4 Reasons to Install Locking Mailboxes on Your Property

Landlords and property owners are sometimes under local or state obligation to provide tenants with locked mailboxes, depending on the particular property. Indoor apartment complexes as well as outdoor complexes with cluster mailboxes almost always require individual locks. However, even if it’s not law in your state or your property doesn’t require, it’s still worth considering buying locking mailboxes for preventative reasons.

ID Theft

ID theft has become one of the most frequently occurring white-collar crimes in recent years. Many people know shopping online is a risk, but not many people consider leaving their mail in their mailbox for even just a few hours is a risk, too – but ID theft is older than the Internet. An ID thief only needs to see a piece of mail addressed to a name at that address and he has all he needs.

If a tenant discovers her identity was stolen because her mail was delivered while she was at work and wasn’t able to collect it until hours later, there’s a possibility she’ll sue the landlord for failure to protect her identity. Better to be proactive — and offer the additional mail protection.

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Vacation Risk

When tenants go on vacation, not only are their IDs at risk if they let mail accumulate in an unlocked box, but their house is more likely to be broken into if watching thieves use the accumulating mail to figure out no one’s been home for a while. Rather than making your tenants arrange cumbersome mail holds or have someone they know pick up the mail every day, used locked mailboxes. The mail carrier can slide new mail through a slot, but no one can see that older mail is still in the box.

A ransacked home isn’t just a pain for your tenant, remember; as property owner, your name is on the insurance policy and you’ll have to file the claim. If you have a deductible, you’ll be responsible for it.

Mail Theft

Even if a thief doesn’t want to go through the hassle of stealing an identity, mail is still an attractive, low-risk theft target because it contains checks, gift cards and other valuables. Items that are clearly birthday, holiday or anniversary cards prove especially tempting as do small packages, bank statements, paychecks and other official-looking forms of payment. Even a credit card statement may have the full credit card number on it, which is enough for a thief to start charging items to your tenant.

A locked box protects all of your tenant’s mail. Even if a thief is someone with inside information about the tenant — for example, an acquaintance she knows on a social media page who sees it’s her birthday and who expects to find checks, gift cards and cash in her mail around that time — there’s no way for the thief to get into the mail.

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Neighborhood Safety

As the MontClair Safety & Improvement Council in California explains, the more boxes locked in a neighborhood, the more crime is discouraged in the area. Whether you own one property in a neighborhood or several of them, if you need to find a new tenant, highlighting the low crime rate in the neighborhood can help you attract more prospective renters. Discuss the possibility of adding locked mailboxes to other properties in the neighborhood with those property owners with the goal of increasing overall safety.

As a property owner, you have a legal obligation to do what you can to protect your tenant’s belongings. While you’re not liable if the tenant chooses to leave his front door unlocked, as owner of the property, you’re the only one who can make decisions about installing a new mailbox. Choose the locked variety, both to protect your tenant and to protect yourself from liability. Discuss the change with your current tenant or make the change before a new tenant moves in.

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How Did You Ever Live without One: Hiring a Housekeeper 101

In today’s world, it is not uncommon for multiple members of a household to keep busy careers, volunteer positions, or even multiple jobs. More and more, even high school kids are saving up for university or earning some spending money by taking after-school and weekend jobs, and while that’s great for their character, it means households can be pretty crunched when it comes to chores. With both partners working, sometimes your cleaning can fall by the wayside, or the bulk of the cleaning responsibilities falls to one partner, creating an unequal balance. This can lead to building up resentment, exhaustion, and other problems that don’t need to get in the way of a happy home life. However, there is an easy solution to this problem, and that comes in the form of a professional housekeeper. Hiring someone trustworthy to clean the house while everyone is away can be a difficult task, but fortunately, there are services out there that simplify the process. Below are some important things to look for when you go online to find a housekeeper.

Targeted Search

The service you use should provide a targeted search where clients and families can narrow down their specific criteria. Maybe a family only wants a housekeeper once a month, maybe they only want the most difficult chores done, like cleaning the carpet or the curtains, or maybe they want someone who arrives regularly to do basic cleanups like the dishes and the bathroom. A good online service will have multiple options available that can be tailored to a client’s specific needs, narrowing down your search from the get-go.

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Notes on User Profiles

Online community boards should provide the client with a straightforward feature to attach their own personal notes to a profile, helping them save time by storing all of their notes from interviews and follow ups with their profile. Too many services that don’t allow this simple feature will leave you scratching your head trying to remember which notes apply to which profile when you go to follow up to contact someone for the job. You won’t have to worry about mixing up candidates or confusing your notes with must-have features like this one.

