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Vietnam War Saigon: Tân Sơn Nhất Airport Arrival

Posted by on January 24, 2016 with 0 Comments

Vietnam war Saigon: Immediately after I was told we had orders for Vietnam we went to medical for a bevy of shots, then packed and waited for orders and instructions.

Vietnam War Saigon

Vietnam War: Saigon

Camp Holloway – Pleiku, Vietnam

After leaving Bad Tölz, Germany we were flown to Saigon (now known as Ho Chi Minh City) and landed at the Tân Sơn Nhất Airport. As we flew in there were few lights to be seen until we begin a fast descent landing at the airport at about 0230. We rolled to a stop, and all doors opened to exit the craft. People on the ground were directing us to a warehouse looking facility about 50 yards from the aircraft. The first thing that hit me was the heat. It felt as if I was walking into a blast furnace, and just taking a breath was an amazing experience. The humidity was high, probably just this side of raining. We moved quickly to the warehouse with the yelling of the ground crews as our background. By the time we got inside I was already sweating and I was in excellent physical condition.

Once inside they had Special Force members move together as one group where we were debriefed and received additional orders. The NCO giving our instructions was standing on a crate as he spoke smoking a cigarette. The thought that crossed in the back of my mind was how could he smoke and still take a breath of air.

Early in the morning I was to catch a flight to Pleiku in the central highland region of Vietnam and report to the Command Center in what was called Camp Holloway. Our Caribou landing was noisy as we landed on a PSP (perforated steel planking) runway, a first for me but there would be more to come. Map of Vietnam

Vietnam War Saigon

The Cav’s Huey Helecopter

The command center was not obvious so I asked for directions. The base was much larger than I anticipated with a bunch of CAV choppers, Caribou, C-130, and L-19 aircraft positioned around the airfield.

Once I found the command center I was told to park it. Minutes later a 5th Special Force (SF) Sergeant first class (SFC) walked in and told me to report back here in one hour for a mission briefing. The thought of a mission already was a bit of an adrenaline rush. I expected to meet the rest of the team at the mission briefing.

At the briefing I looked around and no one was there from my old unit. I learned a few minutes later that only two had been in-country and had been working together for a few months. The comfort level came from knowing they were well trained. It seemed reasonable to me that I was probably the least proficient in jungle training because mine consisted of six weeks in Panama and having completed that training I was acclimatized to the colder weather when assigned to Germany.

We were told that we were heading into a hot LZ to reinforce the Plei Me outpost that was under attack by superior numbers. At that point I forgot about being hot.

Next: Vietnam War: The Battle of Plei Me October 1965

 

Article: Vietnam War Saigon

By Jeff Daley

Consolidate Insurance: Really? Is this Wise?

Posted by on January 13, 2016 with 0 Comments

Consolidate insurance, is this a wise move? There is a wide variety of insurances that we may have in our portfolio. The most common is car and home insurance. We could have flood insurance, umbrella liability, and more. So the first thing you need to do is take a look at the assets that you own and decide if that item is something that:

  • Consolidate Insurance

    Check Your Insurance for Savings

    Is currently insured

  • Must be insured
  • Should be insured.

Consolidate Insurance

There are some obvious assets in your portfolio that have statutory requirements that says you must carry insurance. There may even be rules on minimum coverage requirements. For example, all states require that you have car insurance. Lenders most often require that you obtain homeowners insurance in order to mitigate the possibility of loss for them. Landlords and storage units usually require that you have some form of renters insurance. These are but a few of the many instances that would require you to be insured.

Now to the question: should you consolidate your types of coverage? There are two primary reasons why a person may choose to consolidate. One, it is much easier to keep track of and make payments to a single insurance company. Otherwise, if you had five different policies from five different providers, you could spend a significant amount of time keeping track of when a payment is due, writing checks to each one, constantly dealing with renewal deadlines, chasing different representatives about claims or plan modifications, along with a myriad of other administrative issues.

Second, and most important, the reason to consolidate is the cost. Many insurance companies give discounts for carrying coverage across multiple insurance products. Less expense to you, simplicity in administration, and a single point of contact is you need some help.

