≡ Menu

Simplify, simplify, simplify…Henry David Thoreau

Here we are…beginning another new year.  It’s a clean slate and we all want to make the best of it.  Whether or not we are into making resolutions, we all tend to start the year off with lots of good intentions.  One of the first things people like to do in January is to de-clutter and try to get organized.  Who doesn’t want to simplify their lives?  Who really enjoys being surrounded with clutter and stuff?  The internet and magazines are promoting de-cluttering/organizing methods and the store flyers are full of organizing supplies.  Whether you are preparing to sell your home in the near future or live there for many years, it’s never a bad thing to be tidy.  Where does one start?  How can we find that motivation?  How can we keep it organized once we complete it?

Because of my profession and wanting to help my clients get their homes and lives in order, I recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  Although I may not necessarily agree with everything she suggests (such as emptying your purse out at the end of every day and putting things away – that might be a tad extreme for me, but my purse, also known as my “luggage” due to it’s weight, could use a good clearing out lol), she makes a strong case about the benefits of her method (known as the KonMari Method) of tidying up.

Early in the book she quotes “A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective.  It is life transforming.”  “When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too.  As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don’t, and what you should and shouldn’t do.”

Her criterion is to only keep items that inspire joy in you.  If an item doesn’t bring you joy when you touch it, discard it.  In the end you will be surrounded only by things that you cherish and make you happy.  Sounds simple enough…right?  lol

She tells you to tidy everything in your home at once, following a particular order.  There’s even a special way of folding, displaying, and even hanging clothes, all geared towards creating energy and happiness.  You must discard from each category first and store later.  Everything will have a designated spot, and when you are finished with an item, it is to be returned to it’s place.  She swears that once this is done, you won’t relapse back to old habits.

Any of you who know me will say that I’m a fairly organized person.  Yet since reading this book, I am inspired to remove all kinds of things that aren’t required, no longer have a purpose, or don’t bring me joy.  Therefore, I am going to put the KonMari Method to it’s test in my own home in the near future.  I will keep you updated on my progress and provide more details on the process along with photos to show the difference.

I’m also basing my first special of the year on de-cluttering and organizing your home.  Anyone who hires me for this service in the next two months will get a bonus – pay for 4 hours service and get the 5th hour free.  On top of that, I’m also going to give you a copy of Marie Kondo’s book – either paper copy or download – for you to read prior to our session.

What are you waiting for?  There’s no better time to get organized than right now.  I look forward to hearing from you and can’t wait to help you simplify your life.

I also look forward to anyone’s comments, information, and/or photos on their adventures and experience in organizing.  Remember to pass on any usable items to charity groups to help others in the process.

simplify.thoreau  

 

 

simplify2.thoreau

 

 

{ 0 comments }

Should auld acquaintance be forgot…and never brought to mind?

Happy New Year everyone. Be safe and be happy tonight however you choose to spend your evening. I’m looking forward to a wonderful 2016, meeting and helping to improve the lives of my clients.  Contact me for assistance whether it be for home staging, design work for renos/updates, home/seasonal decorating, room layouts, de-cluttering/organizing, or colour consultation.  Peace, happiness, and love to all.
{ 0 comments }

Let it go, let it go, let it go!!!

I got this advice in a recent email and thought it was worth sharing with you all.  I’ve heard it before, and you have probably heard it before, but sometimes we need a little reminder to keep us focused on what is important.

“This is a busy time of year for everyone and can be very stressful.  One way to try to reduce that stress is to look at whatever you are worrying about. Then ask yourself,  “Will this still be important in 10 minutes?” Clearly if the answer is no, let it go.

Then you gradually expand the time frame to help you decide how much energy and importance you should continue to give to what was stressing you out.

Will it be important in 10 hours?

How about 10 days, or 10 weeks, or 10 months?

The idea is to only give as much attention and problem solving as something is really worth in the bigger scheme of your life goals.

Helpful for anyone who has a tendency to get stuck in an obsessive thought loop that’s
not moving you forward.

I know that happens to me, even more so when I’m already stressed. Can you relate?

I hope this tip helps you too!”

Another good tip is “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

If there is anything I can do to help you feel less stressed, such as getting your home de-cluttered and organized, having it staged so it sells faster for a better price, design work for major repairs or updates, everyday decorating to suit your lifestyle and taste, or even just picking out a paint color that will help you enjoy your space more, I can do it all.  Contact me and you will feel the relief immediately.

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe, happy, healthy holiday.  All the best to everyone going into the new year.

