Downsizing: How to Do It the Right Way

 

Whatever your reason for downsizing is, it is important that you know how to do it correctly. In the infographics below, we listed down the reasons why downsizing is a good idea as well as the tips on how to get started.

Graphic created by Pivotal Home Solutions

Home Security Safety Tips

It’s a sad fact that security is a priority not only in a place of work, but also around the home. There will always be opportunist thieves who will do their best to take advantage of weak spots in your security system, so it is important that you make sure you have the best possible security measures installed.

Any thief seeing a home with adequate security measures is more than likely to move on to one that is not so well protected, so here are some tips that should help you deter potential intruders.

Outdoor Lighting – security lights that switch on when movement is detected are always a useful deterrent. No burglar wants to be illuminated brightly when breaking and entering, so make sure you have lights at all your potential main entry points. If you have an integral garage, remember that this is a very likely point of entry, and often not alarmed.

Update Alarm Systems – alarms are not just helpful, but essential. You should ensure that all doors are alarmed and windows too. Windows are often a point of entry – especially if left open by mistake – so check that yours have been closed and locked before you go out. Keep alarms fully charged and switched on at all times, and if you can afford one that is linked to CCTV then do it. These are the most effective of all alarms.

Toughen Windows – if you have an older house, make sure the windows are secure enough. Some properties may still have their original windows and these can be very easy to break in through. It is always sensible to have the most secure and efficient windows installed. For anyone in the Birmingham area, there is a glass company in Pelham – Oak Mountain Glass – which can help by fitting a toughened bullet-proof film to existing windows for added protection, which is a cost-effective method if you don’t  want to replace all your glass.

Install a Safe – it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but a good safe is a sensible purchase in any home. Burglars will typically take items that they can offload for cash – jewellery, watches, laptops and phones are some examples – so it can be added protection to hide your precious items away in a safe.

Be Aware – your typical burglar will not be sophisticated. They will find the easiest way to break in and enter – often by simply kicking in a door that is out of sight – and be in and out very quickly. Be aware of the security on your main points of entry, have them checked by local security experts, and take all the advice you can.

These are just a few of the safety tips that we came up with during our research, and we are sure there are many further ways of enhancing the security of your home. Have a good look around, put those valuable items out of sight, and if you see anything suspicious near your property, get in touch with the police right away.

Use Your Gutters to Harvest Fresh Rainwater

Do you have the guttering on your property cleaned regularly? Perhaps you hire professional gutter cleaners to carry out this task. If you do and they are working properly, all the water that falls onto your roof will be redirected safely away from your home. However, have you ever given much thought as to how you could make use of all that rainwater? If you have, you’ve come to the right place. In the following post we are going to discuss how you can harvest rainwater to use it for everything from cleaning to irrigation and landscaping.

What is Rainwater Harvesting and How is it Done?

Rainwater harvesting is name given to the process of collecting and storing water for various practical purposes around the home, as outlined at the outset. Most setups are simple and feature either a cistern or a large barrel connected directly to the guttering at the downspouts so that the rain is collected as it runs off your roof.

There are some people who make use of rainwater they have harvested as an alternative and cost-effective source of a fresh water supply. Furthermore, there are some people who simply like to collect and store water for emergency situations such as the drier months of the year and when there’s droughts. Rainwater harvesting can be particularly useful in areas with hosepipe and watering bans in place.

Different Options for Storing Water

As noted, cisterns and tanks tend to be the storage option of choice for rainwater harvesters as they can be positioned on the ground in a way that means you can use the water without the need for a pump. There are several underground systems, that may suit you if you don’t want a water tank ruining the aesthetics of your property’s exterior or simply, if you live somewhere that suffers from below freezing temperatures.

Rather than storing the water, some property owners have a system in place that directs the water flowing from the gutters into a water feature in their garden or yard. Although this means that they can’t really use the water for irrigation or cleaning purposes, it does mean that their ponds or fountains will always have enough water.

