From time to time I invite various writers to contribute articles that I think provide useful information for homeowners. I hope you find them as informative as I do.
Ways to Make Decluttering Simple with a Little Planning
Article written by Jackie Waters
Whether it is the season of spring cleaning or you have simply looked around your home and realized you have amassed far too many belongings, it’s a great time to declutter. If it has been quite a while since the last time you sifted through your stuff, it may feel like an overwhelming task. So, take a moment to get ready and break it down into simple steps. With a little effort, you’ll have an organized, decluttered space in no time.
Identify Your “Why”
If you’re reading this, you are likely already thinking about decluttering your home. Now, you need to identify why you want to do this. If you know your ultimate motive, you are more likely to stick with this project and see it to completion. Are you feeling overwhelmed with stuff and clutter? Often, if you find that you are unable to keep up with the mess in your home, you may have too many belongings. Are you preparing to move? If so, this is a fantastic time to go through all your belongings as you pack; after all, you don’t want to bring your mess to the new home. Are you feeling stress in your home and looking for peace? A cluttered home causes more stress, but thankfully, that’s an easy stressor to remove and overcome.
Make a List
Before jumping headfirst into the mess, it’s best to make a list of every area you want to tackle. Come up with a game plan. Start with listing each room in the house, and be sure to include the less-frequented rooms like the attic, garage, and basement. Once you’ve identified each space, you can start detailing specific areas. For example, the kitchen may include cabinets, drawers, countertops, pantry, and even your refrigerator. For the bedrooms, you may list things like a dresser, a desk, surfaces, under the bed, closets, and nightstands. Creating this master list will allow you to check off each area as you go and ensure that you don’t overlook anything.
Create a Sorting System
After you’ve created your master list, you then need to decide how you want to approach each room. A common method is to divide your belongings into four different categories — trash, donate, sell, and keep. Gather four bins and label them accordingly. You can take these bins into each room as you begin decluttering. Determine whether each item is something you’d like to keep. If it is something to get rid of, classify the item as something worth selling, something you’d like to donate, or if it is broken, something to be trashed.
Tackle Room by Room
Utilizing the bin system, tackle one room at a time. Don’t take your “trash” bin and go to every room looking for trash, as this is time-consuming and ineffective. Instead, tackle each room from top to bottom, thoroughly going through each area on your checklist. If it’s feasible, enlist your family members to help in this process. Once you have filled your bins and completed this room, then you can move to the next space. This may not be a project that you can finish in one day, and that is okay! If you don’t have a specific deadline, you could tackle one room a day until you’ve gone through your entire house.
It can be daunting to thoroughly declutter your entire house, but it can be done. Identifying your motivation, writing a master list, creating a sorting system, and tackling each room at a time will help you accomplish your goals. A clean, organized home leads to peace and relaxation, allowing you to focus on the things that matter most.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
These 2 Simple Strategies Will Eliminate 90 Percent of Your Clutter
Article written by Jackie Waters
Sometimes, an organized home feels impossible. You have too much stuff and not enough time, and even if you decided to declutter, you wouldn't know where to start. It's easy to feel overwhelmed when your living environment has spiraled out of control, but you don't need a professional organizer to teach you how to declutter. If you're ready to get a hold on clutter and achieve the tidy home you've been dreaming of, these two simple steps will get you there.
Every messy home has one thing in common: too much stuff. It's easy to tell yourself you need everything in your house, especially when you paid good money to buy it. But keeping things we don't need costs stress and energy far beyond the money it saves.
These are things worth parting with:
- Duplicates. You don't need three sets of measuring spoons or 20 pairs of socks. Choose the items you reach for most frequently and donate the rest.
- Things you're keeping “just in case.” Used gift bags, pants two sizes too big, and decade-old baby clothes — we're looking at you.
- Stuff you don't use. Maybe in another life you would wear that statement necklace or use your stand mixer to bake all kinds of confections, but that's not this life. If you haven't used it in a year or more, then say goodbye.
