Archive for Do-It-Yourself

3 Tips for organizing your spring clearing

What is spring clearing? Is it a typo? I attended the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organizers annual conference in London England a couple of years ago.  It was enlightening to learn and share organizing deas with Professional Organizers from England, Scotland, Wales, Netherlands, Japan, Dubai and the United States.  This is where I picked up the phrase “Spring Clearing”.

If spring clearing happens first then spring cleaning is much faster. Click To Tweet

Start with clearing out the items that are:

Broken 

They are the easiest to let go of but may be hard to get transported to the waste depot.  If you can’t take them yourself can call a junk removal company or make a trade with a friend or neighbour.  They can take your things to the dump and you can ….. bake a pie, mow their lawn, help with their gardening, have them over for supper…..

Donations

There are things that you might not have used in a while, your children have outgrown playing with certain toys, you have a new one and you can let go of an older model of the same item, or interests and hobbies have changed……. Take these items to thrift stores or call and see if they will pick up your donations. Learn more about decluttering.

Want them but don’t need them

This group of items are hard to let go of.  Try to let go of 2 or 3 items that have some sentimental value but you don’t need them and you don’t have space for them.  It takes time and practice to be able to let go of these things.  With time it will get easier and you will enjoy having fewer things that are taking up space that you can use in a new way opening up new and exciting adventures in your life.

Here is a video of my adventure doing spring clearing.

A flood started the clearing process and then I just continued deciding what things were around my home that I didn’t need.

Mind over Clutter does spring clearing

If you need information on where to donate and recycle items send me your email address and I will send you a 9-page resource document.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

 

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Virtual Organizing – who, why, where, what

Do you have a home or office that is creating anxiety and a feeling of stress and overwhelm? You know you want to change the situation.  With a little knowledge, help and support you could start to feel happy in your home and organized in your office.  I have been offering virtual organizing sessions for 7 years, this may be the year for you to try it.

Who would use virtual organizing services?

For clients who:

  • wish to do the “hands-on “organizing themselves
  • are uncertain about someone coming into their home,
  • want a cost-effective way to get organized
  • need to manage their organizing appointments to fit a complex schedule
  • need support to stay focused on the project

Why would I offer this service?

Virtual organizing allows me to:

  • to provide support to my clients through prearranged online meetings
  • have clients all around the world
  • keep working with clients that moved away
  • do organizing while coaching, teaching, supporting and mentoring clients

What would a virtual organizing session look like

There are probably as many ways to do virtual organizing as there are organizers.  Here are my 4  formats.

A series of mini sessions. 

This format starts with a one-hour session to establish the goals the clients want to achieve and is followed up with 30-minute mini sessions to set steps to follow to complete the job.

Be there with you

This format is for clients who don’t like to work alone.  I am with you on my computer helping you to:

  • know what to do next,
  • make decisions about what to keep and what to donate and
  • set up organizing systems to store your stuff.

Complete Plan

This format is for the client who wants to work by themselves on their own schedule. After you contact me,  I set up a 1-2 hour zoom call and you show me the room you want to get organized. I develop a  customized organizing plan that you implement. If you have questions we can set up a support call to:

  • solve problems,
  • clarify the next step,
  • receive storage suggestions.
  • receive donation and recycling information
  • check-in with you while you are working

Develop Routines

A lot of organizing and maintaining a home, office or room is establishing routines and systems.  We work together to set up step-by-step systems.

There are the A, B, C, D’s of virtual organizing

For more detailed information check  Virtual Organizing Services on my website 

Virtual organizing allows an organizer to support your organizing projects by providing planning, coaching and mentoring. Click To Tweet

To book a complimentary 30 minute virtual assessment use this link   or contact me directly at julie@mindoverclutter.ca 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

 

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The organization diet: cut the clutter & improve your life

If you enjoy informatics you will enjoy this blog.  Cut the clutter a little each day.  Some tasks feel overwhelming.  Begin by dividing them into bite-size pieces. Start with the piece that is easiest to tackle, build your confidence and continue on your daily diet making small changes that you can sustain.

My guest blogger this is Tom Happ is President of Closet Works based out of Elmhurst, IL which for the past 32 years serves the Chicagoland area with customized Closet and Storage Solutions. With a team of over 100 staff, each Solution is Designed, Fabricated and Installed to optimize the storage for every room within the home.

Graphic created by Closet Works.

Contact Closet Works or Julie Stobbe for help with planning your organization diet. 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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10 Easy Ways to Find More Space in Your Home

My guest blogger this month is Laura McHolm, an organizational, moving and storage expert, and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award-winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.

Many believe that to lead a more organized and inspired life, the clutter around you must be cleared. It’s simple: if your home is organized, your mindset will be too.

