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Guest Blogger DIYMama Erin Reynolds: Livin’ Small: How to Make Life Work When You Lack Square Footage

Toys, Closet, Organizen

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Downsizing is one of the most notable trends in real estate in recent years. Families both large and small have found a new freedom in living in spaces that are smaller, less expensive and require less upkeep. Storage can be a problem, but it isn’t insuperable. Whatever your reason for living in a small home environment, you can make it work by following a few strategies aimed at helping you make the most of the available square footage. Just remember that decluttering is the cardinal rule of compact living.

Purge ‘til it hurts

Most of us live amid objects we could live without. Some are possessions that have some sentimental value, and others might be things (like junk mail and loose papers) that accumulate so quickly we don’t even notice them. It’s essential to keep the clutter under control by purging as often as necessary. Start a system of organization that guides your approach to decluttering and home organization. Make files for essential papers so they don’t stack up and get lost in the shuffle.

Don’t be afraid to get rid of old invoices, credit card statements and loan offers, but be careful to shred anything with sensitive personal information. Purging consistently and indiscriminately is essential if you’re going to make living in a small space work. Don’t forget that you need to cover every square foot in your home, including the garage and basement, to stay organized.

Organize those closets

It’s easy to overlook your closet space. Closets tend to become dumping points for anything you don’t know what to do with but are hesitant to throw out. It’s important to break that habit, because closets are very important storage spaces when your home is on the small side. Purge any clothes that don’t fit well and keep seasonal clothing in storage. Use storage systems for shoes and any folded clothing that doesn’t fit in your drawers. Fit your children’s closets with bins for toys, books, CDs and anything else that could create a clutter problem in the closet.

Create ‘zones’

If you live in a small home, you’re probably accustomed to turning rooms into multi-use spaces. It’s a smart use of square footage and often necessary to make compact living work. Your main living room can be “divided” into a den and a dining room with a couch or rectangular table separating the two. Set up your dinner table and chairs in one half, and your TV, stereo, gaming system and any other entertainment equipment in the other half of the room. It may be less than ideal, especially if you have kids who love to roughhouse indoors. On the plus side, this kind of layout places an emphasis on family togetherness.

Get creative

Unfortunately, decluttering can’t solve all your problems. Sometimes, it’s necessary to get a little creative. A toddler’s bedroom may need to double as a home office, a space for your home computer, printer and any other equipment. A downstairs closet in or near the entryway might need to double as a food pantry, which can easily be done with an intelligent use of compact plastic shelving or built-in shelving.

Make use of bins

One of the worst things you can do in a tight living space is to try living with loose objects taking up valuable floor space. Plastic bins can help you get organized and maintain flow through your home by keeping those floors clear. Plastic bins are ideal for storing toys both downstairs and in bedroom closets. Many people use them to store extra shoes, boots, hats and coats they don’t want to give away or throw out.

Remember, purging is the single-most important thing you can do to keep a small living space comfortable, orderly and serene. Living among clutter makes it very difficult to stay organized and keep the entire family happy if you lack square footage, so be objective about your belongings and declutter as much as you can.

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Posted by on December 2, 2018 in Organizing

 

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Guest Blogger DIYMama Erin Reynolds: Moving in Together? Here’s How to Make Your House a Home

Home, Couple, Mortgage, Real Estate, Moving, Together

Photo by Pixabay

 

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Home is where the heart is,” and it’s true. But, if you and your significant other are taking the next step and moving in together, it will take some work to make your house a home. Two personalities, styles, and preferences are coming together—and the two of you have to find a way to make them mesh that doesn’t involve dividing the house down the middle. The following are just a few tips to get your home organized, decorated, and settled so you can enjoy this new chapter.

Purging is a Must

 

No one likes to get rid of their things, but trying to fit two people’s worth of stuff in a home can be overwhelming, at best. A pre-move purge is a must for both of you. First, start by going through each room and separating items into keep, donate, sell, and trash piles. Once you’ve narrowed down your things, the two of you can come together and decide on duplicates, such as whose cookware, appliances, bedding, and furniture you’ll keep. You don’t need six frying pans and two mismatched couches. These decisions can be difficult, so if there are a few items you can’t agree on, put them in storage until you figure out what to do with them. The overall average price of a self-storage unit booked in Los Angeles, California over the past 180 days is $144.76. This is also a great place to keep items until you figure out the layout, as well as anything you don’t have room for now, but could see a future use for.