{ 0 comments }

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time

The party’s on
The feeling’s here
That only comes
This time of year

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time
Simply having a wonderful Christmas time

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could “simply” have a wonderful Christmas time?  Wouldn’t it be so much better without the commercialism, the mounds of gifts, the overspending, the worrying about what to give that special person, the crowded malls?  Wouldn’t it be great just to spend time with family and friends?  We put so much effort into shopping, wrapping, writing cards, decorating, baking, cleaning, etc. that by the time Christmas comes, we are tired and stressed from it all, not to mention the money we have spent.

For me, I appreciate the opportunities to get together to celebrate the season with loved ones.  It’s all about simply enjoying each other’s company.  Every year I tend to do less and less…with the exception of maybe decorating.  🙂  Even my decorating style is simple and natural.  The few gifts I give are wrapped in plain kraft paper and tied with twine or burlap.  I give my adult children cash to help out with something they want to do…like my son taking a trip to Japan next year.  Instead of doing a gift exchange at work, I suggest we donate that money to the less fortunate.

This season I’d like for you to take a look under your Christmas tree and ask if you really needed to buy all those presents.  Was it necessary to spend all that money?  Will you use or wear everything or will it just take up space on a shelf or hanging in a closet?

Why not think about “spending time” instead of “spending money”?  Or maybe take a special trip, go out for a meal, a movie, a concert, a hike, bowling…whatever interests your loved ones and will bring you closer together.  Help someone trim their tree, decorate their home, make something home made, or do some baking.  Give children tokens to choose an outing of their choice.  There are lots of ways to make people happy – it doesn’t have to be an expensive gift and we are more likely to remember good times or good deeds rather than a scarf or tie.

Some memories I’ve made so far this year include my sisters getting together to decorate my mom and dad’s Christmas tree and do some baking and an evening enjoyed with some gals I went through school with.  You can’t beat time well spent.

my mom and sisters on tree trimming day

the gals' gathering 2015

However you choose to spend your holidays or your money, I hope you enjoy… simply having a wonderful Christmas time.

 

 

 

 

{ 0 comments }

Wow, do you believe how quickly the year rolls by and once again it’s Christmas already?  Seems everyone is getting into full swing now with all the things that go along with the season: concerts, parties, shopping, baking, wrapping, and of course my favorite, decorating.  🙂

When it comes to Christmas decorating, there are so many themes and options.  There’s elegant, simple, traditional, rustic, whimsical, glitzy, natural, retro…and the list goes on and on.  Some people have multiple trees and decorate every room and some light up and/or decorate every square inch outside.  Christmas decorating should be sparked by items that bring you joy, and it would be pretty boring if we all liked the same thing.  I love seeing all the different styles and ideas that people come up with.

Personally, I like to keep with a classic country theme using natural elements such as boughs, berries, cones, wood, burlap, baskets, candles, and white lights.  Here’s a little sample of what my house looks like so far this year (subject to change and grow 🙂 ).

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

 

 

 

Collection of Christmas decorations

Collection of Christmas decorations

If you are stumped and looking for decorating suggestions, pop into Greenleaf Enterprises in Wilmot where you will find everything you can imagine to help you spark your home decorating talents.  Tammy and her staff have done a wonderful job displaying the never ending supply of stock.  If it doesn’t put you in the mood for the holidays, nothing will.  Here’s an idea of what the greenhouse out back looks like…but you will need to go to get a closer look and take it all in.  You will be amazed!!

image image
image image
image image

There’s also still some time to get me in to help if you require it.  I can assist you no matter what your taste and style and will help you come up with ideas that will compliment and enhance your current decor.  Gift certificates for my services are a great way to show you care for loved ones.

Makes Sense to give gift certificates.

Makes Sense to give gift certificates.

Feel free to post your decorating ideas, comments, or pictures for others to see.  Happy decorating everyone.

I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and may peace, love, and happiness fill your holidays and into the new year.

 

{ 0 comments }

Cry for help!!!

“Wanda. I’d like you to come help me again. We need to work out something so I can have you help with the other areas of clutter in my place. I really need a firm person to tell me I do not “need” certain items.”

This was a recent message I got from a client I had done some decluttering with a few months ago.  I’m always happy to help someone get their home and life organized and it’s so fulfilling to see the results.  This client has worked hard to maintain what I had previously done but just didn’t know where to start from there.  So off I went today to give her a hand and to assert my authority helping her get rid of unnecessary items.  lol

We managed to get another couple rooms done today in a few hours, and oh what a difference we made.  And while I was hanging some wall art, she was putting things away, moving some stuff to the shed for fall cleanup, and posting “things” online to get rid of them (some of the items were sold and picked up while I was there).