Consolidate Insurance

There is a myriad of insurance products

Taking the Next Step

When your insurance is all in one place, it’s also easier to see the missing pieces. For example, what happens if you have a claim on your insurance that is not covered by the policy or if the amount required to rectify the incident exceeds your policy limits?

This is where an umbrella policy comes in. An umbrella policy is a liability insurance plan that is used to cover the gaps in your existing plans and pay up to specific policy limits above and beyond your general coverage. And it can be surprisingly affordable.

The key thing to remember is to protect your assets and limit your liability with the correct coverage. Consolidation may be a wise move for your goals. If you have multiple policies, it is well worth looking into.

Your can find more insurance information at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Article: Consolidate Insurance: Really? Is this Wise?

Brought to you by the Luxury Valley Homes Team.

Scottsdale Mega Events Are Almost Here

Posted by on January 9, 2016 with 0 Comments

Scottsdale mega events are almost here. Come the last part of January and February 2016, these events will bring large numbers of visitors to Scottsdale. Many of these visitors will take some time to search for Scottsdale real estate for retirement, new location, or a vacation home. Those events are scheduled as follows:

Scottsdale Mega Events

January 24 – 26 is the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction at Westworld

Contact Info: 480-421-6694  – Web: http://www.Barrett-Jackson.com

Scottsdale Mega Events

April Rose at the Barrett Jackson Show

Established in 1971 and headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, Barrett-Jackson, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions®, is the leader in collector car auctions and automotive lifestyle events.

Barrett-Jackson specializes in providing products and services to astute classic and collector car owners and automotive enthusiasts around the world. Barrett-Jackson produces The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions® in Scottsdale, Arizona; Palm Beach, Florida; the Northeast at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun and Las Vegas, Nevada, where hundreds of the most sought-after, unique and valuable automobiles cross the block in front of a global audience.

February 4 – 7 is the Waste Management Phoenix Open at the TPC Scottsdale

Contact Web:  Waste Management Phoenix Open

Scottsdale Mega Events

16th Green at the Phoenix Open

Dubbed “The Greatest Show on Grass,” The Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale has no problem living up to its name. In addition to playing host to the greatest players in the game, the tournament is the PGA TOUR’s best attended event – drawing nearly 500,000 enthusiastic spectators each year.

As one of the first events on the PGA TOUR calendar, The Waste Management Phoenix Open kicks off the year with a bang. Unlike any other tournament in the world, spectators become central to the event – helping to transform the famous 16th hole into “The Coliseum” – and the loudest hole in golf.

February 11-21 is the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show at Westworld

Contact Info: 480-515-1500  Web: http://www,ScottsdaleShow.com

Scottsdale Mega Events

Opening of Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show

The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show hosts a plethora of events that include competitions, gala parties, educational seminars, food court that has a myriad of international cuisine choices, and has approximately 300 vendor booths that offer a little bit of everything.

February 11 – 14 is the Waterfront Fine Art & Wine Festival at the Scottsdale Waterfront

Contact Info: 480-837-5637  Web: http://www.ThunderbirdArtists.com

Scottsdale Uber Events

Scottsdale Waterfront Art & Wine Festival

It is the mission of Thunderbird Artists to further enhance the art culture with the local communities by producing award-winning, sophisticated fine art festivals throughout the Phoenix metro area.

Thunderbird Artists has played an important role in uniting nationally recognized and award-winning artists with patrons from across the globe. A family run business, Judi Combs and daughter Denise Dale, have worked side by side with a passion for the arts and the artists.

You may find it amazing at all the the private jets that will be parked at the Scottsdale airpark that have brought visitors, buyers, and competitors alike to our fair city.

If you are planning on visiting one or more of the Scottsdale mega events, and you are interested in looking for Scottsdale real estate, give us a call, we will be glad to help. Real estate is a full time business for the Luxury Valley Homes team.

Article: Scottsdale Mega Events Are Almost Here

Federal Rate Hike: What Will Happen With Mortgages?

Posted by on December 22, 2015 with 0 Comments

Federal Rate Hike: We knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when. Even before Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen announced a 0.25% interest rate hike on December 16 (the first in nine years), speculation was circulating.

Federal Rate Hike

What Will Happen With Mortgages?

