DIY Tips and Advice

Rejuvenate the Home

The warm weather is here! So the Summer, oops, I mean the Spring season is upon us. It’s time for spring cleaning! Freshen up with these cool ways to give your home that facelift after winter weather.

  • Vacuum those dusty nooks and crannies. Baseboards, crown molding, under furniture, fans, and vents. Deep clean all rugs, carpeting, and window treatments. These basic bones need to be wiped down to renew them every once in awhile.
  • Take time to really scrub those light fixtures and windows. Polishing them to look brand new can do wonders for the lighting in your home. Lighting sets the atmosphere and improves your mood.
  • Don’t forget about those appliances. Sanitize you refrigerator. Scrape up those oven and microwave spills. Run the washing machine and dishwasher through self cleaning cycles. Keeping these essentials clean matters. Don’t let the dirt and grime accumulate. These chores eliminate germs, lengthen the lifespan of appliances, and ease the workload of upkeep.
  • Declutter! Use baskets, boxes, and drawers to organize life’s little things. Pack away cold weather clothing and unpack the warm. Be sure to go through all toiletries, make up, and medicine; toss anything that’s expired. Replace hairbrushes, toothbrushes and loofahs if they haven’t been replaced in the last 6 months. When decluttering, ask the essential questions: “Do I like it? Do I need it? Do I use it?”

Use this list more like guidelines rather than rules. Adapt it to fit. Don’t let it seem like you must do this all at once, dedicate a few days to a week for each chore. Accomplishing any or all of these tasks are sure to create a gleaming home and you!

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DIY Inspiration Tips and Advice

Space Saving Ideas for Your Kitchen

Kitchens aren’t always as spacious or inviting as you see on HGTV. Sometimes you have a modest kitchen or a galley kitchen and the hardest thing is to find enough space for all of your appliances and essentials such as plates, bowls, and silverware.

One of the best ways to find more storage is to add it yourself! One way you can do this is by adding an island. I am not talking about the kind you are thinking of that are of so popular and everywhere in the model homes and magazines. What I am talking about is a lot more practical and can add much needed storage and count top space. These islands are like carts most of them are movable with wheels and are great for adding needed counter top space as well. You can bring things out of the cabinets that you go to a lot and put it on the open shelving as well pots or cereal whatever you find is more helpful. The best part as these allow you to move them into a corner or out of the way when you don’t need them and bring them closer and have that crucial extra countertop space when you do.

Another great space saver is to hang items on the wall pot hooks or racks are great for this and again allows you to get those pots and pans out of the cabinets where you can now store more food, spices, linens, or whatever else you may want to stash behind closed doors.

Another great thing to do is find extra room. This can be done in a lot of different ways and would rely you utilizing all the space you may have and not realize. One thing you may want to do is stack spices perhaps putting ones you use less often on the bottom or just organizing them so they take up less room this can be done for any set of food just prioritize the food you use most often and put the others underneath. If you have space around your fridge you may be able to fit in an extending rack so you can hide brooms or whatever else back there and pull it out when needed. Lastly you can try and get things off the countertops hanging paper towels or knives under the cabinets will net you a lot of precious counter top space.

Happy planning and have fun finding new space and making your kitchen your dream kitchen.

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General Tips and Advice

January Resolution: Organizing

Sometimes your resolutions may not reference your own health or fitness, but rather may take on an issue in your home: clutter! When tackling this resolution, the same rule applies as it does to any other, this is your plan for the year – not just the first week of the year! Just like you won’t lose 25 pounds in week one, you won’t declutter your ENTIRE house either! Using the first week to come up with a manageable plan you can hold yourself to throughout the year is actually a great way to start any resolution!

  • Make a checklist of everything you want to tackle. Divide it by room, and then by task. (This gives you a great sense of accomplishment as well!)
    • Kitchen – top cabinets, Tupperware cabinet, bottom cabinets, pantry, under sink.
    • Guest room – closet, under bed storage, dresser, bookshelf.
  • Take the list of each area you want to tackle and prioritize it. Come up with one project for each week – of course some weeks may be easier – under the sink vs the guest room closet, but that will make you not dread it each week!
  • Take the priority list and divide it up on a calendar. Generally best idea to use the calendar you reference the most – phone, wall calendar, planner, whatever you look at weekly!
  • Go to work! Once you complete a task, check it off the list. If you come up with new ones along the way, add them to the weeks following what you’ve already filled up. If you have a bad week, push your “to-do” until the following week – make sure to not forget about it completely.

