To Do’s for Your September Home Checklist | Scottsdale Real Estate
Curling up with popcorn and a movie, simmering a big pot of soup or chili on the stove, and getting the house and yard in shape after the lazy days of summer — in September, the comforts of home beckon. From feeding the birds to having the chimney cleaned, see if any of these to-dos make your list this month.
1. Remove A/C units. If you use window air conditioning units, now is the time to either remove them (preferable) or cover them outside with protective insulation.
2. Add weather stripping. If you have old weather stripping that has loosened, remove it and replace it with new material. New double-pane windows may not need weather stripping, but most older windows can benefit from it, and if you notice a draft, you should add weather stripping no matter how new the windows are.
3. Inspect the roof. Either get help and carefully climb a ladder so you can look at your roof, or hire someone to do this for you. Problems like damaged shingles and worn-out seals around vent pipes and chimneys are much easier to remedy if you catch them early.
4. Give the family room some TLC. Beef up the family room for the cozy season ahead by upgrading technology, bringing in extra cushions and a cozy throw, or simply cleaning and tidying up. Movie night is more fun when the family room is comfy and welcoming.
5. Put some fall-blooming plants on the porch. Sweep away summer sand and dirt, and set out a few pots of chrysanthemums or other late-summer plants in gorgeous fall hues. It’s an affordable way to give your porch a quick fall makeover. Plant a fall garden in a pot.
6. Stock up on birdseed. The birds that stick around for the winter could use some extra help when wild food becomes scarce. Stock up now on birdseed so you can keep those feeders full. Providing a water source (either a birdbath or simply a saucer of water) is another way to show kindness to our feathered friends. Refresh it every day to deter mosquitoes.
7. Order firewood. If you use a woodstove for warmth or enjoy using your fireplace a lot, now is a good time to order a delivery of firewood. Try not to store it directly against the house, since that can encourage critters to take up residence, but do put it in a covered outdoor area to protect it from rain.
8. Seal gaps where mice could enter. Speaking of critters, take a close look around the exterior of your home and cover any and all gaps you find (even tiny ones!) so mice cannot get in. A heavy-duty screen or hardware cloth works well to cover exterior vents, and door sweeps attached at the bottom of doors will prevent furry critters from squeezing in.
9. Get covers for patio furniture and grill. If you plan to leave your patio furniture or grill outdoors through the fall and winter, cover them well and stow them beneath an overhang that will protect them from the worst weather.
10. Have chimney maintenance done and add a chimney cap. Don’t even think about using that fireplace until you’ve had it cleaned! Built-up creosote inside the chimney can cause a house fire. Also, there’s always the possibility that an animal family has taken up residence inside — and even if the critters have moved on, the nest itself could cause a major problem if it’s not cleared out. If you do not already have one, speak with your chimney sweep about adding a chimney cap. This metal cap with screened sides will stop animals from getting in and can protect your roof from any burning embers.
11. Clean the laundry room. A fresh, clean laundry room can make getting chores done more pleasant. Start by cleaning out the dryer vents to prevent lint buildup, which can lead to fires. Wipe down surfaces, mop the floor and remove clutter. Are you missing anything that would make doing laundry easier? Consider adding a surface for folding clothes, better lighting, a rolling laundry basket with dividers or a garment rack.
12. Swap out bedding. Dig out those thicker blankets, quilts and duvets, in preparation for the cooler nights ahead. If they smell musty, have them laundered now so they are fresh and ready to put on the bed on that first chilly night. If you are shopping for new bedding, try a richer color palette for fall.
13. Make time for breakfast. Back-to-school time often means busier mornings. Make a commitment to carve out time for a real breakfast every morning. It doesn’t have to be complicated — muesli, granola or oatmeal with add-ins like fruit and nuts makes a hearty but quick breakfast. To make things even easier in the morning, try setting the table the night before
10 Chores You Can Whip Through During Commercials | Scottsdale Real Estate
Before the ability to record television programs, commercial breaks occurred about every 15 minutes and, according to a TV game show host, lasted two minutes, two seconds each.
Today they are almost four minutes long and blast out much louder than the program.
