Seven Tips to Keep your Kitchen Sanitary

Being sanitary is on everyone’s mind with the risks of COVID-19. Your kitchen is a great place to start when it comes to being clean. Here are seven tips on how to be clean and sanitary in your kitchen:

1– FAUCETS
Touchless faucets function without having to turn a knob is definitely the way to go. These type of devices allow you to wave your hands under the nozzle to start water flow. Motion-sensitive, touchless faucets come in a variety of styles.

2–GARBAGE BINS
Consider an enclosed garbage bin to be sanitary. Many people opt for a pull-out cabinet with the garbage bin hidden inside. This will lessen the amount of germs roaming in your kitchen. (If your kitchen space does not have room for this type of storage, use a step-on container that allows you to open it without using your hands.)

3–SANITARY MATERIALS FOR YOUR KITCHEN
If you are updating your kitchen, think about using materials that are easy to clean. Stainless-steel appliances will not stain from food or drink spills. They are also easy to clean since they are a smooth surface. A tiled backsplash is easy to clean and maintain. Granite and quartz counters are also quite easy to clean. Most household cleaners are safe to use. Marble counters require soap and water for cleaning followed an alcohol-based disinfectant. A wood counter is more of a challenge. Use a hydrogen-peroxide based cleaner to kill germs without damaging the wood. Leave the solution on the wood and then wipe with a damp cloth and use a dry cloth to dry.

4–SPONGES
If you use sponges, keep many on hand and sanitize or replace them often. Wet sponges (or towels) are magnets for germs. (Place sponges in a microwave for 2.5 minutes to decontaminate.)

5–CUTTING BOARDS
Keep separate cutting boards for meat and others for fruit and vegetables. This will eliminate cross-contamination of germs. Sanitize often. Store separately.

6–DISINFECT SURFACES
Counters, islands, floors, sinks, stove, microwave, refrigerator, drawer pulls – these are many places for germs to lurk in a kitchen. Have a consistent cleaning routine to kill germs. Using a wet paper towel on a surface is good for cleaning only – it is not the same as sanitizing to get rid of germs. Once your countertop is sanitized, dry it with a clean cloth or paper towel.

7–USE THE DISHWASHER
The dishwasher is a great appliance to use to clean and sanitize utensils, cups, plates and other items. If you do not have a dishwasher, you will need to use soapy water and a sanitizing solution.

Need help in installing a new feature in your kitchen? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can connect you to many professional, vetted service vendors.

Painting Tips and Types of Paint Finishes for Your Home

Is the paint on the walls in your home looking a little worse for wear? If rooms in your home need to be refreshed with a new coat of paint, here are some tips to read before picking up that paint brush:

GENERAL PAINTING TIPS

  1. Wait for dry weather when it is not as humid. Humidity can affect how paints adheres.
  2. Remove light switches and outlet covers. 
  3. Clean walls and trim areas. Dirty and oily surfaces will easily chip and peel.
  4. Use drop clothes. Cotton or canvas drop clothes are preferable over plastic ones. Canvas clothes stay in place. Plastic tends to be slippery and will not stay in place. (Be careful with canvas on wood floors – they can slide.)
  5. Repair and prime before painting. After patching holes or imperfections in a wall, you need to prime that wall to avoid having a bumpy texture. The primer will also eliminate something called “flashing” which is a color difference between a wall and a patched area. Lastly, priming does not allow the paint to sink in and look dull.
  6. It is a best practice to paint the trim areas first, then the ceiling and walls. It’s easier to tape off the trim areas rather than walls.
  7. Use painter’s tape and tape off areas that you do not want painted. Once your paint is completely dry, you can easily pull it off the trim or parts of the walls. Use a utility knife to slice through the film formed between the wall and the tape. Pull the tape back at a 45-degree angle.
  8. Have good equipment and quality paint. You will be happier with your results.
  9. To avoid stripe marks when painting, you need to have even layers of paint that has not dried. Keep a “wet edge” so each stroke overlaps the previous stroke before that paint dries. When painting, roll the full height of the wall and move over slightly with each stroke. Keep the roller at least half loaded with paint.
  10. Wear old clothes when painting – splatters happen!

