Monthly Archives: June 2016

What to do with a big home

Many people dream of living in a huge mansion, set back miles from the road, with a gate, two swimming pools, a tennis court, a huge lawn, a gigantic dining room and more bedrooms than they’ll ever need. They want everyone to know what a ridiculously huge price tag it had on it and to admire them for having achieved the dream – to live in a bigger house than anyone else they know.

Well, that’s all good fun until you’ve been in your huge house for a few months and you’re starting to discover all the annoyances of living in a big property. If you’ve bought your house on a mortgage, you’d better make sure that you keep brown nosing the right people at work – you don’t want to be job hunting ever again, because if you are, you’ll likely be house hunting again, too – but for something much smaller. And you’ll probably have to sell your mansion for way less than what it’s valued at. The pool of buyers is obviously much smaller when you hit the top end of the market – not everyone can afford to live in a big home and many of those who can, simply don’t want to.

Firstly, you’ve got the costs of keeping the house warm, or perhaps cool and well lit, maintaining a good security system, keeping the pool clean and, in some cases, heated, and you’ve got a good amount of money steadily leaving your hands every month just for the pleasure of keeping your home in a decent condition.

If you are trying to hold down a job to make those mortgage payments, then there is no way that you’re going to be able to maintain it, keep it clean and tidy and do the same with the garden. You’ll have to employ people to do all that for you, which means you’ll have to work even harder to pay their wages on top of what you already pay – which, in turn, means you’re likely to be at home less, and so you won’t even notice whether they’re doing a good job of keeping your home spick and span or not. If you bought your big home because you thought you’d have more privacy, what with being so spacious and far away from anything else – you’ve just lost it, because now you have housekeepers, cleaners, gardeners, security guards and God knows who else roaming about the place all the time.

Even if money and time aren’t issues for you – perhaps you live off the royalties of your best-selling books or CDs – there are other problems associated with living in big homes. Communication is one of them. Intercoms are often useless if you don’t know which room a person is in. You could use your mobile phone, but that’s no good if there’s no signal, or if either one of you are using it for another purpose, or if you need to communicate with multiple people. You can try to get around this by setting up Bluetooth speakers in every room ( which you can then connect to individual microphones which feed back – kind of like conference calling. Anyone who speaks anywhere in the house will be able to be heard in all other parts of the house. This is great for carrying on conversations when you are in different rooms, or sitting at opposite ends of your huge dining table, but it can be extremely inconvenient if you forget to turn it off when you’re trying to have privacy and intimacy.

If you bought your house with the intention of hosting lots of guests and big parties, you’d better pray that your house is sufficiently far away from the neighbors. The police are well aware that, when they receive complaints about noise in affluent areas, they’ll most likely be rolling up outside a mansion. You could end up having a problem with your neighbors and the police if you don’t control the noise. On the other hand, if you start trying to throw silent parties, the novelty will last about ten minutes, and after that, you’ll start getting known as the one who throws lame parties in their big house.

Household items you might need to get before it’s too late!

When you move to a new home, you have a list of items to buy and jobs to do, that it seems like you might be moving out and into a retirement home before you get through them all. And even if you did get through them all, there would still be more to do as there would have been things missing from the list, and in any case, work begets work, as all good list-makers know.

Regardless of this slightly defeatist attitude, there are a number of items which, if omitted from the list, will cause you a major headache sooner than you would like. They’re often along the lines of things like remembering to fill the swimming pool with water before you throw a pool party, or sweeping the chimney before you light the fire, although perhaps not quite as obvious.

The weather contributes to many of these oversights. As most houses are sold in summer, it may not be surprising to see many people ensuring that the air conditioning units are suitable and clean before they move in. They’ll also likely check that there is adequate ventilation and that the humidifier or dehumidifier (as the case may be) is doing what is expected of it.

However, in many – if not most – areas, there is more than one season. And so summer turns into fall, which turns into winter. And the temperatures plummet accordingly, and the landscape turns into a bleak, white wilderness. Suddenly, ventilation isn’t at the top of the list of things you should have remembered any longer.

Insulation is very important, both for keeping warm and saving money on heating. It’s important to remember that good insulation isn’t just about sealing your property as tightly as possible though. Insulation which severely restricts the flow of air can result in your household air being up to five times as polluted as the air outside. When people openly wonder why there are so many colds and viruses spreading in wintertime, you can bet that poorly ventilated buildings bear the brunt of the responsibility.

Other preparations for winter you might want to consider, are sealed covers for your windows and roofing, and more exposure of your piping to your home’s internal heat. You might need to stock up on sand and salt to prevent being snowed in, or frozen in. In many areas, a snowblower seems like an extravagant purchase when the weather is fine, but comes as a godsend when it snows non-stop for days on end.It’s also the kind of thing which will help you build a closer connection with your neighbors – you can make up for all those summer nights you kept them awake with your noisy pool parties by lending them your snowblower when they’re snowed in. Take a look at some of the better ones to choose from SnowShifts.

We looked at summer already, but that doesn’t mean that you can rest on your laurels and do absolutely nothing in preparation. In some areas, the summer heat can be life-threatening if not mitigated correctly. You should make sure you regularly change your air filters, and also change your refrigerator filter, as you’ll probably be drinking more water during the hot months.

Outdoor furniture is something people often forget about. While they’ve had their barbecue in storage for months and have planned the most extravagant barbecue party in their heads, they often forget that people need chairs to sit on and tables to eat from and to rest their glasses on.

Summer is also a great time to finish off the spring cleaning that you didn’t get round to. Clean your carpets and rugs thoroughly. If you want to do this really well, you can lift them up, one by one, clean them and then dry them outdoors. Exposure to sunlight is good as it will kill off many bugs living in the carpet, but you should ideally have already killed them off in the cleaning process and then air the carpet in the shade so as not to have the sunlight affect the shades and colors of your carpet.

Cleaning windows, the garage, roof 0work and all other outdoor tasks can be done in the warmer months much more comfortably. If you’re working indoors or renovating, it’s also a great time as you can ventilate your house better by leaving windows and doors open to prevent the build-up of toxic chemicals from paint etc.