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When to Hire an Electrician?

August 3, 2017 by Erin Breeden

electrialoutletWe love to serve our customers, and a big part of that is leading you to the best approach to fixing things around your home.  While we focus on home maintenance and small fixes, sometimes we get questions about other larger projects.  For instance, you may want a new ceiling fan.  Or perhaps, you have an electrical outlet that no longer works.  These projects seem like an easy fix, but things never are as easy as we want to think. All the above require a licensed electrician and here is why.

We live in the wonderful state of Florida, so to suddenly decide you want a ceiling fan in the center of your living room is completely understandable.  If you already have a light or something requiring electricity in the place you want the fan, chances are a handyman will be able to replace the light with your new fan. However if you have nothing already in its place, you need an electrician to go into your attic, install new wiring and connect them to the spot of your choice for your fan. Complicated right?

Or, you have an electrical outlet giving you a hard time or some of your lights no longer work. An electrical outlet seems small and simple but whenever you are dealing with anything beyond the external portion of the outlet (aka the cover), it’s a delicate situation. Not to give you too many boring details, but there is a lot going on behind that outlet and you would sleep much better at night knowing a licensed professional did your repair.

You can find some useful info here.

 

 

Tips to Protect your Personal Information Online

May 17, 2017 by Suzette

We live in an era in which basically everything is offered through the internet – buying every imaginable product, booking services, and even banking.  As much as I enjoy the convenience (and believe me, I do!) I still get a little bit nervous about potential scammers having access to my information.

When Erin and I were still dreaming about Just a Hammer, the topic of secure bookings was something that we wanted to understand and offer to our clients and friends – after all, we share the same concerns.  Here’s a short list of things you can do to better protect your information while you’re online:

Before making a transaction: 

  • Research the merchant: This is so very important for businesses, regardless if they’re big or small.  Things like whether the company has several contact methods listed, social media pages and a well-developed website may indicate their legitimacy.  You can also review webpages that gather reviews about merchants such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List to learn more about them.
  • Read the website’s privacy policy: Another indicator of a serious merchant is whether they make their privacy policy and terms of use available through their site.   This may be tedious (and frankly more reading that I prefer to do when I’m trying to get things accomplished) but it is important to understand how the merchant is handling your private information.  Some things to pay attention to is how the information is stored and whether it will be sold to third parties.   

Some things to review before entering your personal information:

  • Use the latest version of your web browser: There’s a few options to navigate the web nowadays. Typically, providers maintain up-to-date patches to minimize threats and offer secure internet surfing, so making sure you’re using the most recent browser version is a step in the right direction.
  • Use your personal Wi-Fi or internet provider: When you join a public network at a coffee shop or restaurant, there is no guarantee that your information is secure.  Actually, your information may be visible to others using the same network, and it’s not unheard of that some scammers set-up public networks to access other people’s information.  To avoid this, it’s better to use your mobile provider’s network or your home’s Wi-Fi to make online transactions.

Secure site indicator

  • Check if the website is encrypted. This is one of those “techy” (or tricky!) terms that basically means that the site is using technology to protect the transmission of information.  An indicator of an encrypted page is that the address displayed begins with https://…..  Also, you should see a closed padlock displayed on the web address bar.  If the padlock is open, it’s better to avoid this transaction.

Happy and safe web-surfing!

xoxo, Suzette

What Paint Color Should You Choose?