When you feel as though you have been watching your prerecorded shows at the expense of your home’s cleanliness, don’t let yourself fast-forward through the commercials. Instead, run out of the room and get a chore done.
Here are 10 quick household tasks you can accomplish while a TV-ad lawyer is telling you to call him if you have been injured in an accident. If you’re not a big network-TV watcher, you can do the tasks while you’re waiting for the water to boil, the tea to brew or the microwave to nuke a snack.
1. Empty the dishwasher. If the commercial break isn’t long enough, do half and go back at the next break, which is usually only a few minutes away. The great thing about the TV-ad chore list is that it keeps you from being too sedentary. Yes, everyone deserves a chance to veg out and relax, but running up and down the stairs or from room to room to get this stuff done will keep your heart rate up.
2. Wipe down your counters. Grab a cleaning rag, clear one counter at a time and give it a wipe-down. Once this is done, you can work your way around the cabinets and appliances during future breaks.
3. Work on the laundry. This a chore you can get done ad break by ad break all evening. Start a load. When you see Flo from Progressive pop up, throw the clothes in the dryer. Start the whites going. Then pop the whites in the dryer and plop the dry load on the sofa to fold while you watch your shows. You can put stuff away later, when the next commercial break appears.
4. Change the sheets. If your break isn’t long enough, divvy up this chore by changing the pillowcases and shams during one break, and the mattress pad and sheets during another. The great thing about doing these chores during ads is that it makes you realize that each task really doesn’t take that long. I dread putting the sheets back on my bed, usually because I remember that they are still in the dryer about five seconds before I want to dive into bed and conk out. However, I realize now it takes only about four minutes to put them on.
5. Get the vacuum out and plugged in. You can lightly vacuum a room or two during each break. Better yet, attack the sofa. Give the cushions a toss, collect the spare change for the coin jar and then vacuum the heck out of the cushions with the hose.
6. Sort through your coffee table books and magazines. Flip through the magazines and newspapers you’ve already read, then recycle them or put them in the donation bin (art teachers love to have them for class projects). Neaten the still-need-to-read pile. Flip through your coffee table books. If one of them has been displayed for a while, switch it out. I like to rotate mine frequently so I can revisit my favorite books. They tend to inspire me all over again.
7. Clean out the fridge. Toss stuff that’s rotten or expired. Wash out any recyclable containers, add to the compost bin and throw out what you need to. On the next break …
8. Take out the trash. While you’re at it, gather up those recyclables, including the magazines you just realized you’re done with, and take them to the bin as well.
9. Take the pile of stuff sitting on the stairs upstairs. Then put it away.
10. Clean out your purse. Or your handbag, laptop bag, backpack, briefcase, boat tote. If there’s extra time, attack all those junky slots in your wallet, dump your change in a jar and sort your coupons. Then get excited about tomorrow’s trip to cash in your coin jar savings and plan something fun for all that bonus dough: A gift certificate, concert ticket, some special kitchen counter spray … the sky is the limit. You will have earned it, four minutes at a time.
Your August Home Checklist | Scottsdale Real Estate
From the dog days of summer to the first days of school, August is a month of transition for many. Even if cool fall nights still seem ages away, the transition from outdoors to in is already beginning. So as your vacation wraps up and dinners begin to move from grill to stove, consider putting one or more of these to-dos on your list to make that transition as smooth as possible.
- Get prepped for dinners at home. With fall around the corner, meals are likely to shift away from the grill and into the kitchen. Encourage family dinners at home by making the dining room a place you can’t wait to sit down in. Clear the table, bring in flowers or potted plants and keep stacks of fresh table linens at hand. If you want to make things even easier, consider storing silverware and cloth napkins in a caddy right on the table.
- Tidy the mudroom. Whether or not you have kids in the house, back-to-school time is a great opportunity to get a busy entryway under control. Clear the clutter, clean rugs, wipe down shelving and put back only the essentials.
- Organize family photos. Don’t let months go by after summer vacations to print and organize photos — get on top of it now, so you can enjoy your snapshots! Set yourself up for photo organizing success through the rest of the year by creating files for digital photos organized by month. If you want to have new family portraits taken in time, start hunting for a photographer now.
