Category: House and Home

5 Pest Prevention Tips That Pest Control Companies Recommend

It’s no secret — moms are busy people. And the last thing we need to deal with is a pest infestation. 

Fortunately, there are preventative measures you can take to keep bugs and rodents out of your home. These five come straight from the pest control companies whose job it is to get rid of these creatures. 

Here are five surefire pest control methods to protect your home — straight from an exterminator

1. Store Food Wisely

Start by taking a good look at your pantry. How secure is your food storage? 

Pests typically come into your home looking for food. If you have open bags and boxes in your kitchen, they’ll know just where to go. 

So, opt for as many foods in cans and jars as possible. Transfer bagged and boxed goods into airtight containers. This step will help you organize your pantry, too, and we could all use help with that. 

Keep as much food as possible in the fridge, too. Pests won’t go inside such a cold space, so you can preserve and protect your pantry by refrigerating it. 

2. Search For Standing Water

Your home might have a leaking pipe or appliance. Outside, a weak drainage system keeps your lawn moist. You may even over-water your plants, leaving a tray full of water beneath each pot. 

No matter where it is, standing water will attract pests to your home. So, inspect under sinks and appliances, and walk the yard in search of soggy spots. 

Once you dry up these sources of water, insects won’t be as attracted to your abode. 

3. Fill the Cracks

A mouse can slip through a hole the size of a pencil to get into your house. 

With that in mind, inspect your home for cracks through which a mouse or insect could pass. You could repair them yourself or hire someone if they’re extensive. 

Be sure to check around pipes and vents that lead outside, too. A crack or gap in the seal could also be enough of an entryway for pests.

4. Keep the Kitchen Clean 

Let’s focus back on the kitchen, which is a big draw for pests. 

Once you have the pantry organized and all food sealed, keep the entire space the same way. Be sure to wipe down counters and tables and sweep floors after meals. Even a single crumb can be enough to attract a pest. 

On top of that, wash dishes or put them into the dishwasher immediately after using them. And take the trash out as soon as it’s full to avoid a pest infestation.

5. Tame Landscaping

Finally, do another lap around the exterior of your home. Take a close look at the plants and trees that surround your property. Do any of them have branches, limbs or leaves that touch your home? 

If so, trim them back so that there’s no contact between your greens and the facade. This natural pathway makes it much easier for bugs to find their way inside. 

Learn From Pest Control Companies

These five tips come directly from pest control companies that know what they’re doing. If you want to keep bugs and rodents away, start here. And, if you need help, you know who to call — the exterminators who suggested these first steps.

Preventing Drain Blockage: How to Keep Drains Clear in Your House

What do you do when you’re in the middle of making dinner and the kitchen sink is suddenly backing up? We’ve all been there; plumbing issues are the last thing you want but unfortunately do happen from time to time.

We’ve put together some preventative tips on how to keep drains clear and hopefully keep your home’s plumbing in working order.  

Preventative Tips

  1. Installing a lint catcher on your washing machine’s hose can prevent lint and fabric from stopping up the drain. Don’t forget to clean or replace the lint trap every three months. Here’s how you can clean it: 
    • Soak it in hot water for 10 minutes.
    • Use a soft brush or paper towel to remove lint.
  2. Don’t pour grease down the drain! It cools as it goes down the drainpipe and will start to form a clog. Use a jar or can to collect your grease and throw it away.  
  3. Use a mesh screen in your tub or shower drain to collect hair. Hair is the number one cause of household plumbing issues. Drain covers are cheap and affordable costing anywhere from $5 to $15.
  4. The pop-up stopper in the bathroom sink collects a lot of hair, soap, toothpaste and other gunk that goes down the drain. If water isn’t going down or if it’s not holding water at all, try cleaning the stopper first.   
  5. Be careful about what foods you put down the disposal. Food waste such as banana peels, potato skins, coffee grounds, and eggshells can stick to the pipes. Use a screen to catch anything you don’t want to go down the kitchen sink.  
  6. Don’t throw personal care items in the toilet such as dental floss, feminine hygiene products or wipes. Not only are they bad for pipes, sewers, and septic tanks but for the environment as well. Put these items where they belong: the trash.  

