Around the House – February 2020

It’s the New Year and time to take on some organization projects to get your home in shape for spring. Below are some helpful tips from the Thirty Handmade Days and Sunny Sweet Days blogs that may motivate you to tackle a few of those chores you have been putting off.

When your house is disorganized it can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Unfortunately, it seems to be much easier to let disorganization take over and clutter build up than it is to keep it clean. Cleaning up a disorganized home is going to take some time. Just like it took time to get to its current state, so will the cleaning up and organizing process.

Create a Checklist

Start organizing with a written plan. Instead of just jumping right in, which may inadvertently create even more clutter, take some time and walk through your home. Write down what actually needs to be done in each room. Everyone loves to check to-do items off their list so aim to check off one thing each day. Keep the list in an area you see often. Not only will this serve as a reminder of what needs to be done but it will also motivate you and make you feel like you are getting things done when you see the checked off items.

Do Not Get Discouraged

Because cleaning up a whole home can be daunting, improvement needs to be seen really fast. Once you start, you want to avoid burnout at all cost. In order to do that, start with small projects like a small, less cluttered room. As you clean and sort through it, make separate piles for the items you want to donate, sell in a garage sale, and trash. Once you have gone through all of the items, you will have a better idea of how best to organize the things you have left and still have room for items you may acquire in the future.

Enlist a Friend

You can enlist the help of a friend to hold you accountable for getting your house organized. Friends tend to be more objective when it comes to those items you cannot decide whether to keep or donate/discard. Better yet, invite your friends over. Nothing gets you motivated to keep your home picked up and decluttered like having friends over for dinner.

Do Not Strive for Perfect

If you tend to be a perfectionist, you may feel it must be perfect or you do not do it at all. Let go of expecting your home to look perfect. Perfectionism tends to cause procrastination and neither is going to help you get your home organized.

Recruit the Family

Teach your kids to help you around the house. You cannot do it all by yourself. They make messes so the obvious solution is to have them help clean them up.

Train your children while they are young to do age-appropriate chores and tasks that help keep the house going. As time goes by continue to add appropriate chores to help keep them responsible as they grow older.

Make Wise Choices

Always use the “one in-one out” rule. If you are more of a “more is better” person, take it a step further and make your rule “one in-four out” or “none in-three out” so that you will not end up buying things you do not need.

Strive to work on one project a day but understand it is okay if some projects take more than one day. For those bigger projects, just continue to work away at them until they are complete. Figure out your best time to work on the tasks, either first thing in the morning and/or in the afternoon or evening. Once you have completed your list and have a clean and organized home you can put a plan in place to keep it that way.

Around the House – January 2020

Smoke Detectors – A General Guide

A smoke detector is critical for the early detection of a fire in your home and could mean the difference between life and death.  In a fire, smoke and deadly gases tend to spread farther and faster than heat. That is one reason why most fire victims die from inhalation of smoke and toxic gases, not from burns.

The life expectancy of a smoke detector is generally 10 years, after which point their sensors can begin to lose sensitivity. The test button only confirms that the battery, electronics, and alert system are working; it does not mean that the smoke sensor is working. To test the sensor, use an aerosol can of smoke alarm test spray that simulates smoke.

– Consumer Reports

How should you choose a smoke detector?

Even the smallest fire can quickly spread out of control and have disastrous results if not extinguished promptly. Therefore, a smoke detector is a must for every home and building.  A smoke detector is a small device that sets off an alarm if it senses the presence of smoke. These devices are extremely affordable, but it is important not to focus only on the price, but also on the features when looking to buy the best smoke detector.  Below are some important features to consider when purchasing a smoke detector.

Things to consider before buying a smoke detector.

There are various types of smoke detectors, but most of them typically have three parts: 1) a sensor to detect the smoke, 2) an alarm, and 3) a battery. A smoke detector may also be connected to the normal wiring of the house for its power supply. Hence it is the sensors and the alarm that you must pay attention to when buying a smoke detector.

On top of the different types of sensors, smoke alarms also come in two different types of power connectivity: battery-operated or hardwired into your home’s electrical system. Hardwired smoke alarms are arguably the best because not only do you not need to worry about changing the batteries, they’re also interconnected. This means that if one alarm goes off, then all of the other alarms go too, which is great if you have a larger house and there’s the possibility of not being able to hear one alarm go off from across the house. Not all houses are wired for smoke alarms, though, which is where battery-operated units come into play. They are also easier to install since there are no wires to deal with.

