Gene Mullen - CENTURY 21 Commonwealth



Posted by Gene Mullen on 11/7/2017

Having lived in several tiny apartments, I know firsthand the struggle of having a cluttered bedroom. The bedroom is the room of your home you'll probably spend the most time in. You sleep there, get dressed there, and it's where you go to unwind before bed. It also houses some large furniture items: your bed, your clothing storage, and maybe even a desk or television. However, there are ways to declutter your bedroom to make it feel more minimal, open, and spacious. In this article, we'll go over some of the ways you can arrange, paint, and decorate your bedroom to create space and build a more open and comfortable environment.

1. Colors are important

Interior decorators will tell you all about the need for light colors to make a room feel spacious. We naturally associate darkness with closed spaces--a shady patch of wood, a dark cave--whereas bright spaces tend to be much more spacious--a sprawling field or open body of water. To emulate this openness indoors, decorate your home like you would find in a field. Keep the darker colors lower to the ground like the dirt and grass in a field, and the lighter colors up higher on the walls and ceiling, like the sky above.

2. Mirrors make a difference

Most people know about the mirror trick to adding space in a room. However, the location and size of the mirror also matter. One tiny mirror in the corner of a room won't make much of a difference. However, grouping mirrors together, especially vertically from floor to ceiling, will make the bed room appear much larger, plus you'll be able to use the mirrors while getting dressed in the morning.

3. Use storage furniture

A bed frame, desk, or ottoman with storage space will allow you to keep objects out of sight and help declutter the room. For best results, use furniture items that are light in color or paint them a slightly different shade of the color of your walls.

4. Modular furniture

Modular furniture is minimal and can be built to fit your needs. With modular furniture you won't ever have more drawers in your dresser than you need. If you want a desk in your bedroom, you can buy a fold-up wall mounted desk that helps clear up room when not in use.

5. Store inside, not on top

Bedrooms tend to accumulate a lot of clutter. Before I got rid of my bedside table it was usually covered with any range of items--keys, water bottle, opened mail, pens, etc. However, now that I store everything in a bedroom drawer, I don't have to worry about those items being visible and making the room feel cluttered.

6. Ditch the big bed

Mattresses and bed frames have come a long way in recent years when it comes to minimalism. Since your bed is probably the largest item in your bedroom, it is the most important item to change if you really want to make the room more spacious. The obvious solution is to buy a smaller sized bed. However, if that isn't an option there are also many slim mattresses and bed frames with a sleek, minimalist look.





Posted by Gene Mullen on 7/4/2017

Do you ever wonder if those items stored away in your attic or basement are worth any money? Most people assume that their antique furniture and family heirlooms couldn't be worth the trouble of finding out their value. However, there are some items that are currently taking up storage space that you could get quite a lot of money for. In this article, we'll cover some of the items you're likely to have that are worth a lot of money and how to find out just how much they're worth.

Collectibles

Some collectible items gain value as the years pass. Sometimes a craze becomes so popular (i.e., Pokemon cards) that people snatch up every item they can find hoping that someday they'll be worth thousands. In reality, it's hard to know what items will be worth something decades down the road. However, there are many items that are currently very valuable that you might have laying around in your attic (hopefully still in the original packaging!).
  • Rare vinyl records Your mom's stack of dusty Kenny Rogers records might not be worth much, but you should dig through and old records and look them up online to see how much they're going for. Some editions of Bob Dylan and The Beatles sell for tens of thousands of dollars. You never know...
  • Comics Just like rare records, rare comic books can sell for thousands to serious collectors. Condition is key, but if you find any comics in the attic you should ask an expert how much they go for.
  • Musical instruments Antique guitars, violins, and pianos are highly sought after by collectors. Four things make an antique instrument valuable: the person who made it, the person who played it, the condition it's in, and the quality of the instrument.
  • Designer fashion If grandma used to have a taste for high fashion, it might be a good idea to look into who made her old purses and jewelry. Similarly, if there is an old wrist watch or pocket watch in the attic, see if you can find any details about it online.
  • First edition books There's a good chance your grand parents or great grandparents were book readers. They didn't have the internet or video games so what else could they be doing all day? If they happened to collect some first editions of the classics, you're in luck--The Great Gatsby with the original dust jacket recently sold for an incredible $194,000.

