Monday, February 23 2015
Last night I was watching the Academy Awards Ceremony a/k/a The Oscars and it got me thinking of the stage. The stage can be set for homeowners who are looking to sell their homes, as well.
I am well aware that we are in the midst of the winter season, but, before you know it, Spring will be here and that tends to be the time of year when people are looking to put their home up for sale. It is a little more complicated than just putting a sign on your lawn. You need to prepare - and what better time to begin the process than during these cold winter months.
Over the years, I have helped realtors and home owners alike, "set the stage" to get their home ready to sell. Although there are many aspects to staging your home for sale, I would like to provide you with a quick overview of some areas to focus on.
1. Closets - If packed tightly, closets will make a home appear to lack closet space. It is vital that you eliminate the unnecessary clutter in a closet and organize it to maximize the amount of open space you want to show to the potential buyer. Using matching hangers for clothing will create a nice visual impact, as well.
2. Bedrooms - The bed should face towards the doorway and be the focal point of the bedroom. Eliminating the excess furniture will provide plenty of space in the room for navigation and clear surfaces on end tables and dressers will be pleasing to the eye.
3. Bathrooms - Be sure the surfaces are clean and clear. Remove soap scum and redo any grout that has discolored over time. A clean bathroom is a great way to stage your bathroom. Create a functional but relaxing environment, especially in a master bathroom. The display of white or cream colored towels will open up the space in the bathroom and provide a spa-like feel.
4. Kitchen - A simple and inexpensive way to update your kitchen is to use a new coat of wood stain or a good sanding and a coat of paint. Replace the hardware for a fresh new look and, as always, clear your surfaces of clutter. Lastly, remove area rugs from in front of the sink to open up the visual appearance of the kitchen.
*On average, most sellers will spend an average of $1950 on their bathroom and kitchen renovations with an ultimate return of approximately $3250, which is about a 65% on their return. Bathrooms and kitchens are essential spaces in the home and where most buyers are either won over or lost.
5. Living Room - Providing plenty of light in this room is a major source of approval by a potential buyer. Be sure that the shades are open and use lighter colors where possible to give the room a more spaceous look. Create clear paths to navigate and avoid having the back of a sofa face the main pathway. You want to open up the room to visitors and not block them off with misplaced furniture.
A few simple steps can increase your home's potential for a higher selling price. Removing clutter is one of the most important ways to do this.
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of staging your home for sale or considering downsizing, don't hesitate to contact me. I can help you to "set the stage" for sale.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Wednesday, December 31 2014
Happy New Year! Are you ready for 2015?
This is a great time of year to not only eliminate clutter and get organized, but incorporate a little Feng Shui into your life and your home. I dabble in Feng Shui from time to time and use the basic principals when working with my clients in their homes.
This list was created by Kathryn Weber, Feng Shui Entrepreneur & Nationally Syndicated Columnist.
Notice that de-cluttering is at the top of the list!
OUT WITH THE OLD
Grab a laundry basket. Next, set a timer and take it with you from room to room. Set it for five minutes. Now, start throwing out old papers, magazines, empty bottles of shampoo from the bathroom, old clothes you know you’ll never wear again! Do it.
Got CDs you never listen to? Throw those out or donate them to charity. Have some old coffee mugs that don’t match or odd drinking glasses still hanging around in your cabinets? Pitch ‘em.
When in doubt, throw it out. Don’t forget to look under the bed, too! And toss that lipstick you haven’t worn in two years! Remember to clean out the pantry, too, and toss that half-empty box of Rice Krispies that’s gone stale.
2. Sweep or vacuum
Get the old energy out by making the floors clean.
3. Do the laundry
Don’t have dirty clothes hanging around. You can throw in a load or two while you declutter. Be sure to fold and put the clean clothes away.
4. Clean the bathroom
Make it sparkle. You don’t want a nasty mess to greet the next year of your life!
