Fresh Start in a New Home

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: March 25, 2019

Organizing Your Home to Fit Your Lifestyle

Does it spark joy? That’s a common question you’ll hear everywhere these days – at work, at the gym, on TV and social media. Of course, we hope your new Graham Hart home sparks lots of joy for you and your family, but your new home also is the perfect chance to examine what you’ve done in the past and see if it still works in your current situation. It’s not just a new home; it’s also the chance for an entirely new outlook. Here are some key areas to consider as you start to unpack in your new home:

Kitchen – The kitchen always seems to be the main hub of the house.  Not only is it the place where food is cooked and consumed, but it often serves as the place where the kids do homework and everyone catches up on what’s on the calendar that week for meetings, sports practices and more.

To keep the kitchen running smoothly, organize drawers and cabinets by tasks. Store dishes, glasses and silverware close to the dishwasher for easy unloading. Use drawer organizers to keep various-sized gadgets in their place. Keep hot pads close to the oven for quick access.

If you cook frequently, it’s easy to accumulate 50 spices or more. To find them easily, consider storing them alphabetically on a Lazy Susan. If homework is done in the kitchen, stock one drawer with the necessary supplies – paper, pens, markers, scotch tape, scissors, etc.

Every kitchen seems to have the proverbial junk drawer; the key is to be disciplined about reviewing its contents occasionally before it takes over every drawer.

Bedroom Closets – Maybe you had time to go through your closets at your old home and get rid of clothing you no longer wore before you moved. If not, take the time now to decide whether it belongs in your new home. If it doesn’t fit, is no longer in style, is damaged or stained, or it’s just not you anymore, either donate or discard it.

Make it easy for kids to dress themselves. Put underwear and socks in one drawer, warm-weather shirts and shorts in another drawer and cold-weather clothing in another drawer. Or hang it up in a closet so they can easily find their favorite tee without ravaging through the stacks you so neatly folded.

Make it easy on yourself also. It’s always a rush getting out the door in the morning, so save time by hanging all your work clothes in one section of the closet and your play clothes separately. Organize it by color and type (dresses, bottoms, long sleeves, short sleeves), and you’ll always be able to find that cute navy cardi.

If you want a true picture of what you actually wear, turn all the hangers backward when you first fill your closet, then when you wear an item turn that individual hanger around. Within six months, you’ll realize which pieces are your faves versus those that are really just taking up valuable closet space.

Garage –  Just like a kitchen, the key to a well-organized garage is to sort by task. Put all the sports equipment together, then find separate spots for lawn and garden items, home maintenance equipment and tools. Pegboard can keep smaller tools organized. For larger tools, check out the neighborhood big-box retailer for clever hanging systems that attach to the walls.  

Don’t forget to find a good place to store the owner’s manuals for the various appliances and systems in your new home. Consider also keeping a document of model numbers, serial numbers, purchase dates, etc. on your computer. Add to it any information about new furniture purchases, custom paint colors or anything else home-related, and everything will be saved in one easy-to-find document. 

How to Get Your Home Ready for Winter

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: December 18, 2018

In Texas, we’re fortunate to have milder winters than many areas of the country, but we’re not totally immune to cold snaps and freezing temperatures, sometimes when we least expect it. Your Graham Hart home is built with energy-saving features throughout, but you can help maximize your comfort, minimize utility bills and avoid potential maintenance issues by following some easy steps to get your home ready for winter.


Take advantage of mild days and make sure your gutters are cleaned out. Detach garden hoses and store them in the garage over the winter. Insulated outdoor faucet covers, sold at hardware stores and typically made of hard plastic or styrofoam, are an easy, inexpensive way to protect your hose bibs from freezing.

Adjust the watering schedule on your automatic sprinkler system, but don’t totally ignore your lawn over the winter. If it’s been several weeks since we’ve had rain, give your yard a good soaking, preferably during the morning. Even in winter, grass still needs one to two inches of water a week.

Everyone is eager to stay warm during the winter, and that includes critters. Walk around the outside of your home, paying attention to your soffits (the underside of the roof overhang that connects to the exterior wall) and any other potential entry point for rodents or insects. Seal off any holes, as even the tiniest hole could invite intruders. Check for drafts around doors, and repair or replace weather stripping as needed.


Continue to change your HVAC air filters on a regular basis, as this is one of the easiest ways to make sure your heating and cooling system is working at top efficiency.

If you’ve owned your Graham Hart home for more than a year, it’s a good idea to have your furnace professionally inspected before you turn on the heat for the winter.

Adjust your thermostat, and layer on blankets and throws to stay comfortable. If no one is home during the day, set the temperature to 62-66 degrees, then increase it to 68-72 when the home is occupied again. Lower it to 62-66 when everyone is sleeping. If your home is a two-story with zoned HVAC, take advantage of the fact that heat rises. Set the upstairs thermostat two degrees lower than the downstairs unit. A programmable thermostat can bring your home to a cozier temperature before you get home in the evening or wake up in the morning. You also can ease into this by adjusting it a degree at a time over a period of several days. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a one-degree thermostat reduction maintained for eight hours can reduce a home’s energy bill by one percent.    

If you celebrate the holidays with a live Christmas tree, water the tree every day, keeping the water reservoir filled at all times. Remove the tree from your home after Christmas or when it becomes dry. Keep the tree at least three feet away after from any heat source, and unplug lights before going to bed or leaving your home.

With these tips, you’ll be able to handle whatever winter throws your way, and remember, spring is just around the corner!

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