PAINT FINISHES
Different paint finishes are good for different purposes. Here is a guide to help you select the correct type of paint for your home project:

High Gloss – Durable and easy to clean, this is a great type of paint for trim, doors and cabinets. This is not a great choice for interior walls. Be sure to prep well as this finish shows every flaw.  This is a very durable type of paint.

Semi Gloss – This is a perfect type of paint for kitchens, baths, chair rails and trim because it is durable.

Satin – This type of paint is easy to clean and is good for high-traffic areas such as family rooms, foyers and kids’ bedrooms. It is a durable paint.

Eggshell – This is a no-shine paint finish that is akin in luster to a chicken’s egg. This type of paint is best for walls that are not perfect. It is good in rooms that will be not be scuffed such as the dining or living room. It has a medium durability.

Flat (Matte) – Flat or matte paint hides flaws in walls since it does not reflect light. This type of paint is difficult to clean without removing paint off the wall. This is best used in adult bedrooms or rooms that will not have walls touched. It has medium-low durability.

Need help with your paint job? Sibcy Cline Home Services can recommend a painter to help you with your job!

Your House Is Ready to Sell – But How about the Landscaping?

Curb appeal helps to make a strong, first impression when selling your home.  The “outside property” is an extension of your home and is a signal for what the interior of your home is going to look like. If you are thinking about selling, make sure your home’s landscaping looks fresh and inviting. Here are 10 tips to help make your landscaping look its best:

Mulch
Freshly applied mulch in garden beds does wonders for a yard. This is an economic and instant way to spruce up your landscaping to appeal to home buyers.

Plant Annuals
Annual flowers create instant color in the landscaping. Several flats of flowers are not expensive and you can either have a monochromatic look with similarly hued flowers or add splashes of several colors. You don’t need to go overboard with the flowers – just enough to add color and interest.

Perennials
If you have perennial plants, make sure they look as good as they should. If there is an overgrowth of plants, consider removing some (and then placing them in a decorative pot.) Remove dead and dying plants.

Outdoor Containers
Outdoor containers can add drama to the entryway of your home. You can make up your own containers or purchase them pre-planted. If you already own decorative containers, make sure they are clean and in good shape.

Lawn
The lawn needs to be in good shape when selling. Mowing will be a priority as overgrown grass will detract from your home’s appeal. Edging the lawn is an extra effort, but will make it look very tidy. Remember, a healthy, nurtured lawn is big plus to home buyers.

Clean Up
Be sure to clean up any leaves, weeds, twigs and overgrowth. Shrubs should be pruned and trim. Overgrowth is considered to be a sign of neglect. Trash cans and garden tools should be placed in an organized fashion. Stow outside toys neatly away.

Hardscaping
Stepping stones, gravel and other types of path liners add elegance and will give your yard character and depth.

Driveway/Walkways
Inspect your driveway to see if it needs to be patched. Be sure to power wash the drive and walkways.

Lighting
Outdoor lighting adds drama at dusk. You can purchase LED battery-operated lights that do not cost a fortune. These lights will add “magic” to your home.

Backyard
Clean the grill (or least have a clean cover over it.) Tidy up the fire pit and any water features. Patio furniture including the cushions should be in good condition. Consider “staging” outside furniture for even more appeal. If you have a deck, make sure it is in good shape and power washed. And finally, the garage door should be in good condition and clean.

Need help with your landscaping activities? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can put you in touch with vetted professionals.

Ideas for Summer DIY Jobs Around the House

Landcaping.jpgNow that summer is here, you can put the finishing touches on your home and yard with some DIY projects. 

Repairs from Winter and Spring
One of the first things you might want to do is look at what may have changed about your property during winter and spring. A careful inspection will determine whether there are any cracks in your home’s siding, dead spots on the lawn or clogged gutters. This is a good jumping-off point to start work (and perhaps save some of the more aspirational “nice-to-have” changes for later in the summer).

Save Money with Electric Bills
For homeowners who are worried about the cost of electricity for keeping their home nice and cool all summer long, think about DIY projects that increase efficiency. For instance, resealing doors and windows, or adding new insulation for older homes is something that can end up being worth the investment of time and money. You might be surprised to learn how much cooled air – and, in colder months, heated air – seeps out through even the smallest cracks. Some home improvement experts estimate that there are enough bad seals in a home to be equivalent to leaving a window open 24/7 all year long.

