Home Furnishing and Lifestyle Tips

Here are some great tips, nifty ideas and interesting news tidbits about "Living The Good Life" with RTO. For starters, check out this informative article from MSNBC on RTO Consumer Tips.

The year of the tablet?

tabletIs 2014 the year of the tablet? Apparently so. Nearly 50% of computer sales are tablets this year.

And why not? They’re easy to use. Easier to carry than a laptop. They’re getting close to being as fast as a lapktop. And they’re much more affordable.

There are still limitations. You can’t upgrade to lightening speed nor have terabytes of storage but with cloud technology even that issue can be answered. Some complain about the strain on the eyes especially when reading articles or books. Or some are just old fashion curmudgeons who pine for old days and refuse to try. Go write a complaint letter on a typewriter, I say. Go green and save a tree.

Even with seniors, the tablets are becoming the most popular. Most seniors just need a computer for internet, video and e-mailing. The ease of large app icons, keyboard and the lightweight make it perfect.

Then on the other end, kids dig ‘em. They’re the perfect size for games and videos. You can play them in bed,  on the couch or in the tree house. I used to own an Ipad but for some reason it’s now owned by my 5 year old. Apparently Mom and kid cut a deal on my behalf.

So, what tablet is for you? What brand and size? The three most popular brands are the Ipad (duh), Kindle Fire and Google Nexus. Then there’s size. The mini or the tablet. That’s a huge debate.

At first, the mini was considered DOA as being too small. They called it an Iphone on steroids. But they were wrong. The minis are just as popular. So when shopping, pick up the regular size then the mini. You can usually tell in an instance. That’s why you make sure you hold one first if you have them shipped.

Then there’s price. The Ipad is the most expensive at around $350 then the Kindle at $250 then the Nexus at $150. But, remember, you get what you pay for in regards to speed, durability and functions. So keep those in mind when shopping.

Another issue is wi-fi. Wi fi plans can be expensive so do you count on hotspots to take care of you or buy the plan to ensure access everywhere within reason. That’s a huge factor regarding your budget and use.

Rent to own stores are realizing the popularity and stocking up on the tablets. You can get a really affordable payment plan with the ready to own option. Own it in a year with small payments and you’re good to go. Especially with the guarantee that RTO stores carry with all of their merchandise.

Just another ShopRTO Home Computer tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Buying used furniture? Shop rent to own first.

 

Find your local rent to own store for used home furniture.

Try rent to own stores when shopping used furniture.

When talking about buying used furniture, appliances or electronics, the first places Americans think is garage sales, newspaper ads or craigslist. What most people don’t realize is that rent to own stores can be a treasure trove regarding good used furniture at great prices.

Statistics show that new rent to own home furnishings are returned within the first four months. And the return almost always has nothing to do with the quality of the furniture but personal circumstances.

Add to the fact that most customers want new merchandise so there is an incentive for rent to own stores to get rid of used merchandise quickly. They still make a profit, get rid of used inventory and you get a great deal on furniture that has just a little wear and tear.

So if you’re going the RTO option, follow these tips.

Find out the local rent to own stores in your area then call each to express what you’re looking for. Each rent to own store has different policies regarding selling used furniture and obviously what is available.

Because each have different policies, try to talk to a manager or the owner. It is in their best interest to get rid of inventory and they’ll have the most flexibility to cut a deal.

Find the stores that are eager to work with you and try them first. You want those rent to own stores that have the mentality and business model of wanting used merchandise out of the showroom floor so will have you on their mind. That’s why you work with the manager or owner as it is in their best interest.

If you don’t need the furniture immediately then use patience and shop around or wait.

Research prices of similar furniture to know what you can offer regarding what they can offer. And research through craigslist, newspaper ads and garage sales. Heck, those may offer you a better deal anyway. Always shop around, the consumer is in full control in these retail times.

Never buy before you try. Always visit the store and sit on the furniture before and inspect it closely. Rent to own stores are good because they spend a lot of time refurbishing the product.

Rent to own used furniture. If you’re not sure about the furniture, then rent it for a couple of months to try. If you like it then exercise the early purchase option.

The beauty of renting to own used furniture, you’ll get smaller payments or smaller time periods or both. And if you’re renting to own it, the product is under their warranty during the rental period.

If you’re buying it outright, make sure they deliver it for free. That shouldn’t be a problem as they’re in the business of customer service.

You have four choices when acquiring home furnishings for your abode. Keep them all in mind to make sure you get the best home that your money can buy.

Just another ShopRTO shopping lifestyle tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Have an RTO July 4th party!

July 4th party tips

Happy Birthday America!

America’s birthday is coming up so it’s time to celebrate! And, if you want to avoid the crowds of festivals then have one at home with the family and friends.

For a festive party, the color scheme is fairly obvious, eh? Red, white and blue. And don’t forget flags. There’s those small toothpick flags as well as smaller flags to spread out that are cheap and fun. Then there’s red, white and blue streamers.

To keep costs down, ask for potluck. Guests don’t mind and it gives great variety and helps save time for the host. Make sure your refrigerator is clean and with lots of room. Use an ice chest for all drinks to help create room. Get the barbecue flaring and crank out one of the main dishes.

You can also go creative with some of your dishes. Go get a rectangle cake from the grocery store or make it yourself. Yeah, right. Have the icing be plain white. Place blueberries as the square for the stars then place raspberries as the red lines and you have a flag cake that’s easy and quick. And, you can even call it healthy since it has fresh fruit on it.

If you’re going to have a good ‘ole fashioned all-day July 4th get together, make sure you have some fun things to do. Keep a deck of cards, dominoes, board games around. Get a horseshoe set. Or, for cheap and easy, play ‘washers’. Create a makeshift set-up by getting a set of 4 washers out of the garage, two cans/cups placed in the ground, level with the dirt, pick teams and toss them. Here’s some basic rules.

Make sure you have music going. Great parties always have 2 things. Good music and good food. If you have to have a TV on, make sure it’s on a baseball game or a campy theme movie like “Independence Day” or “Field of Dreams”.

For the kids, have them play some sort of sports so they’re exercising. If you don’t have much room or want to make sure nothing gets broken, play cup baseball. Crush up a paper cup like a ball and hit the ball with your hand as the bat.

If you do have video games, make sure they’re motion games. Keep the kids active.

Now here’s where all of those seasonal rental items that you got from your local rent to own store come into play. Or, now’s the reason to go get something brand new at the rent to own store that will help the party out -  refrigerators, freezers, barbecue grills, out door furniture, HDTVs,p, boom boxes, ovens or whatever that makes your home as comfortable and fun as can be.

Just another ShopRTO Holiday tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Here’s some Summer safety tips

Summer Safety tips.

Fun and safe in the sun!

For those old enough, you can remember the metal slides that burnt every uncovered part of your skin when playing. Nowadays, these constructions are bit more safe but in regards to playing and having fun in the Summer, need to remember some basic safety tips.

The sun. Much of skin diseases can begin prior to the age of 18 so be liberal with sunscreen for your kids and you too. Make sure to apply every two hours and be sure to get those places where the sun hits the hardest – the nose, back of the neck and even the top of the ears.

If you’re sunbathing or swimming then all of the uncovered parts and don’t forget the top of the feet. For some reason, that is one spot many people forget. Wear a hat and sunglasses. And, if hanging out at the pool all day, spend some time in the shade.

And if swimming in the pool, keep the “arm away” rule with little kids. That means you’re never an arm away from them swimming so you can rescue them if anything happens. And, remember, anyone can drown so keep an eye on everyone to be the safest.

And, water! No matter what you do, especially in the Summer, make sure you drink plenty of water. And make sure the kiddos drink plenty of water. Always ask them and don’t wait until they say they’re thirsty. That usually means they’re already dehydrated.

What about mowing the yard? If you have a riding lawn mower, the general rule of thumb is that no one under 18 is supposed to use one and no one under the age of 12 should use a push mower. For gas powered mowers, don’t touch the engine. Make sure it is off when refilling and always make sure the blades have quit rotating and are completely off when cleaning grass out.

Try not to back pedal when mowing. It’s the easiest way to trip, fall and get hurt. Always wear sturdy shoes and clean up the lawn of big sticks and debris so you’re not shooting off large dangerous chunks to you and others.

Now, back to the playground. Just because they’re not metal, test the slides and seats before the kids play. Plastic can still get dangerously hot. Remove anything that has straps to get caught on the equipment even helmets. Never allow children to attach ropes, leashes or anything that can strangle. Inspect playground equipment for long bolt ends that can make a nasty gash or an S-hook to get caught.

Just another ShopRTO be safe and home lifestyle tips.

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Clean out the garage tips

Garage sales or donations.

Time to clean out the garage!

According to Harris Poll, 50% of Americans name their garage as the messiest room in their house. The garage is also one of the most prominent curb appeal of your house and 1/4 of Americans are embarrassed to open their garage doors for the neighbors to see. And, one more, the garage can be the most functional room in the house except for the fact that it is the messiest therefore unusable.

I think those stats speak for themselves so let’s get started with the tips to get your garage cleaned. First things first. Take a deep breath. Even meditate if need be. But take it one step at a time.

Set aside two consecutive weekends and recruit family and/or friends to help. Pick the weekends accordingly. Many cities have junk collection days every six months which means perfect timing or pick the weekend you can borrow your brother’s truck for a trip to the dump. But, plan ahead. And, have a goal in mind.

Set aside some space to create four piles. 1. Keep 2. Throw away 3. Sell 4. Donate.

First things first. Purge. Throw away anything that you haven’t used or looked at in 18 months. Don’t overthink. Don’t say “one day I’ll use or want  it” because if you haven’t used it within 2 years then get rid of it. The exception to that rule is tools and building materials to a certain extent.

As such, organize your tools in one area, box, shelf, etc. That’s both for space saving and for practicality. And organize by seasons because that snow blower is useless in the summer but, oh so necessary in the winter.

Organize the holiday items. When that holiday comes, you’ll want to decorate with ease and items that you have already bought.

Organize the sentimental items. If you have old photos, designate a family member to scan all the photos and put them in your computer so you can actually look at them when wandering down memory lane. Then box up the real photos in an air locked container and tuck away.

Then there’s the decision you have to make regarding items that you’re getting rid of but are still usable. You may want to consider a garage sale, craig’s list, ebay, etc. Otherwise donate them. But do it within the two weekend span you dedicated. So you’re on task and follow through.

Get to a point where your entire garage is empty and clean and/or repair any necessary parts. Then look around and find spots where you can put shelves or racks to maximize space.

Then put everything you going to keep in its proper, designated spot. And if the clutter is not more than half gone that means you’re a pack rat or do a good job at keeping your garage clean.

One thing to note which many people do not yet do is to digitally archive. Many boxes are filled with paper work. Files of tax returns, warranties, instructions, journals, etc. Turn those into PDFs and store them on your computer, in the cloud and on a back-up and continue the digital process from then on.

I hope that gives you enough of a guidance to turn that garage into  a room that you can use and like. For more tips, go to Shop RTO’s “De-clutter” tips article.

Just another ShopRTO get-your-act-together and home lifestyle article.

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

 

 

 

The American Dream redefined but still revolves around family and home

Family finances and home ownership.

Today’s American Dream is home ownership and financial stability for the family.

The “American Dream” has changed through the generations. First coined after the great depression, the phrase signified the ability to move up social classes to a greater standard of living.

Now, the American Dream has more of a meaning of security rather than prosperity according to a recent story conducted by Ketchum Global Research commissioned by rent to own company Aarons. More than 90 percent of survey respondents equate the American Dream having a good job and owning their own home. “Social Freedom”, the belief for their children having a better life and the ability to save money is right up there with 89%.

Being more practical is becoming the new aspiration as many Americans feel the new norm is being buried in debt and trying to manage a responsible budget. Luxury items such as jewelry are being replaced with technology and furniture as items that fulfill the American Dream for today’s society.

In the end, though, the study revolved around the new expectations that have culminated from different economic circumstances that exist today. The continued difficulty of owning a home and being debt free has pushed those two to the top of what Americans desire.

While owning a home and secure family finances is always at the core of the American Dream, past generations thought those were a given. With today’s financial environment,  home ownership and financial stability are now what Americans dream of.

Just another ShopRTO personal finance and lifestyle tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

 

Computer games going family style

 

Video games on the tablet are on the rise.

Families are playing video games together more.

Home computer games are no longer solo style. Games on the computer, smartphone and especially tablets are going interactive for the family and friends.

Statistics from the Entertainment Software Association state that more than 1/3 parents play video games with their kids regularly, more than once a week. 89% of parents are involved in choosing their children’s video games. And the average age for playing video games is 30 years.

More women are playing computer games than ever and with the onslaught of free video game apps, the tablet and smartphone games are going bezerk. While mobile computer gaming is exploding, many groups are warning against kids getting consumed into the games along with watching TV that social skills suffer and obesity grows.

The American Academy of Pediatricians recommend that children under 2 years should not play any video games. Ages 2 and above should be limited to one hour per day that includes TV as well. But, with the onslaught of interactive, educational games that opinion is being challenged.

For instance, 95% teachers use interactive games as part of the education process. While learning as part of the game is beneficial, they also cite hand to eye coordination and the development of technological skills as added benefits.

The computer game industry continues to fight the image of video games being too violent and sendentary, computer makers and the demand for family-orientated and educational games are helping to sway that opinion. And with the popularity of motion games on the rise, those also help turn games from creating obesity to exercising as the game.

So, as with all children activities, parents and families must maintain a balance of healthy, educational, interactive and family style games to being virtually away from the screen. (How’d you like that pun?)

Just another ShopRTO Computer Games tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

An outdoor living room? It’s more common than you think.

Get an outdoor living room set

Make an outdoor living room.

When one thinks of outdoor furniture, they automatically think of patio furniture. Which is great as it is durable through the seasons. Lately, though, many people are putting regular living room furniture outside.

When some buy new living room furniture, they’re left with older but still usable furniture. Knowing the furniture is going to be tossed out or given away, many Americans keep them by using it to furnish their outside especially if they have a covered deck. Or they put it outside and make sure to have heavy duty covers to keep the furniture as long as possible.

It creates a whole new vibe for the backyard or porch. Add an HDTV and watch baseball in the Summer breeze. And, again, if the furniture is used and was on its way to the dump then why not get some more use out of it.

If you have a covered deck or porch, the furniture lasts much longer and the comfort is great. Your family and guests will love it when waiting for the barbecue to get ready. And will add an unusual but very comfortable touch to the outdoors.

Some specifically but new living room furniture for the outdoors and some find used furniture for the outside. If so, rent to own stores are a great option as they are constantly needing to get rid of used furniture. The trick is finding the right store with the furniture right for your outdoor circumstances.

Just another ShopRTO outdoor decorating tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

You have to clean out your ‘fridge so here’s some good tips

Cleaning refrigerator

Stick your head in the fridge and clean!

Ewwww. Cleaning out the refrigerator? Can’t it wait? No. The longer you wait, the more work and potential damage to the fridge.

First things first. Throw outdated items out. Sounds obvious but you wouldn’t believe how many expired jars of jellies, pickles, mustards, etc. stay in the fridge.

Once that is done there are two different methods. One is to take out all refrigerator items, put them in a ice chest then dissemble all shelves and put them in the dishwasher and turn on. You’d be amazed how easy it is to dissemble refrigerators these days. And, if it isn’t then you have a really old one and need to get a new one.

The other is to go shelf by shelf hand washing and drying. Again, if you haven’t cleaned your refrigerator in awhile then you’ll see what I mean about needing to do it on a regular basis.

Do NOT use cleaning liquids. You don’t want your fridge and food smelling like comet. Use some baking powder or tad of vinegar in warm water. You can use some soap but be careful. You can tell by smelling your sponge or pad if it’s too much soap.

When cleaning glass shelves don’t use hot water when the glass is cold. It could break with the sudden change of temperatures.

Clean from the highest shelf down. That was a hard lesson to learn. Food, crumbs, etc. falls down so start at the top. And, again, make sure everything is dry before re-inserting food. And, make sure all of the jars, bottles and cartons are wiped down before putting back. It kind of defeats the purpose putting a messy jelly jar into a clean refrigerator.

Then clean the outside of the refrigerator. You can use the harder stuff for the outside and other interesting items for stainless steel refrigerators. And, if you want to get really in-depth cleaning, then try these other tips.

Just another ShopRTO fridge tip and kitchen appliance tips.

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

 

Apps for the home

 

Apps for the home

Have an Appy home!

Did you know how many home apps are out there? Lots. Haven’t tested them all yet but just downloaded a bunch. Here are just a few.

One of the first ones that are by far the most practical, useful and very effective is the flashlight and level. If your power goes out or need to look through the dark parts of your garage, just turn on the app and watch how your phone emanates like a lighthouse. Too cool.

The level works just great when hanging paintings and leveling other things. As you can tell, I only use it for paintings.

There are great home decorating apps such as Houzz, Houzz for kids and Brightnest. There’s a DIY app called “DIY” that helps with, well, DIY projects in the home. There’s gardening and landscaping apps such as “Home Gardening”.

There’s money management apps for the family budget. There’s one called Money Tracker and another called Level. If you’re looking to buy a home, get the Home Mortgage Calculator App. You’ll want that when shopping for your new home as most of us live by the paycheck so you’ll want to know if that payment fits into your budget.

Zillow Digs is a good app for home design and cost estimates regarding any upgrades or repairs. Household tips and tricks is another for good household tips and tricks. I know. That was obvious.

How about a grocery list? That one is interesting as it lists varying national grocery chains to customize your list to the store. I’m trying that one to see if it’s truly better than making a list on your smart phone notes app.

Go to the Itunes App store and type in a general search for whatever home tips you need and watch all that pop up. Most times, you’ll have too many to choose. So make sure you read the description and reviews before choosing. Especially if you’re buying one. While 99¢ or $2.99 isn’t that much, it is to most people’s budget. And since this is a website for affordable home living, our job is to help you be frugal so I always recommend the free apps.

You’ll suffer through some ads on the free apps but you need to try before you buy. Just like rent to own home furnishings. Use rent to own to try before you buy so you don’t make an expensive mistake.

Just another ShopRTO Lifestyle Tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

 

Rent the Summer life

rent to own grills, furniture

Rent summer gear to be debt and clutter free.

In many parts of the country summer living is only three to four months thus needing certain items only for that part of the year. Just a quick few are lawn mowers, air conditioners, power washers, BBQ grills and outdoor furniture.

Rent to own stores are the best location for renting ACs, riding lawn mowers, outdoor furniture and BBQ pits but power washers are best to find at a local Lowe’s or Home Depot. Make sure to check your local rent to own stores prior as every rent to own store rents different items. You’ll be surprised at some of the items they rent on a seasonal basis.

The beauty of renting these seasonal items is that you pay for their use and that’s it. So much of these items are left unused, further damaged or broken after harsh winters especially this one. If you rent them then when Summer’s over, your garage and home is clutter free and the next summer you get new rented items that are debt and worry free. The rent to own store will deliver, set up and come and get it when the cold winds come back and need to return to the inside.

With renting outdoor furniture for several months, you know it’ll be nice because you picked it out. If you have a good enclosed porch then you can rent higher end furniture since it will be only used for several months. But, if you like what you rented then buy them outright with rent to own’s early purchase option that include previous rental payments going towards ownership.

So many Americans are having to live in smaller homes and yards but still want to have the family barbecue, get together or enjoy the outside. Renting those key summer items means you get the full summer experience without so much of the headache. It all depends on the circumstances. Renting works perfect for some. Owning for others. And, again, rent to own stores give you both options.

Just another ShopRTO Outdoor Decorating and Lifestyle Tips.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Some bedroom feng shui tips

Bedroom Feng Shui tips

Create the perfect bedroom.

It’s your bedroom – the sanctuary of your home so decorate it with the best energy for your soul. Here’s some ShopRTO tips to help make that happen.

First of all, build the right bed! No used mattresses. Buy or rent to own one. It’s the best investment you’ll ever make. When shopping for your mattress there are many to choose from so make sure you pick the right one. How? Go to a store and lie down on them. Take your shoes off. Lie on your side, back and sit up as if you were reading a book or watching a movie. That’s the only way you’ll make sure. And if people are around watching you with a disapproving look then wink at them and see what happens.

The bed needs to be the right height. Good rule of thumb is your feet should be touching the floor naturally when sitting on the bed. This rule, though, can be compromised due to bed design. The new modern look has lowered and sleeker beds while some are going for the kingly higher beds through thicker mattresses for a more comfortable feel and royal look. Some beds are height adjustable. If you want to be safe, literally. Stick with the first rule that the feet should be touching the floor comfortably when sitting on the bed.

The bedframe needs to have a headboard. The corners where the legs are need to be rounded or covered so as not to harm the legs if you accidentally bump into them.

The bedroom feng shui begins with the windows and door. The bed should be as far away as the door as possible and not in alignment. The bed needs to be flat against the wall and with enough balanced space on both sides.

The windows should not be crowded around unless they are plants. The light and wind rays need to have room to flow. Have as few electronics as possible and give closets enough space to be able to use while also being able to hide with proper closet doors. The best way to work with feng shui is to see how easy it is to walk from the windows to the door.

By the way, this is the first time we’ve used the word “Feng Shui” so no rolling your eyes. We’re still about affordable home furnishings for the average, every-day Joe with a touch of enlightenment.

Just another ShopRTO Home Decorating and Bedroom Furniture Tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

How to enhance your home TV audio experience

 

HDTV Home Audio tips

Enhance your HDTV home audio experience.

If you have an HDTV that looks great on screen but has an unpredictable or underwhelming sound experience then there’s several ways to help. The most simple, affordable and compact way is through a sound bar. It’s basically a sleek, horizontal speaker system that can give you a 2.0 sound or 2.1 sound with a sub woofer.

If you don’t know the numerical designation of a speaker system that audio geeks always blurt out then here’s a quick lesson. A basic stereo system of 2 speakers projecting sound from the left and sound to the right is a 2.o stereo audio system. If you add a sub woofer which is the speaker that can handle the low frequency of bass sounds then you add .1. So if you have a stereo system with a subwoofer then it’s a 2.1 system.

A basic 2.1 sound system whether it’s a sound bar or two speakers with a subwoofer will make all the difference in the world especially if all you have done is listen to your TV speakers. Now going on to the next level of a 4.1 or 6.1 then you’re creating a surround sound experience which can be awesome but depends on the room and wallet.

If you go for a 4.1 then it’s basic logic on how to set it up. The first two are on the left and right of the TV and then you want the subwoofer in the middle preferable below the TV as that is where the bass frequency is in the first place. Then the next two speakers are on each side depending on the size of the room will depend where to put them but you want them half way from you and the TV and pointing at you not at each other. Then the next 6.1 system is that the two additional speakers are just behind you and pointing at you. Then you start creating the surround sound experience.

After that, you really start getting into the fancy-schmancy theater experience that we don’t care to get into because our job is provide you affordable home furnishing solutions.

There’s some other considerations you need to factor in. One of the most is cables. With a basic stereo system or a sound bar, the cables can be managed and hidden easily. If you’re going to four or more speakers then you’ll have to plan your wires very carefully to avoid an ugly wiring in your room. OR, go wireless and bluetooth as that technology is becoming much more reliable and affordable but be very thorough in your research on the best ones to buy.

But, remember, if your room or budget is small then go with a simple stereo sound and if you can throw in a subwoofer, do so. The difference is huge. For a test, throw in a DVD of a science fiction thriller-diller that has a lot of crashes, booms and laser beam sounds and you’ll really be able to tell a difference.

Just another ShopRTO Home Audio tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Did you know window treatments could be so creative?

Curtain and blinds decorating ideas.

Go decorative with your windows.

