Beat the Winter Blues and Get Ahead with These 5 Ideas

Winter is hard for a lot of people. While I personally love it, I know myself to be in the minority. Winter is a time of sickness, being stuck in the house, and early nights for many people. Many experience seasonal depression, weight gain, or overall feelings of boredom and sadness. To remedy this, or perhaps in spite of this – let’s focus our efforts on warmer days, literally and metaphorically.

While you’re getting snowed in and relaxing, start doing these things and see how much easier the rest of your year runs.

  1. Plan and decide what you’re doing with your potential tax return. If you’ve got debt, say a medical bill, loans, etc. Why not put it towards those, or paying off one with the most interest? Sounds like getting ahead to me! At a different place financially? What about splitting it up between your kids for future education expenses? You get the idea.
  2. Donate and organize. It’s too cold outside to do much so work up a sweat inside! After Christmas it’s good to replace old with new and also get rid of things you don’t use or you’re not going to use. Organizing is a great way to take inventory of what you have. You might realize you can donate half your clutter and have more space and better efficiency.
  3. Try a new hobby. Hobbies can be hard to start because we’re always looking for the time to learn about them initially. Now is the perfect time to research, go to workshops, and get comfortable with a new hobby before the business starts back up.
  4. Plan a summer vacation that will cost way less. If you book things far in advance they are usually cheaper. Plus, if you plan what you’re doing, rental cars, and the like early you can look around for deals and do the best research for the cheapest rate. All of this will also help you get excited for sunshine! P. S. if you love winter you could also plan a vacation now and save because it’s off season!
  5. Start a fitness plan from home! There are so many video tutorials online you hardly have to go to a gym or have equipment anymore. As long as you have a little space that’s all you need. Burn some calories, get fit, and enjoy the extra energy. Then you can enter the warmer days already fired up!

We hope these ideas help you bust the blues and give you less to do during the busy times! Remember, down time is the best time to get ahead. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed each summer, try these things today. That way you’ll be ready, and you won’t be bored in the winter!

Get Ahead With Your Finances!

7 Ways to Keep Your Mobile Home Interior Efficient and Fresh

There’s plenty out there on how to keep the outside of your mobile home maintained. From roof coating, to checking to see if the home is level – you’re encouraged to protect the outside of your home. So why not do the same with the interior? Let’s look at things you can do to keep the inside of your home in great shape, too.

  1. Bust the dust. Dust can happen on your vinyl over gypsum covered walls like clockwork. Keep those walls fresh with a wipe down every month. Check your ceiling fan blades, air filter returns (if accessible), and corners for dust and cobwebs as well. Stuck on dust is annoying to clean. Catch it before it gets worse!
  2. Protect those floors! Vinyl flooring can be impacted most by water and indentions. Keep them safe by always mopping/wiping up after spills. Also, check appliances for leaks and deal with them immediately. To avoid scuffs, put soft felt rounds on the legs of furniture. Rugs can also help preserve your floors.
  3. Keep your lighting eco-friendly. Lose those old bulbs and swap them out for some more cost-efficient ones. You’ll pay more on the front end but it’s worth it and they won’t get as hot as those others!
  4. Change the position of your furniture.  Don’t leave that couch in the same place for five years, welcome a little change and relieve those floors as well as clean a place that you haven’t cleaned in a while. This is a great way to keep carpet from getting permanent indentions.
  5. Protect those pipes. Especially in the winter! Open cabinet doors so warm air can reach pipes at night, leave water dripping slightly, and keep thermostat level. No burst pipes make for a happy home!
  6. The Classic. Change your air filters monthly! This gives you clean air and helps your system stay clean.
  7. Clean vent hood over oven. Wipe it down every now and then or take it down and soak it for an easy clean. You might even try your dishwasher.

There are more items on the interior of your home to address, these are just the basics. Maintaining your home could build your equity if other factors play in and your home is attached to land. Improve your investment by keeping your home tidy! Learn more about how the condition of a home can impact you in the long run!

Tell Me About Equity!

Reducing Moisture in Your Mobile Home

Moisture can be an issue in any home. It’s important to be preventative. It’s so much easier to avoid these issues instead of having to deal with the consequences of them. Most of these items can be done in seconds and don’t add hassle to your daily life at all, it’s just getting in the discipline to do them. Those living in the southeast are the most at risk for moisture in their homes. If your home is unleveled or your skirting is damaged, you’ll also need to check on these items frequently.

