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 , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Keep a Small Kitchen Organized

Everyone LOVES a big kitchen. Lots of room to whip up your culinary delights! The truth is that anyone can adjust and create beautiful meals in a small kitchen. Its all in the organization!

It can be tricky keeping a compact cooking space tidy, but these ideas can help keep a small kitchen organized.

Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need acres of counter space or dozens of drawers and cupboards to have an organized kitchen that’s a joy to cook in. If anything, a smaller kitchen can encourage you to streamline your stuff and live more simply. Who wants cabinets chock-full of unloved pasta machines and dusty bread makers anyway? Check out these easy ways to restore order to your less-than-enormous kitchen.

1. Start with a utensil rack. Not only will it give you a place to hang slotted spoons and ladles for easy access while cooking, it will also free up precious drawer space.

Even in the tiniest kitchen, you can usually find somewhere to squeeze one in — under a cupboard or shelf or above the stove. Stainless steel models work in most styles of rooms and are easy to wipe down.

Photo by WILLIAMS RIDOUT 

2. Get a knife holder. A knife block or magnetic rack is one of those simple items that really do make a difference in how functional your kitchen is. After all, rummaging around in a drawer for a piece of kitchen gear you use frequently is time-consuming and dispiriting.

A wall-mounted rack like this one keeps things orderly without swallowing too much space. Buy decent knives if you can afford it, as they should last a lifetime. One advantage of a magnetic rack is that you can slowly build up your collection of knives, buying one at a time, rather than having to invest in one large block complete with knives, which can be pricey. If you’re starting from scratch, a bread knife, paring knife and chef’s knife are essential.

3. Assign dedicated storage areas. Kitchen clutter can easily accrue, so it makes sense to assign different cupboards a specific purpose and stick to it. And dedicate a few minutes every couple of weeks to returning stray plastic lids or pot covers to their homes and sweeping out spilled spices and coffee grounds — it really will make a difference in how pleasurable (and easy) your kitchen is to use day to day.

Photo by Domus Nova 

4. Reduce your numbers. If your kitchen is really mini, or even if it isn’t, think about doing a good edit of your paraphernalia. Be honest: Do you really need more than a handful of plates, mugs or glasses if there are only one or two of you?

Having less stuff can be immensely freeing — and will significantly reduce the amount of time you spend washing up, which is a big bonus.

Photo by Cream & Black Interior Design

5. Gather and display. This cute kitchen demonstrates how you can be organized and chic at the same time. A charming crock to hold wooden spoons, a wall-mounted crate or two to provide a home for vintage-style scales and jugs, a small wall-mounted spice rack — they all add a pretty touch as well as having a practical function.

Photo by Moon Design + Build 

6. Be clever with your cabinets. Use every spare inch in a small kitchen by building recessed shelves where feasible. Here, they surround an integrated refrigerator. With this design solution, wall space that’s too skinny or awkwardly shaped for extra cabinets can still be used to hold frequently used items. In this kitchen, it also helps open up the room and leads the eye to an appealing feature.

The other clever feature in this kitchen is the cookbook niche above the door — another neat storage trick that doesn’t take up too much room. Ask a builder if one can be carved out from an existing wall.

Photo by Ardesia Design 

7. Go minimal. Are you in the process of picking new cabinets for your compact kitchen? Consider this look. Ultra-plain, handleless cabinets in a nude hue are soothing to look at and give a sense of visual order. Pick a seamless backsplash such as this slab of marble, since tiles with grout can look busy.

Photo by Glenvale Kitchens 

8. Get in a tight corner. When space is tight, an ingenious trio of pullout corner drawers is a lifesaver, helping to solve the problem of lost space in those awkward-to-access base cabinets.

If you’re remodeling, think about how you’d use such drawers — for cutlery, towels, pans, dishes? Here, a slimmer top drawer is complemented by the two deeper ones, so all the bases are covered.

Photo by marco joe fazio photography 

9. Put the pans away. Similarly a pullout pan rack can be a gift in a small kitchen, creating an organized home for frying pans and saucepans and keeping you from tearing your hair out as you hunt around in the backs of cupboards. Also try using racks for items such as steamers or large, unwieldy casserole dishes.

Photo by Vanillawood

10. Organize inside. It may sound like a no-brainer, but often what makes a kitchen, big or small, organized is how we arrange the insides of our cupboards. Shelf and drawer dividers, hooks, racks and other storage devices are key to keeping order. Consider what works for you and go custom if you can. Are you a Mason jar and Tupperware kind of person? Do you prefer mugs on hooks, shelves or in drawers? Storage is often about personal preference. Here, the slim slots for chopping boards and placemats are a brilliant idea, as is the slim pullout spice rack.

Source: CB Blue Matter / Houzz

 

Posted on July 20, 2017 at 7:32 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appliances, cabinets, kitchens, living small, organization, real estate, small space, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Photography and Real Estate: Why Taking Professional Photos of Your Listings is Essential

I don’t like watching a blurry movie, do you?  Then why would you like to view a potential purchase with blurry pictures?

Makes perfect sense to us!

When it comes to listing your home, posting high-quality photos online is probably the most powerful marketing tool at your disposal. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyers consider online listing photos to be more valuable the the home’s written description. Due to the fact that nearly half of all prospective home buyers first step in the home shopping process is searching online, posting high-quality pictures of your home is an absolute must.

You wouldn’t buy a car online without knowing what it looks like, why should a home be any different? Read on to learn some of the most important reasons why hiring a professional to take online listing photos can make or break a sale.

Giving the Right Impression

When potential home buyers look at listings online, any photographs give a powerful first impression. If listing pictures are out of focus, off-center or blurry, it can create a false impression of the home.  For example, dark dingy photos of a home’s bathroom can make it appear dirty, old and undesirable. Sometimes out of focus photos of the exterior of a home can make it look creepy and decrepit.  If photos are of poor quality, they can often be more damaging than posting no pictures at all.

When taking pictures of your home, a bright, sunny day and a steady hand go a long way that’s why professional photographers are a worthy investment when trying to sell your property. Make sure to have your home’s photos taken on a day that is bright and dry to minimize haziness and shadows.  Professional grade lighting used in the interior of your home help to brighten up your room and make them appear more clean and spacious.

Painting a Picture for Buyers

One of the most important parts of showing your home to potential buyers is creating an environment that helps them imagine how great their life would be if they lived there.  That’s why it’s crucial to stage your home in a way that’s simple, inviting and pleasing to the eye.

Many sellers hire professional home stagers to arrange their home’s furniture before taking listing pictures.  Staging your home is a great way to accentuate certain aspects of your home and show off its best assets.  Even small touches like changing out old light fixtures for newer ones and updating kitchen and bathroom hardware can add value to your home resulting in a higher selling price.

Giving Buyers the Full Experience

Just as pictures are an integral part of creating a home’s overall appeal, online video tours can really make an impression on potential buyers.  Watching a virtual tour of a home from the comfort of their own couch is an extremely enticing aspect of online home-shopping. Seeing a tour online before attending an actual showing can really give buyers an idea what to expect and helps them prepare any questions they may have about the property; making the showing a more productive experience.

Source: Dream Casa

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 7:57 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: curb appeal, decorating, interior decorating, organization, photography, real estate, selling, 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 , , , , , , , , ,