Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Getting Your House Ready To Sell

First Step….”Clear the Clutter”!!! We have been looking for a house for over a year and a half and in this time I cant tell you how many homes I have looked at on the internet and in person that have so much “stuff” that you can barley tell if they have wood floors or carpet. I can look past the “stuff” but most people can not see past the clutter and turn around and leave. You want people to look at your house as though they could see themselves living in your home. Speaking of which, it is no longer your home…it is a piece of property you are selling. Now is the time to stop thinking of it as a home and stop treating it like home…you are trying to sell it in a timely manner. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you will sell it!

On our search to find a home in any school district with a pool at a reasonable price (hint, hint if you are getting ready to sell one, email me!). We love our house, love everything about it but to put a pool in our fairly big backyard would be too expensive because we have a slight hill so that is why we are on our home search. Whether you are looking to down size, up grade or just change your back yard, selling your home can be over whelming.

I have been in homes with a litter box in the pantry, trash cans filled with so much garbage it was falling out, dirty clothes on the floor, one of my favorite is a plug in air freshener in every room and closet…just wondering what smell were trying to cover up!?!?!?! I am so glad that we don’t have to move by a certain time and I can look at my own leisure or I would be in a huge amount of trouble! Most people only have a few weeks so you have to make a huge impression on them as they enter your house.

If you want to make the most out of selling your house, here are some simple steps I would suggest before you put it on the market. If you have time or energy for a garage sale before you put it on the market now would be a great time to gather all your things for the sale. Take one room at a time and go through every drawer, shelf and with in the perimeter of the room to remove garbage, put things you would sell or donate in a large trash bag or box, move from room to room. Ask yourself, “do I want this in my new house, do I even want to pack it!?!?!” Don’t make the garage sale a big deal, just sell it to get rid of it!! Don’t price the little stuff just make tables of “everything on this table $1 or 6 for $5” and so on…only price big ticket items. The purpose is to get rid of the stuff not to make a million dollars.

After you have cleared out all your rooms of wanted stuff, now take a good look at each room and ask yourself, do I have too much furniture in here, too many family pictures, are my cabinets stuffed? If you have an attic, or family member who has an attic or if you can afford a storage unit for a short time, store some of your extra furniture somewhere else while you are selling your house.

Take a quick look at closets, cabinets, pantry and your laundry room. Take a moment to spruce up your cabinets, straighten them up, label a few things. If you have a small pantry try to eat your pantry down so that it doesn’t look like it is over stuffed and too small. In your laundry room, make sure you counters are cleared, dirty laundry is in the washer or dryer for hiding purposes. One more thing, check is to make sure your lights are all working and are bright, nothing worse than opening the master closet to a small dingy closet, but if it is small and organized with a bright light…well you get the picture. They say don’t judge a book by its cover but in this case people are judging your house and remembering it…do you want them to say to their husband or wife “remember the stinky house, the litter box house, or the house that was so clean and bright”?!?!?!?

By the way after you have gone through your house from top to bottom (of course I am assuming you have already fixed obvious mechanical things) now give it a good thorough cleaning and I mean a good cleaning. Wash doors, door jams, dust (should be a lot easier with less stuff!), vacuum, clean windows (or hire someone to clean them, like me).

I don’t know if your house will sell quickly but I can guarantee you it will sell faster than if you had just thrown a sign up in the front yard! Next week I will help you pack up your house so that when you move in…it will be a breeze!!!

By Michelle Lehman with Organizing Solutions “Clear the Clutter

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Organizing the Garage

Are you one of those people that can not fit a car in the garage? Do you close the garage door so quickly hoping that no one sees all the “stuff” in the garage? If you answered yes to any of these questions or if you just need to get your garage organized this blog may interest you. I think it is time to “Clear the Clutter”!

I realize if you can’t find a home for some of your “stuff” it is going to end up in the garage. And if you are like me, I don’t have attic space in my home to hide some of that stuff. So let’s see if we can’t organize the things you have in your garage so you can at least get one car in the garage and maybe even have a little space left to walk around.

Take everything out of your garage and move it out on the front lawn. (make sure rain is not in the forecast) By removing everything you are organizing your garage it will allow you to take really good look at the space. You will be shocked how much bigger it looks.

