Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring cleaning and organizing

Messy Garage

To keep your home clutter free there are yearly habits that should be implemented that will allow for your home to look its best. Additionally, doing a little organizing will also make your day to day life function decidedly better as well.

1. Pack up Winter clothes-
Even if you have ample closet space, by the time Spring arrives it is time to go through the closets, dressers and drawers and pack away winter clothing. By doing this, you free up valuable space for your lighter clothing. It also helps you have a current inventory of what you have vs. what you may need for the Spring and Summer months.
2. Garage clean up equals money-
Garages get overloaded as the years go by and no time is better than the Spring to give your garage a good clean out. If you have a truck use the flat bed for all items you plan on discarding. Make sections in your driveway for Keeping, Donating, and Selling. Once your Donate section is full go ahead and take that to the people/places that will be using your donated items. By doing this, you will keep each section from overflowing. Do the same with items you will be discarding, each time your truck is full make a run to your landfill. Many landfills have separate recycling bins for wood, plastics, and scrap metal. You may want to separate your items ahead of time in the same categories and take them individually to the landfill.
3. Attic Discoveries-
You can do attics next since they tend to have less stored in them than garages. Attic space is an ideal place to store things you may need through out the year. Pay close attention to what you may want to store in an attic vs. the garage. Clean your attic out by removing all things that are not needed in one years time and relocate them to the garage. Holiday decorations, and Seasonal clothing are well suited for the attic as you can more conveniently access them when you need them.
4. Invest in more storage-
If you have a yard, you may want to consider an additional storage unit ie: Utility building or shed. These are ideal for storing things like Riding and push lawnmowers, garden tools, etc. For anywhere from $500.00 and up you can add not only storage but value to your home. Outbuildings and storage buildings are considered property improvements. If you were to have your home appraised, these buildings would be factored into your home's value right along with your fence, etc.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Furnishing small spaces

Of all the spaces that offer a challenge in furnishing small spaces are more than likely the most difficult.
  1. Opt for a loveseat instead of a couch. Loveseats are about a foot smaller than a couch but for a small space it is by far a better choice than trying to put in one large piece. Smaller spaces usually mean smaller walls, so pairing down your sofa to a loveseat may be the ideal solution. Look for straight clean lines and good quality. Over sized furniture will overpower the room and leave you little wiggle room.
  2. Replace your coffee table with a storage trunk or ottoman. We all know small spaces lack storage so any time you can find a piece that serves dual duty you'll be far ahead of the game. Make sure to do this in every space of your small home. Always seek out multifunctional pieces.
  3. Use floor lamps to flank your furniture. Tight spaces can't always accommodate side tables and end tables, however in most cases you still need lighting. Floor lamps can fit into a tight space and offer you the lighting you need.
  4. Opt for one large piece that serves as the only seating. Sometimes more is best depending on the individual layout of the room. In these cases a sectional may prove the best option and allow for the most seating with no additional furniture required. Chose models that have built in storage, and fold down drink holders etc.
  5. Raise up your bed. If you can manage, raising up your bed a little more will allow you to have additional storage underneath. Use luggage to store seasoning clothing and extra blankets etc.
  6. Keep your chest of drawers and get rid of the dresser. While dressers usually come with mirrors, They usually take up far more wall space. Mount a full length mirror to a door or wall and use a chest of drawers in a small space instead. If you are handy, many drawers from dressers can be outfitted with rolling casters on the bottom allowing drawers to slide under your bed for easy access.

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Maximizing limited space in your home

RoomRoom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No doubt one of the biggest challenges with many homeowners, is how to get maximum space from a small room. Empty-nesters, and those downsizing are often overwhelmed with the task of trying to house all of their belongings and decor into a condensed area. With limited square footage, you have to literally think outside the box, and up the sides of the box, if you will. When we look at any space and what it offers we tend took at the limitations of the actual square footage, however, by simply looking "up" we may realize that the next available space may be at eye level.

Making the vertical leap
The walls of a small room tend to be the most under used areas for actual storage, however, they actually have the most potential. If you think about it, if you have a room with 8 foot high ceilings, and a room of average size, say 12' X 12" you will see that each windowless wall offers 96 square feet of possibilities. Now if you figure on installing shelving, you will have to subtract for the amount the shelves extend into the space but still if you have more than one wall that can add up.

