Posts in Kijiji for the Home

How to Turn a Basement into a Homey Hideaway

Whether you are looking for basement ideas for finishing your own family room, setting up an income basement apartment suite you can rent out, or setting up your own basement apartment, the challenges are the same. The basement space is one of the most challenging parts of a home to make feel inviting. They typically suffer from a lack of natural light, low ceilings, and less air flow than most would like. Luckily, there are ways to make this space not only livable, but desirable and inviting. Whether you are fully remodeling, looking for ideas to make a small basement space into a getaway, or trying to transform a basement apartment into a space that will attract a high quality tenant, you have lots of options to take any basement space from drab to fab.

Fake it til you make it. Is your basement room windowless? Whether it’s lacking entirely in windows (or just lacking a good one), don’t despair – you can fake it. This tutorial shows a creative way to make a basement room feel bright through faking a window.

Fake Window With LED Grow Lights

Finished Product from This Tutorial on IMGUR

Create height. Are your ceilings low? Floor length curtains (typically curtains that are 96” or 108” will be floor length, but measure your ceilings to be sure) will lengthen the look of your room. Be sure to select a sheer or semi-sheer curtain if putting it in front of a natural light source. Stay away from heavy fabrics that will shut out light entirely. If your window is in a high traffic area, and you need to obscure it for privacy reasons, consider an unconventional window treatment for privacy rather than curtains or blinds that will block out the light more than is necessary. This tutorial shows how you can create privacy without losing much in the way of light (that is easy to remove if you are renting).

Add some green. Dark rooms, especially in a basement, can feel lifeless. Nothing livens up a room quite like plants. They clear the air, and make a space come alive. It can be hard to have plants in a basement, but luckily, there are several options that thrive in the dark. If none of these options are to your liking, or if you don’t have enough natural light to grow plants, consider adding a grow light to add more options. Some ideas for your basement abode (or any dark space):


Peace lily thrives in low light, and makes a dramatic statement. If you have pets or children who might nibble plants, this one is toxic.
Snake Plant

Snake Plant via The Sill


The snake plant does great in the relative dark, though is also somewhat toxic (but not particularly appealing to chew on, as it has a very woody texture).
Spider Plant

Spider Plant via homedit.com


The spider plant can tolerate low light, and when happy, will produce many “babies”. Spider plants are a great choice to hang near a window.
ZZ Plant

ZZ Plant via Gear Patrol


ZZ plant thrives in the dark, and makes a stylish but low maintenance house plant. All parts of this plant are toxic, and hands should be washed after handling it.

Keep it light. Choose a light paint colour, but don’t create an entirely white space – be sure to add some contrast and visual interest so the space doesn’t seem institutional or boring.

Play with lighting. Create defined spaces with multiple light sources from different angles. Having some floor lamps, table lamps, or candles (real or otherwise) makes a space feel much cozier than if your overhead lighting is all you use.

Contemporary basement bar lighting

This contemporary basement bar uses lighting to define a space. See more at Decoist.


Create a focus. It could be a dramatic piece of art, a mantle, contrasting colours, or some interesting wall paper. If the room has a clear feature to work with (like an exposed brick wall or other visually interesting details), go with it; if not, figure out where the focus in the room should be, and draw the eye in. This could be as simple as some interesting throw pillows, or as elaborate as the fake window above.

Stay away from carpets and rugs. If you are installing a new floor, choose something that will reflect the light. Hardwood is an ideal choice, but this is not always possible in basements. Consider painting a concrete floor with a semi-glass paint, or buffing the floor if you can. Carpets, though warm and inviting, will make a basement space seem smaller (and if your basement is at all damp or prone to flooding, they can get very musky).

Reflect & refract. Add mirrors to make the most of any natural light you might have. Hang mirrors opposite any windows or doors that let light in, or use mirrored tiles to create a cool modern look. If you have a deep window well, you could also experiment with mirrors or mirrored art objects that will catch the light and refract it in in unexpected ways.

Banish clutter. Find storage solutions like armoires and storage chests to keep any knick knacks out of sight – or even better yet, sell them on Kijiji!

Let the sun in. Clear out plants and objects outside in front of windows. It seems like a no-brainer…but if your windows are being blocked by hedges, flower beds, or a fence, clear it out if you can. It will make a big difference to the total amount of light you receive.

Spring Cleaning: How to make money and clean up!

What should you sell when spring cleaning?

What should you sell when spring cleaning?