How to Keep Drains Clear

  • Regularly clean your drains. Clean out hair from the screen in your tub or shower.  
  • Flush drains with hot water. Hot water helps to clear away pipe buildup. 
  • Try a bacterial drain cleaner to maintain your drains. Bacterial drain cleaners are biodegradable and won’t corrode pipes.    
  • Baking soda and vinegar is a natural drain cleaner that can be used together to help prevent clogs. Pour a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar down the drain, plug it up, and wait for 5 to 10 minutes. Flush with hot water afterward to remove any loose residue.  

These preventative steps can be taken to prevent blockages but sometimes a thorough drain cleaning is needed! 

Tips on Removing Clogs 

  1. Check the drain to see if the clog is from debris around the stopper.   
  2. Use suction and pressure with a plunger to dislodge a blocked pipe. Creating pressure in the pipe will clear a majority of clogs. 
  3. If plunging doesn’t work, use a plumbing snake. The tip of the snake can grab hair and other debris, allowing you to pull it out and clear the pipe.    
  4. The p-trap is the U-shaped pipe underneath bathroom and kitchen sinks. For this, you’ll need a bucket and a pair of pliers. Place the bucket underneath the p-trap and use the pliers to loosen the bolts. Remove the trap by sliding it down, empty the contents and remove any clog.    

Call a Plumber! 

When all else fails, call a professional plumber! While it’s important to know how to keep drains clear, sometimes we just can’t clear out those difficult blockages. 

10 Essential Tools for Homeowners

It’s never simple to take care of a house. Things can run correctly for a long time. Then out of nowhere, something breaks, and you’re left with a costly repair.

When the average cost to hire a handyman is over $35 per hour, costs can go up quickly. Knowing how to take care of repairs yourself can save you from spending a fortune to get something repaired.

Of course, you need the proper toolset if you want to take on repairs yourself. Keep reading to learn about 10 essential tools for homeowners that will help you take care of your home.

1. Drill

A drill is one of the most powerful tools available to you. There are very few things in your household that you can’t solve with one. Your drill will give you the ability to make holes, turn screws, build furniture, and many other things.

You’ll also need to buy a set of drill bits with your drill. These bits will come in a variety of shapes and sizes. These drill bits will give you options, no matter what home repair you’re dealing with.

2. Hammer

If you’re planning on undertaking a lot of projects, you won’t be able to do it without a hammer. Your hammer will help you use nails to build whatever your heart desires.

You want to start with a set of two hammers: lightweight and heavyweight. The hammer you choose to use will depend on the size of the nail you need to hammer.

You will use a heavy claw hammer for most outdoor projects and furniture builds. A smaller pin hammer is useful for fasteners and other small objects.

3. Screwdriver Set

There are a lot of things in your home that use screws to hold them down. A good set of screwdrivers will let you take apart and put together almost anything in your home.

The most common types of screws you’ll encounter are Phillips and flat-head. You’ll need one screwdriver for each of them.

If you want to grow your screwdriver set, buy new screwdriver sizes to handle screws that have different sizes. Finding the right size screwdriver can make your job much easier.

If you don’t want a massive collection of screwdrivers, you can pick up a screwdriver with an adjustable tip. It works similarly to a drill bit. You take the screwdriver tip off and replace it with one that fits the screw you need to work with.

4. Adjustable Wrench

If a nail or screw wasn’t used to hold something down, it’s probably using a nut or bolt to keep things in place. Unfortunately, you can rely on a hammer or screwdriver to take care of things.

An adjustable wrench will be able to handle most cases like this. They have adjustable jaws that allow them to grip several nut and bolt sizes.

You may need to get two wrenches to cover most sizes. This should be all you need to cover most home improvement projects.

5. Tape Measurer

Do you like redecorating your home? It’s addicting to change the design of your home to optimize your space and make things look more appealing. The problem is, it’s hard to do this if you don’t know how much space things take.

A tape measurer will give you the ability to know what will fit where. You won’t need to guess room layouts when you decide to make changes.

6. Utility Knife

While scissors are great for a lot of things, you won’t be able to use them for everything. There are a lot of cuts that are hard to handle with a simple pair of scissors.

A utility knife will help you make hard cuts, break down boxes, or shave wood. A utility knife is also safer than other fixed blades. Most of them have blades that retract into the handle, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally cutting yourself.