Artwork

You can probably guess that paintings by prominent artists are some of the most valuable collectibles in the world. However, it doesn't take a van Gogh to turn a profit off of some old paintings and sculptures that might be sitting in your basement. When we say art, we also include things like movie posters and old signs and advertisements. An original Star Wars movie poster can go for up to $100,000.

Antique wooden furniture

You've probably seen old furniture selling for thousands on television. The important things to look out for when it comes to valuing your old furniture are: is it made of all original parts? What time period is it from? Why type of wood is it made of? Which company crafted it? Only an expert can answer these questions for you.




Tags: money   home   antique   antiques   valuable   collectibles   attic   basement  
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Posted by Gene Mullen on 2/21/2017

People often describe themselves as either a "city person" or "country folk" depending on their taste when it comes to where they like to spend their time. Usually, what they really mean is that they prefer either the busy or the quiet life. However, there's a lot more to choosing the best place to live besides just the number of neighbors you'll have. If you're trying to decide whether you want to buy a home in the city, live out in the country, or move to the suburbs where you get a little bit of each, this article will tell you everything you need to know to make the right choice.

Life in the city

If you grew up in a small town, odds are you always dreamed of someday living in the city. The busy streets, the tall buildings, and public transportation that you can take anywhere all make city life feel like one giant amusement park if you grew up in the country. However, there's a lot more to city life than just the bustling atmosphere.
  • Amenities. One of the main benefits of living in the city is easy access to most of the necessities of life. Depending on your location in the city you might be surrounded by hospitals, schools and grocery stores.
  • Entertainment. You'll never run out of things to do or new places to explore living in a big city.
  • Community and culture. In most large cities you'll find great diversity of cultures and values. If you're looking for a place you can identify with, odds are you'll find a community you can fit into within the city.
  • Cost of living. This varies between cities and states, but generally the cost of living goes up in the big cities with higher rent prices, more expensive groceries and dining options.
  • Traffic. You have to love being around other people if you live in a big city. Whether you're on the train or at the crosswalk, you'll always be within arms length of a group of strangers.

Country living

  • Privacy and sovereignty. If you like your alone time and the freedom to do what you want with the space you have, country life might be for you.
  • Peace and quiet. If you hate traffic jams and don't mind driving long distances to reach amenities, small town living could be a good fit.
  • Nature and space. Out in the country there's plenty of room to roam and to experience the local flora and fauna.

Suburban life

Life in the suburbs is meant to have the best features of the city and the country. Hopefully your town has a couple grocery stores and easy access to the highway to reach the nearest city. It will also have access to recreation parks. One downfall of suburban life is that you need to make the extra effort if you want to build the sense of community provided in the city or the connection to nature that comes with living out in the country. However, if you are the type to actively seek these out, suburban life could be the happy medium your life needs.




Tags: home   city   living   life   home living   country   suburbs  
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Posted by Gene Mullen on 12/13/2016

Staying in shape during the winter time isn’t easy. Colder weather means less time spent walking outdoors, jogging, or riding a bicycle. The days grow shorter and we get tired earlier when to sun is already on its way down as we leave work at night. All of these things combine to make it difficult to maintain fitness during the winter months.

Luckily, we live in a time when we have access to several great fitness resources right from our own home. In this article, we’ll cover some important tips to keep you moving this winter.

Skip the expensive machinery

As many fitness practitioners will tell you (except the the ones selling them on TV), most “home gym” systems are overpriced, difficult to move, take up a ton of room, and will probably turn into a hanger for your laundry after a few months.

Instead of spending a ton of money on exercise machines, go out and buy a good roll-up exercise or yoga mat and a couple weights.