Spring cleaning can be a daunting task to get through. Being able to sell your old stuff is a great motivator for getting through more stuff (and selling as much of it as possible). Here is our top list of things to look out for when you are doing your yearly purge.

Items with the tags still on (or still in their original box)
Items with the tags still on: sell them!
If the tag is still on, you clearly haven’t used it, and you could use that space for something better. Couple that with the fact that marking an item “New in box” (or NIB if you are down with the lingo), or “new with tags” (NWT) is more likely to result in your ads getting some attention or replies, and this one is a no-brainer. If you haven’t used it, sell it, and spend that cash on something you will use.

Gifts that you never liked in the first place
Gifts you never liked: sell them!
If you don’t like it, why is it still in your house? Sell it and make space for something you do like. We won’t tell Aunt Mable that the duck-themed tablecloth she was so proud of has found a more loving home if you don’t. Clutter that you just don’t care for should not take up space in your home (or your life). If you never liked it, you probably didn’t use it too heavily either, which will be a selling point to someone who does like it.

Things that clash with the rest of your décor
Things that clash: sell them!
Mix-matched or eclectic décor is one thing, but sometimes, there is something that just doesn’t belong. Maybe you love it, maybe you hate it, but maybe, you are just plain used to it. It could be anything from a too-large sideboard throwing off the scale of your room, to an antique Duncan Phyfe table that just doesn’t go with your modern couch and console table, to a space-age sputnik lamp throwing off the balance of your otherwise Victorian home. Do yourself (and someone else) a favor, and find the item a home where it belongs.

Stuff you haven’t touched in months.
With the exception of seasonal items, if you haven’t touched it in the past 4 months, you probably don’t need to hold on to it. It is collecting dust and taking up space, so do you really want to hold onto it?

Clothes that don’t fit
Clothes that don't fit: sell them!
With a few exceptions (kids who will grow into things, pregnant women who are fluctuating sizes), there really isn’t a reason to keep clothing that doesn’t fit or flatter you. If you try it on, and it looks bad, or doesn’t fit right, it probably isn’t doing your self-esteem any favors. Post an ad on Kijiji and find a new home for the clothes you loved years ago, and let someone else love them in the present tense.

Items you are being overly sentimental about
Everyone has different levels of sentimentality, and it can be hard to let go of memories. Ask yourself: why am I so attached to this item? What memories are associated with it? Are there other items with a similar association I am more attached to? Try to determine which item you are most attached to, and find new homes for the extras. Focus your sentimentality on the favorite item, rather than diluting it among all the clutter. Identifying which mementos really hold special memories or make you happy will help you let go of the rest.

Things you have multiples of
Stuff you have multiples of: sell them!
Though there might be a few cases where there is a good reason to have more than 1 of a very similar item, this is generally a good category to find superfluous things. How many classical guitars does one person need? Is there a valid reason you have 4 slow cookers? When was the last time that more than 1 was used at a time? Just keep your favorites and cash in on the rest.

Admit it, when you read this list, certain items came to mind, didn’t they? Identifying which items need to be sold is half the battle. Start posting your ads today, and your home will be spic and span before you know it!

How to Deal With Snow: Don’t let winter win

If this is going to be your first winter in one of Canada’s snowy regions, you may not be very skilled at dealing with snow. Don’t let winter catch you off guard, though. Instead, learn how to deal with the snow and ice before it arrives. Prepare early by investing in snow removal tools, warm winter clothing, winter accessories for your vehicle, and a home emergency kit in case of a storm or power outage. Even if winter seems mild so far this year, don’t be left out in the cold, both literally and figuratively, when harsh weather does hit.

Use the Right Tools

There are a range of options available for dealing with snow removal on your property. From shovels to mechanical snow blowers, each tool serves its own purpose, though ultimately they all exist to help clear snow from sidewalks and driveways. If you have a large area to clear and regularly have heavy snow, it may be best to invest in a mechanical snow blower, which can handle large snow-clearing jobs with minimal effort on your part. There are two main types of snow blowers: one-stage and two-stage models. One-stage models are fine for those who have smaller spaces to clear, while two-stage models have the additional capacity to break up compacted clumps of snow and ice and are ideal for large areas.