7. Extension Cord

You won’t always have the convenience of a power outlet everywhere in your home. This is a problem if you need to make repairs and can’t get power to your tools.

An extension cord will help you get power wherever you need to go. There are many sizes available, so try to find one that will reach anywhere in your home.

8. Plunger

You don’t need an expensive plumbing tool like a jetter to take care of your toilet. A simple plunger is all you need in most cases.

Your plunger will allow you to remove clogs in your toilet without needing to call a plumber. Make sure to get a plunger that has high suction. It will help remove even the toughest toilet clogs.

9. Safety Mask

In most cases, safety isn’t a big concern when making home repairs. That doesn’t mean you won’t ever come across a situation where you need to take precautions.

If you go into dusty areas or plan to deal with a lot of sawdust, a safety mask can help keep you safe. It will stop you from inhaling dirt and damaging your lungs. Keep one on hand if you plan on doing something that will get you dirty.

10. Toolbox

Have you built your collection of all the tools you need? That’s great! The question is, do you have the right space to put them in?

Not having a spot to store your tools means you’re going to leave them around your home. Your toolbox will give you the ability to give everything a place.

A great toolbox will have plenty of drawers available. You’ll be able to keep your toolset clean and organized. You won’t need to dig around boxes to find the tool you’re looking for.

Make Sure to Keep Your Essential Tools for Homeowners Around

You can’t take care of your home if you don’t have the essential tools for homeowners. The above tools will do great to get you started. Make sure you learn more about the other tools you need, so you aren’t left without what you need to repair something.

Once you have the tools you need, it pays to learn about how to use them to get the job done. Head back to our blog to learn how to take care of the common home repairs that you’ll encounter in your everyday life.

How to Choose the Best Living Room Light Fixtures for Your Home

Lighting is the least seen but also the most important aspect of interior design. It aids in color management of the space, highlighting key features of the room, creates functionality in all the spaces of a room, and can give the illusion of more space in a smaller area.

The living room, second only to the kitchen, is the main space of a home. If the kitchen is the heart, the living room is the heartbeat. It’s where we hang out with family, enjoy one another, relax after a hard day of work, and is the primary shared space.

Choosing the right living room light fixtures is imperative in making the space as cozy and welcoming as it can be. Here we give you our tips on choosing the best ones for your space.

The Types of Lighting and What They Accomplish

There are three main types of lighting in any interior design. Each should be used in every room to get the most out of your space.

Ambient Lighting

The ambient light is the functional light in a space. It’s what will give the main light in the room and allow the most visibility. It lights up the entire room and can have a varying level of brightness.

To get the amount of ambient lighting needed you’ll need to measure your room in what’s known as “foot-candles”. So, what is a foot-candle? It’s a unit of measure that reflects how bright the light is one foot away from its source.

Living rooms tend to require fewer foot-candles than utilitarian spaces like kitchens and bathrooms. You can get away with around 20 foot-candles of light in a standard living room.

To get the total amount of light you need multiply the number of foot-candles recommended for the room by the actual square footage. This will give you the number of lumens needed for your room. A typical 40W bulb will produce about 450 lumens and a 60W 800 lumens. 

This clues you in on how many of these bulbs need to be in the room wither through overhead lighting or lamps to give you a decent amount of light.

Task Lighting

This is light you place purposefully over spaces you’ll be completing tasks in. Have your desk in the living room? You’ll want a light over it so that you’ll be able to see what you’re working on.

Task lighting is also great for breaking up a large open concept room into usable spaces. 

Accent Lighting

This is light that is purely decorative. It’s the lights you put in hutches to showcase sculptures or the lights placed above paintings to keep them illuminated.

The Right Living Room Light Fixtures for Your Space

Now that you know how much light you need, and are done doing the math phew that was a doozy, on to the fun part – picking the fixtures!

Here are a few of-the-moment options and classic standbys to fill your space with light and sophistication.

Hanging Pendant Lights

Hanging pendants are a great option when you want the lights themselves to make a statement in the room.

They can be pieces of art in and of themselves. Also, vintage bulbs are all the rage. Put your einstein bulbs in there and wow your friends with how chic you are. 