May 3, 2017 by Erin Breeden

2017 Colors of the YearChoosing paint colors can be very intimidating. Not only are there so many options in terms of brand, color, finish, etc. but it’s also difficult to gauge if you will be happy with the final product. Projects such as these are a huge commitment because once you start, there is no turning back.  So, in attempt to make this process easier, here are some general steps you can take when determining what is the best color for your space:

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LIGHT How much light do you have in your space? The amount of light in your space is SO important. It determines whether you can go with a lighter or darker shade of color. It can also determine what colors are pulled from the paint; for example blue and green hues that can be seen in certain tones of grey.  There is nothing better than a bright room with a dark color, which can make your space seem cozy and warm. However, if you have a dark room, then in order for it not to resemble a “dungeon”, you would use a lighter color to bring in and reflect as much light as possible.

dark paint colorCOLOR Now that you have figured out if you want to go lighter or darker in your space, let’s figure out what color.  First, pay attention to what you are most drawn too. Pinterest thankfully makes this easy for us. I don’t know how many times I look back at my boards and find that I pinned the same photo 3 times. If that’s happened to you too, you can be sure that you like it! So, collect your favorite images and let them inspire you

BIG DECISIONS So now you have a color! Yay!  Now, let’s see how it works in your space. Buy a sample. I cannot overemphasize this point, it’ll be totally worth it!  Buy a sample and paint it on the wall you are looking to paint. Look at it for few days. Notice how the light impacts the color or how it matches your sofa and other pieces of your room. To give you an example of something that happened in my house, I wanted grey walls in my kitchen. I was unemployed at the time and in an attempt to spare a dollar I realized I had some left from a previous paint project.  So, without hesitation and out of boredom, I began to paint. As I painted, I realized my grey next to my warm color cabinets looked blue! So to this day, I have a blue kitchen.

WHITE If you are having a difficult time picking paint, I would like to highlight the latest trend that makes it really easy to pick a color: White walls! Yes, it seems boring but can look amazing! Not only does it look great, but there are many great advantages too. First, you can change the color and theme of your room without the worry of undergoing a big painting project. White is also great to display and set off art work and even plants look bolder and brighter against a white backdrop. So, when in doubt, go white!

Let us know if we can help you with your painting project, visit justahammer.com today!

Happy home improving!  Erin

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7 Projects That Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

April 15, 2017 by Suzette

Having a house is such a gift but it can also be a lot of work, requiring constant care of the inside as well as the outside to preserve its value and attractiveness.  As important as that is, if nothing else it’s just so great to be able to come home to a well-kept house and relax after a long day of work.

If you are not sure where to start, here’s a list of ideas to get your weekend home improvement project list:

POWER WASHING: A great first step to improve curb appeal is to deep clean your driveway, entrance and porch.  It’s amazing to see the difference this simple step can make and an absolute must if you are planning to re-paint your home.

FIXTURES AND HARDWARE: Light fixtures and door hardware are a seemingly small part of the outside of your home. However, giving them a little TLC can help improve the overall look of your home.  One way to go is to sand and repaint them, but it’s important to evaluate if all together replacing them with new ones may be more cost-effective.

DOORS: The front door’s color can make a huge difference to a house.  Although the style of the home matters in color selection, don’t be afraid to experiment and give your house some extra character!

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HOUSE NUMBERS: If you love DIY projects, this is a perfect one.  Whether you paint your house numbers on a flower pot, or buy single numbers at your hardware store and paint them a funky color, changing house numbers is not only a nice change but it will give make it easier for new guests to find your house.

PLANTERS: You can select easy to grow and maintain plants in stylish planters that can give a welcoming appearance to your entrance. Get some help moving them around to create an effect of a fancy landscaping work. pink door

WELCOME MAT: Since nobody likes to have a dirty house, a welcome mat is a great way to make your guests feel welcome and add some style to your entrance.

SOLAR LIGHTS: There’s some great solar lightning options out there that don’t require a lot of maintenance or energy to light up pathways around your home.  With a little planning, you’ll add some extra safety and a nice feature to your property.

You can begin with one or a couple of changes at a time, there is no hurry!  A handyman that focuses on small fixes and projects will be a great investment to help you with these small and relatively low cost projects to help with curb appeal.

Have a great weekend!