Federal Rate Hike

Here are a few housing-related highlights from a variety of sources:

◾Home buyers, now’s the time to pay attention: Mortgage rates won’t skyrocket overnight, but they are expected to start climbing. A typical rate on a 30-year mortgage is 3.9%. That’s very low. In 2006, mortgage rates were above 6%. – CNN Money

◾“This is the first Federal rate hike of multiple ones that will be coming up over the next couple of years,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS® (video analysis here). “Consumers should anticipate the broad rising interest-rate environment in their calculation of whether they want to buy a home and the timing of when they purchase it.” – Miami Herald

◾“I have home buyers now that are looking to close their transactions in January and I’ve actually been advising them to hold off,” said Rocke Andrews, a mortgage-loan originator in Arizona and president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. He says adjustable-rate mortgages might go up now that the Fed has raised its federal funds rate, but he thinks longer-term mortgages may actually go down a little. – Marketplace

◾“The federal rate hike doesn’t affect mortgage rates,” said UMB Bank Chief Investment Officer K.C. Mathews. “However, a lot of people will think that with the rate increasing, it might be time to make the big purchases, like a house or car.” – Phoenix Business Journal

◾Thirty-year mortgages are priced off 10-year Treasury note yields, which do rise as short-term rates climb, but not as steeply. Doug Duncan, chief economist of Fannie Mae, expects this week’s Federal rate hike to have virtually no immediate impact on Treasury or mortgage rates. – USA TODAY

You can see more information at the Federal Reserve website.

Brought to you by Jane E. Daley, REALTOR®: Scottsdale Real Estate – Luxury Valley Homes

First-time Buyers Appear To Be Holding Spirits In Check

Posted by on December 21, 2015 with 0 Comments

First-time Buyers: Home builder confidence took a slight dip last month. The Wells Fargo/NAHB Sentiment Index posted at 61 for December. That’s still not bad; anything over 50 means the outlook is positive but what about the first-time buyers.

First-time Buyers: Easing into 2016

First-time Buyers

Market Preview

First-time buyers appear to be holding spirits in check. This is especially concerning because the Fed’s recent rate hike will impact the down payments first-time buyers will be able to put down.

The traffic component of the home builder index continues to drop, posting at a sub-50 reading of 46 for December. This component reflects the lack of first-time buyers in the new-home market.

The good news is that overall new-home activity remains strong. Housing starts were up 10.5% to 1.173 million units on an annualized basis in November. Multi-family starts lead the charge with a 16.4% monthly increase. The single-family component was up 7.6%. Some of these homes are priced in a way that will benefit the First-time buyers, because their mortgage would be less than their rent.

So far, so good. We think mortgage rates will remain steady for the near future. The long-term imperative, though, is for rates to rise. Look for that to happen as the Fed raises interest rates and that is not good for the First-time buyers or anyone else when you are thinking – mortgage.

For the week beginning December 21, 2015

First-time Buyers

Economic Calendar – December 21, 2015

 

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR

French political economist Frederic Bastiat was keen to point out the consequences – intended and otherwise – people tend to ignore because they’re focused on the present.

It used to be that once someone became a homeowner he, or she would own a large asset that always appreciated. Home equity, and therefore net worth, would also always grow. If the income failed to support the lifestyle, the home could always be sold for a profit – no harm, no foul.

After the housing bubble burst, it hit home that all asset prices – even housing prices – are subject to price depreciation. In the aftermath, everyone adjusted his or her perspective accordingly.

Over the past five years, the cost of purchasing a home has been rising 6% to 10% on average. Unfortunately, the greatest appreciation has occurred in the starter-home market. This means fewer renters are able to join the ranks of homeowners, however for the moment, the First-time buyers have a window of opportunity.

In the past, we may have thought that continually rising home prices are overwhelmingly positive. Today, we’re more inclined to look for the unseen attached to this good thing.

Article: First-time buyers

Brought to you by Scottsdale real estate: Luxury Valley Homes

Need help with your sale or purchase of real estate?  Call or email Jane E. Daley

You can see more financial news at Yahoo Finance

Water Heater: What is Important to Know When Buying

Posted by on December 13, 2015 with 0 Comments

Do you have plans to buy a new water heater, but the varied sizes in which are available leave you perplexed. There is something to be happy about as this situation is faced by a majority people. Besides fulfilling the requirement of having hot water, it should also be energy efficient.

