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Declutter your home in 2016

January 6, 2016 // Posted in Uncategorized  |  No Comments

With an entire new year ahead of you, decluttering your home may not seem so hard. But after January, when that new year energy begins to wane, the prospect of tackling such a big project tends to overwhelm.

Enter your New Year Clutter-Clearing Plan, a month-by-month guide to clearing the clutter from every room in your house. I’ve zeroed in on areas of the home that I find fit with certain events, such as back-to-school or spring fashion, but feel free to reorganize as you see fit to tackle specific areas of your home that need attention sooner.

No matter what, by the end of the year, your home should be feeling more spacious and, perhaps more important, you should be feeling more capable of maintaining a clutter-free space.
Transitional Staircase by Jamie Keskin Design
Jamie Keskin Design
Getting started: Turbocharge your decluttering. If you’re feeling inspired and motivated by the new year, take advantage of that energy and spend a few weekends clearing clutter throughout the house. Making noticeable headway will help motivate you to keep up the decluttering effort in the coming months. Try to get the other members of your household onboard — but if they are not interested, don’t try to force it. Hopefully they will see the positive changes happening around the house and change their tune!

Habit to cultivate: Keep an empty reusable bin in a closet, and use it to corral items you plan to give away.
Scandinavian Kitchen by CKS Design Studio
CKS Design Studio
January: Kitchen and pantry. Give yourself a fresh start for the new year with a clean kitchen, decluttered cabinets and a healthy pantry and fridge.

Toss worn dish towels or cut them up to make rags
Sell or give away specialty small appliances and tools you seldom or never use
Recycle or toss freebie cups and Tupperware containers without lids
Toss expired food and spices
Take stock of cookware and dishes; give away or sell pieces you do not need

Habit to cultivate: Clean out the pantry and fridge each week before shopping.
Transitional Home Office by Turner Pocock
Turner Pocock
February: Home office — digital documents and papers. Get a jump-start on tax time by getting your files (paper and digital) in order.

Sort through random stacks of paper; file, shred or recycle everything
Streamline your files, shredding any documents you no longer need
Use one calendar to keep track of all events
Switch to paperless bills and statements if possible
Clean out computer files and back up everything, using cloud-based storage and an external drive

Habit to cultivate: Sort your mail at the door, tossing junk immediately into a recycling bin.
Scandinavian Bedroom by stylingfieber
stylingfieber
March: Clothes and accessories. The seasonal transition is a good time to sort through clothing. Sort through winter clothes before storing, and pare back spring and summer clothes as you begin to wear them.

Donate or sell clothes, shoes and accessories in good condition
Have winter clothes laundered or dry-cleaned before storing until next year
Try on all clothes for the upcoming season and give away or sell any items that do not make you feel good

Habit to cultivate: As soon as you wear something and notice it doesn’t fit, has a hole or doesn’t flatter you, toss it in a bag in your closet. When the bag is full, donate it.
Beach Style Bathroom by Holst Brothers General Contractors
Holst Brothers General Contractors
April: Bath and beauty products and medicine cabinets. Give your daily routine a spring cleaning by sorting through all of those bottles and jars hiding in medicine cabinets, on counters and in drawers.

Toss expired makeup and skin-care items, as well as anything you do not use or like
Clean drawers and shelves before returning items
Store heat- and moisture-sensitive items (medications and some skin-care products) away

5 Simple Steps For Protecting Your Home During The Holidays

December 8, 2014 // Posted in Nuttin But The Truth, Uncategorized (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

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When you think of the holidays, celebrations, presents and friends likely come to mind – not crime. Unfortunately, burglaries increase at this time of year, and your home could be a target. With a few simple safety precautions, you can protect your property, your family and your valuables now and well into the new year.

“Taking steps to protect your home during the holidays isn’t radically different from what most people should be doing the rest of the year,” says Thomas Leman, a retired 27-year veteran of the police force and criminal justice professor at Argosy University Online. “The problem is that most people get lured into a false sense of security and tend to let their guard down, thinking that crime won’t happen to them.”

Take precautions today to protect your home and deter criminals. Consider these five simple steps:

Step 1: Decorate with care
When it comes to holiday decorations, modesty is definitely the best policy, says Leman. “While you may love the look of a Christmas tree in your front window, expensive decorations on display can be a signal that there are valuables inside your home worth a criminal’s time. Gifts under the tree are the most blatant of these displays and are a welcome invitation for thieves.” Leaving gifts tucked away until the last possible minute is a quick and easy safety precaution. If you must display presents, make sure they are out of sight from any windows or doorways.

Step 2: Lock it up
Whether you are home, running errands or away on vacation, take care to close and lock all doors and windows. Remember to set alarms, too. “Given that most people have extra valuables and gifts in their homes during this time, it’s a good idea to practice home safety whether you’re there or not,” says Leman. Leman adds that a simple dowel placed in a sliding glass door or window can be an inexpensive way to secure vulnerable entrance points. “Alarms or closed circuit video surveillance systems are a great and inexpensive way to protect your home,” he adds.

Step 3: Light the night
A well-lit and well-groomed home provides an important measure of safety. “The better the lighting in your home and yard, the fewer places there are for criminals to lurk,” says Leman. USAA, a leading provider of banking, insurance and investment services to the military community, recommends the 3 foot/6 foot rule: trim branches to 6 feet off the ground and shrubs down to 3 feet to minimize hiding places for burglars.

Step 4: Dispose smartly
It’s best not to alert strangers to the new 70-inch flat screen in your home by leaving the box on the curb for refuse pickup. “When it comes to big-ticket items and valuables, boxes on the curb can be an advertisement for the new valuables in your home,” cautions Leman. “Take the time to break down boxes and recycle them or put them on the curb over time and inconspicuously,” he says.

Step 5: Be a tricky traveler
Be proactive about home safety if you have holiday travel plans. Never let mail or newspapers pile up at your home, as it is an instant indicator you are not there. Have a neighbor collect mail and newspapers or have your service stopped by calling the post office and newspaper provider. “Set your lights and television on timers,” suggests Leman, who also advises homeowners to have a neighbor park their car in your driveway intermittently to keep up the appearance that someone is coming and going.

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