Five Tips For Reducing Clutter

It doesn’t take much time to go from a perfectly organized room to a cluttered, chaotic mess. Papers pile up on surfaces, coats and bags end up on furniture, shoe boxes and shopping bags get stuffed in the first place you can find. But if you’re proactive, you can avoid the common clutter traps. Here are five ideas for reducing clutter:

1. Have a place for the things you bring into the house each day: Do what you can do create an easy place to put your outerwear, mail, keys, phone, and the other things you bring home each day. Coat racks, mail holders, and a catch-all basket give you an easy, consistent place to put your everyday items.

2. Get a basket for once-worn clothes: There are some clothing items that may not need to be washed or put away immediately after one use, like sweaters or denim. These items often end up on the bedroom floor. Instead, put them in a specific basket for items that aren’t yet ready for the laundry room.

3. Keep kitchen tools off the counter: It’s really easy to let items pile up on the kitchen counters, and all that clutter can be frustrating when it’s ready to make a meal. To reduce clutter, use wall racks to keep cooking utensils off the counter.

4. Designate a no-clutter zone: This one’s simple. Simply choose an important surface or space (like a coffee table), clear it of clutter, and focus on keeping that one area totally organized.

5. Keep the dining room table set: Not only is a set table pleasant to the eye, but it also makes it nearly impossible for the table to gather clutter. Thanks to the plates and silverware, there’s no room for your junk mail.

How To Keep Your Utility Bills Low

As a homeowner, costs can really start to add up, so it never hurts to take measures to help you reduce your monthly utility bills. Here are a few ways to do just that!

Electricity Bill

Saving money on your electricity bill can be done multiple ways. Some easy changes include running appliances, like the stove, dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer, at night, opting to air dry clothes, or cooking meals in a crockpot or toaster oven. Set aside time throughout the year to inspect the areas around doors and windows and seal any cracks with caulk or weather stripping. Additionally, make sure to unplug electronics when not in use or use a power strip to turn them all off at once.

Water Bill

Your monthly water bill can sneak up on you, but small changes can be made to cut costs. Install WaterSense-certified faucets and shower heads and convert toilets to low flow to reduce the amount of water used. Make sure to regularly check toilets and sinks for leaks and repair them. Opt for using your dishwasher instead of hand washing and ensure its a full load each time. Also, don’t forget to turn off water while brushing your teeth and shaving.

Gas Bill

Investing in some changes up front can make a difference on your natural gas bill long term. Add insulation in your attic and around your water heater and pipes. Make sure to repair any leaks in your ducts, inspect your furnace regularly, and check your home for any blocked vents that could cause your gas heating system to work overtime. You can also reduce the temperature of your water heater.

How To Make Small Spaces Seem Bigger

It may seem inconvenient or difficult to decorate a small space in your home, but there are a variety of strategies to make that smaller area seem much bigger. Here are some ideas to help you maximize the space in smaller rooms in your home.

The first step for making your small space seem bigger is to clear out all unnecessary items in the room. It’s very hard for any space to look big when there is an assortment of unorganized things thrown around the room. You’ll also want to make sure that there are clear walkways that aren’t obstructed by any pieces of furniture.

The color scheme is very important for maximizing the space in a small room. Dark and warm hues can make a room feel closed off or intimate, so it’s important to choose soft colors for smaller rooms. Lighter colors give rooms a more airy, open feeling and this can be enhanced by choosing similar soft colors for the furniture, curtains, or other items in the room. If your room accessories match the color of the wall, the room will seem more expansive.

Let in as much light as possible. Well-lit rooms always seem larger and you can achieve this with thinner drapes or by making sure all windows are unobstructed. If your small room doesn’t have any windows, you can use mirrors to reflect light from lamps and overhead lighting and give the room a more open feeling. Another way to enhance the light is to use transparent pieces of furniture. Light will flow unobstructed when you have furniture made of glass or lucite.

Renovate Vs. Relocate

Is it worthwhile to improve your property, or is moving a better choice?

Unless you built a custom home, you probably have a long list of things you’d like to improve in your current home. Browsing online listings might get you in the mood to upgrade to a new home, or you might be thinking about renovating your current home after binging on HGTV. The answer to renovation vs. relocation depends greatly on what you’re trying to fix.

