Regardless of whether or not you enjoy cooking, the inevitable task is much more enjoyable when you have a clean and clutter-free kitchen to work in. Additionally, a clean kitchen provides a safer place to eat and thus a healthier you. In the long-run, keeping your kitchen well-maintained and tidy will actually increase the value of your home if you choose to sell it later on. Below is our three-step guide to a cleaner and organized kitchen.
Step 1: Get organized.
The best cleaning tips for the kitchen start with identifying and organizing the items that belong in the kitchen as well as the items that don’t belong but have managed to make their way in overtime. One way to get all kitchen items organized is to ensure that every item has a home. All flatware should be separated and properly placed in a drawer. Food items such as bread, cereal, etc. should be placed in the cabinet or pantry. Car keys should be hung from a hook on the wall or in a basket on the entry table.
If after organizing your entire kitchen, you discover items that don’t have a home, you can draw the conclusion that they don’t belong in the kitchen at all. To keep the non-kitchen items from piling up, do a quick sweep of your kitchen everyday and remove any items that don’t belong.
Step 2: Live healthy.
Yes, germs are everywhere and it is impossible to kill all germs in your home. However, we can keep them contained in areas that are known for harboring the most germs. For example, avoid using sponges to wipe down countertops and sinks. They are known to carry a ton of germs and spread them quickly. Instead, consider using a paper towel or cleaning wipe that you can throw away once the task is complete.
After cooking, be sure to wipe down all counters with a safe disinfectant, especially when handling raw meats. Keep anti-bacterial hand soap next to your dish soap on your sink and wash your hands both after handling raw foods and cleaning up. Lastly, if you have a pet, keep their dishes off of countertops and food prep areas.
Step 3: Clean regularly.
While cleaning the kitchen every day or once a week may seem extremely time consuming, it will actually require less time than it would to clean your kitchen after a significant amount of time has passed. A good rule of thumb is to clean as you cook. After you add an ingredient, place it back in the cabinet or refrigerator. Once you finish with one pot or bowl, wash it or put it in the dishwasher.
Also, wash or rinse the dishes right after you finish eating. This will prevent food from sticking to the plates and silverware. Try to mop and clean out your refrigerator at least once a week. Finally, take out any trash that contains raw meats or spoiled food.
The majority of us consider organization to be the single most important factor in creating and maintaining productive work habits. If you are like most individuals, sustaining organization is not the hard part; it’s getting organized that most of us struggle with. In order to assist you, our team of mortgage professionals has shared their best tips on how to get organized as well as a few tricks on maintaining it.
Step 1: Assess your organizational needs.
Before you pick up a single item on your messy desk, take a second to think about what all needs to be organized. Start with the easiest category, paperwork. Identify all the paperwork that flows into your workspace and divide it into categories. For example, most people have a stack of bills, contact information, correspondence, etc. Once you have all of your paper work divided up, come up with a system for keeping it all organized. Maybe you want to have separate folders for each category and store them all in your file cabinet, or maybe you want to divide it all up into a tray table that sits on your desk. It doesn’t matter how you keep it separated; only that each item has a designated spot.
The next thing you want to asses is how quickly you can find things. Do you spend a good amount of time searching for documents, files or stray papers? If you answered yes to the previous question, build a filing system to help keep all of your important documents organized. Having everything in one central location will cut back on the time you spend searching your office and allow you to spend more time being productive.
Lastly, assess your time-management and track your “to-do” items. Some people prefer to use traditional day planners, while others prefer computer-based systems. Being able to track what you accomplish and add new tasks will not only keep your organized but allow your days to flow smoothly.
Step 2: Don’t be intimated by sorting.
Sorting is something we all hate to do, but must accomplish when trying to get organized. The best way to look at it is that you are simply grouping like items and taking away things that don’t belong in the group. For example, if your computer or desk area is covered with sticky notes of “to-do” items, consolidate them. Instead of having 50 sticky notes, type them all into your task tracker. Another way to organize your work area is to have a tray for urgent or immediate documents and one for regular items.
