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Spend your summer in New Mexico

by The Schnoor Team


There’s always a reason to celebrate in New Mexico.

Lavender, flamenco, river-rafting, Native dancers, 50-foot-tall puppets being lit on fire — these events show off the best of summer in the Land of Enchantment. (And, yes, there will even be pie.)
Lavender in the Village

July 20 - 21
The 13th annual Lavender Festival returns with live music, free yoga classes, a kids camp, wellness seminars, cooking demonstrations, and 70 artisans offering everything from lavender bouquets to lavender paintings, pies, spices, lotions, beer, and wine. A perfect day for lavender lovers of all ages.  Lavender in the Village

Time: 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. 
Where: Agri-Nature Center at Village of Los Ranchos, NM 

Source: "Spend your summer in New Mexico"

Haunted New Mexico

by The Schnoor Team

With its rich Wild West history, New Mexico has no shortage of fodder for ghost stories, and no shortage of great places to haunt. If gadding with ghouls is your idea of a fine vacation, we've got a digest of all of the Land of Enchantment's most haunted stops.

Albuquerque:

Hotel Parq Central- Visitors to Albuquerque’s high-end Hotel Parq Central and its Instagram-worthy rooftop cocktail lounge, Apothecary, might not be aware of its history as a location for haunted happenings. Before it was overhauled and made into luxe accommodations, the building spent decades as a hospital and psychiatric facility. It’s not just recent visitors who’ve seen ghostly apparitions, either. Former patients of the hospital claim that during their stays, they experienced disembodied voices, objects being moved by unseen forces, and a feeling of constantly being watched. To this day, visitors often have the feeling of being watched, too, and a group of ghost hunters supposedly communicated with the spirit of a former patient using a flashlight. Grab a drink, book a room, and keep your eyes and ears peeled!

KiMo Theater-  One of the state’s most famous haunted locations, the story of the ghost that supposedly dwells in the KiMo Theater reads like something straight out of a scary movie. In 1951, a water heater exploded in the theater, killing several people, including a six-year-old named Bobby. His ghost is a poltergeist, a spirit that likes to cause mischief. It’s tradition for performers at the KiMo to leave Bobby a small gift or treat — often donuts — to earn his affection and trust so he doesn’t interfere with their performance. He supposedly messes with the electricity, opens and closes doors repeatedly, and drops cables and other equipment from the ceiling in order to distract the performers and make them forget their lines. Are these stories true, and is there really a poltergeist that haunts the historic theater? We chatted with Larry Parker, the general manager of the KiMo Theater, to hear his take — spoiler alert: He’s not a believer. 

Cimarron:

St. James Hotel- Built by Henry Lambert in 1872, the St. James Hotel was the backdrop for numerous shootouts during its Wild West days — it still boasts the evidence in its dining room ceiling where 22 bullets are still wedged. It's located in the heart of Cimarron, 40 miles south of Ratón on N.M. 62. Train robber Blackjack Ketchum, and outlaws Jesse James, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Billy the Kid stayed in the hotel during its heyday, and today, you can stay in rooms named for these famous guests. It is said to be the location of more than 26 murders, and the victims supposedly wander the hotel. In fact, room 18 — supposedly haunted by the spirit of T.J. Wright, a gambler who was murdered after a winning hand — remains un-booked as though he, or his ghost, were still staying there today.

Chama:

Foster's Hotel- The Wild West is still alive and well through the wanderings of three ghosts said to frequent this rugged hotel, saloon, and restaurant in Chama. Guests have reported hearing the sound of a woman — said to be a frontier judge who was poisoned in the hotel when several local men took offense to her leadership position — choking and gasping for breath. Across the hall, hotel staff has heard a small girl's cries. They believe they are from the ghost of a youth who died there of an illness more than 100 years ago. The specter of a cowboy is also said to wander the hotel's halls. Pair these events with other mysterious sightings, and this hotel, which is located directly across the street from the famed Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, and you'll have plenty to investigate during your next ghost hunt.

Haunted Clayton:

A visit to northeastern New Mexico is a must for amateur ghost hunters. Free of charge and open Tuesday through Saturday as well as by appointment, the Herzstein Museum is a must-see for history buffs, with exhibits focusing on the Santa Fe Trail and the Dust Bowl as well as rooms restored to look how they did in eras gone by. Even more intriguing? Confirmed ghost activity! In March of 2018, a crew of paranormal research investigators spent time in town and discovered strange, unexplained noises such as stairs rattling with no one walking on them and poltergeists knocking objects over. In addition to the museum, the group also noted ghost activity at the town’s movie theater and courthouse. If you’re in town, the museum proprietors will give you a personalized tour.

