Blog

Welcome to our blog! Here you will find information regarding market, local and Lakes Region information and events! Along with DIY projects and more! Come back often to see what's new and leave us a comment if there's something you'd like to see.

9 Easy-to-Ambitious DIY Projects to Improve Your Home

Be honest: When it comes to home projects, are you a handy hero or an aspiring amateur? No matter what your answer is, there’s something here for you. See Susan Kelleher's suggestions from easy to more advanced projects you can do yourself!

By Susan Kelleher

Whether you're looking for a small project or a new challenge, these improvements can enhance your space and potentially boost your home's value.

Beginner projects:

New faucets

Attention to detail is key for this project — you don’t want to flood your kitchen because you forgot to turn off the water valve — but no previous plumbing skills are required, and a shiny new faucet can generate a lot of day-to-day pleasure for a little effort. These instructions walk you through the steps to install a kitchen faucet (and the process is just the same for a bathroom sink). 

Light fixtures and switches

Few things can change the atmosphere of a room as quickly as lighting. Swapping out an old fixture for a new one — or an on-off switch for a dimmer — can provide a mood for any occasion.  Here’s an easy guide to change a light fixture. Switches use the same types of wires, so if you can swap a fixture, you can handle a switch.   

Fire pit

This is a great one to tackle with kids. Celebrate the finished product with a s’mores party. Plus, the sales price premium on homes with fire pits is 2.8%, according to a Zillow analysis of thousands of home listings and sales prices.* Build you own backyard fire pit in 7 easy steps.

Smart tech upgrade

There are countless smart home products you can choose from, and some require little more than changing a light bulb or plugging in a device. A few to consider:

Smart doorbell/camera: Installing one is similar to changing out a light switch. The process involves removing your old doorbell and connecting the device to your Wi-Fi.

Smart locks: Do you have a family member who is always losing their house key? Replacing a traditional door lock with a keyless entry you access using a touch pad or smartphone app is an easy solution. 

Smart home hub: Amazon, Google, Apple, Nest, Samsung and others offer smart home hubs, which allow you to interact with compatible devices through a central system. The hub itself is typically “plug and play” and easy to set up. But you may need to do some initial troubleshooting to get all of your devices connected.  

Smart lights: This project is as simple as buying and installing light bulbs. However, the upgrade requires coordination with a smart home system because each one has its own requirements and controls. If you already have a home system, be sure the lights you choose are compatible. If you’re thinking of buying a new system, keep in mind that it needs to work harmoniously with the products you already have.

Intermediate projects:

Cabinet refresh

Updating your kitchen doesn’t have to involve major renovations. You can create a whole new look by changing out the door and drawer pulls, painting your cabinets or removing cabinet doors to create an open-shelving effect. Or, if you have too much wall space and too few cabinets, you can easily install open shelving from scratch. An added bonus: Homes with open shelving sell for 4.2% more than expected. For cabinet tips and other ideas, here are seven ways to upgrade your kitchen without remodeling.

Barn door

Switching out a traditional swinging door or a closet slider for a barn door that glides on a rail can give your room a striking look, as well as open up space and change the furniture arranging possibilities. And your effort might pay off in other ways: Barn doors are associated with a 5% price premium. You’ll need a few tools, another pair of hands, and these step-by-step instructions which cover all the details of how to build and install your own sliding barn door

Advanced projects:

Board & batten

You may not be familiar with the term, but you’ve probably seen this classic design feature in a number of homes. Precision is required for this one, and that means you need the right tools, namely a measuring tape, a level and a miter saw. Also patience. But if you can imagine a 3D element atop your drywall, you’re ready to go, and this guide will walk you through each step of the process

Garden shed

If you have the know-how to build a garden shed, you can find any number of plans and tutorials online to suit your taste. And if you’re not quite up for that challenge, you can still improve the one you’ve got or buy a garden-variety one and make it your own. Start by imagining whether you need it for storage or extra work or living space, and go from there. Homes with a “she shed” are associated with a 3.6% price premium. Here’s some inspiration to create your own custom garden workspace

Heated floors

This is the kind of project you can tackle if you missed out on your real vocation and ended up in a desk job. Labor-intensive and requiring the confidence of an accomplished tradesperson (and some math skills), your success in warming your dwelling from the bottom up will make you a hero or heroine in your own home. This project is ideal if you already planned to replace the flooring in a room and have the opportunity to add a heating element in the process. Learn about the different types of radiant flooring and tips for DIY success. Homes with this feature sell for 4.9% more than expected.

