garage intended for two cars can’t even park their car due to the overloaded clutter, according to the report of the U.S. Department of Energy. 

 

Your home is not just a building. It is a place where you collect experiences and memories. This is why it is only necessary to keep it tidy all the time. Learning how to declutter your home is not an easy feat but it sure can do you a lot of favors. Remember that the process of home decluttering should not be a one time event but rather a constant routine for a clutter-free house for good. So stop holding on to your clutter-causing habits and start honing your skills for home-organizing! 

 

ALSO READ: 8 Smart Refrigerator Organizing Ideas You Need to Know

 

Do you want to improve your home design to make organizing extra convenient for you? Check out Lugbill Designs’ services now!

Common Signs That Your Home Needs Remodeling

No matter the care you take, your home will most likely deteriorate and feel outdated as time passes by. Part of the homeowners’ job is to maintain their living space through renovations every five years at least. Remodeling your house not only improves its beauty but keeps it in good condition as well. 

Your home may not be able to speak to tell you when it badly needs its tender-loving care routine but there sure are signs that you can spot. To know what they are, here are the 6 common indications that it’s due time for a home remodeling. 

 

6 Sure Signs That You Need to Remodel Your Home

 

1. Damaged Flooring

You know you’re flooring needs replacement when the tiles start to detach and the floor grout is already wearing off. This can be caused by years of friction due to door traffic and furniture pieces dragged on the floor. Improper adhesive, such as cement, can also be a top culprit for the damage. 

If your floor is covered by a carpet, note that it must be changed every 10 years, especially if the floor covering is placed in areas where traffic is high. 

Usually, bathrooms and kitchens are the first sections in your home that will need new flooring. 

2. Roof Leakage

Caused by either improper installation or old age, the occurrence of roof leakage clearly suggests that your home needs remodeling. Whenever you spot water stains and drips on the ceiling or walls, you should address the issue immediately. Roof leakage may lead to other problems such as mold growth, corrosion, pest invasion, wood rot and damage to frames and ceiling. It can also damage drywall and plaster, resulting in the emergence of bubbles on the dry paint surface.  

After the repair, you’ll most likely need to remodel the walls and light fixtures, shelving, and other damaged areas as well. 

3. Chipping Paint 

If the external and internal paint looks drab and starts wearing down, it definitely calls for a house repaint. Dirt and chemicals cause the paint to be dirty and ultimately damages it. Another factor that leads to paint chipping is the poor application where the wall is not cleaned before painting. Applying a fresh coating to your walls, kitchens, baseboards, and rooms can revive its color. This can make your living space appear newer and more appealing. 

Tip: Before repainting, use steel wool to remove existing layers of paint. Afterward, clean the wall and insert putty on uneven surfaces (such as holes). 

4. Termite Infestation

The presence of pests and unwanted insects inside your home explicitly tells you that it should be renovated as soon as possible. Materials with poor quality are one of the reasons behind termite infestation. Start checking the wooden parts of your home as termites start destroying these spots. Look out for messy and unpleasant areas as well, insects and pests are attracted to them. To avoid termites from breeding, spray solignum consistently, advisably every four to six months. Don’t forget to have regular cleaning as well. 

5. Limited Space

Does your home feel too crowded? Especially if your family starts growing, the house might end up looking unorganized and congested with items. Clearly, this suggests that you need to rearrange, add space, or both. You can make another room such as a bedroom, storage, small office, and playroom or nursery. Other renovations can include the demolition of walls to provide a bigger area. Remodeling your existing property will allow you to steer away from the expense of moving into a new home. 

Tip: Plan carefully with your design-build contractor to make sure that the additional sections suit the home structure and design.  

6. Outdated Look of the House 

Unless you’re aiming for a vintage appeal of your home, a renovation might be in order if you see lots of golden accents, gold door handles or shiny gold finish. The designs popular in the ’90s are no longer a trend and can, therefore, make your home look outdated. 

Typically, homeowners take notice of old-looking bathrooms and kitchens. These are two of the most important areas that can make your home look old-fashioned when not updated. After all, a beautiful bathroom reflects the hygienic practices of a family and a well-refined kitchen keeps the living space running smoothly. 

Modernizing your home can be a quick and simple project that you can even do on your own. You can purchase and install house accessories such as new door handles, curtains, upholstery, fans, and fixtures. 

However, if you want to do a full bathroom and kitchen remodel, you will have to work with a contractor for the interior design and addition of new sinks, flooring, bathtubs, shower walls, faucets, toilets, etc. It might slash on your finances but updating these sections in your house will not only enhance its design but will make it more appealing if ever you decide to sell it. 

