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Clean carpets can add sparkle and freshness to your entire home — but a dingy, stained, pet-hair-covered carpet can do just the opposite. Luckily, many products and techniques will work wonders, even on stained carpets — and you have several cleaning options that you can pursue.

Pasting the walls, not the wallpaper is so much easier than setting up a table to roll out wallpaper and apply the paste or soaking it in a bathtub of water to kickstart an adhesive. Consider using a wallpaper-like-mural that you order to the size of your wall to create a dramatic background for your furnishings while adding texture and personality to the room. We found them at www.wallsauce.com, where you choose a pattern, scale and order the number of 24-inch-wide panels that are needed. You’ll find an array of patterns, designs and textures to choose from for every room in the house.

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A small amount of bleach can typically be diluted in water and poured down the sink. For larger amounts, check if there are any disposal instructions printed on the container. If not, call your local hazardous-waste-disposal facility for their recommendations.

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In short, yes, cleaning products can expire: “Like many products purchased at the grocery store, cleaning products can degrade over time,” says Brian Sansoni, senior vice president of communications, outreach and membership at the American Cleaning Institute.

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Expired surface cleaning sprays and dishwashing liquids likely won’t damage the surfaces they’re intended to be used on, but they simply won’t clean as effectively. You may have to use a little more of the product or clean for longer to get the same results.

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The easiest way to tell if your cleaning supplies are expired is to check the date printed on the bottle or box. If there isn’t any expiration date, there may be a manufacture date — then use the general guide below to determine if the product is expired.

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Q: Tim, it's a very long story, and don't think I'm crazy. I'm building a new home and wondering if I can install all the electrical wiring myself. It's not a big home, but it's got all the things going on you'd normally have in a home, including quite a few three- and four-way switches. I've watched a bunch of online videos, I've read a few authoritative books and I'm feeling pretty confident. What am I missing? What would you do if you were me? —Margo F., Albany, Ga.

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Q: How do I go about getting my house into our trust? Do I need to contact the person who did the trust for us? Do I need to use the attorney that set up the trust? Do I even need an attorney to do this?

Q: I inherited 20% of a home with a mortgage. The person who owns 80% wants to keep the house. How do we divide the property? Should I get 20% of the appraised value or 20% of the equity of a house? There are enough other assets in the estate to pay me either way.

Home improvement projects may not be the first things on your to-do list this fall, but you may want to add a few items to that list (maybe after “book holiday travel” but before “buy new soccer cleats for the kids”) to help prepare your home for the chillier months approaching.

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