Use Chalkboard Labels to Get Organized


My favorite new item in my bag of organizational tricks is to use chalkboard labels to get organized. They can be used everywhere! Well, almost everywhere. What are chalkboard labels? They are blank labels you can stick on a jar, box, or other storage container to be used with a special marker. You can use real chalk with them too but mine came with the marker which I like because chalk has a tendency to get everywhere PLUS (and this is big) the ink will stay put until you wash it off. I’ve tried similar systems before but have faced one of two problems: the ink is too permanent so I can’t relabel the container or the ink isn’t permanent enough and rubs off. The writing on these labels will stay for as long as I want but no longer. When I want to reuse the container for something else, I simply stick it in the dishwasher or squirt the label with a little Windex and it’s good to go again.

I buy a lot of food from the bulk section in the grocery store. My pantry has been filled with all sorts of bags. Bags for beans, grains, pasta, cereal and so-forth. One shelf  looked like a sea of plastic bags and trying to find what I was looking for was a serious challenge. Knowing how long it had been sitting there was an even bigger challenge. The last time I cleaned out my pantry I found three bags of the same thing. Another benefit is pest control. Airtight storage like this prevents bug infestations. I’ll soon be purchasing a few more storage containers for things like crackers.

Now I have a collection of wide-mouthed mason jars adorned with chalkboard labels. On each label I have written Continue reading

Clutter Square Footage Ratio

The Clutter:Square Footage Ratio

Stagers and Realtors alike have all faced that uncomfortable moment of trying to explain to homeowners why many of their beloved treasures should be packed away before putting a home on the market. We fear that homeowners will take our comments, which are intended to be helpful, as criticism of their personal taste even though we have explained why it is so important to declutter and depersonalize a home.

Redesign Before


I have found the following explaination to be very helpful. I call it the clutter:square footage ratio –

“Stuff” absorbs square footage. The more “stuff” you have, the less square footage you will appear to have. Home buyers aren’t interested in your belongings. They’re interested in your square footage because that’s what they are buying. Our aim is to minimize your stuff by packing away your personal photos, chachkes, and non-essential furniture in order to maximize the footprint of your home. By making your home appear more spacious, potential buyers will feel they are getting more bang for the buck. Square footage sells!

And money talks. When I ask clients to declutter in order to make a space look less personalized or even less crowded, they become “reactive” and interpret it as a comment on their personal taste. When I ask them to help me make the space look bigger so people feel they are getting more for the money, not only are they less reticent, they often become proactive in packing everything away. So, break out the boxes and let’s start that “pre-packing”!Redesign After

These photos are from a redesign client rather than a staging client but we removed 9 chairs, 7 rugs, 5 tables, 3 boxes to be shredded, and much more from this living/dining room. The client told me she used to dread spending time in her apartment and now can’t wait to get home. It also inspired her to clean out all of her closets and even get rid of her precious shopping bag collection.


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Young Children and the Staged Home

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 3.07.14 PMThis shouldn’t be a shocker but living with young children in a staged home is not so easy for two simple reasons: they’re messy and they have a lot of stuff. I’m messy too and only have two closets in my entire house so I get it. Really, I do! But here are a few simple suggestions for keeping the mess in check while preparing your home for sale:

1. Limit designated play space. I have been in a great many homes with young children that have kids’ bedrooms and playrooms but yet the living room and dining room are also playrooms. When trying to sell a home every room should have a clearly defined purpose. A living room should look like a living room and a play room should look like an ORGANIZED playroom. All toys should be stored in a child’s bedroom or playroom. If the child is playing somewhere else in the house, that’s fine. Just take out one toy at a time and return it to the appropriate room when finished.

2. Purge. Now is the perfect time to sort through the toys and get rid of items your child has outgrown or no longer plays with. Pre-pack seasonal toys your child won’t be needing. I know you’re busy and have a lot to do trying to manage your life, your children’s lives, your career AND getting your home ready for sale but DON’T PUT THIS Continue reading

Preparing Your Home for a Spring Listing

Listing Your Home In The Spring

This is the time of year when many new listings start to come onto the market. If you are thinking about listing your home in the spring, I have one word for you: landscaping.

First impressions are everything and nothing gives a better first impression than a well-maintained property. It may even be worth spending a little money for a professional landscaper to come in and edge the gardens, clean out the weeds, mulch, and stick in a few flowering plants. Keep a broom handy while Continue reading

Fruit arrangement

Prepare Your Home for a Fall Listing

Autumn is one of the busiest times of year for home sales. Here are a few suggestions to prepare your home for a fall listing that will help it to stand out from the competition.

1. Keep a rake and broom handy. Colorful autumn leaves are gorgeous on the trees but not great on the ground for selling a home. Landscaping helps to sell a home and all of those leaves cover it up. Plus, a home that looks beautifully maintained on the outside implies to buyers it is also well-maintained on the inside. First impressions are everything so keeping the outside of a home looking as loved as the inside is important. To prepare your home for a fall listing, rake up those leaves and sweep up the sidewalk, driveway, and porch before perspective buyers come to the house.


2. Keep some living color outside the home. If your summer annuals are dying or have gotten leggy or scraggly, remove them and replace them with something new. Mums are a great way to add color. Decorative kale is also good. Both of them tolerate the fall weather long after your flowers and herbs have withered. Put a nice large pot of mums at the foot of the steps or on the stoop or edge the sidewalk with some kale to add a dash of color to your autumn entryway.


3. Bring some autumn décor into the home. Instead of spending lots of money on fresh flowers every time you have a showing, set a large bowl of apples or citrus on the table. Feel free to mix it up. You can also add nuts, cinnamon, etc. to the centerpiece.  If you’re feeling especially motivated, buy new apples before an open house and bake a pie with the old ones just before the open house so the house smells great too! If you’d like to add the scent of fall to your home without lots of time or effort simply add some cinnamon, cloves, and star anise to some apple cider and leave it simmering on the stove before buyers come to the house. Here is a link to a few simmer pot recipes. It’s a nice warmer for a cool autumn day.

Autumn is a beautiful time of year. Preparing your home for a fall listing may require a little bit of upkeep but it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and it is well worth the investment and the effort.