Check the smoke sensors.

There are two main types of sensors used in smoke detectors: 1) Ionization sensors and 2) photoelectric sensors. Ionization sensors are better at detecting fast-moving fires that produce small amounts of smoke, while photoelectric sensors are better at detecting fires that produce a lot of smoke. Some manufacturers make smoke detectors with dual sensors.

Check the alarm.

A smoke detector’s alarm should be loud enough to be heard throughout the house and even wake you up while sleeping, if necessary. This alarm can take the form of continuous beeps or a recorded message. Today’s smoke detectors can also be connected to your phone so that if there is a fire at home while you are out, you immediately receive a message in order to assist you in getting help as soon as possible.

– BestReviews.Guide

Around the House – December 2019

Although the weather in Sugar Land does not reach extremely cold temperatures very often, the Centers for Disease Control offer these cold weather tips.  They could come in handy if you are traveling to a colder climate this holiday season.

Protect yourself and your loved ones during the winter by taking extra steps to make sure you heat your home safely.  If you plan to use a wood stove, fireplace, or space heater, be extremely careful. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and remember these safety tips:

  • Turning on the stove for heat is not safe; have at least one of the following heat sources in case the power goes out:
    • Extra blankets, sleeping bags, and warm winter coats
    • Fireplace that is up to code with plenty of dry firewood or a gas log fireplace
    • Portable space heaters
  • Use electric space heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements. Make sure to keep them away from flammable materials such as curtains and blankets.
  • Use fireplaces, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented to the outside and do not leak gas from the flue or exhaust into the indoor air space.
  • It is recommended to have your heating system serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do not burn paper in a fireplace.
  • Make sure you have proper ventilation to the outside.
  • Keep heat sources, like space heaters, at least 3 feet away from curtains, furniture and bedding. Never cover your space heater while it is on.
  • Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
  • Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
  • Make sure that the cord of an electric space heater is not a tripping hazard, and do not run the cord under carpets or rugs.
  • Avoid using extension cords to plug in your space heater.
  • If your space heater has a damaged electrical cord or produces sparks, do not use it.

Make sure babies and older adults stay warm.


Infants less than one year old should never sleep in a cold room because they lose body heat more easily than adults. Follow these tips to keep your baby safe and warm during extreme cold:

  • Remove any pillows or other soft bedding. These can increase the risk of smothering and sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Dress babies in warmer clothing such as footed pajamas, one-piece wearable blankets, or sleep sacks.
  • Try to maintain a warm temperature inside your home. If you are not able to keep your home warm, make temporary arrangements to stay elsewhere.
  • In an emergency, you can keep your baby warm using your own body heat.

Older Adults

Older adults often make less body heat because of a slower metabolism and less physical activity. Check on elderly friends and neighbors often to make sure they can heat their homes properly.

If you are over 65 years of age, check the temperature in your home often during extremely cold weather.

Avoid over-exerting yourself.

Cold weather puts a strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice regarding performing tasks in the cold. Otherwise, if you have to do heavy outdoor tasks dress warmly and work slowly to avoid excess sweating. Remember, your body is already working hard just to stay warm, so do not overdo it.

Be safe during outdoor activities.

  • Let your friends and family know where you will be before you go hiking, camping or skiing.
  • In extremely cold temperatures, do not leave any areas of your skin exposed to the cold.
  • Try not to sweat or become too tired.
  • Be prepared to take emergency shelter.
  • Pack dry clothing, a two-way radio, waterproof matches, and paraffin fire starters.
  • Do not use alcohol and/or other mood altering substances, and avoid caffeinated drinks.
  • Avoid walking on ice or getting wet.
  • Carefully watch for signs of cold weather health problems such as hypothermia (when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it) and frostbite (an injury caused by freezing of the skin and underlying tissues).

Be careful while traveling.

  • Listen for radio or television reports of travel advisories issued by the National Weather Service.
  • Do not travel in low visibility conditions.
  • Avoid traveling on ice-covered roads, overpasses, and bridges if at all possible.
  • Never pour water on your windshield to remove ice or snow—this could cause your windshield to shatter.
  • If you must travel by car take a mobile phone and winter supplies with you.
  • If you must travel, let someone know your destination and when you expect to arrive. Ask them to notify someone you have designated if you are late.
  • Make sure you have sufficient gas in your car to reach your destination.
  • Always carry extra warm clothing and blankets with you. Do not rely on your car to provide enough heat.