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Window Cover Child Safety Mattress Buying Tips Blinds and Shades Comfort and Privacy Reducing Allergens Organizational Tools Coating Garage Floors

Clear Up The Clutter

Know Your Home's Value

(NAPSI)—Whether you're thinking of buying, selling, remodeling or just wondering about the value of your home, you need to know local market conditions—the picture may be brighter than you thought.

To help, the home and real estate experts at Hanley Wood Market Intelligence have a new tool. Visit www.builderonline.com, click the blue Local Housing Data tab, enter your zip code, and you'll see graphs and charts depicting values for your local market.

Jonathan Smoke, executive director of research for Hanley Wood, says, "Healthy markets have the following traits: a growing job market, favorable demographic trends, a diverse and educated workforce, subsiding foreclosure activity, and positive quality of life factors."

For remodeling, see how to maximize your return on investment at www.costvsvalue.com.

According to Remodeling magazine, the three projects with the highest return this year are fiber cement siding, entry door replacement, and attic bedroom remodel. Visit www.costvsvalue.com to see 32 more remodeling projects and their worth at resale.

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Window Coverings And Child Safety: What Parents Need To Know

(NAPSI)—While checking off items on that home childproofing list, remember to check your window areas. Access to windows and dangling window covering cords can pose a serious safety hazard to children and small pets.

"While nothing replaces the watchful eye of a loving parent or caregiver, there are precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk of injury around window areas," said Tracy Christman, vice president of Budget Blinds Vendor Alliance.

She offers some tips to help:

• When decorating the nursery, set up furniture—such as cribs, changing tables and toy chests—away from window areas so that they cannot be used to access window treatment cords. Placing furniture away from the window area also minimizes the risk of the child accidentally falling through an open window and reduces the risk of injury from broken glass if the window is shattered.

• Choose cordless window coverings. The Window Covering Safety Council recommends cordless window treatments in homes where children are present, including grandparents' homes and child care locations.

"There are three ways to go cordless—choose inherently cord-free products, choose cordless operating products or motorize your window coverings," said Christman.

Shutters and roller shades with spring roller operation are cord-free by design. The spring roller allows homeowners to raise and lower roller shades by gently pulling on the bottom hem.

Cordless cellular shades eliminate lift cords and conceal the internal cords from curious tots, which makes them a great option for homes where children are present.

The demand for motorized window treatments has increased in recent years. Motorization is not only convenient, but it enhances safety by eliminating the need for lift cords on your window treatment, as seen on Signature Illusions.

"Motorization is a wonderful option for homes where children are present and homes where someone with special needs lives. Budget Blinds is proud to partner with Somfy Systems to make homes safer and more inviting than ever," said Christman.

The experts at independently owned and operated Budget Blinds franchises can explain all the features of each window covering and offer recommendations to help you make an informed decision about your window coverings purchase.

For more information and window treatment safety tips, visit www.budgetblinds.com/safety or call (800) 519-6298.

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Five Tips To Help You Sleep

(NAPSI)—Getting a comfortable night's sleep can be much easier than counting dozens of sheep—thanks to new memory foam technology. Here are five tips to help the 57 percent of consumers planning to buy a mattress in the next three months who are considering memory foam:

1. Getting into the thick of it. Memory foam mattresses come in a variety of thicknesses. Decide which thickness you want. Thinner mattresses will be less expensive but thicker ones can provide a more supportive sleep environment.

2. Comfort and support. How much support do you want? If you need a firm foundation for a good night's sleep, compare levels of support.

3. All foam or some foam. Consider construction. Some mattresses are entirely made of memory foam while others are a combination.

4. To flip or not to flip. Ask if your mattress should be flipped. Some of the new memory foam mattresses do not need to be flipped.

5. A cool option. Ask if the mattress has a cooling system. Memory foam mattresses are very comfortable but one problem that one in four consumers report with memory foam mattresses is that they retain heat and "sleep hot." Fortunately, new product lines solve that problem.

For example, Simmons' ComforPedic Loft line took those complaints and used them to develop new memory foam technologies that address concerns. The mattress is designed for quick recovery—If you press down on the foam, it promptly expands back to its original shape. The collection also features a sleep system that dissipates heat and provides cooling.

Optimal Sleeping Temperatures

"Designed to work with the memory foam, the sleep system features a stylish mesh border so the bed can breathe," said Scott Smalling, Simmons Specialty Sleep Division. "The mattress core gives extra support while the edge offers sleeping comfort and stability right to the edge of the bed."

