How to Make the Most Out of Your Outdoor Space

The sun is shining, birds are chirping, spring has sprung and we are ready to get outside! By now we have all learned how to make the most of our home space, since it has also been the office, classroom and living area for the last year, but what about the outdoor spaces? With the coming summer months, now is the perfect time to utilize your yard space!

Here’s some tips to help make the most out of your yard!

Utilize Every Inch

There is always a spot or two in an outdoor space that seems difficult to find a function for, like side yards, for example. Instead of storing your outdoor tools or trash cans there, use that space as a plant nursery, add a little bistro set to make it a secluded dining area or add a bench and a water element to create a meditation space!

Maximize Storage

No matter what size yard you have, maximizing your storage space is always essential. Keeping clutter organized and out of sight will maximize your space and keep it looking clean! Try to find outdoor pieces that are multifunctional, like outdoor sets that also include storage, that way you never have to sacrifice functional space for storage!

Implement Greenery

One of the best ways to use some of those awkward yard spots is to plant some greenery! Plants help to not only liven up an outdoor space, but they are a beautiful and simple solution for space-filler needs.

Incorporate Things You’ll Really Use

Make space for the things you love and incorporate them in your outdoor area! If you love hosting events, prioritize adding a grill and outdoor kitchen area. For mediation and yoga lovers, create a zen space or even build a small sauna for your yard. Love to cook? Add a small greenhouse to have fresh produce and herbs for your kitchen. Making your yard space a functional part of your hobbies will help you maximize your area and ensure a lot of use!

Utilize Vertical Space

Use every inch of your outdoor area by strategically organizing the yard layout, and be sure to include your vertical space! Save yard space by building a greenwall for your plants or creating a garden with a vertical plant column. Not only will this add vibrancy and color to the landscape, but it saves room in your yard!

Don’t Overdo It

Maximizing your yard does not mean you have to fill every inch of it with furniture or garden space, sometimes less is more! Adding too much can make a space look crowded and crammed. To keep your space feeling open and airy, choose a few functional pieces like a bench or a small bistro set to keep your yard from feeling too cluttered.

Add String Lights

It is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but for good reason! Hanging string lights can make any space, big or small, feel cozier and more inviting. Not only are they a functional element,  allowing you to use your yard day or night, but they can add a bit of ambiance that will highlight and elevate your space in a simple and beautiful way.

Use these helpful tips and enjoy every bit of your outdoor space this summer!

10 Simple Swaps for a More Sustainable Home

When it comes to making purchases for your household, the best option is always the one that gives you the most bang-for-your-buck. When it comes to sustainability it is a win-win situation – you save money and the environment! The stigma that living a more sustainable life involves more sacrifice and discomfort than reward could not be more untrue. In fact, most people barely notice a difference when making the switch to more environmentally-friendly products!

In anticipation for Earth Day, here are 10 simple swaps for a more sustainable household!

Non-Plastic Wrap

Swap out your aluminum foil and plastic wrap for a reusable, non-plastic option like beeswax wrap! Reusable wraps can be used just the same as any other cling-on wrap – for preserving produce, packing a sandwich, covering leftovers and more! In between uses just wash it with gentle soap and cool water and let it air-dry.They last up to a year and when it is time to replace them, simply cut it up for composting or use it as a fire-starter!

Tea Strainer

Ditch single-use tea bags and opt for using loose leaf tea! Many tea bags are not only non-biodegradable, making them bad for the environment, but many are made with harmful toxins, making them bad for you! Using a stainless steel tea ball or a tea strainer is a healthier option not only for you and the environment, but drinking loose leaf tea also allows you to buy tea in more bulk options, saving you money and ending a lot of environmental waste!

Glass Storage

Glass storage and glass tupperware are another sustainable swap that helps you and the environment! Chemicals used to make plastic storage containers can get into your food, plus they do not last as long as glass containers. Glass storage also makes it easier to buy in bulk, helping to ditch single-use food packaging items. Pro-tip: take your glass tupperware with you when you go out to eat to bring home your leftovers!

