Boring, but has to be Done!

√ Choose a dry sunny day to open up and air out the basement and crawl spaces. This prevents mold & mildew from growing in the basement areas of your home.

√ Before the cold weather sets in and your heat is turned on, have your furnace & humidifier serviced by a qualified professional. Ensuring maximum furnace efficiency through effective maintenance and filter replacement — could save as much as 10% on your bill. Areas around the furnace should be cleaned to eliminate dust & dirt. Where applicable, exhaust fans & heating recover ventilators should be checked & oiled according to manufacturer’s instructions.

√ Now is a good time to replace your furnace filter – and ensure you have enough filters on hand for a monthly change throughout the winter months. If you have electric baseboard heaters, vacuum to remove dust. Remove the grills on forced-air systems and vacuum inside the ducts.

√ Windows & doors should be examined for gaps allowing air infiltration. You can stop cold drafts from entering by applying weather-stripping around doors & windows, ensuring the seal is snug.

√ Check exterior finishes. Look for signs of moisture penetrating wood siding. Watch for paint that is blistering & peeling. If left unresolved, this problem can lead to water seeping into the interior of your home.

√ When inspecting outside window finishes, check the caulking for signs of deterioration. If caulking is wearing down, remove & re-caulk with a good quality caulking compound to protect against both moisture and cold air entering.

√ Vents, louvers & chimney caps should be checked for birds’ nest or animal intruders. If you use a wood-burning stove or fireplace, make sure your chimney is clear…that means checking for a build-up of creosote in the chimney. Creosote can form quickly and is a major cause of chimney fires. You may be able to see up the chimney, or you could try looking down from the roof. Either way, if you see any build-up, have it removed. Like your furnace, it is a good idea to have your chimney cleaned and checked, by a professional, every year.

√ Drain & store hoses. Don’t forget to close the valve & drain the spigot!

√ Eavestroughs, gutters & downspouts should be cleared of any obstructions; leaves & debris. If eavestroughs are clogged or leaking, you can end up with serious water damage over the winter. Damage that can hard to deal with in the cold weather! And, since you’ve got the ladder out you may want to consider putting up your Christmas lights!

√ Check all outdoor electrical outlets to ensure they are clear of debris & operational. check & clean all oudoor light fixtures. If you used the “yellow” bug-friendly light bulbs in your outdoor fixtures this summer, replace them with brighter bulbs.

√ Remember…it’s time to reverse the direction of all ceiling fans too!

When you are ready to move…selling or buying:

“List with LU…& call to VIEW!”biz-card-1#listwithLU & #callLUtoView #LUanneLabreche

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Clutter Control & Patrol!

Are your closets crowded, drawers jumbled, shelves overflowing? If the car won’t fit in the garage – and you’ve been thinking about adding a shed in the backyard, for extra storage space … here are a few tips & ideas to help declutter your home!

clutter collage

Keep in mind, decluttering isn’t about perfection – it’s about clearing up areas in your home that inhibit proper functioning; areas that make you feel bad when you look at them or areas that simply don’t work!

Remember to start with whatever irritate you the most, organizing the most annoying clutter zone will be motivating!

Do one job at a time. It’s easy to get pulled from one clutter zone to another and the first area you tackle will be the most difficult. Stay focused on the one area until you’ve completed it.

Set time limits. Start small, initially work in 15/30 minutes- even if you need more sessions to complete an area (ie: larger areas like kitchen, garage, basement)

Sort as you go. Use 4 plastic laundry hampers – they’re easy to carry & can see best into them. Plus they’re reusable! Label as needed (ie: Keep, Donate etc) Organize what you

clutter storage neat

plan to keep in this area/room and distribute the rest into the other areas/rooms.  Let no sorting group go unmarked! Use masking tape, label maker, marker, ETC

