Beautifying on a Budget: Money-Saving Tips for Decorating Your Home

Beautifying on a Budget: Money-Saving Tips for Decorating Your Home

When you’re a couple moving in together, you quickly realize something: your design tastes demand more money than you have in your wallet. Fret not. With a small budget and a little creativity, you can breathe life into your home décor without draining your bank accounts. Here are a few tips to get you going in the right direction. 

Take Advantage of Resources 

There are several ways to save money when shopping for home decorating products. Bed, Bath & Beyond, for example, is where you can go to get a wide variety of items on clearance, such as bath towels, curtains, wall art, candles, coffee makers, and more. Before you make any purchases, do some quick online searches to turn up coupon codes or in-store offers to bulk up on savings. Along with looking at major retailers, it may be worth your time to check out online classifieds (e.g. Craigslist, Backpages) and garage sales for the items you need.

Give Your Walls a Makeover

One of the most cost-effective things you can do to tailor the design of your home is paint. Start by throwing a bright color on your front door, and then tackle the interior room by room. Light neutral colors (e.g., gray, greige, beige, taupe) are popular because they tend to make each room feel larger and cleaner, as well as leave more room for creative decorations. The occasional accent wall can pop nice in space, and you can usually find affordable art and other wall decorations to spruce things up. To help lower the cost of paint and accessories, keep your eyes peeled for sales from stores like Sherwin-Williams.

Use What You Have

Another way to save money while decorating your home is to work with what you have. For instance, instead of getting rid of all your furniture and starting over, keep the pieces that are structurally sound. Cosmetics can always be fixed. Check local prices for reupholstering and consider slipcovers, which can easily be changed for different seasons. Refinishing or painting wooden pieces (e.g. chairs, headboards, frames) can also breathe life into your furniture. For your appliances and cabinets, switching out the knobs and handles can make a big difference. 

Rearrange Your Furniture

Along with refreshing your furniture, rearranging it can do wonders for your interior. Experiment until you find the layout that gives you the perfect amount of space in each room. If you like to read, figure out how to work in a cozy reading nook in one or two of the rooms. If you have an accent wall, fireplace, or special art piece, consider using it as the focal point of the room by arranging the furniture around it. Best of all: rearranging doesn’t cost a thing!

Modernize Your Lighting

Making sure you have adequate lighting in all your rooms is essential for a comfortable home. Leave window space open where you can to allow natural light to shine through during the day. If you need to add a couple lights here and there, don’t hesitate. It’s also a good idea to change out any outdated or tacky light fixtures with more modern fixtures; you can find a variety of styles at a reasonable price online and at home improvement stores. 

It is possible to decorate your home on a budget. Look around for good deals through coupons, online classifieds, and garage sales. Show your walls some love by painting and adding unique, affordable decorations. Work with the furniture, cabinets, and appliances you have by freshening them up, and get creative with designing your furniture layout. Finally, give some thought to your lighting. You may be surprised by how much these projects can transform the look and feel of your home.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Article By: Natalie Jonescouple-home-house-1288482

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4 Home Maintenance Tasks You Don’t Need a Professional For

el-alce-web-379807-unsplashOwning a home comes with what seems like endless maintenance and repair. And if you’re like most people, you’re not too big on the idea of hiring professionals for every single job you encounter. Finding ways to do some home maintenance yourself can save you a lot of money, which will leave you with more to pay for the major jobs that are best left to the pros. If you’re looking for ways to upkeep your home with simple repairs, this article is a good place to start. Here are four home maintenance tasks that are simple enough to do on your own.

Broken AC 

When the air conditioner goes out, especially during the summer, it can be anything from annoying to dangerous. While the AC is something worth paying to get repaired, try replacing the filter before doing anything else. When a filter gets dirty, it can lead to frozen coils; replacing your AC filters regularly can prevent this from happening. If your AC coils are already frozen, replacing the filter can unfreeze them. However, if it doesn’t work, your unit could need some repairs. To find someone local to service your system, try a quick search for “AC companies near me” and explore your options. 

