How to Have the Best-Looking House on the Block—in Every Season

Paintbrushes painting the seasons
Jason Hindley—Prop Styling by Keiko Tanaka

Keeping your home gorgeous year-round is easier and less expensive than you think.

Does your house look like a million bucks? That might depend on when you’re doing the looking. In most of the country, properties shine brightest in spring and summer, when everything is in bud and bloom. But when the weather starts to cool off, “things can get dull and dreary,” says Madison real estate agent Brian Callahan.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can maximize your curb appeal—and your property value—throughout the year with a few simple projects. Here, our seasonal guide to having the best-looking house on the block.


Add interest with bark, berries, and seeds. Colorful evergreens, such as cypress (gold) and barberry (red), brighten your winter yard, says landscape contractor Ross Mastrorocco of Monroe, Conn.  Choose deciduous trees with interesting bark, like birch, or unusual shapes, such as corkscrew willows.
Cost: $25 to $200 per sapling, depending on type; add 50% for pro planting.

Brighten with paint. Next time you need to do a full exterior house-painting job, add a punch of color on the walls. “In winter, paint color can become the focal point of the property,” says home designer and contractor Dean Bennett of Castle Rock, Colo.
Cost: $4,000 to $10,000 to repaint the entire home.

Light up the night. During winter’s short days, landscape lighting creates after-dark appeal. Use up lights for trees, down lights for stoops and porches, and walkway lights on your entry paths. Today’s low-voltage systems are easy to install yourself: Plug the transformer into an exterior outlet and run the wires under your mulch.
Cost: $400 to $500, or two to three times that if you hire a pro for installation.


Undo winter’s damage. Cut the beds and mulch. Use a spade to cut clean edges for your planting beds and lay down bark mulch (skip the cheap tree-company wood chips, which may contain termites or carpenter ants). Go easy: Deeper than 1½ inches can smother the roots, says Mastrorocco. For a mulch that lasts, use cedar, which is slow to decompose.
Cost: $200 to $500 to DIY; $500 to $1,000 for a pro.

Get a free landscape plan. A nursery or landscaper can suggest plants to provide color throughout your growing season. In southern New England, for example, azaleas bloom in spring, hydrangeas in summer, and some roses last into fall. Add a few perennials and annuals and you’ll have three seasons of blooms.
Cost: $25 to $200 per plant, plus 50% for planting.

Spring-clean the windows. After the dust storm of tree pollen is over, tackle your windows. Use water mixed with dish soap and a glass-safe scouring pad. Invest in a squeegee rather than trying to dry with linty paper towels, says B.J. David of Mella Window Cleaning in Cincinnati.
Cost: Expect to pay a pro $8 to $30 per window, depending on whether you have storms or tilt-in windows.


Mow high. Tall grass stays greener, helping to mitigate the brownouts that are so common during the dog days of summer. So set your mower (or ask your landscaper to set his mower) about three inches off the ground. The longer turf will retain more moisture and also better shade the soil, ensuring that the roots don’t dry out—and shading out any crabgrass.
Cost: Free if you mow yourself; $30 to $50 per mow if you hire a landscaper.

Have fun with numbers. Get rid of those boring “contractor grade” house numbers. You can find interesting numerals in all sorts of fonts and finishes at offers letters too, so you can spell out your low-number address.
Cost: $5 to $25 per digit

Upgrade the walk. A cracked or outdated walkway hurts curb appeal all year long, but summer is the best time to tackle replacement. Handy? Interlocking pavers make the job simple enough to do it yourself. Look for tumbled pavers if you want a stonelike look.
Cost: $500 to $1,000 if you do it yourself; $2,500 for a professional installation (compared with $4,000-plus for natural stone).


Update your flower boxes. Rotate fall bloomers, such as mums, ornamental kale, and autumn sage, into your flower boxes and planters in early autumn. When those are done, cut back the plants and poke in seasonal cuttings, such as evergreen boughs and holly sprigs, suggests Chicago realtor Laurie Gross.
Cost: $15 to $25 per store-bought plant.

Fertilize in fall. Your shrubs and lawn are having an underground growth spurt right now, developing long roots to reach nutrients deep in the soil. Promote this growth with a potassium-rich fertilizer. (Your nursery can suggest one for your climate.)
Cost: $40 for a bag of fertilizer; $75 to $150 for professional fertilizing.