Step 3: Toss what you don’t need.
Hopefully after you have sorted through your workspace, you have found quite a few items that you no longer need. While it may seem easy, this step is one that many of us struggle with. For some reason, we have a hard time deciding what to keep and what to purge. Here are some factors to consider if you can’t decide which route to go:
- Keep financial statements and tax information that may be required by the IRS on file for five to seven years. Anything older than that can be discarded.
- Toss any information that is available online. If you have printed off copies of articles you found online and know that they will remain on the site you found it, throw away the hard copy. If you are unsure whether or not you will be able to find it online at a later date, copy and paste the text into a Word document and save it to your hard drive.
- Transfer contact information to the appropriate place, and then discard the scrap it was originally written on. If you have a sticky not with a clients email address or phone number on it, add them to your address book and toss the scrap of paper.
Step 4: Categorize and maintain.
Once you have sorted through and thrown out anything and everything you no longer need, file it. Come up with your top categories and if needed, subcategories. Take each pile, place it in a folder and add it to your filing cabinet. Before you know it, you will be organized.
Keep in mind the maintaining organization requires you to be diligent about it. If needed, set a weekly reminder in your phone or on your calendar that reminds you to sort, purge and categorize new items.
This article was brought to you by Oklahoma Mortgage Bank. Oklahoma Mortgage Bank offers a wide ar- ray of mortgage programs to eligible borrowers nationwide. Click here to visit our website.
If you or someone you know has questions about home financing in Oklahoma or nationwide, contact our Oklahoma mortgage team: (405) 358-3560 or (800) 308-8503. www.OklahomaMortgageBank.com
From media rooms to home offices, there are several ways homeowners can transform their basements. When deciding how to design your basement, you have to focus on what you want to use the space for most. There really is no right or wrong way to set up the space, but knowing exactly what the main purpose of the room will be will make the transformation process much easier. If you have a basement, but no idea what to do with it, our team of mortgage professionals is here to help. Listed below are six different ways homeowners can transform their unused basement spaces.
Several homeowners choose to transform their basements into large multipurpose media areas. If you have always dreamed of having a home theater, an unused basement provides the perfect layout. Here are a few helpful tips to get you moving in the right direction towards a mega media room.
- Don’t put the viewing screen or TV across from a window; the darker the space, the better. If you absolutely must put the screen across from a window, install black-out shades or dark, heavy curtains.
- Don’t fear if your basement has low ceilings, you will be seated the majority of the time you spend in there.
- Platform seating is a great, yet inexpensive, touch to add to any home theater. While theater seating can really add up, placing a platform under your second row of seats elevates the back row, providing optimal viewing without draining your wallet.
Personal Fitness Facility
Before setting out to purchase fitness equipment to fill the basement, measure the space’s dimensions. Be aware that low ceilings may cause certain pieces of fitness equipment to not fit properly in the space. Therefore, measure the room and measure the equipment before purchasing. Also, make sure the equipment can make it down the stairs. If it is welded together or does not disassemble, you may have trouble making a sharp 90-degree turn when moving it down the stairs.
A home office should ideally be the same size as a guest bedroom. It is important to note that if you add a closet, your home office will be considered an extra bedroom according to code and you will be required to install a window. If you are concerned the space will feel cramped, use a double set of French doors on a basement office to maximize natural light and create a feeling of openness.
As previously mentioned, if you decide to turn your unused basement into a guest bedroom, building code will require you to have an egress window no more than 44 inches from the ground. You are permitted you create a step-up or enlarge the window to meet code.
If you want to create a guest suite, place the bathroom adjacent to the bedroom with a direct entrance from inside. Make sure if you install a shower there is enough clearance for your guest to lift their arms above their head without hitting the ceiling. Lastly, you will need a fan to exhaust to the outside.
