8 Easy, Frugal Ways to Welcome Fall Into Your Home

ways to welcome fall into your homeIt’s official – fall is here! Although the weather still feels summery for the moment, we will soon be experiencing cooler temperatures, changing colors in the flora around us, and the crunch of fallen leaves under our feet. Autumn is an undeniably beautiful season, especially here in the Metro St. Louis region. But why just enjoy the season outside when you can welcome elements of autumn into your home?!

Here are 8 easy ways you can welcome fall into your home without breaking the bank!

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5 Essential Tasks to Help Prep Your Garden for Fall and Winter Now

how to prep your garden for fall and winter

It might still feel like summer out there, but fall and winter will be here before you know it. When it comes to our gardens and flowerbeds, it’s important to think ahead and prepare for the upcoming seasons. So don’t put those gardening tools away just yet! Here are 5 important tasks you should do in your garden to prepare it for the colder months.

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Love Your Living Room With These 8 Intriguing Color Schemes!

classy color schemes for the home

Are you bored of your tired living room colors? Do you feel unrested or uninspired whenever you enter the room? This special space is not only the first room that your guests will typically enter, but it is also a sanctuary for you to unwind in at the end of your busy day.

Fall in love with your living room all over again! Check out these 8 unique paint color combinations and choose a look that’s right for your space:

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8 Popular Kitchen Countertop Materials to Choose for Your Kitchen

popular kitchen countertops

Your countertops are the star of the kitchen. It’s typically what homeowners and even potential buyers notice right away as soon as they step inside the kitchen. If you’re considering renovating your kitchen or need new countertops to replace any old or damaged countertops, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with so many different choices of countertops at your fingertips. After all, it’s important to choose a material that’s right for your lifestyle, suits your budget, and looks good in your kitchen.

Choosing the right countertop for your kitchen doesn’t have to be difficult. Here’s a quick look at the various types of countertops you can have in your kitchen. See which one fits your needs the best!

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How Long Do Your Appliances Last?

how long do appliances last?

Whether you’re moving and are in need of new appliances or you’re in the hunt for a sorely-needed update, it’s always a good idea to be aware of your appliances’ shelf life. After all, you don’t want to be caught unaware when a major appliance goes on the fritz or breaks down permanently.

That’s why we’ve put together this handy little list to help you remember your major appliances’ shelf life! While you’re reading this list, keep in mind that these numbers indicate averages. Your appliance may last longer if you purchase a higher quality of equipment or if you maintain them well. Here is the list from Consumer Reports:

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Traveling? Take Care of Your Home First With These 9 Tips!

thermostat

If you’re planning on taking a trip sometime this summer for business or for pleasure, you’ve probably thought about which hotel to check in, which restaurants to try out, and which attractions to see along the way. You might also have your bag packed and ready to go. But what about your home? You’ll need to take steps to secure your home before you take a trip – otherwise, you could have a possible break-in on your hands.

Don’t worry – there are plenty of easy steps you can take to deter would-be thieves! Here are 9 simple steps you can take to keep your home safe while you’re out, whether it’s for 2 days, 2 weeks, or somewhere in between.

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6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Sunroom This Summer

maximize your sunroomThere’s no doubt about it – summer is here to stay for a while! While it’s fun to spend time with your friends and family outdoors during the summer months, but it’s also plenty of fun to spend time indoors in your sunroom as well. Your sunroom doesn’t just provide you with hours of enjoyment, but it also shields you from bug bites, pollen, and sunburns.

Whether you’ve had your sunroom for years or it’s brand-new, here are 6 ways you can get the most out of your sunroom this summer!

Get Comfortable – Although many sunroom owners feel like they need to have nothing but wicker furniture in their sunrooms, we totally advocate comfort first and foremost. Remember, this space will function like a second living room in the warmer months, so make sure you have furniture that is both comfortable and inviting. We’re thinking plush seating, plenty of pillows, some throw blankets, and maybe a rug or two.

Put In a Small Dining Area – What’s better than enjoying a delicious meal or fun tea party in the sunlight? If you can, try putting a small dining table and chairs somewhere in your sunroom for those summertime get-togethers with your friends or for the times you want to enjoy dinner while watching the sunset.

Keep It Cool – More than likely, your sunroom doesn’t have air conditioning. If not, make sure to keep the temperature comfortable with a ceiling fan. It can make a big difference in temperature and allow you to enjoy the room in comfort as you read a book, watch TV, play a game, or simply admire the view.

Don’t Forget the Shades – The best part about sunrooms is those big, generous windows that really let the sunshine in. If you want some privacy or want to regulate the temperature more effectively, it’s best to install some sturdy shades to keep the room cool during those sweltering summer days.

