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COA Resources
  • Driver's License - You must make sure you change your address with your State's department of motor vehicles (DMV).
  • Magazine Address Changes - We have collected some great information on how to change your address to keep getting the magazines you love at your new home.
  • Name Change Checklist - If you have recently gotten married, divorced, or changed your name for any other reason, then this list of resources will help you make sure you notify organizations that need to know your new name.
  • Driver's License - You must make sure you change your address with your State's department of motor vehicles (DMV).
  • USPS COA Site - You can pay a small fee to change your address here OR you can use our FREE service.
  • USPS Options for Receiving Mail - This is an interesting page where you can see what your options are for receiving mail. Did you know you had any?
  • Call to Change Your Address - This is an FAQ entry on how to change your address over the telephone.
  • USPS State Abbreviations - This is a real quick table for looking up State abbreviations.

Archive for July, 2010

10 Tips to Cure Your Stinky House

What do you do when your house has a stale (or worse) smell that never seems to go away?  This could either be a home that you just moved into and you are dealing with the smell left behind by the previous inhabitants or it could be caused by many other factors beyond your control (dead pests in the walls, etc.).  Depending on the actual source of the smell your final course of action to wipe it out is definitely different.  However, here are 10 tips to at least mask the stinky house smells to provide you with immediate relief:

  1. Get extremely temporary relief. Okay, first while we figure this whole mess out… A simple solution is to light some scented candles to provide some very temporary relief.  You can also by bottles or cans of spray air fresheners to cover up the smells as best you can.  Unfortunately this is really just masking the smells for a short time and in some cases can actually make the problem seem worse.

  2. Likely suspect… mold or pet stains in the carpet.  If you suspect you have moldy carpets and/or a pet stained carpet you have several options.  You can hire a professional carpet cleaning service to come out and give you an estimate on what it would take do a deep clean and/or pet odor removal service.  Another great choice if you can afford it is to replace the carpet cleaning the floors below the carpet very thoroughly as well (it’s expensive but is the best way to knock out the problem).

  3. Likely suspect… dead animals in the walls. If this problem just suddenly came about and you suspect that you may have a mouse or rat problem then it’s very possible that a rodent has died somewhere behind a wall.  Don’t panic and start tearing off your drywall just yet.  Eventually the carcass will dry and the smell will go away the amount of time that takes depends on the size of the animal.  Revert to the first recommendation for temporary relief (candles, etc.) while you wait out the little rascal.

  4. Likely suspect… previous inhabitants. So some people cook foods that are nasty or have other habits that cause odors that you might find unacceptable.  If you just have never liked the smell of your home it’s possible that you could have this problem.  Covering up a problem like this is difficult and may require more extreme measures (pulling carpet, painting walls, etc.).  You might try picking a room that seems worse and painting it with an odor eliminating paint.   If you can knock out the problem by tackling one room at a time (kitchen, bathroom) you can reduce the cost of correcting the problem.

  5. Likely suspect… stale air. The air in a house can get stale over the course of several years.  This is sort of hard to explain but when you have the problem you will know it.  One of the best cures for this type of problem is to have someone come in and clean out your vents and duct work.  This is often referred to as air duct cleaning.  It’s very effective and is something that you might consider scheduling on an annual basis (especially if anyone in your home has severe allergies).

  6. Likely suspect… smelly wallpaper.  If your home has a lot of wallpaper and it is getting older you might find that it is trapping odors (including cigarette smoke) or that mold has built up on the surface or behind the wallpaper.  You have the option of pulling the wallpaper or performing a deep cleaning of the wallpaper by using a ½ water ½ vinegar mixture and apply that periodically to the surface of the wallpaper.  I have to be honest with you though, usually the wallpaper has to go (don’t just cover it up PLEASE).

  7. Likely suspect… water or moisture problems. Depending on where you live water may creep into your basement and/or home from heavy rains, snows, or other causes.  You have to stay on top of this and make sure that you have a wet/dry vacuum as well as a dehumidifier to try and dry this out properly.  You can notice a smell early and obviously can see the water so you must take care of this before you find yourself with a mold problem.

  8. Likely suspect… house fire or smoke damage. Okay we are obviously not talking about the smell during the fire, but after the fire is out and you are left with smoke and other damage.  The portions of your home that have been severely damaged of course just get remodeled but usually you will have smoke damage that needs to be addressed.  Once again cleaning out the ducts is a great starting point along with washing the walls with a vinegar based cleanser and deep cleaning the carpets.  This is extremely hard to get rid of but using all of the above tips you may avoid more expensive replacement costs.  Repainting with the proper odor reducing paint can also help a lot with this particular smell.

