Home Improvement

A Comprehensive Guide to Decluttering your Home and Getting Rid of Junk

What is the true meaning of decluttering and why should you include it as a priority in your life?

Decluttering is the intentional act of removing from your life those things that are not serving you. It means clearing out all those items that you no longer need, want, or love.

It is a process of editing and organizing your home and lifestyle to only include the things that make you happy and fulfilled. Decluttering is about getting rid of everything that adds stress to your life, starting with what is closest to you – your home – and then working outward from there.

Decluttering can be seen as a journey with three stages:

1) shopping mode where we buy more stuff than we need;

2) organizing mode where we organize what we have bought;

3) editing mode where we edit the items in our home until it contains only those things that make us happy and fulfilled

home decluttering tips: How do you know what to keep vs. what to toss?

It can be tricky to find the time and motivation to declutter. But it’s surprisingly easy with these tips below:

• Start with a small area of your home (e.g., your bedroom, living room, or kitchen).

• Write the acronym CHKP on a notepad or sticky note and place it somewhere visible like on your fridge door. It stands for: C: Clothes; H: Household items; K: Keepsakes; P: Paperwork.

• Begin by sorting through clothes and household items, keeping only items that are in good condition and match the CHKP criteria.

• For keepsakes, take a moment to consider whether an item is worth keeping because of its sentimental value such as old family photos or mementos from loved

Tools for decluttering your home

If you’ve been meaning to declutter your home, but haven’t yet started, you may be wondering where to start.  First off, if you feel you cannot do it yourself, consider hiring help.   I used a great professional organizer in Toronto last year to clean out my mom’s home when she downsized.

There are many ways to declutter your home, and this article discusses what not to do – and what to do – in order to declutter successfully.

Here are some tips for how to start:

– Start with a specific area of your house that you want or need more space in.

– Make a list of everything that needs removing from the area, and rank those things from least important on top of the list to most important on the bottom.

– Once you have found a way out of your current jam, take a step back and continue with other areas in your house until they too are done!

How does Decluttering Affect Mental Health and What Steps Should You Take Next?

Clutter-free homes have been proven to have a positive impact on mental health. Here are some steps you can take to declutter your home and help improve your mental state.

1. Purge the unnecessary – The first step is to purge any items you don’t need or use. As hard as it may be, if you’re not using it, pack it up to give away or donate it. This will help reduce the clutter in your home and make it seem less overwhelming when cleaning up.

2. Keep an organized space – The next step is to find a place for everything that needs a designated spot in your house, whether this be an office space or a room specifically for storing items like clothes, toys, dishes etc… Having a place for everything will make it easier for you and


In the end, it all comes down to your priorities. If you are willing to take the time to declutter, then congratulations! The rewards will be well worth it.

There are various tips for keeping your home decluttered. These include keeping items that are necessary or useful in designated spots; not keeping things that you don’t need any more; and considering whether something is functional before adding it to your home.

Home Improvement

A Complete Guide To Building A Custom Home, From Planning to Designing to Building

It is important to plan your design and build before you engage in the construction process. This is because the idea of building a custom house is an involved process that requires an in-depth understanding of all aspects of the project.

There are many pre-planning steps that need to be undertaken before you can even start designing your home. These include drawing up a floor plan, estimating budget, finding a suitable site for construction, deciding on structural considerations, deciding on materials, picking out paint colors and finishes for various rooms.

The Biggest Reasons Why You Should Consider Building Your Own Home

Choosing to build your own home is a very rewarding and interesting experience. It is not just about choosing the design of your house, but it is also about building the future you envision.

Some people are afraid of the complexity of building their own home, or that they will not be able to find everything they need to build their dream home.

But these are just myths. If you know what you want, there are plenty of materials and kits out there that will make this process much easier for you. And if you don’t know what kind of house you want, there are many websites where you can use the different features to help plan your dream house.

