How to Replace a Window Screen

July 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to replace a window screenA torn window screen is a simple fix provided you have the right tools. When you’re ready to replace a window screen, a quick trip to the local hardware store and a free hour will be it takes to get the job done right.

Head to the Hardware Store

Get the dimensions of your torn window screen and then head to the hardware store. You’ll need a roll of netting, the rubber casing to hold the netting in place, a roller to work the rubber casing and a utility knife to make the cuts. A Craft Lite Cutter or similar product can handle a window screen and be an excellent investment for other household chores as well.

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Remove the Old Screen

Take the screen off of the window and lay it flat in the grass. Find a corner of the rubber casing inside the edges of the screen and gently pull it out. As you pull off the old casing, the torn screen will loosen and you can remove it. You should be left with a window screen frame.

Install the New Screen

Unroll your new netting and use your knife to cut a section of screen slightly longer and wider than your window frame. Measure out a new section of tubing and cut this as well. Place the netting over the screen and hold the end of the rubber tubing. Very carefully push the tubing into the recessed area of the screen being sure you are securing the netting in place at the same time. Getting one corner started is the trickest part of replacing a window screen, so don’t be surprised if it takes a few attempts or an extra set of hands.

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Once you have the corner installed correctly, use the special roller to gently roll the rest of the rubber tubing into place. As you roll, be sure you’re pulling the screen taut without stretching it or causing the window screen to bow. Again, it may take a few attempts. Finally, when all the tubing is in place, trim away the excess screen and tubing. Your window screen is ready to be put back in place.

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How to Maximize Space in Your Closet

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to make the most of space in a closetClosets fill up fast. When your closet is full to bursting, but you still need more room, you need to take a step back and see about organizing your closet to maximize space. Here’s how to find more space in your current closet.

Clean Out Clothes

Start with the number one item in your closet – your clothing. Take everything off the shelves and rods and analyze each piece before you put it back. Only put items back on the shelves or rods if you wear it currently, have worn it in the last six months, or have just purchased it.

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Any clothing you’re hoping to wear again, used to wear and still have, are too big, stained, torn, pilled, or otherwise in ill repair need to go. If you have a sentimental attachment to a pair of jeans or a dress, keep them, but limit this to one or two items – not your entire junior high wardrobe. If you lose weight in a month, you can treat yourself to a new wardrobe.

If you have a legitimate reason for two separate wardrobes such as a recent baby or extreme seasonal temperatures, remove the items you don’t fit into or can’t wear now and store them in a tote in the garage or attic. You can retrieve them when the weather changes or you lose that last ten pounds.

Clean Out Shoes and Accessories

While you’re at it, sort through your shoes and other accessories, too. If you haven’t worn a pair, no matter how cute they are, give them away to a friend or donate them to someone who needs them. You can do the same with purses, bags, and other space hogs.

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Store the Bulky Stuff

If you have a wedding dress and heavy winter coat in your closet taking up half of the useable space, store them somewhere else. Perhaps stuff your coat into the hall closet, and consider hanging the wedding dress in a protective bag in the attic. Blankets, pillows and other soft items can be stored in space bags and then placed under the bed. This is also true of off season clothes.

Invest in a Closet System

Invest in a closet system if you don’t already have a system of shelves and drawers. A closet system will let you organize your things into their own spaces which helps reduce clutter and keeps all items in their most accessible location.


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How to Choose a Paint Color

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to choose a color to paint withChoosing a paint color for your walls is critical to the overall feel and design of the room. The wrong choice will be apparent quickly, but will require a great deal of patience, time and resources to repair. To avoid this, be sure to pick the right color the first time.

Paint Choice Fundamentals

Paint comes in any color, but the most common wall color is white. Unfortunately, this is the least decorative wall color for design purposes. White walls can be suitable in any home, but they will not give your room the completed feel that color would.

Matte and satin paints are best in most rooms with glossy paint suitable in kitchens and bathrooms where it helps to repel water. Paints with texture and special techniques are simple to learn and can produce a designer’s effect.