 

Your home is an essential space that shelters you and your loved ones, this is why it needs to be maintained regularly. The process of home remodeling might demand time and money investment but the benefits come immensely as well. Apart from the aesthetic enhancements, it also makes your home feel more secure and comfortable. Consequently, this creates a beautiful home where happiness and order foster within the family. 

Do you need an interior design contractor for your home remodeling? We can lend you a hand! Contact Lugbill Designs today.

A Safe and Eco-Friendly Checklist to Winterize Your Home

It’s the time of year when the dip in temperatures calls for a steaming mug of hot cocoa while sitting by the fireplace. The idea creates a picture-perfect scene on a cold and wintry day. But, would that be all you need to stay cozy and comfortable in your home? Of course not. You also have to consider that it’s the season when injuries arise and damages surface due to poor home maintenance. Other than the scenarios you’ve pictured out in your mind, you have to pay more attention on how to effectively winterize your home.

Even before the cold months begin, you should already be taking the necessary efforts to prepare your home for the winter season. Not only will it keep the entire household more comfortable and free from possible injuries, it will also keep at bay the financial problems that may arise all of a sudden.

So if you haven’t taken the measures yet to winterize your home, here’s a comprehensive checklist that presents safe and eco-friendly techniques to winterproof your space!

 

A Safe and Eco-Friendly Checklist to Winterize Your Home

 

Why is it Necessary to Winterize Your Home?

 

Conserve Energy While Saving Money

Winterizing your home involves providing an insulation system to your home as a protection against the cold. If you apply proper sealing methods to your home, you can consume less energy needed to generate heat, which in turn, can cut costs on your utility expenses. 

Prevent Structure Damages

An important step to winterize your home is inspecting whether or not the HVAC is in good condition and conducting regular maintenance of the plumbing system. Making these part of your routine allows you to steer clear from unnecessary repairs in the future. 

Keep the Home Safe from Disasters

You might already be aware that the freezing temperatures and the harsh winter snow can carry potential disasters to your home. For instance, water that becomes iced in your pipes can burst if not handled early on. Preparing for these issues from the get-go is a smart move in providing added protection to your home.

 

31 Safe and Green Ways to Winterize Your Home

 

1. Switch to Greener Insulation Alternatives

One of the primary steps to winterizing home is the use and installation of insulators to help combat the subfreezing temperature. But in choosing the heat-resistant materials to use, you need to take extra caution since there are options that might contain toxic chemicals. Here are some of the eco-friendly alternatives.

Wool

Ever wondered how sheep survive amidst the extremely chilly weather? It’s because their wool has fire retardant properties. In the same way that it protects their bodies, wool can also give your home the warmth that it needs this winter. If compressed, the wool fibers form small air pockets where the inner layer takes in moisture and the outer coating resists water. Talk about the perfect way to produce heat all the while steering clear from condensation. 

Cotton/Denim 

One of the most sustainable alternatives available in the market, cotton is a safe and natural material that you can utilize. There are several denim scraps that are recycled into layers of blankets that can act as fiberglass alternatives in your walls. These cotton fabrics are naturally insect repellant. Moreover, they are not detrimental to the respiratory system since they don’t contain formaldehyde.

Icynene

Made of castor oil, Icynene is a foam that increases its volume once sprayed to a surface. Not only does it help reduce your energy usage, but it also serves as a strong insulator to your home. It can cover leaks and holes and has a noise-cancellation property. 

Polystyrene

Polystyrene can be a spray foam or a sturdy foam board that strengthens the structure of the building. Since it is mainly composed of plastic, it might not seem like an eco-friendly alternative at first. However, polystyrene can help conserve energy and this is the reason why it is still considered as a green option. 

Aerogel

One of the easiest insulators to install, aerogel often comes in stickers or sheets that are extremely lightweight. It carries an interesting history wherein Samuel Stephens Kistler, the person who allegedly invented aerogel in 1931, made a bet that he can remove the liquid in a jelly-filled jar without shrinking the jelly. He ended up winning by replacing the liquid with air. 

Therma Cork

This renewable and recyclable option is guaranteed to be non-toxic and has soundproofing abilities as well. However, this option might leave a negative carbon footprint since the material is made from oak trees’ outer bark. 

Cellulose

Mostly composed of recycled paper, cellulose is your best bet if you’re searching for cheaper alternatives that are safe to install and can surely minimize the toxins in your house. Moreover, you can count on the fact that the paper in the walls won’t contribute to the release of greenhouse gases.

2. Drain and Disconnect all Outside Hoses

Look out for all the areas where there is a supply of water – from outdoor spigots, swap, sprinkler systems, hoses. Make sure to drain and disconnect them since they might harbor molds or worse, they’ll end up thawing and causing water damage. 

