Reducing Waste: An Easy Guide to Integrating Sustainable Solutions

The impact of our waste and a focus on sustainable products has been at the forefront of the news lately. It can feel a little overwhelming to look at this subject and think of changing the way we consume products.

However, making just one small change can be a catalyst to caring and to inspire others to do one thing different, too. Plus, it’s better for the planet, your wallet (in the long run), and it’s overall more efficient. Let’s look at cutting back on some things and what new thing you can try to replace them.

  • Trade that plastic ware and baggies for glassware and beeswax wraps. These products are more durable, you use way less of them over time, and they reduce plastic waste!
  • Forget those paper towels and try to use cloths instead. This saves paper like you wouldn’t believe. You may have to wash a little more, but it’s worth it.
  • In the bathroom? Try a shampoo/conditioner bar instead! The plastic we could reduce from not using a container could be such an easy replacement. There are also some programs that that once you buy an aluminum shampoo bottle, they’ll send you refills and recycle your old bottle.

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    Shampoo bars can last just as long or longer than your plastic shampoo bottle!
  • Try swapping those plastic bags at the grocery for some reusable ones. They only cost a couple dollars and all you have to do is take them along. You can hold way more in one bag and you can even get some insulated ones for freezer/fridge items.
  • Have some clothes that you don’t wear anymore but are in good condition? Try doing a clothes swap with some close friends or donate them to reduce waste and reuse clothing that is still good.
  • Recycle plastic and cardboard. Some areas have pick up for this, but if not and you use a lot of one-time use products – try looking up a place that takes recycling near you and help those items live another life.
  • If you have old tech, try finding a recycling location. These items should not be regularly disposed of, but no one wants them sitting around the house either.
  • Try line drying bulky items. If you use a dishwasher regularly try the energy saving mode and turn off the heat dry. Then you can open it and let the items air dry.

We hope these items help encourage you to reduce or cut out one habit and how to pick up another that can be better for the environment. Being resourceful is easy if you try and it makes a global impact if we all put forth some effort. What step can you start with?

Stay Green in Your Cleaning, Too!

Simple Ways to Prep Your Yard/Exterior for Fall

When I became a homeowner I learned that fall really is the most important time for your lawn. It’s when you put in the most work (or should) and it’s finally not a million degrees, so you can linger in your yard to get some things done. Dig out the gloves, borrow a ladder, free up some storage space, and let’s get busy making your yard ready for autumn!

  • Start your landscaping/gardening. Fall is usually the best time to plant flowers, trees, and some veggies. Check the Farmer’s Almanac for your area. Seasons of planting vary by weather, last frost, and soil type.
  • Another thing to do late summer, early fall is aerate your land. You can usually pay someone to do this, or rent a machine yourself.
  • This is also a great time to start a compost bin. Want less waste, and richer soil? You may just like composting. Follow this easy home magazine to learn more and get some information to help you create your compost station!
  • Clean those gutters. You want them to drain right for the coming season.
  • Also, try putting your tools away. From buckets to water hoses, you’ll want to store anything that can freeze away for now.
  • Sweep off your deck/driveway. Rain and leaves will stain these areas and leave them in a mess. Keep the mess at bay by sweeping off leaves and debris. Same goes for your lawn. Keep them off the grass or mow over them.

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    Keep your deck space looking great!
  • Fix that slippery spot. Lay down some seed for muddy places, stepping stones for uneven areas, etc. It will get worse when it freezes in winter, so best to address it now.

Seasonal maintenance can add longevity to your home, and beauty and safety to your lawn. Take some time this weekend to take care a couple of these items. The long term is worth it!

Now Add Some Flair!

Creating an Outdoor Space for Your Mobile Home

As we shed the heat of summer and invite in some cooler days, it’s time to spend some quality time outside. In order to do that, you’ll need a perfect space for family and friends to gather around. Let’s take the fun outside and start the party!

There are a few maintenance items you can take care of to improve your outdoor space. Let’s look at those before we dive into the decorating bits.

