Declutter: Five Home Clutter Culprits and How to Fix Them

Living with clutter starts to become the norm the longer you have lived in your home, but have you yearned for the cleanliness and open feel of a decluttered living space? There may be several factors causing your clutter. Today we will discuss the top five home clutter culprits and how to fix them so you can truly enjoy your home.

 

Culprit: Kitchen Countertops

Over the years of using your kitchen, you start to end up with a lot of things that just pile up on the countertop, like daily use items that are too inconvenient to constantly put away. But never fear, there are several things you can do to fix your kitchen clutter issues. One of the best ways is to invest in some kitchen organization items to maximize the amount of space you can use in your cabinets and drawers. For convenience items you would prefer easily accessible, store them in stylish boxes or baskets to keep them out in the open while looking tidy.

 

Culprit: Bookcases and Shelves

Bookcases and shelves are great organizational furniture, but over time you can lose control of them. One of the best ways to fix clutter on bookcases and shelves is just to get rid of things you haven’t used in a long time, then sort books and items by size, colour, and type. Place alike items in piles with good spacing between them to give a sense of openness. A nice trick for bookshelves is only use half a shelf for books, and the other half for decorative items. Anything you don’t need on display, place in stylish boxes and store on the top or bottom shelf.

 

Culprit: Entryways

Entryways in homes can quickly get slogged with daily items such as keys, mail, clothes, boots, backpacks… the list goes on and on. A great way to start fixing this is to get a nice shelf where thing can be placed, and maybe a decorative bowl for your keys. Next, you’ll want to make sure you have hooks easily accessible for coats, a boot rack for any shoes and boots that come off right in the door, and a basket or two for other items like umbrellas. With modern living, having a charging station for mobile devices right at the entryway can be a convenient addition.

 

Culprit: The Closest

As you buy clothing over time, your closest can start to become a cluttered mess. A great way to solve this is to keep track of items you have worn over the last year or two. If you haven’t worn an item in a while, it may be time to consider donating it. Hanging rods aren’t often the most efficient use of space, so consider boxes, baskets, shelves and drawers. For seasonal items consider storing them in boxes or bags in the higher shelving areas when not in use.

 

Culprit: The Garage

Garages inevitably end up being the last resting place for a lot of boxes in your home. When decluttering a garage, you need to be realistic and get rid of anything you aren’t likely to use anymore, have a garage sale or donate the items. Once you are down to the essentials, start working on garage organization ideas, like shelves, pegboard systems and labeled storage bins. Hooks on the walls also work great to store things like bikes.

Once you’ve decluttered these five major problem areas, you are well on your way to an open and clean home you can feel more comfortable in.

How to Save Money on Gas in Your Home this Winter

There are many things about your house that affect the cost of your homeowner’s insurance. Some of these include the type of roofing (metal or shingles), building frame, and heating system. You must have heat in all areas of your home because if an item freezes in an unheated area, such as a pipe, your insurance may not cover it.

 What Type of Furnace do you Have?

If your furnace is older than 15 years, you should replace it with a new efficient model to offset high energy prices. In addition to saving money, modern furnaces give off less pollution and produce more heat. An Energy Star® certified forced-air furnace is recommended on the Natural Resources Canada website because it uses 6 per cent less energy.

Check your Furnace Temperature in the Winter

According to Stats Canada, you should have a programmable thermostat to optimize the operation of your furnace. The Canadian Centre for Housing Technology did a study to examine the impact of thermostat temperature on gas and electric furnaces.

The following is what the study discovered with respect to gas furnaces:

  • Using a daytime temperature of 22°C and a nighttime temperature of 18°C resulted in a 6.5 per cent savings.
  • Setting the temperature to 16°C at night and when the home was unoccupied during the day resulted in a 13 per cent reduction in the amount of gas used.

You can use the above as a benchmark for what you set your temperature to during the winter. When Edmonton goes through it’s common deep freezes you might want to adjust your numbers. There are other things to consider such as the type of home you have, if pipes freezing is a concern, and the needs of people in your home such as babies, small children, and seniors.

Monitor Water Heating Costs

Your water heater consumes quite a bit of energy (14 per cent to 25 per cent). If you don’t have an energy-efficient model you should consider buying one to save money on gas. It’s also recommended that your hot water tank is turned to 49°C to save on energy usage.