Reusable Coffee Cups

Help stop waste on-the-go with single-use coffee cups and opt for a reusable one! Though a lot of shops are making strides to be more sustainable, a lot of coffee cups cannot be recycled due to the plastic lining in the cups or lids. Bring your cup or thermos with you when you hit up your local coffee shop, some shops may give you a small discount for bringing in your own cup!

Reusable Storage Bags

Reusable storage bags are the new trend in sustainable living! Like single-use plastic bags, you can find these in all shapes and sizes. Compared to the plastic option, these reusable bags have far more functions. Since they are typically made with silicon, some of these bags allow you to not only freeze them, but cook with them as well!

Cotton Rounds

Next to the kitchen, the bathroom provides a lot of opportunities for more sustainable products. Washable cotton rounds are a great substitute and money saver for single-use cotton rounds. These work just as well for facial cleansing and makeup removal and most of them include a small garment bag so washing and reusing are easy!

Reusable Grocery Bags

This switch is another one of the most popular habits in starting to live a greener lifestyle! Opting for reusable cotton bags over plastic bags is an easy way to help prevent waste. One of the most helpful ways to start and keep this habit is having a designated spot in your car for your bags and getting into the habit of putting your bags back in that spot once your groceries are unloaded to ensure you always have them!

Reusable Water Bottles

We are almost at the point where you could stand out if you are not using a reusable water bottle! Not only do plastic water bottles waste money, but from production to disposal, they are very harmful for the environment. Opt for a home water purifier and invest in a reusable water bottle to ditch single-use plastic water bottles!

Cloth Napkins/Rags

One of the most-used kitchen items is paper towels. Save some money and the planet and opt for cloth! Cloth napkins, rags and towels can be used with just as much convenience as paper towels and they are reusable!

Soap Bars

Avoid all the plastic waste that comes with plastic soap dispensers and opt for bar soap! Not only are there more options to support local businesses with bar soap, but most of them have more functional uses than a soap dispenser. A lot of soap bars can be used for hands, face and body!

Living a more sustainable life does not happen overnight, but with small, simple changes we can help divert a lot of waste and save money doing it!

Five Easy Tricks to Help Get Your Home Organized

As the cold starts to thaw and warm weather is just around the corner, it is almost time for spring cleaning! Since this year was one spent almost entirely in the house, there is no doubt that shelves, corners and closets have started accumulating piles of miscellaneous items, growing larger each month. Spring cleaning is a perfect way to make your home feel fresh, organized and overall more enjoyable to live in!

Here are five helpful tips for organizing your home!

Create a Homebase

Now that your house is an office, a classroom and a home, now more than ever it is important to make sure nothing gets lost in the shuffle! To make things easy, create a homebase where you keep sticky pads, a calendar and a pen, so that you never have to go searching when you need them. In order to save space, using adhesive pockets on the inside of cabinet doors is a great solution to keeping countertops clear and still having one central location to keep track of important dates and tasks.

Opt for Drawer Organizers

Get the most out of your drawer spaces by using drawer organizers! Though it may seem easier to just throw things in one large open drawer space, dividers actually help make the space more manageable and productive to use. Dividers allow you to see all of the items at once, as opposed to having to dig around for what you need, and mixing and matching different sized organizers allows you to make sure everything has a place when you need to find something.

Learn to File Fold

One of the most popular organization hacks right now is file folding! File folding is a type of fold that allows you to stack your items upright and in a line compared to piling your items on top of one another. This allows you to be able to see everything at one time without having to dig under piles for what you are looking for. You can use this method all throughout your home with your clothes, dish towels, sheets, and bath towels! If you want to take it a step further, you can use file folding to easily color code your drawers and shelves as well!

Switch to Clear Containers

Kitchen counters and pantry spaces are always subject to clutter and disorganization, clear containers are a simple and easy fix to help get things in order. Clear containers allow you to see at a glance your food storage, making it easier to grab what you need without much fuss. For your kitchen counters, using clear containers to store and neatly arrange treats can add a little style to your kitchen space as well!

