Time to Get Organized!

If you are like many people, one of your new year’s resolutions was  to get organized.  We are two weeks into 2015 so it’s time to get going.   If you don’t know where to start, Sara Adrienne Knowles , a Seattle interior designer writing for Zillow.com has some  suggestions for you.

 Learn to let things go

The first step in any organization plan is purging. This can be the hardest part, but it is also the most rewarding.

Do not keep what isn’t functional or doesn’t bring you joy. Also remember that something you let go of might bring someone else a great deal of pleasure.

If you’re not sure you can part with an item, store it in a box and see if you miss it or need it. This is a great litmus test for what’s truly necessary.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good

Any organization effort is better than no organization effort. It’s best to approach a behemoth task like organizing your entire home in stages.

The house provides us with natural barriers. Think of each room as its own project and it will begin to feel more manageable.

And remember that it gets worse before it gets better, so don’t feel discouraged early on. Organizing is not something that happens in one day – it is a journey and a state of mind.

Think outside the box store

A trip to the Container Store can be fun, but unorthodox storage solutions make for a more interesting space.

Beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces can be highly practical and help make your home more functional. Make use of available and affordable materials when possible to stretch your home organization budget.

The three Bs: bins, buckets and baskets

Oh, and jars. (But that doesn’t start with a B.)

Once you’ve whittled down your belongings to favorites and must haves, you’re going to need somewhere to store them. Baskets and buckets have a wonderful visual impact in a room — filling nooks, resting against chairs, and adding texture and color.

Using jars in the kitchen to store dry goods can make open shelving a lot more appealing. Bonus: With healthy grains and goodies in plain sight, you’ll end up using them more often.

Use your vertical space

If your home doesn’t have a huge footprint, vertical solutions are essential for staying organized. These can be implemented in a more practical manner, like stacking bins and boxes under your bed or in your closet, as well as through design decisions.

Capitalizing on vertical space draws the eye to different parts of the room and creates a sense of balance, in addition to saving important real estate on the floor.

 Feeling inspired or overwhelmed?  Start with one room and you will see the difference in no time!

Is Your Home Ready for Spring?

little-spring-pack-1172078_640It finally feels like spring in the West Essex area after one of the worst winters we have had in years.  The winter not only took a toll on us but also on our homes.   The National Association of Home Builders recently published their  top 10 tips for home owners to get ready for spring.

  1. Inspect roof—Check your roof for loose, warped or missing shingles and make sure the chimney flashing and skylight seals are intact.
  2. Clean and repair gutters—Clear winter storm debris from gutters and downspouts, and check that they are still securely attached to the house. Blocked or loose gutters can allow water into your home and damage trim.
  3. Look for leaks—Common culprits for hard-to-find leaks are attics, crawl spaces and washing machine hoses. Inspect these areas, look under sinks for damage from frozen pipes and check your water heater for signs of corrosion.
  4. Clear exterior drains—Remove leaves from underground or exterior drains to clear the way for spring showers and prevent backups.
  5. Inspect siding—Inspect siding for pieces that have come loose during winter storms.
  6. Check window and door seals—Examine the exterior caulking on door and window seals to ensure it remains watertight.
  7. Patch cracks—Patch cracks in concrete driveways, sidewalks and steps to keep water out and prevent further expansion.
  8. Paint the exterior—Painting or touching up paint on the exterior of your home not only makes it look better, but will also help protect the home from the elements.
  9. Inspect the HVAC—Hire a qualified technician to service your home’s HVAC system to make sure it is running properly before hot temperatures call for air conditioning. Now is also the time to replace your HVAC filters.
  10. Check your home’s grading—Ensure the grading of your yard slopes away from your home’s foundation to keep excess moisture at bay.

 

To find a local professional remodeler, visit nahb.org/remodelerdirectory.

15-Minute Home Makeovers

We are all starved for time these days.  It is overwhelming to plan large “do it yourself projects” when it feels like there is never enough time to do the things that need to be done on a daily basis.  Lisa Kaplan Gordon, writing for HouseLogic.com, came up with 7 ways to freshen up your house that can be done in under 15 minutes.

1. Switch the plates. Upgrade your drab, plastic switch plates with snazzy covers that match or accent your decor. Even the most expensive brass switch plates cost less than $20 each.