Use Your Dishwasher!

Did you know that washing dishes in a newer model dishwasher uses less hot water than if you clean dishes by hand? It might sound crazy because dishwashers spray water continually, but they’re really using less water. Washing dishes by hand uses up to 102 litres of water per load; while an efficient dishwasher can use as little as 11 litres.

So, how does using your dishwasher save money on gas? When you wash dishes by hand the water heater makes the water hot. When you use an energy efficient dishwasher it has a heater inside to warm up the water.

To save money on gas you need to have energy efficient appliances such as your furnace, hot water heater, and dishwasher. With the tips presented here you can save money on gas and still enjoy the winter season in comfort.

Airbnb And Home Sharing Insurance: What You Should Know

We live in a sharing economy, (a.k.a. collaborative consumption) and it’s become a trending business concept. It’s a preferred way for people to rent or borrow items rather than buy them.  This sharing economy has opened the doors for people to supplement their income.

It’s a win/win situation for both the owner and the paid borrower. This sharing economy is a way to enjoy experiences that weren’t available a decade ago, and save money. Two excellent examples are Uber and Airbnb. With Airbnb you can rent your home for short or long stays, but there are implications with respect to home insurance.

Airbnb and Home Sharing Insurance – What You Should Know

Although Airbnb hosts have the benefit of supplemental income and guests enjoy an actual ‘home’ away from home, it doesn’t always go smoothly. So, how does this affect your home owners’ insurance if you’re a host?

Airbnb has a host insurance program that provides primary liability coverage up to $1,000,000 per occurrence in the event of a third-party claim of bodily injury or property damage related to an Airbnb stay; but it has limitations and exclusions.

Airbnb’s protection only offers basic coverage, so there is still a lot a host can be responsible for if the transaction goes wrong. If something is stolen or damages are done to a shared area for example, you would have to cover the expenses to repair the damages and won’t be compensated for loss of income while fixing them. As well, you’d have to pay for the costs associated with liability claims.

Home Sharing Insurance

Airbnb is an American company and because of its popularity, U.S. insurance companies are adapting to home sharing insurance as a separate product. In Canada, only one province (Quebec) is considering regulations governing home sharing insurance, but some Canadian insurance companies have created a specific home sharing insurance policy.

If you’re considering taking advantage of the new economy and live in Alberta, make sure you educate yourself about your home insurance coverage. Before you open your home to Airbnb travelers, you should first check with your insurance company.

Phone your insurance broker and tell them about your plans. Find out if your home owners insurance company recognizes home sharing insurance and offers insurance products to protect you.  Your broker can also help you find out if your current coverage is adequate and answer your questions.

Some things to consider before calling your broker is how many days of the year you plan to host and any individual risk characteristics that pertain to your situation.

At Sadler Insurance our brokers can help you find an insurance company that recognizes home sharing insurance and make sure you’re protected. If you plan on opening your home to Airbnb guests give us call first.

 

Check Your Insurance Policy: 5 Details You Really Ought To Review Each Year

With a new year right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to perform an annual check on your insurance policy.

Making this kind of review a yearly occurrence will help you stay on top of your insurance policies, could save you money, and will ensure that you are always fully covered.

Here are five details that you should really review when checking your insurance policy.

1. Re-evaluate the Contents of Your Home

If it has been a year or more since you last took inventory of your belongings, it’s time to re-evaluate. Most homeowner policies also protect the contents in a home, in addition to the house itself. As you’ve most likely purchased new items since your last recorded tally of personal belongings, you should take note of anything that should be added to your list. If you’ve made home improvements, such as kitchen or bathroom upgrades, these additions to your home’s total value should also be mentioned in your policy updates.

2. Are You Paying Too Much?

It is a good idea to check into any discounts or savings that you may be eligible for at the beginning of every year. Don’t assume that you’re getting the best price, just because the amount you’re currently paying was the lowest you could find when you first purchased your insurance policy. You can potentially save yourself some money by looking into bundle discounts on your auto, business, life, or home insurance. Factors like a good driving record, your age, or full-time student status can have an effect on your policies. Sometimes even raising your deductibles can lower your monthly insurance rates.

