Declutter Your Home for the New Year And Beyond

Declutter Your Entire Home month by monthEveryone wants to start the new year in a clean and organized space, but decluttering your home can feel like a daunting task. You may start out inspired to tackle the mess in your home, only to have that inspiration wane over time. Instead of trying to declutter your entire house from the start, stretch the process out over the year. Not only will this keep you motivated to continue doing the work, you’ll also enjoy the satisfaction of having a consistently decluttered space. In this blog, we provide you with a suggested focus for each month of the year, so you can check that off your list!

January: Kitchen/Pantry

The kitchen is the heart of the home and tends to have the most stuff. The cabinets are filled with food and pots and pans, the drawers are stuffed with cooking tools and utensils (not to mention the odds and ends in the junk drawer) and the counters are covered with appliances and maybe even mail. Before you throw your hands up and give up, here’s how to break down the process:

  • Sell, donate, or toss specialty appliances, cookware, and dishes you no longer use or need
  • Toss or recycle food storage containers with missing lids and giveaway cups you don’t need
  • Empty the pantry and donate any unopened nonperishable food items and toss anything that’s expired or you don’t use

February: Home Office

With tax season in gearing up, this month is the perfect time to declutter and organize, not only your home office, but also any paperwork (both physical and digital).

  • Sort through any piles of paper and decide what to file, shred, or recycle
  • Clean up any unused files on your computers and back up any data
  • Switch to paperless billing whenever possible

March: Closet

The closet might be one of the most daunting areas of the home to organize. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! With the changing seasons, now is the perfect time to streamline the closet. Try on all clothes and keep what still fits and makes you feel good. Sort through clothes and keep only what truly makes you happy. Here are a few more tips to help you through this process:

  • Sell or donate clothes, shoes, and accessories that are in good condition, tossing anything that’s beyond repair
  • Launder and store any winter items for next season
  • Repeat this during the fall season

April: Bathroom and linen closets

A clean, well-organized bathroom is a mood booster and makes hosting guests (even last-minute ones) less stressful. Place most used items at eye level so they’re easier to find, placing items you don’t use as often on higher shelves in the medicine cabinet.

Also take time to review your linens, donating items in good condition or tossing anything that’s worn (or repurpose them into rags) and update with new items as needed.

  • Move moisture or heat sensitive medications to a different location (make sure it’s safely out of reach of children)
  • Toss expired and unused makeup and skin-care products
  • Safely dispose of expired medication

May: Laundry Room

The laundry room sees a lot of action during the year, making it one of the hardest-working rooms in the home! Keep clutter at bay by creating a place for everything. Store cleaning products out of reach of kids and pets. And take time to clean your washer and dryer.

  • Designate a small basket or jar to hold found items from pockets and a basket to hold missing socks or gloves until they can be paired up again
  • Sort laundry before it going to the laundry room to avoid the dreaded piles

June: Garage

Before summer activities and travels begin, take some time to organize the garage. Remove any sporting equipment the kids may have outgrown or no longer use, inspect lawn care and gardening tools, and check outdoor furniture and toss worn-out pieces. When you’re ready to organize your space, think in categories, like sports equipment, gardening tools, holiday décor, etc., and group like items together.

July: Living areas

The living room is a well-used space, from cozy movie nights to game watching parties, it’s often where the fun and action is when hosting family and friends. Make this space more enjoyable by imagining what activities you want to take place in these rooms and furnish the room in a way that supports this desire. Store magazines, movies, and electronics out of sight behind a cabinet or in a console table.

  • Return items that belong in other rooms to their proper space each night
  • Sell or donate old DVDs, CDs, books or other entertainment accessories you don’t use
  • Identify catch-all areas and use baskets to hold these smaller items while reducing visual clutter

August: Bedrooms

Bedrooms are meant to be serene and rejuvenating spaces. It’s tough to relax when you’re staring at a pile of clothing on the floor! This goes for kids’ rooms as well! You’ll feel instantly more relaxed once you declutter and organize your room. Start by removing anything that doesn’t belong in the bedroom, like dishes and paper and even consider removing extra furniture pieces.

