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Organizing Your Home

Spring is that time of the year when we all begin to take stock after the winter months.We like to freshen things up and even clear out some of the clutter.It's a great time to get organized.Yet, identifying where to start can sometimes be challenging. In today's post, we are going to provide some great tips for home owners to get their homes more organized:  

First Things First: Plan & Prioritize

  • What are the most common spots in your home that accumulate the most clutter?
  • Expert tips for clearing out the clutter
  • Tools and solutions that can help you be a more organized home owner 

Before tackling massive projects make a to-do list of the cleaning and organizational tasks you want to accomplish over the next few days/weeks. Seasonal updates can be quick and easy when you have a plan. Prioritize your list beginning with the most critical interior and exterior items and any areas that require urgent attention. Below is a list of some popular areas to focus on as you start to renew, refresh, and reorganize your home for spring.  

The Garage: 

Having an organized garage may seem like a "no-brainer" for some, but studies have found that 1 in 4 homeowners claim the garage is too cluttered to put their cars inside. Yikes, that's a lot of wasted space! Minimize the clutter by only storing items that are safe to keep in a garage.

Here is a quick list of items to avoid keeping in the garage:
  • Firewood: It's super convenient to keep a stockpile of wood inside the garage (so you don't have to go out into the cold this winter!). However, it can be a real target for pests that would love to invade your home. We recommend keeping firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and the garage.
  • Extra fuel: Many people find it convenient to store fuel for appliances like a generator in the garage. However, this is best stored in a shed or separate building away from your home, because propane or gasoline stored in a garage is a huge fire risk. If you do need to keep any of these items in the garage, be sure to follow practical fire safety tips.
  • Oily rags: An oil-soaked rag stored in an extremely hot garage, has the potential risk of spontaneous combustion. If left lying near an ignition source that sparks – the cloth could ignite and cause a garage fire. Even disposing of the oily rags in a trash can still be combustible. Always leave rags out to dry in the open air and store them in a sealed metal container.
  • Temperature-sensitive chemicals: Most garages suffer from extreme temperatures—overly hot in the summer and lockstep with the cold outdoor temperatures in the winter—and some liquids like latex freeze at the same temperature as water. Always check labels before storing any fluid in the garage to ensure it doesn't require a temperature-controlled environment.
  • Furniture or off-season clothing: The temperature extremes of a garage can lead to wood furniture becoming warped and pests invading upholstery or clothing, etc. If you do need to store furniture in a garage, look for a clean, dry area off the floor. Clothing is better stored in an attic or a basement if possible. Outside fluctuations in humidity can also easily damage both furniture and clothing by causing wood products to warp and upholstery and fabrics to mold. Not to mention, folded boxes of clothing or upholstery make great homes for mice, snakes, and other critters!
  • Food: Bird food, pet food or food for your family should be kept out of the garage to avoid becoming a magnet for rodents, insects, etc. The temperatures in the garage may also not be conducive to the storage of many foods. 


Clean out the clutter:

The stress of an unorganized home can create an enormous amount of pressure on homeowners. According to an online survey, 81 percent of men and 87 percent of women claim to experience anxiety over home upkeep. Clearing out clutter and re-organizing a room or closet can feel even more stressful!

We recommend tackling the task in small increments of time, so it isn't overwhelming.Try dedicating a couple of hours for a few weekends in a row or take a tip from de-cluttering guru, Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying, and tackle it one category at a time!

Marie also recommends tidying up all at one time as quickly as possible, never spreading out storage – always store the same items together in the same space and using square containers that fit inside cupboards keeping items tidy and organized. 

When it is time to purge, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What can't you live without?
  • What do you use all the time?
  • What you would take with you if your house were suddenly on fire? 

These are the keepers. Everything else could be purged!

 Once you've decided what to purge, make sure to get it out of the house! Roughly 40 percent of people identify items to be purged but never actually manage to clear them out of their house! You could:

  • Donate items to your favorite outgrown shop or charity.
  • Sell household items online or have a good old-fashioned yard sale.
  • Add the leftover pieces to the donate pile. But, don't forget to schedule pick-up and drop-off times.

Create a Home Inventory:

A home inventory is a list of your personal and household possessions along with their estimated financial value. In the event of a fire, flood, or other disaster, would you be able to recall and document all the items you owned that were lost or damaged? Chances are, you wouldn't. That's why a home inventory list is essential, it will help you determine your losses and make your insurance claim settle faster, according to the Insurance Information Institute. It also enables you to determine how much insurance to purchase. Here's a few tips for building a home inventory:  

  • Try your best to document all your belongings thoroughly.
  • Walk through each room and list items as you go.
  • Don't forget to include items in the garage, basement, attic, or detached structures or sheds.
  • Pay close attention to the possessions you find most valuable like artwork, antiques, and electronic equipment. These items may be separately bound in a policy


Get some help from a Home Organization Tool:

Nowadays, with the help of technology, there are some cool gadgets and solutions to help make home organization so much easier!

Do you have a crazy busy schedule with family going everywhere? Using the Cozi family app will allow you to organize all your families coming and goings, allow you to share grocery lists, and store recipes and plan meals.

Do you always forget to get the gutters cleaned? Not sure whether you need to do maintenance on your hot water heater or AC units? Can't find that HVAC filter size, or that washing machine serial number when you are trying to get it serviced? Let vipHomeLink come to the rescue! This clever online solution (which is also accessible from your phone!) lets you build an interactive profile on your home that helps you improve, maintain and organize your home. For a low monthly membership fee, you can receive regular maintenance alerts and reminders for keeping your home safe and in good condition.It also provides expert tips, a home inventory tool and lets you store all your home information online -- details on your appliances, insurance policies, service providers – you can even upload warranties and manuals! All of the information and benefits of vipHomeLink are located in one place accessible anytime from your computer or phone!

Are you someone who loses your keys, wallets, or remotes? Well, Pixie (getpixie.com) can help. Pixie is a gadget that you attach to items like keys that are so easy to misplace! When you can't find them, open the Pixie app and the augmented reality will show you exactly where to find it! 

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