Select models also include gel technologies for more support and a cooling sensation.

That's good news for anyone who wants to get a good night's rest. Visit www.ComforPedic.com for more information.

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An Innovative Approach to Comfort and Privacy

(NAPSI)—There's good news for homeowners who are looking for a way to add both safety and privacy to their homes.

Thanks to an innovative product, it may be possible to address both needs at once and have more peace of mind as well.

Created by a leading manufacturer of doorglass and window treatments, ODL's enclosed Add-on Blinds and Shades allow homeowners to control privacy, cut cleaning time and increase energy efficiency, while the cordless design protects the safety of the family.

Traditional blinds and shades can be tough to clean, cumbersome to install and can even be a safety risk. According to a recent article in Consumer Reports, blinds and shades with cords are among the most recalled products in the nation because of choking hazard risks for small children.

An Innovative System

ODL's enclosed Add-on Blinds and Shades are designed to eliminate the need for cords by enclosing the treatments in glass and using an innovative cordless LightTouch® control system.

The system allows users to raise, lower and tilt the enclosed blinds and shades at the touch of a finger. This control also allows adjustment of the level of natural light or shade, helping to customize privacy options in a room and regulate room temperature, thereby increasing energy efficiency.

DIY-friendly Installation

"Safety and energy efficiency are always top concerns for our home improvement-minded listeners," says Tom Kraeutler, host of "The Money Pit," a popular national weekly radio program and website on home improvement, and a featured television guest expert. "ODL's enclosed Add-on Blinds and Shades are not only safer than traditional blinds and shades, but they are also an easy DIY project that the average homeowner can install in just minutes."

ODL's enclosed Add-on Blinds and Shades can be installed on doors with raised frames or flush frames around doorglass and, once secured, do not swing when the door is opened or closed. They are available in white with a white frame and can be painted or stained according to homeowner preference.

ODL's enclosed Add-on Blinds and Shades are available at major home improvement and window treatment retailers.

For more information, visit www.ODL.com or call (866) 635-4968. To find a retailer or dealer, visit www.ODL.com/buy.

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Tips For Reducing Household Allergens

(NAPSI)—Good news for the estimated 50 million Americans who suffer from an assortment of allergies—you can remove allergy triggers from your home.

What To Do

Some of the most common allergy problems are caused by pollen, dust and pet dander. Consider taking these steps to manage these allergens for a healthier home environment:

• Make it a Routine: Dust and vacuum weekly to help remove common allergy triggers such as dust mites, pollen and pet hair from your home and use a damp cloth when dusting to trap dust.

• Keep Linens Clean: Wash bed linens, including sheets, pillow cases and blankets, weekly in hot water (at least 130° Fahrenheit).

• Avoid Trigger Transfer: Keep clothes you've worn outside away from your bedroom, especially bed linens and pillows, as well as other fabrics such as curtains and couches, to avoid transferring allergens.

• Know Your Enemy: Make note of your family's allergy triggers so you can try to avoid them whenever possible.

• Deep Cleaning is a Necessity: Because vacuuming is not enough, the EPA recommends deep cleaning carpet every three to six months with a hot water extraction system that gets in between carpet fibers to loosen dirt and grime and then extracts dirt and allergens from rugs.

"Indoor allergies can cause problems for sufferers year-round, but the effects are more noticeable as cooler temperatures drive people indoors," explained Susan Natoli, Manager, Cleaning Products, Research and Development at Rug Doctor. "Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, and while indoor allergies can be hard to escape, there are steps consumers can take to minimize exposure at home."

According to Natoli, carpet is the biggest air filter in your home and regular vacuuming is not enough.

"Vacuuming helps, but carpet needs regular deep cleaning," said Natoli. "Using products like the new Rug Doctor Anti-Allergen Carpet Cleaner help alleviate indoor allergy triggers by trapping and encapsulating allergens so more are removed during extraction."

She also suggests to be sure the carpet care products in use have earned the Carpet and Rug Institute's Seal of Approval because these are the optimal products to protect the life of a carpet. Failure to do so might void the warranty from the carpet manufacturer.

Where To Learn More

For more facts and tips, visit www.rugdoctor.com or call (800) 784-3628.

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Turning Chaos Into Calm With Organization

(NAPSI)—Every home has a central gathering space where people spend most of their time. This area could be a kitchen, a living room or even the garage—as long as the rooms are organized and functional. But that's not always the case.

For example, the garage is useful for a variety of purposes, but too often ends up being the dumping ground for items that do not fit in the rest of the home.

