Advice

Found 212 blog entries about Advice.

It’s been proven. Clutter is a bummer — literally.

Dishes in the sink, toys throughout the house, stuff covering every flat surface; this clutter not only makes our homes look bad, it makes us feel bad, too.

At least that’s what researchers at UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families (CELF) discovered when they explored in real time the relationship between 32 California families and the objects in their homes. The resulting book, "Life at Home in The Twenty-First Century," is a rare look at how middle-class Americans use the space in their homes and interact with the things they accumulate over a lifetime.

Our over-worked closets are overflowing with things we rarely touch.

Related: Tiny Change, Big Impact: Organize a Small Closet in a

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You’ll save yourself thousands if you know why people mess up.

Can’t wait to cozy up in that cute Colonial, but anxious about signing up for your first mortgage?

We get it. Buying your first home is a big stinking deal. But with a little know-how, it’s easier than expected to make smart mortgage moves and save big bucks over the course of your loan.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can put your home-buying butterflies to rest.

#1 Finding Your Home Before You Find Your Mortgage

How Much It Could Cost You: Enough to send your future kid to college. Seriously, over the life of the loan, you could end up paying tens of thousands of dollars more in interest and fees than you need to.

Why People Mess This Up: If you don’t have your financing

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Start saving those egg cartons!

Give or take a Scrooge or two, everybody loves the holidays: Decorating the tree, hanging lights, hanging holly ... all those things! But you know what nobody loves? Taking all those things down.

Because, wow, what an unorganized mess.

Before you go all Scrooge, get your jolly back with these simple holiday decorating hacks.

#1 Protect Ornaments With Holiday Recyclables

Trimming the tree should feel like the happy ending of a Lifetime holiday movie, not a game show guessing which box will contain broken memories.

Keep ornaments safe for next year by stowing them in leftover party cups, hot-glued onto a piece of foam board cut to fit inside a storage bin, recommends Lisa Woodruff, a Cincinnati-based

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Cubbies, squeegees, and other easy ways to keep your house clean.

Home is literally the center of your universe right now, so make sure it’s a source of minimum stress. Here’s how to keep your house clean and orderly all the time.

  1. Wake, and make your bed pronto. That’s one task down already.
  2. Keep your kitchen sink empty for a soothingly clear sight line.
  3. Clean a room a day. You know what they say about doing daunting tasks in small chunks, right?
  4. Hang a squeegee. Take a few satisfying swipes after your shower, and presto!
  5. Assign cubbies to each family member. Tidy is as tidy does.
  6. Unload the dishwasher when clean. Then you're always prepped for habit #2.
  7. Use it, wipe it. Especially high-touch surfaces.
  8. Snap it, shred it.
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Be the home on the block that bugs run from.

A lush spot for outdoor entertaining? Great. Perfect. A constant swarm of insects that invade your patio and home? No, thank you. Here's how to keep bugs away from your patio and yard, and from getting inside your house.

#1 Install Patio Fans

Mosquitos may have a tough sting, but they're wimps when it comes to standing up to a breeze. Patio fans can keep your outdoor entertaining space free from mosquitoes (and other little flyers) with the flip of a switch.

And you'll get the benefit of a cool breeze.

#2 Don't Mulch Too Much (or Too Little)

While mulching is generally a good thing for curb appeal, overdoing it can cause problems.

It could give cockroaches and ants the ideal environment

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There are no dumb questions to ask a real estate agent.

Home buying seems simple enough: Find a house you like that’s close to work or school, tell someone you want to buy it, and move in.

But there's more to it than that. You’ll have to find and get approved by a lender who will let you borrow a few hundred thousand dollars, lock in a mortgage rate, figure out how much house you can afford, put in an offer that will entice the seller, get an inspection and an appraisal, pay closing costs and sign a whole bunch of paperwork.

Phew! We need a break just thinking about all the questions to ask when buying a house.

Your real estate agent can help you understand the process. But if you don’t ask questions or get your agent to clarify something you

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A new way to look at landscaping can protect your yard from severe weather patterns.

Contrary to what many may believe, severe weather doesn’t just beat up on the other guy. Mother Nature can wallop anyone’s home and yard.

That doesn’t mean you’ll have to watch your house reduced to briquettes by a wildfire or flooding test your home’s capacity for flotation. But your yard may lose some of its curb appeal if you let nature take its course and you experience events like drought, flooding, hail, high winds, or other uninvited elements. If severe weather is persistent or paired with deficient maintenance, it can set your yard back years. 

It may be time to rethink your ideas about traditional yards and landscaping. Consider new ideas that will stand

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Check out the video below!

Planning your next home improvement project? Consider one of these high ROI upgrades. More like this.

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Save time and money while adding touches of awesomeness to your yard.

We're all about indulging in Starbucks' latest seasonal concoction or this season's "it" bag. (OK, maybe a knockoff version of this season's "it" bag.) Trends are just plain fun — and they keep things interesting. But they also, by definition, are hip today and potentially worthless tomorrow.

And that's not exactly a recipe for success when it comes to your home and the first impression it gives. While a green lawn might be a safe bet to keep your home's value intact, let's face it: It's boring. 

For a little outdoor drama that won't cost much (and actually saves money and time instead), try these landscaping trends:

#1 Build a Rain Garden for Colorful Blooms

What's not

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Like this easy hack: coat paint brushes in fabric softener to keep bristles soft.

A DIY painting job doesn't have to equal crooked lines, besmirched floors, and ceramic sinks speckled with robin's egg blue.

Use these easy painting hacks, to make the process faster and less messy — and ensure a fresh, modern look for your home.

#1 Soak Brushes in Fabric Softener to Keep Brushes Soft

Every DIY painter has been privy to the horrors of a day-old brush with stiff bristles that makes round two nearly impossible. Try this painting hack instead:

To keep paint brushes soft:

  1. Rinse thoroughly (no soap).
  2. Mix half a cup of fabric softener with a gallon of warm water
  3. Swish brushes in the mixture for 10 seconds or so.
  4. Lay them flat or hang
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