Sconces

These are wonderful for rooms with lots of wall space but lower ceilings. Vaulted ceilings need elaborate hanging lights but more intimate spaces need a subtle approach.

Modern sconces are also very beautiful and can either blend into the wall or become accent pieces themselves.

Floor Lamps

Nothing is more dependable. Floor lamps are reliable and have stood the test of time. When you’re designing your room, consider placing outlets in the floor under where your furniture will sit. That way no one has to see the plug.

Floor lamps go from elaborate to utilitarian so they can really transform a space while giving you the option to only put one or two on at once.

Chandeliers

Depending on the size of the room a grand chandelier might be just what’s needed to set off the space. Rooms with vaulted ceilings and a lot of square footage benefit from the extra light and heft a chandelier adds to a room.

Now, chandeliers have come a long way from the time of gold and jewels. Modern chandeliers are chic accent pieces that vary from large wooden ones that mimic candlelight to sculptural metal pieces that showcase vintage bulbs.

Whichever you choose a chandelier makes a statement.

Ceiling Fans

If you live in the southern climates a fan is a necessity in a room you spend a lot of your time in.

Luckily, ceiling fans now come in a variety of beautiful designs and almost always include a light fixture in the middle. So, you can be cool and not be in the dark.

Lighting Brings a Room Together and Your Family into the Living Room

We hope this gives you some great ideas on how to choose your living room light fixtures. By accurately measuring beforehand you’ll know you’ll have enough light in the end. 

Consider the lighting in the original design to give yourself the option of adding additional outlets, if needed. Having the option of hidden cords is always a great idea especially if you have little ones running about.

Looking for more reading material? We’ve got you covered. Check out the rest of our blog for information about everything you’re interested in.

9 Nursery Must-Haves for Your Newborn

If you are having a baby soon, you need to start preparing your baby’s nursery ASAP!

The last thing you want to be worrying about as your due date approaches is whether your baby will have a comfortable and calming space to live and sleep. 

To ensure that your baby has a nice, homey nursery, we are giving you a list of the top 9 nursery must-haves.

1. Crib

Your baby’s crib is the most important item that will be in your nursery. This is because this is where your baby will sleep.

According to BabyCenter, newborns sleep around 16 -17 hours a day. Thus, it is vital that you get a quality crib. We suggest getting a crib that has a secure frame and stationary sides.

We also suggest that you purchase a crib whose sides are not too closed off so that you can easily see inside the crib with your baby monitor.

A possible substitute that you can have for a crib is a bassinet. Although you will need a crib as the baby grows, a bassinet is a great miniature bed for your newborn.

2. Baby Monitor

Our number 2 choice for baby nursery must-haves is a baby monitor. A baby monitor is a technological device that has a camera and a radio system in it so that you can see and hear what your baby is doing in its nursery when you are not in the room. Although mothers in the olden days were able to raise their kids without baby monitors, you would be a fool to not take advantage of this technological safety tool today.

3. Changing Table

Until your baby is potty trained, you will be spending tons of time changing your baby’s diaper. Thus, it is vital that you purchase a changing table.

A changing table is a stationary platform with a bed-like table on top of it for you to lay your baby down and change his or her diaper on. Below the bed-like table of a changing table are small drawers for you to place the baby’s diapers and objects into. A childrens dressing table is one of our top baby room must-haves because it makes the diaper changing process easier on parents.

4. Nursery Chair

Our number 4 item on our nursery must-haves list is a nursery chair because this is the place where you will sit while performing bonding like activities with your baby like breastfeeding and rocking your baby to sleep. Other names for a nursery chair are a breastfeeding chair and a nursing chair. Many people refer to a nursery chair as a breastfeeding/nursing chair because this is where most moms find themselves breastfeeding their newborns late at night.

5. Diapers and Wipes

Two things that you can never have too much of when you have a newborn baby are diapers and wipes. Newborn babies are known to go through around 10 to 12 diapers in a day. Thus, we cannot stress more how important it is to stock up on diapers and wipes prior to your baby being born.

6. Diaper Pale

A diaper pale is a special sealed trash can made to hold diapers. What makes diaper pales specific for the use of holding used diapers is the fact that they are manufactured to trap odors. That way, all the stinky and poopy diapers that you throw out each day will not stink up your nursery room and home while sitting in a diaper pale.

