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Preparing for Your Next Big Move

» 03 March 2015 » In Organization, Planning » Comments Off on Preparing for Your Next Big Move

I know that feeling:  the feeling of anxiety, stress, apprehension, no sleep, no eating (or eating depending on how you react to stress), sadness, happiness, etc. It’s the feeling of selling your home. The one you have so many memories in, you love the location, you have it renovated to perfection, you have meticulously taken care of it for years. So why are you selling?

Possibly for several reasons:  real_estate_sign_sold_800_wht

  • Your family is getting bigger and needs more space.
  • Your family is getting smaller and you need less space.
  • An opportunity to have your “Dream Home” suddenly came up.
  • Sadly a divorce, death, loss of job, or other hardship has forced you to make a change.

Whatever the reason, it is an emotional time. There are so many decisions:

 You put in an offer on a property, with the hopes of it being accepted. You play in your mind 50 million scenarios of selling your property. What can I get for it? How much will it cost me to sell? What do I have to do to get it ready? Do I want to sell my furniture, items, etc.? What will I need for the new home? What’s the best way to save on taxes?  What type of financing can I get? How much will I need to put down?

 What you need is a great team of experts. Within this team is where Home Staging Specialists can come into play. WE are the experts in making recommendations on the condition of your property. We can also stage your property READY to SELL. A seller can only control two things when selling their property: The condition of the property and the sale price. Home Staging Specialists can help you have your moving-boxesproperty looking its best with staging BEFORE you put it on the market. “A picture is worth a1000 words.” Your photographs need to look like a magazine spread. We can help alleviate some of that stress in the selling process. As part of your selling team, we work together with your agent, to help you get top dollar and to sell quickly. 

So, with the emotion of selling, let us help you and be a part of your team in the process of selling your home.

 Give us a call to further discuss.

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What’s Your Theme for 2015?

» 22 January 2015 » In Decorating, Organization, Planning, Style » Comments Off on What’s Your Theme for 2015?

Well, I don’t know about you, but the end of 2014 went by with a flourish.  So here we are, January of 2015, a new year, new beginnings, new promises, new resolutions.

New Years ImageYes, it’s the month of People Magazine’s biggest losers. I’ve posted articles about organizing, staging, and new design projects.  As I have been researching new trends for 2015, I came across a great article from Forbes by Kathy Caprino.  So for this blog, I’m adding her seven questions to ask yourself for your theme you would like to focus on for 2015 (myself included).  Other than eating healthy, diet and exercise (which is a given and a struggle for me every year after coming down from a sugar coma over the holidays).

Not that I consider myself a “deep thinker”, but no matter where you are in your life, age, etc.  I don’t think it hurts to have a plan (for those who know me, I’m all over plans!).  This especially hits home for me as I watch our children moving forward onto different phases of their lives:  first jobs, grad school choices, under grad choices, major choices, (can you sense a theme here?) and lastly our “Empty Nest Syndrome”, which is getting closer.  Whether it’s your career, where you are in life, family, etc., I think these are great questions to come up with a great theme/plan for the year.

Here are seven critical questions to ask yourself that will help you choose the best theme for your life going forward and identify clearly what you want to focus on in 2015:

1. What do you care about the most in life – from everything you read, hear, watch and attend to?

2. What agitates you most in the world that you desperately long to transform or improve?

3. What do you want to accentuate, amplify and build on in your life?

4. What key words describe the people you find most inspiring, impressive, compelling?

5. What do all your dreams for the future have in common – the critical threads and recurring patterns?

6. What is the most outlandishly wonderful fantasy you have for your life, and why would that bring you so much happiness?

7. Now, who do you really want to become in 2015?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2014/12/30/whats-your-new-theme-for-2015-these-7-critical-questions-will-tell-you/2/

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What Are Your 100 Things?

» 12 August 2014 » In Organization » Comments Off on What Are Your 100 Things?

Can you hear it, the bitter-sweet sound of silence in your home?  This is moving month and a big transition time for most families.  Gone are the lazy days of summer while we move back into the scheduling, mounds of paperwork, lists, and new schedules for the new school year.  I have just gotten back from moving our oldest (grad student) into her seventh “home”.  Needless to say, when a black cat crossed our path the day before our move, I didn’t realize the “bad omen” would really happen.  It was a long week filled with stress, frustration, exhaustion, tears (on both our ends) and some life lessons. Overall, much was learned on what to check out, asking for what you want, and standing your ground.  In the end, she will come out better and stronger and with more experience for her eighth, and hopefully final, move for a while.  I was so glad I was there to help and that she asked.

locker

Our second child has packed up and moved early to his respective college (a junior) into a house this year.  He did not want mom to help, but we did do a trip to Bed Bath and Beyond and the Dollar Store for some kitchen essentials.  It’s been fun watching him decide and realize what he needs to cook for himself.  I love that he’s asking for some of my recipes and I am more than happy to share, except for some of my signature desserts – I still like getting requests from him and his roommates to make these.

