8 Super-Secret Hiding Places for Holiday Presents

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After you’ve fought the crowds for the best bargains, you’ll face another dilemma: Where to hide all those presents?

Whether you’ve got a nosy spouse or a curious kid, you need a good hiding place to squirrel away those gifts until you find time to get them wrapped and under the tree. Here are some ideas we came up with:

1. Borrow a friend’s house. Swap storage spaces with a trusted friend or neighbor, and you won’t spoil any surprises. This is particularly useful if you’re buying someone a big present, like a bicycle or a car — you might talk a neighbor into letting you borrow space in their garage until Christmas morning.

2. Pop the trunk. This won’t work if you have an SUV or hatchback, but if you’ve got a car with a trunk that’s closed off from the backseat, it’s a primo place to hide gifts. Small children will never get in there.

3. Make your office work for you. If your office is a safe, secure place, squirrel some presents there. This is only an option if you work out of your home, though — home officesare prime targets for prying eyes.

4. Take stock of kitchen pots. Got a huge stock pot? Unless you’re planning to make a giant vat of soup anytime soon, the stock pot can hold a load of small gifts, and chances are your family will never think to look there.

Christmas presents under the tree5. Make use of your underwear drawer. Small presents can easily fit there. Your spouse probably won’t hesitate to look there, but your kids might stop short of rifling through your skivvies. (We hope.)

6. Crack the crawl space. If you don’t mind a little dirt and some creepy-crawlies, the crawl space can hold some sizable presents. Don’t store anything there for too long, though — unless your crawl space is insulated. Moisture and temperature changes could damage items. Plastic toys are OK to keep outside; electronics should be stored inside.

7. Rent a storage space. If you’ve got a ton of presents to hide, you’ll need to look outside your house. Some storage units offer one-month-minimum specials for as low as $25. Check the storage units in your area for deals.

8. Go for the cleaning supply closet. Worst-case scenario: Your kids might find presents there, but they’d also find the cleaning supplies, which means they might actuallyclean something. Now that would be a Christmas miracle.

Where do you hide holiday presents?

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JUST SOLD – 3 Bedroom Ranch Short Sale in Dudley

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JUST SOLD by Best Option Real Estate with RE/MAX Professional Associates!  This lovely 3 bedroom ranch home located at 63 Klondike Road in Dudley Massachusetts SOLD on November 16th, 2012 for $100,000!  Congratulations to our buyer Scott!

Sale Price:  $100,000
Bedrooms:  3
Bathrooms:  1
Living Area:   960 SQFT

If you are thinking about buying or selling real estate, we’d love to work with you!  Let Best Option Real Estate show you what we do to get homes sold fast and to negotiate the best price on your next home purchase.

If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Dudley, click the link to get started or give us a call.  We are happy to help.

This was one of many sales made by Best Option Real Estate Team!

Call 508-444-2673!

5 Holiday Hosting Disasters and How to Avoid Them

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Take a look at the most common things that can go wrong when you have guests and learn how to prevent them.

That’s just one of many hosting nightmares that can end your holiday party before it even begins. Thankfully, some of the most damaging mishaps easily can be avoided. We collected five of the most prevalent issues and give you preventative tips to keep your holiday party on track.

Problem: The oven doesn’t heat

For any holiday occasion, the oven is the most important appliance in your house. If it fails to work, the centerpiece of your meal could go from roasted beef, ham, duck, or Tofurky to Peking Duck from the local Chinese takeout joint.

How to avoid:

  • There are any number of reasons a stove can break, but one common cause of disaster is easy to prevent. Don’t self-clean your oven until AFTER the holidays. You risk blowing a fuse or a thermostat, and tracking down an oven technician around the holidays can be tough.

ImageProblem: The kitchen sink clogs

The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest of the year for plumbers. The prime cause of this clog-a-thon is the mistreatment of drains when cooking holiday feasts. We hope your Thanksgiving went well, and that you avoid clog-a-thons for the rest of the holidays.

How to avoid:

  • Fats and cooking oils can solidify in your pipes, so never dispose of them in your kitchen sink.
  • If you have a garbage disposal, make sure it’s running before anything goes in it, and never feed it any stringy, fibrous, or starchy foods like poultry skins or potato peels.
  • To fix, don’t rely on chemical drain-clearing products that can harm your pipes. Use a snake instead, available for $15 at your local hardware store. Best to keep one on hand.

