Okay everyone, I have a confession to make: until a week ago, we didn’t own a working lawn mower. Thanks to our assortment of spring flowers, we got by for a while on the excuse that our yard was “cottage style.”
But then a storm came through in the middle of the night. We woke up to a yard full of scattered tree branches and flower petals. On top of that, it seemed like the rain caused the grass (and weeds) to shoot up two feet! With visions of Cinco de Mayo festivities dancing in our heads, we knew it was time to clean outside of the house. With help from a dear friend, we are now proud owners of a fully-functional lawn mower and a tidy lawn.
If you’re like us and have been neglecting your yard, now is the perfect time to give it a makeover just in time for summer – barbecue season, anyone?
Start with the gutters. The rule of cleaning from top to bottom still applies outdoors. Cleaning the gutters will remove any debris that built up over winter.
More Outdoor Cleaning Tips
With warmer days ahead, now is the time for closet organization. Online readers are searching for organizing shortcuts and stylish storage. Let’s face it, switching out a seasonal wardrobe can get ugly, especially if you have kids. It IS possible to make any closet or storage space stylish and functional.
When I’m organizing closets for a seasonal overhaul, it is a minimum two-day, 4-step process: wash, toss, store and stock.
Step 1: Wash/Dry Clean Winter Coats, Snow Gear and Sweaters.
Step 2: Toss Old, Unused or Outgrown Clothing.
I trash the bad and donate the good. When I was a stay-at-home mom with infants and toddlers, who outgrow clothing several times every season, I participated in children’s consignment sales. This is a great way to cash in on old clothes in order to buy a wardrobe in the next size. Here in Knoxville, we’re getting ready for the Duck Duck Goose event, the largest children’s consignment sale in the region.
Step 3: Store Cold-Weather Clothing. Early spring weather is unpredictable, so as a rule of thumb, I keep boxes of winter clothes accessible until Mother’s Day weekend. This is where stylish storage comes in handy.
Step 4: Stock Warm-Weather Clothing. Before organizing closets, make a list of everything you need for spring and summer. As you load up shelves, closets and drawers, take inventory so you can formulate a detailed shopping list. Knowing exactly what you have and what you need is essential for staying on a budget.
Even when it feels daunting, stay the course. Good closet organization is always worth the effort because it’s an everyday time-saver and the best way to greet the first warm, sunny days.
How do you organize closets for the changing seasons?
Can you believe Tax Day is almost here? Yes, it’s true – somewhere between building that raised bed and decorating all those Easter eggs, we’re less than two weeks away from the April 15 deadline.
Preparing your tax return can be chaotic, but it doesn’t have to be. Keeping important papers organized year-round can help you spend less time scouring your file cabinet and more time planning your Tax Day shopping spree (you know you’ve been browsing the sales).
SPRING PROJECT: Upcycle Your File Cabinet
Start with the mail. It’s easy to let the mail stack up, and somehow even easier for unread letters to make rounds through every room of the house and get lost. Since it’s not always possible or practical to deal with the mail as soon as you walk in the door, create a system for sorting the mail that works for you – it doesn’t matter when or where, but a consistent routine will help you stay on top of things.
More Ways to Curb Paper Clutter
We love music in my household. In fact, my roommates and I have a speaker in just about every room of the house. They help us power through our chores whether it’s tackling piles of laundry, scrubbing the tub or vacuuming – we do a lot of vacuuming.
With March finally underway, I want to kick off spring cleaning season by sharing a couple of playlists to help you breeze through your household tasks. Categorized by cleaning mood with everything from today’s pop hits to ‘80s power ballads, you’re sure to find something to get you motivated.
You can listen to the entire mix here, or read on for the individual playlists.
More House Cleaning Music
Winter is undeniably one of my favorite seasons, but I’ve checked out early this year. In an attempt to coax spring into coming early, I’ve started the long and grueling process of cleaning my house.
Whether it’s deep cleaning or just tidying up, there are a few ways to go the extra mile and keep your home sparkling. During my spree, I uncovered dirty items around my home that I didn’t even realize were in need of my care. I cannot confirm or deny that I spent 30 minutes vacuuming a loveseat.
1. The upholstery. Vacuum couches, chairs, love seats, rugs and mattresses, then spot clean with a rag and warm water. Depending on the fabric, curtains and slipcovers can be tossed in the washing machine.
2. The walls. If you have kids or pets, this might be a no-brainer – those handprints (or pawprints!) add up. Wipe off any loose dust with a soft cloth, then gently scrub off any dirt with an all-purpose cleaner safe for your walls. (Test in an inconspicuous area first if you’re unsure.) Don’t forget the molding!
