Posted in tips + tricks, weekend projects

5 Strategies To Get Your Pantry Organized

The scenario: You’ve mustered the courage to categorize your grocery list items by aisle; after strolling the same store a thousand times, you could shop blindfolded without skipping a beat. You thought the hard work was over after checking out and driving home…

The reality: A challenging game of Tetris is about to begin. You got everything on your list…and more. But now, you have to figure out where you’re going to put everything.

Organizing your pantry and keeping it tidy is a chore you’ll appreciate each day. Avoid buying duplicate items because the originals were hidden, prevent overstuffed closet syndrome and find what you need when you need it. Sound too good to be true? Check out our pro tips below and regain control once and forever.

1. Be A Little Strict

The number one reason your pantry is cluttered is most likely because you’ve got too much stuff. No matter how good the sale is, if you’re buying items you won’t use that same month, save the space for something you will.

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2. Take Inventory

There’s nothing more dissatisfying than putting cans away, only to find, hidden behind a wall of soups and sauces, that you already had something you just bought!

Get a clipboard and place it on or near the fridge. Throughout the week, as you or your family members discover you’re running low or are out of something, jot it down! It’s an easy way to begin a grocery list, and you can quickly scan the cabinets and shelves ahead of time to avoid buying duplicates.

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3. Bring In Baskets

Speaking of cans, it’s much easier to see your entire assortment of canned goods with a little help from baskets. They can be wicker, wire or clear – the choice is yours, and they’re great for containing like items. You can even find ones with chalkboard tabs and have some fun labeling snacks, spices and whatever else gets a little hectic in your pantry.

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4. Picky Placement

Mimicking the stagger and stack strategy of stadium seating in your pantry will help you see everything! Building or buying simple risers allows you to place larger items in the back and smaller items in the front so there’s no crowding or losing track of items.

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5. On A Roll

Aluminum foil, wax paper, cling wrap, garbage bags – they all consume large amounts of space. Not anymore. You know those magazine and folder holders that are meant to organize your office? Well they work wonders for containing your non-food kitchen supplies and can easily be mounted on the back of a door or on a wall to free up some shelf space.

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And it doesn’t stop here. There’s tons of hacks and ideas for getting organized, and once you have some law and order in your pantry, you’ll see just how much stress has been eliminated.

Posted in guides, tips + tricks

10 Lawn + Garden Tools Every Homeowner Should Have

Soon, spring will be in full swing, and you’ll be looking forward to a host of outdoor projects. It seems that every season, new gadgets make an appearance—and some of us, can get a little addicted to the wow factor highly specialized tools promise.

But before you get carried away, make sure you have the basics. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the many options tools are available in. To make it easier, we’ve compiled a list of the must-have tools all homeowners should own. When buying any tool, think of your specific needs – not only around the lawn and garden, but pertaining to your body as well. Remember that the longer you use a tool, the heavier it will feel. Choose a tool that suits the application you need it for, and won’t wear you out.

Lawn Mower

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This one is virtually a no-brainer. Do you have a small lot, or an expansive property? Is the terrain hilly or mostly even? Will you have to maneuver around flowerbeds, pathways or children’s play sets? The size and topography of your lawn is the main factor to consider when beginning your search for a compatible mower. Check out our lawn mower buying guide for more information on finding your mower match!

Trimmer/Weed Whacker

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Trimmers and weed whackers are great machines for a fast, easy and effective way to keep your lawn looking its best. They maneuver into those hard to reach areas lawn mowers can’t get at, making quick work of overgrown grass and heavy weeds.

Wheelbarrow/Utility Cart

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Make light work of hauling heavy loads around the yard and garden. Wheelbarrows and utility carts are essential for transporting heavy supplies, plants, equipment and tools. Pneumatic spoke tires are great for balancing large loads, and traverse irregular terrain with ease. Put the power of a landscaper’s crew in your cart to lift more, carry more and get loads more work done with less strain and less effort.

