Updating your home? Consider Re-purposing items for a One of a Kind Find

Some of the items I love to use are old bricks, pieces of leather and steel, tools and such from days gone by that can be re-purposed into lighting, artwork, hangers, welcome signs, even furniture! If you think this sounds fun, consider a small start. My first piece was an old dresser that I refinished and made look like new. It might be grabbing an old shovel to add to your garden. Open your eyes to other uses of items that some have long since forgotten about and now they can become your favorite item that everyone likes to ask about when they visit.

I would love to hear some of your favorite items for the home or garden.


Do we Need a New Light Bulb?

lightbulbI have been an environmentalist for a long time. I do my best to be green.  I recycle religiously.  I cringe when I see wasteful persons and yes, I might be that person you have seen taking a recyclable item back out of the trash.

I make sure never to allow fertilizers to leave the lawn and when needed am careful about its application and run off potential.  We mow into the lawn, not onto the street.  Well, you get the picture.

I have slowly filled the house with flourescent bulbs only to find that in general we don’t like them.  They are slow to brighten, sometimes are too white, or have a fake yellow hue.   The biggest bummer is that sometimes they do not last nearly as long as the packaging had claimed.  Did you know these are hazardous and cannot be tossed into the trash when done?  They need to be recycled in a safe way.

All this said, I just am unclear how I feel about these new LED lightbulb‘s that have come out.  They are supposed to last 25 years!  That’s a long time.  They also have a rather large price tag at about $25.00 a piece.  I just bought a 4 pack of regular old 40 watt bulbs for a buck at Christmas time so its going to be a bit of a tough sell to give these a try when the budget has so many other options to be spent.  On the upside these new bulbs promise to ony cost $1.63 a day when used 3 hours per day over the 25 year stand.

Where do you sit on the great light bulb debate.  Will you be giving the LED a try, sticking with flourescents or crying over the soon to be lost low cost incandescent?

Curb Appeal – Got that driveway covered!

Kim Woehl - Keller Williams Premier Realty 651-214-1459 kwoehl.kwrealty.com

So you’ve had that morning cup of coffee or tea and what to do with the remaining boiling water?  Take it out to your driveway or sidewalk and pour it over those pesky weeds that have taken root in the cracks!  Make sure to stand back to avoid splashing burns, but the hot water burns the weeds dead but cools quickly enough to save those wanted plants near the edges of your drive and walkways.  Once they are dry and dead, simply take a flat shovel and scrape them away!

This technique works great, is green, and makes your home look beautiful from the curb!  Share a tip that you have for  quick clean up around the home!

Saving Money in the Laundry Room

I am getting greener as I get older and as a result I have found some great ways to save money in the laundry room while also having a smaller footprint.

First off make sure you are only running full loads.  This is true even if you have one of the washing machines that is smart and knows to reduce the water level.  While you are saving on water (this is great), it still is costing you to run that load at the same rate as that full load.  Also, while the washer is smart, the dryer is not and will cost you full price to dry that smaller load.

Hang your clothes out if you can they smell terrific and won’t cost a dime to dry.  If you are one of those persons who doesn’t like the stiff fabric that outdoor drying creates, bring them indoors and pop them into the dryer for about 5 minutes just to get tossed around and I find they are nice and soft.

The next secret is to use cold water.  I could not believe what a difference this made in my bill but the clothes come out just as clean.  Oh and don’t waste your time on the cold water detergent.  Regular detergent works just as well.

Let’s take a moment to chat about that dryer.  Make sure to clean the lint filter every time.  This reduces the dry time, cuts down on fire risk and allows the motor to run as it was supposed too.  If you use dryer sheets, make sure you soap up the lint filter at least annually to make sure the screen is still breathing.  They can become clogged and you won’t even see it but once you clean it with a bit of soap and water you will notice your loads drying a bit quicker.  If your machine has choices, set the dryer to a bit less dry and remove them promptly once they are done.

Another great dryer tip is to make sure you washer is doing a great job of spinning your load dry.  The extra spin time will allow for shorter dry times and the difference in appliance cost is worth it!

The last tip I have is to dry similar weights of clothes together.  Example – dry towels together instead of a mixed load so that when you are drying a load of t shirts they will dry quicker, resulting in a faster dryer cycle.