3. Bundle Your Insurance Policies

If you haven’t done so already, you may want to consider bundling your current insurance policies. Do you have a different provider on each of these policies? Most insurance companies offer more than one type of insurance, and for this reason, many of them offer discounts to customers who choose to purchase multiple forms of insurance from the same provider. By simply asking your insurance providers what your potential savings may be, you can save money by bundling two or more policies, like your home and car insurance.

4. Consider Alternate Insurance Providers

Have your insurance rates skyrocketed since last year, through no fault of your own? It may be time to consider some alternatives to your current provider. Whether due to an increase in claim activity over the past year, or a company experiencing a financial loss for the year, there may be other providers that can offer you a better price for the insurance policies that you require. Saving some serious dollar bills is only one reason why doing an annual check on your insurance policy is such an important routine to build.

5. Account for Any Changes from the Past Year

Keeping your policies updated is the best way to ensure that you are fully covered, in every aspect of your life. People change too, so make sure to reflect any changes in your health or situation within your life insurance coverage. If you’ve recently had a baby, stopped smoking, gotten married, or retired from your job, these changes may affect your policy. Similarly, your auto insurance coverage could change if you now travel a shorter distance to work, or if you’ve decided to finally put winter tires on your vehicle.

Contact Us Today!

The professional team at Sadler Insurance has been serving Albertans for over 80 years.

We understand that insurance choices can be overwhelming. As a full-service independent Edmonton insurance broker, we aim to make the “fine print” clear for you.

No matter what you are looking for – from auto, business, life, or home insurance – our insurance professionals are ready and willing to help you.

We strongly believe in fostering relationships with our clients and insurance partners.

If you would like to check your insurance policy today, one of our team members would be happy to help you.

Request a quote from one of our insurance brokers today to find out how we can help.

Insurance Tips for Apartment and Condo Owners

Apartment building

Homeowners insurance is not just for people who own single family homes or townhouses. Apartment and condo owners must ensure that their insurance company has them covered before disaster strikes, as living in close proximity to many individuals puts them at a higher risk of damage to their property.

Insurance can be an overwhelming topic for many individuals, but it is an important asset to have, especially if you are a homeowner. It is also worth noting that home ownership is not limited to those who own single family homes or townhouses but also includes apartment and condominium owners. There are certain elements of insurance coverage that are of higher importance to those who live in large communal buildings, rather than houses. The following are insurance tips that specifically pertain to apartment and condo owners.

Beware of Being Underinsured

If you own your apartment or condominium and are residing at that location, you must have homeowner’s insurance. What is unique about your particular situation is your proximity to your neighbors. With a large number of individuals living together in the same building, you must ensure that your insurance covers everything that might happen to you or your property. When you live in a condominium or apartment building, there is a higher risk of sustaining damage to your property, as many people live in the immediate area. If a large fire breaks out in the unit above you, there is the chance of that fire affecting your property as well, through no fault of your own.

Do not run the risk of being underinsured and take action before it is too late. Your basic belongings – including furniture, electronics, and clothing – are often included in your homeowner’s insurance. However, if you own any expensive jewelry, artwork or other such assets, you should consider purchasing additional coverage to ensure you receive their full value in case something does happen.

Ensure You Are Getting the Best Deal

Many insurance companies seem to offer the same deals and prices when it comes to homeowner’s insurance, but some do not live up to their clients’ expectations when a claim has actually been filed. When it comes down to it, the damage estimates and final settlements offered by an insurance company are a true test of their credibility, but many people don’t see these figures until they’ve already filed a claim.

By shopping around for an insurance company through an insurance broker, you have the ability to see how various companies compare, before making your final decision. At Sadler Insurance, we find our clients a competitive premium for their insurance protection, while also seeking the appropriate level of coverage and providing an outstanding level of customer service. Unlike agents, direct insurers or banks that are limited to their products, we can provide you with a variety of insurance products and options to fit your needs. In contrast, when dealing with others, your needs will often have to fit their product.

Sadler Makes Insurance Easy!