Problem: The heat goes out

As the party’s host, you’re supposed to hang guests’ coats—not apologize to them for having to keep them on. A lack of heat can stop a holiday party dead in its tracks.

How to avoid:

  • The key to avoiding freezing your party to a standstill is regular maintenance of your HVAC. Every 90 days, a new one-inch pleated furnace filter should be installed. If you haven’t done it in a while, now’s a good time to replace it.
  • Also inspect insulation on refrigerant lines that are leading into your house. Replace them if they’re missing or damaged.

Problem: The toilet stops up

Toilets have a way of clogging up at the worst times, such as during parties and when you have overnight guests. This is especially true if you have a low-flow toilet from the early 1990s.

How to avoid:

  • Don’t flush anything other than sewage and toilet paper down the toilet. And there’s nothing wrong with putting up a polite note to remind your guests to do the same.

Problem: The fridge doesn’t cool

Without a properly functioning refrigerator, your meat could get contaminated, your dairy-based treats could go sour, and you may not be able to save your yummy leftovers. To avoid discovering a warm fridge after it’s too late, take these simple precautions.

How to avoid:

  • Get a thermometer for your refrigerator to make sure each shelf stays below 40 degrees and you can be aware of any temperature changes.
  • Also make sure the condenser coils located on the back of the unit or beneath it are free to breathe. Coils blocked from circulating air by cereal boxes atop the fridge, or dirtied by dust or pet hair can prevent a fridge from keeping cool.

Can Remodeling Spook Sleeping Ghosts?

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Sometimes home owners don’t know their houses are haunted until a remodel disturbs the spirit world.

Over the years, I’ve had more than one friend tell me their house is haunted. Usually, the ghosts are harmless pranksters who move items on a dresser, or leave small toys in a house that hasn’t seen kids in years.

What prompts this supernatural silliness? It may be a recent home improvement project.

“When you remodel, you change the restful spirits’ environment, and it may not be comfortable with the outcome,” according to David’s Ghost Hunting Blog, which collects ghost stories. “Some may bother you just to let you know, ‘Hey! You may have changed the house, but I’m still here!”

We at HouseLogic want you to get the most out of your remodel project. Occasionally, that may mean more than you bargained for. Get your Halloween spirit stirred up and check out these spooky renovation tales:

Boo!

1. After a major kitchen remodel, a Virginia home owner believes a ghost repeatedly locks her son in the basement, even after she has removed all keys from sight.

2. Soon after a young couple bumped out the front of their house, an otherwise friendly ghost began making trouble. The ghost stole tools, pulled down drywall, and pushed workers.

3. Through the years, claims have surfaced that the White House is haunted. Mysterytopia has pictures of a 1950 remodeling that shows, if you look hard enough, an apparition supposedly standing in the middle of the renovation.

4. The moment a South Dakota woman walked into her 1910 home, she felt that the kitchen was backwards, even though she’d never been in the house before. When the real estate agent confirmed that during a previous kitchen remodel, the configuration had indeed been reversed, the new home owner wondered if she had been receiving messages from another world.

5. Soon after remodeling began on the historic Felt Mansion in Holland, Mich., shadowy figures appeared and doors opened and closed themselves. Click on this video and decide for yourself if the mansion is haunted.

Have you disturbed the ethers during a remodel at your house? Share your otherworldly story!

Charlton OPEN HOUSE Next Sunday 10/14 12-2PM – List of Charlton Open Houses Available NOW

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Come stop by & say hi at my Charlton Open House next Sunday, October 14th from 12-2PM!  Check out this 3 bedroom new construction home for sale in Charlton for under $200K.

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If you are looking for a list of other Charlton area open houses you can always email me and I will send them to you.

OPEN HOUSE!
DATE:  10/14/12
TIME: 12-2PM
ADDRESS:  267 Carpenter Hill Road Charlton

The Real Costs of Halloween Home Disasters: Serial Killers, Phantasms, and Floods of Blood

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HouseLogic estimates the home repair costs in Poltergeist, Scream, The Shining, and other horror classics.