  • Make your bed everyday
  • Make it a habit to put away clothes and items instead of letting them pile up on surfaces around the room
  • Clear away unneeded items daily from nightstands

September: Entry spaces

School is back in session and the entryway of your home will be busy! Thanks to their prominent Entryways tend to be tricky to organize but not impossible.  Put away out of season items (like winter coats during the summer), allocate space for small items like keys, mail, and other small personal items.

  • Make it a habit to sort through any baskets or trays in the entryway to remove junk or replace items in their proper place

October: Entertaining supplies

Get ahead of the curve and take stock on your entertaining supplies. With holiday entertaining looming ahead, you’ll be glad you’re ready to welcome guests.

  • Inventory your dinnerware and serving pieces and consider whether you have enough pieces or will need to purchase more
  • Toss worn out or stained tablecloths and other linens

November: Kitchen/Pantry

The holidays are back around so it’s time to prepare your kitchen and pantry ready for this year’s feasts. Restock on pantry staples; take stock of dining ware, purging chipped pieces and replace as needed, and cooking utensils and tools.

December: Clear Clutter

You’re probably expecting to get new items this holiday season so now is a great time to begin reviewing your belongings and getting rid of items that are no longer of use to you (as always, sell or donate items that are in good condition!). This can also apply to holiday decorations. That way you can avoid the struggle of trying to store everything at the end of the holidays this year!

Stretching your decluttering tasks throughout the year turns a potentially overwhelming project into manageable bites. Not only that, you’ll create a sustainable habit of keeping your home in its best shape.

At Hayden Homes, we have beautiful new homes throughout Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. Contact us today and we’ll be here to help you find your dream home this year.

New Year’s Resolutions for Your New Home – Tips to keep your home in good condition

Goals, Plan, Action for a New Year's Resolution for your new homeWith the New Year just days away, we’re all thinking about our New Year’s resolutions. But what about New Year’s resolutions for your new home? While most of our resolutions include conditioning for our bodies, in the spirit of new beginnings and positive changes, we’ve put together our list of the top 5 things that you can do this year to keep your new home in tip, top condition.

1. Declutter By Focusing On A Particular Problem

Decluttering your home and personal space is a common New Year’s resolution. While the thought of tackling your entire house can seem daunting, don’t let this resolution slip away. Think about streamlining this daunting task by narrowing this resolution down to a “particular problem” in your home whether it’s your master closet, pantry, or garage. Create a better system in the space by organizing with bins or boxes and focus on the functionality of these storage containers rather than how they look. Establish a plan for what will stay and be sure to measure the storage options for the best system to ensure you keep organized.

2. Donate Unused Items

Once you have gone through and organized your home, you likely have a pile of things that you either forgot you even had or don’t want anymore. One great way to feel good about this process is to donate these items. Locate your local Goodwill or other non-profit, in need of donations, and give them a way. (Don’t forget to grab your donation receipt for your taxes this year!)

3. Tackle Small Projects

You may not have thought about adding home improvement projects to your New Year’s resolution list, but with the right planning, you could get all those small projects, that keep piling up, crossed off your to-do list. Whether it’s simple tasks like cleaning the gutters, caulking around your bathroom shower, or hanging family photos, as you prepare for the New Year, write down your entire list of house projects for the year so you have it ready when you take the time to complete the projects. You’ll feel better once they’re checked off.

4. Work Out a Regular System for Keeping Your House Clean

Coming home to a clean house is one of the best feelings. Come up with a system that works for your family. For example, make a list of the things that need to get done daily and weekly and assign them to a specific family member. Daily tasks such as dishes need to be done nightly, dirty clothes go in the hamper, and jackets/clean clothes are hung up or put away.  To ensure that your weekly tasks like vacuuming, mopping, or cleaning the bathroom are done as efficiently as possible, here are a few tips from Jeff Campbell, author of the book Speed Cleaning and owner of the Clean Team housekeeping service in San Francisco:

  • Keep all your cleaning supplies handy and organized in a portable container that moves with you from room to room.
  • Stash cleaning implements such as a toothbrush, scraper, sponge, a few cleaning cloths and plastic bags in a builder’s apron that you wear when you clean. Hook your glass cleaner and all-purpose cleaning spray on the loops to keep your hands free as you work around the room clockwise, cleaning from high (cabinets) to low (floors.)
  • Focus on one type of cleaning at a time. It’s faster, Campbell says. Wipe down fingerprints on all the cabinets, for instance, before moving on to spraying and wiping counters. Then move on to windows and mirrors and appliances. Once that’s done move on to sweeping and then mopping floors.
  • For optimum efficiency, enlist the help of your family. If you can, divide the jobs among at least three parties: one of you can do the dusting/vacuuming and changing beds, the other can do the bathroom cleanup, leaving only the kitchen and trash emptying for you to handle. The upside? You can get the whole house done in 45 minutes, Campbell says, leaving more time on the weekends for fun activities.

