Archives for August 2013

Clutter Patrol

The ongoing (and seemingly never ending) battle.  Here are some simple, and inexpensive, solutions for your home.

Live by the “one in – one out” rule

For every item you bring in to your home – one item goes out.  Apply this simple solution to everything from clothing to gift wrap to kitchen gadgets to household items and gifts.  Before purchasing anything decide what item you’ll be letting go to make room

Donation Days

Choose 1 day each season – spring, summer, winter, and fall – and declare it a ‘Donation Day’.  On these donation days supply each member of your family with a carton or bag, have them spend just 20 minutes sorting through their possessions to collect clothing, toys, books, shoes, sports gear etc.  You can easily extend these seasonal decluttering sessions to an hour by assigning each family member ‘another room’ – say the family room, entrance-way, even the garage – whichever area(s) in your home attract the most clutter.

Donation Box

Set up a ‘donation box’.  Locate it in a convenient, easily accessible spot – let everyone in your household know where it is! When the box full, drop it off at a local charity.  This is also the ideal spot to store the ‘items going out’ from your earlier rule!  Encourage children to participate by explaining how their donation of clothes, toys, books etc. can help those in need.

Miscellaneous clutter conquering tips

  • Do an inventory of your kid’s clothing, shoes and other misc. gear before going back-to-school shopping.
  • Incorporate storage into your decor; boxes, baskets, small dressers or trunks (instead of tables), bookcases etc.
  • Try to purchase double-duty furnishings; a coffee table with a shelf underneath for newspapers, magazines and the remote caddy – an entrance-way bench with storage or a shoe rack -end/side tables with shelves for extra storage.

Moving? 5 Tips to Remember

Whether you’re relocating to another province, a different city, or simply moving to another area in your present community, packing up and moving from one home to another is a big job.  Here are a few pointers to help lighten your load.

 First Things First

If you’re like most, you have many things in your home that you haven’t used in years.  You probably accumulated in the attic, basement, garage, and every other nook and cranny of storage space in your home.  Do take the time to sort through these ‘storage’ spaces – ask yourself ‘do I want to pack, move, unpack and store these items at my new home’?  If the answer is no, now is the time to plan a garage sale, gift them to a family member or neighbour who could make use of them, or donate them to a local charity.

Pack a Survival Kit

Having ‘essentials’ in one place (and knowing where they are) can make move-in day – and night – for everyone in your family go smoothly.  Although each family’s’ must-haves will vary, here are a few ideas to help you put together a kit.

  • personal toiletries, toilet paper, kleenex
  • cell phone charger
  • jammies and any ‘can’t-sleep- without’ blanket or stuffed animal
  • a deck of cards & travel versions of favourite games,
  • note pad & pen, flashlight
  • pet supplies; dog food, leash, crate or kennel, cat food and litter, water dish
  • can opener, scissors, screwdriver
  • coffee maker, kettle, coffee, tea, mugs, plastic cups, paper plates, package of plastic utensils
  • non-perishable snacks
  • prescription medications, glasses, sunglasses, first aid kit
  • consider having each member of your family put together their own personal kit (it can be pretty tough to determine what is essential to a 15 year old).

Plan Ahead

Whether you’ll be hiring a moving company, or you’ve decided on a do-it- yourself move, you’ll need to make arrangements well in advance of your move date.  Getting estimates and reviewing the contract/details (like insurance) from movers – or arranging for a rental truck, trailer or special equipment (will you need an appliance dolly, clothing racks or furniture blankets) takes time and advance planning.  Check your home- owner insurance policy – or with your insurance agent – are your possessions  covered – and for what – while in transit?

Pack That in the Car

How much you can transport in your vehicle will depend on numerous factors; how many vehicles are making the trip, and the distance to your new home, are just two considerations.

A few of the items you’ll want to pack into your vehicle are; valuables like jewelry or coin collections, important documents like passports and birth certificates, fragile or expensive equipment like cameras.

At this point it’s a good idea to make a list of exactly what items you’ll be transporting in your vehicle – don’t forget about the kids, your survival kit(s), pets, and houseplants!  Check with your moving company about any restrictions they may have with respect to BBQ tanks, open – or unopened – cans of paint, stain or varnishes, ditto for home and garden cleaners and chemicals.  Hunting rifles, ammunition, unopened bottles of wine and alcohol are other items you may need to personally transport.

Moving Day

It’s likely that once all your possessions are loaded you’ll want to do a last minute clean up, vacuum – maybe even mop the kitchen and entrance way floors.  Don’t forget to allow room for these ‘last minute’ items like the vacuum, mop, scrub bucket etc. to be loaded.  You may also have a few final items from the fridge to pack up – or to give to a neighbour.

The Value of Curb Appeal

The impact value of a lawn and landscaping that complements the appearance of a home is an important part of that positive first impression created when a prospective buyer pulls up in front of the house.

In general, improvements that are visible – add ‘curb appeal’ and beautify a home – will add more value than those less visible improvements that do not beautify.  Here are 3 of the most important concepts to keep in mind when making an improvement to the exterior of your home.

  • the visibility of the improvement
  • its relative value to other homes in the area/neighbourhood
  • its degree of desirability according to buyer preferences