Archive for the ‘De-cluttering’ Category

Spring Cleaning

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Tulips and daffodils are making themselves known, popping up out of the dirt, a sure sign that spring is here. It’s time to get your house looking and feeling clean, inside and out. Here is a checklist of things that need doing:

Outside:
• Put seasonal items away in storage (snow shovels, Christmas decorations, etc.)
• Pick up stray garbage
• Clean up after your pet
• Shake out entry mat
• Sweep the walks and deck/patio
• Rake the grass when it is dry
• Turn on hose bibs when the chance of freezing is over
• Put out hoses
• Power wash siding
• Wash windows and doors
• Clean outdoor light fixtures
• Clean outdoor furniture
• Trim trees, bushes, shrubs
• Prepare garden and flower beds for planting

Inside:
• Start at the top and work your way down
• Clean ceiling fans and light fixtures
• Dust ceiling corners
• Wash or dust walls and baseboards
• Clean air vents
• Wash windows
• Wipe all light switches and electrical plug covers and door knobs
• Dust all surfaces
• Clean all window coverings
• Polish furniture
• Clean floors
• Pull out appliances and clean underneath them

Selling Your House in Spring: Tips That Will Boost Your Home’s Appeal

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Selling Your House in Spring- Tips That Will Boost Your Home's Appeal | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’ve decided on moving to another section of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region in the springtime, you’ve first got to sell your old home. While selling your home can be difficult, whether it’s Stony Plain real estate or not, it can be made easier with some helpful tips. Selling a home in the springtime is definitely different from selling it at any other time of the year. In the spring, there are certain factors that you can work to your advantage. Here are some of the best tips to boost the appeal of your home.

Make Sure Your Yard Is Immaculate

Selling in the springtime means that you have a lot of people who will be looking at your yard because of the better weather. Spruce Grove real estate agents believe that you have to de-clutter your yard and make it extremely presentable to all the people filing in during an open house. If you can, you’ll want to start preparing in the winter by sprucing it up one season early. Focusing on the yard involves the basics, such as making sure the lawn is cut and looking nice, the fence is painted, and the area is free of debris.

Get Rid of Junk Inside the Home

Parkland County real estate agents agree that less is more when it comes to showing your home in the spring. This means that it is in your best interest to get rid of junk inside your home. When people are walking through your house, whether it’s Edmonton real estate or not, the last thing they want to see is your junk. This can be everything from dirty clothes and unused pieces of furniture to older stuff that you’re just hoarding in a corner somewhere. It’s a good idea to clean out your bookshelves and closets, and send old stuff to storage.

Compare What Other Houses For Sale Are Doing

When selling your home, it’s a good idea to check out Parkland County acreages or Edmonton acreages, or other homes for sale in your municipality, just to get a feel for what the other homes are going for and what they’re including in their offers. For instance, if you see things that are popular in your neck of the woods, you might be inspired to make the same changes to your own home when selling it. Popular items in homes could be anything from hardwood floors to new light fixtures to upgraded appliances. If there’s something that people in your neighbourhood like, then you may want to consider including it in your home when you sell it.

These are the most effective tips for selling your home in the spring. Thanks to these tips, you’ll be attracting more people than ever to your open house events. Any time you’re selling a property, it is always important to give homebuyers precisely what they’re expecting.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me for any home-related questions you have. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

***We now have a monthly email newsletter!  Send an email to barry@barryt.ca with Subscribe in the subject line and we’ll happily add your name to our mailing list.***

Leaner, Cleaner — and Sold!

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Leaner, Cleaner -- and Sold! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSome time ago I had a house listed in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region whose owners were enthusiastic antique collectors.  Every room in their home was filled with furniture, knick-knacks and treasures from multiple eras and design influences.  Nothing really matched, nor was there a unifying theme tying things together.  The overall effect was of too much miscellaneous stuff crammed into too little space.  This is exactly the impression a seller does not want to give a potential buyer! 

Getting this place sold needed the removal of large numbers of objects so as to showcase the space rather than the possessions in the space.  Items not removed were those essential for daily living that were both nice to look at and anonymous.  Many sellers learn the hard way that living in a home is very different from selling a house, and items cherished by the sellers may actually deter potential buyers from making an offer.

Ask yourself what you are selling.  If it’s the house and not the stuff in it, how can you show off the house to its best advantage?  You can do this by staging your home to make it look as spacious, clean, tidy and organized, fresh and up-to-date, attractive and functional as possible.  Did I mention spacious?!

