• 18 | Selling Homes

    Posted by Murchison Hume Australia

     

    10 ways to prepare your home for a spring sale

    Spring/Summer selling season is here and it’s certainly not too late to be giving it some thought if you’re looking to make an impact on the market.

    Taking steps to prepare your home now will help you avoid the stress of a last minute rush to market.
    We’ve scoured the internet and pulled together the top 10 ideas to help in preparing for those all important OFIs.



    1. Clean & declutter
    Make your move easier by beginning the packing process now.
    • Clear out all clutter and remove items you don’t regularly use.
    • Donate items that haven’t been used in the past 12 months.
    • Throw away items that are broken or damaged.
    • Shred and dispose of paperwork that is no longer needed.
    • Consider a temporary storage facility for bulky pieces of furniture, holiday decor, out of season clothing and any other items you don’t need.

    When you clean, pay attention to small details.
    • Wash windows
    • Dust blinds
    • Launder curtains
    • Dust baseboards
    • Clean appliances
    • Straighten contents of your closets



    2. Do a thorough inspection
    This step will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises during the sale process.
    • Inspect your walls and floors for water damage
    • Check for plumbing leaks
    • Make sure your windows don’t have broken seals,
    • Check for any signs of insects or rodents

    … and fix any problems that you find.



    3. Eliminate odours
    Don’t mask household odours with air fresheners, which can be overwhelming and cause allergies in many people. Rather, include freshly cut flowers, the scent of fresh cinnamon boiled on the stove (but remove the pot before the showing), or fresh apples and cookies placed in plain sight in the kitchen.



    4. Paint
    While you might love your aubergine walls, there’s a good chance that most buyers won’t. Many buyers want to see a blank canvas where they can inject their own personality. In order to make your home appeal to the largest possible audience, paint your walls in neutral colours in a matt finish.
    Don’t forget to repair any nail holes or other damage before painting, and be sure to touch up ceilings and trim as needed.



    5. Finish projects & repairs
    Now is the time to complete any home improvement projects you have under way and make any and all necessary repairs to your home.
    You’ll most likely find a buyer more quickly and the sale process will be much smoother if everything that needs to be done is taken care of before you lost your property.
    If you have additional home improvement projects planned, make sure they can be finished in a short amount of time.



    6. Clean or replace flooring
    Carpets should be shampooed and treated for stains. Tile and hardwoods should be thoroughly swept and mopped to a shine. Any flooring that is stained, damaged or worn beyond repair should be removed and replaced. Hardwood floors that are scratched or have lost their sheen should be refinished.



    7. Freshen up fixtures & hardware
    Light fixtures, bathroom mirrors, taps, shower heads and cabinet hardware can all be replaced for very little money and make a huge difference in terms of visual appeal.



    8. Create a welcoming entrance
    Your front door is the first thing potential buyers will see when they visit your home, so remember to make it inviting. Paint the door if needed, replace any damaged hardware, keep decorations minimal and declutter the entrance area.



    9. Stage
    An important part of showing your home, staging can be done yourself or by professionals. Place furniture to maximise the feelings of space and light in your home, with an eye to how rooms flow into each other. If your decor isn’t cutting it, you can move your belongings into storage and rent furniture and artwork from a home staging service on a monthly basis.

    10. Get your real price
    Find out how much you should list your home for by looking at similar properties on realestate.com.au and asking for your agent’s advice. Take a look at comparable sales and market conditions which will  help you determine how much you can expect to sell for in today’s market.

  • 17 | Scream Free Halloween

    Posted by Murchison Hume Australia

    17 | Scream Free Halloween

    5 easy hacks to clean up the messy aftermath of your spooky Halloween party!

     

    Halloween is the perfect occasion to throw a party, isn’t it? If you are planning a party at your place this Halloween, your biggest concern right now must be the “aftermath cleanup”. Never fear we’ve compiled a few tips that will help you with after-party clean up.

     

    1. Delicious but messy & sticky lollies and chocolates
    Everyone loves Halloween treats – particularly the ones shaped to disgust and amuse you at the same time (slimy worm candies, pumpkin faced cookies, Frankenstein marshmallows etc.), but unfortunately the sticky residue they leave on bowls can be extremely hard to remove and clean. To clean your bowls or containers from the melted candy, safely and effectively simply use our Heirloom Dish-washing Liquid, consider it your cleaning enforcer for washing up. In case of a gum residue, use an ice cube to harden the remains and then scrape it off!