Ways to make storage beautiful

Master bedroom with built-in shelving, George ...Master bedroom with built-in shelving, George D. Oakley House, 2110 Kakela Place, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, on the National Register of Historic Places (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shelving, hangers, hooks, all serve a valuable purpose in a small space. However, they don't always look attractive. This is where you must be creative. and get a decorative element that serves double duty. Decorative baskets may be your best friend for shelving that is needed for storage. Shelving that can run up your wall and extend corner to corner offer you maximum space storage, but not necessarily attractive storage. Consider giving shelving character by painting and adding decorative trim work like molding to the edges. It will give your shelves a finished built in look, and with the addition of lovely baskets that can hide your books, extra blankets, etc. you can have extra space on the floor and this gives you and your home a more spacious feel.

Opening up the floor

Empty living room/dining room in an apartment ...Empty living room/dining room in an apartment in a 1920s apartment house, Los Angeles, California. The exposed brick wall is recent. The flooring is also recently added. A Murphy bed was once behind the door on the left, but now the narrow space is used for shelving. I posterized this image in Adobe Photoshop Elements. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once you are trained to look to your walls for extra storage potential you will love the idea that your floor space is clutter free. If you are planning on selling a small home, with small rooms, buyers than can see a lot of floor space will actually feel like your home is bigger than it is and when it comes to selling a home, you are selling it by the square foot. The more the buyer can see, the more you're likely to sell.
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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lightening up a dark room

Up lights can do a lot for a dark space

If you are like most homeowners you have at least one “problem” room in your home. Dark spaces can feel dank, depressing and usually wont be used as much. To brighten up these dark rooms there are a few tricks that can be utilized to maximize low light areas.

  1. Paint the ceiling in a semi gloss paint- If it is popcorn, you may want to consider scraping it. Before you do, read: Popcorn ceiling removal.
  2. Paint walls in a semi gloss- Keep in mind that your walls need to be in pretty good shape as with all reflective paints, they will also highlight marks, dings, and scrapes that a matte paint can conceal.
  3. Use “up lights”- Up-lights are cylindrical lightening fixtures that sit on the floor and cast a light upwards into the room. When you paint your ceiling in a semi gloss paint, the ceiling will reflect off of the up lights and back down into the room creating more light overall.
  4. Place mirrors strategically- Mirrors do well to reflect any light source in the room provided you place them where they can reflect the most light. That means trying out different spots in the room, and in some cases placing a mirror opposite of a window, light or doorway.
  5. Use a monochromatic design scheme- While a monochromatic design scheme can't place light into the room, lighter neutral shades give the room a lighter feel and can keep the room from feeling darker.
  6. Use fabrics with a sheen- There are a lot of fabrics out there that cast a sheen, they usually make for great pillow covers,drapes and furniture covers. When it comes to a dark room you have to seize all ideas available to brighten the space up.
  7. Windows- Adding a window to a room can do a lot to brighten it up, however, if you don't have that in your budget, simply use a faux mirror window like the one shown in the Amazon link below.
  8. Metallics- Metallics have a reflective surface and here again, will aid in having light bounce around a space. Using metallic lamp bases, picture frames, vases, and other accessories will all help in chasing darkness from a room. When using metallics in conjunction with the other suggestions listed here, you will increase the light in a dark space dramatically. Reflective wall art done in chromes and silvers can do so much to add more light where there was none, give it a try.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

HGTV launches Mortgage Madness Sweepstakes

English: Mortgage debtImage via Wikipedia

If you're like most homeowners in America right now winnings to the tune of $50,000.00 sure would help out a lot with your mortgage. Starting from February 28th until March 27th HGTV will launch their $50,000.00 Mortgage Madness Sweepstakes. There are several different ways you can enter this sweepstakes.

1. Text message
If you have text messaging on your mobile devices, you can simply send a text message with the weekly code word to 66789. From March 7th to March 13th the code word will be given by watching HGTV and watching for the newest code word to be mentioned. You can send a text message during each week with the new code word. For more details see the link at the bottom of this article.

2. Email
If it is easier, send an email to cash@hgtv.com with your full name, street address, city, state,zip code, date of birth in this format (mm/dd/yyyy) with a daytime and evening phone number you can be contacted by. Those with no phone number should indicate so on their email by typing “no phone.” Entries that are incorrect or illegible or supply incomplete information will be marked “void.”
There is no limit to the number of entries you can send in. Please be sure to read: Official Rules will be posted at Sponsor's website (the "Website") at www.hgtv.com/sweepstakes.

For complete details on how you can enter see:
HGTV Mortgage Madness Sweepstakes

For inspirational ideas on home improvement and decor, see:
Dawns Interior Decorating Solutions

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