Please read my other articles on home staging:  Home Staging Starts with De-cluttering”  and “Be Your Own Home Stager”  Let’s assume that you’ve already thrown away the trash, sold or given away unneeded or unwanted items, and packed up stuff you’re not currently using (e.g. winter equipment and clothing if it’s summer) but which you’ll be taking with you when you leave your current home.  What else needs to go before you put your home on the market? 

“Identity” items: 

  • All items with your name on them:  utility bills, diplomas, certificates and awards, sports jerseys, personal documents such as passports, medications, etc.
  • All family pictures
  • All collections:  spoons, ball caps, dolls, model cars, sports memorabilia, coins, cookbooks, DVDs, etc., as well as valuables such as jewelry.
  • All ethnic, cultural and religious items
  • All evidence of hunting:  guns, clothing, stuffed game, antlers, etc.
  • All work-related items, such as computer or office-related binders, books and manuals, cords, CDs, phone books, etc.
  •  Any items that might distract or offend potential buyers, such as smoking materials, pet paraphernalia, lewd artwork and the like

Stuff in general: 

  • Dated and dusty decorative items, such as old dried flower arrangements
  • All broken items, and things you’ve been “saving”
  • All excess furniture and accessories in every room.  Don’t forget outbuildings and outdoor spaces as well.  Keep just the essentials, and set up each room or space according to its intended purpose.  This may mean turning an office back into a bedroom while your home is on the market.
  • All extra items from porches, decks and entryways (such as loose pieces of carpet, boot racks and the like), and all items from stairwells and hallways.
  • Large appliances, like a freezer or extra fridge, that won’t be sold with the house
  • All items off window ledges, and open the window coverings
  • All old paint, chemicals and hazardous waste, as well as renovation and building materials that are not relevant to the house’s current upgrades

Tips for Specific areas

 

Shelves:

  • Remove everything.  Replace just a few display items, leaving lots of space between them:  some hardcover books with attractive covers, a couple of unusual knick-knacks, neutral photos such as landscapes, small plants

Closets:

  • Remove about 75% of closet contents, keeping just the items you absolutely have to have while your home is on the market!  Leave as much space between items on hangers as possible, and clear closet shelves and floors as much as possible.  Arrange everything neatly.

Other storage spaces:

  • Stockpiles of everything have to go from basement storage areas, garage, storage shed and the like.  Keep only the items you need to maintain yourself and the home while it is on the market.  For example, if it’s summer, you’ll need lawn mowing and gardening tools but not winter items like snow shovels and brushes.  Pack up the tools, hobby items, sports gear, etc.

Kids’ rooms:

  • Remove all but your children’s favorite toys, clothing they will be wearing on a day to day basis, and necessary equipment (e.g. changing table and related items for infants).
  • Remove all stickers and posters from walls and doors

Kitchen:

  • All items off the tops of cabinets and the fridge, including magnets, children’s artwork, calendars, etc.
  • Everything off kitchen counters except bare necessities, such as coffee pot, kettle and toaster.
  • Purge plastic container collection.
  • Pack up all extra cookware, dishes, utensils, specialty items you won’t be using while your home is on the market.
  • Reduce stored food items as much as possible so that cupboards and pantry appear as spacious as possible.
  • Knives off counters and stored under a cabinet (for safety).
  • Clean out all cabinets and drawers and replace only the essentials in a tidy and organized fashion.

Bathrooms:

  • Out with all old and half-used toiletries.
  • Bare minimum of personal care products, in attractive containers, if possible.  However, do NOT leave out in view things like razors, hairbrushes, toothbrushes, medications and the like.
  • Reduce quantity of cleaning products to just what needs to be used on a daily basis.
  • Clear out cabinets; put back only essential items.

Laundry area:

  • Clear off all shelves and leave only items you have to have.  Nothing on the floor!

Home exterior:

 

During this process, you’ll probably come to realize that:

  • Potential buyers will be looking everywhere in your home.
  • It will take time and energy to repair, clean, de-clutter, de-personalize and stage your home so it looks spotless, spacious and inviting.
  • You may have to rent space in a storage facility to store your belongings.
  • It’s going to be a little painful to have to camp in your own home for the period of time before your home is sold and you move out completely.

But I hope you’ll believe me when I tell you:

  • The focus will no longer be on the home you’ve created and your stuff, but the space, the flooring, upgrades, fresh paint, the yard, and all the other features that buyers are looking for.
  • By clearing out the clutter and packing up as much as possible before your home goes on the market, you will have much less to do when it comes time to move to your new home.
  • Your home WILL sell faster and it WILL earn you more money – in some cases, 1000s of dollars more.
  • You may even find that you can get along just fine without so much stuff!

