Kimberly Delling's Blog
Spring is just around the corner, and that means it’s almost time to get started with the cleaning and organizing you’ve been avoiding all winter. If you’re like me, it takes more than just some unsightly windows and cluttered drawers to motivate myself to tackle a big cleaning project. That’s why I’ve created this weeklong spring cleaning challenge.
In this challenge, we’ll cover different cleaning projects each day. Don’t worry--each day’s work won’t take more than an hour or two to complete, so even the busiest among us should be able to find time to fit the whole challenge in. By the end of the week, it will all be worth it when you look around your house and see the sparkling surfaces just in time for spring.
Day 1: Kitchen
On the first day of our spring cleaning challenge, we’ll start with one of the most grueling places to get it out of the way early. If you’ve been cooking indoors all winter, odds are grease and cooking oils have made their way into your oven, microwave, toaster, and cooking surfaces. Today is all about the degreaser and elbow grease.
For a homemade degreaser, mix a few drops of lemon or citrus with white vinegar and water and put them together in a spray bottle. For spots that are caked on, spray first, let them soak and sprinkle with baking soda while you clean the rest of the kitchen. This will loosen the grease so you can go back and scrub it off later.
Day 2: Bathroom
While we’re tackling the tough rooms, let’s head to the bathroom on day two. A thorough bathroom cleaning doesn’t just include the sink, toilet, and tub, but also their drains. It’s also a good time to change curtain liners or clean your shower door. Spraying Rain-X on the door after cleaning it will keep it from getting foggy for a couple months.
Today is also a good day to go through your medicine cabinet and get rid of anything that’s expired. Then, make a list of supplies you need to restock.
Day 3: Bedrooms
Today let’s take a break from scrubbing. Head into the bedrooms and change the sheets. Clean mirrors, vacuum, and then dust all of the surfaces (in that order--you don’t want to kick up debris from the carpets once you’ve already dusted).
The last task for today is to declutter. It’s a good time to go through drawers and pick out clothes you no longer wear to donate. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you wore it in the last year or two. If not, odds are it won’t be missed very much.
Day 4: Living Room
The living room is the area of the house people like to keep most presentable, and therefore usually doesn’t appear dirty at a first glance. However, since it’s also the room that gets a lot of foot traffic, you’ll likely find that the carpets, sofa cushions, and curtains could use a good cleaning.
Day 5: Windows
This one is pretty self-explanatory. But it’s useful to do them all in one day so you don’t have to keep pulling out the paper towels and Windex.
Day 6: Refrigerator and Pantry
Get rid of expired condiments, and toss out or donate canned foods that have been sitting in your cabinets for over a year. If you need to de-ice your freezer or change water filters in your freezer now is the time.
Day 7: Car
For the last day, let’s head outside and clean your vehicle. If this day doesn’t apply to you, it could be a good time to clean out the garage or wash outdoor furniture.
To help you out, print out this checklist and stick it on your refrigerator until you've completed the challenge.
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When you find a home you love, you most likely will want to take the steps you can to buy it. When a home is already under contract, there’s actually a little-known strategy that can be used to help you have a chance at getting the property.
When you make a backup offer, you’re doing all of the same things you’d do under normal circumstances. The only difference between a normal offer and a backup offer is that you’re not guaranteed to get the home. The first deal needs to fall through in order for you to have a shot.
Advantages To Backup Offers
The backup offer is a bit of a stretch, but it still does give you a little bit of a chance to get a home. When a backup offer is in place, the home won’t just go back on the market if something falls through. This is especially smart when it comes to lower inventory markets. When a home is re-listed, you’ll need to compete against other buyers. If a bidding war is initiated, the home’s price will keep going up. The backup offer being in place helps the seller to feel secure in the sale of their home one way or another. If for any reason the first buyer falls through, you’ll be able to swoop in and get the home yourself.
Timing Is Everything
Keep in mind that there’s a certain period of time before a deal needs to be closed on for a home. The original buyer will need to close the deal on the home in an average of 50 days. Knowing the time frame that you’ll need to wait around for a decision is helpful for you in your own search for a home.
You can also have your agent check in with the listing agent for the property on a frequent basis. This lets the agent ad seller know that you have a keen interest in the property in case there are any difficulties coming from the other side of the deal.
If The First Deal Doesn’t Go Through
If the first deal on a home does fall through, you’re not the new owner of the home just yet. There’s always a possibility that the first buyers found some very difficult problems with the home during the inspection. These could be big issues like an issue with the roof or the foundation of the home. Be sure to include a home inspection contingency with your contract so that you can have your own inspection conducted. This way, you’ll know if there are any problems with the home and that you will be able to deal with them.
A backup offer can be a great tool to use in tight markets to help you get a home that you love. It’s always a good idea to proceed with caution in any home deal to make a sound financial decision.
We live in a time when there are countless services from which to choose. From streaming video services, to grocery home delivery, there is no shortage of choices when it comes to finding entertainment and services.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can save money each month. Whether you’re saving up for a big purchase, or you just want to spend less on your monthly expenses, this article is for you.
If you’re a fan of movies, books, music, or video games, then you likely know how quickly these expenses can add up. New books and movies can cost up to $30. And video games much higher, at around $60 per game.
Monthly services have made these expenses easier to access and seemingly less expensive. However, if you’re paying for Netflix (TV and movies), Spotify (music), Audible (audiobooks), and Xbox Live (games), then you could be spending over $50 per month on entertainment alone. That adds up to around $600 per year.
To cut down on those entertainment expenses you have a few options.
Check to see if you qualify for discounts. Many times, customers offer introductory rates, student and senior discounts to encourage people to sign up. If you don’t meet those requirements, check for any coupons that might be available online. If you studied at college at some point in your life and still have access to your .edu email address, you might be able to take advantage of college discounts for a number of services.
Get a library card. There’s a lot more than books at your local library. Audiobooks, the latest video games, recently released movies, and even music can all be found amongst the stacks of your local library. Better yet, most libraries are connected regionally. So, if there’s a particular title you’re looking for but your library doesn’t have it, they will ship it *for free* to your library.
While you’re at the library… weekend entertainment for the family can be pricey as well. The library has you covered here as well. Libraries often offer free or discounted passes to local museums and attractions.
Slash your utility bills
Utilities can be a daunting bill to receive in the mail each month. You might not know what to expect each month due to fluctuations in usage and weather. That uncertainty is cause for stress for many homeowners.
There are, however, a few ways you can save on your monthly utility bills.
Go solar. Solar panels are more efficient and easier to access than ever. Better yet, leasing programs allow you to install rooftop solar without putting any money down. If panels on your roof aren’t your thing, you can look into off-site solar to power your home. It works just like rooftop solar without the eyesore.
Still paying for cable? It might be time to cut the cord. You can find most TV shows on Netflix or Hulu these days. And if you pay for cable for the news channels you might be surprised to find that many major stations stream their newscasts live on their websites.
Make your home energy efficient. For under $100, you can upgrade your light bulbs, insulate your windows (for the winter months), and purchase power strips that will allow you to turn off several devices at once that might otherwise be using electricity on standby.