Harvard Report: Bright Future For Remodeling

Home Remodeling IndustryRemodeling may have been hit hard by the recession, but demographics, an aging housing stock and a recovering economy give us plenty of reason to believe the industry is poised for recovery, according to the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies’ biennial report on the industry.

Harvard estimates the remodeling was a $286 billion industry in 2009–down 12 percent from the $326 billion peak in 2007, but still above 2005 levels and nearly twice the size of the market in 1995.  The biggest hit came in the owner-occupied improvement category, though–the sweet spot for many remodelers.

“Maintenance expenditures and rental expenditures didn’t really drop at all,” says Kermit Baker, director of the Joint Center’s Remodeling Futures program.  “In fact, it increased to some extent.  If you look only at owner improvements, that was actually down somewhere between 20 to 25 percent from peak to trough.  That’s what many remodelers are seeing.”

While we won’t return to the over-the-top spending of the last decade, the first half of this decade should see steady growth of 3.5 percent a year in the remodeling market, the Joint Center predicts.  That’s on par with the market growth in the late 1990s, but well below the 12 percent average annual growth from 2003 to 2007.

“It’s kind of back to business as usual, but not overly accelerating,” Baker says.  “I don’t think there were many people who were living through the 2003 to 2007 period that thought this was going to be a normal level of remodeling activity.”

Remodeling tends to closely followed the strength of the overall economy.  According to Joint Center estimates, remodeling accounted for about 2 percent of total spending in the U.S. economy in 1995 and 2009, growing at an annual rate of 4.75 percent compared to 4.71 percent for the overall economy.

“When the market was growing, it was growing because there was a fairly thin slice spending a lot more on home improvements,” Baker says.  “Just getting that back to normal implies a different mix of projects.”

This means remodelers probably shouldn’t expect as many of the big-ticket projects as they saw during the boom.  Instead, the market will be driven by smaller projects that are aimed at maintaining and improving homes for the way clients lives rather than with an eye toward resale.  While that may be painful for those remodelers that cater to the high-end clients, it’s key to a more stable industry, Baker says.

The ease of entry into the remodeling market continues  to make it a market made up mostly of smaller firms.  Using the latest numbers available, from the 2007 economic census, Harvard estimates there were 650,000 firms that reported receiving the majority of their revenue from remodeling.  That continued fragmentation of the industry makes it difficult to encourage professionalism and adherence to the rules and regulations of the industry, such as the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.

“You don’t have folks that are committed to the industry for the long run,” Baker says.  “They’re kind of in it while they’re looking for a more permanent job or in it to take advantage of an upturn.”

The increase in foreclosures and other distressed properties has played a major role in the decline in remodeling.  The high rate of foreclosures has also played a significant role in depressing home prices.  With declining prices, homeowners are much less likely to invest in their homes or may be unable to because of the lack of home equity financing.

However, as more foreclosures work their way through the system and are purchased, the new homeowners will likely find there is substantial work to be done, especially with the average home spending 500 days in the foreclosure process, Baker says.

Harvard cites a spring 2010 study from the Home Improvement Research Institute that found that buyers of distressed homes spent, on average, 15 percent more on home improvements in the first year of ownership compared to other buyers.  Most of the homes in that study were short sales, Baker says.  As more foreclosures go on the market, that difference is almost certain to increase.

“The level of distress for those properties is not nearly what we’re going to see when this wave of foreclosures comes through,” he says.

By Jonathan Sweet, Editor in Chief

DIY Painting Tips For A More Professional Finish

DIY Painting Tips For Your HomeWhen doing home renovations and redecorating, many people choose to do their own painting.  While the services of a professional painting contractor are undoubtedly the best plan, you can save a decent amount of money and complete this portion of the project yourself.

What’s the difference between a professionally painted wall and a DIY job?  Usually consistency of the finish, the edges and the clean up are top quality.  If you can take care of these three areas, your paint job will shine like a pro’s.

Buying the right paint for your area is a good start to a fine job.  You’ll have to choose between flat (often ceiling paint is flat), semi-gloss and gloss.  There are also many kitchen and bath paints with a high resistance to mold and mildew and other specialty paints for textured finishes.

Decide which type suits your area and ask at the store for their recommendation.  Generally high gloss paint is the easiest to wipe clean and flat paint is the least expensive.

