Dealing With a Wet Basement

wet basement tips

In our current house there are concrete stairs in the back which lead down to the basement. I know this is not a gorgeous shot, but it’s an old house that needs a lot of work.

IMG_4604At the bottom of the stairs there is a drain to prevent water from accumulating, but all it takes is a few leaves in the fall to block that drain. If this drain is clogged when a storm hits the water goes right under the threshold and can easily flood the basement. Luckily our basement is unfinished and is basically just a laundry  room. It was still a scary sight the first time we saw standing water downstairs though.

Whether it’s a leaking water heater, a broken pipe, or a nature related incident, basement floods are not uncommon. Basements tend to hold moisture anyway and that is never good for your home or belongings.

The good news is there are a number of things you can do to take care of it before the water damage does some serious destruction.

 

  1. Be Safe

First things first. If you have a flooded basement you need to take great precaution that there are not chords or electrical wires near the water. If possible, turn your power off before you get started because electricity and water don’t mix!

 

  1. Clear or elevate your stuff

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If there is anything important that you want to remove go ahead and get that out of the way. If it’s not too late you may be able to salvage your valuable possessions. In our basement we have everything elevated as a precautionary measure. If you know your basement is prone to flooding and you live in an older home you can’t take any chances. We chose to keep our belongings elevated at least 6 inches by using some really basic shelves that J built with 2×4’s and OSB. Simple but effective.

  1. Get the water out

Craftsman_16_Gallon_Wet-Dry_VacNow that you have addressed the electricity and maybe some of your belongings, it’s time to really get started on restoring your basement. Some cases will require professional help, while others can be addressed on your own with the right equipment. One way to get rid of the water is a shop vac (otherwise known as a wet/dry vacuum). This will allow you to extract most of the water and dump it outside or down a drain. In our case we have a utility sink that is the most convenient. Our flooding incident was minimal, but if there is too much water to worry about dumping out heavy bucket loads all day then consider renting a portable pump or extraction unit.

 

4.Dry the basement

 

B-Air_GP-1_Green1-555x555The goal is to completely dry out your basement. Even if you don’t have a basement that floods, if it’s damp, it’s a problem. Moisture is your home’s enemy and can cause all kinds of expensive problems such as rotten wood and mold. The way you want to deal with this is by using an air mover along with a dehumidifier. My brother cleans carpets professionally and he uses AER Industries. They have several options for air movers, and commercial dehumidifiers. The air mover and dehumidifiers to pull the remaining mostiure out from the carpet or flooring, the framing material, drywall, and all surfaces. It’s critical to act quickly in order to prevent mold damage which can happen in as little as 48 hours.

5. Clean and disinfect

Once you have thoroughly dried out your basement it is important that you clean and disinfect everything . This is once again to prevent mold from trying to creep in. After you’ve finished sterilizing the room you are done.

Those are 5 basic steps to clean up a flooded basement, but they are helpful tips for any areas of your home that tend to be damp or have been exposed to water for whatever reason.

Hopefully you won’t find yourself in that kind of predicament, but with stormy springtime weather right around the corner you may want to pin this information for later just in case.

Today’s informative post is sponsored, but as always the advice given here is geniune and I hope you’ll find these tips to be helpful. 

By | March 1st, 2016|Projects|2 Comments

Why You Should Renovate Your Bathroom


whyyoushouldrennovateyourbathroom

It’s most likely the first room you head towards when you wake up and potentially the last room you leave before going to bed at night. It’s the bathroom.

With the Holidays upon us and New Year’s resolutions right around the corner it’s the perfect time to think about sprucing up your home with some remodeling projects and what better place to start than your bathroom?

Why should you renovate your bathroom?

Several reasons.

  1. It should be a sanctuary. Whether it’s a steamy shower on a cold winter day or a relaxing bath, everyone deserves to have a bathroom they can consider a spa or a retreat. That’s hard to do if it’s outdated and not functional.
  2. It’s a fairly small space to tackle. The average bathroom is typically one of the smaller rooms in the home. This makes a major remodel a little more realistic.
  3. It increases the resale value of your home. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck bathrooms and kitchens are going to be your best bet as a renovation investment. Updating these two rooms will help increase equity. What’s not to love about that?

Once you’ve decided you’re ready to take on the bathroom renovation then you need to come up with a bathroom design plan.

Think about your bathroom lighting, fixtures, and furnishings.

