Deep Clean Your Home – Focus: Bedrooms

As much as we want to spend more time outdoors, we can’t give up on our 2015 resolution of making our home the cleanest ever. Next up is the bedrooms.

Bedrooms have their own sort of dirt and grime depending on the person or persons occupying them. I keep a habit of making my bed every morning. It helps to keep my mindset organized all day long. As well, I ritually launder my sheets, due to pets and my own bloodhound-like sense of smell – it keeps me sane. The message hasn’t sunk into my kids’ brains yet, but I’ll keep trying!

There are lots to discuss here as we clean down into every nook and cranny. Let’s start with finding a place for everything.. Once upon a time, I would use my bedroom as the catch-all for everything in the house that didn’t have place. How unfair for me (and my hubby)! Everything has a place (even if it’s the trash), so put it there now and again after each time you use it. Once everything is put away, we can really get a good feel for what needs to happen in here. I start with everything above the floor. (Floors are last for me.) Start at the top and work your way down… Lighting, window sills and baseboards are first. Doors (both side) and doorways are next.

My sister turned me on to baby wipes as a cleaning tool! They’re easier on my skin (I don’t like to wear gloves) and they shine up molding, interior doors and any painted surfaces inside pretty nicely. As well, they’re cheap, smell good and small enough to maneuver around intricate surfaces. Convinced yet? Try them!

Then I move on to the furniture – remove the stuff, dust and replace only necessary items! Be sure not to forget dusting or cleaning your headboard and footboard. Do the TV and any other miscellaneous items too. Now, on to the floors. I like to complete my cleaning with a good carpet vacuum and shampoo. I invested in a steam cleaner and have not looked back since! If you have hardwoods, consider a steam mop.. I have one now and wondered why it took me so long to get one. With that said, don’t forget about any area rugs – clean yourself or call in the professionals.

Fix anything broken or squeaky while you’re in there. …Did I leave anything out?

Okay, that’s your room.. Let’s repeat for each bedroom. Break it down throughout the month, maybe one bedroom per week until they’re done. Once you’re done, your reward is your very own clean, comfy bedroom to rest your head. Just remember to make it easier on yourself next time by picking up and putting away each time something is used.

Next month.. Carpet & floors. You’ve already done the bedrooms, so you’re that much further ahead!

“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 – Let the Outside It in Month Four

Pulizie di primaveraIt’s April! I’m hoping you’re feeling Spring already – I know I am. We get plenty of miserable rain here in the south during the winter months, but somehow rain in April makes me happy. Plants and trees are starting to bloom and more time is spent outside. We want the sun to shine right in, and you’re probably noticing how dirty your windows have gotten this year. Let’s do something about that!

WINDOWS With the dogs and the kids, I feel like I’m cleaning the same windows every week. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about that, but we can do something about the rest of them. Be sure to clean both the inside and the outside of each window. Don’t forget the sills and any hardware, as they each get grimy in their own sort of way. Many of my windows, inside and out, I can reach  quite conveniently. However, the second-story ones become tricky. Windex (as well as some other brands) make a nifty solution you can screw onto the end of your water hose. …Anything that works, just gotta get ’em done!

Good Housekeeping recommends a solution of white vinegar (2 TBSP) and water (1 GAL) and using newspaper to apply and scrub your windows clean. I prefer using paper towels to apply and clean, and then a lint-free cloth to “polish” it up after everything is good and dry. I find this works well, especially for my sun-facing windows. The goal is no streaks, so try some different methods and you’ll discover what works for you.

Even after a good cleaning last April, I was finding that my outside windows were getting filthy after each rain. As I investigated the cause, I found that my gutters needed a good cleaning as well as my siding. Not to create more work, but when put up the work upfront, life will be so much easier in the long-run.

Next month.. May finds us inside focusing on our bedrooms.

“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 – Looking UP in Month Three

Crocus flowers in snowLots of reasons to ‘look up’ this month ~ for starters, it’s my birthday month! …Luck-O-The-Irish, March Madness, Spring has Sprung! And, as part of our resolution to make 2015 our cleanest-year-ever, CEILING FANS and LIGHTING FIXTURES are the other reasons we look up this month.

Quick (relevant) story.. My FIL came for a visit years ago and sat with us in the living room. It was a hot, southern-summer day and the ceiling fan was doing it’s job. He looked up at it and said, “The reason it’s making that noise is because the fan blades are dirty.” How embarrassing! But, he was right! The dust and grime build up on the blades caused it to be out of alignment and therefore made a faint, annoying sound as we chatted. Lesson learned!