Dining area before

Dining area before

Dining area after decluttering and organizing

Dining area after decluttering and organizing

The family room downstairs had become a "catch all" for everything she didn't know what to do with.

The family room downstairs had become a “catch all” for everything she didn’t know what to do with.

I think you will agree that this is much better.

I think you will agree that this is much better.

from another angle...

from another angle…

done and done...another happy client

done and done…another happy client

Is your home overwhelming you?  Do you need a boot in the butt to help you get rid of things?  If you answered yes to either of these questions, then contact me right away to book your appointment.  Fall clean up will be here before we know it so don’t miss out on that opportunity.

{ 0 comments }

5 Huge Misconceptions about Home Staging

Home staging is the act of preparing a private residence for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money. Staging techniques focus on improving a property’s appeal by transforming it into a welcoming, attractive product that anyone might want. Professional home stagers create an atmosphere that house hunters can envision themselves living in. If they don’t feel an emotional connection immediately when viewing your pictures online, chances are they will skip over the listing and move on to others.

That being said, why would home owners choose NOT to stage their property. Here are some common misconceptions that sellers may have about home staging:

  • It’s too expensive.

It is a proven fact that staged homes sell quicker and at a higher price than those (of equal comparison) not staged. Think of staging as an investment. Staged homes are perceived to have a stronger value and that usually translates into a higher selling price. If you don’t stage, you may face added costs in extended mortgage payments, utility bills, maintenance to the property, etc., thus making the fee of home staging an excellent deal. Home stagers can also prevent you from making costly updates that may not be necessary.

  •  I know how to decorate. I can do it myself.

Decorating and staging are completely different. Decorating is what you do to make your home suit your personal/family needs, likes, and life style but an accredited home stager has the knowledge and experience to prepare your home to suit the taste of the majority of buyers regardless of their personal style.

While there are definitely chores that anyone can do to get your own home ready for listing, I highly recommend that you hire a professional home stager to achieve the best results possible. It’s difficult for any individual to view their home with a critical eye. You live in it every day and you tend not to see the outdated wallpaper, stained carpets, scuffed up floors, old-fashioned fixtures and hardware, and worn paint on the walls. You no longer notice the odors of your own pets. You are oblivious to the amount of “extra” furnishings and belongings that you have crammed into your space. You don’t understand the theory behind removing family photos, mementos, or collections. or setting rooms up for the purpose that they were intended.

You need someone who doesn’t have an emotional attachment to your home or contents to view it and tell you what needs to go and what needs to be added. As a professional home stager, I will be able to assess your home and transform it, using special techniques in furniture arrangement, lighting, and accessorizing to make the house appear bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, and more inviting.

This guest bedroom was beautifully decorated but seemed very small.

This guest bedroom was beautifully decorated but seemed very small to potential buyers.

By changing up the decor and making it a child's room, it opened up the space and made appear much larger.

By changing up the decor and making it a child’s room, it opened up the space and made it appear much larger.

Large open living room/dining room set up as dining room only

Large open living/dining room set up as dining room only.  Viewers were going away thinking there wasn’t room for a living room on main level.

Set up to show there is room for a living room and dining area.

Staged for the intended purpose to show there is room for a living room and dining area.

 

  • Staging is only for vacant homes.

It is especially important to furnish vacant homes to capitalize on their potential and enhance the perception of their worth. An empty house is cold and uninviting, difficult to imagine how to place furnishings, appears smaller, and the imperfections of the home will be heightened. The home does not have to be completely furnished but we recommend that the main areas (at least) look “lived in”.  Therefore, it is imperative that you stage while your home is occupied to prevent the chance of it becoming empty before you sell.

My aim (in an occupied home) is to keep costs reasonable by using what furniture and accessories already exist, downplaying the negative features and highlighting the positive points, transforming your home to make it more inviting and memorable to prospective buyers and enticing them to make an offer.

Empty living/dining area...lacks character and appeal.

Empty living/dining area…lacks character and appeal.

Doesn't this get your attention and interest better?

Doesn’t this get your attention and interest better?

Thought while viewing this picture on MLS listing "Nice transom window.  I wonder what room this is."

Thought while viewing this picture on MLS listing “Nice transom window. I wonder what room this is.”

There's no question that this is the master bedroom now...so much more appealing.

Thought while looking at this picture online “Lovely spacious master bedroom…nice transom window.”

  • Buyers can make the changes that they want themselves.

Statistics show that:

63% of buyers will pay more for Move-In-Ready homes.

90% of the buying population cannot visualize the potential of a property.
These buyers do not see beyond just what is shown them.