 Whatever you decide to do, measure twice, cut once and have fun!

 

Susan Kelleher is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and writer. She joined Zillow in May 2018 as a senior writer on data and trends.

What is Memorial Day?

In the last days of Spring, all Americans commemorate those who died in the military service. Every year, we celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday of May.

The history of Memorial Day goes back to the 19th century. People who lost their friends and relatives in the Civil War started to decorate the graves of their dead with flowers, wreaths, and flags. That is why the initial name of the holiday was Decoration Day.

After World War I, all Americans adopted this remembrance tradition of the Southern states and devoted it to all those who died in any military action. We are honoring men and women who gave their lives for our country up to now.

Today, people go to cemeteries to decorate the graves and pay homage to their dead. Typically, many Americans spend Memorial Day getting together with their family for a picnic, BBQ and/or sporting events. Although, this year may be a little different with social distancing and all.

What is the Difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?

If you are one of those asking “is Memorial Day not for veterans?” it is time to learn the answer. Since a lot of us still confuse Veterans Day and Memorial Day, you should know the difference to avoid any misunderstanding.

These two holidays have different origins. The official observance of Memorial Day started in 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery where people decorated the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers with flowers. This tradition was extended to commemorate all military men and women who died in all American wars.

Veterans Day dates back to the early 20th century when Armistice Day was declared after World War I to honor the heroism of the American soldiers and their contribution to the world peace. After World War II, the name of the holiday was changed to “Veterans.” Ever since then Veterans Day is observed on November 11 to celebrate the veterans of all American wars.

What Do You Say To a Veteran on Memorial Day?

To express noble Memorial Day sentiments, you should remember that this is the time to commemorate those who gave their lives in service to our country. That is why you should not thank the living veterans on Memorial Day but show respect to their fallen comrades in arms, friends, and family.

We honor veterans on Veterans Day to express our gratitude and reverence for their service. On Memorial Day, we remember and grieve for those who died in wars. In such a way, we can deliberate on the price of war and pay tribute to those who paid in full.

So instead of looking for proper words to say to a veteran on Memorial Day, you should better visit a Veterans memorial or the USSAH National Cemetery and place flags and flowers on the graves, attend the Largest Memorial Day Parade and Concert, buy a poppy, or take part in the National Moment of Remembrance.

Do You Say Happy Memorial Day?

Over time people have adopted different attitudes to using a Memorial Day saying “Happy Memorial Day.”However, it might seem inappropriate to wish a day of bitter and painful memories to be happy. Since those of us who lost their loved ones in the wars can get genuinely fragile and emotional on Memorial Day, you should rather avoid using the word “happy.”

To be on the safe side, you can say things like “Have a nice day today” or “I hope you have a fine day today.” If you plan to honor a person whose relative died in the service, you can express your appreciation for their sacrifices in the following ways:

  • I remember and deeply appreciate the ultimate sacrifice [name of a fallen hero] made.

  • I share your tremendous loss and offer my deepest gratitude for [name of a fallen hero] service.

  • I hope you have a nice time with your family and good memories of [name of a fallen hero] to honor [his or her] sacrifice.

By Writology

 

Lastly, on Memorial Day, may we all stop and take a moment to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to those who serve our country and to those that made the ultimate sacrifice!

Also, to honor health professionals, first responders and others who are putting their lives in harm’s way to help their neighbors and fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Thank you all for your service! Everyone be well and stay safe!  

 

These Home Improvements Matter Most to Young Adults

For the past five years in a row, it has been determined that due to the Millennial generation, who represent the largest share of the home buying market, has resulted in a seismic shift in the real estate market.  

Now that Spring is in full swing, Home Sellers wanting to make that fabulous first impression towards Millennials (and anyone else for that matter looking to buy a new home) a memorable and successful one, now is the time before the hot summer months arrive.

Following is an article addressing those key improvements a homeowner can make to capture the eye of young adults searching for that perfect home.

 

By Patti Stern

Millennials, who make up the largest share of home buyers, are looking for properties in move-in condition and want to avoid the expense of significant repairs, according to National Association of REALTORS® most recent Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study. As such, sellers may want to invest in updates that will be most appealing to these younger buyers. Our list below features the top modest home improvements to get your home noticed and boost its perceived value in a competitive market. 

Enhance Curb Appeal

Make the best first impression for buyers—even before they step foot in the door—by investing in the exterior of the property by sprucing up curb appeal:

  • Remodeling Magazine’s 2020 Cost vs. Value Report lists replacing siding, garage doors, entry doors, and windows as the upgrades with the greatest return on investment.