3. Inspect Roof and Gutters

If you don’t want your drainage system to be clogged with leaves and debris, then it is a must that you clean the roof and gutters before winter. Otherwise, the water will flow over the gutters and into undesignated areas – such as the yard, corridor, and basement. This could then lead to other issues regarding mold. 

4. Wrap the Pipes

A freezing pipe is the last thing you’d want to face this winter, unless you’re fine with expensive leaks and debris due to pipes’ cracking. This isn’t far from happening if the temperature drops to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. But you can avoid it by wrapping the exposed pipes with insulation. There are a lot of sleeves or tapes available in home improvement stores. 

5. Keep Enough Supply of Firewood

Perhaps a fireplace can be anyone’s best friend this cold season. To keep this warm haven lit up during the wintery nights, you should store enough supply of firewood. Having rotten wood or running out of supply in the middle of winter is a stranded situation you don’t want to be in. Keep the firewood in a safe location where it can remain intact.  

6. Plant Trees to Serve as Windbreak 

It is usually discouraged to plant trees outside your home since the wind may cause them to fall and ruin the roof and glasses. However, evergreens are not bad at all, if you know the right places for them. In fact, these windbreaks can reduce wind velocity that goes in the direction of your home, making it less impactful. Moreover, planting windbreaks has been proven to minimize energy consumption and lower your electricity bills by up to 30%. 

7. Eliminate Dead Trees

While it can be beneficial to plant windbreaks around the home, you also need to consider the harm that the dead trees can cause if the branches come falling on your roofs, gutters, decks, cars, and even unsuspecting passersby. Cut them off as early as in summer or fall. 

8. Install a Heat Resistance System in the Garage

Commonly one of the most unheated spaces at home, your garage shouldn’t be neglected when you’re planning on the installation of insulators. It may just be a small section but leaving it cold will make it difficult to heat the home. 

9. Buy a Heat Recovery Ventilator

While it’s a good practice to seal your home for the winter, this also means that good air quality is hampered in the process. There is, therefore, a greater demand for ventilation in order to supply the room with fresh air. One viable solution is to get a heat recovery ventilator (also called HRVs or air to air heat exchangers). What gives it a leg up over other systems is its capacity to recycle amounts of heat that are usually lost through the process of ventilation. 

10. Test for Radon Gas

Considered as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, radon gas is a naturally-occurring invisible gas that can generally be detected indoors – inside the houses, schools, and workplaces. Conducting a radon test will allow you to inspect the gas levels in your home to know whether or not they are elevated. This, in turn, will make you take precautionary steps to reduce the levels. Radon test kits are readily available in several stores, but you can also hire professional contractors to perform the test for you.  

11. Learn About Rebates and Tax Credits

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, homeowners are given assistance in efforts to create an energy-efficient home. For instance, if you have furnaces or boilers that are dysfunctional, you can ask the government to perform an energy audit and see if you can be granted some of their perks. 

Note that there are also a number of utility districts that made rebates and incentives available in their programs to help you conserve energy.

12. Inspect Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Are your carbon monoxide detectors working properly? If not, you must replace old batteries or even buy new ones and have them installed near the water heater and/or furnace. It is important that they remain in good condition before the cold winter blow comes creeping inside your home. In fact, some cities even require CO detectors in every room. 

If you’re using gas range when cooking, install a fan on your stove hood that will vent the carbon monoxide outside in order to minimize exposure. 

Note: If your burners produce yellow-tipped flame, it indicates a greater emission of harmful gases.  

13. Be Mindful of the Mold

Molds like to thrive in environments with high levels of moisture, such as your bathroom and kitchen. They can pose potential health risks, especially for people with asthma and a low immune system. Not only that; fungi also affect the structural integrity of the building. This is why it is recommended to use ventilation systems in areas and on appliances where molds can potentially grow. More importantly, you should steer clear from leakage as it can harbor these types of fungi.

14. Clean Furnace Filters

Never face the winter with a dirty filter for your furnace, unless you’re fine with air being obstructed from its normal flow in your heating system. This means that it will require more time for the furnace to run since less warm air is spreading throughout the house. Dirty filters are also the number one cause of malfunctioning heating systems. Even if that doesn’t happen your electricity bill will skyrocket from your system losing efficiency.

15. Seal the Windows and Doors

Try standing near the door and window and see if you can feel the air leaking through. If so, then weatherstripping is in order! Caulk the gaps in order to retain the warm air inside and block the cold air from coming in. This can even slash 10 to 15 percent off your energy bills! 

Plastic or Bubble Wrap

One of the most inexpensive ways to weatherproofing is through covering your windows or doors with plastic shrink wrap. It may not exactly be appealing to the eyes but it sure can help prevent the cold air from creeping in. 