A clean and balanced home is actually a launching pad for many other goals and resolutions. So if you’re already starting to fail at some of your other 2020 resolutions, try this home resolution instead: find more space in your home by clearing out the clutter! Follow these ten tips and I promise you it will inspire you to complete your other resolutions and lead you to a more organized and happier year!

Pantries

Create room by removing the large and awkward food packaging. Purchase clear, air-tight containers, take the box of your food item, and cut out the product name, nutritional facts and expiration date. Tape them to the inside of your clear container and then seal the food.

Pantry Shelves

Arrange the food on your shelves to help keep your resolutions. Make “first choice” shelves for the food that you want to stay on that diet. Make shelves that are for the kids snacks or foods that you’re just not going to have on a regular basis anymore… You get the idea –some shelves are just for the once a week treat. Some are for every day.

Pantry Storage

If you like to buy in bulk, put the bulk of your paper goods in another location, perhaps a closet or the garage, and place only what you need in your pantry— restock as needed. Tape a note to the shelf stating the location of the extra supplies.  When you use the last item it will remind you of the location where more are stored.

In the Kitchen

When storing pots, pans and other durable items, stack them on their sides like files. This simple step not only creates more room, it also allows you to see exactly what you need. Caddies or sorters from a shelf or container store have great tools for vertical organizing. Have all this in mind in when planning your next kitchen remodeling.

It’s simple: if your home is organized, your mindset will be too. Click To Tweet

Dressers

Place clothing in drawers vertically (not the traditional horizontal piles) because it not only maximizes space, it allows you to find items more quickly. You can purchase wooden planks or plastic planks to use as dividers. This way you can see all of your clothes at once when you open the drawer.

Closets

If your shoes don’t have a place they end up in a pile taking up valuable space. Place shoes and accessories in clear plastic containers so you can see everything and tape their photo to the inside of their container with photo facing out. This little step gives you triple duty: more space, you can find it easier and better still you can put it away in the exact same spot for next time that hot date rolls around…

Our Shoe Box, Container Store

Organize by Color

Organize your closet and drawers dark to light. It can be a great way to find out that you really have way too many black blouses… and you can keep your resolution of being a kinder gentler you by donating the extras!

Kids’ Rooms

Purchase bed raisers for under-the-bed storage. Make sure they are sturdy and the bed can’t be knocked off the raisers during a game of hide and seek.  You can also purchase under the bed drawers. You can store everything from shoes, laundry basket, books and any bulky items that might otherwise clutter their room.

A Baby’s Closet

Is there room to add another bar? Take advantage of the fact that baby clothing is smaller and if you can, add an additional bar to hang the clothing to maximize space. You can purchase pre-made closet organizers that you can customize to make the most out of baby’s closet.

Neatfreak Hanging Expandable Bar

The best trick to more space in your home, less is more! So if you find you have extra things laying around, throw a reverse housewarming party! You’ll be starting a new party trend. Set aside your unwanted items and instead of having your friends bring a housewarming gift, they are to pick one of your items and take it home with them. This is a great way to reunite with friends, find your unwanted things a good home, and de-clutter all at the same time!

Originally posted on porch.com 

If you need help implementing these suggestions book a complimentary 30-minute virtual appointment.  

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

 

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10 Tips to keep your entranceway clear of clutter

Controlling the clutter at the entrance to your home can be a nightmare. With many people using the same area and all having different organizing styles clutter can develop.  Together decide on what will be stored near the doorway and how it will be stored.  When everyone knows the plan, everyone can participate in keeping the entranceway clutter-free.

1. A place for coats

Place hooks low enough that everyone can hang up his or her own coats, sweaters, and jackets.

2. A spot for bags and backpacks

Establish a space that can be reached without help for each person’s backpack or gym bag.  This could be a shelf, cupboard or hook.

Entranceway organzing

Organizing Backpacks

3. Use vertical space

Have enough space near the entrance for shoes that are used regularly.  Buy stackable shoe racks and use vertical space efficiently.  Footwear worn occasionally should be stored elsewhere and brought out as needed.

4. Use the inside of doors

Have a place for seasonal hats, gloves and scarves.  A hanging shoe organizer is ideal for this purpose.  Put regularly-worn hats, scarves and pairs of gloves into the pockets, where you can easily see each item and quickly select what you need.   Storing hats, mitts and scarves directly with a jacket also helps to keep everything together. During the warmer months put sunscreen, insect repellent, sunglasses and hats in the pockets

Use a shoe organizer for hats baseball caps gloves sunglasses

Use a shoe organizer for hats baseball caps gloves sunglasses

5. Have a collection basket

Have a basket to collect mail, newspapers, schoolwork as you come in the door.  It will keep all the paperwork in one place and you can easily take the basket to your work area to sort it and deal with items quickly.

