5 Easy Ways to Get Your Home Ready for the Holidays

‘Tis the season for having family and friends gather at your home to celebrate what you’re all thankful for. We are here to help you make sure that loving your home is something you’re thankful for.

There are many quick and easy ways to get your home ready for the holidays and ready for entertaining.

  1. Interior Paint: One of the best ways to completely transform the way a room looks is to paint it. You can paint an accent wall, create a nice design or the entire room for that jaw-dropping transformation. Wallpaper is another great way to spruce up your home. Wallpaper is great for bathrooms and to help make small spaces look larger.
  1. Updating Kitchen Backsplash: Your kitchen is the heart of the home and where most people will spend their time when they come over. Why not give your kitchen a quick updated look with a new tile backsplash. There are many options to choose from with mosaics tiles, classic subway tiles, or creating a whole new design with a mix of colors and textures.
  1. Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets: While you’re in the kitchen, why not take the time to refinish those kitchen cabinets while you’re working on the backsplash. There are many colors to choose from to match your style. We can help make sure your style and ideas come together to transform your kitchen into everything you’ve dreamed of.
  1. Renew Your Guest Bathroom: You don’t want your guest bathroom to be drab when you’re hosting a party, so why not take the time to quickly update your space. You can update the paint, add a new mirror or a frame to your existing one, update the faucet and hang some cozy and inviting decorations to the space.
  1. Transform Your Entry Way: The entry way is the first thing your guests will see when entering your home. There are many quick fixes you can do for your home that will make a large impact. Change your entry way light fixture to a beautiful chandiler that will set the tone for the style of your entire house. Update the paint on the walls in your entry way. Or create a gallery of photos to show off your family and style.

Take the time this season to make sure your home is ready for the joy of entertaining. The last thing you want to do is worry about little things you could have done around your home. Take the time now to update, so you can enjoy the holidays worry-free!

Leaving Home for the Holidays? Don’t Forget to Take Care of These Things Before You Go!

If you’re heading out for the holidays this year – especially for an extended period of time – you might want to consider taking the time to do a little pre-work so that your home stays in top condition during your absence. Here are 4 quick to-dos that can help you avoid any serious winter damage during your extended holiday travels.

  1. Turn your heat down. Make sure to double-check the thermostat before you head out on your trip . It’s always smart to turn down the heat, but don’t turn it completely off. If the weather dips too low, your pipes could freeze and burst, causing serious problems when you return. A good rule of thumb is to set the thermostat to 55 or 60 degrees.
  1. Get rid of perishables in the fridge. Take out and throw away any foods that may go bad during your time away. You generally don’t need to empty out your fridge completely, unless you’re heading away for more than a month, then you might want to clean out everything and unplug your refrigerator.
  1. Close and latch all openings. Doors, windows, and fireplace flutes all need to be closed and latched before heading out the door. Depending on winds and weather, outside elements could make their way indoors if your doors and windows aren’t properly closed off.
  1. Disconnect and drain hoses connected to the outside. Any hoses that are connected to faucets outside of your home should be drained and disconnected to prevent any potential freezing and water or ice damage.

Enjoy your time away this holiday season by preparing your home ahead of time. If you’re looking for additional tips and tricks or need help getting your home ready for entertaining this holiday season, look no farther than here. The professionals at Handyman Matters are here to keep your home safe and prepare it for family gatherings.

The Cost of Home Improvement Fraud & Scams

Handyman Matters is here to help you love your home and with that comes protecting our customers and their homes. Fraud is a big deal in the home improvement industry. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission estimates that Americans lost more than $4.1 billion to fraud and scams in the last 5 years alone. Those numbers are terrifying for any homeowner.

The home improvement industry is a $200 billion industry each year and poor workmanship is the number one fear that homeowners have when hiring a contractor. We have put together some tips to help you make an informed decision the next time you’re looking to hire a contractor for home improvements.

