Manage Fall’s Clutter and Mess with a Mudroom

September means transitions. School begins and seasons change. There are more backpacks – and dirt – in your home. So why not consider creating a mudroom to ease the transition from outside to in?

Mudrooms should be located where they will be used. Usually that means at the front or back of your home, near entrances. They offer a dedicated space to store items like shoes, boots and coats so the rest of the home stays clean. And they’re not exclusive to big properties. Small city homes – even condos – can include mudrooms.

To design your own mudroom, first look at the space available in your home. Just adding storage for shoes and coats can transform a back porch into a mudroom, but even a hallway near a door can hold a bench with storage space underneath.

A ground floor laundry room also may work for you; dirty clothes can be tossed directly into the washer. You might even consider a dog station to wipe muddy paws before they track up your floors. Use durable surfaces and consider indoor/outdoor carpeting for easy cleanup.

Mudrooms can be fun as well as practical. Have good lighting. Use different-coloured personalized storage for each family member. Let the kids choose their own storage containers – they’ll buy into the concept if they have a stake in it.

Also remember your mudroom is for everyone. Even guests. Provide a basket of slippers, a welcome place to sit and somewhere to put bags. They’ll love you for it.

Here’s Why Homeowners Insurance Costs so Much

Do you know why your home insurance costs are high? According to a recent article in the Financial Post, there are 14 specific home features that could be driving up your rates. Such as:

Swimming pools. Swimming comes with a risk of drowning, so pools come with more expensive home insurance. Your liability goes up when the pool isn’t protected by a fence.

Your home business. If your home contains items belonging to your business, or if part of it serves as your place of business (for example, a daycare, bed-and-breakfast or meeting place with clients), then your premiums may increase. Check with your insurer about the impact of your personal business on premiums.

Finished basements. Your basement entertainment room/home gym/office may increase the value of your home, but it may increase your premiums too. If a pipe bursts, damage is likely more costly than in an unfinished basement.

Roofs. What kind of roof do you have? If it’s a shake-shingled roof, you’ll pay more – up to 10% more, according to some experts. Why? Because, however attractive, this type of roof is more vulnerable to wind, rain and other weather nasties. According to Daniel Mirkovic, an insurance expert quoted in the Financial Post article, stone and metal roofs are your best bet.

Wooden frame construction. Structures made of wood are vulnerable to fire. For cheaper premiums, buy a brick or concrete home.

Wood stoves and fireplaces. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and if you have a wood-burning feature, you’ll be paying additional premiums. You also may require a home inspection.

Older properties. Your home doesn’t need to be shiny and new, but outdated and aging roofs, wiring, and structures are red flags for insurers, who may require upgrades.

Valuable items. Don’t forget your belongings. You may need riders or separate policies for jewellery, art, expensive athletic and recreation equipment, and musical instruments.