Saturday, January 31, 2009

Comings and goings-4 ways to save time and money at your front door.

Do you find that the entrance to your home is always a mess. Do you have a hard time keeping track of keys, purse, shoes, etc.? Here are a few ideas to keep you on the right track.

1. Let's start with your feet. Shoes carry in more germs and dirt than you would want to know about. Keeping shoes at the door helps to keep your floors clean (less housework) and you'll always know where your shoes are.

2. You MUST have a specific place for all of your belongings. Your keys should be returned to the same place every time you walk through the door. The same goes for your purse, sunglasses, phone, gloves, coat, and anything else you have with you.

3. Have a spot (shelf, basket, bench) where you can put things that need to exit the house with you. Dry-cleaning, library books, mail, and so on. This tip alone will save you a lot of frustration and maybe even some money.

4. Develop a system for handling mail as it comes in the house. First, open all mail. Throw away junk mail, file coupons, date your bills (in the space reserved for a stamp), and put them with your "bills-to-pay" holder.

By being proactive, you will be more organized, happily efficient, and less frustrated.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

10 things to get rid of right now!

To celebrate January as "Get Organized" month, I'm writing about 10 things that you can get rid of right now to make your life a little bit less hectic. It's really simple.

1. Plastic bags from the grocery store (take them to be recycled)
2. Plastic containers/lids with no matching container/lid. (throw away-they are useless)
3. Chipped or stained coffee cups(throw away)
4. The extra twist ties that come with trash can liners.(throw away)
5. Extra newspapers and magazines (recycle them)
6. Socks with missing partners (after 1 month of doing laundry, toss them)
7. Pens that don't write and pencils to short to sharpen (throw away)
8. Books, videos, and CDs you aren't interested in any more (donate to charity)
9. Clothes you don't wear any more (donate to charity)
10. Gift bags, tissue paper, and wrapping paper that is too wrinkled or dated to use (throw away)

Just think of the clean space you will have after purging your home of these items. I don't know why we tend to accumulate these things, but no one is immune. Take about 10 minutes each day this week and tackle a few of the items on this list. You'll be happy you did.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Sparkle Effect

Don't you just love it when your house sparkles? I think that's why we like the Christmas season so much. All of the white, twinkling lights make our house feel special.
To get that effect during the "off" season, I use a magic chemical. Window Cleaner. Yes, plain old window cleaner. Actually, I use a homemade window cleaner made with water, white vinegar, and rubbing alcohol. It works wonders. I use it everywhere. You see, dust and grime have a way of dulling everything in our home. The gentle window cleaner eliminates the grime and makes the house sparkle. I use a good quality rag or paper towel to wipe down everything. Picture frames and their glass, mirrors, table tops, lamps, figurines, appliances etc.. Be careful not to spray the cleaner directly on any surface. Spray the rag you are using and apply the rag to the surface.
Don't forget to clean the inside of your windows at the same time. A clear view to the outside is a beautiful thing.
A side benefit of using the vinegar based formula is that it works to reduce static, thus cutting down on dust attraction. It also works to remove odors. The down side of vinegar is that your house smells like you are dying Easter eggs (temporarily).
I hope you give the "Sparkle Effect" a try. We all need a little sparkle in our lives.

Recipe for my window cleaner:
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 cups water
1 TBL. rubbing alcohol (optional)
*the rubbing alcohol helps the liquid to evaporate quicker. I only use it when I am cleaning windows.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Every room needs a purpose

When I'm visiting with a client who wants to stage their home before putting in on the market, I'm surprised by the amount of rooms that have no intended purpose. Empty rooms that have a few boxes in them or rooms with everything (including the kitchen sink) in them. What's a buyer to think? Every room needs a purpose; other than storage. If you have one of these rooms, make a decision as to what purpose that room should have. Home office, craft room, guest bedroom, work-out room, library, etc.. It's best to not leave anything to the potential buyers imagination. Do the work for them and get your home sold.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Getting the know the Tidy Brown Wren

The Tidy Brown Wren with Gus and Bubba, our pygmy goats.

My name is Kelly Miller and I live in a quiet, rural area in South Eastern Virginia. I am married to a wonderful, patient man. We have 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren (with another one on the way). I enjoy gardening, crafting, decorating, cooking, remodeling, and blogging about all of it.

I am a professional organizer and certified home stager. So, not only do I like to "putter" in my own home, I get paid to do it in other people's homes too. During the school year, I am a preschool teacher at my church. I love to teach young children and I think it helps to keep me young.

Now, about the name. Our home is called Brown Wren Acres. My husband has, for many years, referred to me as his little brown wren. I'm not an exotic, tropical bird kind of person. I'm a small, rather average person. But, I have a real passion about nesting - making a house into a home. I even nest when we go camping. Our campsites are well organized and very "homey". You see, real Wrens will build a nest anywhere. They are always busy and usually noisy. It hasn't gone unnoticed by me that their tails stick out too. I try to remedy this by exercising every day.

My goal is to blog about the things I love to do and I hope it will inspire you to try some new things. But don't worry-it won't affect the size of your tail.