Downsizing Your Home – Part 1

We’ve spent plenty of time in this space talking about how to overcome the logistical hurdles of moving. But this time we’re going to dig into the psychology of moving – particularly if you’re a little older and downsizing your home.

Often, older folks face an entirely different proposition. They have more stuff and they’re more likely to delegate the physical part of moving to the professionals. The hard part is to know what to take with you and dealing with those hard decisions about what to part with.

Often we’re talking about sorting thru a lifetime accumulation of treasured items. This is how something that was merely furniture becomes an heirloom. Yet if your new place is smaller, difficult decisions must be made.

One solution is to offer items to adult children. But get ready for a gut punch. You may find out that the items you treasured and carried thru life have little meaning or value to your own kids. You know the saying – one man’s treasurer, another man’s trash.

If your kids are willing to take some items, first consider yourself lucky. But even in this happier outcome, there can still be a sense of loss. Those items are part of what you called home! Will the new place be the same without them?

And sometimes this works too well – the kids want the same items and now fighting breaks out over who gets what. Here’s what to do in the event of this problem:

    1. Hold an auction with monopoly money. Everybody gets the same amount of monopoly money and everyone knows in advance the items to be auctioned. Let the bidding begin!
    2. Devise a Solomon Solution. If two parties are interested in the same item and cannot reach an agreement, either party is free to make an offer for the item. Then the other receiving that offer decides to become buyer or seller under the terms of the offer. Yes, your adult children might be paying their siblings instead of you over the disposition of something that was once yours. The peace will be worth it.
    3. Assemble possessions into lots. Then draw numbers from a hat to decide who gets to pick in what order from the various lots. Here’s your opportunity to get creative in forming these lots. Perhaps something that’s harder to get rid of is combined with a prized item. It also helps equalize values. The kids can get involved with forming the lots before the drawing begins.

Come back next time to learn about a common problem that you may have never considered.

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Maintenance Requests During Covid – Stay Safe

How do you keep your apartment is top condition while making sure you don’t expose yourself to this virus? Here are five ideas:

  1. Send in a picture. What you don’t want is maintenance staff coming to your apartment to do nothing more than to assess the problem. That’s potentially more people in your apartment more often for longer.
  2. Trouble-shoot over the phone. For the same reasons. Again, the better you can describe the problem, the less time and number of times maintenance staff will be in your apartment.
  3. Close off rooms that maintenance staff do not need to enter.
  4. Request that maintenance staff wear masks and gloves. This is standard at Decker Properties. Elsewhere, you may have to ask.
  5. Arrange to not be at home when maintenance staff arrives. For individuals working from home, this may be difficult. But the maintenance appointment could be a good time for a break or to run errands. Either way, it’s better that you not be there. It appears that the virus can only live four hours on a surface. Therefore, perhaps the safest procedure would be to be gone all day working and schedule maintenance first thing in the morning after you leave.

    Often, residents prefer to be home when maintenance is servicing their apartment. This is understandable under ordinary circumstance, but Covid is not an ordinary circumstance. It’s better that you not be there. If you are working from home or for whatever reasons can’t be gone when maintenance services your apartment, then you need to wear a mask too.

Four Tips for Staying Safe at Home

We’re still home now more than ever, so it’s good to pause and take a quick refresher on staying safe at home. Consider these four tips:

  1. Think indoor air quality. Maybe an air filter is a good idea. Do you smoke? Don’t smoke in your apartment. Most apartments don’t allow smoking anywhere inside these days anyway, including Decker Properties, Inc. Consider deploying an air filter to eliminate allergens and dust.
  2. Think new furnace filter. Again, it comes down to indoor air quality. At Decker Properties, we change these for you.
  3. Think fire safety. Locate your carbon monoxide detector and smoke detector. Smoke detectors have been around a long time and you probably are familiar with them. Carbon Monoxide detectors are somewhat newer. Below is a picture of a sample carbon monoxide detector. But yours may be round or even combined with the smoke detector. Or you may not even have a carbon monoxide detector if there are no natural gas appliances in your apartment. Natural gas is used to fire furnaces, ovens and cook tops. If you have electric baseboard heat and an electric stove, you may not have a carbon monoxide detector. If your uncertain, contact your landlord. In the old days, the concern was with changing the batteries every year and making sure the batteries were working. Today, at least at Decker Properties, your detectors are either hard wired or they have a 10-year lithium-ion battery. The battery powered detectors were labeled with an installation date. You can check the date, but since these were installed in the last few years, you probably have years yet to go. Note that the detector has a test button. Test the detectors and make sure they’re working. Be ready for a loud pitched alarm to sound! It will go off as soon as you release the button.
  4. Think Sleep. Create an ideal sleeping environment. Most people sleep better if the room is a little cooler – 65 to 70 degrees. At Decker Properties, many of our apartments have individual room thermostats. Remove any distractions and consider a white noise devise to help you sleep.


carbon monoxide alarm - Four Tips for Staying Safe at Home

How to Keep Your Apartment Cool

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Images Source: Pexels

If you’re struggling to find a balance between a high energy bill and a nice, cool, apartment, you’re not alone. Lucky for you, there are plenty of ways to keep your apartment at a decent temperature without having to constantly run your air conditioner.