We’re so ingrained in thinking curtains or blinds for our windows that we forget the whole purpose is to provide privacy, shade or a decorative element for our windows and homes. So, think outside the window and you can find all sorts of garments and items to decorate your windows and still serve the functional purpose.

Curtains are fabrics that cover your windows. So, pick all sorts of fabrics to go creative. Burlap sacks, bed sheets, quilts, rugs, shawls, shirts, etc. All of those are fabrics and with some creativity and a good seamstress,  you can create some of the most imaginative and unique ‘curtains’ ever seen.

Or create your own patterns. Take a one-colored bed sheet and stencil words on it – names of your children, pets, words of wisdom, etc. Go Picasso or abstract and paint or water color your own designs. And, if it’s an old bed sheet and you end up not liking the design you created. Then try again and no real harm on the pocket book.

What about curtain rods? It’s a rod! Do you know how much you could do with those decorations? How about yarn, scrunchies (I hear they’re back), thick stock paper, rope, necklaces or whatever else you can think of or that you have just sitting around. Wrap those around the rods in whatever way that looks the most pleasing and you become an original designer with your own feature story in HGTV. It also gives you a neat project. For the kids, too. They will have a blast.

Just for decorating purposes, think of what you could hang down from a curtain rod. Take some colored ropes, string, shoe laces, belts, scarfs, etc. and tie on glass or ceramic jars with flowers in it. Or junk art like painted wheels from a kids wagon. Whatever you can imagine. The trick is painting the objects, attaching them and arranging so it looks like a really cool design and not strewn junk.

Ultimately, though, your window is a 3-D painting that can be designed into whatever creative art to be imagined. Make it loud or subtle but remember it doesn’t have to be just a curtain or a blind.

Just another ShopRTO Home Decorating tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Just add flowers – some ShopRTO tips for a beautiful home garden

Flower planting tips

Brighten your day with your yard.

It’s spring time which means flowers! Lots of them, too. Whether planting them or putting them on vases or on the front door. There is nothing better for the home, family and soul like flowers when driving up to your home. Here’s some basic tips to get you started in the right direction.

When planting flowers in your yard, there’s several different factors you have to keep in mind. First thing you should look at is the USDA plant hardiness zones to make sure the money and time spent is worth it. Especially in the south. The southern states can handle most flowers during the spring but die the moment that summer heat comes.

Then you need to know their life distinction – perennials, annuals and biennials. Perennials are plants that live beyond three years with flowers blooming each season. Roses are a good example and roses can be hardy throughout the country. But, the higher north you go, roses can get much bigger, brighter and fuller. Look at Portland’s rose garden and all throughout the northwest. Azaleas are another good example. In spring they burst with a brilliant purple color for about two weeks then gone until next spring. But they are hardy bushes that create an even,  green look especially against the walls of your house throughout the year.

Annuals are those plants that live, die then seed in one season. In the south bluebonnets are a good example. Beautiful for those three weeks then die and hope those seeds replant the next season, which they do. Other good annuals are marigolds, trumpets and daisies.

The trick with annuals is the sun/shade factor. Most annuals need a good amount of shade. And if those plants are going to last a short time, money is going to be a factor especially when on a budget which this blog is for.

So, the BEST ADVICE for cheap annuals is buy the seeds and plant each year. Planting seeds can make plant designs and little more difficult but is best for the budget.

Biennials are those plants that have a life cycle of two years so some planning is needed for their first and second year blooming. Pansies are the most common type of a biennial flower.

Hope those help. We wanted to give you the tools to best pick your strategy so quit reading and go get dirty for a pretty yard.

Just another ShopRTO Outdoor Decorating tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Some Easter decorating ideas

Easter egg decorations

Some Easter decorating tips.

The Easter bunny is hopping down your bunny trail so time to get festive. When it comes to Easter home decorations, you have the themes of rabbits, eggs, flowers, pastels with a fun and lively flare.

Let’s start with eggs. There are so many different ways to decorate them. If you don’t like to dye then go sparkles. Mix the glue with the sparkles then brush on. Some people use permanent markers. Then there’s cloth patterns you can glue on. Use the Japanese Washi tape that have all sorts of designs. Cut them in different angles and stick them on.

Then there’s the traditional dyeing. That means all bets are off in so many different directions. Go the reliable and old fashioned way of 8 drops of food coloring in 1 cup of hot water and 1/4 cup of vinegar. Make sure the eggs are fully dry after dyeing before you try the next dye for that egg.

With the left over dye, dye some pages from an old book you’re never going to use and create homemade Easter wreaths. Use the equivalent of a 1/2 page and wrap into cones then paste together to create a ring on a paper plate then elaborate however you see fit. Or cut the pages into vertical strips and glue around the paper plate in whatever design you can imagine. Make sure you cut a hole in the middle of the paper plate or color it or put glitter on it. You can always take those strips of dyed paper and glue or tape them into rings and create an Easter paper chain to hang over the windows, doors or where ever inside. All of these tips are great for the kids to do.

How about an Easter door decoration using an umbrella turned upside down then filling with flowers? Never would have thought of that one. Got that one from Better Homes and Garden. On that note, outside door decorations can be used in so many ways. Use an Easter basket filled with flowers is the most festive and cost effective. Colored yarn is also good to add to Easter decorations.

These are just some ideas to get you started. Just remember to color it up through dyed eggs, flowers, home crafty designs, bunny rabbits and don’t forget the chocolate!

Just another ShopRTO Home Decorating and Holiday Tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Springtime is here! Some home decorating tips to spring into action.

Spring Home decorating

Spring into Decorating for the season.

Celebrate the spring season as it is officially here. Now, it may still be cold since this has been the harshest winter we’ve experienced in years but here’s some home decorating tips to spring into your home when it does finally start acting like spring.

Flowers and real plants. Time to got get a bunch of flowers and real plants to liven up the room. Nothing better in a celebration than flowers. And live plants are good for health and home. And it’s time to till the flower beds and vegetable gardens.

Paint your door a different color and make it something bright. That’s a fairly easy task and can make a huge difference. It’s also good for the psyche. Studies show positive change in the daily routine stimulates neurons in the brain making you more happy. Thus changing the color of your front door that is pleasing provokes a happy feeling as it is new and is one of the first things you see when driving up to your home.

Put the candles up for next fall. If you have been a staunch Shop RTO follower then you saw how candles make great winter decorations. It’s not winter so put them away and use the sunlight. Especially now that daylight savings time is here.

Change your bedroom pillow and blanket covers. Make them bright, flowery, colorful, sunny, etc.

And, most of all, hopefully retire that winter coat for awhile and enjoy some warmth and sunshine.

Just another ShopRTO Home Decorating and Outdoor Decorating tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Futuristic induction ovens are on the way to your kitchen

 

Induction oven tips

The introduction of the induction oven.

If you haven’t heard about induction ovens then here it is. Electric ovens transfer  heat from the burners to heat up the pan that then cooks the food. Thus, the burners cook the food. With induction ranges, the induction coils use magnetic fields that create a warming reaction in the steel-based pots or pans thus its the pan that cooks the food not the burner.

Well, so what? As long as the food gets cooked, who cares? Here’s why. Induction ovens can heat the pan much faster thus saving energy and money. Since the pan is cooking the food, when you lift the pan off the range, you can touch the range and it will be cool thus being way safer.

It is also very precise in its temperature control. Now you can really cook by numbers and have reliable control. Restaurants are on a fast track to induction because you can put them in a small space and still be safe and in code.

And, their prices recently dropped. Before, you could get a basic one for $3000. Now they’re getting into the $1700 range (pun intended). Which means they’re getting more affordable and, soon, every Joe Schmoe can afford one.

But, here’s a few things you need to know before thinking about changing to induction ranges. You can only cook with steel and iron cookware so you probably will have to buy a whole new cooking set. Secondly, you have to change cooking strategy. These things heat up so quickly that burning your meal can happen if not careful. But, that can be good as it can reduce cooking time significantly. Just better be on watch.

Nothing is immune to the technological revolution so be prepared for the introduction of the induction.

Just another ShopRTO kitchen appliance tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Is Blu Ray the final disc in the format war while we stream ourselves to the future?

Blu Ray Players being replaced by streaming

The future of Blu Ray?

You finally had your collection of VHS tapes. Then, guess what? DVDs. OK, now you have the best DVD collection even if you had to buy the same damn movies once again. OK, it’s blu ray and then you hear it’s 4K and 3D. Will the madness ever end? Apparently so, some say. But, according to history, most likely not.

The quality of broadcast which is heading to 4K will be handled through streaming and the ability of your TV to handle whatever the latest code is. That’s why many other electronic experts concede that blu ray won’t be the future but will last some more years. Many X-ers and baby boomers like things to hold and streaming video can get clogged, interrupted and frustrating at times. Really frustrating, actually. But millennials are streamers thus the future.

The real alignment is going to be the streaming capabilities ability to handle the 4K signals which means google fiber and its competitors laying down their cable lines. Streaming formats will need to be universal so all TVs can handle the signal.

And, then there’s the servers. They need to be able to deal with all of those formats and the huge files of broadcast information. TVs need to be 4K ready and productions need to be 4K produced. When all of those are in alignment, that will be the final nail in the blu ray coffin. Until then, keep those blu ray players and discs and enjoy ‘em while they last.

And, until then, keep being confused as hell regarding what and when to buy those consumer electronics that will let you watch quality shows. Geesh.

Just another ShopRTO HDTV tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Hot new furniture trends for 2014 – mod, high class and affordable

Furniture design trends

Go modern, high class and affordable!

Looking at the furniture shows throughout the U.S. and you can see that 2014 is one of those tipping point years where you can see a distinct change. One of the biggest changes is the wide latitude that designers and decorators have for your home. Another interesting one is the techno look that is affordable giving regular folk the chance to be mod if they so choose. Maybe, the Hunger Games are permeating our culture much more than books and movies.

Metallic leather is a hot item. It’s a shiny copper, silver and gold leather couch and recliners that can cost as little as $700. Shiny gold lamps, accessories with non-traditional curvature designs are now accessible to us regular Joes. It’s becoming apparent that the current furniture shopper and maker are in agreement that the “au-courant” look or in-style look should be available to all.

That’s a function of the millenial generation coming in droves into the purchasing power as they move out of their parents homes and expecting a certain standard of living look. As such, renting furniture is becoming a popular concept. Millenials don’t covet ownership as much as previous generations and, once again, expect a certain standard of living.

Now, all bets are off on matching furniture and accessories. Go wild and be in style.

Another is dining room tables. Your dining room table needs to make a statement. Whatever it is. Is the family eating together becoming more popular now, the reason? Or a matter of the dining room table typically being the center of the room thus the biggest chance to make your statement. Whether a full, glass top mod look or the all natural wood look, use that dining room table to tell all that enter who you are.

Another are eco-friendly furniture. Furniture made from sustainable wood and not from rain forests. Furniture made from recycled metal and glass. And color finishes that are water based and not petroleum. That’s another effect from the millenials who take the eco-impact very seriously.

Glamor and pleats are in. Another repercussion of the all-bets-are-off decorating style today. A pleats sided couch next to a metallic leather recliner with an organic shaped, wooden dining room table and you’re in the in. Welcome to 2014, homebodies, and have some decorating fun.

Just another ShopRTO Home Decorating and Furniture Tips.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Do you like your Cable TV provider? Will it matter? Are their days numbered?

Cable TV has the lowest customer service rating

Is cable TV getting “netflixed”.

I know this may surprise you but the cable tv industry is one of the least liked industries in America. And, according to recent numbers, their days may also be. But the debate rages on.

With the recent merger of Comcast and Time Warner, some experts say that will give the new mega-corp the ability to dictate the industry thus securing its stranglehold of bad customer experience. Others, though, say that Cable TV is being “Netflixed” as the Internet is coming with superpowers to topple the paper tiger. Look at Google Fiber and Apple TV.

A recent survey show that in the past month, more than 200 billion online videos were viewed including real, full-length TV shows. 83% of viewers, ages 18-29, say they watch “some, most, or all of their shows online.” And it’s not just a millenial phenomenon. More Americans are watching videos online than on their TV. 58% say they no longer need their TV at all.

Add to the fact that within three years, Google Fiber will have Internet speed 100X faster with the ability to broadcast video without interruption. With Internet broadcast, you’ll be able to pay just for the programs that you want and won’t be held hostage to what the cable companies make you purchase.

Plus, the computer gives the viewer a place as a multi-media device for TV/movie watching, checking e-mail, facebook, websites all in one sitting with one device.

So cable companies are scrambling knowing that this outcome could be. Maybe that’s why the merger happened. It’s easier to merge than improve customer service. Here’s some ShopRTO advice if you don’t like your Cable provider. Call your Cable company’s cancellation department with a deal from their competitor and tell them if they do not match the competitor’s price, you’re leaving. Watch how you get that customer service you should have been receiving all along.

Just another ShopRTO lifestyle and HDTV tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Will renting and rent to own gallery art for the home catch on?

Rent to own art by Keith Davis

Painting by gallery artist Keith Davis.

Renting and rent to own “high art” is nothing new. Galleries in L.A., Chicago and Seattle have been doing it successfully for years. Traditional rent to own stores have been renting to own art for decades. But, is now the time for gallery-level art to hit national distribution and demand? One company, GetArtUp, is testing the timing.

The Y generation that is now coming into their independence have a higher sense of their standard of living that lends itself to a renters attitude. GetArtUp is the first (that ShopRTO knows of) that is taking the web to reach out to the country to help decorate homes with original art.

Based out of San Francisco, GetUpArt feels good about their prospect with the launch “going well!”. They’re trying to keep the concept simple by offering art that is under $10,000 and at a standard $55 monthly rental.

If the customer wants to own then 50% of their previous payments go towards ownership. The 50% formula is a little different to traditional rent to own that offers a 50% of the remaining payments towards ownership.

GetArtUp also works as traditional rent to own where you’re never obligated to make the next payment and can return at any time for any reason.

Renting art has always been a successful concept but never nationally at a gallery level. Renting home furniture and art gives consumers and decorators a great advantage of the “try before you buy” option especially when it comes to art. And swapping out art on a periodic basis gives a great decorating element of a fresh,  new home each time a new piece is delivered.

ShopRTO will be looking closely at this concept. If it works, it could create a whole new element to home decorating, access to gallery art and the image of renting and rent to own for the home.

Just another ShopRTO Home Decorating tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Make Home Safety a Priority With These Easy Steps

HomeSafetyTry out this checklist to make sure you’ve got all the tools tools at your fingertips to ensure a safe home.

Home safety is a major concern. This article gives you a checklist of safety issues in your home that you can easily take care of.

A lot goes into turning a house into a home—and one of the most important parts is making sure it’s safe. Thankfully, there are many easy things you can do to help prevent accidents in your home, beginning with our checklist of safety tips.

Home Safety Tips Fire Extinguisher

Place a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and every  floor of the home. Read the instructions before you need to use it. Check the extinguisher gauges often, and occasionally turn it upside down to make sure the contents don’t become compacted at the bottom.

Smoke Alarms

Install battery-powered smoke alarms for early warnings of smoke in your home.
Check your local building codes to make sure you have the right kind of smoke detector and enough of them for the size and layout of the home.
Place detectors in bedrooms and install battery-powered carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home.

Tip: When you change your clocks for daylight savings time, replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and check fire extinguisher gauges to make sure they’re full.

First Aid Kit

Keep a well-stocked first aid kit in a centrally located spot in your home.
It should include activated charcoal, adhesive tape, antiseptic ointment, adhesive bandages, blanket, cold pack, disposable gloves, gauze, hand cleaner,   plastic bags, scissors, tweezers and a small flashlight with extra batteries.

Appliances

Make sure all appliances are functioning correctly and if not, have them checked by a service professional.  All ranges must have an anti-tip bracket installed to prevent the appliance from coming off center and “tipping” over causing bodily harm or injury. If you don’t have one contact the manufacturer or landlord and have one installed. All rent to own ranges will have anti-tip devices installed upon delivery, but it never hurts to check and make sure.

General Tips

  •  If you have children, or children that visit often, place plastic covers over electrical outlets.
  •  Store cleaning products and other chemicals out of reach or within locked cabinets and drawers.
  •   Keep the phone number of your local Poison Control Center in an easily accessible, obvious spot, like a household chore list or bulletin board.\
  •  Install ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) electrical outlets in the kitchen, bathroom and around any water source. They can help prevent    electrocutions, electric shocks and some electric fires.
  • Keep electronics away from sinks, bathtubs and showers.
  • Investigate stains or cracks that appear in ceilings. They could be signs of a water leak, and if not taken care of, the ceiling could weaken. If the problem is serious, call a professional.
  • Take a tour around your home looking in and around everything for potential hazards, like old appliances, fraying wires or overloaded electrical outlets.
  • Fix or add padding to pieces of furniture that have sharp edges.
  • Before having visitors over, especially young children, think about what kids might get into, especially at their level.

FULL STORY

Just another ShopRTO Home Lifestyle tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

4K TVs and 60″ LCDs prices have dropped. Which one would you buy?

60" TVs and 4K TV are affordable

HD TVs prices have dropped.

There’s a technology timeline video posted on the web in 2012 about how some of today’s technology will be obsolete within four years. TVs are a great example. The only thing stopping the next generation from coming quicker is how TV programs are being produced.

So don’t worry if you’re looking at 4K TVs because the programming is just around the corner and the prices are getting lower and lower.

Once thousands of dollars, 4K TVs can be found as low as $700. And those will only get lower as the TV manufacturing business represents the most fierce of competitors. And, as stated before, the onset of 4K TV programming is about to become more and more popular.

So, what to do? Prices are the best ever so if you need a new TV now then plan for the future and buy that 4K TV. If you still have a good HD TV then wait as long as possible. Prices will drop and programming will become the norm.

But, wait. There’s more to the TV choosing equation. What about the 60″ LCDs? They’re dropping in price at the same rate. 60″ LCDs can be found as low as $700 and 55″ as low as $600. Also, some people say that there is little difference between the picture quality of 4K HD broadcast vs HD broadcast.

Or, position yourself to always have the latest HDTV technology and rent one until the next hot item comes and swap ‘em out. That’s what rent to own stores do. Consumers are already doing it with computers as their technology changes so rapidly. Or if you’re unsure which TV to buy, go to rent to own and try before you buy. You end up getting what you want and never obligated to any rental terms beyond that one payment.

So, if you’re on the market for a new TV then March is a good month for both 4K TVs and really big TVs. Now it’s a matter of your taste, preference and, in regards to the 60″ TVs, space.

Just another ShopRTO HDTV tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

ShopRTO Releases Spring Cleaning Tips to Make the Annual Chore a Fun and Productive Event

Spring cleaning tips

Make spring cleaning fun!

Austin, TX (PRWEB) February 26, 2014 -

Spring is coming and ShopRTO publishes tips to help families make the most of spring cleaning.

Winter is coming to an end signaling the annual theme of spring cleaning the home. ShopRTO issues the following tips to help families make the annual chore as fun and productive as possible.

Designate the day and time far in advance so the family knows and prepares. Prepare music and snacks to create an atmosphere reflecting an event rather than a chore. Schedule breaks to enjoy those snacks as a group but do not linger too long to lose the momentum.

Create a rewarding finish as an incentive and something to look forward at the end. It could be fine dining for the couple or family night at the nearest pizza place and movie theater. Incorporate a fun awards program at the end celebration with speeches, toasts and prizes for the hardest worker and such.

Create competition amongst the chores such as who can donate the most old clothes from the closet to goodwill. Make sure to include prizes for winners to further enhance the experience.

For the kids, create a scavenger hunt where the one who finds and deposits the most trash within five minutes wins a prize. Or hide treats, stickers or money under items to find when dusting. And let them use the squirt gun when washing windows, counter tops and such.

After the day is done, create a point system that rewards or punishes those who keep the home clean in the following weeks as an incentive.

ShopRTO and its e-newsletter are committed to helping families live a better home life and offers tips such as these spring cleaning tips. To view more tips and articles, visit ShopRTO.com and sign up for their weekly e-newsletter.

About ShopRTO.com:
ShopRTO provides affordable home decorating and lifestyle tips for Americans and when rent to own may be right for their home shopping choices.

Tax season is here, know the basics before you file

TaxtimeDepending on your situation, tax season can either be like an extra holiday — complete with a check from the government, or like going to the dentist — complete with an outstanding balance owed to the government.

In either case staying on top of current tax codes and tax lingo is key to filing accurate returns.

Key terms:

Familiarize yourself with the following key terms and what they mean. These words are sprinkled throughout your tax return. Knowing exactly what they mean is critical.

Earned income – Salaries, wages, tips and professional fees, including taxable scholarships and fellowship grants.

Unearned income – Investment-type income like interest on your savings account, dividends and capital gains, as well as unemployment compensation. 
Gross income – All income you received in the form of money, goods, property and services that is not exempt from taxes.

Exemptions – A predetermined amount of money you can deduct from your taxable income for basic living expenses. You, as an individual, may be an exemption, and dependent children (which you probably are to your parents) qualify as exemptions.

Standard deduction – A set amount of money that the federal government gives you if you meet certain stipulations. It differs according to marital status.

Itemized deductions – There are six main categories of expenses that can be deducted: medical and dental, taxes, interest, charitable contributions, and casualty and theft losses. Itemized deductions reduce the amount of tax you owe. 
W-2 Forms – Wage-income forms that you receive from employers in order to prepare your taxes.
Filing status – Whether you are single, married or head of household. There are several sub-categories within each of these as well.

Deciding Whether (and What) to File

Depending on your gross income, you may or may not be required to file. For example, in 2008, all single individuals under 65 with a minimum gross income of $8,950 were required to file. Even if your parents (or someone else) can claim you as a dependent, you may be required to file if you meet certain income conditions.

When determining your income, be sure to include all taxable income you receive. If your scholarships are not taxable, you need not include them in your income. (Non-taxable scholarships carry no service requirements and are used to cover education-related expenses).

Choosing a Form

To file your taxes, you need to fill out one of three basic forms:

There are a number of different types of income tax returns. You must use the tax form that corresponds with your particular situation and allows you to claim the income, deductions, credits, etc. that apply to you. The most common types of income tax returns include the following:

Form 1040 (U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) (a.k.a. “the long form)
Form 1040A (U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) (a.k.a. “the short form)
Form 1040EZ (Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers With No Dependents)
Form 1040NR (U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return)
Form 1040NR-EZ (U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Nonresident Aliens With No Dependents)

IRS Tax Form 1040 (U.S. Individual Income Tax Return)

Form 1040 is the standard federal income tax form used to report an individual’s income. It is also known as “the long form” because it is more extensive than the shorter 1040A and 1040EZ Tax Forms.

More here

Before filling out your 1040 or visiting your local tax preparation expert, be sure and have the following documents on hand:

Proof of identification

Filing status and residency status

Social Security Numbers for you, your spouse, and any dependents

Dates of birth for you, your spouse, and any dependents

A copy of your past tax return

Statements of wages earned (e.g., W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, etc.)

Statements of interest/dividends from banks, brokerages, etc.

Proof of any tax credits, tax deductions, or tax exclusions

Your bank account number and routing number (for Direct Deposit)

Income The IRS defines “income” as any money that you receive during the given tax year. Most people can simply review their W-2s (Wage and Tax Statements) to determine their annual income. Taxable income, generally speaking, is the gross income of an individual or corporation, less any allowable tax deductions. It’s important to realize that taxable income can encompass more than just your annual salary.

Taxable income can include profits from stocks or real estate sales, as well as winnings from the lottery, betting on horse races, or any casino (domestic or abroad). Even the cash value of bartered items is considered taxable income. Income that may be part of your gross income but is not identified as “taxable income” would include: child support, proceeds from life insurance policies, inheritances, Workers Compensation payments, Welfare benefits, compensation awarded as a result of physical injury, education scholarships or grants, and income paid to your retirement account (either a 401k or IRA, up to a certain amount).

