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If you have stairs in your home, you probably do what I do, namely leave little piles of crap at the bottom of the stairs that needs to go upstairs on your next trip. I hate those little piles. But I hate making trips upstairs for trivial reasons too.

In the house that we're building now we'll have little cubby holes in the walls near the top and bottom of the stairs - call them niches if you must, to hold the crap that needs to travel on the next trip. It won't look attractive, but it will get our stuff off the floor and tucked out of the way, and that's a start. This is more important than it seems because our dog thinks anything left on the floor for more than five seconds is a legitimate chew toy.

My other de-cluttering idea is what I call the Toy Jail. It's a closet beneath the stairs where I plan to toss anything found downstairs that doesn't belong there. In any given day the family drags in many pounds of miscellaneous stuff that is, for one reason or another, too valuable to discard, and too worthless to have its own space in the house. Generally your home has no established storage area for miscellaneous, odd-shaped, crapinalia. In our new home, that sort of thing will find a final resting place in the Toy Jail, along with any toy that should have been put away and wasn't. When the Toy Jail gets full, we'll probably have to move.

I am often amused at the features that big developers leave out of their homes. Our current home is a townhouse designed by one of the biggest names in the industry. When I want to sweep up some crumbs in the kitchen, I have to walk down two flights of stairs to the garage to get the broom. There is literally no place nearer to the kitchen to store it. I have to think the builder knew there was no broom closet in the design of the townhouse, but they also knew you wouldn't notice it was missing until after you moved in. It's diabolical. Our new house will have a broom closet in the kitchen.

All of this gets me to my point: Where's my frickin' checklist?

When you buy, rent, or build a new home, wouldn't it be good to have a checklist of features that a house could possibly have, so you could compare it to what you will actually get? And when you build a home, wouldn't you want to know about all the potential features that are relatively inexpensive if you think of them during the design stage?

Where's my checklist?
 
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Oct 28, 2010
thanks for posting such an interesting information…nice blog
 
 
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Feb 27, 2010
Scott, since it's been quite awhile since this blog entry/comment thread, any "master list" you came up with for home design?

As mentioned many times in the comment thread here, the best "master list" is the one you create yourself, but as YOU mentioned the best way to create that list is to "subtract from all the good ideas others have" rather than to think of all the good ideas yourself!
 
 
Jun 25, 2009
That BlueTooth sounds like a Jawbone I tried out a while ago. It went back to the store cuz I couldn't get it to work as well as my $20 earpiece it was supposed to replaced.

On the backup front, I've been using Mozy's (www.mozy.com) 2GB free account for quite a while and it's working very well for me. It installs a small program on the PC or Mac that handles the file selection and backup schedule. They have unlimited storage accounts available for around $5 per month.
 
 
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Jun 15, 2009
I have the same broom closet issue in my house (built in 2004). I solved it by using a telescoping pole with a threaded end (you can buy them for painting or window washing) and attached it to a broom head. Now it clips on the side of the cupboard under the sink for easy retrieval, with the dustpan clipped to the pole. A simple twist and pull and it's ready to go. Sometimes it's easier to modify the tool instead of the storage space.

And I use a decorative basket at the top of the stairs to collect the myriad small items that need to go downstairs...but I think fondly of my grandmother's house and its dumbwaiter. A laundry chute would do the trick nicely, if you had a big enough receptacle at the bottom (maybe padded, for less sturdy items). Fun for the cats to play in, too!


 
 
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Jun 15, 2009
I have a huge pile of crap on the lower few stairs in my home. I call them 'Asyougos'. ;) I.e. You pick them up (in theory anyway) As You Go up the stairs.
 
 
Jun 15, 2009
Stupid question I am sure, but have you tried Google-ing your request?
 
 
Jun 15, 2009
HALIVERPOOL:

I have a similar problem, I have discovered that most of it can be safely binned after a month, (I usually attack the bottom 20%) as knowone knows what is in that bottom fith, As long as you check it for anything actually important, (I once found an unpaid bill in my better halfs sock draw...) its safe to go. she wont actually notice, as its only the things on the top that are seen.

I regularly throw out about 20% of my better halfs glossy mags 2 years and she is none the wiser....
 
 
Jun 15, 2009
HALIVERPOOL:

I have a similar problem, I have discovered that most of it can be safely binned after a month, (I usually attack the bottom 20%) as knowone knows what is in that bottom fith, As long as you check it for anything actually important, (I once found an unpaid bill in my better halfs sock draw...) its safe to go. she wont actually notice, as its only the things on the top that are seen.

I regularly throw out about 20% of my better halfs glossy mags 2 years and she is none the wiser....
 
