Spring is a time of new beginnings in Texas – and now is a great time to take on some cleaning and organization tasks around your home. If you’re anything like many of us here at Greenway Insurance, some of these tasks are long overdue!
Here are some tips to get you started – and keep you focused. We’re looking forward to using these tips ourselves!
First, get some help
If you’re doing a deep spring clean, try not to put all of the pressure on yourself. Make the event a family affair and assign your spouse or your kids some chores. Or throw a cleaning party and offer pizza to everyone who comes to help.
Second, make a list
It’s extremely helpful to have a plan before you get started. Is the kitchen your biggest trouble spot? The master bedroom? Create a detailed plan of attack and you’ll increase your chance of success. Many people find it best to go room by room so there’s a sense of accomplishment when they finish in a particular area.
Third, remember safety!
Of course, you’ll want to make sure you have protective gear like rubber gloves if you’re dealing with chemical cleaners, and even a particle mask if you’ve got some serious dust. Or try using some of the many green cleaning products that are now available. Spring cleaning is also the perfect time to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and other safety equipment. And it’s a good idea to refresh (or start) your family emergency kit.
Room–by–room quick tips
The tips below will help get you going. If you need more, just do a web search for spring cleaning and you’ll find tons of sites with useful information and detailed checklists.
- Clear out the contents of your refrigerator and freezer (but not at the same time) and discard any expired items. Then, clean the appliance thoroughly, removing shelves and racks – you’d be surprised how dirty the bottom of a refrigerator can get. And don’t forget to clean the coils underneath, too; it will boost energy efficiency.
- Clean all small appliances – toasters, coffeemakers, etc.
- Clean the oven and stove, including burners and spill catchers.
Living room and dining room
- Dust all light fixtures and shelves, along with window blinds (or, if you have drapes, take them down and have them cleaned). Don’t forget to dust the ceiling fan!
- Clean and dust couches and chairs. This is easily done with a vacuum attachment. Removing cushions will not only give you a deeper clean, but can fill your pocket with change!
- It may be time to shampoo your carpets or rugs. You can have a professional do the work for you or rent a machine at a local store.
Bedrooms and closets
- How long has it been since you flipped your mattress? Now is the perfect time. Dust your bed frame (and other furniture), strip your bedding and turn over your mattress, rotating it as well. It’s also a good time to wash bedding that you don’t wash often, such as the mattress pad.
- Pillows should be washed occasionally. Most can be cleaned in your washing machine, but check the label beforehand to be sure.
- Go through the items in your closet. Do you have winter clothing you can put into storage? Do you have items you no longer wear that can be donated or sold at a garage sale?
- Remember to clean under the bed.
- Clean fans and vents (this should be done more than once a year, typically).
- Go through your medicine cabinet and throw away expired medications or items you no longer use or need. Then move your medications to the kitchen – away from the moisture of a bathroom – where they will store better.
- Scrub toilets, sinks, faucets, showers and tubs, including the shower head!
Hey, you’ve done enough for one spring cleaning cycle, haven’t you? Let’s leave the garage for another time!
One final tip: It’s best to leave sweeping and vacuuming for last in each room.
For further questions and assistance, please contact us. You can also learn more about our homeowners insurance or get a free homeowner insurance quote online today!
It’s a night full of treats for both kids and adults in Houston. But a number of factors – including lots of people walking in the dark, the threat of wet and stormy weather, strangers coming to your door – mean that Halloween in Texas can have some tricks up its sleeve.
Greenway Insurance wants your Halloween to be a happy one. So whether you’re taking your kids out trick-or-treating, hosting a party or just staying home to greet costumed visitors, we can help make your evening safe while you take care of making it spooky. Just check out the tips below – and, as always, don’t hesitate to call us at 713-800-4206 if you have questions about your costume … er, coverage.
Make your kids’ costumes scary – and safe
- Make sure costumes are made of flame-resistant material. When wearing your costume, do not walk near lit candles or luminaries.
- Add reflective tape to costumes and bags to increase your visibility to drivers.
- Masks and costumes should be properly fitted to avoid blocked vision and falls.
