Thanks to its typically temperate weather, fall is the ideal time to complete a number of renovations. Here are some types of projects that are best to undertake in autumn.
1. Update the siding. Nothing boosts your home’s curb appeal like a fresh coat of paint or brand new siding.
2. Repave the driveway. A freshly paved drive¬way will stand up to the harsh winter weather that’s approaching.
3. Repair or replace the roof. Your roof protects your home against rain, snow and wind. If yours is due for a renovation, fall is the best season to complete the task.
4. Change the windows and doors. Much like your roof, your windows and doors play a big role in keeping your home comfortable and dry.
5. Remodel the kitchen. If you schedule it right, you could complete your kitchen renovation in time to do your holiday baking in the updated space.
Most of these projects will increase your home’s value. They’ll also protect your home from the elements and, in some cases, help to lower your monthly energy bills.
The best storage solutions for every room in your home
Did you finish your spring cleaning only to realize you need more storage space? Here’s a room by room look at some of the best solutions available.
Install hidden trays under your cabinets to hide chargers, coffee pods and other essentials. In addition, placing pull-out shelves in cupboards will make it easier to organize your items.
Store your cleaning supplies on a Lazy Susan to make them easy to find when you need them. Use baskets to hold things like bath towels or toilet paper.
Put a bowl on the coffee table to stylishly corral remote controls, magazines and other items. Additionally, a storage ottoman is perfect for holding throws and pillows.
Take advantage of the space under your bed by adding drawers or using under-the-bed storage boxes.
Install overhead racks near the ceiling. This allows you to incorporate storage in the garage without sacrificing parking space. Use this area to hold stuff you don’t need to access often, like seasonal decorations and sporting gear.
Workshop, office or craft room
Mount a pegboard above your work area and use it to organize your tools or supplies. By hanging things on the wall, they’ll be easier to find and you’ll free up some room.
In addition, be sure to use the vertical space in your home. Install shelves above doors, get extra tall bookcases and put hooks on the back of closet doors.
How to nail a phone interview
If you’ve recently applied for a job, it’s likely that someone will call or email you to set up a formal interview for the position. However, you should also be ready for an informal phone interview. Here’s how to navigate this type of call and ensure you meet the hiring manager in person.
A phone call can happen at any time. Research the company when you first apply and prepare a few questions to ask the recruiter during a phone interview. In addition, always keep a copy of your CV close by, keep your phone fully charged and answer calls in a professional, courteous manner.
If you’re contacted by email with a specific time for the phone interview, prepare yourself accordingly. Notably, make sure you’re in a comfortable and quiet location at the time of the call and review the details about the company and the position.
If you receive the call unexpectedly, take it if it’s a good time for you. If it isn’t, let the call go to voicemail and call back as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can answer and ask them to call you back at a more convenient time.
Be a good listener
Pay attention to the person speaking and never interrupt what they’re saying. Be sure to take notes on the conversation as they may come in handy during a formal interview, should you have one.
If you’re not sure how the phone interview went, don’t be shy to ask about the next steps in the hiring process. This will give you a good idea whether or not you’re going to have a second interview.
3 non-toxic disinfectants
Kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, and other surfaces need to be kept clean. Here are three non-toxic disinfectants that’ll kill germs without harming you or the environment.
Accelerated hydrogen peroxide
You’re probably familiar with hydrogen peroxide, a disinfectant that breaks down into water and oxygen. Accelerated hydrogen peroxide contains stabilizers and compounds that reduce surface tension, increasing both its germ-killing properties and shelf life.
Botanical disinfectants have been on the market for a while. One example is thymol, an oil extracted from thyme that’s used in a variety of household cleaners. It’s been found to have a very little environmental impact.
Silver dihydrogen citrate
The antibacterial properties of silver have been known for a long time. Silver ions combined with a citric acid solution is commonly used as a non-toxic antibacterial agent in cosmetics, but it could also serve as a household cleaner.
Keeping your home clean doesn’t need to involve potentially toxic chemicals, even when it comes to the surfaces in your bathroom and kitchen.
Coronavirus and investments: Don’t worry, be happy
The stock market dropped on the news of the coronavirus Covid-19.
Investment experts at Market Watch say ignore the headlines.
The market will go up and down during the virus crisis, but no experts think it will stay down.