Hotel Eklund- Next on the list? The Hotel Eklund. Experience paranormal activity for yourself if you stay in room 307, which according to local legend is haunted by the ghost of a maid named Irene. Visitors claim to hear creaking floorboards and that faces are visible in the wallpaper. Even if you’re not interested in the creepy aspects of the hotel, you won’t be disappointed if you stay. Authentic and traditional architecture, especially present in the old dining room and saloon, will transport you straight back in time to the Wild West.

Blackjack Ketchum- Clayton’s other claim to fame? It’s the final resting place of New Mexico’s other famous outlaw, Blackjack Ketchum. If you’ve already visited Billy the Kid’s gravesite in Fort Sumner, you’ll want to cross this one off your Wild West bucket list: A famous train robber, he was hanged in 1901 – the last official hanging in New Mexico (it occurred before New Mexico became a state). Legend has it that during the hanging, he was decapitated. If you visit the local cemetery, it’s easy to find his grave. At the time, the cemetery was divided between Catholics and Protestants, and neither group wanted to Blackjack’s remains in their half… so he’s buried in a median on the dirt path that snakes its way through the cemetery.

Cloudcroft:

The Lodge Resort & Spa- Originally constructed as a stopover for the Alamogordo and Sacramento Mountain Railway, The Lodge burned to the ground in the early 1900s. During the quaint chalet's heyday, Rebecca, a strikingly beautiful chambermaid with red hair, was murdered when her jealousy-stricken lumberjack suitor found her in the arms of another man. Today, The Lodge's "friendly," though mischievous, ghost has been said to wander the halls: moving furniture, flicking lights on and off, and spontaneously igniting fires in fireplaces. Some believe Rebecca is searching for a new lover or friend who would appreciate her playful nature. The cozy mountain retreat, located 20 miles east of Alamogordo, is ideal for curling up with a book by the fire during the winter, and striking out for a golf game at The Lodge's course during the summer. During your visit, don't miss a hearty meal at their restaurant — named after their favorite friendly ghost.

Dawson:

Dawson Cemetery- Dawson was once a coal mining town close to Cimarron, and throughout the beginning of the 20th century, it prospered. Sadly, an accident led to its tragic end. In 1913, an explosion at the mine killed more than 250 men, making it one of the worst coal mining disasters in American history. Another disaster took the lives of 123 miners in 1923, and now all that remains of the town is a cemetery. It’s got a reputation as one of the most haunted places in New Mexico, and for good reason. Visitors who are brave enough to explore the cemetery at night have reported back with strange findings. Some have seen lights, reminiscent of those on the front of mining helmets, and some have even seen ghostly apparitions wandering among the headstones.

Las Cruces:

Dona Ana County Courthouse & Jail- Ghost Adventures, a popular paranormal show on the Travel Channel, helped put this southern New Mexico building in the national spotlight where paranormal activity is concerned. Built in 1937, this courthouse is no longer in use, but remains an attraction due to its reputation as a hotbed of paranormal happenings. The location of many deaths over the years, the building has been unused since 2008. Ghost hunters and paranormal investigators have made a point to stop in, and some say they’ve encountered an unknown, violent entity. In addition, shadowy apparitions have been seen, and people have also reported feeling cold spots in the building, a surefire sign of ghost activity according to believers. Other creepy occurrences? A repeat visitor to the site states that he has been scratched by an invisible hand and has witnessed a jail cell door closing on its own.

The Amador Hotel- Built in 1866, the Amador Hotel is a popular Las Cruces ghost tour stop. During tours, guests have reported seeing shadowy figures lurking in the hallways, flashlights turning on and off mysteriously and having their arms scratched. Some say it’s the work of the ghost of a little girl named Annie, who frequents the rooms on the second floor.

Las Vegas:

Plaza Hotel- Nestled in the lush green forests and fields about an hour north of Santa Fe, Las Vegas is a picturesque town that’s been featured in movies and TV shows like Red Dawn, No Country for Old Men, Easy Rider, and Longmire. It also boasts another claim to fame, one that’s a bit creepier and one you can experience for yourself if you book a room. The Plaza Hotel, built in 1882, has an illustrious history with a dash of the paranormal. It’s said to be haunted by the ghost of its past owner, Byron T. Wells. The hotel’s restaurant and bar is even named after him! If you’re feeling especially brave, book Room 310. It was Byron’s office, and to this day, hotel guests sometimes claim to feel his presence.

Los Lunas:

The Luna Mansion- A visit to Valencia County just isn’t complete without a tour of the Luna Mansion. Built in the 1880s, it’s a unique building, being the only known Victorian-style structure made of traditional adobe. It was built as a gift from the Santa Fe Railway in exchange for access through the extensive land holdings of the Luna and Otero families, and visitors today, who often come to experience the site’s rich history and delicious restaurant, are surprised by the sight of a ghost. The ghost is supposedly that of Josefita Otero, who died during renovations to the mansion in 1951. Since she left so much unfinished business, she’s said to still be hanging around. Her spirit is often seen sitting in her rocking chair or walking up and down the mansion’s expansive staircase.


