Category Archives: Tips

Quick Cleaning Routines

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Keeping up with an ever-expanding list of cleaning chores can get overwhelming. So, what is the secret to making it more manageable? Breaking your routine down to small chunks of time, setting a timer, and staying focused until you hear the “ding!” can help. Below are your go-to plans when the time is tight. When an out-of-town friend stops by at the last minute or you only have 30 minutes before your favorite show starts, these are the routines that will get your space tidy quickly. Depending on how much time you have, choose from the 10-minute quick tidy up, a 30-minute whole-house pick-up, or the 2-hour cleaning plan.

If You Have 10 Minutes –This is not enough time to really clean your house, but for those moments when friends drop by unexpectedly or when you get home from a long day and simply cannot stand how messy your house looks, this 10-minute plan works wonders.
#1: Divide the Room: One of the biggest time-wasters when straightening up is that we tend to go back to the same spot multiple times. We find a misplaced item on one side of the room, and cross the room to put it back where it belongs, only to end up getting distracted by another out-of-place belonging, or a spill that needs cleaning, or dust that needs wiping. To make a speed-clean more efficient, visually divide the room into a clock, with the door or sink at 12 o’clock. Move around the room clockwise, guaranteeing that each area will only be visited a single time. When you arrive at each segment of the room, return any collected items that belong there, and save items that belong in another room for later.

If You Have 30 Minutes – When your parents say they are stopping by later that afternoon, use this plan. A little more than just putting things away and wiping down surfaces, this routine involves vacuuming, cleaning mirrors, and replacing bathroom towels, too. The key to this method is that it targets the areas you (and any last-minute guests) are most likely to notice and use, such as the main living area and bathroom.

If You Have 2 Hours – You do not have to set a timer for each specific task on the checklist but use the timeline as a general guide.
5 minutes: Strip the beds and put the dirty sheets into the washing machine.
5 minutes: Grab an empty laundry basket. Go through your entire house and grab anything that doesn’t belong in each room. Do not spend time organizing—just gather the misplaced items.
15 minutes: Clean up the kitchen. Collect all the dirty dishes, load the dishwasher, hand wash any pots and pans, put away clean dishes, and wipe down the sink and countertops.
10 minutes: Quickly vacuum all the floors in your home.
10 minutes: Quickly mop your hardwood, tile, or vinyl flooring.
10 minutes: Grab your favorite all-purpose cleaner and wipe down the bathrooms. Start with mirrors, countertops, and faucets, then scrub the toilets. Close the shower curtain and add a fresh hand towel. Make sure the toilet paper is stocked and the hand soap is refilled.
5 minutes: Gather all dirty laundry and sort it into two piles: towels and clothes. Switch the sheets to the dryer and start a load of clothes.
10 minutes: Put away the items you’ve collected in the laundry basket at the beginning.
15 minutes: Grab some wood cleaning spray and, starting at one end of your home, quickly dust all the wooden surfaces in your home. Don’t be too picky. Remember, this is a quick clean-up plan.
10 minutes: Pick up some window cleaner and, starting at one end of your home, quickly clean all the glass surfaces.
10 minutes: Unload the sheets from the dryer and add the clothes. Start a load of towels in the washer. Go make all the beds with the clean sheets.
5 minutes: Light a candle, grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and enjoy your clean home! (Just don’t forget to switch out the laundry when it finishes!)

Transform Your Home in a Weekend With These DIY Projects

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Now that fall is here, you will be spending more time at home. This is the ideal time for quick and inexpensive DIY projects that make a big statement around the home, but not a big difference in your pocket book.

Create wood accents: Use flooring to make headboards and accent walls. Retailers like Lumber Liquidators offer a variety of styles of flooring such as laminates, engineered, vinyl, click ceramic plank and more, and these flooring materials can easily be incorporated into many accent features. The flooring material can be affixed to walls and other surfaces with a special acrylic flooring tape. Flooring comes in a variety of styles, which can also be cut into striking patterns like chevron or herringbone.

Install butcher block countertops: Butcher block is a warm and rustic countertop style that is affordable and increasingly popular. Made from strips of wood bonded together, it can be sliced and chopped on directly – a great option for the minimalist homeowner. Installation is DIY-friendly, making butcher block an ideal weekend project with a good step-by-step tutorial in hand.