Thinking about a new kitchen?
If you’re dreaming of a chef’s kitchen with new appliances and beautiful cabinets, renovating your own kitchen gives you incredible ROI and is less costly than moving. You’ll increase the value of your own home if you ever decide to sell, and there’s a great sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a custom renovation.

Need more space?
If you’re running low on bedrooms, there may not be a lot of options. Converting an existing room to a bedroom doesn’t create any new space. If you’re in a condo, an addition is probably impossible. And additions can be expensive even if it’s a possibility. Moving is usually the best option.

If the neighborhood isn’t ideal
You may have seen some potential for your neighborhood when you first moved there, but perhaps it still isn’t welcoming the shops and restaurants you expected. If that’s the case, consider moving. There’s no sense in waiting years for the neighborhood to improve, especially if you can move to a house in the same price range in a more preferred part of the city.

Tips From Interior Design Experts

Interior design is no walk in the park. In fact, many people build their entire careers on their keen eye for making each room in a home flow beautifully. This is not to say that only professionals are capable of creating a breathtaking interior, but these tips from design experts may assist you in your next project at home.

Set Your Ground Rules: Before starting any big projects, it’s important to set some ground rules for your endeavor. You should decide how far you want to go with your project, whether that be replacing the furniture or tearing down a wall to open up a room.

Name Your Price: After you conclude how extreme your project will be, set a strict budget that will guide you through the process. Without a proper budget, you may get lost in your plans and overspend.

Find Your Inspiration: There’s no harm in consulting the opinions of others before starting a project. It may be useful to consult the prominent design blogs to see what trends are popular at the moment. Make sure to observe opposing design styles, such as minimalism and modern.

Trust Your Gut: Although it can be beneficial to learn about current trending design styles, there’s no reason to pay attention to them if they don’t appeal to you. Far too often, people adhere to design trends like it’s the law, but you should really trust your gut when it comes to design.

Move Your TV: It may not seem like a big deal, but oftentimes a TV can dominate a living room because it is placed at the center of the room. This points all the attention to the TV and away from conversation.

Three Ways To Ease Your Fears About Making A Move

With low inventory in many markets throughout the country, many homeowners are afraid to sell their homes because they’re concerned that they may not be able to find a new one.

This can be a real problem, but if you are seeking to sell, upgrade, or find a new neighborhood there are a few ways to combat the low inventory.

1. Look to buy first

In most markets it is a real mistake to put your home up for sale before you start looking for your new property.

Identify the geographic area where you are interested in buying. Even if you don’t see anything while searching, it doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t find the right home.

2. Think outside the box

Be proactive! Keep in mind that there are probably many people like you who want to make a move but are afraid as well. Have your real estate agent send a letter to the neighborhoods in the geographic areas where you want to live. The letter should be heartfelt and personal while announcing that you are ready to buy a home in that neighborhood. You could find a home to buy that may not even be currently listed or for sale.

3. Protect yourself legally

Each state varies in how the purchase process is conducted. Talk to your real estate professional about adding a clause in the purchase contract for the home you are selling that will enable you to not sell the home if you cannot find a suitable home to buy.

Top Tips For Staging Your Home

A recent survey from the National Association of Realtors® revealed that 77 percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home makes it easier for potential buyers to visual it as their own. That’s why staging is not to be overlooked! Here are some top tips.

Dress up your yard. First impressions count, and the first one your home gives comes from the exterior. Mow the lawn, clean up shrubbery, rake any leaves, clean the walkway and driveway, plant in-season flowers, and pull up any unsightly weeds.

Reduce personal items. Make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves making your house their home by removing personal photos and knick-knacks from shelves, walls, and counters. Instead replace them with clean, simple décor, such as abstract paintings, nature images, vases, plants, and more.

Organize your storage areas. Storage is a huge selling point. Tidy up and clear out the accessible closets and cupboards in the home and make sure to point them out during an open house or showing.

Appeal to the senses. Consider ways you can appeal to potential homebuyers’ other senses. During a viewing or open house, bake some fresh cookies or burn delicious smelling candles and play light, relaxing music in the background.

