The Science Behind Organizing Your Home

Humans have been thinking about the way they decorate their homes for thousands of years. In ancient India, Vastu shastra (literally, “the science of architecture”) has been informing decorating techniques since as early as 6,000 BCE. The more commonly known influence for home decorating, feng shui, has its roots in ancient China where practitioners were inspired by astronomy. In the early 1900s, however, a modern science was founded that attempts to solve some of the problems that arise based on our environments.

Environmental psychology is a field that focuses on the interplay between humans and the environments they live and work in. Scientists have studied the way humans (and other animals, like rats) are affected by their environment. Their findings help to inform us of how we can live more relaxed or focused based on how we decorate our home and workplace.

A place to call your own

As society becomes increasingly urbanized, many psychologists are studying the problems that arise from being in constant contact with one another, both physically and in the digital world. One thing that scientists have discovered is that it is important for humans to have a place of sanctuary during their day. Whether this is your cubicle at work, your home office, or your tool shed, everyone needs a place they can be alone. Ask yourself if your home setup provides you with a space that you can go to be alone.

How colors can affect mood

Have you ever been in a school or hospital that was painted an awful color that just made you uncomfortable? Many of us have trained ourselves to adapt and live with environments that aren’t ideal for us. For example, the bright red walls of McDonald’s or the blinding fluorescent lights in a department store probably aren’t conditions we’d pick for our homes. Scientists have discovered that there is a correlation between colors, brightness, and our mood.

Try to match the colors of your rooms with their functions. For example, you wouldn’t want to paint your bedroom bright red, as your bedroom should be a place you can relax to fall asleep. Instead, go with a less-pronounced color for the bedroom.

The balance between cluttered and sterile

Much of the way we choose to decorate our homes is informed by our childhood. If you learn meticulous cleaning habits from your parents, you might carry on with this into adulthood. As a child, you probably went to a friend’s house and marveled at how differently they did things. Part of that lesson is learning that the way someone chooses to decorate and clean their home is part of their personality. But like most things in life, it’s important to find a balance.

If you find yourself restless or distracted you should ask yourself if the room is too cluttered or messy. Maybe it’s the opposite; you could just as easily become distracted or uncomfortable by an environment that is too sterile looking.

Listen to yourself

The most important thing to remember when decorating your home is to follow your intuitions. Decide if you decorated a room a certain way because that’s what everyone else does or if it actually makes you feel more at home.

Revamp Your Bathroom on a Budget

For home sellers, you won’t necessarily need a bold, beautiful bathroom to improve your chances of a quick sale. However, you should try to improve the quality of your bathroom as much as possible before you add your home to the real estate market.

In a highly competitive real estate market, homebuyers will look for any reason not to buy your home. On the other hand, home sellers who offer a residence with an exceptional bathroom can reduce the risk of alienating homebuyers. Furthermore, home sellers may be able to transform a subpar bathroom into an outstanding feature if they devote time and resources to make bathroom improvements.

You don’t need to spend a lot to make significant bathroom improvements, either. In fact, here are three simple, affordable bathroom improvements that every home seller needs to know about:

1. Painting the walls

If the paint on your bathroom walls is fading or peeling, it may be time for a new paint job. Fortunately, you usually can pick up low-cost paint supplies at any hardware store quickly and easily.

Although hiring professional painters also is an option, you may be able to paint your bathroom walls yourself to save money. Remember, your bathroom likely is smaller than other rooms in your house, which means a new paint job won’t necessarily require a significant time and resource investment.

2. Updating bathroom fixtures

The little details can make all the difference in the eyes of a homebuyer. And home sellers who update bathroom fixtures can boost their bathroom’s chances of making a great impression on homebuyers during a home showing.

Drawer pulls, towel racks and other bathroom fixtures often are simple to update in just minutes. In addition, these bathroom improvements require minimal time and money, ensuring you’ll be able to complete bathroom fixture improvement projects to enhance your bathroom’s appearance without delay.

3. Adding caulk and grout

Bathroom caulk and grout details may be overlooked by many home sellers, but those who want their homes to stand out in a competitive marketplace should consider adding straight, clean lines of caulk and grout.

Placing new lines of caulk and grout around a bathtub and sink can help these pieces sparkle. Ultimately, caulk and grout improvements are fast and effective too, making them valuable options for home sellers.

It is important to note that improving the quality of a home’s bathroom rarely, if ever, requires a full-blown overhaul. Instead, focus on making minor improvements over an extended period of time. And, of course, be sure to keep your bathroom looking pristine – that way, if a homebuyer wants to view your residence, your home’s bathroom will stand out for all the right reasons.

Bathroom improvements offer superb options for home sellers who want to transform a good residence into a must-buy. These improvements typically won’t require substantial time and resources, but they can serve as key difference-makers that will help set your home apart from others on the real estate market.