Build a trellis: Building a garden trellis is a great way to draw more attention to what your green thumb has created. Dedicate Friday to sizing the trellis and cutting and framing the pieces, Saturday to building the panels and assembling and Sunday for digging the holes and setting the trellis into place. Tailor the building materials to what is best for your backyard.

Repurposed planters: When gardening outside is not an option, bring the garden inside by making unique planter boxes. A DIY planter box is typically more affordable than store-bought, and the design possibilities are endless. Reuse vessels like shipping crates, Mason jars and tin boxes. Personalize them with colors and patterns to match your interior and inject personality and life into your space.

Add crown molding: Crown molding adds distinguished curves and angles to a ceiling, instantly elevating a room to a polished and sophisticated look. DIY crown molding does require attention to detail when measuring and marking the wall and cutting pieces, so measure twice to cut once.

These are just a few of the weekend-ready projects homeowners can knock out this fall to bring new life to spaces indoors and out. A weekend DIY project is a minimal time investment that not only creates a sense of accomplishment, but adds value to your home.

Resolutions: Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em?

baby-new-year1Well folks, it looks like another year is in the books. And as we await the arrival of baby new year, we all tend to ask ourselves: are we going to resolve anything from 2015 for the prospect of a fantastic 2016? Chances are, that answer is yes. There is always room for improvement and it’s this time of year that brings to light all the changes we feel need to be addressed. Health, personal relations, and money are generally at the tops of said changes.

We all know that business for us in the real estate industry slows down in the colder winter months, so this is a perfect time to take stock in what we currently have, and what we need in order to fine tune our business practices to ensure continued success. As a real estate agent, this isn’t your typical 9 to 5 career. There are three arenas that we use in everyday business: an office, the field and an online presence. We can’t let one of these areas slip through the proverbial cracks or our production will suffer. So why not take a moment to re-evaluate what resolutions need to be put into place to make sure you will begin into the new year ready for anything.

First, let’s look at your office. Does your office project a confident, well-organized agent? Is finding necessary documents on your desk simple or more like a game of Marco Polo? Every professional needs to have a clean, organized office to conduct business in. Start with your desk and move outwards. There are literally tons of organizational equipment at your disposal. A desktop organizer, file cabinet and a little shelving will not only present your skills in a professional light, but a good filing system will also make you seem ready for any situation. So take advantage of the newest technologies available to give your office a bit of a makeover. Streamlining your equipment will only improve the daunting task of keeping up with client paperwork.

Speaking of clients, the next area to consider streamlining is how you conduct yourself out in the field. An agent’s on-the-go lifestyle makes running back to the office for forgotten necessities an impossibility. You need to have everything you need within arm’s reach at the drop of a hat, and before technology, it meant lugging around lots of lots of paperwork in the trunk of your car. Today, this isn’t the case. Now everything can be in the palm of your hand if you have the latest equipment. But it isn’t just about a smartphone and a lightweight electronic notebook. You will always need brochures & flyers, a digital camera and who knows? You may even enjoy writing your notes down with a pen & paper. What you need is a fantastic case to carry along with you to showings and client meetings. It should be roomy enough for all of your basic needs, but organized enough that it doesn’t end up looking like a child’s backpack at the end of the day. Having all of your specific tools with you at all times will make any meeting go smoother and will present you as a capable real estate agent ready to help your client any way you can.

Lastly, consider where you’re storing your business. These days, it seems as though everyone is working off of the internet, in something called the “cloud”. What is this cloud everyone speaks of? Well, it’s basically a more efficient way of keeping all of your records electronic and at your fingertips. Having contracts, forms and digital signatures electronic takes all of the thumbs out of flash drives, misplaced emails and backup storage devices. Everything is online and easily accessible, thereby making any document you need ready at a moment’s notice. And when your business revolves around always being on the go, considering these online tools really is a choice worth considering. It isn’t as complex and scary as it looks. So as we are days from the beginnings of a new year, consider stepping out of your comfort zone if it means a stress-free prosperous 2016.

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