Overall, taxable income is that portion of your gross income which is subject to taxation by the governing authority, minus any allowable itemized or standardized deductions.

Your taxable income is basically the amount of your income that is subject to income tax. [What qualifies as “taxable income” is defined in Section 63 of the Internal Revenue Code, and “gross income” is defined in Section 61 of the Internal Revenue Code.]

Adjusted Gross Income

Your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is defined as your gross income from all taxable sources, minus certain allowable tax deductions. These “allowable deductions” (also known as “above-the-line deductions”) may include unreimbursed business expenses, medical expenses, alimony, moving expenses, or deductible retirement plan contributions.

Your AGI is important when determining your overall tax liability because it can affect your tax bracket, how much you can contribute to qualified retirement accounts, and which tax credits you may qualify for.

On the other hand, “gross income” refers to all income that you received in the form of money, goods, property, and services that is not exempt from tax. This can include any income from sources outside of the United States, as well as income from the sale of your home.

Knowing the difference between deductions and credits — such as the Earned Income Credit (EIC) or Child Tax Credit will make a big difference in your final tax bill or refund so make sure you understand these thoroughly and if not, find someone who does.

Do It Yourself or Pay an Expert?

Filing on one’s own can be intimidating the first time out, but there are plenty of resources provided by the IRS to walk you through the process. If this is outside your comfort zone or you are not finding the answers to your questions, do not hesitate to consult a tax preparer.

Many can be found this time of year locally but rates and fees may differ so shop around. In either case be sure and ask for references and make sure the operation will still be open after filing season in case you or the IRS has any follow up questions.

More detailed information here

Just another ShopRTO personal finance tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Get back in the closet. And organize!

 

Spring Cleaning tips

Clean your closet as first step to spring cleaning.

It’s getting that time – spring cleaning season and the first step is organizing your closet. Organizing your closet is the first step when organizing the rest of your home.

Go through all of your clothes and accessories and get rid of unused clothes, shoes and accessories. Once purging is complete, organize the rest by how you get dressed in the morning. You can also organize by color which will help your closet look appealing and your everyday routine easier.

Organize clothes by use as well. Those that you use frequently, hang or place at eye level and in the middle. Those that are used infrequently hang or place at the higher levels and on the side.

Use boxes, shelves or cubby holes. You can buy them if you don’t have them or make them. A lot of space is wasted in closets. Step back several feet with the closet doors open and you’ll be able to see where the free space is.

If you have swing out doors, use the back of them to hang items like robes or hanging cloth holders for shoes and what not. 

There’s a list to ponder but the first step is having the ultimate courage to battling the closet monster and getting it clean and sober. You’ll be thankful when looking at a coordinated, organized and clutter free closet that will hopefully last more than a week or so.

Just another ShopRTO home decorating tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

How to decorate your wall with great artwork

Home decorating tips on hanging art.

The high art of hanging art.

Add your own style and personality to your home with some tips on how to decorate your walls with artwork. Before you start, though, keep these arranging and hanging guidelines in mind.

Make sure the artwork is at a good height. Most people tend to hang art too high. The center of the art should hang around 60″ to 65″.

If you’re decorating with several pieces or creating a grouping then you need to plan your arrangement. Start by placing the pieces on the floor and moving them around until you find the grouping that you like the best.

Try different grouping styles. A traditional method is the symmetrical art arrangement. Draw an imaginary line down the wall then mirror the arrangement on each side. Then there’s the salon style arrangement where you position your most prominent in the center, eye level then work around that central piece.

Once you’ve found your arrangement that you like, cut out shapes of paper equal to the size of the items that you want to hang, then use painter’s tape to place each paper shape on the wall in the arrangement you created on the floor. The tape won’t damage the wall and you can make sure your design is what you want before you put nails on the wall.

Mark each paper template at the place where your nail will be needed to hang the corresponding item. Pound nails into the wall through the paper templates at the marked spot, hang your artwork and enjoy.

Just another ShopRTO Home Decoratin’ tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

I don’t do windows, my robot does

Robots in the home.

Let a robot clean your windows.

The robot revolution is on its way and robot window cleaners are here. There’s already robot vacuum cleaners and vertical robot cleaners that will crawl across your wall and ceiling. Now you can wash your windows with a robot.

If you have tall windows or too many or don’t want to waste the time then $300 – $400 will get you a square shaped window cleaner that cleans, wipes and dries. You fill up the device with cleaning liquid and take out the cloth to clean and that’s about it.

The window cleaners and other robot cleaners are well on their way to becoming affordable, effective and popular. I hear through the technological grapevine that feeding your pets and watering you plants will soon be robotized. The Jetsons are on their way.

Just another ShopRTO Home Living a lil’ easier tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Save your wet cell phone with rice

iPhone-Rice-650x435Cell phones and water don’t mix. Yet as phones become more and more a part of our lives, an encounter with water seems only a slip away. Whether its a dip in the pool, an unintentional voyage through the laundry cycle or tumble into the picturesque lake you just had to document for your Facebook wall, chances are it will happen to you.

Though it’s never a happy moment when your phone takes a swim, staying calm may be your best remedy so try not to panic.

Just because your phone got wet doesn’t mean it’s gone for good. Follow these steps and you have a pretty decent shot at bringing it back to life.

  1. Take your phone out of the water. NOW.
    This should be pretty self-explanatory, but the longer your phone spends submerged, the greater chance there is of water seeping into open ports and really mucking things up. But just because you accidentally spent the entire day at the beach with your phone in your pocket doesn’t mean it can’t be revived. There’s still hope. Just less.
  2. Don’t press any buttons.
    I know it seems tempting, but pressing a button on your phone can let any residual moisture seep through, increasing your risk of damage.
  3. Dry the outside of the phone off.
    Quick. Grab some paper towels. Reach for the ShamWow. Roll a bunch of toilet paper into a ball or take the shirt off your back. Basically, do whatever you need to do to dry the phone off as thoroughly as possible.
  4. Remove the internal components.
    If your phone has a removable pack banel, take it off. Grab the battery, your SIM card, and/or your microSD card and dry them off completely. After all, even if you can’t save your phone, hopefully you’ll be able to save some of the valuable information you had stored inside. Place the components on a dry paper towel and put them off to the side.
  5. Give it a few shakes.
    There still might be some water hiding in the headphone jack or beneath any physical keys. Gently shake the phone to dispel as much of it as you can.
  6. Stick it in some rice.
    Now that you’ve gotten rid of all the water on the surface, it’s time to suck out the rest of the moisture you can’t see. Reach for the nearest bag of rice. Pour the rice into a container, and bury the phone and components somewhere in the middle. Move the phone around every couple of hours, just to make sure gravity is doing its thing.
  7. Wait. Continue waiting. Then wait some more.
    The best thing you can do at this point is to give your phone time to dry. The longer you wait, the greater the chance your phone will live to make another call. The minimum amount of time you should wait is a full 24 hours. You’re better off giving it 48 hours, or even 72, if you can hold out that long. It’s going to feel really strange being without a phone for so long. Use this time to catch up on all those things you’ve been meaning to do.
  8. The moment of truth.
    Take your phone out of the bag of rice. Dust off any starch, put all the pieces back together, and try to power it up. Hopefully your phone will turn on. If it doesn’t, you can try putting it back into the bag/rice for another day or so. But after that, if it still doesn’t I’m afraid you’ve got a dead phone on your hands. But check to see if the SIM card and/or microSD card still work if you have access to another phone. Hopefully you’ve managed to save at least something.
  9. Go to the books.
    I can’t verify this, but the chances of you winning the lottery are probably greater than your phone’s warranty covering water damage. Still, it can’t hurt to locate the original paperwork and check it out.
  10. Planning for the future.
    So how can you prevent this from happening again? Easy. Stop taking the phone into the bathroom. If that’s simply not an option, you can always purchase a waterproof case. Nowadays you can find one for just about every type of smartphone there is, though there aren’t many out there for feature phones. And if this is the sort of thing that happens to you a lot, you may want to think about getting a water-resistant smartphone. You still won’t be able to go deep sea diving with it, but it’ll almost certainly bounce back from a quick dip in the pool.

Original Post

 

Just another ShopRTO Home Lifestyle tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

ShopRTO’s tips to keeping your home warm and within budget

Simple tips to staying warm.

Sticks and Socks will warm my bones.

With the recent polar vortexes blasting through the country, ShopRTO.com offers affordable tips to stay warm.

With the recent harsh winter storms sweeping through the U.S., American’s gas bills are heating up to costly amounts. ShopRTO posts its top ten tips to staying warm without breaking the bank.

Check the sealing in key spots. Heat and air conditioning is wasted through windows seals, outside doors, cabinets and attic hatches. Inspect those spots and seal appropriately.

Check the attic insulation. Attic insulation should be at the same level with the  joists. Add some if need be but insulation doesn’t need to be higher than the floor joists. Use the Energy Star tips regarding DIY sealing and insulation.

Close vents in those rooms that are not used often. Many rooms are rarely used thus wasting valuable energy and money. Closing vents in those rooms will save money significantly.

Some simple tips ShopRTO recommends include wearing thick, wool socks. A person’s body doesn’t feel as cold when their feet are warm.

Place a rug down on hardwood or tile floors. Rugs help insulate the cold floors and leaves something warm under the feet.

Close shades on the shady side and open the blinds on the sunny sides.

Use the oven for the meals as the oven heat warms up the room and use blankets when sitting or laying around for long periods of time such as watching TV or sleeping.

ShopRTO’s best tips, though, are “hot cocoa“, “snuggling with the kitty cat or puppy dog,” and if that’s still not enough, “move to Florida.”

About ShopRTO.com:
ShopRTO provides affordable home decorating and lifestyle tips for Americans and when rent to own may be right for their home shopping choices.

Broken New Year’s financial resolutions? Get back on track!

New_five_dollar_bill

Only a month in and you’ve broken your New Year’s financial resolutions

We all have good intentions, and then we mess up. Chances are you’ve already broken your vows to do better money-wise in 2014 and you’re not alone. But never fear, it’s not too late to get back on track with these helpful tips.

Broken vow #1: I will not live beyond my means.

What went wrong: You hit all those after-holiday sales, your credit card balances are rising and your bills are out of control.

Put the brakes on: Start by reviewing your budget over the past year to see where your money actually went, say personal finance experts. You could easily cut out up to $100 per month on unnecessary expenditures.

Broken vow #2: I will pay down my credit card debt.

Oops: You just couldn’t avoid the temptation of pulling that plastic out of your wallet. Instead of cutting your debt, your balance got even bigger.

Get plastic smart: Removing all but one low-interest credit card from your wallet, then take out a piece of paper and create four columns. List every card you owe money on, the amount, APR, and the dollar amount of the interest you pay each month just to service that debt.

Broken vow #3: I will start saving this year!

What went wrong: After paying your bills, there’s nothing left.

Get money smart: Think small. One of the biggest money blunders people make is keeping all of their dollars in one place, say consumer experts. When you don’t separate savings accounts from checking accounts, you’re more likely to dip into those funds and lose track of your goals.

Broken vow #4: I will pay more attention to my investments.

What went wrong: You have better things to do and it really doesn’t interest you.

Get money smart: Set firm dates to review your investments regularly and stick to the plan.

Broken money vow #5: I will finally get around to getting a will.

What went wrong: So many less depressing things to take care of?

Get money smart: Consider what’s at stake if you don’t have a will. The state – not you – will determine who gets what when you are gone.

FULL STORY 

Another ShopRTO Financial tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Make a special Valentine’s Day at home

Home lifestyle tips for Valentine's day

Make a special Valentine’s day at home.

As long as you make Valentine’s day special then it doesn’t matter where you spend it. So why not make it special at home?

No waits, crowds or loud noises. And it might be different than the traditional going out thus making a home Valentine’s day the special one.

If you’re going to stay home and don’t want to look cheap or lazy then you better make it special so use these tips to guide you.

Start off with breakfast in bed. Breakfast in bed is being treated like royalty. But, make sure you use the good china, have a pretty flower and cloth napkins. Placing a nice or cute photo of you two or the family on the tray is always a sweet and personal touch.

Have a fireside picnic. Move the coffee table or small table close to the fireplace. Place a nice table cloth over and serve as fine dining. If you don’t have a fireplace then use candles and be smart with the design with different sizes or types. Scented candles are nice too. Utilize roses of course.

Rose pedals. Sprinkle rose pedals on the table or on the pathway to the bedroom or bathroom for the nice bath. Rose pedals on top of a nice, hot bath that you prepare makes a special gesture. There are many creative ways to use rose pedals and represents the perfect touch for the day.

Music. Make sure you turn all TVs off and play some music. Make a special playlist on the IPod that represent the music you two love along with some good ole fashioned love songs.

Have conversation. And not about the upcoming basketball game that your spouse cares nothing about. Re-live wonderful memories or talk about future ones such as planning a fun vacation. The key to a special conversation is to plan it. You obviously cannot script it but you can always plan the themes that will dictate an intimate conversation.

Make it personal. It’s one thing to have all of the Valentine Day icons but making it personal means it’s really special. One way is to create or find the photo album and have it laying on coffee table, couch or some place strategic. Take a walk down memory lane and watch the return on investment you’ll get that will way outweigh any flowers bought.

These are just a few tips to spending a wonderful Valentine’s day at home. Just remember that the real key is to make it personal and put the right amount of effort to demonstrate that your loved one is truly special to you.

Just another ShopRTO Lifestyle and Holiday Tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Virtual reality games are coming home

Virtual Reality computer games for the home.

Let your Avatar begin!

The next generation of virtual reality computer games are just around the corner so you better have your Avatar ready. Because other worlds will be waiting for you.

The Oculus Rift recently made its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and is creating quite the stir for those computer gamers needing more. And, it looks like they may finally get it. With the advances in display, sensor and render technology virtual reality consoles may hit the consumer market at the end of this year.

Virtual reality games have been in its infancy for the past decade but took tens of thousands of dollars to buy and millions to make. Now that investment is paying off. The first version of consoles will cost around $1200 and then there’s the issue of how good is the software and its price.

Then there’s two different directions this VR technology can go. Those that are motion based using motion devices where you really move outside emulating moving inside the game or you are running through the world at great pace as you’re sitting on the couch like a blob with a controller. It will depend on the consumer and technology to see which one hits the ground running first (pun intended).

If you look at the history of computer games, though, the consumer demand is so high that bugs will be fixed. Then different companies will come up with different versions. Then software gaming companies will explode with every type of gaming experience you can think of. Then prices will drop. Then another gaming revolution will hit and, voila, another gaming universe begins.

In the meantime, I can’t wait to put a headset on, sit on my couch that turns into a spaceship and play asteroids.

Just another ShopRTO Computer Gaming tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Outdoor winter decorations after the holidays

Outdoor Winter Decorations

Lights make for great Winter decorations.

Holiday decorations are easy for outdoor decorating in the dark, bleak months of Winter but what about post-Christmas? Still need to keep the outdoors as fresh and pleasant as possible especially when the Winter blues are really weighing heavy.

Two of the most prominent themes are evergreen and light. The latest trends have been the winter urns and night lanterns. There are all sorts of winter urn decorations using the combination of evergreen bushes. decorative branches that are laced with pine cones and colored beads.

There are also many different kind of pots and urns to use that can be easily switched out according to seasons. And you can find those at any Lowes or Home Depot.

And for the evening, lights are the best way to brighten up the front of your home and hopefully even your spirit. The lantern cases in the Winter is usually bright colors. Many are white especially in those areas of much snow.

Strands of white lights are always good especially when aligned on a walkway so it looks winter decorative rather than being lazy and never taking down the Christmas lights.

In the south, there are many decorative flowers that are hearty and beautiful. Pansies and violets can be the most vivid. And then there’s sweet pea, honeywort, calendula, sweet alyssum, jasmine and honeysuckle.

But the best of the best outdoor winter decorations are snowmen and, if you’re really good, ice sculptures. But they won’t last that long unless you’re bunking with Santa in the North Pole.

Just another ShopRTO Outdoor and Home Decorating tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Upgrade your Super Bowl party with a big screen TV rental

Rent the big screen TV through rent to own

Go Super Bowl crazy and rent the big screen!

Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest party of the year for many Americans and rent to own stores could help make that party even bigger. Many Americans don’t know that rent to own stores are also rental stores. They’ll deliver, set up and pick up the Big Screen TV making it convenient and attractive for the Super Bowl party.

But make sure you secure that 60″ HD TV now because they can go quickly. If you do a one month rental then you can get the big screen for both the upcoming NFL Championship games and the Super Bowl while making sure you have that big screen for the big day. ShopRTO did some research, as should all consumers, regarding renting a HD or Plasma TV for the Super Bowl party.

Comparing several rent to own stores, renting a 60″ TV for one week can cost $35 -$50 depending on which brand. But, some rent to own stores only do monthly or have a one-month minimum rental so the monthly rentals for a 60″ Flat Panel TV can cost $120 to $180 per month.

If you go with the monthly rental then have them deliver the TV the Friday before the NFL Championship games. You get the big TV for the three biggest NFL games of the year and get to host two great parties. Also, split the rental costs with some of your friends/co-hosts and the price is that much better.

The NFL Championship games are the weekend of January 18-19 and the Super Bowl is on February 2nd beginning at 5:30 PM (CT).

Make sure you call ahead and compare different rent to own store’s prices and policies. During January and February, rent to own stores will have great sales and specials which could help reduce the rental price. No matter what, though, a Super Bowl party only works if there is lots of good food, mead and people who are there to just have fun, watch the commercials, the half-time show and then there’s a game in all of that as well.

Another ShopRTO having fun with a TV tip.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Making family chores fun

choresChores and fun may sound like opposing ideas, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Ask any parent: It’s all in the approach. The  more parents can bring the kind of energy they bring to playtime to chore-time, the easier time they will have getting the kids to buy in. Of course, adjustments must be made for age differences, but the basic premise remains the same. Stay calm and keep it light!

Here are some helpful starting places:

1. Hide treats, stickers, or pennies in, on, or under knickknacks, then ask your child to dust. She gets to enjoy the rewards only when everything is dusted.

2. Post individual lists of chores kids can do (one for each child in your family). Whenever your child accomplishes a task, have her mark it with a sticker. Whoever has the most stickers at the end of the week gets the Helper of the Week award.

3. Play “Go Fish” with a basket of clean socks. Divide the socks among the players, leaving a pile to draw from. Each player, in turn, holds up a sock and asks another player if he has the mate. If not, the asking player must take a sock from the top of the draw pile. When finished, the player with the most pairs wins.

4. Turn any socks that stay single into child-friendly dust mitts. Insert child’s hand into clean but dampened sock and use it to remove dust from houseplants and furniture.

5. Have a scavenger hunt. Make a list of everyday items (newspapers, magazine, shoes, etc.). Set a timer for 5 minutes, then have kids collect stray items throughout the house. The winner is the child who picks up the most (and returns them to their rightful spots).

6. After dinner, do a “10-minute Tidy.” Set a timer and have family members scatter through the house putting away the day’s clutter.

7. Appoint someone to be Inspector D. Clutter. Armed with a laundry basket and plastic police badge from the dress-up box, this person roams the house and puts stray belongings into clutter “jail” (the basket). To set an item free, its owner (Mom and Dad included!) must do a chore.

8. Turn a bucket into a personalized cleaning caddy. Use permanent marker to write your child’s name on it and have him decorate its with other drawings. Store supplies such as sponge, dustrag and roll of paper towels, etc.

9. Show them the money? Some experts believe allowance should be reserved for teenagers. School-aged children will easily get behind the idea that chores are something you do as a member of the family — not for money. They’ll be excited just to show off their skill at completing a task.

Just another ShopRTO Having Some Fun in the Home tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

How to pick the right bunk bed

Bunk beds for the kids can be fun.

Choose the right bunk bed for your home.

There’s nothing funner than bunk beds when you’re a kid. The one who gets the top bunk is king of the mountain and let the games begin as they are boundless. Bunk beds are also good for college dorms and guest rooms as they are space savers, big time.

So, if you’re looking for bunk beds for your home, use these tips to make sure you buy the right one.

There are two different types of bunk beds – lofted and basic. And many sub categories within each of those types. Basic bunk beds are twin over twin or twin over full size. Loft style can be a bit more complex with a lofted bed over a study center or a fold out futon. Some can even turn into a three sleeper for sleep overs or to take out to the family cabin when you need to accommodate many family members.

Find the right style and there are plenty to choose from so spend some time doing your homework. Again, there are plenty to choose from.

You may want the kind that can be separated into two twin beds to give you that flexibility. There are the metal frames or all wood. Then there’s the cottage or country style look. Many kids want themed-looking bunk beds that look like a doll house or castle. And many have slides on them. How cool is that?

Measure the space both between the beds but also from the ceiling. The general rule of thumb is you want 2 to 2 1/2 feet of room between the bunks and ceiling. And that’s measured from the top of the mattress. That should give enough room to sit but, for some, not all the way.

Most bunk beds are 5 1/2 feet tall so fit fine for the average room. There are many furniture places and websites where you can customize heights especially if the bunk beds will be for adults. Again, measure the height of the room to prevent your bunk bed into a bonk bed. Measure floor space as well if you’re looking for those bunk beds that have a wider bottom to accommodate the ladder or for drawers and such.

Make sure there are guard rails on the top. Most will already have it but make sure anyway.

Rent to own stores have bunk beds if you need to rent one for guests that plan to stay for a month or more. In fact, many times red cross or disaster relief organizations will go to rent to own stores to rent bunk beds to help house those displaced from a hurricane, flood or tornado. That’s where rent to own really becomes a great option in the marketplace.

Just another ShopRTO home decorating and bedroom tip.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

De-clutter your home for the new year

home organizing tips

Get organized for the new year.

One of the most common new year resolutions is to get organized so ShopRTO wants to help with the following tips:

1. One room at a time. Pick one room and stick with that room until finished. Don’t zig zag all over the home trying to do a little here and there. That strategy can overwhelm you to the point of just giving up. Find a room and, even in that room, find one section and start with that section then the next in the room until all is finished. Going section by section in one room, each room at a time turns an enormous task into many simple and easy tasks and a nice organized house.

2. Go with the “One in, one out” rule especially after Christmas. Every new item that goes into the home means a similarly sized item needs to be thrown out. Whether it’s a new tie or a new couch. Get rid of something of the same size and do it immediately otherwise (guess what?), your house becomes cluttered and with a bunch of junk you don’t use anyway.

3. Get a step stool. With one of those small but sturdy, fold-up stools you now have the reach to make those top shelves useful. If you can’t reach it then you don’t use it so if you haven’t used those items on the top shelf, junk them and put useful items up there and have them accessible with a step ladder that makes the top shelf actually useful.

4. Think charitable. Do you know how many families need home items from clothes to furniture so donate them. Solves two problems by clearing up space in your home and helping out a needy family. Oh, make sure you get a tax deductible receipt for the donation by the way. Why not?

5. Trust a trusted friend for those sentimental items. We can be so over-emotional about keeping that scrap of paper where our child pasted its first macaroni to but is it really a true memorabilia? A trusted friend will have the guts to tell you you’re a moron and to throw it away while keeping the true sentimental items. So invite your best friend over for a clutter intervention when it comes to the sentimental items.

Just another ShopRTO Get Your Life Organized and Home-in-Order tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Does your house dream in color? Here’s some ShopRTO color tips.

Tips for picking colors for your home

A little colorful advice for your home interior

Repainting a house can be a daunting task unless you hire it out of course. But the real work, effort and headache is picking the colors that will stay on those walls for some time. So take these tips with you to the paint store when ready to take that colorful leap.

