6 Things to do with your Tax Refund

Saving money is kind of like eating a healthy diet. You know you should do more of it, but it’s hard to resist making spur-of-the-moment choices that make you happier immediately but worse off later. A tax refund marks a great chance to get into a better financial position for the future.

6 ways to save with your Tax Refund

  1. Create an emergency fund

Many homeowners don’t have enough in savings in case of a sudden financial need. A lack of savings leaves you vulnerable to a job loss, medical emergency or major repair and can force you to carry high credit card balances for an extended period of time. Using your refund to start an emergency fund could leave you breathing easier should one of those events arise.

  1. Pay off debt

If you are carrying a credit card balance, consider using your tax refund to pay that off. Going this route allows you to save more money every month once those minimum payments vanish from your list of bills.

  1. Save for retirement

What better way to sock money away for retirement than by using funds that aren’t a part of your paycheck anyway? You’ll probably be grateful that you had the foresight to save for retirement rather than spend it on something you’d have long since forgotten about.

  1. Seed the college fund

If you have children or grandchildren, you’d be doing them a huge favor by saving your refund in a college fund for their benefit. You would then be able to help them afford a higher education in an era where rising costs leave many saddled with massive debt along with their diploma

  1. Make home improvements

If you live in an older home, spending some of that refund around the house can lower your energy bills. Replacing old windows can improve the efficiency of your air conditioning and replacing old appliances can help you use less energy too.

  1. Buy life insurance

Life insurance can be easy to overlook, but for those who are married with families, a term life policy can provide protection for loved ones at a relatively low cost. For the cost of a few hundred dollars, your tax refund can allow your family to maintain its standard of living if the unthinkable happens.

How to Get Involved with Habitat for Humanity

As a non-profit organization that has a mission to minimize homelessness and build homes for families in need, Habitat for Humanity has already secured more than four million people and built more than 800,000 homes on a global scale. All the good work that Habitat for Humanity does is made possible thanks to the enthusiasm and selflessness of the volunteers. If you’re interested to learn how to get involved with Habitat for Humanity as well, keep on reading.

Main Ways to Get Involved as a Volunteer

Help Your Local Community

If you want to lend a helping hand and learn how to get involved in the local community as a volunteer, all you have to do is reach out to your local Habitat for Humanity chapter. You can phone, email, or get in touch via the Habitat website where other volunteers will guide you and explain the process. The application form on the site is already self-explanatory, but you’ll essentially be able to choose the most appropriate volunteer areas based on your skills and preferences, as well as the most suitable dates when you can volunteer.

It’s also possible to join a Youth Program if you’re between the ages of 12 and 18. The Program will connect the volunteers with their peers for projects related to the home building process.

If you have a strong desire to help the veterans in your community, you can also join the Veterans Build. This particular program focuses on building and repairing homes for veterans and their families who need it the most. And you don’t have to be a veteran yourself in order to join.

In case you’re unable to join the volunteers to build homes, you can still get involved and help your local community by making monetary donations or donating building materials.

habitat for humanity veteran build volunteers

Volunteer as a Part of a Group

Companies that are interested in engaging with and giving back to their communities can contact their local Habitat for Humanity chapter and discuss opportunities to help. Essentially, the whole business with their employees can join their forces outside work as well in order to help families regain a roof over their heads.

Habitat for Humanity originally started as a Christian organization. This is precisely why they welcome local faith groups to join them on their quest to help others. All religious organizations can get involved with the volunteer work, be it the home building, serving food, or simply collecting donations for the cause.

Ladies can also join the Women Build program which allows them to build homes for other women and children in the community. This is a great opportunity for ladies to learn more about construction work, expand their skill set, and take another step towards women empowerment.

Students can join the Habitat chapter that’s connected to their campus so that they can volunteer during the school break. If your school doesn’t have a campus chapter for Humanity, you can check to see whether you can start one or join the Youth United program.

Help Families Across the Globe

Habitat for Humanity has its chapters and branches all around the world, which allows willing volunteers to help people in need of housing internationally. You can choose to join the Global Village where you’ll have the chance to travel to more than 40 countries where Habitat operates and build homes there. The trips usually last between a week and a month. It’s also possible to volunteer long-term at one of Habitat’s locations in the US or internationally.