Mesilla:

Double Eagle Restaurant - Built in 1849, the location has seen its fair share of unfortunate events over the years. It was the site of a brutal double homicide in the 19th century, and supposedly the ghosts of the victims still reside inside the room in which they were killed. Known today as the Carlotta Room, visitors today can see it for themselves, although they’re encouraged not to sit in the corner chairs so that they don’t upset the ghosts. Those who’ve encountered the ghosts say that they’re not malevolent spirits, but instead are similar to mischievous, prankster-esque poltergeists. They’re fond of moving tables and chairs and breaking wine glasses. Not into the paranormal? No problem. The Double Eagle is worth a visit for the food alone. Top-quality steaks and must-try margaritas are on the menu.

Santa Fe:

La Fonda- With a history that dates back almost to the City Different's founding 400 years ago, it's no wonder that the inn is fraught with tales of the paranormal. In 1857, an unfortunate gambler found himself truly out of luck when a lynch mob took him from the gambling hall and hung him in the hotel's backyard. Today, this patio has been enclosed and is the site of the hotel’s La Plazuela restaurant. Rumor has it that guests have seen what appears to be the shadow of a man swinging from a tree while dining there. Ten years later, territorial justice was transplanted from the courthouse to La Fonda's lobby when the Honorable John P. Slough, Chief Justice of the Territorial Supreme Court, was shot there. Guests claim they have sighted the judge, in his long black coat, wandering the hotel today. A young bride, who was murdered on her wedding night by a jealous ex-lover, is also said to haunt the wedding suite. The hotel, which is located at the end of the Santa Fe Trail, is an icon of Santa Fe-style inside and out, with its Southwestern décor and multi-tiered adobe exterior. During your stay, stop in the hotel bar for a late-night drink—the ghost of a cowboy might just pull up a barstool next to you.

La Posada Hotel- In 1882, a prosperous merchant named Abraham Staab built his three-story brick mansion in the French Second Empire-style on property that now belongs to La Posada. Abraham and his wife, Julia, entertained Santa Fe society in the grand residence decorated with the finest European materials. Legend has it that Julia Staab has never left it. Julia has most often appeared at the top of the grand staircase in the original building in the main complex of the inn. However, she has also been seen in the Nason Room, a small alcove built upon the old formal gardens of the original structure. So, why does Julia Staab linger? Some say that ghosts appear when death occurs in a state of turmoil and anxiety, such as the circumstances that seemed to attend Mrs. Staab’s final years. Depressed over the loss of a child and other unsuccessful pregnancies, Julia Staab was rumored to have gone mad, retreating to her bedroom until her death at age 52. In recent years, her alleged spirit has been the subject of many ghost tours, an episode of Unsolved Mysteries, and Weird Travels. The Staab House stands today in the form of a bar, where guests of La Posada enjoy cocktails and light Southwestern fare. Some have even reported meeting the grand lady.

Source: "Haunted New Mexico"


Your Inner Child Will Love These Creative Ways to Organize

by The Schnoor Team

There are 5 personality and organization types. Find the one that fits you.

Being organized isn’t about putting everything into a beautiful, new organization system— it’s about how well you’re able to maintain it.

And it’s your psyche that determines that. Find creative ways to organize your home by choosing a strategy that fits you. Which of the five personalities are you?

The Pile Maker

If you like everything out and visible, you’re likely a creative, right-brained sort, says Beth Randall, a professional organizer and speaker.

The piles on your desk make sense only to you (well, until they don’t), and you get energized and inspired by the visual stimulus of stuff.

Strategy: Keep your stuff in view and organized with open-face organizers that have a place for everything in plain sight.

Tips:

  • Store your jewelry on a corkboard covered with fabric, using push pins to create a work of art, Randall suggests.
  • Stash items in clear bins or cubbies that don’t cut off your view of the contents, like an over-the-door shoe organizer with clear sleeves.
  • Take a moment every couple of weeks to look at your desk and countertops and purge or put away clutter.
  • Rather than plopping your paperwork in one big pile on your desk, use paper organizers or shelf dividers that only allow about six or seven inches of clearance per shelf, recommends professional organizer Thalia Poulos. Then, use labels as your new visual trigger. This can work in entryways for mail, in kitchens for recipes, or anywhere papers start to pile up.
  • Pegboards: Put ‘em everywhere. Pegboards give you customizable, highly visual storage in the garage, office, closets, bedrooms, kitchens — pretty much anywhere. To accommodate your creative brain, space out your hooks enough so you’re not limited to one configuration where everything fits.

The Minimalist

You like everything to have its place — and that place is out of sight. You find nothing more restorative than a tidy, minimalist space. But life happens, and you’ve been known to “stash and dash” and forget where you put things. And sometimes you pitch something you end up needing later on.