May Involve Making Changes to Your Gutters

As you can probably guess, if you are interested in having a system in place to harvest rainwater means that you may have to make some changes to your current guttering system. In most cases, at the very least, you’d need to attach the collection point for the water to a downspout. This may involve removing a section of it or removing it completely or even installing a more flexible one in its place. Ideally, whatever you do, you’ll want to ensure that none of the water is lost and can be put to good use.

Rather than trying to tinker with your guttering by yourself and causing costly problems, it could be worth hiring either a professional tradesman or gutter expert to help you.

Calculate the Costs of Retiring the Way You Want

How much does it cost to live the kind of retirement lifestyle you’re planning? Retirement planning when you’re still working can look a lot different than retirement planning as you become an older senior with changing needs.

There are several lifestyles you may want to consider as you become an older senior. One of the most important factors to consider as you evaluate your options and calculate your costs is the level of care you need now and that you will need in the future.

Staying at Home

Staying at home is a popular option among many seniors, but it can also prove to be an expensive one. There are several costs to consider if you want to stay at home:

  • Upkeep such as necessary repairs, as well as lawn care and snow removal
  • ● Senior-friendly renovations that use universal design, such as non-slip flooring, walk-in tubs, lever door handles, and step-free entrances
  • Costs of home care if you need assisted living or nursing care

Depending on your financial situation, you may also have to keep up with mortgage or rent payments.

Downsizing

Downsizing is a smart strategy for many seniors who no longer need to live in a large home. By moving from a large home into a condo or apartment, you can also minimize the necessary renovations by living somewhere with stairs.

Downsizing can also help you cover the ongoing costs of your later retirement. This sheet can help you calculate the proceeds of selling a home and how it can fund your later retirement and any care you might need.

Retirement Residences

An alternative way of downsizing is moving into a retirement residence or community. Rather than handle the upkeep, costs, and responsibilities of your own smaller condo or apartment, you could move into a suite in a retirement community where you won’t have to worry about housekeeping or cooking for yourself.

Retirement residences can also offer flexible care. As you age, your needs change. A progressive illness such as Alzheimer’s will also mean that your care needs can evolve rapidly. A retirement residence is one of the easiest ways to get care that matches changing requirements without having to move again.

Care costs are often the most expensive part of your later retirement. Use resources online to compare the costs of assisted living with more intensive care such as memory care.

Assisted living in retirement residences such as All Seniors Care Living Centres can assist you with many of the Activities of Daily Living. These are activities that some older seniors may struggle with due to disability or mobility issues. They include bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, and transferring. The most common issues among retirement community residents are bathing and dressing.

If you’re going to have an evolving need for care, find a long term care facility near you and ask how they can meet your unique needs.

From assisted living to memory care, a retirement residence can often provide superior care more affordably and give your family more peace of mind. Consider all your options for the later part of your retirement.

Buying a Remote Home: What You Need to Know

While some people are completely unable to cope without the advantages of the big city, there are others who dream of living far away from the hustle and bustle. Increasingly, more people than ever are looking at the benefits of a more remote existence, and the increase in connectivity afforded by the internet means that losing out on some of the big city benefits is largely minimized. From lower costs to making sure that you have adequate supplies, here’s everything that you need to know if you dream of living far away from the frantic demands of chaotic city living.

Lower Costs

Not only will your rental costs be lower the further away from the city you get, your cost of living will drop as well. Paying to live in a metropolis is very expensive, and even local amenities can charge more. You can spend less per month if you live more remotely, and you can use that money to improve your quality of life in a variety of ways. When looking at potential properties that appeal to you, make sure that you get some professional advice. Remember to Compare Conveyancing Quotes to ensure that you know exactly what your overall costs are going to be, and you could end up with a much better home than you ever imagined.

More Space

If there’s one thing that most people miss when they live in a city, it’s space. If you live somewhere more remote, not only will you be paying less rent, you’ll be getting more space for your money as well. How you use that space is up to you, but more people are turning their hand to growing their own food, and you could be lowering your food bill more than you think by doing the same. Growing your own food also means that you will have to rely less on long trips to get supplies, so it might be worth putting the work in to save travel costs.