Draft Stopper

Also called a draft blocker, a draft stopper makes sure that the icy wind howling can’t enter through the tiny space between the floor and the door. They’re pretty cheap as well, you can buy door blockers for about $10. However, you can also choose to do-it-yourself. In fact, even a simple rolled-up towel can already fulfil the purpose. 

Door Sweep

Just like draft blockers, door sweeps are also designed to block the crack between the door bottom and the threshold. These are usually attached at the bottom edge to serve as a physical barrier. Depending on the size and material type, door sweeps can come in the form of rubber or metal strips. 

Storm Doors and Windows

Glass panels installed in front of an exterior door or window can act as winter screens. They secure your house from the chilly wind, all the while maintaining ventilation inside. Storm doors and windows also prevent insects from flying inside the house.   

Tip: Before you install any winter-proofing materials to the doors and windows, don’t forget to measure the dimensions first. Having a half-blocked sill is almost the same as having no draft blockers at all. 

16. Use Heavy and Non-Toxic Curtains

Replace your spring and summer curtains with thicker ones to prep your home for the winter. However, you must also be careful since some materials may contain toxins. Non-vinyl blackout blinds and curtains are recommended to keep your family both warm and safe.    

17. Add Straw Bales

Aside from installing heat-resistant materials inside your home, it is also a good idea to winterize the foundation of the house. Buy straw bales and scatter them around to block the chilly air, keeping the floors warm. 

18. Take Advantage of the Sunlight 

This is a pretty easy trick to provide extra insulation without requiring any cent. Make use of the sun’s natural light and open your curtains during the day. Just don’t forget to close them at night or else the efforts will only go in vain. 

19. Keep Furniture Away from the Vents

To maximize airflow, position the furniture or any obstacle away from the vents. Otherwise, you’ll end up heating the furniture alone, and not the entire house. 

20. Reverse the Direction of Your Ceiling Fans

As much as ceiling fans can cool down the heat during summer, surprisingly, they can also warm you up this winter! You just have to know how to turn the right buttons to do so. Have your fan rotate in reverse or clockwise by flipping the directional switch on the fan. This way, you’re letting the hot air that gathered near the ceiling push down and circulate around the room. The bonus is: you can reduce your energy bill by up to 10 percent!

21. Put an Air Deflector Over Vents

In order to make the air distribution more efficient, insert air deflectors over the vents. For instance, if you have vents near curtains, the deflector will ensure that the heat is directed outward instead of drifting upward the fabrics.   

22. Grow Herbs and Vegetables Inside the House

You might already be aware that plants have a filtering power, allowing them to remove toxins out of the air. Since part of the winterizing process is basically sealing any leaks in the house, poor air quality cannot circulate its way out. In this case, growing herbs and vegetables is your green solution to making sure that the air you breathe is clean. Just note of these care tips to make sure your air plant survives.    

23. Cover Your Water Heater

Insulating materials aren’t only meant to cover your body. You can also use them to make sure your water heater stays warm. This way, you will not only cut on expenses, but also contribute to the environment in doing so by keeping energy consumption to a minimum. 

24. Ask for an Energy Audit

Investing in an energy audit is never a bad idea. This assessment will allow you to know how much energy you’re losing and where they’re going exactly. In effect, it will help you improve your energy consumption based on the recommendations included in the audit. For instance, the results will tell you if additional insulation must be made or simply discard appliances that are no longer performing well. 

25. Clean Up Your Fireplace

When winterizing your home and you plan on spending long nights by the fireplace, then this calls for some cleaning up. Make sure no animal nest nor creosote are left since they bring hazardous effects. 

26. Get a Smart Thermostat

Looking for a modernized approach in winterizing your home but remains eco-friendly at the same time? Try investing in a smart thermostat! This is a programmable version that makes room for customization so it doesn’t run when not necessary. Not only will it make an eco-purchase but smart thermostats are definitely more convenient as they can learn your schedule and heat automatically. 

27. Distribute Clean Blankets Around the House

There is no need to turn up the heat when you have thick blankets within arms reach. They still serve the same purpose, although you’ll undeniably get to save so much with this method. Be sure to place comfy blankets to various places around the house – on the living room, on beds, and attic. Clean them as early as now so they’re ready for pull out whenever. 

28. Prepare an Emergency Kit

In the event of a power outage, you need to stay vigilant, especially on the weather that’s known to be disaster-prone. Prepare your emergency essentials that contain candles, matches (or lighter), battery backup, extra water supply, non-perishable food, blankets, and a first-aid kit. Place them in an easy-to-access location and never neglect to make an evacuation plan. The contact numbers of authorities and utility companies should be saved on your phone as well. 