Strategy: You need behind-the-scenes systems that are convenient and efficient.

Tips:

  • Go virtual: You can ditch all that paper. Use an app for your to-do and grocery lists, and use scanning software (or a simple snap of your phone!) to turn any paperwork into a digital file.
  • Make it easy to quickly put stuff away with personalized classification systems, recommends Cena Block, a productivity expert and former professional organizer. From clothes to craft supplies, and from bins to drawers, group things the way your gut tells you to: by size, function, alphabet — whatever. The less thinking you have to do, the fewer “stash and dash” mishaps you’ll make.
  • Organize your organization: Think drawer sorters, hanging file cabinets, closet systems, or even ice-cube trays for jewelry drawers.
  • Have storage options where you need them that match the function of each space — like cubbies under the front stairs for shoes or rolling bins under your bed for sheets.

The Designer

Sure, you want your stuff to be organized, but if it doesn’t please the senses, you’re not gonna use it. That sometimes leads to more Pinterest-browsing and project-dreaming than actual organizing.

Strategy: You need organization options that look good —but are super-functional, too.

Tips:

  • Use woven baskets or wood boxes, rather than plastic bins, to organize items around the house.
  • In the office, rely on color-coded file folders, Poulos says.
  • Keep a beautiful notebook for jotting down your to-dos. An app simply won’t give you that tactile satisfaction you crave.
  • Use color-coordinated hangers to group ensembles together in your closet, Poulos suggests.
  • Include artwork among items you’re storing on shelves, or even on pegboards, to make even the most utilitarian spaces a delight to use.

The Collector

You see a lot of value in things. Sometimes too much value. You have a hard time deciding when to let go, which makes clutter control an endless challenge.

Strategy: Maximize your storage space, and keep things away enough to avoid clutter but close enough to appreciate the value your things add to your life. Also, regularly chip away at your collection where possible.

Tips:

  • You love your stuff. So before a quarterly purge, pick a charity or friend who could use some of your non-essentials. Loving your stuff’s next home can help get it out of yours.
  • Display your favorite things a few at a time, rotating them in and out of storage. It will make you feel like you have more stuff and will cut down on the clutter.
  • Set limits on how many of any one item you can have, whether it’s shoes or spatulas, Randall says. For magazines or catalogs, for example, give yourself one basket or bin. When it’s full, it’s time to pitch.
  • Use every cubic foot in your home with nice-looking, built-in, floor-to-ceiling storage systems. It’ll give you more storage space and keeps the things you love nearby and accessible, even when they’re put away.

The Speeding Train

You’re constantly moving from one location, appointment, or task to the next. Who’s got time for reading every email or finding a hanger for your coat? But man, you can leave a mess in your wake!

Strategy: Keep home organization solutions simple, flexible, and (most importantly) right in your path.

Tips:

  • Use simplified systems. Store any documents (physical or digital) you may eventually need in a single 12-folder system - one for every month of the year. Then conduct just one yearly purge, Randall suggests.
  • Systems that will work for you are those that don’t require much of a pause — like hooks for jackets, bins for shoes, and open cubes for, well, anything, Poulos says.
  • Because you’re always on the move, daily items like your keys often get lost in your dust. So create rituals around stashing these essentials in an in/out station, right where it’s most convenient to drop them.
  • Always keep a donation box by the door. When you don’t have to stop and find a trash bag or bin, you’ll be that much more likely to get rid of something.

Source: "Your Inner Child Will Love These Creative Ways to Organize"

 

Santa Rosa Lake State Park

by The Schnoor Team

This reservoir on the plains of eastern New Mexico offers fishing, boating, camping and hiking, as well as abundant bird watching opportunities. Equestrians are welcome at the Los Tanos Campground. 

 

 

Source: "Santa Rosa Lake State Park"

 

7 Genius Entryway Storage Ideas to Get You Out the Door Faster

by The Schnoor Team

Creating personalized bins is a good start.

It’s so easy (and so unfair) how quickly your entryway can go from clean to chaos — and that chaos makes trying to get out the door brutal.

Think of all that time wasted hunting for your keys and umbrella, or digging through a pile of coats to find the one you need. Five minutes spent searching for stuff each morning becomes 35 minutes a week, or more than 30 hours a year!

Corralling your clutter can feel overwhelming, but with the right mindset and a few clever hacks, your entryway can be what helps you get out of the house on time — not what slows you down.

Here are seven ideas to help you out:

#1 Personalize Buckets

How do those hats and gloves end up all over the entryway? Half the time, it happens when someone tosses them aside while searching for their own stuff. That’s why separating each person’s storage space is so ingenious.

“Susie has her own basket, Tommy has his own basket,” says professional organizer Yve Irish. Assigning space and responsibility to each individual family member saves you — and your kids — time digging through other people’s belongings.