Designate a Drop Zone

We all have that corner next to the front door where things like shoes, umbrellas, shopping bags, jackets and other miscellaneous items end up in a jumbled mess, creating a “drop zone” is the perfect way to help keep it controlled! Once you designate a spot that works best for your “drop zone” make the most of the space by incorporating a storage bin, shoe rack or shelves to keep your space organized when you are on the move!

Take advantage of your spring cleaning to get organized and get the most out of your home!

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home!

We are almost there, 2021 is right around the corner! With this roller coaster of a year winding down to a close, it is no surprise that a lot of people are taking the time now to reflect and prepare their resolutions for the new year. If this year has taught us anything, it is that the comfort and up-keep of our homes is essential. This year, since we are home for the holidays, let’s show our houses a little love!

Here are a few New Year’s resolutions for your home!

Out with the Old

Decluttering is one of the best ways to start off the new year (especially after all the 2020 online shopping sprees)! Designate a space to put donations and take some time to go through each room and pull the items you no longer have a need or use for. In order to make things as seamless as possible, after you have gotten rid of your items, start organizing your space before buying tubs or baskets, that way you know exactly what you will need in order to complete your space.

Keeping in Shape

One area of our homes that needs a lot of love and attention are the systems and appliances. Keep up maintenance with your home systems this winter to ensure things are running smoothly and are not lacking in upkeep. Cleaning and repairing appliances are a huge payoff in the long-run, so make sure you keep your home running as smooth as possible by doing things such as maintaining your garage door, upkeeping your furnace and protecting your air conditioner through the winter.

Green Goals

A lot of people make it their personal resolutions to work towards living a more sustainable lifestyle, make your home a part of that goal with you! Not only will it help lessen your bills, but it will reduce your carbon footprint as well!

Some easy ways to start are:

  • make sure you turn off the lights when you leave a room
  • turn off your air conditioner/heat when you aren’t home
  • install LED lights
  • wait for your dishwasher and washing machine to be full before running them
  • switch to a low-flow showerhead
  • start composting!

The list goes on for ways to make your home more green, but this is a great way to start!

Clean Habits

Keeping your home clean can be a challenge, especially this year when our homes became schools and offices! To make cleaning easier to upkeep, create a weekly and daily cleaning schedule. Daily cleaning routines could include things like making sure all dirty laundry makes it into the hamper each night and all dirty dishes are put away in the dishwasher. For the weekly cleaning habits, designate a time that usually is free every week to tackle the big stuff. To streamline your cleaning, try to stick to one task at a time instead of working through each room individually. This will help things get done so much faster and will help keep your home looking spotless!

These home resolutions will help keep your home running smoothly into the new year and will make a huge difference in the long-run!

Happy Holidays and have a wonderful New Year!

How to Make the Most of Being Home for the Holidays

It’s no secret that the holidays are going to look a little different this year. This season, showing our love to those we care about the most looks like staying home and staying safe. As we joyfully anticipate the day we can be reunited again, we can take this holiday, in spite of all the year’s challenges, to reflect with gratitude for all that we do have to be thankful for.

Here’s some tips on how to make this holiday at home just as sweet!

Cyber Celebration

One of the most popular ways people are planning on celebrating the holidays this year is through virtual gatherings. Set up your device at the table and share your meal with the ones you love in the safest way! To make it feel even more connected, try using matching table settings or centerpieces, or have a shared recipe that everyone agrees to make together!

Doorstep Drop-Off

Since potlucks are out, try a new way to share treats this year! Create some holiday care packages to drop-off as a way to make everyone feel connected. Include things like table decor, cards to write what you’re thankful for to share at your virtual dinner, and homemade treats!

Relational Recipes

Take time to pass along or share family recipes! This could be a great year to involve kids and help them make some of the holiday recipes, teaching them through an activity and still connecting them with family. With a virtual family dinner, pick one recipe that everyone can make and share together over the meal!

Twists on Tradition

With the changes in place this year, holiday traditions may not look quite the same as they usually do. Make the most of your day and mix things up a little! Keep some traditions like watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or tossing around the football, but make some new traditions too, like having a movie marathon or a board game tournament!