College students can start a Collegiate Challenge where they’ll be sent to some of Habitat’s US locations during semester breaks and take part in building homes there.

RV Care-a-Vanners program allows anyone with a functional RV to go on trips around the US and help the poverty-stricken communities. It’s also possible to donate a working RV.

Willing volunteers can also join the Disaster Corps. They’re scheduled to travel to locations that have been hit by a natural disaster and need help with rebuilding their homes and entire communities.

There are no pre-requirements to become a Habitat for Humanity volunteer. Even if you have absolutely no knowledge of construction work, you’re welcome to get involved, and the organization will find a way to utilize your skills or teach you new ones. 

How to Donate Building Materials at Your Local Habitat ReStore

Regardless of whether you want to remodel your home, build a new structure, demolish an old one, downsize, or whatever else you plan on doing construction-wise, one thing’s for certain. You’re bound to be left with extra building materials you have no use for. It’s a common practice in these cases to send your waste straight to the landfill; but why contribute to the growing landfill when you can donate building materials instead?

Among many other things, Habitat for Humanity ReStore accepts used building materials that can be easily repurposed and utilized for the benefit of the entire community. Donated items that still possess value are sold in one of Humanity’s stores with the revenue allocated for building new homes, both locally and globally.

Habitat ReStore Donations

At Habitat for Humanity, donate anything and everything that’s of no use to you but can be appreciated by other people. What’s more, the majority of our stores offer a donation pick-up, making it easy and simple for you to get rid of unwanted items while staying far away from a landfill. It’s also worth noting that donations can often be applicable for tax reduction, which makes the practice a win-win all over!

Essentially, Habitat for Humanity accepts:

  • Furniture, houseware, and décor
  • Home appliances that are less than a decade old
  • Cabinetry
  • Kitchen and bath fixtures
  • Building materials
  • Flooring and tiles
  • Lighting and lamps
  • Doors and windows
  • Clothing
  • Cars

In order to successfully donate some of the things that fit the above-mentioned categories, it’s imperative that they’re functional and in relatively good condition. Items that are broken, damaged, dirty, or otherwise unsuitable for immediate use are not a good donation fit for Habitat ReStore. If you learn that your items are not acceptable as Habitat donations, you can still do the right thing and reach out to your local recycling center to dispose of them sustainably.

used furniture for donations

Donate Used Building Materials

When it comes to building materials, most Habitat for Humanity ReStores accept only those packages and sections of materials that are complete and damage-free. In that sense, scraps and partially used materials are a no-go. 

Flooring, tiles, fixtures, cabinets, doors, and windows may be viewed as part of building materials. Therefore, it’s important to note that all the necessary pieces should be included in the donations if you want to make one. Think cabinets with all the required parts and hardware, windows and doors with properly framed glass, and so on. Aside from those, your local Habitat ReStore may also accept materials such as lumber, fencing, bricks, and blocks. Make sure to contact the stores in order to inform yourself about the exact types of building materials that you can donate there. Aside from items and materials, you’re free to make monetary donations to further help the families in need.

If you’re not sure about the location of a Habitat ReStore that’s closest to you, all you have to do is go on the Habitat’s website and check the Find Your Local Habitat search box or, if you’re based in the US, type in your ZIP code to pinpoint the nearest stores.

When you donate building materials and other gently used items to Habitat for Humanity ReStore, you’re not only giving these a second chance in life. You’re also giving a second chance to all of the families that are looking forward to starting a new chapter in their life with the safety and security of a Habitat home. And by helping people around the world simply by donating things that you don’t need without dragging them to a landfill, you’ll also do a huge part in protecting the environment. 

Top 5 Reasons to Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

Helping someone is a fulfilling feeling like no other. With your time and effort only, you get to make a huge difference in other people’s lives, and the best thing is you can see that difference with your own eyes! But there are other benefits of the whole concept that makes people happy to become a Habitat for Humanity volunteer.

  1. Get a New and Better Job

Volunteering at Habitat is not just about doing one very specific thing over and over again. We provide our volunteers with a chance to learn new skills and engage in work areas they might not have had the opportunity to explore before. Through team-building activities at Habitat, volunteers go through professional and personal growth, which allows them to seek better job opportunities later on. 