Let’s look at some ways to reduce moisture!

Dehumidifiers. They can be pricey, but they also can seriously reduce moisture in the air. I have one in my basement and all that has to be done to maintain it is emptying the water pan. You also can attach a hose and run it continuously, just be aware of your electricity bill.

Repair any tears in the belly wrap. The vapor barrier, located on the underbelly your mobile home essentially separates the ground from your home. If there are tears in your belly wrap, moisture can seep into the space underneath you home and cause mold or softness.

Keep floor registers open. Keeping them closed traps air and leads to less circulation – neither of which are good for clear air.

Use the fan in your bathroom when you shower. If you’re like me you try to trap the warm air in, so often I don’t use the fan. However, I pay for it when my fire alarm goes off from lack of ventilation in my older home. Moral of the story, turn the fan on. It keeps the air moving and strips the air of moisture.

Turn the fan on when using the stovetop. Not using the fan can cause serious smoke in the kitchen without proper air flow.

Ventilate your skirting so moisture doesn’t accumulate under your mobile home. There are usually built-in vents that should be open to keep critters out as well as moisture.

We hope you practice these things in your home and improve the lifetime of your home. There is a lot of great info below. Take some time and look the document for helpful tips and how to understand your home better!

Find More Solutions!

Oakbur Quill Co.

How to Display Décor on Your Mobile Home Walls

We assume slapping a few photos and heavy items on the wall will be easy, however you need the right kind of hooks and screws. When I became a homeowner myself, I just started in with a hammer. I didn’t understand drill bit sizes or the different kind of reinforcement a heavy item needs. I soon figured out if I want things to stay up I’d have to be a little more knowledgeable.

Determine the weight and what you need. If you’re hanging something lightweight or flat, you can probably use adhesive strips and your items will stay in place. If the item has some weight to it, you’ll want to consider something like a thin wall anchor.

Installing thin wall anchors. Be sure you have the appropriate size drill bit for your anchor (toggle bolts also work well for mobile home walls).

  • Once your drill bit is fitted (5/16” recommended) you can mark and drill the hole. Mobile home walls are thin so be gentle, take your time, and always use appropriate anchors.
  • Thin wall anchors open up once inside the wall, so be sure you poke the plastic middle of the anchor (if it’s open) vertically, so it’s open horizontally.
  • Then you can push the anchor into the hole you’ve drilled open. Next, you’ll push a “key”, a thin or dummy nail in so the anchor opens up (after being inserted into the wall).
  • Lastly, you can use a handheld screw driver to hang your item from, or screw in your external hook to hang the item from.

Hang items from a hook or string. This can help balance whatever your hanging and redistribute the weight of it. It also can help you center or hang something that otherwise demands a flat, difficult area to hang it from.

Skip it and try leaning it. If an item is too big or just annoying to hang, try propping it up against the wall or setting in on a table or shelf and leaning it against the wall. This gives you a fun, modern look without all the hassle and measuring.

Want help with hanging a shelf, too?

Learn More!

Can You Build Equity With a Manufactured Home?

That’s a loaded question. Let’s start with 3 items and loosely define them for clarity.

Manufactured Home – Manufactured homes are homes built after 1976 in compliance with the HUD Code. Built in an indoor climate-controlled home building facility, then transported in one or multiple sections. It is built on a permanent chassis that allows the home to be placed and supported on a foundation system.

Mobile Home – Often used interchangeably with manufactured homes, these two types of homes are actually a little different. Mobile home refers to a prefabricated home built prior to 1976 before the HUD Code was put into place.

Equity – The amount that the value of your home (what you could sell it for) exceeds the amount you owe on your home. Equity comes from by either paying down the amount you owe or the value of your home increasing or a combination of both. (Ex: If home value is $80,000, and you owe $30,000, your home has $50,000 of equity.)

People often assume that manufactured homes don’t appreciate. However, this isn’t always true. While homes that are titled as personal property usually do not appreciate, those that are attached to land may, depending on the circumstances. It’s also important to note that the value of your home is not the only factor that determines whether you build equity. Let’s dig in.

So, is there equity with a manufactured home?

There can be if it’s attached to land that has kept or increased its value and the home is maintained well. Remember equity is not guarantee. Keeping up with the interior and curb appeal of your home can aid in this, but if property values fluctuate, so will home equity.

What are some of the specific situations in which a mobile home may gain equity?