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Design a Room

When selecting a paint color, your first step is to design the room overall. What sort of room are you creating? What furniture will be in the room? What is your focus in the room – a fireplace? Wall décor? Find inspiration in magazines or websites so that you have an idea of what you would like your finished product to resemble.

Explore Color Families

Once you have a feel for your room, you can begin working in color families. Red and pink paint colors are exciting while blue paint colors are cool and soothing. Greens are comforting and yellows are invigorating. You may prefer the neutrality of browns or grays, or want something truly unique such as purple. Look at your design and find the color family that works best with your image of the final product.

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Collect Paint Chips

Your next stop is to collect paint chips or samples from a paint store. Do not select the paint inside the store without first taking the samples home to see how they look against your furnishing and other colors of the room. Gather a full range of colors in your selected color family as you may discover that you want to try a deep forest green when you had originally be considering a muted olive.

Mix and Match

Layout your paint chips in the room with the blinds open to let in the sun. Paint chips are small, but they will give you a rough idea of what you’d be working with. Hold the colors next to your pictures and furniture – do some work better than others? Narrow your choices to two or three and get a second opinion if possible.

Make the Choice

Finally, take a deep breath and select the color that appeals to you the most yet works best in the room. If you simply can’t decide between two colors, get a small can of each from the paint store and paint a section of wall to see how it dries and looks in the room. You can then determine which is best and paint over the section of color that you won’t be using.

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How To Encourage Good Grades

July 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Education & Reading / Writing

how to encourage good gradesThere is an old adage that says you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. This metaphor is applicable to may things, including your child’s grades. You can attempt to force your child to get good grades, but that will eventually backfire when your child openly rebels or begins to suffer from intimidation tactics. Rather, you should encourage your child to strive for good grades and help her develop her own motivation to do well.

There are two ways to encourage any behavior. The first is a system of external rewards, or extrinsic motivation. These external rewards can be money, gifts or simple praise and enthusiasm. The other method is internal rewards on the part of the child. These are called intrinsic, and can only be brought about by the child herself. The best motivation for good grades combines a system of both.

Positive Reinforcement:

The most important thing to remember when encouraging good grades is that you are seeking to motivate – not intimidate. Threats and negativity might produce results, but they will cost you in the long run. At the very least you will be damaging a relationship, but can also drive a wedge between you and your child affecting respect levels and communication. To be sure that you are sending the right message, reward the behavior you are seeking and avoid punishing the behaviors you’re not.

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Reward System:

Good grades should be rewarded. Even if you fully expect nothing less from your child, you should still celebrate each time she brings home a great report card. Some parents give their children money or gifts for good grades, which is a personal decision. Others, however, avoid doing this.

Rewards for bringing home good grades do not need to be large. In fact simple rewards may be more meaningful than sums of money. Lavish praise and obvious pride can go a long way toward making your child feel special. Even teenagers in the throes of rebellion still feel good knowing they’ve made their parents proud.

Communicate with your child to let them know how important their homework is and offer to check over it with them. Sit down and help your child study for tests. Quiz them. Education is important, not just the grades. Your actions and intentions will be very clear, so throw your entire being into supporting your child and her education.

Developing a Drive:

Over time, especially if you started young, your child will develop an internal drive to make good grades. Your praise and enthusiasm will rub off on her and she will begin to feel her own sense of pride for a job well done. Continue with your reward system to constantly bolster her own. Soon you will be working together toward a common goal.

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Be Reasonable:

A final note on good grades is to set reasonable expectations. If your child struggles in a subject, her best effort might only produce a C. It is important to remember that working to do her best often means working harder than those to whom the subject comes easily. Her efforts should be doubly rewarded, and you should encourage her and work with her to repair any deficiencies she may have in the subject area.