Make sure the surface you are painting is clean and ready to receive a new coat of paint.  No oils should be present and the wall surface should be dry.

Use a clean roller and brush.  Be careful to mix the paint well before you start and stir often during the project.  Paint in small sections with a regular pattern of rolling and a consistent amount of paint loaded onto the roller each time.

Many homeowners get impatient when painting; that shows up in the edging.  Take the time to properly tape areas off.  This includes all trim, cabinets, fixtures, floors and ceilings.

Be slow and deliberate with all edging especially where a light color is meeting a dark color.  Buy top quality masking tape to reduce the chance of bleeding and remove the tape as soon as the paint is cured enough on the walls.

When you make mistakes, fix them right away.  Have a wet cloth handy for latex paints and some thinner on hand when using oil based.  Catching these mistakes as you go along will mean less work at the end.

Professional painters know how to leave a jobsite in pristine condition. Why is it that homeowners often don’t do the same for their own rooms?

Use a tarp wherever you need to protect flooring or furniture.  Wipe down all of the areas that have paint splotches or brush marks afterwards.  Remove masking tape and replace any furniture and decor you moved.

It’s a lot of work to clean brushes and rollers, but it’s worth the effort to reduce waste.  Used paint brushes and rollers are great for craft projects or paint jobs that require less of a fine finish.  With latex paint any rags and clothes used can also be washed.

Dispose of empty paint cans properly as they’re usually considered hazardous waste.  Many regional landfills and other businesses that deal with waste removal will take them.

By following in the footsteps of a professional painter you can enjoy a better quality finish in your home.  DIY painting is a fun project to do alone or with friends, and most rooms require only basic tools.  Enjoy this easy and inexpensive home improvement even more with a finished look that’s professional.

Backyard Decorating Tips

Your backyard can be an important extension of your home, so it’s worth spending time, and perhaps a little money, to make it functional and attractive.

The first step in creating a comfortable and appealing outdoor living space is to clear and tidy the area you have to work with. Stand in your backyard and assess what maintenance needs to be done or what eyesores need to be removed.  It’s time to think of all those gardening verbs:  Trim, mow, edge, fertilize, rake, weed, cut down, haul away, put away, paint and repair.

Make a list of the jobs, and get started – today!  Here are some problem areas for many homeowners, with ideas for ways to make improvements.

Tackle backyard eyesores

Store garbage cans and recycling bins in the side yard or garage.  If the hose must be handy, install a hose reel or a pottery hose house to keep it tidy.  Remove tired or scraggly potted plants, especially ones still in their plastic pots.

Establish a kiddie play area and train your children to keep their outdoor toys there.

Barbecues and their attending equipment aren’t always beautiful to look at.  Why not store them out of sight until they’re needed?

Organize your tools and create a storage system that works.  Up-end them in an old metal garbage can.  Hammer in a row of nails along a fence or the back of the hose, drill holes in your tool handles, loop through a section of rawhide and hang your tools from the nails.

How to Get Motivated

Your list may seem overwhelming, so here are a few ideas for making the work lighter:

Set up a social gathering a month or two away to work towards.  If you’re like me, you’ll want a tidy and attractive yard for your guests.

Commit time to the project. Break your list down into manageable chunks.  Schedule 15-minute to 2-hour blocks of time on your calendar over two months.  Use the odd few moments of free time to complete one small task.

Team up with a friend or neighbor. Spend an hour at his/her house on Saturday and work at your home on Sunday.  Reward yourselves with a picnic in your outdoor dining room.

Design a few outdoor rooms

After taking care of the grunt work, you’ll need to clearly define how you use the space.  Think of your yard as a series of areas or “rooms” with specific functions – areas for conversation, food preparation, eating, potting, storage, playing or sunning – surrounded by or intermingled with foliage or flowerbeds.

Create conversation areas in configurations similar to those in your home.  For example, place a small table in between a pair of chairs.  Position a “coffee table” in front of a bench with two chairs on either end.  Cluster pots to either side of the bench.  Add accessories such as shells, sculpture pieces, tiles or driftwood.

Make sure your outdoor “dining room” is easily accessible to the door closest to your kitchen.  Clean or replace the chair cushions.   Place an improvised centerpiece on the table and leave it there even when the table’s not in use.  Try a blooming potted plant, a cluster of pottery vases, a mound of river rocks, a bird house or birdbath or a bowl filled with croquet balls, beach glass or fish net floats.