Of course, even if you simply get to exercise the skills you already possess, you get to use your volunteer experience to strengthen your resume and amaze potential employers.

  1. Learn New Skills

As mentioned, Habitat for Humanity community service engages the help of people with various skillsets and allows every single one of them to expand on those. Every day brings something new; you might be assigned to help a family with home repairs, or you might get to work on a building site, most definitely get a chance to learn how to operate a new tool, and much more. What’s more, being engaged in the housing matters of your community will also give you the opportunity to educate yourself more on all sorts of housing issues and finances.

  1. The Joy of Team Building

It’s not every day that different people from different places get to work together with one noble goal in mind. You get to make the impossible happen simply by the fact that you all want to make a difference, and you know that the biggest difference will come from all your efforts coming together. 

There are no requirements, rules, prejudice, or anything else for your Habitat for Humanity volunteer application except the desire to join hands with others to help someone improve their living conditions. In that sense, you might walk into this whole thing surrounded by strangers, but you’ll walk out with a bunch of new friends.

The Joy of Team Building

  1. Make a Change Wherever

If you’re looking for good places to do community service, you can start with your own. This gives you an opportunity to make an impact locally and make your community a better place. But that doesn’t limit you to lend a helping hand to the rest of the world though. When you volunteer with Habitat, you can also travel across the US and Canada, as well as the rest of the world with a group of volunteers who’re interested in making a change at different destinations as well. After all, we build homes in more than 70 countries around the world.

  1. Be a Part of Something Grand

Being a part of Habitat’s volunteer program allows you to (re)connect with others within your community as well as other places in the world. The memories and impact you make will stay with you forever and let you tell an amazing story of unity, kindness, strength, and stability. Together with everyone at Habitat, you have the power to improve people’s lives.

So, how to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity? All you have to do is visit our website and fill out the application form. This is where you provide us with your contact info and preferred volunteer days. You also get to choose your volunteer areas of interest, such as construction, deconstruction, home center, office/clerical support, and/or lunch donations. 

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Buying a Habitat for Humanity Home

Habitat for Humanity works as a non-profit organization across the globe to help the communities and provide a comfortable home to those who need it. That said, it’s important to understand how this program works and what can help you qualify for Habitat homes if you’re interested in the matter. 

Essentially, we help families buy a house at a rather fair market value price without the down payment or interest mortgage. But to understand the whole homeownership program a bit better, let’s dive into it in more detail.

  1. Who Can Get a Habitat Home?

The first thing you have to understand is that we offer a Habitat for Humanity house for sale – not as a gift. As such, we’re not talking about getting anything; if you qualify for the program, you buy a home for yourself and your family. All with considerable benefits, as mentioned. So, how do you qualify for Humanity home? Essentially, there are several qualification criteria that you have to meet. These are as follows:

  • Your annual employment income can’t be less than $40,000 (location-dependent)
  • The maximum income of the entire household depends on the number of household members
  • The children in the family are younger than 18
  • At least one household member must have a full-time job (35-hour week)
  • The member working full-time has to have a consistent full-time working history for 2 years past
  • You mustn’t be in the possession of another real estate at the time
  • You’ve been living in the city where you want to apply for the home for two years minimum
  • Every household member is a recognized citizen or permanent resident of the country where you apply
  • You have no debts in Collections
  • It’s necessary to have at least $2,000 in any type of savings account
  • The Consumer Proposal should be in its final year (looked into on a case-by-case basis)
  • Debt balance and monthly debt payments can be considered for qualification

If you live alone with an annual income of, let’s say $40-60,000, you can probably lead a comfortable lifestyle. But when you have to take care of a whole family, kids and all, on that paycheck, things can become rather challenging. A lot of families find it impossible to get a place for themselves and continue living in rentals. This is where Habitat for Humanity housing can help your family settle down in a true home where your kids can grow up and put their roots down.

The Consumer Proposal

  1. What Is a Habitat House and Is It Good Quality?

A Habitat house is just like any other house designed to meet the modern lifestyle requirements of an average family. That said, the quality is good! There’s no compromise when it comes to this matter. It’s our goal as a global organization to make sure that the build house program we participate in meets all of the design requirements and specifications of the community in question.