Don’t get the blues for blue. They’re the latest neutral color. Try turning to blue and use it the same way some people might use brown or black. For example, paint a room blue, then mix blue upholstered pieces with white or gray pieces and add touches of yellow, green, and orange.

And when looking for neutrals, make sure you go one step more colorful than what you see on the paint chip.  That’s how you can ease your way out of the “safe” neutrals and remember most colors look darker on walls.

If you’re going with the traditional gray, notice that each gray as a hint of color or undertone. A gray with a blue undertone works well with lighter colored furniture such as white and tan. Whereas a gray with green undertones work well dark wood finishes. Grays with warm undertones means you’re at least veering away from the standard beige. And, besides, experts say the warm undertones advance peace and harmony. And we can all use some peace and harmony on our walls and in our homes.

If you’re really going out on a sunny limb and go with yellow, make sure it is a well lit room from natural light otherwise will make your room look dingy. The same works with pink. Those colors need natural light. And the room furniture should not match the yellow or pink on the walls otherwise it will look one dimensional and flat. Go with different hues.

If you go with a whole new look for your interior color, you might need to stage some home furniture for a short period of time or test it first. If so, go to your rent to own store and do a ‘try before you buy’ so you’re worry free.

Just another ShopRTO  home decorating tip.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Can you rent to own Feng Shui for the home? And what is Feng Shui anyway?

Rent to own Feng Shui

Rent to own a stress free Feng Shui

Because rent to own home furnishings is renting without the obligation to own, finding the best Feng Shui for your home doesn’t have to be so stressful. Change furniture, lighting, and art in an instant without any penalty if you return the items and start over. And when you’re finally satisfied that your home is Feng Shui’d, then you are ready to own.

First of all, though, what is Feng Shui? Sounds weird. But, is it? Feng shui for your home is basically a philosophy of furniture placement, types of furniture, lighting, color, artwork, everything for your home that creates a flow and positive atmosphere. And, thus, a better place to live.

Experts say one of the first Feng Shui-ing tactics is to clear the clutter in your home. Then clear every piece of furniture and accessories in your mind or for real. You want to start with a clear mind and an empty room. Next step is to determine how the house flows. Open the windows to find the direction of wind and light through the house.

Monitor the lighting throughout the day to see if there are drastic changes between morning and evening. Another first step is to walk through your home as you naturally do when you enter the home, leave the home, go to the bathroom, preparing dinner, etc.

Each of those aspects set up the floor plan and when you’re doing these exercises, imagine each room without any furniture because you’re most likely are going to change the way the rooms are arranged. Or you’re going to change and replace the furnishings all together.

ShopRTO plans to explore the many aspects to decorating the home Feng Shui style. And touting the fact that Feng Shui, rent to own style, will guarantee a stress-free process for a positive flow to your home and wonderful place to live.

Just another ShopRTO Home Decorating tip.

 

ShopRTO guides consumers to the best tips when decorating their homes and promotes rent to own as one of the means when shopping for affordable home furnishings.

Holiday Shopping Tips

5-holiday-shopping-tips-to-stay-on-budget

The leftover turkey is wrapped up and stowed in your refrigerator, the Thanksgiving pies have been devoured, and you’re ready for a long vacation. Unfortunately, the Christmas shopping season kicks off with a vengeance even before you’ve had time to make that cold turkey-stuffing-cranberry-sauce sandwich. Don’t stress out yet—we’ve shared some tips for saving money and staying sane while navigating holiday shopping madness.

Stocking Stuffers

Carefully hung by the chimney with care, the stockings often hold the most wonderful surprises on Christmas morning. Petite and oh-so-cheap, we’ve spotted what we think will be the most treasured (and talked about) presents of the season.

Make a List

Write down everyone you plan to buy a gift for, no matter how small the gift may be. Include ideas of what to give each person, along with the maximum amount you’re willing to spend. Don’t forget to list the people who will receive holiday tips, such as your doorman, babysitter, and mail carrier. This will help you manage your holiday budget.

Start Early

Don’t wait until after Thanksgiving to start buying holiday gifts. Keep your eyes open all year round for items friends and family would like; it’s often when you’re not looking for something specific that you stumble across the perfect gift for Dad or your best friend Jenny. Once December hits, you’ll be glad that you already have some people crossed off your list. Just make sure to keep all your advance gifts in a designated (and hidden, if necessary) spot so that you don’t forget a purchase you made months in advance.

Do Online Research

If you’re unsure of which specific item to buy (for example, you want to buy your husband a digital camera but don’t know what brand or model is best), search for reputable online reviews. You’ll have to pay a small subscription fee, but Consumerreports.org has hundreds of expert reviews on everything from laptops to baby strollers to breakfast cereals. Or check sites with user reviews and ratings, such as Amazon.com or Cnet.com, to find out which products have the most positive feedback. To find the best online price, use a comparison shopping site, such as Pricegrabber.com.

Do It Yourself

There’s an abundance of homemade pickles, hand-knit hats, and handcrafted stationary these days, thanks to a growing obsession with all things crafty, artisanal, and homespun. If you’re creatively inclined, avoid mall madness altogether and bake a batch of cookies, sew personalized tote bags, or make beautiful earrings for friends and family. If you need to learn a new skill, look into classes in your neighborhood or invest in a how-to book—there’s one for just about every craft out there.

Just another ShopRTO Home Lifestyle and Holiday Shopping tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

ShopRTO Helps Families Prepare for Holiday Guests

Tips to hosting holiday guests.

Be prepared for holiday guests.

ShopRTO.com issues helpful tips to best prepare for large groups of overnight guests during the Christmas season.

Austin. TX – December 10, 2013

Holidays are the busiest time for overnight guests so ShopRTO offer these tips to best prepare and accommodate them.

1. Get air mattresses for extra bedding or rent extra bedding or furniture from the local rent to own store. Rent to own stores will deliver and pick up and the rental process is easy without any financial obligation beyond the rental.

2. Always keep the kitchen clean especially kitchen counters. The kitchen will be the most active area of the house through their stay.

3. Prepare menus for each meal well in advance so the kitchen is stocked and meals are easy to prepare.

4. Continually fill and clear the dishwasher.

5. Stock extra toilet paper, hand soap and paper towels that are easy to find.

6. Remove personal care items out of the bathroom to the bedroom to make for more room and time for guests.

7. Stock and organize the medicine cabinet. Make sure you have the basics like aspirin, hydrocortisone, antacid tablets, neosporin, band-aids, benadryl and rubbing alcohol.

8. Plan on many grocery trips. Keep extra cloth grocery bags in the car if you’re eco-conscious or live in a city that banned plastic grocery bags.

9. If your guests use more ice than your ice maker can handle, store extra ice in an ice chest.

10. Delegate small, easy tasks such as vacuuming, putting clothes in the dryer, chopping vegetables, etc.

11. Find an hour of quiet time each day.

12. Share menu plans and times so guests know how to plan their schedules.

About ShopRTO.com:
ShopRTO provides affordable home decorating and lifestyle tips for Americans and when rent to own may be right for their home shopping choices.

What’s the deal with 3D TV? Apparently, not much.

3D TVs or Traditional TVs

Are 3D TVs reaching out to audiences?

There’s either the current craze going on in the TV world or ‘waiting for the next craze’ going on in the TV world. Right now, it seems we’re waiting. Two years ago, TV manufacturers, retail shops, consumers and TV stations were preparing for the 3D TV craze. But, it didn’t happen. At least not yet or in the near future.

3D TV sounds really cool and exciting and maybe it will be but right now it’s not. The most recent example is ESPN canceling its 3D programming after this year. And, sports programming is the best predictor of what is hot in the TV market.

3D TV makes some people sick then there are glasses you have to wear. While new TVs being shipped are 3D compatible, the purchases haven’t jumped as much as thought in early predictions. However some have noted a lack of content as the major obstacle in 3D TV saturation. If TV shows won’t broadcast in 3D then why buy one.

However, some manufacturers offer 3D TV’s that can convert 2D to 3D allowing all 2D programming to be enhanced to almost 3D quality. This is probably the single most important feature of the top 3D TV’s.

As of now, the biggest trend is in LED TVs. Tomorrow, though, who knows. Experts believe 3D TV will catch on but right now the technology, programming and consumer demand remain flat. (Pun intended.)

Just another ShopRTO HD TV observation tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

These new mini stereo shelf systems are not your parent’s jam boxes?

Home audio systems have shrunk in size but not power

Boom boxes have come a long way.

Talk about a jam box on steroids. The new evolution of the mini stereo and audio shelf systems are amazing. So, you may have to re-think your strategy when acquiring your next home stereo system. Here are some good tips to consider.

1. What space do you need the music to cover? Because you will be amazed how much power small systems have these days.

2. Are you an audio snob? If not then the smaller shelf units can carry a wollop even in a large room especially if you buy some extra speakers.

3. What about wireless speakers? Wireless are great to eliminate tacky, cumbersome cords. They’re also great for audio strategy as you have the freedom to place the speakers in tight areas and throughout the room or house. BUT, they can be unreliable at times and not as durable. Make sure you do your homework. Either buy good, cheap ones that you know will be replaced in 3 years or go with the more expensive ones if you want longevity. Wireless speakers also turn your backyard into a wonderful listening experience.

4. What is your source? If you’ve joined the 21st century and don’t use those things called “CDs” then the shelf systems with iPod docks only are cheaper and can pack a powerful audio punch. And take up a small amount of space. If you’re even further in the 21st century and use your iPhone or smart phone for your music, it’s also your radio player AND charges your phone all in the same doo-hicky.

If you’re an audio snob then these mini shelf systems are good for other rooms. But, if you’re not and looking to jam up your main rooms or multiple rooms including the backyard then these systems will fill your needs. They’re cheaper, smaller, effective and look really cool.

Just another ShopRTO ‘music to my ears’ home audio tip.

ShopRTO.com Releases Christmas Holiday Shopping Tips

Black Friday Deals

Maximize your holiday shopping

ShopRTO offers the following advice to make Christmas shopping as productive and pleasant as possible.

Austin, TX (PRWEB) November 27, 2013

Christmas shopping can be one of the most frustrating times of the year, so ShopRTO offers these Holiday shopping tips to best handle the busiest shopping days of the year.

Preparation is key. Long shopping lists mean some items and their specials must be sacrificed. Shopping during the Christmas season and, especially, “Black Friday” means crowds, full parking lots so much time is spent waiting. Maximize that small amount of time to its best advantage.

Prioritize big ticket items. Saving hundreds of dollars on a $1,000 3D TV is much better than a $50 on an iPad.

Coordinate with your friends and family members to distribute the list and stores. Assign each person to a certain part of your town, the shopping mall or different stores.

Be sure of the purchases. Many stores charge re-stocking fees especially high end electronics and computers. If there is uncertainty of Flat Screen TVs, computers and expensive home furniture, rent to own stores return policy is part of the rent to own transaction. There is no obligation or penalty when returning any item.

Have a parking strategy. Find an easy exit even if it’s a little longer of a walk. But make sure to dress warm for winter. Getting sick because of Christmas shopping will not make for a festive holiday.

Shopping for large items such as HD TVs, bedroom furniture, washer/dryer combos for a surprise present can be tricky. Ask the store if they will hold the items for delivery for December 26th. Prepare a nice voucher or card for under the tree.

Many stores have additional charges for holding and delivery. Rent to own stores offer delivery services free and are more customer service orientated so consider those stores when shopping.

About ShopRTO.com:
ShopRTO provides affordable home decorating and lifestyle tips for Americans and when rent to own may be right for their home shopping choices.

Keeping you and your home warm this winter

ShopRTO home heating tips

Help! I’m freezing my #$@ off.

It’s that arctic blast blowing through your face when the idea of warmth becomes fairly important. Let’s just say ‘like life or death’ important. Get me home and inside! And warm!

So here are some ShopRTO affordable home warm-up tips to get your house cozy and toasty without melting the bank account.

I have to start with the funniest but best tips of all. Get some good socks! Nice, thick socks! It’s almost like ‘duh’.

OK. Now the practicals for home energy savings. Check insulation and make sure your home is air sealed so you’re not wasting valuable heat and energy. Here’s a great guide from the Department of Energy.

Close the vents in rooms you don’t use. Seal it if you can as well. That will help immensely in energy savings.

Open the blinds on the sunny side and close them on the shady side. Might as well use the sun when you can.

Share blankets and family members. When watching that movie with your hot chocolate (has to have marshmallows, by the way), have the family join you under the blanket and share some heat. Better yet, have your dog and cat also join you. Nothing better than snuggling with your puppy dog or kitty cat.

Cook at home and find recipes to use the oven. It’s amazing how an oven cooking warms up the kitchen in no time. You get a home cooked meal and a warmer house all in one meal.

Put a rug down. It insulates while giving the feet something to step on that’s warmer then cold tile or hardwood floors.

Move to Florida. I had to throw that in to see if anyone was actually reading this article to the end.

I hope you’re warming up to these ideas. Stay tuned for many more here at ShopRTO.com.

Just another ShopRTO.com home living tip.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

News Release: ShopRTO.com Recommends Families Use Rent to Own Stores to Rent That Extra Home Furniture For Holiday Guests

rent to own stores are rental stores

The rent to own transaction is a rental first with the option to own.

Industry research show Americans don’t understand rent to own home furniture stores are rental stores with the option to buy.

Austin, TX (PRWEB) November 21, 2013

The upcoming holiday season means family travel and extended stays. Many families don’t have the furniture to accommodate the extra guests but rent to own stores can help through renting those extra beds, HDTVs or the Nintendo Wii for the kids.

While rent to own stores use the word own, the rent to own transaction is a rental first with the option to own through continued rental payments. The customer is never obligated to own that piece of furniture, refrigerator or washing machine.

The customer can rent the product as long as they choose and can return the product at any time for any reason. Rent to own stores will deliver and pick up the home furnishing as part of rental as well.

The ownership option is an added feature to the unique transaction. If the customer wants to own the product, they choose one of the many options to own. But, many Americans don’t understand that rent to own is a home furnishing rental store and the rental option is there for those special needs and times such as the holiday season.

Renting at a rent to own store has its seasonal ups and downs. Major sporting events prompt an influx of big screen HDTV rentals especially Super Bowl weekend. During summer, air conditioner and lawnmower rentals are big in the north.

Professional sports teams use rent to own stores for home furniture rentals during spring training and snow birds will rent their furniture and home appliances during the winter in the south.

Rentals have also been instrumental in helping families recover from natural disasters living in rented home furnishings in temporary housing.

About ShopRTO.com:
ShopRTO provides affordable home decorating and lifestyle tips for Americans and when rent to own may be right for their home shopping choices.

Make the most out of your kitchen space

ShopRTO's best way to organize a small kitchen.

Make the most from a small kitchen.

Your kitchen is where you make the family meals. It’s where you really wake up with several cups of coffee and, in most households, is the central gathering focus for the family.

So. maximize your kitchen space especially if you have a small kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s some tips to make the best use of your kitchen.

  • Here’s the first and most obvious. Organize according to uses. Put all cooking pots and pans together. Put baking and cooking materials in one cabinet such as flour, spices, sugar, olive oil, etc. Then put all other food items like your rice, canned goods, pasta, etc. in another.
  • Tier your spices. There are small three step tiered shelves that fit perfectly in a cabinet that maximizes the vertical space in one area. Some experts say to alphabetize them but I think that’s a little obsessive and weird. Put the most used spices in front – salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, etc. Come on, how many times do you use Tarragon? Put that one in the back when you use it that infrequent time.
  • If you have a cooking island, use hanging shelves for ladles, oven mitts, spice racks, etc.
  • If you have high vertical cabinets, get vertical dividers. They’re fairly cheap and store cooky sheets, serving platters, pans and such. You can even put hooks in the vertical dividers to fully maximize the space.
  • Rotating shelves within your cabinets. This way you’re not reaching in the back knocking things all over making a bunch of clanking noise.
  • You know that small sliver of space under the kitchen sink next to the water pipe? Get a narrow, vertical shelve to hold sponges, soap, dishwasher liquids and the like.
  • Pull-out shelves. They need to be tiered to maximize the entire cabinet.
  • I know you already have one but it needs to be just one – a junk drawer. The one where you put, well, your necessary junk in. We all have them and need them and we need to just come out of the closet (pun intended) and be proud but useful with our junk drawer but you need to whittle it down to one!

Those are enough tips to hopefully re-think how you use your kitchen space.

Just another ShopRTO home lifestyle tip.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

How to choose that perfect recliner

Recliners for the home.

I’m in heaven.

O’ the joys of kicking back in your recliner enjoying that game or movie anticipating the next great…zzzzzzz. Now that’s a good recliner! The kind that is so comfortable that it’s just as good as sleeping in your bed.

So, how do you pick that perfect recliner? First thing you always have to think about with recliners and furniture is how long do you plan to have it and how much are going to use it? Because if it’s going to be YOUR chair for a long time that’s used every night then price can’t be the driving force. It’s called an investment so price is third on the list.

First on the list is, unfortunately, size. You have to measure your room. If it don’t fit, you can’t sit. If you have a small room or an apartment then your choices are limited. So space is your first step.

Second step is comfort. This is the chair that you will pass out on every night so it has to be very comfortable. Try out every recliner in the stores and they’re like shoes. You will know the very moment you sit in it. No exceptions. Don’t think that you can mold it to your tush or make it comfortable over time. That could happen but don’t take the chance. Try every recliner and the one recliner to rule them all will be felt the moment you kurplunk in it when shopping.

Price. Now price comes into play. Recliners can be expensive. While this is third in the priority line, it’s still a factor. And, you’d be amazed how affordable good recliners can be .

Style and color. Recliners have an image of being the elephant in the room but not anymore. There are so many styles, colors, sizes that all are comfortable.

Nifty features. Recliners have come a long way, baby. Massage thingamijiggies in them. Full reclining positions. Adjustable head sets. Rocking and/or Gliding. Built in speakers, drink holders, ice cooler hidden inside, etc. And, some even can be easily disassembled for storage and moving.

Biggest tip is to SHOP AROUND. There are so many different brands and styles that the perfect one that fits all of the above exists. You just have to find ‘em. Researching on the Internet is a great start but (pun intended) your but in the actual chair is the final word.

If you’re freaked out about not picking the right one then try before you buy at your local rent-to-own store.

Just another ShopRTO comfy furniture tip.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Do I have my appliances replaced or fixed? Read these tips.

Tips to repairing appliances

When do repair or purchase hope appliances.

Repairing or replacing refrigerators, washers/dryers, dishwashers and stoves can pose a tricky situation. Appliances are expensive enough to warrant repairs but repairs can also be too expensive to be worth it. Where do you draw the line?

Obviously, those appliances under warranty are not a factor in this discussion. It’s those appliances that you’ve had in the 4-7 year range that leave you with that tough decision. Experts say the most dominant factor when making your decision is how old that appliance is and how expensive a model you have.

Consumer Reports conducted a study years ago that still helps today. They surveyed thousands of consumers who faced this dilemma and found these interesting tips and observations:

  • If the repair cost is more than one-half of the cost to purchase one then toss it and buy a new one.
  • Many respondents felt that appliance repairs would be too costly and too much of a pain-in-the-who-know-what that they didn’t even consider repairing and bought a new one. DO NOT do that. Appliance repairs can be easy and relatively cheap so always explore that option.
  • Do not repair anything that costs $200 or less to buy new such as a garbage disposal. Not worth it.
  • Most respondents had the best experiences with independent contractors. In these days, ask your friends and neighbors through Facebook or Neighborhood forums who the best appliance repair person is. You’d be amazed how quickly and good referrals you will get.
  • Most appliance repairs can be made at home. It’s not as inconvenient as you may think.
  • If you end up having to buy a new one, the good news is that they will be more energy efficient.

And, remember, if you’re left without an appliance for a couple of days, go to a rent-to-own store and rent one while you’re shopping around. Or, if you can’t buy outright consider rent-to-own. But only if it makes sense. Use ShopRTO’s best practices to see if rent-to-own is better than a credit card in your circumstance. And, if you want to buy used, go to a rent-to-own store as they can have some of the best “used” deals in town.

Just another ShopRTO lifestyle tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Home lighting tips to prevent some winter blues

Home Lighting tips

Light up the room during winter.

Live in Seattle and be drenched with the ‘drysmal’ mood for the winter months. How ’bout Erie, PA or Chicago? Frozen solid from wind and snow.

And that’s just a few places where Winter grips the land forcing you in your home for months. Watching a winter wonderland sounds good for a couple of days but there’s a reason the term “cabin fever” exists.

What to do with being indoors so much? Lighting, that’s what. You’d be amazed how you can lift the mood with some simple ShopRTO home lighting tips so let’s get started.

Track Lighting. You can add or subtract lights as much as the track can fit. And when it’s winter time, it’s time to add some. It’s great for spot lighting which is important for mood setting. Spot lights on artwork is great way for a lively mood and ambience. Unless the artwork is from Edward Munch, that is.

3-tier lighting. Make sure you have 3 levels where light emits. You need to have lighting that sits at waist level then head level then at the top of ceiling. (See ShopRTO lighting article for details.) If you are missing lights at any of those levels then get some.

Wall sconces. Especially if you can get interchangeable ones. You’ll want brighter sconces for the winter – yellow, white with color tints are good for winter then change them to bluer tones in the spring and summer. It’s also good to give your home a fresh change through the seasons.

Light bulbs. Get the light bulbs that have a whiter tint for a brighter room. Color is determined by the Kelvin rating on the bulb. The higher the Kelvin number, the brighter.

Fire. There’s nothing like fire and candle light to create warmth both literally and figuratively for the room.

Those are just a few. There’s going to be some light bulb changes coming up but that’ll wait for another ShopRTO article. In the meantime, lighten up. Winter doesn’t have to be that bad.

Remember, you can try before you buy with rent to own stores and they have plenty of lamps to choose from. That’s a cool option home designers don’t even know but now you do.

Just another ShopRTO shopping home decorating tip

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Just say “no” to bad customer service and experience

Customer Experience

Say “No!” to bad customer service

Just say “no” is the customer revolution going on right now. You, the shopper, are in full control of your home furnishing purchases. And, with a simple “no, I’m not going to shop here because I don’t need you” means that retail store has to answer to the revolution or die. And, you, the customer are the executioner.

You have all the information at your finger tips to make sure you have the best deal, price and product so why do you need a salesperson? How do you choose which store to shop? Do you need a store?

With home furniture, kitchen appliances, HDTVs and such, you still need someone to deliver and set-up. You need to make sure you physically sit on that living room furniture to make sure it looks and feels great because pictures on the net are very deceiving. You also need to make sure it’s going to fit the space you need. So, you home furniture shoppers need the brick and mortar store so now it’s a matter of choosing.

Price is now not much a function because you can walk in to any store, show them the price from the web and they have to match or they get to see your back as you walk out. Just say “no” and that store lost a customer, probably for life and a bad word-of-mouth that with a click of button can go to hundreds. And, with the likes of “Yelp” can go to thousands.

O’ retail stores bow down to the almighty customer. You are at our mercy in every fashion. And, the smart stores know this. So what do they do?

It’s called “Store Experience”. That’s the revolution that’s answering the customer revolution. Retail stores have to make sure their stores look great, fabulous, shiny; whatever it takes to bedazzle the customer to feeling good about shopping at that store. Customer service better be beyond recognition. That arrogance, disinterested sales person is a way of the past.

And, if you experience that lackadaisical demeanor for one instance, just say “no” and walk out immediately and let the store die so someone who understands our power will come in to serve us like kings.

Interestingly enough, one industry retail stores are looking at is rent to own stores. Their business model is fundamentally customer service. Their prices are higher but millions of customers keep coming in every day. And, looking at industry statistics, more and more are coming every day. Why? Customer service.

