Keeping a Tidy Home

I’m sure many of you have heard of the “tidying” craze hitting social media that originally started as a result of Marie Kondo’s documentary on Netflix “Tidying Up.” I watched the first episode the other night it became so clear why her ideals are so important for American families to learn!

Generally speaking, it seems like our culture tends to reside in a sort of organized chaos. (I’m talking about myself as well.) We typically like to see organization, but once you start to dig a little bit, the disorder starts to become evident. I notice this in my own home when I open my dresser drawers and see clothes wadded up and shoved in there or when I open the hall closet that contains everything classified as “miscellaneous” that didn’t seem important enough to have on display somewhere. Where am I supposed to put those meaningful knick-knacks that don’t serve a purpose anymore but I would feel guilty throwing away?! I try my best to stay organized, but hey, I’m only human.

With that being said, it is so obvious in watching Marie’s show how much being genuinely tidy affects these families in a positive way! Her respect for the items that we keep in the home and willingness to let go of those things that “no longer bring joy” to us is exactly the lesson so many of us need to learn.

Whenever I am organizing my life, I tend to ask myself three questions:

  1. Have I used this item in the past 6 months?
  2. Is this item relevant to where I am at in my life right now?
  3. If this item were no longer in my house, would I miss it a week from now?

Once you answer these questions about that item, you’ll know more clearly where to store it and you might even get excited about using it all over again!

For me, keeping my house in a clean/organized state helps my overall well-being and keeps me from going crazy when I get home from work in the evenings. It’s so much nicer to come home to a clean house rather than one of chaos. Here are some tips from thenester.com to help you cut out bad habits and promote a happy and organized home!

how to have a clean house #tidy #kitchen*Photo courtest of thenester.com

5 Things People with Tidy Homes Don’t Do

Defining Success

When you hear or read the word SUCCESS, what comes to mind? Money? Fame? Prominence in a certain industry? What about personal time? Relaxation? Whatever it may be, everyone has a little bit of a different take on what the true definition of success is, and this is mine.

The thought of being my own boss has always been the metaphorical carrot dangling in front of my face. It has been my goal ever since I started working for other people. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “If I could create a lifestyle where I can make my own schedule and be in direct control of my income, there are no limits to how far I could go!” Needless to say, being a lifetime employee was never in the cards for me. After all, my parents are both entrepreneurs and I have had the opportunity to watch and help them grow a business from the ground up. I am well-aware of the amount of work it takes to succeed as a small business, and I also know it is 100% worth it.

Businesses are typically considered “successful” if their finances reflect profit, and a growing profit at that. What about the business owner or founder? Is he or she still successful if working 80 hours per week is a normal occurrence? I believe that a successful business is one that is self-sustainable. This means that it does not rely on one person (business owner usually) to keep it operating. Instead, it operates with a team of capable people who keep it moving forward.

For me, I have always felt a strong pull towards my personal time. In elementary school, I would bust through homework as fast as I could during class time or recess in order to reserve my evenings for relaxation with my family. I’m serious, even at the age of 10 I was not interested in taking my work home with me. I value my “me time” extremely highly and guard it well.

Don’t get me wrong, I am also very motivated by money and increasing my income. However, if I were asked if I would rather give up my sacred personal time to make a few extra bucks, I would have to politely decline. My time is so important to me, and being in complete control of it is a major part of what I believe makes someone truly successful.

I prefer to measure the level of success one has based on the amount of free time he or she has to dedicate to whatever makes him or her truly happy. This is just one of the reasons becoming self-employed was my ultimate goal.

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Why a Home Inspection?

When buying a home, it is always a good idea to have it inspected by a professional. The reason being is that home inspectors are much more knowledgeable about construction as a whole and how to judge the condition of a property. When making a large investment in something such as real estate, you will want to know what you are getting yourself into. Here are a few benefits to having a property inspected prior to purchasing it!

  • Limit your liability. Since purchasing a home is likely one of the largest investments you will make, limiting your liability or risk is so important. Ensure that the property you are interested in does in fact fit the bill for you and your family by having it inspected by a seasoned professional. Knowing what you are getting yourself into ahead of time is much less stressful than finding out that major repairs are needed after the fact. It helps prepare you for potential problems that may arise in the future and can help you decide if the property is truly the one for you.
  • Gain leverage with the negotiating process. Having an inspection done on a home can allow you the benefit of having evidence that repairs are needed. This can help when trying to negotiate the purchase price or terms. Spending a couple hundred dollars on a home inspection may end up saving you thousands.
  • Prepare yourself for future repairs. Whether or not you end up using inspection results to leverage your offer, it will definitely give you an idea of what all might be needed as far as maintenance or repairs go. Be proactive in your search for real estate and the experience will be much smoother!

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For more information, check out Zillow.com‘s article that offers advice on how to gain value from your home inspection. Happy home hunting!