Rake Assortment

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Rakes come in many different sizes and styles such as leaf, bow, thatch, garden and flat. They apply the concept of the human hand and extend finger dexterity to a bigger scale. Look for rakes with stainless steel blades to ensure your tool will last season after season.

Shovel Assortment

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The shovel is one of the most essential tools any homeowner can appreciate. Typically available with either a square or round point blade, a trusty shovel will help you landscape and garden from digging to tilling to planting.

Leaf Blower

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Clean up quickly after yard work is complete. Some versatile models can even sweep, shred and mulch leaves, allowing you to recycle waste into usable compost.

Hori Hori Knife

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This Japanese inspired tool has long been considered the Swiss army knife of gardening. Hori Hori knives can be used to weed, cut through roots, transplant and divide perennials and even for fishing and hunting applications. The possibilities are endless.

Hedge Clipper

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Restore some lawn order to your shrubs, hedges and bushes and keep them from becoming unruly.

Pole Saw

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Prune those tougher trees and branches that manual pruners and shears can’t handle.

Handheld Digging Tools

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This includes trowels, cultivators, weed extractors and other small tools that assist in maintaining your garden by loosening, lifting, turning soil and removing unwelcome weeds.

Are there any tools we missed?  What are your outdoor tool essentials?  Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Posted in guides, tips + tricks, weekend projects

The Only Spring Cleaning Tool You’ll Ever Need

As spring approaches and winter recedes, it’s time to inspect the exterior of your home and access any improvements you’ll need to make for warmer weather. Patios may show staining, mildew and grime could be creeping up your siding, and windows will need a wash. So while you’re decluttering and dusting your home’s interior, it’s the perfect time to add a few outdoor chores to the checklist!

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Outdoor Spring Cleaning List:

  • Wash outside windows
  • Clean outdoor light fixtures
  • Power wash deck
  • Power wash garage doors
  • Power wash siding
  • Clean grill
  • Clean outdoor furniture
  • Wash door frames
  • Clean gutters
  • Clean out trash cans
  • Wash vehicles

If you don’t have one already, a pressure washer is a great investment, as it handles a variety of cleaning tasks with power and ease.

Removing Stains

Driveways, walkways and patios get stained from mud, paint, oil and other solutions – it’s inevitable, mostly because these surfaces see lots of traffic. Many homeowners assume that because concrete is a durable material, that it is impenetrable.

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While it does have a great deal of physical resistance, it is weak when it comes to spills. You could spend lots of time bent over, scrubbing with dish detergent, bleach or vinegar. But those fixes aren’t guaranteed to do the trick. Or, you could blast away stains with a pressure washer. It will save your back, get the job done, and it’s pretty fun!

Reviving Surfaces

When it comes to bringing your home back to life after a long winter, nothing beats a good scrub, wash and rinse. But your conventional garden hose doesn’t always cut it. A pressure washer is the quickest way to restore wood, concrete, vinyl and aluminum.

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These high-power sprayers are designed to expertly remove stains, dirt, mildew, moss and peeling paint. You name it, you aim it and grime is gone. After you’ve given your deck or patio a nice face lift, you may even find that you don’t have to re-stain, resurface or repaint it.

Pressure Washing Tips + Tricks

If it’s your first time power washing, here are a few guidelines to get you started in model selection and technique.

PSI: Pressure washers are rated by strength, which is measured in Pounds per Square Inch, or PSI for short. A typical garden hose is rated at about 60 PSI. Household use pressure washers range somewhere between 1,500 – 2,000 PSI – anything higher, and you risk accidentally damaging exteriors.

Tips: Wide-spraying fan tips are best for mild, close-range chores such as patio furniture, wooden decking, concrete and driveways. For a more precise spray, a jet stream is better for cleaning out-of-reach areas like siding and gutters.

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Detergent: Many units have a detergent tank, so you can add cleaning agents for dirty jobs.

Protection: The force of pressure washers is impressive but also dangerous. Take caution by wearing google to protect your eyes from debris. Don’t aim directly at windows, electrical outlets, gravel or other people.

