Settling Into A New Home: What to Do

Settling into a new home can be a daunting task. There are so many things to take care of that it seems like you can’t keep track of everything. However, this is supposed to be a fun time for you and your family. So here is a list of things you need to do when settling into you new home to make the move less stressful.

Fill Out A Change of Address Form
Once you move in it’s important to fill out a change of address form. This can easily be done at the local post office or online. However, don’t forget to notify your bank and any financial companies about the change. Contact them directly to let them know that you have moved.

Transfer Utilities and Services
Just like filling out a change of address form, you’ll want to transfer all of your utilities and services to your new address. Most utility services will either let you change your existing services or sign up. Check with our sales consultants about specific utility companies required at your new community.

Get To Know Your New Home
Let’s face it, you already know the layout of your new home, but do you know where the circuit breaker and water shutoffs are? Make sure to locate your homes main circuit breaker and make sure it’s clearly labeled. When something goes awry later down the road you’ll be happy you know exactly what to do.

Map Out The Area
Just like your new home, you’ll want to map out the surrounding community as well. Find out where the closest gas station, hospital, and grocery store is. This is for your convenience and it will help you adjust to the new community quickly and comfortably.

Help Children and Pets Adjust to Your New Home
If you have any children or pets, adjusting to the new environment can be hard for them. Help children settle into your new home by setting up their room first. Also, take them to the closest park to meet the neighborhood kids. If you have any pets, let them explore the new area on their own.

Meet Your Neighbors
Meeting your neighbors is key when you move into your new home. Don’t spend all your time settling into your new home. Get out and walk around the neighborhood and introduce yourselves to your neighbors. Establish a good relationship with them and they’ll be sure to keep a lookout on your home while you’re on vacation.

Relax and Enjoy
Don’t forget to relax and enjoy your new space! The hardest part of the home-buying process is over. Relax and take your time while settling into your new home, but don’t forget to enjoy being a new homeowner either!

10 Baby-proofing Tips to Keep Your Home Baby-Friendly

Whether your family has a new arrival on the way or you’re babysitting a small visitor for the day here are 10 easy baby-proofing tips to make your home baby-friendly!

1. Plug Electrical Outlets
Keep little ones from sticking their fingers near electrical outlets by plugging up them with plastic outlet covers. Or if you prefer a safer option, you can replace your current electrical plates with spring-loaded outlet covers. You can even arrange furniture in front of outlets to diminish the little one’s temptation to stick his or her finger in those dangerous holes in the wall.

2. Barricade the Stairs
Stairs can be very dangerous for babies that can crawl or walk. Install baby gates at the top of staircases to prevent your mobile baby from tumbling down them. If you want to be extra pre-cautious, you can even put baby gates at the bottom of a staircase to prevent babies from climbing up stairs as well.

3. Relocate Plants and Planters
Move any houseplants up high or in an off-limits room to keep little ones from nibbling on those tasty looking plants. Even though most houseplants are harmless, some are poisonous when eaten. Just relocate plants for the time being until your baby is old enough to understand they shouldn’t eat plants.

4. Stabilize Your Furniture
Babies use furniture for support when they are learning to walk. To keep your little one safe, stabilize heavy pieces of furniture from toppling over with furniture straps or brackets.

5. Lock Up Your Cabinets
Keep you baby out of places they shouldn’t be with cabinet locks. Once babies are mobile they will show their amazing ability to open drawers and cabinets. To keep them from emptying your cabinets use cabinet locks to your advantage.

6. Lock Up Hazardous Products
Along with keeping your little one out of the cabinets you’ll want to keep them away from hazardous products as well. Relocate all these items to out of reach areas to keep your baby safe. Or if you can’t move these items secure them in a locked cabinet.

7. Cover Up Cords
Cords are a serious danger to babies. Babies can get tangled up in them and choke or even chew on them and get hurt. It’s best to remove or cover up any electrical cords that are in your baby’s reach. The same goes for hanging mobiles above their cribs. If you little one can sit up it’s time to remove the mobile.

8. Ban Small Toys
If you have an older child you might want to teach them to keep their small toys away from the baby. These toys can become choking hazards, so ban them to one off-limit space.