Samsill Pop,n Store Container

6. Collect garbage and recycling

Do you need a garbage can and recycling bin near the entranceway?  Some people do and some people don’t. It helps to keep the area clean.  Garbage from the car, a backpack,  gym bag or snack can be easily tidied up and not left lying around.  I saw this wastebasket with  4 compartments on one of my trips.

7. Protect your personal property

It is tempting to store keys, phones and purses near the door.  Don’t do it.  Find a more secure location for those items so no one picks them up and walks away with them when you’re distracted.

8. Have multi-use furniture

It is nice to have a place a person can sit to put on their shoes or boots. Have a stool that also has storage space.  It can be a good place to put a blanket for sitting outside when it gets cool, cushions for chairs, small toys for children or pet supplies.

Nebel Foldable 15″ Tufted Square Storage Ottoman

9. Re-purpose furniture 

Add a deacon’s bench, buffet, or dresser that is sitting around your home.  Place it by your entranceway to provide additional storage with no additional cost.

Mickelsen Entryway Hall Tree with Bench

Use verticle spaces in your entranceway to get more storage space. Click To Tweet

10. Declutter often

Declutter your entranceway often.  Place items back in their correct storage place, let go of items you no longer need, store off season items way from the entrance and remove garbage and recycling.

Book a virtual organizing appointment and work with Julie to get your entranceway working well for you. Click here for more information  about Virtual organizing services 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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Quarantine Relief: When Cleaning and Organizing Become an Escape

With spring arriving people are beginning to think about cleaning and freshening up their homes.  I enjoy organizing but cleaning? My guest blogger, Magda  Rae, Editor-in-Chief of Vintage Cash Cow,  loves cleaning and is here to help us get a fresh start.

Due to the self-isolation protocols necessitated by the COVID-19 coronavirus, millions of people are spending more time at home than they are used to. Some have enjoyed the freedom and an opportunity to relax, while others are quickly becoming restless and are looking to stay productive.

If you are searching for a way to escape the frustration of quarantine and keep busy amid the pandemic, cleaning your home could provide the perfect solution. A good spring clean will give you a great feeling of accomplishment, while also helping your family to stay safe at a time when hygiene has become crucial! Cleaning even has plenty of proven benefits for your general health, which is important when you need to keep your immune system healthy. Here is how to get stuck in and perform the home deep-clean of a lifetime.

The Health Benefits of Cleaning

Photo by Samantha Gades, Unsplash

Interestingly, spring cleaning also has several science-backed benefits for your mental and physical well being. According to a Scottish health survey, the practice can reduce stress and anxiety by up to 20%, as long as you spend at least 20 minutes cleaning. Clutter can also add to your stress and lower work productivity, but science says that a clean and neat desk can actually make you more productive in the long run.

Dust and pet dander can aggravate allergies and hay fever, but cleaning can help to reduce symptoms of asthma and chest tightness. A study from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin has also revealed that cleaning your home can improve your mood and even alleviate some of the symptoms of depression. Clearly, now is an excellent time to get out the scrubbing brush and the vacuum cleaner.Cleaning your home can improve your mood and even alleviate some of the symptoms of depression. Click To Tweet

Taking Advantage of the Extra Time

Photo by Volha Flaxeco, Unsplash

The current pandemic has presented the perfect conditions for a proper deep clean of your home. Many of us are now in unique positions where we have far fewer daily obligations to worry about than usual. This means that you can really get stuck in, move furniture around, and spread out as you clean. Now is the perfect time to get stuck into those jobs that you have been putting off for years!

You can begin by sweeping your walkways, patio, exterior windows, light fittings and patio furniture. From there, you can move on to washing the interior windows of your home, cleaning out cupboards and pantries, and deep-cleaning appliances and sinks. These are all easy tasks that you could rope your children into to keep them busy as well.

Making a List

Photo by Andy Fitzsimon, Unsplash

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of cleaning, why not make a list for yourself? Write down a wishlist of all the things you would like to clean and tidy up, starting with those tasks that are a top priority for you. Many experts find that cleaning bit by bit is more effective than doing the whole house at once. Take your time, and begin with the rooms or areas of your home that need the most attention.

You could also devise a calendar for cleaning to help keep your routine organized. For example, Mondays could be bathroom cleaning days, Wednesdays could be dedicated to vacuuming, and Saturdays could be laundry days. This is a fantastic way to incentivize children to chip in with the cleaning too. If they do all of the weekly chores on the calendar you set out for them, you could offer them a treat or extend their leisure time as a reward. There is no better time to teach your children about the value of teamwork and cleanliness, so we recommend making the most of it.