Thankful at the Table

This year more than ever, take some time during the holiday to share what you are grateful for. Emotions have been high this year and taking some time to focus on the positive, to share thankfulness and gratitude with loved ones is a very intentional way to connect even when we’re apart.

Everything is going to look a little different this year, but these tips will hopefully help bring your holidays a little closer together!

How to Add Value to Your Home: A Fall Checklist

As the leaves begin to transform our neighborhoods into a beautiful palette of oranges, golds and reds and the cold weather leads to the packing away of summer clothes and the arrival of the highly anticipated “sweater weather,” our homes need to prepare for the coming winter months as well.

There are some small and simple ways to turn that fall checklist into an investment by tacking on a few more to-do’s that can add value to your home!

Gutter Clutter

With the falling leaves, it is easy for gutters to get filled up and clogged, which can end up causing rust and corrosion, not to mention potential exterior water damage. Do yourself and your home a favor and add mesh guards to your newly cleaned gutters to prevent future debris from piling up!

Roof Repair

Before the cold rain and snow hits, one major way to increase your home’s value and prepare for the winter is to keep up your roof maintenance. Take some time and do a thorough roof inspection, checking for any damage or possible leak locations. If you are looking to put your house on the market in the coming year, investing in a new roof appeals to potential buyers because it eliminates their need to budget for roof repairs.

Furnace Focus

The last thing your family needs to worry about in the dead of winter is issues with your indoor-heating system. Not only will inspecting and updating your furnace give you peace-of-mind when the temperatures hit freezing, but upgrades add value to your home by giving the low-maintenance appeal when it is time to sell.

Winter Windows

Window maintenance is essential when it comes to the internal temperatures of your home. Without proper care, your windows can make your home feel like a greenhouse in the summer and an icebox in the winter. Make some time to check your windows for air leaks and seal up any cracks between door and window frames, between trim and siding and wherever pipes or wires enter your home. This helps prevent moisture from getting in your house and it is a very inexpensive way to prevent major interior damage. Investing in new windows has also proven to be a major selling point in adding to your home’s value.

Clutter-Free Curbs

Before your sidewalks, walkways and driveway get buried in snow and rain, take time to clear any clutter and potential hazards from becoming hidden in the winter months. Raking, mowing and cleaning up outdoor areas not only prevents accidents, but also adds curb-appeal to potential buyers.

Though most items on the fall home maintenance checklist are simple and inexpensive, taking time to put a little extra energy and money into the areas that matter will make a huge difference when it comes time to put your house on the market!

Creative Ways to Keep Your Home Cool This Summer (Without AC)!

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As we approach the dog days of summer, we are all looking for ways to keep our homes comfortable. Without air conditioning, it is a task that can prove to be a little challenging, but the good news is that there are some simple solutions to help (aside from adding a fan to every room of the house)!

Here are some of the simple and creative ways we are keeping our homes cool this summer:

Utilize Your Doors

Closing the doors of unused rooms can help control keeping the cool air in the areas of your home that are being used during the day. At night, take advantage of lower temperatures and open the doors to let the air flow through all the rooms of your home.

Close Your Blinds

Though it does not seem like much, keeping your blinds closed during the hottest parts of the day can keep a significant amount of unwanted heat from coming in through the windows. By keeping your blinds open, windows begin to have a greenhouse effect on your living space, by allowing heat to enter and then essentially trapping it inside. Another great alternative is using blackout curtains. Blackout curtains have the opposite effect of acting as a greenhouse, they keep heat out and act as a natural insulator, trapping the cool in.

Switch Up Your Sheets

It is always a good idea to rotate your sheets in the changing seasons to not only maximize a good night’s sleep, but to also make sure your body maintains a comfortable temperature during the night as well. Though materials like fleece and flannel are coziest in the cooler months, cotton is the best fabric for the summer since it breathes more easily and stays cool.

Use the Old “Fan A/C” Trick

This life-hack has been around for decades and still works just as well to stay cool on the hottest days. Take a large mixing bowl and fill it with ice (or ice packs) and place it in front of a large, rotating fan. Instead of blowing and mixing around the warm air, this allows the fan to circulate chilled, misty air around the room!