Keep Organization at the Forefront

 

Remember, a cluttered home isn’t cozy—it’s chaotic. This should be your mantra when it comes to home décor. Be sure to measure everything. By taking measurements before you bring items in, you might find your significant other’s loveseat is a way better fit than your bulky recliner. Make a conscious effort to use every inch of space wisely, as organization is an area couples tend to disagree on. For example, kitchen counters that serve as a drop zone could be your breaking point, while your significant other can’t stand a cluttered bathroom vanity. Make rules, but be willing to communicate and compromise. It may be helpful to look for versatile items that can serve multiple purposes. For example, if you insist on having piles of throw pillows and blankets accessible, but your partner thinks they are excessive and should be out of sight, meet halfway: For only about $100 you could get an ottoman that comes with built-in storage—a neat yet convenient place for those comfort items.

Don’t Overdo It When Mixing Styles

 

Designing and decorating a new home can be stressful. You could hire a professional interior decorator, though the average hourly rate can be as much as $500, according to Houzz. If you’re on a tight budget, though, don’t worry. There’s plenty of accessible (and free) advice online about designing and decorating a new home.

 

The two of you likely have completely different styles, which is why interior designer Sara Costello recommends painting walls a non-color such as white or cream. “With those non-color colors, you can weave in a palette that is masculine and feminine,” Costello said. Then, add pops of color via wall art, accent pillows, and various decorative items. If you have your own décor you are bringing in, incorporate it slowly, and make sure you both agree on it. Taking over the space can quickly lead to an argument. If you will be shopping for new furniture pieces, décor, or even something as simple as new bath towels, be sure you make purchases together so that one individual’s style doesn’t shine through more than the other.

 

Above all else, be kind and understanding toward one another. This is a huge change for both of you, and there will likely be arguments and disagreements. But at the end of the day, you are in it together. Take your time, go slow, talk often, and enjoy the ride!

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Posted by on October 25, 2018 in Organizing

 

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4 Creative Ways to Increase Storage Space on a Budget From Guest Blogger DIY Mama Erin Reynolds

architecture, cabinets, carpet

Photo via Pexels

4 Creative Ways to Increase Storage Space on a Budget

 

If you have often found yourself frustrated at the clutter building up in your house, you’re not alone. According to Time, the single biggest pet peeve amongst homeowners is lack of storage space. Storage is essential to having an organized home, which in itself is important for our mental health and well-being. These four tips will help you fight clutter by allowing everything in the house to have its own place without having to spend a fortune on new furniture.

Before You Start, Go Online

 

Big shops have regular sales throughout the year, but you can’t always wait until the next one comes around to buy what you need. Even if you could, it can be difficult to get the best possible price without losing out on the deal. This is why the internet is your best friend when it comes to home shopping. There are plenty of coupons, discounts, and cashback programs available for online shopping, so never buy without checking a website like Ebates, which offers discounts and deals on stores like Bed, Bath, and Beyond, where you can find stylish storage solutions that match your decor, regardless of the project.

Look Up

 

How much vertical space are you currently ignoring or underusing? Many of us have plenty of bare walls that are just begging for some shelving and extra storage space. Shelves are one of the easiest DIY projects to undertake, and can often be made for little to no cost using upcycled materials such as boxes, wooden furniture, and even belts. Don’t be afraid to go high up with shelving near the ceiling or above door frames — you can place things here that you rarely use, such as boxes with important documents or Christmas decorations. If you want to purchase shelving without having to do it yourself, save money by taking advantage of cashback offers and online sales for stores such as Crate and Barrel.

 

Get Rolling

Storage on wheels is a great way to utilize small spaces without sacrificing convenience and ease of use. Being able to roll out hidden storage makes using it a breeze, so you don’t have to struggle with lifting, pulling, and dragging boxes across the floor when you need something.