  9. Likely suspect… old shingles or roofing. Yes, if your roof has not been replaced in 15, 20, 25+ years you may very likely have a mold problem.  Unfortunately the only good way to get rid of this problem is to pull up the old shingles clean beneath them and apply new shingles.  It’s surprising that more people don’t think of this as a possible problem obviously they are one of the most exposed portions of the house to the elements.  This is one reason why having good gutters and downspouts is so important to get the water down and away from your home.

  10. Most likely suspect… mold throughout the home.  It has been mentioned already multiple times but it is 100% true that mold inside and outside the home is really the likely cause of the problem.  If you find yourself with a stinky home one of the best things you can do is call a service provider that comes out and tests your home for mold.  You will probably be shocked as to what they find and they are best suited to give you safe removal options.

If you are like me and really sensitive to different smells with allergies or borderline allergy symptoms, you know that you cannot stay in a place that causes those to flare up.  A stinky and smelly home is most likely not a healthy home either so do take care and call professionals if you can’t find a way above to knock out the smells yourself.  Don’t get discouraged, there is a cure for your stinky home.

20 Signs Your House Has Gone to the Dogs

Dogs are great!  Well, it depends on your perspective I happen to be a huge fan of dogs so I will tell you right upfront I am totally biased on this topic.  I also want my home to be really welcoming to human guests and lately I started to realize that it’s possible my house isn’t the first choice for friends and family to visit.  So without further ado, here is my list of 20 Signs Your House Has Gone to the Dogs:

  1. You have more furniture for your dogs than you do guests (dogs lay claim to it all).
  2. You have more toys for your dogs than you do for yourself.
  3. Your cupboards have more food for your dogs than for you (per square inch).
  4. Your dogs walk you instead of you walking them.
  5. People make comments like your home doesn’t smell as bad today.
  6. You have to be careful where you walk to not step in a mess.
  7. You have to remind guests to put the toilet lid down (OR ELSE!)
  8. You have a lint brush in every room.
  9. You have more bowls on the floor than in your dishwasher.
  10. Your idea of a snack food is shaped like a bone or piece of bacon.
  11. You buy carpet cleaning products every week at the store.
  12. Your yard has patches all over it from “natural” fertilizer.
  13. You know where your “poop shovel” is at all times.
  14. You think ziplock bags are only for walking your pets.
  15. You have to pick dog hair out of your food on a regular basis.
  16. Your bed spread and pillows have chunks missing from them.
  17. You can’t leave food in your kitchen unattended for 5 minutes.
  18. You can’t go on vacation because you can’t afford the kennel fees.
  19. You have to protect guests from your dogs when they first enter.
  20. You don’t recognize the bones buried in your back yard.

Top 10 Ways to Get Out of Jury Duty

Jury duty may be your civic duty, but that doesn’t change the fact that it interferes with your daily routine, it’s inconvenient and down-right annoying. Getting out of jury duty can be quite the challenge, especially if you don’t have a court-accepted excuse. However, there are plenty of ways to keep from getting chosen, and to turn off the judge, attorneys or your fellow jurors when your name is called. So, if you’re willing to make a bit of a scene and argue your excuse, here are 10 ways to get out of jury duty:

  • Cry

    Whether you cry over the case, cry because you got chosen and had to miss work, or cry about your dog who just died, the judge, attorneys and fellow jurors will most likely think you’re unstable or too emotional to be a juror. The crying tactic can be tough to pull off, but if you can conjure up a believable story, you’ve got a shot at being dismissed or given a postponement.


  • Share your Radical Views

    Going into the court with an “I Voted for Bush” t-shirt, or an “End Capital Punishment” button, you can consider yourself dismissed. Sharing your radical views, whatever they may be, shows that you are partial and may not be a fair juror.


  • Bring a Bible

    If you are seen reading the Bible, you may have a shot at getting out of jury duty. Although the court is looking for a diverse, random group of people, reading the Bible at jury duty is a bold statement that may keep you from being selected. If your name is called, try talking to an attorney or judge about your moral dilemma of judging people and determining their punishment.


  • No transportation

    If you don’t have a vehicle or any reliable form of transportation to jury duty, you might get it excused or postponed for another date. This is a legitimate concern for those who live far from the courthouse or have limited access to public transportation.


  • Pass Judgment

    Gasping, shaking your finger and commenting on the details of the trial will help you stick out as a potentially judgmental juror. Since jurors are supposed to be objective and fair, you will look like the complete opposite and possibly get dismissed. If you get called out by a judge or attorney, tell them you feel too strongly about the case and are worried that you won’t be able to give the defendant a fair trial.


