Friday, February 27, 2015

A Closet Divided and Organized is a happy closet!

a closet divided and organized is a happy closet
Remodeling? Organizing? Who doesn't like to watch the home shows and ooh and aah over the master closet designs. Wouldn't you just love to have a closet to show off? Give yourself a gift with a master closet remodel. It all begins with planning so here are some tips on making the perfect space.
  • Layout and Space. Whether you have one closet or two, a good shared closet should be a minimum of 7x10 feet or 10 sq. ft. This size gives you space to use two or three walls for shelving and cubbies with elbow room. If you are building this space, you might want to fit in three sq. ft for room to add a chair, folding table or center island storage unit with counter. If remodeling your existing space, measure to see if it will fit or place the chair in the master bedroom just beside the closet.
  • Storage Options. You could just move your dresser into your closet but that is not always the best option for clothes. Clothes need to be seen to be picked, so think about a DIY organization solution or hire a professional to do a custom job. Closet Maid is a good DIY selection often found at your local home improvement store.
  • DIY Option. The hardest part of this option is the planning. If redoing an existing space, you will need to measure and then match the laminate modules from your home center or use an online site like EasyClosets or The Container Store. Master closet modules are 1-3 ft. wide and 7 ft. tall. Figuring out what modules fit where will be your chore. A quick search found a design tool at Once you get the layout down, then it's just a matter of buying and installing the modules. These modules are easy to install with a minimal amount of labor. The cost may be from $500 to $1000 depending on what you buy.
  • Professional Option. By hiring a professional, you will get a plan that will use every inch of your closet space. Instead of the cheaper laminate fiberboard, you will get high-density melamine or solid wood. They will also have a wider variety of specialty storage spaces like jewelry drawers, light vanities, mirrors, fold-down ironing boards, tie and belt holders, hampers, shoe racks and other custom items you just won't get going DIY. But all these options will cost between $3,000 to $5,000. Luxury items can jump the price up to $10K and beyond.
Although both the DIY and the professional options offer different setups and costs, it is really up to you to decide what you want to do with the closet. Make a list of what you need to organize and then use that as a guideline. A well organized master closet can be an added value to a home you are going to sell. It becomes one of the ah's that could just make the difference between someone buying your home or buying another. Not to mention you will enjoy the space even more for the time you spend in your home.

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If you need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Repair or Replace?

repair or replace - what to do with old appliances
Like everything in our homes, your appliances age with time and use. When that major appliance breaks down, we run into the dilemma of fixing it or replacing it. But what do we do when. Here are some thoughts that might help you make that decision.

Is it really broken? When appliances stop working we immediately get upset and flustered. But before throwing it out the door check these items.

  • Is it plugged in. Is the plug in good working order.
  • Did a circuit breaker pop.
  • Is the floor under the appliance still level.
  • Make sure vents or filters are not clogged or dirty.

Some tips to make your appliances last a bit longer. Check the door seals around the refrigerator. If they break down, then condensation builds and leads to water running down the refrigerator which can then lead to rust, mold and mildew. Ewww. Check your pockets before you wash your clothes. Clean your dryer lint trap once every 3-6 months. For the dishwasher, run the hot water first before starting, clean with a cup of vinegar once a week, clean out the food traps and wipe down the seals around the door. Now back to the original topic.

Could it still be under warranty? We all love to be surprised by this one. Who wants to pay the full repair bill. But check your owners' manual for the warranty length and keep a record of purchase. Maybe you bought an extended warranty and forgot. Boom!

Has it reached the end of its lifespan? Appliances do have a lifespan recommended by the manufacturer. Check the owners' manual for their thoughts. If you are close to or past that time period it may be better to replace than to repair. Especially when the cost of the repair bill can make a good down payment on a new one. Here are some average appliance lifespan in years.

Average Lifespan (years)
Exhaust Fan
Range, electric
Range, gas
Range/oven hood

Then there is the 50% rule. If your old appliance is more than 50% through its original lifespan and if repairing it would cost you more than 50% the cost to purchase new, then you should probably replace it. If you plan on getting an estimate from a pro, remember that they usually charge to get you that estimate and/or a trip charge. Sometimes they will apply this toward the cost of repair and sometimes not. 

And then there is always DIY. Got a wrench and screwdriver? Got the internet? You can often search online for repair manuals for appliances or even find questions and answers on issues. YouTube is also a good source of repair videos. Downside is many replacement parts are non-refundable, appliances are heavy and bulky and some existing warranties will be voided if you do anything.