  • Get everyone in your household involved! Make a 10 minute pick up “on the way”, up & down stairs, heading to bed, etc – part of everyone’s routine.
  • Assign each person in your family a room/area, that is their responsibility to keep clutter-free & organized.
  • Establish a specific place for things. Hooks for keys, purses, backpacks, basket for mail ETC
  • Centralize your paper clutter instead of spreading it around. This will help you be relentless in tossing out papers – newspapers, magazines, junk mail ETC
  • Make it a rule; something new comes into the house, something old goes out!
  • Adopt the attitude; use it or lose it!
  • Create a “reluctant to part with” box. Store it in a easily accessible spot – when it’s full, you have to part with something!
  • Don’t overbuy baskets or containers – too tempting to spread them out and fill them up! Purchase a basket or container only if & when you have a use for it.
  • Concentrate on creating vertical storage; shelving, bookcases, stackable bins – wherever possible.
  • Incorporate storage into your decor – choose furniture that “doubles” as storage ie: benches, small dressers, coffee table with storage underneath ETC
  • Shallow plastic containers  for under beds are ideal for storing seasonal items; clothing, decorations & sports gear.
  • Put hooks on the backs of doors, closets, cupboards & cabinet doors.
  • Assign a basket/container for each member in your household to store things that come out of their pocket!
  • Regularly deal with the garbage gremlins: grocery bags, soap shards, rubber bands, dried up pens, chipped glasses/dishes, loose screws ETC

Develop an organizing system that works for you…and stick to it!

Clutter brain

Always put things back in the same place. Children’s papers belong in a basket in central location. Bicycles & sports gear go in the designated area of the garage. Coats belong on coat tree, closets, hooks. Toys & games in the chest or bin every night.

Place tools you use often (screwdriver & hammer) at arm’s reach on a pegboard or in a drawer of the kitchen or laundry room – readily at hand & able to quickly put away.

Hang clothes you wear to work from & centre. Dresser drawers should be organized from top being most frequent to bottom being less frequent.  No Dumping Areas!

When you are ready to sell or buy:  “List with LU…& call to VIEW!”biz-card-1#listwithLU & #callLUtoView #LUanneLabreche

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Laughing is Good for YOU!

laughing2DID YOU KNOW…we develop the ability to laugh at 4 months old! Although our sense of humour kicks in sometime around 3 years old, when we realize we can fool people. A child’s sense of humour is ripe for nuturing & encouragement. Studies continue to health as it is for your state of mind. Studies indicate that we need approximately 12 laughs a day, to stay healthy!

Laughing stimulates your heart & respiratory rate, increases circulation & exercises stomach & chest muscles. A hearty chuckle can actually give your immune system a boost, decrease the levels of stress hormones in the body & hastens healing. Sooo….go ahead, LAUGH! Cultivate your sense of humour – it’s like a garden. Sometimes seeing the lighter side of life & reaping its’ benefits requires conscious effort.

Here are some tips to get you started:

laughing

  • Practice self-effacing humour. Share something funny or silly that happened, to you.
  • Start your own collection of CDs/USBs etc that tickle your funny bone & keep them in your car. When traffic backs up, load up on some humour!
  • Keep a humour journal. Jot down funny things people say & amusing observations you make.
  • Escape “voicemail & email jail”. Keep a file folder next to your phone, filled with materials that amuse you – cartoons, quotes, cards, photos – anything to keep your blood pressure down.
  • Keep a humourous prop handy. Maybe a water gun or clown nose. Try a magic wand for days when people make those impossible demands. Toys are NOT just for kids! 
  • Create a play list. Remember fun? It might include games, playing with your kids or pet, going skating, bowling, playing in the pool, colouring, getting out that long neglected yo-yo….the list goes on! Anything that reduces anger & stress.
  • Lighten up your environment. Display funny pictures & posters – baby photos, pet moments, humorous birthday party snap-shots – any image that recalls laughter & happy moments.
  • Learn & practice the humour pledge. “I’m pledging to find humour…I’ll make sure fun people and tools surround me…when there’s a humorous chance, I’ll grab it! Starting NOW!”

All joking aside (LOL)…When you are ready to sell or buy:  “List with LU…& call to VIEW!”biz-card-1

#listwithLU & #callLUtoView

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Autumn Gardening

autumn gardening2Leaves are garden gold. Put shredded leaves under shrubs & trees, over perennial beds & exposed soil. Leaves degrade into mineral nutrients; worms will turn them into fertilizer. Wait until the soil has frozen before mulching autumn-installed plants. After freeze-up, a thick mulch of leaves & evergreen cutting will keep their root balls safe from the heaving action of frost.

Here’s an easy way to break down dry leaves & grass for mulch or to pack into your compost bin: fill a plastic garbage can about halfway, then turn on your weed-eater and run it up & down through the mineral. Ensure you wear protective eye wear.