Give the yard a buzz cut. Readjust the lawn mower blade to as low as it will go without scalping the grass. Short turf looks better when dormant because it won’t get folded over and matted down, says Mastrorocco. Cut back perennials and annuals to the ground to make the yard look neat—and to limit how many fallen leaves get caught up in the grass and plantings, simplifying cleanup.
Cost: Free if you do it yourself; $250 to $750 to hire a professional.

Read next:
6 Simple Projects to Make Your Home More Retirement-Friendly
How to Negotiate the Price of a Home-Improvement Project

MONEY Ask the Expert

Free Fixes for Cracked Paint and Other Winter House Woes

For Sale sign illustration
Robert A. Di Ieso, Jr.

Q: We paid a small fortune to have our great room painted last summer—and now that it’s winter, the paint has cracked at nearly every seam in the woodwork! Did we get a bad paint job? Can we demand free touchups?

A: This is an extremely common problem, especially with new woodwork and especially in climates where there’s a wide temperature swing from summer to winter. Your house was painted during the warm weather, when high ambient temperatures (and, depending on where you live, humidity too) make wood expand. Come winter, temperatures and humidity levels drop, wood shrinks, and each piece of trim separates a tiny bit from its neighbor, cracking the paint.

If the cracking is happening along all of the seams, your painter didn’t properly prepare the wood before painting, says Debbie Zimmer, of the Paint Quality Institute, a research arm of Dow Chemical. All of the seams between wood pieces should have been filled with paintable acrylic or siliconized acrylic caulk prior to the job. Unlike paint or other wood fillers, this rubbery material flexes with the wood, stretching and compressing as the boards shrink and swell and preventing the paint from cracking.

But even properly caulked projects will sometimes crack here and there. Most painters offer a two-year warranty on their work—and count on repeat business from good clients—so you should absolutely call your painter and ask him to come back and address the problem. It’s a quick fix for him, Zimmer, says and he should not charge you for the work if it’s within his warranty period. It’s quite possible some cracking will occur again in the second winter, and you can absolutely call him back again for another free touchup.

Don’t delay, because you could miss out on the warranty—and because those cracks will all but disappear when the weather warms up, making it harder to make your case and harder to identify every crack that needs caulk. Still, even if you miss out on the warranty, this job should cost only $200 or $300. Or, if you have experience with caulk and paint, you can fix it yourself: Fill all gaps with top-of-the-line paintable caulk, wipe away excess with a wet rag, allow it to cure for the time recommended on the tube, and then brush on paint. If you’re using leftover paint, first bring it to the paint shop or home center where it was purchased for a free shake to ensure that it’s well mixed.

And next time you hire a painter, make sure to confirm—and perhaps even note on the contract—that he will caulk all seams and joints as part of his prep process.

MONEY Ask the Expert

How to Negotiate the Best Price From a Home-Improvement Contractor

For Sale sign illustration
Robert A. Di Ieso, Jr.

Q: Can I negotiate the cost of a home improvement project? I feel like these guys all really want my business, but I don’t want to anger anyone by suggesting they lower their bids.

A: Yes, you can negotiate with a contractor; the trick is doing it without making it feel like a negotiation. Anytime you’re haggling over someone’s work (versus a mass-produced product like a car or flat-screen television), look for a way to ask for a lower price without any suggestion of insult. The last thing you want is an angry contractor looking for ways to cut corners on your project to make it come in at what he thinks is an unjustly low price.

Here are three effective techniques you can use:

1. Announce that you’re getting multiple bids. One of the major advantages to getting three or more bids for any significant (say, more than $5,000) home project is that you can tell the prospective contractors, honestly, that you’re doing so. That gets the message across that a) you’re concerned about the price, b) he’s competing with other contractors for your job, and c) he’d better sharpen his pencil and give you the best possible number he can. This is not to say that you should hire the contractor with the lowest bid. Hire the one whose work and reputation are the best. But the process of competing for your business will almost certainly drive down everyone’s price.

2. Ask him to “value engineer” the plans. Rather than flat-out asking your contractor if he will lower his price to win your business, which could backfire, ask for his advice on how you can rein in the cost of your plans. If his bid is $30,000 and you’re trying to keep the project to $25,000, for example, tell him so, and ask him if he can recommend any changes that could bring the cost in line. Maybe he will suggest a similar-looking-yet-more-affordable tile for your new master bathroom or a different layout that keeps the fixtures where they are and therefore slashes the plumbing costs. An open conversation about where to scale back doesn’t run the risk of making him mad—in fact, it shows that you value his opinion. And it further drives home the message that your budget is tight, possibly leading him to make other money-saving suggestions elsewhere.