- Abandoned, half-used items. The lipstick shade that wasn't quite right, the cleaner with the smell you couldn't stand — it feels wasteful to throw these things out, but it makes even less sense to store them indefinitely.
- Photos and documents. No, we're not telling you to throw away your family photo albums. However, you could digitize them and save a lot of space.
Organize Clutter Hotspots
Do the same spaces seem to accumulate clutter faster than you can remove it? Most homes have at least one or two clutter hotspots. Getting these spaces under control goes a long way to making your home feel more organized.
- Bedrooms. Throwing clothes on the bedroom floor is so common, it has its own nickname: the floordrobe. Obviously, putting clothes away immediately is the best solution, but habits don't change overnight. To keep clothes off the floor, you need to get rid of anything you don't wear. Then, install closet hooks (you can purchase a 16-pack for $10.99 online) or add storage baskets where you can neatly stash clothes until you're ready to put them away.
- Bathrooms. Bathrooms see a lot of traffic, which means they get messy fast. Instead of letting counters clutter up, use drawer dividers and cosmetics organizers to keep daily items accessible yet tidy. Bathroom cleanliness goes beyond organization, so stash cleaning supplies under the vanity and buy a vacuum that works well on tile floors so you don't have to haul around a vacuum and broom on chore day.
- Kitchen tables. The kitchen table is the ultimate multi-purpose surface. It's where you drop the mail, where your kids do homework, and where you sit down for a quick meal — if you can find the room. If your kitchen table features more clutter than cuisine, get better solutions for your miscellaneous stuff, such as a wall storage unit with space for mail, keys, and homework supplies.
Of course, sometimes an extra hand is nice. If you really want to give your home a fresh start, hire a professional cleaner who can bust all the hidden mess in your house, from grimy grout to stained carpets, so your decluttering efforts really pay off. In San Francisco, the cost of these services usually ranges from $123 to $225.
Decluttering doesn't have to be a huge endeavor that involves emptying every drawer and cupboard in your home. By targeting the key sources of clutter, you can make an enormous difference in your home's appearance in as little as a weekend.
Image via Unsplash
These Tips and Tasks Turn Your New House Into Your New Home
Article written by Natalie Jones
Image courtesy of Pixabay
Moving into a new house is exciting, but it never feels quite like home at first. A handful of thoughtful tips and tasks can help you settle into your new abode quickly. Before you know it, the new place will feel like home to you!
Set Up Bedrooms
Providing everyone in the house with their own personal space is a great way to feel settled. Even though it may take several weeks to complete the unpacking process, some experts recommend establishing bedrooms first. It gives all of your family members their own retreat when they need a little “me time,” and it means their spaces will include familiar belongings.
Do Some Housework
While it may sound mundane, sometimes that’s exactly what it takes to make a house feel like home. By doing routine, everyday things, you can really make the new digs yours. Besides, as some professionals note, a deep clean will eliminate any residual traces of former residents.
Along those same lines, sometimes when you move to a new location, you can experience fresh allergy or cold symptoms. Installing a humidifier and air purifier can help improve your home’s air quality. Humidifiers clean the air, help your skin stay moisturized, and can filter microbes and viruses. Air purifiers with HEPA filters filter out 99.97% of particulates 0.3 microns or larger, which includes air contaminants such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mold.
Tailor Your Space
Putting your personal input into your surroundings is a terrific way to make a house feel like home. Huffington Post suggests looking for ways to make the rooms more efficient for your lifestyle. For instance, you can install shelving where you need more storage or add lighting in dim corners. Changing up wall colors is an inexpensive way to express your style, brighten a wall, and refresh a home.
Adding some new accessories is a fun way to make a house feel like home, especially if you purchased new furniture. Laura Ashley suggests a handful of things that pull your new areas together. You might add throw pillows and a lap quilt that coordinate with the couch and wall color or a duvet in a pattern that ties your bedroom suite with the colors and space.
Buy Some Flowers
A vase of blooms or even a few potted plants can really add to your new home’s comfort. It can even be one of the first things you do. When you make that initial grocery run, one thought is to pick up a bouquet while there. Even if you’re still drowning in boxes and bubble wrap, it’s a quick way to add a personal feel.