Bar and/or Wine Cellar
Before you begin picking out countertops for your new bar, it is important to set a budget. Installing a bar is extremely similar to installing a new kitchen without the appliances, so your expense will be comparable.
If you don’t have a large budget, there are other alternatives for the space that provide the same effect. Consider adding in a horizontal section of cabinets that can also be used as a buffet and leave room for a fridge. Also, purchasing cabinets from a big-box or modular furniture store rather than installing custom cabinets can save you a considerable amount of money.
If you absolutely must have a classic bar or wine cellar, it is best to determine your maximum budget and work backward. Make a list of items you want to include in the space with your must-haves prioritized on top. This will help you determine which features you can and cannot live without.
Are you looking for a new stream of monthly income? If so, consider turning your unused basement space into a rental unit. Transforming the space into an apartment is no different than transforming it into anything else. Before beginning the renovation process, verify that your neighborhood is zoned for multifamily residences. Hiring a general basement contractor for this type of project is highly recommended. They will ensure that the right permits are produced and all construction components meet building code.
This article was brought to you by Oklahoma Mortgage Bank. Oklahoma Mortgage Bank offers a wide array of mortgage programs to eligible borrowers nationwide. Click here to visit our website.
If you or someone you know has questions about home financing in Oklahoma or nationwide, contact our Oklahoma mortgage team: (405) 358-3560 or (800) 308-8503.
If you go to any local courthouse you will find the property records for all the real estate ownership in your community. Sometimes the records can go as far back as a hundred years or more.
Why are these records important? They are essential for today’s homeowners because they provide them with proof that the property they are selling has a good, marketable, and insurable title. Just as important, these records allow buyers to supply proof of ownership if or when they decide to sell.
According to our Oklahoma mortgage experts, the closing process, which is also referred to as “settlement” or “escrow” depending on which part of the country you are in, is becoming more and more computerized and automated these days. A lot of the time, buyers and sellers do not even need to appear at a specific event. Often, the signed paperwork can be sent to the closing agent using overnight delivery.
The usual closing procedure brings together several parties who are part of the “transaction” process. For instance, the history of property ownership has already been checked but there is a possibility the records have errors or that there are unrecorded flaws or claims in the actual review. Thus, it is necessary to have title insurance. At the time of closing, it is required that all transfer taxes be paid and all other claims be settled (such as legal fees, closing costs, and adjustments). For the majority of transactions, the paperwork needed to record the loan is completed by the closing agent.
What you need to expect:
Settlement is a fairly quick process. It is where all of the required documentation for completion of the transaction is signed. Typically, closing takes place in an office setting. Sometimes both the buyer and the seller are together at the same table or other times they are assigned to separate areas to complete their paperwork. In both instances the aftermath is that the title to the property is signed over from the seller to the buyer.
Once completed, the buyer will receive keys to the property and the seller will receive the payment for the home. In order to pay off the existing mortgage and additional transaction costs, the closing agent will subtract money from the amount credited to the seller. Also, loan documents, deeds, and other paperwork are prepared, signed, and filed with the community property record offices.
What you should do:
One of the best aspects of settlement is that buyers and sellers do not need to do very much. Before the loan closes, buyers usually have one final opportunity to walk around and observe the property to ensure that the conditions have not changed since the sale agreement was signed. At the actual closing, all the necessary paperwork has already been prepared by title companies, closing agents, lawyers, and lenders. These documentations are a reflection of the sale agreement and also allow all parties involved to verify their share. For example, the loan is recorded in public records for the lender, buyers obtain the title to the home, and state governments acquire their transfer taxes from the property.
This article was brought to you by Oklahoma Mortgage Bank. Oklahoma Mortgage Bank offers a wide array of mortgage programs to eligible borrowers nationwide.
If you or someone you know has questions about home financing in Oklahoma or nationwide,
contact our Oklahoma mortgage team: (405) 358-3560 or (800) 308-8503.