Dream big. There is nothing stopping you at this point from having fun with your design. Once you’ve got an idea of all the things you want for your bathroom design then you can narrow it down to a more concrete plan. This is the part where you can decide what really works for you and the specific space that you have to work with.

You’ll need to figure out how much you want to change, how much you can spend, and what you can realistically do on your own according to your skill set.

As someone who has remodeled multiple bathrooms watched my husband do multiple bathroom remodels I wish we would have known about PlumbTile.com sooner. This is the place to get all of those must have dream items on your bathroom wish list.

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Not only do they have a huge selection, but shipping is FREE, there is no sales tax (outside of California), and they have guaranteed price matching.

I got really excited about this website and so did J once I showed it to him. Seriously, you need to go check it out!

I am really looking forward to our next bathroom remodel now and I think you’ll feel the same way after you see all that PlumbTile has to offer. They are an authorized retailer, with exceptional costumer service available online or on the phone, and I already mentioned the low price guarantee. You can’t go wrong.

Go to PlumbTile.com and start designing your dream bathroom today.

By | November 23rd, 2015|Creativity, Frugal Living, Projects|4 Comments

A Homemade Birthday


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I wasn’t going to do anything major this year for Z’s birthday because of the baby on the way and all that. So I kept his party pretty low key… kind of. I mean, I didn’t have a theme so that should be proof that I did use some restraint! I did however get a bit crafty with certain aspects of the party and I think it went really well. Z was so happy and his reaction to all of the surprises that I made for him was totally worth the effort!

He said his favorite part was the piñata.

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This is the third Piñata I have made for his birthday and it was pretty simple because it was just a box made to look like a  Minecraft Creeper. Everything in Minecraft is made up of pixels so cutting tissue paper out in squares may have been tedious, but the design was very basic.

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Everyone got a turn to whack and smack the creeper with a plastic bat.

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Even after all the candy flew out they continued to play with it and the boys got to be boys as they tore the Minecraft enemy to bits. They made it look so fun I thought I might need to take up piñata fighting as a hobby.

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The funny thing is all of my “art work” for the party are things that are meant to be devoured or destroyed, but I don’t mind. I prefer to get a picture before hand, but I am totally cool with how temporary it all is. The memories are what last.

Z also had a big cake with Mario popping out of the top.

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I cheated with this cake because I bought the chocolate fudge cake pre made from Kroger and then just made a confetti bunt cake and stacked it on top. I covered the whole thing with store bought chocolate frosting and stuck Mario in the middle of the bundt cake. It was far from pretty or perfect, but Z loved it. The kids ate the bundt cake in a matter of minutes and our family has been snacking on the leftover fudge cake which everyone agrees is capital D-licious. I definitely considered this cake a success!

Lastly, Z really loves fruit pizza and we have had some fun creations in the past, so I knew I wanted celebrate this occasion by making one of his favorite characters out of fruit.

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Emmet from the Lego movie was a natural choice. Z loves Legos and it’s kind of like the Minecraft character because when you are working with things made from cubes (or Lego bricks in this case) the shapes are way easier to replicate than with something found in nature. The fruit pizza was not only super fun to make and to surprise Z with, but it really is so yummy! Seriously, everyone always goes on and on about how amazing these simple sugar cookie fruit creations taste. I have the recipe here.

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So that was pretty much the party other than lots of food and 14 children ages 1-8 running around slipping and sliding for two hours. It was a perfectly chaotic, wild, and messy time. I love having some family traditions like these. Casual, frugal, homemade fun. Next up Ezie’s birthday!

By | September 8th, 2015|Crafts, Creativity, Parties, Projects, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Links to Some of My Favorite Home Design Blogs

Right now my budget, my kids, and my schedule are all pretty much anti-home decor, but I love the idea of getting to start up another home remodel or even just room makeover.

So to close out this week’s theme of home renovations I wanted to point you to some bloggers that I have gotten connected with through a group called The Blog Love Project. These ladies are so talented and creative! I encourage you to take a long look around their sites especially if you are wanting to spruce up your own dwelling place.

Let’s start with Maggie from Less House More Home . She is just now getting her blog going, but has some really adorable ideas on her site and she’s thrifty too so you know I love that! Check out this frame wall tutorial.

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I love the whole look, especially the camera print and the splash of yellow.


Then there’s Betsy from Happily Ever After Etc. There are tons of great projects, tips, and pics on this blog. I just LOVE this little challenge she participates in called The Thrift Store Swap.