Long-term investors need not worry
Those with a 401(K) or IRA are probably still doing well compared to the same time last year or even the year before. If you have some time before retirement, take a deep breath. You made a lot of money in the last three years, and you are probably still ahead.
Don’t let bad news make you sell good stocks
Headline risk. That’s what stock advisers call short-term bad news that panics some investors into selling.
Apple, for example, was selling for around $146 in 2018 but soared to more than $330 before the virus crisis. During the crisis, it dipped to around $220. But, even though in the short run, sales will be slower and the supply chains crazy, it’s still Apple. Still a great company to own.
Plus, in the meantime, as stock prices sink, buying opportunities arise. Buy the bargain. A short-term crisis offers lots of buying opportunities.
One caution from Market Watch: Don’t try to guess when the market will be lowest. No one can. Buy when the bargain seems good.
It might be time to look at your portfolio and consider rebalancing your ratio of stocks to bonds, according to Market Watch.
Top 13 eco-friendly ideas
1. Recycle as much as you can
In addition to recycling paper, glass and cardboard, be sure to drop off your no-longer-wanted electronics, batteries, ink cartridges, light bulbs, and building materials at a recycling depot or other drop-off point.
2. Rent instead of buy
Some types of equipment only get used occasionally. If you don’t need them regularly, consider renting instead of buying items like compressors, lawn aerators, pressure washers, ATVs and RVs. This will help reduce over-consumption.
3. Plan your route wisely
Reduce your carbon footprint by using public transit, carpooling, cycling, walking, using a carshare service or swapping your gas guzzler for an electric vehicle.
4. Choose certified goods
From cleaning products to clothing, food, cosmetics, and building materials, you’ll find many items on the market with easy-to-recognize environmental certifications. Look for them in stores near you.
5. Support local businesses
When you buy locally-made goods, both you and the products you purchase spend less time on the road. This means that there’s less fuel consumed and fewer greenhouse gases generated. Additionally, local products tend to require less packaging.
6. Renovate with sustainability in mind
If you’re renovating your home, consider making it more energy efficient by insulating the basement, installing Energy Star windows, switching to geothermal energy or installing a green roof. You should also consider using recycled materials if possible.
7. Reduce the amount of water you consume
Install a low-flow showerhead and toilet, repair leaky pipes, collect rainwater to water your garden, take short showers and keep water chilled in the refrigerator instead of running the tap.
8. Avoid overpackaged products
If you buy products in bulk, you’ll generate less waste. Many communities have zero-waste retailers that allow customers to fill their own bottles and bags with products such as shampoo, vegetables, dish soap, and even windshield washer fluid.
9. Upcycle broken or unused items
Find a new purpose for broken and unused things. For example, you can transform a chipped teapot into a vase, get your furniture reupholstered and drop off toys and clothing that no longer get used to charities that will redistribute them.
10. Endorse eco-friendly businesses
Many companies have taken steps to become more environmentally-friendly or have adopted programs to reduce their carbon footprint. Take the time to search for and support such businesses.
11. Save paper
When you must print documents, use recycled paper, print on both sides and reduce margins and font size to fit more on each page. To reduce paper consumption even further, be sure to sign up for electronic bills.
12. Use electricity wisely
Choose energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs, turn off the lights when you leave a room, turn down the heat at night and plug your electronics into smart power strips
13. Choose reusable products
Opt for reusable versions of disposable products when possible. Straws, sandwich bags, water bottles, sanitary napkins, and makeup removal pads all come in reusable formats that can be washed and reused repeatedly.
Composting lets you turn your kitchen scraps into fertilizer for your garden. Here’s how to do it.
• Place the compost on the ground. Either bare earth or grass works. You want worms and other beneficial organisms to get in to aerate it.
• Add green and brown compost in layers. Green compost consists of mostly table scraps, tea bags, and coffee grounds. Brown compost includes leaves, grass cuttings, newspapers and paper towels, among other things.
• Keep the compost damp. It should be the consistency of a moist sponge. If you don’t get a lot of rain in your area, sprinkle it with water periodically.
• Turn it every few weeks. This helps distribute oxygen throughout the heap, which enables the compost to decompose.
Within a few months, your compost pile will be full of nutrients and ready to incorporate into your garden.