5. Bring Home Fresh Flowers

It may seem like a small thing, but the smell of fresh flowers and their bright cheerful colors can improve the ambiance of any room. Finding the right colors, heights and arrangements can really complement the existing decor in your rooms. And the right house plants can not only improve air quality but may provide some at-home aromatherapy to help you relax.

One of the best ways to make sure that you’ll come back to your New Year’s resolutions for your new home is to plan them out in advance. Decide the order in which you’ll clean your rooms and spread your decluttering projects over a couple of months. Then write down all your small projects for the year so when the time comes, you’re ready to tackle each one head on. When you’re ready, sit down and make your plan for keeping your house clean and divide out the chores between each family member. Finally, the next time you’re at the store, pick up some fresh flowers, we promise they will bring a smile to your face after a long day at work.

We wish you well in the New Year and hope that these 5 tips will help keep you on track for keeping your new home in the best condition possible.

If a new home is on your wishlist this year, Hayden Homes can help! We have new homes for sale throughout Washington, Idaho, Oregon. Contact us today, we look forward to helping you find your dream home!

Prepare your Home for a Successful School Year

a funny child girl doing homework writing and reading at home

It’s ‘Back to School’ season and even if your kids are already in school, it’s still a great time to get your home in order so everyone has a successful school year. Follow these tips to get your home organized and ready for the busy days ahead!

Organize the entryway

Set up the entryway of your home to withstand the morning rush out the door, whether it’s the front door or garage door. Use hooks, cubbies, or a drawer unit to stash your kids’ belongings so you don’t waste time looking for that missing mitten or jacket. Get your kids into the habit of placing their backpacks in their designated places once their homework is finished so they’re ready to go in the morning.

Update your kids’ closets

A new school year usually means a brand-new wardrobe. Make room for their new clothes by going through their closets and purging old clothes they’ve outgrown, are in poor condition, or just don’t get worn anymore. Donate anything that’s still in good condition or passed down to younger siblings. Once you’re finished, organize the closet by clothing type to make getting ready easier in the morning.

Organize the kitchen

If making lunches is your least favorite part of going back to school, a little organization can make that task a breeze. Pick a spot in your kitchen dedicated to lunch construction and set up some containers in the pantry, cabinet or the fridge that holds lunchtime favorites like yogurt, fruit slices or cups, crackers, granola bars, etc. That way all you need to do is grab something from each section and lunch is ready! Or better yet: let your kids put their own lunch together.

Create a family command center

Keep track of everyone’s schedule by creating a family command center. This can be a bulletin board, large calendar, or even just a basket for each child. Use this area to keep important papers, like permission slips, lunch menus, or schedules.

Designate a homework zone

After weeks of homework-less days, getting back into the homework routine can take some time. Make the transition back to completing homework easier by designating a place for homework. Whether it’s the kitchen table, the home office, or their bedrooms, make sure this space is fully stocked with the supplies they’ll need and do your best to limit distractions so your kids can focus on completing their studies.

With a little preparation, you can make sure your home is organized and ready to ace this new school year. At Hayden Homes, we build brand new homes in cities throughout Washington, Idaho, and Oregon that are close to all the things our homeowners prioritize, including great schools. Let us help you find your dream home today!

Common Organization Mistakes that Make Your Home Look Messy

Do you wonder why your home still looks messy even after you spent time cleaning? Don’t worry; not only does this happen to a lot of people, it’s also easy to fix! Here are the most common organizing mistakes that actually make your home look messier than it is and how to fix them.

Confusing ‘clean’ with ‘organized’

The most common mistake is confusing clean with being organized. Oftentimes we clear off a surface and stack everything in a pile thinking we’re “organized.” But what we really did was make a new pile.

