ORGANIZING YOUR PANTRY

pantryOne of the most overlooked—and probably one of the most despised—jobs around your home would be that of reorganizing your kitchen’s pantry.  It’s one of those tasks that generally isn’t even on your radar.  When it occurs to you is when you are digging through shelves of items hurriedly looking for that spice or canned good you know is there somewhere.  You saw it a while ago, but now it seems to have vanished.  You make a mental note that “one of these days,” you’re going to take the time to straighten up everything on those shelves and put them in some kind of order.  And then you forget all about it until the next time you can’t find something.

And here’s a bit of bad news:  There is no easy way to reorganize that space.  There are no short cuts.  Once you’ve made your peace with that bit of bad news, you can move on to actually doing something about it.  With that in mind, here are some tips that will make the process somewhat less painful, and the end result much more effective.

Step one is to remove everything from the shelves and other storage space in the pantry.  This enables you to give the space a thorough cleaning and to inventory all of the items on hand.

Toss out the empty or nearly-empty containers and check labels to see whether anything is past its expiration date.  Get rid of those things, as well.  Scrutinize what is left and determine what is worth keeping.  There’s no point in holding on to items that have seen no use over the past few years.  Decide also whether there’s anything that has been occupying space that really belongs in another area of the house, such as in a linen closet or desk drawer.

You’re still not ready to return anything to the pantry just yet.  Instead, group everything you intend to keep into appropriate categories.  For example:  spices and baking goods together, beans, grains and pastas together, condiments, oils, salad dressings and vinegar in one area.

Consider which articles you reach for most often, and which ones see less regular use, and let that be you guideline for how you return them to the shelves.  The more frequently you need to reach for something, the more convenient its regular spot should be.

Finally, scrutinize your pantry space closely while it’s still empty and uncluttered.  Consider additional storage options.  What about using an over-the-door shoe organizer to hold some items?  Does your pantry space allow for pegboard backing on a wall or a door?  These can be amazingly versatile and strong.  You can anchor hooks or suspend plastic baskets for these, creating room for cutting boards, utensils and shelf-stable items.

Take a few moments to plot out just how and where you will store things in your refurbished pantry area and what you might want to buy before everything goes back into the space.  Be realistic and reasonable in your goals.  Using clear plastic storage containers with labels can be time savers and efficient places to keep cereal, snacks or bulk items.  Remember, however that those require some ongoing maintenance (transferring the contents from the boxes and bags in which you purchase them, and keeping the bins clean).  If you know yourself well enough to know it’s not something you’ll keep up with regularly, then buying things like these may be nothing more than a needless expense and a waste of your time.  You might be better off simply keeping things in their original containers!

One last key element to pantry reorganization…  If you’re going to go to all the trouble of doing it, then keep up the good work!  Incorporate a few moments in your week to making sure things remain tidy and in their proper space.  Don’t fall into the trap of casually tossing something back into the pantry telling yourself that you’ll put it away properly later.  At least once a week, take the time to make sure everything is in its designated spot, package labels facing outward.  Wipe down the shelves and inventory items regularly so that you know approximately when amounts are getting low and things don’t remain well beyond their expiration dates.

It’s easy to let messiness and disorganization creep in.  It’s also easy to prevent it with just a little vigilance.

If you are looking to expand your pantry’s space or to create a new one, remember that your local Handyman Matters office is happy to assist you with this or with any other repair or remodel jobs around your home.

WINDOW DESIGN CAN IMPROVE YOUR HOME’S ENERGY EFFICIENCY

PSHD (Passive Solar Home Design) is the term used to describe the process that takes advantage of a building’s site, climate and materials to minimize energy usage.  A passive solar home gets at least part of its heating, cooling and lighting energy from the sun, and windows—and their ability to either retain or lose heat—play a large role in regulating that energy.

The efficiency of existing windows can be dramatically improved by utilizing weatherstripping or caulking, and by adding storm windows or window treatments and coverings.  In some instances, the better option is to replace older, less efficient windows with new ones that are better-designed for energy-saving purposes.  They quickly pay for themselves in reduced utility costs.

Before installing new windows, it’s important to determine the type that will work best in your home’s configuration.  Consider that south-facing windows will collect the most solar heat.  This is advantageous in the winter months, but less so in summer months, particularly in warmer climates.  In those areas, overhangs, glazing, or other shading devices will help to prevent excessive heat gain.  In colder climates, owners will welcome the additional warmth that southern-facing windows can absorb.