XOXO, Suzette

 

 

It’s Time to Breathe Spring Clean Air

March 28, 2017 by Erin Breeden

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Did you know there was such a thing as toxic air syndrome? Air pollution inside your home could actually be causing you or someone you love heart disease, cancer, and or breathing problems. Poor air quality is actually the leading cause of asthma attacks. There could be up to 900 different particles circulating in your home such as mold spores, pollen, radon, dander etc.

What Can you do to prevent your home from being toxic?

Aloe

Photo Credit: http://www.coxandcox.co.uk/faux-potted-aloe

Plants are not only stylish and add an appeal to your home, but they also keep your home healthy. Plants take in benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, which are the 3 most harmful indoor toxins. Not only do they filter the air, in turn they also releases clean air for your home. The top plants for clean air include: Bamboo, Aloe Vera (which is good for your skin too!), Spider Plant, Peace Lilly, a Boston Fern and even a Mum.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/168040629827530930/

Open a Window. These days new homes are amazing at being energy efficient and saving you lots of money in the long run. However, because these homes are built so well, they don’t’ allow fresh air to enter through windows, cracks and doors. So open your windows and allow some fresh air in (not to mention it makes your home smell better too!).

 

 

 

 

Go Green! It’s time to join the millennium and realize that you may be using toxic cleaners. Instead of bleach, try some alternative like hydrogen peroxide, cleaner brands such as 7th Generation or make your own with some essential oils, borax and castile soap (recipe found here). Also, just in general keeping your house cleaner will keep those potential toxic threats at bay.

 

Saltrock

Photo Credit:http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=33157025&parentid=A_FURN_LIGHTING#/

Purify. Another way to go green is to use a HEPA filter for your air conditioner, or buy a salt rock crystal or 2 for your home (Salt Rock Crystal Found Here). There are a lot of options in terms of purification systems so do your homework to make sure you are getting something effective.

If you would like to learn more about the toxic threats in your home and how to treat them, you can visit www.epa.gov.

 

Spring is Here!

March 21, 2017 by Suzette

Spring Cleaning - Just a Hammer, Handyman in Gainesville

I’m starting my post with the biggest cliché ever – “I can’t believe it’s Spring already, where has the year gone?!?

I don’t know what it is about the season, but I love it all – the flowers, the bright colors everywhere you go, the absolutely perfect temperatures, there’s something to it.  Plus, I think the fact that I can officially get my spring cleaning on without feeling judged for my purging rampages might be best part.  So, that’s exactly what I did this weekend – I officially started spring cleaning!!  I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned  over time that will hopefully help you with your spring cleaning:

GETTING ORGANIZED: There’s something about having that cute little duster in a nice caddy to perk up my step. I spent a couple of weeks trying to figure out exactly what I needed to do, had at hand and what I needed to pick up at the store, since I didn’t feel like stopping once I got going and it really worked out nicely. I had my nice cleaning wipes, some of the nice scented natural detergents I prefer, and then also a new duster. All of this just was my incentive to get started (it really is the little things in life).

WORKING IN LAYERS: I was that person that would do one room at a time, started with pulling all the linens off the bed, taking down the curtains to wash, dusting and going through all my drawers so I could throw stuff away (this is my favorite part!!), spot cleaning the carpet, etc., etc., etc. This would make me super happy in part, but I would be BEAT and overwhelmed by the end of the day because it didn’t feel like I had accomplished much. So, I learned that I could be MUCH more effective if I worked in “layers”.  This is what I do now: I start with a basket and I go around the whole house taking off the linens, curtains and everything I want to wash. That means that my laundry room will be a bit insane, however it will only insane for one day.  Same thing goes for going around the house and tossing things away – one trip to the Salvation Army or Goodwill the following day.  Dusting? I go around every corner in my house and dust everything that I need to clean, making it so much easier to then vacuum and put everything back in place at the same time.

GETTING SOME HELP! I am totally that stubborn 5’2 girl that thinks she’s actually 5’9 and has the strength of a body-builder.  That means that more than once I’ve hurt my hands and my back trying to stretch over to pull down those forgotten items in the top shelf.  And don’t even get me started on moving furniture while avoiding to scratch the floor – yeah, that one wasn’t pretty or classy.