For handheld, non-mechanical tools, the snow shovel is the classic all-purpose tool, but it isn’t right for every job. If you have a small amount of loose, powdery snow, use a snow pusher to clear it away rather than a shovel, which is best for scooping and lifting. Pushers won’t work on larger snow piles; that’s what shovels are for. If the small piles of snow are not removed, they could become compacted and build up a layer of ice, which may then require you to invest in a scraper to get rid of it.

Other snow tools, such as roof rakes, may also be necessary. These rakes help clear heavy piles of snow off of your roof, which may save your home from structural damage if you’re dealing with a large amount of snow. It’s also a good idea to have some type of gritty material such as sand or salt to create traction on icy parts of your driveway or walking paths.

Make an Epic Snowman this Winter!

If you aren’t already properly equipped with a winter wardrobe, take the time before temperatures dip below freezing to buy yourself a sturdy pair of boots, a warm parka, gloves, a hat, thermal underwear, and any other warm clothing you might need. Wearing several thin layers of clothing is more effective in keeping you warm than one bulky layer. Layering also allows you to remove a layer or two if you get too warm, which prevents excess sweating and actually keeps you warmer. If you are new to an area, don’t hesitate to ask your friends, coworkers, neighbours, or classmates about what to expect during wintertime and what clothing and accessories are best suited for the local climate.

Also, make sure you and your vehicle are ready for winter driving. If you’re new to a snowy climate, it may be a good idea to take some winter driving classes to learn how to safely drive over snow and ice. Make sure the heater, defroster, and wipers are working correctly and top off fluids such as antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid. Check tire tread depth, and if necessary, get a set of winter tires fitted when temperatures start falling. Lastly, assemble an emergency kit to leave in the car that includes ice scraper, jumper cables, flashlight, and blankets.

Have an Emergency Plan

Though most of Canada is well equipped to deal with heavy snow, occasionally there are major storms that knock out power and other utility services for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. When this happens, getting out of your house may be challenging. Stock up on non-perishable, easy-to-prepare foods and have a supply of clean drinking water as well. A camping stove or grill is good to have so you can warm up meals if necessary. Keep plenty of warm blankets in the house and invest in emergency supplies such as a first aid kit, weather radio, flashlight, batteries, and candles.

Take Up a Winter Hobby

When you live in a snowy climate, it helps to have an attitude of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. Give yourself a reason to look forward to the snowy season by getting into a winter sport. If you don’t live near an area with downhill skiing, get into snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. And of course, living in Canada, it’s hard to ignore the allure of hockey. Getting active and learning how to make the most of all that frozen white stuff will make your life a lot more enjoyable. You can’t get rid of all of it, so make peace with it instead.

Take Up a Winter Hobby, like Skiing

How to Host Holiday Houseguests: Maximize comfort for you and your guests

Holidays usually mean gatherings of people from far and wide. This holiday season, you may have friends or family members from out of town coming to visit. While hosting can be a big job, there are ways to make the experience smooth and enjoyable for both you and your visitors.

Plan Ahead

Even if you are only hosting holiday guests for a night or two, you should have certain items on hand to make sure you provide a comfortable and inviting space. It is important to think about the comfort of your guests before they arrive. Have clean bath towels, fresh bedding, a comfortable place to sleep, at least one pillow for each guest and both a light and a heavy blanket. Be willing to let them open a window or adjust the room temperature to suit their preferences.

Devote some time to ensure that you can provide a comfortable place for guests to sleep, especially if an extra bed or bedroom is not available. Think about who the guest is. Your grandmother may not appreciate having to sleep on the floor, and your super-tall cousin may not feel great sleeping on the two-seater couch, so you may want to invest in an inflatable mattress or something similar to help them feel more comfortable. Make sure to do this well before guests arrive. You don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute to buy or set up these items.

Clean Your Place

This can be a dreaded step before guests arrive, but it is an important one. Make your house as clean and well organized as possible. Vacuum or sweep the floors, wipe all countertops in the kitchen and bathroom, clean the toilet and shower, do the dishes, and clear old food out of the refrigerator. Make sure that all towels, sheets, and blankets for your guests are clean. If they have been in the linen closet for a long time, it may be a good idea freshen them up by throwing them in the dryer for a few minutes with some dryer sheets. A clean home will make your guests feel more comfortable.

Get Some Snacks

It is important to have food and drinks on hand for guests. You don’t have to go overboard, but at least have some basics available for them to snack on. Offering to cook breakfast for your guests is a nice idea, so they won’t have to worry about what they are going to eat first thing in the morning. If they will not be having all meals in your home or with other family members, then offer some local dining suggestions.

