Welcome Home Snowbirds! Make Your Florida Getaway Work for YOU

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Now that Fall is in full-swing, and Winter is just around the corner, most of our Florida "snowbirds" as we fondly call seasonal residents, have returned home to the Sunshine State and are setting back into slow-paced life here in the Winter Haven area. Many of them have enjoyed Spring and Summer travels to places both near and far, and likely enjoyed time in their "home away from home" in another location. Oftentimes upon returning they realize that something about their Florida home just isn't working anymore, but aren't sure how to best remedy the situation since moving isn't really an easy option (or the most lucrative) since they only live here for a portion of each year. 

We have some tips to help our snowbirds, or you, make your Florida home meet your needs, no move required. 

Add storage solutions. 

Any home, over time, will fill up with things. People come with "stuff", and for those who travel part of each year, the treasures they find along the way become an important part of their story and family history. However they also tend to pile up and can be overwhelming. If coming home to Florida and unpacking your year's worth of new finds and souvenirs left you with anxiety and frustration, we are here to help. Targeting specific areas in your home that offer some flexibility for storage options is a great way to make your home work for you. Perhaps there is lots of space near the ceiling in your closets that is going unused. Turn that empty space into purposeful storage with the addition of some shelving and organization options. If you have a bedroom or bathroom with excess floor space but nowhere to put your things, building in a closet or adding new cabinets could be a great way to make your home more functional. 

Consider extra sleeping space. 

Oftentimes we hear snowbird residents complain about their home seeming "smaller" when they add grandchildren, or have family come into town frequently. If this is bothering you, you have options! We can work alongside you to brainstorm ideas for building on additional sleeping space, or repurposing existing space into extra bedrooms and/or bathrooms. 

Needs more entertainment value. 

If your social circle is growing, but your home is most certainly not, parties might be a little less fun than they used to be. If you're already maxed out with your living and dining spaces for entertaining, you could think about taking the party outside! Florida is known for our year-round mild to warm climate, so even the winter months can be a great time to host an outdoor party. Amping up your patio and extending your living space outside means your house will feel less crowded during gatherings, AND it adds entertainment value. Outdoor spaces offer versatility with options your inside living room just can't match, like bonfires in a fire pit (and making s'mores!), grilling out, and chatting into the evening with your family without waking the grandkids! 

If you recently returned to your Florida home after a long period away, welcome home! Williams Construction Company is proud to serve the Winter Haven community and the greater Polk County area with custom construction and home renovation services, and we are ready to work with you to make your home a space you are proud of and enjoy living in each day. Give us a call to get started so you can be ready in time for the upcoming holidays!

Preparing for Hurricane Irma: Is Your House Ready for The Storm?

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As Florida gears up for the approach of Hurricane Irma, many residents throughout the state are worried about their homes and possessions being lost or damaged in the extreme wind and heavy rain that will come along with the storm. While nothing can guarantee the safety of your home and the things inside it, there are some precautions you can take to help your home better weather the storm, and help you manage if you choose to ride out Irma instead of evacuating the area. 

First, bring in all outdoor furniture and any loose accessories or objects from around the home. These can turn into weapons against your house in high winds, and that can lead to more damage than the wind alone would cause. Additionally, look around your home for any low-hanging branches that could cause a problem, and remove them if possible. Keep in mind where large tress might overhang your home, and avoid those areas during the storm itself since you would be at higher risk of injury if the tree did indeed fall and damage your home. 

For areas expecting excessive winds, boarding your doors and windows might be a good option. Plywood is a great way to keep glass windows safe, and keep your doors from blowing in during the storm. Roll up towels along door and window seams as well to keep out water and protect your home's interior. If you live in a flood-prone area, take time to collect sandbags (available for free at local fire stations, police stations, and other public service providers) and use them to blockade areas that might be overtaken by water and cause damage to your house. 

Finally, be ready to take action following the storm by having providers' numbers on hand for repair work that might be needed on your home. Williams Construction company is a local Central Florida business and we're right here in the midst of the storm with you. We are ready to tackle damage to your home, including roof repair, water damage, and more. Our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow Floridians. See you on the other side of the storm, and stay safe! 

Constructing Your Online Presence: Responsible Use of Social Media and Online Platforms

In an age where most of our lives are displayed online, whether with blogs, social media outlets, videos, or even personal websites, it can be easy to forget how much impact the content you place online can have. Building an online presence is very similar to building a home. Each piece, each measurement, and each action is key to the overall results. A poor choice in action, an incorrect measurement, or a faulty material could bring down the entire home in little to no time at all. Unlike a home though, you can't just pick up the pieces and start back over. Your online presence can ruin your life, both professionally and personally, if given the chance. 

How? 

Your online activity can be used against you when you hold any kind of authority.  Whether it be a social media post, content written by you on a blog or website, or even a video created and shared, if it contains information that is in any way offensive, derogatory, or otherwise disagreed with by a coworker, employer, friend, parent, child, client, etc. it can come back to haunt you.  Technically once you put something out on the internet it becomes public property.  While there are some limits to this, and you might have limited privacy, social media typically doesn't fall under these categories, and your information is open to pretty much anyone who wishes to pull it if they try hard enough. 

How then, can you protect yourself without locking down your online presence?  It's simple: think twice before posting.  Consider each "piece" to the online presence you are building. If it won't benefit the end results, or won't serve as a positive contribution to your personal or business life online, it might be best to leave it off the internet. Consider who could potentially see what you are posting, and think through how it could be received by various people in your contacts. Consider too the safety factors in what you are posting. If it in any way gives information as to your location of residence, information about your children and/or other family, etc. be mindful of posting because you could be putting yourself and others at risk. 

