Every few months, a survey comes out showing the most common things that people dislike about their home. It’s usually commissioned by a real estate firm or similar kind of company, giving us all a chance to express our displeasures.
The one downside of this is that it’s such a regular feature, none of the items mentioned on the list are new anymore. You don’t see the usual complaints about the neighbors interrupted by “#2 – the dinosaur across the street keeps eating the dog”. And more’s the pity (though perhaps not for the dogs of the world). Considering that these surveys are so frequent, their results so predictable… shouldn’t we have fixed it? Shouldn’t we all know these issues, have put our heads together and decided how to solve the things that stop us loving our homes 100%?
Today, we’re going to make an attempt to do that – or at least, to offer some suggestions. Life is too short to keep looking at the same issues and never solving them. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the most commonly-cited issues that people dislike about their home environment.
Then, rather than just point out the problems, we’ve got some solutions in mind too. If any of these chime, then make this the last one you read where an entry seems familiar. Let’s do this.
- “We don’t get on with the neighbors.”
We’re using this as a catch-all for neighbor-related problems. It can mean either open animosities with neighbors or just outright not knowing them. Raised on sitcoms where everyone on the street knows and likes one another, the latter can be just as jarring as the former.
How To Fix It?
It might seem a pretty radical suggestion, but talk to them? Try and mediate any issues, especially if disagreements have been long-running. At some point, problems need to be a civil legal case or moved on from. If you’re not willing to go down the legal route, then it’s probably not that big an issue to begin with.
If you don’t know your neighbors well, just make an effort to be more friendly. Strap on a smile, bake (or, let’s be realistic, buy) cake and go and introduce yourself. Even if they don’t want to be friends with you, what kind of person turns down cake?
- Not Enough Space
… and all other general complaints in this category. When we outgrow our homes – either in literal size of family or just accumulation of furniture – it’s incredibly annoying. We can’t just keep moving every time we need another area to store things and/or people.
How To Fix It?
Utilize the space that you have. Look up and down for the solutions, namely with attic or basement conversions. You have the same house, but new usable areas within them.
If that’s not an option, then look outdoors. If you have space to host a trailer or small timber building, then do so. You can make it a master suite, a TV room or just put shelves on every wall for an expansion of storage. It’s not the easiest or cheapest solution (that would be “just put up with it”), but it will work. You can run full electrics outside with the help of pros like www.ElectricalConnection.org and even set up plumbing. You might need permission from the local authorities, but keep your ideas under a certain size and it shouldn’t be an issue.
- The Outside of the House Is Dirty
Inevitably, pollution and the general mess of life means that the outside of houses takes quite the battering. The black soot-like appearance on the exterior walls can be depressing and damage the curb appeal. It’s a constant problem, too – you can clean it, but it’ll just come back. It’s not like you can switch off pollution because it’s damaging the aesthetics of your home.
How To Fix It?
The color of your house has a huge impact on how much it is going to show up this kind of staining. Lighter colors are obviously the most vulnerable, especially white and creams. You would think standard red and brown bricks would be safer, but they tend to have paler cement, which shows the problem.
The best colors are somewhere in the middle of the color palette. Medium grays, red-toned yellows, and rustic brown shades can make all the difference. Make sure you paint over the cement lines, too. It’s not going to stop the problem from happening, but it will stop it from being a constantly required cleaning job. Out of sight, out of mind.
- There’s Not Enough Light
Moving to the interior, the complaint about dark indoor spaces is never-ending. Having access to natural light inside a house is the ideal, but it can be difficult to achieve. Trees may look pretty in the fall, but they can block the light from reaching the house, especially if they’re dense. There is also a need for privacy that means we use curtains and blinds; we like the privacy but hate the loss of light.
How To Fix It?
First, make sure you are making the most of the light that does get through. Mirrors are a great way to reflect light back on itself, making space appear bigger than it is. Place a few strategically by trial and error until you see a difference.
Trees are beneficial to have around, especially if you live in a flood-prone area (https://www.quora.com/Can-trees-be-used-strategically-to-prevent-flooding). Regularly maintain them to make sure their foliage doesn’t get out of control or lower the height to allow more sunlight in the middle of the day.
Rather than blocking windows with curtains or blinds, look into privacy glass coverings. These will retain the way the light shines in but still make the inside impossible to see from the outside. You can also look at shutters to block the light out at night. External shutters can be totally freed from the window during the day, rather than pushed aside like curtains are.
- Weeds Where They Are Not Wanted
Well, come to think of it… are there any circumstances in which you do want weeds?
That said, there is no doubt they are especially unwelcome in certain areas. The cracks between paving slabs, for example, or beneath a gravel parking space. These areas are clearly designated for a purpose, yet there is always a determined dandelion making its home there. One errant weed can make the entire outside of a house look messy and cluttered, and they always come back.
How To Fix It?
Weed killer is the obvious solution, but it won’t stop new seeds blowing in and setting up home. Always make sure you use a strong, weed-repellent fabric underneath any driveways or gravel beds. With these, any seeds that blow in cannot get to the soil beneath to germinate.
- Poor Water Pressure
There’s nothing fun about going for a shower, wanting to stand beneath a torrent of water, and getting nothing but a trickle. Not only is it disappointing, but it’s also less effective – you can find poor pressure makes it more difficult to remove soap residue.
How To Fix It?
Talk to a professional about why it might be happening. One solution is to move your boiler into a room higher than your main shower areas – gravity can help with the rest. However, this is far from a foolproof plan. If there is another obvious reason a plumber can spot, then they might be able to help.
If it’s happening for no discernible reason (or a reason there is no fix for), then turn to the showers themselves. Electrical showers can take the pressure issue and make it irrelevant, using their own mechanics to apply an extra boost. The same goes for kitchen taps and other areas where this may be a more obvious problem. These alternatives do work, but they are not the cheapest things in the world. It’s up to you and your family budget as to whether or not it’s worth investing to change things.
#7 – Drafts
A particular problem in older houses, drafts can make even the best central heating ineffective. A cold blast of wind while relaxing on the couch can make it feel like you’re outdoors again.
How To Fix It?
The most obvious cause is usually windows. If you can’t all out replace them, then small applications of silicone over cracks can help. If the cracks aren’t visible to the naked eye, use a spray bottle to squirt down on the side of the window. If an area on the other side gets wet, you know where you’ve got a crack and where you need to silicone. Done with a steady hand and clear silicone, you can make a big difference for one afternoon of DIY.
If there’s something in your home that’s bugging you; then you don’t have to put up with it. There are always solutions; the biggest issue is finding the time and money to tackle them. List the problems you find most annoying and tick them off when you can. Everyone deserves to love their home, dinosaur or no dinosaur.