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The idea is for several bloggers to pick out random items from their local thrift store (for $10) and mail them to each other. So everyone has a surprise item that they have to repurpose and let me tell you it is the coolest thing to see what they come up with! I told them if I weren’t in the middle of preparing for a baby I would so be joining  in on this one. Hopefully in the future. Anyway, you have to check out Betsy’s thrift store swap posts.

Next I wanted to share Meg’s blog Green With Decor because she is all about interior design and her favorite color is my favorite color. GREEN! Along with before and after photos of her home renovation projects, house tours, and practical cleaning tips, she also gives a lot of decorating advice like this post called 10 Design Tips for a Bathroom Renovation

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Our House Now a Home is a DIY blog by Emily. You could probably spend all day looking at all the cute projects she does. For example this Paint Dipped Coastal Style End Table Redo is just too cute.

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Her tutorials are always very thorough and budget friendly.

I’ve recently gotten to know Justine of Little Dove Creations through the blogosphere and although her blog expands beyond just decorating she does have a lot on there about their home renovation and decorating ideas. One of my personal favorites is the DIY Pallet Wall. Drool.

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I want to do this one of these days.

On a side note if you are really just love looking at interior decorating then you have to check out GoHaus’s list of 5 Inspiring Interior Designers to Follow on Instagram.

Photos from Angela Kounnas Instagram

Photos from Angela Kounnas Instagram

This has been a fun little miniseries. Just to do a recap on my post for the week we have

Home Improvements

The Seven Year Flip

The Importance of Good Flooring

How We Installed Hardwood Over Carpet Part 2

and last up is today’s list of lovely home decor blogs you should definitely check out. I am chomping at the bit to get some stuff set up in our new home, but first we just need to finish unpacking.

 

On that note I will go ahead and sign off. Have a great weekend everybody!

By | July 31st, 2015|Projects|4 Comments

How We Installed Hardwood Over Carpet Part 2

After getting so much positive feedback and tons of interest in our little laminate wood flooring installation project we decided to do a follow up along with a little time-lapse video of how the floor removal process went. For part one click here.

Our little experimental project consisted of laying a floating floor over the carpet in our apartment. We like the aesthetics, but mainly the dining area was carpeted and we knew that wasn’t going to work especially with three small children! So we laid the floor down over it and that definitely simplified clean up after eating (and potty training for that matter).

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Still, we were unsure at the time exactly what the carpet would look like after years of being smashed under our layers of flooring. It turns out it looked great! WAY better than if we would have been living our daily lives trying to spot treat that area!

In the video you will see J removing the planks, followed by the removal of the subfloor which was OSB, and then vacuuming the carpet underneath.

Since we didn’t really document the original process we thought this video would be a nice way to see how it all came together. Even though it is of the removal, just reverse it to see how the installment would work.

A lot of readers have questions over the past couple years including-

“How long did it take?” It took about 8 hours once we had the materials ready

“Did it end up being damage free for the carpet underneath after removing?” YES!

“Is it strong enough to use as a dance floor?” I don’t know. Our three kids ages 2,5, and 7 have used it as a dance floor in some ways. It’s held up pretty well, but it had some minor evidence of wear and tear after a while.

“Would this work for an upstairs apartment? How is the sound for the downstairs neighbors?” If you are really concerned about the noise you can add a layer of floor muffler underlayment in-between your OSB and laminate planks. We did live in an upstairs apartment so it’s definitely doable, but I guess it depends on how much of a priority the volume control is for you.

That’s pretty much it. In the end we got our full deposit back after we moved and the carpet looked like new. I can assure you that would not have been the case had we not laid down the floors. And the best part is we didn’t spend all that money just for those years in the apartment, we got to take the floor with us and we are reusing it where we live now.

Our only regret was not continuing the flooring into the hallway because it is also such a high traffic area and it took a lot of abuse. If you are interested in doing a flooring project like this in your own house or rental property and you have any other questions please feel free to ask. If I can’t answer them I’ll get with the handy man that works behind the scenes here and I’m sure he can get you some info.

Good luck with your project!

By | July 30th, 2015|Frugal Living, Projects, Simple Living|16 Comments

The Seven Year Flip

When we bought our first home we did a complete overhaul to the house, but it wasn’t exactly a flip. It was never meant to be. We weren’t looking for a quick investment.

We just wanted a home that we could afford and that pretty much narrowed our search down to fixer uppers, which was fine because J is so handy and we always wanted our first house to be unique. Of course, we didn’t plan for the remodel to take 7 years, but hey life happens and we were living it!

