Archives For Organizing

Spring is a great time to get a head start on preparing your home for warmer temps. Below we’ve provided a simple checklist to help you stay on top of home maintenance.

Interior

  • Replace batteries in smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors (use the equinox or “spring forward” time change date as your annual reminder).
  • Dust ceiling fan blades.
  • Replace (or remove and clean) furnace air filter on the following schedule:
    • High-efficiency and electrostatic filters need to be replaced once per quarter.
    • Simple fiberglass or paper filters should be replaced quarterly.
    • Reusable mesh filters should be cleaned monthly (do not reuse filters unless they are specifically intended for it).

Exterior

  • Spring is a great time for a thorough exterior review… Walk around your house and inspect the following:
    • All vents (dryer vents, exhaust fans, furnace intakes, attic and crawl-space vents, etc) – remove any debris or obstructions, repair any tears or damage.
    • Siding and trim – check for loose boards and peeling paint, repair as needed.
    • Foundation – inspect for cracks. If any are found, take photos for future comparison. if cracks are over 3/16” wide or have increased in size since your last inspection, consult a professional.
    • Roof – check for leaks, missing or damaged shingles, rusted flashing, or other visible deterioration, repair as needed. We recommend using a professional here for safety, consider using someone from our Marketplace.
    • Gutters and downspouts – make sure there are no areas where water pools, and that all draining water flows away from your house.
    • Check exposed wood for deterioration. Poke with an awl or screwdriver to determine if wood is softening and may need to be repaired or replaced.
  • If you remove your storm windows and doors, clean and repair them before putting them away for the summer.
  • Clean windows and reinstall window screens if stored in the fall.
  • Clean gutters of any accumulated debris.
  • Remove weatherproof covering from outdoor air-conditioning units and clear away debris.
  • Have air conditioner serviced and coolant levels checked.
  1. Find a listing agent
    1. Check out our Preferred Agents for trusted experts in your area.
    2. Meet a few different agents before deciding on one.
    3. Ask them questions about the services they will be providing and experience.

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  1. Assess the market
    1. Check out comparable properties for sale in your area. See how much they are listed for and how long they have been on the market. Create a property alert by signing up with My Househappy to show you when comparable properties are listed in your area. Make sure selling now is financially smart and fits with your timeline.
    2. Evaluate the state of your own neighborhood.
    3. Consider the time of year it is. The hot seasons are spring and summer, but sometimes off seasons can work in your favor.
  2. Cleanup your house
    1. Purge any items you are not going to take with you to your next home.
    2. Freshen up the exterior of your home.
    3. Fix any known major damages.
  3. Price your house
    1. Your agent should provide you with a comparative market analysis.
    2. Try not to let your emotions get involved when you price your home. Be wary of agents who might suggest listing your house at a high price; they could be doing this just to get you to sign with them.
  4. Stage and show your house
    1. Remove all clutter and organize the rest.
    2. Hire a stager to reorganize your furniture or bring in rented items to showcase the room.
    3. Lighten it up. Remove busy wallpaper. Paint the walls with light neutral colors. Make sure all the light fixtures are working properly and provide ample light to every room. Remove heavy or outdated window coverings.
    4. Remove any traces of your pets.
    5. Deep clean the house.
    6. Take professional photos. According to PR Newswire, professional photography sells homes 32% faster.

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  1. Prepare for the open house
    1. Lock up or store valuables.
    2. Take down family photos or personal items.
    3. Make plans to be outside of the home while the house is being shown.
  2. Stay informed and close the deal.
    1. Keep regular contact with your agent on the status of the sale of your home.
    2. Go over any offers presented with your agent and work with them to negotiate the terms or counter offer.
    3. Once you have accepted an offer, you will enter into mutual acceptance with the buyer.
    4. Depending on the terms of your deal, you may have to complete repairs on the house. Check out our Marketplace to find services in your area.
    5. Work with the escrow company, the real estate agents and lenders to ensure the transfer of ownership goes well for both you and the buyer.
    6. Celebrate once it is all over and congrats on selling your home!

If you’ve got your house ready to show but you’re still living in it, things will invariably end up out of place. Take 15-20 minutes and follow the checklist below to make sure everything’s in shape before you leave your house for a showing.

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Security/Valuables:

  • Keep all keys, mail, and documents with personal information out of sight.
  • Store alcohol and prescription drugs out of view, preferably in a locking cabinet.
  • Password protect desktop computers, lock up laptops or take with you.
  • Lock up small valuables like jewelry, watches, mp3 players, tablets, etc.

Cleanliness/Clutter:

  • Remove dishes from the sink.
  • Clear counters and tables, store small kitchen appliances out of sight
  • Rinse sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets clean.
  • Store toiletries in cabinets or drawers, straighten hanging towels.
  • Place laundry in covered hampers or otherwise out of view.

Kids/Pets:

  • Put toys away – have a bin at the ready for quick pick-ups.
  • Secure pets in kennels or preferably out of the house.

Tip – get into the habit of running through this list before you leave the house every morning so you won’t need to worry if someone wants schedule a tour while you’re at work.

What do you really need? That’s what Japan’s leading home-organization expert wants you to ask yourself. Actually, it’s even simpler than that. Look around your home, and if you see something that makes you happy, or in her words “sparks joy,” keep it. If not, let it go.

Marie Kondo feels that by following her methods, dubbed the “KonMari method” in Japan, even the biggest packrat can be happy in their home, and reduce their daily time spent tidying to next-to-nothing. For most people, this feels like a tantalizing yet unattainable prospect, so it’s no wonder her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” which just came out in the US, is already a sensation in Asia and Europe, according to The New York Times.

It’s a smart-looking and straightforward little book, and Marie’s pared-down writing is refreshing and easy to follow. Beyond her rule about keeping only what sparks joy, her guidelines boil down to two other main concepts: organize by category/type, not by location, i.e., go through all clothes no matter where in your home they are currently located vs. organize the bedroom, and do not purchase any dedicated organizing equipment. Oh, and she says you must follow her methods faithfully, or you will not succeed. Seems simple enough! No wonder she’s become a celebrity in Japan.

In keeping with our new years resolutions, we’re going to give the KonMari tidying method a try. Anything that makes home a more peaceful place to be is a very good thing, and this is the perfect time of year to get started. Below, see examples from The New York Times of Marie at work, and a client’s room before and after.

Source: The New York Times