Install a Window Film to Block Heat

Not all apartments will have energy-efficient windows. If you want to enjoy natural lighting without letting the heat in, window film is a wonderful way to get the best of both worlds. You’ll be able to keep your blinds open and soak up the rays, without having to crank up the AC to counter it. The film sticks to the glass and prevents the heat from getting in.

You can get it from your local hardware store in a variety of configurations. Privacy window film will make it harder to see into your apartment from the outside, too. Make sure you buy something that offers thermal protection.

Close Your Curtains During the Hottest Parts of the Day

If you’d rather not install the film, you can just close your curtains at certain points of the day.

Typically, the hottest part of the day is between 3 and 4 pm. Keep your curtains and blinds closed during this time of day to prevent more of the natural heat from seeping into your home through the glass.

If you don’t mind a darker room, or work third shift, you’ll get even better results by investing in black-out curtains. Beyond blocking the light so you can sleep, the weave also keeps heat from getting through.

Make Sure Your Ceiling Fan Blades Spin in the Right Direction

If your apartment has ceiling fans, make them work for you. In the summer, your fan will provide more of a breeze if the blades spin counterclockwise. This can help you stay cool without having to use as much energy.

In the winter, you should switch them clockwise so that warm air that rises to the top of the room gets pushed down toward you.

Close Doors of Rooms Not in Use

Air constantly moves throughout your apartment. To maximize airflow and direct cooler air, close the doors to rooms that aren’t in use. Keep your bedroom and bathroom doors open so that the cool air will flow to the rooms where you need it.

Use Portable Fans

Fans won’t cool the room, but they will cool you if you’re in the room. If you have more than one fan, place them so that the air is blowing at you from multiple directions.

If you use a box fan in a window, face it out the window, rather than at you. It won’t blow cooler air on you, but it will work to pull the warm air out of your apartment and send it back outside.

No matter how hot the temperatures get in the summer, you’ll be able to keep yourself nice and cool with these tips. BONUS TIP: Use the exhaust fan above your stove and in your bathroom when you first get home, to pull out the hot air that has stagnated all day. It’ll make it easier for your air conditioner to cool things down.


Karstine Sanchez is a freelance writer and content marketer with Allstate Roofing. She enjoys writing home decor, maintenance, and improvement.

Five Tips for Staying Out of Jail

There you are, working away, minding your own business, just trying to make your way in life. Then the boys in blue show up and take you away to jail! How inconvenient.
Here’s a couple of tips to help keep that from happening:

  1. It’s not about you. We just said that you were behaving yourself and working hard. You’re a model citizen.
  2. It’s about them. What about that party you’re planning? Have you thought about the guest list beyond just compatibility? Are you still going to invite Old Uncle Gus the gangster thug? Is that a good idea?
  3. You’re responsible for the conduct of your guests. Any trouble they cause, stuff they bust or laws they break could blow back on you. Remember what your mother told you about the company you keep? Turns out she was right.
  4. What about your own? How many times have we seen it that Smiling Innocent Junior is secretly dealing drugs out of his or her parents’ apartment? Try explaining to the blue boys that you knew nothing about that. They’re going to think you were the brains behind the operation!
  5. That’s what insurance is for. Hey, you got all your stuff at a garage sale anyway, so why bother with renter’s insurance? But what if your stove fire burns down the whole building and somebody gets hurt? Once again, you’re wearing the orange and looking through those bars. Better get renter’s insurance, it can be as little as $8-$10 per month.


stay out of jail - Five Tips for Staying Out of Jail

Making Your Small Place Feel Like A Big Space

There aren’t many of us that live in a place that is as big as we’d like. We have to work with what we got. Luckily, there are ways to make your place feel bigger without adding any square footage. And unless you have serious space issues like sharing one bathroom between five people, coping with a smaller living space can be done with a few easy steps.

The accompanying guide contains many ideas for making a small space feel bigger by using elements of design. Things like color, texture, shapes and angles can make a place feel bigger without gaining square footage. One way to achieve this is going with a monochromatic color palette. This helps a room feel air and open as opposed to a room with lots of contrast. Choosing accents such a curtains made of light fabrics and furniture with long thin, legs can also contribute to the impression that the space is a lot larger than it really is. Walls and floors can be accentuated with striped elements that help guide the eye horizontally or vertically to create the feeling of additional height or width, as well.

Mastering these simple design elements and using psychology to your advantage will help your small place feel like a big space, making your more comfortable and more accepting of your home. For more ideas, continue reading!