9. Soften Sharp Edges
If a little one is beginning to walk or use furniture to pull themselves up, you’ll want to go around the house and soften any sharp edges on furniture. Apply stick-on, removable corner cushions to prevent any bumps or bruises.

10. Baby-proof Yourself
Don’t forget to baby-proof yourself while taking care of a little one. Babies go through a grabby phase, so anything in his or her reach is fair game. You’ll have to change your habits for a little while, but it will keep your baby safe while they outgrow the grabby phase. Set glasses, dinner plates, silverware, and cell phones far back on counters and tables. Don’t wear dangly earrings or necklaces. Just make sure to keep things out of their reach so they don’t end up hurting themselves or you!

For more tips and tricks on how to baby-proof your home, click here. Or if you want a more in depth checklist on things to baby-proof around the house click here.

10 Ways to Declutter Your House

1. Make a Date With Your Space
Decluttering any space, let alone your house, takes a good amount time. So, block off a morning or afternoon and begin organizing. However, don’t expect to get the whole house done in a day. It’ll take time to clean and organize every room!

2. Make a Plan of Attack
Before you start organizing make a plan of attack. What room are you going to start with? How much do you want to achieve in the time you set aside? It’s usually a good idea to start with the area in your house that is the most frustrating. Get this space out of the way and you’ll feel unstoppable.

3. Arm Yourself
It’s smart to get your supplies ready before you start organizing. You’ll need trash bags, for trash and for recyclables, a box for charitable items, and a box for items that don’t belong in that space. Also, it’s a good idea to clean the space while your organizing it. Have cleaning supplies around to wipe down the area once everything is cleared out of the space. Not only will the space be organized, but it will also be clean as well.

4. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
The best way to declutter your house is to focus on one space at a time. It’s nearly impossible to clean the whole house in an entire day. Go room by room and don’t start another room if you’re feeling unfocused. You’ll most likely organize less because you’ll be frustrated and less efficient.

5. Organize First; Buy Second
It’s tempting to buy a bunch of containers to help you organize, but you should always organize before you buy any containers. You never know what containers will function best in your space. So organize first and then assess what you need container-wise.

6. Group Like Items Together
When organizing, a good way to get through a bunch of clutter is to group like items together. Do you have a bunch of black pants that you hardly wear? Keep two or three pairs and donate the rest. The same goes for any other like items as well!

7. Be Honest With Yourself
The hardest part of organizing is being honest with yourself. It’s always hard to let things go, but if you haven’t worn or used an item in a year its best to get rid of it. Don’t try to convince yourself that you’ll use it later down the road. If you haven’t used it already, you won’t use it later.

8. Elevate Items Off The Floor
The easiest and quickest way to make any room look more organized is to elevate items off the floor. Don’t let toys, tools, or clothes sit around on the floor, use shelving to your advantage and get those items off the floor.

9. Complete Each Task Completely
Your house will never be decluttered if you don’t follow through with each task. Never stop in the middle of organizing and leave a room unfinished. You’re more likely to never go back to finish decluttering the room. Instead, go room by room and make sure to complete each task completely before moving on!

10. Your Space Will Get Messy Again — Don’t Worry
Just because you’ve decluttered your house doesn’t mean that it will stay that way. Expect regular upkeep. There are always ingoing and outgoing items that will eventually clutter your home. However, because you’ve organized the house before, it will be easier tidying up when things get a little messy.

Bonus: Get Through Organizing By Having Fun!
How can organizing be fun you ask? Well, there plenty of ways! Make organizing a design challenge. Integrate your personal style into the storage bins you choose and make it a part of the overall room design. Or make it a game! Make a set of rules and goals for yourself and you’ll find that your organize a room quicker!

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

With the New Year approaching many people are making their list of New Year’s resolutions. However, most people focus on resolutions for themselves. From eating healthier to staying organized, many individuals forget to think about resolutions for their household. Making home resolutions will undoubtedly help you stay organized in the New Year, so here are five New Year’s resolutions to kick start your 2018!