Reverse Your Ceiling Fan Rotation

Most people do not know that ceiling fans should be adjusted every season. By setting your fan to run at a high-speed counter-clockwise, the airflow from your fan creates an extra-chilled breeze that will quickly cool off any room.

Switch On Your Bathroom Fans

Bathroom fans are designed to lift all of the hot, steamy air from showers and pull them up and out of the house. Kitchen fans are designed to do the same things for our stoves when we cook. Utilizing these fans during the hottest parts of the day can help eliminate some of that extra heat trapped in these areas.

Cook Outdoors

Though it may not seem like it, simply turning on and using the stovetop or oven can add an exceptional amount of heat to your home. Instead of cooking indoors, take advantage of the nice weather and switch over your meals to cook on a grill or prepare some meal ideas that do not require heated cooking at all.

Take Advantage of the Night Air 

As soon as the temperatures start to drop for the evening, crack your windows and strategically set up your fans to allow cross-breezes to let in all of the cool night air. Then, in the morning, make sure to close your windows and blinds to trap that cold air in from the night before and keep the heat of the day out.

With so many more of us staying at home this summer, take advantage of all the creative ways to keep your living space the most comfortable and enjoyable!

Ways to Keep Your Home Cool This Summer Without AC

6 Steps to Starting A Home Garden

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We all have that list of things we have always wanted to do when we just “find some time.” One thing that this year has given us is just that, and a lot of it. During this season of staying home, many people are picking up new hobbies and taking this time to learn some new skills. Along with learning how to bake banana bread, starting a home garden has been one of the top pastimes people have begun to take on. 

With the unpredictability of store inventory over the last few months, the weather getting nicer and the monotony of staying inside all day growing with each passing day, the idea of growing produce in the backyard took off overnight.

Here are six easy steps to starting your own backyard garden:

1. Figure out the best location and layout for your garden

Location and layout play a big part in building a garden space that will provide the greatest opportunity for your plants to thrive. Take a moment to ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Do I have enough space to plant my garden in the ground or will my plants grow better in pots and planters?
  • How big does my garden space or pots/planters need to be to best accommodate the produce I am planting?
  • Are the plants I am growing going to need more sunlight or shade?
  • What type of soil do my plants require?

2. Prepare your soil

In addition to the right amount of sunlight and water, plants (especially produce) require the right type of soil environment to be successful. Take some time to find out what kind of soil your produce needs to succeed. Also consider:

  • What tools do you need?
  • What kind of fertilizer does your soil need?
  • Are you going to do countertop composting for your garden? If yes, what effect will that have on your garden?

3. Invest in starter plants

As more people begin their at-home gardening journeys, seeds are starting to become harder to come by in stores. The best tip nowadays, unless you are an experienced gardener, is to invest in starter plants! Especially with herbs, starter plants make it easy to get your garden started and growing fast. 

4. Set up a schedule

Once your garden is in the ground and ready to grow, set up a schedule for watering. Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining a successful garden. Be sure to match and measure your watering schedule around the weather in order to know whether you will need to water more or less than usual.

5. Maintain pest control

Along with watering, maintaining pests that love to snack on your newly planted produce is also a regular action needed to make sure your plants are thriving. Helpful tip: plant some marigolds! In addition to the pop of color and beauty they will give your garden, marigolds act as a natural pest control, attracting insects like ladybugs that prey on harmful garden pests. 

6. Harvest your produce

When your plants begin to produce, make sure you keep harvesting often. Harvesting at the right time allows your produce to begin preparation to start new growths. This will keep your garden happy, healthy and thriving!

Good luck and happy gardening!

How to Start a Home Garden

10 Moving Tips for an Easy Move

Couple In Room With Cardboard Boxes On Moving Day

Moving can be overwhelming and stressful, but it does not have to be. These moving tips are a sure way to make sure the entire process is easy, organized and less stress from start to finish. Let this process be one to enjoy, not dread.