Prune in the Fall? Short answer….NO. Resist the urge to tidy up your perennial & shrub beds. Let perennial foliage die back naturally with the hard frost of Fall. Let leaves lie on flowerbeds & leave seed heads on perennials (they provide winter food for birds). And, put those clippers away! Pruning stimulates new growth, so timing is critical. Pruning & cutting back in the Fall will only encourage tender new growth, the will be killed by the cold weather.

  • Take advantage of winter dormancy to trim maples & birches (pruned in Spring, they will bleed sap and suffer stress).
  • Late in Winter, prune other deciduous and fruit trees before their buds break open.
  • Early in Spring, cut back shrubs that flower in late Summer & Fall.
  • Shrubs that bloom in Spring & early Summer, wait until they flower, then prune them immediately afterward. Midsummer, prune evergreens.

If you want to work outside in the garden, here are a couple of seasonal chores…

  • Get out your whetstone, steel wool & oil…your garden tools could use a clean & sharpen before you put them away for the season.
  • To help protect your lawn or garden beds from winter damage, install brightly coloured stakes along walkways & driveways as indicators for snow removal & salting.

Thing Spring!!  autumn gardening3

  1. Autumn is the only time to move clematis or honeysuckle vine, to prevent shock to growth: both vines begin extending leaves & shoots while frost is still in the Spring ground. If the vines are large, cut them back by half & they’ll leap forward next Spring.
  2. Autumn is a good time for planting evergreen trees & shrubs. An evergreen’s root system pumps water all winter, so be sure to water them well before the ground freezes.
  3. Pick up or rake diseased leaves from under roses (blackspot) and crabapples (scab) and dispose of them in the garbage — not the compost pile! left on the soil all Winter, they’ll reinoculate the plants with disease spores the following Spring.

When you are ready to sell or buy:  “List with LU…& call to VIEW!”

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#listwithLU & #callLUtoView

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Rain, Weathervanes & Umbrellas ~ did you know?

raindrop

  • Every minute of every day, 1 billion tons of rain falls on the Earth
  • The amount of water held in the atmosphere at any time is sufficient to produce about 2.5cm (1 inch) of rain over the surface of the Earth
  • The technical name for rain is precipitation. As well as rain, precipitation includes snow, sleet & hail
  • There are 3 types of rainfall: convection, frontal & relief
  • The minimum altitude of rain clouds is 1,200 metres – and they can be found as high as 10,000 metres.
  • A droplet of water will stay in the Earth’s atmosphere for about 10 days
  • Rain drops do not fall in a tear drop shape, they originally fail in the shape of a flat oval
  • In Canada, the wettest places are: 1) Abottsford, BC 2) St. John’s, NFLD
  • Abottsford, BC also tops the list in Canada for the rainiest: 174 days annually. If we consider snow, St. John’s NFLD heads up the list with 212 days annually.

weathervaneWeathervanes

Weathervanes get their name from the Old English fane, which means flag or banner. Weathervanes have a simple design, but in order to function, they must be perfectly balances on their rotating axis. they also need an unequal area on each side that the wind can blow against. Additionally, weathervanes must be located on the highest point of a structure, and away from other tall buildings or structures that may affect wind direction.

As the weathervane spins to reduce the force of the wind on its surface, the end with the least surface area turns into the wind, and thus indicates the wind direction. The world’s largest weathervane is located on the shore of White Lake in Michigan. It stands 14 metres (48 feet) tall and sports 8 metre (26 foot) long arrow that points in the direction of the wind.

Ever wonder why so many weather vanes are in the shape of a rooster? In the ninth century, Pope Nicholas (I) ordered that weather vanes in the form of a cockerel be placed on all churches and abbeys as a symbol to remind Christians of Peter’s betrayal of Christ. While these cockerels were at first not intended as weathervanes, they were eventually combined with the weathervanes that already adorned many church steeples.

Umbrellasumbrella

Believe it or not, the umbrella was not invented to combat rainy weather. The word umbrella comes from the Latin root umbra, meaning shade or shadow. Umbrellas were first used for protection from the sun.

When you are ready to sell or buy:  “List with LU…& call to VIEW!”

#listwithLU & #callLUtoView

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Getting your Home ready For Sale? Great First Impression!

