Deep Clean Your Home – Time to Vent…

Small silver metal HVAC air vent with five slats in the white textured ceiling of an old home close up.

…No, it’s not what you think… What I meant to say is “It’s time to clean those vents!” Why should we have to? Let me give you a few good reasons:

  • Allergens from dust and pet hair
  • Mold forming?
  • Fire prevention
  • Plain ‘ol, looks gross…

We should all be replacing the air duct filters every two months or as needed. That’s a good way to inspect whether there’s excess dust accumulating, mold growth or other issues with your system. In those cases, it might be wise to hire a professional. Filters are a cheap way to do some preventative maintenance. And, don’t spend the extra money on the fancy filters (I had an air expert tell me that). The cheap ones work just as good and make sense when you’re changing them out 6 times a year!

Cleaning is simple and fast. All you’ll need is a vacuum with a crevice attachment, brush attachment and a damp cloth. Simply remove the vent covers and wipe them down with the cloth. Use your vacuum crevice tool to vacuum any dust from the area just inside your vent. The edges tend to collect dust and other particles, so pay attention to those areas. You may also have to run your brush attachment over the ceiling or floor right around your vent. Reattach the cover, and you’re done!

Next month.. Kitchens. …Dirt and grime no more!

“Deep Clean Your Home – One Month at a Time” is an on-going series of articles helping homeowners with the daunting task of cleaning and organizing for a happier, healthier home. Be sure to look back at the months you’ve missed and look forward to those yet to come!

Deep Clean Your Home – June Focus : Floors

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This has got to be my biggest cleaning challenge – each and every day! I have boys, dogs and a husband with too many hobbies. Guess what comes tracking in on my floors? Hmm.. pretty much EVERYTHING! To top it off, we live on land that is made up primarily of clay – the red kind! Our house, of course, had a brilliant builder who thought white tile, light grout and tan carpet was the cat’s meow. Dummy! I wish we had been in on that decision making process. So now I’m faced with the task of finding the most effective means of cleaning my tile, grout, carpet and hardwoods.

Over the years I’m sure I’ve tried everything that is marketed to clean every type of surface out there. Here’s what I’ve found works for me…

GROUT: Just in the past year, I did find my one-and-only for grout.. And it happens to be a toilet bowl cleaner! I use the blue kind with bleach that comes in the container with the funny looking neck. I’m able to run in quickly over the grout, let it sit for 20-30 mins and then remove it with a wet rag, gloves and water that is changed quite often. The first time I tried this, I used a small scrub brush right before I swabbed it up. A-MA-ZING!!

HARDWOODS & TILE: I have found that regular maintenance on hardwoods and tile need only a steamer machine and clean cotton pads. I own the purple Shark steamer and love it for it’s light weight and ease of use. A steamer is just using steamed water to clean so, not only is it cost effective, it’s health too – great for the family and pets! The pads are machine washable and it comes with 2 of them. This method is great most of the time, but your hardwoods will start to look dull over time. This month I’m using my trusted Murphy’s Oil Soap on them (and repeat every 3-4 months as needed). My home wish list includes sanding the hardwoods and restaining to a darker finish, maybe even black! …someday…

CARPET: Ugh! I hate them! But I have them, so I need to find a way to live with them.. clean! To deep clean this month, I use my wonderful carpet shampooer. (Pretty sure I spelled that wrong.) I used to rent a commericial machine every 6 months or so, when I finally had that ‘ah-ha’ moment. Yep, I broke down and bought one. Probably the best clean-house decision I ever made! In years past I felt that I needed to use a bunch of shampoo in it, but I don’t anymore. Yes, some shampoo (I like the ones that say “Oxy” in the name), but the key is to pre-treat spots (let them sit), and to spend most of my time sucking up the water the machine just laid down. And, no walking on the wet carpets! Repeat in another 6 months.

 

Next month.. Bathrooms. The floors are done. This should be a cinch!

“Deep Clean Your Home – One Month at a Time” is an on-going series of articles helping homeowners with the daunting task of cleaning and organizing for a happier, healthier home. Be sure to look back at the months you’ve missed and look forward to those yet to come!