  • Refresh landscaping by trimming bushes, weeding, eliminating dead shrubs/trees, and manicuring the lawn. 

  • Power-wash and make any necessary repairs to siding, windows, walkways, and steps.

  • Enhance the entry with a fresh coat of on-trend paint color for the front door, and update or clean all outdoor light fixtures. Finish with a colorful welcome mat, fresh wreath, and seasonal potted plants.

 

Refresh the Heart of the Home 

The 2020 Cost vs. Value Report also lists minor kitchen remodels as a top investment for resale. Our top kitchen upgrades for an instant boost include:

  • Introduce modern lighting options with fixtures in different materials (metals, woods, rattan) and geometric shapes.

  • Swap out dated faucets and cabinet hardware for more contemporary, full-functioning styles in trending finishes, such as matte black, brushed brass, or polished nickel. 

  • Rather than completely replacing dark, dated, and worn cabinets, simply repaint them in a bright white or soft gray hue to brighten and enlarge the space.

  • Replace or refinish damaged or dull hardwood floors to make the room shine.

 

Give the Bathroom an Update

Potential buyers evaluate bathrooms both functionally and visually—the colors, the style, the layout, the amenities, and the fixtures.

  • Start by fixing leaky faucets and shower heads, worn caulking, broken toilets, or chipped tile.

  • Replace outdated lighting in modern designs and finishes to instantly set the mood and add sophisticated style. Pair with matching hardware and faucets to complete the look.

  • Change out damaged and dated countertops with marble or quartz and/or paint darker-colored vanities with an on-trend neutral or soft color (the robin egg blue pictured above is a perfect example).

  • Be sure the wall and/or tile color is soft and soothing to give the room a spa-like appeal.

 

Revive the Dining Room 

Buyers want to envision where they can entertain guests. Be sure to present the dining room as spacious, inviting, and elegant. 

  • The best way to make the space feel larger and enhance the room’s features is by covering dark walls with neutral paint. It will also pair well with bright white crown molding and/or wainscoting for an added touch of elegance.

  • Replace traditional chandeliers with chic, contemporary fixtures to set a more sophisticated tone.

  • Spruce up your dining room table with a stylish table setting to help buyers envision their own dinners here.

 

Create a Master Bedroom Retreat 

Make the master bedroom feel like a cozy getaway with these simple changes: 

  • Remove and/or replace heavy draperies with simple, sheer white curtains or shades that allow for a little privacy while letting in natural light.

  • Install stylish ceiling and bedside table lighting.

  • Deep-clean soiled carpeting to restore plushness, or add a neutral, textured area rug to hardwood floors.

  • Layer fluffy, white bedding with accent pillows and soft throws in different colors and patterns.  

Once all the updates are complete, you can hire a professional home stager to add in some finishing touches before listing the home for sale. Home stagers can add inviting, modern furnishings and accents that set out to help buyers emotionally connect with a home. 

 

Patti Stern: Patti is a principal of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating. 

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com (link is external)

 

Interconnected Patios and More!

When a simple deck or porch isn’t enough, more and more homeowners are expanding their outdoor living spaces with interconnected patios. These spaces can also include fire pits, fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, and even pool and spas.

Connecting existing decks, porches, entrances or outbuildings with patios creates the opportunity to have one cohesive, connected space allowing better flow throughout the property. These spaces become focal points when entertaining, as they allow guests to choose rooms or features to visit while socializing. Some designs allow guests to enter the space directly from the driveway, with access to the house via the patio.

Drainage of patio areas away from buildings is an important consideration, one that becomes more challenging when areas are at different elevations. Decorative drains can alleviate water issues and creative grading also provides architectural interest.

When making choices for materials, natural stone is still the most popular option; granite and bluestone are used the most.

Other important design considerations are: determining the size of the patio and outdoor rooms so that there is enough room for furniture and for people to move around; providing landscape lighting for safety and to highlight features; and including plantings, when possible, to soften the scale of a large space.

Having an interconnected patio is a great way to increase the size of your outdoor living area, providing ample room for fun and entertaining.

 

Source: Landshapes, 88 Rogers Lane, Richmond, VT

    Comments

    1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

    How to Clean Window Screens Like a Pro

    Become the toast of the neighborhood with your sparkling screens.  Not only do dirty screens obstruct your view, they can also affect the air quality that's filtered throughout your house. Window screens allow cool, fresh air to come in while keeping bugs out . . . but of course, you also want to see out of them. 

