{new year’s resolution: get your home organized}

Raise your hand if you made a New Year’s resolution this year!

Making the resolution is the easy part, the hard part is actually following through! Have no fear, the team at Hirshfield’s is here to keep you accountable! All month long we’ll be bringing your tips and advice to help stick to your home improvement resolutions. We’ll be covering topics such as adding color to your space and picking the best “green” products for your home. We’ll kick off our New Year’s resolution month with our best tips for getting your home organized!

Clever Storage Solutions
Shelves and cabinets aren’t the only storage solutions. Invest in pieces that serve double-duty, such as ottomans and benches that open up to store blankets, pillows and other odds and ends. Have you ever considered using a toothbrush holder to store those rampant pens and pencils laying around your home office? Or decorative glass jars to store miscellaneous kitchen and bathroom clutter? Better Homes & Gardens offers these clever storage solutions and more!

home organiztion

Better Homes & Gardens

Label It
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{prepping your home’s interior and exterior}

March 20 marked the first official day of spring, and that means it’s time to start your spring cleaning! Now that the days are longer and the sun is shining abundantly, you’ll want your home’s exterior in great shape to show off your house. When the inevitable April showers arrive, focus on improving your home’s interior. These tips can help!

Old Man Winter spent a lot of time visiting this past season, and exterior finishes were ravaged by the harsh conditions. A fresh coat of paint can go a long way in rejuvenating a home battered by ice, wind, and snow time and again this winter.

Outside, use lush landscape to highlight your home’s best features, whether it’s a large lawn or bay windows. Greenery and bright blooms will add color and vibrancy to your lot, which will continue to flourish as spring turns into summer.

This Old House

Another way to boost curb appeal is through simple changes. Give your windows a good cleaning. Power wash decks and patios. Paint or replace your front door to give your home a whole new look.


Design Buzz

Inside, give each room in your house a thorough cleaning. Get rid of clutter and place items you no longer use in storage. Create shelving units or find furniture, baskets, or containers that can keep books, magazines, and remotes out of sight and free of dust.

Architects for Life

For a new, refreshed look in your home, rearrange the layout of your furniture or add slipcovers to give your space a makeover with new patterns, designs, and styles. You can also restore floors by waxing linoleum and steaming carpets.

Update your kitchen and bathroom by replacing hardware. Change knobs, handles, and fixtures with different sizes, shapes, or colors for a whole new look.


Kitchen Improved

Make your house the most beautiful on the block! What plans do you have to invigorate your home this season?

{organizing your basement… one step at a time}

It is difficult to find motivation to clean and organize a basement, isn’t it?  It has to be on the list of worst household tasks!  I enlisted a friend who is a professional organizer and she came to help me with an area in my basement, and in the process I learned practical tips that I can translate to future projects.

Start small.

Don’t try to tackle the whole basement in one day.  For example, begin with the toy closet, a group of cupboards, or the workshop.  By accomplishing one task, you will feel good about your success – not frustrated by an unfinished job.  After your first project is complete, map out a strategy to get the whole area done.  (Closet this Saturday, workshop next Saturday, spare bedroom ½ day next week.)

Remove everything first!

Taking everything out and then putting it back in is much more efficient than cleaning as you go.  This allows you to sort all at once, as opposed to by individual shelf or bin. You can also clean once, instead of bit by bit.

Set up “work tables” for organizing.

Break out the card tables and get ready to sort! Tables create a new work surface apart from the floor or area you’re trying to clean out.  When you remove those items from the closet, use post it notes to indicate sorting areas.  Some simple ways to sort are by item (legos or playmobil), by location (upstairs or garage), or by intention (keep or donate).

Don’t purchase any containers in advance.

Plan and measure as you go.  Determine what kinds of containers best suit your purpose, after seeing what you really have and how best to store it. Then make your list and shop for the containers you really need.  In the end you will save time and money.

Just think, starting small can yield BIG results!

{10 ways to cut clutter}

Clutter makes me crazy! It eats away at my inner peace and hard-earned zen, and my loudest wish since day one of motherhood has been that my offspring (and husband) would understand how much clutter- not only clutters my home, but my mind, my patience and honestly, my love for them. But, I have had to learn to cope, and with some practical life strategies, maybe you can too!

  1. Children’s toys and games: Keep pretty wicker or leather bins (with lids) around the house to hold toys and games. These bins are decorative and provide easy access for the kiddies pre- and post-playtime.
  2. Photos: With three kids, I love to frame snapshots of them in action and mugging for the camera. But over the years, these framed photos are piling up and creating clutter. Each framed photo holds a special meaning and I’m not always ready to pitch them simply because they’ve been ‘hanging’ around for a bit. So I placed a big container in my basement storeroom where I put each framed photo with date and place of when each shot was taken. This way once I’m ready for new and updated mug shots for the family room mantel they are right at my fingertips.  Also, My kids can pick and choose the photos they might want to keep, and when needed we’re ready for a trip down memory lane.
  3. The mail: Most of us are inundated daily with more or less useful correspondence, and my countertops could easily get buried in a sea of print. But I go through the mail every day, throw away most, and put bills into a wicker basket (with a lid) and file invitations, coupons and other useful information in special file folders.
  4. Kids’ schoolwork/artwork/fieldtrip forms/sports applications: I have placed a color-coded hanging file folder system for each child on a shelf in my kitchen for easy access and filing. This way, I can get rid of the clutter without losing important information.
  5. Artwork:  My door to my garage serves as an art wall where I hang all of my 8-year olds wonderful artwork, spelling tests and “at-a-boys” from his teachers. When the door is full, I (quietly) edit (read and pitch) older items to open room for new and improved ones. This way, my refrigerator is clutter-free, as are all kitchen cabinet doors.
  6. Trinkets and accessories: With little extra storage space, I keep a box on hand for accessories I no longer want, and when the box is full, I donate it to Arc. This way, my gently used accessories have a chance to be recycled and enjoyed by yet another family (which makes me feel good).
  7. Buy less: I am so much more cognizant of material excess today than only a few years ago, and I try hard to buy conservatively and prudently. I don’t need three soft blankets for my family room, nor do I need candelabras of every size, color and texture. It is freeing to be able to resist at least a few calls from the material world!
  8. Keep dirty laundry in bins in each kids’s room until laundry day. With a small laundry room on the main level it takes planning and coordination to stay on top of the growing mountain of dirty clothes that my children accumulate. I bring down one basket of laundry (e.g. whites) at a time to keep my laundry area clutter free.
  9. Less is more: This saying is also true when it comes to keeping your home clutter-free. I don’t jam-pack my built-in bookcases with books, photos, trinkets and stuff, but rather leave the shelves airy and open with only a few books and trinkets to adorn each shelf. This way, each piece gets a chance to shine, and the end result is a modern and updated clutter-free look.

10. And here’s to the most important advice I can give a clutter-free fanatic like myself: DO NOT ENTER YOUR TEENAGERS’ ROOMS. My 18-year daughter’s room consistently looks as if a tornado came through (I think she takes pride in this fact), and the best way for me to hang on to my zen-like state (if only by the hair on my chinny chin chin) is to NOT enter her room. I guess if there has to be a clutter-crazy zone in every home, it’s my prerogative not to cross the threshold – ever!

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