Goal Setting 101

Bringing in a new year has always been a big deal in my family. Since it is New Year’s Eve, I figured it would be fitting that I share a tradition that has kept us on track for as long as I can remember.

Everyone has some kind of “New Year’s Resolution,” even if they don’t say it out loud. Whether it be to lose a certain amount of weight or to take on more community service, we all seem to recognize January 1stas a sort of blank slate or white canvas.

In my family, we see January 1st as an opportunity to think critically about what we would like to accomplish in the coming year. It’s more of a time to declare our goals (that may or may not be confined to a one-year period). It varies based on where each of us are at in our lives, but usually there is at least one item that involved personal health and wellness and one item that involves financial goals. We take time as a family to write down short-term and long-term goals, and then share them with each other. There is something about sharing your goals with others that suddenly make them seem more real and hold you a bit more accountable.

Goal setting is incredibly important no matter what your career, status, religion, you get the picture! Here are some suggestions for how to set goals that will be more attainable, making you feel so much more successful in reaching them!

  1. Write them down. Grab a pen and paper and brainstorm what is truly important to you! Then, put the piece of paper somewhere that you will remember so that you can revisit it when necessary.
  2. Be specific. Don’t be vague when it comes to pinpointing your goals. Picture the details of what it will look like or feel like when you accomplish certain goals.
  3. Be deliberate. After you figure out the what, think about the how. It will become so much more real and exciting when you begin to plan the process of accomplishing your goal.
  4. Use a timeframe. Give yourself a time period to aim for accomplishing each step of your goal. It may be helpful to use 6-month, one-year, two-year and five-year increments. Even if you don’t make every deadline, it will help keep you on track.
  5. Lastly, be flexible. If you don’t succeed in hitting your goal the first time, odds are you are much closer to it than you were when you started. Look at the positives and keep going!

2019 is a great opportunity to create new goals for yourself. I hope you find them and accomplish them no matter what they may be. Happy New Year everyone!

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Cold Weather Comfort

It’s that time of the year! Everyone is busy picking up last minute Christmas gifts, going to kids’ recitals, wrapping presents, going to holiday parties…you name it. With all of the hustle and bustle, it’s hard to take the time to prepare that delicious heart-warming meal that sounds so tasty when it’s cold out. The easiest way to accomplish this feat is by using the old fashioned slow cooker. With just a little bit of prep work, you can set it and forget it while you are out buzzing around all day! The best part is, you come home to a meal that is ready to go.

One of my absolute favorite recipes during the festive season is beef bourguignon, made famous by chef Julia Childs. This incredibly rich meal can be time consuming (if done the traditional way) but it’s not a hard one to put together using the slow cooker! Here is the recipe that I have been SO happy with. It is a complete meal in itself, is so hearty, and pleases just about any crowd. Feel free to change a few things up as you wish! I am always a fan of getting creative with recipes. Follow the link below for full recipe!

Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

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*Photo and recipe courtesy of therecipecritic.com

My First House Story

The Desire:

My parents used to drag my sister and me along with them to open houses a lot as kids. At the time, I hated it. Why did we have to waste what felt like the ENTIRE weekend walking around someone else’s house or sitting the car waiting? What felt like misery at the ripe old age of eight, turned into extreme fascination by the time I hit high school. I gained an interest in the housing market and dreamed of the day that I would be able to buy my own place.

After graduation, I was headed straight for a 4-year university, all the while constantly trying to determine if this was truly the best use of funds. Throughout the four years I spent earning my degree, I wondered if should invest what my parents had saved in my “college fund” into something that would give some sort of tangible return rather than the long-term return on investment typically involved with a traditional college education. Looking back, I am so glad I was able to receive such an awesome education at the University of Oregon, but I was never very excited about being a student.

Immediately after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in public relations, I moved into a tiny studio house right across the street from our family business in Eureka. I had cheap rent, no car payment, hardly any expenses, and decided to save as much money as possible toward a down payment on a home of my own.


The Vision:

It took me one year to find the house that I would buy. It was exactly what they say you should look for: the worst house in the best neighborhood. It wasn’t pretty by any means. My friends looked at me with wide eyes when I took them through for the first time. It smelled awful, had a layer of grime that even bleach had a hard time cutting through, featured about five different types of flooring and needed multiple coats of paint on everything. All this aside, it has strong bones and is in one of the best neighborhoods in Eureka.

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I got it for the right price and began working on it the day I was handed the keys by my Realtor®. Months of hard work, blood, sweat and tears went into converting this house into my home.


The Takeaway:

A few things I learned during this process are: figure out financing before you even start looking, know the neighborhoods you would be ok with living in and the ones you are definitely not ok with. Stick to that, find a Realtor® that you trust and who will work for you.