Or, spend a buck for a plastic plate and decorate it yourself. Use craft paint, or cover the plate with decorative paper (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSdHjKY243s).

You also can switch outlet covers, but don’t get too fancy. Outlet covers should blend with the wall.

2. Touch-up boo-boos. A bit of new paint gives any room a fresh face, which is why you should keep extra color-matched paint after you remodel. Touch up banged-up baseboards, door and window trim, and wall marks that won’t wash away. Even spot painting requires care; use a drop cloth to protect other surfaces.

3. Change out drawer and door hardware. Upgrade your kitchen or bathroom by installing new pulls and knobs. Be sure to measure drawer pulls so you won’t have to drill new holes. Home improvement centers have a large selection of inexpensive pulls and knobs.

4. Update your mailbox. Bump up curb appeal  by spray-painting your old mailbox. You can freshen the same color, or go wild with bright hues. Don’t forget to scrub off dirt and rust before painting with rust-proof paint ($6-$12 for a 10-oz. can; lots of decorative textures and colors).

5. Play the numbers game. Decorative house numbers and plates give your home a custom and classy look. Some numbers are quick peel-and-stick affairs; others you’ll have to screw in. They’re made of wood, plastic, brass, stainless steel, and other materials; $6 to $30 each.

6. Embellish your throne. A new toilet seat gives you a regal bearing. Plastic and enameled seats ($12-$25) in a rainbow of colors add a dash of panache; a solid wood mahogany or walnut seat ($45-$60) makes an executive statement; cushioned seats ($15-$20) won’t make a lasting impression – and that’s a good thing.

7. Declutter. You’ll be amazed how a 15-minute daily declutter can make a room look like new. First, get rid of stuff  from your fridge door: that large, blank canvas will immediately brighten your kitchen. Corral mail and papers in decorative boxes with tops that can close and hide the mess. Organize school supplies in caddies. Every day, tame a new spot.

Even small  improvements will pay off in an easier and more profitable sale of your house. If you are thinking of selling your home contact me at 973-349-6731or kim.fiore@century21.com for a free market analysis or use the form below. I will work with you so you get the most for your home in the West Essex area.

Getting Ready to Sell Your Home

If you are thinking of selling your home in the near future – remember small improvements can mean a great deal.
  Look at your home the way a buyer will look at it. Repaint those marked up walls and woodwork, fix that leaky faucet or running toilet, clean the windows, fix window screens, clean the switch plates, polish the cabinets, regrout the bathroom. If the carpets are soiled have them professionally cleaned. Replace the drip pans on your stove top if they are dirty. Look at your faucets, showerheads, toilet seats and light fixtures, these can be replaced inexpensively and can make a big difference in updating your home. Use the highest wattage bulbs allowed to show your house in the best light. These small and inexpensive fixes will pay for themselves in the sales price.
Declutter, Declutter, Declutter – Your home will look much more spacious with less furniture and fewer knick-knacks and personal items. Get rid of excess furniture, clean out the closets and donate, toss out, have a garage sale or put in temporary storage anything you can. Remove furniture and items that don’t fit the room’s purpose, like exercise equipment in the bedroom and a work desk in the dining room. Buyers will open closets and cabinets, be sure they are neat. Clear your kitchen and bathroom counters to make them seem bigger. Buyers want to imagine your home as their home. They will have a hard time doing that if your things are cluttering the house.
 Curb Appeal – First impressions mean everything. Give the front door and woodwork a new coat of paint. Get a new doormat. If sidewalks or steps or cracked, think about repairing them. Tidy up or add landscaping. Be sure the grass is mowed. Plant some flowers in the landscape or in pots. Look at the front of your house with a critical eye. If you were seeing your house for the first time, what would you think about it?
Keep it Clean –  One of the biggest turnoffs for buyers is a dirty house. The house needs to be as clean and neat as possible while it is for sale. Imagine walking into a dirty bathroom while looking at a house. Would you want to buy it? Open windows to let fresh air in. Pet odors need to be addressed. You might love your pet and not mind the smell but prospective buyers do not feel that way about it.

All of these improvements will pay off in an easier and more profitable sale of your house. If you are thinking of selling your home contact me at 973-349-6731 or kim.fiore@century21.com for a free market analysis or use the form below. I will work with you so you get the most for your home in the West Essex area.