Favorite Lists

Another feature that makes sorting potential hires even easier is creating favorite lists, available on Housekeeper.com. If you’ve ever wished you could save the profiles of your top candidates to call in case your go-to professional is unavailable, favorite lists will quickly become your new favorite feature. Finding a great cleaning professional can take some time, and clients should be able to bookmark candidates that would potentially be a good fit so that they can come back to the website later without having to search for those individuals again. It’s one of the ways that newer, tailor-made online services like housekeeper.com are making it easier to find help.

Customer Support

Another feature to watch for is a strong customer service: any quality online platform should have customer service numbers and contacts available to users so that you know you can use their service confidently and securely.

Identity Protected Phone Calls

Another great featured, another offered by Housekeeper.com, is identity protected phone calls, which means that your phone number is hidden when you contact a potential hire for a phone interview, meaning your contact information is protected until you’ve decided who to hire. There are a dozen other tips to consider when you’re hiring a housekeeper, but these are some of the things that can save you a lot of time and headaches in your search.

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Control Your Home from Your Smart Phone

Taking care of your home has always been a lot of hard work, but a new way of managing the security on your property is through the use of smart phones. People often want a fast way of making sure that all of the locks in the home are secure at once, rather than having to go around last thing at night and check them. They also want to get rid of that lurking worry, “Did I lock the door before I left?” which causes so much anxiety. With a simple application on a smartphone, home owners can now lock their doors using their phone, and be reassured about security.

The smartphone lock is based upon the same technology that has allowed phone users to monitor central heating, or turn on AC units before they arrive at a location. If you have an internet connection at home, and a small amount of money to invest, then you could put this technology to work on your door, securing it properly. In order to start the process, you will need to purchase a technology device which will fit onto the door lock. There are a variety of devices, and choosing the right one needs to be discussed with a professional locksmith.

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Once the device has been purchased, it can then be fitted onto the door, and connected to your internet network. This allows you to set up the device, and connect it to your smart phone. This is done by downloading an app supplied by the company. With the app on your phone, you can then start to control the security of your home. Some phone apps are particularly useful for those who are concerned about locking doors, as they have the ability to identify whether doors are locked or unlocked, and it is possible to connect, or disconnect, a security device from the keypad on the lock, saving you time and effort.

There have been some concerns raised about the possibility of hackers getting into the home. This has been dealt with by the companies supplying the apps and other technology. Often the devices now come with a set password, and there are additional security features which ensure that the software program is not bypassed by others. Users who are worried about the possible implications of poor security should consult with the manufacturers of their security systems.

The technology which you will be using to control the locks around your home could also benefit you in other ways. Thermostat and lighting control can ensure that your home is warm and well-lit before you step through the door. Customers using one application, such as security, will be able to add the additional elements onto the same phone, allowing you to control all aspects of your home using your smart phone. This is an important advance for anyone looking to use their phone in a more constructive manner, and will also ensure that your home is fully protected.

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Growing Strawberries at Home

Backyard gardening has been a long practice at home, I grow up with it and our home garden became one of my play ground growing up as my parents tasked me to water our vegetables in the garden every afternoon. The garden supplies us fresh fruits and vegetables, yes it saves us buying from the local market.

Today, there is no more space to do backyard gardening so my family opted in planting vegetables and fruit bearing shrubs in plant bags, used cans and pots.  We have planted eggplants, chili peppers and even strawberries in plant bags, it has been two years since our family grow strawberries at home, the strawberries usually bear fruit during summer months specifically April, but this year as early as February the strawberries had fruit already to my friends amazement when I uploaded a few photos of them in Facebook.

Growing strawberries at home can be incredibly fun and rewarding, they are among the only fruits that suitable to grow in small spaces as they don’t grow that much, you can even plant them in window planters, or plant bags and pots like what we do at home. Homegrown  strawberries taste better than those we can find in grocery stores —they’re simply delicious.

There are few ways to plant and grow strawberries, our strawberry at home we plant them through runners. My mother was given one strawberry plant by neighbor friend and from there, we have collected runner and replant them to plant bags and pots, until we have already have a lot of strawberry plants at home, my mother also handed few strawberry plants to neighbors and relatives for them to grow.

How about you, what do you grow at home?

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Simple Ways to Save Money at Home

With the effect of pandemic, money is still on many of our minds. It can be difficult to balance our budgets during times of economic difficulty, so here are a few tips which could help you look after your money in 2023.