Other features of a diaper pale that make it suited for holding used baby diapers are their foot pedals and flip lids. The foot pedals and flip lids on diaper pales allow parents to easily throw away diapers with one hand. That way you can throw away a used diaper in a diaper pale while still holding onto your baby.

7. Dresser

A dresser is a nursery must-have because it is where you will hold all your baby’s clothes and objects. You can purchase a dresser in whatever style matches your nursery. As long as you have as many dressers as you need to hold your baby’s clothes and objects, you are good to go.

8. Clothes

Your baby can’t be naked forever. Thus, you are going to need to buy some newborn baby clothes and onesies for your child to wear. Babies grow out of their clothes quickly, so make sure to buy some clothes for your upcoming baby in sizes for every month your baby will be alive, for up to 6 months.  

9. Nightlight

A nightlight is our final nursery must-have because it is a great tool to have when you are up late with your baby in the nursery, and you do not want to turn on a full light. You can also use a nightlight as a source of comfort for your baby as he or she is sleeping in his or her nursery alone at night.

Nursery Must-Haves: The Rest Is Up to You

Now that you know the top nursery must-haves that you need to purchase, the rest of the design of your nursery is up to you. If you want a nursery with a minimalistic aesthetic, make sure that all your key nursery items are in neutral colors. If you want a girly nursery, incorporate pink in your nursery’s design.

At the end of the day, you can design your baby’s nursery however you please. To learn more about nurseries and how to save money as a mother, check out our other blog articles.

Illuminate Your Options: 5 Tips for Choosing an Electric Company

In the United States, consumers pay around 13.30 cents per kilowatt-hour. However, this cost will vary on a location and electricity provider basis. You may think it’s next to impossible to secure the best rates, but that’s far from the truth.

We’ll tell you the best-kept secrets about choosing an electric company. It doesn’t matter where you live, you can find the best electricity provider in your area.

Don’t know how? Here are our top 5 tips to choose the best electric company today.

1. Search Online for Electricity Providers in Your Area

This tip may seem obvious, but let’s face it sometimes we stick with the electricity provider that sends us deals via email or mail. While these deals may seem like a bargain, you should always search online for electricity providers in your area. You should make a list of these companies and call them to learn more about their offers.

2. Survey the Market as If You’re Switching Providers

Consumers often prefer to stick to their current electricity company because the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. However, every year you should survey the market as if you’re going to switch providers. This approach will allow you to take an unbiased look at your different options.

3. Compare Your Current Rates to What’s Available in the Market

Before searching for a new provider, it’s important to learn everything about your current electricity plan. What’s the term of your contract? How much are you paying per kilowatt-hour?

Learning these details will help you compare your current offer to what’s available. Consider using a site to compare electricity rates in your area. Most websites allow you to search by zip code to narrow down your providers.

4. Look for an Offer That Fits Your Energy Consumption

Electricity providers run a business so their representatives may offer the option that makes them more money instead of the best package. When you contact them, you should ask them about packages that fit your energy consumption.

An example is how some electricity providers offer free nights or weekends. This offer may be the best choice if you and your loved ones spend more time at home during the weekends or nights.

5. Read the Contract and Check Their Fee Schedule

Most consumers get the short end of the bargain when it comes to their electricity bills due to their contracts. Before choosing a provider, you should read their contract and make note of any hidden fees including cancellation fees.

Make sure the term of your contract is the term you agreed. If you choose a tiered plan, you should also verify the tiers and price per kilowatt-hour matches what you discussed with their representative.

So You Learned the Best-Kept Secrets About Choosing an Electric Company, Now What?

Learning the best-kept secrets about choosing an electric company will help you lower your utility bill. Believe it or not, doing your homework will point you in the right direction to find the best electricity provider in your area.

Remember to ask their representative any questions you may have before signing their contract. It may seem difficult, but we’re confident you’ll find the best electricity company if you follow our easy to follow tips.

Did you find this article useful? Check out the rest of our site for more interesting articles.

5 Brilliant Tips on How to Save Money on Lawn Care

Do you like the story your front yard is telling?

Is it a fairy tale lawn or more like a horror story mess of weeds? Growing up, people tell you not to judge a book by its cover. Yet, that’s what human brains are hard-wired to do.

