CALL YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT
One mistake that home owners make when they are ready to sell their home is getting their home “ready” to sell before they call an agent. The home owners will make repairs or upgrades that have will little or no return on their investment. Your real estate agent (hey, that’s me) will give you tips on what renovations are necessary to sell, if any.
Remove everything but the essentials. Donate what you don’t want and store the rest. Plenty of people prefer to use storage units for items they want to keep. Take a minute to organize kitchen cabinets, closets, bathrooms and the pantry. It if looks like a clothing store in your closet and a well-fronted grocery store, you’re doing great.
Potential buyers want to be able to walk into your home and imagine themselves living there. They can’t do that if you have pictures of your family up and decor like “Thomas Family. Established in 1988” hanging on the front door. Remove these items, and any built-in items that you’ll be taking with you. Place personal items from your bathroom vanity in accessible boxes.
Wax the floors, dust everything, and polish metals. Get every single crack and crevice as clean as it can be and remove odd odors. If this seems like an overwhelming task, break it down into smaller tasks and put it on a calendar.
REPAIR THE BASICS
If the door squeaks, get some WD-40. If the bathroom needs re-caulked, that’s okay. Small projects are good, large ones are not (i.e. you do not need to replace all of the windows in your house). The biggest project you should tackle is painting bright colored walls. Bright colored walls says to potential buyers “this is going to take work.” Try neutral colors, off whites and light grays.
SPRUCE UP THE CURB APPEAL
Maintain the lawn, pressure wash the exterior, and clean up the shrubbery. Hire a professional or shell out a couple of bucks for flowers or seasonal plants for the garden!
Living in a small space can be quite a challenge! If you’re like most people, you tend to let stuff accumulate, and that can make you feel quite claustrophobic. But with a few suggestions, you can learn how to manage your space and all your stuff!
The first thing to do is to let go of unnecessary items. If there is something in storage that you haven’t used in six months to a year, you probably won’t use it again. Also, a good place to check is your closet. Go through each piece of clothing and if you haven’t worn it in the past year, it’s time to get rid of it. The best thing to do is to donate the goods to your local charity. There are plenty of unfortunate people out there who would treasure what you consider trash!
Now it’s time to tackle the stuff that you do have. When living in a small space, it’s all about storage. Consider multi-function furniture such as chests and ottomans that are useful for storage of blankets and clothes and can be used as tables or seats. A futon can serve as a couch during the day and a bed at night. With the things that you do have, it’s best to try and store as much as possible as to make the room appear uncluttered. Less is definitely more in the case of small space living.
On the same note, bigger is also better. Small furniture does not make the room appear bigger. Rather, larger, bolder pieces of furniture draw the eye to them creating the illusion of a bigger room.
Create a wall of shelving to put books, magazines, and knick knacks. Grouping most of your belongings in one place rather than scattered all around the room frees up space to move around. Place baskets on the shelves for stray items and papers. Baskets can also be used to hold magazines and placed next to the couch or a chair.
Light is important in a small room. Try hanging a big mirror opposite the window(s) to reflect light into the room. Also, try to keep the fabrics used in the room a light color. In my studio I use a beige colored slipcover over my futon which I then cover with different colored pillows. Remember that dark colors absorb light and light colors reflect light.
You can divide space in a room by using screens or bookcases. Screens or bookshelves can be inexpensively made by purchasing wood at your local hardware or home store. They can be covered with fabric or painted to add a personal touch. Area rugs are also a good way to create division in a room.
With a little creativity you can make living in a small space as comfortable as living in a castle!
Whether you have a huge walk-in or a tiny reach-in closet, rooting through wrinkled piles of clothes every morning isn’t a particularly soothing way to start your day. Here are some ideas on turning storage space that’s killing you into a “killer” closet.
Go through everything in your closet and get rid of anything you don’t wear. Be relentless. If you haven’t worn it in a year, toss it.
Store your off-season stuff.
Put your summer clothes into airtight storage containers and stow them on a shelf, under your bed, or in your storage room, laundry room or attic.
Understand what you need to put in your closet. Hundreds of shoes? Lots of long dresses? Work shirts and pants? Design for your needs with rods and shelves set at different heights:
– Rods hung at 64″ (162 cm) are good for floor-length gowns, robes and coats.
– Rods at 54″ (137 cm) work for shorter dresses and pants hung by the cuff.
– 38″- 42″ (96 – 107 cm) accommodates shirts, jackets and folded pants.
– Double your hanging space by using a rod that can be hooked directly onto the one above – no carpentry skills needed!
Use every inch of available space. Add a shelf just below the ceiling to store extra blankets. Put hooks onto any open wall space. Install a shoe rack on the back of the closet door. Use roll-out storage boxes on the floor.
Utilize every inch of space with a customized closet system. You can do it yourself with a range of options available at your local home improvement store – including expandable systems that don’t require cutting or installation tools. Alternatively, work with a professional or company that specializes in closets. They can be pricey, so be specific about what you want and shop around.
Design in visibility.
Instead of using closet drawers where you can only see the top layer of clothing, install wire baskets or see-through plastic bins. Stack sweaters and t-shirts on open shelves piled 3-4 high so you can pull out the bottom item without knocking over the whole pile.
Make a spot for shoes.
Keep the floor tidy and your shoes protected. Build in cubbyholes, slanted shelving, or use clear plastic boxes. Pocket-style shoe racks or canvas shoe “shelves” suspended from a rod are good options for quick and easy installation.
Go with good hangers.
Wood, padded or sturdy plastic hangers help keep the shape of your clothes. Avoid wire hangers – they do horrible things to shoulders and get tangled easily. Recycle wire hangers at your local dry cleaner.
Image courtesy of Rubbermaid.