    There are lots of ways to clean screens depending on severity of the dirtiness, but just to stay on the safe side, it's important to deep clean all your window screens and door screens at least once a year— and there are some relatively easy methods to go about this unpleasant business. You can do a quick clean with a lint roller, or fill a good-size pail with warm water and a few drops of dish soap.  Then find a soft-bristled hand brush and some lint-free hand towels.

    Note, for really tough dirt, give your screens a soapy bath and add a slightly harder bristle brush like a toothbrush to really scrape off grime. Try not to press too hard on the screen because you don't want to bend it out of shape. It may be tedious, but a toothbrush can break through any dirt stuck in those tiny holes, nooks, and crevices.

    You can begin cleaning your screen with it either standing up or you can lay it down flat on a deck or in your lawn. If your screens are very dusty, you should first remove the dirt and dust using a shop vac, vacuum upholstery attachment, or dry rag. Then dip your brush in the soapy water, and gently scrub each side of the screen. To remove the soap residue, gently spray the screen with a hose before the soap film has time to dry.

    Next, you will want to remove the water from the screen. To do this, it is important to first identify the front from the back of the screen. The back of the screen will have a rubber cord around the frame, which is there to hold the screen to the frame. While facing the back of the screen, you will want to GENTLY slap the screen with a clean lint-free towel, which will dislodge the water trapped in the mesh of the screen. Do NOT slap the screen on the front side, as this can cause the screen to pop out of the cord that is holding it to the frame. After the water is removed from the screen, wipe down the frame with your towel. Your screen is now ready to be put back into its place on your window.

     

    7 New Things That Will Take Priority When Shopping for a Home

    Not only will homebuyers consider moving out of the city and into the suburbs, we can expect a surge of out-of-stater's looking to get away from the more populated neighboring southern states and venture to more rural surroundings. Partly due to the fact, they've come to the realization they can still perform their jobs by working remotely from their homes! So, why not live where you play!

    By Lisa Larson , Contributor for U.S. News. 

    Homebuyers who enter the market after the risk of COVID-19 has diminished will have a whole new set of priorities for their home search.

    There's no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has changed our way of life. It's shifted our priorities in everything from work to love. Even once the virus subsides, the effects of this experience will be long-lasting.

    In particular, sheltering in place has made us think about the concept of home in a new light. There's little doubt that homebuyers who enter the market after the risk of COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror will have a whole new set of priorities in place for their home search.

    Here are seven priorities you can expect to become prevalent in future home searches:

    1.) Let There Be Light (and Space)

    When city dwellers who never spent much time at home were expected to make their homes their sole destination, many quickly discovered a newfound appreciation for sunlight and living space. It wouldn't be surprising to see a lot of studio apartment dwellers hoping to upgrade to larger abodes in the months following the pandemic. In general, expect a trend toward light-filled, airy homes with views of something other than the neighboring alley.

    2.) A Space for Cooking

    If social media is any indication, there are a lot of us becoming newly acquainted with our kitchens as the virus has eliminated the ability to go out to eat, and even trimmed our takeout options. While kitchens are often called the heart of the home, after we've grown accustomed to cooking several meals a day, expect a continued trend toward large open kitchens where families can gather to cook together. A pantry and abundant cabinet space will be critical for storing large quantities of food and easy-to-use, efficient appliances will make the entire process – from prep to clean-up – a breeze.

    3.) The Quest for Privacy

    Anyone sheltering in place with loved ones knows that privacy is precious these days. Those who once considered separate bedrooms for each kiddo a luxury might have a new set of priorities in a post-coronavirus world. Even a den, bonus room or finished basement can be a boon when family members need a timeout from non-stop family time.

    4.) Energy Efficiency

    People who normally spend long hours away from home might be surprised to see a bump in their utility bills during shelter-in-place. Working from home, cooking more often and binge-watching Netflix all adds up in terms of electricity, water and gas use, and even trash collection. As temperatures get warmer, the impact on electric bills will be even more apparent. Future homebuyers would do well to consider the energy efficiency of their new house, and even small touches like proper weatherstripping and double-pane windows can lead to sizable savings.

    5.) Space for Working Out

    For many in quarantine, a significant decrease in activity is more than a vanity issue – it's a mental health issue. While a home gym fully stocked with the latest equipment is a dream-home scenario, a small space with a TV, floor mats and weights can still provide a much-needed break during tense times.

