Pare Down and Declutter By Knowing How Much Stuff Is Enough

So you want to pare down your belongings. But how much, exactly, do you get rid of? And how can you prevent stuff from simply piling up all over again? Part of the solution to a lasting clutter-free existence may lie in numbers. As in, the number of pairs of shoes, towels, place settings and so on that you decide to keep in the house. By deciding how many items in each category of stuff you really need, those numbers become a sort of fail-safe, preventing your home from free-falling into its formerly cluttered state. Check out these ideas on how to get started, then share your own numbers in the Comments.

The “sometimes” dilemma: What to do if you use something but only occasionally? Fancy china and highly specialized cookware come immediately to mind. If you really do love to have these things when the occasion calls for it, and you have storage space for them, by all means keep them. Just be intentional about what and how much you are keeping, and know why. Try to avoid keeping large sets of anything purely out of guilt — if you’ve inherited something you don’t want, see if someone else in the family wants it, sell it or donate it to charity.

More tips on what to do with sentimental pieces

How much to keep? Set a space limit. One way to keep rarely used items in check is to limit the amount of storage space you afford them. Instead of allowing your entertaining arsenal to multiply indefinitely over time, taking over not only cupboards but basement shelves and the attic too, decide on one space to store these items in and stick with it. For instance, keep all china in one nice china hutch — if you acquire more down the road, give away or sell something to free up space.

The Rule of Three: One in the wash, one in the cupboard, one in use. You may have heard this one before, but it bears repeating because it really works. It can be difficult to come up with what seems to be a rather arbitrary number of items to keep, but sticking with one for the shelf, one to use and one to wash keeps things simple. I follow this rule for sheets (per bed) and towels (per person).

What about guests? Unless you are running a boarding house, two sets of sheets for each guest bed and two sets of towels per guest are plenty.

The seasonal exception: Even minimalists may want to keep extra stuff on hand to rotate in depending on the season — and that’s whether or not there are chilly winters.

It can be a nice change of pace to bring out thicker blankets in warmer hues for the winter and light, airy linens in summer. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should double the number of sets you have, if some sets work well year-round. For instance, you could decide to keep one set of sateen sheets for year-round use, two sets of flannels for winter and two cool, crisp sets for summer.

Special case: Clothes. Clothes and shoes may be the most personal (and difficult) category of stuff to put limits on. That said, even those with intense attachments to their wardrobes can find it worthwhile to do a proper inventory.

After figuring out that you actually have 100 pairs of shoes or 20 nearly identical black tops, you may decide to bring that number down … or you may not, but at least you will be informed.

Special case: Kids’ stuff. When a child’s room is overflowing with stuff, it’s hard to focus on any one thing, and pretty soon all of those lovingly chosen toys become just part of the mess. Setting space constraints is a smart way to handle this situation. Dedicate certain shelves, plus perhaps a toy closet (for toys not currently being used in the rotation) for your child’s belongings, and keep it at that. When a bin or shelf begins to overflow, or you notice that stuff is piling up on the floor (because it has nowhere else to go), take that as a cue to give something away.

The everyday stuff: Count it out. Do you know how many basic plates, bowls, cups and wineglasses you own? If you’re not sure, go count them — you may be surprised at just how many pieces of “everyday” tableware you have. Of course it’s nice to have enough of everything that the whole household can eat a meal or two and not worry about getting everything washed and dried, and you’ll want extras on hand for bigger casual dinners with family and friends if you host that sort of thing, but you won’t likely need more than that.

Not everyone wants to stick with one set of white dishes (although for simplicity’s sake, that’s surely an easy way to go). But you can still set a limit at a certain number of sets. If you go over your number, it’s time to start culling.

Special case: Tupperware. What is it about plastic containers that makes them seem to multiply when you’re not looking (but hardly ever with a matching lid)? Start by removing any lids that don’t have mates, then count what you have left. Most of us probably have too many food storage containers — really, how many leftovers are you likely to wrap up at any given time? Three? Four?