The contractors, trades, and volunteers we bring in for work are all experienced and skilled in what they do, from electricity and plumbing to things such as painting, dry-walling, landscaping, etc. 

At every site, we have professional construction supervisors who make sure that everything proceeds smoothly and properly as well as provide volunteer guidance together with other Crew Leaders. 

Our Crew Leaders are experienced volunteers who have been on many building projects with us already and have gone through special training to effectively manage other volunteers and ensure that the build is successful and top-quality.

Of course, just like with all other new homes, Habitat homes also go through a thorough inspection and approval process. Not only do we build quality homes that are meant to last but we also put effort into creating energy-efficient homes that maintain great market value.

  1. Is Habitat for Humanity for Third-World Countries Only?

Habitat for Humanity operates globally. This includes third-world countries, but we’re not limited to them, quite the contrary. 

That said, we build homes in the whole of the US and Canada, many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, plenty of countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as a considerable number of countries in Asia and the Pacific. After all, we recognize that housing is a global issue and hope to make a difference worldwide. 

As the gap solution between renting and buying a house traditionally, we want to clear the road to homeownership for more families who simply can’t purchase a home but need a way to get out of the cycle of renting, regardless of their location in the world.

  1. There Are Other Benefits Aside Home Ownership

If help for buying a house is what you seek, the help you’ll get – and much more! For starters, a Habitat house allows you to calculate the monthly housing costs, which makes it incredibly simpler and easier to save money in the long run, manage your budget, and make some future plans. Furthermore, mortgage payments build equity. 

That said, if you ever decide to sell your home back to Habitat for Humanity, you sure can; and you get to take your equity to purchase another home on the market elsewhere.

There’s no need to worry about rent or potential fluctuations in the payment rates. Most importantly, you’re in complete control of your own home as there’s no landlord to impose their rules. 

This also means that you don’t have to wait for anyone else to take charge of matters within your home, be it fixing something or having to ask for permission to personalize this space however you desire. Yes, only your imagination and creativity are the limit when it comes to how your new home will look like.

  1. How to Get a Habitat for Humanity Home

If this sounds amazing and it feels like you can benefit from this project a lot, all that’s left for you to do is go through the process of buying a Habitat home. We have already listed the qualification criteria for you to check out but there’s also the Eligibility Quiz. Taking this quiz can quickly tell you whether you meet the basic criteria of this program. If you’re approved for this affordable mortgage deal, you’ll be invited to watch an Information Session to learn more about the program’s details. 

Of course, just like you have to meet our requirements to qualify for a Humanity home, we have to meet yours. And in case you decide that the offer is a good fit for you and your family, all that’s left is to submit an application and wait for the final approval!

Habitat for Humanity works with people from around the world in order to provide communities with safe and secure homes. At the moment, we build houses in more than 70 countries across the globe and are proud to say that we’ve helped almost 30 million people improve their living conditions since 1976. Don’t hesitate to check out our website or reach out to us to learn more about what we do and how we make a difference. 

What Stuff Should You Donate to Habitat ReStore?

Decluttering your home is a great way to breathe some new life into your place and finally surround yourself with items that spark joy in you and you tend to use. As you get to better the effects of your personal environment, it’s also important to consider what you’re going to do with all the stuff that you’ve decluttered. The ideal answer would be to donate it, of course. That said, donating to Habitat for Humanity ReStore is simple, quick, and easy, and it will allow you to support a good cause as you free yourself from unnecessary clutter. If you’re wondering what you can donate to Habitat, keep on reading. 

Furniture, Houseware, and Décor

Most people find that a range of different décor and houseware bits and pieces as well as furniture only make a mess at their home. Fortunately, donations to Habitat for Humanity ReStore can help you get rid of these unwanted items and at the same time help others spruce up their home for a more affordable price. Just keep in mind that the items have to be in a relatively good condition as we don’t accept scrap material. 

Home Appliances

It’s also possible to donate your home appliances to Habitat, but keep in mind that we only accept appliances that are less than 10 years old. If your items are older than that, you can recycle them.

