#114 Paint the Woodwork

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#114

Paint the Woodwork

As I look around my home, my first thought is that I must add this suggestion to my to-do list ASAP. How does the woodwork in a typical home get so beat up? You’d think a herd of antelope have charged through the doorways and against the chair rail in almost every room.

Stained Woodwork

Some people don’t like painted woodwork and have gone to great lengths for the cherry or walnut stained trim that comprises baseboards, door jams, and crown moulding throughout the house. Others, have cursed those oil based stains as they attempted to paint over them years later with washable latex. While stained trim is definitely beautiful, especially in older homes where the quality of wood used for trim was high end, it can be both dark and comfortable as well as dark and dreary. If dark and comfortable is the feel you want and have… read no further. If it’s dark and drab or if your woodwork is already painted – read on.

Colored Trim

In Colonial style homes, the tradition of painting trim a darker color than the walls is still practiced. Often, because dark colors draw your attention, when there is detailed trim that acts as part of the room decor (dental molding, etc) the contrast of it against a light wall has an artistic feel. In many of the modern homes where trim was mass produced, it’s rather nondescript and acts more as a simple frame for a door or window opening so it is commonly white.

White Trim

White may not be white – or so says Better Home and Garden Magazine. In an online article, they remind us that ‘white’ comes in a variety of tones that vary across a spectrum of cool to warm; each one complimenting the primary wall color differently. They recommend taking a paint chip of the primary wall color to the paint store to see which ‘white’ works the best and then make it consistent throughout the room. Personally, I prefer a white, white – on the cool side throughout the whole house. It seems chaotic to choose a different white color for each room.

Durability

Perhaps the most important part of choosing a paint for trim is knowing to get a hardy, washable paint. This is where quality matters. Bob Villa, one of televisions most beloved home improvement specialists, suggests a alkyd-oil based paint in either semi or high gloss for most traditional household trim work. It is by far, the most durable and the most washable – tolerant of harsh cleaners. Personally, cleaning up with oil-based paints is cumbersome and it doesn’t come off easily after drying on areas it wasn’t supposed to be on in the first place (my hands, the floor, the doorknobs, etc) so I use water based paints in semi-gloss but go for high quality, high durability. Behr paints have been rated highly by consumer reports over the years and have been satisfactory in my personal experience. It goes on well and blends well if all I am doing is random touch ups.

Take a walk through your house and glance around at the trim in each room and then grab a paint brush and a fresh can of paint and…

Paint the woodwork.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#140 Create a List of Home Maintenance Responsibilities

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#140

Create a list of home maintenance responsibilities

Being a homeowner can be overwhelming at times when life is pulling at us in a gazillion directions. Even if you don’t own your home, there are basic maintenance items that make living in a home more efficient and healthy – leading to a higher quality of life and a sustainability of your home’s value.

If you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, just search Google for a list of House Maintenance Items – there is no shortage of links to investigate but there are a couple of categories you must be sure to include:

Monthly items:

The things you need to do each month such as changing your air filter, are designed to keep abreast of potentially bigger problems. One list suggested moving from sink to sink once a month with a hair drain clog remover so that the drains never become clogged… a proactive stance to remove buildup. Anyone with girls living in the house needs one of those do-dads. It’s completely gross but oh-so-worth-it!

Quarterly items:

On a less regular basis it’s good to inspect under sinks and around toilets for water leakage. Additionally, someone suggested inspecting extension cords and surge protectors – something that I personally, take for granted. I imagine the one behind the couch hasn’t seen daylight in more than a year which, means it’s nested in a full out hollow of dust bunnies. When those babies collect extensively, they create hard core matter that can catch fire from a spark.  Yup… gotta check them.

Bi-Annually:

Get the vacuum out and suck up the dust on your refrigerator coils. You’ll have to pull it out to do this but it will save a ton of money on power efficiency and it will take all of 10 minutes or less. Of course, you’ll want to scrub up the spilled milk that’s been baking there for months along with spider poop and the dead flies.

Annually:

Inside, you’ll want to prioritize vent cleaning (including the dryer vent!). The air you breathe will be so much cleaner if it’s not blowing back the dust that has settled in your vents throughout the year. And… that dryer vent accumulation that you never see and therefore never think about – is responsible for thousands of house fires around the world each year.

Outside, you’ll want to make sure that shrubs and trees aren’t up against the house too close. It’s especially important to get those climbing vines off the house as the little feeder roots it uses to hold itself to your masonry will over time, break apart the concrete, stucco, brick, or make its way into your siding and create havoc as water and ice will have a path to parts of your home where they are most destructive.

Of course, the whole idea of a list is to be organized with these tasks and make sure that they are accomplished. While you’re thinking about it – go ahead and …

Make a list of home maintenance responsibilities.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#297 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#297

Use a caulk gun around the house

Recently, a friend prepping for a big family gathering mentioned that she spent the day ‘caulking’. When I inquired further, she indicated that she has made it an annual habit to roam the house looking for woodwork that had settled and/or separated over the year.

While I am quite familiar with a caulk gun when I am constructing something (built some bookcases a few years back), I’ve never randomly searched for areas in my home that needed that particular attention unless I was doing a thorough paint job – which, definitely doesn’t happen annually.

Happiest of all Mother’s Day to the moms out there today!

When I built those bookcases I mentioned above, a friend share the tip that “a little bit of caulk and a little bit of paint, make the carpenter what he ain’t.”. I’ve never forgotten and believe me… there was a tube or more on those shelves.

After the discussion with my earlier friend, I’ve notice many places around my own home that were quite oblivious before that conversation. Little cracks appear in almost every baseboard and I’ve noticed a few window sills that can use some attention.

Remember that post about Honey-do Lists I posted last week? This task is being added without further ado…

Use a caulk gun around the house.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#320 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#320

Fix something

As you look around your house, do you see something that needs fixed? Are you frustrated that it doesn’t work? Is it more of a hassle to think about fixing it than the actual ‘doing’ of fixing it?

A few years ago I got tired of not being able to drain my bathroom sink – the sink stopper had broken months before and it was that kind of thing that you completely forgot about until you needed it. I opened YouTube.com and searched ‘fix broken sink stopper’ – which, is actually called a ‘Pop-up Drain Assembly’ and found a dozen explanations – with videos – on how to repair it. After a quick trip to Home Depot for the part – it literally took 5 minutes!! I must have complained about it being broken for more than 5 months and it was a really super easy and quick fix.

My neighbor fixed her leaky toilet ‘innards’ in a similar manner without any significant effort. It seems that almost anything you need fixing has a tutorial available online. It may take rewinding and repeating a few times as we ‘catch on’ but technology makes that super simple and no matter what you want to repair… there’s a video to guide you through.

The sense of satisfaction that comes from fixing something yourself runs deep. Becoming your own handyman for those little things that are more nuisance than not is empowering – especially for us women who are sometimes less exposed to ‘repair’ experience than our brothers. Certainly – sexism in NOT intended here – only demonstration of typical norms; which, are definitely changing as years go by. Thanks perhaps, to those videos that offer teaching moments for those of us who didn’t get it by way of life. The point is – regardless of gender or experience, YouTube offers a tutorial so that you can …

Fix something.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.