- Swords, knives and other costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.
Safe trick-or-treating in Texas
- Trick-or-treaters should walk in groups or with a trusted adult. Do not allow kids to go out alone.
- Make sure kids know their home phone number as well as how to call 911.
- Flashlights and glow sticks can help with visibility while trick-or-treating.
- Kids should only enter a home if they’re with a trusted adult. Otherwise, stay outside.
- All treats should be examined for choking hazards and tampering. Homemade treats should not be eaten unless you know the cook well.
- Of course, it’s a good idea to limit the number of treats your children (and you!) eat. One way to encourage this is by having a full, healthy meal before going out trick-or-treating.
Having a party? Expecting trick-or-treaters at your house?
- Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit, and free of obstacles.
- Keep candles (including lit jack o’lanterns) away from doorsteps, walkways, landings and curtains.
- Remind drivers coming to and from your home to watch out for trick-or-treaters and drive slowly through neighborhoods.
Carving those pumpkins
Creating a jack o’lantern is a time-honored tradition, whether you buy your pumpkins at the grocery store or at a local pumpkin farm. But don’t forget, kids and knives are a dangerous combination. It’s best to have the kids draw designs on the pumpkin with a marker and then let an adult handle the carving. And here’s a great idea for kids who want to remove the seeds – rather than using a knife, hand them an ice-cream scoop. It’s a lot safer, and it just might be more effective!
Help keep Halloween safe for everyone – and remember, your kids WILL know if you swipe some treats from their stash!
For further questions and assistance, please contact us today!
It goes without saying that keeping yourself and your family healthy through the winter months in Texas can be a challenge. When you combine chillier temps, housebound days – not to mention kids passing around colds at school like they’re playing “Hot Potato” – you can end up spending the much of the winter under the covers.
No matter how many inherent seasonal risk factors you face, there are ways to prepare for and get through the season virtually unscathed. At Greenway Insurance, we wish for you a happy and abundantly healthy winter, so here are a few tips to help you stay well and enjoy!
- Consider ‘sticking it’ to the Flu. Flu shots seem to be available at practically every drug store or pharmacy in Texas. Discuss with your doctor the pros and cons of flu shots for yourself and your family.
- Get some zzz’s. Prioritize getting enough sleep – or taking a quick nap – despite your busy schedule. Sleep is essential to health and healing.
- Fill the fridge. It’s easy to allow your pantry to start looking like a sweet shop with Valentine’s Day nearing. Take care to stock your refrigerator and cabinets with healthy snacks and ingredients for balanced meals. Think fruit, nuts, lower-calorie snacks, veggies and lean proteins.
- Keep moving. Despite the many temptations to just relax and stay out of the cold, don’t give in to being a couch potato. Get to the gym or yoga studio, go for a walk, jump on the treadmill or dance. The important thing is to just move!
For further questions and assistance, please contact us.
Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 10, 2013, for most places in the United States, so don’t forget to set your clock forward one hour. We here at Greenway Insurance want to remind you it’s also a great time to improve your family’s safety.
Be safe in your home
Health and safety agencies often use the approach of Daylight Saving Time to remind people to change the batteries in their smoke alarms. The American Red Cross suggests you test your smoke alarms and talk with your family about your fire escape plan. Whether you live in Texas or elsewhere, practice your plan at least twice a year.
Daylight Saving Time is also a great time to check your emergency preparedness kit to make sure it’s fully stocked with fresh supplies.
Carbon monoxide is a concern too
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 people die annually in the US from carbon monoxide poisoning. The CDC recommends changing the batteries in your CO detectors when moving your clocks forward on March 10.
The CDC says the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.
Visit the CDC website for ways to prevent carbon monoxide exposure.
We here at Greenway Insurance hope these tips help and that you’ll consider sharing them with the people you care about so they can live safer lives too.
For further questions and assistance, please contact us.
You’ll no doubt hear the phrase “Happy Holidays!” about a thousand times over the next month. Here at Greenway Insurance, we’d like to change that a little bit: “Happy – and Safe – Holidays!”
