Enhancing Your Home To Stay Or To Sell

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By: Lynne Clark

This is not about “staging”, it is about making your home environment more enjoyable for YOU now and relieving stress by dealing with projects soon that will most likely have to be dealt with in the future.

Lets start with organizing small jobs. A good philosophy is that you start with a small task that can be accomplished quickly, preferably in the morning when you are fresh. Remember to say over and over to yourself: “Let it go.”

Here are a few suggestions on where to start:

Linen Closet:
Take everything out and put it on the floor, clean the closet thoroughly. Have a plastic bag handy and put sheets, towels, old curtains and drapes in it that you haven’t used for years. Put it aside to take to the recycling center or the nearest animal shelter. Fold by color and size the ones you want to keep. You will be so happy you have done this simple task that you will pass by and open the doors to take a peek at your handy work.

Kitchen Drawers and Cabinets: 
Go through your kitchen drawers and cabinets and get rid of stuff you don’t really need or use. Do you really want 5 can-openers, 50 coasters and 20 different pitchers? I did this with my reluctant husband and we filled 3 grocery bags and took them to a thrift shop.

Mail: 
Oh how it piles up! Doesn’t it just drive you nuts when you can’t find the bill that you know is due or an invitation and you just cant recall the time you should be there? Here are some tricks. Make a separate folder for bills, invitation and bank statements that are right where you open the mail. Put your coupons in an envelope and leave them in the car. If you really want to look at those catalogs, put them in a basket so you can keep them together to carry to the office, bedroom, den, etc. Same with newspapers.

Old Paint Cans:
Get rid of paints you will never use again because your den is now gray instead of purple. If you fill the paints with kitty litter or can-dry and give them a day or so for the paint to be absorbed, you can put them out with your trash. This is only for latex based paints. Oil based paints need to go to a recycling center.

Photographs: 
Think about all those photographs on your piano, end tables, counters, refrigerator and hall walls. I recommend donating all those frames and putting your cherished photos in a beautiful album for your coffee table. It gets rid of clutter and saves dusting time too. You will look at the album frequently and so will visitors.

Books:
Every house I go in seems to have tons of books collected and adored over many years. It is good to go through them and take your treasures and put them on a shelf or two. Give others away to your local library where you can go visit them. If you neatly line up your remaining books by size on your shelves with all binders in the same location, they look really smart.

Cook Books:
I love cookbooks although many i have not looked at in years as so many wonderful recipes are online now. I have been taking cook books on car trips and while I am not driving, you’ll be glad to know, I go through the old books and tear out the recipes I really care about and file them away and then throw out the books.

Clothes: 
If you haven’t worn something in 5 years, give it away. If you don’t really like something because you made a mistake in buying it last year, give it away. If you think you might wear it again when you loose weight, give it away. There are so many families that need clothing. Marie Kondo of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up says that dealing with clothes is the biggest challenge for families. She says you really need to love the items and to not keep them “just because”. I recommend her motivating book.

To sum up, start now to organize your home for your own enjoyment and peace of mind. You will feel so much better even when the little tasks are done. Remember to just “Let it go.”

 

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It’s Time To Spruce Up For Spring

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By: Avisia Limato

Sunday is the first day of spring. That means an end to these cold, snowy days and time for… spring cleaning. Before we start enjoying all those sunny days and flowers we should make sure our homes are as ready for spring as we are.

Windows

It is time to open the windows to let all that fresh spring air in…and then clean them. To avoid streaks use a lint free cloth or squeegee. You can pick up a window cleaner at the store or make your own solution with just 2 cups of hot water, ¼ cup of white vinegar and ½ teaspoon of dish detergent. Also make sure to wash the window screens, so you have a crystal clear view of the sunny spring days to come.

Dusting

Let’s get rid of all those dust bunnies. The best tool for this job is a microfiber cloth; it will grab the dust and not leave any lint behind. A great addition to a microfiber cloth is a multipurpose spray to get those surfaces gleaming again.

Vacuuming

For all those dust bunnies that might have escaped your microfiber cloth, it’s time to break out the vacuum. Before you get started make sure to check your vacuum bag. Your vacuum can be used for so much more than just your floors. You can use a vacuum to clean your upholstered furniture, draperies, ceiling fans and walls (yes your walls get dusty). So, get that vacuum out with all those crazy looking attachments and get to work.