Because of that customer service model, you have retail stores such as Conn’s and Sears looking at rent to own stores to find out why they are growing customers and stores such as Sears are dying.

Wake up, shoppers. You have a power that has never existed in the marketplace and the more you use it the quicker you become royalty every time you walk in a place where you want to spend your hard earned money that they are begging for.

Just another ShopRTO shopping lifestyle tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Use product review websites before making those important home furnishing purchases

Home furniture reviews

Do your shopping homework through the web.

There’s nothing like touching, seeing up close, sitting, opening and even jumping on that next home furniture you plan to buy. But, do your homework prior. And, it’s so quick and easy now.

Here are just a few websites to use when shopping for your home furniture, HD TVs, ovens, etc.: Reviewed.com, HSN.com, CNet.com, GoodHouseKeeping.com and ConsumerReports.org. And those are just a few! Just google product reviews and it’s astonishing. Heck, there’s even ShopRTO.com to help educate you.

If you’re really obsessive compulsive when shopping, throw out a shout on your Facebook page and neighborhood forum to see what your friends and neighbors say. Word of mouth is still king in the shopping world.

It’s a brand new world full of home furnishing information that can make your buying decision as easy as a google search.

Just another ShopRTO home shopping tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Federal Reserve Board’s Credit Card Report Shows Americans May Be Turning to Debt-Free Options Such as Rent to Own and Used Home Furniture

Credit card options

Avoid debt with rent to own.

The Federal Reserve Board released its monthly report showing consumers cut back on credit card use for the third month in a row reflecting a debt-cautious economy. ShopRTO responds to this trend by educating consumers on other options such as buying used and rent to own.

Austin, TX (PRWEB) October 17, 2013

Home lifestyle website, ShopRTO, cautions Americans against further consumer debt during shaky financial times. In response, ShopRTO recommends consumers consider rent to own to buy used or to acquire home furnishings credit free.

ShopRTO recommends that the first and obvious tip is to save enough money to buy home furnishings outright. But, many Americans do not have this option especially when families must have certain items for the home such as refrigerators, beds and even computers.

Since current trends show Americans are rejecting credit card use, consumers should look at buying used or renting to own.

When going the “used” home furniture route, try rent to own stores. Rent to own statistics show more than 70% of consumers return the merchandise within three to four months leaving an abundance of barely used furniture, appliances, HDTVs and other home furnishings.

The key is finding the right store that provides the item needed. Call stores nearby and ask for the manager or owner. The manager and owner are the ones who have the most stakes in generating revenue and in power to providing the best deal.

When making the deal, make sure to include delivery in the price. Rent to own stores offer free delivery as part of their transaction but make sure it is included. And, if possible, negotiate better deals between two different rents to own stores to see if one will provide a better deal.

If you rent to own, go with the 90, 120 or 180 days same as cash option. Most stores offer a cash price a little above retail and credit is not extended therefore no debt is incurred. The trick is to make the necessary payments to make the most out of the deal.

If the cash price listed is significantly above retail then ask the person in charge to adjust it. Negotiations may be more difficult with corporate chains then with locally owned businesses so consumers need to be aware of that dynamic when shopping rent to own.

If you are unable to make the 90, 120 or 180 day payments then change to a traditional rent to own payment plan. The price will already be reduced due to previous payments. And, with rent to own, the customer is in full control of the transaction. And remember the golden rule of all transactions, the fewer the payments then the lower overall cost.

If the customer has to return or wants to return the product, credit was never extended therefore no debt incurred or negative impact to credit scores. Therein lies the significant difference between rent to own and a credit card.

If the customer has to return the product due to financial reasons, the rent to own store will keep the product or provide a similar product if the customer wants to begin re-renting the product without losing any previous payments.

About ShopRTO.com:

ShopRTO provides affordable home decorating and lifestyle tips for Americans and when rent to own may be right for their home shopping choices.

Click here for actual release.

10 Tips to Make Your Wardrobe Last

socksExtend the life of your favorite clothes and accessories with these key strategies.

Ironing, Shoes, Socks, and Jewelry

1. Iron clothing inside out. “Ironing can fade dark colors as well as create shine marks on fabrics with sheen, like gabardine, acetate, and polished cottons,” says Chris Allsbrooks, a textile analyst with the Dry Cleaning & Laundry Institute, in Laurel, Maryland. Avoid damage by using the appropriate heat setting and pressing the item on the reverse side. Or use a cloth between garment and iron. And, adds Boorstein, “never iron a crease on a black garment―it can leave a permanent line.”

2. Add sole protectors to your shoes. Have a cobbler attach rubber bottoms to shield leather soles from water absorption and general wear and tear. They cost about $20, but “they can extend the life of your shoes by years,” says Jim McFarland, owner of McFarland’s Shoes and Repair, in Lakeland, Florida.

3. Switch to wool athletic socks. Wool socks aren’t only for cold days. “A lesser-known benefit of wool is that it can help keep sneaker interiors stink-free, thanks to its natural ability to wick moisture away,” says Rodney Kott, Ph.D., a sheep specialist at Montana State University, in Bozeman.

4. Remove all jewelry before swimming. The chlorine in pool water wears away the surface and the shine, according to Krodel.

5. Zip up to avert snags. Your clothing goes into the wash perfectly intact. Later you notice a mysterious pull. “The teeth of zippers (especially those made of metal, as on jeans) or any kind of hook closure is typically the culprit,” says Boorstein. Next time close all zippers and clasps before tossing clothes into the washing machine (or, better yet, the hamper).

Cashmere, Heels, Pearls, and Stains

6. Hand wash cashmere. Repeated poor-quality dry cleanings can lead to fiber breakage. Plus, an old-fashioned hand washing leaves the cashmere considerably softer. Use lukewarm water and a mild soap, such as the Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo ($19 for 16 ounces, thelaundress.com), and lay flat to dry. Remove excess water by rolling the garment in a towel―never wring it.

7. Don’t drive in good heels. “The floorboard scuffs the heel, and the pedal scratches the toe,” warns Elena R. Aronson, a San Francisco–based stylist and personal shopper. Drive in simple flats, or try heel protectors by Smart Heel ($9, smartheel.com), which are plastic coverings that slide over high heels.

8. Stock up on underarm shields. To prevent armpit stains that crop up no matter how diligent you are about cleaning, Mary Lou Andre, author of Ready to Wear: An Expert’s Guide to Choosing and Using Your Wardrobe ($20, amazon.com), suggests creating a barrier between you and the fabric with adhesive underarm shields, which attach to the inside of the clothing (Garment Guard, $11 for five, solutionsthatstick.com). A sleeved tee layered underneath works, too.

9. Never hang pearls. “This weakens the silk threads that hold the necklace together,” says Helena Krodel of the Jewelry Information Center, in New York City.
Whites, Darks, Dryers, and Jewelry

10. Launder whites after every wear. It’s tempting to put a white blouse back into the closet after a spill-free wearing. After all, it looks spotless. But “body oils and perspiration, along with other time-released stains (like perfume, white wine, and oil splatters), will start to give a once-bright white a yellowish tint,” says Steve Boorstein, developer of the DVD Clothing Care (Day Light, $20, amazon.com).

Find More Tips at Real Simple
http://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/clothing-care/20-tips-make-wardrobe-last-00000000007942/page4.html

Just another ShopRTO money saving and laundry tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furniture and more.

Know your beef

meatStreamline your order the next time you’re at the meat counter with these helpful tips:

Some tender cuts of beef need just a few minutes on a pan to approach culinary perfection, while others should be cooked slowly for hours to make a rich sauce or stew. The trick is knowing how to choose the right cut for the job.

1. Tenderloin

As the name suggests, beef tenderloin comes from the cow’s loin, and because it’s a muscle that doesn’t do much work, it’s remarkably tender.

•            While it’s sometimes sold as a roast, you’ll most often find it cut into steaks sold as filet mignon.

•            Tenderloin comprises part of the T-bone and porterhouse steak cuts.

The best ways to cook tenderloin are either roasting (if purchased as a roast) and grilling or broiling if purchased as a steak. Tenderloin is a relatively lean cut; be careful not to over cook it, as it will dry out quickly.

2. Brisket

This is a muscle that does a lot of work and can be tough since it contains a great deal of connective tissue. There is also a large amount of fat capping the top of the cut.

Because brisket is tough, it’s best to slow cook it and give it plenty of time to break down and soften. Braising brisket is the easiest way to get the meat fork tender. Throw it in a slow cooker for the same result. If you have access to a smoker, brisket is a perfect choice for this cooking method.

3. Rib-eye

The rib-eye steak can take many forms with many uses: If the bone is included, it’s a rib steak. If it’s cut away from the bone, it’s a rib-eye. The bone gives beef a stronger flavor, so this cut packs more flavor than a filet mignon, even if it’s a little less tender.

Because rib-eye steaks are so flavorful, they only need a little salt and pepper before you grill, broil or pan-fry them.

4. Ground Beef

The important thing to notice when selecting ground beef is the fat-to-lean beef ratio. This is usually communicated on the packaging by two numbers: beef first, fat content second. Don’t be afraid of fat! The higher the fat content in the ground beef, the juicier the end result will be.

•            Use ground chuck for dishes like hamburgers and chili.

•            Use ground round for dishes like tacos and stuffed peppers.

•            Use ground sirloin for dishes like meatballs and meatloaf when other ingredients are added.

5. Round

The round is commonly sold as rump roasts, round roasts, eye of round and round steaks. You’ll also find it already cubed as stew meat.

Although it’s often sold as roasts, it’s a lean cut that dries out easily, so this is a cut for slow cooking in a stew or braise.

Choosing Your Beef

Once you know what you’re making and the right cut for the job, choosing should be a breeze. Here are some tips to know and look out for:

Grass Fed vs. Grain Fed

Most cows are raised on grass at first and transferred to grain or corn later. Grass-fed beef, however, has spent its entire life on a pasture.

•            Grass-fed beef is generally leaner, and proponents claim it is more flavorful.

•            Grain-fed beef is fattier, which also means it’s more moist and juicy.

Dry-aged vs. Regular

Dry aging generally means the steaks have been hung in a climate-controlled case, allowing moisture to evaporate. This creates a more concentrated taste and allows enzymes to break down the tissues creating complex, rich flavors. Dry-aged beef is tender and delicious, but the process is time consuming, so keep in mind that it comes at a premium.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Grading

Grades reflect the degree to which the meat is marbled and the maturity of the animal, and are meant to give an idea of how tender the beef is.

•            USDA Prime is the highest grade and only a tiny percentage of meat receives this grade.

•            USDA Choice is the next grade down and represents most of the meat found at the grocery store.

•            USDA Select is below Choice and is generally leaner and tougher than the higher grades.

Original article here.

Just another ShopRTO Something Good in the Belly tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for kitchen appliances and more.

Need some storage room ideas for your home? Try some of these…

 

storage space ideas

Add shelves to maximize space.

As our population grows and space becomes more expensive and smaller, we have to create more clever ways to maximize the space to fit all of our stuff.

Try some of these ShopRTO tips to maximize the space in your home or apartment.

Look at your doorways and windowsIf there is some space on the sides and/or on top, you can frame them in to create shelves.

Place your books, knick-knacks, photos, decorative pieces or whatever fancies your taste.

How bout a wall desk mount? You mount a closed in cabinet that when you open the lid from the top, the lid becomes the desk.

Put your laptop or tablet on to check the weather, e-mails, fantasy scores on your way out.

Have some cubby holes on the side to store bills, your keys and what not. Then, you just close the lid and the clutter is closed up and looks simple and clean.

Storage behind doors. You can hang hooks, rods, pockets or any hanging storage device to put towels, linens, toiletries, shoes, etc. Works great on the back of closet doors to increase closet space.

What about a closet office? If you have a wide closet and are good at not accumulating too many clothes or junk, create a hidden office. You open up the doors and there is a table, filing cabinet and a work space.

Keep the doors open while working and shut when not. Sounds kind of Batman-like with a hidden room.

But the easiest is always hooks and shelves. You can place hooks and shelves almost anywhere. It’s all about using the vertical space of your room and sides of open faces of cabinets.

Our world is getting smaller and so is our space. Use these tips to create the most space you can get out of your home. Just another ShopRTO home decorating tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Do you have an All-in-One Desktop yet? It’s the latest computer market trend.

All-in-one desktop computers

All your work and entertainment in the all-in-one desktop.

Laptops, tablets and smartphones are the craze these days but the desktop computer is still ole’ reliable. Now with the new design and marketing of the “all in one desktop”, the desktop computer is no longer going obsolete. In fact, quite the opposite. They are the true entertainment/work system all-in-one.

They’re sleek, light and brilliantly crisp and clear. You can use it as a work computer, computer gaming through HDMI and Movie/TV viewing through the Internet. It’s a laptop with desktop speed.

One of the downsides is you get what you buy. Hardly any room for upgrade and they’re losing the Blu Ray addition with the supposition that people watch TV and movies through the Internet. Each PC company mirror their traditional philosophy. Macs are workhorses, reliable and more expensive. Whereas PCs are affordable but are more prone to being buggy.

If you’re in the market, do your shopping. Compare prices and features as there are a lot to choose from. Experts do recommend if you’re going to make that all-in-one computer purchase then go for the 23 to 27 inch screens to make sure your computer serves as a good TV monitor.

The desktop is not yesterday’s technology. Its all-in-one transformation keeps it as a mainstay for the home. Maybe, it’s the TV that’s going away?

Just another ShopRTO computer and computer gaming tip!

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Some inexpensive home decorating ideas

Inexpensive decorating ideas

Change a lamp shade for a cheap and easy change in the room.

Sometimes you need to freshen up the house. Make a change or two to shake things up. But, then, there’s this thing called money. That spoils all of the fun especially when you don’t have any. So here’s a few ideas to help change up some decor while not spending a bunch of coin.

1. Photos under the glasstop of your tables. If you have one of those coffee tables or kitchen tables with a glass top. Put some photos underneath. Photos of the family, the vacation or whatever that fits. It makes the table look lively, personable and can change in an instant.

2. Change your lamp shades. It’s quick, easy and cheap. Or, monogram them. Get some cloth letters at a fabric store and tape or sew them on the shade.

3. Change your numbers. Not your phone numbers, silly. Your house address numbers and the look, not the actual numbers. You don’t want to confuse the postman. Go to any hardware store or Lowe’s and they will have dozens and dozens of different styles of numbers.

4. Change your welcome mat and re-paint your front door. Voila! A new entry way. Try painting your door a bright color, too. Liven it up.

5. Change your shower curtain. I bet you’ve had the one you’re using way too long anyway. A new one makes a difference.

These small changes make a difference. Especially if you do them all at once. You will feel refreshed by your surroundings. Remember, you are a product of your environment so shake things up by starting in the home.

Just another ShopRTO inexpensive home decorating tips.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Pad Your Budget: Cut $50+ From Your Grocery Bill

BudgetAre you spending too much on your grocery bill? Here are some expert ways to save.

The US Department of Agriculture estimates that a family of two spends about $350 a month on groceries. (And that’s a thrifty budget!) We get it — it’s hard to feed yourselves on a tight budget, especially if you want to eat well (we’re talking nutrients, not loads of Bagel Bites). While many of us are inspired by those tales of women extreme couponing (thanks, TLC), not all of us can put in the time and effort it takes to stockpile 87 bottles of ketchup and 70 boxes of microwave popcorn.

So we asked Jeanette Pavini, household savings expert for Coupons.com, to break down the easiest ways to save. If you put these tips to work, you can easily save $50 a month on groceries. (That’s $600 a year!)

Pay Attention to Product Placement

Eye-level placement generally means “avoid” since companies pay to place products at eye level. A lot of times you can find the less expensive brands and best deals on the top and bottom shelves. Also, just because items are on a special display or at the end of the aisle doesn’t mean they’re the best value. Always check the price tag for the price per ounce to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.

Save Money on Meat

Compare cost per serving, not cost per pound. “That way you’ll be able to take into consideration bones and fat, which may mean that a much cheaper piece of meat is not really a good deal at all,” says Pavini. She recommends looking at larger whole cuts of meat, as they’ll usually be much cheaper than the same amount cut into smaller pieces. “You can always ask the butcher if he’ll cut it into small pieces for free,” she adds. If you have the room, you can freeze larger cuts as well. And when in doubt, use chicken. “If a recipe calls for duck, veal, rabbit or a game bird, you can oftentimes use chicken as an inexpensive substitute,” Pavini explains.

Pack a Punch With Produce

It’s hopefully a no-brainer, but plan your meals around what’s in-season. You’ll find cheaper prices and better quality. For fall? Stick to root veggies, butternut squash, figs and citrus fruits. The price per unit rule applies here: Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy items like potatoes, tomatoes, avocados and onions in bags versus individually. “For example, I saw avocados for $2.50 each, while a bag of four was going for $4,” says Pavini. And avoid precut produce. The convenience seems awesome (and the packaging is usually much more eye-catching!), but you’ll save a lot of money washing, peeling and cutting the veggies yourself at home.

Avoid Impulse Purchases

Avoid impulse buying and plan a menu. Try to incorporate ingredients into multiple meals so you don’t waste produce, dairy and other perishable items, says Pavini.

One big rookie mistake is letting yourself be pressured into buying in bulk to get the “sale price.” “If a sale says five for $10, don’t feel obligated to buy all five,” advises Pavini. Check the store policy — usually you’ll get the same discount if you buy just a single item. The same with limits — don’t take the number as a sign of how many you need to buy because you think that’s an indicator of a great deal. Oftentimes, a place might just be low on stock. Only buy what you need and will use.

SOURCE

Just another ShopRTO Financial Tip.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Host Your BBQ Like a Pro

BBQReady, set, grill. It’s football season and holiday are just around the corner. Time to host the best BBQ — we show you how.

Know Your Guests’ Stomachs

Now’s not the time to try out that artichoke-spinach soufflé you heard you can make on the grill. Most people come to a barbecue wanting one of two things: a burger or a hotdog. (Okay, and maybe a beer.) And make sure to have a few veggie burgers or other alternatives for vegetarians.

Let the Food Come to You

Unless you’re a masochist (or a control freak), a potluck is a great way to let go of some responsibility and also incorporate new foods into the mix. To make sure you don’t end up with eight desserts and one bag of chips (although, we’re not sure that’s such a bad thing), give each guest a category. For those noncooking friends, there’s always the category of “alcohol.” Make the barbecue even simpler by offering a “you bring it, we grill it” option!

Make it Fun For the Kids (of All Ages)

Always ask yourself what a child would enjoy, and use that as your reference point (let’s face it, adults love simple pleasures!). Have a deck of cards on hand, balls to toss around…you get the idea. For the actual kids, hula-hoops, sparklers, bubbles, and a game of Simon Says are all safe bets. Make s’mores (it’s an activity and a dessert.) For the young (but still under the age of 21) crowd, keep an outside game (such as bocce ball) for them to play away from the children and adults for a bit of independence.

Enjoy the Outdoors

Ask your friends to bring coolers if they have them, and make sure to stock up on extra ice. Keeping guests out of the kitchen will give you some peace of mind and will keep everyone interacting. Another bonus? Being prepared will save you a trip to the store mid-party (and will ensure you don’t miss out on the s’mores, which, let’s be honest, you’ve been looking forward to since we brought it up).

Plan for the Worst

You know everything doesn’t go as planned. Prepare for rain by having board games and other fun indoor activities at the ready. And if you don’t have enough space in your home to host guests in case of rain, don’t cram everyone in like sardines in hopes that “it clears up.” Propose a new location, or if need be, a new date. Send everyone home with a sampling of all the different foods — hey, they did come hungry!

SOURCE

Just another ShopRTO Lifestyle Tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Transform Your Entryway

Entryway-bench-texas-HTOURS1105-de

It doesn’t take much to turn an entryway from a stark space into an inviting zone for everyone who sets foot in your pad. Get started:

Light It Up 
Dramatic lighting, whether it’s a chandelier, pendant, or sconces, totally sets the mood. If you don’t have high ceilings, try pinspot lighting over artwork.

Hang Something
Don’t save all of your cool art for the living room. Hang a single painting, a series of small prints, or a decorative mirror, which will make the room look bigger.

Give Life
A flower or plant eases the transition from outside in (and green always looks good). If your space is small, place potted blooms on a side table.

Add Color
Paint the walls a rich color, such as deep rust or teal, or paint the ceiling, depending on how it might work with your color scheme. If the ceiling is under eight feet tall, paint it a shade or two lighter than the walls; if it’s over eight feet, paint it a shade or two darker. Like neutral walls? Add color with a vibrant rug or artwork.

Keep It Clean
Designate a semi-hidden spot for weather-ridden accessories. Cubby holes beneath a console work well for shoes, and a tall (at least 18 inches) galvanized planter will catch your umbrella’s drip — and still look nice.

Don’t Forget The Mats
A washable doormat will keep you from tracking in mud. If you don’t want to leave it out all the time, store it in an oversize bin.

Get Pegged
Pegs are great for hanging coats and jackets. Space them six to eight inches apart.

Leave Room
Give yourselves around three to four feet of room to walk by one another. When buying furniture, remember to think small, like an eight-inch-wide table or shelf.

Have a Seat
A simple chair placed against the wall instantly gives the room a cozier look and makes taking off those trendy rain boots that much easier.

SOURCE

Just another ShopRTO Home Decorating Tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

How to make a headboard out of duct tape

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 1.47.37 PM

Duct tape comes in a variety of colors and patterns, and it is readily available at most craft stores — kids love it! A roll costs about $3 to $4 and you’ll need about three to four rolls to make a headboard for a twin bed. You should be able to get a large piece of cardboard for free at a grocery or home improvement store.

Materials and Tools:

scissors
tape measure
hammer
duct tape — 3 to 4 rolls in different colors and patterns
large piece of cardboard
4 to 6 wire size (small) nails
Determine Size

Measure the area behind the bed to determine the size of the headboard.
Create Your Design

Draw out your headboard’s design on paper. Determine what colors and patterns to use.
Cut Cardboard

Measure and cut the cardboard to fit the size of the headboard.

Original article at DIY network.

Just another ShopRTO Home Decorating and Bedroom Furniture tips.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

The future of laundry?

Washer and Dryer Combo

Look into the future of laundry.

Is there anything more boring than laundry? Not only doing the laundry but talking about it? Have no fear because ShopRTO can make the oh-so-boring topic of laundry interesting.

A recent competition by eYeka set forth a contest to help revolutionize how we clean our clothes? Why? Because 1/4 of a household’s water supply is used for cleaning clothes. And the amount of water needed to clean clothes means millions of gallons of the detergent’s toxic chemicals infiltrating the water supply. So here are some interesting ideas set forth by innovators throughout the world.

1. Preventative Detergent – It would be like a spray that would create a protective layer so clothes could not get dirty in the first place.

2. Detergent Stickers – The point is that only portions of your clothes get dirty so only wash those. It’s like post-it note of detergent that would reduce significantly the amount of detergent used.

3. Gamification – How this has anything to do with helping save water or detergent, I’m not sure but it is interesting design idea and could actually make cleaning clothes fun. The design of the washing machine would be a circular drum where you would throw your clothes and detergent balls into the machine as if shooting a basketball. You would never know it was a washing machine so could be put anywhere and, if they’re smart, would come with it’s own scoreboard and “cheering” recording.

4. Electronic balls – These are re-usable, mobile deviced-controlled electronic balls that release the exact amount of detergent according to water displacement at the exact time based on water temperature in the wash to maximize the efficiency and minimize the waste.

Everything in our homes and lives are being revolutionized right in front of our eyes. Even laundry. So, next time you’re throwing your rolled up socks from the 3 point line in your home into your washing machine, remember that someone won a cash prize for an idea you have already been executing for years.

Just another ShopRTO odd-ball laundry news factoid.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

It’s getting close to Fireplace time. Are you ready?