Construction Process For A New Custom Home

Construction process for a new custom home can vary depending on different aspects. For example, the type of building materials used to construct the home, types of construction methods, home design, etc.

The construction process for a new custom home typically starts with an architect drawing the blueprints based on the customer’s requirements and specifications. They will then hand them over to a contractor who will build it according to their blueprint.

How To Find The Right Builder For You And Your Custom Home Building Project

Back in the day when people wanted to build their own custom homes, they had to do all the work themselves. But nowadays, there are many builders and contractors who can do all of this work for them. These professionals will help you with every phase of the project and make sure that everything goes smoothly.

There might be a lot of choices when it comes to builders in your area, but not all of them will be the right fit for your needs and wants. We spent weeks searching online before we found a great custom home builder in Toronto that designed and built our current home. Here are a few ways that you can find the right builder for you:

– Ask referral from trusted friends or family members

– Search online reviews to see how other customers felt about their experience with different builders

– Look at construction websites such as Houzz or Homestars so you can see what others have said about

Finding the Right Property and Planning the Layout For Your Custom Home

When it comes to designing a custom home, many people find it difficult to find the right property and

plan the layout of their house. However, there are steps that can help you with this process. The first thing you should do is set your budget. This will help you figure out how much money you have for purchasing a property, as well as how much money you need for construction. Once this has been done, it’s time to think about what type of property you want and start looking for one that suits your needs and matches your budget.

After finding the perfect property, it’s time to choose an architect or designer who will work closely with you throughout the design process and help turn your ideas into reality. This step is very important because they’ll be able to guide you

The Cost Of Building a Custom Home

Custom homebuilding is a major investment. In the United States, the average cost of a new custom-built home in 2017 was $367,000. That’s a lot of money to spend on one house.

A custom home can be less expensive than a traditional new construction home because there are fewer contingencies and delays that come with building a new house from scratch.

You can also use your current property as your foundation for your custom build. This means that you will save on land costs, too.

Custom homes are not just more expensive upfront; they also cost more to maintain than other kinds of building projects. If you’re considering renovating an existing home instead of buying or building one, know that it will be less expensive both to purchase and maintain over time

Finishing Touches And Final Details To Finish Your Custom Built Dream Home

It is important to not overlook any of the details when building your dream home. It can be easy to get overwhelmed and miss something.

To make sure that you don’t forget anything, have a checklist of finishing touches and final details you need to take care of:

When you are ready to start your design, the first thing that you should do is to create a 3D model of your home. This will give you a good idea of what it will look like when it is finished.

Conclusion – Be sure to do your research when building a custom home

Be sure to do your research when building a custom home. This is because you will not want to get caught in the middle of the project and have to tear it down or find a new contractor.

It’s important to do your research before you build a custom home. You need to know what you want, how much it will cost, and where you can get the best advice/inspiration for your plan.

Home Improvement

Best Practices for Property Owner to Handle Water Damage

What to Do Immediately After a Flood or Water Damage

After a flood or water damage, you should turn off the power to the home. Do not use any electrical appliances because they may cause an electric shock. Call a qualified professional to clean up the mess and dry out your home.

The water can cause serious damage to your property if it isn’t dried up fast enough. It will also be difficult for you to do this yourself because of all the time and equipment it takes.

Who Can Help You with Ensuing Puddles and Sinks?

There are several professional services that can help you with the problem of puddles and sinks.

They offer a variety of services to suit your needs, from drain-cleaning to tile restoration. They will come to your home or business, assess the situation and provide you with a solution.  When our home flooded last summer during terrible Toronto rain storms, we found a really good water damage repair company in Toronto that was on the scene fast and did a great job.

Mold Prevention Tips for the Homeowner’s Family

Mold is a pesky and potentially toxic substance that can grow in places where it is not visible.

Mold thrives in moist, dark, and warm places. It grows quickly on wooden boards and on the ground. Mold spores are invisible to the eye and float through the air until they find a surface to cling to. Mold needs three basic things: moisture, food, and a dark place with temperatures between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit (16-29 degrees Celsius).

