Tips For Your Home

Top 5 Ways to Avoid a Messy House

Houses seem to get messy all on their own. You can do a deep cleaning one day, and then a week later, you'd never be able to tell. This endless cycle is the frustration of many homeowners and renters, and the problem seems to compile when children are thrown in the mix.

Rest assured that there are a few simple things you can do that will help you stave off that overwhelming feeling that the mess has taken over. Just a few minutes every day, or every few days, can save you hours of cleaning down the road. By targeting the things that contribute to clutter most, you can stop them in their tracks.

Keep a Clean, Clear Sink

Sinks are natural deposit spots. It's so easy to set dirty dishes in it, and let them pile up to overflow onto the counter beside it. When this happens, you have less room to use the kitchen and an increased chance of bacteria and mold growth on food residue. Even worse, a full sink makes it tough to start chipping away at the dish pile.

An empty, clean looking sink will inspire you to keep the entire kitchen that way, and make it easier to do so. Do dishes as you use them, and suggest that other members of the household do the same.

Stay Ahead of Laundry

No one likes to run another load or match up pairs of socks. However, the sad truth is that laundry does not go away, and the longer you avoid it, the more of a homekeeping monstrosity it becomes. Stay a step ahead by not letting piles of clean (or dirty!) clothes build up.

Wait until you have a full load in order to use water most efficiently, and then wash that load. Make sure that you're not washing things together that will leave color on each other, but don't get overly concerned about old light and dark t-shirts that have been washed hundreds of times already....

Top 5 Tips for Organizing Problem Items in Your Walk-in Closet

Pictures of walk-in closets with fancy organizer shelves, different heights of hanging clothes bars and fancy boxed drawers are plastered all over housekeeping magazines. Organizing clothes is usually not most people's biggest problem -- it's what to do with certain specific items, such as scarves, belts, ties, purses and handbags, and SHOES! Shoes always seem to remain a mess on the bottom of the closet. But a little creativity can take care of these problem items.

Five simple inexpensive tips for dealing with these items:

1. Shoes: An old wooden bookcase works perfectly for housing your shoes. If you don't have one, you can pick up a brand new one for under $20 at Walmart. Depending on your space, you can use a tall bookcase or a short bookcase. Most wooden bookshelves allow you to adjust the shelves by placing small dowels in holes on which the shelf sits. This is great because you can size your shelf height according to the type of shoes. Boots will require a tall shelf, while sandals will need a narrow shelf. In addition, if you slant the back of the shelf lower than the front (by placing the dowel one hole lower), the shoes will not fall out. If motivated, you can paint the bookcase or decorate it to match your decor.

If your closet is too small for a bookcase, and you have some extra wall space in your bedroom, you can use the top of the bookcase for nicknacks, and because your shoes stack neatly, it will not add clutter to your room. It will be easy to find the shoes you want, easy to put your shoes away, and if you need room for more shoes, just add another bookcase.

2. Scarves: If you have space on your hanging clothes rod, tie your scarves loosely on the rod side by side. They will be easy to get to and easy to select. Color-coordinating them should also be...

Top 5 Ways to Organize Your Laundry Room

The laundry room -- always a mess: full of dirty laundry, an ironing board in the way, soaps, baskets and other necessities taking up valuable space. Worst of all, You've tried to get the room organized but nothing you do seems to help.

Of all the working areas a home contains, the laundry area pulls the most weight and it shows in the room's ever-present clutter and plethora of unmatched socks waiting for their mates. Getting the room organized feels like a task without end, but just a few organization tips can help this small but indispensable room function the way homeowners have always wanted. Here are our top five ways of organizing your laundry room.

1. Put Your Available Space to Work: The most important organizational task is making the most of your laundry room's space. Whether you have only a tiny laundry nook or an entire basement, utilizing every inch of the room is the first step to total organization. For small nooks that only contain a washer and a dryer, consider erecting shelves above the appliances for detergents, softeners and other laundry necessities. Another way to ramp up a small laundry nook's functionality is by installing fold-out arms on the wall beside your dryer. You can hang dress shirts, sweaters and dresses as you remove them from the dryer and you can fold the arms away when they're not in use. Those who have the luxury of a full basement or a large room dedicated solely to laundry, build or purchase cabinets in which to store laundry supplies and use the top as a folding station. It's impossible to have too much cabinet space in a laundry room.  

2. Install Some Risers: Risers placed strategically under appliances are phenomenal. For today's popular front-loading appliances, height is not an issue so feel free to raise that washer and...

Top 5 Ways to Beautify Your Home Garden

The warm weather of spring and summer conjures visions of relaxing in a garden environment, but many people don't know how to turn their available outdoor space into a garden retreat. Contrary to popular belief, it's easy to create a beautiful and inviting garden regardless of how much space you have at your disposal. Single family homes, apartments with decks or even a dedicated corner in an indoor setting can be used as a garden without a great deal of investment or manual labor. Armed with innovation and artistic thinking, you can turn your ordinary yard into a garden gorgeous enough to grace the cover of a home decor magazine. Follow these handy tips as a blueprint or use them to fire up your dormant creativity.

1. Make the Most of What You Have: This tip is especially useful for people with certain obstacles to overcome including space limitations (apartments, etc.), uncultivated yards and small budgets. First, take a good, long look at your available space and try to see the area with a fresh perspective. With this approach, you can turn unsightly tree stumps into decorative flower planters, hilly landscapes into nasturtium beds and small apartment decks into a taste of the outdoors. Use colorful blooms and patterned planters to add depth and texture to your existing space.

2. Layer Up with Ordinary or "Found" Items: In addition to planting flower beds and vegetable patches, place ordinary objects around the area to give your garden a comfortable, lived-in feeling. Raid your home for old teapots, ceramic containers, baskets or any other items that will safely hold your plant life. If you have the space, consider using old wheelbarrows, carts and even old tires as planters. A little imagination can go along way toward jazzing up a simple garden.   

3. Add Creative...

Top 5 Features that Make a Property a Good Candidate for Upgrades

property upgradesWhen you buy a new property, you need to look at it as an investment as well as a home for your family. From the perspective of a home, it should give you things that you want and need right now -- enough bedrooms for your children, for example, or a home office if you need it. However, as an investment, it should also provide some things that you can benefit from in the future. You need to know how to spot a property that is ripe for upgrades. These upgrades could quickly and dramatically increase the value of the properly, making your investment a wise decision.

1. An Unfinished Basement

Getting a finished basement can be nice because it gives you all of that extra space, but a home with an unfinished one will come with a much smaller price tag. This basement is an open canvas for you as a homeowner. It gives you room for a rental space if you want it, or you can simply expand your home. Imagine the difference in value if you take a home with only three bedrooms and one and a half bathrooms and turn it into a renovated house that offers five bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms. You could sell it for far more than you paid with all of that extra floorspace, and you would also make the home attractive to new buyers who would not have been interested before.

2. Older Kitchens

A new kitchen may draw you in, but you have to remember that the kitchen -- along with the bathrooms – is where the most dramatic updates are made in every home. Things begin to look outdated very quickly. At the same time, people want modern kitchens with amenities like built-in ice makers and faucets that pull off to become spray hoses. These are simple upgrades, but they make the home both worth more and far more attractive since buyers will not feel like they have to do all of the work.