29. Get a Chimney Balloon

Much like other caulking tools, a chimney balloon serves as a barrier to keep cold draughts from coming in and warm air from escaping. It is a durable, pillow-like material that is inserted and inflated in the chimney or unused fireplaces. Apart from the heat control, chimney balloons can also blocks undesired pests, debris, toxins and odors from traveling down your home. 

30. Start Composting

There are many reasons to start your composting routine and here’s one thing that might give you that push this winter- it can help to generate heat. This is a natural occurrence as a result of organic materials breaking down into microbes. Typically, compost materials are placed in showers and greenhouses to warm them up.  

31. Block off Vacant Rooms

Having to heat a larger area requires much effort and energy, not to mention how this can increase your heating bills. A viable solution for this is to seal off the unused rooms. Close the doors and weatherproof the edges by inserting blankets or drafters. Ideally, this should be done while the weather is still mild instead of waiting for the first cold to hit. 

 

You might already be aware of these winterizing tips that redundancy is the only way to describe them. However, constantly emphasizing these things can save you from the consequences unexpected problems brought by the winter season. And while winterizing requires you to invest some time and money, the benefits will take you a long way.  If you want a full winter-proof solution, consulting a home design expert is also a good idea. In fact, winter is the perfect time for a remodeling project due to convenience in project scheduling, permit approvals and many other more!

Need a hand in making your home design ready for the winter? Lugbill Designs is adept in home styling and interior design to help you live in safety and comfort.

6 Water-Saving Tips for a Sustainable Bathroom

Did you know that an average home in America consumes over 300 gallons of water every day? Imagine how much water your bathroom usage consumes alone. If you’re not mindful, excessive water consumption can truly burden your pocket. 

Going the extra mile to conserve water in your bathroom might require a few lifestyle adjustments and fixture installments. But doing so will not only save you from excessive water bills. It will also help sustain your bathroom and in effect, the environment as well. 

Are you ready to go green? Here are the water-saving tips to remember in making your bathroom sustainable.

 

6 Tips to Conserve Water in your Bathroom

 

1. Steer Away from Frequent Use of Bathtubs 

If not entirely necessary, try not to use tubs on a daily basis as they are a top culprit for wasting gallons of water. The 70 gallons that you use when bathing can already be used for multiple showers since a single five-minute shower only requires 10-25 gallons. That accounts for around 1,000 gallons of wasted water per month. Turn to baths occasionally, only when you feel like you deserve some treats and pampering.

Tip: To lessen the guilt, plug the bathtub before you run the faucet. You can also adjust the water temperature as the water runs. 

2. Save Water in the Shower

Ideally, five minutes of shower is already enough to fulfill the goal of cleansing the body. Always be conscious of the time you spend in the shower as it could greatly contribute to reducing your water bills. If you’re waiting for the water to heat up, it might be smart to let a bucket to catch the water so you can still use the excess water for other purposes such as flushing, plant watering, and laundry. 

Aside from reducing the shower duration, one way to conserve water is through a low-flow showerhead. This fixture minimizes your water usage to 2.5 gallons or less as compared to the regular showerheads that demands 5 to 8 gallons per minute. Installing this low-flow head will never compromise your shower experience but will rather open opportunities for you to save water and decrease energy used in heating the water. 

3. Shrink Water Usage in Sinks

Old but gold it is, but the popular notion of turning off the sink faucet while shaving or brushing your teeth does the trick. Believe it or not, you can save up to four gallons of water per minute when you live by these words! Just remember that one drip for each second makes five gallons a day, so make sure to make every drop count. Use just enough water to wash your face or brush your teeth and don’t forget to tighten the faucet after every use.  

Just like in the shower heads, you can also install aerators to reduce the flow of water in your sink. Motion-sensored faucets can also be of great help in making sure you only use water when necessary. Moreover, they make the bathroom cleaner by preventing the formation of gunk which causes contamination. 

4. Focus on Toilet Flushes

The toilet is responsible for one-third of your water usage at home. That takes the largest portion of the water that you consume among other household tools and activities. Thus, it is important for you to give attention to the water that goes into your toilet usage. 

The age of your toilet needs to be considered when talking about water conservation. If it dates back to the years before 2001, water-efficient might not be the best term to describe it. Compared to the current toilet models, outdated ones take up three liters more water every time you flush. Standard toilets nowadays are more water-efficient with their low-flow and dual-flush features. 

But don’t worry if you lack the resources to purchase new models, you can still conserve water by cutting down the amount of water filled to the tank to only half a gallon.  

Tip: If you want to know the water volume your toilet uses, open the toilet tank and see gallons per flush (GPF). Newer and relatively water-saving toilets use up to 1.6 gallons per flush. 

5. Look Out for Toilet Leaks 

Never overlook the burden toilet leaks can give, you might find your funds draining directly to water bills that are twice or thrice the amount you should be paying. The indicators of leakage are generally silent, so make sure to check out for signs at least once a year. 