  1. Stain a deck. This is a great way to protect and freshen up your outside area. This will seal and protect the wood while offering a sleek look. It’s also a relatively cheap process. We did ours a couple weeks ago and spent about $200 on all the supplies including paint on a deck of about 300 sq. ft. Our paint job should last 6 to 8 years. Check the weather for about 3 dry days and give yourself an entire day for the project.
  2. Pressure wash the space. Whether you clean your vinyl siding, concrete, etc. this will significantly help the look of your home. It will brighten your home.
  3. Replace or fix skirting. Seamless skirting makes for a beautiful home. Holes and damage to your skirting can make for a messy exterior. Improve the overall look of your home and protect your home by maintaining your skirting.

After tiding up a bit, you’re ready to add some flair.

  • Lighting plays a huge role in creating an outdoor space. Your space can be totally rustic and a splash of lights will make it dream-like. Find some outdoor string lights, float some candles in a pot/ bucket, or find a statement piece. This alone will create the perfect atmosphere.
  • Next, add some shine for the daytime with mirrors. Mirrors also make the space feel like a room with walls and perfectly bring the inside, out. You also can find some affordable mirrors that cost very little but make the space feel bigger and sophisticated.
  • Lastly, add some outdoor furniture. You’ve decorated your space and made it feel like home. Now, you just need to add a place to sit. Furniture adds an inviting element. You can get old, used pieces to have outside as well as make your own table. Think creatively, you could use wood stumps for seats or footstools and not have to spend anything.

We hope you’re able to invite fall in and love your outside space even more!

Add Some Curb Appeal!

Cleaning Gutters on Your Mobile Home In a Snap

I started to notice there were water marks and leaves stuck to the side of my house and couldn’t figure it out. It hadn’t stormed badly, it wasn’t fall, and there weren’t any trees against the house. The culprit? We hadn’t cleaned the gutters! So, let’s help you avoid this dismay and damage to your basil pots.

There are a few different strategies to cleaning out gutters, the most important part is to practice ladder safety by firmly planting the ladder and having a spotter hold the ladder in place from the bottom as you work. Be sure to read you ladder’s instruction manual as well.

  1. Set up your ladder. The most recommended ladder across home websites, is an extendable ladder. With a mobile home though, you probably won’t need that unless yours is built on a basement or you have a pitched roof.
  2. Next, find your gathering method. You can place a tarp below, hold a bucket (or strap it to your gutter), or use an alternative bag method. Choose the one that is the safest for your expertise, or based off if the materials your scoping are wet or dry.
  3. Select your tool. Now that you know where the mess is going, what will you use to get it there. You can go classic with gloves, choose a small shovel devise from a hardware store, or an alternative tool.
  4. Notice and fix repairs while you’re up there. Tighten brackets or add screws as needed. You may even want to add gutter guards.

Be sure that you practice safety and have help when cleaning your gutters. Wear clothes that can get dirty and gloves. Protective eye gear isn’t a bad idea if you expect the leaves/debris to be wet. This maintenance will save the side of your house and prevent damage to your gutters and keep filtering the water away from your home.

Read More In-depth!

Simple Precautions to Help Keep Your Mobile Home Safe

Security in and for your home can feel like an afterthought. However, practicing smart security can potentially protect your home from burglary. Another aspect of home security is that it can add significant cost to the homebuyer. We’d like to suggest some easy, more affordable options than a security system to help you be safe and save.

There are more ideas than these! Keep researching! These are just to get you started.

  • Install cameras. This is an easy on trend way to protect your home. While they don’t offer coverage like a security system, thieves can see them and know they’ll be on camera. There are also cameras that you can speak into, so when you see someone trying to take something in your yard or breaking in you can scare them off.
  • Leave the lights on. If the area around your home is well lit then people trying to break in will likely be seen, also interior lighting being on just makes it look like your home. Don’t leave lamps on, or lights that get very hot. Try the light over the sink on an overhead bedroom light.
  • Try installing deadbolts. If your mobile home doors don’t have a deadbolt, think about installing one. They are much harder to bust than a typical lock. It’s also a good practice to change the locks at your home if you’ve moved.
  • Hang blinds/solid curtains. Often times because mobile home window sizes can be unique, blinds are not hung. However, these are a good deterrent from burglary. Blinds and/or solid shades keep people from seeing in, which ultimately keeps them from knowing what’s inside and the layout of things in your home. It also can keep people from knowing if someone is home or not.
  • Be outside when you’re home. Maintain a presence outside when you are home. This lets neighbors know you are aware and if you are outside often they’ll know you’re probably home often.
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    Play outside so people know you’re there and aware of your home surroundings.
  • Place outdoor items in a locked shed/ garage. People will often try to take trailers or lawn mowers, and items like this because of easy access. Add locks to wherever you keep these items. Be sure to put items away after using them. You can also add motion lights above the entry to scare off people who might try to steal something.