Water Heater: What is Important to Know When Buying

Water Heaters

There are people who believe that wattage makes a difference to electricity consumption, but in reality it does not. Let us discuss some of the key factors that will help you in buying a right sized water heater –

What is Important to Know When Buying a Water Heater

Key Deciding Factors

  • Thermostat temperature is one of the key factors when you talk about water heaters. A default temperature is being set in these geysers. Some of the models also come with a facility to alter the temperature manually.
  • The temperature of the water heater for bathing purpose. Make sure that you are aware that it is not the as same as the thermostat setting.
  • The quantity of water usage is probably one of the important elements to decide because of the electricity consumption. The more hot water used, the more usage of electricity.
  • The water temperature of various inputs. Well, it’s understood that colder regions require extra heating as compared to the places with warmer regions.

Important Features

Some of the important features irrespective of the brand/manufacturer you are choosing. Key features that you should look for are:

  • Rust proof outer body
  • Adjustable thermostat settings.
  • Safety valve for pressure release.
  • Automatic thermal cut-out.
  • Glass coated heating element.

Long life & availability of spares

It is important that you purchase a branded water heater that is known for offering long life. In addition to this, the spare parts should also be readily available just in case any component undergoes any wear and tear. The standard life of a tankless water heater is estimated for 20 years and water heaters with a tank is estimated at a maximum of 12 years.

Energy Consumption

There is an organization, BEE which is responsible for offering ratings as per their energy consumption. If you are going for a brand that has 5 star rating then it is obvious that it consumes less electricity along with less heat loss making it an ideal product. You can see the star rating sticker on the front side of the water heater. All the water heaters having high star ratings come at a higher price, but at the same time they are more effective in saving considerable amount of electricity making return on investment a choice you may want to consider as part of your decision making process.

Warranty

Warranties for the product is important. Make sure that you have checked the warranty card on the heating element and the tank at the time of purchase.

Keep these points in mind, and make a smart choice for a water heater.

This article is provided by http://blog.pumpkart.com

Luxury Valley Homes Scottsdale shares this information/article but do not endorse any products. Do your homework and get the right product for the needs of your family and home.

Vietnam by way of Bad Tolz, Germany

Posted by on December 4, 2015 with 0 Comments

Vietnam by way of Bad Tolz, Germany

It was an overcast day and the temperature was in the low forties. I was thinking it would be another great day in Bad Tolz because duty here was almost storybook in nature, it was Sunday and I was to have the afternoon off.

Vietnam by way of Bad Tolz, Germany

Bad Tolz, Germany

The town is nestled in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps on the beautiful blue green Isar river about 30 miles due south of Munich. It has mineral baths whose iodine-rich waters are known for their soothing and healing powers, and are open to the public to use. People from neighboring cities come just to take a dip.

Bad Tolz is a magical town with its colorfull gingerbread style homes that look like they should be in a fairy tale story. The streets look like cobblestone but are made of granite and are slippery when wet. A myriad of stores and restaurants line the streets of Bad Tolz with the usual German cleanliness that seems to permeate all of Germany.

Bad Tolz history is centuries old but most notable in recent history emanates from WWII. The German SS School was located here and later taken possession by the US Government. After the war, General Patton’s office was located here, and by agreement, the building became the possession of the U.S. Government in perpetuity. It eventually became known as Flint Kaserne, (Kaserne translated from German means barracks) and the home of the U.S. military that included the 10th Special Forces.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Vietnam by way of Bad Tolz, Germany

The Casa Carioca Nightclub in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

The rest of the day was mine and I decided to go to Garmisch-Partenkirchen with John, it is about a 55 km drive to another storybook town at the base of the Bavarian Alps. It is also the home of the Casa Carioca nightclub where ice shows are popular. After the ice show, a wooden floor would slide over the ice to make room for more dining and a dance floor.

That afternoon we enjoyed the town, watched the show, and stayed on for a couple of beers. Unfortunately, when we flipped a coin I lost, and became the designated driver. John was just into his first beer when I spotted a beautiful girl, and then asked her to dance. The time flew by, all the while she made my heart pound, and I fell hopelessly in love.

All too soon it was time to head back so we made a date to meet again. I hated to leave and was already looking forward to when I would see her again.