If you have a big backlog of printed photos to organize but lack the time to go through each one, at least get them into acid-free storage boxes to prevent damage. Label the boxes by year if possible.
- Edit your wardrobe. Sort through your summer clothes before putting them away; give away anything that is no longer working for you. Look over your fall wardrobe, setting aside anything that needs repairs or that you no longer like. Make a note of anything missing.
- Boost closet organization. While you’re at it, see if there is a better way to organize your closet. Could you use a small chest of drawers? A few baskets to collect dry cleaning and delicates? Hooks for necklaces and scarves?
- Conduct an energy audit of your house. Find places to increase energy efficiency and improve the health of your home (and save money) by conducting a home energy assessment, either on your own or with the help of a pro. This assessment will help locate air leaks and check ventilation, insulation, heating and cooling systems, appliances and more.
- Deep clean your kitchen. Take a few hours to tackle the dirtiest kitchen chores: clear the drains, clean out the garbage can and recycling bins, degrease the oven and thoroughly clean out the fridge. And when you’re done? You totally deserve an ice cream.
- Refresh the pantry. If you haven’t done so yet, invest in a set of matching, airtight storage containers in a variety of sizes. Decanting food into clear, airtight containers makes it easier to find what you need and helps food stay fresh longer.
Bonus tip: Use erasable or removable labels, so you can customize the container to the contents. If you’re storing pasta or something else with a specific cooking time, note the instructions on the label as well.
- Clean and replace caulk and grout. A proper seal around sinks, toilets, shower stalls and tubs, and between tiles, is essential to keep water from seeping into cracks and causing damage. Clean grout and caulk with a narrow scrub brush and inspect its condition. Replace caulk or grout as needed.
- Put away summer gear. As the summer winds down, inspect your summer gear for damage and clean it before storing it for next year. Scoop up a few new items at end-of-season sales to replace anything that needs to be tossed.
Ten Tips to Make a Small Bedroom Look Great | Scottsdale Real Estate
Planning a small bedroom can be fun. With the right design tips and techniques, you can turn your snug room into a dreamy retreat. From clever storage solutions to multitasking furniture, these great ideas will breathe new life into your compact scheme.
- Stick to a limited color palette. If all white isn’t for you, bring in your favorite colors, but in a thoughtful way.
- Let the light in. Keep window treatments to a minimum in a small space to make the most of the natural light and keep the look unfussy. For privacy add plain roller blinds or hang flat panels of lace or voile.
- Maximize your storage space. A floor-to-ceiling fitted unit makes the most of every inch in this bedroom. It cleverly incorporates room to display treasures, shelves for books, drawers for more personal items, surfaces that act as bedside tables and reading lights. Talk about multitasking!
- Don’t be afraid to use windows. There’s no rule that says you can’t push furniture up to a window.
- Trick the eye with mirrors. Creating the illusion of space with mirrors is a classic trick that works every time. Perfect for smaller bedrooms, a mirrored wall will visually double the space.
- Have pieces made to measure. Having custom furniture made for your space can be a very worthwhile investment. Having built-in drawers and wall-mounted bedside table and light maximize every inch of floor, and a classic transparent chair provides unobtrusive seating.
- Detract with a feature wall. In a narrow room, bring the far wall forward with fabulous wallpaper.
- Make your headboard work hard. Using a headboard for storage is a clever way to make the most of your space.
- Go for bold. As the saying goes, “If you can’t fight, wear a big hat.” Bold accents distract the eye from the size of the room.
- Wow with white or soft neutrals. All white is a fail-safe space enhancer, but there are so many ways to do it. Soft neutrals add just the right amount of warmth, while minimal wall decorations can draw the eye to the window and the view beyond.
How to Get Your Furniture Arrangement Right | Scottsdale Real Estate
Like a blank page or canvas, an empty room can be either an opportunity or a challenge. With so many ways to fill it, how do you know where to start?