Special case: Your passions. Book lovers, athletes, outdoorsy types, musicians, crafters … you know who you are. And more important, you know how easy it is to collect more and more stuff to support your passion.

Being aware of exactly what you already own is a good first step toward reining in your collections — perhaps your yarn stash is in such disarray, you end up buying yarn you already have.

But it’s also a good idea to start paying attention to what you actually use. If you treasure your books, notice which ones you actually pick up from time to time — I realized a while ago that I rarely pick up novels after I’ve read them, so I decided to let go of most books in that category.

Pain-free ways to declutter your library

Just because you have the room to store it doesn’t mean you should. Extra space is deceptive. If you are blessed with large closets and ample storage space, you may be thinking you’re off the hook — but the truth is, everyone can benefit from paring down a little. Having fewer belongings means less time spent cleaning, moving and mending them; less time looking for things; and generally less to worry about. And if you ever need to downsize in the future, the process will be far less gut wrenching if you have already chosen to live with less stuff.

Set your own rules. The point of this ideabook is to help you gain awareness of what kind of and how much stuff you need, so you can tailor your stuff to fit your life. And no one else can really do that for you. It may take a while to figure out exactly the right amount of stuff for you, but once you do, it’s bound to make your life a little easier.

Tell us: What are your numbers? How many sets of sheets, dishes or pairs of shoes are enough for you?

Related Reads
Keep All Fancy Dinnerware in a China Cabinet
Dedicate a Toy Box for All the Kids’ Stuff
Get Help From Local Professional Organizers

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on August 10, 2017 at 2:28 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appliances, buying, cleaning, community, credit cards, curb appeal, DIY, Fixer Uppers, gadgets, inspections, interior decorating, maximizing space, moving, organization, real estate, remodeling, selling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer Fridays: Urban Yards and Terraces

Living in a big city doesn’t mean you don’t have great outdoor spaces. Take a look at some of our favorite urban backyard and terraces on coldwellbanker.com tailor-made for summer entertaining.

How alive the city is, how alive, how alive, how alive.”

– Alfred Kazin

Contrary to popular belief, there is no better time of year to be in a big city than during summer.  Sure, the subway stations feel like they’re 123 degrees, but apart from sweltering train commutes, the city is a magical place during this time of year.

In a big city anything can happen, especially during summer – and only in the best ways. A trip to the farmer’s market can lead to day long expeditions to unexplored neighborhoods in town, and a cup of coffee with friends can lead to great conversations with strangers at a rooftop party later in the day. The great weather and relative calm that comes with a less congested city make summer a time for coming together, meeting new people and discovering new reasons to fall in love with your city and your home.

While we may not have sprawling residences or acres of backyard space, we do in fact have outdoor areas tailor-made for entertaining come summertime. Our yards are our little havens from busy city life, and our terraces are where we sit and admire the ingenuity of man.

In honor of summer in the city, our latest “Summer Fridays” post pays homage to a few of our favorite urban yard and terraces from homes listed for sale on coldwellbanker.com. Let’s take a look!

$12,500,000 – Seattle, WA

This urban refuge offers up sweeping views of Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier, The Olympic Mountains and downtown Seattle! Featuring not just one but two outdoor terraces, this home gives you plenty of space to enjoy beautiful Summer nights with good company.

$3,499,000 – Hoboken, NJ

Sometimes the best views of New York City come from just outside New York City. This meticulously renovated brownstone on the Hudson River features a sprawling terrace that offer up some of the best Manhattan skyline views you’ll find anywhere!

$1,980,000 – Chicago, IL

This home really does have it all. You’re located in the heart of Chicago, but it also feels like you’re tucked away on your own little private island. It doesn’t get more zen and restful than this sprawling rooftop terrace with ample spaces for relaxing and enjoying that great Chicago summer weather.