Piles are sneaky. They seem innocent but quickly grow to epic proportions. What started as a small neat pile of paper or mail on the kitchen counter quickly becomes a larger pile of every single sheet of paper in your home. Then maybe there’s a pile of clothes in the corner that is mostly clean, and don’t forget the pile of random things you still need to sort through. See what we mean?

Fix: Assign a ‘home’ for everything and be diligent in putting things away immediately instead of waiting for ‘later,’ which may never come.  

Attaching notes to the fridge

Our refrigerators can become the family message center, filled with art projects, party invitations, photos, or important notes. But eventually, it gets overwhelming! The fridge is the focal point of the kitchen so if it gets too cluttered, the entire kitchen will look cluttered!

Fix: Instead of attaching notes to your fridge door, use a separate magnetic or bulletin board to hold notes, artwork, and invitations. And just like your mail, when the invite has passed, remove it from the board.

Overstuffed shelves

Shelves and counters are great multitaskers; not only can you display decorative items, but they’re also a great storage option. However, filling them with stuff can make them looked cluttered, regardless of how neatly everything is placed.

Fix: Limit the number of items you place on a shelf or counter. If you are filling a bookcase, leave some space between items to give them room to breathe.

Shopping without a plan

Have you gotten bit by the organizing bug and then immediately rush out to buy all the baskets and bins, only for them to add to the clutter? You’re not alone! Unfortunately buying a bunch of organization products isn’t enough to get organized. Those products will help you stay organized but, you need to put in the work to get organized.

Fix: Start with decluttering and removing unneeded items first and then figure out what storage tools you’ll need for your remaining items. You may find that you already have what you need at home!

Skipping labels

Bins are a great way to efficiently store multiple items. However, it’s easy to start tossing anything that fits into the box or forget what’s in a specific container, forcing you to dig through several different bins to locate what you’re looking for (and not to mention the mess that’s been made in the process). Save yourself the frustration by using labels.

Fix: Take time to label each container so you can quickly and easily find what you’re looking for. This will also make putting things away a breeze too.

Keep your new home looking great

These common organization tips are easy to fix to keep your new home looking great all the time.

If you’re on the hunt for a new home Hayden Homes can help. We have brand new homes for sale in the Northwest, and we’re ready to get you moved into your dream home. Contact us today for more information, whether you’re buying your first home or upgrading to a bigger one.

10 Ideas to Help You Store Your Summer Toys

Get an Organized Garage - 10 Ideas to Help You Store Your Summer ToysThe first day of fall has officially passed, which means that summer is over and colder months lie ahead.  It also means that if you’re a homeowner in the Northwest, it’s time to start thinking about where you’re going to store away summer equipment and toys. Here are 10 creative ideas for storing toys in your new home or garage.
1. Put Up Some Shelves
The easiest way to store your belongings is to add shelving in your garage. This way, everything has a place, and your toys (or your kids’ summer toys) are easy to spot. If you already have shelves on your walls and need additional storage space, consider building shelves in the ceiling corners to take advantage of those dead spaces.
2. Invest in Storage
If you don’t have the space to keep your summer toys in your home or garage, or you simply want to clear up some room inside, check with your local home improvement store to see if they sell outside storage sheds.
Protip: spend the extra time to ensure that the ground surface your storage shed sits on on is completely level and compact.
3. Hang Around
One of the best ways to store summer gear like bicycles is to hang it from the ceiling, or even to mount it on the wall. This is a fantastic storage method for large, bulky items that you don’t plan to use until the weather warms again, although it can be used for numerous other types of gear.
4. Buy Some Bins
If you want to keep smaller toys out of sight and out of mind, opaque bins with lids are the best idea. You can stack these bins in your garage, basement, or even in a large closet within your home.
5. Use Labels
Labels aren’t only a great way to keep bins, buckets, shelves, and drawers organized, but they also look great in your storage area, too. The last thing you want is to be half-way through the summer and realize you forgot to pull out a certain summer toy because it’s been out of sight and out of mind!
6. Attic Space/Under the Stairs
If you have an attic, big or small, you can use it to store a variety of seasonal items including summer supplies such as an inflatable swimming pool. Typically, the biggest deterrent from using attic space is accessibility. Sometimes they can be cumbersome to access and get in and out of, but there are ways to improve accessibility such as installing a new attic ladder or replacing your old attic ladder with a new and improved one. If you don’t have an attic, some homes have under the stairs storage spaces. This is a great alternative for storing the items that you would normally put in an attic.
7. Kiddie Parking
One ingenious idea for storing kiddie vehicles, including plastic “push” cars, tricycles, and even powered mini-vehicles, is to create an outdoor parking “garage.” You can easily do this using PVC pipe and inexpensive materials (like plywood) to serve as a garage frame and roof, and curtains that can be opened and closed to serve as garage doors. Your kids will love this so much they’ll want to put their toys away.
8. Outdoor Storage
Don’t assume that all of your gear and toys have to be stored inside; there are many things that will be fine outdoors during the wintertime, especially if they are protected from excessive moisture. Consider setting up some outdoor storage bins paired with outdoor shelving.
9. Bungee Cord Ball Storage
If you have kids that are constantly leaving out their basketballs, soccer balls, bouncy balls, footballs, and more, you need to find a storage solution that works. The bungee cord ball storage idea is brilliant. To make this, simply create a 90-degree angle using 2x4s in a corner of your garage wall. About three feet under, create another 90-degree angle. Then, string bungee cords from one angle to the other, ultimately creating a bin.
10. Inexpensive Basket and Bucket Storage
Finally, if you need a quick solution for toy storage and you don’t want to spend a fortune, head to your local hardwood store and purchase an array of five-gallon buckets and basic baskets. You can make these more attractive by getting your kids involved in bucket and basket decoration. Throw some labels on them, and you’re good to go!
Keep Your New Home Looking Great
If you have recently purchased a new home in Idaho, Washington, or Oregon, you want to keep it looking great. The right storage solutions can help! If you’re still on the hunt for your dream home, Hayden Homes can help. We have brand new homes for sale in the Northwest, and our home builders are ready to get you moved into your dream home. Contact us today for more information, whether you’re buying your first home or upgrading to a bigger one.