Here are some of the basic rules of furniture arrangement that are distilled into 10 simple tips. They’ll help you figure out where to put things, where not to put things and how to prioritize the choices you make.
These guidelines won’t turn you into an interior designer overnight. But they’ll steer you in the right direction and help you to achieve professional-looking results with a minimum of stress.
Function. Consider how the room is used and how many people will use it. That will dictate the type of furnishings you’ll need and the amount of seating required.
Focal point. Identify the room’s focal point — a fireplace, view, television etc.— and orient the furniture accordingly. If you plan to watch television in the room, the ideal distance between the set and the seating is three times the size of the screen (measured diagonally). Therefore, if you’ve got a 40-inch set, your chair should be 120 inches away.
Priority. Place the largest pieces of furniture first, such as the sofa in the living room or the bed in the bedroom. In most cases this piece should face the room’s focal point. Chairs should be no more than 8 feet apart to facilitate conversation. Unless your room is especially small, avoid pushing all the furniture against the walls.
Symmetry. Symmetrical arrangements work best for formal rooms. Asymmetrical arrangements make a room feel more casual.
Traffic. Think about the flow of traffic through the room — generally the path between doorways. Don’t block that path with any large pieces of furniture if you can avoid it. Allow 30 to 48 inches of width for major traffic routes and a minimum of 24 inches of width for minor ones.
Try to direct traffic around a seating group, not through the middle of it. If traffic cuts through the middle of the room, consider creating two small seating areas instead of one large one.
Variety. Vary the size of furniture pieces throughout the room, so your eyes move up and down as you scan the space. Balance a large or tall item by placing another piece of similar height across the room from it (or use art to replicate the scale). Avoid putting two tall pieces next to each other.
Contrast. Combine straight and curved lines for contrast. If the furniture is modern and linear, throw in a round table for contrast. If the furniture is curvy, mix in an angular piece. Similarly, pair solids with voids: Combine a leggy chair with a solid side table, and a solid chair with a leggy table.
Ease of use. Place a table within easy reach of every seat, being sure to combine pieces of similar scale, and make sure every reading chair has an accompanying lamp. Coffee tables should be located 14 to 18 inches from a sofa to provide sufficient legroom.
Circulation. In a dining room, make sure there’s at least 48 inches between each edge of the table and the nearest wall or piece of furniture. If traffic doesn’t pass behind the chairs on one side of the table, 36 inches should suffice. In bedrooms allow at least 24 inches between the side of the bed and a wall, and at least 36 inches between the bed and a swinging door.
Planning. Give your back a break. Before you move any actual furniture, test your design on paper. Measure the room’s dimensions, noting the location of windows, doors, heat registers and electrical outlets, then draw up a floor plan on graph paper using cutouts to represent the furnishings. Or, better yet, use a free online room planner.
How to Get an Organized Bathroom | Scottsdale Real Estate
Here are some great tips to get your bathroom organized:
One of the rooms in most homes that can get out-of-hand crazy is the bathroom. Toothpaste, lotions, tissue and towels can easily get strewn out over the counter tops, or in the case of the toothpaste, stuck to the bathroom mirror.
See how following these simple storage and organization solutions can help your family stay tidy and organized in no time:
- Towels and dirty laundry on the bathroom floor is usually a pet peeve for most of us. With a laundry hamper inside the bathroom, you, your children and your spouse will have no more excuses when it comes to cleaning up.
- Placing pretty baskets on open shelving will give you the storage you need while concealing any unattractive items you may need to keep there.
- If your bathroom lacks storage space, consider adding a freestanding open-shelf cabinet, like the one shown here. Keep items like toilet paper and extra washcloths on the lower shelves and things you’d like to keep out of reach of tiny hands way up high.
- Installing a magazine rack in the bathroom will free up space on the tank of the toilet and give the room a cleaner look.
- Curling irons, hair dryers and brushes take up a lot of space and are easily tangled. If hiring a cabinet maker to retrofit your existing drawer to have specific slots for these items is not in your budget, try using plastic boxes within the drawer to get the same functionality.
- Keeping soaps and other bath items right above the tub where they are easily accessible is the best storage solution.