3. See if you can contribute some sweat equity. If you’re handy and have the time, you might be able to knock off a portion of the project yourself. In that case you can ask the contractor to reduce his price accordingly. If you have a good hand for painting, for example, that’s a perfect project to tackle yourself. You could also do some basic demolition (assuming you have the know-how and gear to do it safely), excavation work (for small projects that don’t require power earth-moving equipment), or landscaping around the finished job. Any of these could easily slash hundreds or thousands of dollars off the project price.


MONEY Ask the Expert

Here’s the Right Amount to Spend On a Home Renovation

For Sale sign illustration
Robert A. Di Ieso, Jr.

Q: When remodeling my house, I don’t want to spend a lot of money on updates that don’t actually increase my home value. How do I know how much is a smart amount amount to invest, and when I would be going overboard?

A: Jump into a renovation project without first setting a budget and you may spend loads of cash on all sorts of lovely options—from a marble island-top for your kitchen to a two-person hot tub for your new patio—that you won’t get paid back for if you sell your house in a few years.

While that may not be a concern if you’re staying put for the long haul, if you’re likely to move in 10 years or less, it pays to limit your spending to what you might reasonably hope to get back at resale.

Thus start with renovating only spaces that are functionally obsolete, says Omaha, Nebraska, appraiser John Bredemeyer, a spokesman for the Appraisal Institute, a trade association. “Changing out a perfectly good, 10-year-old kitchen, for example, just because you don’t like the previous owner’s style choices, is not an investment that will pay you back at resale,” he says. But if that kitchen is from the 1940s, 1960s, or even the 1970s, a well-budgeted renovation makes financial sense.

How much should you invest? Bredemeyer’s rule of thumb is to spend no more on each room than the value of that room as a percentage of your overall house value (you can find an approximate value of your home at

Here’s how the percentages break down for each room:

Kitchen: 10% to 15% of house’s value

Kitchen renovation budget for a:

$300,000 house: $30,000 to $45,000

$500,000 house: $50,000 to $75,000

$750,000 house: $75,000 to $112,500
Master Bathroom Suite: 10% of house’s value

Master bathroom suite renovation budget for a:

$300,000 house: $30,000

$500,000 house: $50,000

$750,000 house: $75,000


Powder Room/Bathroom: 5% of house’s value

Powder room/bathroom renovation budget for a:

$300,000 house: $15,000

$500,000 house: $25,000

$750,000 house: $37,500


Finished Attic or Basement: 10% to 15% of house’s value

Attic or basement finishing budget for a:

$300,000 house: $30,000 to $45,000

$500,000 house: $50,000 to $75,000

$750,000 house: $75,000 to $112,500


Other Rooms: 1% to 3% of house’s value

Living room, dining room, or bedroom renovation budget for a:

$300,000 house: $3,000 to $9,000

$500,000 house: $5,000 to $15,000

$750,000 house: $7,500 to $22,500


Patio, Deck, Paths, and Plantings: 2% to 5% of house’s value

$300,000 house: $6,000 to $15,000

$500,000 house: $10,000 to $25,000

$750,000 house: $15,000 to $37,500


Got a question for Josh? We’d love to hear it. Please send submissions to

MONEY home improvement

$336 Made This Blah Bathroom Awesome

A budget remodel turned this bleak bathroom into an attractive cottage-style space. Here's how the homeowners pulled it off.

Nothing’s more boring than basic beige. While the master bath at Meredith and Stephen Heard’s ranch house, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, was perfectly functional, it was a bleak blank box of washed-out finishes. To give it some oomph, Stephen created a high-contrast look on the walls with white-painted board-and-batten wainscot made from low-cost lath and furring strips; above it, Meredith used a dark gray paint to add depth.

The vanity was in great shape, so Stephen just replaced the cultured-marble top with stained and sealed butcher block and, to create more deck space, put in a vessel sink. Meredith updated the cabinet doors with white paint and satin-nickel pulls left over from their kitchen remodel. To brighten the space, Stephen replaced the old strip vanity light with a three-shade fixture and the standard overhead flush-mount with a drum-shade pendant. Finally, Meredith added a sunny shower curtain she made herself. Having banished the bland, she says, “It’s so much more welcoming now—we feel like we really gave the room some personality.”