The following Monday, I was called into the office. When I got to the office John was just coming out, and I asked him what was going on, he replied, “Come see me after you get done here”. I walked into the office, reported, and was handed new orders. As I left, Pete was waiting outside the door.

I checked my orders and saw my next assignment – Vietnam.

Read more about Bad Tolz, Germany on Wikipedia

Next Article: Arriving at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Vietnam

Chart Reveals Who Gained the Most Equity in Their Home

Posted by on November 25, 2015 with 0 Comments

Chart Reveals Who Gained the Most Equity in Their Home

The average home seller nets about a 23 percent gain in equity from the time they purchase their property – or about $40,000, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. (NAR)

Chart Reveals Who Gained the Most Equity

What is the percent of Equity Earned in your home?

A closer look at the data reveals that sellers who purchased their home during certain volatile years tend to fare worse than others.

Home owners who purchased their home eight to 10 years ago—from 2005 to 2007, during the height of the real estate bubble—have earned just $3,000 or 1 percent in equity during that time, says Jessica Lautz, NAR’s managing director of survey research and communication. Those home owners may show the most reluctance to sell their homes, and that may be adding to the inventory shortage in many cities, Lautz says.

Chart Reveals Who Gained the Most Equity

Take a closer look at NAR’s latest profile of buyers and sellers report at the breakdown below to see who fares the best in the equity picture:

Chart Reveals Who Gained the Most Equity

Percent of Equity Earned

That group of homeowners may be reluctant to put houses on the market today, even though they are right at the average tenure of sellers who make a house trade, and that may be adding to existing-home inventory shortages in many cities, Lautz said at the NAR’s annual convention here.

Despite the equity gains for most homeowners, it is taking more and more income these days to purchase a home. The NAR’s profile of home buyer and sellers for 2015 shows that the gross household income of all purchasers was $86,100, a figure that has risen every year since 2012 when it was $78,600. This is inspite of the lowest increases in COLA during that time.

Source: “If You Bought Your Home During These Years You’re Really Hurting,” realtor.com® (Nov. 17, 2015)

Scottsdale Real Estate News | Wednesday, November 25, 2015

7 Bedroom Styling Tricks That Anyone Can Do | Scottsdale Real Estate

Posted by on November 19, 2015 with 0 Comments
7 Bedroom Styling Tricks That Anyone Can Do

7 Bedroom Styling Tricks That Anyone Can Do | Scottsdale Real Estate

7 Bedroom Styling Tricks That Anyone Can Do | Scottsdale Real Estate

We spend a great deal of our time at home in the bedroom. Even when we aren’t sleeping, we’re breakfasting in bed, blogging, reading or just relaxing. But the bedroom can be one of the last rooms we decorate; the main living areas often take up most of our time and budget. Here are some simple styling tricks to help you give your bedroom a professional, polished and finished look in next to no time at all.