Remember the phrase from the movie Field of Dreams “Build it and they will come”?  Stage your house so it becomes a Home of Dreams and the buyers will come!

Comments or questions about this article?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

 

Pocket Offices: Family Central 2.0

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

A few weeks ago I posted a blog article called “Family Central” about carving out a family organization center somewhere in the family home to round up all the paper and paraphernalia associated with day to day family life.  Our lives in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region just keep getting busier, don’t they?  And it seems to get harder all the time to keep track of schedules and corral all the clutter. 

A great article in the February 23, 2013 edition of the Edmonton Journal entitled “Tiny, perfect pocket officesconfirms the need for such a space in a family home and contains lots of valuable information and good tips about how to create and use these small but mighty work spaces.   Check it out! 

Looking for a home with something special?  Maybe I can help.  Call or text me 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Family Central

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamFamily CentralDoes your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton-area home have a special dedicated room or home office that functions as the “business hub” of your family’s activities?  Where the kids do their homework, mom and dad pay the bills, family members update schedules, store keys, phones, laptops and other important items that need to be grabbed before leaving the house?  No?  Well, you’re not alone in wishing for a magic solution to the problem of keeping everybody organized and the house clutter-free!  With today’s busy lifestyles, it’s no wonder that many people can’t find their dining room tables and kitchen counters under the daily avalanche of school papers, mail, newspapers and magazines, electronic devices and much more.

An article in the January 26, 2013 edition of the Edmonton Journal entitled “Building the perfect family hub” addresses the questions of what is needed to create a family organization center, how to find the space, and how to make it all work in even the smallest of homes. 

According to the article, the most important items needed in the center are a calendar for keeping track of everybody’s schedules, a message board (dry erase or corkboard) for posting and sharing information, a bin or section of corkboard for each family member’s own current information needs (such as school permission slips), and a power strip and shelf for charging electronic devices.  A work surface for homework and the like is also ideal, as well as a laptop or computer for checking email, doing research, etc. 

But where to put this?  A room such as the bonus room found in many of today’s newer homes or a mudroom would be great, but not necessary according to the authors of the article.  Instead, there are numerous other options, such as converting a pantry cupboard or small closet into a desktop with storage above, seating below.  Even a single kitchen cabinet can serve when space is really tight.  For some excellent visuals, take a look at my Pinterest board “Great Little SpacesThe key is defining the purpose for the space chosen as the family hub. 

If you are lucky enough to have a room-size space available, you can furnish it lavishly with a built-in desk and storage, or more economically with items from around the house or from garage sales – whatever will fit the budget and the needs of your family.   

This leads to the final aspect of such a center, making it work.  Again, let your own family’s needs be your guide.  Bright colors and an attractive space along with a firm commitment to use this area as THE spot for family business go a long way to keeping the rest of the house tidy and organized!  Check out the article for more details and ideas. 

Looking for just the right home to meet your family’s needs?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here

Go Clean Your Room!

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Go Clean Your Room! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWhether we live in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or elsewhere, how often as parents have we said those words?   And how often have we been less than satisfied with the clean-up efforts of our offspring?

An article published in the April 3, 2012 edition of the Edmonton Journal offers a few tips that might make the next tidying up incident a little more productive.  “Teaching kids to cut clutter” suggests the way to make kids’ too small rooms a little bigger is to get rid of some of the stuff in them.  Even better would be to never have some of the stuff, such as the junk contents of many birthday party loot bags (who dreams up these things anyway?), enter the rooms in the first place.

The article profiles two moms and writers, Debby Waldman and Rita Feutl, who co-wrote a book for children entitled Room Enough for Daisy based on their personal experiences trying to corral the belongings of their own children.  “Feutl says she hopes it prompts thoughtful parents to ask their kids to think about where the material for these things comes from, where they are put together, who puts them together and what they’re paid, how they’re packaged and how they get to the village, town or city where the kids live.”  The women hope their book will make kids more aware of their stuff and to take responsibility for it, as well as realize that some things are worth keeping more than others, and that less can be more.

A few of the tips from the article for helping kids cut clutter:

  • Use the one-in-one-out rule.  When a new item comes into a kid’s room, something else must be removed.  But let your child decide.
  • Sorting items and keeping like items together in containers and on shelves may go a long way to solving the problem of a messy room.
  • If a child doesn’t appear to be using certain items, gather them up and put them away for 6 months.  If the child doesn’t ask for the items during that time, consider giving the stuff away.
  • If kids want something new, have them contribute to the purchase.
  • Be specific when you ask kids to clean their room.  Do you want them to clean, as in vacuum and dust, or do you want them to organize, as in pick up those blocks and arrange them in this box?
  • Make sorting, arranging and tidying into a time-limited game.