     

    2. Hand making creepy (but slightly cute) Jack-o-lanterns
    What’s a Halloween without a Jack-o-Lantern? If you decide to make your own pumpkin jack-o-lantern, then head’s up : It’s going to be messy. Very messy – unless you follow our tip ! just lay down some newspapers under the pumpkin for easy cleanup. Reading this tip a little too late? No worries, counter intelligence All-Surface Spray to the rescue… if you left some pumpkin hoop on the bench a little too long and it has an orange tinge to it, let the counter intelligence sit on the stain for a few minutes before wiping.

     

    3. Party’s over. Everyone go home…
    It’s always a good idea to get rid of any of the confetti and glitter type mess first, a house with after-party remains is never a good sight, plus confetti, streamers etc can stain hardwood or carpet if left for too long. Begin with vacuuming all the glitter you can see, and in-case you come across some stubborn stains or marks that just won’t come off your carpet or floor, take take to them with either our Garment Groom stain and spot remover (for carpets) or Effortless Floor cleaner for quick, easy and targeted action!

     

    4. Removing those nightmare stains
    All those colorful witches brews and concoctions can have deadly consequences on your house fabrics and clothes, so be-aware ! However, if by some bad luck ( which most of us succumb to) the drink you made spills onto any of your fabric or clothing items, leave all the Halloween games and treats and tend to the stain immediately, the quicker you remove the stain, the higher the chances of the stain disappearing altogether. Enter again Garment Groom Stain and spot remover or if that spill has hit the furniture attack it with our Everyday furniture cleaner. Quick action is good action in our book!
    Whatever you do,  DO NOT rub the stain – ONLY blot at it.

     

    5. If only licking the chocolate stains could get rid of them
    We saved this point for last, because, well, no one likes getting rid of chocolate (unless your fabric is the one that chooses to eat it). Begin by dry scraping the excess chocolate, without grinding the stain deeper into the fabric, then depending on the fabric, you can apply either Garment Groom or Everyday Furniture Cleaner, unless that is your fabric is suede in which case you should try the Spray Valet suede cleaner. Of course if it’s your leather couch that has eaten the chocolate that a quick once over with our bag butler leather cleaner and conditioner will have it looking like new again in no time.

    If these tips seem a little too overwhelming to follow through, despair not, our products are made to be as safe and easy to use possible, you might even end up enjoying cleaning, maybe? If you are experienced with undoing Halloween messes then feel free to drop us a comment on how you deal with the horrors of a Halloween aftermath at our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MurchisonHumeAUS/

    Don’t forget our 48 Hour Halloween SALE starts at 7am 30th October and ends 7am 1st November.


    Have a spooky and mess-free Halloween everyone.

  • 16 | Is sitting the new smoking?

    Posted by Max Kater
    There’s been a lot of talk in the last couple of years about how prolonged sitting is bad for you. Sitting all day can be blamed for contributing to everything from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and also lowers overall life expectancy. Bottom line? We sit too much. We sit on trains, cars, and subways. We don’t walk as much as we used to, And here’s the surprising part: Apparently, this lack of mobility cannot be made up in spin class. Sitting for upwards of 6 hours a day can quite literally kill you, even if you work out! What? That last little tidbit was enough to push me over the line, so I started my shopping research
  • 15 | Speed Cleaning For Guests

    Posted by Murchison Hume Australia

    15 | Speed Clean for Guests

     

    We’ve all been there. You suddenly have people coming over and you need to snap your house into shape, pronto! It happens. So before it happens again, we have some tidying tips that will help you get your clean on with a quickness (and keep it there). As in all things, it takes some preparation and planning. First things first: you need a reliable cleaning kit with the basic stuff you’ll need to clean house. 

     

    Here’s what you need:

    • Dish Soap
    • Glass Cleaner
    • Bathroom Cleaner
    • All-Purpose Cleaner


    If you’re like us, you don’t have time to DIY, so we’ve short-handed it for you and made one that's ready to go right here: Murchison-Hume's Clean Starter Kit. Once you’ve got one of these under your arm, you’re ready to tackle just about any household cleaning job. We also made it light and added a handle to tote from room to room.

     

    Also good to have:

    • A large basket (a laundry basket with handles is ideal)
    • Paper towels + Lint free cleaning cloth
    • Dust pan and brush


    We’ve broken it down into easy-to-do tasks, depending upon how much time you have. These are in order of importance (and impact). Ready? Let’s do this!
    If you have 5 minutes or less: Your Mother-in-Law is coming up the driveway, this is what to do:
    • Grab your basket and throw everything that needs putting away in there: Toys, slippers, mail and random papers, shoes, and your handbag. Whatever’s out of place. Work from the entry to as far as you can before the doorbell rings. Throw the basket in your bedroom and pray she doesn’t go in there.