Plants, Plants, Plants – You know what else likes your sunroom, aside from you and your family and friends? Plants! Bring some potted plants and cute flowers into your sunroom to make the space even more enjoyable. These plants won’t just give you clean air to breathe, but they will also add a splash of color to the space!

Keep It Simple – As you’re adding all of these furnishings into your sunroom, try to keep it as streamlined and simple as possible. A simple atmosphere makes for a calming retreat that you’ll want to spend all of your time in every day!

There’s so much you can do to make your sunroom the most enjoyable it’s ever been this summer! If you don’t have a sunroom and are looking for a home that has the sunroom of your dreams, then call the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298. You can also view our current listings on our website at www.dianamasseyhomes.com.

The 7 Daily Cleaning Habits of People With Spotless Homes

habits of clean peopleDo you find yourself frantically picking up and cleaning whenever company comes over for a visit? Do you enter panic mode and start thinking about the mess in your home whenever a homebuyer decides to come see your house? If this sounds like you, there’s good news! You can make cleaning so much easier by implementing a few simple cleaning habits into your daily life.

Whether you want to keep a clean home for yourself, your guests, or future homebuyers (or all of the above!), try incorporating these 7 cleaning habits that people with spotless homes do every day:

Make Your Bed – This is one of the most difficult habits to maintain, but it’s very easy to do and is worth the few minutes you must spare in the morning. Making the bed every morning immediately makes your bedroom look cleaner. Studies have also suggested that those who make their beds every day sleep better as well!

Keep Paper to a Minimum – It can be easy to leave hulking stacks of junk mail, take-out menus, packaging from deliveries, and newspapers on just about every surface. Tackle this issue before things get out of hand! When you grab your mail every day, sort out important documents for you to keep and throw away any junk mail right away. Whenever you’re finished with a newspaper or magazine, recycle it as soon as possible. You’d be amazed at how clean your home will become!

Clean Up Right After Dinner – It’s so tempting to leave the dishes till tomorrow. We say resist the urge and clean up as soon as you’re done with dinner! Rinse and put any dirty cutlery, plates, or cooking accessory in the dishwasher. After that, wipe down your countertops and stove to keep them shining and spotless. If there are any crumbs on the floor, do a quick spot-sweep to keep your floors clean. You can get a head-start with this task by cleaning as you cook as well!

Pick Up as You Go – As you go about your day or come home from work, take the time to notice the spaces around you and put things away in their proper homes. Straighten up the couch pillows, put your shoes away as soon as you get home, put your hygiene products back in their designated space once you’re done using them. These easy tasks take just a few seconds of your time but can really help make your home look and feel cleaner.

Dust and Vacuum Regularly – You might not be a fan of cleaning, but those with spotless homes take the time out to dust and vacuum a few times every week. Doing so can save you from having to do more intensive cleaning on the weekends when you could be out having fun or relaxing in your clean home. If you have hardwood floors, consider using a Swiffer once a day or every other day before going to bed to keep the dust bunnies at bay. Got carpet? Vacuum every few days to keep the floors looking great. This will make cleaning go by much faster. Plus, clean floors sure do feel nice under your feet!

Clean the Bathroom Sink After Use – All you need is a container of baby wipes for this one! Store them under the sink, and use one after you using the sink. It’s an easy way to bid farewell to ever having to see toothpaste and soap in the sink again! If doing this after every use is too much, try wiping down the sink every night before going to bed.

Put Your Clothes Away Every Night – When it’s time to change outfits or change into your favorite pajamas, resist the urge to toss your clothes on a chair or on the floor. Put dirty clothes in the hamper and clean clothes in your closet or drawers. It makes laundry day much more bearable! Speaking of laundry day, fold and put away your clothes as soon as the load is done.

Whether you want to know how to keep your house looking better than ever or want to start searching for your dream home, the Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties is there for you! Call us today at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to talk to an agent, or learn more about us online by visiting www.dianamasseyhomes.com!

5 Quick Tips First-Time Veggie Gardeners Need to Know

fresh herbsYou’ve finally made the decision. This is the year when you will start your vegetable garden once and for all! You’ve got all the right tools for the job, and you even have a good idea of what sort of vegetables you want to try growing this season! Now what?

If you’re a first-time veggie gardener and aren’t too sure what to do next, read for 5 quick and handy tips to help you get started below!

Start Small – We know that you probably want to try growing all sorts of delicious vegetables, but don’t get ahead of yourself! Doing too much at first can be pretty intimidating and overwhelming. Start with a small plot first. Once you have some success in growing your veggies this year, you can branch out and try growing other things next year!

Know the Basics – When it comes to basic veggie gardening, you need three things – full sun, a convenient water supply, and good soil. Full sun is a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight during the spring and summer, and many vegetables require this amount of sunshine. Want to know if your soil needs any amendments? Do a pH test to see what might be missing for a healthy crop.