Take Inspiration from Marie Kondo

Photo by Nathan Fertig, Unsplash

Is your home feeling unnecessarily cluttered? Perhaps it’s time to assess whether or not your possessions are functional, useful, or bring you joy. Marie Kondo’s famous technique includes picking up an item and deciding whether or not having it in your life brings you happiness. If not, put it aside to sell, donate to charity, or pass on to someone who will appreciate it. You may well find that if you sell your unwanted vintage jewelry, appliances, books and other items that you no longer use, you’ll pocket a sizable sum of money.

Again, you can also get your kids involved in this process. Many people think that children would want to hold onto everything they own, but Marie Kondo says that this simply isn’t the case a lot of the time. Remember, things don’t have to be in poor condition for you to pass them along to a new home. Charity stores are always grateful for goods in near-new condition!

Keep Cleaning Fun

Cleaning can be a fantastic escape, especially during lockdown. However, for some, this can be an arduous task – so make it fun! Put on your favorite music, rope in your family, and dance or sing as you work. Remember not to work yourself too hard, and to take regular breaks as you see fit.

You can also take before and after photographs of your efforts to incentivize yourself and show off on social media. Some people have even taken to making TikToks of their cleaning work to show the world just how powerful a deep clean can be!

A Good Way to Get Through Tough Times

No matter what your approach may be, the trick to enjoying cleaning and using it as an escape is to make it an enjoyable and rewarding activity that you can look back on with pride.

Need help with your cleaning and organizing project? Book a 30-minute complimentary virtual organizing assessment. https://mindoverclutter.as.me/virtualorganizingassessment

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

 

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Building your perfect custom closet: 5 Steps to consider

My guest blogger this month is Spencer Andrews a representative of More Space Place, a Greenville area leader in closet, office, and garage organization. He has included 5 pictures of different types of closets.

Thinking of upgrading your closet space? Adding a brand new custom closet system to your home can be an exciting prospect. After all, optimizing your storage means you’ll be able to rid your home of clutter and enjoy a cleaner house.

The are a few things to remember, however. Just like any other home improvement project a custom closet has several pitfalls that can have disastrous consequences. Low-quality materials can break and hasty installations can lead to damage to your home requiring thousands of dollars of costly repairs.

To help you avoid such a thing we’ve put together this guide to help you make the appropriate considerations. These 5 steps are what we think are the most important and will help ensure that you’re satisfied with your brand new closet.

Step #1: Plan your design & research your options

Just like with any other project, the success of your custom closet installation is contingent upon diligent research and proper planning. The most important thing to determine is the materials you’ll be using for your closet system. There are plenty of economic options available, but how sturdy are they? Particleboard is affordable, but composites can be easily damaged and don’t deal well with moisture. Furthermore, installing laminates can require working with highly flammable and toxic adhesives, which some homeowners may not be comfortable with. These materials may be more affordable, but will generally have a diminished life span. This is just one example of the kind of research you’ll need to do.

Of course, the other thing to remember is making sure you have all the tools you need to handle this installation. This is by and large a function of the materials you’ll be working with, and once you’ve determined that you’ll have to make sure you have the right tools.

Step #2: Acquire your materials

 

 When you’re buying the materials for your closet’s installation remember this one simple rule: not all materials are created equal. Take the time to compare the different building supplies you’ll be buying. Boards can warp and deform and may not retain their shape. Take the time to inspect everything you’ll be using to ensure that it’s up to par. Substandard materials can be disastrous for a project like this, and there’s nothing worse than taking multiple unwanted trips to the hardware store. Save yourself a headache and work only with the highest quality goods.

This can also mean using wire closet systems. These tend to be more reliable when compared with particleboard. These will also be more consistent in terms of quality, alleviating many of the headaches associated with less durable materials. That being said, it’s important to do your homework early on and decide what material you think will work best for you.

Step #3: Take your measurements & prepare for installation

 

Is the room you’re installing your new closet system in completely square? Can you fit all the tools you’ll be using in your closet space? Will your closet system completely cover your wall or should you consider wallpaper or paint to complement your new installation?

These are all considerations to take into account before you begin building your custom closet. If your closet comes out off-center or looks crooked because of the shape of the room it can really detract from the visual appeal of your new closet system. Furthermore, adding a new coat of paint or wallpaper can really help to improve your closet system, so make sure you have that in place beforehand!