Getting Organized

Do you have room, a closet, a garage or any other space in your home that you would love to have organized? Maybe it’s bothered you for a while but you haven’t had the time or desire to spend countless hours pulling, sorting, cleaning and organizing this space? Well, you’re not alone!

Spring is the perfect time to look at the rooms and spaces in your home and determine what needs to be organized. Or if that seems too overwhelming… and you don’t have the time, you may even want to hire a professional. Here we share the journey of one of our team members who decided to have a professional help organize her pantry, for the very first time, and the tips and tricks she learned from the organizer herself!

Here is a photo of her pantry BEFORE Karin Ferris, Professional Organizer in Central Oregon, came into her home and worked her magic.

Before Messy Pantry

Tip from the Professional – “First make the decision you want to get organized. Then take all of the stuff off the shelves and lay it all out.”

Here is all of the food in the pantry laid out on the counter.

Pull items to organize

Next, they cleaned up the pantry.

Empty Pantry Ready to be Organized

 

Tip from the Professional – “Make sure you have a place for the items you want to donate or toss. You’ll want to decide want you want to keep and what you want to toss.”

Then, begin to sort whatever it is you’re keeping into categories. This was the most interesting part of the process to see what categories they ended up with! Karin’s comment was that, “Every job is custom, due to the different categories you will end up with, it will change the labeling, size and type of containers you use for the various categories.”

Tip from the Professional – “When you’re organizing a pantry. Take your food items out of the box. If it’s possible the item might go stale- wrap it in a zip lock bag to keep it fresh or use clothespins (they make great sealing clips for bags). Taking items out of the boxes and packaging, as soon as you get home from the grocery store, will create MORE space and allow you to see the items better.”

Next, as you’re sorting and putting items into their categories, sort the items that you use most frequently and put them in a place where you have the most ease to access the various items. If it’s easy to use your newly organized space, it will help you stay organized in the long run.

Then, label your containers by category, put them back in the pantry and voila! You have a super organized space.

Here is her pantry AFTER the experience, nice and organized!

New Organized Pantry

You too can get organized. It’s easy, use these tips to help get the spaces in your home organized this spring!

A BIG Thank You to Karin Farris for organizing our team member’s pantry. If you live near Central Oregon and you want to experience a professional organizing your home or messy space, you can call or email her at: Karin Farris 503-505-0585 karinferris@comcast.net