Monthly Archives: January 2011

14 Must-Have Tools for New Homeowners

Must-have tools

Congratulations on your new home! With homeownership comes responsibility; no longer can you depend on the landlord to fix that leaky faucet or repair a broken door. It’s all up to you now. Here is a list of must-have tools you need for your home.

1. Assorted screwdrivers – Especially a standard (flat) and Phillips. You’ll need these for various jobs around the house; everything from tightening the loose screws on your computer desk to putting together a new futon.

2. Claw hammer – Unless you want to go caveman and use a heavy rock, you’ll need a hammer to hang pictures on the wall (and the claw to pull the nails out when you decide you haven’t hung the pictures where you want them).

3. Level – You want those pictures to be straight, right?

4. Duct tape – See WD-40

5. WD-40 – As the saying goes: All of life’s problems can be solved with two things—duct tape and WD40. If it moves and it shouldn’t, you need duct tape. And if it doesn’t move and it should, you need WD40.

6. Tape measure – This will come in handy for a lot of odd jobs like making sure the new furniture you want to order will fit in the space you would like it to go, or measuring the size of your window frames before buying new blinds.

7. Power drill – Helpful in assembling new furniture, hanging artwork or other wall decorations that require the use of anchors, and more.

8. Utility knife – Definitely a must-have tool to have in the home. The utility knife can be used for a ton of projects, as simple as cutting open boxes and packaging to DIY home improvement jobs like cutting drywall, insulation, and old carpeting or removing old caulking.

9. Stud finder – You don’t need a stud finder, but it makes life a lot easier when trying to hang things on the wall.

10. Safety goggles – Like a stud finder, you don’t need safety goggles, but it’s not a bad idea if you value your eyeballs.

11. Pliers – This tool is great for gripping things you don’t want your fingers to (like when you’re soldering), and bending things you don’t have the muscle to do yourself.

12. Wrenches – Good for tightening (or loosening) nuts, bolts, pipes, and more.

13. Plunger – A plunger is one of those must-have tools that you really should have before you actually need it. Trust me.

14. Ladder and step stool – Besides the obvious uses – to get in the attic, on the roof, etc. – a step stool or ladder is good to have for less-obvious reasons too, like when the smoke alarm is screaming over the toast you burnt, or your mother-in-law somehow notices all the dust accumulating on the blades of your ceiling fan.

Other Must-Have Tools for Basic Home Repairs

Do you have any home improvement tools you couldn’t imagine getting by without? Leave a comment to let us know what your must-have tools are!

Image Credit: Robert S. Donovan

Top 10 Tips on Spring Cleaning the Home

Tips on Spring Cleaning the Home

It might be hard to imagine blossoming flowers, baby animals, and sunshine when we’re buried under a crap-load of snow, but fret not, spring is just around the corner. It really is. I swear.  And like the critters who awaken from their winter slumber feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, you may want to slither, crawl, or walk your way to the cupboard full of cleaning supplies to give your cave … erm … home the tidy it desperately needs to help you feel revitalised. To help get you started, here are some of the best tips on spring cleaning the home.

1. Make a list. Before you start your spring cleaning, you should first sit down and make a list. Divide your list into groups, each group covering a room in your house. You can take it even further and prioritize each task within each group so you tackle the most important first.  When something on the list has been accomplished, cross it off. Having a list will help you remember what needs to be done so nothing is overlooked (and it will feel good to see the list get shorter!).

2. Do one room at a time. You’ll get more accomplished if you take on one room at a time rather than doing bits and pieces here and there.

3. Don’t take it all on yourself. Make sure you get everyone in the family pitching in. Once you make your list, have everyone choose a certain number of chores from that list to do. Put the list on the refrigerator so everyone has access to it to cross off their jobs when they’re done.  If you have small children, check out Ideas for Chore Charts & Awesome Free Chore Chart Downloads for additional ideas.

4. Don’t procrastinate. It’s easy to put off spring cleaning; after all, there are hundreds of other – more fun – things to do! But if you don’t designate some time for spring cleaning, the chores will never get done. Figure out what works best for you and your family, whether it’s 30 minutes each evening or 2 hours each Saturday morning. Set aside time and stick to it until everything is crossed off your list.

5. Make sure you have everything you need before you start. And keep it all together. It’ll be too easy to procrastinate if you don’t have all the supplies you need beforehand. Make sure you have all the essential cleaning supplies and keep them in a pail so the supplies can be easily carried from room to room.

6. Dust everything. Think ceiling fans, light bulbs, blinds and shutters …

7. Wash the windows inside and out. Now is the perfect time to wash the outside of your windows.

8. Organize. Follow these home organization tips to get rid of clutter.

9. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors. When was the last time you changed the batteries in your smoke detectors? If it was more than 6 months to a year ago, it’s time to put fresh ones in. It’s also a good time to vacuum the dust from them and test to make sure they’re working correctly.

10. Pull out the appliances. Do you know what’s living under your fridge? How about your stove? Spring cleaning should include pulling out all your appliances – including the washing machine and dryer – and washing under them and the walls behind them.

More tips on spring cleaning the home

What do spring cleaning and home staging have in common? Both try to get your home looking its best. Check out these home staging tips and techniques for additional tips on spring cleaning the home.

On a tight budget? These home improvement tips will provide you with great ideas, all which can be done for under $100.

Do you have tips on spring cleaning the home? Leave a comment to let us know!

What’s On Your Bucket List?

Skydiving with MHB

We’re helping our clients cross things off their bucket list!

When we do a final walkthrough with our clients, we hand them their keys and a unique housewarming gift: 2 skydiving tickets. That’s right. Forget the basket of fruit or the scented potpourri, “The Martell Experience” goes beyond your wildest expectations.

We recently received an email from one of our happy clients, Tim McEwen, that we wanted to share:

Hi Pierre,

Thanks for the skydiving tickets. What a rush yesterday! I still can’t believe I went, but it definitely was a blast. It was so ironic to get tickets the very next day after Deanne was sharing her bucket list items with me. At the time she mentioned it, I was like, “Good for you, have fun with that cuz it’s definitely NOT on my bucket list!”

The funny thing is, I’m a little claustrophobic and have an issue with heights, so this was WAY out of the box for me, but after getting the tickets the very next day, it just had to be done! The strange thing was, I wasn’t nervous at all, not even butterflies. I was the first one out of the plane and thoroughly enjoyed the ride! So thanks so much for the opportunity to experience it!

The whole experience of building a home with you guys has been outstanding. I’m very, very pleased with the house and skydiving brought an entirely new meaning to “The Martell Experience” for me. Outstanding! Thanks again!

Best Regards,


Thanks Tim! We’re ecstatic you enjoyed skydiving and managed to come out of it with clean drawers.

MHB Blog readers: what’s on your bucket list? Leave a comment to let us know!