Ceiling fan

Basic indoor tasks to keep costs down might include installing ceiling fans that can spin in both directions. These simple devices can help to raise or lower a room’s temperature by as much as 10 degrees and use far less energy than air conditioners.

Outdoor DIY Ideas
Pressure wash the outside areas of your home (driveway, siding, patio, deck, etc.) This is a quick way to create instant improvement by removing dirt, mud, mildew and mold.

Gutter cleaning and repairs will protect your foundation and siding. Be sure to check for cracks and leaks.

Summer is also a great time to touch up paint on the exterior of your home as well as work on any deck maintenance that needs attention.

And, of course, landscaping DIY projects are perfect for summer.  Manage your lawn, trees, shrubs and flowers. Keep up with weed removal and be sure to water.

If DIY is not your thing, remember Sibcy Cline Home Services can recommend many home-related service vendors to you.

 

Five Curb-Appeal Ideas to Consider When Selling Your Home

SmallHouse_GreenLandscaping.jpg
Curb appeal plays an important role in luring potential buyers to want to see what’s inside the home for sale, too.

An alluring walkway, an array of colorful flowers, an inviting nighttime glow and other visually pleasing characteristics can draw more people, and subsequently increase competition for the property and raise its overall value.

Here are a few of the curb-appeal projects buyers will be drawn to:

1 – Stick with Sustainability
Sustainability is popular among homeowners and buyers. Luckily it isn’t difficult to boost curb appeal in a sustainable way. One perpetually popular curb appeal project is a well-lit walkway. When potential buyers drive by the property at night they will be enamored with all of the lights. Solar-powered path lights can kick up your curb appeal in this sustainable and affordable way. Look here  and here for ideas.

Additionally, home sellers may want to try using sustainable materials. Walkways made of reclaimed stone or siding composed of recycled materials will appeal to buyers with sustainability on the mind. (See more about stone walk ways with tip #4.)

2 – Enhance the Front Door
Make your front door a statement piece and focus! Paint it to stand out. Replace door fixtures and hardware. Perhaps consider adding wood moldings around the door. Look for ideas here and here.

3 – Instant Garden
Container gardens add color and are appealing. Place them in a staggered,  asymmetric arrangement. Find ideas here and here.

4 – Buyers Love Low Maintenance
A front yard should look lovely, but require little work. This means choosing flowers and other plants that are hardy enough to survive with minimal attention; and products that rarely, if ever, need repairs or touch ups. From gutters to gardens, there should be minimal upkeep required. Yards that look like they need to be completely renovated are more likely to turn potential buyers off before they ever step foot inside the house.

5 – Steal the Hearts of Buyers with Stone and Brick
Natural stone and brick have an affluent appearance that can improve the value of a home. Homeowners can mix the two together for a unique and attractive combination. Look for ideas here and here.

Need assistance with your curb appeal? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can recommend a service vendor to meet your needs.

Nine Ideas to Add Curb Appeal to Your Home

American craftsman house exterior. View of entry door and porchHomes with curb appeal draw in buyers and make them want to see what is inside. Here are nine tips to make your home’s curb appeal irresistible to them:

1 – Lots of Mulch
During warmer months, mulch makes garden beds look pleasing. Heavy mulching looks even better.

2 – Add Trim
Add more trim to windows and doors. Trim elevates something very basic and makes the home more special. Consider adding trim around your front door to make a grand entrance. Depending upon your home style, you may also want to add shutters to windows as a decorative element.

3 – Add Color
During warmer months, be sure to have a splash of color in your year. Seasonal flowers will look wonderful. Think about adding a colorful bench or chair on the front porch.

4 – Mailbox
Upscale your mailbox, house numbers or address plaque.

5 – Camouflage an Eyesore
If you have a large electrical box, piping or wires, paint them the same color as your home and they will be less noticeable. Add a small fence around your air conditioner or garbage area.

6 – Window Boxes
A window box filled with flowers can transform a so-so window into a showstopper.

7 – Create a Walkway
A simple stone pathway adds character to your yard.

8 – Update the Garage
It you have a plain garage door, consider purchasing ahardware kit to make your doors look like carriage-style garage doors.

9 – Lighting
Landscape lighting sets an ambiance for your yard in the evening.