  • Socialize

    Jury duty isn’t a time to socialize and it could make you seem insubordinate or irresponsible, which is why you’ll want to chat your way out of there. You may even get some additional ideas on how to avoid your next jury duty summon.


  • Fake a Sickness

    An ear infection or stomach bug is not easily detected, and can realistically prevent you from performing your juror duties. In order to be extra convincing, you may want to put your finger in your ear and say, “huh” “what” and “please repeat” after every statement, or excuse yourself and run to the bathroom every five minutes. If you’re good at faking an illness, then this is one of your best defenses in the courthouse.


  • Know the Witness/Defendant

    If you just so happen to know the witness’ mother, went to college with the defendant or live on the street where the crime occurred, you’ll be out of the court in no time. If you try to lie about knowing someone involved in the case and get caught, pretend like you were thinking of another person with the same name.


  • Be Skittish

    Being skittish, jumpy and looking down-right uncomfortable can help your chances of being dismissed from jury duty. Not only will you make the people sitting next to you feel uncomfortable, but you’re bound to be called out for your unusual behavior. When you get the chance to talk to a judge, share your fears of courts, criminals or another believable excuse to why you are incapable of being a juror.


  • No Child Care

    Children are not allowed at jury duty and there’s no child care available at the courthouse. So, if your babysitter is unavailable or your spouse had to work, you may get to go home if you can prove that you’re the only available caretaker for your young children. This is a legitimate excuse that might get you a postponement or a dismissal from jury duty.

Top 10 iPhone Applications for People Moving

There are some really handy iPhone applications that will help make the process of moving smoother for you.  If you feel a little overwhelmed by a big move that you have planned (and who doesn’t???) you might want to take a look at some of these applications on our list of the top 10 iPhone applications for people that are moving.  I tried to cover all of the essentials and then a little bit extra.  I hope you have a great move and that these applications can help you get through it with your sanity intact.

  1. Move Planner by Li Ling.  This is a GREAT application for people that are moving and is a MUST-SEE.  I found this application to be by far the best move organizing software for the iPhone, iPad, or iTouch.  It comes with several great checklists buy you can add your own to do items easily.  This app has a great interface and does everything it says it will do.  You can find out more about it here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/move-planner/id378753314?mt=8
  2. Moving List by New Gravity Ventures, Inc.  This application was built to really help you make sure you don’t forget anything when you are moving.  It goes into good detail about handling movers, job relocation, packing, and much more.  If you are worried that you might forget something important then you should pickup this application.  You can checkout the details here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/moving-list/id316092879?mt=8.
  3. The Big Yellow Space Kit by CHI & partners.  This application is a floor planner, box archiver, paint calculator, and more.  It’s associated with a self storage company in the UK but has definite practical application in the U.S. and other parts of the world.  It’s free so you might as well check it out at least if you are moving (even for home painting projects).  You can find out more about it here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-big-yellow-space-kit/id361717914?mt=8
  4. Moving Van by Glimmer Design Limited.  This application helps you remember where you put everything when you were preparing to move whether it is each box individually or within the truck you can track your contents with this application.  It’s also great for remembering where your stuff is after moving if some of the boxes remain packed in storage.  You can download the app here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/moving-van/id357418069?mt=8.
  5. PublicStorage by Netbiscuits GmbH.  This application was developed for Public Storage the monster self storage company.  If you are looking for a storage unit before or after your move then this application can help you find one, reserve it, and then pay for it on an ongoing basis.  You can also use this to quickly contact the manager for your storage unit.  You can find out more about this app here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/publicstorage/id367604436?mt=8
  6. Global Self Storage Search by Store Friendly Logistics Holdings Limited.  If you are looking for a more international self storage finder then check out this utility.  It will help you find a mini storage solution anywhere in the world.  You can find out more about this app here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/global-self-storage-search/id343731677?mt=8
  7. Pizza Hut by imc2, LLC.  Okay what do you ALWAYS eat on moving day?  Pizza of course!  So this is a great utility that helps you order that perfect pizza pie from Pizza Hut without having to hunt down a phone book or fire up your computer (especially difficult if your Internet service is not connected yet).  This is a free application that you can get here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pizza-hut/id321560858?mt=8
  8. CraigsPro+ by Ivan Ovcharenko.  This is a Craigslist search and posting tool for your iPhone.  What does this have to do with moving?  Well if you are like me there are items you have that you don’t want to move… so list them on Craigslist and get them sold.  Likewise when you get to your new home you may need a few items that you can pickup on Craigslist.  You can find out more about this one here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/craigspro-craigslist-search/id332324766?mt=8
  9. Apartment Search – CribQ by Hug Sandwich.  This is a cool application for finding out what’s for rent in a neighborhood.  This application will help you when your roommate or parents tell you it’s time for you to find a new place. GET OUT!  This will help you find the perfect place that you can afford to rent.  You can find out more here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/apartment-search-cribq/id326273263?mt=8
  10. Pack Manager by Excelltech Inc.  This is good for those small moves (especially for road warriors).  You can use this utility to pack for a trip or to pack up some bags when you are moving to a new place.  It helps you to remember the things you are going to need immediately when you get to your new home or wherever you are traveling to.  This is important for people moving because you generally will pack a suitcase or bag with just the items you know you will need for the first couple of nights after moving.  You can view the details of this application here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pack-manager/id309590992?mt=8