1. Purge before packing. Packing and moving unnecessary items can make packing, and even unpacking, a bigger job than it needs to be. Here are some great items to purge:

    • Books
    • Cookbooks
    • Movies
    • Toys
    • Expired food
    • Toiletries and cosmetics
    • Craft supplies
    • Linens

2. Do little bits at a time. Packing is tiring, so you will want to break it up. Do not wait until the last minute, it will just add stress that you don’t need.

3. Make a packing list. This is a great way to organize your packing process. Start with rooms or areas that you will not need before you move such as books, items on shelves, etc. Really plan it out and set a timeline to each room. You will be sure to finish in time for moving day.

4. Use storage bags of various sizes. You can use these bags for multiple items that would otherwise be separate and loose in a box. Cords, screws/nails, silverware, pens/pencils, and bedside table drawers are just a few ideas to throw into a bag.

5. Tape bags of screws, nails, etc. to the item they belong to, so they stay together. Label the bag with what it goes to just in case it gets torn off or separated in the move.

6. Use towels, blankets, and pillows as padding for breakables. Do not pack them all together, instead, use them around items for additional protection.

7. Label cords and remotes with tape and a sharpie and put them all in the same bag or bin.

8. Along with what is in the box, label your boxes with the room they belong to so unloading is easier. When your friends or moving company unload the boxes, they can drop them in the room it belongs in.

9. If you can, hire a moving company to do the actual move. The moving company will come with all the tools to do the heavy lifting. They are usually more efficient, cutting the move time down tremendously. You can just sit back and supervise.

10. Have a moving party. If you cannot hire a moving company, ask for help and provide snacks, drinks and goodies for those who help. Your friends and family members will appreciate the thought.

I hope you found these tips helpful. May your next move be a little bit easier.

Moving Tips

 

7 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value

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We all seem to be finding ourselves having a little more time than normal with the stay home and stay safe order. Now is the perfect time to spend some of your free time doing various projects to boost the value of your home. Whether you are thinking about selling in the near future, refinancing or just want to make sure you take good care of your home, these suggestions are a great way to help your home stay healthy and up to date!

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Improve Your Curb Appeal

The weather here in the PNW has been perfect to start, or finish, those outside projects of yours. Taking the time to carefully landscape your yard can really help boost the value of your home. Clear out weeds, trim back bushes, edge the grass and throw on some new bark. While you are at it, add a few pots of color to your porch! And don’t forget about your backyard. A little bit of clean up and landscaping can do wonders!

Repaint Your Front Door

This simple update will add a fresh look to your home. White, red, blue or black are the perfect colors for any color of your home. A newly painted door can change the entire look of a home and help maintain the quality of the door itself.

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Fresh Coat of Paint

This is one of the easiest ways to increase your home’s value! A fresh coat of paint can really make your home look new and up to date whether it be all the walls or just a few rooms. If it is in the budget, a fresh coat of paint outside is a fantastic idea as well. Remember, color matters. Choose colors that are both current and go with the rest of your home and décor.

Add or Replace Hardware

Simple, right? Right. Adding or replacing hardware in your bathrooms and kitchen completely changes the space and will ensure your cabinets last longer with less wear and tear.

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Upgrade Light Fixtures

Are your light fixtures still builder grade and basic? Are they all different styles? Replacing fixtures is another simple task with a big impact. Updating to something modern and in style takes nothing more than a screwdriver and a few minutes to replace. Similar areas should match, kitchen, hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms. Congruency is key. Do your porch and patio lighting need some love? Replace those too!

Replace Floors

New flooring can seem like a daunting task. However, this is one of the best ways to increase your value. This is also an area that you want to pick quality. Spending a little more on a quality flooring will not only increase value but make sure your floors last years without needing to be replaced.

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Clean and Treat the Roof

Remove moss, replace shingles, repair damage and treat with a moss treatment. You may even need a new roof. Either way, this update has a major impact on the value and longevity of your home.

Ready to sell?  Homes are still selling. Contact me today to discuss your options!

Stay safe.

How to Boost Your Home's Value