Polstein’s Picks

1. Sun Joe 1160 PSI Cordless Pressure Washer: Yeah you read that right, cordless. The Sun Joe SPX6000C. gives you the room to roam, courtesy of the powerful onboard, rechargeable 40-Volt EcoSharp lithium ion battery, to take your cleaning tasks on the road – or anywhere power is at a premium. Perfect for the cabin, deck, boat, RV or a host of chores around the house, the innovative, top-loading detachable bucket design fills quickly with fresh water, or can be connected for continuous use with a garden hose.

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2. Sun Joe 2030 PSI Electric Pressure Washer: Packed with 1800 watts of pure power, the SPX4001 boasts a 14.5-amp motor generates up to 2030 PSI to demolish every last bit of dirt, grease, gunk and grime. Five Quick-Connect tips allow you to go from intense jet to gentle spray to suit the cleaning task, and the onboard 54.1 fl oz detergent tank lets you dial-in just the right amount of detergent to give your cleaning blast a boost! And don’t forget about the hose reel, which make clean up simple.

Shop

spx4001-1_1-13-2017-20-06-373. Sun Joe 1885 PSI Electric Pressure Washer: Packed with 13 Amps of pure cleaning power, SPX2500 delivers a might blast – up to 1885 pounds of pressure per square inch and 1.59 gallons per minute – to demolish every last bit of dirt and get really clean, really fast. Simply twist the adjustable nozzle to go from intense jet to gentle spray and watch Sun Joe make light work of mildew, grease, oil, tar, mud, rust and more!

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Sun Joe has many more pressure washers to suit individual cleaning needs, plus a whole array of specialty attachments that make particular tasks much more easier.

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Posted in design

Trending Home Designs You Must Try In 2017

 

The make-it-your-own movement continues to influence home improvement trends, and this year is no different. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite interior updates that can easily be incorporated to personalize any space.

Indoor Gardening

Plants are simple; they have very few basic needs, which makes them gorgeous display pieces in any home setting.

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Here’s a tip: don’t limit all your plants to a tiny pot. Lush greenery that flourishes and climbs can fill and enliven any corner.

A little less confident? Mini cacti and succulents create an intriguing still life that can be equally colorful.

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Nisaku has a wonderful array of hand garden tools for easy indoor growing maintenance.

Wild Wallpaper

We’ve always adored wallpaper, even when it wasn’t considered “on-trend.” Its ability to portray color, pattern and texture can brighten an entire room, be added as an accent wall, or create a back-splash between bookshelves and cabinetry.

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And with the introduction of easily removable options and task-specific tools, the concern that any paper is permanent is a worry of the past.

Marble and geometric impressions are our top print picks.

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Copper Accents

Copper is very easy to incorporate into your décor – and the best part is that a little goes a long way!

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We love the scintillating effect and bold, but warm elegance copper presents. I’s a clever accent that brings focus into your most lived-in spaces.

Jewel Tones

The rich coloring of precious stones is a trend we’re used to seeing in clothing and accessories. But this year, it’s time to bring them into your living  spaces.

Bold color palettes are surprisingly easy to incorporate and are the perfect inspiration if you’re looking for a big change.

Matte Finishes

Matte will have its moment in 2017, with white, black and grey pastels.

It works because the industrial vibe pairs well with a cool, toned down finish that offsets polished metals and glossy woods.

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What trend is your favorite? We want to hear about your DIY plans in the comments!

Posted in how-to's, Uncategorized

DIY Hacks For Reducing Your Winter Heating Bill

The weather outside is frightful, which means there’s a chance your heating bill is as well. With warmer weather still months away,  you’re going to want to keep your heating use in check. Here are some energy-saving strategies to stay toasty without piling on the layers.

Apply Window Film

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Shrink wrap is an inexpensive and effective insulation alternative that blocks drafty windows to reduce heat loss by up to 14%.

And if sealed meticulously, you won’t even notice it’s there.

While installing it yourself can be somewhat time consuming, your efforts will not be in vain!

Plastic wrap also reflects the sun’s heat during summer, keeping the house cooler.