10 Ways to Hang a Picture on Your Wall

A picture hung in the appropriate place and manner can enhance the appearance and mood of a room exponentially. But finding a hassle-free way to hang it isn’t easy. You can do the whole nail-in-the-wall routine, but that requires finding a decent spot to place the nail, and there’s no room for trial and error. Fortunately, there are some alternative methods for hanging your favorite pictures. With a quick trip to your local hardware or office supply store, you’ll find a myriad of objects that’ll make the job a bit easier. Here are 10 ways to hang your picture on your wall.

  1. Canvas Hangers

    Canvas hangers enable you to hang canvas secure and flush to your wall. You simply need a Phillips head screwdriver to screw it into your wall, and a level is included with the product, ensuring the picture is hung evenly. They come in varying sizes – the largest of which can support up to 300 pounds.

  2. Picture Hanging Strips

    With picture hanging strips, you can rearrange pictures without having to commit an entire day of your time. One side of the strip contains adhesive material that sticks to your wall, and the other side sticks to your picture frame. Depending on which size and brand you purchase, they can hold frames up to 24×36 inches.

  3. Reclosable Fasteners

    Recoslable fasteners are like picture hanging strips, but come in different forms and sizes. They contain hundreds of interlocking stems that attach together, securely holding your picture to your wall. The adhesive enables it to hold up to one pound per square inch.

  4. Ribbon

    If your walls have a picture rail to go along with crown molding, you can utilize it by hanging pictures from ribbon, which you’d tie to nails or screws that are already driven into the picture rail. Plus, using ribbon adds a unique style.

  5. Wire

    Like ribbon, wire can be used to hang pictures. Although it’s less aesthetically pleasing, you can still be creative – several pictures can be hung from the same wire, creating a sequence or theme. This method is also most useful for walls that include a picture rail.

  6. Decorative Hanger

    Decorative hangers with clips or clothespins hold up a picture frame while adding a unique look. They can be hung from nails and screw that have already been driven into your wall. For the best possible look, use vintage hangers that are smaller than your typical closet clothes hanger. You can paint them to match the color of your room.

  7. Frame Decal

    Vinyl frame decals stick to your wall, allowing you to easily hang photos and other moderately-sized pictures. They can be removed and rearranged at any time, and you won’t have to find a new place to drive in a nail. They come in many different styles and colors, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one or two that’ll match your home’s décor.

  8. Adhesive Mounting Putty

    If you’re hanging posters or lightweight pictures, consider using adhesive mounting putty to stick them onto your wall. Just be sure not to mount your pictures onto walls that have wallpaper of flat paint – they could be damaged.

  9. Adhesive Clips

    These clips are equipped with adhesive that’ll hold to most surfaces. They come in handy when the walls of your home are less forgiving and composed of material like brick. They’re best used with posters and pictures that are smaller in size – you don’t want to have any mishaps. Heavier pictures could cause the clips to become detached from your wall.

  10. Adhesive Hooks

    For framed photos that aren’t too big, you can use adhesive hooks that attach to your wall; much like adhesive clips. They save you from having to insert more nails into your wall, though strong adhesive can cause minor superficial damage by removing bits of paint.

10 Tips for Finding a Lawn Care Service

Do you own a lawnmower?  It’s amazing how many people don’t.  There are so many great lawn care services out there that can get your yard done in a fraction of the time it would take you to do it yourself.  Not surprisingly it has become a very popular and common home service.  I have to admit that I haven’t owned a lawnmower in 10 years.  It’s not because I am particularly lazy or avoiding the heat of Summer, it’s just that these lawn care companies do a better job of keeping my lawn looking good and they do it at a reasonable price.  Okay, I’ll also confess that I never particularly enjoyed doing yard work (to each his or her own).  Over the years I have hired several lawn care companies and these are my top 10 tips for finding a lawn care service:

  1. First you have to FIND a lawn care company.  You can search the web using the various tools that are available or you can use good ol’ fashioned word of mouth referrals.  If you know your neighbor uses a lawn care service and you like how their yard looks, find out who they use (or just look at the name on the truck that pulls up every week).
  2. Ask them if they are licensed to provide lawn care services in your State.  Most States require lawn care companies to get licensed by the State Chemist as well as the State Department of Agriculture.  So ask the company to make sure they are properly licensed and then just check the license out to be sure.
  3. Get a quote from multiple lawn care services.  Ask them to come out and look at your yard to give you an estimate.   While they are there ask for general suggestions and an opinion as to the current condition of your yard.  If they really know what they are doing you can tell pretty quickly.  At least for me, I can quickly tell if they know more about yards than I do (not a particular challenge to be honest so it’s a good minimum threshold).  You may ask them to specifically point out and explain the thing they would be most concerned about if they owned this yard.
  4. Find out about the fertilizers that they are using and their overall philosophy regarding long-acting fertilizers.  Do they actually test the soil before choosing what to apply or do they just apply the same products on every yard they service?  If they also spray pesticides, pay very close attention to what they use and how it may impact your family and especially any pets you may have.  Don’t gloss over chemical questions, they are important… Make sure you actually understand their answers!
  5. Find out other associations that they may be members of.  For instance are they member of the Professional Lawn Care Association (you can find out more about them by calling (800) 458-3466).  You can also visit their website here: http://www.plcaa.org.  Their involvement in the industry is indicative of how current they are on new products and treatments.
  6. Find out what their work schedule is and make sure that works for you.  So what days of the week do they operate (Monday thru Saturday) and how early in the day or late in the day do they schedule.  If you like to sleep in on Saturdays for instance, make sure they won’t be coming at 7AM on Saturdays (EVER).  When you are considering this also ask how they handle holidays like the 4th of July.  If you are scheduled on that day how to they juggle the schedule to still make sure your yard gets taken care of that week.
  7. Ask for references from them ideally for someone with a yard similar to yours (especially if you have any specific problems like grass that is dying, etc.).  They should be able to easily provide you with 2 to 3 references and then you really do need to follow up with them to get their opinion (also find out how they know and came to choose the company).  Now this is only important if you didn’t just grab your neighbor’s guy and/or already know the quality of their work.
  8. It’s also a good idea to know the people that will be working on your account.  Ask them if you will have a single point of contact that you can count on (what is their turnover rate for employees, etc.).  In many cases you will be dealing with an owner or manager directly for most of your needs (if not find out why that is the case).  It’s also important to know how they choose employees and whether the actual yard workers are consistent.  You really want to make sure that the quality is predictable.
  9. Get a written contract/agreement with the lawn care service.  This is really essential as you will want to make sure that they guarantee their work (will redo the yard until you are happy) and you will also want to be crystal clear on the services you expect (mowing, trimming bushes, treating for pests, etc.).  You should know what is included in the service agreement and what will cost extra upfront.  You also want to verify that they have all the appropriate insurances (covering your property and their workers) and that the contract requires them to maintain those insurance premiums.  If you question it require proof of insurance as a part of the agreement.
  10. Last but not least is budgeting and billing (of course we have to deal with paying).  As you are reviewing that contract know if you are agreeing to month-to-month or for a longer period.  Know what discounts may be available if you contract for a year at a time, etc.  Also, many lawn care providers offer budget billing (same amount every month including the winter months) this helps them make sure their business can cash flow through the whole year and is usually a win/win for everyone.  All of this is in addition to making sure you get quotes from at least 3 lawn care companies (the time you set aside can be well worth it).

10 Tools Every Person Should Have in Their Home

Your home is such a big investment in part because of all of the things that can and will go wrong. If you want to fix the problems as they occur, or undertake a few do-it-yourself projects, then you should keep a handy set of tools on standby. A majority of the tools that fit the bill are affordable and can be stashed away in a toolbox. A 7 oz. claw hammer, for example, can be purchased at Lowes for fewer than seven bucks. So if you’re lacking the tools you need to keep your home in tip-top shape, peruse the list below and make a quick trip to your local hardware store.

  1. Tape Measure - A 25-foot self-retracting tape measure enables you to measure rooms, furniture, or anything else you need to size-up in your home before committing to a project. It should include strong a thumb lock and tape that’s sturdy enough to remain flat after being stretched out.

  2. Utility Knife – If you’re equipped with a reliable utility knife, then you have no problem cutting through string, rope, nylon, boxes, packages, drywall and carpet. Typically, they lock in varying positions, allowing you to cut at the easiest and safest angles.

  3. Screwdrivers – Have either an assortment of screwdrivers in varying sizes, both flat and Phillips-style, or one screwdriver with interchangeable bits. Of course with this tool, you can dissect and construct a myriad of household items, ranging from large appliances to small electronics.