The internet is your trainer and motivator

Many of us who buy gym memberships do so thinking that paying for something monthly will motivate us to use it. It’s easy to slip out of your schedule, however, and find yourself paying for a service you don’t use. Gyms that charge low monthly membership fees often have hefty cancellation fees. These gyms sign so many people up and then depend on them not to come every day, otherwise they would be extremely overcrowded.

Save your money, and try out various free routines on YouTube. There are videos in several different areas of fitness including yoga, pilates, dance, strengthening and cardio workouts, or even hula hooping.  

Don’t let impossible ideals ruin your good time

Fitness should be fun and rewarding. If you want to stick to it, choose an activity that you enjoy and don’t dread doing every day. If you can’t think of a physical activity you actually enjoy (trust me, I’m with you), then make your exercise something you look forward to by listening to your favorite podcasts while you do them.

So much of our consumer culture depends striving for an impossible to reach body standard. It can be hard for us to ignore, since women and men alike are taught these standards from birth. But to have the best results from your exercise, it should come from a place of pride and enjoyment in yourself and your body, not shame.

Make it social

If you aren’t great at holding yourself accountable (you aren’t alone) or just have more fun doing activities with others, making your routine a social act is a great way to make it a more rewarding and worthwhile experience. You can get your significant other, children, or even a rambunctious dog involved in staying active through the winter.




Tags: home   fitness   tips  
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Posted by Gene Mullen on 11/22/2016

When you're a homeowner, it's tempting to save money any way you can. Oftentimes people take repairs into their own hands when they don't have the knowledge or experience to complete the job safely. What begins as a way to save money can quickly turn into a disaster--as you spend lengthy periods of time on a project and find yourself going over your initial budget. It isn't always easy to know which projects you can attempt yourself and which ones are better left to the pros. And, of course, it will depend on your comfort and skill level when it comes to various household repairs. So, if you're a plumber, disregard our plumbing advice and dive in to your DIY plumbing projects since you have the know-how. But if you're an average homeowner looking to make some renovations and repairs, read on to find out which ones you should attempt and which ones are better left to the pros.

1. Electrical work

So you've got a few faulty outlets in the new home you bought. It doesn't seem worth calling in an electrician just for those few minor issues. However, due to the dangers and complications that can arise from electric work, it's a good idea to hold off and call in the experts. Aside from shocking yourself (which can be deadly), you could also create fire hazards or damage circuitry, resulting in much higher repair costs than you initially had. Another benefit of calling in al electrician, other than having the project done correctly, is that they will be able to diagnose your home circuitry to let you know what other problems might arise in the foreseeable future. So, when it comes to power issues, always call in the pros.

2. Hazardous materials

Many people will tell you not to worry about asbestos or lead paint unless you have children. However, these are both dangerous materials than can create several chronic health problems in adults as well. If you're concerned for the safety of yourself and your family, call in contractors who will remove the lead or asbestos. What can go wrong if you try to do it yourself? Lead chips and dust will fly through the air when attempting to remove lead paint. Breathing in these fumes is dangerous initially and down the road when the dust settles into the corners of your home. Asbestos, especially in blown-in insulation can be particularly dangerous. Aside from ensuring your safety, a contractor will also be able to assess the situation and determine whether your hazardous materials need to be removed or can just be "repaired" or covered up. Simple repair jobs on asbestos or lead-containing objects can save you some serious time and money.

3. Roofing and siding

There's a reason even building contractors bring in third party companies to install roofs and siding. These are both labor-intensive and time-intensive jobs that require specialized skills and tools that only dedicated companies can accomplish correctly. Roofing and siding are both dangerous jobs that carry the risk of falling off of roofs and ladders, as well as injuring your back lifting heavy shingles. The pros have the tools and experience to avoid these injuries. When you hire the professionals to do your roofing or siding, you can rest assured that the job is done correctly and will last much longer than if you made it a DIY project as well.







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