Home Help

You hire a contractor to complete a job, not to scam you out of money. To ensure you get the former and protect yourself from the latter, follow these tips from the Chicago Tribune.

• Don’t pay an advance deposit, which is a common trick of scammers. Don’t let them steal your money “for materials and tools.”

• Ask to see the paperwork, including certifications, insurance and permits. Your contractor should be able to provide you with copies of each of these documents.

• Get your questions answered before you sign the contract. After that, it’s too late.

• Do your research. Don’t count on a great contractor to fall into your lap because they knocked on your door. Doing your own research will help you find the best contractor for the job.

LIGHTING

Light a bathroom for beauty, function and safety

The bathroom vanity is a hub of activity. The lighting above your vanity or sink area is critical to how well the space functions.

Lights above the bathroom mirror, or to either side of it, can create glare and shadow. A better alternative can be to use a lighted mirror or medicine cabinet, Kohler suggests. Lighted mirrors and medicine cabinets eliminate harsh shadows and light “hot spots” that can come from overhead lighting.

GARDENING

3 gardening tips you’ll want to pass on

Gardening is rewarding but hard work. These tips from HGTV can make your seasonal hobby easier while preserving your enjoyment.

1. Rub your fingernails across a bar of soap before hitting the garden and you’ll deny dirt its place to collect underneath.

2. Spray the line on your string or hedge trimmer with vegetable oil and you’ll stop it from jamming while reducing breaks.

3. Measure out specific distances using a rake or hoe and a tape measure, then record those distances with a marker on your yard tool. This way you can use the tool to measure your next distance while planting in an easy step.

— Brandpoint

HOME STORAGE

Use Pinterest, Houzz to find stylish storage options

If after a big declutter effort, you may still have essentials and other items you can’t or won’t part with. That’s where creativity can make it easier to find ample storage space.

Seek inspiration. Search online for solutions to everyday storage problems, as sites like Pinterest and Houzz can be great resources.

Pinterest reports that 93 percent of its users shop the platform for new ideas and 87 percent have made purchases based on things they have seen on the site. Organizational issues, especially small or non-existent closet space, are common and many creative solutions, such as using non-traditional means to store seasonal items like clothes outside of the bedroom, can be found online.