The most important thing that you can do to avoid any potential mold problems in your home is to make sure there aren’t any leaks or drips coming from any of the pipes in your house.

What You Need to Know about Water Restoration Services

A water restoration service can be hired to clean up your home and provide permanent repairs.

It is important not to attempt water and flood cleanup without the appropriate certifications or equipment. The company should be able to provide certification information, such as the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) for any work done.

Homeowners Insurance and the Necessity of Hiring a Water Restoration Company

When it comes to homeowners insurance, you need to make sure that you are aware of how much water coverage you have. If your insurance policy is not enough to cover the damage if something happens and you have a basement flooding or a pipe bursts, it’s time to call in experts. There are many water restoration companies out there who can help with those types of situations.

A flood can happen at any time and without warning, so knowing what steps to take is important. Let’s go through some of the steps that need to be taken when dealing with water damage:

When a water disaster strikes, the first thing to do is turn off the power and gas. Next, put on gloves and protective gear and assess the damage. Remove all furniture from contact with water by using a broom to brush it off. Once you’ve removed all of the furniture, use towels to soak up as much water as possible. Be sure to dry out any standing water before you move on to

Conclusion: Your Home Doesn’t Have to Suffer Flooding, Mold, or Damage any Longer

If you are worried about flooding or mold in the future, then buying a home with a basement is not your only option. There are many different types of buildings that can protect your home.

Homeowners should consider four things when it comes to protecting their home. These are the type of house construction, the type of foundation, what type of insulation they have in their attic and walls, and if they have a properly installed water supply line filter system.

Home Improvement

Why Does My Finished Basement Smell Musty?

Most homes in Toronto are older and have unfinished basements.  Due to the age of homes, the weather and the massive amounts of underwater rivers running under Toronto, having a dry basement is a challenge.  Most basements, unless they have been fully waterproofed from the exterior, will have some sort of dampness or moisture issues.  These chronic moisture issues in the basement will lead to that ugly musty smell you often find in basements and sometimes even to mold formation.

In addition, the cost of hiring a water damage repair company in Toronto is expensive, so best to fix the problems early.

Why Basements Get a Musty Odour

Even a finished basement can contain high pollution levels and since these pollutants rise due to their buoyancy they can often invade the living space on the upper floors. Basements often have a bit of a musty smell to them and this is because certain types of wallboard and carpeting absorb moisture through the home’s foundation via a process known as capillary action.

This results in excess humidity and moisture which can be absorbed by the insulation. In some instances, excess moisture can lead to visible or invisible mold in the basement.

If a basement suffers water damage it can result in mold which releases pollutants into the air and can keep growing even after the room has dried. This, in turn, will result in a musty smell, especially if the basement has poor ventilation. Unfinished basements also become musty since they usually contain a certain amount of dirt, dust, and debris which can encourage the growth of mold and bacteria. To make matters worse, invisible particulate matter or debris in the air can damage your lungs and enter your bloodstream and are certainly unhealthy.

Other pollutant causes of a musty basement could include things such as fiberglass insulation, dank crawl spaces, Radon gas, and volatile organic compounds such as fertilizer bags and paint cans. If you notice a musty odour from the basement it’s recommended you have the air tested by a mold professional or specialist. Professionals can identify the cause of the moisture and smell and come up with a solution to eliminate it, resulting in a healthier and fresher smelling basement.

The aim is to eliminate the moisture from the basement and increase its airflow

If your basement is unfinished with a dirt floor the floor should be covered with a plastic sheet and wire mesh before covering it with a thin layer of concrete. If the basement has a concrete floor you may need a waterproofing solution if water or moisture is seeping into it. If the basement is filled with mold you may need to have it removed by a professional mold removal company.