You don’t need a huge closet to do this — even little baskets in an inexpensive Ikea shelving unit can do the trick.

Irish recommends pairing a storage system with training to make personalized buckets work: “Teach your children to return items to their basket when they come home,” she says. “You want to make sure that happens and they get into the habit.”

#2 Hang Your Purses and Bags

Digging through a forest of coats to find the right purse for your outfit is a hassle. It’s also not great to shove your bags onto a cluttered closet shelf or (ugh) pile them on the floor — a practice some believe is bad luck. There’s a feng shui saying, “A purse on the floor is money out the door.” So hang your bags from the closet rod using S-hooks instead.

Lacking a closet? If your walls are less than five feet apart, you can install a tension rod between them. Or choose a decorative wall shelf with hooks.

No matter how you hang them, do a purse purge first to avoid creating a handbag jungle. Keep that oversized bag you only pull out for special occasions tucked out of the way.

#3 Create a Charging Station

While you might charge your primary smartphone overnight by your bedside, creating a charging station in your entryway can save valuable time, especially if you have a work phone or use the kids’ tablets for car rides. When they’re always charging in the same spot, you won’t waste time in the morning hunting down chargers.

Assemble tech storage using assigned baskets with neatly-organized cords, or go big with a built-in. At organization blog “A Bowl Full of Lemons,” a cabinet with plugs inside was installed in the mudroom to serve as a neat home for laptops, tablets, and smartphones, which all charge up inside.

#4 Install an Information Station

Papers can be pernicious devils, accumulating in ugly piles, blocking surfaces, and creating stress. Cut off the problem at its head with an information station, starting with a customized paper organizer on the wall.

“We had an extreme amount of clutter,” says Aniko Levai, the blogger behind “Place of My Taste.” As part of a grand entryway remodel, she created a wall organizer to keep papers and small items out of the way.

The process is simple enough for even the newest DIYer. Levai created the organizer by combining painted wood, fabric, a few small hooks, and a $15 wall magazine rack from Ikea.

But not all paper needs to be saved, and mail-sorting procrastination is the stuff cluttered entryways are made of. Setting up your recycling center near your entryway — in the closet or a free corner — can turn paper sorting into a quick, easy to-do task every time you walk in the door.

If you have the space, add a shredder into the mix or add a whiteboard for reminders.

#5 Add Lots of Shoe Storage

Step into any big box home store and you’ll find two dozen shoe storage options, from stackable organizers to hanging canvas cubbies. The perfect option for you is a matter of taste and space, but let’s be serious: However many shoe cubbies you think your family should need, the truth is probably three times that amount. That’s why we’re partial to this clever solution from Sara Davis, who transformed an old wooden mail sorter — found at a local antique shop — into a gorgeous, 45-slot shoe cubby.

While antique mail sorters may not be available everywhere, you can create your own by converting a bookshelf or cabinet, bundling cut PVC piping into handmade cubbies, or buying a large shoe cubby. Davis’ solution is perfect for her long, thin mudroom, which is 17 feet long, but only five feet wide.

“It’s hard to miss, so it’s a great reminder for the kids to take off their shoes,” Davis says.

#6 Assign Lockers

Industrial-style decor is in — take advantage of the trend in your entryway by installing lockers. (Yes, we mean the aluminum models your kids use at school.)

While not ideal for a super-small entryway, lockers can instantly triple your storage space if you have the room, as each one has hooks on three surfaces, as well as shelving. Even better, install short tension rods and use S-hooks for even more hanging storage.

And they provide plenty of room for creative decoration. You can paint them to match a variety of decor.

#7 Make a Station for Wet, Muddy Footwear

Your entryway is always one of the first victims of nasty weather. Is it a rainy autumn? Say hello to a puddle of dirty leaves. Winter? Snow boots can leave the entire room soaking and soiled.

Weather-safe storage solutions can be the key difference between an unorganized mess and a pristine entryway. The biggest culprit is shoes. While a mat can go a long way toward preserving the cleanliness of your entrance, you’ll need to develop a plan for storing boots — without them dripping everywhere.

Try this DIY solution: Line the bottom of a chest with a mud tray, and then fill the tray with a layer of river rocks. The rocks allow the water to drain away from the soggy boots so they’ll be ready to use the next morning — and the whole process is hidden away inside the chest.

Source: "7 Genius Entryway Storage Ideas to Get You Out the Door Faster"

 

5 ‘Gotta-Dos’ In April for a Worry-Free Summer

by The Schnoor Team

 

Battle bugs before they bite (or sting!) you — and check the attic for problems.

Tackling five simple tasks now gives you a head start on spring.

That leaves you plenty of worry-free time to enjoy the warmer weather.

#1 Tell Insects to Bug Off

Early spring warmth awakens insects, so start to protect your home now. Seal openings in eaves, decks, and other structures to keep out carpenter bees.

