Room-by-Room Checklist for Buying Window Treatments

When you’re ready to buy new window treatments, it’s important to make sure that your new blinds and shades are the right fit for your home and for your needs. In addition to looking beautiful and enhancing the appearance of the room, they also need to give you the right lighting and privacy—not to mention easy operation and the optional features you need. But all those aspects of window treatments may differ from room to room in your home, and that’s why it’s important to give each room consideration before you buy new blinds and shades.

The window coverings you purchase for your living room may be perfect for that specific location in your home, but they may not be right for your home office or bedroom. Taking the time to scout out each room, including what it’s primarily used for and even its orientation towards the sun, whether any trees are near the windows, and the room’s proximity to the street or sidewalk, are all factors to consider when you’re buying new window treatments.

Don’t fall victim to buyer’s remorse—check out Blindster’s room-by-room tips before you purchase your new window treatments:

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchens have rapidly become the focal point for many homes, and new homes are being built with these rooms as the central hub in their floor plans. In the past, kitchens were exclusively places to prepare and cook food, but now they’re designed as places to cook, eat, and entertain. And because of the popularity of open floor plans, kitchens may segue into living rooms and dining rooms without much separation. Finding the right window treatments for this area of your home can be a challenge, but these tips can help.

  • Let the light in with sheer shades.

    Kitchens are one room in your home where you may want as much natural sunlight as possible. But simply raising your window treatments or going without them altogether can leave you exposed to harsh glare and damaging UV rays. Instead of going sans blinds and shades, consider installing sheer shades. These window treatments can absorb the damaging parts of the sun’s rays while allowing beautiful filtered light into your kitchen. At night, it’s easy to enhance your privacy by simply closing the vanes that float between the soft fabric layers.

  • Get blinds and shades that are easily cleaned and maintained.

    Your kitchen can quickly get messy when you’re preparing and cooking food. And some of that mess can end up on your window treatments. Steam, smoke, and humidity—not to mention accidental spills and splashes—can quickly turn blinds and shades into dingy shadows of their former selves. If your windows are far from your stove and sink, you likely won’t need to heed this tip, but if they’re nearby, consider going with window treatments made from synthetic materials, such as faux wood blinds and aluminum blinds for easy cleanup and maintenance.

     

Dining Room

Dining Room

Whether you have a formal or casual dining room, your window treatment needs for this room are likely different than the needs you have for other rooms in your home. Dining rooms frequently demand a certain décor and level of elegance that other rooms don’t always need, and that can influence your buying decision when you’re looking for blinds and shades.

  • Go with Roman shades, wood blinds, or even shutters.

    If there’s one room in your home to splurge on, it’s your dining room. After all, this is the room where you’re most likely to entertain guests and extended family. For shades, it’s hard to beat the timeless appeal of Roman shades, and the huge variety of colors, textures, and patterns means you’ll have an easy time finding the right match for your place sets and color scheme. Wood blinds and shutters are also great options for traditional dining rooms, as the stains and textures immediately add to the room’s elegance.

  • Choose cordless options for a smooth, built-in look.

    To maximize your dining room’s elegant look, you may want to consider cordless versions of our Roman shades and wood blinds. Although it may not seem like a big difference, the lack of a cord not only makes these window treatments safer for children and pets, but it also adds to the “built-in” look, which only further enhances the appearance of your dining room.

Living Room

Living Room

If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of time in your living room. It’s the central hub for family gatherings and relaxation. You probably have a favorite chair or section of the couch for watching TV, reading, and listening to music. Because you likely spend many of your waking hours in your living room, it’s important to make sure your window treatments are perfect for your needs.

  • Get room darkening or blackout shades for TV watching and reading.

    It’s hard to enjoy television shows, sporting events, movies, and even your favorite book when there’s a harsh glare in your face. Room darkening and blackout blinds and shades help significantly reduce the amount of harsh sunlight that enters your living room, making it easier to see what’s onscreen and what’s on the page.

  • Consider privacy blinds if your living room is near the street or sidewalk.

    In many neighborhoods, the living room is the room closest to the street or sidewalk. That can leave you feeling uneasy, especially at night when the inside of your home is lit up, making it easy to see inside from the outdoors. Privacy window treatments, such as route-less blinds, can give you peace of mind.

Bedroom

Bedroom

You spend many waking hours in your living room, but a third of your life is spent in bed. Having the right window treatments installed in your bedroom is essential for getting a good night’s sleep. That’s especially true for bedrooms located near bright street lights or bedrooms of people who work overnight shifts and need to sleep during the day.