1. Simplify Your Stuff
Clutter is unavoidable, even if you are the most organized person in the world. This year clear the clutter and keep it that way as one of your New Year’s home resolutions. Throughout the year many individuals acquire a lot of stuff. So go room by room and purge any cabinets and drawers that are cluttered from last year. While cleaning, think about how much you’ve used the particular item in question. If you haven’t used something lately think about parting ways with it or donating it. Once you’ve cleared the clutter, think twice before bringing any new items into your house and make sure that anything you do bring into your home raises your energy level!

2. Shrink your Carbon Footprint
Nothing is better than going green for the New Year! This year reduce your carbon footprint by making minor adjustments to your household to “greener” more environmentally-friendly habits. That doesn’t mean you have to install solar panels or drive a hybrid car. Make minor adjustments and start with cutting your home’s energy usage. Here are some ideas to help you reduce your home’s energy usage!

  • Get smart with your thermostat and turn it down when you leave the house or at night.
  • Install LED lightbulbs around the house.
  • Give composting a try.
  • Only run dishwashers and washers/dryers when they are full.
  • For more ideas to reduce your carbon footprint, click here.

3. Weekly Cleaning System
You can also become more organized by implementing a cleaning schedule for the week for your New Year’s home resolution. By planning a cleaning schedule, you’ll find it easier to clean you home throughout the week. Plus, keeping the mess under control will benefit you greatly. By spreading out home chores throughout the week you’ll have more time to spend with your family or invest in your hobbies. Also, it’s easier to clean in smaller portions than to clean the whole house! So stay on top of cleaning this year and keep any mess under control.

4. Get Ready for Entertaining
Have a little fun this year and entertain family, friends, and guests more in your amazing Judd Builders home! Take a vow to spend more time with those you care about. You’ll have a fantastic time with your friends, family, and neighbors. But if you’re going to be inviting people in, make your resolution to add updates or fresh decor to the rooms you entertain in. You don’t have to go full out and re-design everything, but bring in new elements to your home to create a new energy. Whether it’s creating dramatic presentations with large flower displays or adding new dynamic pillows, your guests will take notice!

5. Volunteer in Your Community
Take some time out of your busy lifestyle and find volunteer opportunities within your community. This is a great home resolution for you and your family because not only are you giving back to your community, but you’re also spending quality time together! Don’t feel like you have to go this alone either. Invite your neighbors and friends to join you and make it a monthly event! There’s nothing better than giving back to your community while getting closing with your family and friends!

Minor Home Fixes in a Flash

There are always those minor home projects that you end up putting off every weekend. Stop ignoring these minor fixes and cross them off your to do list in a flash with these helpful tips and tricks!

Furniture Scratches
Furniture scratches can be frustrating, especially when it happens on your favorite piece of furniture. However, there’s nothing a little Old English Scratch Cover can’t fix! They also provide information on how to care for your furniture as well as an array of products to upkeep your furniture’s natural beauty.

Water Rings
You know that frustrating feeling you get when you see water rings on your furniture because someone didn’t use a coaster? Well now you can let go of that frustration and get rid of those nasty water rings. There are multiple ways to remove water rings from your wooden furniture. So get cleaning and rid you furniture of those miserable looking water rings.

Carpet Spills
When something spills on a brand new carpet, it can send homeowners into a frenzy. So stay calm and make sure to blot instead of rub the stain. When you rub the stain you are only making it bigger. So blot stain and check out Shaw Carpets website for tips to help you clean multiple stains and keep your carpets in tiptop shape!

Lumpy Pillows
If you’re unsure if you should throw your lumpy pillow away, there is a way to test it! Perform the “break test” by folding your pillow in half and placing a heavy book on it. If it pops back into its original state it’s still good to use. If not, your pillow is dead and needs to be thrown out and replaced. Also, the “break test” only works on fiberfill, down- or feather-filled pillows not on foam or any other type of pillow.

Mildewy Vinyl Shower-Curtain Liner
This one is an extremely easy fix! Just take the shower-curtain down and throw it in the washer with some old towels. Make sure to put it on a short-cycle using hot water and bleach and it will be as good as new!