  1. Aim for “effortless.” Bedroom styling should create a lived-in, relaxed vibe. Your bed is a great place to start. Don’t worry about arranging the pillows and bedding perfectly. But to keep your bed from looking like a hot mess, keep one element of the bed linens straight and neat. A casually draped throw on a bed is for example, can be offset by the crisp lines of the quilt beneath it.
  1. No headboard? Add an art wall. Use the wall space above your bed to create a meaningful gallery wall. Instead of hanging one large artwork, try experimenting with a group of smaller pieces. Note where your head will rest when you are sitting up to read, and use this imaginary line as a guide for the bottom edge of your artwork.
  1. Create an “end zone.” A spot at the end of your bed, the “end zone,” as I call it, is great for sitting to get dressed and put your shoes on, for scattering some magazines on or laying out a tray for coffee or tea. Space permitting, all you have to do is move carefully chosen furniture to the end of your bed. You could try a chest, a bench seat, two stools, an upholstered ottoman with hidden storage or a chaise longue. It is reminiscent of the polished look so often seen in boutique hotel bedrooms.  Tip: Have a purpose in mind for this area and keep it clutter-free.
  1. Style the nightstand. A styled nightstand makes your bedroom look complete. Keep only essential items here, such as a lamp, clock and book, and decorative details, like a dish, to hold your jewelry or a memento.Keep this area clean and dust-free, as you don’t want to wake up to a mess or breathe in allergens while you sleep.Tip: The interior style of your bedroom should guide you in your choice of bedside items. A coastal-inspired bedroom could have lush green tropical leaves in a glass bottle on top of a stack of books and a maritime-inspired clock, for example. “Boho” bedrooms might feature a small arrangement of brightly colored flowers and a string of beads. Just don’t be overly obvious in your approach to themes.
  1. Choose oversized artwork. This easy styling trick is perfect for renters or decorators short on time. You don’t need to mount oversized art — just lean the frame against the wall. This has the bonus of adding to the relaxed, effortless feel we’re going for in this room. I like to work with over sized prints and frames as they’re a little bit unexpected and draw your attention.
  1. Pick a color scheme. I can’t stress enough how important this is. Anyone can choose a color scheme; the trick is to find the inspiration for it in the right place, and then stick to it. This bedroom uses a contemporary twist on traditional blue and white style. Varying shades of blue give the bedroom depth, and a mix of contrasting textures creates interest.Can’t find inspiration? Look to your existing wall color or standout features to guide you. You could, for instance, select two or three colors from an artwork and match these to your bedding, bedside table lamps, throw rugs or pillows. Another feature that could give your bedroom color cues is the wallpaper. Treat the paper as a work of art in itself, and use the pattern or color as inspiration and a style direction for the rest of your bedroom.If you love neutrals, remember to mix textures and vary shades so your bedroom doesn’t feel stark or flat.
  1. Work a feature wall. If you rent and you have a wall of color you are stuck with, fear not. Use the existing color as inspiration for the palette or theme of your bedding. In this striking bedroom, the soft aqua blues of the nightstand lamp and pillows stand out against the coral pink wall.  Tip: Aim to create harmony and balance. If you have a strong, bold color, research what colors would work harmoniously with it. Look at a color wheel— using colors that lie next to each other will have a calming effect, because those combinations are pleasing to the eye.

Feature walls can be oh so right when used correctly- like a moody wall -especially in a deep inky indigo or deep charcoal. The color can help frame the bed area and looks great with wood accents.

Tip: An inky blue-black wall is a great solution for creating a gender-neutral bedroom or a space that caters to both men and women. Add interest and contrast through the bedding, nightstands, lighting, artwork and headboard.

Above all, go for comfort. The style of your bedroom should reflect your personality. Make the room comfortable and inviting. It’s your special place, so use and select the things you love and that make you feel good.

Brought to you by the Luxury Valley Homes Team at 480-595-6412

Five Ways to Jump Start a Whole House Decluttering Effort | Scottsdale Real Estate

Posted by on November 13, 2015 with 0 Comments
Five Ways to Jump Start a Whole House Decluttering Effort | Scottsdale Real Estate

Five Ways to Jump Start a Whole House Decluttering Effort | Scottsdale Real Estate

Five Ways to Jump Start a Whole House Decluttering Effort| Scottsdale Real Estate

If the piles of paperwork and jam packed closets have you feeling like a deer in the headlights, take a deep breath and a baby step…

It’s a common problem. You know you have way too much stuff for your available space, but you become paralyzed at the thought of decluttering. One solution is to start with something that takes minimal effort but makes a big impact in your home right away. From carving out a bit of breathing room in your closet to making a dent in the junk drawer, these five ways to begin the decluttering process are relatively painless. You can do this!

Where Not to Begin

Don’t plan to start with a major weekend-long purge. Plan to start being the key phrase. A big decluttering weekend can be a great way to make progress, but carving out such a large chunk of time may not be easy to arrange — and if you keep putting off getting started because you’re waiting for a big space to open up on your calendar, you could be waiting a very long time.

Don’t start with other people’s stuff. Oh, it is so tempting, I know! But although you may be dying to bag up your least favorite items from your spouse/significant other/kid/housemate’s space, resist the urge — it’s not likely to go over well. Even if you have way less clutter than the other members of your household, it’s important to take responsibility for your own part. If you’re lucky, the clutter-clearing bug will be catching!

Don’t start at the front door. In theory, the entryway is a wonderful place to begin decluttering. But guess what tends to accumulate around the front door? Stuff you actually use a lot. That means that while there could be a few things to get rid of in this area, it’s more likely that the stuff just needs to be put away. But if everywhere else in the house is packed, there’s nowhere for the entryway clutter to go.

