Kiss the Clutter Goodbye in 4 Easy Steps

Kiss the Clutter Goodbye in 4 Easy Steps

Do you have problems keeping your home clean? Here are some easy tips so that you can kiss clutter goodbye forever!

Photo: Via Houzz

From the outside, your home appears to be clean, neat, and tidy. In fact, your friends routinely oh and ah over your organization skills and your ability to keep your home clean despite holding a full time job, raising young kids, and catering to a demanding spouse. However, you can never accept those compliments without feeling a twang of guilt, because you know the truth: you are far from organized and tidy, and if your friends could see behind the closet doors, they would be appalled.

If your closets are bursting with every coat you’ve ever owned since the 90s…if your garage is lined with shelves but you and your partner still have to double stack bins and place items on the floor…if your kitchen drawers contain more papers and junk mail than they do utensils, it may be time to stop cleaning and start decluttering. If you’re cringing at the thought of getting rid of your dear earthly possessions, these four decluttering tips can get you past the pain and through to a clutter-free house.

Go Through One Room at a Time

Reader’s Digest says that the best way to a clutter-free home is to take it one room at a time. Whether you’re a hoarder or just someone who let the clutter get out of control, you may feel overwhelmed by trying to tackle your entire home at once. Start small, say, with the kitchen drawers. Once you’ve decluttered the drawers, clear out the pantry, and then the cabinets. Before you know it, your kitchen will be clutter free, and it will feel so good, you won’t hesitate moving on to the next room and to do what it takes to keep your house clean and beautiful.

Photo: Greer Interior Design

Be Ruthless

Living Well, Spending Less tells homeowners to purge ruthlessly. Chances are that everything you own has some sort of sentimental value (the dress you wore on your first date, the hair tie you wearing when you had your first child, the keys from your first family vehicle). People can find an attachment to anything, which is what makes people human, but it’s also what results in clutter. It’s okay to be sentimental, but don’t be sentimental to a fault. Yes, keep your children’s going-home outfits, but toss that hair-tie.

Another thing people hold onto is gifts. It’s hard to toss something given to you by a loved one, but if you don’t like it, use it, or it’s broken, it’s just taking up space. Give the item away to someone who will use it.

Ask Yourself the 5 Big Questions

If you’re having a hard time parting with something, ask yourself the five basic questions:

  •       Does anyone use it, wear it, or play with it?
  •       Does it still fit?
  •       Is it in good condition?
  •       Does it enrich your life?
  •       Could someone else use it more?

If an item isn’t used, donate it. If it doesn’t fit or is in bad condition, toss it. If it doesn’t make you think happy thoughts or become a better person, and if someone else can use it more, give it away.

Photo: JCD Custom Home Design

Sleep On It

If all else fails, sleep on it—or rather, put the item away for one month and don’t look at it again until that month is over. If you find yourself missing that item within the month, it’s probably safe to keep it. If you open the box a month later and think, “Oh! I forgot about that!” get rid of it.

Decluttering is often an overwhelming process for most people, but once they get started, it becomes a little less so. These four steps can help you get on the path to a clutter-free and beautiful home.

6 Easy Woodworking DIY Projects to Decorate Your Home

6 Easy Woodworking DIY Projects to Decorate Your Home

Transform your home with these easy woodworking projects you can do yourself!

Decorating your home forces you to consider your budget, aesthetics and the taste of others in the home. Unique and antique furniture add an eclectic feel to a home, but your home isn’t a display. Your space should represent who you are. Make something special to add to your decor. Natural wood adds warmth to your home. Before you get started, take appropriate safety precautions. Take off dangling jewelry, wear loose clothing and always remove screws and nails from repurposed wood.



Truly build-it-yourself with these six easy woodworking DIY projects.

Reclaimed Serving Tray

Do you have a sentimental piece of furniture or another piece of wood? Is it flat and long enough to reclaim as a serving tray? For example, you could use old barn wood from a door to construct a reclaimed serving tray. Cut one or two pieces of wood down to lap size. Add two vertical strips on either end and screw on decorative handles. Wood glue assists in a pinch.

Shoe Organizer

Build a simple shoe storage rack for under $20 — it moves shoes off the floor and shortens your cleaning list. This storage rack is simple, but it can handle the most heavy-duty winter and industrial work boots to pointy pumps. Gather the essential wood materials and tools beforehand, such as a cordless drill, 4-in-1 screwdriver, screws, dowels, level and wood glue. As you cut and drill, imagine each pair of shoes as ten inches wide, which will give your shoes just enough space to breathe.