- Toiletries and medicines take up a lot of space and are oftentimes difficult to find when you need them. If your bathroom has a closet, why not use a plastic over-the-door shoe organizer? All of your items will be easy to see and grab when you need them. Just be sure to store medicines out of children’s reach.
- Consider storing items you use frequently, like cotton balls and swabs, on the counter in glass jars. They will look decorative and will always be in easy reach.
How to Get an Organized Pantry | Scottsdale Real Estate
Here is a seven step plan for organizing your kitchen pantry and making it easier to find your kitchen and other household items:
1. Install a spice shelf. Spices can get lost in the mix. Because they’re stacked one behind the other, they waste space, and it’s hard to see what you have. To remedy this problem, install door-mounted spice shelves inside the cabinet where you keep cookbooks. The trick will be finding a rack that doesn’t require heavy mounting hardware that might poke through to the outside of the cabinet – you will likely need to find one made of wire.
2. Keep go-to items at eye level. Organizing you pantry based on how often household members use individual items. Reserve eye-level shelves for cereal, pasta and other staples while keeping baking supplies and treats higher up. 3. Optimize containers. Use containers only for items that need to stay fresh and come in messy bags, like baking supplies. Pay attention to the shapes of the containers. Rectangular containers nestle together more neatly, conserving precious shelf space.
4. Invest in pretty labels. For labeling items that are not in their original container.
5. Use baskets for anything round. Baskets keep food organized and still allow air to circulate, preventing the food from getting prematurely moldy. Kitchen labels for these items can be made so you know when the item is ready to be tossed.
6. Keep awkwardly shaped items down low. By moving the packages of snacks and such to a lower shelf, you will be able to see how they’re shifting and prevent potato chip rainstorms and other messes.
7. Be mindful. Note what you have been purchasing too much of and avoid those things in the future. When coming home from the grocery store, think about not just where you put things away but how they’re put away, taking care to face containers with the labels out and align similar items.
These are tasks that are important to do if you are considering selling you home and plan on getting it done before your home goes on the market.
Creative Ideas for Eye Catching Walls | Scottsdale Real Estate
Looking to freshen up your walls? Why not try something new, like swapping out plain artwork mats for colorful ones or hanging floor tiles or a giant knot as art?
Here you’ll find 10 creative ways to wake up your walls:
1. Art on bulldog clips. Who needs frames? For a quick and easy solution, head to the office supply store and pick up a box of bulldog clips. Once you attach them to the wall, you can simply clip in the art and swap it out on a whim.
2. Colorful mats. Love your artwork but want to give it a fresh look? Try swapping out the plain white mats for something colorful. Pale blue is classic and looks especially fresh in summer.
3. Painted frames. If you want to fill up a wall on a tight budget and don’t mind a morning with a paint can, this could be right up your alley. Collect old frames at yard sales and paint them to match. Hung on the wall without glass here, they make a unique display for small 3D objects.
4. Colorful plate display. Update the classic plate display by mixing in a few brightly colored pieces with traditional blue and white. Using different shapes, sizes and colors will make for a more dynamic display. Test out your arrangement on the floor and snap a picture of it before you start hanging.
5. Mirror collection. Picture shelves can be used for more than pictures — why not use them for mirrors instead? A bunch of little mirrors can be much more affordable than one huge mirror, and they’ll look charming and personal.
6. Floor tiles as art. There are some amazing floor tiles out there. Why not hang a few as art? Check a tile store or stone quarry, or hunt down some vintage tin ceiling tiles (they come in the most beautiful patterns).
7. Vintage book illustration letters. Pick up some plain cardboard or papier-mâché letter forms at the craft store, and gather a stack of old children’s books — this is the perfect way to use a beautiful old book that is too damaged to read. Carefully trace around each letter onto a book page, then cut out the letter with a craft knife. Use spray adhesive or decoupage to attach the illustrations to the letter forms.
8. “Invisible” book shelves. You can find these ready-made, or you can craft your own version using vintage books with interesting covers. The basic idea is to attach a bracket to a hardback book. When you stack other books on top of it, the shelf itself becomes part of the stack.