  • If it’s attached to land and titled as real property, and the land value increases
  • If it’s attached to land and titled as real property and the land value stays the same, but you pay down the mortgage principal balance

What’s the value of equity?

Most homeowners don’t actually benefit from equity until they sell their home. Equity can be used to buy your new home, maybe to help with a hefty down payment. In certain situations, it can be borrowed against to fund different things in life that pop up.

Where can I learn more?

We love that question, every time.

Learn More Here!

7 Easy Ways to Protect Your Mobile Home During the Holidays

It’s a true, but unfortunate thing – the brightness of the holidays can also mean elevated theft in many areas across the country. With people leaving their homes to see loved ones and new items entering the home it opens up opportunity for theft.  The good news is you can do a few things without spending any more money to make your home less of a target. Nothing is guaranteed, but why not do your best to protect the place you call home? Below are some smart ways to keep your home looking lived in and help keep burglars away.

  1. If you’re an online shopper you want to be sure your packages are delivered to you and not to someone walking by. Have mail delivery place packages on a closed in porch, at a back door, or somewhere more concealed than your front stoop if possible. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a stuffed snowman in the box, thieves will just grab the package and find out what’s in it later.
  2. Keep trash and recycling concealed. If you just got a flat screen, don’t put the box by the road. Empty boxes let people know what you’ve got or that you’re moving in. Break down boxes and throw them in the recycling or trash bin.
  3. Leave some lights on or the tv when you’re gone during the day or evening. With apps or timers, this can be automatic. Leaving an interior overhead light on and outdoor lights on is a good way to ward off burglars. Having your tv on is also a good theft deterrent because potential burglars will assume you’re home and that may thwart them from breaking in.
  4. Keep windows locked. This seems easy, but you’d be amazed how many windows you “thought you had locked” but didn’t. Burglars don’t want to leave a mess or a trace – they’ll always look for the simplest way in. If it’s hard to enter your home, it may scare off thieves.
  5. Maintain your yard/exterior. Nothing tells an outsider you’re out of town or inattentive like a yard left in a mess. Keep up with seasonal maintenance and don’t leave broken items to rot. Give your home some love and attention.
  6. Don’t share your travel plans on social, or wait till you get back home to share. Sharing that you’re on vacation on social media is an easy way for someone to plan to steal from your home. They don’t have to be your friend or follow you either – the internet is an open place. Think before you post.
  7. Befriend your neighbors. A good neighbor will watch out for your home and you can return the favor.  Neighbors can be great people to help get your mail or turn lights on and off at your home while you’re gone. It may be smart to start a neighborhood watch or participate in it.

Don’t just protect your home, protect your finances, too! We’ll help you get started!

 

Protect Your Finances!

 

Easily Replace Screens on Your Mobile Home Windows

There’s really no need to have to buy new screened in windows or live without a breeze during the warmer months. Fixing the screen on a window frame is quite easy and inexpensive. You can take an afternoon and fix all the windows on your mobile home! Let’s look at how easy the process is!

You’ll first want to decide what material you want your screen to made of. There are tons of different types of screen roll you can purchase, the most common material for mobile home windows is fiberglass. Be sure to measure the frame to get the roll that will fit the area, over compensate if it’s close, as you can always cut excess.

To begin you’ll want to remove the frames that need repairing and clean off a flat surface to work on. This will help you add the right amount of tension and have the space you need for the project.

The most common mobile home window sizes are 30” by 60”, 36” by 60”, and 36” by 54”. Sizing will depend on the year of your mobile home and the manufacturer. You’ll want to measure to be sure. Using a flexible tape measure may be easiest.

First, you need to remove the spline (the black rubber tubing) this holds the screen in place. You may need to use a tool to remove the spline, a flat-edged screw driver will do the trick. Just be careful as you may have to dig a little to get the spline out. Don’t use a knife or anything sharp. As you do this, you’ll also be removing the damaged screen.

Next, you can roll out your screen over the frame and cut it to fit the frame. You want to overlap the frame by about a half inch. If you cut it too short there’s no good way to fix it. But you’ll need extra so you can fit it into the grove and add the new spline.

It can be helpful to place something on the screen to add tension. This may also make it easier to place the spline correctly. You don’t want your screen to be loose.

With the help of a thin roller or a rolling tool without a sharp edge you can easily roll the spline into the cracks, sealing the new screen to the window. You can trim the edge after it is locked into the window frame. Using something like a utility knife is probably the best bet. Again, exercise caution!