Achoo! A couple of us down at HGTV Headquarters aren’t feeling so well. I spent last week in bed fighting what I’m convinced was the plague, armed with only a stash of home remedies and a few boxes of tea.
Unless you’re one of the lucky ones that never seem to get sick, you’re bound to catch a cold sometime. Keeping your home spic and span is one of the most important ways to ward away disease, and a thorough cleaning once you’re feeling better can prevent illness from spreading to your loved ones.
Start with the air. If you don’t remember the last time you changed the AC filter in your home, you’re cheating yourself out of good health. Harmful airborne particles like smoke, bacteria, pet dander, mold and allergens can build up in your home with a dirty filter. A quality pleated filter will only run you about $20 and last for 90 days.
Take off your shoes. Your shoes are a breeding ground for bacteria. Millions of harmful microorganisms can be tracked across the floor – a major problem only multiplied if you have kids that like to play on the floor. Take your shoes off at the door and politely ask guests to do the same.
Read the Rest
The Super Bowl is in a couple of days, and whether you love or hate the sport, it’s the perfect excuse to throw a party. I’m sure you’ve spent all your time picking out the food and drinks, and now you’re stuck with a messy house. If you don’t have time to thoroughly clean your home for your guests, just worry about making it clean enough. I know, I know I’m not supposed to encourage that, but sometimes you’ve got to fake it ’til ya make it, people.
Here are a few quick cleaning tips:
- Focus only on areas your guests will see (the foyer, media room, guest bathroom, etc.).
- Give the room a decluttered look by placing magazines, cords and other items in stylish trays and storage bins.
- Wipe down all surfaces.
- Carry a laundry basket to pick up displaced items while doing a quick sweep in each room.
Get More Tips From Sabrina Soto>>
What are your favorite last-minute cleaning tips?
It’s true that keeping a closet neat and organized is a difficult task, but life with no closet or a small closet may feel like you’re just perpetually shifting things around.
Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way. I wrapped up my holiday season by moving into an old house with two close friends. The house was built in the early 1900s, has beautiful hardwood floors and a mantel in the living room and two of the bedrooms.
The only problem is that my lovely new home has no closets. It also didn’t take too long for my roommates to realize that dorm life had spoiled me – I was the proud owner of no furniture, mismatched, collapsible hampers and a mountain of clothes and shoes.
There are plenty of ways to fake an organized space if a traditional closet just isn’t possible. You can make or buy an armoire or chifferobe, build your own custom closet or repurpose items to create a storage nook.
Unwilling and unable to purchase an expensive armoire or go custom, I chose the latter option and invested in a freestanding wardrobe. I plan to strip the cloth cover (the fabric resembles a reusable shopping bag) and hang sheer curtains in its place – an easy first step since the wardrobe is held together by metal rods. To hide my always-growing shoe collection, I’ll place a shoe organizer inside. I also want to get a wood pallet cut (almost any home improvement store will do this for you) to sit on top, leaving me space to stash baskets of scarves, socks, hats and other accessories.
It sounds like a bit of a hassle at first, but I certainly wouldn’t trade the time I estimate the project will take for living out of a suitcase again. I’m also pretty sure my roommates want their coat rack back.
How do you deal with a lack of closet space? Tell us how you battle clutter in the comments below and for more creative storage solutions, visit the links below:
Storage 101: A Closet Makeover
12 Steps to Your Dream Closet
8 Revamps for Your Closet
Declutter the Closet
Repurposing Household Items for Closet Organization
Kids’ Room Storage Solutions
Maximizing Storage in Your Walk-In Closet
Make Your Closet Resemble a Chic Boutique
We’ve finally arrived at the most wonderful time of the year, ladies and gentlemen – Christmas is only one week away!
When you’re busy running from store to store trying to get the perfect gift for friends and family, it’s easy to forget the little things you need Christmas Day, like mountains of tape and batteries. In honor of all the chaos, we’ve compiled a list of all the essentials you may have forgotten so you can spend more time with your family and less time racing to stores come Christmas Eve. After all, no one likes a last-minute Scrooge.
See the List
It’s crunch time, everyone! Many of you might have Thanksgiving guests starting to trickle in (I, for one, have already made myself quite cozy at my parents’ house), but I’m willing to bet a large percentage of you are doing one last mad cleaning-dash through your home before your loved ones arrive.
Being a host isn’t easy, but it’s rewarding to see the smiles on the faces of your friends and family. Before the hungry cavalry arrives, take some time to prepare your home for your guests. A lot of organization and a little bit of thoughtfulness can go a long way.
Become a Super Host