Plan Activities

Plan some activities for your guests while they are in town, even if it’s just going to a family holiday get-together. If you don’t have any family obligations, have some restaurants in mind and plan a holiday activity such as ice skating or a movie. Ask your guests if they have some suggestions for things they want to do and incorporate them into your plans. Be sure to ask if they have plans of their own so that you can work your schedule around theirs.

Give Them Some Space

Your guests will probably want some alone time at some point. Even if you are hosting close family members, it is important to give them some privacy. Don’t walk into their room without knocking, even though it is your house. If they want to do something without you, don’t take it personally. Part of being a good host is respecting their privacy no matter who they are.

Get Their Arrival and Departure Info

Even if you are not going to be picking your guests up at the airport, it’s a good idea to know when they’re coming and when they plan to leave. If they are driving, ask for an estimated time of arrival and to keep you updated throughout the day. That way, you can be sure to be home when they arrive. If you have a scheduling conflict, make sure to provide a way for them to get into your house or an alternative place to wait until you can meet them.

Snacks will help guests feel right at home

Help Them Feel at Home

Show guests where all the relevant comfort items are in your home. This includes cups and dishes, drinks, and snacks. Also, point out such things as where the on/off switch is for the guest bedroom light, how the TV works, and where extra towels and blankets are kept. It might be a good idea to give guests a copy of the house key so they can come and go freely. Make a little info card with your WiFi password so they won’t forget and can have it written down as reference in case they need it for multiple devices.

How to Negotiate the Price of An Apartment

ThinkstockPhotos-87622282

Finding an apartment is stressful, especially when the monthly prices for the units you check out comes above your budget! Thankfully, advertised rents are not set in stone – but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to get the rent lowered. How can you get the price lowered on an apartment that you have your heart set on?

Research the rental market. If it is a landlord’s market and there are hardly any vacancies, you might have to be more competitive to find a place in your chosen location, but it is always worth your while to research extensively on classified rental ads to see what the going rate is for similar units nearby. Don’t forget to chat with locals who rent, if possible, asking people in the building or living on the street you are interested in about their monthly rent is a great way to get a sense of what is standard.

Figure out how long the apartment has been on the market. Check the date the apartment was posted on Kijiji, and do some online searches to see if you can find evidence that it has been on the market for longer than that. If it has been over a month, the landlord might be getting worried about having an empty apartment, and may be more willing than usual to negotiate.

Know the landlord. If you are a current tenant who may or may not renew, this is an ideal situation for you – provided you have been a good tenant who they would be eager to keep. If you are looking for an apartment with a new landlord, try to get a feel for their personality, and see if you can figure out if they have many vacancies in their units. If they have a fair number of vacancies, they may be more willing to negotiate.

Pick your time. A landlord is more likely to be open to negotiations near the end of the month if you are moving into a new apartment, as the likelihood is higher that the unit will sit empty for a month. If you are a current tenant looking for an adjustment, make sure to leave enough time that you could actually find a new apartment you will be happy with if negotiations don’t go as planned.
Practise negotiating. Remember that you deserve the break on rent you are asking for. Don’t hesitate or show weakness, and negotiate for smaller items leading up to your planned discussion.

Sell yourself. If you are a new tenant, bring prior landlord and character references. Point out your great credit score (these tactics are less likely to work if you haven’t been good about paying your bills on time in the past). If you are an existing tenant, point out the fact that you take great care of the unit, are quiet, a non-smoker, or whatever it is you think sets you apart and makes you a good choice.

Pick the right number. Say you want a break of $100 on your rent – it might be a good idea to ask for a break of $200, that way your landlord can meet you in the middle and neither of you feel ripped off. Be careful about asking for a price that is too low, as insulting the landlord will end negotiations before they even start. Be reasonable and in line with market rates.

Don’t obsess over a dollar amount. You might be able to get the unit professionally cleaned and painted in your choice of colours, a free storage space or parking spot, or something else to sweeten the deal. Think of these as wins and recognize a concession when one is granted.

Be willing to give. Would you sign a 2 year lease if the landlord meets your price? In a negotiation, you have to be prepared to give as well as take.

Be respectful. If the landlord is not willing to negotiate, drop it or move on to the next apartment.

Consider a broker. Many brokers are paid by the landlords for finding their tenant for them, not by the tenant. If you don’t think you will be able to negotiate a deal, enlisting a professional might save you money.