Windows on east- and west-facing sides of your home admit less sunlight.  It is more difficult to control the heat and light that come through them; ideally, they should have a low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC).  This is a scale that determines the fraction of solar radiation admitted through a window or shading of some type.  You can learn more about this scale at www.energy.gov.

Northern-facing windows collect no solar heat and generally are used only for lighting.  They can’t be counted on to provide sustained warmth.

Consider, too, the type of window operating system you want to install, since different styles have different air leakage rates.  Fixed panes do not open at all, making these generally airtight, but no ventilation is available, either, which can reduce their appeal.

Single- and double-hung windows have two separate panes of glass.  In single-hung windows, only the lower half of the window opens, sliding upward.  In double-hung windows, both halves are moveable.  Both types have a much higher air leakage factor, since they don’t seal as efficiently as other styles.

Similarly, single- and double-sliding windows feature glass which slides horizontally, and they, too, have higher air leakage.

Casement windows are hinged at the sides and open outward.  Both these and awning windows, which are hinged at the top, are more airtight since the sash closes by pressing against the frame.

Naturally, your selection is going to come down to the style that looks best on your home but, armed with this information, you can make a choice that balances aesthetics with energy-efficiency.

Even the most energy-saving windows must be installed correctly to ensure their efficiency.  The craftsmen at Handyman Matters are always available to assist with this important home upkeep task.  Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME to locate the office nearest you.

 

 

RE-CONFIGURING YOUR HOME’S STORAGE SPACE

Are you a recent empty-nester?  Have you just finished decluttering the house?  Or maybe you’ve simply been contemplating the current layout of your living space and you wonder if there could be a more efficient—or a more attractive—way of arranging your belongings.

You could, of course, put your home on the market and find an entirely new place to live, but if you’re looking for something a little less disruptive and complicated, here are a handful of smaller suggestions to consider.

EXPAND AN EXISTING ROOM – Is there a room in your home that’s rarely used these days?  Consider the idea of knocking down the wall between it and an adjoining room to create a more open and welcoming space between the two.  Interestingly, a larger expanse can give a stronger sense of intimacy!

ADD A CLOSET OR INCREASE THE SIZE OF A CURRENT ONE – Maybe it’s time to consider turning that small, cramped closet into a walk-in space where your clothes, shoes and other paraphernalia aren’t competing for visibility.  Examine your options:  is there some adjoining space that could be better served by making it part of a larger closet?

ADD OR MOVE CABINETS – Every home seems to have that catch-all cabinet and/or that junk drawer, the place where everything that has nowhere else to be winds up.  Even those storage spots that have an assigned purpose tend to accumulate items that don’t belong there, because they don’t quite seem to fit anyplace else.  Conduct a walk-through of your home for the specific purpose of inventorying cabinet/cupboard locations and their contents.  It’s probably been awhile since you actively considered whether things are stored in their most convenient spot.  You’ve simply become accustomed to retrieving them as needed without much thought about how far you have to walk, or how deeply you have to dig.

LOOK AROUND FOR UNUSED AREAS – Most homes have a lot of unoccupied space…if you know where to look.  Is it possible to open up space under a set of stairs for cabinets, sets of drawers, or even shelves?  Also, “think vertical!”  Floor-to-ceiling built-in-shelves enable you to put overhead space to better use.  In your kitchen, can you mount a second bank of cabinets above the existing ones?  These are good locations for those seldom-used items that are taking up valuable real estate in the more accessible cupboards.  Are there stray corners in your home, particularly behind doors, where diagonal shelves could be installed?  These don’t impede traffic or block the door and serve as both a point of decoration for things like vases and framed photographs, and for objects you typically grab on your way out of the house.

LOOK FOR FURNITURE THAT CAN DO DOUBLE-DUTY – Furniture has become amazingly functional in new ways these days.  Many beds, couches, coffee tables, credenzas and other items are now designed to have multiple uses, including hidden storage space.  A trip to a local furniture store can open you up to all kinds of new ways to relocate your possessions.

These are just a few of the options worth considering if you are looking to upgrade your home with an eye towards space reconfiguration.  Our many Handyman Matters offices have qualified craftsmen who can help you decide what the best option for your home may be, and to help you complete the job to your satisfaction.  Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or go to www.handymanmatters.com where you can enter your zip code to find the phone number of the Handyman Matters location nearest you.

 

Handyman Matters Franchising Selected for 2017 Lakewood Small Business Excellence Award

Handyman Matters Franchising has been selected for the 2017 Lakewood Small Business Excellence Award in the Contractors classification by the Lakewood Small Business Excellence Award Program.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2017 Lakewood Small Business Excellence Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Lakewood Small Business Excellence Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About the Lakewood Small Business Excellence Awards Program:

The Lakewood Small Business Excellence Awards recognizes outstanding small businesses that serve the Lakewood area. Each year, our selection committee identifies businesses that we believe have achieved outstanding marketing success in their local community and business classification.

Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value. These are small businesses that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Lakewood area a vibrant and vital place to live.

The Lakewood Small Business Excellence Awards was established to reward the best of small businesses in Lakewood. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to award the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Lakewood Small Business Excellence Award Program

CONTACT: Lakewood Small Business Excellence Award Program

Email: PublicRelations@SmallBusinessExcellence.email

URL: http://www.SmallBusinessExcellence.org

INSOMNIA-PROOFING YOUR BEDROOM

There are any number of reasons why you might experience sleepless nights, and more than a few of them can relate to your sleeping quarters.  Sometimes the cure to your insomnia can be found in examining the layout of your bedroom.  Here are some things to consider:

Sleep experts agree that keeping a room as dark as possible helps to promote a good night’s rest.   Are your furnishings, decorations, window treatments or wall colors preventing you from sleeping as well as you might?  It might be time to consider redecorating in hues of darker blue, purple, or maybe even black.

Are lighter-colored drapes or blinds allowing too much outdoor ambient light into the room?  Consider heavier or double curtains, or shades/blinds that are better light-blockers.

Are you sleeping on a twenty year-old mattress that has outlived its usefulness?  Even just your well-worn pillow can be preventing that restful night’s sleep.   Begin by changing out your pillows for new ones, to see if that simple change can provide the cure you seek.   A heavier, high quality set of pillows may make a huge difference in the type of sleep you get.  Try this before investing the money in a new mattress or bed; then, if the problem persists, consider making the larger purchase.

Pay attention to the temperature.  Try experimenting by adjusting the thermostat up or down a few degrees from night to night.  Perhaps a slightly warmer or cooler room will be more conducive to your rest.

It’s actually possible for the clutter in your bedroom to make a difference, as well.  It could be overt—the “busy-ness” of your knickknacks and decorations can inhibit your sleep.  Or it might be a little more subtle.  Are you falling asleep each night staring at stacks of things you’ve been planning to move, clean or rearrange?    Your brain carries these thoughts into your sleep, impacting it in all kinds of negative ways.

Some people sleep better when things are absolutely still.  Others do better with some sort of ambient noise—perhaps soft music or the sound of a fan.  Do some experimentation, if you aren’t sure which works best for you.  If light seeping under the door or the sounds of other occupants moving around in your home creates distraction, take steps to layer your walls and windows to provide better insulation.  This can be done with additional plaster or “popcorn” texture.  If soft noise provides a more soothing environment for you, look into purchasing a white noise machine or a small fountain that trickles water over stones.

These are but a few of the possibilities that may open up a whole new night’s rest for you.  Some are more easily tackled than others, of course.  In any event, Handyman Matters stands ready to assist with any sort of bedroom renovation, whether it’s to help you track that elusive better night’s sleep, or to do an extensive remodel when you are ready to change things up a bit.  Our expert craftsmen can provide both consultation and expertise for every kind of job, big or small.  Contact them at 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or by entering your zip code on our website.

Handyman Matters Recognized as Top Franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 500 Franchises List

It was twenty years ago that Andy Bell made the decision to leave the restaurant industry and to begin a home repair and remodel business in Denver, Colorado.  Initially it was simply with the intent of creating a business for himself as he and his wife raised their family.  But the initial response and the positive feedback from customers proved to be so immediate and so overwhelming that it was clear there was a market for the kind of unique and customer-friendly services his company—initially called Handyman Express—was offering.

Opening a second office in the north Denver/Boulder area proved that the idea was not a fluke.  Customers responded to the idea of a home repair business that was consistently reliable and manned by craftsmen who were professional in appearance and demeanor, and it became clear that this was a concept that could be embraced in all markets, and in 2001, Bell began franchising his services.

Two decades later, the company, known since 2001 as Handyman Matters (HMM), has consistently been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as a top franchise.  When the economic recession hit in 2008, businesses of all types and sizes took a significant hit, none more so than those in the home repair and remodeling field.  There were thirteen recognized home repair franchises in 2008; Handyman Matters was one of the few still standing in 2013, and it has consistently been regarded as a leader in the industry since its inception.  Bell attributes this to the core values he established when he opened that first office in 1998; they are the same values that guide the company to this day and which regularly draw new owners to the concept.  HMM just opened a franchise in Fairbanks, Alaska, making the company a presence in 24 states.