By now you’ve probably done your spring cleaning, and now you may have found stuff to clear out and get rid of. While you could donate some or all of it, perhaps there are items which have some value, and you’d like to try to sell them. This is the time of year for yard sales, but to get the most out of them, people need to know where and when. Luckily, we have some great tips here for advertising a yard sale. [Read more…]
The folks at Terry’s Fabrics have created a great spring cleaning checklist to keep you on track with making your home fresh for the season.
Check it out below, but we wanted to mention a couple of points we particularly liked:
1. Look at why we spring clean
They talk a bit about the history of spring cleaning–who knew there was a history behind it–and then move on to some of the reasons why people spring clean. And no, it’s not because it was that thing your mom did. Decluttering and removing allergens from the air sound like really good reasons to us!
The weather is warming, and we’re finally moving out of a cold winter and into spring. Yes, we might still have some cold weather before Winter looses her grip, but we can see light at the end of the tunnel! In celebration, we thought it would be a good time for a round-up post of interesting articles we’ve read in the last few months.
Want to remodel your kitchen without spending a fortune? The article had some great ideas. We particularly liked adding a backsplash and updating your trim. Talk about easy! If you are thinking about listing your home this year, you’ll definitely want to check out this article.
This one was crazy! Imagine building a house, and the only tool you need is a screwdriver. The kits are currently only available in France, but they do plan to expand to the US. Who wants one?
We’ve written before about the trend toward multi-generational housing, and CNBC recently did an entire piece on the trend and how it’s becoming big for builders. If you’re interested, give us a call. Several of the builders we work with offer multi-generational layouts.
What the heck is an agrihood? They are neighborhoods built around a central farm. Many of them have a centrally located farmer’s market, making it easy for you to get fresh food for your dinner table. Some of them even offer home delivery? How’s that for a deal?
Did you set a New Year’s Resolution to be more organized? If so, you’ll love this post of dollar store items which work as great organizers. Which one is your favorite? We loved the ice cube tray earring organizer. So clever!
Speaking of organization, our friend at Basic Organization created a list of 11 items your can give away in your quest to reduce clutter. They also provided suggestions for where you can give them away–a local animal shelter featured prominently, especially for extra towels and sheets.
Hope you enjoyed the articles. If you have a found or written a great article aimed at homeowners or buyers/sellers, please provide us a link in the comments. If we like it, we’ll feature it on our Facebook page and add it to our next roundup post!
It’s the last day of 2015, and let’s look at some posts which did particularly well on our Facebook page this year. Some of them were our posts. Some were posts we found elsewhere. Here’s your chance to catch up on some good stuff you might have missed.
This was a good news article written by us, and it’s not surprising that it did well. Everyone loves good news, and this is about as good as it could get. More good news? It looks like the trend will continue.
This was a post from our friends at HomeWise Referrals, and our take away was to think about who you are and who you will be when remodeling. Also, don’t forget to consider trends and their possible future. Who remembers olive green counter tops? If they had only known how outdated those would end up looking.
Another of our posts, though we didn’t create the infographic. However, if you are thinking about decluttering your home, this is an excellent guide to keep handy.
We had seriously mixed feelings about this, as did our Facebook visitors. While a fake lawn is certainly easy to maintain, one wonders what you’re giving up. There is something nice about having your home surrounded by nature. What do you think? Feel free to sound off in the comments.
Another one of ours. As the market continues to recover and move back to “normal,” it’s something you’ll want to consider when you get ready to think about moving. There are pros and cons to each decision, so you’ll want to be informed before making it.
An excellent slide show on paint colors and how they can impact each room. You certainly don’t want “wake up” colors in your bedroom or mood-depressing colors in your home office. Check out this article before you start painting. You might be surprised.
Those are our picks for some of the best articles we found or wrote in 2015. Did you find a particularly good one that we missed? Share it in the comments, and we’ll post it to Facebook in 2016.
Hope you had a great year and are looking forward to an even better one next year!
Moving is never easy, but for seniors, it can be particularly difficult to leave all those precious memories behind. If you or someone you love is considering a move, you’ll appreciate these downsizing tips for seniors.
1. Create a plan
Almost any task goes better with a plan, and downsizing is no exception.