Consider turning to an expert. With their knowledge of current trends and great eye for design, professionally certified stagers can transform a home in a variety of ways and have a keen sense of what homebuyers want and expect in a home. Investing in hiring a pro may pay off in dividends.

Fixing Common Gas Grill Problems

Summer may be officially winding down, however there are still many BBQs ahead, so you need your grill in tip top shape. Here are some of the most common gas grill problems and how to fix them!

Excess Smoke: If your grill is releasing an unusual amount of smoke when you turn it on, there may be an accumulation of grease at the bottom that needs to be cleaned. Use a strong grill brush to give it a proper cleaning and make sure to preheat it for fifteen minutes before using it again.

Ignition Problems: If your igniters aren’t producing any flames, there could be a variety of problems. If your ignition is independent of the body of the grill, then you may have a malfunctioning button or faulty wiring and the parts will have to be replaced. Otherwise, check to see if the igniter is clogged or has any blockages. The wiring and switches may have to be replaced if all else fails.

Uneven Heat: Grills with uneven heating can cause poorly cooked meals and annoyance. Make sure the holes along your burners are free from any residue. A good scrub with a grill brush should do the trick.

Orange-Yellow Flames: If you are seeing orange-yellow flames coming from your grill, there may be a problem with the control valves or venturi tubes. To fix this, locate the adjustment screw and turn your grill to low. Then, loosen the screw until the flame has a bluish tint. Afterwards, make sure to turn off the gas and tighten the venturi tube screw.

Low Flame, Low Temperature: When your grill isn’t reaching high enough temperatures, there could be a problem with the fuel line regulator. Fixing the regulator involves disconnecting the gas line and turning all control valves to high for one minute.

How To Plant A Tree In Your Yard

Have you ever wanted to change the landscape of your yard by adding a tree or shrub? Whether you have a green thumb or are a green dud, with proper preparation and some good tips, you can successfully do it yourself.

The first step for planting a tree is to purchase a tree seedling from your local hardware store or tree nursery. It’s important to measure the width of your roots because this will determine the size of your planting hole. Your hole should be at least three times as wide as the root mass of the tree seedling. As for the depth, be sure to dig a planting hole that is deep enough for the roots, but doesn’t cover the base of the tree trunk with dirt. It’s important for the entire trunk to be above the soil and some experts even leave some of the root ball above as well.

Once your planting hole is dug, inspect your tree seedling to make sure the roots aren’t creating a bunched up circular pattern, as this may affect the tree’s growth. If you do see patterns forming, simply tear apart the roots from the pattern and don’t worry about lost soil. Place your tree seedling in the planting hole and make sure to eradicate any air pockets by lightly tapping the soil, hand-packing the soil, or spraying the soil with water after planting.

After you plant your new tree, make sure to water it every day for the first seven days. After the first week you can start watering your tree every other day for the next seven days and you can gradually decrease the frequency after that point. Then, enjoy the new addition to your yard!

Ideas For Closet Organization

A chaotic closet is a recipe for disaster when you’re trying to get ready. But a nice, organized one can help ensure you’re on time for any occasion with an outfit that’s sure to impress. These organization tips and ideas can help!

If you are lacking space or hangers, start with getting rid of or storing rarely used items. Typically, many clothing items are seasonal. Save space by vacuum sealing these items and putting them in the garage or under a bed until the season comes around.

If you have enough space, adding a small dresser inside your closet is a great idea for storing items that don’t require hanging, such as socks, undergarments, swimsuits or trunks. This will vastly reduce the clutter.

Use divider hangers to separate different types of clothes. This will make it much easier to find certain items and will give you a framework to keep your clothes in order after laundry day.

Utilize all walls and vertical spaces in your closet. Hang your hats, belts, and more on the walls by using wall hangers or nails. If you don’t want to risk potential damage, you can also buy an over-the-door organizer that has pockets for socks, shirts, shoes, or small items.

Lastly, integrate bins and baskets into your closet organization to make sure every item has its place. These come in various sizes and styles to fit any shelf and help conceal items that you may need to put away quickly and easily.