Use Your Ceiling Fan

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There’s a stigma that fans are only meant to cool, but they can also be utilized to circulate heat. By setting your fan at the lowest speed, the warm air trapped at the ceiling will mix with the cooler air, heating the entire room.

Add Drapes

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Floor length curtains can reduce heat loss by 10%. The trick is to close them at night when the sun goes down, and open them during the day so the sunlight can naturally warm your home.

Weatherstrip Door and Window Frames

Using weatherstripping in your home to seal leaks around operable doors and windows can reduce utility bills all year round.

Periodically check the weatherstripping to ensure it’s not worn or torn.

If you can see the light peeking in from underneath your main entry and exit doors, you need to tack on a new strip.

And be sure to always lock your windows for a tighter seal.

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For stationary components such as electrical boxes, pipes, cables and gas lines, caulk or expanding foam are acceptable materials to fill in any gaps where air could escape.

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Add Insulation

While most attics are well insulated, the access door is usually an afterthought, but if not properly packed, can let warm air escape rapidly.

If the door does not lie perfectly flat, there is even more reason to stop the leak.

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Use an adhesive to simply attach the insulation to the attic side of the door, or build a foam box. If you still notice a draft, use a bolt lock for a snug fit.

Invest In New Tech

Programmable thermostats are now cheaper than ever and are a great tool for automatically dialing down the heat when you’re not home.

In fact, most energy experts say it’s a myth that it costs more to reheat a home than to maintain a house in a constant state of warmth.

Smart thermostats even learn your lifestyle and adjust on their own without manual programming. So save away!

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Posted in guides

What You Need To Know About Steel Before Buying Hand Tools

It’s no secret that to perform at your greatest potential, you need to work with the best. If you’re in the market for reliable new hand tools,  then this guide is for you!

Typical consumers are largely unaware of the differences between steel grades, and what to consider when deciding which tool is right for a specific skill set. There are numerous types of steel that encompass varied properties. These properties can be physical, chemical and environmental. All steel is produced from iron and carbon. It’s the amount of carbon, and the additional alloys which determine the classification of each grade.

We’ve categorized the three most common groups of steel based on chemical composition:

  1. Carbon
  2. Alloy
  3. Stainless

Carbon Steel

Carbon Steel can be dispersed into three main categories: low carbon steel, medium carbon steel and high carbon steel.

Low Carbon Steel (0.04-0.30%) is the largest group of carbon steel and possesses an alloying element made up of a relatively low amount of carbon. The most popular type of steel, low carbon steel is used in manufacturing a variety of goods because it is less expensive than other types of steel.

Applications: girders, car body panels, nuts and bolts, food cans, car body panels.

Medium Carbon Steel (0.31-0.60%) is stronger than low carbon steel, more difficult to form, weld and cut.

Applications: Nails and screws, metal chains, wire ropes, screw driver blades, engine parts, bicycle wheel rims.

High Carbon Steel (0.61-1.50%) is commonly known as “carbon tool steel” and  is very difficult to cut, bend and weld. Once heat treated it becomes extremely hard and brittle.

Applications:  Chisels, hammers, drills, files, lathe tools, taps, dies.

Alloy Steel

Alloy steel is a steel that has had small amounts of alloying elements (aside from carbon) such as manganese, silicon, nickel, titanium, copper, chromium and aluminum added to its compound. This produces specific properties that are not found in normal carbon steel. Alloy steels are workhorses of industry because of their economical cost, wide availability, ease of processing, and good mechanical properties.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a steel alloy with increased corrosion resistance compared to carbon and alloy steel. Common alloying ingredients include chromium, nickel, or molybdenum. Common applications include food handling and processing, medical instruments, hardware, appliances, and structural/architectural uses.

Choosing Steel Tools

Nisaku manufactures professional quality hand tools for lawn, garden and outdoor applications with unmatched design and function.

Each piece is forged by master blade craftsmen with the highest grade Japanese stainless steel for durability, precision and control that withstands intense use and harsh conditions.