Step #4: Begin building your closet system

While this may be a fairly obvious step, this is where all the hard work and potential problems may occur. The most important thing to consider here is whether or not you have the time to put together a brand new closet system in your home. Furthermore, you may need to consider if you have the experience for such a project. Installations such as these can be demanding and may require the expertise of an experienced team. If you find yourself in over your head consider looking for a custom closet designer who can help you out with your project. These services also tend to be comprehensive, which means that can also help you with the design & picking out the right materials.

Enjoy Your New Closet!

 After putting in all this hard work, it’s time to enjoy your new custom closet! Consider what you’re going to do with all this new space and check out some other space-saving options. Amazon has plenty of corner storage, stackable bins, and space-saving solutions that can help to make your new closet even more efficient.

Thinking of upgrading your current closet space? Greenville More Space Place is the Greenville SC Custom Closet design team that can help make your idea a reality.

Let me know what the most important feature of a closet is for you?

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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Getting ready to sell your house?

Here are 11 Things Most People Forget to Do

Thanks to my guest blogger Jeff  Anttila of Redfin for sharing his tips on getting your house ready for the real estate market.

You’ve started on your lists of small repairs, you’ve contacted a real estate agent, and now you’re in the final steps of getting ready to sell your house. But before you put your home up for sale, and certainly before having your first open house, here are 11 things to consider that most home sellers forget to think about and could cost you a sale.

1. Declutter and Organize Your Closets and Cabinets

Sure, you went through your entire house and reduced the clutter in each room, organized your desk and other surfaces, and arranged your collection of antique ceramic kitty figurines to be facing perpendicular to the window. However, did you tackle your closets and cabinets? One thing you should definitely expect during an open house or individual home tours is that potential home buyers will be looking in your closets, kitchen drawers and cabinets. Will your walk-in closet fit all of his shoes and her summer dresses? Is there enough storage space in your kitchen for their cookware, bakeware, and all the kitchen gadgets that they seem to collect each year? These are all questions home buyers will be asking themselves as they walk through your home.

Of course, you as a home seller will have no idea what the needs are of a potential home buyer, but you can definitely showcase what your house has to offer in terms of storage. Start by decluttering your closets, cabinets, and drawers, and then keeping only enough belongings in each to really show off the potential that space has to offer. Think of it as an extension of staging your home, but for your storage areas.

2. Clean Stains and Eliminate Odors

We should all consider small stains, marks, and other imperfections as badges of honor for a house that has been lived in for years. Nonetheless, these slight bumps and bruises your home has encountered over time will stick out to potential home buyers, so tackle them head-on. Begin by trying to put yourself in the shoes of a potential home buyer and look at your house objectively. Start by going outside and then re-entering your house as if you didn’t actually own it but were an interested home buyer looking at it for the first time. What do you see? Walk through every room and take note of all the imperfections you notice. You might surprise yourself with how quickly your list grows. You can then add them to your list of repairs so you can make your house truly be at its best before your first open house. Also, if you have pets there is a strong possibility that your home has an odor which you can no longer smell. Deep cleaning your house is a sure fire way to help eliminate these odors, but also think about using an odor eliminating spray every day for about a week before your first open house. You can also place plugin room fresheners that offer a great crisp smell, like cucumber, to help infuse a sense of cleanliness throughout your house.

3. Replace Light Bulbs

Walk through each room in your house and look at every light bulb to see if it’s working. As homeowners, we sometimes forget to immediately replace a light bulb when it goes out. You want your house to be at its brightest when new home buyers are touring your home and replacing old burnt out light bulbs is one of the easiest ways to do it. Also, don’t forget to walk around the outside of your house to make sure all the lights of your home’s exterior are working as well. Depending on the time of year, your open house or home tours could happen when the sun is going down or when it’s already dark. So be sure to make your house shine inside and out!

Pro tip: Make sure all your light bulbs are the same color temperature inside your house as well as outside. A soft-white light LED bulb can create a bright but welcoming environment for new home buyers.

4. Think About the Small Details: Plants, Mirrors, Rugs

Consider each room’s individual characteristics, so you can really showcase the potential every room in your house can offer. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind while you start prepping every space for an exceptional open house experience.

 Add a little green to your spaces

Nothing breathes life into a room more than a little greenery. A potted tree can work wonders in a living room, but for smaller areas think smaller plants such as a small potted herb garden in the kitchen or a miniature cactus on the mantel.

Open up even the smallest rooms

Mirrors can make small spaces seem large because they create the illusion of depth. Mirrors also work wonders in darker rooms as they reflect light deep into areas of a room that may not receive an abundance of natural light.

 Add character to an otherwise unimpressive space

While staging your home, think about adding character to various spaces with rugs. However, keep in mind that you want to use rugs to enhance a space, not be the focal point of it. Also, if you have a strange space that you never really figured out a good use for, a rug could at least offer a little personality while leaving the space and its potential to the imaginations of home buyers.