Nix mosquitoes by eliminating standing water or treating it with larvicide. Call a pro to destroy wasp and yellow jacket nests, unless you’re experienced enough to engage in a bee battle.

#2 Prep Tools for Lawn Care

Ladies and gentlemen, start your mowers. April’s the month to get this vital piece of equipment ready to roll. An unmaintained machine can cost money, slow you down, and leave your lawn vulnerable to disease. So, before you pull the starter rope:

Replace spark plugs and the air filter.

Change the oil and sharpen blades.

Fill the tank with fresh gasoline.

While you’ve got your gloves on, clean, sharpen, and repair your garden tools. When your azaleas are ready to prune, you’re not going to want to keep them waiting.

#3 Tune Up the Air Conditioner

With flip-flop weather comes another summer tradition: cranking up the air conditioning. Tune your AC in April, before the mercury and service rates rise.

Ask your HVAC company if they have a twice-a-year maintenance plan. Often, you can get discounted rates if you join, and you don’t have to worry about finding someone to do it each spring and fall.

Now you only have to worry about which pair of Havaianas to wear.

#4 Check the Attic (and Garage)

How long has it been since you looked in the attic? Yeah, us too.

April’s the time to inspect this oft-ignored space — before it gets too hot. Look for signs of animal activity (raccoons love attics), and repair or replace damaged insulation or wiring.

Ensure stored items are still secure; tighten container lids and dust covers and replace moth repellants.

While we’re talking storage, how’s the garage? If soccer balls, bikes, and luggage have taken prime parking space, regain control with a storage system. Your car (and your partner) will thank you.

#5 Clean Up Bird Feeders

Besides spreading diseases to birds, dirty bird feeders attract rodents and hurt curb appeal. Gross.

Give your bird feeders a deep clean — not just a rinse-out.

Empty them, take them apart, and wash with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts hot water. Rinse well to remove all traces of bleach, air dry, and refill with seed.

Clean under feeders, too, because moldy or spoiled seed on the ground can make pets sick. Don’t forget the bird bath.

A pretty yard that’s a healthy haven for birds makes a good impression — one that says “this is a well-cared-for home.”


Source: http://pexels.com/search/home organization/

KELLEY WALTERS

is a Southern writer and editor. She focuses on interior design and home improvement at outlets from HGTV to Paintzen. She lives in Italy a month every year, drinking Negronis and writing in internet cafes.

5 Awesomely Easy Landscaping Projects

by The Schnoor Team

 

It’s your yard — yours to do with as you wish. And while that’s great, that doesn’t mean you have to be one of those people who spends every spare moment in their yard, sprucing it up.

But, still, your landscaping could use a little something. But something easy.

Here are five totally doable projects that your budget will barely notice, but your neighbors definitely will:

#1 Add Some (Tough) Edging

Tell your grass who’s boss with edging that can stand up to even the crabbiest of all crabgrasses.

But don’t make the mistake that many homeowners make of buying the flexible plastic stuff, thinking it will be easier to install. It’ll look cheap and amateurish from day one.

Worse, it won’t last. And before you know it, you won’t be able to tell where your garden bed ends and your “lawn” begins.

Instead buy the more rigid, tough stuff in either fiberglass, aluminum, or steel.

Tips on installing edging:

Lay out a hose in the pattern you want.

Sprinkle flour or powdered chalk to mark the hose pattern.

Use a lawn edger (or spade) to make an incision for the edging.

Tap the edging into the incision with a rubber mallet.

The cost? Mostly your time, and up to $2.50 a square foot for the edging.

#2 Create a Focal Point with a Berm

Berm built in front yardImage: Jon Jenks-Bauer

A berm is a mound of gently sloping earth, often created to help with drainage. You can also build them to create “island beds,” a focal point of textures and colors that are so much more interesting than plain ol’ green grass.

Plus, they’ll give you privacy — and diffuse street noises. What’s not to like about that? Especially if you live in more urban areas.

For most yards, berms should max out at 2-feet high because of the space needed to properly build one.

They need a ratio of 4-6 feet of width for every foot of height. That’s at least 8 feet for a typical 2-foot high berm. So be sure you have the room, or decrease the height of your berm.

Popular berm plantings include:

Flowering bushes, such as azaleas

Evergreens, such as blue spruce

Perennials such as periwinkle

Tall, swaying prairie grasses

Lots of mulch to keep weeds away

The cost?  Usually less than $300, depending on how big you make it, how much soil you need to buy to get to your desired height, and what plants you choose.


#3 Make a Flagstone Wall

Aim to build a wall no more than 12 inches tall, and it becomes a super simple DIY project — no mortar needed at all!   

How to build an easy flagstone wall:

Dig a trench a couple of inches deep and wide enough to accommodate the flagstones.

Fill with pea gravel and/or sand and tamp to make level.