The Project Tally

• Tacked up lath and furring strips, board-and-batten style, using a nail gun; filled knots, sanded, and caulked; then sealed it all with leftover primer and paint $26
• Painted the walls a dark gray, custom mixed at the store from paint they had on hand $0
• Freshened the vanity with leftover paint and pulls $0
• Topped the vanity with a new butcher-block counter, vessel sink, and faucet from a big-box store $170

For the full tally, click here for the original article from This Old House.

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MONEY home improvement

What Are Some Easy Fixes That Can Boost My Home’s Value?

HGTV's Scott McGillivray shares his tips for simple renovations that will make your home more attractive to a buyer.

MONEY home improvement

5 Easy Home Improvements for Less than $1,000

Not every worthwhile upgrade requires years of savings. These ideas will enhance your home without breaking your bank account.

It’s understandable if you, like many Americans, associate home improvement projects with money flying out your door. After all, the average bathroom remodel tops $16,000, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost Vs. Value Report. Replacing your windows runs $8,000 on average. Kitchens and master bedroom projects usually run many times that amount.

Turns out, though, that some smaller projects can add instant curb appeal, make living in your abode more pleasant, and come with a manageable price.

Here are some simple enhancements to consider.

  • 1. Update lighting.

    Courtesy of Porch

    Remember that good modern lighting can make a room look larger and warmer. Thus switch out any old-fashioned fixtures and update them with new energy efficient models. To find stylish replacements, home retailer websites will update you on the latest lighting trends, such as copper or bronze fixtures. Pendants or chandeliers in attractive metals and designs can change the look and feel of a room more than you might think.

    Expected cost: Fixture prices vary widely, and can range from $20 to $1000. If you need to hire an electrician, you may want to choose less expensive lighting to offset your costs. Simply spray painting your current fixtures can cost as little as $20.

  • 2. Remake your entrance.

    Front porch with columns
    Courtesy of Porch

    One of the best ways to improve the look of your home from the street is to make your front entrance livelier and more attractive. Replacing the front door is an obvious way to achieve that goal. Perhaps try a new solid door with contemporary fittings or locks. Or update your existing door with paint and new handles (keep in mind you may still need to budget for a handy man even if you’re only switching the knobs).

    If your front door is in good condition and you simply want to spruce up the porch, potted plants, a new exterior light, new house numbers and a new rug can instantly add charm, and be done quickly.

    Expected cost: a new front door will run about $1,000 (a fiberglass door will likely run more). Expect to pay around $30 to $100 for supplies if you paint it instead.


  • 3. Modernize the bathroom.

    bathroom counter
    Courtesy of Porch

    Since bathrooms are generally small rooms, $1,000 can go a long way. For example, you can replace the toilet and sink- plus pay a plumber to install them- for less than $1,000. You’ll find the best prices on discontinued models. Another possibility: painting the room, which can typically be done in one weekend. If you like to DIY, and have a plain, frameless mirror, called a builder’s grade mirror, try updating it with a frame or learn how to tile.

    Expected cost: New toilets and sinks can be found for around $100 to $300 each. Vanities run about $500 to $900.

  • 4. Hire professional cleaners.

    Courtesy of Porch

    A thorough cleaning not only enhances the look of your home, but also makes living it in more pleasant. While you can certainly do it yourself, there are good reasons to sometimes hire a professional. Carpet cleaners, for example, use high tech and powerful machines that suck out more dirt and water than you could get with a hand-held version. As for windows, they can be difficult to clean yourself when they’re in hard-to-reach locations, tempting you to skip some. Professional pressure washers can clean moss and mold off of driveways and walkways, making them cleaner in appearance and safer for walkers.

    Expected cost: Professional carpet cleaners can do the job for around $200 to $500, depending on the size of the area. Professional pressure washing machines can be rented for $100 to $200, or you can hire someone to tackle the job for less than $1000.

  • 5. Decorate the walls.

    Courtesy of Porch

    A room can feel much larger if you add some wall decoration. Aim to use your walls from the floor to the ceiling, giving the eye a reason to move up and down, tricking it into thinking the space is larger than it is.

    Adding decor such as open shelving gives you a place to pop in splashes of color and decorative or meaningful objects. Try installing simple shelves in a symmetrical pattern, or moving your artwork from one room to another. If you’re lacking items to hang, take a vintage piece of fabric and stretch it over a canvas, or frame bits of your favorite designs on paper. Both are easy, inexpensive ways to add pizazz to your home.

