Suddenly the house goes quiet, and you walk into a room to find your children beaming proudly at you over a carpet full of nail polish, or trying to hide a pet which has been mysteriously dyed bright green. What do you do, besides want to pretend you didn’t see it? Well, at BetterLife Home Loans we know how much you love your home, so we’ve compiled a list of how-to’s to help keep your carpets, wooden floors, walls (and pets) stain-free, no matter how artistic your children want to get.
Food colouring is a persistent stain. Hydrogen peroxide (tested on a less-visible area first, to ensure you don’t bleach the surface) can be applied to the stain, left for a few minutes, and then wiped with a clean towel. For stubborn stains, brushing the peroxide into the surface works well. Rinse using a cloth and water, then dry thoroughly. If it is on skin, let it fade naturally, or apply baby cream to the area.
A thick paste made from baking soda and water dissolves most kinds of grease (including tough pan grease). For wall drawings, dab some onto the stain before gently rubbing with a clean cloth, rinsing and wiping it dry. For wooden floors or furniture, a cloth and a few drops of mineral solvent will do the trick. Always test an inconspicuous area first before applying a cleaning agent, to ensure you don’t damage your house or furniture.
For clothes, scrape off excess paint then if possible, saturate the surface with isopropyl alcohol. Once this is done, scrape the area with a butter knife or your nails, then wash as usual.
Vaseline may be your best friend for a diaper rash, but certainly not for your child’s hair. Normal shampoo won’t do the trick if your toddler decides to style themselves a Mohawk. Pat baby powder or corn starch (Maizena) into their hair to absorb the jelly, then wash with warm water and shampoo. Otherwise, mix some baking soda into regular baby shampoo, then wash and rinse out.
Blot up the excess lacquer, then apply a small amount of acetone to stain and blot again. Repeat the process until the stain no longer responds. If it remains, apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide, sponge with cold water and blot dry again.
If Prestik is stuck in your carpet, saturate the area with a citrus-based cleaning agent, leave it to dry and soften, then pick off. Use a cloth and cool water to rinse residue.
To gently remove ink, use a little bit of baby oil, or olive oil. Nail polish remover and rubbing alcohol work quickly, but are less gentle. Dab some onto a cotton ball and wipe the area, but be sure to avoid the eye and mouth areas if possible. If you’re removing ink from dog fur, wash your pup with a mix of warm water and dish soap, then rinse with warm water.
Of course, moving involves upending your physical life, but it shouldn’t have to completely upset you emotionally as well. You’ve finally found your new home – so here are some handy tips from us to make moving into it a little easier.
Ahead of the move:
As soon as you know what date you can move in, start making arrangements. If you’re using a moving company, book them as soon as possible, especially if you’re moving on a weekend.
- Call your local supermarket to find out what day they get their big deliveries, then arrange with the manager to keep some of their boxes for you. Do that as soon as possible, so you can pack up all the rarely used odds-and-ends ahead of time. That way, you’ll be able to not only minimize the amount of things you need to pack up in one go, but also figure out ahead of time if you need more boxes. Keep in mind that heavier items should be packed in smaller boxes, and items should be layered by weight: heavy at the bottom, and light at the top.
- That being said, try and make use of all the things you already have. Sheets and linen work very well in the place of newspaper or bubble wrap (for fragile items), and packing your belongings into travelling bags or suitcases will save you a few boxes, too.
- Lastly, find out what the dimensions of your new house are in relation to your furniture, and draw up a “furniture plan”, so your movers know where to put everything.
During the move:
- Invest in colourful stickers – one colour for each room of the house. Sticking a colour-coded mark on each box and a matching one on the door of the room it needs to go to can make the move a lot more organised (and keep the kids entertained, too, if you let them do the sticking).
- You can also code the boxes (e.g. A1, A2, etc.) and then make a separate inventory list with their contents, if you don’t want your movers knowing what’s in each box. Alternatively, just write the contents of each box directly on it with a thick, black pen.
- Pack one box to keep with you, with extras like light bulbs, toilet rolls, candles, screwdrivers, cellphone chargers, cash and important telephone numbers.
- Remember a “first-night” box for the whole family, too: a spare change of clothes, toothbrushes and other necessities, as well as an emergency kit of painkillers, flu medicine, plasters and so on. You never know who might need it, and you want it to be easily found.
- Bedding, blankets and cleaning products are also best kept in a spare box for immediate unpacking after the move.
With that, you should be all set for your big day. Best of luck, and enjoy your new home!
This dream-turned-nightmare is by no means unheard of in real life and illustrates the need for the increasing number of consumers who are buying vacant building stands at the moment to insist on accurate information regarding boundaries, beacons and stand numbers.