  • Choose blackout shades with top down/bottom up options.

    If light control and privacy are of the utmost importance in your bedroom, you can’t go wrong with blackout shades. However, you may want to protect your privacy while still allowing in natural sunlight during the day and evening. Top down/bottom up shades make it easy to fill your bedroom with sunlight while still preventing anyone from seeing inside your room.

  • Consider purchasing thick blinds and shades that block outside noises.

    If there’s anything less conducive to sleep than the blinding morning sun, it’s outside noises. Whether you live in the middle of a busy and loud downtown area or near a heavily trafficked road, constant noise from car horns, ambulances, and conversations can make it hard to sleep. Thick window treatments help add an extra layer of insulation and soundproofing between the outside and your ears, muffling loud noises and silencing others.

Top Home Furnishings to Buy Online

Furnishing a new home—or replacing your existing furniture—can be both an exhilarating and exhausting process. On the one hand, it breathes new life into your home and can make it feel brand new by radically changing the look of rooms. But on the other hand, furniture shopping can be time-consuming and stressful, especially if you’re dealing with pushy salespeople and worrying about delivery costs and installation fees.

In recent years, buying furniture and major décor pieces online has become more of a viable option for many homeowners. Many retailers now allow customers a chance to view 3D models of their products, read dozens of customer reviews, get exact size dimensions, and even order color samples—all without leaving their homes. Best of all, the prices for online furniture are often cheaper than the furniture you’ll find in a showroom or retail store.

At Blindster, we’re obviously big proponents of buying furniture and all varieties of home furnishings online—and here are some of the top purchases you can and should make with just a click of your mouse:

Mattresses

Mattresses

Internet-based mattress retailers have taken the bedding world by storm over the past few years. Aggressive ad campaigns have pushed these mattress store alternatives to the forefront of many homeowners’ minds when they’re thinking about replacing a sagging or mushy spring mattress, and it’s hard to resist the appeal of skipping out on a trip to the local mattress store. While some people may be hesitant to purchase a mattress without ever sleeping on it, there are a huge number of reviews and comparison websites that can help you determine which mattress will be right for you. Best of all, many online mattress retailers offer 100 percent money-back guarantees if you don’t like your mattress at any point during a trial period of around 90 days.

Assembly-required furniture

Assembly-required furniture

Love it or hate it, adding furniture to your home is now likely to be a DIY afternoon project that requires an Allen wrench and a lot of patience. While no one likes spending a Saturday reading vague instructions and trying to decipher baffling diagrams, one perk of buying such furniture is that it comes in a box and is often lightweight and easily shipped. That makes it perfect for online shopping. Unlike a bulky sofa or loveseat that requires a special moving truck and a pair of strongmen to carry it into your home, boxed furniture is often delivered by standard delivery services. That means you’ll likely pay little to no extra costs for shipping, and you’ll also save some money without having to worry about fitting the box in your vehicle.

Blinds and shades

Blinds and shades

Buying new window treatments online is easier than ever. And at Blindster, we’re proud to help customers get the perfect blinds and shades for their homes without ever actually leaving their homes. In addition to detailed product descriptions of every item in our inventory, our website also offers high-resolution photos from multiple angles and lighting scenarios, as well as user reviews from people who previously purchased those window coverings. If you’re undecided on a color or texture, you can even order samples that will help you decide which look is right for your living room, bedroom, or any other room in your home. And because we’re online-based, we can offer great prices year-round, free shipping, and even a lifetime warranty on our products.

Pillows, sheets, and blankets

Pillows, sheets, and blankets

If you’re looking for the absolute best deal when it comes to completing the look of your new couch or bed—or if you’re looking to spruce up aging furniture—you can’t beat online sales and retailers for things like pillows, sheets, and blankets. One of the biggest perks of purchasing these items online is convenient access to reviews. While buying these items in store can give you the advantage of seeing them in person and perhaps even being able to feel the texture, you may be unaware that the sheets are prone to fading or tearing, or that the blanket is prone to pilling and fraying.

Accent pieces

Accent pieces

Finding the perfect accent pieces to complete a room’s look can be challenging and can have you driving around town all day in search of the perfect purchase. But buying these items online is a much simpler and more convenient process. Search engines make it easy to narrow down your choices based on size, price, and color, turning what would otherwise be an entire day of shopping into an hour-long online search. As with pillows, sheets, and blankets, you’ll have tons of reviews to guide you, and you’ll quickly know whether that mantle clock is as sturdy and well-built as it looks, or if that corner shelf is made of real wood or particle board.