Wooden Sofa Sleeve and Cup Holder

You spend time crafting the perfect cup of tea or coffee, and you want to sit down and enjoy a book. The problem is bending over to reach your cup. Solve the problem by making a wooden sofa sleeve with a cup holder. The project calls for a Kreg Jig to make pocket holes, but wood glue proves is savvy. Soon, you’ll enjoy your cup of coffee right alongside a good read with no need to shift out of your comfortable position.

Cookbook Stand

Don’t fret over turning cookbook pages any longer with this simple cookbook stand. The stand can also accommodate a tablet if you prefer that as your modern cookbook library.

You can use reclaimed wood for this project to make it eco-friendly and budget-friendly, but you will need to get acquainted with a miter saw and orbital sander — aside from that, the tools are easy to use and include screws, clamps and drills.

Technology Charging Station

Tired of staring at a cluttered drawer? Empty it out into a box. Convert your clutter drawer into a technology charging station, which will also help you organize your cords and devices. Don’t go searching for lost tech again. Install a multi-outlet electric strip at or near the back of your drawer, and insert variously cut pieces of wood into the drawer. The wooden pieces should have small holes drilled into them for the cords, and your local hardware store can even cut the wood down for you. Make sure you know your measurements in advance.

Desktop Media Box

Keep your media technology out in the open and organized by building a desktop media box. It’s an elegantly simple home for your remotes and cords. All it takes is three pieces of wood, a sanding block, clamps, wood glue and a beautiful finish. Don’t forget to measure your stand and television as well as your remotes. The width of your box must be sufficient enough to hide these objects. Try these six easy woodworking DIY projects to add simplicity, warmth and personality to your home. You don’t have rely on impersonal items from big box stores — your own two hands offer the perfect personal touch.

Just Built a House? How Often Should Pest Control Be Done?

Just Built a House? How Often Should Pest Control Be Done?

Find out how often you should be checking your house for pests!

Photo: Milieu Landscaping

It is a fantastic feeling when you finally finish building your home. You’ve complied with all the regulations, dotted all the ‘I’s’ and passed the final inspection. You’re ready to live in your house and make it a home!

But, your work is not completely done! There are pieces of maintenance that need to be completed on a regular basis if you want your house to stay looking and feeling good. Having just built your home you might think that pests will not be an issue. While you hopefully won’t have any at the start; there is always the risk that they will arrive. After all your new home may look very appealing to them too! Pests are known to cause millions of dollars worth of damage every year; keeping them away from your home should be a priority. But the question is how often should you have pest control done?

Photo: Historical Concepts

There are several things you should do:

Book An Inspection

You need to select a reputable and professional firm in your vicinity. To do this it is advisable to speak to family and friends. You can also check social media and even compare prices after talking to the firms. Once you have selected a firm they will be the one you use for inspections and if you ever have a pest issue.

You need to book a pest control inspection as soon as you finish your home. The reason for this is that they will be able to evaluate any weak points in your new property; allowing you to correct them before the pests move in. They will also be able to advise you regarding the most common pests in your area and what symptoms to look out for.

Photo: Historical Concepts

Decide The Regularity

It is a good idea to book in your next appointment straight away so that you don’t need to remember and it doesn’t get postponed. You have two choices:

  1. The Annual Plan

This is a yearly visit to check for pests and to advise regarding any potential access points on your property. For most new builds this should be sufficient. However, you may also wish to consider the second option.

Photo: Milieu Landscaping

  1. The Bi-Annual Plan

This is the same visit as option one but you have two per year. You can usually get a discounted rate if you book these in advance. Two visits may seem extreme but if termites move in just after your annual visit they can do a lot of damage in one year. This is the better option if you are in an area known to suffer from termites or other invasive pests. It is also a good option if you have ever had an issue with pests; it is much easier to defend against them than to get rid of them and repair the damage. Of course, if you ever see signs of a pest problem you should contact your chosen firm immediately to get the problem sorted quickly.

3 Reasons Hardscapes Are Trending in Today’s Landscaping Design

3 Reasons Hardscapes Are Trending in Today’s Landscaping Design

Hardscapes are a low maintenance way of achieving a beautiful landscaping design without the up-keep! Keep reading to find out why we are in love with hardscapes!

Photo: Thompson Custom Homes

If you are looking to undergo a total renovation to your landscaping design this year, have you considered just what a hardscape could do to totally change the look of your lawn and garden? Just browse the Internet and you will see that hardscapes are trending in 2018. There are some lovely examples of Architectural Landscape Design with the inclusion of hardscapes you can get ideas from.

No, you don’t need to live in Minnesota to employ ideas from that site, but if you do, that may be one company you could consult with if you live in or around Minneapolis and are looking for someone to take your project from design to completion. Nevertheless, here are three reasons hardscapes are trending this year.