Holiday Home Selling …And staging… All at the same time!

Selling your home during the holiday season may seem like a bad idea.. There’s already so much going on! However, due to circumstances or anything else, you may not have a choice. That’s okay!.. There are still plenty of home buyers during the holidays and colder months. In fact, the holidays may play up the features of your home enough to make a difference.

The goal of staging, whether in April, August or December, will always remain the same. We want to create an environment that has won over the hearts of the home buyers, to sell our home for the most money possible, and sell as quickly as possible. The key to staging a home during the holiday season is to keep it simple with your goal in mind.

I mentioned that your home may have features that lend itself to an inviting, warm environment conducive of the colder season. How about a warm fire burning in your beautiful stone fireplace, or live pine garland wrapped around your wooden country fence; Or what about a small sparkling Christmas tree sitting in the corner, or a festive dining table set for a party?

For me the imagery is as exciting as Christmas morning itself! But, be careful not to overdo the decorations. Allow for the flow of the rooms even though you have a 7 foot tree sitting in the corner. Keep the smells at bay… You know how tempting it is to have a cinnamon candle burning to get you in the spirit. However, keep in mind, some visitors may not share in your love of cinnamon, pine or gingerbread. Try not to theme-up every room of the house with Holiday decor.. You might want to save it for the downstairs and allow the bedrooms to be everyday bedrooms.

Do…
Replace a few of your sofa pillows with holiday ones.
Bring in seasonal flower arrangements.
Match bathroom accessories (still) even with a holiday theme.
Light a fire in your fireplace, but keep it safe.
Open blinds and shades and turn on light while buyers walk through.
Clear out clutter before your bring in the holiday stuff.
Refrain from displaying expensive and meaningful holiday items (just in case).
Keep all of the staging rules in mind!

A professional stager can help you create a manageable, stress-free experience especially through the busy times of the year.

Weekend fun at the Triangle Parade of Homes

Wow.. What a great way to spend my Saturday! My sister, niece and I spent the day in Wake Forest, NC touring some pretty spectacular homes on the Triangle Parade of Homes. Check out the pictures below..

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As a stager and designer, I live for the opportunities to immerse myself into beautiful homes.. one right after the other! On this particular afternoon, I paid close attention to the other visitors’ reactions and comments hoping to introduce myself at the right time. As well as prospecting, I was able to get a sense of style toward the builders and their stagers. One thing was clear, the well-staged homes were the definite stand-outs! The builders who took the cheap route and didn’t have their homes staged are probably scratching their heads as to what went wrong.. So sorry about that.. Everyone noticed the difference it made.

Staging sells!

Don’t Forget about the Outside…

Staging a home for sale doesn’t only mean sprucing up the inside. The outside of your home is the real first impression! Consider how your home looks from the curb.. Would you stop or pass right by?

According to internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®, “Imagine you’re a homebuyer on a house-hunting mission. Your real estate agent has ten properties to show you on a Saturday afternoon. When you drive up to what could be your dream home, you see a rusted-out mailbox, broken handrail and children’s toys strewn across an unmowed lawn. You don’t have any time to waste, so you’re probably going to say, “Let’s move on,” skipping the showing appointment entirely.

Curb appeal helps draw prospective buyers into your home. If the outside of a house looks unkempt, it creates an impression that the property is not cared for. To enhance curb appeal:

• Ensure the lawn is freshly cut and that leaves are raked. In winter, snow should be shoveled from the driveway and walkways.

• Make the entrance more welcoming with a seasonally appropriate planted urn or hanging plant.

• Repair or replace any obvious defects. Often this is cheaper to do than a prospective buyer will imagine.

• Make sure the walkways and porches are swept clean and garbage and recycling containers are tucked away at the rear of the house or in the garage.

• Ensure the exterior gets a good pressure wash and the decks are scrubbed clean. It’s a good alternative to painting. Once everything’s clean, you might discover it doesn’t need to be repainted at all; perhaps just a touch-up will do.”