Where to Begin

1. Discard a few clothes. Removing some of the clothes and shoes you don’t wear from your closet and drawers is a good first step. By clearing out a bit of space in your bedroom closet, you can then tuck away some of the extra items (jackets, scarves, shoes) cluttering up your entryway, in effect clearing two areas of your home at once.

How to: Try not to get hung up on winnowing down your entire closet right now; just grab a few no-brainer items that obviously need to go (socks without mates, worn out sneakers, ill-fitting pants), toss them in a bag, and get them out of there.

Next step: If there is now enough room to do so, take the extra coats and shoes from the entryway and put them away neatly in your closet, lightening up the entry. If space is still too tight to add anything, make another pass at your clothes and shoes, and fill a bag with items to sell or give away.

2. Sort a pile of papers. For as much talk as there is about offices going paperless, I find that somehow an awful lot of paper makes its way into the house. Seeing piles of unsorted paperwork while you’re trying to relax or enjoy a meal can create a low but persistent level of stress in the house, so this is a helpful place to begin. 

How to: Grab a pile and sort it; if you don’t currently have a filing system set up, just label a few files as you go, keeping the categories broad. When you’re done sorting the first pile, designate one spot to put all incoming paperwork. Place a paper recycling bin beside it and call it a day.

Next step: Collect all the unsorted paperwork from around the house and place it in the designated paper spot. Grab a stack and sort it. Repeat.

3. Organize the junk drawer. An overflowing junk drawer is a drag to look at and can really slow you down when you can’t find what you’re looking for. Junk drawers tend to get overstuffed thanks to a) stuff you really should have thrown away in the first place and b) too many extras of things. For now, focus on a) — the stuff that doesn’t belong at all.

How to: Toss out the instruction manuals, broken rubber bands, pens that don’t write and freebies you never really wanted. If you have a ton of extras (pens, batteries, etc.) that you know you’ll use eventually, just neaten them up and try to make a mental note to not buy any more of those for a long time. 

Next step: Separate the useful little items (tape, stamps, flash light) into a separate drawer or wall organizer so they’re easier to reach and leave the extras (boxes of batteries, stapler refills, lightbulbs) in the drawer. If you need organizers for your neatened-up drawer, jam jars and tupperware are quick (and free!) stand-ins.

4. Shed a piece of furniture. Perhaps you have furniture in the house that isn’t really needed but you put it there simply because you have it. Getting rid of just one piece can free up a lot of space. Also, furniture tends to attract piles of clutter, so one less piece also means one less place for clutter to congregate. If your space feels too tightly packed with furniture, see if you can choose a least-favorite piece to sell or donate to charity.

How to: Take a walk around your home, peeking into every closet and outbuilding, making note of the furniture. Find one piece that’s not being used or isn’t really needed and make a plan to get rid of it. If you plan to give it away, try to drive it to a donation center today. If you want to sell it, place an ad or bring it to a consignment shop today. Don’t wait!

Next step: Follow up with your plan to get rid of the piece of furniture. If you’re having trouble selling it, lower the price or try a different method (Craigslist, eBay, garage sale, consignment shop). Set a reminder on your calendar to take the item to a donation center by a certain date if it doesn’t sell.

 5. Give away one thing right now. This is about the power of beginnings: When you have a mountainous task ahead of you, even a relatively small suggestion (like tackling a single drawer or decluttering for five minutes) can feel overwhelming. Instead, go right now and grab one thing you can give away. One thing is not so hard to remove. And even if you removed just one thing each day, after a year that’s 365 things — not too shabby!

How to: Look around the room you’re in and grab the first thing you see that you could give away. It could be a DVD, a book, a candleholder you don’t really like — it doesn’t matter, just grab something quickly! If you don’t see anything, peek in a cupboard or drawer and grab something there. Once you have your one thing, don’t just put it by the door — actually remove it from the house. If you absolutely can’t take it away right now, at least put it outside, or in the car.

Next step: Find one more thing to get rid of and put it in a bag or box to take to a donation center. Each day, add one more item to the container; when it’s full, drop it off. Repeat.

Brought to you by the Luxury Valley Homes Team at 480-595-6412

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