Connection Effort

One of the biggest problems with any move is making sure that you remain connected to people. While conversations over social media or email are useful for keeping in touch, there’s nothing quite like meeting up in person. One of the potential issues that you face if you move somewhere more remote is that making arrangements to meet up can be very complicated. Travel itself may even become an issue, with airports and public transport links much harder to get to.

Better Quality of Life

You might not have a Starbucks within easy reach, but there are some great advantages to living far away from the city centre. These include:

  • More privacy – You can’t take a step in a city without bumping into someone. Live remotely, and you may not see another human being for days or even weeks.
  • Better mental health – Research has shown that being in the great outdoors is very beneficial for boosting mental health.
  • Clean air – Cars and buses do not make the air very pleasant in a city. Being distanced from all of that traffic will work wonders on your health, and you will breathe much easier as a result.
  • Lower crime rates – Cities can be dangerous, and almost everyone who lives in one has been the victim of a crime of some kind. Fewer people means less crime, and rural crime rates are much lower than those of a big city.

It may not be for everyone, but living in a more remote location has many benefits. There are downsides, so if you’re considering a move, make sure that those downsides are not going to be ones that overly affect you. Take your time to find the perfect remote home, and you might wonder why you ever tolerated the fast and stressful pace of city living.

Choosing an Original Wedding Gift

Wedding gifts tend to follow a set trend, and it can get very repetitive. Even if you try to find an original gift you are going to come across some that are simply not original at all: photo frames, for example, come up time and time again and are, well, boring! What can you do if you want to buy someone a truly original wedding gift? Let’s have a look at a few ideas!

Fun Gift Ideas

If you are buying for a couple with a good sense of humour, why not get them something that is fun and frivolous? After all, you can leave the practical things to others, and indulge in a bit of fun! There are some great gift ideas out there that take the photograph idea, that we mentioned above, and make it something very different. His and Hers pillows, for example, with their portrait on, or a chair cover or cushions in similar. Or what about personalised cups or mugs for a cheap and cheerful laugh? All of this can be done on a budget and makes for a great gift idea.

Delicious Gift Ideas

Food is always a welcome gift, but why not take it a step further and get the lucky couple a gift voucher for their favourite restaurant or bar? You could even add a round of drinks to make it more enjoyable! If you want, you could even make it personal, and actually take them out for dinner somewhere nice. There are many different ideas about meals, and some come with some sensible discounts and additional features, so shop around locally for the best options.

Wonderful Gift Baskets

One of the best wedding gifts ideas we came across was that of gift baskets, and the sheer choice of options is quite brilliant. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and with many different ingredients and components, and make for an excellent, original gift at what can only be described as a sensible price. There is bound to be something to make every couple smile among these, so check them out carefully for the best deals.

A Day Out

Why not expand the meal idea, and take your friends on a fun and exciting day out as a wedding gift? Do something different that you will all enjoy – perhaps take them to an amusement park, or a concert or show – and have a day together that you will all remember? Once again, this is an idea that brings to the table so many options and adds something special to your memories, and there are some really great deals out there if you take a look around.

The above are just a few of the great ideas we found for original wedding gifts, and there are many more possibilities that you could choose. Why not have a look around for more gift ideas, and see if you can come up with some original ideas of your own?

Why Kids Still Love Swing Sets

 

 

If you are thinking this is the summer you will install a backyard jungle gym, you may be wondering what the best parts are to include and which accessories and additions you should have as part of the ensemble.  From slides to play houses to monkey bars and climbing walls, one thing is for certain: you definitely need a swing set. More than just a part of the playground equipment, or an added component to the jungle gym, there are a lot of compelling reasons why kids still love swing sets:

  • Swings are fun and exhilarating!
  • Swinging helps kids calm downand relax.
  • Time spent outdoors on the swings helps children sleep better.
  • Swings are a great place to play with other kids or family members.