Read the full article for even more good ideas.

If we can teach our kids to be more aware of the difference between wants and needs, and that more and more stuff doesn’t necessarily mean a better life, maybe their generation can do a better job of decluttering the planet!

I always welcome your comments and questions.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

 

 

DIY TV

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

DIY TV | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWhere do you go to get information for renovation projects?  The television set in your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton area is probably not your first choice, but flipping through the channels these days reveals something surprising:  Among the many sports, movie and mainstream networks, there are a large number of worthwhile programs and even whole networks offering valuable information to homeowners.  Check out some of these offered in the Spruce Grove/Stony Plain/Edmonton area by Shaw Cable and TELUS Optik TV.  A little disclosure:  After you’ve checked them out, let me know what you think because I admit I haven’t seen most of them myself!

A & E

(Shaw 25, HD 233; Telus 170, HD 670)

$100 Makeover, Disaster Guy, Drill Team, Fix This Kitchen, Fix This Yard, Flipping Vegas, Flip This House, Hoarders, Sell This House

CBC  (Click on Find a Program)

(Shaw 4, HD 209; Telus 4, HD 618)

All for One With Debbie Travis, Steven and Chris

Discovery Channel  

(Shaw 32; Telus 200)

Canada’s Worst Handyman

DIY Network  (Click on Shows A-Z)

(Shaw 136; Telus 144)

A whole network of house-related programming, such as:  Decked Out, The Dirt on Gardening, Disaster DIY, DIY Hot List Kitchens & Baths, Dream House, Garage Mahal, Holmes on Homes, House Crashers, I Hate My Kitchen, Man Caves, Rehab Addict, Turf War, Wasted Spaces, Weekend Handyman, Yard Crashers, and many, many more.

HGTV 

(Shaw 19, HD 231; Telus 142, HD 680)

Too many shows to list them all here!  A few of the more popular:  Colin & Justin’s Home Heist, Debbie Travis’ Painted House, Gardening by the Yard, Holmes on Homes, Holmes Inspection, House Hunters, Property Virgins, Real Renos, Sarah’s House.  Many more.

OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network)

(Shaw 92; Telus 202, HD 651)

Divine Design, Home Takeover with Simon & Tomas

PBS

(PBS Spokane on Shaw 22, HD 204; Telus 23, HD 607 Seattle

PBS Detroit on Shaw 81

PBS Boston on Telus 54, HD 629)

HandyMa’am with Beverly DeJulio, The Perennial Gardener with Karen Strohbeen, The Router Workshop, This Old House, The Woodwright’s Shop

Slice  (Click on Shows)

(Shaw 33; Telus 141)

Family Renovation, House Poor, Shotgun Reno, Till Debt Do Us Part

TLC The Learning Channel

(Shaw 35, HD 236; Telus 140, HD 671)

Hoarding: Buried Alive, Home Made Simple, Kitchen Boss, Spouse vs. House

W Network

(Shaw 34; Telus 146)

The Agents, All for Nothing, Anna & Kristina’s Grocery Bag, Building Bryks, Candice Tells All, Colour Confidential, Divine Design, Grin and Build It, Help My House is Falling Down, Home Wreckers, Inside the Box, Love It Or List It, Making House, Million Dollar Decorators, My House Your Money, Property Brothers, Take This House and Sell It

Not strictly related to houses and real estate but still very much related to home, so we have to give an Honorable Mention to:

The Food Network 

(Shaw 29; Telus 143)

Ace of Cakes, Barefoot Contessa, Chef at Home, Eat Shrink and Be Merry, Family Restaurant, French Food at Home, Iron Chef America, Jamie’s Meals in Minutes, Restaurant Makeover, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Tough Cookies, and much more!

This list isn’t intended to be comprehensive, but if I’ve missed anything that really should be on it, please let me know!

I’d love to help you find a house to turn into a home.  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here

 

 

 

Getting Rid of Stuff

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Getting Rid of Stuff |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSo, you’ve de-cluttered your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton area.  You’ve thrown out the real trash, and the things you’re keeping are neatly stored away in an appropriate place.  But what do you do with the stuff that’s left, the items that are too good to just throw away but no longer needed or wanted in your home?  Here are a few suggestions beyond giving things to friends and family members, or holding a garage sale:

 Recycle:

Donate:

If you have anything in good condition (clean, undamaged, meeting current safety standards, etc.), chances are there’s a person or an organization that will accept it.  Be sure to educate yourself about an organization’s guidelines for accepting gifts, however, since not all items will be welcomed by everybody.  Google “donate goods in Edmonton”,  and a very long list of charity websites comes up.  Here are just a few possibilities for passing on your unneeded items to someone who can use them:

Sell:

You can still pay for advertising in the local paper, or put up notices around town about things you have to sell or give away, but there are easier and cheaper ways!