Studies show 90% of the information our brain processes comes from what we see. Every day we decide what we like and dislike, desire or disdain, based on our sight.

When you think about it, your lawn is the first thing people see about you, it’s a reflection of who you are. If you want to make a great first impression, you’ll need your lawn care to be up to date.

If you’re like many people though, high costs and lack of time can make keeping up on yard care overwhelming. Don’t worry though, we have the best tips to help you have a lush green yard, without breaking the bank.

Read on to find out the top 5 tips to take care of your lawn on a budget.

1. Dare to Negotiate Lawn Care Costs

Are you going to be hiring someone to assist with your lawn care? If your budget has room to hire help, that doesn’t mean you have to take the first offer that comes your way. Dare to negotiate with your local yard care companies.

We recommend you never take the first bid that’s offered to you. Instead, kindly and politely decline. Let the company know you’d like to work with them but your budget won’t allow for such high costs.

One trick is to find out if you can pay for your lawn services a year in advance. Oftentimes, a company will offer a discounted rate if you’re willing to pay in one lump sum.

It’s reasonable to expect to save anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars by paying in advance. The exact numbers will depend on what type of services you’re looking for and the average lawn service rates in your area.

Remember, the worst thing that can happen is they tell you, “no”. While the best thing that can happen is you cut your expenses down and who doesn’t love saving money?

2. Create a Compost

What’s the last thing you threw away? There’s a good chance that it was some type of left-overs from a meal. According to the EPA, 30% of our garbage comes from leftover food and yard scraps.

Throwing away leftover food and yard waste might not seem like a big deal. Yet, what if we told you there was a way you could use this garbage to help grow plants in your backyard?

Instead of pitching old food and yard waste, a lot of it can go towards making a compost.

What exactly is compost? Compost is a completely organic material. You can add it to the soil to help promote plant growth. Here are some of the benefits of having a compost can bring:

  • Moisture-rich soil
  • Natural fertilizer
  • Prevent plant disease

Having a compost will help you save money on fertilizer and grow heartier plants that are less prone to disease.

3. Get a Mulching Mower

What if we told you that you never had to rake again? Save money on buying rakes, or removing grass clippings by getting a mulching mower. To understand mowers better, check out these riding mower reviews

A mulching mower will work very similarly to a regular mower. Yet, instead of cutting the grass like normal, the mulching mower will use special blades. 

Then, the special blades will cut the grass clippings over and over. Along with the grass clippings, any leaves will be chopped up into itty bitty pieces. The finely cut clippings will then shrivel away throughout the day until they completely disappear.

4. Learn Your Soil PH

Buying new plants can be expensive. Avoid wasting your money by making sure you’re putting your plants in the right type of soil. To fully understand the type of soil you’ll need, you first have to understand how soil works.

The soil has minerals, water, gases, microorganisms, and organic matter. Similar to other living things, soil can have different pH levels. The lower the pH level, the more acidic the soil is.

Different types of plants prefer different pH levels to be present in the soil. Not only do plants have preferences, but they also have specific pH needs. For any nutrients to be available to the plants, the pH level has to be just right.

Unfortunately, changing your soil’s pH can be hard, time-consuming, and sometimes impossible. Yet, the good news is that just knowing what pH level you have can help.

Instead of blindly purchasing plants and hoping they’ll survive, get a kit to test your soil. Find out exactly what type of pH levels you’re dealing with in your front and back yard. If you find you have highly acidic soil consider planting azaleas or rhododendrons.

5. Choose Perrenials

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, go ahead and steer clear of planting annuals. Instead, invest your money in long-lasting perennials that won’t break the bank.

Unlike annuals, perennials won’t require any replanting. Once you have them firmly planted, all you need to do is properly care for them.

Annuals, on the other hand, require that you replant them annually. Of course, that also means going through the seedling process, and purchasing additional soil.

Reward Yourself With a Freebie

Now you know more about how to have the best lawn care on a budget. Make sure you’re also taking the time to reward yourself for your hard work!

Thrifty Momma Ramblings is proud to help our readers live fabulous lives while still being frugal. Treat yourself and check out our deals section.

In our deals section, you’ll find freebies, giveaways, coupons, and more! You deserve a little something special, and with our help, you won’t have to pay for it!