If mold is left to grow it could eat through basement insulation, wood framing and other structures and materials. A good ventilation system is also needed as it removes the musty air and replaces it with fresh air. You may need to install an exhaust fan along with a dehumidifier/air purifier and open any windows to increase airflow. If you hire a professional to find and eliminate the source of your musty basement there are a few steps you can take to keep the area as fresh as possible once the job has been completed.

Make sure your downspouts and gutters aren’t clogged as water that pools around your home can start to smell unpleasant. You might also want to send the water further away from your home by installing extensions on the downspouts. This will help keep water from seeping into your basement from the ground near the house. You can also keep the basement air fresh by cleaning it out and throwing away all unneeded items which could absorb moisture, mold and mildew. If the basement is unfinished you can then clean the surfaces with soap and water as well as bleach, white vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide.

Some unpleasant odours can be absorbed by items such as baking soda, white vinegar, zeolite, charcoal bricks, and cat litter. If you place one or a combination of these items in the basement the air should stay fresher. Just be sure to replace them every two or three months. Another option is to place an ionizer downstairs. These devices are designed to remove bad odours by releasing ions in the air.  If you plan on hiring a general contractor or a design build contractor to finish your basement, then you must ensure the damp issues are cleared up before installing your drywall and flooring.

Home Improvement

How Does a Hot Water Radiant Floor Heating System Work

Hydronic radiant floor heating systems can create heat in different and specified areas of a home by sending warm water through something called PEX tubing, which is made out of flexible plastic. The tubing is located within the building’s floors or underneath them with PEX standing for cross-linked polyethylene. Along with PEX tubing, the radiant floor heating systems also consists of a heat source, manifolds, pumps, and controls. There are no joints in the PEX tubing used therefore uncut lengths of the tube are designed to snake through the floor and they both start and end at a manifold.

Whereas forced-air heating systems work by blowing warm air through ducts, the hot water radiant systems use a boiler or water heater as their source of heat. However, high-efficient solar and geothermal sources may also be used to provide heat. Since the radiant floor system can heat specific rooms and areas of a home you can have different temperature settings for each one. This makes it a highly energy-efficient system since you can lower the heat settings on unoccupied rooms and those that are less-frequently used.

The radiant floor heating system works when the circulating pump sends hot water flowing through the tubing and then returns it to the heater. The manifold is designed to balance the water in individual lengths of tubing which are known as loops and this vents the heating system. When the water makes it back to the water heater or heat source it is approximately 10 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than it was when it left. When the PEX tubing is installed it goes down in long loops which are placed approximately nine inches apart and it’s attached to the floor via a staple gun. Mortar or concrete is then poured on top of the PEX tubing.

For the most even heat, it’s recommended that the hot water is circulated through PEX tubing and is also covered over in a layer of material and ceramic tile flooring. This material could be dry-tampered mortar, Gypcrete or lightweight concrete. When the tiling is combined with this cement-type layer, it is able to store heat in it for quite some time and it can still radiate the heat even when the hot water is no longer circulating through the system. This makes a radiant floor heating system an ideal heating source in areas with colder climates.

The cost of the radiant heating system typically goes by square foot and generally depends on the size of the job and where you reside. It’s important to work with an experienced flooring contractor that knows that they are doing since this is not a typical flooring project.  Installation of radiant floor heating systems includes the all of the necessary tubing as well as the water heater, manifold, and the pump. The tubing will need to be embedded, usually with dry-tampered mortar, and the floor is then finished with ceramic tiling being the best option. Many Bay Area area homeowners install radiant floor heating systems in additions to their homes since the operating costs are lower than a furnace. In addition, the water heater takes up less space than a furnace and the ductwork.

Home Improvement

8 Wet Basement Solutions To Keep Your Basement Dry

Where I live in Toronto, basements can get wet quickly due to the age of the homes as well as the crazy weather we experience. A damp or wet basement can certainly lower the value of your home as well as pose health and danger risks to those living in it. If left unattended, moisture can easily destroy the walls and floors as well as lead to destructive mold.