    • On your way to the door, grab your All-Purpose Cleaner and spritz a little into the air, so it will at least smell clean (even if it’s not).

    If you have 15 minutes or less: Your new friend just rang and wants to stop by?

    • Do the 5-minute plan and then clear all the dirty dishes form the counter. 

    • Spray your kitchen surfaces with All-Purpose Cleaner and wipe down with paper towels.

    • Fill a sink full of water with dish soap. Put all of the dirty dishes in there and let them soak.

    • Go do the same in the bathroom: Spray bathroom cleaner all around the toilet bowl and rim and let it sit while you spray wipe the seat, handle and tank. Now wipe it down with toilet paper. Flush it and you’re good to go!
     
    You forgot about Hosting Book Club this week and it starts in 45 minutes? Don’t panic, Mama, we got you! Do the 5 and 15 minute plan. Plus this:

    *Immediately order 3 large cheese pizzas to be delivered. Grab any leftover greens or anything remotely interesting from the pantry. Wash and chop them to scatter on the pizza when it arrives. If you have wine, chill it or open it. Then…

    • Put the dishes that were soaking into the dishwasher and run it (even if it’s not full…this is an emergency)!

    • Grab your glass cleaner, go back to the bathroom and spray the mirror, faucets and any reflective surfaces. Polish dry with your lint-free cloth (or with the towels if you have time to change them for fresh ones).

    • Make your bed and put away your clothes. Move that basket of stuff into the closet. Don’t forget about it though, your wallet is probably in there!
    • Use the dustpan and brush to give the entry, kitchen and bathroom floors a quick sweep.

    • If you have extra time, go outside and snip a few branches off a leafy tree and pop them into a vase with some water for the table. Extra points for doing the same in the bathroom. It looks super fresh and will also signal that you were prepared (even if you weren’t).
     
    Now pull your hair back, slick on a little lip-gloss, put music on and relax. Nobody will mind that you’re still in yoga pants and haven’t vacuumed if there’s pizza and wine on the go. #fact

  • 14 | Emergency Plan

    Posted by Max Kater

     MH14 | Emergency Plan

     

    If I’m being really honest, I’m a glass-half-empty kind of gal. It’s true. I wish I were more sunny and optimistic, but even as a kid, I was always imagining worst-case scenarios and trying to work out how to be ready for them (I’m an only child, obviously). On the other hand, I’m also naturally lazy, so despite having a mild undercurrent of anxiety about natural disasters, I’ve never actually created a plan or done anything more than stock up on sparkling water to prepare for an emergency. If disaster strikes and you need a gin-and-tonic or a vodka soda, I’m your girl!


    Seriously though, in the aftermath of recent natural disasters, emergency preparedness suddenly has a terrible relevance, so in the interest of public safety, (and my own peace of mind) I’ve decided cancel the planned post for this week and instead talk about how to prepare your family for an emergency. After a deep dive and hours online researching this topic, I can say with certainty that nothing will feed your neurosis like reading multiple emergency preparedness sites like FEMA, Red Cross and Homeland Security. In fact, there is so much content and layers of advice (some of it contradictory) that you could literally spend weeks trying to make sense of it all.


    If you have the time and can stand the stress, then, by all means, go for it! But if you’re like me and just want someone to break it all down for you in digestible chunks of information that hopefully won’t freak you out, you’ve come to the right place.
    Here’s what to do: 


    1. Know your region. This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people in Palm Springs have waders in the garage. So, for example, are you in a severe winter storm region? Tornado Alley? Are hurricanes a possibility? Are brushfires a concern or like me, are you worried about THE BIG ONE (a major earthquake). Start with the most likely scenario for your region. You don’t need to be ready for anything. Just the most likely thing.


    2. Make a List (and go shopping). It’s amazing how so many plans of action involve this very first step, isn’t it? Other sites will take you through creating a family plan and how to find a shelter, but I find the quickest and most effective way to get started is to hit Target and Amazon with an informed list of stuff to buy that’s specific to us. Once that’s done, I can relax enough to make a plan! Plus, when the hand crank radio and plug in flashlights arrive you have props that will hopefully engage the family in the disaster plan. Nicely done.
     
    Your needs will vary by region and of course your list will be family specific, but this is what most of the major sites suggest you should have on hand at a MINIMUM:
    A First Aid Kit. Years ago, I took a St. John’s Ambulance course in Sydney so this is the one thing I always have at the ready. Forget about those ready-made kits with Band-Aids on Amazon. Really? A Band-Aid? You just had a major natural disaster and you need a Band-Aid? I say, make your own kit.