  4. Power Drill – With a basic power drill, you can effectively drill holes in wood, plastic or metal. Depending on the type of projects you plan to undertake, consider its power capability, battery life and additional features – like whether or not it’s reversible. Be sure to purchase an accompanying set of drill bits. Makita, Hitachi and Panasonic are among the most reliable brands.

  5. Pliers – There are three different types of pliers – slip-joint, lock-joint and needle or long-nose – and each serves a different purpose. Slip-joint pliers are useful for removing nails, and tightening and loosening nuts. Lock-joint pliers have large jaws that enable them to deal with large objects. Needle or long-nose pliers can grip small items.

  6. Wire Stripper – Although pliers can be used to strip wire, it’s much easier to use a wire stripper. It cleanly removes the plastic coating that protects the wire core. Some come with changeable teeth that accommodate different wire sizes.

  7. Adjustable Wrench – An adjustable wrench is capable of adapting to objects of varying sizes because of its movable jaw. It can tighten and loosen nuts of different household items. Most hardware stores carry automatic adjustable wrenches that tighten around objects without the help of their users

  8. Claw Hammer – The claw hammer is perhaps the trustiest tool that you’ll own. Of course, it’s used for driving nails, force-fitting objects together and breaking objects apart; the claw end is used for removing nails. It should be roughly 16 ounces with a good grip – you don’t want to experience any painful or destructive mishaps.

  9. Level – Thanks to the level, the near-impossible task of ensuring an item is perfectly level is made easier and less tedious. The three types of levels most used are the torpedo, bull’s eyes and carpenter levels. Torpedo levels are small in size and aptly shaped like torpedoes. Bull’s eye levels are attached to the item. Carpenter levels measure whether or not an item is vertically plumb in addition to horizontally level.

  10. Electric Stud Finder – An electric stud finder is handy during projects that involve hammering objects into the wall of your home – like when you’re hanging shelves. It saves you from having to do the old hammer-and-nail routine, which causes unsightly damage to your walls.

10 Reasons People Can’t Remember Your Name

We’ve all done it. Seen a familiar face, remembered their story, but can’t recall their name. You can blame it on your bad memory or their hard-to-pronounce name, but the truth is most people comprehend and retain about 25 percent of what we hear on a daily basis, according to a University of Missouri report. Thanks to our weak listening skills and overloaded minds, names are usually the first thing to disappear from our memory. Here are 10 reasons people can’t remember your name and how to make it unforgettable:

  1. Bad Memory
    Many people will forget your name within seconds of meeting you and chalk it up to having a bad memory. Considering all of the information your brain has to process in a single conversation and over the course of a day, your name is bound to be forgotten. Everyone is subject to having a bad memory, especially for names, so be sure to say your name loudly, clearly and slowly when meeting someone. If it’s not the first time you’ve meet, introduce yourself again and say your name throughout the conversation or storytelling.

  2. You’re Simply Forgettable
    As harsh as it sounds to be forgettable, it may be true. If you’re a nervous, shy or soft-spoken person, it can be harder to make a memorable impression and your name may go in one ear and out the other. So, if it’s possible, try being a little more outgoing or talkative the next time you want your name to be remembered.

  3. Sounds the Same
    Bob and Rob, Abby and Ashley, Taylor and Tyler — these names, and plenty of others, sound a lot alike and are easily mixed up. The best way to battle the confusion of your name is to politely correct the person and give them a nickname or clue to remember you by.

  4. Uncommon Name
    Long, cultural or unique names are wonderful in their own right, but they tend to trip up people who are meeting you for the first time. One way to help someone remember your not-so-common name is to rhyme it with something, tell them your nickname or shorten your name until they can learn it for good.

  5. Overly Common Name
    If your name is John, Robert, Sarah, Jennifer or another commonly used name, expect some people to forget you name, regardless of its simplicity or frequency. These everyday names can easily blend together, making it difficult to stand out among those named Jewel, Dallas, Baldwin or Taryn, for instance. Once again, using your nickname or last name can set your common name apart from others and make it more memorable.

  6. Overloaded
    If you’re meeting someone in a group setting or while they’re preoccupied, chances are your name won’t make it into the memory bank right off the bat. People who are overloaded with new names and thoughts may need a private, less hectic introduction to truly catch your name.

  7. Distracted
    Along with number 5, people who are overloaded with new names may also be distracted when you meet them. It’s easy to lose focus on something as important as a name when you’re confronted with other important tasks or information. In order to avoid a distracted introduction, you’ll want to time it right and speak to that person when they are free and focused on talking to you.