    Expected cost: Expect to pay anywhere from $20 – $100 for a single shelf or decent-sized frame from a big box retailer.

  • Related:

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    Anne Reagan is the editor-in-chief of home website

MONEY home improvement

What Your Contractor Really Means When He Says…

Speaking with contractor
Getty Images

Understanding these common contractor phrases can minimize hassle and save you big bucks.

Home improvement contractors talk a good game—sometimes without saying what they actually mean. So until someone invents an app for translating contractor-ese into plain English, here’s a handy cheat sheet of the hidden meaning behind several common contractor words and phrases that every homeowner should understand. (If you have other examples to share, please send them to

When He Says: “I” or “We”
He Really Means: My crew. I don’t actually do the work myself. I spend my time bidding future jobs, organizing them, and sailing my boat.
What You Should Say: “Who will be doing the work, you or someone who works for you?” Unless he says it’ll be him, ask if he will be there at the start of every day to direct the crew, especially if it’s a complex improvement project like a full-house renovation or addition that involves numerous tradesmen. If he says yes, hold him to that promise. If he says no, hire someone else.

When He Says: “If I were you, I’d skip the permit and save some money.”
He Really Means: It’s a heck of a lot easier for me if you don’t get a permit, because I can disregard building codes, skip a lot of paperwork and inspection appointments, and dollars to donuts, nobody will ever even confirm whether I have a contractor’s license. So, I’m going to play up the permit fees and red tape, both of which are actually minimal.
What You Should Say: “Thanks, but I’d rather pay now than pay later.” Getting the proper permits assures that you won’t have problems when you try to sell the house later on, a situation that can arise if you do certain improvement projects without getting a certificate of occupancy, the town’s final approval on a project that has been fully permitted and inspected.

When He Says: “No problem. We can do that instead.”
He Really Means: I am happy to adjust the project as we go, but I will definitely be charging you for any change you make to the original plans I priced out for you. I’m not mentioning that now because I don’t want to discourage you from making this or other changes, because repricing the job is a hassle I’d rather put off until later, and because in the unlikely case I underestimated some other part of your job, I can make up that cost in the price of the changes if I wait to give them to you at the end.
What You Should Say: “Great, but before we make that change, could you jot down a quick description of the new work and what it’s going to cost me?” If the contractor doesn’t want to execute a formal change order, a simple handwritten notation on the back of the contract will do the trick. Then you can both initial it, and there will be no confusion about what the contractor is doing or what you’re paying.

When He Says: “Hi, I just did a driveway [or insert other job here] in the neighborhood and have a load of leftover asphalt on my truck I need to get rid of, so I will give you a sweet deal to do your driveway today.”
He Really Means: Hi, I’m an unreliable and unprofessional contractor you’ve never met before—or I might even be an out-and-out scam artist—and I’m trying to entice you into making a bad decision with the promise of a big discount. I know that you’d never normally hire a contractor without getting recommendations and doing your due diligence, but I’m hoping to catch you off guard with my surprise approach, winning smile, and promise of huge savings. When you discover my work is shoddy, you’ll also realize you have no idea who I am or where to find me.
What You Should Say: “Thanks, but no thanks.”

MONEY home improvement

5 Ways to Refresh Your Bathroom On a Budget

Since bathrooms are typically small spaces, even relatively simple and affordable changes can make a big impact. Here are 5 ways to update an old washroom without breaking the bank.

  • Pick a Pattern

    Capitol Hill by Hyde Evans Design.
    Hyde Evans Design. Courtesy of Porch.

    Hanging wallpaper can be an expensive undertaking. Not only is the paper costly, sometimes the walls need to be professionally prepped prior to application. To lower your costs, consider covering less space. Often you need pattern on only a single wall to achieve the look. Also, since wallpaper is typically sold in standard widths and by the roll, it’s possible to comparison shop numerous retailers for the best price. (Many suppliers can help you calculate how many rolls you need if you provide the wall dimensions.)

    Self-adhesive paper that is designed for high-moisture areas is best for the room, and easiest to apply.

    Pro tip: Really on a budget? Spread out the pattern and use a painted stencil or vinyl stickers that mimic a repeated pattern.

    Cost: Wallpaper starts around $30 per roll but can be as much as $300 (confirm with the retailer how many square feet each roll covers). Vinyl stickers run about $10 per sticker.