 

5. Enhance Your Outdoor Space

You’re probably already aware that enhancing your curb appeal is one of the most impactful things you can do to create a great first impression. However, you don’t want to forget about your other outdoor areas, such as your front porch or entrance, your back entrance, side yard, and backyard. You want to enhance your outdoor spaces around the house so potential buyers can see themselves living as much outside your house as inside. Simple enhancements like placing potted plants to your front entrance or adding fresh beauty bark around the base of your hedges and trees can go a long way. If you don’t already have a designated outdoor space for entertaining, think about building a DIY fire pit and adding four Adirondack chairs to create the idea of outdoor fun. Ultimately, your outdoor space can be just as important of a space as what your home has to offer on the inside.

6. Get Professional (Aerial) Photography

By now your research has probably shown you that homes with professional photos sell for more and spend less time on the market on average. What you may not have considered is adding aerial photography to your listing photos. Aerial photography can show off your entire property, a scenic view, and the surrounding area.  If you have a lot of property, an aerial shot can easily put into perspective the full scope all your land has to offer to potential home buyers. Furthermore, aerial photography has come a long way thanks to the rapid development of drone technology, resulting in reasonable pricing that is accessible for many homeowners today. For higher-end listings, drones can even capture video of your property, helping it stand out among the hundreds of other homes for sale.

7. Don’t Forget About Your Gutters

Imagine that you’re having your first open house and despite the rain, foot traffic has been steadily increasing all morning. Your house looks immaculate, like one of those home’s off of an HGTV show, and your real estate agent has been messaging you updates every hour about how great it’s going. But then the unexpected happens. A small stream of water starts coming down right in front of your large bay window in the living room. The stream is outside the house, but your would-be buyers watch on as it grows into a miniature waterfall. Red flags go up for the home buyers touring your house as the foot traffic thins then disappears altogether. What they didn’t see was that the spillage was the result of a clogged gutter, nothing more, causing water to spill over in a very inopportune place and at the worst time. Depending on where you live, you may not see as much rain in locations like Phoenix, AZ, but in many locations where rainfall is a common occurrence, such as Seattle, WA, this situation is more likely to happen. If you don’t have time to clean your gutters yourself—because you have a house to sell and a million other little things to do—there are professional services that can clean your gutters for you so this little oversight doesn’t drown out your hopes of selling your home quickly.

8. Paint Your Baseboards and Crown Molding

It’s pretty common knowledge that you should paint the interior of your home a neutral color to appeal to more buyers. Home buyers want to imagine themselves and their stuff in your space, so your red accent wall will need to be painted over with a more neutral hue. But what a lot of home sellers forget to do is pay attention to their baseboards and crown molding. Where crown molding may just need some cleaning and touch-ups, your baseboards most likely have seen a lot more traffic, especially if you have kids. It may be a toy truck that has repeatedly crashed into your white baseboards, crayons that went rogue, or the black rubber wheels from bikes racing down the hallway, most likely your baseboards have been marked with years of life experiences.

To correct these homely blemishes, you can try cleaning your baseboards with simple dish soap and water. But if it has been years of wear and abuse, you most likely will need to paint. Use a paint with a semi-gloss finish that will offer a light sheen but not glossy enough to distract attention away from your floors. You can also match your crown molding using the same paint, making every room pop to potential home buyers. Of course, if you end up hiring painters to repaint that accent wall of yours, you might as well have them paint your baseboards while they’re there.

9. Focus on Your Floors

Your hardwood floors were once beautiful and one of the initial reasons you bought your home, but after years of traffic your hardwoods have since dulled to a shadow of their former glory. Likewise, your once plush carpet has also now matted down into obvious paths that lead from room to room. One of the first things potential home buyers look at when entering a new home is the floors, so make yours a statement. If your carpet is approaching that 10-year mark, it is most likely looking pretty worn. Think about recarpeting your house to make it look fresh and ready for new homeowners. Such as you did with your walls, you’ll want to go more neutral in color to appeal to the majority of home buyers. If your carpet is only a few years old, however, getting it professionally cleaned can go a long way in bringing your carpet back to life.

If you have hardwood floors bring them back to their former glory by refinishing them. Refinishing hardwood floors typically includes sanding down the floors to eliminate the original finish and stain, then restaining with the desired color followed by a coat or two of sealer. Your floors will look brand new and really stand out during the open house.