Sadler Insurance has been serving Albertans for 80 years, so you can trust us with all of your insurance needs. We are a full-service independent Edmonton insurance broker, with a team of insurance professionals who are ready to serve you! Having been established in 1936, we are not your average insurance brokerage. We have the knowledge and experience to assist you in understanding your insurance choices and making the “fine print” clear. Above all else, we believe in building relationships with our clients and our insurance partners.

Are you interested in receiving a quote or getting more information from Sadler Insurance? Contact us at any time through our online form or by calling us at (780) 433-4426. See for yourself how we work for you, not the insurance company.

How To Protect Your Home When You’re Away

Look Like You’re Home

One way to dissuade potential intruders from breaking into your home is to make it look like you’re actually at home. If you’re going away for a short time, leave a couple lights on. If you don’t want to waste a lot of energy, switch your regular lightbulbs for energy-saving LED lights.

If you’re going away for a significant period of time, cancel or redirect any magazine or newspaper subscriptions you might have, or have a neighbour come and regularly pick up your mail. Nothing says “no one’s here” like a bunch of newspapers piled up outside your front door. You may also want to pay some neighborhood kids to come by and mow your lawn once in a while, as long, unkempt grass is also a sign that a house is unoccupied.

Lock Your Windows, Lock Your Doors

This may seem like an obvious one, but many people leave for vacation without making sure that their windows and doors are adequately locked. All it takes is for one open window for a thief to get in, so it’s important that you check every single entry point before you head out to for rest and relaxation.

Also make sure that there are no gas leaks, and that all of your electronics and appliances are turned off. Don’t forget about your taps! Leaky taps can rack up a lot of water charges; make sure all of your taps are turned off and leave your drains unplugged in case a tap starts leaking while you are away.

If you spend a bit of time checking that everything is adequately locked, shut off and in working order, you will be able to relax and enjoy your summer vacation.

Insurance

Another way to protect your home when you’re not there is to double-check your insurance coverage. Accidents happen and, unfortunately, people have returned from vacations to find their homes burglarized, vandalized, and even devastated by a fires, floods, or other unforeseen disasters. If you’re not 100 per cent sure your insurance covers accidents and incidentals, give your provider a call or set up a quick appointment. Also note how many times someone must check on your home while you are away. If you don’t pay attention to this clause, your insurance may not pay out if there is a claim.

Protect Your Information

Before you leave, put important documents in a safe place. A safety deposit box is one of the best ways to secure documents like birth certificates, mortgage agreements, bank statements, credit card information, etc. Remember: one of the biggest crimes these days is identity theft, so while you may think burglars are only after your cash and jewelry, many thieves are actually after information. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable: your home is not only your house; it’s your life, your identity, and your peace of mind.

Nix the Spare Key

A lot of people keep spare keys in what they believe are clever hiding places. Don’t do that. Give your spare key to a trusted neighbour or friend instead, as thieves are wise to all the spare key hiding places, such as under a potted plat or the doormat, in a bird feeder or under the patio stones.

A few simple precautions before you leave for vacation means peace of mind so you can truly relax.

Edmonton Home Insurance

Sadler Insurance is a full-service insurance brokerage, providing home insurance services to Edmonton and surrounding area. 

Learn more about our home insurance policies, or get in touch with our team to get a quote today!

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Basic Lawn Maintenance

During the spring and summer, your lawn requires some extra maintenance. You need to begin with an evaluation of your grass, trees, shrubs, hedges, flowers and plants. Once you have determined that everything is healthy (consult with a yard specialist from a commercial greenhouse if any items need attention) you need to ensure that you take care of it and uphold the condition of your yard.
Here’s how to get started.

Analyze Your Grass
Look for weeds, brown spots and any areas with white rings that could indicate a fungal infection in your soil that is severely impacting the grass. Complete this step before you add any new plants to your yard so that plants have an optimal growing environment.

Take Care of Your Grass
Your grass is the base of your yard and to keep it healthy you need to start each spring with the application of a natural fertilizer. You should seriously consider buying organic and avoid manufactured, chemical fertilizers.
In terms of maintenance, you should water your lawn three times per week and use a rain gauge to measure 1-1 ½” of water. This will ensure your yard isn’t over-watered. You should also avoid watering your lawn in the middle of the afternoon when the sun is at its greatest strength. Water your lawn in the evening when the sun won’t scorch it. When cutting your lawn, don’t take the grass down too short. Mow your grass once per week and never take it down to more than 1/3 of the blade height.