Fireplace tips for the home

It’s time for the fireplace!

Fireplace and cooler weather go together but you don’t have to have a fireplace to enjoy the ambiance.

But, if you do. First things first. Clean out your fireplace. Have the local chimney sweep come do their annual magic to scrub out the soot in the chimney tower. The cleaner the chimney, the more oxygen flows and a better, more efficient fire.

Stockpile wood. Saves money and time. Stockpile marshmallows. If you’re going to have a fire then take full use with roasted marshmallows.

If you don’t want the mess of ashes, wood and such but have a fireplace, put candles in the fireplace and you recreate the ambiance without the mess.

What if you don’t have a fireplace! I’m with you on that one .  I live in the South but still not an excuse. One of the latest trends is to buy a digital quality DVD of a fire burning in the fireplace. You recreate the ambiance but in a Star Trekian manner. You’d be surprised the difference it makes even on a TV screen.

There are also stand alone, outdoor fireplaces you can buy. The latest fad are the clay potted ones called Chimineas.

Once you have the hearth all in order then the next step is to ensure the surrounding furniture fits the mood and purpose of the fireplace. The ambiance of the lit fireplace necessitates comfortable furniture to lay on, put your feet on, play games and for meals as a fire means it’s cold and you’re inside. Then, of course, the best of all accoutrements is the popcorn, hot chocolate and marshmallows.

Just another ShopRTO Home Decorating Tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

ShopRTO Announces Home Furnishing Tips to Create the Best Man Cave for the Upcoming Football Season

Rent to own HD TV

It’s football time.

ShopRTO.com wants to make sure that fans make the most of the upcoming football season by furnishing the perfect TV viewing room and how rent to own can help.

Austin, TX (PRWEB) August 27, 2013

Rent to own furniture, HD TVs and appliances are prime to help create the perfect football viewing room for the upcoming football season according to ShopRTO.com.

Renting to own HD TVs, refrigerators and couches can help make the “man cave” without going into debt or just to be used for the season then returned.

There have been many rituals created surrounding football games that included tailgating, watch parties and the advent of the home decorating and furnishing room known as the “man cave”.

ShopRTO announces their best tips to create the best ‘man cave’ one can create for the football season.

Affordable home furnishing website, ShopRTO.com, list the following basic ingredients to its creation. Multiple HD TVs, couches, recliners, refrigerator, a game console, microwave oven, computer, surround sound system and, even, an oven or grill to make the perfect ‘manly’ dish on game days.

The site also refers renting to own these home furnishings as a viable option when creating the man cave. Rent to own can allow consumers to rent additional flat screen tvs, couches, recliners, refrigerators and, even, computers for the football season. And if the person likes any of the products they can rent to own the product but are never required or legally obligated to make the purchase.

ShopRTO recommends that if a consumer does use rent to own and ultimately wants to buy the product to use ShopRTO’s rent to own tips to save as much money as possible.

Football season is one of the most popular seasons in the United States. In 2012, NFL football games dominated the first eight slots in the TV viewing Nielsen ratings out ranking the Olympics and Grammy awards.

About ShopRTO.com:

ShopRTO provides affordable home decorating and lifestyle tips for Americans and when rent to own may be right for their home shopping choices.

 

What is your home decorating style?

rent to own home decorating

Find your Home Decorating Style.

If you’re like most Americans, you really don’t have an interior home decorating style defined. A defined interior design style is important because it determines your furniture, paintings, colors, style, etc.

So, let’s take a little test to help steer you to your home decorating style so you know how to push it through your entire house for a unified and beautiful look.

First off, don’t do a durned thing for at least 6 months in a new house or apartment. You need those six months to really get to know the flow of the house, the lighting and what will work best for your lifestyle.

Here are some tests to help determine the style that will define your home. Go through some magazines, ads, websites, etc. and start collecting photos of what captures your attention. Go through, at least 100 different photos of furniture, rooms, appliances and everything for your home to generate at least 20 photos that captured your attention. The more photos you look at and the more that you find appealing, the more you will be assured of claiming your style.

Take all of those photos/images that you handpicked then go through them to see what pattern starts to emerge. Many people like different styles but after so many hand picked images your favorite home decorating style will begin to show itself.

Another tip is to simply look in your closet at the clothes you wear. The style, color, texture and look of your garb reflects the image that you obviously like therefore apply it to your home.

At some point in your life, you are going to have to establish your interior design style throughout your home. Start with these home decorating tips and stay in close contact with ShopRTO.com for further instructions.

Remember, your rent to own store will allow you to rent furniture, HDTVs and appliances to test out some initial design ideas. If you don’t like them, have the rent to own store pick ‘em up and try something else. If you do like the style, then rent to own them as quickly as possible to save the most money.

Just another ShopRTO Home Decorating Tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

What to know when buying bed sheets

 

Bedroom sheets

Gotta have some good bed sheets.

Your sheets are where you spend most of your life’s time cocooned on that bed of yours. One judging criteria is thread count. Most cotton sheets are in the 200 range meaning there are 200 threads in the cloth. The higher the thread count, the softer and more durable.

But thread count is not all that counts especially on a budget. You need to look at the fiber of the sheets. A cotton-polyester blend are wrinkle resistent, last longer than cotton and can be half the cost.

Another fiber tip is the “long-fiber” brand of cotton as it makes a noticeably softer sheet. Every time you hear some fancy-pants talking about “Egyptian”, “Pima” and “Supima”, those are the long fiber versions of cotton and have a much softer touch but are also much more expensive.

When trying to find out the thread count, hold up the sheet in the light and see how easy you can see through. The higher count, the less light.

You need to know about the weave of the cotton. Weave affects the feel of the sheet, its look, longevity and price. Basic weaves are equal horizontal and vertical crossings. Since most sheets are basic, they are not labeled.

Only those weaves that go beyond a basic will state so on the label such as the percale or sateen weaves. Percale is an upscale basic weave with a higher thread count and known for its long-lasting and crisp feel.

Sateen weaves have more vertical than horizontal lines. More vertical than horizontal lines means a softer feel but easily torn. No pillow fights on those sheets.

Most sheets have a chemical finish to keep them from shrinking, to create a sheen and wrinkling. Most consumers don’t really know or care about the finish but if you’re allergic or prefer organic, they are available. Lastly, sheets have a dye to create their color. The softest and most expensive were those yarn dyed fabrics versus the sheet dyed.

This is probably way too much information about sheets than you ever knew or cared. The main point is picking your sheets that you sleep in is a very important decision because you spend thousands of hours of your life sleeping in them. Therefore, it would behoove you to know about thread counts and the weave and the best combination between the two to make the best decision especially on a budget.

Just another great ShopRTO bedroom and laundry tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Some tips to help speed up your PC

Try these ShopRTO tips to speed up your PC

Tips to speed up your PC.

Would you like to see your computer’s speed increased?  Are you tired of dealing with a slow PC?  Here are a few ways to speed up your computer without spending a fortune.

First, you should check to see if your computer has any spyware or fragmented programs.  A good antivirus or security program can scan your PC, pinpoint the problem, and eliminate it as you see fit.

Sometimes it is good to let your computer update its system.  Some system errors are caused simply because your computer has been on for too long.  Try a system restart to see if that is the cause of your computer’s slowness.

Another way to speed up your computer is to do some cleaning.  Try to get rid of the programs you don’t need or use regularly.  Clean up your desktop icons and leave only what you need to access quickly.  Clear out your temp files and move important documents to a back up disk to free up space.

By following these simple tips, you should see your slow computer speed up.

Help speed up your PC

Computer speed tips

Just another great ShopRTO Computer Tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

It’s football season! The essentials to building your man cave

Rent to own HD TV

It’s football time!

Hello?! It’s football season which means it’s ‘man cave’ season. If you have not created your testosterone-topia yet or need to update then here are the basics.

1. HD TV Set. Or, really HD TV sets. You can watch the big game on the biggest screen then have the other TVs on the other games so as not to waste any precious time changing channels. Go the extra man cave extreme and have one TV dedicated to the Internet to monitor your fantasy football players and matches without having to waste energy moving your head to a computer screen.

2. Comfy Couch and Recliner. Again, you may need more than just one of each as you invite your fellow knuckle-dragging pack over to scream at the TV with you. Make sure you test the furniture out first. Remember, these are the items you will be passing out on so make sure it’s the best.

3. Sturdy coffee tables and end tables. You’ll be putting a lot of beer pressure on those and will be the TV remote pedestal. Smart man cavers specifically get coffee tables a different color than the remotes. Again, it’s all about not wasting time moving your neck away from the TV screen. An easily findable remote lessens those precious moments and muscle moving during the game. It also needs to be sturdy to withstand fists slamming into it after your team throws an interception.

4. Refrigerator. One of those mini sized ones are fine but, come on, let’s get real. With a full size, you can stock up on all kinds of beers and wine. Yes. I said it – wine. Wine and football can go together. Even Cro-magnons can have an elevated sense of taste. The rest of the space inside the refrigerator, if there is any, is up to your imagination. And, I will not mention vegetables. I drew the line at wine. It’s still a man cave, dagnabbit!

5. Microwave. Gotta pop some popcorn or microwave some pizza bites. Those are kind of amateur, though. What you really need is a grill where you do it right with burgers, sausage wraps and barbecue.

6. Xbox, PS3 or Wii. Gotta do something when your team has a bye week.  Duh. There’s also the other season known as “off season” where you can fill in by playing a little John Madden football.

7. Soundbar. You gonna want to hear their bones breaking and helmets crashing. Again, if you’re a true man caver then a surround sound system is the way to go.

8. Laptop/tablet/smart phone. Fantasy football updates or, better yet, skyping your friends who couldn’t cave with you because they live in a different town or are married.

9. Lamps. What?!!! You’re kidding, right. It’s called a cave for a reason.

Here are some extras for the man-cave snob.

10. An oven. It’s called Chilli. Gotta have burners to cook that dish.

11. Pool table. That’s for the twitchy guy who can’t just sit down and relax during the game.

I think that’s it. Remember, your local rent to own store fits every man cave item you need. Rent TVs just for football season or for ‘that game’. With rent to own you can try before you buy to make sure that couch is the ‘one’ couch to rule them all. Remember rent to own means rent first then, if you choose, buy so you’re never obligated to buy or make the next payment and no penalty for calling them to come pick it up

Oh! And they deliver. Man caving is about creating a kingdom. With RTO, you have servants. If any of your digital-kabobs are on the fritz during your rental, they’ll come out and fix it or give you a loaner while fixing it for free.

If you want to outright purchase but can’t afford some of these items, you can find the best used deals at rent to own stores. Most men don’t care if things are used or new. They just care they work. Or rent to own them but make sure you use the early purchase option, 90 days same as cash and rent for the least amount of time. The less payments, the less cost. And, again, your credit is never in jeopardy nor debt ever extended. Man cave and RTO can go knuckle in knuckle.

But, whatever you do. DO NOT FORGET that NFL’s opening day is on Thursday night. Not Sunday. Enough said, I’m going to check my fantasy draft rankings.

Just another great ShopRTO Home Decorating tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Laptops or Tablets for back to school?

Which computer do you choose when going back to school? Laptops or tablets? It’s a mixed reaction out there and is the hottest question on every student’s mind. Ultimately both will get you to your PHD so it’s a matter of which one is best for you and your circumstances. Here are the factors to consider.

1. Price. It’s the obvious first consideration. Do your price comparison with all brands and between the two. Tablets will have the edge on this one. You can also rent computers or rent to own computers if your budget can’t handle a one-time big purchase. Shop your local rent to own stores for the best deals.

2. Mobility. How long does it take you to get to school? How far do you have to walk in between classes? What other items are you carrying along with a tablet and notebook. And where do you spend most of your time doing your homework?That’s a big factor when considering the easy on-the-go tablet or the more bulky lap tops.

3. Battery Life. You will need to know where your wireless will be coming from. Bluetooth or Wi Fi? Bluetooth uses less power thus better for tablets. Wi Fi uses more power so lap tops will be better for the battery life. You will also have to determine how long you will be cordless and on the Internet.

4. Software. What programs will you be using? Laptops are the work horses and tablets are limited. Are you using multiple programs such as word, powerpoint, excel and photo shop or just word and e-mail? That will help immensely in your decision.

5. Durability. Tablets are much more fragile even with their cases. How rough and tumble are you throughout the school day? And how long do you plan to keep this computer. Some brands like Apple outlast the others but are more expensive. Another important factor in your decision.

6. Speed and Storage. Laptops have the edge especially if you’re doing movies and photos.

But the biggest and best piece of advice is to do your homework. Look for the back to school specials. Compare pricing and always ask for the student discount on both hardware and software.
Another factor is the upgrade. How long do you plan to keep this computer or do you always want the latest and greatest? Remember your local rent to own stores carry both laptops and computers. By renting to own, you can make sure you can get that new computer that fits your budget. Or you can just rent it and when you want to upgrade to a newer model just trade it in with no penalty.

 

Just another great ShopRTO computer tip.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

 

I want the best deal for a TV so what do I do?

HD TV and Flat Screen TV Tips.

Get the best deal for your new HD TV.

The dynamics of TVs in your home are so much different today than years ago. First, TVs aren’t made to last anymore. People upgrade their TVs on an average of every five years or less. And the profit margins for TVs are so thin and competitive, getting that new TV sooner than later is no longer such a bank buster.

But there is still those times when you can get the best deals which is September and January. (Hmmmm. I wonder what next month is?) That’s when the new models are released thus stores need to get rid of the old models and are offering up the specials. Black Friday is also a good day. It’s just suffering the crowds that makes the price not as attractive for some.

Another trick for a good deal is buying the store display TV or one that has been returned. If you’re going that route, check out your local rent to own stores. Because many customers rent the TVs only for a short time, rent to own stores become ready to own with a great deal on TV that’s hardly been used. If you’re one of those gadget freaks and always want the latest and greatest, rent a TV and upgrade it each year.

And if you’re really a TV freak (i.e. a sports fan), then rent to own a TV because you will be able to comfortably afford a giant TV on a rental plan.

Just another ShopRTO HD TV tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Do you have too much stuff or do you need a storage shed?

Rent to own storage sheds

Storage shed or not? Assess your possessions first.

How to De-Clutter Your Home
A Pack Rat’s Anonymous Meeting
By Guy Sheely, Senior Storage Consultant, Pine Creek/Belle Springs Storage

Can you park your car in the garage?
If you have a 2 car garage- can you get both vehicles in there? Or, when the cars are in, can you only get out on 1 side? Or maybe you can’t get to the stuff in your garage when the cars are in there?

For most people, the garage is the most unorganized room in their home. A recent study revealed that at least half of surveyed homeowners rated their garages as the most disorganized place in the house.

We are going to go over some organization basics that you can apply to any room in your house, but in my years of storage consulting with Pine Creek, the garage seems to be the worst room in the house when it comes to being disorganized. Tackling an unorganized garage-or any room- is lot like an intervention of a crisis situation. Years of being a pack rat is starting to cause havoc on your family’s life.

So let’s get this intervention started!
First, get the whole family involved. Use bribery like a Pizza Lunch…or a fun reward when you are all done- can be the incentive you need to get the whole family involved. Set a date aside on the calendar. Involve your children and make up a game with prizes for the one who can find the oldest, dirtiest throwaway etc. This is essential to success as everyone in the home has some level of attachment to the items that are living there.
If you have so much stuff, move your car outside for the weekend and use the floor space in your garage. And if you have A LOT OF STUFF-this could take 2 weekends. Set aside enough time for this project by picking back-to-back days like a weekend so that sorted items do not have to sit in piles for too long. Be prepared with needed supplies. You may need plastic storage bins, permanent markers for labeling and many, many large garbage bags. Place one in the middle of your working space so that everyone can reach it. Start with a general purging of everything in your path.
Start with 4 Piles…

Pile 1: Trash
Pile 2: Sell or Donate
Pile 3: Keep
Pile 4: Move

It”s really important that you create enough space to have these 4 separate piles. For bigger items, pick up some of those colored dots from Staples- red dots mean Trash, Blue mean sell/donate, yellow means keep. You can use these on larger items, but don’t be lazy and say you are going to do it for everything.

Pile #1: Trash…
The first step is to toss what you no longer want or use. If this includes old car batteries, car parts or used oil, be sure to take them to a recycling center for safe disposal that won’t pollute the environment. If you stumble across old toys or sports equipment that are in good shape but are no longer being used, move them to the Sell/Donate pile and drop them off at a local charity so other kids can enjoy them. Items that are outdated, faded, broken or otherwise unusable can often be dumped. If you don’t want it, and you don’t know anyone else who wants it, dump it today. You’ll be freeing your space–and your mind!

5 Questions To Ask Yourself About Your Clutter
When did I last use this item? If you haven’t used it in the last year, chances are your not going to in the next. Allow yourself to purge old items, interest, hobbies, and unfinished projects to allow room for the really important parts of your life.

Am I going to need this item on a specific date in the future?
If it doesn’t have a definite date of use, the clutter isn’t worth it.

Does this item have a legal or tax purpose?
Paper can be our worst clutter enemy and we often use the excuse of the legal and tax purposes associated with a thirty year collection of receipts. Go through your papers and keep only items that are really needed.

How hard would it be to replace this item again someday if I needed it?
If items are priceless emotionally or historically, they may not be the best items to toss. Consider how hard it would be to replace the item and get rid of things that are a dime a dozen.

In what way is this item making my life more purposeful or better?
If the items are not making you happier, healthier, or better, they are just taking up space and cluttering up your life. Removing these stacks and boxes of stuff will free up your home and your space.

From here, you can start moving the pile into boxes and trash bags and try to get them out of your sight as fast as you can.

TRASH PILE
Now: gather trash bags, boxes or whatever to TRASH these items. If you can, get rid of this stuff right away.

Pile #2- Sell or Donate
First make your decision- are you going to hang onto this crap until the spring yard sale season or do you reeealy just want to be done with it now and donate it. If you want to hang onto your treasures until yard sale make a commitment that you will NOT backslide and start sneaking things out of the yard sale pile to keep. And you’ll have to find a temporary storage space for all your yard sale stuff like a storage shed.

If you have some seriously valuable items check out a local consignment shop- but remember even they only pay ten cents to twenty cents for what you paid for it. And if you really think you have something, check out eBay to find out if you have a chance of selling it there. If you have yard sale, check out the web for some great advice on how to price, and how to advertise and which days to pick for a yard sale.
If you donate, contact your closest Goodwill or Salvation Army or other Thrift store and find out- before you go down :

If they have any current restrictions. If they are in fact taking donations. When they accept donations. If someone is there to help bring the stuff in. Make sure you get a receipt from the thrift store to use for charitable donations for taxes.

Pile #3 MOVE IT and
Pile #4 KEEP IT

So by now, you should see a big reduction in the amount of stuff you have…but if you have a lot left over and it’s not going to neatly fit back into your garage, its probably time you moved it…

We are going to discuss these 2 piles together- because now that your stuff is hopefully reduced, you have 2 different choices of where you can store it.

When I say KEEP IT- I’m assuming you can move it back into the garage or the room you originally pulled it out of. And hopefully it won’t mean you are just going to move all the stuff back in. If you are going to keep it, try to organize it such a way that it’s easy to get to.

The Move It pile-which kind of assumes you are going to keep it-, may be moved to a different location.

Here’s where I can give some really good advice… I would say the #1 reason people start asking about storage sheds is they have too much stuff in their garage or other part of their home. You might be smarter to wait until you have really assessed what you have- and what you pared down to see if you need a storage shed and what size.

A storage shed could be the best solution for storing the stuff you have left over in your “move it” or “keep it” piles. When it comes to storing your items you have a few choices- turn another room into your home into your own storage shed. Rent a storage locker. Buy a storage shed.

Turning another room into a storage shed may not be that practical because few of houses have the luxury where we can find 100 square feet or so to use for storage. But if you do, consider installing some cheap yet sturdy shelving units to get more of your treasures in there.

Renting a storage locker is another alternative but if you think you will be storing your stuff for longer than 3 or 4 months, you could take that rental money and put it into your own storage unit on your property. The biggest drawback to a rental storage locker is that it’s not steps away. If you decide you want to grill, and you know that extra tank of gas is in the storage locker across town, how likely is it that you’ll bundle up, get in your card, drive ½ across town, FIND it, and drag it back. And in theory- once you are done with something, it should go back in storage. There is not a lot customization you can do with a storage unit. It’s kind of like a rental apartment- you can’t really do a lot to it to make it your own.

So if you still have a sizeable amount of your treasures, and you want to be able to access it easily and-this is important- quickly without a lot of hunting- a backyard storage structure could help. Storage sheds come in sizes from 8 feet by 8 feet all the way up to 16 feet by 24 feet.

And, believe it or not, you can rent to own storage sheds. If interested, find out how much it would cost.

Just another ShopRTO Home Lifestyle Tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Know your types of wood furniture. Each have their upside and downside.

Home furniture wood types

Furniture wood can fall into three different categories.

Know your furniture wood types as it will help determine what you spend your money on. Wood furniture falls into three categories:

1. Solid wood furniture is typically more expensive than the other types. It looks great and can stand the test of time better than the others but can be susceptible to scratches and water rings.
2. Veneers have an inexpensive wood base covered by several thin layers of better-quality wood. Because of the cheaper core, veneers aren’t as expensive as solid wood pieces and may not last as long as solid wood.
3. Particle board and composite wood pieces are made from a combination of wood pulp, plastics, and resin, basically the scraps of the furniture world. These are the cheapest type of wood furniture and can look decent, but won’t hold up for decades.

 

It all depends on your priorities and circumstances. If you have kids who like to practice their WWF moves on the furniture then you might consider a heartier solid wood. If it’s a TV stand that sits there basically untouched consider the cheaper woods. But, the point is that all furniture woods are not made equal and you need to be smart and know the differences.

This article is a partial reprint from Money.Msn.com by Angela Colley.

Just another ShopRTO Home Furniture tip.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Some tips for buying your home furniture

Shopping tips for home furniture

Image courtesy of Artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Before you get comfortable on the couch, here are some great home furniture shopping tips.

Look for the seasonal deals. Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Veterans Day and Christmas are the best times for the best prices. Those days are evenly spread throughout the year so be patient and wait for those seasonal dates.

Look at used furniture. You’d be surprised at the good deals you can find with used furniture. Just make sure you inspect it very carefully.  This is where rent to own stores can be a great resource. Those stores do a lot of rentals for short terms and need to move them for newer pieces. Make sure inspect the furniture carefully. Sit on it. Check both sides of the cushions and check its sturdiness.

Consider your home dynamics. Pets and kids should tell you immediately about the necessity of darker colors and strong fabric. If not, then is it the main couch or for the sitting area. Make those your guiding points.

Think long term with colors. It’s one thing to go with a little flare with painting your walls because they can be re-painted easily. Buying an expensive couch with a loud color that seemed like a good idea at the time can be an expensive lesson.

Give it the sturdiness test. The legs should be made of heavy wood and jointed to the frame. Plastic, rubber or metal legs can tear up your floors and may not stand the test of time. Same goes for nailed-in wood legs. If you’re spending more than $1,000 on a sofa, look for one with a fifth leg in the middle. It provides extra support. You won’t find them on many cheaper sofas.

Check the springs. If you like firm sofas, look for coiled springs. If you want the softer feel, go with zigzag coils. Before you buy, do the coil test and take the cushions and press down on the base of the sofa. The coils should push down and spring back into place immediately.

Test the cushions. Look for firm cushions with a removable cover matching on both sides. Firm cushions hold up better over time. Fully covered cushions cost a bit more than ones with the pattern on one side and a plain white or tan backing, but they’ll last longer and wear evenly if you can flip them over every few months. Find removable covers that are easily washable.