This is even true for clients here at Williams Construction. We know you are excited about your new home. We enjoy watching our clients' joy as they see their dream house become a reality, brick by brick. However, taking photos, talking about the location, tagging your new neighborhood, etc. could be putting you and your family at risk when your home is finished. People far beyond Polk County, and even outside of Central Florida, can see those posts. By all means, share your joy with your family and friends (and we do appreciate the online shoutouts from our customers!), but we urge you to be careful with how much detail you include in these posts. Our goal is to make sure our homeowners are happy AND safe, so think twice before posting! 

While we can't build your online presence for you, we CAN take care of everything from designing and building your dream home, to adding another office onto your business for a growing staff. We handle jobs of all sizes for customers throughout the greater Winter Haven area, so give us a call! 

Dorm Life 101: Planning for Your College Student

Find these bins  HERE . 

Find these bins HERE

Today, we are diverting from talking home construction or office renovation, and instead, we are touching on a topic that many parents all over the US are facing in the next few weekends: moving their college student into a dorm room. 

Dorm life certainly has a stereotype or a stigma that goes along with it, including visions of late nights, cold pizza, copious amounts of coffee, and tiny dorm rooms that often look like a disaster.  While we can't do much to keep your student from the unhealthy eating and sleeping habits (they learn that one on their own!) we can help alleviate some of the concern about their disastrous space with some helpful tips.  College students often have neither the time nor motivation to get an organizational system in place for themselves.  Ensure that they are set up for success by helping them put systems in place for their laundry, their school books/papers, etc.  Try these tricks and hacks to make your college students dorm room easy to organize, easy to clean, and easy to live in.

  1. Have a "laundry caddy" that they can easily throw into their basket of dirty clothes when they head to the laundromat or dorm laundry facilities.  In a small plastic container such as the one in the image above, place detergent packets, dryer sheets, a stain removal stick/gel, and perhaps even an inexpensive scrub brush for stubborn stains. For students who have to pay to do laundry, a bag of quarters is an incredibly helpful addition to the laundry caddy too! 
  2. An under-the-bed storage bin is a great place for your student to store "extras" that they won't use very often, and would take up precious closet space.  Blankets, coats/jackets, spare office supplies, etc. can all fit easily into one of these bins, and are accessible without too much effort.  By keeping them under the bed though, these items leave the closet and desk area free for items that are used on a daily basis, and prevent clutter. 
  3. Storage containers are super helpful for college students.  Small sorting containers make keeping pens, pencils, staples, and more organized within a desk drawer.  Larger bins can be placed on shelves in the closet, or even on the floor of the closet, to hold shoes, accessories, and other items that can end up in a massive pile.  Another helpful trick using these bins are to set them up sideways on the top shelf of a closet.  They allow you to stack towels, washcloths, spare sheets, etc. easily since it keeps linens neat and orderly, and helps keep them folded.  These types of bins are easy to find at any big box store, and many dollar stores sell good-quality bins in fun colors for a VERY cheap price. 
  4. Have a shower basket for your student.  Most dorms have "hall bathrooms", meaning that your student will be heading down the hall to a gym-style bathroom and shower area that utilizes stalls for privacy.  Having a basket that stays stocked with shampoo, conditioner, a loofah or washcloth (or both), and any other needed toiletries can be very helpful.  Additional items to include are a travel packet of wet wipes, a travel packet of cleaning wipes (for those times when the bathroom cleanliness leaves much to be desired), and a razor with shaving cream. 
  5. Shoe organizers make a great storage system for dorm rooms.  Hanging one on the back of the door gives your student a space to keep small items like chargers, computer cables, and other items that can get easily tangled.  They utilize space that would otherwise be empty! 

We hope these tips and tricks give you some inspiration for setting your student up this school year!  That spare bedroom in your house that they are leaving behind? There's no better time to turn it into an office, or your own personal space!  Don't worry...you can always keep a bed hidden for those weekends when your student decides to come home to Polk County for a visit.  We have our own tricks and hacks for making sure you have space for them to sleep without giving up your new "grown-up" area.  Stop by or call our Winter Haven office when you want to get started with making your home your dream space. 

Sponsoring and Participating in Local Events: The HCA Toga Trot 5K

Here at Williams Construction, we believe in supporting local businesses and organizations. After all, we are a local business and the only reason we are able to continue providing service to our Polk County friends and neighbors is because of people like YOU. 

Because of this local support system, we are always looking for ways to get involved within our community and give back to the people who have made us, and continue to make us, who we are.  This past Saturday we had another great opportunity in the Second Annual Toga Trot 5K hosted by Heritage Christian Academy. 

HCA provides a high-quality, classical education to students in the greater Polk County area at an affordable rate for families.  Small class sizes, a challenging yet personalized curriculum, and committed teachers mean that HCA is a huge asset to our community and the children within it.  We were thrilled to be able to play a part in their annual fundraising event by being involved with the Toga Trot. 

HCA offered not only the opportunity to sponsor this event, but they also gave sponsors the option of participating in the race!  We were so excited to do BOTH.  By sponsoring the event, we ensured its success, and we also gained invaluable exposure to the local community since our name and company info was provided to racers, on many of the race materials, etc.  By participating in the actual event, we got "face time" with people within the Winter Haven community and had a great time not only running the race, but also getting to know our city better! 

We encourage you to get out there and support local businesses and events!  The locals in your own town are what give your area its own unique flavor, and supporting your city and the organizations within it mean your town will continue to thrive and maintain what makes it special.