10. Gather Your Documents

You might not be aware of this but you’ll want to gather all the documents you have in regards to warranties, manuals, service records, and repairs done to your house. These documents are hugely important for several reasons and certain ones are needed by different parties before you sell your house. Your agent is your best friend during the home selling process. They are also your homes’ first line of marketing and the more information they have about your house, the better they can promote it. They will write out the specific details of your home as well as an enticing description that will highlight key features that home buyers want. So, if you’ve made recent updates like a new deck, new roof, updated HVAC, or if your home has hot water on demand make sure your agent knows it and you have the paperwork to back it up.

During the home inspection process, home inspectors are going to go over your house with a fine-toothed comb. If your furnace or water heater hasn’t been serviced in years, they’ll let you know. Take a proactive approach by gathering all your service records so you’ll know ahead of time if something needs to be serviced before listing your home.

However, beyond the paperwork your agent and the home inspector would like to see, title companies require very specific documentation in order for you to even sell your home, including:

  • Mortgage loan information, which will show any outstanding mortgage balance and pay-off balance (if there is any)
  • Final purchase and sale agreement
  • Deed
  • Title report
  • Property tax information, including most recent tax statement
  • Homeowners insurance information
  • Lease agreement, if you’re currently renting the property
  • Any reports or documentation that relates to the property
    • Warranty paperwork, permits, service documentation, instruction manuals, dates of home improvement projects, and age of the roof, furnace, hot water heater, HVAC, and all the other major appliances.
  1. Pre-Sale Home Inspection

The last thing most people don’t think about before they sell their home is getting a pre-sale home inspection. Though it is not mandatory, a pre-sale home inspection is a proactive approach to understanding your home’s condition at that point in time, and if there are any repairs that need attention, you can address them now versus trying to do it during the home selling process. Home buyers will most likely get a home inspection of their own, right? So, why would you get one as a seller? A home inspection report will most likely turn up a list of repairs that will need to be fixed. Would you prefer to fix these issues now before you list your home, or after you’re in negotiations with a potential buyer? If you wait, you may push back the sale date of your house as repairs are being made. Or, home buyers may ask for concessions on your asking price in order to cover the repairs and the time it takes to make them. Ultimately, getting a pre-sale home inspection will leave you in a better position when it comes time to negotiate with potential buyers. You may feel like spending a lot of time and money on your house is pointless because you’re just going to sell it anyway, right? Just consider that the more you appeal to the majority of home buyers the more bids you’ll likely see and ultimately help you sell your house quicker and for more money.

Which tip was most helpful for you? 

Originally published on Redfin

POC Gold Leaf MemberJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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Taking back your master closet

Asian lady surrounded by colorful clothes in her organized closet

Photo by BBH Singapore on Unsplash

Today I have a guest blogger, Haley Kieser of Zog Digital. She always shares an inspiring fresh approach to freshening up your home.

Organizing a master closet is one of those tasks that usually comes last on the list. Master closets are often where extra things get stored to be dealt with later. Instead of putting off this chore, make your closet functional right now by planning out what you’re going to do and then tackling the make-over.

Clean-Up

Take everything out of the closet. You won’t be doing yourself any favours if you tackle this project with all the things still in it, or by doing part of it at a time. You need to get a fresh start.

While everything’s out, do some paring down. You can use the Marie Kondo method, ask yourself these questions, or simply choose to get rid of items that you haven’t worn in a year or more. If none of these get you to point of decluttering, consult with a professional organizer.

Lighting

Next, make sure there’s a bright light near or inside your closet so you can easily see your clothing. This may mean simply placing a lamp close by, or if you have the room, installing a light inside. If there’s no existing fixture, you can either hire an electrician to run wiring inside, or choose a wireless lighting option. There are many strong, high-quality LED lights that you can add. Choose the center of the closet as placement for a larger light or pick two or three smaller ones to provide plenty of light across the board.

If there’s already a light inside the closet, consider whether it’s bright enough and whether you like the fixture aesthetically. This is the time to choose something decorative that goes with your personal style, like a fun crystal piece.

Paint

A new coat of paint makes a huge difference inside a closet. Not only will it rid the walls of the wear and tear closets always get, but it will make it seem bigger and brighter. First pick a shade and finish. WOW 1 Day Painting suggests using a semi-gloss paint. This is a shiny finish that reflects light better than satin or eggshell, so you can better see your clothes. Choose a light-toned colour. It doesn’t have to be white but go for the lightest color in your chosen colour family.

Organizational System

Decide whether your current shelving and clothing rod system is meeting your needs. Perhaps you want more shoe storage, or don’t have enough space to hang your clothes.

Measure your closet both horizontally and vertically and sketch out a plan. You can do this on paper (graph paper works best) or use a software tool. When planning, keep in mind that generally you want to have the things you use every day at your eye level. Little-used clothing, like formal dresses or overcoats, can go in a less-reachable space.