1. Little-to-No Maintenance

Many homeowners find that they simply don’t have the time to keep up with lawn care as it should be. While working long hours and having many family responsibilities, it’s hard to find time more than once a month to get out there long enough to mow the lawn. Forget about planting and caring for decorative flowers, shrubs, and other plants because there wouldn’t be time for that. Therefore, the most common reasons why so many homeowners are leaning towards hardscapes is the minimal care they require.

Photo: K&D Landscape Management

2. Outdoor Living Space at Its Finest

Hardscapes can be used for anything from a peaceful place to rest after a long day at work to the backdrop for an outdoor kitchen. Whether covered or open to the blue sky above you, you will begin to discover multiple ways in which a hardscape area of the lawn can serve as extra space outside the home. These are especially useful if you often entertain outdoors in the summer. Enjoy friends and the fresh outdoors without adding mess and clutter to your home.

Photo: Van Puette Lanscape

3. Well Suited for Small Lawns

Even homes in suburbia are often situated on small postage stamp-sized lots. When this is the case, hardscapes come in handy. With a natural stone floor, a fire pit for warmth and beauty, and a chair or two to rest in, you can appreciate nature even more when you know you need to do nothing more than hose it off a few times to keep it fresh and clean. Why buy a lawn mower when your backyard is hardscaped? Don’t forget, you can add potted plants for a bit of color if you so desire.

Along with those leading reasons why hardscapes are trending, you will find homeowners saying that it is also easier to keep their homes clean because dirt and mud aren’t getting traipsed into the house after a heavy rain. On the flip side, hardscapes can help to keep dust down during dry months when there has been little rain. With a few potted plants, you can enjoy the same natural beauty as you would in a traditional softscaped garden and some of those plants can even be used for vegetables and herbs.

Hardscapes are a major trend in landscaping that is growing by the day. Now you know why

Solar Energy Was Big In 2017

Solar Energy Was Big In 2017

Find out why solar panels are one of the best ways to save energy and what’s new for the future of solar energy.

Photo: Grady o Grady Construction and Developement Inc.

One of the great goals of today’s civilization is to achieve energy independence from fossil fuels. Many strides have been made in this aim, both in transportation and in energy production so far. Renewable sources of energy like solar and wind energy are being harnessed and countries around the world have successfully operated solely or largely on the energy produced by those sources of energy, including the latest report from Scotland.

However, those news all come from large industrial-scale complexes and national energy corporations. If you as an individual want to take part in the energy revolution, there are companies such as which offer home sized solar solutions. You can not only reduce your electricity bill by a significant margin, you can also help save the planet, and the tax rebates you will be entitled to are just an added benefit.

So, what is the state of solar energy in the world?

Photo: Eric A Chase Architecture

Solar Is Still Far From Dominant

Despite everything we hear about the great strides that solar energy is making in the world, it still only contributes 0.7% of the world’s energy needs. That is not to say that the solar power is not viable, but the amount of energy the world consumes each year is a staggering 22,000 terawatt/hours of energy.

Even though it may seem like the attempt to make solar energy more prevalent isn’t particularly successful, the growth rate of solar energy speaks to the contrary.

This year alone, almost a 100 GW of new solar capacities have been added to the world’s electricity production. This number doesn’t mean much until you learn that the total solar capacity of the world is now at around 400 GW, meaning that solar has increased by 25% this year alone.

Photo: Chiemgauer Holzhaus

Projections for the Future

It is tricky to speculate about the future of solar energy, but if the growth continues at this rate, as early as 2030 we can expect to see solar energy as the primary source of electricity. Even if the progress slows down as it was projected to, it is expected that the amount of energy produced by solar energy is going to double every two to three years.

Even today, solar energy plants have exceeded the capacity of nuclear power plants. However, solar energy has a disadvantage because it only works during the day and its capacity is reduced during the cloudy days. That means that the realistic output of nuclear power plants is still higher than solar, but with the growth of solar energy, that is slowly changing.

Photo: Montana Rockworks Inc.

Who’s Leading the Pack?

Contrary to the engrained belief, China is the leader in the installation of solar power facilities. In fact, out of the 100 GW of new solar panels, almost 53 GW were installed in China alone. The USA’s 12 GW is dwarfed in comparison. One of the most recent participants in this energy revolution is Turkey with almost 2 GW. It may sound insignificant at first, but once you realize that this puts Turkey in the leading position in Europe, that tells a lot.

What Do Individual Solar Panels Mean

In the great scheme of changing the landscape of energy production, installing individual solar panels isn’t going to change much. However, there are many advantages on the individual level which you can exploit.

The first and foremost advantage is the reduction of the cost of electricity. During the peak hours, you can even produce more energy than you can spend, so you can actually feed the energy into the grid and get paid to do so. Most parts of the USA provide some incentives and tax rebates to people who install solar panels, and California is no exception. You can learn more about the advantages of installing solar panels in California from Action Solar.