Updating your home can be costly. So any home improvement that you can do yourself will help save money. An easy update that doesn’t cost too much and that you can do yourself is replacing your moulding. Whether you have basic trim, or common colonial style, there are a variety of new looks you can give to your home.

To start, you’ll need these tools:

  • a miter box or miter saw, for those angle cuts
  • a coping saw, for thin cuts so moulding meets flush to each other
  • finishing nails
  • a hammer, or finish nail gun
  • a nail set to sink nails below the wood surface
  • a tape measure

When making cuts, where the pieces of wood join together will determine what type of cut to make. Mitering allows for to pieces to join, like around the window. Splicing is used for long walls where one piece of wood is not enough. The moulding joins together by creating 2 45 degree angle cuts, cut opposite, creating a scarf joint, which is less noticeable. Coping is used on inside corners, where only 1 piece of wood is cut at a 45 degree angle and butts up against the other piece of wood.

Your moulding doesn’t have to be just the style bought at the store. Layers varies types of trim can add a more elaborate and dramatic touch. Home improvement stores will often have free booklets that give you ideas. Just remember to choose a style that matches your home. Something too dramatic in a home that is modest may look out of place.

And don’t forget there is more to moulding than your baseboard and window casing. Chair rails and crown moulding can really transform a room. There are a variety of decorative trims to choose from to add your own personal touch.

Moulding tends to be around $1.00 a foot so depending on your room size, whether you layer trims, and if you add on elements such as chair rails, you could redo a room for a couple of hundred dollars. And make a big impact at the same time.

Composting is becoming a more and more popular way to save money and be more eco-friendly. There are many reasons to compost but some of the most enticing are it costs next to nothing, and if you’re a gardener or have any landscaping at all, your compost pile will save you money. Compost can be used instead of expensive fertilizer and because you are reusing your yard waste you might be able to save on municipal trash removal costs.

Here are some easy tips on how to get started composting:

Storage

You may decide to go with either an open or closed storage system. Containers keep the compost materials neat and tidy and can be built inexpensively from discarded shipping pallets, fencing or chicken wire or leftover treated lumber from another building project. You can also purchase many different types of composting bins.

The least expensive way is to start a compost heap. Make the pile at least 6′ x 6′ and about 5′ to 6′ high in the middle. Anything smaller will maintain low temperatures and will take longer to decompose.

Where should I store it?

Try and store your compost pile in partial shade. This will keep it from drying out too fast. The location should also have good drainage.

What should I compost?

Compost any of the yard waste like fresh grass clippings, dry leaves, dry grass, and wood shavings.

Add food waste like vegetable and fruit scraps, breads, pastas, coffee grounds, egg shells, and tea bags. Do not put meats or fats in your compost pile. These food wastes will attract animals and rodents to your bin.

Paper towels, toilet paper tubes and other shredded paper products can also be added to your compost bin.

Manures from cows, horses, chickens and any non-meat eating animals are excellent nitrogen sources for starting the decomposition process.

Compost has so many benefits; it loosens clay soils and helps sandy soils retain water. It works as a natural fertilizers and can suppress plant diseases and pests. Gardens that are composted produce higher yields of healthier fruits, vegetables and flowers.

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You can’t see it. You can’t smell it. You can’t taste it. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) reports 1 in 3 homes have potentially dangerous levels of radon. The Surgeon General’s Office estimates that as many as 20,000 lung cancer deaths are caused each year by radon. Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas and is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

If you are having a home inspection or you have lived in your home for a long time the US EPA, Surgeon General, American Lung Association, American Medical Association and National Safety Council all recommend you test for radon. Your home inspector can test for radon, or you can purchase a do-it-yourself test. If you have a well you will also want to make sure to test the water for radon.

If your home has high concentrations of radon (over 4 pCi/L) you can mitigate the radon. You can find a list of certified radon mitigators here.

 

 

Moving can be stressful. The best way to not get overwhelmed is to have an organized plan and a step-by-step timeline. A little preparation will help make the move go a lot smoother.

Here is a checklist to help keep you on track:

60 Days Before You Move

  • Sort and Purge-Go through every room, decide what needs to come with you and what can go. Make piles of things to throw away and things to donate.
  • Plan a Yard Sale-Start planning a yard sale to reduce the amount of stuff you need to move. Some extra money for the move will also come in handy.
  • Hire a Mover-Contact at least three moving companies. On-site estimates are better than over the phone or internet estimates. Get each estimate in writing, and make sure it has a USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) number on it.
  • Create a Moving Binder-Store all of your move-related paperwork (checklists, contracts, receipts) in a binder. You may also want to inventory all of your items with photos or lists.

Six Weeks Before Your Move

  • Get Packing Supplies-Determine how many packing supplies you’ll need and designate a room where you can begin to store and organize.
  • Take Measurements-If possible get room dimensions of your new home. Make sure large pieces of furniture will fit.  Don’t forget to take measurements for appliances too.

30 Days Before Your Move

  • Confirm with Mover-Check with your mover the details of your move.
  • Start Packing-Begin packing out-of-season clothes and unnecessary items.
  • Label-Make sure to label boxes with what rooms the boxes will go in at your new home.
  • Start/Stop Utilities-Make arrangements to connect and disconnect your cable, internet and utilities.
  • Change your Address- Contact or visit your local Post Office to obtain a Change of Address form. You can also obtain this form online at http://www.usps.com.
  • Make Notifications- Change your address to the following: registry of motor vehicles, banks, schools, friends & family, insurance companies, doctors and specialists, cell phone providers, credit card companies and magazine and newspapers.
  • Contact Service Providers—Notify landscapers, cleaning services that you are moving, and look for new ones in your new hometown.

Two Weeks Before Your Move

  • Call Locksmith- Have your new home’s locks changed on moving day or before.
  • Arrange Services- Have a cleaning company prepare the new home before you arrive and tidy the old home after you leave. Arrange for carpet cleaning too.
  • Pack the bulk of your items.
  • Start Cleaning-Begin cleaning any rooms in your house that have been emptied, such as closets, basements or attics.

One Week Before Your Move

  • Pack Suitcases- Finish your general packing a few days before your moving date. Pack suitcases for everyone in the family with enough clothes to wear for a few days.
  • Gather Keys- Organize all keys, alarm codes and garage door openers so that you can be prepared to hand them over to the new owner or real estate agent.

A Few Days Before Your Move

  • Defrost the Freezer- Empty, clean and defrost the freezer at least 24 hours before moving day.
  • Make Payment Plans- You will need to make sure you have made arrangements to pay the mover and have a tip (usually 10%-15%).

Moving Day

  • List Contact Info- Write out a list for your movers of things they’ll need: phone numbers, exact moving address and maps.
  • Take Inventory- Before the movers leave, sign the bill of lading/inventory list and keep a copy.
  • Walk-Through- Do a walk-through of your new home with your real estate agent.
  • Layout New Home- Tape names to doors to assist movers in placing furniture and boxes.
  • Have Director- Arrange for someone to direct the movers at your new home.

 

 

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