Consider whether or not you like to hang up or fold most of your clothes. If you like to fold them, then you’ll want shelves or drawers more than you want closet rods. Allow 40-42 inches of vertical space for hanging clothes.

There are lots of mostly pre-made closet systems available at home improvement stores these days. These come in single or multiple components, so you can mix and match them for your needs. For instance, if you have a lot of purses, you may want to install cubbies. The good thing about these systems is that they’re easy to install with some basic tools and are already painted.

You can also make your own shelving or hire a professional to do it. If you’re making your own shelving, then you’ll want to do this step before the paint, so you can paint everything at once.  You’ll also need some higher-level handyman skills and tools like a table saw to do the job well.

Accessorize

Even if you don’t have much room, you can choose some things like fancy closet hooks to give your space some personal flair when you hang up necklaces and robes. A small chair or pouf to sit on is both practical and can reflect what you like.

Now that your closet system is in place, you can put all your clothing and accessories back. A functional closet is a lot more fun to use, and the organization system will make it easy to keep neat.

POC Gold LeafJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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How to organize to create joy in your home.

man and woman holding hands together with boy and girl looking at green trees during day

I had  a number of questions submitted to me about how to create joy in your home.  Here are my answers.  I hope you enjoy them. Please send me more questions or place your thoughts in the comments about creating joy at home.

How does tidying up a home help create joy?

Tidying up so you are able to find what you want, when you want it, use it to accomplish your task and know where to put it away relieves, stress, tension and frustration.  It also uses less energy to complete your work, leaving more energy, physical and emotional, for other parts of your life.  Feeling less anxious and overwhelmed makes room in your life for happiness and joy because your have time to spend on the important things, health, relationships and personal growth.

How can you use the idea of a happiness shrine to help someone to have more joy and  help reduce clutter?

A “happiness shrine” or “pride shrine” in a home is a shelf/wallspace/corner  used to display items that serve no utilitarian purpose but make you happy.  I have a space in my office where I post 1 picture from some  vacations with my family and a small shelf for interesting items, that remind me of my successes.  This corner certainly makes me smile with many memories.  By having a designated, limited and personal space for sentimental items,  people need to decide which things are really important to them. It allows other areas in the home to be organized purposefully reducing distracting clutter in the commonly used areas. Give each member of the home a “pride shine” area and remember what is in your shrine can change and evolve to reflect your life past, present and future.

White cupboard door with pictures on it.

How can someone organize their running shoes and workout gear in an attractive way  where they are visible but don’t wind up in piles on the floor? 

Exercise is one of many ways to help increase your mental wellness.  People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise   A study showed that people are more likely to exercise or make healthy habits if they can see their workout gear. Goals and habits are easier to accomplish if you are intentional about your plan, set a day and time to exercise.  Organize your sneakers and workout gear on a shelf so you can see them when you enter your room or open the closet. A shoe or pocket organizer hung on the inside of a door will also work well.  Roll your exercise gear, shorts, tops, warm up pants, warm up tops, running jacket, etc and place each item in a pocket.  It will make it easy to see your workout gear as well as limit the amount of gear you purchase.  Don’t forget to put the shoes in one of the pockets too. A drawer may keep your gear hidden from your view but if you prefer using a drawer also put items in the drawer that you use everyday so you will continue to notice your workout gear daily.

Books bring  joy to many people. How can we tidy up our book collections? 

Books are such a personal topic.  Some people read a book once and donate to their library while the book is current and in good shape.  Other people like to be reminded of the stories they have read and so keep books just to remember them.  Still other people like to have beautiful picture style books and enjoy them as entertainment, like watching a movie. Lastly, people like them as reference books on topics they have studied or want to learn about.  Think about why you have books and if they still serve you well.  Perhaps you can check out books from the library, download books, share books or trade books to reduce the number of books you own but still be able to enjoy them.  If you have more books than you can display on shelves in your home, I think you have too many.  Books that are kept in boxes can’t be used, enjoyed or experienced.  Reducing the clutter of owning boxes of books, reduces the time and energy spent on thinking and worrying about what to do with them. It frees up time to spend on the things that are important to you now and it frees up space.

How does donating unused or unwanted items help to create its own sense of joy?

Donating unused or unwanted items creates a sense of helping others.  Your items can be used to help raise money for community causes, given to charities to help people, develop relationships with organizations to make the world a better place for everyone.  We are so privileged to have enough to share with others.  Your sense of joy may come from protecting the environment by keeping useful items out of the landfill, by sharing your wealth to support people and projects locally or globally, by being an example for others to follow.  Joy comes in many forms.

Car trunk full of bags of things to donate

POC Gold Leaf MemberJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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