Hang Wall Art
Putting up your favorite photos and paintings is another way to transform a new home. Some studies show that seeing your familiar wall hangings can actually reduce stress and help you feel happier.
Put Up Window Treatments
Even if the former owner’s were included with the house, installing your own window treatments is a fun and easy way to add your touch and pull your decor together. And if the house didn’t include them, you’ll enjoy more privacy while you’re getting comfortable.
Inviting your friends and family members to see the new place can help you feel more at home. There is nothing like familiar faces to warm a space! Even if you’re still unboxing, buy some steaks and a bottle or two of wine and celebrate the new home together. Or, if you’re new to the area, take the opportunity to get to know the people next door. You’ll feel better acquainted with your new home while getting on a first-name basis with your neighbors.
San Francisco, California, is a wonderful place to live, but like anywhere, settling into a new home can take a little effort. Spruce up your place to reflect your tastes and add your personal touch, then throw yourself a housewarming party. You’ll quickly feel right at home in your new place!
5 Ways to Feel Right at Home Within a Week
Article written by Natlie Jones
New house, new neighbors, and new sights and sounds to get to know. It’s an exciting time, but it’s also one that can leave you feeling a little out of place. However, it doesn’t have to. These five tips can help you settle in without stressing you out.
Unpack the Necessities (and the Kids’ Rooms) First
No matter how much you want to outfit your new bathroom with your favorite candles and fluffy towels, your best bet is to focus on the kids’ bedrooms. Helping your kids get their room together first will go a long way toward easing their anxiety. You’ll also want to take some time within your first few hours to unload any necessities such as toiletries, medication, and bedding.
Tackle Small Projects That Will Have a Big Impact
If you don’t have to vacate your current home immediately, you can make your new house much more appealing to the senses by slapping a fresh coat of paint on the walls before move-in day. Even if you use a premium paint, it’s still an inexpensive upgrade. DIY Network asserts that you’ll be able to get things done quicker if you don’t have obstacles, such as furniture, to work around. Another fairly simple project is swapping out dated kitchen and bathroom fixtures with new ones. If you’ve purchased a home that needs more than a little TLC, consider getting quotes on larger projects from a local general contractor. In the San Francisco area, home renovations and repairs average in price from $3,725 to $17,250, according to HomeAdvisor.
Add a Little Touch of You to Each Room
Unless you’ve purchased the house sight unseen, you have a good idea of where your current decor will go. You’ll feel much more at home if you personalize a few key spaces by days two and three. This might mean creating a cozy reading nook, setting up the TV, or adding a photo wall. Architecture and Design suggests these 50 family photo display ideas that can transform any room into a comforting and familiar space.
Pay Extra Attention to Your Outdoor Space
There are few things worse than pulling into your driveway and realizing that the yard is a wreck. If your new home has been unoccupied for any amount of time, there are likely some overgrown bushes that could use your attention. Make outdoor work a priority and you’ll have a more enticing recreational space where you and your family can relax. As an added bonus, you’ll make yourself more available to your new neighbors.
One of the most important things you can do as you settle into your home is to keep your routine as close to normal as possible. This is especially true if you have children, who may not be quite ready to adapt. As tempting as it is to order takeout on your first few nights, don’t do it. Instead, make a point to cook dinner and eat together as a family. This will also provide a valuable opportunity to talk with your children and spouse or partner about how they’re feeling about the move. The Washington Post claims that teens are most likely to talk to their parents sitting around the table at dinner time.
By maintaining this habit, you will also get to know the subtle nuances that make your new home unique. Little things, like knowing how hot the water gets at full temperature, can also help you feel more at ease in these unfamiliar surroundings. Pottery Barn offers some great advice on how to pick the right lighting for your kitchen. Since you’ll be spending lots of time there, it’s best to get it just right at the beginning.
Your new house may not fit you like a glove just yet, but if you take the time to mold it into your very own space, it won’t take long. By taking care of the little things (or a few big ones), you’ll feel more comfortable and your house will become a home.
Image via Pixabay