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Apr 27 2011

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11 Tips to De-Clutter your Home – The House Plan Shop

OrganizedTry as we might, it is hard to keep our homes completely clutter free. Below, The House Plan Shop provides quick tips to keep 11 spaces in your home neat and organized. Read on if your home could use a little organization.

 

  1. Bedroom closets and dressers: Get rid of any clothing item that you no longer wear, doesn’t fit any more or is torn or ripped and cannot be repaired. There is no need to have closets and dressers jam-packed with clothing you don’t wear or can’t wear. Make room for the clothing pieces you love so you can find them easier.
  2. Bathroom: Use up or get rid of half used bottles of shampoo and conditioner. If you don’t like their effect on your hair, consider using shampoo for shower gel and conditioner for shaving gel.
  3. Linen closet: Group towel sets and sets of bed clothes together. Get rid of any mismatched sets. Use frayed towels for cleaning rags in your workshop/garage.
  4. Foyer/Hall closet: Give all the things you grab on the way out the door a place of their own by the door so you can find them when you need them and return them to their proper place when you come back home. Make a space in the closet or under a bench for shoes and boots. A circular canister works well for umbrellas. Give the kids a hook in the closet or on the wall to hang their own jackets and backpacks. 
  5. Kitchen: Clean out the pantry and cabinets. Get rid of any canned goods that are out of date. Throw away stale bags of chips. Sort through dishes and cookware including utensils. Get rid of chipped dishes and mismatched sets. Free up cabinet space by getting rid of extra serving dishes you never use. If you have multiple cooking utensils, keep those in the best shape and toss out the duplicates.
  6. Family room: If you plan to sit on the couch, get rid of all the extra throw pillows. It is OK to keep a couple decorative pillows, but there is no need for 10-15 of them. Keep 2-3 pillows that are in good shape and match your décor, but get rid of the rest. Clean out your media cabinet and get rid of CDs and DVDs that are scratched or broken or that you no longer us. Recycle the plastic cases.
  7. Mail organizer: Designate a space in your home to place your mail until you have time to go through it whether it is on the kitchen counter, an entry table in the foyer or in your office. You’ll always know where to find the mail.
  8. Office: Organize files in a meaningful way from phone and electric bills to health records and receipts and warranties for appliances. Create a filing system that works for you, i.e. arranging files by color file folders or alphabetically.
  9. Playroom: Eliminate broken toys and those with missing pieces. Recycle anything you can. Put game and puzzle pieces back in their respective boxes or containers and stack them in cabinets or on shelves. Get rid of toys the kids no longer play with. If they are in good condition, donate them to charity. 
  10. Laundry room: Establish a sorting procedure for sorting laundry by arranging labeled baskets in the laundry room. Teach your kids to sort their own clothing.
  11. Garage: Sort everything in the garage and group like items in storage tubs. Get rid of broken toys and bikes that have been outgrown. Securely store power tool and hazardous chemicals out of reach of children.

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Feb 16 2011

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7 Uses for Bonus Rooms

House Plan 034H-0022Do you ever find yourself wishing for a flexible space in your house that can be a sewing room today and a guest suite tomorrow? House plans with bonus rooms offer tremendous flexibility when it comes to changing needs. Weather your needs change day-by-day, week- to-week or every 10 years, a home plan with a bonus room is sure to accommodate you.

 

Usually bonus rooms are found on the upper level of the home or above the garage and most are designed to be finished when the home is built or years down the road. That’s their first sign of flexibility. Maybe you don’t have the need for extra living space when you first build the home or maybe it is not in your budget to finish another room right away. Just wait until you’re ready and finish the bonus room when the time is right for you. Or if you have an immediate need for the bonus room, finish it right away and get maximum use out of it.

 

So what can you do with a bonus room? How you use your bonus room will be completely influenced by your lifestyle and changing needs. Here are a few ideas:

 

Guest Room/Suite: If you have frequent overnight visitors, finish the bonus room as an extra bedroom. Add a full bath to completely accommodate your guests.

Game/Recreation Room: For all the entertainers out there, a game or recreation room offers a great place to kick back and relax with friends and family weather you are enjoying a billiards game, playing cards with the guys, Bunco with your girlfriends, or your teenagers need a space to hang out and visit with friends. A game/recreation space encourages conversation and relaxation.

Home Office: Perhaps you own a home-based business or just work from home on a regular basis. An upstairs office provides a private workspace and you’ll never even have to leave home! Plus, because it is secluded, you’ll never have to worry about the kids or guests seeing important documents or interfering with the big project you’ve been working on for weeks.

Homework Station: While the kids are still in school, your family might find it necessary to have a dedicated space for homework furnished with decks, a computer and good lighting ensuring a good place to study and complete homework assignments and school projects. This is a place where students can focus on the tasks at hand without being disturbed by other happenings in the home.

Craft/Hobby Room: If you enjoy crafts, scrap booking, sewing and other indoor hobbies, a bonus room offers the perfect place to work on your projects and store supplies. Plus you won’t have to clean up a project you’re working on until it is complete.