Buy or recycle furnishings

Finally, think of items you might add to your outdoor living space to enhance your enjoyment.  Be creative!

Could you purchase sections of reassembled picket fencing and cordon off a small play area on the patio or the lawn for the kids to play in?

How about hanging a bamboo roll-up screen in front of your potting shed to conceal it from view?

Do you have trees that could hold a hammock or hanging chair?

Check any old wood furniture in your garage or attic.  An old dresser works well as a barbecue center or as a potting station.

An old kitchen table and chairs with a fresh coat of paint looks charming.  An old trunk, a few tree stumps covered with a slate slab or a wooden box can serve as a “coffee table.”

For creative finishing touches, rummage through your kitchen cabinets and check for anything waterproof to use as an accessory.

by Kit Davey

Giving A Room A Quick, Easy Facelift

Courtesy of Elle Decor’s executive editor Michael Boodro, here are a few tips for injecting a fresh look into your home’s interiors, ideas that can be accomplished at relatively little cost and with just a small amount of effort.

Pump the Color

Don’t let it scare you.  If you love a bold color, but worry it will be overkill, do one wall, or paint the wall below the chair rail.  Strong color instantly changes a room.

Don’t Fear the Dark

If you have a dark room, don’t paint it a light color and pretend it’s a bright room.  Painting a dark room a dark color can give it real presence.

Use the Ceiling

Too many people ignore them.  Paint ceilings a pale color, like soft blue or pink or butter, or add texture with architectural detail.  When you address the ceiling, it lifts the eye.

Add Shine

Put something shiny in every room:  A glass bowl, a mirror, a polished brass table, lacquered or glossy-painted furniture, satin pillows.  Furnishings that reflect light make spaces happier.

Edit your Stuff

Just as choosing which photos will make it into our magazine’s layout is the hardest part of editing, the same holds true for a room.  Not every great item belongs.  Clear every surface.  Put your stuff in a pile and slowly consider each piece before you put it back.

Have Fun

Your home should be playful.  Not every piece needs to be valuable or have provenance.  Your home should reflect you, not a hotel.

Keep it Alive

The philosophy of maintaining a magazine is that “it’s like a shark.”  If it doesn’t move ahead, it dies.  The same holds true for a living space.  Keep it moving forward!

10 Tips To Help Prevent Water Damage In Your Home

Most homeowners’ policies cover damage from accidents and failures, such as damage from a burst pipe. What is not usually covered is damage caused by an overall lack of ongoing maintenance in your home. Most water damage starts with a simple leak or drip and can be prevented, if you know what to look for! Routine checks may help catch problems before they happen. Taking the time to regularly complete this list of helpful tips around your home can potentially save you a lot of money, and headaches.

  1. Clean up mold, rot and mildew before it becomes a hazard.
  2. Check that the dishwasher hose is tight, and examine under the dishwasher after use for any sign of leaks.
  3. If your refrigerator has an icemaker, check the water line. Wet spots on the floor may indicate a line about to burst.
  4. Fix sink blockages promptly when they occur, check under the sink for signs of leaks.
  5. Discoloration or soft areas near showers or bathtubs may be your first indication of a leak. If you find cracks or mold around joints, clean and replace the caulking.
  6. Using too much toilet paper can clog toilets and lead to leakage. In addition, some chlorine tablet cleaners may corrode internal components, leading to a leak.
  7. Inspect washing machine hoses for wetness around hose ends and for signs of bulging, cracking or fraying. Replace the hose if a problem is found or every three years.
  8. Most water heaters last 10 to 15 years. Wet spots on the floor or a rusty tank may signal a problem.
  9. To check for hidden leaks, turn off all faucets and water using appliances, and do not flush toilets for one hour. Record your water meter reading. If the flow indicator is spinning or the meter reading changes in that hour while no water was being used, a leak probably exists.
  10. Know where your main shut off valve is and check it regularly to make sure it’s operational.

Prevention is key, keep this list of tips on hand and set regular check-ups for your home once a quarter. For more helpful tips or to find a local Handyman Matters near you, check out our website at HandymanMatters.com.

Avoiding Move-In Frustrations

Building or remodeling a home can be a mixture of excitement and hassle.  After months of dreaming and planning, the construction and finishing phases can seem to go on forever.