We hope these ideas help you keep your home safe and protect your valuables. It’s always a good idea to get to know your neighbors and offer to keep an eye out when they go on trip and vice versa if you feel comfortable.

Continue to Care for Your Home

5 Ways to Fight Forgetfulness with Your Finances

Having a hard time keeping up with everything? Life is busy. You’re not alone, sometimes it’s quite difficult to keep up with all that’s happening. Yet, when it comes to finances – getting into this pattern can be detrimental to your life. Missing payments can hurt your credit.

So how can you help yourself? How can you remember and make bills the priority, even when your mind can’t? We’re here to help answer that.

  1. Create a bill calendar. Consumer Finance has a great blog post and resources on this topic. Bill calendars can be physical or digital or both. Seeing them mapped out will aid your budget and help you understand where your money is going. Get started with your own bill calendar here.
  2. Organize your due dates (if possible). If you can select your due date, choose a date you’ll remember, stagger, or have them all due at the same time so you know when things are due. This will aid your memory.
  3. Automate. This is hard for some folks. People fear it will draft when there isn’t money in their account. That’s valid. However, keeping an eye on your account and budgeting so you have some room around your bills is a great habit to start practicing. Get more info on automating here.
  4. Make yourself a monthly check in day. Take one day once a month to update your budget and check in on where you’re at. This will keep you accountable and help you act instead of react when it comes to your finances.

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    Planning out your payments is the best way to get ahead!
  5. Pay early when you can. Worried about life getting in the way? Try paying bills that you can early. Once you pay it can stay out of mind for a month. This can also be a great way to cultivate a habit.

Create good habits, help yourself out a little bit, and help support healthy finances. Being prudent with money is a continual work, don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself some grace by setting up some or all five of these ideas to help you get ahead of it.

Kick Start Your Savings!

4 Things to Do When There is Flooding Around Your Mobile Home

When rain happens in droves in can be a threat to any home. If there’s a flooding situation – a mobile home with skirting will need to be checked and serviced appropriately. Since mobile homes are often not on a permanent foundation – caring for them looks a little different than with a site built or home on a slab. The good news is – if you act fast during flooding in or around your home – you may have exponentially less to fix.

  1. Call your insurance agent and file a claim if you have flood insurance or coverage that may cover the type of damage that has occurred to your home. Filing a claim will help you understand what damage may or may not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance plan. You can then take action to have damage repaired that is not be covered by your insurance. Or this may be a good time to get flood insurance to protect against future flooding.
  2. Respond to damaged areas quickly. Don’t let water sit. According to a relevant release from FEMA, the best response is a quick one. You’ll want to talk with a licensed contractor before you decide whether the repairs are something you can handle on your own or if you will need to hire a contractor. A contractor will recommend removing wet/damaged flooring in the home if needed. If water is under the home, they advise removing the skirting so the water that’s trapped can evaporate and dry quicker. Removing wet flooring and removing skirting, if done correctly, can help to minimize further damage.
  3. Install a sump pump. Chances are you may already have one and the flooding was just too quick for it. If not, a sump pump can help to avoid water damage under your mobile home. They work to redistribute water from under your home to a new location. Learn about how a sump pump works.

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    Watch water nearby your home during a flooding event as water may rise to reach your home. 
  4. If you handle water damaged materials yourself, always wear protection as not all  rain water is clean. It could likely be contaminated from the sewer. If you plan to somehow displace water or handle minor repairs yourself wear gloves and take other necessary precautions. Please consult a professional before attempting any repairs yourself.

Flooding can impact your home in a variety of ways. Play it safe, smart, and respond in a timely manner to protect your home from further damage by eliminating water soaked materials and diverting standing water. Water can cause permanent damage and more than likely it will happen where you can’t see it. Protect your investment. We hope these tips help you.

  1. FEMA. 23 July 2019. 16 July 1999. 3 Jan 2018, updated. Flooded Mobile Homes: Damaged or Destroyed? -Timely Response Can Make All the Difference. https://www.fema.gov/news-release/1999/11/16/flooded-mobile-homes-damaged-or-destroyed-timely-response-can-make-all.