Rugs

Rugs

Got hardwood or laminate floors, but you’re missing the comfort of carpet? Rugs are a great way to add a little padding under your feet without committing to the expense of wall-to-wall carpeting. Rugs are great additions to any home from both a comfort and an aesthetic point of view, and they’re also perfect online purchases. Many online retailers sell rugs at reduced prices, and there are also online-exclusive rug sellers that offer thousands of varieties. Like accent pieces, it can be difficult to find a rug that perfectly matches a room’s color scheme and furniture. But buying rugs online can help you filter rugs that are bad fits for your home in seconds.

 

Avoid Allergy Triggers by Cleaning These Items

Spring has arrived, and while the warm weather and longer days are a welcome sight, the sneezing, watery eyes, and itchy throat can be a huge annoyance for people who suffer from seasonal allergies. Depending on your sensitivity, you may find that even staying indoors isn’t enough to avoid the worst parts of hay fever, which can last from the beginning of spring until well into the summer months.

Keeping your home properly insulated and all doors and windows closed is a great way to keep allergens outside, but pollen, ragweed, and small dust particles can hitch a ride on your clothing. Over time, they can build up throughout your home, wreaking havoc on your sinuses, eyes, and throat. And in many cases, simple spot cleaning isn’t enough to completely get rid of them—especially if you don’t know all their hiding places.

To keep your home as allergen-free as possible, check out Blindster’s list of the top personal and household items to clean on a regular basis:

Your clothing

Clothes are the biggest source of indoor allergens in homes that are well-insulated and well-sealed. Every time you step outside, especially during peak allergy season, your clothes pick up small amounts of pollen, ragweed, and other particles. When you come back inside, those particles get dispersed throughout your home, including on your bed, couch, chairs, and just about everywhere else. If you or anyone in your family is highly sensitive to allergens, you can reduce symptoms and allergen buildup by immediately washing clothes that were worn outdoors.

Your shoes

In addition to your shirt and pants picking up allergens, you should also be aware that your shoes can pick up plenty of irritants as well. A huge amount of pollen ends up directly on the ground, and it can easily stick to the tops, sides, and bottoms of your shoes. As with your clothing, that pollen will hitch a ride into your home where it can end up in every room. You can cut down on the allergens that your shoes bring inside by taking them off before you enter your home. If leaving them outside isn’t an option, use a wet rag or paper towel and wipe across the entire surface of your shoes to remove built-up allergens.

Your bedding

Even if you regularly wash your clothing and wipe down your shoes, you still may track small amounts of allergens into your home. And for many allergy sufferers, that’s enough to trigger their symptoms. Because we spend a third of our lives in bed, it makes sense that this is the place where allergens are most likely to accumulate in your home. In addition to outdoor allergens, beds are also major sources of dust mites, which can cause a whole host of issues for people who are allergic or sensitive to them. Wash your sheets, blankets, and pillow cases frequently, and avoid getting bed while wearing any clothing that was worn outside to keep these irritants at bay.

Your window treatments

In addition to being a prime spot for the collection of allergens that are airborne inside your home, window treatments also act as pollen and ragweed traps for even brief moments when you open your windows. Curtains, blinds, shades, and shutters can help block allergens from entering your home in the first place—especially when compared to windows with no coverings—but like everything else in your home, they’ll eventually accumulate a fine layer of dirt, dust, and pollen. For light cleaning, you can’t beat a feather duster to remove built-up debris. Mild cleaning solutions are effective for tougher cleaning jobs, but just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using liquids on your curtains, blinds, or shades.

Your carpet

Carpet is warm, soft, and inviting, but it can also act as a trap for just about every piece of pollen and ragweed that enters your house. Experts say that carpet simply isn’t the best option for people who are highly sensitive to allergens. If your home has carpet, it’s important to invest in a high-quality vacuum and to use it as frequently as possible to keep allergens at bay. To make matters worse, new carpets are also susceptible to off-gassing, which is the release of volatile organic compounds. These chemicals can also trigger allergies. If you or anyone in your family suffers from severe allergies, it may be worthwhile to change flooring to hardwood, tile, or laminate, which are easier to clean and less likely to hold allergens indoors.