Home Appliances

Cabinetry and Kitchen/Bath Fixtures

Turn your old cabinets and kitchen/bath fixtures into Habitat for Humanity ReStore donations, but only if the items are in a relatively good condition and come with all of the necessary hardware. If that’s not the case, you can recycle your items or maybe even find a fun way to repurpose them. 

Building Materials

When it comes to building materials, as well as flooring and tiles, it’s very important to note that Habitat accepts only fully functional and complete packages. Scraps and random pieces of material are not a good choice for a donation. 

Lighting and Lamps

Just like furniture and décor pieces, all sorts of lighting solutions and lamps are a very popular donation that many people are interested in once displayed. However, if you find that the lighting and lamps you wish to declutter don’t work at all, have cracks in the glass, or are completely unframed, proceed to your local recycling center. 

Doors and Windows

When doors and windows are concerned, the situation is rather similar. We’re happy to accept these items as donations, but only if there are no obvious damages to the doors and windows in question. The items have to be functional, with adequate hardware, and no cracks or missing glass. 

As we try to change the world for the better, we hope that you’ll join our cause. The sales we make from your donations to Habitat for Humanity ReStore will be used to build and repair the homes within your community and across the globe. If you find you have some stuff you don’t need even though they’re in a good condition, don’t hesitate to donate them and make a difference yourself.

9 Secrets of Successful Secondhand Furniture Shopping

Are you looking for sustainable ways to redesign your home? Have you ever considered buying secondhand furniture for that very purpose? Just think about it, secondhand wooden furniture, or furniture of any kind, does not require any more raw materials or energy for production. There’s no additional pollution and waste, no packaging, and to top it off, older, more antique pieces have a great deal of character to them and a lot of exciting history.

Intrigued by this but you don’t know where to start with your secondhand redesign? That’s not a problem, just read our 9 handy secrets, and you will be hitting Fort Lauderdale furniture stores in no time! 

Secondhand Furniture Shopping Tips

  1. Keep your eyes peeled

Always be on the lookout for great deals and secondhand furniture whenever you’re in a furniture store. Why? If you are serious about your redesign, you’ll want to have an extensive repertoire of furniture stores in Fort Lauderdale that offer used items. This way, when you’ll finally start your redesign project, you’ll know where to go.

For instance, you can always visit Habitat Restore of Broward where you can always find environmental-friendly deals at great prices. New inventory arrives daily from generous individuals and corporate donors.

On the other hand, some of the finds are pretty rare and hard to come by the second time around. So, if you happen to bump into something you really like, don’t hesitate to make a purchase, otherwise, you might not have a second chance to do so.

Keep your eyes peeled

  1. Always inspect the item personally

There are instances when this is impossible, however, it’s worth the effort. While online shopping is convenient, sellers can also hide serious damage or flaws with the same convenience. Condition is a crucial element when you’re buying second hand, and inspecting any item before you make a purchase, used furniture in Fort Lauderdale included, can save you from painful headaches down the path. 

  1. Always know your measurements

Never leave your measuring tape at home and always know how much space you have in your rooms. You don’t want to end up buying something that doesn’t fit well or doesn’t fit at all. Measure your doorways as well. There’s nothing more frustrating than buying a perfect item that you simply can’t get through your front door.  

  1. Have a specific idea but try to keep an open mind as well

You never really know what you will find when you go secondhand furniture shopping so be ready to get creative, to improvise, and sometimes even to compromise. Otherwise, you may never find the items you are looking for to realize your redesign project.

That being said, never look for anything overly specific. Go in with an open mind and consider everything that you can see yourself enjoying in the long run. Sometimes, you’ll have to be creative and make small adjustments to make specific items work in your living space, but sometimes that’s better than coming home empty-handed every time.

That being said, try looking for items in advance so you’ll have more options. Also, be open to more items. If you can’t find a plan A item, feel free to use your plan B or C instead. It might grow on you and who knows, if you find your dream piece, you can simply swap them any time.

  1. Be prepared and think fast

If you’re an impulse buyer, you have a clear advantage here. The ugly truth is, things are pretty dynamic in the secondhand furniture market, and sometimes being hesitant is enough to go home empty-handed.