Trees, Shrubs, and Hedges
Prune your trees, shrubs and hedges. Call in a tree trimming service if you have branches touching your roof or growing too far over the fence into the neighbour’s yard. Check your trees for holes and disease; ensure that your trees, shrubs and hedges are healthy and free of pests. These can spread quickly throughout a tree or bush, causing a lot of expensive problems.

Flowers and Plants
You need to weed your flower beds and ensure they are free from bug and fungal infestations. In the spring, you may need to start more delicate flowers and plants inside and then place them in your yard when the weather permits. When you transfer your flowers and plants, ensure you place them far enough apart to avoid the crowding of roots.
To have a great-looking lawn you need to take the time to analyze the condition of your grass, trees, shrubs, flowers and plants in the spring. You should also ensure that you follow the best practices for taking care of your lawn and plants throughout the growing season. With the tips presented here you can have a spectacular yard to enjoy all summer long.

4 Must-Know Facts About Edmonton’s Icy Sidewalks Bylaws

Did you know that legally, Edmonton residents must keep the sidewalks in front of their house free of snow and ice in the wintertime?

Most Edmontonians do already know that keeping your walkways shovelled is best practice, but simply aren’t in-the-know about some of the incredibly important details.

Here is a quick guide with the most important information about Edmonton’s icy sidewalks bylaws, so that you’ll know when to remove your snow, what needs to be shovelled, and what to do when someone neglects their duties.

You Have 48 Hours to Clear the Snow

Many Edmonton residents believe that snow needs to be removed within 24 hours, but the City allows a 48 hour grace period to clear away snow.

This helps residents with busy schedules get to their snow shovelling duties easier without being in violation of City bylaws.

Remember, however, snow can quickly become packed, turning into hard-to-remove ice, the longer it’s left on the sidewalk and driveway.

Snow Removal is Regulated Through Complaints

If you notice someone in your neighbourhood hasn’t cleared away their snow within the 48 hour grace period, you can call the City of Edmonton and lodge a complaint.

The City doesn’t employ people to wander the streets looking for violations, they instead employ a small number of inspectors who confirm complaints made by residents.

Don’t expect a ticket to arrive at someone’s home magically; you have to be proactive and call.

Everyone Gets One Strike Per Season

When a complaint is lodged with the City, they send out an inspector to investigate.

If the snow is indeed not removed, then the inspector will issue a warning.

The home owner, or person responsible for snow removal, then has seven days to remove the snow.

The inspector returns in seven days and, if the snow isn’t removed, the property owner is issued a ticket.

Subsequent complaints for that year result in a ticket.

No seven-day period, just another ticket.

Roofs and Awnings are Included

When it comes to snow removal, most people only think about the sidewalks and driveways, never thinking to look up at their home.

If you have an awning or roof that hangs over the sidewalk or driveway, basically the paths that people need to take to walk by or up to your property, then that snow needs to be removed as well.

This is to reduce the chances of snow or ice falling onto a passerby, which could lead to serious injuries and a potential lawsuit for the property owner.

Snow on the roof can be removed with an extended pole, but must be done with extreme caution.

Snow removal bylaws in Edmonton can seem complicated, but they’re actually quite simple.

When it snows, you have two days to remove the snow from sidewalks and driveways.

After that, you could receive a complaint that can result in a fine.

However, there can be other consequences as well, like lawsuits that result from injuries, which could be a much more substantial financial burden than a simple fine.

Be sure to keep your walkways well-maintained this winter season for the safety of you, your family, and your neighbourhood.

Edmonton Home Insurance

Sadler Insurance is a full-service insurance brokerage, providing home insurance services to Edmonton and surrounding area. 

Learn more about our home insurance policies, or get in touch with our team to get a quote today!

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Why Are Home Insurance Policy Reviews Necessary

If It Ain’t Broke, Check Into It

A single conversation with an insurance agent can help you understand your home insurance coverage, and what measures must be taken in order to ensure you stay covered and prevent any unforeseeable financial losses.