Everything works out for the best, right? Just a Hammer wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for those not so great days – glass half-full!! 🙂

All of this is what makes the beginning of spring so neat to me, so symbolic and poetic, just getting a clean start things.

Happy Spring my friends!
XOXO, Suzette

3 Must-Ask Questions Before Buying Furniture: Part 2

February 27, 2017 by Suzette

In my last post “3 Must-Ask Questions Before Buying Furniture: Part 1,” (better known as “Suzette’s been there, done that…and I should have thought about that before starting” series) I was talking about 3 essential questions for buying the right furniture pieces and avoiding furniture-assembly nightmares.  Here are 3 more of those questions to ask ourselves, that I hope will save you time, grief and maybe even some money.

Are tools required? Some furniture requires specific tools for assembly, leading you to either a) sink hard-earned cash into tool sets with a lot of size options you may never need again, or b) use the cheap tools provided with the furniture (made for someone with impossibly small and impossibly strong hands – I definitely fall under the first category but not so much the second). Not only can tools prove expensive and difficult to manage, many require a level of strength that excludes some of us, as much as I hate to admit it!

handyman in Gainesville

Are instructions included? This is by far the most trying and “patience-developing” part of the whole assembly process. The merchant sent you a set of bags with nails and parts that might or might not be identified. You’ll just need to compare the instructions and identify which parts are needed where. But, wait…something isn’t right. There are slight differences in the heads of the nails and the sizes of the joints…and where did I put that tiny bag of washers? Ugh! If you’re blessed with an engineering brain and a love of hands-on learning, this step may not be so bad (assuming the merchant has an easy-to-follow manual). But for many of us, “some assembly required” is the quickest guide to meltdowns of epic proportions.

What could go wrong? In the instructions, there is no information on how much to tighten screws or how important a washer placement can be. Just one mistake can lead you to damage the furniture. It is pretty normal to make the mistake of tightening too much and penetrating the surface and seriously damaging the piece. Seriously ask yourself, “What could go wrong?” If there is a real risk of damaging the piece (of worse, hurting yourself), consider finding outside help.

If you’ve ever been in my situation, you know how hard it is to find good, trustworthy help.  At “Just a Hammer,” our background-checked and carefully selected handymen specialize in all types of jobs, from small to large, including furniture-assembly and small fixes around the home. We cater to women and those seeking a reliable handyman that is 100% girl-approved.

If you need help, we’re here for you. Book your appointment today 🙂

XOXO, Suzette

3 Must-Ask Questions Before Buying Furniture: Part 1

February 17, 2017 by Suzette

If you’re like me and love a challenge, I’m sure you’ve thought about getting an awesome piece of Ikea furniture and thought about a thousand ways of making it look amazing in your house.  If you’re also like me, and you’ve had to Google “How to Assemble IKEA Furniture” you realized that this will bring up nightmarish tales of assembly-gone-wrong and impossible-to-follow directions.

I think we can all agree, IT IS HARD to assemble furniture!  Here are 3 must-ask questions (a.k.a. lessons learned!) before buying furniture and avoiding furniture-assembly fallout.  

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How big is the furniture? When making a purchase, be sure to ask the size of the largest furniture piece and how many of them are in the package. You might have a furniture that has big pieces to assemble but not enough space at home to do it properly. It can also become a hazard if you cannot assemble the furniture in one sitting.

How heavy is the furniture? Consider the weight of the package to estimate how heavy the furniture pieces will be. It is important to know if you can handle the weight of the package and the individual pieces. Some assembly may require lifting a partially-assembled furniture piece, and the weight of some packaged may stop you in your tracks before you’ve even started.