When you get to tackling whatever item is on your list each week, make sure you are setting enough time to thoroughly complete the project. If the task is to clean the closet, make sure to pull everything out and start from scratch. Use the mindset of – trash, donate, keep – with whatever area you are tackling. My theory usually is if you haven’t used something in over a year, you don’t need it! The idea behind only taking on one project a week is to give yourself time to complete it, and be completely done with it when you move on – so don’t leave behind a pile to sort out, or a bag to bring to the thrift store, use the week to tie up all loose ends. And, like any resolution, don’t lose sight of the reason you decided to make it your resolution to begin with! (And hey, organizing is easier than exercising everyday isn’t it?!)

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General Inspiration Tips and Advice

Closet Organization Solutions

Often times, closets are an afterthought when it comes to home design. You may have ended up with the world’s narrowest linen closet, deepest entry way closet, or longest bedroom closet. Especially in a lot of older homes that were designed before closet organizers were trendy. Sometimes, it takes a little bit of creativity to make the most of these spaces, but it is always key to remember any space is useful no matter how awkward!

When we had first moved in our home, we were faced with all the above-mentioned problems. When we first moved, the obvious choice was to open the closets, and just throw stuff in, and close the doors – I mean, that’s why they had doors right?! Well, as time went on, and as seasons changed (where did all the winter boots go…??) it became obvious that being organized was more important. Starting with the small narrow hall closet, I took a step back to realize what we were working with. Although it was a narrow/tall space, it was evenly divided by five shelves. Initially, it was full of towels shoved at different angles. Instead, I completely emptied it, and found different baskets that would fit perfectly. When you have a basket, you can slide in and out, we were able to utilize the closet for all our bathroom items. Now, rather than things falling out at you, you pull out the baskets (each labeled) to easily locate a fresh toothbrush!

As far as the entry way – good problem to have – too much space – unless poorly used. We ended up needing to add shelving to this closet – and did it the easy way with the easy assembly kits from the local hardware store. We also added small battery-operated LED lights so that we could see in the back of the closet. Once we added these shelves, we could use half the closet to line up our shoes, and then still had a hanging space where we could use the closet for its intended use – coats. We even now had space on a shelf to add baskets for all our cold weather accessories.

The bedroom closet was the best problem to have – because there was a lot of space. Unfortunately, being off the bedroom and over the garage it was an awkward space, with no shelves or hanging space. While it took a little more effort, we ended up adding shelves, hanging space, and drawers – again all from the easy DIY section of the hardware store, and made it a closet you would be envious of. A space for clothes, accessories, even the towels which no longer had a home.

In the end, all of the space was so useful, and so much better utilized. Just remember, like any household project, it takes some time, some planning, and some patience.

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General Tips and Advice

The Fall Purge

We all know spring cleaning gets all the hype because of its association to the promise of summer and warmer weather; but doesn’t getting rid of all your junk before the cold of winter make more sense? No one wants to be stuck inside their home with tons of clutter. Let us introduce the Fall Purge. Sure, it has its challenges: harsh realities, long hours hauling things to the dump, separation anxiety,  and decision fatigue; but let’s think positive! A cleared out house will make for a more inviting, warm and relaxing winter hibernation. Here’s some tips to help overcome the Fall Purge blues:

1. If you can’t put it away, it needs to go away. If there is no space left in your designated storage areas, you need to create room. Prioritize what you want to stay and accept that some things simply don’t fit and need to go.

2. Be honest about whether you will actually use something again. If you haven’t used it for months or years, it’s unlikely you’ll want it in the future.

3. Let go of guilt. Not everything is a lost cause meant for the garbage. Consider what can be donated, recycled, repurposed or even re-gifted.

4. Be fearless and ruthless. Remember you’re doing this for yourself and holding on to too much clutter bogs you down.

5. Change your mindset. Assume that everything is going and you need a good reason to keep something.

6. Don’t let gifts become a burden. No one who cares for you wants you to hold onto something that you don’t like/use.

7. Rember that the money has already been spent and your possessions don’t pay you rent. You will not recoup their cost by keeping useless items.

8. Purge broken items. They are not serving you any benefit. If you haven’t made the effort to fix it yet then it probably isn’t important enough to hold onto.

9. Create a challenge for yourself. Decide on a specific number of items to purge and stick to it. This could be a total, or monthly, or weekly or daily; you decide!

When all is said and done, reward yourself! It’s good motivation to get things done when you know at the end you can celebrate with a nice dinner, spa visit, or fun outing. Anything that won’t bring a new object into your home. If these tips aren’t enough, why not invite a friend to help? We find a bottle of wine, or two, laughter and company should do the trick. 🙂

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General Tips and Advice

Jumpstart Holiday Decorating

It’s October, and before we know it, the holidays will be upon us. Now is the time to get your home ready; especially if entertaining is in your future. It is best to prepare ahead and not wait to do things last minute. The holidays should be enjoyable, not feel like drudgery. By putting the work in ahead of time, you can savor the beautiful home you have created and enjoy the festive holiday season.