The truth is, a lot of people and retro furniture dealers are into great used items making the buyer competition really fierce. So, if you see something that you really like, don’t hesitate to go for it. Chances are if you come back just the day after, the item will be long gone. 

  1. Always know your prices

This will take time but don’t worry, everything does. Until you develop a better sense for pricing, just take out your phone and compare prices online to see if you came across a bargain or a rip-off. 

In some cases, you can also barter, but don’t forget to observe how others do it first unless you’re a natural at it. Always know what you’re prepared to pay for a specific item before negotiating, and don’t give in. Also, try not to get overwhelmed and end up spending more than you initially planned just because there were a few items that you could knock off of a few bucks. 

  1. Know your capacity and chops

This is especially important when you want to restore items on your own. Be honest with yourself and assess your handiness and knowledge. If a project is out of your range, you’re better off looking for something else than buying something that you can’t upcycle on your own or without significant costs.

Professional restoration can be pretty expensive and can cost you more in the long run than you were initially willing to spend. That being said, something that’s cheap doesn’t automatically mean that it’s a good find and something that can be saved. Chances are, you’ll just end up wasting money.

  1. Steer clear of irreparable damage

As said above, some items are not meant to be saved just because they are cheap. Unfortunately, damage like rotting, woodworms, bad smells, and damaged fabrics are all big red flags. When it comes to smells, the upholstery can be replaced, but if the odor is strong, fillings and stuffings might be affected too. Avoid items damaged by water or with burn marks. Also, keep an eye out for mattresses and fillings with germs and dust mites.

The Habitat Broward ReStore only sells new and gently used furniture, so you don’t have to worry about damaged goods.

Steer clear of irreparable damage

  1. Don’t forget to have fun

This might be too much to take in all at once so don’t forget to enjoy yourself and have fun. Getting into the groove of used furniture shopping takes time but after you get the hang of it, it gets much easier. 

The more you do it, the more exciting and fulfilling it becomes. 

Ready to Give Secondhand Furniture Shopping a Try?

Used furniture shopping has its own set of rules, dos and don’ts, but all in all, it’s something you can get the hang of pretty quickly. It’s a great way to redesign your home in a sustainable way and these tips can help you get started.

Be sure to make it a plan to visit our Broward ReStore. All the items in the ReStore are sold at a fraction of the original retail price, they’re all new or gently used and all the proceeds from the store are used to help Habitat Broward partner families build better lives for themselves. Everyone’s a winner!

Common Thrift Store Finds That Work Great for DIY Projects

If you are one of those people who like to get creative and immerse themselves in DIY projects then old pawn shops and thrift stores can be literal gold mines for you. Truth be told, there are a lot of awesome finds waiting for you and your next thrift store DIY project, however, in order to really get the most out of your next thrift store shopping spree, you need to keep on open mind. 

What are we talking about? There are a lot of common items at a thrift store and sometimes, it’s difficult to see its potential as your next ornament, piece of furniture, or whatever else you had in mind for your thrift store DIY. At Habitat for Humanity Broward Restore, you can find new or gently used furniture and home appliances for a fraction of their retail price!

Sometimes, all these thrift store finds need is a new coat of paint, a good clean, or just an entirely new context.

And to give you that context, we’ve compiled a list of a few great thrift shop finds that you can use for your next DIY project. 

Artwork

Pieces of art are hard to beat when we’re talking about thrift store DIYs. With the right creative approach, clustered artwork can make for a fine design or even for an entire collection. By going one step further and adding a few subtle changes to these cheap pieces of art, you can create a totally unique collection of sometimes bizarre, but eye-catching creations. 

Trunks

These items are easy to find and some of the vintage ones are pretty cool by themselves and can work perfectly in your home design. On the other hand, they can make for great occasional tables in some circumstances.  

Dining Chairs and Table

Dining Chairs and Table

Whether you need a single chair or a whole set, chances are, you’ll find them at thrifts stores, even though you might need to repaint, stain, and reupholster them. Tables can also make fine additions for your kitchen, dining room, or if you already have one, they can be repurposed as desks. 

