Saturday, June 6, 2009

Why wait to inspire potential buyers?

So, it has been a crazy couple of weeks. For one, we are moving. We have toyed around with this for some time, but about a month ago...(approximately the time of my last post!)...we decided that we wanted to take advantage of any surge in the real estate market and get our house buyer ready.

I feel like I have been living in a whirlwind. My life has been consumed with cleaning, de-cluttering, organizing, and a daily sprint to get the house ready for an unexpected Realtor call. Despite my exhaustion and anxiety over having a house on the market in the middle of a recession, my house has never looked better. Every closet welcomes a peek, every shelf is a show piece and the clutter I was constantly shifting around from surface to surface or hiding behind closed doors and cabinets has found a new home at our local charity donation center.

I am now asking myself...why didn't I do this sooner? Why did it take preparing my house for someone else for me to make my home a completely functional, orderly and manageable space? Didn't I deserve this sooner?

I realize that it is not realistic to live in this show-ready home forever...I do have 4 kids, but, I have been reminded again, of how much I love a clean and organized home. There is something very freeing about hearing a knock at the door and literally being able to welcome anyone in to look at any room, anytime.

My challenge to you today is to look around your home. If you decided to put your house on the market this month, what items would stay? What items would go? What repairs would finally get fixed? Would your closet finally be worth a picture? Would your bedroom be transformed into the retreat which would entice a new potential buyer?

DON'T WAIT! Your house isn't waiting to inspire a potential is waiting to inspire you! Let's make your house show ready...for you!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Your most valuable real estate spaces

Over the next few weeks, we are going to focus on cleaning and de-cluttering specific areas of your home.

I am a firm believer that certain areas of your home should be considered and treated as extremely "valuable real estate." Therefore, only the most valuable and useful items can afford to pay the premium to "live" there.

We are going to de-clutter and clean different spaces from top to bottom. It is after all spring! I will show you my methods for doing it fast and effectively. I can promise you that if you work with me, your spaces will be reclaimed with a crisp, fresh feel and you will want to show them off.

Challenge for today...get three boxes labeled (GARBAGE, KEEP, DONATE) ready for Monday!

Have a nice weekend and Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Daily Essentials-Make your bed

Don't overwhelm yourself with trying to clean your house all at once. It is a process that takes time and lot of practice, but just remember that it is possible.

There is something that you can start today that will take just a few minutes of your time and I promise you that it will make a major difference in your journey to achieve a clean home. The tip? Something that I am sure we have all heard since we were kids...just make your bed. I don't think there was a day in my childhood that went by without my mom asking me to make my bed. It was something that I quickly realized made a huge difference in how my room looked. If your bed is made, somehow your room will look cleaner.

Your bedroom should be a refuge. It needs to be an escape from the stress and chaos of the day. And believe it or not, it is one of the few spaces in your home that can easily be pulled together with just a little effort. Making the bed is one of the quickest and easiest steps to the start of an orderly home. I loved these inspiring beds found from Pottery Barn(above)and Restoration Hardware(below).

My challenge to you is to make your bed as soon as you get out of it. Try it for a week and you will see that those few minutes each day will make a big difference.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Microwave

Take 10 minutes today to clean your microwave...inside and out. I know a lot of people who are fearful of using harsh chemicals because the chemicals end up cooking into your food. I found some great eco-friendly tips on this link: Let me know what you think!

If you don't have these supplies on hand, I try to only use warm soapy water with dish soap. Wipe it down with a clean wet cloth when finished to remove any soap residue.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Fridge

When you open your refrigerator door, do you imagine scary, Halloween songs and haunted laughter?...then it's time to clean the fridge! I have not mastered having a clean fridge, but I do LOVE a clean fridge. I remember one time my husband asking me what I was "growing" in some Tupperware that I had gotten lost on one of the shelves. That was as close to a family pet as I ever wanted to get.

My challenge to you today is to follow these 5 easy steps and clean your fridge. Make some time when you can have 15 minutes without distractions.

Step 1
Set your kitchen timer for 15 minutes...literally 15 minutes!

Step 2

Step 3
Quickly wipe down all class shelves and drawers with warm, soapy water.

Step 4
Throw away all expired and questionable food. (A fridge is no place for pets or new house plants.)

Step 5
Put everything back. Make each shelf and area have a theme ie: dressings, condiments, Tupperware & left over shelf, jellies and spreads, milk and liquids

SMILE! You did it in 15 minutes!! Now, show it off to deserve a little praise!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The heart of the home...your kitchen.

It goes without saying that the kitchen truly is the heart of the home. I have found that if my kitchen is pulled together, it affects every other room in the house. A kitchen is the one consistent place where creations from the heart are made for those we love the most. So, I have often asked myself, "Does my kitchen inspire me?"

Look around your kitchen today. Is it a place free from clutter? Are there piles of unopened and unsorted mail? Is your sink full of dishes? Are there dishes still "drying" from last week's dinner? Today is the day to start to reclaim your space.

Step 1
Make a commitment to yourself that starting today, for one week, you will not go to bed with a dirty kitchen. I read a book once called "Sink Reflections" by the Fly Lady. She talked about going through a phase in her life where her house was slipping out of control. So, she tried to make sure that at the very least, she would clean her kitchen sink every night. She described how waking up to that clean sink smiling at her changed her life. I could not agree more.

You will be amazed at the difference it will make and how much more manageable your kitchen routine will be if you start the day with an empty, shiny sink. The next morning, unload it as soon as possible and gradually fill it throughout the day. You will find that your heart will smile every time you see your empty, clean sink.

Step 2
Take an assessment of your kitchen. Is the space working for you? Are you having to store too many appliances and items on your counter? When ever possible, try to clear your counter tops from appliances and items that are not used daily. This will clear up a ton of space and you will be surprised at how much cleaner your kitchen will feel when there is not a lot of stuff on the counters. I know that this is not always possible in a really small space, but do your best and give it a shot. You will feel like you have doubled your counter space. The reward is instantaneous.

You will quickly find that kitchen counter tops are some of the most valuable real estate in your home. Be extremely selective of what deserves to be on them!

Good luck with these challenges! One last tip, every time you run a load of dishes, toss your scrub brush and sponges in as well. It will disinfect and clean them for the next day.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Truck Stop Syndrome

I hate public bathrooms. I hate the stalls. I hate the smell. I hate how there is always shredded toilet paper all over the place. I try not to touch anything with my hands and I have gotten pretty good at using my feet for flushing, opening doors, etc.

Now that I am a mom and have two young boys and one with a pretty curvy aim if you know what I mean, I sometimes wonder if people would have the same reaction to one of my bathrooms. Shredded toilet paper. Un-flushed toilets. Over-spray. Drip marks. All of these seem to be daily occurances in my home. And there is a problem--I love clean bathrooms, but I hate taking the time to clean a bathroom.

So in order to eliminate what I kindly refer to as "Truck Stop Syndrome," I have found a solution that I hope to continue for years to come. The solution? I clean the bathroom at least once a day by cleaning it after I use it. I keep a simple bathroom cleaner spray (I like Fantastik Antibacterial), basic baby wipes, and window cleaner under each bathroom sink and a toilet brush next to each toilet. Before I leave the room, I spray down all the surfaces including the whole toilet and scrub it with a wet wipe. Lastly, I spray the toilet bowl and scrub it with the toilet brush. When necessary, I clean the mirror with window cleaner. Total time? No more than 3 minutes.

My challenge to you today is to clean your bathroom after you use it. It is not necessary to invest in expensive gadgets and cleaners. Just the basics will be adequate. Give it a try and you will see that "Truck Stop Syndrome" will never have a place in your home.