Hole in the Wall

It can happen to all of us: the doorknob slams straight into the drywall. Fortunately, that hole can often be fixed on your own. There are two easy approaches. The first is by using a mesh patch:

  • Clean up the drywall around the hole until the edges are smooth.
  • Cut a piece of self-adhesive mesh patch with at least an inch of excess around the hole.
  • Apply the patch firmly over the hole.
  • Apply joint compound to patch and surrounding area with a putty knife, allow it to dry, and sand it smooth. You may need to repeat this step several times.
  • Prime and paint the area to match the rest of the wall.

The second (and quickest) fix is to put a doorknob bumper or guard plate over the hole. Not only will this cover the hole, but it will also prevent similar damage from happening again. 

Cracked Molding

Molding and trim are easy to damage, and you can often fix them without replacing the whole piece. Start by sanding the cracked area smooth and applying wood filler or epoxy (depending on the size and severity of the crack). Make sure to apply the filler liberally, and sand it smooth after it fully dries. Then, you’re ready to paint to match the molding/trim to the surrounding area.

Loose Drawer Handle

If you have a loose drawer handle and it won’t screw back in, the wood around the screw holes is probably stripped out. This can be fixed with a screwdriver, masking tape, wood glue, and toothpicks. Unscrew the handle and remove it from the door, and apply masking tape to the area surrounding the hole(s) to protect the finish. Then, fill the hole with wood glue, put in however many toothpicks it takes to fill the hole, allow the glue to dry, and cut off any protruding toothpick ends. After that, screw the handle back on; you probably won’t even need to drill or thread the holes. A similar method can be used to repair wooden cabinet knobs. 

Performing common home maintenance and repairs means you have more money to hire professionals to do the more serious jobs. So, the next time you run into problems with your AC unit, try replacing the air filter. If you bang a hole in your wall with the doorknob, cover it with a mesh patch, bumper, or guard plate. If you come across a cracked piece of molding or loose drawer handle, follow the tips provided. There are many more household repairs you can do yourself, but these are some useful tasks to start with. 

Article By: Rob Woods

Photo Credit: Unsplash

How to Use Limited Space to Set Up a Home Office You Never Want to Leave By: Alice Robertson

desk photo alice article

Are you short on space but in desperate need of a home office? Living in a small space shouldn’t limit your ability to work from home, and with some creative organizing and design tips, it doesn’t have to. So, if you’re ready to set up the tiny home office of your dreams, you need to start with these helpful work-at-home hacks. 

Create a Compact Work Area That Fits Your Needs

When you are working with limited space for your home office, you need to be extremely selective in choosing decor, furnishings, and furniture. Everything needs to have a function and fit neatly into whatever nook, corner, or space you can carve out. Built-in desks are a perfect workspace solution for fitting a home office into just about any room in your home. These compact work areas don’t take up a lot of space and can even be worked into your kitchen — if that’s the best spot to multitask in your home.

Multi-purpose offices are becoming more popular for smaller homes as well. Fold-away tables and rolling carts can make it easy to quickly repurpose an office area for other uses, such as entertaining or for hobbies. These nifty little tricks are especially convenient if you live in a tiny home or a studio apartment. Every home office also needs some essential tech to function properly, but luckily, these office options are designed to not take up a lot of space. 

Save Money on Office Storage and Save Trees Too 

To keep your home office organized you will need to include some creative storage solutions in your overall design budget. That may mean doing some shopping for bargains on shelves and cabinets or making use of items you already have in your home. There are tons of DIY storage ideas online, and you can even upcycle baskets and suitcases to fit your workspace needs.

Of course, one of the simplest ways to save on storage and space in your office is to cut down on your paper usage. Embrace digital storage options for your small business needs for a more secure, less cluttering way to preserve essential documents, information, and paperwork. You can grab a portable scanner to upload any existing paper copies you have and keep up with new paperwork as it rolls into your home. Best of all, you can carry these scanners with you, so you can have instant access to your cloud and storage. Finally, keep mail from piling up by opting out of junk mail and switching to electronic statements for any bills or accounts. 