Lamps

Older, vintage lamps can make a fine addition to your furniture by themselves, though sometimes, you’ll need to change the shade and clean them thoroughly. Broken lamps can be rewired simply and if you buy more, you can get really creative with them and use them for your next art project. 

There you have it. These items will make for a great DIY project and some of them may be ready for use out of the box (out of the store, in this case). If you feel inspired for DIY fun, be sure to visit our ReStore to find great deals on new and gently used items. You won’t be disappointed. 

9 Quarantine Crafts and DIY’s to Try at Home

The Corona outbreak hit all of us hard and now the vast majority of people are staying at home a whole lot more. The problem is, staying at home can get a bit uneventful. Hang in there, there are still good ways to “kill time.” Luckily, we are here to show you 9 quarantine creative DIY projects, some productive things to do at home and crafts to do when you’re bored.

1. Free Topic Art Project

There are tons of fun at-home crafts you can do with a quick (safe) trip to your nearest crafts and art store to grab some items that inspire and let the fun commence! 

You can paint, knit, draw, etc. Don’t get anxious if you’re not that handy with paintbrushes. Just go ahead and explore your inner artist and try to find sources of inspiration to keep you going. You’ll see that with time, you’ll get better and better at your craft projects.

2. Make Greeting Cards

If drawing and painting isn’t your thing, you can also create greeting cards either by designing them yourself or by using family photos, old drawings, etc. On the other hand, you can use an online editing software for this purpose. This makes the process much faster, enabling you to create more great designs. Also, chances are you’ll be more productive and have lots of fun during the process.

2. Make Greeting Cards

3. Repurpose Old Furniture

The internet is full of awesome DIY projects and a lot of them target home improvement. Find used furniture (or grab those pieces that you don’t use anymore) and see how you can give them a new life with a design twist or repurpose. You can transform your old sliding closet into a stand for musical instruments. Even if you’re not a musician yourself, you probably know someone who can use it in the family. 

Create a workbench from your old dining table and set it up in the garage. Look around and see what parts of the house need some retouching and try it yourself. YouTube is full of great DIY tips and tricks and Habitat for Humanity of Broward’s ReStore is a treasure trove of new and gently used items you can pick up for an amazing price. If you’re looking for cool, eclectic stuff you can transform into something fresh, drop by the ReStore.

4. Start an Indoor Garden

Now, this might sound like something difficult, but it’s actually not! In a few simple steps, you can turn your backyard into your own walk-in mini-grocery store. Just grab a few basic gardening tools and seeds and you’re halfway there. Make a list of the veggies and spices you’d want to grow and buy them either at your nearest store or online. If you don’t have a backyard, you can still plant them in your home – place your plants near the window and watch them grow and beautify your space little by little. With enough patience, you will soon harvest your own crops!

5. Create Your Own Family Tree

Do this with your kids for a great family activity. You just need a few pencils and a bigger piece of paper. Start by drawing a three and list family members on the different branches. Use the family records you have at home, reach out to loved ones if you get stuck and feel free to get as creative with the design as you wish. Also, by listing family members, you can tell stories about your ancestor to your kids. They’ll have heaps of fun while doing it, and they will learn about their family history.

6. Design Your In-House Gymnasium

Gym class is also out of the question since schools are closed. However, your kids still need to be physically active and fit. 

With just a few creative tricks, they’ll be back to being active and having fun in no time. You don’t need any special equipment, you can use what you have around the house. 

Leave little notes around the house and have your children look around for them. Write easy exercises on the notes like: “perform 3 jumping jacks”, “do 2 squats”, “do 3 one-legged stands”, etc. This is a better method for reintroducing physical activity to their lives than simply ordering them to do so.

To make it even more exciting for them, you can join the fun too! 

7. Organize the House and the Garage

Chances are, there are a few chores around the house you’ve been putting off waiting for the “perfect moment.” With the outbreak, all your excuses are gone and plenty of time to do it is here. 

Reorganizing your drawers, your tool shed, garage, and pantry, for example, are great ways to keep yourself busy and be productive at the same time. 

This is also a great way to get rid of stuff you don’t use any more (you can give them away too) and redesign your living spaces. Feel free to move some furniture around, see which arrangements work best. This is the cheapest way to change the atmosphere in your home and will keep you occupied. 