Take out the trash, recycling and donations Decide what items are no longer useful, damaged, or missing pieces, etc. and fill up garbage bags. Recycle all the things you can like newspapers, magazines, glass, aluminum, or paint need to be recycled or disposed of properly. If you take off the lid of a paint can and let it dry out completely you can throw it in the trash. Look around for a few items that are in good shape but you just don’t use anymore.

Clean your garage from top to bottom. Wash the walls, scrub the floors, and if you have windows…pull out the Windex! Sort items by categories think of your garage as would inside your home. These are categories I would start with, sports and equipment, lawn and garden, automotive supplies, tools, recycling, tote for shoes (on the go shoes I call them or outside shoes: old sneakers, flip flops, taking dog for walk shoes etc.)

Time to figure out where things go in your garage. If you have the budget and the room to buy shelves or hooks for some of your things to help organize everything, that would be great, If not, grab some totes from inside your house and some extra garbage cans and some nails. I have used totes to keep the boys basketballs, footballs, and other sport stuff in to keep it separate. Another idea is to use an old laundry bin that has three sections. You could have one for balls, one for bats and the other for accessories. I had an old entertainment center that I couldn’t give away with a “free” sign attached to it as part of my organizing solution. It hold my husband’s fishing supplies, lanterns, baseball gloves, chalk, and a bunch of other things…all while looking very attractive! LOL! Use an extra garbage can to hold rakes, shovels, and other lawn equipment. If you can hang any squirt bottle on the lip of the can that are used to kill weeds or fertilize flowers. It doesn’t have to be pretty it just has to work for you and the fact that the lawn equipment and supplies are together that is all that matters. If you like tools hanging on the wall and now is not the time to go out and buy something, use nails as a holder. Nail two nails into the wall to hold hammers, one nail to hold wrenches, two nails close to hold screwdrivers (you get the picture).

Organizing your garage gives you a great feeling of accomplishment. In most cases it’s the first thing you see when you get home and the last thing you see before you leave. Who wants that kind of memory or “hello” when you get home!?!?!?!?

Monday, March 8, 2010

It seems as though our kids have more crayons, markers, coloring books, and stickers than they can possibly use in one life time. I thought I would give you a couple of ideas as to how to keep all of their artwork “stuff” organized or at the very least accessible to them without making it a huge burden on you.

I am have been very blessed with a large laundry room. I keep a three drawer Sterilite from Wal-Mart. Here is a link as to what I am talking about but mine is not the wide one, I have the narrow one. They are about $15 at Wal-Mart.

Here is what I keep in mine:

Top Drawer: I empty all of their crayons and put them in a large Ziploc bag. I use a large bag (gallon) so that they don’t have to be careful to squeeze them all into the bag, they can just toss in and pick up quickly. If you use a smaller bag, they have to make sure they get them in a certain way, this will waste time picking up and frustrate your children. I do the same thing (large Ziploc bag for each) large markers, skinny markers, colored pencils + sharpener, pens & pencils in one + sharpener, and a bag to hold glue sticks, tape, scissors. All of the gallon Ziploc bags on in our top drawer. I have a big bowl on our kitchen table so that if they come across a dried out marker they throw it in the big bowl rather than putting it back in the bag, this way I know when they need new markers.

Middle Drawer: I fill this will a large Ziploc bag holding all of their “loosey goosey” stickers. I put all of their coloring books, sticker books, and activity books in this drawer.

Bottom Drawer: I fill this with white paper, construction paper, and notebooks.

I love the rolling cart because they can zip it out by the kitchen table, take out what they need to do their artwork. After they are finished they can put everything away really easy and roll the cart back into the laundry room.

So let’s say you not as lucky to have a big laundry room to have the cart. I have put these carts for clients in the coat closet or kitchen pantry. Still no room? Here is another idea…Use my same organizing ideas but instead of a three drawer rolling cart. Use one plastic bin to hold all of the things in the top drawer. Since space is limited I would suggest using magazine holders to hold the middle drawer and the bottom drawer. You may want two magazine holders per drawer (one for coloring books the other for stickers & activity books) one for white paper/notebooks & the other for construction paper. Here is what I mean by a magazine holder from the Container Store on sale!