5. Empty all trashcans
Don’t want last years’ trash hanging around, do you? Toss, toss, toss.
6. Clean out the refrigerator
Got a half-empty jar of apple butter? Get rid of it. You don’t want to go into the New Year with old food or a moldy science project lurking in the fridge.
7. Clear out visual clutter
Too much stuff everywhere? Clear off the counters in the bathrooms and kitchen. Clear off your desk and dust it. Pitch the sticky notes and papers and things taped everywhere! You can do it. Don’t forget the refrigerator! Make it a blank slate.
Make as much space as possible. You cannot bring in new things if there is no room for it and we want a fantastic year, right? Then make your space “open” for the abundance of the New Year!
8. Yard work
Make sure the yard is picked up and the front door step is swept and clear.
9. Change the sheets and towels
Put clean sheets on all the beds on New Year’s Eve and clean towels in the bathroom and kitchen. New sheets are even better.
10. Clean the car
This is what gets you around during the year. Drive through a car wash, take out the trash and do a quick cleaning.
All done? Wow, doesn’t that feel good! Now you’re ready for the next step.
IN WITH THE NEW!
1. Fill your pantry and kitchen
Stock the refrigerator with food and make sure the pantry is also stocked. It is bad feng shui to have an empty refrigerator and pantry. If you have canisters in the pantry or on the countertops, be sure to fill these.
2. Got citrus?
Oranges are excellent symbols for the New Year and the Chinese often celebrate the New Year by rolling oranges (symbols of gold) into the house. Place a big bowl of 8, 9, or 10 (the numbers of prosperity!) oranges in the living room or central location in the house next to dishes of nuts or candies to symbolize an abundant, fruitful home.
3. Buy a new plant
Put a beautiful new plant in the East (health & family relationships) sector of your house or office to symbolize a healthy beginning. You can also display some beautiful flowers here to symbolize your good health in the coming year.
4. Welcome good news
Place a golden bell in the NW corner of your home, office, or bedroom to bring good tidings from helpful people. Like old school bells? If so, place one of these in the NW corner of your yard for good news from helpful people.
5. Hang up new calendars
What better way to greet the New Year than by throwing out the old one? Take down all of last years’ calendars.
6. Fill your wallet
You don’t want to go into the New Year with an empty wallet. Put some money in your wallet — or better yet — go and buy a new wallet (red is the best!) or purse and start your financial off with new energy!
7. Invite a toad to your house
Place an old, broken clay pot upside down next to a water spout so a toad can make its home here. Toads are believed to invite money into the household; they’re especially nice by the door. You can also place figurines of toads by the door.
8. Feed the birds
Birds are excellent feng shui and believed to bring good news. Fill your feeders or put out a feeder for the New Year.
9. Have fun and celebrate
Fun is good feng shui. A happy vibrant home or space is a good space, so plan a party of some kind of happy gathering. Remember, a home or office with good feng shui is easy to spot it’s the one where everyone goes and doesn’t want to leave! Make your space that kind of place!
OR, as I say "Make your place A Better Space!
So, what do you think? I am not sure about inviting a toad into my house. I think I will go ceramic, thank you, but a little Feng Shui never hurt anyone! Go through this list and do the best that you can. Do one thing at a time to help stay focused and soon, you too will have A Better Space.
Wishing you a very Happy (and organized) New Year!
Monday, June 03 2013
It's very common to add more to our lives by adding something - a bigger home, more clothing, more decorations, more, more, more...
However, the funny thing is - less is actually more.
Last weekend I decided to declutter and organize my own home. I had been spending so much time helping others get organized, I was neglecting my own space. Over time, things built up and it was time to do something about it.
Being a professional organizer, I know all too well that less is more. When you clear out the clutter in your home and in your head, you clear out the clutter in your life.
Sometimes, our clutter means that we have too many time commitments.
