“Small and Smaller,” January 2010
Big jobs have become fewer and smaller. Small jobs are always there. Can you do them and make money?
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Archive for January, 2010
“Small and Smaller,” January 2010
Winter’s bite gets more painful in January, and the combination of bitter cold, snow and ice can be punishing to your home. Just because water spends much of the month in its solid state doesn’t mean you don’t need to protect your home from its effects.
January is also a great time to hunker down and get organized. After all, why spend the months when the weather finally starts to thaw doing spring cleaning?
Avoid Ice Damming
Ice dams can be nightmares, potentially causing extensive water damage. An ice dam is caused by the freezing and thawing process of snow and ice. Ice forms, causing the melting water behind it to build up, backing up under roof materials and leaking into the house below. Causes range from the unplanned consequences of complex roof designs to inadequate insulation, from incomplete air sealing to lack of proper ventilation. Sometimes it can be an incorrectly installed recessed light or bathroom fan. So examine your roof and gutters when it snows. Is there excessive ice at the gutter line, large and numerous icicles or build up in the valleys? Is the snow melted from the peak of your roof but not from the lower portions? All these can be signs of a potential ice dam and may deserve a closer look.
Assess Attics to Evaluate Them for Both Mold and Insulation Effectiveness
In our climate, most attics are designed as “cold-air” attics. They require proper insulation, air sealing and ventilation to keep the warm air in the house and out of the attic. An estimated 17-32% of newly remodeled attic spaces and new homes have mold. And a far greater majority have insufficient levels of insulating effectiveness in their attic space, creating the greatest area of energy loss in the typical home.
Mold in attics can be a result of moisture-filled, warm air finding a way into the attic space before it can be effectively ventilated out. Insulation ineffectiveness can be caused by a lack of proper insulation levels and proper air-sealing. Unfortunately, many homeowners add insulation without properly understanding ventilation requirements and end up causing mold issues in their attics.
For that reason, and the fact that all attics can be very dangerous, attic assessments are best left to a professional. Typically a professional assessment in a “cold attic” climate like ours will include both a mold and insulation effectiveness assessment.
This will include a close examination of the northern-most portion of your attic where it is most likely to find evidence of frozen condensation on surface areas where warm moist air exiting the homes interior is coming into contact with the freezing temperatures outside. Cold conducers like roof sheathing, metal materials and bathroom vents are typical areas where mold gets a foothold.
While there, a professional will also assess the attic’s air sealing and insulation levels and venting methods. If you have any questions about your attic, mold or insulation, call Get Dwell for a consultation.
Look for Weatherization Opportunities
Even if you weatherized in fall, January’s chill will point out spots you might have missed. Are there areas of your home that are uncomfortable because of cold or drafts? Can you feel a breeze around doors or windows or other problem areas like outlet/light fixtures? Is your heat source generating heat properly? The cold temperatures of January make it a great time to get a handle on your home’s uncomfortable and energy loss areas. If you need help winterizing problem areas of your house, call Get Dwell. We can make your home more comfortable and save you money. And remember, 2010 is the last year of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act tax credit, which can amount to up to $1,500 to help offset the costs of making energy efficiency improvements to your home. Ask us what projects qualify.
The weather outside is frightful, so why not spend January making your home delightful? It’s a great month to get organized, whether it’s tidying up a home office or installing a custom shelving system in your basement. Need help? Get Dwell’s home organization experts can help you greet the new year with the neat, tidy home you’ve been wishing for. We offer the services of a professional organizer as well as the know-how to craft custom and off-the-rack solutions that will get you organized and give you peace of mind this new year.
The same things Sarah Jacobs loves about her 1912 Wilmette home – the charm, the quirkiness, the unconventional layout – are the same things that make organizing it a challenge. So when she set out to make a basement cedar closet and a garage more storage-friendly, she called Get Dwell to help make her vision a realty.
It started in her basement, at the foot of the stairs where she had a computer workstation set up near the cedar closet. Over time, the closet – intended for clothes – had become a dumping ground for office supplies. Get Dwell worked with Sarah to identify what she needed to store in the closet, then chose, purchased and installed the appropriate prefabricated elfa storage system from the Container Store.
“When it’s your home office, it’s important to really think about what you need,” Sarah says. “Darryl consulted with me and made sure I got the components that were best for my storage needs. Now the closet holds all my office supplies and my printer comfortably.”
Sarah also hired Get Dwell to install flat wall in her garage, a grooved wall fixture that allows the user to install brackets where and how they’re needed.
“It’s very flexible and adaptable,” Sarah says. “It gives you the ability to organize things the way you want them, then rearrange them easily.” Get Dwell also installed flat wall in an unfinished portion of Sarah’s basement, further expanding her storage options.
“In an old house, you have to utilize space the best you can,” she says. “Working with Get Dwell, I was able to think through what I really needed, and Darryl had the creativity to bring it to life. It’s made a big difference.”
The National Association of Professional Organizers has dubbed January Get Organized (GO) Month. That’s not surprising, considering millions of people enter the new year armed with resolutions to shape up our basements, create a mudroom, pick up our kids’ playrooms or finally catch a glimpse of the desktop in our home offices.
But for Colleen Collins Josellis, every month is Get Organized Month. She’s a professional organizer, owner of the business Organized Chaos and a consultant with Get Dwell. And she has some hard-earned advice for homeowners hoping to get a handle on their living environment.
“Most important is to realize that perfection isn’t the goal,” she says. “Lots of my clients are perfectionists, and they tend to avoid a project if they can’t achieve perfection. I have a family, dogs and a business, and my home isn’t perfect. But I can have it picked up in 15 minutes.”
The reason, she says, is that everything in her house has a home. “That’s the goal. Just have a place for everything. When you know where it goes, it’s easy to put it back.”
Another tip? Live in the present with your belongings, Colleen says.
“People are surrounded by things they don’t use – things from the past that have sentimental value or things they think they might use in the future. If there are things that have sentimental value, put them out and honor them. Otherwise, pack them, label them and put them away. The same with things you don’t want to throw away because you might need them down the road. Pack them up and store them.”
Which brings us to Colleen’s three steps to a more organized you.
- Sort like items in your home – kitchen items, linens, tools – and ask yourself, “do I need all this? Is there duplication or items I realistically will never use?”
- Purge. Give redundant items to friends, to a second hand shop or to anyone else who might benefit from them.
- Reorganize what remains.
“Clutter is about indecision and time management,” Colleen says. “Instead of doing a major reorganization once or twice a year, which is intimidating, I encourage my clients to set aside time on a regular basis to tackle small, manageable projects.”
She also recommends building organizational systems when necessary to help keep things in their place. Colleen says her partnership with Get Dwell is a perfect match, allowing her to consult with homeowners to develop an organization plan, and with Get Dwell to create solutions that make that plan a reality.
“Working with Get Dwell, I’ve seen them design and install both custom and pre-made organizing systems for clients, and I’ve seen the difference it makes for the homeowner. Smart storage that works well in your space can make a big difference in helping anyone meet their organization goals.”
Planning your own organizational project? In January and February, hire Get Dwell to create/install an organizing system in your home and get 15% off on all Get Dwell workmanship. And as a special bonus, if you are in the North Shore receive a free, professional consultation from Colleen Collins Josellis, owner of Organized Chaos.