Common Unexpected Costs Of Mobile Homeownership

The cost of buying a home can be deceiving. You have to have a future mindset as much as possible when buying a home. If you’re stretching your budget just to afford a monthly home loan payment – you probably need to save more before buying. You need to consider more than just the monthly payment when buying a home. If you do not budget for home expenses in addition to the monthly payment, you could possibly end up falling behind on payments or not being able to afford the typical expenses associated with homeownership.

So, as is true with most things – planning, budgeting and education is the best way to prevent future issues! Let’s look at some of the hidden costs of homeownership.

Moving and transport. Buying a mobile home is a great choice. Too often people who are moving their home to a piece of land don’t fully consider the expense of moving and installing the home. This is an expensive process and if the home is not moved and installed properly it can lead to damages and additional expense. Be sure to evaluate all your options such as financing your home delivery and installation costs into your loan amount if permitted by the lender you choose, finding a skilled company to handle your move, and hiring a contractor who can prep your land for a home, water, and electrical.

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Be sure a professional preps your home and land. Here footers being filled with concrete.

Utilities. You may be familiar with paying monthly utilities as part of monthly rent. However, as a home owner, the utility accounts will now be in your name. That means you are responsible for paying the entire monthly bill. So before moving in it is always wise to ask the previous owner or a neighbor what they typically pay in the winter and summer for utilities. This will help you to budget for utilities as part of your monthly expenses.

Repairs. Every home requires maintenance and repairs over time even with a new home or a home that is in great shape. It’s good to save each month toward a home repair and maintenance fund knowing that repairs will eventually be needed. The cost of repairs from ordinary wear and tear will add to your expenses, but saving as you go should help keep you covered.

City/ County taxes. As a homeowner you are responsible for paying local property taxes. Property tax payments are something homebuyers often forget to consider because they are usually paid as part of a mortgage escrow payment – which most people never quite understand. Here’s our explanation of escrow to help you out.

Trash/recycling services. Whether you are living in the city or a suburb, you’ll probably have some sort of trash service which you will have to pay for as part of your local property taxes or as a separate bill. Even if you do not have a trash service because you live in a rural area far from a city,  you’d probably rather pay someone and hire a service to come get your trash instead of having to make frequent trips to the dump yourself.

Potential lot rent. If you live in a mobile home park and own your home but not the land it is on,  lot rent is an extra monthly payment that will need to be considered and budgeted for.

Read More About Unexpected Costs!

4 Ways to Help You Shop for a Lender

Shopping for a mortgage lender can be a bit intimidating but if you know what to look for and the right questions to ask, you can find a mortgage lender and a loan program that are a good fit for you. When we began our own search for our first home purchase we picked the first lender that was recommended to us. I wish I would have felt empowered to shop around. There are so many options and you should find the one that best fits you – not just make a choice you feel you have to make or are told to.

Let’s look at how you can search for a lender and get the information you need as well as get your questions answered.

  1. Start with people you trust. Ask friends, mentors, parents for help as to what lenders they may be familiar with and who they would recommend you choose. Press into their good experiences and find out the most important things on your must have list. It may be an interest rate you’re looking for, a particular loan type you may be eligible for, or a local lender.
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    Ask friends and family about their home-buying experience to find the best options out there.
  2. Get a basis for where you are at. Know your credit score, income, what you have in savings etc. This information will be helpful to know when you’re asking questions of potential lenders and you’ll definitely need it for pre-approvals or pre-qualifications. Using a mortgage calculator that takes your information into consideration can give you a good starting idea of what your monthly payment may be for loan programs that you may qualify for.
  3. Contact 3 lenders. This is the number suggested by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  You are welcome to contact more or less, but this is a good average. Inquire with some lenders and tell them your situation and ask what they could offer.  If you apply with them, lenders will pull your credit report to help them give you the most accurate read of what they may be able to offer. But if you’re not ready yet, you don’t have to apply to ask them your questions.
  4. Make a list of pros and cons and find your best lender. Draw out a comparison chart and see how things line up. Choose a lender that listened to your concerns, answered your questions and was willing to work with you to find the best loan program for you.

Take your time in choosing a lender. Be empowered and find what options there are for you. The loan you get matters and you should enter homeownership feeling like you made the right choice.

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