Tip: To detect toilet leaks, pour 4-5 food coloring drops in your toilet tank. Observe if the color disperses into the bowl without flushing for around 30 minutes. If so, it most likely signals a toilet leakage.  

6. Pay Attention to Personal Care Products 

Aside from cutting on water consumption, saving water also means helping minimize contamination in the water system. This involves being conscious of the products you consume. Remember that the chemicals in the cosmetic and bath products go down the water system and eventually flow to the natural waterways. It wouldn’t hurt to check the label and see if the product contains harmful chemicals. 

You can also opt for cosmetics that promote recycling, which you normally can tell by the product packaging. Going for refillable containers is also a smart move as it will help minimize the build-up of trash. And since you’re going for an eco-friendly approach, might as well make it holistic and consider the materials that you use in constructing the bathroom.

 

It might be hard to deny that excessive use of water in your bathroom can burn money without you knowing it. From little steps of tightening the faucet to extending efforts in installing fixtures, saving water will take you a long way in making a sustainable bathroom come to life. Make sure to translate these useful tips into actions and you might be surprised at the benefits you can get not only in your savings but also in the environment. 

Did you like this article? Visit our blog for more tips on making your home sustainable and eco-friendly.

6 Causes of Poor Ventilation in Your Room

It’s probably safe to say that nobody wants to inhabit a poorly ventilated space. Poor ventilation happens when there is an insufficient amount of fresh air coming in and the polluted air is trapped in the room instead. Not only does it cause discomfort, but it also puts a toll on your health!…

17 Tips to Make Your Home Energy-Efficient

This month’s electrical bill is painful for you to look at, just as you’ve expected. You’ve been using up a lot of energy for a while, especially with temperatures rising year after year. It’s lovely to have a well designed home. It’s even more wonderful to have a home that is both beautiful and energy-efficient. You can spend less on heating and cooling bills while remaining comfortable, and you can cut down on your carbon footprint, too. To help you get started, here are 17 steps to help you save energy.

 

17 Tips for a More Energy-Efficient Home

 

1. Change Your Most-Used Light Bulbs to LEDs. They might cost more at first, but they last much longer and use up less electrical power than their incandescent counterparts. You’ll save yourself the effort of having to purchase replacement lights as well. For outdoor lights, use CFLs instead of incandescent lamps.

2. Change Your Least-Used Light Bulbs, Too. Will you need a 100-watt bulb in a room that’s used just once a year? Downgrade such less-used lights to 60-watt or even 40-watt bulbs to save energy.

3. Use Cold Water for Laundry. This eliminates the need for a water heater. If you really need to use hot water, try to find a heater that runs on solar power.

4. Baking? Don’t Peek! The temperature drops 25° F whenever you peek. Your oven will have to work harder to bring the temperature back up.

5. When Possible, Unplug or Power Down. Your mobile phone only takes a few hours to charge, and your computer and printer don’t have to be left on all day, either.

6. Wash Dishes and Clothes at Night. Power grids are most strained during 4PM and 6PM during peak usage hours, from mid-afternoon to early in the evening. Do your washing a bit later, and you can keep the house cooler and avoid emergencies as well.

7. Switch Out Single-Pane Windows. Either replace them with more energy-efficient windows or add solar shades or tinting film to them.

8. Turn Off the Oven Early. Do this a few minutes before reaching the prescribed cooking time. Don’t worry, your food will continue cooking from its own heat.

9. Use Natural Light When Possible. For windowless rooms, you can use skylights. You may no longer need to turn on any lights during daytime.

10. Seal and Insulate Properly. Cracks and gaps can lessen the efficiency of your heating and cooling, raising energy costs by 45 percent. Avoid this by sealing gaps and cracks in rooms and around windows and doors. Also, check how your home insulation levels measure up to local codes.

11. Maintain Clean Filters. Your home systems have to do more work if their filters are dirty. Clean or replace all filters at home once a month (or every three weeks if you have pets or a dusty environment). Use a vacuum with a cleaning extension to suck up dirt, or gently wash the filter with warm water.

12. Spot the Energy Star. This sticker indicates that EPA has confirmed the product’s energy efficiency. You can find the small blue or black sticker on over 40 product categories, from refrigerators and washing machines to LED lightbulbs.

13. Use Your Shades Well. Help your heating and cooling systems out by knowing when to close or open your shades and blinds. Close your shades during warmer months for cooler indoor temperatures; open them during cooler months to let sunlight through.

14. Landscape. Deciduous trees act like shades and blinds if they sit on the south and west sides of your house. Their leaves provide shade in the summer but fall off so that the sun can come through in the winter.