Need assistance with your home curb appeal project? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services for recommendations of vetted professionals.

Look for homes for sale here.

 

 

Six DIY Home Projects for Spring

With the spring season here, it’s a great time to accomplish a few quick and easy indoor DIY jobs inside the home. Here are six improvement ideas to work on right now:

1 – Air Filters
Swapping out air filters on your heating and air system (as well as clearing debris built up around a central air unit outdoors) are easy tasks to undertake without much trouble.

2 – De-Clutter From Winter
When it comes to more cosmetic features for your home, it’s a good idea to start in rooms where clutter has built up over the course of winter. Stow all coats, mittens, boots and hats out of the way. The same goes for the snow shovels and sleds.

3 – Paint
Another DIY project is to repaint a wall or two. Fresh paint can make a room look like new and costs very little to do. Remember you’ll need to keep a window open for ventilation.

4 – Kitchen Touch Ups
If you feel more adventurous, consider installing a new backsplash in your kitchen or swap out the hardware on cabinets.

5 – Bathroom Ideas
Bathroom storage can be made even better with new shelving. If your bathroom fixtures have seen better days, consider installing new ones. Re-grout the tile in your bath for a fresh look. A new bath mat is an easy way to spruce up the floor.

6 – Insulate
Adding insulation to your home not only will help lower utility bills, but will also help to make your home more comfortable. Don’t forget to seal windows and doors with caulk or weatherstripping. And, if you haven’t done so already, consider installing a programmable thermostat.

___________________________________

Need more inspiration? This Old House has 100 DIY Upgrades for under $100!

And if DIY is not in the books for you, contact Sibcy Cline Home Services for recommendations of service vendors who can help with your spring home projects.

Brought to you by Cinch Home Services, an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  

 

Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Home

cleaningSpending time at home, you may be inspired to tackle spring cleaning. Here are some useful tips to make this job less painful and complete in a short amount of time:

Top To Bottom
When cleaning, work top to bottom from the ceiling down. This forces dirt and debris downward so you do not need to re-dust. Remove cobwebs from ceiling corners and fans. Then dust furniture. Finally, clean the floors.

Room By Room
Tackle cleaning room by room. You will feel more of a sense of accomplishment when you do so.

Kitchen 
One of the biggest areas for spring cleaning is the kitchen. Cleaning a refrigerator both inside and out doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process as long as you plan ahead. Slowly remove items as they’re used – without replacing them – so that there’s less clutter to take out. Once your fridge is decluttered it will be a lot easier to remove all of the shelves and drawers and give them a good scrub without having to spend a lot of time removing and replacing food and drink items.

Clean out the microwave oven. It tends to gather dirt. In a bowl, combine a cup of water, cup of vinegar and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Place the bowl in the microwave for two minutes on the high setting. Follow up by wiping the interior with a soft, damp cloth.

Wipe down kitchen cabinets. Be sure to take a look at your pantry and toss old items. Have a junk drawer? Be ruthless about organizing it.

Clean your trash receptacle and pay attention to lid hinges. De-crumb the toaster.

Bathroom 
The bathroom is another area that requires a deeper clean over a given time. For showers with grout, it may be wise to first rub the affected areas with a high-grit sandpaper to clear off the top layer, and then carefully apply bleach to those stained areas to ensure there’s no leftover mildew. Once this is done, allow some time to dry and then apply sealant.

For faucets and shower heads covered in soap scum, scrubbing with balled-up aluminum foil will clear off debris with ease, without scratching the metal.

Change out the shower curtain or wash your fabric and plastic liners in a gentle cycle. Organize the cosmetics drawer and medicine cabinet.

Unexpected Places To Clean
Spring cleaning isn’t just about getting at the “problem areas.” You need to address less-considered parts of your home as well. For instance, countertops and cabinets can get a little dirtier than people might expect and cleaning them off with a high-power cleaning product, then sealing them, can help them stay much cleaner for years to come.

Here is a tip on cleaning windows: clean them on a cloudy day. Sunlight won’t dry out cleaners when applied, making the wipe-down more effective.

Winter Clothing
Now is the time to clean and store all winter items. Pack up gloves, hats and scarves. Coats should be stowed. If you do not have room in your closet for winter sweaters and other heavier clothing, now is the time to pack them away. If you have clothing you did not wear this year, consider donating their items.