Rolling boxes for under bed storage can be bought for quite cheap or made from simple wooden boards, which are perfect if you have some left over from another DIY project. Similarly, a roll-out pantry can be the perfect solution for that narrow gap many kitchens have next to the fridge, and it is also easily made with cheap materials.

Hack Existing Furniture

 

If you are intimidated by the idea of building something from scratch, you can ease yourself into things by “hacking” existing furniture to boost its storage capabilities. This usually involves more basic DIY skills and has less of a chance of going wrong since you are not making big changes to the structure of the furniture itself.

IKEA furniture lends itself particularly well to hacking due to its assembly methods. This is why a whole community of IKEA hackers exists online to share tips on how to transform their flat pack furniture into something unique. This often involves taking a cheaper piece and making it look more high-end or simply changing its design to suit another room and use. Check out some great ideas for low-cost storage IKEA hacks here. You can also save money on IKEA products by searching through money-saving sites like RetailMeNot.

With these solutions, storage doesn’t have to be a problem in your house anymore. You can now say goodbye to cluttered, stressful, and cramped rooms that are hard to navigate and even harder to relax in. Forget spending money on wardrobes and cabinets that feel bulky and out of place in your rooms. A bit of creativity and flexibility can help you fit easy, cheap, and simple storage solutions into your space in a way that feels seamless and unintrusive.

 

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Posted by on September 22, 2018 in Organizing

 

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Let’s Clear the Air: How Your Home Can Make You Sick & What You Can Do About It by Guest Blogger DIYMama Erin Reynolds

Bed, Sheet, Sleep, Relax, Plant, Room, House

We all want a clean living space, but did you realize that even when your home is clean, indoor air pollutants can still be hanging around? Indoor air pollution is often worse than the pollution we’re exposed to outdoors and living with poor indoor air quality can lead to immediate and long-term sickness. To improve indoor air and live better, check your home for these common causes of pollution and take steps to eliminate them.

 

Seek Out the Source

You can’t get rid of indoor pollution without knowing where it’s coming from. Some of these causes are obvious, while others are less well-known and often harder to find.

 

  • Tobacco smoke – Smoke from tobacco contains thousands of chemicals, which are trapped in your home when anyone smokes inside. In addition to being released into the air, the chemicals in tobacco settle into furniture, rugs and just about any other surface in your home. According to The American Lung Association, secondhand smoke can cause respiratory infections, asthma, cancer and even heart attacks.

  • Household chemicals Chemicals come into our homes in many ways you wouldn’t expect. They can be present in your home’s building materials and paint, as well as in furniture, carpet and cabinetry. Many people also unwittingly add harmful chemicals to their home by using chemical cleaning products, air fresheners and personal care products.

  • Pets – Many people have allergic reactions to pet dander, which can be can be mild to severe and often include asthma, sinus problems and respiratory infections.

  • Mildew and mold – According to Bob Vila, mold can grow about anywhere there is excess moisture. If you aren’t sure if mildew and mold are a problem in your home, track your home’s humidity and search for any water leaks.

  • Harmful gases – Radon is a gas that is naturally occurring, but exposure to it has been linked to cancer, so it’s very important to have your home checked to determine if radon is present. Carbon monoxide is another deadly gas that could leak into your home from gas appliances such as gas stoves and hot-water heaters. Installing a carbon monoxide detector is an easy way to keep your family safe.

Simple Steps to Clear the Air

Even though indoor pollutants and allergens are rampant, you can make simple swaps and do some easy, environmentally friendly DIY repairs to eliminate problems.

  • Choose greener cleaning products – Look for cleaning products that are free of petrochemicals, artificial fragrances and other toxic ingredients. Natural alternatives are easy to find and they are much healthier because they don’t release toxic substances into the air.

  • Avoid toxic building materials – One of the biggest culprits of harmful off-gassing comes from Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in paint. Fortunately, low or no-VOC paints are easy to find and repainting your home with environmentally friendly paint is a simple DIY project. When replacing cabinets, look for ones that are made from solid wood and use only non-toxic finishes. You can also find environmentally friendly materials for all kinds of home projects such as glue, caulking and insulation.