Your vacuum cleaner

The very thing that’s designed to rid your home of allergens can also be one of the biggest culprits for triggering your allergies. While vacuums are great for quickly and easily cleaning up large messes and built-up dirt and dust, they aren’t exactly the cleanest items themselves. Irritants build up in every nook and cranny of these devices, from the brush roll to the hoses to the attachments. Empty your vacuum’s bag or canister on a frequent basis and trim away any human or animal hair that ends up around the brush roll. A clean vacuum won’t just be less likely to trigger your allergies, but it will also be more effective at cleaning your home.

Your vehicle

When you go outside and accumulate all those irritating allergens on your clothing, chances are, your next destination is the inside of your vehicle. So, before all that dust, pollen, dirt, and ragweed has had a chance to infiltrate your home, it may have spread throughout your vehicle—especially on its seats and upholstery. If you find yourself having allergy attacks when you get in your car, you’re not alone. Vehicles are major sources of allergens, and they’re also less frequently cleaned than the interior of homes. Bring your vacuum outdoors or use a commercial vacuum at a car wash on a frequent basis to keep the interior of your vehicle free from irritants.

Your indoor fans

Oscillating, box, and ceiling fans can be very effective at keeping your home feeling cool and pleasant during the spring and summer, but they may be contributing to your allergy symptoms. Taking a close look at your fans can be a shocking experience. Oscillating and box fans are often full of dust, with it coating everything from the cage and blades to the motor and base. Ceiling fans typically don’t fare much better, with irritants accumulating on the top and bottom of each blades and inside the light fixtures. A feather duster can help cut down on the debris that builds up on these devices, but heavy accumulations may require removing the cages and wiping down each blade individually.

Dos and Don’ts for Window Treatments

Getting the right window treatments for your home can make a huge difference in its appearance and comfort level. Window treatments are extremely versatile and can make windows appear larger, hide unattractive window casings, add a touch of elegance to an otherwise bland room, block out 100 percent of sunlight, allow ample filtered sunlight into your home, and even lower your electricity bills.

While there’s no mistaking the beauty, usefulness, and overall utility of window coverings, it’s important to take the right steps when you’re preparing your home for them, purchasing them, installing them, and caring for them. That said, getting new blinds and shades on your windows and keeping them looking great for years to come is a very simple process, but it does require some diligence to get the perfect look and fit for your home.

At Blindster, we see firsthand many common mistakes that some homeowners make with their window treatments, and we hope this list of Dos and Don’ts will save you from the same frustrations:

Do order samples.

Although we strive to provide the most accurate renderings of the colors, textures, and patterns in our window treatments, it’s impossible for homeowners to know 100 percent what their blinds or shades will look like in their homes simply by viewing them on a screen. All monitors, laptops, tablets, and smartphones have different color schemes and lighting, and a color that appears dark blue on one device may appear purple on another device. Ordering samples not only gives you an accurate representation of what your window treatments look like, but it also makes it easy to compare them to your furniture, your walls, and other décor in your home to find the perfect match.

Don’t place your order without taking precise measurements.

For most people, the primary purpose of ordering window treatments is to be able to control the lighting and increase the privacy in their homes. Unfortunately, blinds and shades that don’t fit properly are less effective at both. Before you place your order, make sure you take precise measurements of the interior of your window or the area outside your window where you want to install your new window treatments. If you’re not sure how to take these measurements, consult our measuring instructions section, which contains step-by-step processes for getting accurate measurements for all our products.

Do make sure you have everything you need to install your new window treatments.

Installing new blinds and shades is a DIY job that almost anyone can accomplish—especially when they’re going on standard-sized windows and doors. But to make the process as quick and easy as possible, it’s important to make sure that you’re properly equipped for the job. A step ladder is one of the most vital tools to have when it’s time to install your window coverings, as you’ll need to reach the top of your window casing or the area that’s around one-foot above it if you opted for an outside installation. In addition, you’ll need a screwdriver, drill, drill bits, pencil, level, and all included installation materials, including brackets and cord cleats. Set all your tools out before you begin installing to keep them handy throughout the process.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

DIY isn’t for everyone, and in some cases, it can be difficult to install certain window treatments by yourself. Large window treatments that were custom cut to fit oversized windows may be too heavy and too tall or wide for one person to install, regardless of their DIY experience level. If you need help installing your new blinds and shades, don’t hesitate to call a friend, family member, neighbor, or even a contractor to assist you. Many homeowners use professionals to install window treatments, especially if they are outfitting an entire home.

Do make safety your top priority.

