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Feb 22

Home Organization: How to Create a Clutter-free Bathroom

With spring right around the corner, you are probably thinking of ways to clean, organize and declutter your home. One of the best places to start this seasonal task is your bathroom. Here are a few tips to get your bathroom space in order:

Out With the Old and Unused

If your bathroom is like most, it is cluttered with quite a few items that you will never use. Whether it’s shampoo that didn’t quite live up to its claims of voluminous, shiny hair or a new type of gel that led to stickiness instead of control, if you don’t use it regularly, toss it. Try to eliminate all the items that are not really essential to your regular hygiene routine.

Keep Your Drying Unmentionables Hidden

If you regularly dry your delicates in your bathroom, the space may look cluttered and cramped from the hangers and dangling clothes. To keep the zen atmosphere you’ve worked to achieve, exchange the rod of your shower curtain for a combination rod — one that combines a towel bar with a curtain rod. Be sure to install it so that the towel bar is hidden behind the shower curtain. That way, when you dry your items, you will only see your decorative shower curtain.

Creatively Add More Shelving

If you need more counter or cabinet space, consider adding shelving to help with home organization. Without much effort, you can tack baskets to your bathroom walls to create a shadow-box effect. Fill them with items that you need, such as towels or toilet paper. As long as you place the items neatly, the new shelving can add a bit of decorative flair to your bathroom as you declutter.

Maximize Your Shower Space

Some of the items that you use regularly in the shower can remain in that area of your bathroom. To keep shampoos, soaps and bath sponges neatly organized, use a shower organizer. These handy units hang on your shower head and offer shelving to keep your essentials in plain view and away from the edge of your tub.

With a little effort, your bathroom will be organized and clutter-free in no time, which leaves you to focus on the other rooms in the house.

Feb 15

Working from Home: Five Proactive Tips to Help You Stay Productive & Balanced

Working from home in the United States is a growing trend. In fact, according to recent information compiled by Gallup, a respected polling organization, some 37 percent of working professionals now work from home, on either a part-time or full-time basis. But even as the trend grows, those who have already made the transition quickly learn that there are challenges involved in leaving the brick-and-mortar world behind. Whether you are already working from home, or are preparing to do so, the following tips can help you meet and overcome some of the challenges that might keep you from succeeding in your goal.

1. Make Sure Your Home Supports Your Work

Working from home has created an increase in the number of homes for sale that include spacious, dedicated offices. If your current home lacks space to create the type of office space you need to be productive and successful, maybe it is time to consider finding a more suitable one.

2. Create a Schedule and Stick to It

Set your goals by identifying what needs to get done every day and make sure it gets accomplished. Create a checklist and set to-dos, so that you can easily prioritize your day. This can allow you to see what your day looks like and you can schedule some time to enjoy the flexibility that you have. Take some breaks, go for a run or do something fun for an hour and then get back to your work day. Your checklist will help to balance each day and serve as a physical document to display all of your achievements.

3. Get Dressed

The thought of doing your work in your pajamas every day is a pleasant one, but don’t let it become a regular occurrence. Set some parameters. Maybe treat yourself once a week, by allowing your wardrobe to be those sweat pants that you never want to take off. Otherwise, dress the part as if you were going into an actual office.

4. Keep Your Social Life Separate

Working from home is definitely a luxury in that you have flexibility and independence, but when your friends start knocking on your door when that proposal is due, it could become a problem. Keep your work hours separate from your social hours. Make sure to set aside a solid schedule dedicated to work and then you can make time for your friends and other activities after those hours.

5. Go Outside

Avoid isolating yourself. Get out and socialize a bit, but keep it professional. Coffee shops are a great place to work from. It allows you the opportunity to still get your work done, while being around other people. You may find several other working professionals doing the same thing as you. It’s good to change up the scenery from time to time and it might spark some creativity that you weren’t finding at your home office.

Feb 10

Five Home Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and the question on everyone’s mind is: What should we do? If you’re like most couples, you’ll exchange gifts and have a date night. However, one of the cons to going out is that every other couple in your area is thinking the same thing. Restaurants will be packed, and finding a place with an open table will be difficult.

Instead of spending top dollar on a prix fixe menu, might we suggest a home date night for Valentine’s Day? You won’t have to fight crowds of couples and can instead focus on each other and the love you share. Doesn’t that sound nice? We thought so, too. That’s why we put together five home date ideas for Valentine’s Day.