  8. Memorable Face, Forgettable Name
    Some people remember faces better than names, and struggle to put names to the faces. You can help these puzzled people by introducing yourself again, wearing a nametag, or saying your name while telling a story.

  9. Lazy
    All in all, some people are just down-right lazy and don’t see the point in trying to remember your name. Some assume you will introduce yourself again, or a friend or coworker will introduce you to them, while others just simply give up trying to remember your name. If you sense their laissez faire attitude or forgetfulness, be the one to introduce yourself again and make it a point to learn their name.

  10. Poor Introduction
    If you muttered your name, said it quietly or didn’t say your name altogether, you didn’t introduce yourself properly, and it may be the reason why they can’t remember your name. It’s very important to say your name loudly, clearly and make good eye contact when meeting someone for the first time.

Top 10 iPhone Applications for Your Home Needs

There have been millions of iPhones sold and tons of developers have cranked out some amazing applications for just about everything you can imagine.  I am one of the many addicted iPhone users and all my friends and family know that well.  Accordingly, I received a iTunes gift card recently and decided to get some apps to help me around the house (I was shocked by how many home utility applications there are).  So I started reading through hundreds of applications and tried out several.  Then I decided it would be great if I put some of that research to work into an article so here is my take on the top 10 iPhone applications for your home needs:

  1. Moving Van by Glimmer Design Limited allows you to easily keep track of the contents of every box right from the palm of your hand.  You can use your phone to take pictures of items as you pack them, but most importantly you no longer have to guess which box you put something in, you will know right away.  For those of us that have moved several times (and still store some things in boxes), this can save a bunch of time and a lot of frustration.  I also want to point out that you can use this tool for cupboards, basements, garages, and storage areas as well (think of them as your permanent moving van).
  2. Home Interior Layout Designer by M.O.C. Interior Designer, LLC is a really cool app that will help you as you struggle with redecorating your home.  You can keep track of the floor plans for each room and use their very polished tools for moving pieces of furniture around the floor plan.  If you like to move things around your house to change things up, you will love this app.
  3. iHandy Carpenter by iHandySoft, Inc. is a great tool for amateur carpenter work and includes a great level which you can actually use for hanging pictures straight and other things.  It has an accurate and surprisingly effective ruler included as well.  If all you want is the level check out iHandy Level as it is a free download from iTunes.
  4. HomeRoutines by Wunderbear is a to do utility for household chores.  It includes a built-in timer so you can keep track of how long each task takes.  It utilizes the same principles that FlyLady Control Journal, Organized Home Household Notebook, and other popular household chore programs promote.   With HomeRoutines though you can keep everything on your iPhone instead of on a bunch of pieces of paper.
  5. paintingWalls by Enginy Studios is really a cool application where you take a picture of any room in your home and then you can use their custom painting tools to paint it any color you want and then swap colors until you find one that is perfect for that room.  If you want to find out more about how it works you can check out their video at http://www.paintingwalls.net.
  6. Home Remedies by Feather & Moor, Ltd. Is an application with over 100 home remedies.  Have you ever wondered what you can eat to get rid of the hiccups?  How about to help you get rid of a hangover?  There are some useful bits of information in here that are worth a shot if nothing else.
  7. Home Inventory by Gotta Have It! Software, Inc. comes with a FREE web application.  This is a great way to keep track of all of your belongings for insurance purposes and even warranty or other uses.  If you know all of your serial numbers for things you might need to replace then this is not an application for you, otherwise you should probably take a look.
  8. HomeMeter by osXwerk.de offers something unique in that it gives you a place to track your usage of natural gas, electricity, and other utilities by allowing you to easily keep track of your meters.  This is a great way to be able to verify that you are getting billed close to what you believe your consumption to be.
  9. Mobiscope: Home Surveillance by SHAPE Services is a must have application for those that are concerned about the security of their home or job site.  You can really use this software anywhere to attach to your cameras and monitor activity wherever you go via your iPhone.  It’s a little big brother-ish but great peace of mind.
  10. X10 Commander by Melloware is a must have type of application for a list of home iPhone apps.  Why?  Because it is an X10 Controller Client for the iPhone that will allow you to control all kinds of devices in your home from lights to your garage door.  You have to jump to their site to see all of the possibilities http://melloware.com/products/x10commander.

I thought about putting links out to each of these applications… but we all know that you are going to have to go to iTunes and search there to eventually get these utilities anyway.  So, have your iPhone handy or open up iTunes and go take a look!  You won’t regret it!

Top 10 TV Shows About Cleaning and Organizing Your Home

Over the years there have been a large number of television shows about cleaning and organizing your home that have helped or inspired millions of people.  At any given time you could generally find one of these shows on TLC or HGTV and now even on other networks.  We put together a list of some of the current shows that have at least some episodes that are centered on cleaning and organizing homes.  Some are bordering on home improvement or real estate shows, but all in some ways can contribute to helping you clean and organize your home.