There are plenty of other tips and ways to do this well! You can also easily preform the same for a screen door. If you’re looking to make your own screened door, you can purchase or make the frame and cover the holes with your screen roll.

Keep the holidays bright by keeping up with your home! Give your mobile home the gift of an upgrade!

Get Upgrade Ideas!

References

  1. Clayton Home Blog. 27 November 2018. Whether Manufactured Home Exterior Door and Window Sizes are Different. https://blog.claytonhomes.com/are-manufactured-home-exterior-doors-and-windows-different-sizes.
  2. Family Handyman. 27 November 2018. Screen Repair: How to Fix a Window Screen. https://www.familyhandyman.com/windows/window-repair/how-to-fix-a-window-screen/view-all/.

Protecting the Outside of Your Mobile Home from Cold Temperatures

Snow and cold weather can really take it out on your home. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the outside of your home needs attention, too! If you live farther out this is important because the city may not sweep or clear out your area. Once snow hardens it’s quite tough to remove, so removing snow as soon as it falls is your best bet. Doing some preliminary things to help the exterior of your home will make for a cheery winter!

shutterstock_759598168
Freezing can be detrimental to the exterior of your  home if left untreated.

Try these things before and after snow as needed –

  • To start clean out your gutters! Leaves and other debris can make an area for pooling water. They also can freeze and crack your gutters.
  • Place doormats outside of doors or at the beginning of stairways. Use mats with industrial tops, such as rubber or thick straw.
  • Turn off outside water sources. There are also covers made for them which can be helpful, too.
  • Be sure to pour out water in bird baths or any pooling water. Water can freeze and break feeders or areas near where people are walking can freeze.
  • If you’re worried about slipping on stairs or leaving your home, you may want use rock salt or sand on your walkway, especially for the elderly. This can save you from having to shovel your driveway as well.
  • In the winter it can get dark as early as 4 p.m., so add outdoor lighting to help light the way and prevent falls. This can also help with seeing slippery spots as you approach your home.
  • Once a snow falls, clear off your dyer vent as it can cause a fire if blocked while dryer is running.
  • Check your siding for cracks as well as windows. Seal these up to help keep your home warm and energy efficient.
  • If snow falls and covers your driveway or walkway, try shoveling the snow, only shovel fresh snow, and pay attention to how you feel. Do not shovel if you feel short of breath or dizzy, it’s also not wise for the elderly or sick to do this as it is a demanding cardio workout.
  • Lastly, but not when it comes to importance, consult a professional about clearing the roof. You may only need to do this if the roof is damaged or if the snow falls for many days without melting.

Keep Your Home Warm!

Reference: https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-protect-your-home-from-freezing-temperatures-1388721 

Homemade Christmas Gifts

Some of the most sentimental and meaningful items I have are gifts that friends have made for me over the years. Sure, fancy gifts are fun sometimes, but homemade gifts endure through time. It’s also nice to be able to pick one idea and make it in bulk for a lot of people. It also is a good way for you to stay in budget! Make something your family can join in on and enjoy less stress, and less useless spending this holiday. Below are ideas you’ll be sure to enjoy giving!

Make a holiday blend! Place a small blend of each of the below in small glass jars, baggies, or decorative wrap. Then you can boil it with some water on your stove top for a great smell all day! Water will evaporate so keep adding water. There are also other options, such as wax warmers, that can fill your house with holiday smells too!

Christmas_Decorating_Blog_2016_076.jpg

  • orange slice
  • cinnamon sticks
  • cloves
  • bay leaves
  • cranberries
  • lemon slice

Make a round of candles! Who doesn’t love getting a candle? Especially, one you make. We recommend using soy wax that can be melted down. Soy takes the longest to burn of most common candle ingredients. All you need are few ingredients!

  • soy wax
  • container for candle
  • wicks
  • something to melt the wax in (microwave)
  • candle scent/natural oil

Make a keychain! Everyone needs their keys, why not add some personality to them! You know your friends. Make a keychain in the theme they’d like. Getting creative is easy! Choose your style are get started with these great ideas!

Make magnets! All you need is some magnet tape or rounds, your favorite cut out items, and clear overlay stickers. You can also use bottle lids, stickers, or anything you think of really!

Make a set of coasters. Grab some thick cork and cut into whatever shape you want and seal it with mod podge for an easy seal. If your good at sewing you can make your own pattern, or you might even use felt and cut out fun patterns and layer it to reinforce it.

Wrap That Gift in Style!