Lay out the flagstones to see their shapes and sizes.

Stack the smaller stones first.

Save the largest, prettiest flagstones for the top layer.

Backfill with gravel.

Choose a stone of consistent thickness. Flagstone might be limestone, sandstone, shale — any rock that splits into slabs.

The cost? About $300 for stones and sand (a ton of 2-inch-thick stone is enough for a wall 10 feet long and 12 inches high).

 #4 Install a Path with Flagstone or Gravel

There’s something romantic, charming, and simply welcoming about a meandering pathway to your front door or back garden — which means it has super-huge impact when it comes to your home’s curb appeal.

You can use flagstone, pea gravel, decomposed or crushed granite, even poured concrete (although that’s not easy to DIY).

A few tips for building a pathway:

Allow 3 feet of width for clearance.

Create curves rather than straight lines for a pleasing effect.

Remove sod at least 3 to 4 inches deep to keep grass from coming back.

If you live in an area with heavy rains, opt for large, heavy stones.

The cost? Anywhere from a couple of hundred bucks to upwards of $500 depending on the material you use, with decomposed granite being the least expensive, and flagstone (also the easiest of the bunch to install) the costliest.

#5 Build a Tree Surround

Stone tree surroundImage: Clean Green Landscape

Installing a masonry surround for a tree is a two-fer project: It looks great, and it means you’ve got less to mow. Come to think of it, it’s a three-fer. It can work as extra seating when you have your lawn party, too!

All it takes is digging a circular trench, adding some sand, and installing brick, cement blocks, or stone. Just go for whatever look you like best.

The trickiest part is getting an even circle around the tree. Here’s how:

Tie a rope around the tree, making a loop big enough so that when you pull it taut against the tree, the outer edge of the loop is right where you want the surround to be.

Set your spade inside the loop with the handle plumb — straight up and down. Now, as you move around the tree, the loop of rope keeps the spade exactly the same distance from the base of the tree, creating a nice circle.

Then build the tree surround:

Dig out a circular trench about 8 inches deep and 6 inches wide.

Add a layer of sand.

Set bricks at an angle for a saw-tooth effect or lay them end-to-end.

Fill the surround with 2 to 3 inches of mulch.

The cost? Super cheap. You can do it for less than $25 with commonly-available pavers and stones.

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/by-room/yard-patio/easy-landscaping-projects/?site_ref=mosaic

 

Celebrating Earth Day Begins at Home

by The Schnoor Team

Happy Earth Day! There are many ways to green up your life, but many of the most important improvements you can make are right in your own home.

We’ve searched the Internet for offers, contests, and tips for making your home a greener place—not just on Earth Day, but every day.

Recycle bank’s Green Your Home Challenge: Log on to this online challenge, which asks you to complete green actions around your home. The more actions you complete, the more points you earn. You even get bonus points for referring friends to the contest. At the end of the contest, a grand prize winner will win a green home kitchen makeover, complete with brand-new Energy Star-qualified appliances. Smaller prizes will be awarded to 10 first-place winners and 100 second-place winners.

Lowe’s Earth Day giveaway: The home-improvement chain is celebrating Earth Day by giving away 1 million trees on Saturday, April 23. Show up early to get your sapling.

Home builder company giveaway: Today, KB Home street teams, festooned in green, at select locations will be handing out vouchers, which you can redeem for a $10 gift card. Through Sunday, April 24, at KB Home communities, you also can enter a sweepstakes to win a $2,500 cash prize. All Energy Star-qualified homes built by KB Home now come with an energy performance guide that estimates that home’s average monthly energy cost.

Facebook’s A Billion Acts of Green: Pledge to do your part by announcing your green activity of choice through social media. This Facebook page lets you commit to your choice of green acts, such as eliminating toxic cleaning products, changing to CFLs or LEDs for home lighting, and/or getting a home energy audit. 

Earth911 offers tips on spring cleaning your garage: Follow these tips for staying organized, motivated, and eco-conscious while cleaning out a notoriously grungy and not-so-green part of your home. 

Earth911 also has ideas for reusing items in your garden: Learn how to use a few common household items that could easily end up in a landfill to help your garden flourish.

Finally, The Greenists offer a simple tip for greening up all facets of your life: Use less. See how many opportunities you can find around your home to put this simple idea into practice:

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/save-money-add-value/save-on-utilities/celebrating-earth-day-begins-home/

COURTNEY CRAIG
is an Atlanta-based writer and editor. She believes no effort is too small when it comes to green living, which she tries to keep in mind while renovating her recently purchased first home. 

Spring Cleaning Guide If You Love, Love, LOVE Houseplants

by The Schnoor Team

An outdoor shower and dirt massage will do wonders.

You like having a clean house, and you LOVE having a green house. But a trail of dead leaves on the floor isn’t a good look no matter what.

This plan will help keep your home clean and green, while helping your plants stay healthy, too.