  • Frame Your Mirror

    Donald Drive by Rossington Architecture.
    Rossington Architecture. Courtesy of Porch.

    Every bathroom deserves a beautiful mirror. It will create a larger sense of space, and reflect light into the room, making it appear brighter. Yet often homes include builder-grade mirrors that are plain and lack a frame. You can upgrade such a mirror fairly easily by creating a frame around it to give it a custom look. Or take your existing frame and spray paint it for a pop of color.

    Pro tip: If your bathroom lacks space, consider replacing your existing mirror with a wall-mounted medicine cabinet.

    Cost: Use primed molding trim from the hardware store, which will be able to cut it to size. Trim is sold by the linear foot; expect to pay around $20 for an 8-foot long piece.


  • Add More Lighting

    City Glamour by NB Design Group, Inc.
    NB Design Group. Courtesy of Porch.

    A bathroom loses its functionality when it lacks quality lighting (and you lose your ability to gauge what you really look like). For the best results, you’ll want lighting overhead and on either side of the mirror. Make sure the fixtures are using the correct bulbs. If you choose to upgrade your fixtures, consider chandeliers and pendants, which can add elegance to a bathroom, particularly if your ceiling is tall. Just make sure any new fixtures are bathroom approved, and properly installed by an electrician who understands the correct UL listing for lights being installed in a wet zone.

    Pro tip: the best light for the bathroom is a cool, bright white or daylight bulb with a high color rendering index (CRI). This type of bulb will most accurately reflect natural daylight.

    Cost: Pendants and sconces can range from $50 to $500 and higher. Be sure to factor in the cost of hiring an electrician.

  • Freshen the Hardware

    East Hampton by Benco Construction.
    Benco Construction. Courtesy of Porch.

    Bathroom fixtures including hooks, handles, faucets and soap dispensers can be quickly and easily replaced and will give the space an updated feel. Most bathrooms look their best when all of the metals match in color and finish. Thus the sink faucet should generally coordinate with the shower and bathtub faucets; cabinet pulls, hooks, shelving brackets and towel racks also should have a similar style. What doesn’t need to perfectly coordinate: bathroom door knobs, which should generally match the door knobs of nearby rooms.

    Consider hanging new fixtures such as shallow shelving or towel racks or bars to make the space more functional.

    Pro tip: most fixtures are sold in coordinating families, which are ideal if you don’t have time to shop around or the desire to play interior designer.

    Cost: Expect to pay between $100 and $200 for a new sink faucet or a shower faucet. New cabinet pulls run from about $4 to $10 per item.

  • Brighten Your Surfaces

    Country Elegance by Walker Woodworking.
    Walker Woodworking. Courtesy of Porch.

    Time and limescale damage the glow of your sink, shower, toilet or tub. Return the items close to their original brightness by using an over-the-counter product to remove accumulated calcium or rust deposits from ceramic surfaces. Look for a cleaning solution, like this product from Lowe’s , that specifically targets calcium, lime and rust.

    If you are looking to replace the tile in your bathroom and consider yourself fairly handy, try adding a glass mosaic tile on a backsplash to create an accent.

    Pro tip: If elbow grease isn’t brightening your toilet, consider replacing the toilet with a newer model. If it was made before 1990, a new low-water use toilet may lower your water bill.

    Cost: A cleaning product to remove built-up calcium deposits runs about $10 per gallon. A new toilet starts at around $100.

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    What You Need to Know Before Buying a Historic Home

    Insulation Projects: DIY or Hire A Professional?

    Anne Reagan is the editor-in-chief of home website

MONEY home improvement

This Simple Trick Makes Taking Out the Trash Easier

Taking out garbage

You may be tempted to send your trash can to the curb if it isn't functioning well. But now that new bins often run more than $100, first try this trick to improve your current can's performance.

If you haven’t shopped for a new trash bin recently, you may not know that they’ve apparently gone high-end, with prices running as high as $150. Yet sometimes removing a trash bag from even a fancy garbage can feels like a wrestling match. It seems like the bag is stuck in the can. Turns out it’s not that you overstuffed the bag, or loaded it with brick—it’s air pressure. When a filled trash bag is in the garbage can, the sides of the bag create air pressure within the can, making it difficult to remove the bag.

Fortunately, a simple solution exists. Watch this video to learn the trick. I’m sure there are many other ways you’d rather spend $100 that don’t involve your trash.



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Anne Reagan is the editor-in-chief of home website

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