How to Beat Clutter – Part 3

How are you doing with all that clutter? Should we send you your own dumpster? Keep going with these final tips in Part 3 in How to Beat Clutter:

19. Go vertical. If you weren’t convinced to get rid of those single use seldom used kitchen gadgets, at least store them up high in your cabinets. Think altitude for those seldom used items.
20. Banish dusting. If you have some display items that you just can’t part with, consider putting them in a display case where they won’t accumulate dust and require attention.
21. Banish swag. You may be the king of free stuff, but do you really need another T-shirt, water bottle, calendar or another bobble head doll?
22. Hello garage sale. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Swap your junk for some cash.
23. Put your closets on overtime. Most closets just have a standard pole and shelf. Maybe yours needs a custom closet job with storage towers and shoe racks.
24. Think big. Maybe there’s just too much furniture in your house. Less is more. Less looks cleaner.
25. Think multi-purpose in furniture. Maybe a trunk doubles as a coffee table. Or a bench with storage below. Beds with built in drawers at the floor.
26. Make purging a habit. Put it on the calendar for once a month.
27. Keep a donation box handy. And keep filling it.

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How to Beat Clutter – Part 2

We’re back for Part 2 in How to Beat Clutter:

10. Lists, lists everywhere. Where did I put that list? Maybe you have lists that are turning into clutter. Would a wipe off board work better? Or maybe you should go electronic.

11. Think of new storage solutions. There are low profile bins with wheels designed to slide under a bed. Get creative and turn dead space into seasonal storage areas.

12. Don’t buy if you can rent. Try not to buy anything you’ll only use once.

13. Think registries. If you’re getting married or for whatever reason expecting gifts, make the gift givers aware of what you really want somehow. Otherwise, you’re going to wind up with a bunch of junk you don’t want that you think you have to keep.

14. Think quality versus quantity. Another idea for those gift givers.

15. Limit souvenirs. Do you really want to tote that stuff around the rest of your life?

16. Think scanner. Scan those documents and old photos and file them electronically.

17. Think streaming. And get rid of those old movies that are cluttering up the joint.

18. What about the garage? Has it become a dumping ground? Think of it like any other room in the house and get busy.

Come back next time for the third and final installment of How to Beat Clutter.

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How to Beat Clutter – Part 1

Hey, if we don’t do something about all of the junk around here, we’re going to wind up on that TV show about hoarders!
What to do? Here’s the first installment of 27 tips to reduce clutter.

  1. Start small. Maybe just a closet or even the corner of a room. You don’t have to tackle the whole job at once.
  2. Think momentum. This is the natural offspring of starting small. The whole job may seem huge, but just get started. It may not be as bad as you think. Once you’re rolling, maybe you won’t want to stop.
  3. Banish the clutter. It’s not enough to clear out the clutter. It’s just going to pile up again if you don’t figure out where it’s coming from. You need fresh strategies to keep out of the clutter club forever.
  4. Be disciplined about getting rid of stuff. Yes, it’s still perfectly good. And you paid good money for that. But you haven’t worn it or used it in a year. And you aren’t going to wear it or use it in another year. Donate or dump it.
  5. Make space for essentials. Something you use all the time? Make a spot for it and always put it there.
  6. In with the new, out with the old. We can’t possibly need more stuff. So if you buy something new, something old has to go. This works particularly well in your clothes closet.
  7. Unsubscribe! Tell the mail order house to stop sending you those catalogs. This idea even extends to email. Electronic clutter is still clutter. Start a clutter free lifestyle that extends to all facets of your life.
  8. Establish a drop zone. Shoes, shopping bags, coats, sports gear and purses go here.
  9. Think multipurpose. Your more likely to use a multi-function item than have it accumulate dust. Swiss army knife anyone? Or think about multi-purpose kitchen gadgets.

Come back next time for Part 2 in How to Beat Clutter.

Keeping Clean During Covid

With the vaccine already being distributed, hopefully this will all soon be a bad memory. But there may be a new standard in cleanliness that we all feel more comfortable with moving into the future. So here are a few tips on how to clean whether you’re trying to protect yourself from Covid or from spreading the flu:

  1. Start with you. Wash your hands. If your currently ailing, consider wearing a mask so you don’t recontaminate surfaces. If you’re going to be using harsh chemicals, wear gloves.
  2. Put some music on. Unless cleaning is your favorite activity, maybe you want something that helps put a little swing to your swifter.
  3. Take a balanced approach. There’s no need to use a powerful disinfectant on every surface. High touch items perhaps yes. If there’s someone sick in your household, then the cleaning efforts ramps up accordingly.
  4. Be careful. Don’t use bleach on porous surfaces. Don’t mix chemicals on your own as dangerous gasses can result.
  5. Go green. Worried about the environment? Here’s your chance to do your part. There are plenty of planet friendly alternatives. Art of Green is one product line that appears to have been tested and is easy on skin and good for the environment.
  6. Celebrate. Allow yourself a reward for a job well done.