1. Have a Classic Candlelit Dinner

Nothing says romance like candles. Break out those fancy candles you’ve been saving, and treat your other half to a candlelit dinner. For bonus points, cook the meal yourself. Cook up your loved one’s favorite dish if you can. Use your best place settings, and consider even setting up a special table somewhere in your house. If you have a patio, take the dinner outside.

Couple your candlelit dinner with any of the below options to form a fully-fledged romantic at-home date night. Alternatively, you can have a romantic dinner and then call it a night.

2. Enjoy a Movie Marathon

After you’ve eaten, settle in for a movie marathon. Go out of your way to plan this out in lieu of having just another Netflix night. Select a theme, such as monster movies, romantic comedies or science-fiction flicks, and handpick two or three movies that are along that theme. Take it to another level by showing your romantic side and select a theme around the first movie you ever watched together. Your significant other will appreciate that you remember these kinds of details. Buy popcorn and snacks ahead of time. Keep in mind your partner’s interests – what are their favorite chips? Do they like Goobers? Pick out snacks you know they’ll love.

3. Have an At-Home Wine Tasting

Are you or your loved one a wine aficionado? Or do you at least wish you were? One of the best home dates you can have is an at-home wine tasting. Do some research and find out the names of some reputable wines, perhaps five or six. Then, go buy them. On Valentine’s Day, pop the cork and let the wine tasting commence. Find your new favorites while enjoying wine with your loved one.

For bonus points, plan this tasting prior to dinner and enjoy goat cheese and artisan bread for you two to devour along with your wine. You’ll be going the extra mile, plus you can discuss which wines go well with which cheeses.

4. Cook Something Together

Find a recipe, buy all the ingredients and make sure that you have all the required kitchen equipment. Then, on Valentine’s Day, cook the recipe together. You’ll be creating a special memory, along with creating a delicious dish you can immediately enjoy. Something like Blue Apron is a great option to help you get started. You’ll get fresh ingredients and fun new recipes all in one box. You can couple this with a candlelit dinner to have a truly memorable night. If you’re feeling up to it, include a wine tasting to make a special evening.

Don’t worry about having cooking experience. You two can figure it out together. In fact, you’ll have just as much fun messing up the recipe as you will when you nail it.

5. Play Board Games

One of the best dates at home that you can have is to play board games with your loved one. Buy a few board games, such as Settlers of Catan, Dominion and a deck of cards, and plan on diving into them over the course of an evening. You can combine this idea with a candlelit dinner to have a playfully pleasant night.

Now you’re ready to appreciate the company of your loved one without having to fight the crowds that can often ruin the fun of Valentine’s Day. Which of the above home date ideas are best for you and yours?


Feb 01

What Millennials Look for in a New Home

As millennials’ influence in the housing market becomes more noticeable, the unique features and trends that they are seeking in prospective homes have become clearer. Like previous generations, millennials want homes that reflect their taste, lifestyle and needs, and these preferences have manifested themselves in a desire for three key housing features.

Open Floor Plans

Millennials value homes with fewer defined spaces, walls and partitions and a more open floor plan that integrates the kitchen with the family room. This type of floor plan makes socializing easier and allows the creation of multipurpose areas, both of which are important to millennials according to the National Association of Realtors. Because millennials tend to be budget-conscious, members of this generation prefer smaller homes with the versatility provided by an open floor plan over larger defined floor plans with rarely used spaces like formal dining rooms.

Natural Materials Combined With High-Tech Features

Recent displays at Las Vegas’ International Builders Show reveal a pair of design trends that millennials love but that may at first appear contradictory: rustic natural materials combined with state-of-the-art technological features. In what the Washington Post terms “rustic-tech chic,” this generation appreciates the use of elements like reclaimed wood, hand-baked tiles and stone in conjunction with modern lines and smart-home technology like hidden USB ports, steam-activated bathroom exhaust fans and embedded wireless speakers.

Energy Efficiency

Because millennials are often budget-conscious, they tend to look for energy-efficient homes that offer lower monthly utility bills. Millennials are also more willing than previous generations to look at smaller homes in order to avoid paying for cooling and heating in rarely-used rooms. Many new homebuilders are seeking to appeal to younger millennial buyers by including energy-efficient appliances in their design of new homes.

As a recent New York Times article noted, millennials are increasingly tiring of renting small apartments in major urban centers and are joining the generations before them in moving to the suburbs to start families. If this trend continues, the effect that millennials are having on the real estate market will only increase.