  • Purify the air in your home – You can’t avoid all pollutants entirely, but an air purifier can clean the pollutants out of the air in your home that can cause allergies and asthma.

  • Take advantage of nature – Outdoor air is purified naturally through trees, but you can get the same effect at home with houseplants that remove chemicals from the air. And along with all of these other steps, one of the simplest things you can do is open windows regularly to let fresh air in.

It sounds a little scary to think of all the dangers lurking in our homes, but the good news is that you can easily eliminate many of them. Making these simple swaps is better for your health and the environment, so it’s a win-win. When you make these changes, you will likely notice a difference right away, and you can rest easier knowing you’re protecting your long-term health too.

 

Photo credit: Pixabay

Check out our Guest blogger Erin Reynolds at http://diymama.net/

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2018 in Health

 

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Make Your Home More Appealing w/ These Easy and Affordable Projects by Guest Blogger Erin Reynolds

baskets, clean, color

Image courtesy of Pexels.com

Make Your Home More Appealing with These Easy and Affordable Projects

 

When you have to sell your house, you want to make the most you can and do it as fast as possible. Of course, moving is also very expensive, and you don’t want to put a lot of work into your home that won’t necessarily pay off. Fortunately, there are plenty of things homeowners can do to make their place more appealing to buyers that take only a little effort and even less cash. We’ve outlined some of our favorite home improvement projects anyone putting their house on the market should consider doing.

 

Paint Vinyl and Linoleum Floors

 

When it comes to making DIY home projects affordable, your best friend is paint. A gallon of paint costs as little as $30 depending on the brand, so your time is the biggest cost when it comes to this project. Vinyl and linoleum floors can make your house look cheap. Painting vinyl floors a bold color or pattern gives your home a cool and modern look that appeals to buyers.

 

Add Mirrors Throughout the Home

 

By adding mirrors throughout the home, you don’t just make the place look larger. When people tour the place, they will constantly be seeing themselves in it… literally! A great way to add mirrors to your place without spending too much money is by securing cheap, framed mirrors to doors with the frames and doors painted to match. This is especially great for closet doors, where that last-minute reflection can catch outfit snafus before heading outside.

 

Declutter Everything

 

When it comes to staging a home to sell, all real estate agents suggest two things: get rid of personal items and declutter like there is no tomorrow. When it comes to personal things like pictures, diplomas, and souvenirs, you may not be ready to get rid of a lot of them. However, you still want them out of sight and out of mind while you are showing the house. Get a head start on packing by boxing these items up and keeping them in an off-site storage unit where they can be safe and secure until it is time to relocate.

 

However, when it comes to extra items that have no sentimental value, it’s time to get tough. Decluttering your home means getting rid of anything that doesn’t have a purpose in your life. Eliminate thoughts of “what if” or “maybe in the future.” If you need something in the future, you can buy a new one when that moment comes. For now, it can either go in the trash or to a local charity, wherever it best serves its purpose. Best of all, this project costs you absolutely nothing and will cut down on your packing once you finally sell!

 

Tips for decluttering:

 

  • Don’t just clean out the areas you can see! Your home’s storage is one of its biggest selling points. Get rid of junk hanging out in cabinets, closets, the attic, and anywhere else you store things so browsers can get a clear idea of all the house has to offer.
  • Send items places where they are needed most. While used decor and clothes can find a new home through a thrift store, your old towels, blankets, and cleaning supplies can be a huge help for the animals living in your local shelter.
  • Get your hands on a copy of Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Not only will you learn how to successfully let go of items that do not “spark joy” in your life, you will also learn how to keep your home tidy and organized so it looks great and is ready for people throughout the home-showing process.

 

If you want your house to look great and sell faster, you don’t have to put a lot of money in it. You can give cheap vinyl floors a chic update with not much more than a can of paint. If you want your house to look bigger while appealing to more people, add mirrors throughout the place. Finally, the most cost-effective way to make your house look great to buyers is by clearing out clutter. Box up and store sentimental items, but be ruthless when it comes to letting go of things that do not “spark joy.”

 

Thank you Erin!! You can follow her at http://diymama.net/

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2018 in Organizing

 

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