We are now preparing to move our third child off to college.  He has been awaiting this much anticipated event.  Even though he’s number three, and with experience under our belt, it’s still a plethora of emotion and energy.  We are ready to watch him take off and see where he lands.  He has made a good choice for himself and I have no doubt will be successful.

We now have one left at home beginning her junior year of high school.   As most of you know, this is a big transition year as well.  Driving solo, working, sports, oh yeah – college also starts to pop up on the radar.  It will be another transition for the three of us.  It’s still very much summer here in temperature, but a bitter-sweet change as the new routine, schedules, school paperwork and supplies go out the door to begin another school year.

100 thing

 Through all of our children’s moves and transitions, it causes me to put on my staging hat and think about cleaning out and organization.  An old friend of mine (years, not age), mother of six, told me about a book, The 100 Thing Challenge by Dave Bruno.  In the mist of all of this chaos and transition I have begun to read this book…it’s good.  The premise is about what 100 things you absolutely need to live.  Not the basics, food, water, shelter, but “stuff”.  You really only need 100 things and it has been an interesting read.   I’m not saying you need to live in a sparsely decorated home, but when you are thinking about moving, downsizing, etc., think about the 100 things, what you really need to take with you and why.

So as we are down to three Little Indians living in our home, I’ve told my husband we will begin another clean out since our third one has moved away…he doesn’t think we have anything left to clean out, but yet, we still manage to find more “stuff”.  I am putting some of the 100 things rules into play.  Our kids will thank us, hopefully, one day when WE will need their help to move, downsize or transition into assisted living.  For many of my clients who are now in that situation, it can be an overwhelming and daunting process.  So, why not beat it to the punch?  I have learned that holding onto things that we think our kids might need or want really doesn’t apply, so why not get rid of it either through a donation or selling it to someone who can use it TODAY? Be creative with what you are donating….books were a big ticket item for me this year, titles our children had to read for school or popular series, so I donated to a school of choice for others to enjoy.  Furniture is another item to sell or donate, and the list goes on.  So as the dust settles, in my home at least, I begin to apply the 100 Thing Challenge Concept.  What are your 100 things? 

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Time to Celebrate!

» 14 May 2014 » In Organization, Planning » No Comments

derby

Horses, hats, Mint Juleps,  Lillys, Mother’s Day, Graduations, birthdays…May is an incredibly busy time for us in Kentucky.  It seems like in the rush of this month there are celebrations every weekend!

For those of you who don’t know, the First Saturday in May, EVERY year, is like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa all rolled up into one.  There are events beginning two weeks before the blessed day, and a constant party, flutter and focus on fashion from shoes to hats/fascinators for both men and women.  It’s like the Oscars and Academy Awards wrapped up into one. I’ve never been so coiffed, buffed, polished and groomed for this favorite weekend in our home.

This is also the time to motivate me (actually it started in March, when it was still cold and grey, wishing for spring) because we have guests that arrive and stay for this event along with hosting a dinner party. Think spring house cleaning on steroids.  Those projects that you have put off are now front and center.  New lighting to replace the old, turned pink lighting?  Check! Landscaping completed in a timely manner, replacing all things dead that did not survive this past winter? Check!  Guestrooms…new bedding, sheets, mattresses, Derby themed soaps, etc….Check!  Cleaning out closets in the guest rooms that held all that “stuff” to use for another time? Check! And don’t forget food, hydrate, food, hydrate and more food!

bed for blog

To me entertaining is so much fun.  It is important to me to make sure that guests feel at home and have everything they need.  Make sure the beds are comfortable, because how often do you sleep in your guest room?  I tweeted earlier about an article I read on tips for your guest rooms.  Doesn’t hurt to check it out!  Also, cleaning out makes me feel better that that lovely chore that’s been put off for forever is now complete.  I feel like I am “nesting”.  Good thing as our third one heads off to college in the fall, my husband knows that we will be cleaning out again!  He made the comment the other day that there is nothing left to clean out…au contraire mon mari, there are still more closets to conquer!

So as we push on toward graduations, end of the school year and the transition into summer, now is the time to get organized, regenerate and make ready for those lazy hot days poolside, on the beach, at a ballpark or wherever this summer takes you.