  1. Clean House (Style Network) – You may at first have this show confused with another but as soon as you see Niecy Nash’s picture you no doubt will know exactly what show I am talking about.  This is the top show currently in this category and has been on air for 9 seasons.  It is generally about people that have at least one room in their house that has gotten out of control (usually the problems are well beyond one room).  They help people first admit they have a problem and then completely clean and reorganize showing them how great their home can be after a little hard work and TLC (tender loving care, not the network).
  2. Hoarding: Buried Alive (TLC) – This show is the extreme look at what can happen when people can’t control their compulsion to keep things (hoarde) or their lack of desire to clean and organize their home in general.  Each show centers around someone that has really given up and is currently living in piles of stuff and garbage.  Usually their homes are far past livable putting themselves and others in danger.  It’s really gripping to watch them try to come to terms with their problems and turn the corner.  This is a bit of a scared straight approach to cleaning and organizing your home, but it makes for a really interesting TV show.
  3. Home Made Simple (TLC) – This show offers simple tips on how to make your home a better place.  Sometimes it is about organizing your cluttered home and other times it is more about how to make quick and easy meals for families on the go.  This is more of an everyday family type of show and it’s really easy to take away something from each show that you can use in your home.  Home made simple really helps people attain a home that their family will love to live in.
  4. Dress My Nest (Style Network) – So organizing and cleaning has quickly turned to interior design on our list, but the way that Thom Filicia approaches each show is generally pointing out design nightmares as well as organizational failures.  Things that both don’t look good and are not practical.  For instance, on one show a family was training their dog to go to the bathroom inside (in a kennel) and he basically said “hell no” to that as he got them on their way to a better and obviously cleaner smelling home at a minimum.
  5. Tacky House (Style Network) – Tacky or tasteful?  Good question.  Well let Thom Filicia tell you (yes Dress My Nest Thom).  This is similar to Dress My Nest in that it is a mix of interior design and space design.  Basically the effort is to help people let go of things that both impact the design of their home and clutter it up at the same time… (okay so that’s another way of saying helping them get rid of the tacky stuff they have latched onto).  The show is new but looks promising.
  6. Sweat Equity (DIY Network) – How about increasing the value of your home in a couple of weekends?  What changes can you make to your home DIY style (do it yourself)?  Amy Matthews helps people analyze changes that can be made to their homes to make them more functional and also raise the value of their homes (which is always a nice side effect).  Once you start watching the show you might be shocked by just how great of an impact you can have on your own house if you leverage your own sweat equity.
  7. Curb Appeal (HGTV) – This is a great show for cleaning and organizing the exterior of your home (something often forgotten about).  It’s amazing how much difference it can make to turn your backyard into something that is better organized, clean, and usable space.  The same is true of giving the front of your house and front yard a face-lift.  I get tons of ideas for my home and yard from this show and have for years.  This show seems like it has been airing for most of my adult life (and I’m no Spring chicken).
  8. Moving Up (TLC) – Doug Wilson is the host of this TLC network show and boy is it different!  Have you ever sold a home?  Did you ever wonder what the new buyers did to your home after moving in?  This show gives sellers a peak at what the buyers have done to their home.  Just like several other shows on this list you can pickup some great new ideas for your home from watching this show.  What I like most is that you can see a space from at least two different design perspectives which is really interesting.
  9. Clean Sweep (TLC) – This show has been off the air (not actively filming) for three years.  Fortunately, you can still catch a few reruns every now and then if you are lucky.  So while this is not a current show, I’m not sure you can have a list of top cleaning and organizing shows without this one as it was one of the trend setters.  This is the gold standard for cleaning and organizing and inspired all kinds of people to start businesses around helping others clean and organize their homes.  In fact, inspired by this show I hired one such startup company to help me with my home.  It’s really hard for me to not put this show at number 1 as I really wish it was still in production.  GREAT SHOW!
  10. Trading Spaces (TLC) – This show is also one of the classic shows in the category and is all about 2 rooms, 48 hours, and $1,000.  Basically two families trade homes (just to work on one room in the other family’s home).  They redecorate and organize the room in a way that they think the other family will love.  It’s another show that is as much about design as it is organizing but if you see the before and after shots you will quickly understand why this is a great show about cleaning and organizing at least one room of your home.  The good news is the room picked in each home varies it may be a family room, game room, kitchen, or a bedroom.  The other REALLY cool part about the show is the amount they can get done for under $1,000.  Unfortunately it like Clean Sweep has also been cancelled so go find those re-runs!