These are the steps I take to jumpstart my holiday decorating:

Clear out and throw out. That means everything from closets to drawers. Pull everything out of each space and get rid of all the clutter. Make designated piles along the way while emptying too to help keep your stuff organized. (i.e. Keep Pile, Donate Pile, Trash Pile, etc)

Assess and Make a List. This is where you go from room to room, check out the condition of each room and its contents. Does paint need to be touched up? Holes need to be spackled?  Pillows restitched? It’s your time to take note of those “small things” that build up over the months or even years that you maybe keep putting off.

Prioritize. It would be great if we could completely redecorate or tackle everything on our “to do” lists, but life gets in the way and sometimes that just isn’t possible. This is where prioritizing and budget becomes key. If your sofa is looking worn but a new one isn’t in the cards right now, buy a decorative throw or maybe some throw pillows to add some new life to it.

Hopefully these tips will help you to prep for the busy holiday season that is quickly approaching! but in the mean time, enjoy the Fall!

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DIY Tips and Advice

Decorating + Back To School

As the summer draws to an end, the unfortunate reality sets in that school is right around the corner. If you are disappointed, imagine how your kids are feeling! From our personal experience, it always seems to help to do some fun projects together before the kids get back to school. To get in the spirit of school, there are a few around the home projects that can be both fun and helpful to get everyone in the swing of things.

  • Creating/Updating a “Family Communication Center.” It always proves to be useful (even with all of the technology available) to have one central area in the house with a central calendar, areas for notes to be left for other members of the family, and a place to put any flyers that come home from school. Useful tip – when recording things on the calendar color code things for each person, so at a quick glance you know what is going on that day. Using one central calendar can help to not double book as well! Get your kids involved by letting them help you to design the space – generally a section of the kitchen or mudroom work best so everyone has to pass by them! In my house, we painted a wall in the mudroom an accent color, with six months of whiteboard calendars (which allows them to be re-used but have things marked in advance), a cork board to hang up all notices/flyers, and a plain whiteboard where we can leave notes for each other. It’s also a great place to use chalkboard paint – but that does tend to require a little more up keep!
  • Create a backpack/coat organization area. Create a space where each child has their own space to put their stuff when they get home from school – ensuring they know where it is before getting on the bus in the morning! Depending on how old your kids are will dictate how much/what type of storage you need – but a hook for a backpack, jacket, a bin for gloves and a hat, a place to put paperwork, and perhaps some shelves to leave books. The best part, aside from knowing where everything is in the morning, is that having this separate area tends to cut down on the mess of things thrown throughout the rest of the house. Make it fun for the kids by allowing them to decorate “their space” however they want!
  • Create a homework station. Get together with your kids and create a list of all of the items they will need for homework – from paperclips to pencils to crayons to colored paper to markers to folders to scissors. After you have compiled the list search the house for the items you have, and shop for whatever else they may need. Stop by the dollar store and purchase different size/shape containers that you can store the different items in. Find a place in the house you know the items will stay (this will hopefully give your kids a sense of accountability too – at least for a little while!).

Whatever project you decide to do with your kids, make it fun and let them personalize it!!

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Inspiration Products Shades Tips and Advice

Spring Update

Spring Update

After the winter comes to an end, it’s time to freshen up.   A lot of the preparations for winter are to make your room feel warmer, close off the windows, and keep the heat in.  In the process, you generally block off a lot of the light and make the room feel more like a cave.  Once the sun finally starts to shine, it’s time to open the windows and enjoy the light!

Although it’s an investment, sometimes rather than turning to curtains from just a decor perspective, you can purchase new blinds that not only give you a new look, but give you function as well.  The most popular option is our cellular shades, customized with a top down bottom up option.  The good part of the shades is that they are designed for insulation.  Not only will the help once the hot days of summer rolls around and you turn on the air conditioning, but next winter they will help to keep the heat in as well.  Cellular shades are two or three layers of fabric, put together in the shape of a honeycomb, creating an air pocket, and a barrier for the heat and cold in the room. They can be customized further to have cords, come without cords (aesthetically pleasing and child safe), and can have a feature where they lower from the top, as well as raise from the bottom (in case you are close to the street or have nosy neighbors). They also come in a variety of colors – if you are daring you can go with a more bold color – or can play it safe with a neutral (because, again they are more of an investment, you don’t want to get tired of them!).

The best part is, with privacy, and insulation, they still let natural light filter in, so it leaves the room feel open and airy!

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