Floors

Your floors see so much traffic; the winter months are the worst with the snow, sleet and salt. Most homes have more than one type of flooring. For carpets, hit those stains first with a spot cleaner, dab don’t rub. Once the spots are cleaned you can vacuum. You probably sweep and vacuum the wood floors but for spring cleaning take out the mop with some mild detergent mixed with water to get that wood shiny like new. Mopping with a mild detergent and water will also do the trick for tile and vinyl flooring. For grout, using this solution and scrubbing with a non-abrasive cloth will help get them white again.

Kitchen

Your kitchen has seen a lot of cooking and baking over the holidays, show it some love and get it tip top shape. Aside from cleaning the floors, walls and windows you are going to want to give the cabinets, refrigerator and oven a good cleaning. Take time to clean out the cabinets of items you no longer use or want. Then clean the outside of the cabinets; a great solution is water and dish soap. To clean your oven take out all the racks first to scrub in the sink, then create a paste from baking soda and water and coat the inside of the oven. Let sit overnight, and then wipe down the inside of the oven. You can spray some vinegar on the inside to collect any left-over residue from the solution, it will make it foam and then you can easily wipe it all up. For your refrigerator you will want to unplug it first so you can clean under the kick plate and vacuum the refrigerator coils. Clean out all the food so you can give the shelves and drawers a good scrub. Once done put everything back in and turn it on.

Mattress

Get your bed fresh for spring just like the rest of your home. The first step is to wash all your bedding. The easiest way to clean your pillows is to put them in the wash using warm water on a gentle cycle and then tumble dry (do not put foam pillows in the wash). On to the mattress; all you need is a box of baking soda, a great smelling essential oil and your vacuum. Put 20 drops of the essential oil in the baking soda box, close and shake it up. Sprinkle baking soda over the mattress and then rub it into the mattress and let sit for an hour. Then vacuum it all up.

Now you are ready to go chase butterflies and enjoy your spring!

In a galaxy far, far away…or right thru your front door.

By: Avisia Limato

Star Wars Porch Lights

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Light up your pathway…to the dark side with a Darth Vader or Stormtrooper porch light cover. Proudly display your allegiance to the Empire on your home. Each cover attaches with an elastic band and are for use with a 60 watt bulb max.

For more information visit: http://amzn.to/1I7geAQ

 

 

 

Star Wars Bed

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Dream of galaxies far, far away in your very own Star Wars bed. This hand painted capsule is designed to look like the Millennium Falcon, including its cockpit, knobs and gauges.

For more information visit: http://bit.ly/1UrqWHD

 

 

 

Millennium Falcon Printed Rug

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“You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon? It’s the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.” Park the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy in your home. This plush, stylish rug is the perfect accent piece for any room.

For more information visit: http://bit.ly/1OwAwQS

 

 

 

X-Wing Knife Block 

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For the Rebel Alliance fighter who likes to slice and dice onions like a pro. The X-Wing knife block stores five high quality stainless steel knives in a chrome finished holder.

For more information visit: http://bit.ly/1n5AEJk

 

 

Death Star Waffle Maker

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Come to the dark side, we have waffles. When your Sith friends come over to discuss The Grand Plan, impress them with a batch of delicious Death Star waffles in this non-stick, 7 inch, officially licensed iron.

 

For more information visit: http://amzn.to/1IV5jdE

 

 

Great Scott, We’re In The Future!

By: Avisia Limato

Today is October 21st 2015, which means we are officially in the future. Well, according to the movie Back to the Future Part 2 we are. We might not be driving in our flying cars or time traveling yet, but there are still many futuristic gadgets for the home available to us right now.