If you purchased window treatments with cords, whether they’re nylon cords or chain cords, it’s important to understand that they can pose strangulation risks for young children and animals. At Blindster, we include free cord cleats with all corded window treatment purchases. Make sure you install the cord cleat at the same time as your new blinds and shades, and make sure the cords are always safely secured on these devices. For even greater safety and peace of mind, move furniture away from windows that allows easy access to window treatments, including tables and chairs.

Don’t liquid clean without spot testing first.

In most cases, blinds and shades don’t need cleaning beyond regular dusting, vacuuming, and occasional wipe downs with a damp rag or paper towel. But spills or heavy accumulation of dirt and dust may necessitate more intensive cleaning. If you’re looking to remove deep stains from your window treatments, use a gentle and mild cleaning solution and test it on an inconspicuous area—even if the manufacturer’s instructions say that it’s okay to use liquid cleaners. If the test spot dries without staining or fading the fabric or other material, the cleaner will be safe to use.

Do consider outfitting other rooms in your home with the right window coverings.

Many homeowners work on one room at a time when they’re undertaking DIY projects, big or small. For many homeowners, the living room is the first place they’ll begin when they’re overhauling their homes’ window treatments. If you started out with just one room and you’re happy with the results of your new blinds or shades, consider moving on to other rooms in your home. Getting the right window treatments can make a huge difference for bedrooms, nurseries, home offices, game rooms, and even bathrooms.

 

Avoid DIYing These Home Renovation Projects

Thanks to a plethora of online resources and television shows, do-it-yourself projects are more popular than ever. Home renovations ranging from minor upgrades and cleanups all the way to remodeling jobs and even room additions are now within the reach of homeowners with enough spare time, money, and energy to get the job done. And while DIY projects can be significantly less expensive than hiring contractors to do the same work, they’re not without their pitfalls.

Although many DIY jobs don’t require much—if any—home renovation and repair experience or expertise, others may be more complicated than they look, especially if you live in an older home. Some homeowners take on more than they can handle and end up with a room that’s unusable for weeks, and they often end up paying more while still having to rely on a professional contractor to finish the job.

While many DIY projects are still within the capabilities of most homeowners, it’s important to recognize which ones often need an expert’s steady hand, knowledge, and resources. So, if you’re thinking about taking on some major home upgrades, be sure to check out Blindster’s list of DIY projects that you should avoid:

Removing large trees and limbs from your lawn

Whether you need to clear space for an outdoor seating area, want to reclaim your lawn, or need to spare your roof from inevitable disaster, cutting down a tree or large limb is a job that’s best left to experts. While you may have access to all the tools necessary to cut down a tree or limb, it’s important to remember that you’re dealing with something that’s extremely heavy and unpredictable. In addition to putting yourself and your own home at risk, you could also do major damage to your neighbor’s homes as well.

Renovating an existing or installing a new bathroom

Bathrooms are huge selling points for homes. When a home has plenty of bathrooms that are beautifully designed and up to date, it’s value can increase significantly. In addition, it also makes the home a more pleasant place to live. Minor bathroom renovations, such as painting cabinets or changing flooring, are straightforward. But more invasive renovations that involve things like moving the placement or dimensions of toilets, tubs, and showers can be far trickier. If you don’t have experience working with plumbing, you should leave this project in the hands of professionals to avoid a home disaster.

Rewiring a room or your entire home

Electricity makes life much easier and more convenient, but it’s easy to forget how dangerous it can be. The average home has enough power running through its wires at any given time to seriously injure or even kill a person who touches it. In addition, faulty wiring can lead to power spikes, lost power, and even fires—especially if it’s near highly flammable things like insulation, drywall, and other materials. Even something as simple as wiring in a ceiling fan should be done by a professional with experience handling live wires. Not only will that keep you safe, but it will also give you peace of mind knowing that the job was done correctly, saving you time and money in the future.

Repairing a roof and replacing shingles

Most roofs have life expectancies of anywhere from 20 to 30 years. After they’ve passed that point, they’re more likely to take on a dingy and even discolored appearance. They also may leak with individual shingles peeling away from the roof or even falling off it. If your roof needs a repair, renovation, or complete re-do, you may be tempted to climb up there and begin taking care of business yourself. However, working on a roof isn’t just hard—it’s also dangerous. One-third of construction fatalities are due to workers falling off roofs, and homeowners don’t fare much better, particularly when they don’t have any experience working on a roof. Leave this job up to professional roofers and you’ll get a result that’s both satisfactory and safe.

