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Category: Tips & Tricks

8 Questions to Ask Yourself When Decluttering

If you’ve ever embarked on a decluttering journey, then you know it’s a lot harder than it sounds. Logically you know that you’re better off having less stuff in the house, but it’s still a struggle to part with your belongings. If you’re ready to let go of excess and make more room in your home, here are 8 important questions to ask yourself when deciding what should stay and what should go.

1. Have I used this item in the past year?

Try to remember the last time you used this item. If you can’t, get rid of it.

2. Will I use this item within the next year?

If you can pinpoint an exact date or event when you will use this item, keep it. If nothing comes to mind, toss it.

3. Does this item benefit my life on a regular basis?

If you haven’t needed this item lately, then it’s not something that is all that necessary to you.

4. Does this item give me a profound feeling of joy?

Do you feel beautiful, inspired, happy, etc., when this item is in your presence? If so, then it’s worth keeping around.

5. If the item needs to be fixed, is it worth investing time and money to fix it?

Consider the costs of fixing this item versus getting it replaced altogether and ask yourself if you’ll actually get around to repairing it in the next two weeks.

6. Do I already own something like this that serves the same purpose?

No one needs 50 pens or three copies of the same book. Get rid of duplicate items that are only taking up space.

7. If I had to move across the country, would I keep this?

Few things will convince you to throw out something than the idea of having to pack it and move.

8. If I were shopping, would I buy this?

Ask yourself whether you would buy this item if it were brand new in a store. If you wouldn’t, then why would you keep it?

DIY quick and easy home repairs

No matter what your level of expertise, there are plenty of small fixes you can do around your home with relative ease. Our experts have compiled advice for four common repairs that any homeowner can do.

Fill cracked drywall

Using a taping knife, smooth a piece of nylon drywall tape over the crack, working from the centre toward the edges. Cover the tape with a thin layer of joint compound and let dry. Apply a second coat, feathering at the edges. Sand, prime, and repaint the area.

Silence squeaky floors

Scrape the joints between your floorboards to remove dirt, and then sprinkle a little baby powder between the squeaky ones. Bounce up and down on the area to work the powder into the joint.

Repair a sticky sliding glass door

To clean the tracks, vacuum each door by moving it to one side and then the other. Afterwards, clean the tracks with denatured alcohol. Spray the upper track with silicone spray and rub paraffin wax along the lower one.

Re-caulk a bathtub

Remove the old caulk. Tape above and below the joint that needs caulking and fill the tub with water to weigh it down and open the joint. Squeeze a thin bead of caulk along the open joint. Use your index finger to smooth out the caulk; remove tape and wipe away excess with a damp rag. Let it dry according to the products instructions.

Popular Sustainable Flooring Options

Colour, surface texture, room usage and price all come into play when homeowners commit to a flooring style. One thing homeowners don’t have to compromise on is their selection of green options.

Here is a list of popular products

Salvaged wood. Buying reclaimed lumber continues to get easier for those shopping online. In some instances, it’s even less expensive relative to the cost of new hardwoods.

Bamboo. High abundance and a natural look make sustainable bamboo an attractive flooring option. Bamboo grows to maturity in three to five years, about a quarter of the time it takes to grow trees used for hardwood. It’s great choice for a room with low humidity.

Linoleum. Unlike vinyl flooring, which is a synthetic product made of chlorinated petrochemicals, linoleum is manufactured from natural compounds that include linseed oil, cork dust, various tree resins and ground limestone. With natural, renewable elements used in manufacturing, the popularity of this eco-friendly flooring option continues to rise.

Cork. Like bamboo, cork is quickly renewable. Cork has antimicrobial properties to reduce allergens, is fire retardant and provides a comfortable feel under foot. Cork flooring can be finished in a variety of paints and stains, complementing any room setting.

Understanding your Credit Report

What is a credit report and why is it important to know about it? Well, if you earn your income in cash and only spend pure cash, you would not need to worry about it. But it is not the case of most of us since we do lease or finance our cars, apply for a mortgage when we want to purchase a house and even use a credit card for most of our daily expenses. Hence it is important to know what a Credit Report is and what you need to do to keep it clean.