I decided to commit Memorial Day weekend to my own home and did not commit to any social activities. I knew that if I committed this block of time to this project, I would be able to enjoy the rest of the Summer. That was my motivation.
I systematically went through my home, starting on the second floor and moving down to the first floor, one room at a time; just like what I do when working with my clients when they hire me to organize their homes. I cleaned, I decluttered, I organized. I worked 12 hours a day for two days. It was a lot of work, but, oh, it felt so good! During this week, I am going to work on my basement and storage room. Then, my entire home will be organized!
Here are four steps you can take to create more with less:
1. Enlist an "accountability partner". Select someone who is committed to supporting you and perhaps creating change in their own life. This "accountability partner" can be a friend, family member or even a professional organizer like myself to keep you focused and moving forward.
2. Make a list. Break down the various areas of your home that you wish to tackle and create a chronological list so you can check them off as you go and get that wonderful sense of accomplishment at the end. As you think of things you need to do or want to purchase, write them down as well. This will keep you on track.
3. Subtract as you go. Look closely at what you have and eliminate the excess. It could be clothing, paperwork, old linens, pantry food items, etc. Take the time to truly evaluate what you need and will use. Don't create excuses for keeping something you know you will never use.
4. Find the additions. This does not mean that you find more stuff to keep. It means finding the joy in having less. Celebrate your successes by inviting people over to see what you have accomplished. Enjoy your new space and "live" in your home. Your have now created more space for good things to enter your life.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and need assistance in creating a home you enjoy living in and are ready to eliminate your clutter, once and for all, contact me. I can help you to create a step-by-step system so you can have A Better Space.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Saturday, February 09 2013
Wow! January was crazy busy for A Better Space. So many people contacted me to help them get organized. That is why I did not blog in almost a month! I believe we can all find a little time in our day to get organized, right?
If you need to get organized but can't seem to find the time, I have some suggestions for things you can do to at least get started. They only require about 15 minutes a day! I am sure you can carve out 15 minutes out of your day to get some organizing done.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Organize a 15 minute family pick-up. Get everyone involved to go around the house and gather up items that do not belong in that particular room and put them away. (This can be done on a daily basis to keep the clutter under control.)
2. Gather your remote controls for the television and gaming devices in your family room and put them into one basket. If there are similar devices in other rooms, do the same thing.
3. Go through your sock drawer. Gather those single socks, ones that are worn out or no longer worn. Old socks sometimes make great handheld dusters. Only keep a few for this purpose, though. The rest have to go! Pair up the rest and put them away.
4. Match your plastic containers with their lids. Go into your kitchen and gather all of your plastic containers and plastic lids. Put the lids on the containers and get rid of the ones that don't have a matching lid. Reduce the amount that you have if you have too many. With the lids in place, you will never have to find a matching lid again.
5. Do a clothing toss. Go through your closet and quickly eliminate those items you no longer like, you never wear or no longer fit. Donate the items that are still in good condition.
6. Do a medicine cabinet review. Eliminate old or expired medications. Only keep the items you still use. Old medications can be returned to your pharmacist to recycle.
7. Organize your bathroom towels. Go through the linen closet and get rid of the old and worn out towels you no longer use. Only keep enough on hand for one week's use. Too many towels means too much clutter.
8. Check the back of the fridge. You probably have items that have gotten pushed to the back of the refrigerator and are no longer useable. Get rid of them and then organize like items together in the fridge so you can easily find what you need when you need it. Keep leftovers at the front so they get used up first.
There are many other ways to get organized in just 15 minutes. What will you do to get your home organized with just 15 minutes a day? I would love to hear your ideas and we can share them with others.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Thursday, October 04 2012
Clutter and children have a strong correlation. It begins the day they come home from hospital.
How is it that you bring a tiny new human being into your home and with them comes all this stuff!
Toys, clothes, bottles, pacifiers, bed linens, books, stuffed animals, you name it. We have reached material saturation according to a recent study released by the UCLA Center on the everyday lives of families.