Need help with your spring cleaning efforts? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can put you in touch with local vendors to help get your home clean top to bottom.

Brought to you by Cinch Home Services, an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  

Eight Tips to Help Declutter Your Home

Declutter your home

When spending time at home you may realize how badly it needs decluttering. Having things crammed into every corner is not an appealing way to live. (And, if you are planning on selling your home in the near future, a thorough cleaning and decluttering is a must.) Here are eight tips to make the decluttering process more bearable:

1–Paperwork
Paper here, paper there, paper everywhere. A few pieces of paper turns into piles and piles. Cleaning out paper is a page-by-page task. Have a discard pile for recycling and be sure to shred anything with sensitive info. If you have papers to keep, place them in a more organized order with a labeled filing system. Or, consider scanning important documents and keeping only digital copies.

2–Home Records
How organized are your home records? Have a binder that has your improvement records and receipts. Store warranties in those binders, too. (When it comes time to sell your home, you will have all of your documents at your fingertips.)

3–Closets
When you open the closet does something jump out? If so, it’s time to tackle one closet at a time. Be ruthless. If you have not used an item in a year, do you really need it? Why are you holding onto those 1990s clothes? Remember, even if they come back into style, color and sizes change. Be sure to donate clothing that is in good shape to a place like Good Will or another organization. Remember, less is more.

4–Pantry
Cans from the year 2010 are not a good thing. Check expiration dates and discard old items. While you’re at it, think about attacking the freezer for old items.

5–Basement and Garage
If your basement and garage are dumping sites, you made need to plan some time sorting through items. If these things are in your basement or garage and you are not using them, why are you keeping them?

6–One Room at a Time
Don’t let the clutter overwhelm you. Tackle one room at a time. Start with the messiest room first. You will have a feeling of accomplishment when that room is done.

7–Why Are You Holding onto Something?
Things can be functional and sentimental. If you are keeping something you do not regularly use, ask yourself why you need to have it.

8–Sell Items
You may be getting rid of household items that someone else might cherish. Consider selling unwanted things with Ebay or Facebook Marketplace. You will get rid of the clutter and make some money at the same time!

The Result?
By clearing out clutter now, you will enjoy your home all the more and it will be easier to maintain and clean. And, when it’s time to sell, your home will not only look more appealing to home buyers, but you will have less stuff to haul to your new home.

Need help with organizing your home? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can recommend professional vetted vendors to you.

 

 

At Home? Read about these Affordable Home Improvement Ideas

PaintWhile spending time in your home, now may be the time to think about making home improvements. (And, this does not always mean breaking the bank!) Here are 10 cost-conscious ideas to make your home an even better place to live:

1 – Tile Backsplash
A backsplash in a kitchen or bath makes that room look more sophisticated. This project can be either DIY or hire a professional if you do not feel confident. Select tile that ties in the cabinets, counters and wall color. Learn more about backsplash options here.

2 – Paint
Paint is a very economic way to update your home. Consider painting one wall in a room with an accent color to add drama and a focal point. Or, paint the entire room with a fresh, neutral color. Light tan, grey and white are popular colors now.

3 – Trees
Trees look attractive in landscaping and can reduce your cooling costs in warmer months.

4 – Bathroom Sink
Replace your old bathroom sink and make your bath look more modern.

5 – More Bathroom Updates
Consider replacing the toilet seat or re-grouting tile.

6 – Kitchen Faucet Set and Cabinet Door Handles
Replace the faucet set with a more up-to-date version. Kitchen cabinets will look fresh with new handles.

7 – Replace Appliance Facades
Some kitchen appliances have facades that are replaceable. Contact the manufacturer to see if you can order panels that will create a cohesive look in your kitchen with an all-black, white or stainless look.

8 – Lighting Fixtures
If you have old, outdated fixtures, new lighting can make a room look fresh and up-to-date.

9 – Cover Basement Columns
If your unfinished basement has unattractive support columns, you can cover them with Pole-Wrap. This way, you can still use the space as a playroom or home office.

10 – Garage Organization
Organizing your garage will benefit in more storage space and room for cars. Consider adding a few shelves and plastic bins.

Need help with any of your home improvements? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can recommend professional vendors to help with any home-related project!