Take advantage of bathroom improvements, and you’ll be better equipped to improve the overall quality of your residence.

4 Tips for Improving Your Credit Score

Did you know that you could drastically improve your credit score in just a year? Or that there are things that you can actively be doing to keep up your good credit score and make it to excellent? Improving your credit score involves improving many pieces of what makes up a credit score.

The tips here are twofold. If your score is low and you are looking to greatly improve it, then you must first figure out why. Review the tips below to see if any listed can help you deal with your credit pitfall(s). If you have an average to good score and just want to improve it as much as possible then each of the steps below can give you insight into how to do so.

Balances: The amount of revolving credit you have compared to the credit that you are using is a large factor in your credit score. It’s best to keep your balances from all of your credit cards under 30% of your revolving credit. Even if you pay off your credit cards every month, the amount of credit you are utilizing is recorded. In short, keep balances low, but also keep paying them off each month so you do not end up with a balance than can’t be immediately paid off.

Credit Inquiries: Hard credit inquiries show up on your report for 2 years, but only affecting your score for around a year. Hard inquiries show that you are looking to use additional credit and too many hard inquiries in a short amount of time can negatively affect your credit score. One or two within a year’s time will not significantly affect your score but as that number gets higher it will. One way around this is to make those couple of inquiries within a 30-day period. FICO will count those inquiries as one since oftentimes multiple inquiries in a short period of time results in one loan— meaning you are not in search of multiple lines of credit/loans. But it’s best to be cognizant of this and strategic in how you view your credit report or apply for loans and credit cards.

Payment History/On-Time Payments: If you have struggled with paying your bills on time and have seen a suffering credit score then this then would be a main reason behind your low score. And it’s time to take action and change that. This is one of the main factors in your credit score and therefore significantly impacting your score, either negatively or positively. It’s important to do everything in your power to pay all bills on time. Even being just a couple days late on payments will have affect.

Length of Credit History: Length of credit is not necessary something that you can completely control. But it does have an affect on your credit score. As the length of your credit increases, and given that you are responsible with your credit, your score will improve. The most important piece to remember here is to be responsible with your credit.

So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t already, sign up for a free credit score site or find out if one of your credit card companies offers it. Frequently checking and seeing your score rise will provide you with the gratification you need to keep on track.

The Essential Dollar Store Buys for Around the Home

Many people are averse to shopping at the dollar store because they assume that the quality of the items there are inferior to those at other stores. Others simply assume that since many of the products aren’t recognized name brands that they aren’t good products. However, there are some dollar store deals that are always worth the dollar.

One issue that many people have in a dollar store is that they walk down the aisle filling their carts with impulse buys thinking, “It’s just a dollar.” But those dollars add up and you’ll find yourself buying things that you don’t really need or items you could find cheaper by buying in bulk elsewhere. In this article, we’ll cover some of the most useful items that you can find at your local dollar store.

Holiday and party supplies

Let’s face it, the kids don’t read their cards or observe their wrapping paper. They’re more concerned with what’s inside. When it comes to party prep, you can save a huge amount by buying everything at the dollar store. With the exception of paper products like napkins and paper towels, you’ll get more for your buck at the dollar store. Some items to look out for:

  • balloons
  • plastic cutlery
  • large tin food containers
  • cards
  • wrapping paper

Tool kit supplies

If you don’t feel like going outside to your shed every time you need to tighten a screw, or if you live in a small space and don’t want bulky tools laying around, making a small toolkit is the way to go. And the dollar store is the place to start. Buy a small, empty toolbox and fill it with items from the dollar store. Some useful items to include:

  • nails and screws
  • hooks and hangers
  • screwdrivers
  • pliers
  • adjustable wrench
  • tape measure
  • super glue
  • tape
  • a pair of work gloves

First aid items

Every home and every vehicle should have a first aid kit. However, good kits can be expensive and the items within them have expiration dates. Rather than spending a lot on a kit you (hopefully) never have to use, fill a small box or bag with first aid items from the dollar store. Some first aid essentials to put inside:

  • assorted band-aids
  • burn cream
  • medical tape
  • antibiotic ointment
  • support bandages
  • small scissors
  • gauze
  • antibacterial wet wipes
  • aspirin
  • hot or cold compress

Cleaning products

Not every cleaning product will be cheaper at the dollar store. And for products you use often it might make more sense to buy in bulk online or from a wholesale club. However, there are some cleaning items that you will almost always save on at the dollar store.

The key to saving on cleaning supplies from the dollar store is to buy generic brands. They often contain the same ingredients and are sometimes even made by the same manufacturer. Sometimes the only difference is that dollar store products may be diluted more.

Kitchen Utensils

Most dollar stores have a large kitchen section that includes useful items like various sized spoons and spatulas. You can also find other kitchen essentials like sponges, dish scrubbers, sink stoppers and strainers, measuring cups and much more.