Frankly, most property buyers are not in the habit of checking on these “technicalities”, because properties in established suburbs are usually very clearly demarcated by boundary walls or fences – and often described by street address as well as their original stand numbers.
And actually there is seldom any reason for real concern in such instances, or even when you are among the first buyers in a newly-proclaimed estate or township, where the developers or their agents have erected clear stand markers.
The trouble usually occurs during the second phase of selling in a new area – quite possibly by a speculator who snapped up a block of stands at the outset and believes the time is right to resell them.
By then, the original stand markers may well have been taken down, or moved or lost as a result of construction work on surrounding land, leaving a site plan as the only indication of where stands lie and their boundaries fall.
It is all too easy, in such cases, to mistake one piece of vacant land for the one next door, or to visualise a stand being bigger than it really is, or to write the wrong stand number on a sale agreement – and for you to end up owning the wrong stand and even building on it.
However, most property sale agreements do contain a clause saying the buyer has familiarised himself with the location and extent of the land he is buying, and in these circumstances you really should insist that the developer or agent make it possible for you to do this before you sign the agreement – even if it does mean calling in a surveyor and having new beacons put up.
However, they do need to know that while these improvements may well add to the appeal of the property, most will not add as much to the sale price as they cost to complete, according to the 2015 Cost v Value Report* just released by Remodeling magazine.
The report is based on a survey conducted among thousands of estate agents in which they are asked to estimate the resale return that homeowners are likely to achieve on the year’s most 36 most popular home improvement projects.
And more often than not, according to Remodeling Editor-in-Chief Craig Webb, the simpler and less expensive the project, the higher its cost-to-value ratio – although only one will currently deliver a resale return of 100% or more. This is the replacement of a standard wooden front door with a steel door to improve security.
In the mid-price range, the next most worthwhile projects that SA homeowners might consider are:
- Garage door replacement (88,4%);
- Addition of a wooden deck (80,5%);
- Minor kitchen remodel (79,3%); and
- Window replacement with wooden windows (78,8%).
Other popular choices, such as the addition of an extra bathroom, or even the installation of a back-up generator to cope with loadshedding, will give homeowners a resale return of less than 60% – so it is fair to say that they are not really worth doing unless you are going to stay on in your home to enjoy them yourself.
In the high-price category, the only improvement project likely to deliver a resale return of more than 80% this year as a luxury garage door upgrade.
In short, homeowners who are planning to sell should really think twice before embarking on any major additions or alternations in order to entice potential buyers.
They may well be better off just making sure that the property as it stands is in excellent condition – and putting their renovation money towards the deposit on their new home.
Marsala has been crowned as one of the most infamous Pantone Colours of the Year by the all-ruling democracy of The Internet. Happily, however, designers and decorators all over the world have pitted their wits against the colour, and displayed how beautiful and versatile it actually is. Below we’ve collected some of our favourite ideas on how to use this gorgeous, warm shade in your home.
Bounce off the walls
Don’t be afraid to get a little crazy with your wall colour – Marsala is just bright enough to keep things interesting, while offering enough depth to not “over-do it”. As you can see, it works stunningly well with gold accents, as well as wood and neutral colours, like shades of cream or brown.
Take the floor
A well-placed Marsala rug can add just the right pizazz to an empty-looking room. The sultry colour exudes winter warmth and naturally, a rug will keep a little bit more heat in your home by covering a tile floor.
Go through the roof
Every new generation of designers loves going against the rules of the previous one: painting a striking ceiling is the latest in-thing and the mark of true modernity. This ceiling is coupled with loads of white, cream and sand accents, as well as patterned wallpaper, which all combine to make the room feel spacious despite the “painted ceiling” taboo.
Part of the furniture
Ideas for Marsala furniture in your home range from couch covers to painting a signature bookshelf or cabinet this wine-red hue.
Pair it with lighter hues of cream, sand and camel for a lighter feel, or deepen it with a touch of chocolate brown for a more demure atmosphere.
Furniture in an interesting shade can add some colour without completely embodying the room. If you don’t want to take the plunge right away, try painting a small side table or cabinet first – you’ll be itching for more soon after.
A little here and a little there
A wonderful way to combine the colour into your décor without anything too permanent is to add touches of it to your existing layout.
Scatter cushions are king. Go crazy with different patterns and sizes to spice up a modern look, or opt for a lush Marsala throw-rug or two. You’ll be winter-comfy and stylish all in one go.
If you’re dreaming of a stylish new studio to re-do with Marsala, but the home you’re in isn’t providing any inspiration, try our home loan calculator, or speak to one of our friendly estate agents today.
Oxford Design studio