Take measurements of the rooms in the new house so you have some idea of what you’re working with. If your dresser is just too long for the new room, it’s good to know that in advance.
Work on one room at a time. Remember that you don’t have to do it all at once. Set aside the things which absolutely must go, and then you can plan the rest of the work around those items.
We highly recommend working with a professional organizer on your plan. They have the skills and training to break down an overwhelming task and make it, if not easy, at least manageable.
2. Sort everything
This is where you will appreciate the value a professional organizer brings to the process. If you can’t or don’t want to hire one, bring in a buddy because sorting can be difficult. You’ll need to evaluate every single item in your home and decided “yes” or “no” on each one. Having someone who isn’t invested in the items or the memories can make this process go more smoothly.
Be tough but fair. Do you have clothes with tags still on them? Items you purchased but never took out of the packaging? Be realistic when evaluating them. Clothing may have gone out of style. That gadget you bought with the best of intentions may be obsolete.
Don’t think, however, that you need to throw everything away. Many of the items in your “no” piles can and should be donated. You’ll feel better about giving them up if you know they will be going to good homes.
3. Preserve memories
As you go through your sorting, you’ll come across plenty of things to spark memories. It’s important to take them with you, even as you limit space. Do you need every school craft item created by your children and grandchildren? Perhaps not, but make sure to save a selection of them. You can photograph the ones you decide not to keep.
Speaking of photographs, you probably have boxes of them. Consider scanning them to keep electronically. You can purchase a digital photo frame, which can display a number of photos as a slide show.
There are our tips. Did we miss something?
Here’s an excellent infographic walking you through everything you’ll need for moving like a pro. The creators are from the UK, so some of the terms will look odd to our US readers, but it still makes sense (removal men instead of of movers, lorry instead of truck).
Some points we found particularly valuable:
1. Remember that you have more stuff than you think, and you’ll want to plan to declutter before getting ready to move. We know some fantastic organizers who can help you with that, if you think it’ll be too difficult or overwhelming.
2. Have an “important documents” file, one with all your move-related papers, and another with all other important personal papers, like birth certificates, passports and insurance documents.
3. They have a great listing of everything you’ll need, from boxes (and which kind to use) to bubble wrap.
4. If you’re planning to do it yourself, they even have a rough guide to how big a truck you’ll need.
What was your favorite point in the infographic?
The great folks at Trulia have created an infographic to help you with your decluttering efforts.
When you work with us to list your home, we’re going to take a look and give advice on what needs to be done to get your house show-ready. Decluttering is often one of the things we advise, and we understand how difficult it can be to give up your stuff. We hope this infographic will help guide you in the right direction.
One of our clients is in the process of decluttering right now, and we had to laugh when she told us she and her husband have a difference of opinion on what should be tossed. He hates tossing perfectly good items, even though they have more than one, like slotted spoons in the kitchen. Their solution? They set aside the extras for their son, who will be moving out soon. Guess who won’t have to do too much shopping to furnish himself with kitchen essentials? No, the items aren’t going away immediately, but they can be gathered up and stored until he leaves. Not a bad compromise!
What about you? Have you needed to work out compromises in your decluttering efforts?
A well-staged home is far more likely to sell than one you haven’t taken time to get in shape. If you’d like to work with a home stager, we’d be happy to give you a referral. However, if you’re the DIYer, we thought you might appreciate some tips to get you started in home staging.
1. Get rid of clutter
Few things make a house look less ready to sell than clutter. Last year we did an article on decluttering, and we suggest you check it out for suggestions.
2. Group your furniture
Everything doesn’t have to be right next to the wall. Float chairs and perhaps a small table away from the walls to form cozy conversational groups. Position your furniture to guide traffic flow in the direction you’d like it to move.
3. Transform rooms
Do you have a “junk” room? Or maybe one you’ve used for hobbies and crafts? Repurpose it into a comfortable reading room or something else. The more cozy and inviting you can make it, the better. You want your potential buyers to look at a room and envision themselves using it. That moves them from “shoppers” to “buyers” and “owners,” at least in their own minds, making them more likely to stop shopping and make a purchasing decision.
4. Improve lighting
Dark room are not inviting. Increase the wattage in your lamps to brighten rooms. Increasing the number of fixtures can help also. Adding accent lighting to a room can transform it.