Nest Thermostat 

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The Nest learning thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature to your preferences, it learns what temperature you like and builds a schedule around yours. It keeps your home comfortable while you’re there, and reduces energy consumption while you’re away. With the Nest app you can control your thermostat from anywhere. You can also view how much energy you use every month and learn how to use less. Your Nest Thermostat will also send you alerts on your phone if there is something wrong, like the temperature drops so low the pipes could burst.

www.nest.com

UniKey 

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UniKey is the first true smart lock. All you need to unlock your door is your smartphone. You can simply walk up to your door and touch the lock to open it. You can also send, disable, delete keys and manage your Kevo fobs all from your phone. If you do not want to use a smartphone there are also fobs available and with just the press of a button you can unlock your door. No more searching under rocks or fumbling at the front door for your keys.

www.unikey.com

Petcube

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All good pet owners feel guilty when leaving their fur babies at home alone. Petcube allows you to remotely tune in and see what your pets are up to. There is even a built-in microphone so you can talk to them. This is the perfect way to stay connected with your pets while you’re away from home.

www.petcube.com

Netatmo

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The Netatmo Welcome is a smart-home security camera that uses facial recognition technology. It sends the names of people it sees directly to your smartphone and alerts you if it sees an unknown face. You can view a livestream at any time and your videos are recorded to a local SD card. You can also get Welcome Tags to go with your Netatmo Welcome. The Welcome Tags can be placed on doors and windows throughout the house so you receive a notification when they are opened.

www.netatmo.com

iRobot Scooba

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Throw away that mop and bucket, the Scooba 450 is here. This device is the easiest way have your hardwood floors scrubbed every day. The Scooba 450 washes up to 99.3% of household bacteria. It offers complete cleaning coverage of every section of your floor. All you need to do is put your feet up and watch it go.

www.irobot.com

Feng Shui Tips For Your Home

By: Avisia Limato

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Clear Out Clutter: Clutter is considered low and stagnant, constantly draining energy from you. Positive flowing energy is disrupted by clutter, so let’s get it out of your home. Turn on some music and take on one room at a time so you do not overwhelm yourself. Once you are finished the positive energy will be able to flow freely throughout your home.

Air and Light: Quality air flow and smart lighting in your home are the basics of good feng shui. Make sure your windows are clean and open to let the fresh air and natural light into your home. Florescent bulbs are too harsh for the home. Soft lights create positive energy, think of using bulbs with a soft pink tint to them, incandescent bulbs and full-spectrum bulbs are also good. Lighting should come from various levels, dimmers are great for creating the perfect amount of light you need.

Plants and Water: Keeping plants in the home is an important part of feng shui. Plants emit positive energy and cleanse the air; they contribute to the positive flow of chi throughout your home. Make sure to never keep dying or dead plants in the home. Water is one of the five feng shui elements. A great way to incorporate it into your home is with a fountain or aquarium.

Fix What is Broken: Everything should work as it is designed to in your home. This is very important in feng shui and keeping a good chi and flow throughout your home. Go thru each room and identify what is leaking, clogged, broken or stuck. Then repair what you can, remove what you cannot and replace what you need to.

Color: The 5 elements in feng shui are fire, earth, metal, water and wood. Color can bring the desired feng shui energy into your home to create balance in your living space. Each element is represented by specific colors.

  • Wood: Green and Brown. Wood represents expansion, creativity and new beginnings
  • Fire: Red, Yellow, Orange, Purple and Pink. Fire represents high energy levels, passion and transformation
  • Earth: Light Yellow, Sandy Tones, Light Brown. Earth represents stability, nourishment and support
  • Metal: White and Gray. Metal represents mental strength, influences intelligence, focus and clarity.
  • Water: Blue and Black. Water represents release and renewal, inspiration, relaxation and flow.

Spring Cleaning

By: Avisia Limato

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Tomorrow is the first day of spring. That means an end to these cold, snowy days and time for… spring cleaning. Before we start enjoying all those sunny days and flowers we should make sure our homes are as ready for spring as we are.

Windows

It is time to open the windows to let all that fresh spring air in…and then clean them. To avoid streaks use a lint free cloth or squeegee. You can pick up a window cleaner at the store or make your own solution with just 2 cups of hot water, ¼ cup of white vinegar and ½ teaspoon of dish detergent. Also make sure to wash the window screens, so you have a crystal clear view of the sunny spring days to come.

Dusting

Let’s get rid of all those dust bunnies. The best tool for this job is a microfiber cloth; it will grab the dust and not leave any lint behind. A great addition to a microfiber cloth is a multipurpose spray to get those surfaces gleaming again.