You may not want to do a little painting or replace flooring, but the cost of your doing it will always be less than the reduction in offer that a buyer will make, IF they don’t walk away because of the work involved in updating the items on the “to-do list.” I can make recommendations for improvements and products that will justify the asking price and lead to higher, faster offers.

Living Room Before

By removing the border throughout this home and painting the walls, it was much more appealing to perspective buyers.

Although costly, it helped the home sell faster and at a higher price point, bringing in a higher ROI.

Doing this work helped the home sell faster and at a higher price point, bringing in a higher ROI.

Although this DeCoste kitchen was large and in good shape, it was tired and dated.

Although this DeCoste kitchen was large and in good shape, it was tired and dated.

By painting the cabinets and adding a backsplash, the home owners greatly improved their chances of selling and

By painting the cabinets and adding a backsplash (totaling less than $800), the home owners added huge value to their home and sold very quickly.

  • We can always stage later if it doesn’t sell.

“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Truer words were never spoken. The ideal time to stage your home is prior to listing. It will give your MLS listing photos the extra boost to make your home stand out against the competition. You are more likely to get your asking price and maximize your investment if you stage right from the beginning. The longer a home sits, the chances of it selling reduce, and the necessity to lower the sale price increases.

That being said, if your home has been on the market for some time and is not getting showings, much less offers, it’s never too late to call us in. Once we have completed our services, you can have your realtor come back in and retake the listing photos.

Living room before staging

This unstaged home sat on the market for 270 days with lots of interest and showings but no offers.

Living room after staging

The day after staging there was a showing, which led to a second showing the following day followed by an offer.  Within a week the SOLD sign was on the lawn.

These sellers staged before they listed...

These sellers staged before they listed…

and sold during the first week to the first viewers.

and sold during the first week to the first viewers.

If you aren’t staging your home, then your property is helping to sell the other homes in your area.

Book your consultation and let me show you how I can make your home stand out above the competition.

{ 0 comments }

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

Does this describe how your summer is going? I don’t know about you, but mine has been anything but “lazy,” however it has been pretty “crazy.”

Last fall we moved into our new home, and as soon as the weather was nice enough to start working outside this spring, we started the outdoor overhaul. The house was fairly new and lacked on curb appeal.

The humble beginnings

The humble beginnings

We started by adding black shutters to the front window. The few plants and trees that were there were removed, and the garden across the front of the walkway was expanded and extended around to the privacy fence of the deck. A Japanese maple was added as the focal point and then various flowers and shrubs were scattered throughout, covering it completely with stone for low maintenance.

Next we added some red Adirondacks, a black table with a few accents, a large floral planter (in reds and white) sitting on an old chair that we painted black (distressed with red), a lamp post and wreath, and a new civic number. It’s amazing how the house now looks so vibrant with all the pops of color.

Front of house completed

Front of house completed

Moving along to the side of the house:

Full side of house before overhaul

Full side of house before overhaul

I’ve always wanted a sunroom, but since that wasn’t an option, I purchased a second hand gazebo. There was already a 12X12 deck on the south side of the house. If we added on to it, the gazebo would have covered two windows, so we constructed a second 12×12 deck about 12 feet away from the first. With a little help from some friends and family, the second deck was built in no time and the gazebo erected. It didn’t take me long to get it set up and fully functional…not to mention “decorated” (although that is ever changing  lol).

Second deck and gazebo...done and done

Second deck and gazebo…done and done

Hmmmm...what to do with this blank space??

Hmmmm…what to do with this blank space??

Then came the question of what to do to link the two decks together. We decided to make a garden area in the back next to the house and just have the front part decked on a lower level to create the full length step. The garden is highlighted by an old ladder in the center that clematis will eventually climb on, plus other scattered shrubs and flowers, also covered in the stone.

Garden and deck to bridge the gap

Garden and deck to bridge the gap

The sod was then removed from in front of the full length of the three decks (out about 3’), some shrubs planted, and other planters added, and once again covered using the same stone.

Completed at last!!

Completed at last!!

The final result.

The final result.

There has been some blood, sweat, and tears shed during all this plus some stiff achy muscles and sore joints, but I’m thrilled to say that it is today complete (other than some soil and seed that will have to wait for fall). Now we have a wonderful outdoor space to relax (whether we choose to be in the sun or shade), a peaceful retreat away from the bugs, and a sheltered area during the rain…plus we have added exponentially to the curb appeal and value of our home.

from gazebo looking at original deck

from gazebo looking at original deck

cozy gazebo completely decked out

cozy gazebo completely decked out

Now we can roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer…and we’ll wish that summer could always be here.  Drop by for a soda and pretzels and beer.