Keep a spending diary

Many of us are guilty of frittering our money away on takeaway coffees and sandwiches on our lunch break, but you would be amazed how much the dollar add up over the month. Before you can make a budget for 2023, it is important that you work out how much you are spending on a daily basis. To do this, buy yourself a little notebook and set aside ten minutes in the evening to tot up what you spent that day and where. This exercise won’t take up much of your time, and if you keep up the habit it will soon become second nature.

Make a budget

Once you know what you are spending in an average month, it is time to analyze your outgoings for areas you can cut back. Whether you are paying your cash advances or  it’s a weekly takeaway or an expensive phone bill, we all have parts of our life where money can be saved. Consider what you need to meet the cost of your essential monthly outgoings like your rent, mortgage payments, food, and bills, and set this amount aside for the month (don’t forget to add a little extra for unforeseen events like appliances breaking and birthday presents!) Then you can organize to transfer the money that you will save into an online savings account, whether it is a dollar or a $100.

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Check your home

Are you guilty of leaving the lights on when you leave a room, or keeping the television on standby? It is surprising how much little things like this can add to your electricity bill. Energy saving tips can be crucial for people looking to save some money, as well as helping the planet out. For example, save up your laundry to make sure you only wash full loads- a full load will use less energy than two half loads- and switch the dial down to cold. And whilst you are in the kitchen, don’t fill your kettle up each time- only heat what you need.

Ditch the ready meals

Not only are ready meals expensive but they are also incredibly bad for your health and your waistline. Home cooked food may sound like a chore, but you don’t have to turn into Jamie Oliver in order to make simple, tasty meals at home. Buy yourself a basic cookbook and start planning your weekly meals in advance. That way, when you go food shopping you will know exactly what you need. Buy plenty of onions, carrots, potatoes and broccoli, along with other things like pasta and cheap cuts of meat, and you will be able to cook up something frugal and delicious. Always try and make an extra portion to, so you can have it for lunch the next day.

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10 Steps to Successful DIY Kitchen Fitting

The kitchen is the soul of a house, so it makes sense to start in that room when renovating a home. Many kitchen manufacturers offer prefabricated kitchen designs that are flat-packed and easy to install with some basic preparation and the right tools.

Thanks to our years of experience, we have put together this list of 10 tips that you may not have considered when fitting your first DIY kitchen.

Keep it Simple
At the very least, try to keep the basic layout the same for your new kitchen. This will save a lot of money because you won’t need to hire a plumber or electrician to re-route pipes or electricity to new points in the room.

If you are stuck for ideas, there are many websites that feature kitchen remodeling ideas.

Be Prepared
At the bare minimum, you will need the following tools on hand: Drill with drill bits, Hammer, Carpenter’s level, Tape measure, Step ladder, Screw driver set, Allen key set.

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Set Up a Mini Kitchen
Choose another room of the house to set up the bare necessities in a mini kitchen. A hot water jug, microwave and fridge will be enough to get you through until the new kitchen is ready.

Drop Cloths
If you don’t have any dedicated drop cloths in your DIY supplies, consider using shower curtains or bedding that may be a little old and need replacing.

Removing the Old Cabinets
Take care when removing the old kitchen fittings. If you damage the walls or floor when tearing out old cabinets, this will add extra work to the project when you need to repair any holes or scrapes.

If it’s a larger kitchen and you have flooring to remove as well, consider hiring a man and van to help with the removals. There are many dedicated businesses that specialise in this service.

Choosing Paint
There’s nothing better to finish off a new room than a new coat of paint. For kitchens, pick a latex semigloss paint. This is perfect for the kitchen because you will be able to wipe off splashes and food easily.

Prepping the Room
You may be surprised how much grime has built up on the kitchen walls, so make sure to wash the walls and ceiling with a trisodium phosphate based washing solution.

Another tip is to lay down your base coat before fitting any new cabinets, and then painting the top coat carefully after everything is installed.

Locate Wall Studs
Use a wall stud locator to mark out any studs before you start installing the cabinets. Don’t rely on the previous layout when hanging cabinets, because the previous installer may have placed them without stud support.

Assembling the Cabinets
Leave any doors or other extra components out of the cabinets until after they have been hung on the wall. This will greatly reduce the weight of the unit and make the fitting much easier.

Many DIY supply stores have online guides with advice and tips for cabinet installation.

Recycle the Old Cabinets
Don’t throw out the old cabinets because they can be used in other areas of your home. They make a great storage solution for the garage or tool shed, or you could repaint them and create a play kitchen for a children’s cubby house.

If the cabinets are beyond repair, use a man and van rubbish clearance service to take away the mess.