Add Some Personal Touches to Your Tiny Office 

Just because your office is small doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Your workspace should really reflect your taste while inspiring you to succeed, so really put your own spin on it. Choose a theme you won’t get tired of and then pick up some essential decor items to pull everything together. An energizing piece of art can jazz up boring walls, while plants always add a calming, beautiful touch to any room. Good lighting is crucial for preserving your eyesight, and while natural light works best, you may need to add a lamp or two to those dark corners and spaces you fashion into an office. Adjustable desk lamps work well in smaller office space and allow you to focus light where you really need it most. Plus, there are tons of styles to fit your aesthetic and price range. If you still have room, consider adding a small oil diffuser as well. Studies show that certain scents can increase productivity and focus, and some essential oils can ease stress. 

Living in a smaller home can often leave you struggling to find a good space for a home office. However, with some clever design hacks, a few pieces of functional furniture, and your own creative style, you can set up the home workspace of your dreams anywhere. So, clear out a closet or corner and get more done from your home.

Writer: Alice Robertson
Photo Credit: Unsplash

Japanese Method Of Folding Pesky Plastic Bags!

Plastic bags; will they ever go away? Even though I have drastically decreased my inventory and incorporated using canvas bags for shopping trips, I still have a few Plastic shopping bags that I keep just in case of out-of-doggy-poop-bag-emergencies.

The tricky part is, keeping them looking neat and organized. I recently came across the Japanese method of folding plastic shopping bags and for, me and my storage situation, it has been a major game changer.

Follow the steps below, to get your plastic bags in this perfect little triangles.

Step 1: Lay the bag flat on the table and press flat to take all the air out.

Step 2: Fold plastic bag in half. Again, make sure to flatten the bag so all the air comes.

Step 3: Fold into thirds. Repeat method of flattening and releasing any air from the bag.

Step 4: Fold one bottom corner up and across bag to form a small triangle.

Step 5: Take the bottom left corner of the triangle and fold up along left side (not diagonally as in step 4).

Step 6: Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the triangles end right under the handles.

Step 7: Fold and tuck in handles of bag into the triangle piece.

Keep these in a drawer, drawer insert/divider, your purse or any other place that works for you. This is a divider I purchased from The Container Store and houses my in case of emergency plastic bags nice and neatly!

How To Perfect Your To-Do List

To-Do lists are always a hot topic. Personally, I can’t live without them. However, I have made the mistake of putting too much on a to-do list, not getting it all done & then BOOM, all of a sudden you feel like a failure. That’s not a great feeling. My advise to everyone: be kind to yourself and allow the realistic. Here are some to-do list tips that help you do just that.

  1. Decluttering Is Not Just For Physical Items:  Decluttering is a huge part of any organization project but should not only be limited to physical items. It can be applied to email inboxes, spending habits and also to do lists. Sometimes, we can get over zealous and put 20 items on a list. However, in reality, doing this can be overwhelming, distracting and stressful, just like physical clutter.
  2. Prioritize Your List: Putting urgent tasks at the top of your list is key. Try to get them out-of-the-way earlier in the day if possible. You will feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders, and you will be motivated to continue on with the rest of your list.
  3. Create Stretch Goals: In retail, you have sales goal for the day and once that goal is met, you aim to hit a stretch goal. The idea behind a stretch goal is to essentially get ahead of your goal for the month, quarter and year. I have been applying this tactic to my to-do lists, because I feel way less stress in my life when I am one step ahead verses always playing catch up. Also, if you don’t get to that task that day it’s not the end of the world and you can add it to another day.
  4. Practice Intentionalism:  The intentions behind actions can motivate you more than just the task itself. It gives meaning to your work. Be conscious of your true intentions when you are making your to-do list. For example: some people find the task of laundry to be daunting. But if we focus on the intention behind doing laundry, we realize that we love having clean clothing and outfits that make us feel confident.
  5. Pick A System That Excites You: Since we are in a digital age, there are so many to-do list apps that are awesome. I am more old-fashioned, and prefer writing things down, but which ever you choose, pick a system, program or notebook that excites you and will make putting daily to-do lists that much more enjoyable.