This post is just a tiny little glimpse at some of the before and afters of our first renovation. I’ll post links to the extended version of the remodel for anyone that wants to see more, but this will be the first time I am going to share just how much we bought it for, how much we put into it, and what it sold for. Which, I hope will be inspiring for all the DIYers out there.

The Living Room

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The Dining Room 

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The Hallway

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The Kitchen

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The pictures were taken at opposite angles of the room, but you get the idea.

 

 

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The Master Bedroom

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The House

 

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It was winter grass for the record

 

So that’s most of it other than the two other bedrooms, bathrooms, and laundry room. I don’t know if any of you like to watch “Flip or Flop” or any of those HGTV shows for that matter. I love that stuff, and so how can I not show a final tally of how this investment turned out for us financially? These are not exact numbers by the way, but they are pretty close.

We purchased the house in 2004 for $77,000

We spent a little over $35,000 on renovations. Not all at once! Remember this was a 7 year project. I also thought it would be worth mentioning that the kitchen was by far the biggest expense coming in at a total of $13,000! That includes gutting the entire room, putting up new walls, laying slate floors, getting all knew custom built cabinets, crown molding, granite counter tops, the booth, the lighting, and all new energy efficient stainless steel appliances. So it was a whopper, but it could have cost a lot more had we not done most of the grunt work ourselves.

Lastly, we put the house on the market the week of Christmas (talk about bad timing) but miraculously received an offer days later for our asking price of $139,000. How cool is that?

In the end we spent 112,000 (77,000+35,000). We sold for $139,000 giving us a $27,000 profit. Instead of paying to live somewhere we made over $3,000 a year off of our property. Not too shabby, although keep in mind most of the time we were somewhere in-between the before and after. So it wasn’t a classy situation believe me, and I can assure you that there was a ton of physical labor involved. Let’s just say we earned our keep.

Not that it’s anyones business what happened to that money, but we were able to pay off all of our debt including student loans, a car loan, medical bills, and credit cards. It has been such a blessing to be out from underneath all of that! I am really happy with the outcome of our “7 year flip” even though it’s not realistic for us to be home owners right now, I look forward to the day we can do something like this again. I say that looking at all the pretty pictures. It’s kind of like childbirth though, you forget how much effort it took!

 

Have you ever done any major home renovations? Would you do it again?

By | July 28th, 2015|Frugal Living, My Life, Projects|4 Comments

Home Improvements

If you asked me what my blog was about I would say motherhood, family, crafts, homemaking, faith, natural living, frugality etc.

Keeping that in mind what do you think my all time most popular post is?

A Very Veggie Birthday?

Heart Art?

Oh Be Careful Little Mamas What You Pin?

Nope. Nothing about crafts or motherhood. Those are some of the runner ups, but the Messy Mom Blog post with the most views (by a landslide) is…

How We Put Hardwood Over Carpet

Yes. Hundreds of people come to this site everyday not to see cute pics of my kids or find out tips for natural birth. They have come to read about home improvement. The How to Install Hardwood Over Carpet does not only hold the record for all time hits, but on any given day it is usually the most viewed post even when I have something new that is somewhat of a hit.

I am not bitter about this at all, but I am a little jealous of my husband who I hope starts his own blog someday when he has time. Because even though I wrote that post, it’s really all him.

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He is the mastermind behind it and not only do people want to know more about our flooring projects they want to know where or how to make the furniture that he comes up with! Like the coffee table that can slide under the entertainment center.

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My Lots of Hope in a Little Home is definitely the most successful series I have ever published and a lot of it also has to do with J’s genius. He has a knack when it comes to taking something that looks kind of hopeless and turning into greatness. It’s okay for me to brag on the hubs for a bit right?

J has renovated a house, a coffee shop, an apartment (which were all temporary upgrades since it’s a rental. More on that later), and now he is working on getting us settled into another rental property. In order to get geared up for this next big undertaking I want to take some time to look back at some of the work he’s done and also reveal some of the outcomes of those home improvement projects. I know I am not a remodel blog, nor do I want to be, but it’s been a big part of our marriage up to this point and I do love to save money by reusing, reinventing, repurposing, and remodeling. So that’s what I plan to write about this week. I’ll be picking J’s brain and diving deeper into some of the messy details of just a few of our greatest Home Improvement projects. Stay tuned.

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By | July 27th, 2015|Frugal Living, My Life, Projects, Uncategorized|2 Comments