Holilday LIghts!

Holilday LIghts!


Thank you for visiting my blog. I have a passion for decorating! And, as a decorator and home stager who's helped many people transform their homes, I wanted to share my ideas and tips with others. Enjoy! My company's motto is: "Get A Goode Start to Sell Your Home!"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Art of Downsizing

There can be many different reasons for downsizing – but moving is probably the most common. Well, I’m not moving, but the older I get the more I get annoyed at all the stuff I’ve accumulated over the years. Does this sound familiar to you?
In the past, I would move to a different home every four years. And every time I moved, I would sort through my stuff, donating lots of bags to the Salvation Army, Purple Heart and Goodwill. As you can tell, my love of shopping for clothes, shoes and decorative items has always gotten me in trouble.

However, now that I’ve been living in the same house for the past five years, my “stuff” has been multiplying exponentially. Not only is the crawl space under the house filled up completely, but we now have a garage that has no more extra room – especially for a car. And it's migrating to my two spare bedrooms and the closets are bulging at the seams. I'm really tired of the piles which seem to grow on a weekly basis. And even more frustrating, I usually can't find what I'm looking for!

Time out. I need to fix this situation! No one else can weed out all my personal items unless I call a professional organizer.

So, what has inspired me to think about downsizing? Because I've been helping my family transition into a new, smaller place after moving from a large house with lots of storage. Now they are in an apartment with no basement, no garage. To make their situation even more challenging, not only are they moving their own belongings, but also all the inherited "treasures" from their parents. Since I really don't want to be in that situation when I'm older with lots of aches and pains, I've decided to tackle my downsizing process now -- while I still have the energy without the maladies.

So how do you let go of your "treasures"? The answer is -- with difficulty. But, in my opinion, the pay-off is worth it.

Here are some suggestions on my downsizing method:
1. First, make four piles: 1) Give-away or donate; 2) Sell; 3) Trash; 4) Keep (try not to be tempted to add too many items to that pile).
2. Second, in sorting through your personal belongings, ask yourself: Will I need or wear it now or within the next year? If the answer is no, you probably want to put those items in the "give-away, sell or trash" pile.
3. Third, can I give it to someone who can use it? Donating items to charity organization can provide you a tax donation write-off -- just make sure you get a receipt for your donation. By the way, Purple Heart will pick it up from your doorstep if you schedule it with them online.
4. Next, do you want to sell your items and make a little money (or a lot, depending upon the worth of the items)? You can put ads in a "Pennysaver" for very little money or advertise on "Craig's List" for free, have a garage sale or take items to a consignment shop. Your choice. Will your efforts be worth the pay off? Maybe. It depends on your point of view and your priorities.
Personally, I'm lazy about garage sales, so I decided to donate those items that I hadn't used/needed in a year, and I received a tax receipt. Remember when you’re donating to keep the receipt and itemize (and summarize) the number and types of items.
5. Which leads me to my fifth suggestion: ask your family or friends if they would like to "inherit" your hand-me-downs. If they're ready for your hand-me-downs, that will help your downsizing efforts.
6. Finally, here's my last suggestion if you going through this alone and need help: Consider hiring a professional organizer to assist you in sorting through items and deciding whether to keep them, sell or donate them, or trash them.
Or, if you're going to sell your home, professional home stagers can help you "de-clutter" make your home appeal to prospective buyers.
So, right now, I'm taking my own advice and beginning to downsize on my own. If you’re also ready to take on this challenge, good luck on your "spring" cleaning!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Decorating Your First Place

Decorating your first place. No, I don't mean your dorm room or the home you share with your roommates or your relatives, but your first home away from home.

Your first home is a symbol that you're finally independent and can begin interjecting your own creativity into the place where you live. In my opinion there's nothing more exhilarating than decorating your first place. I was reminded of that old feeling because my niece is getting married in two weeks. She exclaimed to me how much fun she was having decorating their first apartment. After reflecting on my past experiences, I thought I might outline a few tips that may help with this task while decorating on a tight budget.

1. Many of us start out with hand-me-downs, garage sale or flea market finds. Although we appreciate the generosity of the "giver," it can be a challenge to incorporate them into a cohesive decorating plan. Luckily the "shabby chic" and eclectic styles are still in vogue!

When it comes to hand-me-down upholstered furniture, it depends on the condition of the furniture (and of course, whether the fabric covering appeals to you), whether you want to recover the piece; if so, you may consider a slip cover. You can find them at home decorating stores or order them online. Another option is to drape a throw over the piece and perk it up with lots of color-coordinated accent pillows.

2. An older wooden table, dresser or chair is another challenge. Can you cover up scratches with a stain-stick or "Old English" liquid? Or does the entire piece need to be repainted or refinished? If you decide to repaint it, make sure you first consult with the paint experts at the hardware store. However, if repainting or refinishing is not an option, you may want to consider covering the top of the table or dresser with a runner or doily. Chair seats can be recovered or you can add a new seat cushion.

3. Paint or wallpaper the walls if you can. I'm a big proponent of paint because it's easy to clean or change if you wish. Paint can transform a room and make it feel like home. If you're renting, some landlords will allow you to paint the walls of the apartment if the color is not dark or bold. The usual criteria is -- can one coat of paint cover your paint color? If the landlord approves, go for it!

4. Discard your college dorm stuff. You're no longer a student. It's time for a change.

5. Finally, and most importantly, personalize your new home. Add your own touches, wall art, pictures, rugs and other accessories that are uniquely you. And if you're sharing your first home with someone special, remember to consider them in your decorating plan too.