If you’re planning on finishing your basement or renovating your home, a home insurance policy review will help you determine whether you’ve got enough coverage as is, or whether you need a policy upgrade. New home additions often require new forms of coverage: if you’re finishing your basement, for example, you may need to purchase an insurance package that protects items from water damage. Back-up water coverage could help you protect your valuable furniture, flooring and electronics in the event that a sump pump breaks or a drain backs up. If you’re planning to upgrade or renovate your home, check to make sure your policy covers new furniture items and home additions. A partially renovated kitchen could change your existing kitchen from “standard” to “custom” or “semi-custom” in your insurance company’s eyes.

Remember that old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? When it comes to home insurance policy reviews, like home maintenance, that saying just doesn’t apply. In order to guard against ‘it’ breaking, homeowners need to take a proactive approach and regularly review their insurance policies to make sure that their coverage is up-to-date and accurately assessed.

Saving Money

Not only will a home insurance policy review help save you money in the long-run by ensuring that all of your home assets are properly covered, but it can also be an important opportunity for you to check and make sure you are receiving all the benefits your homeowners policy promises. For example, you may qualify for a discount if you install certain home features, such as a security system or smoke alarm. Depending on your insurance plan, you may qualify for discounts you didn’t even realize you were eligible for!

Home insurance packages often come with additional discounts if you insure other assets with a single insurance company, such as your vehicle or boat. You may also be eligible for a discount if your household is smoke-free, or if your house is designed with extra safety or security measures. Home insurance policy reviews are quick and easy to do, and they will save you money, time, and stress in the long-run. What are you waiting for? Call an agent today!

Ensuring Peace of Mind

Home insurance policy reviews are also very useful if you’re considering changing the outdoor environment of your property. Any luxury additions, such as a hot tub or pool, may change your insurance coverage. Building sheds, outbuildings, or changing your yard’s landscaping may also affect your insurance coverage. Before you make any changes to your property, it is necessary to have a home insurance review so that you can make sure you don’t lack any coverage.

Even if you aren’t planning to significantly renovate or update your home or property, it’s important to have a home insurance review just for peace of mind. You may not realize that you home’s value has increased or decreased, or that the terms of your coverage have changed.

At Sadler Insurance, we’ll work closely with you to ensure that your home coverage is exactly as it should be. Call us today for your home insurance policy review.

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist: 7 Things You Must Check Each Fall

This fall weather is a reminder that the Edmonton winter is not far off (sad but true).

As miserable as winter can seem, it can also be one of the best seasons.

There’s nothing like curling up under a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa and watching the snow fall.

Follow our quick tips below to help get your home cozy and winter ready before the deep freeze sets in.

1. Check around window and doors for drafts

A drafty window can really cool a room down, and be a big drain on energy bills! Luckily a cheap tube of caulk can be a permanent solution to a drafty window. If you are looking for a seasonal approach you can also cover windows with a layer of plastic sheet and double sided tape to cut down on drafting.

2. Visit your attic

Can you remember the last time you were in the attic? Probably not, and there’s a chance there are undetected drafts or gaps in your insulation. Take a peak up there and check everything is properly insulated.

3. Change your furnace filter

A fresh furnace filter not only improves air quality but will help your home heat more efficiently.

4. Check your radiators and heat vents

Shuffled any furniture around in the spring or summer? Check to make sure it’s not blocking access to your heat vents and radiators. Obscured heat vents and radiators will have a harder time heating the whole room.

5. Clean out your gutters

Cleaning your gutters is never fun, but a gutter blocked up in the fall will stay that way until the spring. It’s easier to clean them out in the fall when you aren’t trying to find the least icy patch on your lawn to place your ladder while you are trying to clean out an over flowing gutter.

6. Track down your snow shovel before the first snow fall

Move your snow shovel to an easily accessible spot before it snows. That way you won’t be stuck digging through the garage at 7 am to clear the sidewalks before they get trampled down during the day.

7. Wash and store your summer furniture

Put cushion covers through the wash, and hose down any plastic or wood furniture before putting it away for the winter. This way when spring happens you can enjoy patio season right away!

Edmonton Home Insurance

Sadler Insurance is your locally-owned insurance provider, customizing home insurance coverage for Edmontonians since 1936.

Learn more about our home insurance policies, or get in touch with our team to get a quote today!

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