 

WHY HIRE A PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER?

“So what do you do?”
“I am a Professional Organizer.”
“Oh wow, are all your clients hoarders?”

This is a conversation I have weekly (sometimes multiple times a week). The short answer: No, you don’t need to be a hoarder to benefit from the services of a Professional Organizer. But who exactly does need an organizer and why?

Here are five reasons why hiring a P.O. can be just what you and your family need:

1. Conquer The Clutter: Whether its boxes of old photos, or clothing we haven’t worn in years, we all have items that can cause clutter. Working with a pro to tackle these areas will make the process a lot easier for you. Professional Organizers help you sort through these items and decide what stays, gets donated or discarded. We then piece it all back together by creating a system that is simple for you to maintain. #clutterconquered

2. New Perspective: Sometimes we get too comfortable with how we use our space. Having a fresh set of eyes can shake things up; usually for the better. I learned this first hand designing closets. Clients would call me for a consultation and say things like “I doubt there is anything you can do with this space, it’s just so small.” After taking some wall measurements and assessing their storage needs, I would design two to three options per closet. The client would usually respond with “Wow, I didn’t even think that was possible.” The same can also be true for organizing.

3. Relax More, Stress Less: A main reason people call up a P.O. is because clutter and disorganization is adding unwanted stress to everyday life. We don’t always realize it, but clutter can signal to our brain that our work is never finished. That is a very stressful way to live and an organizer can help relieve some of that stress.

4. Save Time: When I started my Professional Organization business, I was inclined to learn about time and how we waste it looking for things. All those mornings we can’t find our keys, sort through boxes to find that one pair of shoes you need for a wedding, or that bill you can’t seem to remember where you placed, add up. In general, the average person uses around 1 year of their life looking for things. My mind was blown after I heard that number and I want to help my clients gain some of that time back.

5. Save Money: Similar to time being wasted, money can be wasted as well. A classic example of this is buying the same hot sauce three different times because they are all buried in different areas of your refrigerator and you can’t find it when you need it. Another example is when a client and I are sorting through their closet and we find multiple items with tags still on them that have never been worn and essentially been forgotten about. When you have a more organized system in your closet, or in your fridge, you may just want to wear something you already own, and not need to re-buy something that you have but can’t find.

WHERE TO DONATE WHAT.

“Declutter” is a magical word that may instantly give you a feeling of calmness, zen and peace of mind. While this is the goal with any organizing project, the process can sometimes be the opposite.

One reason for this is because you may not know where to donate what. Clothing is usually the easiest to find new homes for with since there are many establishments and organizations set up that take clothing donations. But what about old sheets, TVs, books etc? These are a bit more challenging and require more research.

Here are my go-to places that recycle, upcycle and put your unwanted stuff to great use!

Electronics: Disposing old electronics in the garbage is one of the most harmful things we, as humans, can do to the environment. Thanks to places like Best Buy and Staples, it’s very easy to recycle these items. Visit their websites for more information.

Books: My #1 place to donate old books is any public library AND most of them take DVDs as well. Added bonus: you receive a form to write off your donations on your upcoming tax form. I do recommend calling ahead of time to see if there is anything they are not currently taking at the time so you don’t waste a trip. #keepbooksalive

Linens: This is probably my favorite category! As a huge animal lover, I bring old bedding, towels, linens etc. to animal shelters. Shelters line crates with these materials so animals are nice and comfy. Could you think of anything better to do with your old bed sheets?

Eyeglasses & Sunglasses: New Eyes is a great non-for profit that takes eyeglass and sunglass donations! Visit their website to find out how to donate your old eyewear and even set up a drive in your community: https://www.new-eyes.org/

Are there any other items you have a hard time purging because you don’t know what to do with them? If so, please comment below!