A quarterly article that will give you tips and advice on how to "Love Your Home".
Written by Diane Garey
Spring Spruce Ups to Make You Love Your Home Again - March 2018
Nothing warms a Buffalo native's heart like the first signs of spring. Longer daylight hours, singing birds, as well as newly budding flowers and trees signify it's time to pack up the snow boots, pull out the raincoats and complete our inside "to do" list before the weather turns warm and our attention turns to outside chores.
My first suggestion for spring cleaning is to always clean house windows inside and out. I do this the first warm day that I have a chance to...sometimes not even waiting until spring. There's no better way to brighten your outlook than to wipe away the dirt and grime from the long winter and let the sun shine in. I also love to bring some springtime greenery inside; fresh cut flowers, pussy willows, store bought floor plants or tabletop succulents. Greenery is a great way to add life, form, texture and function to any interior space. Besides the visual impact, greenery purifies the air while muffling noise and helps to create a quiet and peaceful environment.
Next it's time to deep clean those "forgotten areas". The ones you never have time to address like ceiling fans and vents, behind and under furniture, beds and appliances. Vacuum furniture, window treatments and lamp shades, wipe down kitchen cupboards and walls, applying a fresh coat of paint if walls are beyond cleaning. Schedule an appointment to have your carpets professionally cleaned. While cleaning I usually make a mental note of areas I can spruce up with some inexpensive new accessories. A new throw and pillows can update a sofa that has seen better days, new towels in a trendy color can add a fresh new look to a kitchen or bath. I love to relocate accessories from one room to another and can give a room a whole new vibe at minimal to no expense by doing so.
If you have the resources, pick one large scale project to tackle this spring. Remodel that bathroom you've been putting off for years, redecorate your family room or refinish those outdated kitchen cupboards to a stylish white kitchen that you will love, while increasing the resale value of your home. If you are overwhelmed and not sure where to start, call in a professional to help you coordinate things. Hire someone you are comfortable with who is detail oriented and is willing to invest the time with you to provide insights into design and manufacturers and also works well with tradesmen. Someone who will work with you to provide multiple options and knows how to direct you toward choices that make sense to your vision and your budget. This will insure that your finished project will meet or exceed your expectations and your home will be the haven that you deserve...regardless of your budget.
Not long ago I helped a client who had good quality wood cupboards that were outdated. They were honey oak, the countertops a blue formica and the floors the original vinyl. We discussed their vision for their kitchen, as well as budget and timing parameters for the project. The budget did not include granite for counters or new cupboards. The results of the project are pictured below.
Click photo for larger view.
As you can see the results are beautiful! We transformed the kitchen by painting the existing cupboards white. A ceramic tile floor and formica countertop that looks like granite completed the look. Some reasonably priced accessories, added to the top of the cupboards, gave the room that "WOW" factor. The customers are thrilled. They have the kitchen of their dreams, finished under budget. And it all started as their one large scale project for that spring not too long ago. I wish the same for you.....a happy spring, and a home that you love that is a haven to you and yours!
Tips on Decluttering & Organizing After the Holidays - January 2018
If you're like most people, you've taken down your holiday decorations by now and your home is looking a little cluttered and unorganized. Some rooms look bare without the Christmas tree spilling over with gifts and other holiday keepsakes, while other rooms are strewn with boxes, wrapping paper, unneeded gifts, clothes and toys that are the wrong size or not the recipient's taste. Much of the rest of the house has become disorganized and cluttered due to the frantic pace of the holidays and excessive amount of purchases being brought into the house. It's no wonder January has been named National Organizational Month!
Hopefully by now, you have done an overall pick-up of your household, throwing out all unwanted food, wrapping paper, broken items and broken down boxes to be recycled. Post-Christmas is also a good time to follow the "one in, one out" rule.....for each new toy or article of clothing received, donate one to a local charity. This step should make a good sized dent in the clutter around your household - with a large bag of trash and another bag or two of gently used toys and clothing and possibly an unneeded gift or two.
Step #1 Select a Space to Organize
If one of your goals this year is to get more organized, now is a great time to begin this task. Once you have completed the initial clean up discussed above, pick a small area that is a complete disaster to organize and declutter. Predetermine how much time you have to work on the project so you do not pick a project too large to complete, leaving you feeling overwhelmed. Choose a crowded pantry or linen closet, NOT an entire kitchen. Doing so will give you a feeling of empowerment, motivating you to continue throughout the house.
Step #2 Determine how you want the space to function.
Whether you are designing a new space or reorganizing an existing space the first thing you need to determine is how you want to use the space and how it needs to function for you and your family. The bathroom closet, pictured below, needed to function as storage for personal care items for two brothers, as well as general care items for the family.
Step #3 Take EVERYTHING out of the space. You cannot clean and organize your space if you do not know everything that is in the space. After removing everything, wipe down the space and any items that are dusty/soiled. See above.
Step #4 Sort. Organize your items into 4 piles: Trash-things that are broken or expired. Also trash any bulky packaging to streamline open storage. Donate-items that are in good shape, but not used frequently. Relocate-items that are used, but do not support the function determined for the space. Keep-items that support the function of the space.
Step #5 Organize "Keep" Items.
Utilize fewer, larger storage containers for a neater look. Hang wire bins from shelves to create extra storage. Place smaller containers within the larger ones to sort further, if necessary. For example I placed a small container in the Oral Care Basket where the boys put their toothbrushes and small tubes of toothpaste. Group "like items" together, and place containers with seldomly used items on higher shelves, with items that are used daily within easy reach. The container with cold and flu medicines, which are rarely used, was placed on the top shelf, whereas the oral care products and band aids were placed front and center on an easy to reach shelf.
Step #6 Label, Label Label! Labeling each storage container makes it easy for everyone to know exactly where everything is. This makes it easier to find things and put things back where they belong. I used a trendy black houndstooth paper with a teal accent for the labels, a great finishing touch with unisex appeal that didn't cost a cent! The homeowner is a crafter and had paper on hand for the asking, and the tags really give the closet a finished look.
Organizing and decluttering your space does not have to be overwhelming or expensive. All of the items used in this project were either already owned by the homeowner or purchased at the dollar store. I chose plastic containers that were easy to wipe down for the boys. There are all kinds of books and websites which cater to people looking for tips on organizing if you just need a little help and can do it yourself. If the job seems overwhelming, consider enlisting the help of a professional organizer who can help you break the project into manageable pieces and make decisions about paring down belongings. Regardless of the direction you take, I wish you luck...and a 2018 filled with friends, family and a home that you love!