     

    Here’s what you really need:
    1. A small bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide to cleanse wounds. It’s also an anti-bacterial gargle if you add water.
    2. A big box of sanitary pads. I’m not kidding. Doctors keep them in their bags to dress wounds. They’re individually wrapped, sterile, and we know they’re absorbent! Plus they won’t stick to a wound or a burn like a BAND-AID will. Sorry, we love you Band-Aids, but not in an emergency. Get back in the medicine cabinet where you belong.
    3. Antibiotic Cream
    4. Hand Sanitizer
    5. Latex Gloves
    6. Gauze for dressing a wound
    7. First Aid Tape
    8. Those stretchy ACE bandages and clips
    9. Pain Relief: Aspirins, Ibuprofen, and maybe something stronger if you have to sedate someone. Mini-bar bottles of gin and vodka are always a good idea on several levels.
    10. Tools: A pair of scissors, tweezers and a sterile surgical knife. I don’t screw around.
    11. Superglue. Seriously. If someone needs stitches and you can’t get to the emergency room: superglue. Superglue. It works.
    12. Lighters and matches in a waterproof container.  

     

    Now that’s a First-Aid Kit with grunt. Next...Your Basic Shopping List:


    - 1 Good Flashlight + 1 Whistle per family member: OK, actually the whistle thing is my idea, but hear me out: The two things I’d grab after my kids are a flashlight and a whistle. I like the flashlights that plug into the wall socket so are always ready, and you never to have to look for them. Make sure the whistles have a lanyard to hang around your neck so you don’t lose them. And a simple 99-cent whistle can be a lifesaver if you need to attract attention and are trapped somewhere. I also happen to have a battery-operated megaphone, but that’s a me thing.

    - Cell phones with extra chargers. It really surprised me how far down on the list some sites mention mobile phones! Were they all made in 1992? As in everyday life, your phone will be your most important piece of equipment. Make sure it’s charged every night and get a spare long-life charger for each one in the house.

    - Water: Most sites recommend a minimum of one gallon per person, per day. More if you live in a warm climate. A three-day supply for evacuation, and a two-week supply for home. I get glass bottles and cans of club soda because the plastic eventually degrades in the heat. I also bought this guy today.

    - Food: Non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items are key. Keep enough for three-days in the event of an evacuation, and a two-week supply at home. I like boxes of cereal, peanut butter, granola bars and of course, cans of food are best and last longest. I also buy that UHT milk in boxes. Jars of Baby Food and cans of pet food are a good idea (especially if you have babies and pets). Make sure you have a manual can-opener! I also have a picnic basket with Solo cups and plastic bowls and utensils. Empty refillable water bottles and a Thermos is good, too.

    - Rain Boots for everyone (even in California). Most sites say “sturdy shoes,” but we could all expire waiting for my youngest to lace up his high-tops. No thank you! I bought steel toe, weatherproof boots for all of us at Wal-Mart .  Why? Because they’re sturdy, shock proof, easy to jump into quickly (like a Fireman!) and come in handy if you have to walk through a muddy field anyway. 

    - Cash. Small denominations. Keep enough on hand to buy everything you’d need to survive for a few days. If networks are down, cash is king.
    A hand-crank/solar-powered radio. This is more of a nice to have, but if the poo really hits the fan, you’ll be glad you have it. The best ones have a phone charger and a flashlight built in.

     

    Nice to Have:

    - Extra batteries are always a good idea. Store them in a cool place or a box in the fridge (seriously) they last longer.
    - 2 way radios.
    - Multi-purpose tool
    - Sanitation and personal hygiene items
    - Survival Blankets


    If you get most of the things on the basic list, you’re way ahead of the game. Now comes the planning part. Create a digital archive of important family documents. This is so easy and obvious and only ONE site recommended it. Take photos of your family’s entire most vital documents and store them in a cloud service. I like to use the Tiny Scanner app to get really good copies of Birth Certificates, Health Insurance cards, passports, drivers licenses, medical prescriptions, and records, blood types, etc. I store ours on Dropbox. This is a no brainer and has come in handy on plenty of non-emergency situations, too.
    MAKE A PLAN: You’ll never know where you’re going to be if a disaster strikes, so you at least need to discuss how you will find each other.
    NOMINATE AN OUT OF STATE CONTACT: A friend, family member that’s fluid on social media and reliably picks up the phone is perfect. Make sure you tell them they are your contact person! We’ve never done this and I’m doing it tonight. There are some pretty good links and templates here. This kind of thing seems totally paranoid American to my Australian Husband and man-cubs, but really it’s not a big deal and once you’ve done them, you don’t have to worry about anything. Except maybe North Korea (but that’s another post).

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