$12,000,000 – Chicago, IL

This penthouse residence at the Park Hyatt has the tallest balcony in the prized building, offering you unobstructed water and glitzy downtown Chicago views.

$6,700,000 – Miami, FL

Miami!! The city where you can at once feel like you’re living in a city and right on one of the finest beaches in the world at the very same time! This beautiful home offers up stunning waterfront views and even a pool out on the terrace..because it is Miami.

 

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Join us next Friday for another installment of our “Summer Fridays” series.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on August 4, 2017 at 8:57 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, BBQ, community, curb appeal, decorating, Fixer Uppers, Homeowners, interior decorating, Location, maximizing space, neighborhood, outdoors, Privacy, projects, real estate, remodeling, staging, Uncategorized, views | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hacks to Hang Anything On Your Wall

Banged up thumbs, crooked frames, and things that go crash in the night?  Here’s how to do it RIGHT!

Who knew sticking stuff on the wall could be such a process? Keep your stud finder at the ready, friends! I’ve rounded up our top tips and hanging hacks to help you through the tedious task of decking out your walls. From stylish storage and pendant lights to extra heavy and delicate decor — every step-by-step you could possibly need is right here.

Hang Heavy Stuff

A heavy, antique mirror takes more than a hammer and nails. Get the full how-to for hefty hangings below.

Hang Lights

Set a romantic tone in your bedroom by adding a chandelier or pendant lights with this must-know DIY.

Hang Crown Molding

Add dimension and a craftsmen quality to any space with crown molding. Here’s how to do it.

Hang Wallpaper

Make a statement with zero dreaded air-bubbles or clumped-up lumps in sight.

Add Hanging Storage

Hanging storage reigns supreme as one of the best ways to make the most of any space.

Hang Curtains

Do not get this wrong, people. Transform your home from drab to designer with properly positioned drapes.

Hang a Pot Rack

Is it just me or does a hanging pot rack make a kitchen feel more legit? Add this chef-like quality into your kitchen.

Create a Gallery Wall

Not sure you’re doing the whole gallery-wall thing correctly? Here’s everything you need to know to pull it off like a pro.
 Source:  HGTV
Posted on June 29, 2017 at 4:51 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: decorating, DIY, gadgets, interior decorating, maximizing space, photography, real estate, staging, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 Genius Storage Ideas You Probably Haven’t Thought Of

Too much stuff and no where to store it?  Read on for ingenious ways to find a nook and cranny for all the items you can’t bear to give up!

Here are some awesome ideas to get you get organized and find a “home” for all of your things.

When your home has a place for everything it is magical. You open up cabinets to neat piles of Tupperware. Your closet is organized with shoes, belts and accessories organized in a way that would give Carried Bradshaw envy. Your garage is neat and each tool is hung with care while your children’s toys are lined up and ready to be used at their convenience.

Let’s be serious, there are very few who can actually say their home has enough space for all of their things. In the battle of you vs square footage, you rarely feel like you come out on top. Here are some awesome ideas to get you get organized and find a “home” for all of your things.

Underneath Steps

Don’t let that space underneath your stairs go to waste. Depending on the size available you may even be able to create a small office like the image in the bottom left.

Images via shelterness, artemendoza and homedit

Inside Cabinet Doors

The inside of cabinet doors are hidden which makes them a perfect place for storage. We especially love the idea for the spices below.

Cabinet Door Storage

Images via iheartorganizing, Houzz, Instructables & thesepreciousdays

Up!

Look up and you will be amazed at all of the places you can find to store things. From the garage ceiling to the space above doors, it is important to use every inch without making a room feel cluttered.

Images via dgdoors, accentondesign, flor & marthastewart

Underneath Your Counters

If you have a smaller kitchen you know what it is like to open up a cabinet and have things fall onto you…it’s miserable. Clear up some space by taking advantage of the area underneath your counters.