8. Make Face Masks

This one can be quite useful, given the situation. Try making face mask from fabric you have lying around the house. There are quite a few great tutorials out there on the internet, and the masks can give you proper protection whenever you need to leave the house.

8. Make Face Masks

9. Start Writing 

This might not be a craft or DIY project, but journaling can be equally fun and challenging. You can start writing a diary, documenting your everyday life during the outbreak. Write down the latest news, what’s happening at home, and how you feel. Later on, when all this is over, you can use it as a source of inspiration to see what you’ve been through and can also serve as a statement to reinforce your positive outlook on life. 

Staying at home doesn’t have to be boring and shouldn’t leave you feeling trapped and anxious. There’s an enormous number of different DIY and craft projects you can start to scare the boredom away and to help you pass the time. The key here is to find something you get excited about and isn’t too demanding. You want to have fun while doing these projects, it should not come as a source of discomfort and unnecessary suffering. Keep it simple and keep it fun! 

For more great articles and ideas (like learning about the benefits of spring cleaning), feel free to keep on browsing on our blog section. Stay safe.

Everything You Need to Know About Corporate Volunteerism and Why It’s Important

Corporate volunteerism is a chance for businesses and their employees to leave a positive mark in their community, i.e. to give back. In short, corporate volunteering is a way of helping those in need in the community, without seeking any financial gain. 

Generally speaking, volunteering programs are great opportunities to promote corporate responsibility and a better work/life balance, both of which are very important in today’s society. 

And as such, employee volunteering programs are becoming a part of benefit packages with more than a fourth of organizations offering employee volunteer programs in the workplace. Companies usually offer various models: 

  • Event organization where employees join a specific activity
  • Give more time off to employees that they can use for volunteerism, either free days or hours during the workday
  • Monetary donations

This all sounds great and all, but one may ask: “What is the importance of volunteerism?” or “How do corporate volunteer programs benefit businesses?”

In this article, we are going to find out just that.

1. Volunteering Employees Are More Loyal

Skeptical managers may think that the majority of employees would simply use their free time for their own purposes, or would get discouraged to stay at the company because of the extra efforts of volunteering. It’s actually the other way around. Studies have shown that companies with such programs have better recruitment and retention rates among employees who value work/life balance.

2. Volunteering Does Not Hurt Revenue

Some would also think that having employees out of the office would be detrimental to the business you’re running. Research also shows the opposite. Apart from not hurting the company’s financial figures, these programs also give employees a great opportunity to learn valuable management and leadership skills, help boost teamwork, team morale, and generate an increased sense of responsibility.

3. Positively Impacts Everyone Involved 

Positively Impacts Everyone Involved 

Apart from benefiting the employees who participate in these programs, volunteering activities also benefit the people who these programs are aimed toward. That may be education, helping low-income families to balance finances, or construction work, every person in the program gets something valuable. 

From a business standpoint, companies will receive better brand recognition, will get a better reputation both from the competition and from government authorities and agencies. Sometimes, volunteering companies can leverage the benefits that local, state, or federal governing bodies offer them.

4. These Programs Have an Impact and Are Inclusive

Both transactional (like construction) and transformative activities (like education) are great ways to practice volunteerism and to help the community.

The first one is more of a hands-on approach, with visible results, while the other is more like a partner-based activity, with ongoing experiences that can inspire employees for years to come. 

On the other hand, having an impact, making a contribution to society are also important aspects not just for the company’s philanthropic efforts, but for the employees too. So in order to maximize the effectiveness of these activities, they should be aligned with the employee’s skills and schedule.

Habitat for Humanity 

It’s clear to see that volunteerism holds a lot of benefits not just for corporations but for employees as well. Apart from boosting morale, it gives coworkers a sense of responsibility, helps them with their work/life balance, gives them a chance to give back to the community, and can make them more loyal to the company. Corporations, on the other hand, can enjoy a better reputation that can translate into new business opportunities. 

If you’re in the Broward County and are considering volunteering, Habitat for Humanity Broward is worth your attention. Whether it’s on our construction site, at the Habitat ReStore, or at one of our events, your time and talents can help make a difference!