The clutter might begin in the closet, basement, attic or drawers but then it spills out onto our table tops, counters and floors. We currently have more visible clutter than ever before in the history of the world! Our children's stuff is at the top of our clutter piles.
Each new child in a household leads to a 30 percent increase in a family's inventory of possessions during just the preschool years alone! There are several reasons for this increase:
1. Parental guilt because of working outside the home;
2. Generous grandparents.
The United States has 3.1 percent of the world's children. However, US families purchase more than 40 percent of the total toys consumed globally on an annual basis. The toys can spill out from their bedrooms and play rooms into living rooms, dining rooms, the kitchen and parents' bedroom.
There is a sense among working parents that they have less time to spend with their children, causing them to shower their kids with toys to compensate for a perceived loss of quality time at home.
Aside from that, other relatives contribute to children's collections of material items. Grandparents alone spent about $500 or more, per child, per year, on toys, clothes, books and other gifts. Due to the high divorce rate in this country, many children end up getting gifts from multiple sets of grandparents. If children divide their time between two households, they tend to have double the amount of possessions, as well.
The influx of objects is relentless. The outflow, not so much. We need to develop rituals and mechanisms for getting rid of stuff.
Here are some solutions:
1. Have grandparents purchase movie tickets, tickets for live events or a favorite restaurant instead of a toy.
2. Review the inventory accumulated every 6 months. Get rid of clothes that no longer fit, toys that no longer work, books that are no longer read, school papers that are no longer needed. (End of the school term, Christmas time are two suggestions.)
3. Have a conversation with other gift givers to come up with creative solutions that do not involve a lot of toys, clothes and other items that are in excess of what is reasonable. Relatives and friends want to give "things" to show how much they love them. They need to understand that their time is more precious than possessions. They need to understand that, although it is appreciated, it is causing clutter in your home.
4. Be selective about the items you purchase for your child. They don't need to have everything. Remember, less is more. Too much can be overwhelming for a child. They tend to play with their favorites anyway.
Take a look around your home and see where the clutter is accumulating and make some changes so you can be clutter free.
If you need some assistance or more ideas for solutions, contact me. I am glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great day!
Wednesday, July 08 2009
Now that the kids are out of school and summer is in full swing, we don't have the time or want to take the time to clean the house. We want to be outside, on vacation, taking day trips and participating in other summer time activities.
But -- we still need to clean the house. How do we do both? We "speed clean"!!
I have compiled some Quick Tips for A Better Space which are great time-saving tips and techniques for cleaning your home in less than an hour. You can do it all at once or select several rooms a day to do a quick cleaning. By using these techniques, you can be sure that your home will be clean and you will be ready for summer fun.
Bedroom - Make your bed first thing in the morning, put your clothes in the hamper, straighten up your night stand and bureau surfaces. Then quickly dust and vaccum.
Bathroom - Wipe down the shower door or tub surround when finished with your shower. Spray the entire shower and curtain liner with shower mist (the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner works well). Take a disinfecting wipe and wipe the sink and faucet, counter top and toilet seat and rim. Vaccum the area rug and wipe the floor with a damp mop. (I like the Wet Jet system for quick clean-ups.)
Living Room - Pick up things off the floor and use a handheld vacuum to pick up crumbs and dust bunnies. Fluff pillows and throws. Straighten up books and magazines, throwing away newspapers and store ads. Put away CDs and DVDs after each use. Dust from top to bottom, saving the vacuuming for last.
Kitchen - Start with the sink and wipe it down after doing the dishes. Wipe down the stove top and counters. Wipe the table. Use a dust mop, Swiffer Sweeper or vacuum to clean up crumbs from the floor.
With these suggestions, you will find that your home will remain clean and organized and you will have more time to spend enjoying the Summer!
If you have any questions about this topic or have any other organizing problems you would like me to address, simply send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to help.
Have a great week!