Prepare for indoor and outdoor jobs, big and small, with specialty tools that outlast and outclass ordinary lawn, garden and survival equipment.

Field Knives

Designed for rugged outdoor adventures, Nisaku genuine Japanese field knives are forged from high-grade stainless steel with precise multipurpose cutting edges and ergonomic handles for firm gripping and comfort.

Don’t face Mother Nature alone – prepare for your next fishing, hunting, boating or wilderness excursion with a faithful survival blade engineered to take serious punishment in any environment.

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EXPLORE FIELD KNIVES

DIY Hand Tools

Tools with stainless-steel working ends deliver the best durability and performance while resisting rust.

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Nisaku Japanese stainless steel precision hand tools are an ideal choice for demanding homeowners and satisfy a multitude of DIY project needs that require intensive scraping and stripping.  From caulk to paint removal, Nisaku putty knives, spatulas and curl scrapers feature easy-to-grip ergonomic handles for comfortable use during the toughest tasks. Specialty blades provide strength and flexibility to coast through hardened, thick and stubborn material with controlled use and precision to ensure perfection upon project completion.

EXPLORE DIY HAND TOOLS

Paint Tools

Finely crafted from heavy-duty Japanese stainless steel, Nisaku paint tools resist rusting, pitting and corrosion for exceptional performance during vigorous home improvement jobs.

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Designed with a variety of specialty blades, Nisaku joint knives, putty knives, scrapers and multipurpose tools seamlessly spread compound, smooth surfaces evenly, patch holes, scrape away stubborn material and assist with various drywall and plaster applications for a perfectly finished look on a variety of surfaces.

EXPLORE PAINT TOOLS

Posted in design, weekend projects

4 Home Improvement Projects To Beat The Winter Blues

We’re already halfway to spring, but the coldest months of winter still lie ahead. And if you’re anything like us, the thought of being stuck inside is not one that is met with content.

Cure cabin fever with some fun, easy and inexpensive home improvement projects that are not only rewarding, but can increase your property value, conserve energy costs and improve your quality of life.

Walls That Wow

Many homeowners underestimate the power of the obvious. Refreshing your walls with a bold coat of paint and adding modern trim and molding can completely change the aura of a room.

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Create visual interest with an accent wall, add texture and pattern with printed wallpaper or create a custom design using painter’s tape to achieve a scratch-board effect.

cozy-blue-living-room_amazing-tosca-wallpaper_elegant-transparent-flower-vase_amazing-blue-velvet-couchhoneycomb_wall_calloutWe also love the new paint roller trend, which is lovely for layering dual tones.

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Add A Splash Of Personality

Update your kitchen by adding a DIY backsplash. Go natural with stone, classic with subway tile, modern with metal or funky with geometrics!

Not too familiar with laying tile? No problem! Most Big Box home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot offer free workshops. Plus, many backsplashes come in large mat-like pieces and even peel and stick applications, making it very easy for a novice to create a beautiful accent without all the frustration and mess.

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The best tip we can give you on installing your own backsplash is to prep and plan! Lay out a template before application to ensure you do not run into any irregular lines or spaces. And failing to clean the excess grout off the tile when wet will cause a glaze that is almost impossible to remove once dry.

Light It Up

Instantly brighten and warm up any room with new lighting.  Opting for a modern standing lamp with an edgy shape or a table lamp with a colorful shade can transform any space.

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Swapping old bulbs for LEDs or installing dimmers are both cost effective upgrades that allow you to customize the ambiance of your space.

Adore Your Entryway

Usually an afterthought, the doors in your home could probably use some TLC. One of the most used access points, bedroom and entryway doors are subject to unavoidable scratches and cracks from longtime use.

You may consider switching to a whole new type of door which is more functional and attractive pertaining to your style. For example, double doors are a great alternative to sliding or bi-fold models, while famed French doors let in natural light and add architectural detail to fuse indoor and outdoor spaces.

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And updating to new knobs or hinges is another great change DIY job that can easily be done in a weekend with instant results.