Some wet basements are simply the result of clogged gutters, but it could be a more serious problem such as surface or underground water seeping into the building or water entering from storm drains. Water can cause severe damage to a home and the longer you leave it the more damage it will cause.  It is important to seek out a high quality home renovation contractor to make sure the water issue gets fixed.

Here are eight ways of helping keep your basement as dry as possible.


  1. Installing Gutter Extensions
    If the downspouts of your gutters are emptying rainwater within a five-foot radius of your home you should install metal or plastic gutter extensions to guide the water further away. You can also solve this problem by installing a drain pipe under the ground. This can be done by digging a sloping trench which will direct the water away from the home.
  2. Plugging all Cracks and Gaps
    Water can seep into a basement through cracks and gaps around the plumbing pipes. These can typically be filled in with polyurethane caulk or hydraulic cement. Plugging holes is an effective way of stopping runoff from wet soil or the surface. However, if water is entering the basement at the joint where the walls and floor meet or through the floor then plugs won’t be effective since the problem is being caused by groundwater.
  3. Restoring the Home’s Crown
    If you’ve plugged any cracks and your gutters are fine, but you’re still seeing water seep into the home from the top of foundation walls it means the surface water isn’t properly draining away from the home. The house should be sitting on a ‘crown’ of soil which slopes a minimum of six inches in all directions over the first 10 feet. The soil around a building’s foundation settles over time, but it can be built back up with dirt and a shovel.
  4. Reshaping the Home’s Landscape
    The home’s siding should overlap the foundation slightly. If the crown is built up you could feel the soil is too close to the siding if it’s not at least six inches away. In this case, you can create a mound of dirt, known as a berm, or a shallow, wide ditch called a swale. These options are both designed to redirect any water before it can reach the home. Swales are typically used for larger properties since a great deal of soil would be needed for a berm.
  5. Cleaning Footing Drains
    If water is seeping into the basement where the walls and floor meet or low down on the walls it’s usually because of hydrostatic pressure which pushes the water upward from the ground. If this is the case you should check to see if you have any footing drains installed. These are underground pipes which are used to carry water away from the home’s foundation and were installed during construction. You should be looking for a cleanout pipe that has been capped several inches above the basement floor or a drain or manhole in the floor. If these are clogged, the pipes can be flushed out with a garden hose. An augur may be needed though if the hose isn’t strong enough to do the job.
  6. Use a Curtain Drain
    If the home doesn’t have footing drains or you can’t get them to work, you can divert the underground water by installing a curtain drain. This is similar to a French drain as it is a shallow trench which is one-and-a-half feet across and two feet deep. It’s filled with perforated piping and gravel. The piping is designed to intercept any water uphill of the home and it carries it down the slope and away from the building. If the drain has to navigate through bushes or trees you can use solid piping to keep any roots from growing and clogging it up.
  7. Pumping the Water from the Inside
    If you can’t keep water out of the basement it will need to be pumped out from the inside. An indoor drain system can be created by digging a channel around the floor’s perimeter, otherwise known as an interior weeping tile system. The concrete can then be chipped out and perforated pipe is installed. This piping will drain the water to a collection tank at the low spot of the basement and it can be sent outside via a sump pump. This is often an ideal solution for an unfinished basement that is easy to access. It’s also recommended for landscaped yards which may be ruined by an outdoor drainage system.
  8.  Waterproofing the Walls
    The water may be removed from the home via an indoor drainage system, but the walls won’t be waterproofed. You’ll need an exterior waterproofing system to achieve this such as a French drain and exterior waterproofing. This involves excavating around the home and is often the best method if the foundation has numerous cracks. Everything is kept to the outside of the home and it won’t disrupt a finished basement.

Damp and wet basements are caused by indoor humidity and/or water which seeps in from the outside. The methods of keeping your basement dry will depend on the cause of the damp/wet basement and how serious it is.