"Get the De-Clutter Bug!"

kari-shea-254186.jpgSpring has sprung! You know what that means, right? Spring Cleaning! Can I get a hallelujah? Woo hoo! Fun times! I know, I know. After a long winter, it’s a season of renewal and with that goes refreshing our living environment. Clean the closets, give the bathroom a sparkling scrub and shine, run the vacuum, and get out the feather duster. Along with spring cleaning, now is a really good time to talk about de-cluttering your home. Drum roll, please…

10 Tips to De-Clutter Your Home:

1)      Stop bringing more stuff home. My husband and I made a pledge a few years ago to get rid of an equal amount of “stuff” we bring home. So, at least this way, we don’t creep back toward too much clutter.

2)      If you haven’t used it or worn it in a year, donate it. I will make an exception for special items: just because I haven’t broken out my grandma’s beautiful good china for over a year doesn’t mean it’s at risk for the donation pile. That’s not happening!

3)      Get rid of duplicates.  I have a ton of kitchen utensils. I love to buy them and they are small, but I have duplicates of several items. Sometimes a gal just has to have more than one spatula. But, at one point, I had six large mixing spoons that I hadn’t used in over three years. All they did was take up valuable real estate in my tiny kitchen…out they went!

4)      Organize your closets by type of clothes. This helps restore order and calm. I like to hang my dress pants together, next to the skirts; sweaters all go together, dress tops are arranged by sleeve length and color, jackets are arranged by season and color. It makes it easier to actually see what I have hanging in my overstuffed closet.

5)      Think of the underside of your bed as additional storage space! I have a couple of mirrors and large pictures in storage under the bed. Why not? It’s just unused space otherwise.

6)      Keep only the kitchen gadgets and appliances you really use.  Free up the unused ones and let them go to a good home where they will be loved and used.

7)      Go through every cupboard in your kitchen and pare it down to what you use frequently. Pull out the items that you use occasionally and set aside. Depending on how much room you have left over when you are done de-cluttering, you may have room to put some back. Otherwise, you may want to place some items in a box and store them (so you still have access to the items but you don’t have to work around them every day in your cabinets). 

8)      Everything has a home – decide what goes where and put it there. Books should be on a shelf, magazines should be organized neatly until read (then donate them). Junk mail should be sorted and thrown in the recycling bin. 

9)      Donate extra furniture you may have collected.  If you have a lot of furniture in your apartment that you have to twist and turn to maneuver around, get rid of it. If you can’t bear the thought of donating some pieces, consider storing them in a storage unit or at a friend’s home. 

10)   Get creative with storing weird shaped items, like bikes. A lot of people who live in apartments ride bicycles and don’t want to leave them outside to get rusty or stolen. Bringing them in to the apartment then becomes the logical solution, but the bike takes up a lot of scarce space. What to do? Check out this video for some super cool ideas for incorporating your bike’s storage into a cool design element within your apartment. 

Whoa! Slow Your Roll Before You Sign That Lease

I know! I know! You found that super awesome pad you want to call home! Before you get too enthusiastic, breathe and try to look at the apartment objectively. As an aside, I want to wish you good luck with that, because most real estate decisions are emotional. You will most likely be thinking with your heart rather than your brain, and that makes you normal!

Ameliorate Your Space: How to Make Your Studio Feel Bigger

Studios are great! They’re inexpensive, funky, and easy to maintain… but they are also S-M-A-L-L. You don’t have to feel cramped because you’re allotted only a certain amount of square feet to work with, so how do you make it feel bigger? Here are some great and foolproof ideas on how to make the most out of what you have and having fun while doing it!

Apartment Hunting : The Hunt

Buyer Beware: What you don't know when shopping for an apartment can hurt you! Go ahead and ask those uncomfortable questions before you sign the lease. Raise your hand if you love moving! Hahaha, just kidding. Hunting for an apartment can be a super exciting time in your life…but it can also be one of the most stressful things other than death, marriage, or starting a new job. Yikes! Did you know landlords must legally comply with Fair Housing laws? I once went on a showing with a landlord who violated five Fair Housing laws in a sentence. I wasn’t even mad; I was impressed. One sentence!