Cheers to the rest of this month and Happy Belated Mother’s Day to those well deserving mom’s out there; congratulations and best wishes on your future endeavors to all of our graduates; and Happy Birthday to those Taurus’ in my life!

 

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Welcome to Spring!

» 06 March 2014 » In Decorating, Organization » No Comments

Groundhog

mags

bedding

Garage Mess 

After this last bout of crazy weather, I have always been tongue and cheek in going “Ground Hog Hunting”.  Today, as it’s sunny and approaching a heat wave of 50, I decided to Google “Ground Hog Hunting”.  It’s amazing what came up!  I read one blog of a man who gave a detailed description on how to approach and decide where to hunt ground hogs.  There are topics on lock down to where you have to become a member to find out the “How To’s.” As I am sure many of you are just like me, I have a serious case of spring fever.  I am longing for the days of flip flops, sandals, clothes with color, the smell of new grass and the vivid colors of spring trees and flowers in bloom.

 

As I am slowly thawing out, I am gravitating toward the calendar and busy with the countdown to Derby (yes, it’s less than two months away), not to mention Ash Wednesday just started.  I’m giving up as many carbs as I can and soda and trying to get back into an exercise routine.  It’s going to be a long 40 days…

 

On the flip side, we’re now starting to get spring catalogs for clothes, plantings and outdoor furnishings.  We’re also starting to think about our spring and summer projects or maybe even putting a property on the market. Perhaps we are even thinking about creative ways to freshen up our home for the change of seasons or those projects that we have been putting off due to weather.

 

Just like clothes, home design changes with color, fabrics, and textures.  During the winter months, I have been (other than eating) cleaning out, reorganizing, and updating with changes that don’t require gutting a room.  These changes can be as simple as updating new bedding, painting a room, refinishing and recovering some furniture, update some lighting, as well as adding a few new pieces, which can give you just enough of a fresh look without a total redo…

 

All of the above also work toward selling a home and getting the most bang for your buck.  However, the biggie, as soon as it’s warm enough, whether you are moving or not, is to CLEAN OUT!!  We’ve started with our garages and we’re going to hit the basement AGAIN.  If you haven’t used something in the last year, GET RID OF IT!  That box of clothes you are saving to donate, fill it up and TAKE IT!  Those bikes and skateboards the kids have outgrown?  OUT!  This is the time for new beginnings, refreshment, and updates.  It’s a great feeling and you will be glad you did it!

 

So, as we turn our clocks forward this month and count down to the first day of spring (March 20), what’s your plan for the season?

  Adam's barNM Dining Room Newmarket Family Room After

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September 2013

» 04 September 2013 » In Organization » No Comments

Holiday Wreath Storage and Display

Nope, I’m NOT pregnant!  However, since everyone is back to school and the dust has settled, moving into the routine of fall I have been “Nesting”.  You know moms out there…the time when we are busy cleaning, organizing, etc., right before a baby arrives. 

I have been on a mission at our home…it is time for de-cluttering and organizing!!  My family loves this time (ha, ha) as I am on a rampage of cleaning everything out.

Last weekend, as we were packing up our son to go off to college and I was digging around for one of our many sets of risers, I couldn’t even WALK into our attic.  So, with my husband’s help and a few others with muscle, we loaded up a BOX truck FULL of furniture.  Items that I was holding onto for… it had been so long I forgot.  Why was I keeping this “stuff”?  The kids don’t want or need it.   They have their own style.

Old outdoor furniture, girl’s bedroom furniture, trundle bed, and our old Master Bedroom furniture…the list goes on.  I can now walk into our attic, have our outdoor wreaths hung up so I can see them (just a few seasonal, really) and see the floor.

Now of course, I do have a sentimental side.  I still have in my possession baby dolls, Thomas the Tank Engine train, etc., and keeping the costume/dress up box because the college kids still use it for Halloween.  What still needs to be eliminated are old Christmas decorations that I don’t put up anymore, battered Halloween and Easter decorations, board games, and books, books, and more books.

Attic Storage and Organization

Am I a tosser?  Regarding some items, yes.  But mostly, I find someone or someplace to donate the items that are wanted or needed.  So the big questions that I ask my clients all the time are, “Why are you holding onto this?  Do you need it?”  So, I asked myself the same questions.  If I come up with an answer that begins with “Just in case, I MIGHT need or the kids might…” then IT NEEDS TO GO!  Half the time I have found things I forgot I had saved!!