9. Classroom maps. Old-fashioned pull-down classroom maps add a studious note to a room. Try one in the home office, study or dining room. Just don’t expect to use a vintage map as a teaching tool … they can be quite outdated!
10. Knot as art. Who would have thought an old, crusty rope could make an interesting piece of wall art? Consult a knot-making book to learn a fancy knot or just play around until you are pleased with the shape, and hang the result on your wall.
Organizing Tips for the Garage | Scottsdale Real Estate
Garages most often become the place to stash away those items that will not fit in the closets inside your home.
They are big open spaces and therefore they are easy targets for that suitcase that won’t fit in the closet, the rollerblades your daughter doesn’t want to throw away yet, the sewing machine you need to give back to your neighbor, and anything else that doesn’t have a set place.
Now is a perfect time to roll up your sleeves and dive head first into the clutter. Follow these 6 tips to clean your way to a neat and organized garage.
1. Use as much vertical and ceiling space as possible. This rule is particularly important if you’re planning to actually park your car here. Make sure that you’ll have room for your car without running into or onto anything.
2. Before reorganizing, try taking everything out of your garage. Looking at the space you have as a blank canvas can give you a better idea of what you’re working with. Working with a clean slate can help you decide which areas are best to designate for certain activities.
3. Decide what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away. When you find yourself questioning a particular item, ask yourself :
- Do I love it?
- Do I need it?
- When was the last time I used this?
- If I donated it, could it be safely used by another person?
Clearing out clutter is incredibly satisfying, and odds are you won’t really miss that fifth spare tennis racket. When in doubt, donate or toss it. Recycle as much as possible, and be sure to dispose of paint and other hazardous waste safely.
4. Group like items together so they’re easy to find. A few coats of paint, metal shelving and some cute decals for the door completely transformed the space without spending a lot of money. A neat and tidy shoe and coat rack encourages her children to place their own clothes in the right place and makes it easy when searching for that much-loved pair of pink Velcro sneakers. Storage on the ceiling and walls saves room for larger items, and things that are used on a daily basis.
5. Decide which area of the garage is going to be used for what purpose. Think carefully about what you want your garage to be used for, and the best possible way that this space can be divided up.
6. Label absolutely everything. Taking the time to label each and every drawer and shelf can make a world of difference. Tired of drawers and bins full of a hodgepodge of nails, screws, and bolts? Take the time to organize each individual piece by type and label accordingly. Tedious? Yes. Worth it? Yes.
Easy Steps to Get an Organized Laundry Room | Scottsdale Real Estate
Doing laundry is a necessary evil and to make it an easier task, follow these steps over a week in order to get your laundry area in the very best shape.
Make a plan of attack. A fairly tidy laundry room in the main part of the house will require far less time and effort to spiff up than a dark, dusty corner of the basement that you usually spend as little time in as possible. Read over the entire plan before you begin and tailor it to meet your needs. Aim to get the toughest jobs done on a day off when you can devote several hours to them. The rest can be done in smaller chunks on weeknights.
Day 1: Deep clean the washer and dryer.
Cleaning tasks: Today is the day to get your appliances clean inside and out, so they will work more efficiently and get your clothes cleaner.
Cleaning the washer:
- Use a damp sponge or microfiber cloth to clean the exterior and inside the lid of your washer, paying special attention to rubber seals.
- If your washer has a lint trap or removable detergent dispensers, take them out and clean them with warm, soapy water in the sink. If not, use cotton swabs to get the gunk and grime from the corners.
- Pour a cup or two of white vinegar in the washer and run it on the hottest setting, without any clothes in it.
Cleaning the dryer:
- Wipe down the inside and outside of the dryer with a damp sponge or microfiber cloth.
- Remove the lint filter and use a narrow vacuum attachment to remove built-up lint from inside the space where the lint filter goes.
- Unfasten the dryer hose from the back of the machine (check the owner’s manual if you are not sure how to do this) and use a vacuum attachment to remove lint from the hose and the duct.