Give Plants a Spring Check-Up

Use a magnifying glass to check for bugs. Look for the marks they leave, like scarring, a cotton-like “fluff,” or webbing. (Hint: The undersides of leaves are a favorite hiding spot.) A few applications of a standard houseplant insecticide should take care of the critters.

Trim yellow and dead leaves. ”Aesthetically, plants look nicer without dead or dying leaves,” says Liza Wheeler, an “interior landscaping artist.” And creating a clean, green slate will make it easier to spot new problems as they arise, she says.

Massage the dirt to break it up. “The soil can get kind of cruddy from watering, so breaking it up makes it look cleaner,” Wheeler says. “It also helps aerate the soil slightly.”

Give them an outdoor shower. A little fresh air and a drizzly spring day — or a gentle spray from the hose — will help plants shake off the dust and cobwebs of winter. Don’t forget to wipe off the saucers and exteriors of pots.

Clean the Areas in Your Home That Your Plants Cover Up

Moisture and dirt can find their way out of pots and onto your floor, countertop, or shelf.

While your plants are drying outside after their shower,

clean the spots where they sit, checking for any damage, which could be caused by a cracked pot. Also clean any walls and baseboards that your greenery hides.

Clean the Windows

Crystal-clear windows allow more sunlight to reach plant leaves, fostering photosynthesis and respiration, freshening your indoor air. Besides clean windows make the entire home feel fresh and bright.

Organize Your Plant Supplies and Tools

Make lovin’ on your plants easier with some simple organizing solutions:

  • Do some organizing and purging to clear space in a cabinet or on a shelf to keep all your supplies together and easily accessible.
  • Stow frequently used items like a spray bottle and fertilizer in an easy-to-carry cleaning caddy.

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/cleaning-decluttering/house-plant-care/?site_ref=mosaic

AMY HOWELL HIRT

has written about home design for 13 years. Her work has been published by outlets including “The Home Depot,” “USA Today,” and Yahoo! Homes. She previously served as home and garden writer and columnist for “The Cincinnati Enquirer.”

5 ‘Gotta-Dos’ In April for a Worry-Free Summer

by The Schnoor Team

Battle bugs before they bite (or sting!) you — and check the attic for problems.

#1 Tell Insects to Bug Off

Early spring warmth awakens insects, so start to protect your home now. Seal openings in eaves, decks, and other structures to keep out carpenter bees.

Nix mosquitoes by eliminating standing water or treating it with larvicide. Call a pro to destroy wasp and yellow jacket nests, unless you’re experienced enough to engage in a bee battle.

#2 Prep Tools for Lawn Care

Ladies and gentlemen, start your mowers. April’s the month to get this vital piece of equipment ready to roll. An unmaintained machine can cost money, slow you down, and leave your lawn vulnerable to disease. So, before you pull the starter rope: 

 

Replace spark plugs and the air filter.

Change the oil and sharpen blades.

Fill the tank with fresh gasoline.

While you’ve got your gloves on, clean, sharpen, and repair your garden tools. When your azaleas are ready to prune, you’re not going to want to keep them waiting.

#3 Tune Up the Air Conditioner
   
With flip-flop weather comes another summer tradition: cranking up the air conditioning. Tune your AC in April, before the mercury and service rates rise.

Ask your HVAC company if they have a twice-a-year maintenance plan. Often, you can get discounted rates if you join, and you don’t have to worry about finding someone to do it each spring and fall.

Now you only have to worry about which pair of Havaianas to wear.

#4 Check the Attic (and Garage)

How long has it been since you looked in the attic? Yeah, us too.

April’s the time to inspect this oft-ignored space — before it gets too hot. Look for signs of animal activity (raccoons love attics), and repair or replace damaged insulation or wiring.

Ensure stored items are still secure; tighten container lids and dust covers and replace moth repellants.

While we’re talking storage, how’s the garage? If soccer balls, bikes, and luggage have taken prime parking space, regain control with a storage system. Your car (and your partner) will thank you.

#5 Clean Up Bird Feeders
   
Besides spreading diseases to birds, dirty bird feeders attract rodents and hurt curb appeal. Gross.

Give your bird feeders a deep clean — not just a rinse-out.

Empty them, take them apart, and wash with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts hot water. Rinse well to remove all traces of bleach, air dry, and refill with seed.

Clean under feeders, too, because moldy or spoiled seed on the ground can make pets sick. Don’t forget the bird bath.

A pretty yard that’s a healthy haven for birds makes a good impression — one that says “this is a well-cared-for home.”

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/home-maintenance-tips/when-to-spray-for-bugs/

KELLEY WALTERS
is a Southern writer and editor. She focuses on interior design and home improvement at outlets from HGTV to Paintzen. She lives in Italy a month every year, drinking Negronis and writing in internet cafes. 

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