Just another ShopRTO Home Furniture tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Air conditioner energy saving tips

air conditioner tips

Try these tips to cool down your bills.

Buying a bigger room air conditioner won’t necessarily make you feel more comfortable during the hot summer months. In fact, a room air conditioner that’s too big for the area it is supposed to cool will perform less efficiently and less effectively than a smaller, properly sized unit. The reason: an oversized unit will cool the room(s) to the thermostat set-point before proper dehumidification occurs, making the area feel “clammy” and uncomfortable. Central air-conditioning systems need to be sized by professionals.

If you have a central air system in your home, set the fan to shut off at the same time as the compressor, which is usually done by setting the “auto” mode on the fan setting. In other words, don’t use the system’s central fan to provide air circulation — use circulating fans in individual rooms.

Instead of air-conditioning, consider installing a whole-house fan. Whole-house fans work in many climates and help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. Use the fan most effectively to cool down your house during cooler times of the day: your home will stay cooler through the hotter times of the day without using the fan.

COOLING TIPS
Set your thermostat at as high a temperature as comfortably possible in the summer, and ensure humidity control if needed. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.

Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.

Consider using an interior fan along with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
Avoid placing appliances that give off heat such as lamps or TVs near a thermostat.

LONG-TERM SAVINGS TIPS
If your air conditioner is old, consider buying an energy-efficient model. Look for the ENERGY STAR® and EnergyGuide labels — qualified room air conditioners are 10% more efficient, and qualified central units are about 14% more efficient than standard models. Consider installing a whole-house fan or evaporative cooler if appropriate for your climate.

Just another ShopRTO energy saving tip for the home. This article is from energy.gov.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Some cool tips to cleaning stainless steel

stainless steel appliances

Keep that gloss on for years.

Cleaning those stainless steel appliances can be easy, quick and smart using these three tips.

For a quick clean, use a micro fiber dampened cloth followed by a dry micro fiber cloth. Make sure you wipe with the grain.

For those tougher spots, use rubbing alcohol. It’s cheap and works. Put rubbing alcohol on a dry cloth and wipe down the stainless steel. The alcohol dissolves quickly and dries streak free.

To keep stainless steel beautiful for years, use olive oil once a month. Just a few drops on a dry cloth and apply a thin coat. The oil helps masks scratches and keeps a gloss for years.

So, quit reading this and go pull out your olive oil because I’m fairly certain it’s been more than a month since you applied that olive oil coat to your stainless steel refrigerator.

Just another ShopRTO ‘keeping your home clean’ tip.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

How to Buy Furniture for Your Home

Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 12.41.53 PMQ: What items should we invest in, and which ones should we just buy new?

A: “There are four key pieces you should invest in for every home,” says interior designer Vanessa de Vargas, owner of the Venice, California, home boutique Turquoise. First? A sofa. Not only is it often the very first thing you and others see when you open the door, but it gets used all the time, so you want something high quality. Next on her list: A dining table and chairs. Again, she says, you are eating every day, perhaps a few times a day on your dining table. And if you have children, lots of guests, or find yourself turning your table into a work station from time to time, you want something that will stand the test of time. The last two quality items you want go in the bedroom: “Invest in a great bed and mattress, do not go cheap on that” says De Vargas.

Q: How long should we expect our couch to last?
A: The general prognosis is about 10 to 15 years, says Sotheby’s-trained home shopping expert Jennifer Litwin, author of Best Furniture Buying Tips Ever. But it depends on how you and your family are using those couches. “If it’s your only couch and you’re laying on it every night, it’s going to wear faster,” says Litwin, who currently has couches in her house going on 10 years — because she says, “we take really good care of them.” Here are some of Litwin’s suggestions for making your couch last longer: (1) Keep it out of the sun, as the sun will fade fabric couches, and suck the moisture out of leather ones, which can lead to cracking. (2) Keep the fabric of an upholstered couch clean and vacuum under the cushions, on the backside, and on the underside, as stains or lost Craisins can add to the wear and tear of the fibers. (3) Clean the couch legs. If they are metal, wipe them down with sudsy warm water, but avoid those alcohol-based spray cleaners, which can break down the metal or coating. “If they’re wooden legs, oil them to keep them in good condition,” says Litwin, “so they will be less likely to chip or crack.”

Q: Should we reupholster furniture from Craig’s List or just buy new?
A: “To decide whether to buy or reupholster used furniture depends on the quality of the wood with which they were manufactured,” explains Sergio Tinoco, founder of L.A.’s custom design company Designs by Sergio, which has done upholstering work for hotels and celebrity clients including Jennifer Garth and Noah Wyle (designsbysergio.com). “If it is an antique good quality piece, it’s better and cheaper to reupholster and refinish the piece, rather than buying a new one.” Generally, it’s also worth reupholstering if you’ve found a unique piece that you won’t find at your local Crate & Barrel. Whether the item is old or mass market new, consider the costs you may face: “Reupholstering a couch would cost about $800 to $1,600, and a chair around $150 to $300,” explains Tinoco, though that doesn’t include the price of fabric. “It does not matter if is a small chair or a big one, because it’s all about work. For example, an antique or carved chair that would be reupholstered would cost more because the upholsterer has to be more careful to not damage the wood frame while he is doing his job.”

Q: What do I need to know before buying a crystal chandelier?
A: Before getting mesmerized at the chandelier shop and losing all sense of size and practicality, measure the area where you’re planning to place the chandelier. “Ideally, you want it to be placed in the center of the room or area you’re using,” says Nadav Paskal, president of Expert Lighting in New York City, which installs and cleans chandeliers in high-end hotels and private residences. In a dining room, “you want 36 inches between the table and the bottom crystal of the chandelier,” explains Paskal. If that leaves you with, say 30 inches, between that point and the ceiling, your maximum chandelier size is about 28 inches high, to account for the canopy hook and at least one link of chain it will hang on. “In a hallway, you want at least seven feet from the floor to the base of the chandelier, in case a tall person is walking through.” In a foyer, place it as squarely in the center as you can, instead of trying to place it in the center of a particular doorway or window. “The chandelier is for you, not your neighbor,” says Paskal. As for the quality of the crystals, you pay for what you get. Great quality crystals — they will look clear and reflect colors, not just white — like Waterford and Baccarat will cost much more, compared to low quality like Chinese crystal, says Paskal. Next, choose one with a good frame. “Whether there’s crystal on it or not, the frame alone should look nice,” says Paskal, “so just imagine it on its own.” Inside your house, you can wire a small chandelier yourself, but make sure the size of the chandelier base you have will fit the hole in your ceiling; otherwise, call an electrician or contractor to install it for you. Finally, clean your chandelier once a year. “When you buy a Porsche, you keep the car clean or it will look like a Hyundai, right?” says Paskal. Professional cleaners like his use a special salt solution and hot water, and remove the crystals one by one. Whether you do this or not, “Don’t use Windex or chemical sprays,” says Paskal. “It’s fine for the crystals, but the alcohol in it will gore into the gold or silver pins holding the crystals on, and turn them black.”

Q: How do you buy dining room furniture?
A: “The best way is to go to a consignment store or auction,” says Sotheby’s-trained home shopping expert Jennifer Litwin, author of Best Furniture Buying Tips Ever, because you can find quality tables for less money than new ones. Why? “When people move, they either don’t want to put a nice table on the truck, or they want a new table for a new space. So they’re desperate to physically remove it.” That’s where the consignment store pickups come in. When it comes to the type of wood you want, consider that “darker woods tend to be harder and more solid woods than lighter ones.” As for the finish, she suggests avoiding tables with a too-high luster. “It’s hard to clean and it’s hard to prevent heat burns and cold burns that go through the layers of high luster on a piece,” says Litwin. When it comes to dining room chairs, be prepared to shell out. “Typically chairs are more expensive than the table,” says Litwin. To save money, consider the eclectic look of unmatching chairs: Pull some modern plastic or Lucite chairs up to a wood table; or, buy used chairs and paint them in a bright high gloss color. If you like the matching look, buy the table and chair “suite,” which will get you a slightly better deal. “The best time of year to buy dining furniture is after Christmas,” says Litwin, “when people aren’t entertaining as much.”

Q: When it comes to buying antiques, how can you recognize the good stuff?
A: The key is in the materials used for the item, and what condition the item is in. If you’re buying an antique, make sure the item, say, a dining hutch, is made of real wood, not wood laminate or wood-covered particle-board. If you’re not sure, pick it up: A quality piece should feel solid and heavy. The drawers should work smoothly, and be held together by a dovetail joint construction (notches of wood sliding into each other before being glued or nailed), rather than just glued. Finally, “inspect your pieces to see if there are things that are missing or need fixing,” says interior designer Vanessa de Vargas, owner of the Venice, California, home boutique Turquoise. “Then ask yourself: Do these flaws matter to you? Do you want to spend the investment having something repaired? Do you love the shape so much that you don’t care how much it will cost to reupholster?” For De Vargas, it’s worth doing the extra work to get a piece that will stand the test of time. “I like to buy something with great bones, that’s manufactured by hand,” says De Vargas. “A lot of the woods and materials that were used in the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s aren’t used anymore — they don’t make furniture like that anymore. You can pick up a vintage piece for $200, have it reupholstered, and you have a piece that will last you another 100 years.”

Q: What kind of coffee table will look beautiful and be kid-friendly?
A: In terms of kid safety, you want a table that will survive the “topple effect.” Meaning you should avoid big wide tops on a slim middle core. Be sure that if a child grabs an edge — or, as kids will, tries to sit on it — the table will remain balanced under the weight. So look for tables with four sturdy legs on the edges, or for tables that run from top to floor all the way around, like a solid ottoman. Also, choose a table with rounded edges. “Natuzzi makes beautiful white lacquer coffee tables that are so low to the ground, you don’t have to worry about them getting under it and nailing their head on the corner,” says new mom Susan, who lives in Battery Park City in New York. “And I have a circular table, so I don’t have to worry about the edges.” (Check out natuzzi.co.uk for styles.) Finally, consider the life of the table. Avoid soft woods that will dent, and glass tops that can either chip, or just leave you cleaning the dang thing 12 times a day thanks to one unstoppable kid feature: fingerprints.

Q: Our office is also our guest bedroom, so we’re considering a futon. Is there another less college-looking piece we can buy?
A: Ah yes, the futon. Sometimes you don’t want to live with ’em, but you can’t have guests without ’em. Luckily, furniture designers are reinventing the ’80s creation into sleeker and more modern designs, along with renaming them into things like sleeper sofas and daybeds. “I think for a young couple starting out, versatility is key,” says Sotheby’s-trained home shopping expert Jennifer Litwin, author of Best Furniture Buying Tips Ever. Some of the best sleeper sofas allow you to recline in multiple directions, and order the item in beautiful fabrics. One of Litwin’s favorites: “Ligne Roset makes great quality furniture, including a sofa bed that opens left, opens right, and bends back. It’s not inexpensive,” she warns, “but I rated it as the best in the premium category.” She says Innovation also makes a versatile futon that can carry you through the years and multiple locations. And if you want your futon or daybed to look like nice furniture, treat it like nice furniture: add pillows in gorgeous fabrics or a cashmere throw over the back.

Q: What does custom shelving cost?
A: “The best custom shelving for books is made from real wood, which is solid and strong, but will cost more and add to the value of your house,” says custom woodworker Marius Tudor, owner of Modern Marvels in Atlanta, Georgia. The alternative is materials like the now oft-used MDF (medium-density fibreboard), which is basically a synthetic wood material made from tiny chips of wood hot glued together, to create a heavier and more dense product than particle board. When choosing the material, woodworkers will divide them into the more expensive “stain grade” (the best quality and appearance) and “paint grade” (which can be lower quality since you’ll be covering it up). The cost of custom shelving overall varies, but is priced by the linear foot, which is presumed to be about three feet high. Tudor says, “even a paint-grade MDF will cost $95 to $200 per linear foot.” He estimates, for example, that a 12-foot-long library wall with just shelves and a four-foot doorway starts at about $2,500 for paint-grade material and goes up from there for higher end materials and details. If you prefer the look of stained wood, Tudor says you can ask for stain-grade material in the places that show — like trim, doors, and panels — and use cheaper paint grade or MDF in the hidden areas. Want the look of custom shelves for a much cheaper price? Just buy standing wooden bookshelves (or have them custom made to fit a space), “and anchor them to the wall with L-shaped brackets in a hidden spot,” suggests Tudor.

FULL REPORT HERE

Save cooking time by freezing your fresh dinners for later

freezing fresh food tips

Freeze your fresh cooking for later use

With such a busy lifestyle but still wanting to eat fresh and homemade meals, make larger portions of your meals for the purpose to freeze them for later use. It’s a great way to eat healthy and save time when time is the one thing you don’t have for cooking on any particular day. If you freeze meals, make sure you do it as wisely as possible and here are some tips to follow.

To successfully freeze foods, there are some simple rules you need to follow. The two most important bits of advice are to make sure you wrap the foods very well, and that you keep careful track of what is in your freezer. Freezer burn is dehydration of the food caused by improper packing, and wastes food. And if you don’t label the foods in your freezer and have a frequently updated chart of what’s in there, your freezer will be impenetrable in a very short time – which also wastes food.

Here are some more tips:

Freezer temperature should 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a thermometer to check the temperature.
Use microwave safe plastic wrap if you plan to thaw or cook the frozen food in the microwave.
Freeze in smaller portions so the food cools faster and thaws faster for best quality.
Freeze in thin portions.
You can freeze ingredients for a casserole in individual packets, then place the smaller packets into one large bag. Make sure you label well including date, thawing and baking instructions.
Line casserole dishes with heavy duty foil before assembling. Fill casserole, freeze, then remove foil wrapped food and seal in ziplock heavy duty freezer bag. Place in original container to thaw and bake.
Remember that freezing will not improve foods, it will just keep them at their original freshness and quality. Freeze only top quality foods.

Just another ShopRTO home freezer and lifestyle tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Motion computer games can help kids fight obesity

 

rent to own motion computer games

Get moving with your computer games

Computer games have long been regarded as the bane of today’s children causing weight gain and numbness to the brain. But with the explosion of motion gaming from the likes of PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii and XBox may revolutionize its image. A recent two-year study conducted by the University of Auckland in New Zealand found that sustained use of games that had an active element like dance mats or motion sensors can be good for overweight children.

The study included 300 children showed a positive effect on the body mass index of the active gamers aged between 10 and 14, compared to the control group of children who were not regularly playing the games. According to principal investigator Ralph Maddison, the effects were small but showed gaming could play a role in enabling kids to remain active.

“The study findings show that this technology has the potential to be a useful addition to a raft of health interventions. It could have significant implications for health professionals to combat the obesity epidemic or develop rehabilitation programs,” he said.

“Also because of the appeal of traditional video games, at an individual level, parents may have more success encouraging the substitution of sedentary video games with more active ones rather than trying to stop children and young people from gaming altogether.”

The advancement of the motion sensor technology doesn’t seem to be stopping potentially creating more fun and incentives to be active by playing video games. I guess this isn’t your father’s asteroids game anymore, huh?

If you wanting to rent one of these game systems to try out or for the birthday party, go to your local rent to own store and check out how easy and convenient the rent to own option is.

Just another ShopRTO computer games tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Choose the right throw rugs for your home

Throw rugs are home decorations

Pick the right rug that fits your lifestyle.

Throw rugs make a decorative and functional piece to your rooms. They can be really expensive or surprisingly affordable and look great. Here are a few tips when looking for that throw rug to throw down for a nice accent to the room.

What size of rug?  Make the size of the area rug a bit smaller than the area covered by the furniture. The size of the area rug depends on the furniture layout. It should be large enough to support the gathering space, but not overbearing to disrupt the flow.

Choose the shape and size according to the room.  Rugs come in all shapes and sizes, and one for every space. An area rug’s shape should depend on the furniture and the shape and size of the room. For instance, a rectangular rug with a long table, a hexagonal rug with a square table and a round rug with a round table.

Choose the rug that fits the family.  Children and pets means wear and tear to an area rug, so keep this in mind when deciding colors and fabric to use. Purchase the rug with your lifestyle in mind. If you have pets and young kids, be sure to use wool rugs that can clean easily and have some pattern to hide the inevitable stains, shedding, hair and spills.

Just another ShopRTO home decorating tip.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home decorating and living tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Use natural art for summer home decorating

 

Home decorating tips using natural art.

Use nature for home decorating.

Invite the outdoors in this summer with decor inspired by nature. Whether you put out a display of shells or hang a botanical poster, a little bit of nature will bring a fresh look to your home decorating.

Sometimes the addition of a single natural object can launch a vignette into perfection. Look for items that have insteresting shapes and are to scale with the rest of the display.

Believe it or not but taxidermy and antlers are hot in home decor and can add a little rustic appeal to cottage style, but they look just as at home when juxtaposed against a more modern aesthetic. Shop estate sales and flea markets to dig up mounted antlers.

Use bowls and trays to corral stray objects, and display shells or rocks inside the pretty vessels.

For wall art with dimension, hang a twisty, tangly branch on the wall. Try manzanita branches, which are characterized by their forked, spindly tines.

An ensemble of small houseplants adds the perfect amount of natural character to any space. Green plants function as a unique and balanced centerpiece. Beautiful wood grains on the tabletop and chairs further incorporate organic flair. To maintain free-flowing conversation at the table, keep your containers low so diners don’t have to duck around the plants to chat.
Just another Shop RTO Home Decorating tip. Thank you to Better Home and Gardens.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Your computer and TV service are going ‘Star Trek’ with fiber optic speed

Computer broadband service

The next generation of Internet service is 100X faster.

The competition of computer technology and consumers’ devouring appetite for faster computers and Internet service has propelled the next generation of broadband service. Google recently announced its introduction of fiber optic broadband services that boast a 1 gigabyte per second speed of Internet service.

That’s 100 times faster than today’s delivery and has all of the Internet service providers scrambling to either add discounted service or jumping into the laboratory to create their own ‘starship enterprise’.

The implications go far beyond just the Internet. Because the Internet, computer and TV are all merging that means greater TV service with more DVR capabilities and such.

It also means the U.S. will once again upgrade  the infrastructure for this lightening fast service. That means digging up holes, crawling up telephone polls and all of the work necessary to attach that cable to your home. But, providers aren’t too worried as the process of providing cable service to homes has become much easier than last decade.

It will also further guarantee U.S. as number 8 or better in the world for Internet delivery service from its ranking of 22nd four years ago. The computer and its partnership with the Internet are fusing so fast that is creating what sociologists are calling the digital divide.

The division of these upgraded services for those who can afford vs those who cannot thus creating a ‘have’ vs ‘have nots’ and the implications thereof. The fierce competition between the computer companies and Internet providers also means that companies are forced to offer those products at affordable rates which will hopefully keep that digital divide at a minimum.

At any rate, all consumers need to start learning the phrase of “beam me up” because it’s here to stay.

Rent to own computers have been providing affordable and easily upgradable computers to consumers for the past two decades. Make sure you consider rent to own for an affordable way to get that computer in your home. Or to rent long enough until the latest and greatest computer technology to be introduced. Then you just replace your previous rental and get the upgrade without all of the ownership and upgrade hassles.

Just another Shop RTO futurist tip and HD TV tip.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

How ’bout some refrigerator cleaning tips

refrigerator cleaning tips

Try these tips when cleaning your refrigerator.

Don’t be afraid — cleaning a refrigerator (and keeping it clean) isn’t a herculean task if you follow these tips:

Create a homemade all-purpose cleaner by combining the following in a gallon of hot water: 1 cup clear ammonia, ½-cup vinegar and ¼-cup baking soda. Pour into a spray bottle, or use from a bowl with a sponge. This no-rinse formula is a degreaser that prevents mold and mildew. Wipe down the entire refrigerator with this solution, including the drawers and shelves.

To prevent grease and odor buildup on top of the refrigerator after you’ve cleaned it, just buff some paste wax into the surface.

Use toothpaste to remove tough stains. It contains a gentle abrasive and has a pleasant odor.

To get those dust bunnies out from under the refrigerator, remove the grill and run a yardstick covered with a pair of pantyhose underneath. Also check the pan of water under the unit, since it can hold unpleasant-smelling water.

To combat household odors, fill a clean old sock with activated charcoal from an aquarium store, tie a knot in the top and place it in the back of the refrigerator. This will last a month or two, depending on the size of your refrigerator and how heavily you use it.

For a faster fix for odors, sprinkle vanilla extract on some cotton balls, place in a shallow dish and put in the refrigerator. Orange extract also works.

Eliminate lingering odors in your vegetable bins by putting a crumpled piece of a brown paper grocery bag inside and leaving it for 48 hours. The paper will absorb the odor.

Check for adequate tightness of the insulating seam around the door by placing a lighted flashlight inside the refrigerator and closing the door. Turn off the lights in the room (this should be done at night) and see if any light escapes from the seams. This will help you pinpoint any leaks.

If you don’t keep your refrigerator full, fill a large bottle (at least a gallon) with water and leave it in the refrigerator. It helps keep the refrigerator cool and running efficiently.

Keep your refrigerator at 37 degrees.

This is a post from HGTV. Just another ShopRTO Kitchen Appliance tip.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Mix it up at dinner time and use some creative table settings

Creative Dining Room Table Settings

Flowers in a soup tureen as a creative table setting.

Sometimes the most memorable times as a family is at the dining room table just being a family on a regular day. Many lifestyle experts say that the family together at the dining room table should be mandatory and planned at least once a week to further the family unit.

So pick that day or days and have some fun and be imaginative with your table settings. How about using that soup tureen as a vase? I have to be honest. I didn’t know what a “tureen” was and had to look it up. See what ShopRTO can do for you? Providing home decorating tips and new vocabulary all in one story.

Serve those Sweet Potato fries in a mug or ice cream in a martini glass. Another tip and great for the kids is use white boards as place mats. Makes you look cool and mod while giving the kids something to doodle on when Dad starts bellowing on about the good ‘ole days.

You can scatter small candles throughout the table. Don’t burn the house down though. (Our lawyer made us put that sentence in.) Here’s one that is completely cheesy but good cheese is to create personalized name flags inserted into a lemon or lime. These are just a few creative tips to consider when planning the family dinner.

The whole point to these tips is to shake it up a little when sitting at the dinner table for a simple moment that could last a lifetime.

As a side note, you want to make sure you have a new and/or nice dinner table for those table settings. Go to your nearest rent to own store if you need a dining room table and flexible payments to keep it within your monthly budget.

Just another ShopRTO home decorating tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Another TV format to worry about and spend money on? It’s Ultra HD TV.

Rent to own HD TV

Look into the future – Ultra HD TV.

For you TV enthusiasts and fanatics, those who need the biggest and best, especially for that Cowboys game, peer into the future for Ultra HD TV. With a current price tag at $20,000, it’s probably 5 years away so don’t start salivating yet.

If you haven’t yet heard some mutterings about 4K or Ultra HD, which is being billed as the next big thing in HDTV resolution, then thank us for enlightening you for the future TV experience.

An Ultra HD television is one that displays at least 8 million active pixels, with a minimum resolution of 3,840 by 2,160. Sony, Toshiba, and LG have announced Ultra HD televisions.

In fact, the 84-inch LG 84LM9600 went on sale in late October for $20,000. With prices that high and virtually no content to watch at that resolution, it’s safe to stick with a 1080p TV for the foreseeable future. Ultra HD isn’t coming to your living room any time soon.

Is a mirror functional or decorative?

Home Furniture Ideas

Your mirror as a home decorating statement.

