Dean Sarris | Lowell Real Estate, Chelmsford Real Estate, Dracut Real Estate, Westford Real Estate


If you've lived in your home for very long, you know that lots of places collect dust, lint, grime, hair, fuzz and, well, gunk. Often, we become so busy in our daily lives that we neglect to remove the gunk until it causes a significant problem such as a clogged drain or even a fire in the dryer vent.

So, what to do? Get out the gunk, of course.

Put your gunk patrol on a schedule. Once every month, or more often if needed, check these areas and remove any debris built up there that can cause expensive calls to a plumber, electrician, or the fire department.

  • Vanity drains: In the bathrooms, the vanity drain collects hair, fuzz, slivers of soap and other junk that causes clogs. To clear the plug area, push the plunger in as far as it goes, reach into the drain area with tweezers and pull out any hair and slimy gunk hiding in there. New quick-release plugs with removable baskets make this job a snap. If the drain already has a clog, turn off the water access under the sink. Then gently remove the trap—the curved piece of pipe—to see if you can locate the clog there. If the trap is stuck, you’ll want to call in a plumbing professional.
  • Shower and tub drains: Similar to vanities, these drains clog with hair and other debris that washes down. Pull what you can from the upper side. If your shower grate has removable screws, you can loosen them and lift it off to access any clog. Tubs are more difficult because you cannot access the drain or the trap, so you may need to call a plumber for a plugged tub. To protect against this problem, place a hair screen (available at hardware stores) over the drain and clean it out daily.
  • Dryer lint hose: In the same way that lint builds up in the dryer lint trap, it also collects in the hose leading to the outside vent. Often, dryer hoses become kinked when pushing the dryer into place, so carefully pull out the unit and carefully unhook the hose from both the dryer side and the wall. Carry the hose outside and shake it out over a trash bin. Look through the hose to make sure you've removed all the collected lint. If necessary, use a bent wire coat hanger or broom handle to remove any lint you can't reach. Carefully replace the hose, making sure the clips are in place, and the hose remains un-kinked when you push back the dryer. Remember, built up lint causes more than just an inefficient dryer, it can also cause house fires.

Just a few moments each month can save a homeowner from tons of costly repairs. If you'd prefer to hire someone to take care of servicing these items for you, reach out to your real estate professional for a referral.


Everyone needs a few minutes to decompress between the office and home. You don’t want to bring any stress from your day into your family time so finding ways to relax before you get home is helpful. Sometimes taking a few minutes to cool down during the commute mentally is enough to help you relax before getting home, but sometimes driving continues to exacerbate your stress level. Finding a place in your neighborhood or near your home where you can park and spend a few minutes decompressing before continuing home can make a big difference to your day. Create a little haven where you spend 15-20 minutes alone. Take the time to let go of any stress or anger built up at the office or to rest for a few minutes so that you have the energy to be a great parent and partner.

Each personality seeks different features in a decompression place. Do you need a quiet place where you can think, or do you prefer a loud place with TVs to distract you from thinking? Does sitting help you relax or does walking around or getting exercise help you clear your mind? Think about what you need and what type of place in your neighborhood could be your new haven.

  • Coffee Shop: A coffee shop can be a great place to spend a few minutes by yourself. You can relax with a soothing cup of tea or re-energize with a cup of joe. Coffeehouses offer you the ability to be alone and have your headphones on or read a book, but they also create a space where you can meet people and have some casual conversation to take your mind off the day.
  • Restaurant/bar: Finding a local spot with a happy hour might be the right choice for you. Especially if you are a sports fan, a local sports bar or café with TVs might be just the thing to help distract you for a few minutes ahead of dinner. 
  • Park: After being cooped up in an office all day getting out and taking in some fresh air might be just the thing. Is there a local park or greenbelt near your home where you can go for a nice stroll on the way home? Sit on a park bench to peruse a book, watch dogs play, or stare off at a stream or water feature.
  • Library: If you're a bookworm try visiting your local library on the way home. Take a little time to discover a new book or read a couple of chapters of your current book in a pleasantly quiet environment.
  • Mall: If you live near a mall try walking around and window shopping by yourself. Get in a little exercise and let your mind wander as you pass the different shop windows.
  • Gym: Exercising is an excellent way to decompress and get some positive endorphins flowing through your body. If you have the time to work out for even 20-30 minutes on your way home, it can make a genuine difference to your physical and emotional health and help bring you mental clarity. 

 If having a local and easily accessible place to decompress is vital to you in a neighborhood, take time to talk with your real estate agent about your needs before beginning your home search.