15. Install Ceiling Fans. A single fan uses roughly as much energy as a 100-watt light bulb, but it can help you cut down even more on cooling and heating bills. Set your fan to spin counterclockwise in summer–you’ll find that you can comfortably set the thermostat 4°F higher. Switch the blades to spin clockwise in winter to help circulate warm air.

16. Don’t Overuse the Thermostat. Try to not lower your thermostat so much in the summer or raise it so much in the winter. If your indoor temperature is closer to outdoor temperatures, your systems will have lighter work to do. Also, don’t adjust past the desired temperature–your home will heat or cool at the same speed.

17. Paint! Brighten your room with lighter paint colors, which reflect more light. You can then switch the light bulb for a lower-wattage equivalent.

You might not notice the impact immediately, as some of these changes seem minor. However, just as a leaky faucet leads to a bigger water bill, the result of these actions builds up over time. Make efforts to go by these 17 tips, and you’ll save more energy than you thought you would.

Visit our blog regularly for tips on improving your home.

Your Seasonal Home Maintenance Checklist

Owning a house is everyone’s dream. But aside from the privilege it comes with, having a place to call you own also comes with a huge responsibility.

Similar to oil changes to keep your car engine in its prime condition and regular exercise to maintain optimal health, maintaining your home is necessary to keep it in its best shape. What’s more, doing so can even save you on repair costs and keep you from future headaches.

Sadly, the idea of needing to accomplish a long list of tasks can be overwhelming – and there’s no denying it. But, having the right set of maintenance tips can still help you navigate through it. In fact,you don’t even need much experience to get the most of them done.

To help you stay on top of your home maintenance tasks, we created a seasonal home maintenance checklist that schedules what needs to be updated, repaired and cleaned depending on the time of year. It also outlines a handful of tasks that needs to be done in a monthly, quarterly, biennial and annual bases.   

Monthly Home Maintenance

The following tasks need to be done on a monthly basis to keep your home in excellent condition:

Replace HVAC filters. Replacing the filters monthly may not always be necessary. If the filters are dirty, change them out. Otherwise, inspect them again next month.

Flush out drains. There are many ways to do this, but probably the best all-around solution is a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Here’s an easy-to-follow tutorial.

Clean garbage disposal. The baking soda and vinegar solution works as well in cleaning your garbage disposal in the sink. You can also toss in citrus peel to keep them smelling fresh.

Scrub range hood inserts. Soak greasy range hood filters in a boiling water with a degreasing dish soap and baking soda. Scrub the filters, rinse and dry.

Inspect fire extinguishers. Make sure the extinguisher is visible and unobstructed, the locking pin and taper seal is intact, and the gauge still has adequate pressure and has no sign of damage.

Wash refrigerator door seals. Clean rubber seals with warm water, sponge and dish soap to ensure that it completely seals close and keeps the temperature inside regulated.

Vacuum carpets. Vacuum dirty carpets at least once a month and high-traffic areas weekly. It will help maximize the life of the carpet and keep them from looking bad.

Clean dishwasher filter. Keep the filtering screen clean otherwise, it will accumulate food residue that may block the water flow. Consult the manual for cleaning instructions.

Empty dehumidifier – How often you will need to empty your dehumidifier will depend on the climate and how damp your basement is. But, whenever it’s full, empty it.

Disinfect trash bins – Empty and clean trash bins to remove residues that may lodge into the bottom and create a foul smell that attracts insects and pests.

Spring Home Maintenance

Spring is the best time for a general cleaning. Besides giving the house a thorough overhaul, also include the following to your to-do list:

Inspect drainage. If water doesn’t drain away from your home, you may need to check your drainage for buildup or loose connection. You may also need to grade the area to achieve a correct slope.  

Clean gutters. Scoop out debris that accumulated in the fall and winter. Flush the gutter with water to check the flow.

Check for signs of damage. Inspect the exterior of your home for early signs of damage such as paint chipping, leaks, holes or cracks, and make necessary repairs.

Prepare air conditioning systems. Ready your air conditioners for summer. You may refer to the user manual or have it serviced.  

Repair window screens. If there are damages or holes in your window and door screens, have it fixed immediately. Otherwise, bugs and pests can make their way in.

Spring Cleanup. Start by removing any dead plants that survived the winter. Then, trim perennial plants to encourage growth. Lastly, lay down mulch in the flowerbeds to protect them against drought.

Drain heater. Fully drain water heater to remove any sediment that has formed in the bottom. It can help prolong the life of the unit.

Assess windows and doors. Check for any windows or panes that need to be repaired as well as locks and latches that need to be replaced.

