Around the House – November 2020

Bandit Signs

Village of Oak Lake is in an unincorporated part of Sugar Land and therefore, we do not fall under any city ordinances that regulate bandit signs.  However, our deed restrictions cover such signs as follows:

Declarations of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions; Village of Oak Lake

Except for signs owned by Declarant or other Builders advertising their model homes during the period of original construction and home sales, no sign, advertisement or billboard, or advertising structure of any kind other than a normal “For Sale” sign not to exceed nine (9) square feet in total size may be erected or maintained on any Lot in said Subdivision.  Declarant, the Association, or its assigns, will have the right to remove any sign, advertisement or billboard or structure that does not comply with the above, and in so doing shall not be subject to any liability of trespass or other sort in connection therewith or arising with respect to such removal.

Rules regarding bandit signs vary by state, by city and town, and even by subdivision and community. These rules not only cover the “scammy” signs, but also legitimate signs posted by well-meaning people.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation – Rules for Posting Campaign Signs: During campaign season, the landscape blooms with a special kind of flower – the political sign. Unlike wildflowers that are welcome anywhere, putting campaign signs on public lands is illegal. So, before you plant that sign, learn the law and keep Texas beautiful.

What you need to know:

  • It is illegal to place any sign on or within the right of way. This includes posting signs on trees, telephone poles, traffic signs and other objects on the right of way.
  • Campaign signs along Texas roads can be placed on private property with the owner’s permission. Signs must be made of lightweight material and be no larger than 50 square feet.
  • Campaign signs may be posted as early as 90 days before an election (no earlier) and must be removed within 10 days after the election.

One of the biggest complaints about bandit signs is that they are eyesores. They can be distracting to drivers and make an intersection look unsightly.  In addition, some bandit signs are the handiwork of scammers who are not legitimate.

If you are a person who posts bandit signs, please follow the rules/guidelines/laws for the area you are placing your signs.  The VOL HOA Board is discussing the trash and sign issue in our neighborhood and we hope to have a solution in the very near future.

Around the House – October 2020

Fall is a great time to open the windows, air out your home and start cleaning to get your home in shape for the holidays.

Some of the recommended Fall cleaning includes:

  1. Wipe down your walls.
    This can be accomplished with a damp cloth or a rag attached to your broom to clean larger areas.  A solution of mild soap and water is perfect for this task.
  1. Wash your windows, windowsills, and all the window groves.
    This is one of those tasks that can make a big difference in the appearance of your home.  Clean windows are a must to let in as much natural light as possible.   You can use a commercial cleaner like Windex or to get your windows squeaky clean just use a 50/50 blend of distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and wipe with a lint free cloth.
  1. Clean your washer and dryer.
    Add four cups of white cleaning vinegar to the wash cycle. After the cycle starts, pause the machine and allow it to sit for an hour. During this time, wipe down the top of the washer with a microfiber cloth dipped in hot vinegar water (50/50 mix).  Use an old toothbrush to scrub the fabric softener and bleach dispensers.  Wipe the outside of the dryer with the same cloth and vinegar water mixture.  Clean the dryer lint filter after each use and remember to clean the dryer hose frequently to prevent risk of fire.
  1. Clean your doorknobs, doors, and light switch plates.
    Since Covid-19 started this is probably the most our doorknobs, doors and switch plates have ever been wiped down.  Use a commercial disinfectant spray or homemade mixture to clean these areas.  There are lots of suggestions on Pinterest for mixing your own non-toxic but effective cleaning products.
  1. Vacuum under all beds, couches, and other furniture.
    These are areas that tend to get neglected in our daily cleaning routine.  It is amazing how fast the dust bunnies collect under larger pieces of furniture.  So, once or twice a year move them all around so you can thoroughly clean under and around them.
  1. Dust the tops of doors and door frames.
    This is another area that tends to get neglected in our daily/weekly cleaning routine.  A mild solution of soap and water should be enough to clean the doors and frames.  If you have more stubborn dirt and/or stains, try using a commercial cleaner like Pine Sol or create your own from one of the many recipes on Pinterest for non-toxic cleaning.
  1. Spot clean carpets and rugs.
    This is a must for making your home look and smell fresh.  To clean carpets try using a mixture of baking soda and an essential oil of your choice.  Sprinkle it on the carpet, let sit for 30 minutes then vacuum it up.  (Test in a small area first and do not use tea tree oil around pets). If your rugs are small enough you can run them through the wash.  If not, take them outside and hose them off and hang outside to dry.

By following all or some of the tips provided here, your home will look and smell great as you head into the holiday season.

-Better Homes and Gardens

Around the House – August 2020

Some tasks only need to be done once or twice a year. The problem often times is that we forget to do them once or twice a year.  Either that or we tend to save it all for spring cleaning, which makes spring cleaning such a daunting task that it does not occur as it should.

The best plan is to break down annual seasonal tasks by month and tackle them on a daily or weekly basis. Nothing gets too backed up and things eventually get done.  It is also helpful to concentrate on one room or area each month.  This is more rewarding because you can see the results and it motivates you to keep going.

August House Cleaning Checklist

Start your August house cleaning checklist by getting ready for the carpool season by detailing and servicing the car.  You will start the school year looking good.

This is a good time to clean all of your summer sports equipment and put it away in the proper place as time is going to be tight in the months ahead and it will be rewarding to have this chore done.

Open all the windows and clean them while you are at it.  Refresh your home one last time before closing up for winter.  Here in Sugar Land we can wait on this task because of the heat during August.  But when September and October come around and we experience some cooler weather, that would be the perfect time to open windows and refresh your home.

Give your big and little ones a cobweb duster or broom and send them on cobweb hunts around the house, the patio and the garage. It is amazing how cobwebs seem to just pop up out of nowhere.  Cleaning them from the corners and ceilings is very satisfying and makes a room look fresh.

Mops, brooms, buckets, and vacuum cleaners all get dirty.  Replace heads on mops (and perhaps the mops themselves), replace brooms altogether, scrub buckets, and service the vacuum cleaner. It is hard to get your home really deep down clean with a dirty utility item.

Clean garbage cans (inside and out) and recycling bins.  These items get smelly rather quickly so use your favorite cleaner, scented bags or odor absorber to keep them smelling somewhat fresh and clean.

Scrub and/or repaint the front door.  The front door of your home is the first thing visitors see.  Clean the door with a mild detergent solution.  If you have glass on or around the door a glass cleaner can make it sparkle.  Just do not clean the glass when the sun is shining on it in order to avoid streaks.

Got pests?  There are lots of environmentally friendly sprays to help control pests.  Spray your home and yard with an exterminating spray as necessary.  Or call an exterminating company to make sure your home and yard go into the cooler months pest-free.

Get your heating system checked to make sure there are no leaks or unpleasant surprises when cold weather sets in.

Good Housekeeping