Under Counter Storage

Images via thedesignfile, kellysthoughtsonthings, stashvault & kitchenstuffplus

Souce: CB Blue Matter / Lindsay Listanski

Posted on May 16, 2017 at 3:54 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appliances, cabinets, cleaning, interior decorating, living small, maximizing space, organization, projects, small space, steps, storage, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

7 Things Worth Saving Space for in a Small House

Sometimes that bigger house is just not in your budget this time around. Here are some nifty tips for maximizing space in smaller homes!  Include these elements to make your compact space comfortable, functional and stylish.

Advice for decorating a small home is often about eliminating and deciding what to compromise on. But there are some things every home should have. Here are seven essentials that are always worth making room for.

Photo by RICCO STYLE Interior Design 

1. A landing pad. You may not have a grand foyer, but you deserve somewhere to decompress for a moment when you arrive home.

Take a little bit of space by the front door to include somewhere to drop your coat and keys, as well as a seat for quick moments such as when tying a shoe. A mirror and a glass table will open up the look of the space, and a bouquet of flowers will provide a welcoming touch.

Photo by Anouska Tamony Designs 

2. Color and pattern. Sure, using lots of white and neutrals will make a small space look as big and breezy as possible. That doesn’t mean that all color and pattern should be strictly forbidden. Embracing some drama will make the look personal and inviting.

To get the best of both worlds, fit color into high and low places and keep the walls neutral so the main sightlines are still clear.

Try using a fun paint color on your ceiling, or go for a low-slung sofa or other piece of furniture, so it pops without overtaking the natural field of vision.

Ceiling paint (similar): Your Majesty, Benjamin Moore

Photo by Black and Milk | Interior Design | London

3. A real dining surface. In a small home, you rarely find a dedicated dining room. That doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate somewhere for a proper sit-down meal that isn’t at your desk or in your lap. Try pushing a small dining table up against a wall or window to seat just two diners.

If you don’t have room even for a small fixed table, try using a fold-down table with stackable seats that can be pulled out when needed, or a convertible coffee table that can be raised to dining height so you can eat at the sofa in proper comfort.

Photo by DD Hus AB 

4. A truly comfortable place to sit. While it’s often tempting to try to stuff many compact pieces of furniture into a small home, you shouldn’t skimp on a full-sized place to sit.

Including a truly comfortable sofa or lounge chair, rather than many tight modern seats, will make the whole home much more satisfying. To fit in occasional extra guests, have compact side chairs on hand that are only meant for sitting in for a few hours while someone visits, or you can even use a plush ottoman.

Photo by Toronto Interior Design Group | Yanic Simard

5. Great lighting. In a small space, the lighting is often inadequate, as it tends to be assumed that a single fixture can properly light each area. In reality, good lighting can never come from just one source, so it’s always important to include a diverse palette of fixtures.

Photo by Wander Designs 

To save room while adding a lot of light, choose a plug-in sconce with multiple bulbs, like the one here. It will brighten the walls in a rich way without taking up any square footage from your floor plan or table surfaces.

6. A living plant. Speaking of your floor plan, now that you’ve saved a little space with a great sconce, why not use that square footage for a healthy living plant?

Photo by Norden & Klingstedt 

Including an element of living greenery will make the space feel more human and welcoming, bringing a sense of the outdoors in.

Photo by Luisa Volpato Interiors 

7. Space to breathe. Lastly, when decorating your small home, don’t forget to leave room for one very important thing: empty space.

Filling every square inch of your walls and flooring with decorative baubles and unneeded furniture leaves the space feeling cluttered and cramped. Let some walls remain empty, and keep lots of circulation space open so you can move about freely and really enjoy the great pieces you have.

 

Source: CB Blue Matter / houzz

 

Posted on May 2, 2017 at 4:03 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: decorating, first time buyers, Homeowners, interior decorating, living small, maximizing space, small home, small space | Tagged , , , , , , , ,