Posts in Kijiji for the Home

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

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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.

Buying Green: The Ecological Impact of Buying Used Furniture Vs. New

Making an Environmentally Sound Decision

Whether in search of essential, functional, or decorative pieces for the home, determining the ecological impact of any furniture can be a tremendous undertaking. There are many things to take into consideration, from the construction of furniture pieces – including the materials they are crafted from – to aspects of furniture production such as sourcing and shipping. When attempting to make an environmentally sound decision for purchasing furniture items, even more factors come into play.

Carbon Footprint

The most obvious difference between new and used furniture is the carbon footprint of each. The footprint of brand new furniture pieces begins with the process of cutting down the trees to make the product (if it is a wood product) and continues on through the manufacturing, shipping, and storage processes. On average, the overall cost of new furniture equates to about 125 tons of CO2 for every 100 rooms outfitted with new furniture. On the other end of the spectrum, less than two tons of CO2 may be produced in the acquisition of used furniture for a space, even when accounting for processes such as shipping and refinishing of the item if necessary.

Sustainable Materials

One of the best ways to start making environmentally sound choices is to choose those made with sustainable materials such as teak or bamboo furniture. Other options such as sustainable and fast-growing hardwoods such as walnut and hickory can make a great addition to any room.

It is true that buying used furniture ensures that no new trees are cut down for the purposes of crafting a new furniture item. You can further decrease the furniture’s overall environmental impact by using woods certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC Certification ensures that companies don’t use environmentally harmful methods such as clear cutting in the production of the furniture item.

It also is important to remember that many manufacturers craft great new furniture from reclaimed wood or recycled materials. This can be a great option for the buyer seeking an environmentally sound product with a modern appearance and style.

Sustainable Home Design

Furniture items are among the least recycled and account for upwards of 4% of all household waste. Purchasing used furniture helps reduce the amount of waste from furniture that goes into landfills.

However, whether homeowners purchase new or used furniture, purchasing the furniture and planning their home in a sustainable manner can help to reduce waste overall. Choosing durable materials and avoiding materials such as particleboard ensures the longevity of furniture items. Additionally, multi-functional furniture items such as pull out couches and ottomans with additional storage space can reduce the amount of materials sourced to produce multiple furniture items.

Buy Local When Possible

Whether purchasing new or used furniture items, transporting an item a long way leaves behind a large carbon footprint. Often used furniture incurs lower transportation costs than buying new furniture because people typically purchase used furniture closer to home. Production accounts for almost 3 tons of CO2 on average for every 100 rooms of furniture, and shipping the item to the customer adds another 3 tons of the greenhouse gas.

Conclusion

Shoppers can make environmentally-sound, sustainable decisions with their furniture whether they choose to purchase new or used. In the short term, buying new furniture produces about 1,000 times more CO2 emissions than buying used or refurbished furniture. However, opting to use sustainable materials and to optimize the long-term usage of a furniture item can reduce its environmental impact for years down the road.

Source: http://www.therefinishingtouch.com/impact_env.html

http://life.gaiam.com/article/5-tips-buying-earth-friendly-wood-furniture-and-lumber

Easy Ways to Maximize Closet Space

There are a lot of things in life that never seem to be enough; hours of sleep, long weekends, and extra cash to spend on spontaneous indulgences – just to name a few.

Now, while we here at Kijiji don’t have the power to give you more of these things, we can however share tips that will help you with another scenario where we never seem to have enough of what we need: closet space.

Anyone with more than a few shirts, pants, and other clothing items can probably share horror stories of having to frantically dig through a crammed rack of clothing in the morning with only a few minutes to spare because you have to be out the door and headed to work for an important meeting, and you haven’t even grabbed your cup of coffee yet.

Even with some basic organizing and strategic folding, closet space still seems pretty scarce, and we’re going to go out on a limb and assume that most of us aren’t exactly in the market for a bedroom-sized walk in closet. To make your life easier and your closet seem a little roomier, here are some simple, cost-effective ways to maximize existing closet space.

Condense, Condense, Condense!

The first step is to really evaluate what’s in your closet and be willing to part ways with those old pieces you’re never going to wear again. We know it can be hard to let go of that 10-year-old sweatshirt from high school or that skirt that just might come back in style, but the key to freeing up space is to only have what’s wearable in there. Organize a yard sale or street sale if you want to make a little cash and bond with your neighbors, or do some good in your community- a quick search for local charities or clothing drives will show you all the local groups that could put your belongings to good use!

Make It A Double!

Most closets have a hanging bar already but most of us are all too familiar with how crowded that one bar ends up getting when everything is hung up there. Putting in a second bar somewhere above the first can not only help spread the bulk of the clothing (making it easier to find what you need) but also maximize closet space by using space that otherwise would be empty.

Don’t Forget about Floors and Doors!

We often see the floor as just the surface our feet walk upon, but when it comes to closet space, floors are a perfect place to put different types of storage containers. There are a whole variety of storage baskets and boxes available that also range in materials, (flexible or sturdy), depending on what it is you have to store. Hats, scarves, handbags, accessories, and other miscellaneous items can be easily stored and accessed in these handy dandy containers. In the same vein, doors are also usually overlooked but they actually can serve as the perfect backdrop for hanging racks and storage pouches to store whatever knick knacks, accessories, or clothing.

When In Doubt, Add Some Light!

We know what you’re thinking. Adding light to a closet can help us maximize space? Well, the thing is, closets are notoriously dark, especially when you burrow into the deep corners where you’ve folded or hung various articles of clothing. By adding a pot light or two, you open the space up visually and chances are you’re going to be able to utilize more space since you can actually see it now!

Get Creative With Hangers!

Gone are the days where hangers hang merely one piece of clothing. These days, single hangers can come with attachments or contain some variation that allow multiple pieces of clothing to hang separately in a way that saves space and is easy to take from. Hangers now also vary in length and size depending on the type of clothing you want to hang, so if you use your imagination, you can definitely get creative with mixing and match, and in the end, you’ll be shocked at how much space gets freed up.