5. Make rooms bigger
No, we’re not suggesting you knock down walls. However, painting adjoining rooms the same color will lead to a seamless look which gives the impression of more space.
While you’re painting, remember those neutral colors. You may love your orange wall. Don’t count on potential buyers feeling the same way.
Most of these suggestions cost little money. You don’t need to spend a fortune to make your home look well-staged. However, remember, even these small touches can make the big impressions to make buyers want your home.
When thinking about buying or selling a house, there’s lots you need to keep track of, and we understand that. However, we thought it might be helpful to quickly round up a few things we’d like you to know before you get started.
Let’s start with buyers.
1. If you’ve watched reality TV, you may be surprised
On our Facebook page, we recently featured an infographic about reality TV vs. reality in real estate. Check it out. We’d like to highlight the point on how long it takes to buy a house. On TV, it’s wrapped up quickly. In reality, it’ll probably take longer than you think.
2. The preapproval letter is just the beginning
If you’ve been preapproved for a loan, that’s great, and it’s what we like to see when working with a buyer. If you’ve been frugal and paid close attention to your credit rating to get that approval, well done. However, the frugality needs to continue throughout the buying process because your loan officer is going to check everything again, and if you’ve suddenly opened up new credit cards, you could lose you favorable rate, or even potentially your loan. Stay financially smart through the entire process.
3. Do we need a home warranty?
It’s never a bad thing to have, but read them carefully. It may not cover everything you’re hoping for. Here’s an excellent article from Zillow on what to look for in a warranty. As always, we’re here to help explain them to you.
And now for sellers. Here’s some things we’d like you to know too.
1. Homes take longer to sell than you think
Remember the realitty TV infographic talking about buying takes longer than on TV? Well, so does selling. Lots of factors including time of year, asking price and market conditions can impact time on market. That’s one of the reasons to work with a licensed agent. We know how to account for all of the factors in the process.
2. Pricing your home badly is, well, bad
We’ve talked before about how to price your home. If you price it too high, you’ll risk staying on the market too long. If you price it too low, you’ll leave money on the table. It’s one of the most important considerations when selling your home, so you’ll want to make sure to do it right.
3. How your home looks does matter
Yes, appearances count. If your home looks clean, neat and well cared for, it will sell better than if it’s not. We’ve talked before about decluttering before a move, but it’s more than that. The little things count. Does it smell good when a potential buyer walks in? Is the temperature comfortable? Have the beds been made and dishes put away? All these things do make a difference in the mind of a potential buyer.
So that’s what we’d like you to know. Is there anything you’d like to know that we haven’t covered? Please feel free to leave a comment or give us a call. We’re here for you!
In a recent post, we talked about how to get a home ready to move quickly. One of the people who commented mentioned how effective decluttering your home could be, so we thought it would be a good idea to do a post on the topic.
Of course one person’s clutter is another person’s treasured possession, and we’re not suggesting tossing everything without due consideration, but we’re betting most of you have stuff around that you’ve “been meaning to get rid of for a while now.” So where do you start?
That’s the big question for many people. If you look at your home as a whole, it looks like a huge job, and we tend to procrastinate on tasks that look too big. So how about starting with one room?
What’s the room where you can have the biggest impact in the shortest period of time? Starting there will give you a sense of accomplishment that can carry you to other areas of the house.
Beyond “where to start,” there’s also the question of “how do I do it?” We love a book called Getting Things Done by David Allen. While not specifically about clutter, it is a great resource on how to deal with all the tasks, calendar items and paper that we have in our home and office. It’s an easy read, though learning to practice the techniques could take time. Allen does give some helpful suggestions for how to deal with stuff.
Another suggestion we’ve heard is to ask how much particular items “cost” you in time and energy to maintain. Maintenance could involve something as simple as dusting or as complex as regular attention from a professional (classic cars anyone?) If something “costs” more than you’re getting back in enjoyment, that might be a reason to let it go.
Decluttering can be a real challenge for people, and if you’ve got a big task ahead of you, why not hire a professional to help you out? Building Bridges is a Corporate Partner with The Washington D.C. Metro Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers. We’d be happy to hook you up with an organizer in your area who specializes in your particular situation, whether it be decluttering a home, home office or even organizing your business. The image we used in the post is from Basic Organization, one of the members of the Association.