Knowing how much they love them, you will definitely need to ensure it is part of the plan when you install a backyard jungle gym. In addition to thinking about what the parts are of the gym you are going to install however, don’t forget these other important considerations for jungle gym installation:

Consider Space and Cover

The first step in choosing your Funscapes jungle gym is to consider how much space you have to work with and whether you are going to install special ground cover or simply build the set on your pre-existing lawn. Ground cover options are available to reduce impact and injury should your child fall off of the jungle gym, but are an added expense and require adequate space.  There are lots of jungle gym combinations, no matter what amount of space you have, so do some planning and then talk to Funscapes about your options.

Account for Growing Kids

Installing a backyard jungle gym with Funscapes is going to be an investment in the future of your family and your children, allowing for many years ahead of outdoor family time and great memories on the swing set and slide.  But don’t forget that your kids will grow – both in size and maturity – and you want them to be able to use the jungle gym for many years to come.  Consider this when you are choosing what components to add to your jungle gym, the height of slides and houses, as well as the type of swing sets you select.

Remember Safety

While it is a top priority for the installation staff at Funscapes, it is also partly the responsibility of you, the owner, to keep safety in mind at all times when you and your family are installing and using a backyard jungle gym.  While the ground cover, as mentioned above, will help soften the landing for any unwanted falls, keeping your jungle gym in top condition is also critical. Always check to make sure safety guards such as handrails, gates, and step ladders are properly secured and functioning, and call us up if there are any problems.

There are many reasons kids still love swing sets, not to mention many opportunities for you to easily install them in the backyard for your kids to use.  With all of this in mind, get started on your plans today by contacting Funscapes to learn about the best jungle gym options for you and your family.

Terrific Ideas For When You Want To Revamp Your Small Patio

 

Smaller outdoor spaces can make your life difficult, especially if you want to redecorate — when you grab a table or desk that’s too large, you risk taking up half of the patio. If you want to know how to make your outdoor space feel absolutely breezy regardless of its actual size, try these savvy design tricks.

Sliding Windows And Doors

Hinged doors and windows can knock into your furniture, scrape against surfaces and take up too much precious space, so look for convenient styles like sliding patio doors and slider windows, which glide easily along set tracks. You can get these handy back entrance designs from a seasoned company like Golden Windows, which has been manufacturing, distributing and installing first-rate Kitchener windows and doors for more than fifty years. If you already have old versions of these elements, this company can make sure to give you tremendous upgrades — they can help you replace those old slider windows and sliding patio doors so that you don’t have to deal with unwanted drafts getting into your home and raising your monthly hydro bills. Their Kitchener windows and doors are all crafted with expert care and high-quality materials, so they are known for being functional and energy-efficient.

Vertical Gardens

Not every home is equipped with a grassy lawn or garden plot in the backyard, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be gorgeous plant-life on the patio. When you’re worried about taking up any more floor-space than you need to, you can make a vertical garden with your plants — this means that you can either arrange your pots along the wall or hang them from the ceiling to conserve room. Upcycle an old ladder, dresser or wood pallet to make a standing garden with potted ferns and flowers. If you want to take a more delicate approach, dangle terrariums in glass orbs or light bulbs from the ceiling.

Strategic Furniture Choices

One of the most useful tips for decorating a small patio is choosing furniture pieces that are incredibly convenient — pick items that can provide more than one purpose or that can be easily tucked away. If you are going to have a bulky bench taking up room on the patio, get one with a hollowed out top so you can store items like cushions and pillows inside. If you are going to put out a set of chairs for guests, pick ones that are foldable and that can be set aside when they are not needed. You may be the type of person that wants to start grilling food the moment that the weather is nice, so another one of the features that will maximize a small space outdoors is a fold-out barbeque.

You don’t have to have a gigantic lawn or an extravagant garden to feel like you have ample outdoor space. When you follow these three suggestions, you will be convinced that you have added metres to your entire property.