While the holidays certainly bring cheer here in Houston, they also present some danger unless you take care when putting up your tree, lighting candles and keeping that fire going on a cold winter night.
During November and December, according to estimates by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 12,000 people are treated in emergency rooms nationwide due to holiday-related decorating accidents. Add to that the number of fires involving Christmas trees, candles and fireplaces, and you can see the importance of making safety a part of your holiday preparations.
Read on for some helpful tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to keep your season jolly for kids and adults alike. And make sure to give us a call at 713-800-4206 if you have any questions about your coverage – or if you just need to know when you can drop off your gift to your favorite agency! (We kid, we kid.)
- When purchasing a live tree, make sure to check it for freshness, as dried-out trees present a greater fire risk. It should be green and needles should be hard to pull off and not break when bent between your fingers.
- Make sure an artificial tree is labeled “fire resistant”.
- Any tree set up inside your home should be placed away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Don’t block a doorway with your tree.
- After cutting a few inches off the tree trunk to allow for better water absorption, keep your stand filled with water. Heated rooms can dry live trees out quickly.
Lights and decorations
- Even if you’ve just purchased them, check all lights before hanging them on your tree. The bulbs should all work and there should be no frayed wires or loose connections.
- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. You or others could be at risk of electrocution.
- Outdoor lights should be certified for outdoor use. Don’t use nails or tacks to hold them in place; instead, use hooks or insulated staples.
- Turn off lights when you go to bed or leave the house to reduce the risk of shorted-out lights causing a fire.
- Outdoor electric decorations and lights should be plugged into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
- Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Never use lighted candles on or near a tree.
Fireplaces and candles
- Remove all greens, boughs, papers and other decorations from the fireplace area before starting a fire. Make sure the flue is open.
- Do not burn gift wrap in the fireplace. Wrapping paper ignites suddenly and burns intensely, which could result in a flash fire.
- Keep all burning candles in sight. Extinguish all candles before you go to bed, leave the room or leave the house.
- Make sure candles are on a stable surface where kids and pets cannot reach them or knock them over.
- Of course, keep candles away from other flammable items.
Remember, you can’t have happy holidays without holiday safety. Here’s to you and yours, and a wonderful season for all.
For further questions and assistance, please contact us today!
It’s an exciting time when your child heads off to college. Whether they’re attending school in Texas or have moved all the way across the country, there were a ton of things to get done last month, but did you remember to look over their insurance needs? Don’t worry – it’s never too late!
- Coverage of personal property: Most homeowners policies provide 10 percent of Coverage C (Personal Property) for your property while it is at a residence other than your residence. That means if the contents of your home are insured for $100,000, your student’s property up to $10,000 generally would be covered if they are living in a dormitory. The damage must be caused by an event covered in the policy, however.
- Special items: Be aware that certain items, such as jewelry or expensive electronics and computers, may require special coverage.
- Off-campus living: If your student lives in off-campus housing, such as an apartment, we strongly advise you to consider renters insurance, as your homeowners insurance generally would not apply in this instance. Check with us at Greenway Insurance & Risk Management to be sure. Keep in mind that renters insurance cannot be shared between roommates, so your child will need their own policy.
- Create an inventory: It’s a good idea to keep an inventory of expensive items your child is taking to school, as well as keeping photos and receipts for the items. In the event of a loss, this can make the claims process much easier.
- Coverage without a car at school: If your student will continue to drive while at home on school breaks – or if there’s a chance they could drive a friend’s car at school – it is vital that you keep them on your auto policy. They may even qualify for a distant-student or good-student discount. Contact us to see if we can save you some money on your insurance.
- Coverage with a car at school: In most instances, a car registered to you and listed on your policy will be covered if used by your student away at school, provided they are listed on your policy. Be sure to call us at 713-800-4206 and make sure your insurance company writes coverage in the college’s state and location, however. And please let us know if your child is taking a car to school, because the location of the vehicle can result in a change in premium.
Not having the right insurance can be a costly mistake – and college is expensive enough as it is. So give us a call today. Your child may be going away, but we’ll be right here when you need us! (And we won’t call you to ask for pizza money, either.)
For further questions and assistance, contact us!