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How to Turn Your Home Into an Eco-Friendly Haven

The home you live in should be safe for both you and the environment. Unfortunately, a lot of the homes built today are the exact opposite. They emit harmful toxins into the air that damage the ozone and the health of its occupants. Over time, it can lead to all sorts of health problems, including infertility and respiratory problems. If you’re on the market for a house or want to make improvements to your home, then you should have eco-friendliness in mind. The following are some of the different ways you can enhance your home into a green one.

Build with Natural Materials

The materials your home is built with can be made with impure materials that are filled with contaminants like formaldehyde and lead. You need to make conscious buying decisions when renovating the walls and floors in your home. Everything from the plywood to the paint should be eco-friendly and safe for humans and pets. There are a variety of companies that have products that are designed for this very purpose.

Choose Hardwood Over Carpet

Many of the carpets used in homes today are contaminated with chemicals like formaldehyde and artificial dyes. These toxins are released into the air of your home, making it toxic to breathe. Natural hardwood floors like oak, bamboo and cedar can be used for the floors instead. These should be finished with natural products, otherwise your efforts are pointless. Wooden floors can be placed throughout the home, including the living areas, kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms.

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Have Plants Throughout the Home

Air purifiers are great, but there’s nothing like having natural air purifiers in your home. Plants act as filters for airborne particles and toxins in the air. Unlike with mechanical air purifiers, also improve the air, providing more oxygen and other benefits. Certain plants can help keep bugs away, improve sleep and help with asthma. Some of the plants you want to consider include parlor palm, spider plant, snake plant and peace lily, to name a few. Place your plants throughout your home, in the bathrooms, kitchen, bedrooms and living areas. Make sure they get plenty of light and water.

Choose Non-Lead Paint

If you’re going to redo the paint inside and outside of your home, then make sure it doesn’t contain lead. This is especially important if you have young children. Chipped paint can be consumed by little crawlers, which puts them at risk of poisoning. Lead is known to cause all sorts of adverse affects, so it should be avoided at all costs. You can opt for green paints made by eco-friendly companies. There are more and more color varieties becoming available, so your options aren’t limited.

Add More Windows to Your Home

The winter months can get very cold, depending on where you live in the nation. You can offset your power bill in the cooler months by installing more windows, so that more sunlight can get in and warm up your home. This also adds plenty of natural lighting, which means less lights that need to be operated during the daytime. If you have a smart thermostat, you can use your Microsoft computer or smartphone to create settings so that it doesn’t turn on until right before you come home.

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4 Tips to Help You Create an Atmosphere to Relax in and Enjoy

You do not realize the effect that the atmosphere can have on a room until you enter one that is completely devoid of one, or has a really bad one. Different atmospheres create different moods and, if like me, you like to be relaxed and chill out in your living room, creating the right atmosphere is essential. Here, I have outlined a few ideas that you too can use to create the best atmosphere for you to relax in and let the stresses of your day simply float away.

Colour

The obvious place to start is with the color of your room, and there are many colors you could choose from. If you need some information on the best colors for the atmosphere you desire, you could visit a website. However, for a relaxing atmosphere, you can always rely on old favorite’s like pastel blues, violets and greens. Any of these colors should create a calming atmosphere that will have you relaxed in no time.

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Warmth

Being able to cuddle up on your sofa with a cup of hot chocolate is a tried and trusted way to relax, though if you are cold at the time relaxing becomes a lot more difficult. Providing a nice ambient temperature will make a lighter atmosphere and help you relax. A great way to improve the atmosphere of a room while also controlling the temperature is with a living flame fire, and if you are lacking a chimney or a gas supply for the fire, you needn’t worry anymore. You will find a selection of bio-ethanol fires that are both stylish and functional, and that will certainly help give you atmosphere with an added warmth.

Smell

They say that the best way to sell a home is by baking bread, and this is because it creates such a homely atmosphere; and you can utilize smell in a similar way to improve the relaxing atmosphere in your home. There are many aroma diffusers available to buy, and many of them can be adjusted to periodically infuse your lounge with the aroma of your choice; meaning that your lounge will always smell the way you want. The choice of aromas is now huge, as more and more are discovered that either smell beautiful, or help medically. No longer do you need a can of spray from the supermarket, now you can bring aromatherapy into your living room.

Music

With the right choice of music, it is possible to forget everything else, and become lost as note after note flows through your consciousness. Whether it is your lounge, bathroom, or a home salon, music is the perfect way to change an atmosphere to one where you can feel at peace with the world. Obviously, music can be changed very easily, and is the most adaptable way to create the atmosphere you want at the time. No home should be without music, and a varied music selection will enable varied atmospheres; be it a relaxing one or not.