Removing Trees is a Job for the Experts

When you stop to give it a little thought, trees are amazing plants. Some can grow to quite amazing heights, and there are so many different varieties that you are never short of choice when it comes to planting trees in your garden. Some trees grow surprisingly fast, too, and can reach a great height very quickly; others are slow-growing, and may not seem to be doing much at all for a while!

There are considerations you need to think about when you choose to plant trees: the first is that some species have extensive root systems. This means the roots can stretch a long way underground and, if there are buildings nearby, it is not unusual for this to result in structural damage. Also, tall mature trees provide a heavy canopy of leaves, which cast a shadow over the ground beneath and this can stem the growth of any plants that may be there, or it can cause your home to be permanently in the shade.

Expert Tree Removal

If you live in a house that has mature trees in the garden you may already have experienced the above mentioned problems. This is when you need to consider not just chopping back the trees, but removing them completely. It may seem like drastic action, but trees are living things and, no matter how much you cut them back, they will grow again. So, having them cut back regularly is expenditure you can do without.

You might need a tree removing for other reasons: it could be that it is not what you want in your garden – some species are poisonous to animals, after all – or you may need trees taking out to make way for construction work. It could be that a previous owner has removed trees but left the stumps, and these are very difficult to get rid of unless you enlist the help of expert tree removal in Lansing to do the job.

Being local, they can help you with everything you need and also keep the costs to a sensible level, and will take on even the most difficult stump removal as well as attending to pruning and trimming if you require.

Avoid the Dangers

It is strongly advised you do not try and remove trees – or stumps, for that matter – yourself. There are inherent dangers, and cutting down a mature tree requires very careful planning, as well as specialist tools and knowledge of the correct techniques. Even the slightest mistake can result in injury and damage to surrounding properties, so you should leave it to the experts every time.

If you want to carry out your own pruning you can give it a go, but will you have the time to do it as and when it is needed? Expert tree pruning can cost you surprisingly little, and will keep on top of any problems that may occur in the future. Get in touch now for a free, no-obligation quote for all your tree removal and management requirements.

Keep Your Roof in Top Order

There’s something about coming home to a fresh and new home that makes you happy. It’s the simple fact that everything is in order, looks good and feels right, and you know it’s going to stay that way for a while! It’s the same when you give a room a new coat of paint – you walk in and feel much happier than you would one that is tatty and tired. The problem with the outside of the house is that it has to stand up to the weather; that means being battered by wind, rain and more – and then there’s the damage the sun can do to wood and other external fittings.

It’s not just looking good that you need to keep an eye on; the simple fact is much of the exterior construction of a house is there for protection. The wooden siding on your building, for example, is there for protective as well as decorative reasons. The windows are there not only to let light in, but to keep the elements out. And, perhaps the most important part of the house is the roof, which is susceptible to a great deal of wear and tear during its lifetime.

Roofing Experts

It goes without saying that a new roof – or even repairs to an existing one – is not something for the DIY lover to tackle; it needs to be done by experts with full knowledge of the requirements, and who can look closely at what is needed in terms of the type of roof, the materials involved and the extent of the repairs and replacement.

For those in the vicinity, a reputable roofing company in Lansing is therefore a requirement, and they will be able to help you get your roof back to full working order at the very best price available. They will have their team attend your property and check for the necessary repairs and replacements, and make sure that everything is done to the best possible level of quality.

A roof, after all, needs to protect against the weather – but it also needs to look the part, as you want your home to be attractive not only to you, but also to potential buyers should you choose to sell further down the line.

Full Service

The service provided by your roofing contractor will not stop at merely fitting or repairing your roof. They will consider all the ventilation you need, the insulation required and more, and will also carry out a full inspection prior to commencing the job, and provide you with a free, no-obligation quote for the work required.

You can choose from a variety of different shingles – they will of course recommend the best ones for your home – so that you can get the finish you want, and you will have a roof that looks as good as new for a very reasonable price. Check out your local roofing experts now, and make sure that you have a roof that looks the part and does the job.