 

I have to say, after last weekend (albeit, sore and bone tired) I can’t help but feel cathartic and a HUGE sense of accomplishment.  Not only did we clean out the attic (yes, I even vacuumed the floorJ), but four other storage closets AND my staging storage area is also being revamped.  There is still more to be completed, but it’s a great start and an even better feeling!!

 

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January 2013

» 11 January 2013 » In Organization » Comments Off on January 2013

res·o·lu·tion

– noun

1. formal expression of group opinion

2. determination

3. solution of a problem

 

Most of us make them, some keep them, for awhile…

Now that the holidays are officially over, albeit it was fun, it’s a new year and I am most anxious to put away all of the holiday decorations, new gifts, list making, make any exchanges if necessary and get organized!

This is a great time of year!  As we are making room in our closet for the new sweater we just got as a gift, go through our closet and PURGE!!  Get one of those boxes out of the garage, or better yet, a Hefty Garbage Bag, SEVERAL, and take a good hard look at your closet.  I go by these few simple rules that I am sure you have read time and time again, next to the January People Magazine showing how much weight a person has lost, but they have proven to work for me.

1. Go through your winter coats, jackets, etc.  If you have not worn them in the last 2 years, it’s time to donate!  I LOVE coats, hats, scarves, but you can only wear so many.

 Donate winter items not worn in last two years2. Pants:  If you did not wear them   at all, or if you are like me, have a plethora  of sizes (Fat pants, skinny pants, and the pants you can wear today), DONATE the pants you have not worn.  Chances are, if you are like me, by the time you have lost 10 lbs. to fit into those pants you LOVED, they are out of style.

 3. Everyday work out clothes:  By far, a classic white t-shirt is my favorite along with sweat pants.  I live for comfort.  However, take all of your workout (or lounge clothes) and take a GOOD LOOK.  Yes, I know, it’s your favorite shirt, but so what if you can see the armpit stains before you put it on!  TOSS it OUT!  Anything with holes, bleach stains, etc. TOSS! You can’t even donate that nor do you even want to use it as a rag!  We can get new t-shirts at many cost-effective stores. 

4. Undergarments…let’s not forget about those…even if on a whim we bought “something special” that still has the tags on them, or they wear out or don’t fit anymore!  It’s time to say good-bye to those!

5. SHOES:  My friend Kim will tell you, I have a very difficult time parting with shoes. ThisDonate shoes that  pinch, blister or don't fit correctly summer I had two pair of silver sandals that I had fixed twice  (2 times, each pair) because I wore them ALL THE TIME!  As much as I hate to say it, they will need to be tossed.  Along with donating those shoes that pinch my toes, leave blisters and maybe even smell a little even though they are broken in perfectly.  I’m all for shoes looking fabulous, but they do need to fit correctly, or let’s be honest, we won’t wear them!

While we are at it, let’s repeat this process with our summer clothes as well.  Yes, go to that bathing suit drawer and check out how faded our bathing suits are, toss out those three summer dresses that you wore all summer and do the same for those ill fitting shorts.

When we are finished with our closet, let’s move onto other storage ideas: 

What about our attic when we put our holiday decorations away?  As we box them up, we are going to purge as well.  Gone are decorating to the max for Halloween, we don’t have trick-o-treaters anymore (although I still do keep the dress up box with costumes because they still come back from college looking for something!)

How beat up are your other holiday decorations?  If you can only glue that nose or dangling arm back on one more time, it’s may be time to let go.  My children (not so much children anymore) have had a collection of ornaments from their grand and great grandparents since they have been born.  One year, I bought each a bin and separated all of their ornaments.  Of course, with four, we have enough ornaments for several trees.  Although we have one central tree, I have saved my “Special ornaments” that were for the kids and my husbands and my collection over the years separately.  When they move, they will have a good start for their own tradition.

Plan, organize and purge to keep an organized homeTo some, this might sound a bit overwhe lming.  However, when you plan your time and stay focused on meeting one goal at a time, and, depending on the project, recruiting family and/or friends, it goes smoothly and it’s definitely a great feeling to look at the newly organized closet and plan for the upcoming season. For those Sex in the City fans, remember when Carrie was purging her closet? She and her girlfriends had a lot of fun. Just as in a workout, it’s amazing what some good music, friends and a little nosh can do when cleaning out!

This month is all about cleansing, starting new, fresh.  This is the time to plan, organize and purge as we wait for the signs of spring.  Starting new and fresh is always a good feeling.  Whether it’s cleaning out a closet, or a new coat of paint, it’s definitely a pick-me-up when the weather is cold and gloomy.

So along with the usual resolutions (mine includes drinking more water), this winter is all about purging our “stuff”.  Good luck!!

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