A credit report is simply a history of your financial obligations and payment habits. It is created when you start borrowing money or apply for credit and you will build it over time. It is the primary tool that banks and other financial institutions or creditors use to grant you credit.

All companies that lend or collect money or issue credit cards send reports to credit bureaus, such as Transunion or Equifax to name the top two, on a regular basis. Their communication includes the credit accounts you have opened, loans, mortgages, and information about leasing. It also shows when you opened those accounts or applied for them, the limit, the balance of payments, timelines of payments and if you have ever gone over your limit.

Every time that you apply for a loan, mortgage or credit card, you will need to allow that organization to check your credit history. This credit report provides them with a summary of the information about all different kinds of accounts you have which includes your revolving accounts like credit cards and lines of credit, Installment accounts lime mortgage and other loans, other accounts like cell phones and even collection accounts if any.

Your credit information is confidential and these organizations need your permission to access the report when evaluating your credit worthiness. However, it is important that you order your credit report from time to time (usually recommended once a year) to check for accuracy and if you need to contact the bureau for amendments and corrections.

When you receive your credit report it also includes a three-digit score. The credit score helps creditors decide to grant you the credit you are applying for. There are so many factors that affect your credit score including: Your track record for repaying your loans and credit card balance, How much money you currently owe on your credit accounts, How long your accounts have been open, The different types of credit you use or credit mix, How much credit you use compared to the amount of credit you have available, How often and how recently you have applied for credit.

TIPS TO REMEMBER
  • Make sure you have a credit history: you may not have a score because you do not have a record of owing money and paying it back. One way to build a credit history is by using a credit card
  • Always pay your bills on time
  • Don’t go over 50% of the credit limit on your credit card
  • Apply for credit in moderation

For more information or to order your credit report, visit: www.equifax.ca or www.transunion.ca

Information prepared by Saghar Darabnia.

How to Prepare for a Power Outage

Summer’s thunderstorms, windstorms and other inclement weather patterns increase the chances for a power outage. While most outages don’t last for very long, it’s best to be prepared so that you can stay safe during the outage. Here’s what you should do when a power outage occurs.

PREPARE A 72-HOUR EMERGENCY KIT

In case you need to get by without lighting, heating and running water, prepare a supply of emergency food and first aid items. Supplies include bottled water (3 litres per person a day), ready-to-eat food and essential medication. Keep fresh batteries and a flashlight on hand. Your kit’s supplies should be modified to suit your family’s needs if you have small children or pets. Check your kit twice a year to make sure food and medications aren’t expired.

UNPLUG ELECTRONICS

In case of a surge when power is restored, unplug all electronic items. This includes computers, televisions and appliances. If you have electric heating, turn down your thermostat. Another option for smaller appliances and electronics is to purchase a surge protecting power bar to prevent damage.

KEEP THE FRIDGE AND FREEZER SHUT

Minimize how often you open the fridge and freezer to retain temperature. The fridge can only maintain a safe temperature for about four hours if unopened, however a freezer will keep at a safe temperature for 24 to 48 hours (a fuller freezer keeps for longer). Instead, store food items that you plan to consume over the next day or two in a cooler with ice or ice packs.

WHAT NOT TO DO

Do not use camp stoves or barbecues indoors as they emit harmful carbon dioxide. Don’t use gas stoves as a heating source. Don’t leave candles unattended. Do not approach downed power lines — stay at least 10 metres away. But do report them to your local hydro authority. If there is flooding in your basement, stay away from any electrical equipment in the area.

PURCHASE A GENERATOR

If you are anticipating more frequent or longer-term power outages, consider purchasing a portable generator. These are gas-powered units that you can use to power essential appliances such as the refrigerator, sump pump, furnace and hot water heater. Be sure not to run a generator indoors or in an enclosed space like a closed garage as harmful carbon monoxide emissions can build up quickly.