Expect potential buyers to take 10-15 minutes (tops), to walk through your home and decide whether they like it or not – that’s how long you have for you home to make a favourable impression! Here are some pointers from the pros to help you prepare your home so that it shows to its best advantage.

house-for-sale

Keep in mind that getting your home ready forsale is not about interior design – nor is it about decorating. Getting your home ready for sale is about marketing your home – putting your home’s best features f
orward so that is appeals to potential buyers.

Make it sparkle! Clean, clean, clean. Shampoo the carpets, polish the floors, wash the walls, windows, blinds/drapes and light fixtures. If housecleaning is not your forte – hire a cleaning pro to do a complete job.

Declutter! You want all the rooms in your home to look as large as possible. Use the basketball rule – all items smaller than a basketball, pack away! You’ll be moving soon, so now is the time to pack up the collections, photos and knick-knacks. Tables, mantels, counters, dresser surfaces – should all be cleared. This holds true for kitchens too – clear all unnecessary objects from kitchen counters. Closets, shelves, cupboards and storage areas; garage, basement, attic etc should all be neat & tidy. Sort & pack overflow.

Less is more! Less furniture does make a room look spacious. You want potential buyers to easily walk through each room, you may consider re-arranging furniture, even removing & storing a few pieces.

Neutral appeals to buyers! Your home should present itself as a “blank canvas”, inviting prospective buyers’ interest, you want them to easily picture their furnishings, their decor, and their family – living in your home! Walls, trim & ceilinpuzzled housegs should be painted in a neutral, contemporary tones to create this neutral palette.

Repairs! Walk through your home from top to bottom and make a list of all the minor repairs needed: dripping faucets, sticking or creaking doors, floorboards, missing trim, loose doorknobs, stained switch plates ETC. Then, fix them! When potential buyers see areas of disrepair they begin to assume that there are other unseen problems as well.

First Impressions Count! Take a look at the exterior of your home with the critical eye of the buyer. Pay attention to the details. The exterior appearance of your home creates a strong impression with visitors – make sure it is appealing & inviting! Walkways, porches, decks should be in good repair, clutter-free, neat & tidy. A welcoming wreath or other seasonal display at the front door adds a nice homey touch.

Get Advice! Talk with your Realtor, LUanne Labreche, who can provide you with professional advice on the marketability of your home. Advise you as to which details to focus on, to get your home ready to sell. #listwithLU

When you are ready to sell or buy:  “List with LU…& call to VIEW!”

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Kid “Stuff”

budgeting-for-kids3

With a new year just around the corner, I thought I would post a topic that could involve the family with a new, fresh start!

Good Ideas…

  • Toss the too-small laundry hamper and replace it with something that won’t overflow in a day or two. Corral dirties in a hamper large enough for a week’s worth of clothing, and line it with a drawstring bag that’s easy to tote to the laundry room.
  • Keep their hard-earned trophies and well-loved artwork…just not scattered around everywhere! Display them on a shelf mounted on little-used wall space (over a window or dresser).
  • Purge outgrown toys, books & clothes. But give your child a say in what stays, less you throw away a shirt he/she still adores. Encourage participation by explaining how their donations of clothing, book, toys, games etc can help those in need or a younger family member friend.
  • Now is a good time to check that you have a calendar posted in a convenient location for school notices, activities, holidays etc. Organize your “school papers” shelf, binder, basket or drawer. Let your children know where to leave any paperwork from school – that requires your attention or signature.

Kid’s Budget runneth over…budgeting-for-kids

Many parents find themselves wrestling with financial discipline when it comes to their children. Whether it’s lunch snacks, new skates, the latest gadget or an item that “everyone at school has” – it’s amazing how quickly saying “yes” can add up!

budgeting-for-kids2The Fix…

Rather than simply saying no to your kids’ endless wish lists – which can lead to wrenching battles – protect your budget & sanity by teaching your children “Money Management 101”. Saying “you don’t need that” doesn’t send kids a useful message. You want to focus them on the value of things & teach them that purchases are discussed, planned or budgeted for, and frequently “saved for” over time.

“Distract & Delay” tactics work, especially well for children age 6 & under. If your young child is jumping around for something they want in the store, try focusing their attention on something else. Or acknowledge what they want & say we can talk about it more later. You may have to endure a little complaining, but your child gets an important message about not buying things on a whim.

When you are ready to sell or buy:  “List with LU…& call to VIEW!”

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