Exercise Room: For families with an eye on a healthy and fit lifestyle, create an exercise or workout room for everyone to use. This is the ideal place for the treadmill and weight bench keeping them out of sight in the main home, but still conveniently accessible, ensuring you’re workout routine won’t be disrupted.

Home Theater: This is an option the whole family is sure to love, not to mention friends and visitors. Turn your bonus room into a home theater so every night can be movie night. Furthermore, the kids can enjoy watching a movie upstairs without disturbing you while you might be reading or talking on the phone downstairs. This is a space people of all ages will enjoy.

 

Now, consider this. Perhaps you really needed that home office when you started that successful business in your younger years. But, now that you’re retired, you’d prefer to use the bonus room as something else. So convert the home office you originally started with to something more fun like a rec room. Or maybe your family really needed the bonus room for a homework station years ago, but now the kids have homes and kids of their own. Maybe you need to convert the homework station into a playroom for the grandkids.

 

With a little imagination and a bonus room, the sky is the limit. If you’d like to browse house floor plans with bonus rooms, visit The House Plan Shop.

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Jan 19 2011

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11 Bathroom Safety Tips

House Plan 053H-0054 Masterbath PhotoDangers exist all around the home. Unless you have proper safety precautions in place, you, your family and your guests might be in danger. Besides the kitchen, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in your home, and it is necessary to practice bathroom safety to ensure everyone’s well being. The bathroom safety tips listed below shouldn’t be ignored. Recognizing potential bathroom dangers and practicing bathroom safety will prevent accidents in your home. The House Plan Shop recommends reviewing the following 11 bathroom safety tips:

 

1.    Make sure all of your bathrooms have adequate lighting during the day and a nightlight to illuminate the room at night preventing trips, slips and falls.

2.    Electrical items in the bathroom can lead to deadly accidents. Do not plug in electrical items in an area where water is present including outlets near the sink, toilet, shower and bathtub. One wrong move could send your plugged-in electrical item into the water causing electrocution.

3.    Mop or dry up accumulated water on the floor or counter tops and inspect both surfaces after bathing, brushing teeth and washing hands. Puddles on the floor can cause someone to slip and fall. Standing water on the floor or counter top is cause for electrocution as mentioned in Tip 2.

4.    Use ground-fault circuit interrupters in areas where water is present. (This is a good idea in the kitchen too.)  An electrician can install them for you. They will prevent you from being shocked should electricity and water meet.

5.    Prevent burns by setting the water heater at or below 120 degrees F. Also, consider installing anti-scald faucets in sinks, bathtubs and showers.

6.    Use slip resistant mats in and around wet floors and in the bathtub and/or shower. Purchase mats with a non-slip backing to prevent slips and falls on the bathroom floor or when stepping in an out of the bathtub and shower.

7.    Consider installing grab bars near the toilet, shower and bathtub. They make it easier to stand after using the toilet and get in and out of the tub and shower safely particularly for seniors and disabled people. Do not use a soap dish, towel rack, or door knob as a grab bar.

8.    If small children are in the home, keep the toilet lid closed as well as the bathroom door. You might even want to install a lock on the outside of the bathroom door out of reach of small children and keep the bathroom locked at all times. It doesn’t take much water to drown a child. Children have been known to drown in no more than an inch of water and an open toilet is looming hazard to a curious child.

9.    Cleaning supplies should be kept out of reach of children. Most cleaners can be poisonous to children, so keep cleaning supplies under lock and key.   

10.  Likewise, do not keep medications in the medicine cabinet if there are children in the home. This includes prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Child-proof lids may deter a child in most cases, but a very determined child can still manage to get medicine bottles and containers open.

11.  Don’t forget about tweezers, manicure scissors, pointed nail files, nail polish remover, etc. Keep these items out of reach of children.

 

With a little common sense and these bathroom safety tips, you’ll be able to keep family and friends safe when using your bathroom.

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Oct 07 2010

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Resources to Help you Create your Dream Man Cave

Following up on last month’s blog post, “Ultimate Man Caves,” The House Plan Shop wants to share a list of resources to help you create your dream man cave. ChangeofAddress.com recently posted a list of 40 websites to help you design the ultimate “guy space” whether you need a quiet place to kick back and relax after a long day of work or a fun space where you can watch the game with the guys without disturbing the rest of the home. You can turn anything into your man cave from the garage or bonus room above it to a space in the basement. It is time to get started! Check out these interesting and fun man cave sites.

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Sep 10 2010

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Ultimate Man Caves

Man caves are becoming popular. We are hearing the used more and more on TV and in everyday conversation. So what is a man cave? A man cave is a designated area of the house such as a room in the basement, the garage, a workshop or a bonus room where a man can go to be alone or socialize with friends without disturbing the rest of the home. Some guys decorate their man caves with sports memorabilia, street signs, model cars and planes or other “guy related” items. Furthermore, it is becoming more popular to outfit man caves with big TVs, good sound systems, comfortable seating, and perhaps and fridge or wet bar. Guys use their man caves for relaxing alone, holding poker parties with buddies or watching football and other big games with friends. Now that it’s football season, there is no doubt some guys will be spending extra time in the their man caves.

 

Check out photos and a video of some of St. Louis’s ultimate man caves.

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