Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Getting Organized - Without Spending a Fortune

Most everyone feels they could be more organized. Whether it’s your closet, filing cabinet, garage, pantry or overall living spaces – organization can help provide clarity and peace of mind.
Your local dollar store can be a great place to go when you’re trying to get organized. Here are a few things you can pick up to help clean up the clutter.
-        Use file sorters for more than just files! You can organize old magazines, children’s books or even washcloths and hand towels in your linen closet.
-        Pick up a small muffin in to organize small objects in your office (paper clips, push pins, alligator clips etc) or in the bathroom to hold hair bows and ties.
-        Use plastic totes and bins to organize your sets of sheets and keep them all in one place
-        Pick up some removable wall hooks to use on your kitchen cabinets. They can hold measuring cups and spoons!
-        Organize your kitchen drawers with small plastic tubs perfect for holding tea, coffee or lemonade packets including assorted sugars and creamers.
-        Keep all of your cleaning supplies in a portable tote with separate compartments for each container.
-        Use bins in the refrigerator or freezer to group like items together and create more space!
What are some of your favorite organization tips on a budget?

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

No Oven Meal Ideas

In the dog days of summer it’s hard to do much besides keep cool. So the idea of turning on an oven for dinner may not sound all that appealing.  Good news! You can still have a great dinner without heating up the kitchen!  Here are a few ideas you can take and make your own.  They are simple too so you can enjoy these last days of summer doing what you really want!

Crockpot BBQ
The crockpot is a fantastic tool any time of year but especially on hot summer days. Simply put in your favorite cut of pork and slather in a bottle of BBQ. Close the lid and cook on low for at least 8 hours for fork tender goodness.  Shred and serve with some extra sauce and cole slaw for a delicious summer meal.

Chicken Salad
Make use of the ever popular rotisserie chicken to add some protein to your salad and elevate it to dinner status.  Include some hearty salad mix-ins for a healthy and filling meal.  We suggest chick peas, cheese, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, carrots, and purple onion.

Ham and Cheese Wraps
Lay out a flour tortilla and layer some deli ham and cheese. Wrap up and slice into circles secured with a toothpick. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and a tomato cucumber side salad.

What do you like to cook on hot summer days?

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Defining Open Floor Plans

Open floor plans which have risen in popularity over the years come with pros and cons.  The ability to all be in the same space whether cooking or watching T.V. makes entertaining and family life a little easier. But having all that open space can be a little intimidating to decorate and style.  Here are a few ways to break up the space into defined areas – whether dining, play or more formal.

-        Use bookshelves. Creating a half wall with a bookshelf is a great way to define a room without blocking it off.

-        Use paint.  Make spaces different colors to show that the space has a different use.  Darker colors can make a space feel more formal.

-        Install columns to create separate spaces with a little more architectural flair.

-        Arrange furniture into cozy spaces around focal points like fireplaces or bay windows.

Open floor plans offer a lot of flexibility if you have the vision to make it work for you and your family lifestyle.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Decluttering Habits for Real Life

Decluttering is all the rage today. Partially owing to the popularity of Marie Kondo and her organizational methods.  And while organizing can be helpful in so many ways, we rarely have time to devote a whole week to it!  Here are a few tips that can help you declutter and organize while living life!
1.      Never leave a room empty handed.  When going from one room to another pick up something that doesn’t belong and take it to where it does.
2.     Look at one area at a time. Don’t get discouraged by looking at your whole house but instead pick one small corner or piece of furniture at a time.
3.     Make a room by room list.  Get a journal just for decluttering and organizing. Walk through each room and write down everything you want to change or clean about that room.  Use this list to check off one or two items a day.
4.     Don’t bring anything in without taking something out.  If you buy something new for the home, remove something that you longer want.
5.     Have boxes in the garage labeled Trash, Donate or Store.  Fill up the boxes, empty and move on!
How do you declutter your home?  What difference has it made for you?

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Preparing Your Home for Vacation Season

It’s vacation season and while you may have thought of everything – sunscreen, road trip games and plenty of snacks, did you think about what you left behind? Your home and yard? They will need some TLC before you leave to make sure all is well when you return.
Here are a few things to do before you leave town.
-        Unplug everything – all electronics and appliances. This will protect against power surges and keep them from using unnecessary power
-        Stop your mail service to keep mail from piling up. This can be down online weeks ahead of time.  Do the same for newspapers if you get them.
-        Pay bills online or in advance if any will be due while you are away.
-        If you have pets make arrangements at a kennel or with a trusted friend who will check in and care for the pet.
-        Clean out the refrigerator of any expired food or leftovers
Day Before or Day Of
-        Close all blinds and curtains
-        Set thermostat to upper 70’s
-        Water all house plants
-        Turn out all lights and turn off ceiling fans
Follow this list and you’ll enjoy a little more peace of mind on your vacation.  Bon Voyage!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Should you buy new? We think so.

You hear these comments all the time:
“It’s a buyers market.” “A sellers market.” “Buy new.” “Buy used.” “Don’t buy now.” “Now’s the time!”
How do you make sense of it all?
Buying a new home is a big decision. One that should come with a lot of research, thought and planning. 
And believe it or not it should be fun!
You’re buying a new home! A new place for your family to grow in. For memories to be made and for life to be lived.  Enjoy the process!
Educate yourself and then look for the best possible option for your family.
Begin with your budget and overall financial picture.  Think about what your family needs and what your family wants.
Should you buy new?  We think so.
Here are just a few reasons why buying a new home may be the right option for you.
-        Your home your way.  You don’t have to paint over the previous owners neon bedroom colors or pull up their checkered bathroom tile.
-        No need to spend the weekends covering up nail holes from where pictures used to hang or scrubbing the bathtub trying to get it the original white again.
-        A new home is more energy efficient with the latest appliances, heating and air systems and insulation. Save yourself time and money.
-        Enjoy the latest in home design, layout and style.  Open floorplans, neutral colors and plenty of closet space! Today’s homes have been designed for today’s lifestyle.
These are just a handful of reasons to buy a new home over used.  What is your family looking for?

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Inexpensive Ways to Improve Your Home’s Environmental Footprint

These days we are much more aware of the impacts our lives can have on the environment now and for future generations.  Owning a home is no different.  There are small, inexpensive changes you can make to improve your home’s environmental impact and live healthier at the same time.  Read on to learn more.
1.     Reduce waste.  Bring your own bags to the grocery store instead of collecting hundreds of plastic ones.  Buy reusable water bottles and go paperless when possible.
2.     Unplug appliances when they are not in use. Turn off lights when not in the room.
3.     Replace your shower head with a water saving option.
4.     As your traditional light bulbs need to be replaced, change them with CFLs or LEDs
5.     Use non-toxic cleaning products and sprays.
6.     Grown your own vegetables and herbs. Start a compost pile.
7.     Install a smart thermostat to save on energy use and cost.
8.     Decorate with air purifying house plants. Examples include: English Ivy, Chrysanthemums and Aloe Vera.
9.     Start recycling with help from your local waste disposal service.
10.  Help your home run more efficiently by replacing your air filters and keeping your appliances clean and running properly. Vacuum the coils of your refrigerator.
What do you do to keep your home running efficiently and environmentally friendly?