Digging deep in your lawn or dirt

Installing a sprinkler system, planting trees and shrubs, and designing an outdoor area all involve digging in the grass and dirt. But did you know that your property may be a minefield of underground utility lines? The Common Ground Alliance Initiative reports that an underground line is damaged every six minutes nationwide due to homeowners and property owners digging without doing their due diligence. Simply calling 811 and confirming the location of underground utilities is sufficient for small projects, but you should leave bigger projects—digging out an in-ground swimming pool or space for a storm shelter—to the pros who have both the equipment and knowledge to avoid potential disasters.

Refinishing a wood floor using a sanding machine

Over time, wood floors can become dirty and dirty, and they often lose their shine and luster. When that happens, no amount of cleaning and wax will restore them to their original appearance. In fact, the only way to truly restore them is to remove the top layer of wood with a sanding machine. However, experts warn homeowners to avoid attempting this project themselves. Sanding such a large surface area requires experience both with various types of wood flooring and the machine itself. In the hands of an unskilled operator, the floor may end up uneven in both appearance and feel, due to some areas being sanded too much and others too little.

Removing popcorn ceilings or anything that may contain asbestos/lead paint

If your home was built within the past two decades or so, you’re probably off the hook when it comes to this tip. But if your home was constructed between 1940 and 1980, there’s a good chance it has popcorn ceilings, which may contain asbestos. These ceilings are often the bane of many homeowners’ existence, but trying to remove them yourself can expose you to potentially deadly asbestos-containing particles. In addition, certain areas of your home may contain lead paint. Knocking down walls or drilling into areas that contain lead paint—even if they’ve been painted over many times—can cause the lead to fall onto the floor or become airborne, putting you and your family members at risk of developing health complications. Always hire a professional to do any work that may result in coming into contact with asbestos or lead paint.

Things You Should Donate or Throw Away before You Move

Whether you’re moving across the country or just down the street, packing up all your belongings and loading them into a box truck isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. It’s tough, exhausting work—even if you’re not doing most of the heavy lifting. When many people begin to prepare for a move, they may find it difficult to part with certain items—even items that rarely or never got used before.

The weeks and days leading up to a move are the best time to downsize your life. In addition to kick starting the “fresh start” feeling that moving creates, it also simplifies the move and can even save you money if you’re paying someone else to load and unload your belongings.

When you’re deciding what to pack and what to toss, you’ll want to consider two things: will the item survive the move no worse for the wear, and is the item something you or your family uses or plans on using in the future. If you need help answering those questions, check out Blindster’s guide to the items you’ll probably want to toss before the moving truck arrives:

Budget particle board furniture

Budget particle board furniture

Snagging a bookcase, nightstand, or end table for $50 is a great way to stretch your furniture budget and complete your home décor without breaking the bank. But those items are unlikely to survive the process of being loaded onto a truck, packed among other heavy items for a potentially very long trip, and then be carried into your new digs. A good rule of thumb is to toss or donate any small particle board items that were assembled mostly or entirely with Allen wrenches or any items that simply feel “flimsy” and unstable.

 

Books, VHS tapes, CDs, and DVDs

Books, VHS tapes, CDs, and DVDs

Like it or not, physical media is rapidly being phased out of everyday use. More and more people are reading books on their tablets, smartphones, and e-readers, while video and audio are almost entirely streamed online now. Depending on the size of your collection, you may need a dozen or more boxes to store all your books, VHS tapes, CDs, and DVDs. Taking the time to pack these items, load them onto the truck, and then re-arrange them after the move is time-consuming, and it may be for naught if you never use them. If you can’t bear to offload your entire collection, consider donating or selling everything except the books, CDs, or movies you simply can’t live without.

Worn out cookware, dishes, and cutlery

Worn out cookware, dishes, and cutlery

Moving is the perfect excuse to upgrade certain belongings, and that includes almost anything related to the preparation and consumption of food. Pots and pans take up a huge amount of room, as you may only be able to fit one or two in a large box. Before you make plans to pack up your 12” skillet or favorite spaghetti pot, look at their overall condition. Are the handles coming loose? Is the non-stick coating scratched and damaged? Do they simply look dinged up and well-worn? If so, it may be time to donate them to a thrift or salvage store and purchase new ones as soon as you arrive at your new home.

Extra pillows, blankets, and sheets

Extra pillows, blankets, and sheets

It’s nice to have an extra set of bedding for laundry day or for guests. But having three spare comforters, 6 extra pillows, and a mountain of blankets and sheets stored in your closet isn’t just wasting space, but it will also slow down your move and bog down your new home. These space-hogging items are rarely necessary and do little more than take up precious storage space.