  • Kijiji  Edmonton will advertise for free almost any item that people want to sell, give away or trade.
  • Craigslist Edmonton will do likewise.
  • EBay

What Other People Have to Say About the Subject:

Moving and Packing – Get Rid of Unwanted Stuff Before You Move

Where to Donate All Your Unwanted Stuff – The Good Human

Questions or comments about this article or anything else to do with homes and real estate?  Contact me here, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or phone me at 780-910-9669.

Home Staging Starts With De-cluttering

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Home Staging Starts With De-cluttering |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIn my business, as I travel around Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, Parkland County and the Edmonton area, I see a lot of homes.  Very few of those homes, if they are currently being lived in, resemble “show homes”.  That’s because, let’s face it, living is messy.  Evidence of everyday life is everywhere, from wet towels flung over the shower in the master ensuite to children’s artwork clipped to the fridge with magnets given away by local businesses to untidy piles of unread mail atop the dining room table to empty bottles waiting to be taken to the recycle centre, along with the smells of this morning’s breakfast bacon and a cat litter box overdue for cleaning….  You get the picture!

***Given the competitiveness of today’s real estate market, it’s not enough to hang the towels neatly on a towel rack and spray the air with room deodorizer.  The fact that professional home stagers even exist suggests that having your home sell quickly and for a good price requires much more these days.***

Homebuying.about.com has this to say about Home Staging:

“Home staging is about illusions. It’s how David Copperfield would sell a house. It’s beyond decorating and cleaning. It’s about perfecting the art of creating moods. Staging makes your house look bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, more loving and, best of all, it makes home buyers want to buy it.

 “Contrary to what you might think, it’s about more than preparing the house for sale. Staging is what you do after you’ve cleaned, de-cluttered, painted, made minor repairs; it’s all about dressing the house for sale.

 “It’s about adding the small details: the lipstick, mascara and, for simplicity, a stunning, single strand of Tahitian pearls.”

So, how do we get from the lived-in look I described in my first paragraph to the artistry of a staged home? 

Home Staging Starts With De-cluttering |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamLet’s start with de-cluttering.  If the very word makes you shudder, you are not alone!  But we all know it’s a worthy activity for many reasons, even more so if the home we’re living in is about to be put on the market.

In a perfect world, de-cluttering is something we do as part of our regular routine, along with sanitizing the bathrooms and vacuuming the carpets.  For example, mail gets opened over the shredder and the trash can, with just the essentials kept for future needs (stored somewhere handy and inconspicuous).  Daily newspaper goes into the recycle bin after being read.  And so on.  But clutter has an insidious way of building up to overwhelming proportions.  Yesterday’s perfectly acceptable possessions – take VHS videotapes, for example – are, all of a sudden, today’s clutter, no longer needed, wanted or useful.  How did that happen?!

And, more to the point, what do we do about it?  Where to start?   It may help to read books and magazine articles on de-cluttering and getting organized, or to visit some of the thousands of websites that tell you why and how to do it (see a few below), or even to hire a professional organizer, but at its simplest and yet most difficult, de-cluttering is about making hard decisions.  It’s about focusing on the life lived in the space, rather than the stuff in the space.  

We are the only ones who can decide what items are trash (throw them away!), what things we no longer need or want but still have value (sell them or give them away!), and which few items we really love and need and use on a regular basis (keep them!).

Ideally, we end up with just the things that contribute to the life we want to live in small enough numbers that our home appears tidy and spacious, yet still reflects the life of the occupants.  Then, maybe, our home is ready to be staged for selling.

De-cluttering Websites:

15 Great Decluttering Tips

100 Reasons to Get Rid Of It (from Martha Stewart)

Declutter, declutter, declutter!

Declutter Forever: Home Organize It!

Decluttering for Home and Head

Fly.lady.net:  How to Declutter [this is an excellent website for all kinds of home management tasks]

Green Interior Decluttering Process

Living Gently Quarterly: Spring Decluttering

Pitch, pile or file?

The Super Easy Approach to Decluttering Your Home

Tips for Decluttering Your Home When Downsizing

Why Declutter? 

Ready to put your newly de-cluttered home on the market?  Contact me here, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or phone me at 780-910-9669.

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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