  • How to not become a victim:
    • Thoroughly research any contractor or handyman company before doing business with them
    • Make sure they are bonded and insured
    • Check out any online reviews to ensure other customers have had good experiences. One can learn a lot from reviews, as well as how a company responds to reviews, good or bad!
    • It is also a good idea to take a look at the Better Business Bureau for any reviews and to make sure the company is in good standing.
  • When interviewing a contractor follow these guidelines:
    • Get the contractors full contact information
    • Make sure the contractor is appropriately insured, licensed and bonded in your state
    • Ask how much experience the contractor has
    • Ask for the contractor to break down the estimate by costs
    • Ask when the contractor will be able to start and how long the project will take to complete
    • Ask the contractor if they will be using sub-contractors. Make sure those workers are properly licensed, bonded and insured
    • Ask the contractor if they have a warranty on their work
  • Once you have selected a contractor:
    • Always get a written and signed quote for the job no matter how big or small it is. Collaborate directly with contractor for any possible change orders if it becomes necessary.
    • If a building permit is necessary, have the contractor secure it in their name
    • If you are dealing with an insurance claim, check with your insurance company to see if an inspection needs to be done prior to the start of the project.
    • Pay for the job with a credit card or check and get a receipt. Never pay in cash.
    • Do not pay for the job up front. Ask to be billed after it’s completed. Or if it’s a deposit for a larger job, just ensure to get a receipt.

It is important to research a contractor or company before having them work on your home. Handyman Matters can do it all, and we can back it up. We are trusted, licensed and guaranteed.

Decorating Your Home and Yard for Halloween

In recent years, more and more homeowners have begun decorating their homes for Halloween as enthusiastically as they do at Christmas time. A stroll down the seasonal display aisles at your local general merchandise retail store will quickly confirm this. There are all manner of decorations available, from simple to incredibly complex—and expensive! You can go the “retail route,” or you can come up with your own unique way of “haunting” your home and yard this season. Here are some tips—and some cautions—to keep in mind:

Safety comes first. Don’t allow your decorations to be hazards. Keep trick or treaters and all other visitors safe when they visit your property. This means avoiding things that can be tripped over or bumped into. Mood lighting—or flashing lights—create great atmosphere, but can also cause visibility issues. Keep in mind that many trick or treaters wear costumes that limit their field of vision. Go for “safe” over “scary” and even over “creative” if there’s even the slightest doubt that you are creating something that could cause injury.

Secure your decorations from goblins and other pranksters. It can be “dispiriting” to go to a lot of effort to create spooky effects, only to have them disappear or be damaged. So unless you can monitor your decorations closely, don’t set out expensive items or things you’ve gone to a lot of effort to create if they can be swiped or destroyed when your back is turned. Keep these items secure by displaying them in windows or out of easy reach. You might consider bringing more valuable things indoors each evening before you go to bed.

“Simple” can be effective. You can put together either fun or frightening displays without spending a lot of money or even going to a lot of effort. Rake up a pile of leaves on your front lawn and take a pair of old boots or galoshes and position them so that it appears someone has been “buried” beneath the leaves with just their feet protruding. Dangle handmade cardboard bats and ghosts from tree limbs with black thread and let them flutter in the wind. Use cardboard, Styrofoam or planks of old wood to create a cemetery of tombstones on the grass.

Wads of cotton can be gently pulled apart in strands to create cobwebs which can be strung through tree branches or stuck along porch railings and pillars. Straw or fabric stuffed into a pair of old jeans and a shirt can make a scarecrow, with a pumpkin or jack o’lantern added for a head and face. Position “him” in a rickety old chair on your porch. Gather a bunch of withered plant stalks and tie them together to make miniature corn shocks, or twine them together to make a dead wreath, festooned with wilted flowers, to hang on the front door as a grisly greeting. Not only are these easy and inexpensive things, but if they get swiped, you aren’t out a lot of money for your efforts.

Go elaborate, but exercise restraint. Just as more people are going all out on their costumes, a lot of folks are doing likewise with their decorating—lights, sounds effects, moving figures—the Halloween sky is the limit! Trick or treaters and other passersby will enjoy these displays. But be mindful and respectful of your neighbors. Ear-splitting spooky noises and strobe lights tend to get old and tiresome pretty quickly. Check with those who live nearby to let them know what you will be doing. Keep the volume level and the mood lighting to a sensible level, and within a reasonable time frame—from dusk until 8pm or so is good; earlier if small children with earlier bedtimes live nearby.

If you need help with “haunting-up” your house, particularly if it involves climbing a ladder, stringing spooky lights or positioning sound equipment in trees or on the roof, your local Handyman Matters ghouls and gals stand ready to help you “scare-ify” your home and yard quickly and safely, and they are available to take everything down the day after Halloween, as well!