Living in a grey home, with a grey atmosphere, leads to grey people. Living in a relaxing home with a relaxing atmosphere leads to relaxed people. Personally, I like to be relaxed, not grey; and if you do too, I hope these ideas will help you.

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Five Ways to Improve the Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

The indoor air quality in your home isn’t typically something that most people give a lot of thought to. It doesn’t really keep you up at night, nor does it have you stressing out. But here’s the thing, maybe it deserves more attention than you’ve given it in the past? Did you know that poor indoor air quality can lead to a number of unpleasant sympAtoms? You may suffer from sinus congestion, dryness of the eyes/nose/throat, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, sneezing, coughing, nausea, and heightened allergic reactions.

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to poor indoor air quality such as indoor air contaminants, not enough outdoor air intake, the wrong humidity level, and more. If you are concerned that the indoor air quality in your home is less than ideal, then these five tips can make a substantial difference.

Change the Filter in Your Furnace Regularly

This may sound like a really simple tip, but it has a massive effect on the indoor air quality in your entire home. The filter in your furnace is meant to filter out pollens, impurities, dust, and so forth. If it is so packed full of dirt and grime, it is no longer able to perform the job of filtration. That means all those pollutants and contaminants are just circulating through your home.

Experts suggest that you check your furnace filter every 30 days, and then replace it every three months. As soon as it turns gray, it’s time to swap it out. You can easily purchase a replacement filter online through the Discount Filter Store and have it delivered right to your house.

Switch to Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

The cleaning products you use in your home can also have a negative effect on the indoor air quality. Making the switch to eco-friendly products that don’t contain harmful chemicals will be much better for the air. You can even use all-natural cleaners that are homemade with ingredients such as vinegar and lemon.

Open Up the Doors and Windows

While this may not be practical all year round, another great way to improve the air quality is to ventilate your home and let the air in/out. Opening up doors and windows at least once a week can really refresh the entire home. Even if it is winter, opening up a few windows for a short time won’t be enough to cool down the entire house, but it will help to let that fresh air in.

Indulge in Your Green Thumb

Having greenery in your home is not only beautiful and gives a sense of nature and the outdoors, but plants are heralded for being excellent air purifiers. They are constantly removing toxins from the air and then creating more oxygen. While any plant will be great for the indoor air quality, some are better than others. Ideally you want to look for ivy, bamboo, and various Dracaena plants.

Make Your Home Smoke-Free

Finally, you can make your home a smoke-free environment, as this is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to poor indoor air quality.

All of these tips will help to improve the overall indoor air quality in your home.

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How to Plan a Home Renovation

From regular do-it-yourself enthusiasts to brand new homeowners, renovating properties is an activity that everyone can undertake for themselves. But that doesn’t mean it will be a breeze. The key to planning a home renovation successfully is knowing what your timeline should look like and which challenges you are most likely to face. To find out what you should consider when planning your own home makeover, keep reading.

Get to know the lay of the land

Before you can begin to build or add on to the property that you have, it’s important to know what you’ll be working with. Do a survey of your property — or at least the area to be renovated — to find foundation problems that could have you retracing your footsteps if left for later. A building report or a measured survey carried out by a professional can give you clues as to what issues (if any) that the building has, such as dry rot, pests or leaky roofs.

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Find out which consents you need for construction

You may need permits to carry out your work, depending on the nature and the size of your renovation project. It is important to do research with your local authority to find out if you need consents and which ones because they can take from several weeks to several months to secure. And if you are caught renovating without the proper consents, you could be forced to undo all of your hard work.

Take preventative measures

Make sure you have all the essential needs met for your renovation — such as a working water line and electricity–before you start. You’ll also need to make sure the entire framework of the house or building that you’re working in is sound; it could require scaffolding or structural reinforcements before you begin your renovation. Skipping this step could lead to serious injury, not to mention a major setback of your renovation. Make sure to reinforce your structure to avoid the need to seek medical attention or medical advice.

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Start demo work

Once you have all of these tasks checked off, you can begin demolition on your building. Try to save building elements that are in good condition or that give the building its character — mainly, items like cabinets, doors, old but sturdy light fixtures or decorative hardware. You may be able to use these later, but everything else should be stripped and disposed of properly.

Renovate

It may seem odd that renovation is the last thing on your to-do list, but this is just a testament to how important it is to plan and properly prepare. But in the spirit of being a fore thinker, you’ll also need to make sure to put structures in place to prevent some of the most common home problems that can happen when a house begins to age, namely damp. This kind of thinking ahead will make sure that you not only have a successful renovation but that the results will last for years to come.

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