But there are few things more frustrating than to make it to moving day, only to find that your furniture doesn’t fit the rooms, you have nowhere to plug in a lamp by the sofa, and your favorite armoire is too wide for the walls by one inch.

Some of these disappointments can be circumvented, however, by arranging your furniture and considering your lifestyle needs before plans are finalized.

Not too Big, Not too Small

Think bigger is better?  You’ll want to avoid rooms that feel either too cramped or as huge as a cavern.  By pre-arranging your ideal furniture grouping prior to building, you can see exactly how much space you’ll need.  Do you want a master bedroom with a sitting area?  Pencil out the placement of your bedroom furniture and the seating area before committing to a room that’s too small or too large.  Do you want a big living room?  Consider your true furniture needs before you find that you have a lot of awkward space between your conversation area and the dining area.

Do you have a tall grandfather clock, an extra long dining table, a ten food sofa, a big canopy bed, large area rug, or a huge breakfront?  Plan ahead for these pieces by designing room sizes, wall spaces, and ceiling heights than can easily accomodate these items.

Smaller items can look lost in a giant room.  Think about scale and get advice from a design professional before building spaces that may be too big for the way you live.

Lighting Design

Many homeowners treat lighting design as a luxury or an afterthought.  However, lighting can add both drama and function to a home.  Illuminate dark hallways with a line of recessed lights, highlight the living room walls with spots aimed at artwork, put in handy under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen and in display shelving, add circuits and dimmers to increase your lighting options.  Visit a lighting showroom or find a qualified lighting designer to help formulate a plan to fit your needs.

Bathroom Sizes

As bathroom sizes increase, many homeowners are choosing to add furniture to this space.  If this idea appeals to you, then be sure to allow sufficient wall area for a chest, armoire, or chair.

Furniture Arrangements

Furniture arrangements are often left until moving day.  However, arranging the furniture before building can result in a more successful project.

This pre-planning should result in spaces that are neither too big nor too small and may save you money as well, since you’ll better fit the size of the home to your exact floorplan needs.

Planning ahead for sufficient electrical outlets (as well as TVs, intercoms, home theatre or sound systems) can save major frustration.  Consider floor outlets if furniture arrangements will be in the center of the room.

Make a list of your storage needs and wants; this will help you determine the type, location and number of closets you may want:  Space for winter coats near each exterior door?  Linen closet in the hall or bathroom?  Separate pantry closet or more kitchen cabinets?

Window sizes and placements may need to be adjusted if built-ins, beds, furniture or countertops will be directly beneath them.  Windows might be larger and set lower to the floor to take full advantage of a view.

Remember, a few minutes of planning prior to your move can save some major frustration later in the process!

courtesy of Glenna Morton at about.com

Making Your Basement More Than Just Leftover Space

The February, 2011 edition of Qualified Remodeler offers a variety of insightful tips for making better use of your basement’s space:

Basements often are just leftover space.  Builders don’t usually think about the most efficient way to use that space, putting the HVAC, plumbing and electrical components wherever they happen to be expedient.  As a result, “prime real estate” may be taken up by things you want stored away.  Depending on your budget and your desire to optimize the space, you may opt for moving these things into a smaller mechanical room or designing around their presence.  In either case, getting the mechanical equipment out of the way is just the start.  Here are a few other tips for providing the lower level of your home with a face-lift:

In many cases, ceiling height may be an issue.  If the finances permit, you have the option of lowering the floor.  It isn’t your only option, however.  You can “open up” a tight space by uplighting the ceiling to gain the appearance of height.  Additionally, light colored walls and ceilings tend to project the illusion of a bigger space.

Appropriately positioned lighting can also be utilized to throw light into dark pockets or corners.  Mirrors are good options as well, but be cautious of their impact to the entire interior design.  Make sure to put them in areas where light is most abundant.

Instead of using solid wooden doors for your entrance door leading into the basement, consider a design that has glass fixed into it.  Not only does this provide more light, but it also prevents someone from being slammed while going up the basement steps.

Building drawers into the space beneath a staircase provides storage space away from the rooms themselves.  A corner or a recessed section of the basement can be closed off with sliding doors, providing a quick and easy fix for keeping the general area clutter-free.

It may be pointing out the obvious to say that the basement in the lowest point in your home, but this is a fact to keep uppermost in your mind when designing and furnishing the area. Select materials that are waterproof!  Make sure your basement is made of tiles or vinyl to facilitate easier clean-up, should the need arise.