Summer Home Maintenance

Summer is a great time to give attention to the outside of your home. Be sure to do the following:

Clean grout. Scrub grout with a paste made with water and baking soda. If it seems a little stained or grimy, you can replace water with hydrogen peroxide to achieve better results.

Inspect plumbing. Check for leaks, water stains and other signs of water damage. Test your toilets, shower and sinks to ensure they’re functioning properly.

Clean faucet and shower head. Remove hard water stains on faucets and shower heads by soaking them in vinegar for an hour. Scrub loosened deposits and rinse.  

Manage pest problem. Insect problems are fairly easy to take care of. Here are some 8 homemade pest control remedies you can try.

Repair patio. Sometimes, your patio merely needs a good clean. But, to be sure, check for any loose boards and repair as needed.

Clean dryer vent. Run the dryer and test whether the exhaust is coming out nicely. Otherwise, you may need to check for blockages yourself or hire a professional.

Check for termite damage. If you suspect your home is infested with termites, you may need to call a professional to inspect your property and do necessary actions.

Fall Home Maintenance

Fall is the time when you’re finishing up on your summer touch-ups and prepare it for the winter at the same time. These are some of the steps you shouldn’t overlook:

Flush water heater. It’s time to flush the water heater again and remove the sediment. As mentioned, it will help improve the efficiency of the unit.

Prepare air conditioners. Store window units or cover them with a plastic sheeting and secure with cords.

Get heating system ready. Have your furnace serviced and make sure there are no leaks in the windows and doors. Ensure that the heating vents are not obstructed.

Winterize outdoor faucets. Drain hoses and store them. Prepare sprinkle systems as well for the winter if you have one.

Check pavement for cracks. If there are cracks in the driveway or pavement, make sure to have them resealed. Otherwise, water can freeze and expand the cracks, resulting to more damage.

Ready your winter gear. Keep your sidewalk salt, shovels and other winter essentials ready. You’ll never know when the first snow will come.

Sweep leaves. Clean your grounds, window wells and gutters monthly or as often as needed. Test your leaf blower to ensure they’re all set for the season change.

Inspect windows and doors. Install weather stripping on windows and doors to maintain a warmer home. Replace screen doors with storm doors and check for window panes that may need replacement.

Protect against pests. Take preventive steps to keep insects and pests that may take refuge inside your home.

Test kitchen appliances. Clean your oven, stovetop and microwave to ensure they are functioning properly.

Winter Home Maintenance

Now, winter is the time to assess the interior of your home. For everything that you may have overlooked, now is your last chance to address them for the year.

De-ice. Never let ice dams and icicles from outside your home. De-ice them immediately as they are not only dangerous but can also be damaging to your home.  

Test electricity. Check that all the outlets are functioning. You can rewire them yourself or hire a professional to get the job done.

Check for loose screws. Go through the house and tighten any handles, knobs or racks that may have loosened. Also, check for locks and replace them if necessary.

Service water heater. Run your water heater and test if it works properly. Also learn how to set its temperature.

Prevent frozen pipes. Keep your thermostat at 55°F or above if you are concerned about frozen pipes when you will be on holiday vacation.

Quarterly Home Maintenance

Test detectors. Ensure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Replace batteries if necessary.

Maintain yard and home exterior. Tend to your plants, sweep outdoors as often as needed, shovel snow, keep pathways clean, clean the gutters and winterize everything that needs be.

Run water in unused spaces. For rooms that are mostly vacant, run a little bit of water through the sinks and toilets to keep grime from forming.

Biennial Home Maintenance

Give your home a deep clean. Engage the whole family in giving your home a proper, deep clean. Make sure to address dirt and grime that you tend to ignore for years.

Inspect basement. Also give your basement a good inspection at least twice a year, preferably in the summer and winter.

Vacuum refrigerator coils. Vacuum the coils to remove dust and dirt that can interfere with the refrigerator’s cooling system.

Annual Home Maintenance

Clean the chimney. Have your chimney cleaned at least once in a year.

Inspect fire extinguishers. Check fire extinguishers annually to ensure they have not yet expired. If it is about to expire in the next 12 months, have it replaced.

Test your GFCI outlets. There are a lot of opinions on how often you should test this. But, it’s up to you whether to do this on a monthly or an annual basis.

Clean the chimney. Have your chimney cleaned at least once in a year. If chimney swifts have nested in it, wait until these birds leave before you have it cleaned and capped.

Of course, this list of tasks can vary a lot. But, if you want to maximize your efficiency and get all the job done, you might consider creating a calendar yourself. Do what works for you and as long as you accomplish them, you can be confident that your home will be in its best condition for years to come.

Need more idea about how will your home navigate through every season? Whether it’s a construction or full renovation, an interior designer can help create a home that is both functional and beautiful for you. Contact Lugbill Designs today!

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