Day 2: Declutter and Get Rid of Grime
Cleaning tasks: You know those lint balls, empty detergent containers, used dryer sheets and random things from pockets lying all over the place? Now is the time to give them the boot. Once the obvious junk is gone, move on to these tasks:
- Vacuum the space from top to bottom. Get under and behind appliances and furniture as best you can.
- Launder or spot clean any rugs and soft furnishings.
- Use an all-purpose cleaner to get counters, shelves and doors fresh and clean.
- Mop the floor, paying special attention to corners and around the bases of appliances, where dirt and grime tend to build up.
Decluttering tasks: Do you know what all of those bottles on your laundry room shelves contain? If you’re not sure, take a few moments to look over each product and keep only those you actually use. Open up small containers to check that the product is still good.
Day 3: Get organized.
Decluttering tasks: With your laundry room clean and decluttered, it should be much easier to get organized.
- Sort products into two categories: daily use and stain fighting or specialty products. If you have a choice, store the products you use daily (like detergent) closest to the washer and less frequently used items on a higher shelf.
- If you do hand washing at a sink in the laundry room, put the soap and any other supplies you use beside the sink.
- Open baskets and trays are quite useful for corralling groups of products — not only do they look attractive, but they make it easier to grab exactly what you need (for example, the stain-fighting kit) because you won’t have to rummage around on a crowded shelf.
- Make a dedicated place for stuff that comes out of pockets, like a small bowl placed atop the dryer.
- Be sure you have a small wastebasket at hand for lint balls and dryer sheets.
Day 4: Gather resources.
Decluttering tasks: Now is the time to check your inventory of supplies and fill in any gaps. In addition to your usual detergent and dryer sheets, consider including these things:
- A clipboard or small corkboard. Hung on the wall, this makes the perfect place to display a helpful stain-removal chart and washing instructions.
- A small mending kit. So you can quickly take care of minor holes and loose buttons as soon as you notice them.
- A bottle of white vinegar. Great for removing stains naturally and cleaning the washing machine.
- Hangers. Being able to hang delicate items promptly upon removing them from the dryer will save some ironing time.
- A folding drying rack. For items washed by hand.
Day 5: Add some style.
Decluttering tasks: A vase of fresh flowers on a shelf above the washer, a pretty new laundry bag, a row of shiny new hooks on the wall and a framed photograph or art print are all great ways to personalize the laundry room. There’s no need to go overboard on decor — this is at heart a functional space — but even a small hit of color or pattern will be most welcome.
Tips for basement laundries. When your washer and dryer don’t have a room (or even a closet) of their own, and are, in fact, surrounded by boxes of old stuff, exposed ducts and concrete, it’s easy to want to completely give up on making the area a nice place. If this is your situation, here are four things that can make your space feel more inviting:
- Proper lighting. A table lamp or wall sconce is so much more pleasant than a bare-bulb shop light!
- An outdoor rug. A colorful outdoor rug will add some much-needed softness and color and is tough enough for a basement.
- Shelving. When everything around the washer and dryer looks too grungy for your clean laundry to touch, dedicated shelving and a folding surface are what you need.
- Pretty baskets. The space will look instantly more finished and organized.
Day 6: Make a wish list for the future.
Get out a pen and paper and list the things you would most like to change or add to your laundry room. New flooring, fancy fold-down drying racks or a farmhouse-style sink? Figuring out exactly what you want is the first step toward making it happen.
Day 7 and beyond: Set up a laundry routine that works.
Stay on top of laundry and keep your laundry room fresh long after this week is over with a few new habits.
- Sort your laundry before it gets to the laundry room and avoid the dreaded piles-on-the-floor sorting method.
- Keep hand washables in a laundry bag on a hook rather than in the basket with everything else, to avoid confusion.
- Leave the washer door open between loads to avoid moisture buildup that leads to mildew and funky smells. If you can’t leave it open (because of curious cats or little ones), at least try to leave it open for 10 minutes while you are around to let the warmth and moisture dissipate.
- Clean out the lint filter in the dryer before running each load.
- Schedule a regular time to clean out the dryer hose and duct — keeping it free of lint will help prevent fires.