The mind is always playing tricks on us. Sometimes there are some things that are very obvious, and we come across them all of the time – they are a big part of our lives – and yet; we can’t remember them! Have you ever played Scrabble and couldn’t for the life of you think of a word, then your friend just adds an “r” or an “s”, and you’re like “Well, duh! Of course; how could I forget?!”?
Well, that sort of situation is all too common whenever you move to a new house. There are some essential home items your place might be missing, and you only remember them when it’s too late to go get them. With that in mind, our team at RealEstateAgent.com decided to act as the friend we are and remind you of the essential home items your place might be missing.
Hey, why not be nice and welcome your guests to your house?
But even if you are not a fan of themed welcome mats or those with messages written; get a plain one. What makes a welcome mat an essential home item is not its visuals, but its practicality. They play a big role in the home, and we only realize that when a guest (or a resident) stomps their feet inside mudding the floor – or worse; the carpet. Yes, welcome mats are vital to any home to, at least, make things a little better. If you have dogs, there are special rugs specifically designed to clear their pawns.
A lot of people have adopted the European custom of removing their shoes at the entrance, and only allowing people to walk barefoot. But it can be an inconvenience to your guests – imagine having to ask a 90-year-old senior to remove their shoes and walk around on the cold floor… - or even worse; it can backfire on you and now you have to act as best as you can not to let the guest notice that their smelly feet are killing you. So, yeah, just get a welcome mat.
Speaking about mud… you should have one umbrella for each household resident right by the front door. But here’s the catch: try not to use them. Umbrellas are just like pens and lighters; they have a way to get lost and never found again. I kid you not: as I write this article, on the desk to my left, there’s an umbrella which the owner no one in the office knows. So the idea here is to have your own personal umbrellas to take with you whenever it’s raining and you’re going out. But knowing that you’re bound to lose this one and not even notice – just like whoever lost this one in our office – have these as spare umbrellas that will help you whenever you wake up to work, notice a big rain and (when reaching for your official umbrella and realizing you’ve lost it) you have one ready to go.
You can also use them for fast tasks like walking your date from the driveway to their home, getting the mail etc. on a rainy day. But avoid taking the umbrellas to work or anywhere more than a block away. Though they are used outside, they are essential home items. The good thing about having umbrellas inside is that you can invest in cool ones – with wood grip, or even marble if it fits your home aesthetics - that will add to your décor, because most of the times it will act exclusively as that; a decoration item.
Not to be confused with fire alarm. A carbon monoxide detector is an essential home item because carbon monoxide (CO) is colorless, tasteless and odorless; so it’s an invisible threat! It is no joke, as it can poison you to death. These detectors can sound an alarm when the levels of CO accumulate to dangerous levels, so the residents can adequately ventilate the house, or even evacuate. Some modern carbon monoxide detectors even directly warn emergency services, if the level is too high.
The problem here is that, while smoke alarms are somewhat common – some areas even make it mandatory to have them – carbon monoxide detectors don’t usually come with the house. But being CO the “silent killer” that it is, and the carbon monoxide detectors as the only way to warn of the threat, we enlist them as essential home items.
Want a bigger proof of being an essential home item than the fact that having a working smoke detector cuts the risk of dying in a home in half? Can’t argue with facts, right? But sometimes we don’t like the noise of it once the batteries start to go down, or it’s too sensitive and it sounds off when you’re making burgers, so you just disconnect it and never remember turning it back on. Don’t do that. Smoke Detectors are very important.
Pro tip: while CO detectors can’t detect smoke, and smoke alarms can’t alarm the presence of CO, there are some dual smoke/CO detectors in the market so you can kill two birds with one stone.
Well, our last two essential home items kind of show the importance of this one; without batteries, most smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors won’t run. Even worse, they will beep until you go bananas. And they never beep like 4 pm… it’s always in the middle of the night, forcing you to wake up, get a ladder, climb the ladder, fix the problem and deal with the new one: you lost all your much-needed sleep. Awesome.
Having a large number of batteries of all sizes is always a good idea. Its use within a house is more frequent than we notice. Spare batteries are always nice; don’t have just the right amount to the devices that require them. Sometimes you buy something you didn’t notice required batteries, and now you have to play around swapping batteries from one device to the other. A good way around it is to have rechargeable batteries so you don’t enter a never-ending cycle of buying batteries, which requires special disposal and do not do well if stored improperly over a long period of time.
Candles are king. They are lifesavers when the light is out for any reason, providing safety and clarity so the house can continue regular life as best as it can. But they can also be used from time to time to set the mood – even if the lights are on. So having a box of candles around the house is always important.
Just watch out not to get crazy with the candles and provoke a fire! You could get one of those battery-operated candles to avoid the risk of accidents; remember that one of the biggest steps to an affordable home insurance is not filing claims for silly thing like this - not to mention that if you were the one who lit the candle they won’t pay a thing, because it was your fault. But it’s still good to have candles for moments when all else fails. Just keep them far from curtains. And have the next item close by if something happens…
As essential as essential home items go, a fire extinguisher is something you should have stored at an easy-to-reach place. It doesn’t matter if you live in a one-story house or two-story house; the math is at least one fire extinguisher per floor, as the fire might block your way to the fire extinguisher and, then, there’s nothing you can do. If the floor is very wide (you live in a mansion or something) think about the strategic place where you could have a fire extinguisher. If you’re thinking “I have a sprinkler system, I don’t need it”, think again. Sometimes the water pressure in the pipes suffer a dip (because of several different reasons) and it’s not enough to fight the fire. Fire extinguishers are greats first line of defense to fight concentrated fire and keep it from expanding into a deadly destroying fire. Remember to also check every 6 months to see if it’s properly working.
Do you find it funny to read “money” on this list? No joke; money is one of the most essential home items that people always forget about. It’s a great idea to have something like half of what the rent price would be for your home, so you can have it quick whenever you need to tip the delivery guy, give it for your kid to buy something from the ice-cream truck – or even for your child’s lunch money. Plus, if anything happens in the house and requires outside work and you can’t write out a check, use the credit card to pay for the fix, nor stop by the bank to withdraw the money… you have, at least, money to pay part of it and make the workers start it, while you find a way to get the rest.
Another essential home item. But you’re wrong if you think a first aid kit is only used for emergencies, and, since your house is not located in one of the worst cities for natural disasters, it does not need it. Accidents happen all the time, and if someone gets mildly hurt, with the first aid kit you’ll have all the tools needed to take care of it. Plus, sorry but this is America, land of the lawsuit, and in case someone gets hurt in your house and sues you, chances are your liability insurance coverage will not take care of all the costs because you didn’t have a first aid kit in your home to diminish the damages of the victim.
What do you think about our essential home items? Did our mind played tricks on us and we missed something? Be a friend and tell us in the comments!
RE/MAX Realty Team
Fort Myers, FL
Lehigh Acres, FL
North Fort Myers, FL
Cape Coral, FL