Like my blinds, my fan blades are painted white wood and pretty durable to mild cleaning solutions. I first try to vacuum off any loose dust with my hand-vac and then wash them down with some warm water laced with dish detergent. It’s as simple as that! To maintain throughout the year, use a Swiffer or dusting cloth to wipe down any time you deem necessary. For me, it’s usually once every couple of months.

While you’re up there, take a look at your lighting fixtures – those with the fan and all the others. If it’s been awhile, you’ve probably got cobwebs and dust that have accumulated. I like to take the glass shades and bowls right off of the fixture and bring them down to do a thorough cleaning, as if you would wash your dishes in your sink. I wipe down the bulbs before attaching the shades back. Don’t forget the overhead lights in your hallways and closets, bedrooms, kitchen and dining room. Now is also a great time to replace any blown bulbs. Things will seem to sparkle more when you’re done!

Next month.. April Showers may keep you inside this month ~ A perfect time to shine up your windows!

“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 – Month Two (feel the LOVE) ♥︎

February month gold 3D quality render on the wall background with soft shadow.When we think February, we think love! And how much do we love our homes? February isn’t (personally) my favorite month, but I do love to come home to a warm and inviting home, sip some hot cocoa by the fire and snuggle up in my warm cozy bed. And this month it’s about lovin’ on those window dressings of ours. Yes, BLINDS & CURTAINS are the focus of this month’s deep cleaning schedule.

Not many of us love to clean our blinds, but they have to be done! And, once done, they are simple to maintain for the rest of the year with a quick drive-by vacuuming. If you can stand it, replace any broken or discolored blinds in the house right away. Or, maybe it’s time to swap out a blind or two for some lovely sheer panels? (In either case, one less set to clean!.. for now.) I’ve read some advice on bathing them in the tub, but to me it just creates a bigger mess in another area of your home – No way. I’ll tell you what I do.. Put on a sock! Yep, I use an old tube sock over my hand and start cleaning each slat, one by one – all the way down, top and bottom. I use a mild solution of warm water and dish soap on my white wood blinds, but you can use whatever is recommended by the manufacturer, or an expert, according to the material your blinds are made of. It’s monotonous, but once done, it’s done (until next February) and you’ll love your fresh, clean blinds.

Curtains need some love too! Take them down, wash them and put them right back up. A lot of the ready-made curtains you buy at stores like Target and BB&B are washable – just read the labels! Others, such as custom made drapery or delicate fabrics, may have to be sent to the cleaners. You’ll want to check with the seamstress or the cleaners for the best course of action. In any case, you can certainly get away with a thorough vacuuming, on both side, with the hand tools to your machine. If you feel the need to spot clean, I would still check with an expert if you’re unsure. Once clean, you’ll love the way they smell!

You have all month, so let’s get busy! Next month, we’ll be looking up at those ceiling fans and light fixtures!

♥︎ XOXO ♥︎

“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!

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.”

Pre-packing is the First Step

Selling your home is a major event in most of our lives. If only it was as easy as pricing and advertising your home! No way, unfortunately, is it a matter of just a few steps. However, with some organization and being able to prioritize what needs to be done, the task seem more manageable.

Pre-packing can help you clear a room down to the essentials you need to survive the sales cycle. As more of the room is exposed, you are able to see needed repairs such as scratched hardwoods, nicked baseboards or poor patchwork on the walls. Turn on all of the lights and take a look around. What do you see that is good and what is bad? Now you have a starting point.

Pre-packing can mean packing up what is not immediately needed and moving it to your new home. Or, it can mean packing up to donate to your favorite charity. Here are some things to consider for pre-packing…

  • framed family photos
  • decorative vases – handmade and not
  • book after book after book..
  • collections you may have of just about anything
  • extra blankets and pillows that don’t have a place on your current beds
  • out of season clothes in every closet of your home
  • 2 out of the 3 brooms you have stashed in your laundry room
  • half-emptied shampoo bottles thrown in bathroom drawers
  • the list could go on forever…

For some, the thought of packing away family photos and nick-nacks can be an emotional time. Because your house is on the market means that the memories are moving with you. The goal of staging your home is to create the vision for the next owner. By removing personal items, the potential buyer is more likely to see their family living in your home rather than the uncomfortable feeling of walking through a home where the family memories are staring back.