Most importantly, think of your basement as another room in your house rather than just a dark, dank storage area.  As Elizabeth Emerson of E/L Studio in Cheverly, Maryland states it, “It’s really the base of the tree, and everything needs to come down cleanly into it.”

from the original article by Kenneth W. Betz

Useful Remodeling Ideas – BEFORE You Get Started!

home remodeling ideasHome remodeling can be done for function or just because the house needs a new look, or a combination of the two. The focus of home remodeling for most homeowners is usually the kitchen or the bathrooms because those are the rooms that add the most value to a home and can become outdated more quickly. Just as in fashion, home décor goes through fads, and typically if bathrooms and kitchens have not been remodeled for ten years or more, it’s obvious!

How many times have we heard the jokes about the ambitious do-it-yourself homeowner who starts project after project, only to stop in the middle and not finish any one of them? Usually the weekend warrior runs out of time, or perhaps money, or maybe he or she realizes that much more has been bitten off than can possibly be chewed. The results are evident – half-finished paint jobs that leave some walls in one color while others sport another; flooring has been exposed but never finished; kitchen cabinets are leaning against the wall yet will not be anchored in for weeks or perhaps months. Sadly, many a homeowner neglected to receive some sound remodeling tips prior to embarking on their tasks. To this end, here are some tips and tricks that will you to get off to a good start, before you actually pick up your checkbook or your tools!

One of the first remodeling tips that are usually neglected is the fact that it should have a general appeal. Granted, this may be common sense, yet it is astounding how many homeowners add or take away from their homes in such a way that a future sale is compromised. While the homeowner may think that a purple bathroom with yellow handprints is just darling, the potential buyer who tours the house two years down the line will probably wrinkle his nose at this décor faux pas. In the same way, if you decide to add on to your home, do it with an eye on the investment potential. In other words, do not do a half-fast job yourself, but instead pull the proper permits and hire licensed contractors to at least take a look before the building inspector stops by.

Experts have a tool box full of different small bathroom remodeling ideas, but most can be grouped into two categories: creating light and creating visual space. The illusions of space and light complement each other and expand a small space. Anyone who has tried to apply makeup in a small dark room knows how important light is, and it’s created in a variety of ways, both natural and artificial. Natural light comes from windows, skylights, and any other opening that allows sun into the space. Whenever possible, windows should be left uncovered or only lightly covered by a filmy white or light-colored window covering. Paint colors from the cool end of the color spectrum reflect and enhance natural light, as do mirrors and light-colored flooring. Even a light-colored, inexpensive rug used to cover a dark floor can brighten up a space. Artificial light, originating from ceiling lights, wall sconces or lamps, can also brighten a space when employed artfully. Recessed lighting, which creates the illusion of space as well as light, could also be a viable option for you. Just be sure to use artificial light that is bright without being oppressive. Look in your home and garden store for special bulbs that can be used to effectively diffuse the light.

Other remodeling tips include the popularity versus functionality of a desired item, as well as value for the items. For example, just because recessed lighting is the latest fad, it may not be the lighting of choice for the bathroom where it may create dark spots and shade in undesirable areas. In addition to the foregoing, the value of the items purchased should remain intact, thus adding value to the home rather than simply costing money. Thereafter it is a smart idea to do a bit of research to see where home decorating trends are headed. Some old time favorites, such as ceiling tiles or even marble counter tops, are becoming a thing of the past, and if you are wondering about adding value to your home it is best to decorate with the market in mind. Naturally, not all homeowners will look to sell their properties within the next few years or until after the next remodel, yet this rule of thumb is certain to add value to the biggest investment you will ever make rather than just drain the bank account.

Hopefully these remodeling tips have added a little bit of common sense to the mix of weekend projects and large undertakings, and the next time you contemplate a project, please be sure to think it through from beginning to end before your jump into the car to head to the local big box store for supplies!

by Michael Johnson

Garage Makeover

clean out and organize your garageIf your garage houses everything but your car, perhaps it’s time to consider cleaning out and reorganizing. Making space for projects, hobbies and storage extends your living space. For some, the garage is the biggest room in the house; why not make it more livable?

From sports equipment, lawn and gardening tools, seasonal decorations and cherished relics that you can’t part with, a roomful can be overwhelming — especially when considering the decision to toss or keep.