Like the sign on the ladder says "Welcome to our Deck - Sit Long Talk Much Laugh Often"

Like the sign on the ladder says “Welcome to our Deck – Sit Long Talk Much Laugh Often”

{ 0 comments }

One Amazing Product to Transform your Cabinets

Have you ever thought you would like to update your kitchen or bathroom cabinets but didn’t think you could afford it? Well, let me tell you it’s easier and cheaper than you ever thought possible.

If your cabinets are in good shape, maybe they just need a fresh coat of paint to make them look new again. I have recommended Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation to several of my clients and have used it on a few items myself. They advertise “No stripping, no sanding, no priming” and it really is as simple as it sounds. It comes in numerous colors in either light or dark shades and can be painted to look like a solid paint or with a glaze to give it more depth. It can be used on wood, laminate, or melamine.

Here are some examples of kitchens where Rustoleum was used:

Kitchen Before Updating

Kitchen Before Updating

Kitchen after updating

 kitchen.before  kitchen.after2
 2012-07-14_15-14-21_61 2  20130604_212045 2

One kit is less than $100 and you would likely only need 2 for an average size kitchen so for a reasonable price and a little time and labour, you can have a completely transformed, updated space.  Why wouldn’t you?  Makes $en$e to me.

Check out their website at http://www.rustoleum.com/en/product-catalog/consumer-brands/transformations/ or their FB page https://www.facebook.com/RustOleum?fref=ts to see this product plus others that they offer.

I’m going to run a contest. I will give away a Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation dark kit that can be tinted to the color of your choice. Just send a picture of your cabinets that you would like to refinish, or of cabinets that you have done with it in the past, to me at wanda@makessensehomestaging.com (for me to post on my FB page), and I will enter your name for the draw. Be sure to keep an eye on my page for the entries and share it with all your friends to enter as well.

{ 1 comment }

When it comes to home staging, it’s all about making your “space” stand out on your MLS listing and getting the attention of potential home buyers. You need to make it look as appealing and welcoming as possible. You are selling them a lifestyle, not just a home.

While there are definitely chores that anyone can do to get your own home ready for listing, I highly recommend that you hire a professional home stager to achieve the best results possible. It’s difficult for any individual to view their home with a critical eye. You live in it every day and you tend not to see the outdated wallpaper, stained carpets, scuffed up floors, old-fashioned fixtures and hardware, and worn paint on the walls. You no longer notice the odors of your own pets. You are oblivious to the amount of “extra” furnishings and belongings that you have crammed into your space.

You need someone who doesn’t have an emotional attachment to your home or contents to view it and tell you what needs to go and what needs to be added. As a professional home stager, I will be able to assess your home and transform it, using special techniques in furniture arrangement, lighting, and accessorizing to make the house appear bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, and more importantly, making the home buyer want to purchase it.

Last year while my own home was on the market, I made mistakes and learned some valuable lessons the hard way. While there were things I couldn’t change, such as the basement not being finished or the fact that it only had one bathroom, I listened to the feedback from viewers and responded as necessary.

The most common complaint was that the bedrooms were too small –

Even though my training taught me to prepare every room for its intended purpose, I continued to leave my office equipment set up in my third bedroom. This consisted of a huge corner workstation (with hutches) laden with computer, monitor, printer, shredder, and numerous other items that I was using for my business. Even though I had it set up with a bed, I thought it would be ok because this was my “office” and it was so much trouble to take it down and pack it away. Surely people could see that there was tons of room in that space if I could fit all that in there. NOT!!! All people saw was that the room was so crowded – therefore thinking it was too small. Removing the large desk and adding a much smaller one really opened up the room and made it look much larger.

large office hutch desk

large office hutch desk

bedroom with small desk

bedroom with small desk

My second bedroom (the smallest of the three) was set up as a guest room using a queen size bed, and again, it looked small and overcrowded. We took out the queen size bed and set it up as a young boy’s room in a nautical theme and it made the room seem huge.

spare room with queen size bed

spare bedroom set up as child's room

spare bedroom set up as child’s room

In the master, we removed the bookcase headboard (giving us more open floor space), rearranged the furniture, and lightened up the curtains and bedding to make it appear much bigger and brighter.

master before makeover

master before makeover

master - where did all that space come from?

master – where did all that space come from?

I can help you find space that you never realized you had and make your property so much more appealing.  Let me help get you noticed on MLS, bringing in more viewers, and faster, more enticing offers.  Contact me now before it’s too late.

{ 0 comments }