  • Figuring out how you will finance your home is step one. You want to know the amount that you are approved for a home loan so that you and your Realtor® are looking for the right homes to tour.
  • Looking at a lot of houses and not finding your home can get discouraging at times. Listen to your gut feeling about certain neighborhoods and features. Don’t settle for something that you know you won’t be happy with a year from now. If the undesired items aren’t reasonably fixable, no need to talk yourself into it.
  • With so many online resources like reator.com and Zillow, a lot of people think that it isn’t necessary to use a Realtor®. The truth is, as a buyer, the use of an agent is purely beneficial and costs you nothing. It costs the seller, which they are already signed up for if they have listed the home with another agent. It is so important to use the advice of a professional, especially if this is your first home purchase. Do not underestimate the amount of homework that should be done regarding  a property before closing escrow. It’s a lot easier to have someone who is well versed in this industry handle the dirty work. You also want to make sure the Realtor® that you choose is working FOR you. By this, I mean that he or she should be proactive in searching for homes in your criteria range and bringing you options regularly. Make sure you are both on the same page about what you are looking for. Overall, communication is key and you should find someone to work with who jives with your communication style.

The process of buying a home is one of the most exciting times, but it has the potential to be one of the most stressful times as well. Just remember to relax and have fun with it!

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What is staging?

When selling a home, it is important to highlight its good qualities to let potential buyers see the house in its best light and picture themselves living there. If there are personal items all over the house and clutter hung on every wall, it may be difficult for other people to see the space as “home.” There are several pros to staging, and here are just a few:

  1. It can raise the perceived value of the home by up to 1-6%. Studies by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. showed that buyers were willing to pay more than 6% more for a home that was well staged versus a home that was not staged.
  2. The home will more than likely sell much faster if it is staged, also improving the purchase price. Surveys have proven that staged homes spend half of the time on the market that non-staged homes do. The National Association of Realtors notes that the longer a home stays on the market, the more likely the price will drop.
  3. Staging helps a seller get into selling mode, especially if they are still living in the home. Once they start to get organized and pack away personal items, the home starts to feel a little less like theirs. They can then get excited about making their new home theirs by moving these super personal items there!

Below are a few images of homes in Eureka staged by local staging company, S T A G E D.

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*Photos courtesy of Felicia Costa of Coldwell Banker Cutten Realty.

Staging is one of the most strategic moved in selling homes today and an easy way to give the house you’re selling an edge above the rest. For more info on staging, here are some great links to learn more!

https://professionalstaging.com/blog/10-amazing-home-staging-statistics-that-may-surprise-you/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/vanessamcgrady/2015/11/04/staging/#2661f1da50c9

“Winterize” Your Home

As each season comes to an end, I think it is important to look ahead and plan for the upcoming one. Most people do this once a year in the spirit of “spring cleaning” when the rainy season finally comes to an end and they get excited about using the outdoors again! I like to do this at least a few times a year, and I think it is important to prep myself (and my home) for the chilly months ahead. Here are some items you may want to adopt or add to your “winterization list.”

  • Clean those gutters! If you live around a lot of trees like I do, it is inevitable that leaves will find your gutters and make themselves a permanent home there if they can. If your gutter is clogged, it can cause many issues including a leaky roof. Inspect your gutters once a year (perhaps during or after the fall season) to make sure you’re in good shape for winter.Clogged-Gutters-749x436
  • Clean your chimney! This one is SUPER important. Chimney fires are a real thing, and not something you want to mess around with. The cause of a chimney fire comes from an abundance of creosote, which is a highly flammable substance built up over time by the wood you burn. Aside from being a threat to the safety of your home, creosote build-up can also cause a reduced draw for your fireplace, which ultimately results in inefficiency. To avoid these issues, call a chimney sweep in your area and have them come inspect your chimney for possible threats and clean that thing if necessary!
  • Get your back yard under control. It feels so great to look at a clean and tidy yard even through rainy months. Not to mention, it makes the spring/summertime set-up much easier if you take care of a few things before the cold weather hits! The items may vary depending on your yard situation. I have a pretty simple back yard, so here are some of my winterizing tasks:
    1. Put all outdoor furniture away (or at least the cushions).
    2. If you grow veggies or other plants that are now dead, get all of the dead plant debris out and disposed of.
    3. Cover or move inside all of your frost-sensitive plants.
    4. Clean your barbeque well and throw the cover on it or move it into the garage.
  • Lastly, organize your garage. Little things tend to pile up in there over time, and it feels great to get everything back in ship-shape. For this, I like to pull out everything I can that lines the walls of that thing. This can be tedious and it can take up a whole Saturday if you let it, but it doesn’t have to. Start by taking an overall glance at the garage and single out one thing that needs to go. From there, go through anything that need not be there anymore (old pesticides, garbage laying around, broken toys, chewed dog bones, empty boxes, you name it). If you haven’t used it in the past 12 months, you’re more than likely not ever going to use it again, so get rid of it! I also am a fan of shelf organization. It gets everything up off of the ground and provides easy access to it all! You can also get cheap totes from Costco to organize items by season. Here is one example!garage-makeover-11.jpg