One more point. Maybe it is time to weigh the cost savings you will get in your energy bills by replacing that old appliance with a new energy-efficient one. Today's newer appliances are so efficient that the first year of savings could pay your back for your investment. Over the course of a few years, you will have some great savings racked up. Who doesn't like smaller utility bills.

If you need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Friday, February 13, 2015

FIXIN' the Funk Simple Home Repairs

fixin the funk simple home repairs
As promised, here are the next six repairs you should do now to help push those winter doldrums right out the widow.
  • Detectors. Now is the time to do your annual pm on your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors because I know you forgot about them. That chirping noise you are hearing is not a friendly bird. Save yourself some anguish and replace all the batteries at once.
  • GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Outlets. Yep, forgot about this one also. Did you know you should test monthly? Yeah, me too. So go test them. If this is a concern for you, look into the Levitron SmartlockPro Self-Test GFCI unit. For around $30 you can install the Levitron unit which will self test every 15 minutes.
  • Kitchen Exhaust Fan. We always think about this one when we are cooking. Just take a moment when you are doing the dishes to pull the filter and let it soak in hot soapy water to pull out the grease. Who doesn't like clean filters?
  • Dryer Vent. This task may take you a couple hours. You will need a dryer vent cleaning kit and a shop vac that can blow. Feed the cleaning brush through the vent using the shop vac and pull it slowly to clean out any stuck lint. You may want to do this several times until the brush comes out clean. Lint trapped in dryer vents is the leading cause of house fires.
  • Drain Hoses. Your washer, dishwasher and icemaker all use hoses to transport water. If these get old and start cracking, you start getting water damage and mold due to leaks. Inspect these and replace as needed.
  • Finally, Electrical Cords. Check them for cracks, damaged plugs or being brittle. Replace them right away. Also, think about eliminating the cords where possible. Any time you can have a direct connect to the wall socket is preferred.
Well thanks for hanging with me through my two-part series about repairs. Hope your winter just got a bit brighter!

If you need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Monday, February 9, 2015

I've got the FIXIN' Bug

I've got the fixin' bug
It's the middle of winter. Between fall and spring and we are all ready for warmer weather. To help you welcome spring here are some repair jobs that might lift your spirits. Getting something accomplished, no matter how small, can do wonders for our moods. So grab your tool kit and let's get fixin.
  • Bathroom. A couple of places that seem to sag, wobble or just plain fall off the wall are the toilet tissue holder and towel racks. Remove the fixtures to see what's up. Most times it is a loose screw, but if they are mounted with less than perfect hardware it might be time to replace it. You can get dual mount or single mount and coordinating pieces.
  • Doors. Humidity rises and they start to stick or they just plain wear out from being opened and closed all the time. For hinges, pick up some powered or spray graphite and apply to the pin. If sticking is your problem, considered removing the door and plane the edge a bit. Don’t forget to touch it up with paint.
  • Wood Floors. After some time they begin to loosen and squeak. You can find and use a squeak repair kit from you local home improvement store. Another alternative is to apply a bit of talcum powder into the squeaking seam. The Talcum acts as a natural lubricant where the boards rub.
  • khunaspix at
  • Rusted Shutoff Valves. Untouched valves like those behind the washer, or under your sinks or even behind those toilets tend to rust and seize up. Keep them moving by dropping some machine oil, penetrating oil or WD-40 on the screw shafts. After applying, work the handles back and forth to get the oil to the threads. If they don't budge, let the oil work on them for a few hours. Worst case scenario: call a plumber to replace.
  • Paint. Now would be a good time to do some touch up before you start inviting all those spring breakers into your home. If you have peeling bathroom paint, make sure to scrape it and then reapply paint rated for bathrooms with an anti-fungal ingredient added. If the fan is the problem, consider replacing with a humidity-level indicator fan. No switches.
  • Handles and Pulls. Check your cabinets for loose fixtures. In most cases, a couple turns of a screwdriver will fix your problem. But if that doesn't work, then a stronger fix is needed. A quick tip is to fill the hole with wood filler and let sit. You can then drill a new hole for a tight mount. Use plenty of glue to be sure the patch will hold.
Hope these helped! Tune in next week and I will give you six more repairs that you should be doing now. Cause if you are like me you haven't yet thought about them.

If you need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.