With the rising cost of food, fuel and heating bills, there is often very little left in the pot at the end of the month for home improvements. However, there are plenty of ideas and suggestions to make home improvements which do not cost the earth (see other posts on this website) and will lift our spirits and enhance our living space. Simple things such as treating a room to a new coat of paint, a strategically placed vase of flowers or removing some of the clutter, can all add to the harmony of a room. Another clever and relatively inexpensive way of changing the mood, theme or feel of your home is to hang a mirror in a room. Mirrors have long since come out of the bathroom or downstairs loo and the choice and selection is now vast. Large mirrors, round or oval. Classical or contemporary. There will always be a mirror for a wall but before selecting a mirror, it is important you ask yourself a few questions and stick to a few simple guidelines.  Ask yourself:

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE MIRROR?

Is it purely functional? If this is the case, it is important that the mirror placement works well with the lighting. There is nothing worse than not being able to see when you apply your moisturizer or mascara! Is it to make a room appear larger or lighter? Dark hall ways and north facing rooms benefit from reflective light. Small rooms appear larger, which is why show homes might be short on generous bedroom dimensions but the interior designer cleverly disguises this with strategically placed mirrors! Do you want it for mood lighting – perhaps to catch the light from candles at a dinner party? Some mirrors come into their own at night time and bring a room alive with reflected light. Which wall will it hang on? This will not only dictate the dimensions of the mirror, but will also determine the view it reflects back. Choose the right wall and the garden becomes part of your room. Choose the wrong wall and you may well be looking at your car on the drive or your wheelie bin!

Do you want a mirror to be a statement piece which gives the room a wow factor? Some mirrors are very flamboyant and decorative. They often tell a lot about your personality and style. Many mirrors now are used to add interest to a room. Where once people hung pictures, often the preferred option is now to hang a decorative mirror. Are you looking for a mirror which adds to the theme of your room? Or perhaps you could design the room around the mirror. Think soft muted colors. Creams. floaty throws and lace and your preferred choice might well be a shabby chic mirror, redolent of bygone ages.

Whether you are looking for something classic with a traditional look, such as gold or silver, or a statement piece for a contemporary look, it is very simple to find the one which suits your taste and room. Bear in mind these simple guidelines and you will not go wrong. Inexpensive. Simple. Stylish. In fact, you might find the hardest thing will be to just choose one mirror!

This is a post from Sara Woodward from Decorating Blogs.

Just another ShopRTO home decorating tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

DIY kitchen makeover!

Design your dream kitchen using this cool design tool from Whirlpool.

Choose from instantly view and swap Whirlpool appliances in kitchens customized by you.

Get started and let the possibilities begin!

Will X-Box One centralize living room gadgets once and for all?

The Xbox One — Microsoft’s latest iteration of it’s popular gaming console –  is its strongest push so far to dominate consumers’ living rooms with a complete entertainment system designed for the whole family.

The new device interacts with a television, responds to voice and gesture commands and is intended to be simple and intuitive.

Jim Yin, Analyst, S&P Capital IQ said it is aimed at expanding sales beyond just gamers: “They (Microsoft) are at the forefront of not only bringing this console to the core gamers, but also to the mass market. And I think that’s more important, because I think in order for this industry to grow and to continue to bring more users, they have to expand beyond the core gamers.”

Challenge

Industry analysts called this a big challenge from Microsoft to Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Wii.

The Xbox One will compete with the Wii U – rolled out late last year to lackluster sales – and the forthcoming PlayStation 4.

Each wants a bigger slice of the 50 billion euro a year games market, but with sales of hardware and software slipping, Microsoft hopes to win a place as a hub for living room entertainment.

Indeed Microsoft did not refer to the new gadget as a “console” but rather an entertainment system, signaling its renewed focus on making the Xbox a sort of window for media and entertainment content, pointed out Forrester Research’s James McQuivey.

The software giant is “trying to break out of the category” and risks having to battle not just Sony and Nintendo but Apple, Google and others to control consumer entertainment in the age of Smart TVs tablets and smartphones, he said.

Content

Acclaimed movie maker Steven Spielberg will be executive-producing a television series based on Microsoft’s blockbuster sci-fi game “Halo” – one of the game industry’s largest franchises by revenue – for the Xbox One.

The new console will also offer exclusive National Football League content and eight new game franchises, executives said.

FULL STORY

Just another great ShopRTO Computer Games tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Designer Secrets for Small Spaces

From forgoing the coffee table to putting a sink outside the bathroom, here are 10 clever decorating ideas and tips for how to decorate a small space.

From colors, to multi-purposing, extending rooms outside and and other decorating ideas, check out these tips.

Full details

Plasma vs. LCD vs. LED: Which HDTV Type is Best?

HD TV types can be difficult to find out

Which HD TV is the best for you?

When you’re shopping for an HDTV, there are plenty of factors to consider. Chief among them is the type of display. While boxy, bulky CRTs are long dead and mammoth rear-projection HDTVs are all but extinct, the HDTV market currently offers three distinct choices in display technologies: plasma, traditional CCFL-backlit LCD, and LED-backlit LCD. For years, the question of which technology reigned supreme has remained unanswered.

In the early days of HDTVs, plasma, with its inky blacks and top-notch picture quality, was the prevalent flat-panel technology, especially among videophiles. Gradually, thinner, more energy-efficient LCDs with CCFL backlighting became less expensive and more capable and started gaining ground. The difference between plasma and LCD wavered for some time, with each offering different economic and visual benefits depending on the model, price, and time in the life cycle of HDTVs. But in the past couple of years, with the advent of increasingly sophisticated LED backlighting, we finally have a true winner. With its unmatched energy efficiency, LED-based LCD is the best flat-panel HDTV technology. Unfortunately, it’s also generally the most expensive, though by less of a margin than there was a few years ago. If it’s in your budget, the choice is clear: Pay the premium and get an LED-backlit HDTV.

The Basics: What’s the Difference Between LCD, LED, and Plasma?
The three technologies are vastly different, particularly with respect to how each screen is lit. In plasma HDTVs, the phosphors that create the image on the screen light up themselves, and don’t require backlighting. For LCD HDTVs, however, the liquid crystal screen does not illuminate, requiring a separate light source. That’s where the difference between “regular” LCD screens (also known as CCFL-backlit LCD) and LED-backlit LCD screens (also known as LED-LCD, or just LED screens) come in. Traditional LCD HDTVs use cold cathode fluorescent lights (CCFLs) to illuminate the screen. CCFLs are similar to the fluorescent lights you might see in some lamps and overhead light fixtures. They use a charged gas to produce light. LED screens, like their name implies, use light emitting diodes (LEDs) to illuminate the display. LED backlighting has become much more common in the last few years, and CCFLs are now generally only seen on budget HDTVs.

Several factors can be influenced by the type of HDTV display you choose. Among them, the most prominent are screen thickness, brightness, darkness, energy efficiency, and price. Ideally, you want an HDTV that’s affordable, paper-thin, can get face-of-the-sun-bright and black-hole-dark, and consumes less than a watt. That’s currently impossible, but LED-backlit LCD HDTVs can come closer than the other two technologies.

For this advantage, LED HDTVs command a premium; for all major HDTV manufacturers, LED-backlit HDTVs typically cost more than CCFL-backlit HDTVs of the same size. However, LED HDTVs have become standard for both midrange and high-end models, as CCFL screens have been relegated to the budget category. Generally, plasmas tend to be less expensive than LEDs but slightly more than CCFL-backlit HDTVs. That savings means the screen will be thicker and more power-hungry, though, even if it does tend to offer as good a picture as an LED-backlit HDTV.

Image Quality
How good the picture looks, especially if you’re a videophile or a cinema fanatic, is the most vital aspect of any HDTV. Specifically, peak white and black levels determine how detailed an image will appear. Poor white levels mean fine details can get washed out in bright scenes, while poor black levels mean shadows swallow up parts of the picture in dark scenes. A very wide gamut from dark to light lets the HDTV show the tiniest details, regardless of how bright or dark the movie gets. In our tests, we measure white and black levels by luminance using a Chroma Meter. A mediocre HDTV might produce black levels of 0.05 to 0.07 cd/m2, while an excellent HDTV will offer levels of 0.01 to 0.03 cd/m2. Historically, plasma HDTVs have produced the best black levels, specifically the discontinued Pioneer Kuro HDTV brand. The Kuro’s screen got so satisfyingly dark that it remained a popular HDTV for enthusiasts long after Pioneer stopped making the sets. The domination of plasma in this field, however, is over. Our current Editors’ Choice HDTV, the LED-based Sharp Elite Pro-60X5FD , puts out 0.01 cd/m2, the best level we can measure. That any LED-backlit LCD can get that dark shows how far the technology has come.

White levels don’t matter quite as much, because it’s more difficult for screens to show fine details in shadows and easier to crank out very bright whites with backlighting, but they can still matter. At this, LED backlighting again triumphs. The Sharp Elite Pro-60X5FD reaches a very impressive 382.62 cd/m2 white level, and combined with that 0.01 cd/m2 black level, you get a staggering 38,262:1 contrast ratio. It completely (and literally) outshines the Panasonic TC-P55ST50 plasma$1,699.95 at Amazon, which puts out only 85.45 cd/m2 peak white while offering a 0.03 cd/m2black level for a comparatively low 2,848:1 contrast ratio. Plasma screens were once the kings of contrast and color, but the Sharp Elite series has successfully taken the crown from the Pioneer Elite Kuro plasma series of years ago, once considered the gold standard for HDTVs. Granted, less expensive LED HDTVs don’t reach the Sharp Elite’s performance, but they still often produce valiant showings. While plasma HDTVs don’t tend to get quite as bright, the colors and black levels usually make up for it (though you probably won’t notice that in the store, where all HDTVs are set to be as bright and vivid as they can be to catch your eye, with little thought for color accuracy).

HDTV Comparisons

Use ShopRTO to buy the best HDTV for your home

Size and Power
Screen thickness isn’t the most important aspect of an HDTV, but initially, it’s the most noticeable. A super-thin HDTV is not only visually striking, but it’s more easily mounted on a wall, and can be more readily arranged, displayed, or concealed as part of your home theater. On this point, LED screens win hands-down, with plasma close behind. The CCFLs that backlight low-end LCD screens are much thicker than LEDs. LEDs can be very thin yet extremely bright, meaning an array of LEDs along the edge of an LCD can light it up while completely removing the backlight from the equation (this configuration is termed “edge lighting”). At this point, though, array backlighting is thin enough to compete with edge lighting.

Plasma HDTVs also weigh more than LED-backlit LCD HDTVs. The 60-inch LED-based Samsung UN46ES8000F LED HDTV$2,799.99 at Crutchfield.com weighs 45 pounds without a stand, while the 55-inch Panasonic TC-P55ST50 plasma HDTV weighs 62 pounds but offers less screen area.

Energy efficiency is an important factor when choosing an HDTV, and between the three technologies LED-backlit HDTVs win again. LED HDTVs measuring 55 inches or less consistently consume around 80 watts or less, while plasma HDTVs can eat up two or three times as much. The 55-inch LG 55LW9800  LED HDTV consumed only 89 watts in our tests, while the 55-inch Panasonic TC-P55ST50 plasma HDTV used a whopping 305 watts. That’s over three times the power for the same screen size.

The Verdict
If you can afford them, LED-backlit HDTVs are the way to go. They’re thin, energy efficient, and can produce a great picture, but getting all three of those features costs a premium. If you’re on a budget, look for a good plasma screen. They’re heavy power hogs, but you can get a gorgeous cinematic experience for not nearly as much money. If your budget is limited and you can’t find a plasma, CCFL is likely your only other choice, but CCFL-backlit LCDs typically can’t match plasmas or LEDs on screen size or features.

This article is from WIll Greenwald from PCMag.

Try any of these models from your local rent to own store. Test them out with their ‘try before you buy’ option. Buy a previously rented HD TV for one heck of a deal. Or rent to own one with their 90 days same as cash option saving you tons of bucks.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Arrange the bedroom to make the most of your space

Arranging Bedroom Furniture

Use your bedroom dresser as the TV stand.

To arrange your bedroom, consider door and window placement, the room’s dimension and the size of your furniture. Place the largest pieces first and then work in the smaller pieces to create a bedroom that is arranged to suit your space and needs.

Here’s how to get the restful retreat that you crave. Your bed is the largest piece of furniture in your room so start with that. As a general rule, you have 2 choices for where to place the bed, either on the wall opposite your bedroom’s door which creates a pleasant view when you enter the room or along the room’s longest wall.

Most bedrooms have at least one length of wall that isn’t interrupted by windows or doors. This gives you plenty of room to put a night stand on each side of the bed. The next consideration is your dresser which is usually the second largest piece of bedroom furniture. If you use a wide chest, it can also function as a tv stand. In this case, it makes sense to place the dresser across from the bed for easy viewing.

Once the largest furnishings have been placed, determine if you have space for more such as a bedside table or two which will add more storage in the surface for placing a lamp , clock and other bedside necessities.

If you have extra space, consider a small desk and chair outfitted with a mirror for primping or office supplies for writing and filing. Place a small ottoman or bench at the end of your bed as a handy porch for sitting to put on shoes in the morning.

Thank you to Better Homes and Garden for the post.

Just another ShopRTO Home Decorating and Bedroom Furniture Tip. Two for the price of one.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

 

Use the “Energy Guide” to replace your refrigerator or dishwasher?

RTO Full ServiceIf you bought your refrigerator before 1993 or your dishwasher before 1994, when federal energy-efficiency guidelines for each went into effect, it’s time to replace them with more efficient models. Use FTC’s Energy Guide information to help find the most energy efficient appliances.

Use rent to own to try to get that refrigerator or dishwasher in your home. Use the ready to own option to try it before you buy it or to not mess with your credit or go into debt. There are many ways to use rent to own. Check ‘em out.

Just another ShopRTO appliance and money saving tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Is your home “personalized”?

Home mementos for your home

Personalize your home with vacation and childhood mementos.

Personalize your home decor by incorporating mementos from vacations or special occasions. The move will integrate your personality and life experiences into the spaces, where they can be admired by guests and family. Whether it’s a collection of shells from a beach vacation or a framed wedding invitation or birth announcement, even the simplest of items become display-worthy when they recall a special memory.

And, remember this home decorating tip on your next vacation. Pick up that something unique from your trip for your yard and home. After years of doing so, your home becomes a your story to be shown and told. Your home is your personal sanctuary so ‘personalize’ it. You’ll be amazed how much better it will make you feel.

Just another ShopRTO home decorating tip.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Convection Baking or Regular Baking?

Rent to own convection stove

Know when to use the convection setting vs the baking setting.

Is convection cooking really better―or is that just hot air?

If you’ve purchased a new oven in the past 20 years, chances are you have a convection setting―and chances are you’ve never used it. After all, convection is rarely mentioned in recipes, although it can cook many dishes more evenly and 10 to 20 percent faster than a regular oven while using lower temperatures.

The convection setting uses a fan in the oven to circulate the hot air around the food, which makes it good for cooking meats, fish, vegetables, and other relatively firm dishes. It’s not a great option, however, for things that can easily shift or splatter, like quick breads and other bakery items. The air from the convection fan can blow around a moist batter, leaving a messy oven and a lopsided loaf. Use the regular setting for these goodies.

If your recipe doesn’t give instructions for convection baking, the general rule is to drop the temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit and to start checking the dish when three-quarters of the normal cooking time has passed.

Try it a few times. You just might become a fan.

This is a post by By Kristin Appenbrink from Real Simple.

Just another ShopRTO oven baking tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

Do you work on your computer in bed? If so, then you need to read this.

More Americans working from home on their bed

Working from home or from your bed?

More and more people are crawling in bed and… working. Working?! Studies show that nearly 1/2 of Americans like to work on their laptops or tablets in their bed. Those working on their computers in bed need the right equipment to make sure they are the most comfortable and that are not a pain in the back and neck – literally. There are several different items that you can get so make sure you google “working in bed” to find the actual products. But, here are some of the basics that will steer you to your best choice.

You can always buy the old fashioned bedroom tray that has been traditionally used to ‘eating breakfast in bed’ or another simple product is an ergonomically built pillow to place your laptop on. Don’t use your sleeping pillow as its not steady and should be used for back support. You can find many different types for different prices. Some can be as simple as $10 but mostly are around $30. The next level is lap trays with a hard cover and soft underneath. Those tend to be in the $30 to $100 range.

Then you can get real fancy and actually buy furniture with a fold out tray to set your computer. Some are roll-out drawers that have hidden pop-up trays and others are stand-alone. Those can get up to $200+ range. Another advanced ‘working in bed’ furniture is a pillow recliner that you set on your bed and keeps you upright and comfy all together. Those also can get up to the $200+ range.

If you are to work in bed, though, you need to follow these simple guidelines. Working in bed can upset your sleeping pattern and ultimately undermine all of the work you just accomplished. Unplug your computer at least 45 minutes prior to going to sleep and remove your computer from your bedroom. You want to make sure you associate your bedroom as a place of relaxation rather than as your office.

If you work in bed then you’re in good company as so did Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Renee Descartes to name just a few.

Just another ShopRTO computer tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

 

Looking to spruce up your deck or patio with outdoor furniture? Powerwash first!

Rent to own outdoor furniture but powerwash before

Look at the difference a powerwash can make

It’s time to start enjoying the outdoors on your patio furniture. So it’s time to get prepared. Before you begin the process of dusting off or getting new furniture, power wash the area for a bright and brand new look. Powerwashing your wooden deck, brick or stone patios is the way to go. You’d be surprised the difference it can make! And, if you haven’t powerwashed in a long time or ever, then don’t worry it’s easy and good for a little work out.

Go rent one at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s. They’re usually around $80 or so per day and easy to set up. Hook up the sprayer “gun” to the hose, hook that hose to the machine, and then screw in your garden hose. Crank the motor (it runs on gasoline) and spray away. It’s a lot like painting where you spray up and down, back and forth on the area and you can immediately see your patio come to life. You rent the powerwashers for 24 hours so maximize its use on your fences, playscapes, fountains, etc.

So, add powerwashing to your spring cleaning list and be prepared to find yourself with whole bright new look on life.

And if you need that patio furniture or barbecue grill for just the season or want it at no debt, go to your local rent to own store and check out their outdoor home furniture.

Just another ShopRTO outdoor furniture tip.

 

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

The future of HD TV programming

Future of TV shows going to computer apps

You’ll be watching your favorite TV shows through an app.

When your family sits down to watch your favorite sitcom or TV drama, you’ll grab your computer, touch the app, pop some popcorn and enjoy the evening. That’s the future of TV or so futurists see at the moment. And, reviewing current statistics, that future may not be that far off. According to the Benton Foundation, recorded TV and Internet delivered programming has recently surpassed live TV.

Technical advances, including 4k streaming and personalized advertising, will speed up the transition from linear TV to app-based on demand programming, and TV Everywhere will make it easier for cable networks to transition into this new world. And eventually, all of this will fundamentally change how TV is delivered. Stepping up to replace it are apps from companies like Netflix, HBO and ESPN, which deliver programming to multiple screens.

The merging of HDTV, computer technology and Internet are already here. The complete transition is the next phase. Are you ready? Or, do you care? As long as you get your “Modern Family” fix, you’ll take whatever technology there is. It’s the family experience that matters.

Just another ShopRTO HDTV tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.

12 ways to make your home feel new again

home furniture tips

Keep your home fresh and new.

Treat your furniture, walls, floors and countertops to some TLC, to give them a just-bought look for a fraction of the cost

Shopping is the easy part for some — the thrill of the chase, the flutter of excitement at bringing a new treasure home, choosing a new paint color or materials for a remodel. But what happens to those glorious finds and finishes months or years later? Before you give in to the urge to shop for new stuff, consider some home maintenance to show off what you have in the best possible light. You may find that after giving what you already have a little extra TLC, your craving for new stuff fades. You never know; you may even find yourself falling for your home and decor all over again.

1. Maintain upholstery. Regular maintenance can go a long way toward keeping upholstery looking as good as new for as long as possible. Vacuum the fabric and rotate cushions each time you clean the living room, and clean spills and mend small tears right away. Even if a stain has been there for a long time, it can still often be removed with stain remover or hydrogen peroxide; treat it repeatedly until it fades. Just be sure to test new cleaning products on a less-visible area of fabric first.

2. Remove scuff marks and touch up paint. Small things like scuff marks from shoes and bags, tiny dings and chipped corners can make a space feel worn out. Spend a day scrubbing, patching and touching up paint, and you’ll notice a world of difference.

3. Make furniture gleam. If you can’t remember the last time you polished your wood furniture, doing so will probably make you wonder why you don’t do it all the time — the difference is amazing.

The type of finish on your furniture will determine what you use to polish it. Midcentury teak pieces are often finished with oil alone, so simply rubbing in a bit more teak oil from time to time will suffice. Finished wood pieces may respond well to a furniture paste or wax — read the directions thoroughly before trying any new product.

4. Remove stains from marble. This porous surface is prone to staining, so it’s important to wipe up spills immediately. Of course, there are times that just doesn’t happen. No matter how or when it happened, there still may be hope for restoring the beauty of your marble.

5. Care for wood counters. Remove scratches and stains on your wood countertops by gently sanding the area; then rub in a food-grade mineral oil with a soft rag. To prevent future damage, always use trivets under hot items, wipe up spills quickly and cut items on cutting boards, not on the counter.

6. Refresh old wood floors. Even if you don’t want to have your wood floors refinished, there are still ways to make them look their best. What you use to refresh your floors will depend on the type of finish your wood floors have.

Floors with a natural oil-rubbed finish can be shined up with wood oil. Really old, worn floors may do well with a wax. Floors finished with polyurethane can be cleaned with a solution of white vinegar and water. Just avoid getting the floors really wet by applying the solution with a barely damp mop and wiping dry with a towel immediately after. Excess water on wood floors of any type can potentially cause damage.

7. Refluff area rugs. Fluffy rugs like flokatisand sheepskins look amazing when you first bring them home, but … less amazing after several months of wear and tear. Most small natural flokati and sheepskin rugs can be hand washed (or even machine washed on delicate) in mild soap and then air dried.  Between washings, simply shake out and then brush your rug with a dog brush. Just be sure to read the cleaning instructions before deciding on a method.

carpet cleaning tips for the home

Home tips to take home!

8. Deep clean wall-to-wall carpeting. Regular vacuuming and spot cleaning will get you only so far. Every once in a while, it pays to rent, borrow or buy a steam cleaner to give your carpeting a deep clean. To help the floor dry as quickly and completely as possible, wait for a dry day and set up a dehumidifier in the room afterward.

9. Condition leather. Leather furniture can actually look better with age, provided that it is properly cared for. Use a leather conditioner a few times each year to keep the leather from drying out and cracking.

Keep it looking fresh by vacuuming and then buffing with a dry microfiber cloth as needed. Wipe up spills as soon as they happen, using a dry cloth to soak up any liquid.

10. Brighten whites. Slipcovers, pillow covers, curtains, towels and more can all use a good refreshing from time to time. If you don’t want to use chlorine bleach on your whites, try an oxygen- or hydrogen peroxide–based nonchlorine bleach instead.

11. Touch up appliances. Years of use can create all sorts of stains and scratches on the once-pristine finish of your washer and dryer. If new appliances are not in the cards, consider painting yours with a product designed for the task, like the Appliance Enamel paint from Rust-Oleum. You can also use appliance paint on worn-out finishes in the kitchen, from the fridge to the dishwasher. Do not use it on surfaces that get hot, like stovetops.

12. Stock up for proper maintenance. Beyond your usual cleaning tools, if there are any special items that would make it easier to care for your home and belongings, go ahead and make the investment. If you have lots of carpeting, for instance, a good steam cleaner could be a worthy addition. Leather conditioner, wood oil, furniture polish — having the little things you need at hand can help you keep your home looking its best.

This article is by Laura Gaskill reprinted from Houzz.

Just another ShopRTO home lifestyle tip.

ShopRTO provides consumers home living and decorating tips and promotes rent to own as a shopping option for affordable home furnishings.