Vacuuming

For all those dust bunnies that might have escaped your microfiber cloth, it’s time to break out the vacuum. Before you get started make sure to check your vacuum bag. Your vacuum can be used for so much more than just your floors. You can use a vacuum to clean your upholstered furniture, draperies, ceiling fans and walls (yes your walls get dusty). So, get that vacuum out with all those crazy looking attachments and get to work.

Floors

Your floors see so much traffic; the winter months are the worst with the snow, sleet and salt. Most homes have more than one type of flooring. For carpets, hit those stains first with a spot cleaner, dab don’t rub. Once the spots are cleaned you can vacuum. You probably sweep and vacuum the wood floors but for spring cleaning take out the mop with some mild detergent mixed with water to get that wood shiny like new. Mopping with a mild detergent and water will also do the trick for tile and vinyl flooring. For grout, using this solution and scrubbing with a non-abrasive cloth will help get them white again.

Kitchen

Your kitchen has seen a lot of cooking and baking over the holidays, show it some love and get it tip top shape. Aside from cleaning the floors, walls and windows you are going to want to give the cabinets, refrigerator and oven a good cleaning. Take time to clean out the cabinets of items you no longer use or want. Then clean the outside of the cabinets; a great solution is water and dish soap. To clean your oven take out all the racks first to scrub in the sink, then create a paste from baking soda and water and coat the inside of the oven. Let sit overnight, and then wipe down the inside of the oven. You can spray some vinegar on the inside to collect any left-over residue from the solution, it will make it foam and then you can easily wipe it all up. For your refrigerator you will want to unplug it first so you can clean under the kick plate and vacuum the refrigerator coils. Clean out all the food so you can give the shelves and drawers a good scrub. Once done put everything back in and turn it on.

Mattress

Get your bed fresh for spring just like the rest of your home. The first step is to wash all your bedding. The easiest way to clean your pillows is to put them in the wash using warm water on a gentle cycle and then tumble dry (do not put foam pillows in the wash). On to the mattress; all you need is a box of baking soda, a great smelling essential oil and your vacuum. Put 20 drops of the essential oil in the baking soda box, close and shake it up. Sprinkle baking soda over the mattress and then rub it into the mattress and let sit for an hour. Then vacuum it all up.

Now you are ready to go chase butterflies and enjoy your spring!

Going Green in 2015

By: Avisia Limato

 

Do you want to lessen your home’s impact on the environment? If so, then its time to make some eco-friendly changes. These updates will lower your bills without sacrificing your style and comfort. Greening your home does not need to be overwhelming, there are tons of products and options on the market today. Here are several suggestions to get you started on going green in 2015.

Energy Saving Light Bulbs

Change a few light bulbs, change the world. You will save energy and money with this simple switch. The bulbs that use the least amount of energy and last the longest are LED bulbs. Next in line to LED bulbs are CLF bulbs (compact fluorescent light).

Eco Friendly Paint (non VOC paints)

If it is time for a new coat of paint in your home, make an eco-friendly paint choice this time around. When looking for eco-friendly paint you want to look for one that is non VOC. VOC means volatile organic compound (unhealthy stuff). Some known brands that came out with Zero VOC paints are Bejamin Moore Natura, Sherwin Williams Harmony and Behr Premium Plus Enamel Low Luster.

Energy Star Appliances

You use your household appliances every day, choosing which ones to get is a huge decision. If you are looking to save money, energy and the environment look for appliances with the Energy Star rating. Energy Star rated appliances are the most energy efficient appliances on the market. Some areas also offer rebate programs for people who choose Energy Star.

Flooring

When looking into updating the flooring in your home think about going the eco-friendly route. There are numerous options on the market today from, reclaimed or recycled wood, cork, bamboo, recycled glass tile and natural linoleum. Make your flooring “green” by choosing one of these durable and stylish options.

Solar Panels

There are many benefits to getting solar panels for your home. Solar panels reduce your energy consumption and your energy bill. They are pollution free power sources. If you are planning on taking this step make sure to look into the rebates and other incentives that are currently available in your area.