Do you have any laundry room tips to share?  I know some of you make your own detergent I haven’t tried that yet.  I also hear you can make your own dryer sheets, has anyone tried that?  I would love to hear from you!

Kim Woehl is a realtor with Keller Williams Premier Realty and wants to be your housing expert.  If you are looking to buy or sell please give her a call at 651-214-1459 or visit her website where you can search homes in the area for free. http://kwoehl.kwrealty.com/

Spring Cleaning Tip – Removing Carpet Dents!

So you want to rearrange your room, but when you move those pieces of furniture you are left with those ugly dents and divots left from the heavy furniture and time.  Did you know that there is an easy way to remove these?  Simply place ice cubes in the dip or around its valley if it is a long dent.  Wait until the ice cube melts then pick up the excess water and use a spoon to gently lift the carpet fibers back to their original beauty.
Kim is a Realtor with Keller Williams Premier Realty.  Give her a call if you are looking to buy or sell.  She is your neighborhood expert!
Want to search on your own first?  Try her website for free searching of today’s homes for sale or to research what your home is worth.



Lake Shore – Usage Versus Conservation Efforts

A new study is out.  It discusses why the lake level on White Bear Lake continues to be at an all time low.  It turns out that its not just the lack of rain and snow but that there may be a small leak at the bottom of the lake.  Even bigger is the blame that this report might be putting on other communities.  The report said that other cities north of the lake might be partially to blame as they are pumping water from the same aquifer.

As I read this I was like duh – we only have so much water and when the water is gone, its gone.  We have areas in the US that already have no water.  We ship water to them so that they can survive.  What happens now when we use all of our local water?  Well, I think we will borrow from somewhere else.  At what point will we look at the bigger picture and begin to conserve on this precious resource.

Minnesota and its 10,000 lakes seems like we have an abundance, but do we really?  If we don’t protect what we have will it remain or will it become polluted, used or otherwise wasted?

We can do lots by simply shutting off that faucet as we brush our teeth.  We can save by washing only full loads of laundry or dishes.  We can cut down on use of plastics which require water to make.  We can water only on our lawns and not send water onto the hard surfaces like driveways and roadways.  What can you do today to make a difference?

Kim Woehl is a realtor with Keller Williams Premier Realty and is also an instructor for MN Project Wet a curriculum for learning about water.  To learn more, contact Kim she would love to help you find a home on the water or to discuss other ways in which you might conserve water.  She is also available to come speak to your area group.  651-214-1459 or on the web at kwoehl.kwrealty.com

Window Washing 101 – Hire a Professional?

So you look out your windows and what do you see?  Do you notice what is on the outside or are you stuck looking at finger prints, pet nose marks, and the general dirt and dust that builds up on the glass over time?

Do you look at all of the windows in the same light?  ha ha.  What I mean is do you handle low windows the same as high ones?  Are you an inside only washer or do you tackle the outside as well?  Are you left with streaks that no matter what you try you just can’t seem to remove?

If you are looking for great advice you are not going to find it as while I have tried many things, I am still not good at window washing.  I find it tedious and frustrating when the next time the sun shines in that I still have those streaks!

I have been told that you have to be prepared.  Gather cleaner, clean towels that have not been in softner agents.  I have been told old newsprint works good.  Paper towels are great too, but I have wasting another tree.  I have bought a squeegee, a step ladder, I try to have everything near, I have tried washing them when the sun is not shining on them warming the glass drying the streaks on.  Nothing seems to work for me.  Oh and always have a razor blade to scrape off any paint, bugs, bird ____.  Well you get the point.

I guess this has turned into a blog post of what not to do.  I am counting on each of you to share with me what really works.

I have the type of windows that tip in for easy cleaning.  That is supposed to make it easier.  Not so sure its easy but I would love to hear any tips that you successful window washers might have to share with me.  Why?  Because I love looking out and seeing the brilliant outdoor colors.

Help me please!

Kim Woehl is a real estate agent with Keller Williams Premier Realty and she knows the importance of having clean windows when selling a home.  If you are ready to buy or sell, give her a call for very individualized attention!  651-214-1459