Realistically, if you organize everything, you may not have to get rid of anything. This is an opportunity to get the treasure off the floor and out from behind the door. With a step-by-step process you can create an organized, usable garage space and create storage.

Pick a nice day so you can use the driveway to begin organizing. Separate things into piles by group: sports gear, hand tools, fix-it supplies, yard paraphernalia and a junk pile. “Junk” being those things that you’ve hung onto that you “might use someday.” Consider how many years it has gathered dust and toss or donate it to your local charity. The tax savings from your donation might even help pay for your garage make over.

Once you have everything in its respective pile, look at your garage space. Now that you have empty walls and floor space, you can put everything back and hope it stays nice, right? Wrong! You wouldn’t leave pots and pans on the kitchen floor, why leave valuable equipment on the garage floor? Add cabinetry with shelving, drawers and doors to store things properly.

Adding cabinets also creates counter space for woodworking, fixing the car, potting plants or whatever your interest dictates. Modular cabinets can be arranged in and around your large items, like the refrigerator, ride-on lawn mower or band saw to create a space for everything.

Adding cabinetry is more than organization, it’s about lifestyle. You’re taking the most cluttered part of your home and customizing it to create a finished extension of your square footage and adding to your home’s value. The professional craftsmen at Handyman Matters can handle all of the cabinet and storage installation in your new garage space.

Once your garage becomes a clean, organized space you can also use it for garage entertainment. Hang a flat-screen TV and sound system to enjoy football games and work on your project at the same time and have fun in your garage.

Certain companies make heavy duty cabinetry specifically to handle heavy tools, machines and rough conditions typical of the garage. With their unique hanging system, the cabinets don’t sit on the floor so they are level and easy to clean under. Make sure when installing your cabinets that you have done your homework on pound load capacity. Our craftsmen can make the appropriate recommendations for materials and storage that will handle the items you store in your garage.

Once you find how nice it is to utilize your garage space, think about the basement, laundry room, mud room or other space where stuff gathers dust. Handyman Matters can handle all of your home repair and update needs. Springtime is the best time to start cleaning out and updating your home, call 866-FIX-MY-HOME (866-349-6946) to find a location near you.

12 Steps To “Going Green” In Your Home

go green at homeIt’s easy to talk a good game about going green, but not always as easy to walk that talk.  But here, with the assistance Dan Fritschen, the owner of remodelormove.com and a practiced hand at implementing reasonable ways to be greener at home, is a list of easy-to-implement practices and products for reducing your home’s carbon footprint:

  1. Don’t rebuild or remodel from scratch without considering re-purposing what you already have on hand.  Remember to weigh disposal costs and landfill burden.  In the case of cabinets, for example, re-face, don’t replace.  When possible, use other’s cast-offs.  Check out www.freecycle.org to find everything from free cabinets to windows to light fixtures.
  2. Choose sustainable or recycled materials when updating floors.  Farmed oak, bamboo and cork all offer greener, comparatively affordable flooring choices.  Tiles made of ground-up discarded porcelain sinks and toilets also look better than you’d think.
  3. Use Low-VOC paints. These have fewer volatile organic compounds and are easier on the planet.  Also, you won’t get a paint headache while using them.
  4. Opt for green sheets. Linens made of organic cottons are usually pesticide-free.
  5. Save water with every flush. This is an oldy-but-a-goody, and well worth remembering.  If you don’t have a low-flow toilet, then put a brick in your toilet tank.
  6. Consider motion-sensitive lights or put outdoor lights on timers.  Even better, install solar lights outside.  These soak up the sun’s rays all day and give them back at night.
  7. Put dimmers on light switches. For every ten percent you dim the light, you save the same amount in electricity and you double the life of the bulb.  If you dim by 50 percent, you cut your lighting bill in half and extend the bulb’s life five times.
  8. Switch disposable for reusable. Use cloth instead of paper towels and napkins, and washable plastic containers instead of disposable plastic bags for lunch.
  9. Be a borrower and a lender. If you’re going to need a tool or a piece of equipment only once or temporarily, borrow or rent it.
  10. Look for Energy-Star rated appliances. They save on energy bills and are easier on the environment.
  11. Buy antiques or secondhand furniture. The world has enough stuff.  Let’s fix it up and pass it around.