Crayon Off The Wall
If you have any kids or grandkids they’re bound to get crayon all over the place, especially the wall. A magic eraser will do the trick, but if you don’t have one handy you could always use a blow dryer to heat up the wax and wipe it off with a rag and dish soap. Or if you have WD-40 handy, spritz it on the crayon markings and wipe it away!

Musty Front-Load Washer Smell
One of the most frustrating things to deal with around the house is the musty smell front-load washers give off. To rid your washer of the unpleasant smell you should move your wet clothes to the dryer immediately before they get musty. That’s easier said than done, but if you’re able to it will help prevent the musty smell from manifesting. Also, keep the front door open to let the washer air dry. However, there are other measures you can take to combat against your washer’s musty smell. Clean the door’s rubber seal once a month with a half and half solution of water and vinegar. You can do a cleansing wash by running your washer empty on the hottest setting with a cup of baking soda in the drum and white vinegar in the detergent dispenser. Also, don’t forget to clean your drain pump filter every few weeks!

7 Ways to Lower Your Heating Bill

With fall in full effect and the impending winter close behind its smart to start thinking about your heating bill. Heating your house in essential for these colder months, but it can get rather costly. Here are seven ways to lower your heating bill, yet still keep your home warm and cozy.

1. Use a Programmable Thermostat
One of the easiest ways to lower your heating bill is to use a programmable thermostat. Or if you don’t have a programmable thermostat, at least use the one you already have properly. Turn down the thermostat 10 degrees when you go to work and bed or leave the house for an extended period of time. The U.S. Department of Energy says for every eight hours you turn your thermostat down, you can possibly save up to 15 percent on your heating bill.

2. Bundle Up
Lower your thermostat by bundling up. That’s right, layer on warm clothing when your home and you won’t feel the difference when you lower your thermostat. Don’t forget about socks! If your feet are cold, the rest of your body will also feel cold.

3. Check For Drafts
Windows and door are the biggest culprits for creating drafts in your house. In order to check for them use a candle or incense and hold it by the windows and doors. If there is a draft you will see the candle light flicker or the incense smoke will escape where the air is being let in.

4. Change Your Filters
Most people forget to change their filters and it is a costly mistake when it comes to your heating bill. A dirty filter can make costs skyrocket. The type of heater you have will affect when and how many times you should change your filter. If you have a gas heater, check the filter every other year. If you have electric or oil, check it once a year.

5. Close Your Fireplace Flue
If you have a fireplace in your house make sure to close the fireplace flue. This seems straightforward, but many people forget about it. If you don’t close the flue, it’s like having a huge hole in your roof letting the cool air in.

6. Use a Space Heater
Some people avoid using a space heater because they think it will make their electric bill higher. However, if you use the space heater properly you can still save on your heating bill without increasing you electric bill drastically. Keep the space heater where your family gathers and turn down the thermostat. Every degree below 70 can save you three percent on your heating bill. An electrical space heater that uses 1500 watts costs approximately 14 cents per hour to use. So your electric bill will go up, but the costs you save from heating will offset the cost of using a space heater. Check out these space heaters and find the perfect one for you!

7. Keep Heating Registers Clear
Don’t block your heating vents with furniture and rugs; make the most of the heat by moving any furniture and rugs away from vents. Also, if you aren’t using a room in your house close the door. There’s no sense in heating a room that isn’t used. So keep the heat where it’s absolutely necessary and stay warm all fall and winter long.

Be Prepared for Winter: Easy Home Winterization

With winter fast approaching, it’s important to begin winterizing your home. There is a lot to do to prepare your home for the colder months ahead, so get a jump start on the process and stay warm, cozy, and stress free this winter!

Clean Windows Before It Gets Too Cold
Window upkeep is important year round and should be done at least two times a year. Not only will your windows stay clean and clear, but while you’re cleaning you’ll figure out if any of your windows have cracks or drafts and be able to fix them before the winter season. However, if you don’t have time or feel up to the task you could easily hire a window cleaner. Just be sure to schedule before it gets too cold so there aren’t any freezing problems during the window cleaning process.

