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 – One Month at a Time

It's January card with colorful background

Let’s start this year off on the right foot. As you leave all of those well-intended resolutions to the birds, I hope that you stay committed to making 2015 the cleanest-year-ever! To help you along, I am committed to sharing with you my monthly deep cleaning schedule ~ yep, one month at a time. Let’s start with January.

CLOSETS Your closets are the first to get an overhaul in this new year. It seems like a daunting task, but I am willing to bet that you have one to two closets that are really keeping you from doing them all. The good news is (if you have kids) that you have help!

Get the youngin’s to concentrate on their own closets. Yes, you’ll probably have to supervise, but break it down for them to knock it out themselves. I started with emptying the shelves in their closets and then having them decide what goes back. It left me with a large yard bag full of donations for Goodwill – toys they’ve outgrown, toys they’ve never opened (with no desire to), books and miscellaneous stuff! However, the bigger bag was filled with broken toys, half used construction paper, and trash of every sort. (It’s amazing what collects in those tiny little closets!)

With less on the floor and shelves, it’s easier to see the hanging items in their closets. Go through and see what doesn’t fit or will never be worn. I purchased a small tote to put outgrown clothes from my older child that didn’t quite fit my younger child yet. That tote is on the top shelf for whenever I’m looking for something that might fit. The rest goes to Goodwill or a friend in need… But make sure they are coming to get it soon!

Next is your closet. If you’re anything like me, it was long overdue! Great news (if you have a spouse or SO).. you have help! get rid of the clothes that don’t fit and are just plain out of style. Consolidate your shoes and purses/bags in to some totes. (Totes are your best friend when it comes to organizing!) My totes are sitting on top of each other on my closet floor for easy access. My husband even has his own tote (but don’t ask me what’s in there). The main thing is that everything that makes it back into your closet has a purpose within the next 11 months.

One suggestion I heard for making this easy next January is, as you organize your hanging items, place the hanger backwards on the rod. When you wear something, hang it back up with the hanger the right way. Next January, get rid of all of the hanging items that did not get turned around during the year. Brilliant!

Lastly, don’t forget the linen closets and any other hall closets. Go through your coat closet the same way as your other clothes. Get rid of all those that don’t fit or you’re likely to wear again. Same with linens.. We recently “upgraded” the kid’s beds from twins to a full and a queen. You won’t see a twin sheet set going back in my closet this year!

Next month we’ll tackle all things windows!

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.