Regrettable kitchen appliances and gadgets

Regrettable kitchen appliances and gadgets

Still got that bread maker from Christmas 1998? How about the blender in the back of the cabinet that was replaced by a heavy-duty model in 2011? Like cookware, kitchen appliances are bulky and difficult to pack. They’re also difficult to make room for, especially if your new kitchen has fewer cabinets and overall storage space compared to your old kitchen. Thankfully, thrift and salvage stores readily accept most small kitchen gadgets and appliances, and you can even fetch a few dollars for them on auction and classifieds websites.

 

Toys that your children have outgrown

Toys that your children have outgrown

Kids change their minds about things quickly, and toy that was beloved six months prior may now be collecting dust on a shelf. Things like board games, action figures, dolls, blocks, and other toys are notorious for surviving multiple moves and ending up in a dark corner of the basement or attic for many years. Spare yourself the eventual headache and hassle by donating toys that your children have clearly outgrown.

Random papers and documents

Random papers and documents

Although more and more people do their banking and other information-sensitive tasks online, that still hasn’t stopped homes from accumulating large piles of papers and documents. Whether it’s a warranty card, a credit card application, an important receipt, or an invoice for work that was completed five years ago, there’s a good chance that most of the items you’ve saving in a document box or file cabinet shouldn’t make the trip to the new home. One word of caution: make sure you shred any sensitive documents that contain bank account information, tax information, or Social Security numbers.

Easy Ways to Make Your Furniture Look Brand New

Most furniture continues to be durable and strong long after it has stopped looking like it did when you took it home from the store. But drab, dull, and “worn” looking furniture can significantly detract from the appearance of a room. Thankfully, you don’t have to immediately toss your weathered furniture to the curb and shell out big bucks on an entire new suite for your living room, bedroom, or dining room.

There are plenty of easy ways to restore the appearance of faded furniture, and in most cases, it involves nothing more than a little cleaning, polishing, and waxing. There’s a huge market for furniture restoration, so you’ll have no trouble finding the right products to turn back the clock on your favorite couch, coffee table, or nightstand.

Check out some of the easiest ways to get your furniture looking brand new:

Shave your fabric-covered couch and chairs with a fabric shaver

The matte and clean appearance of fabric couches and chairs can quickly become drab and worn due to an unfortunate effect called pilling. This refers to small balls of fiber that form on fabrics and cloths.

Everything from blankets and pillows to your own clothing and pet hair can accumulate on fabric, resulting in major pilling that causes an unintentional “distressed” look on your couches and chairs. The easiest way to remove pilling is by shaving the fabric. Specially-designed fabric shavers can quickly and easily remove tiny layers of fabric, shedding the pilling in the process. If you want a quick and easy fix without spending extra money, a spare razor also works for removing pilling.

Use colorants and fillers to restore leather

A brand-new leather couch or chair is a head-turner in any room. But like fabric furniture, leather can also wear out and become cracked, faded, and discolored over time. It may seem impossible to restore leather to its factory-appearance, but there are several products designed specifically to do just that.

It’s important to first prep leather by cleaning it with specially designed cleaning products or warm water with a mild cleaning solution. After the leather is clean, you can use a filler to repair fine cracks that naturally develop over time. After that dries, you can use a colorant to restore the original color of the leather and help protect it from future fading.

Sand, scrape, and strip worn wood to reveal the beauty underneath

Like fabric and leather furniture, tables, dressers, nightstands, chests, and other wood furniture is subject to wear and tear and the ravages of time. If you have a well-ventilated area, you can begin stripping off the worn outer layer of your wood furniture in minutes with an aerosol spray paint stripper, which quickly causes the finish to lift off the wood. Next, you’ll need to use a scraper to remove the finish. A quick cleaning and light sanding with 150-grit and then 200+ grit sandpaper will finish the job.

Once the unsightly outer layer has been removed, you can apply a fresh stain to the wood surface that will give the furniture a colorful and shiny appearance. Just make sure to wipe away any excess stain to avoid streaks or raised areas. After the stain dries, apply a layer of clear coat to seal the stain and protect the wood. One or two coats later, use your fine-grit sandpaper after the clear coat dries to smooth away any imperfections before applying a final coat.

The last step is to let the furniture cure and settle in a well-ventilated area for around 24 hours before you place it back inside your home.