Try Easy-to-Grow Veggies First – There are some vegetables that practically anyone can grow and there are some that give even the most experienced gardener fits. If you’re just starting out, try growing tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce. You can also give carrots, radishes, green beans, and zucchini a shot once you have the hang of gardening.

Proximity Is Key – You might think that putting your veggie garden in the far corner of your property is the best, but you should definitely rethink this. The closer the garden is to your home, the easier it will be to water and maintain it. You’re also much more likely to pluck weeds because you’ll see them pop up much more quickly than you would if the garden were in the far corner of your property. Keep this in mind before you decide on a spot to plant.

Not All Bugs Are Bad – You know that certain bugs are bad news for your veggies, but what about the ones that chase away the pests? Ladybugs are especially good at keeping those pesky aphids and other pests at bay, so be sure to welcome them into your garden. If bugs aren’t your thing, you can try natural pest control by growing a lot of hot peppers and garlic by your veggies.

Do you have any stories of success or lessons to learn from in your vegetable garden? We’d love to hear from you! Tell us all about them below in the comments or on our Facebook page.

12 Colorful Flowers to Grow in Your Garden If You’re a Newbie

daffodilsHave you always wanted to have a beautiful garden full of colorful flowers but don’t know the first thing about gardening? Is your curb appeal, well, less than appealing? You might have been feeling more inspired lately to get out in the dirt and plant some of those gorgeous plants you’ve seen hanging from shop windows. Maybe you want to emulate your neighbor’s cute mini-garden that adorns the sides of her walkways. But where do you even start?

Even if you have the notorious “brown thumb” and can’t keep anything green alive, there’s still hope! Just in time for the growing season, we’ve compiled a list of 12 beautiful, can’t-kill flowers you can grow in your yard this year!

Begonias – They might be pretty, but they sure are tough! They’re also quite versatile. You can dangle them from hanging baskets on your porch, perch them on top of your stoop in pots, or plant them in your garden beds. Give them sun or shade and they’ll give back by providing stunning blooms all summer long!

Blanket Flowers – Blanket Flowers – a.k.a. Gaillardia – are native to many regions in the United States and just love sunshine. If you like butterflies and have a good amount of sunshine coming through somewhere in your yard, you can plant these flowers easily. Enjoy their lovely blooms from early summer into the fall!

Cosmos – These daisy-like flowers aren’t just cute – they’re super easy to maintain! They grow in practically any type of soil (even poor soil) and tolerate drought whenever they’re up and growing. Think about growing them on the east side of your home so that they receive full sun and have a chance to enjoy afternoon shade as well.

Daffodils – Every year when spring begins to tiptoe back into our lives, you’ll see vibrant daffodils spring forth from the ground in colorful blooms. These plants are excellent for beginners! Plant these hardy bulbs in a sunny or partly sunny spot in your garden or containers and watch them pop up in the spring. They’re best planted in the fall, so be sure to grab some once the seasons change!

Daylilies – Got some sunny spots in your yard that are just begging for flowers? Daylilies are the perfect solution! They can be planted in almost any type of soil, too, so long as it drains easily. As your daylilies grow and sprawl, you can divide them and expand your garden effortlessly as well.

Geraniums – These perky flowers are super-versatile and can grow in gardens, pots, hanging baskets, and window boxes. Best of all, they’re very low-maintenance and will bloom from spring until frost! Like cosmos, be sure to grow them in a spot that gets full sun and a bit of afternoon shade to shield them from the hot summer sun.

Impatiens – Don’t be fooled by the name! Impatiens are actually quite content and ask very little of you other than a shady spot and some water. These annuals come in a variety of colors and are sure to add much-needed curb appeal to your yard. Plant them once there is no threat of frost and watch them grow!

Marigolds – From cheerful yellow to vibrant red and beautiful gold, marigolds are very easy to grow and a pretty sight to behold! Plant them in sunny spots in your garden to bring some color and life to your yard!

Pansies – These flowers make excellent additions to your garden and will bloom while the weather is cool, in spring, and in the fall. In fact, if you mulch them for protection, they can even overwinter in warmer regions! All they need is some sun and soil that drains easily – easy!

Snapdragons – These flowers have a punch of personality and will even attract butterflies to your garden! Snapdragons will begin to bloom heavily and stand up to the unpredictable weather that spring and fall can bring.

Sunflowers – Big, bright, and full of life, sunflowers are surprisingly easy to grow and maintain! You can find them in several different sizes and colors, and they will grow well in sunny spots in your garden.

Zinnias – Available in various heights and in just about every shade (except blue), zinnias are charming little flowers that thrive in the sun. Do make sure to space them as directed on the seed packet label. This will ensure that they remain strong and healthy all season long!

What are your favorite plants to grow in your garden? Do you have any additional easy-to-grow flowers that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!