 

The Shining

When little Danny Torrance saw a river of blood surging down the hallway, there’s one thing that was probably not on his mind: What’s it going to cost to clean up this mess? He was a little more concerned with evading his possessed, axe-wielding father. But the answer depends entirely on whether the Overlook Hotel was covered for flood insurance. Let’s just hope they opted for maximum blood coverage.

Disaster: Flooding

  • The average flood claim for a residence is about $33,000.
  • The average annual cost of flood insurance for a residence is $540.

Poltergeist

When considering a new home, save some money, have it inspected—and make sure it’s not on an unmarked burial ground. You’ll disrespect the dead, and as we learned inPoltergeist, phantasms can get pretty miffed. They’ll suck children into other dimensions and even push coffins through the back yard, ripping up the landscaping and inflicting serious damage.

If ghosts do turn your yard into Swiss cheese–and your house doesn’t get sucked into a void like the Freelings’–you’ll need to redo your landscaping. Consider hiring a certified landscape architect to design a plan that includes irrigation, lighting, soil conditioning, and repotting (or removing) those pesky coffins. You might also want to consider planting a few new trees which, when properly placed for shade, will save you up to $250 a year in energy costs.

Disaster: Destroyed landscaping

  • A landscape consultation costs about $100 to $150.
  • A detailed plan can run from $300 to $2,500.
  • New sod installation is 30 to 50 cents per square foot.
  • Total sod cost for the average suburban yard: $2,000.
  • Three 15-foot trees cost a total of $300 to $600.

Scream

Going up? When Ghostface caught this beered-up victim in the too-small cat portal of a garage door, he scored a memorable kill, but shorted out the garage door opener in the process. While this party girl never made it to a sequel, the home owners lucked out with an easy repair. So easy, they might even consider a whole new garage door. But, of course, spring for a bigger cat door. 

Disaster: Broken garage door

  • A replacement garage door opener costs about $300.
  • Installed garage doors range from $550 to $1,650 for a single door, and $800 to $2,500 for a double door.

The Amityville Horror

Bolts of lightning might have blown out the windows of this infamous Amityville residence, but whole-house surge protectors would have kept the lights on and things running smoothly—at least until Father Delaney and the Devil battle it out over who has to pay for window replacements. Spoiler alert: bet on the Devil.

Disaster: Broken windows

  • Replacement windows cost $250 to $800 each.

Interview with the Vampire

Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt had a great time slurping the life out of the residents of New Orleans, but you wouldn’t want the same drain on your homestead. That’s why you need to be vigilant about the waste caused by vampire energy, also known as standby power consumption—unneeded electricity usage that sucks up to $100 out of your wallet annually. 

Most common culprits are computers, monitors, printers, and stereo subwoofers. Try plugging devices into a power strip and get in the habit of turning them all off at once. Or try a “smart” power strip that senses when you’ve shut off your computer and cuts the juice. It works much better than garlic.

Disaster: Energy drain

  • Power strips are $10 each
  • “Smart” power strips cost $30

Thriller video

When Michael Jackson and his zombie buddies broke into an old house to terrify his girlfriend, costly damage ensues—destruction that could have been avoided if only the undead had turned the doorknob.

Unfortunately, zombies aren’t too dexterous, and the hapless home owners got stuck with the cost of a new steel exterior replacement door. If only they had installed a home security system, those zombies would be singing an entirely different tune.

Disaster: Zombie attack

  • A replacement door costs about $1,200.
  • A home security system installation costs $500, with a monthly fee of $35 to $75.

Should the White House Install a Chicken Coop?

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Urban farming fans have asked the White House to raise chickens. What do you think?

The White House is respectfully declining to jump on the urban livestock bandwagon and will not add a chicken coop to its 1,100 sq. ft. vegetable spread on the mansion’s south lawn.

White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, who recently led a garden tour for food journalists, says he’d love to have fresh eggs. But he fears that would thrust the White House into an animal rights debate about keeping chickens cooped up. Although it is interesting to note that livestock have been on the south lawn before: President Woodrow Wilson used sheep to reduce landscaping costs during World War I.

But those were different times. Today neighbors often debate about the rising urban farming movement.

And it looks like the White House wants to avoid that debate. The Obamas will be sticking to non-controversial okra, tomatillos, and other vegetables, herbs, and fruit.

Should the White House include chickens in its urban farming efforts?

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