What Tools are Required? There is some furniture that requires specific tools for the assembly. It can lead you to buy pricey tool sets with a lot of size options you may never need again. In some cases, furniture sets come with cheap tools that may not even work properly.

Exhaustion, frustration, wasted weekends: the fallout of buying furniture unprepared can be disastrous. Friends, family and neighbors may help, but sometimes it is best to just talk to a good handyman. That’s exactly why we created Just a Hammer, a way to find one that is personally chosen and recommended by a friend.  Instead of making calls and searching around, just reach out to us – book your appointment here!  

Hope to hear from you soon!

XOXO, Suzette

 

Erin’s House Probs

November 15, 2016 by Erin Breeden

I love my husband. He is a logger (you know as in Axmen) but as manly and as gifted as he is in so many areas, he is not the handiest in the world. I grew up watching my dad fix everything in our house (I seriously thocurtaineditedught he could pull up our toilet to uncover my lost retainer that I flushed!). He could almost fix everything and he loved a good remodel project. So it is to no surprise that as adult and a homeowner, my house is my canvas. We have owned our home for 6 years, and there is ALWAYS something to do. I‘d like to take ownership in the fact that when we first moved in, I hung our curtains. However, I did not know what I was doing and a few years later they came falling down. I still have outdoor lights that need updated. I have doorways and baseboards that need painted. I still have tile that is not grouted! The list is ENDLESS! I have gone through a few handymen who were great, but I always need a handyman because there is always something to do.

The morning in October three years ago, Suzette shared with me her struggles of finding someone to help her around the house. Despite that she lived alone, I too, had similar struggles. There is always something that I need done. If only I could hire someone for a few hours to just come do this small stuff that bugs the you know what out of me!

I don’t want to hire an expensive contractor to come hang my curtains and pictures, or to hang the door that I purchased that sat in my garage for over a year. I need someone like my dad, but someone I don’t mind bothering to come and do it! Simple as that! 🙂

Erin

A Three Year Old Dream

October 14, 2016 by admin

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About three years ago I woke up at five in the morning startled by a loud noise and by the terrifying thought that a burglar was in my home.  Alone and only half awake, with my heart racing I started wondering how many bones I would break if I jumped from the second floor bedroom window.  I listened carefully for other noises inside my house for the longest two minutes of my life, after which I realized that the chirp and robotic voice was that of my smoke detector, which persistently reminded me not only that it was time to change its battery, but that I was indeed on my own.  

That morning I came to realize a couple of things about myself.  First, I really do jump to worst case scenario conclusions dangerously fast.  Second, I realized that I was now officially in an unexpected season of my life.  That second part hit me like a ton of bricks, because I tend to have very delayed reactions to emotionally difficult situations, and even though my divorce had been finalized a couple of months prior I think I hadn’t realized what that meant.  I was living far from home without a support system and, what seemed like a very simple issue (I mean finding somebody to change the batteries on that smoke detector shouldn’t have been a big deal) was now something I had to worry about.  

Just a Hammer – still a nameless dream then – grew in the hearts of my dear friend Erin and I because we both thought I couldn’t be possibly be alone in this place.  This place of not being able to simply call a husband, my dad or even a friend to help me change a battery, paint a wall in my garage, or install a light fixture.  Projects that were too simple for a standard handyman, but too difficult to do myself.  Also that place of not feeling comfortable calling somebody I found online and allow them come into my home because I lived by myself.  

As we thought more and more about this, we were even more moved by the thought of what if I not only couldn’t find this offering, but didn’t have the ability to pay for it.  What if I had been trying to rebuild my life but couldn’t afford to make my house a safe haven with some help.  

Fast-forward three years and here we are, our dream of building a business that would serve others has taken shape into Just a Hammer.  We are so excited about the potential of this mission and how we’ll help others in their journey. We still don’t know the names of those who we will walk alongside with and that’s OK.  

We’re here with open arms and hearts waiting for that story to unfold, and we can’t wait to share it with you!

XOXO, Suzette 

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