Clean Your Gutters
You’ll want to clean out your gutters before the winter arrives. Having clear gutters will ensure that water is properly drained away from your house. However, if they are clogged during the winter season they can freeze and cause additional blockages. These blockages can lead to rain or melting snow soak into your homes roof or foundation, causing unwanted damage.

Prune Trees Around the House
We’ve all seen the damage branches can do to a house, especially when they are covered by heavy snow or ice. So take extra precaution this winter and prune tree branches hanging close to your house. Make sure to get this out of the way before the weather gets too cold!

Cover Landscape and Outdoor Accessories
Easily forgotten, its essential to take care of your landscape and outdoor accessories before winter hits. Cover patio furniture if you have it and disconnect hoses so they don’t freeze. Also, if you have a deck, consider giving a new coat of sealer if it needs it. For more information on yard care before winter check out Fall Garden Care for more information!

Protect Pipes From Freezing
Burst pipes are extremely costly. However, there are many precautions you can take to protect your pipes from freezing and potentially bursting! It’s okay to turn the heat down when you leave the house, but don’t turn it down too much, the pipes need that heat to prevent from freezing. Another precaution is to insulate exposed pipe around the house. Go to your closest hardware store and buy rubber foam or fiberglass sleeves to insulate exposed pipes. Lastly, if there is a serious cold snap let your faucets drip. This can provide relief to your pipes.

Get a Roof Rake
Roofs can only withstand about four feet of fresh snow before it gets stressed. So if your expecting huge winter storms with a lot of snowfall buy a roof rake to help clear off snow from you roof! Check out these roof rakes at Home Depot.

Be Prepared For a Winter Storm
There’s always one storm that drops a huge amount of snow every winter. So be prepared this winter for a major snowstorm and follow these tips to stay safe before, during, and after a major snowstorm.

Why a Smaller Space May Be Better

Sofa

The kids are all moved out, the grandkids visit every once in a while and you have too much space to care for. Do you really need all that space still? Here are the benefits of downsizing your home and finding a place that is smaller and hassle-free.

Preservation of Time and Resources

The average U.S. house size has increased from 1800 square feet in the 1980s to nearly 2500 sq. ft. in the 2000s, according to The Huffington Post. More square footage translates to more spending on resources, a bigger carbon footprint, and a bigger impact on the environment. In addition to that, you waste more time doing chores such as cleaning rooms you don’t even use. Your time could be better spent elsewhere during your retirement, from traveling to relaxing to taking up a new hobby.

Better Mental Health

Living in a small space may improve your mental health, says The Alternative Daily. That’s because you are less stressed worrying about the details of maintaining a larger home, improving your ability to relax, de-stress, and connect with your spouse or whomever you’re living with as you get older.

Save Money on Frivolous Stuff

The more space you have in your home, the more you’re likely to fill it up with useless stuff. From TVs and appliances to furniture and collectibles, you’re wasting money on filling space rather than using your home as a functional entity. When you downsize to a smaller home, you’re making an effort to prioritize your life and cut back on what’s unimportant in the grand scheme of things, says Freshome.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have nice things. After all, the whole reason for buying a new home at this stage of your life is to live well. From state of the art appliances to comfortable furniture and beautiful amenities, it’s still possible to live smaller yet have the things you need to make life easy.

Save on Energy

With a large home, you may have noticed your energy bills were through the roof. And with so many people living in the home, you were using up a lot of energy for heating and cooling, electronics, appliances, and water. With the kids out of the house, there’s no need to have those large rooms and big bills. Downsize into a smaller home and watch your energy bills plummet too. The use of energy efficient appliances, green construction, and more natural light can all help you save on energy and thus save the environment.

Here at Judd Builders, we offer smaller homes for those who are looking to downsize yet maintain their sense of comfort and luxurious living. Check out our smaller communities like Meadow View and Renaissance – contact us today to learn more.

Spring Cleaning Tips

woman makes cleaning

Spring is finally here. It’s time for cleaning out all the dust and cobwebs that you’ve been neglecting over the winter months. So open up those windows and get cleaning! After all, you’ll want to make sure your home is ready for sunnier and warmer days. Here are a few ways to update your home and clean it out.

Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the dirtiest rooms in the house and should be thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom. But in order to get it done in the most efficient manner, start at the right side of your stove and circle your way around the kitchen, says Woman’s Day. Why is that? Well, your stove is the dirtiest item in the kitchen, so it makes sense to end with that. This way, you won’t spread dirt and grease throughout the rest of the room.

Rather than try to clean around all the knobs, take them off and let them soak in warm soapy water for a while.

Because your sink has more bacteria in it than your toilet bowl, pay special attention to it while cleaning. After cleaning with soap and water, spritz some vinegar on it, followed by hydrogen peroxide, and let air dry. Got a stainless steel sink? Put a few drops of mineral oil on a soft cloth and buff out all the smudges.

Bathroom

Apply a teaspoon of lemon oil on a soft cloth to clear up your glass shower doors. You can do this a couple of times a month…no need to wait for spring. Clean tiles with a homemade mixture of baking soda and water. This is also great for grout, too, but use a firmer brush for those tougher stains. Wash shower liners in the washing machine and wash all area rugs, especially those around the base of the toilet.

To break up all that grease, oil, and hair clogging your drains, pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, followed by 1/2 cup white vinegar. Once you let it sit for a few minutes, pour boiling water down the drains.

Windows

Now’s the time to get the outside of the windows cleaned. If you can tilt them inwards and do them from the interior, great. If not, use a sturdy ladder outside and gather your supplies. Best time to wash windows is on a cloudy day so the hot sun doesn’t dry streaks onto your windows. For interior washing, use a bit of white vinegar and water as a cleaning solution. For outside, use warm, soapy water and a small squeegee using one long motion. Dry off with a microfiber cloth.

Patio Furniture

To get the outdoors ready for increased use, take off all cushions and wash the furniture down with warm water and a squirt of dish detergent. Rinse off with the garden hose and let air dry.

If your spring cleaning chores are a precursor to selling your home and moving into a new one, call Judd Builders to see which one of our luxury communities would appeal best to you!

What a Virtually “Maintenance-Free” Home Means

Elderly couple together at the kitchen

When you’re approaching retirement age and want to downsize from your current home, you may consider 55+ communities – not just for their smaller size but for their promise of virtually maintenance-free living. But what exactly does virtually maintenance-free mean? Let’s explore.

Many Baby Boomers facing retirement or actively in retirement have put a lot of work into maintaining the homes in which they raised their families. They set aside their weekends for 40 years to tackle chores like mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, raking leaves, and shoveling snow. Now that retirement is on the horizon, they are no longer interested in expending a lot of physical and mental energy investing in the maintenance of their homes.

They’re ready for something more: virtually maintenance-free living. If this sounds like you, it’s understandable that you would want a little more time to relax, swim in the pool, visit with the grandkids, have coffee with friends or take in a round of tennis. Your weekends are YOURS again when you’re part of a 55+ community.

That’s because 55+ communities offer a variety of maintenance chores included in your fees, such as:

  • Garbage collection
  • Recycling
  • Maintenance of shared spaces and facilities
  • Complete lawn care (mowing, trimming, weeding, raking, pest control)
  • Snow removal
  • Exterior maintenance (roof maintenance, repairs, paint touch ups)
  • Security

Judd Builders has a proven reputation throughout the Delaware Valley as a leader in designing and building virtually maintenance-free homes and superior lifestyle communities as part of its 55+ communities in the most beautiful locations. We welcome you to visit our two 55+ communities: Meadow View Farms and Renaissance at Morgan Creek. Renaissance is an adult 55+ clubhouse community in Quakertown, Bucks County PA offering an active, carefree lifestyle with an outdoor pool, fitness center, and library/business center. Meadow View Farms is nestled in historic Oley Township, Berks County, PA, featuring a community center, fitness center, and the peace of mind knowing you own the home and the land. You don’t get that with all 55+ communities!

If over-55 community living sounds good to you after years of maintaining your own home, call Judd Builders today. We would be happy to show you the models we have available.