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How to Do a Short Sale

July 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Business & Finance

how to complete a short home saleA short sale, or flip, seems simple enough when you watch a television program or read of other people’s success. Flipping a home can be simple if you know what you’re doing and the real estate markets support you. But short sales can be risky at the best of times. Here’s how to do a short sale.

Find a Market

Before you even think about a home, you must first find a housing market with conditions accommodating to a short sale. Area such as California have seem home prices rise dramatically in almost all areas, especially for homes that have been updated. Rising home prices and high levels of demand are ideal for a short sale. Be sure you’ve found a neighborhood where fixing up a home will bring you profits, not be lost in the sale process if the upgrades don’t add the right balance of value to the home for the area.

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Find the Right Home

Look within your selected market for a home that is in need of updating but that doesn’t have expensive necessary repairs such as roofing or foundation work. Redoing a kitchen and updating fixtures is one thing, but repairing termite and water damage is another. Find a home that seems to be behind its neighbors. By bringing that home up to date, it should make it more valuable if the entire neighborhood is increasing in value.

Find a Cheap Home Loan

When you’re doing a short sale, you’re not interested in building equity over time. You want to mortgage the house for as little as possible for the six months to a year that you’ll be holding it. California mortgage options include interest only and short-term variable rate loans ideally suited for this purpose.

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Complete Home Upgrades

To maximize profits, you must complete repairs as quickly as possible without spending an arm and a leg. Find a good general contractor if you’re too busy or inexperienced to act as your own and keep the workers coming. The longer it takes to sell, the more profit is lost. Upgrade areas that are obviously in need of updating, but focus your attention on areas that make a substantial impact such as kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and the living areas.

Sell Your Home!

Sell the home as quickly as you can. Short sales can take as little as a few weeks or might take up to a year. The moment your house is presentable, put it back on the market. Stage it well and work on curb appeal to sell it quickly. Every month it sits, you’re losing money in mortgage payments, so be flexible in your sale price – price it to sell, not necessarily to maximize profit. Waiting three months to sell $10,000 higher might net you nothing if you paid as much in mortgage payments during that time.

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How to Insure Your Belongings

July 10, 2008 by  
Filed under Business & Finance

how to insure your belongingsIt doesn’t matter how little or how much you own. Once you’re established and on your own, you need to insure your belonging. This can be done through a single insurance company or agent or through separate companies if the price and need warrants the diversity. Here’s how to insure your belonging.

Your Home

If you own your own home, you need home insurance. This will include some natural disasters such as fire, but you may need separate insurance for flooding, wind and hail damage. Your home is your most expensive and valuable possession, it should be insured first. Home owners insurance should also include all possessions within the home, so be sure to list and photograph all items should you need to file a claim. Also be sure you have enough property insurance to cover the replacement costs of everything should something terrible happen.

Your Car

Car insurance covers you in case of an accident or theft. You can set your limits and deductible at various rates, but be sure you meet at least the minimum requirements for your state or area. Strongly consider adding uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in case you are involved in an accident with an individual without insurance. If you have a new car or one that has payments higher than the vehicle is worth, you might also consider gap insurance to cover the difference in your loan and the insured value should the car become totaled.

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Renters Insurance

If you don’t own your own home, you still need to insure your possessions. Most insurance companies offer renters insurance which insures just the property inside the apartment. Should a theft or natural disaster occur that damages your apartment and your belongings inside, the renters insurance should be enough to cover replacing those items.

Collectibles Insurance

If you collect items, especially antiques or other items of value, you should insure those collections. The same is true if you own antique cars or motorcycles, even if they aren’t driven.

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Jewelry Insurance

Jewelry over a certain value – and you determine that value – should be insured. Jewelry retailers or your traditional insurance provided can help determine the best policy to cover expensive jewelry. This same insurance can cover other expensive items such as coins, collectibles and investment grade antiques.

Item Insurance

Many items such as appliance and electronics offer an insurance policy with purchase. Determine if the policy is worth the cost of replacing or repairing the item should it break. Also be sure to consider any manufacturer warranty.

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