Thankfully, today's organizational tools can help provide order to a usually chaotic room and help make it functional again.

According to Leslie Howard, a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and owner of Indianapolis-based Streamline by Design, an organizational system such as Gladiator GarageWorks can help clients transform their garage into a multiuse area.

"With the right organizational tools, any homeowner can turn their disorganized space into an automobile haven, a gardener's sanctuary or even the sports fanatic's dream locker room," says Howard. To get started, she recommends these simple tips:

• To make the situation less stressful, allow yourself time to tackle the project.

• Sort items in the garage into separate categories; e.g., sports equipment, seasonal items, tools, etc.

• Donate or recycle broken or unused items.

• Look for wasted space and create a plan of how the room will look, making sure to measure each area to maximize the use of the space.

• Choose an organizational system like Gladiator® GarageWorks, which offers versatility and the ability to grow as your needs change.

After the system installation:

• Place items most frequently used in locations that are easily accessible and within reach.

• Create a habit of putting things away within a timely manner in its appropriate space to maintain organization.

Enjoy your newly transformed space!

Once your garage is complete, you can apply the tips above for any room in your home or office.

A recent study conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Whirlpool Corporation found that for 23 percent of U.S. adults, the bedroom is the space that gathers the most clutter, compared with only 14 percent who said the garage.*

With just a little imagination, you can easily use these tips throughout the house to fit your family's functionality needs and organizational goals.

*This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Whirlpool Corporation from May 18-20, 2011 among 2,407 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey was not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact media@whirlpool.com.

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Reclaim Your Garage In A Weekend

(NAPSI)—Is your garage dingy, cluttered and in need of a facelift? Transforming it into a "showroom" for your car or reclaiming it for a workshop, playroom or man cave isn't difficult. All it takes is a weekend and a little elbow grease.

"Many homeowners view the garage as an extension of the home—not just a place to store the lawn mower," says Rust-Oleum brand manager Mark Wilgen. "A clean, well-organized garage can provide extra living space, as well as add value to a home. And reclaiming it can be a fun weekend project that families can do together."

Here's how to get started:

Get rid of the clutter. Remove outdoor furniture, sports equipment, lawn mowers and garage clutter. Bag the trash, donate too-small bikes and other items you no longer need and decide what will go back in the garage after your work is done. If you're like most homeowners, you'll gain a lot of space by clearing away the clutter.

Paint the walls. Most homeowners don't think about painting the walls of their garage. Yet a coat of ordinary latex paint can go a long way in brightening the space and giving it a finished look. If the garage has never been painted—or it's been painted with porous builders' flat paint—make sure you prime first with a quality primer like Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3. It will seal the surface for a better paint job and you'll use less paint.

Don't forget the floor. Sweep it clean. Then remove dirt, oil or grease spots using a cleaner/degreaser and a stiff bristle brush and rinse thoroughly. To give your garage a showroom-quality floor that will make you the talk of your neighborhood, finish it with a coating specifically formulated for garage floors such as Rust-Oleum Garage Floor Coating. It will protect the floor against gasoline, antifreeze, motor oil, salt and hot tire pickup and makes it simple to keep clean. And it's easy to apply. Just mix the two-part system, allow the mixture to stand according to label directions and then apply it in 4'x4' sections.

Toss the decorative paint chips as you finish each section and you're done.

It's time to organize! From shelving to workbenches to storage pieces designed for sports equipment, there is a plethora of garage storage options available to help you get organized. Visit your local hardware store to find the best option for your needs. You'll be surprised how a little organization can maximize your garage space.

For more information on garage projects, floor-finishing tips and techniques, visit www.rustoleum.com.

 

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Clear Up The Clutter

(NAPSI)—While many homeowners complain that they don't have enough space, they may have more than they think. Surprisingly, according to a survey by the American Cleaning Institute, most clutter in the home is really the result of disorganization.

"The majority of people have plenty of space, they just aren't using the space wisely or efficiently," explains Perri Kersh, a professional organizer, owner of Neat Freak and member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. "The attic, for example, is an ideal place for storing certain infrequently used items such as holiday decor."

Organizational products can help you make better use of valuable space that is otherwise wasted. The new AtticMaxx™ Shelving System, for example, provides organized attic space and easy access to stored items. The shelf system mounts between attic trusses—the triangular wooden structures used to support a pitched roof—to create vertical storage space around an attic floor. It installs in minutes with a screwdriver, a level and four screws. Visit www.AtticMaxx.com for more information and free organizing tips.

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