 
Jun 13, 2009
"If" you have stairs in your home?
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 12, 2009
For my checklist
Make sure doors don't go clashing into other doors including refrigerator, oven and dishwasher. Make sure they are 36 inch doors, I've been in a wheelchair and used a walker for a few months and had to live in the living room- -negative fun.
Hard surface kitchen, eating area, entry and bathroom. (what idiot thinks that carpet in the bathroom is ever a good idea)
Kitchen cabinets big enough to hold cereal boxes.
Costco room a downstairs 8x10 room for food storage that also doubles as a tornado shelter.
Seasonal closet, a large walk-in closet for the Christmas tree / summer gear / etc that is used by season.
Coat closet near the entry not on the far end of the house.
A secure cabinet for locking household chemicals in, in the laundry and kitchen.
 
 
Jun 12, 2009
Maybe I missed it but, did not see any accommodations for RV, big toy or boat onsite storage. Off site storage is very expensive and inconvenient. Not everyone has these nor will some code and CC and Rs allow them. But they are big items for those that do and are a valuable resale amenity. This storage area does not have to be finished. But it can include planned-for access from street, fencing, location and space, Reinforced concrete slabs as some motor homes and boats are 45 foot plus 20-ton monsters. Include rough plumbing, electrical, water and have other services close. Covered and or enclosed storage are even better. All these are easy to do while planning and building. If done right, all the above are almost like adding a small cottage to your home.
 
 
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Jun 12, 2009
Insulate the walls (even interior walls) and ceiling of family room. Use solid or foam core doors for family room as well. Kids parties, movies, video games can create a good deal of noise. Insulation and carpet can reduce and contain a good deal of noise. Also, outside noise doesn't get in when watching a movie.

I find Family Handyman magazine has at least one suggestion each issue that I want to add to my house. Ideas that would probably go well on a new house checklist. You can see past issues here: http://www.rd.com/family-handyman
 
 
Jun 12, 2009
Install outlets outdoors, on the underside of your eaves, wired to a switch indoors, preferably with a programmable timer.

You'll thank me when you put up holiday decorations and can just plug them into the eaves instead of running extension cords down the sides of your house.

 
 
Jun 12, 2009
Um, Scott, shouldn't you have asked this question BEFORE you designed your new house?!

Try "The Home Design Handbook" by Cotner and Myrvang, Owl Books, 1992.

And of course a good architect should effectively do this with you.

Nydhogg
 
 
Jun 12, 2009
the missing word was M I L E S apparently scotts filter only allows for metric distances,

"the dog went for kilometres"
 
 
Jun 12, 2009
Someone suggested a bouncy bottom and top step, imagine what fun a slinky would be, once saw a Budwiser addvert with a bouncy floor, the Dog went for !$%*!$ it was fantastic to see its little legs paddling maddly at the air. (obviously not a real dog).

My stairs are right in front of the front door, and walled on either side. I would love to cover floor walls and ceiling in "bounce mats" throwing things upstaires would be AMAZING. (probamatic if you got bounce back.)
 
 
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Jun 11, 2009
Actually there seem to be quite a few of them:
http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=house checklist

Thing is, as other commentators have said, somebody else's checklist will be different to yours (and probably less demanding which actually isn't a good thing...)

Yes I know, there's a place for a huge master checklist (one checklist to rule them all and in the darkness... sorry!) thing is - even that one will be incomplete. It's a never ending job as customers will always think of more "must have" features.

[A Google search turns up nothing like what I am describing. -- Scott]
 
 
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Jun 11, 2009
Bedbugs are back. If you're a round-the-world backpacker, you're probably going to run into some (I did, in Germany of all places). And if you bring them back home, they are almost impossible to get rid of. And they're the gift that keeps on giving: it's easy to carry the infestation with you when you travel (the bugs and their eggs love to hitch rides on suitcases), and in turn infest your hotel room, which will lead to many other travelers getting infestations in their homes, and so on.

All that to say, I expect that bedbug infestations will become an increasingly common event in the lives of American homeowners.

Homes that are designed for easy eradication of bedbug infestation would be a boon. That means smooth, sealed, crevice-free walls and ceilings in all living areas. And a lot less clutter (although that's not a builder issue), since *everything* you own has to be steamed/cleaned/sprayed to definitively kill a bedbug infestation.

Anyway, something to add to the checklist.

 
 
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Jun 11, 2009
I think the solution is installing a trampoline at the bottom of the stairs, or making the bottom step out of the right material so that you can bounce the offending item up to the top floor. It will probably take practice to perfect your aim, but in the long run it will be worth it. It can also double as a place to jump away your frustration or as the launch pad for projectile weapons.
 
 
Jun 11, 2009
You're building a 8000 sq foot house & have sufficient financial means to include all kinds of personal, cool and admitedly practical ideas to your dream home. The reason builders build what you consider an impractical house is to make them affordable to people like me, not everthing can be built the way you want it. (custom car or motorcycle costs much more than something built on the assembly line). I'm happy that you have the opportunity to build your dream house, but don't lose touch with the average person and how they have to live.

[I'm specifically talking about features that cost little or nothing. For example, a home with its major windows facing North in our area is worth much more than one with lots of windows on the hot West side. But they would be priced the same. And if your kitchen is far from your garage, that's another big deal that you sometimes wouldn't notice when home shopping. -- Scott]
 
 
 
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