Tips for Making Your Home Safer for Your Children

Whether your children are 18 months old or 18 years old, keeping them safe and secure—especially while they’re at home—is your biggest priority. And while homes are generally thought of as being safe and secure by default, they can contain many overlooked hazards that can put children at risk of serious illness or injury. Reducing and even eliminating the threat of many of these household hazards doesn’t take much work or money, but it does require being able to identify them.

At Blindster, we know that there’s no greater peace of mind for homeowners and parents than having a house that’s as free from hazards as possible. If you’re looking to reduce the risks that your children—regardless of their ages—may face when they’re at home, check out our list of tips for creating a safe and secure house:

Adjust your water heater to prevent scalds and burns.

Instantaneous hot water is one of life’s greatest luxuries, but when water heaters aren’t configured properly, it can range from an unpleasant surprise in the shower to a medical emergency—especially for babies and small children who experienced prolonged exposure to scalding water. Test your home’s faucets, tubs, and showers to find out how hot the water gets from each tap. Then, adjust your water heater until the maximum heat setting is a safe temperature.

Install window guards and stops to prevent falls.

Kids are naturally curious about windows, particularly when they’re opened or are easy to open. Locking windows prevents toddlers and small children from opening them, but most window locks are easily bypassed by older children. Permanent window guards and stops installed in windows prevent accidental falls. An estimated 4,000 children suffer serious injuries every year due to falls from windows, but guards and stops can keep your children safe.

Use cord cleats and install cordless window coverings.

If your window treatments are operated via a cloth, nylon, or chain cord, they can present a choking and strangulation risk for your children. Blindster offers free cord cleats for all corded window treatments that we sell, which are small plastic hooks that allow you to safely coil excess cord away from the reach of small children. If you don’t already have cord cleats, purchase enough for all your window treatments as soon as possible. And if you’re looking to replace your window treatments, you can’t go wrong with cordless varieties, which but all but eliminate the risk of choking or strangulation.

Install and regularly test smoke, radon, and carbon monoxide detectors.

Most homes and apartments are equipped with smoke detectors, but not all of them are kept in good working condition. Smoke detectors are ineffective if they aren’t tested regularly or have become less sensitive due to age or wear and tear. Make sure the smoke detectors in your home are frequently tested and get new batteries on a regular basis. In addition, you should also test your home for carbon monoxide—especially if your home is powered by gas. Finally, test your home for the presence of radon, which is an otherwise undetectable radioactive gas that can create health problems and even lead to cancer.

Watch out for pests—but don’t get too aggressive when trying to eliminate them.

Spiders, ants, and even the occasional mouse can put parents on guard when they’re trying to create a safe environment for their children. And while eliminating these pests is a common-sense approach to make your home a more secure place, it’s also important to not go overboard. Filling your home with harsh chemicals and fumes can put your children at risk of developing health complications—especially when those chemicals are sprayed in the areas where they play. Instead of using chemical solutions, set traps and seal and block entryways for pests by caulking windows, weather-stripping doors, and insulating your attic.

Mount televisions and secure chests, dressers, and mirrors to walls.

Large televisions and many types of furniture can easily topple over with just a light pull. Even toddlers can knock over things like chests, dressers, and mirrors—all of which are large and heavy enough to cause serious injuries and even trap them underneath. If you have a low-platform television stand, make sure your television is either securely fastened to it or mounted on your wall. In addition, make sure all your upright furniture is fastened to the wall using furniture hooks and straps.

Keep your dishwasher closed and locked when it isn’t in use.

Dishwashers can pose significant threats to small children. Whether it’s the risk of accidentally ingesting liquid detergent or the risk of being injured by cutlery, these modern conveniences should always be kept in a closed and locked position to keep children safe. In addition, you should also place knives, forks, and other sharp items face down when loading your dishwasher to prevent accidental cuts and scrapes.

Place household chemicals and cleaners out of reach.

Many homeowners place their household cleaners under their kitchen sinks for easy access. While this can be a convenient storage space, it’s also easily accessed by small children. Instead of placing these items at eye level for small children, place them in higher cabinets and make sure they’re securely fastened and locked. It’s also important to verify that all cleaners have caps and lids and that any spills or residue on the sides of the bottles are cleaned up immediately.

Round up small toys and safely store them after play sessions.

Babies and toddlers love playing with small toys, but those same toys also represent a choking hazard. Toys like blocks, balls, and small action figures can easily fit inside the mouths of small children, and they can quickly block airways. To avoid a choking-related injury, make sure your child’s small toys remain in a designated play area and safely secure them when your child is finished playing.

Household Items You Should Think Twice about before Buying