    6.) Outdoor Space

    Private outdoor space is a godsend when leaving your home can seem downright dangerous. Even a small balcony provides the ability to bask in sunlight and fresh air. Those with larger yards will feel especially grateful that kids and pets have space to stretch their legs. One thing to keep in mind for expansive yards, however, is the ability to maintain them if service providers are unable to visit your home. States and municipalities have disagreed when it comes to designating landscapers and pool maintenance providers as essential, so homeowners should be prepared to handle basic tasks on their own.

    7.) Home Office Space

    Well before COVID-19, the American workforce had been leaning toward freelance work and jobs that can be done, at least part-time, from home. Now that shelter-in-place orders have made long-term working from home a necessity for many, homeowners will be on the lookout for properties that effortlessly accommodate business needs. This will usually start with a private, quiet space for an office or dedicated work area. Technologyis also crucial, so homes with ample electrical outlets and high-speed Wi-Fi equipment or hardwired Ethernet connections will earn high marks.

    Life after the coronavirus pandemic will no doubt require a long period of economic recovery and personal adjustment. For many, new homes to suit our new normal will be the first step in that transition.

     

    Lisa Larson is a licensed associate real estate broker for Warburg Realty in New York City. Ranking as a Top 5 broker firm-wide for each of the past four years, including Warburg Realty's No. 1 Top Producer in 2017, her strong command of the market has led her to sell an average of $50 million in residential sales per year.

    New Hampshire Gift Card Wednesdays!

    The Wolfeboro Chamber of Commerce has requested we share the following information in regards to supporting local businesses this Wednesday... tomorrow and the following Wednesdays!!!

    NH Gift Card Wednesday

    Let your favorite business know you are thinking of them by purchasing a gift card on Gift Card Wednesday.  Gift Card Wednesday is a cooperative effort by New Hampshire Chambers of Commerce to encourage people to do what they can to increase revenue for local businesses. 

    “Wolfeboro area businesses make the community what it is,” reflects Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mary DeVries.  “Let us do what we can now to help keep them here for the future”. 

    Many are still waiting on federal assistance and struggling to keep their doors open. When you support a local business, you support a local family and their employees. If we all do a little now they will still be here for years to come, adding color, life and valuable services to our local communities. 

    Already the Wolfeboro area is experiencing community support by people shopping and dining locally with curbside pickup, takeout and delivery.  Gift cards are another opportunity to show your support. 

    You are encouraged to make a purchase with any area business.  www.wolfeborochamber.com is a resource for finding some of them.

    Post a photo with your gift card and #ShopLocalNH to help give our beloved local businesses and #GiftCardWednesday even more visibility. PLEASE SHARE! 

     

     

     

    Plant a ‘Victory Garden' This Spring

    If you haven't done so already, it's not too late to start your very own Victory Garden!  I recall watching Crockett's Victory Garden originally hosted by James Underwood Crockett on a local Boston station with my Dad back in the '70's.  It was then I gained my gardening knowledge and shared countless hours bonding with my Dad. Funny thing, I never realized the true meaning behind the name "Victory Garden" until now.

    Victory gardens were first popularized during World War I when Americans at home, away from the battlefield, were urged to contribute to the cause by growing vegetables in every flowerpot and patch of land available. These victory gardens resurged during World War II, and they're making a comeback amid the coronavirus pandemic. These gardens can be big or small, sprawling across yards and rooftops or tucked in several small pots. Even with a small amount of acreage, homeowners are able to grow large gardens—and these assets can reduce the number of trips to the grocery store and reduce your odds of contracting the COVID-19 virus.

    There's no breakdown of the national food chain to prompt these victory gardens. Instead, they’re trending to help limit trips to the grocery store and bring a little light and exercise to those who have extra time during shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders. Planting your own garden is perfect timing right now, because the weather is getting better, and you can even sow some seeds inside and then transplant them to the ground later on. You can definitely use containers, a windowsill, or even grow bags, which are another type of container, if your space is limited. And if you have a balcony or access to a roof, try growing them there.

    Some of the quickest plants to grow include leafy greens like arugula, bok choy, and Swiss chard, as well as zucchini, cucumbers, and many herbs like thyme, oregano, chives, and parsley.

    Looking for a Social Distancing Distraction? Here's How to Organize Your Kitchen on a Budget

    At a time when kitchens are at the center of our new normal, three designers share their tips on how to keep them organized on a budget.

    By Kelly Dawson

    Kitchens were always the hardest-working space in a home. It's the place where the toil of cooking meets the relief of conversation, and where a small snack for one can sit side-by-side with one giant feast for a dozen. In every shape and size, kitchens have to be able to go with the flow. 

    But then the COVID-19 pandemic turned modern life upside-down, and a kitchen's flexibility has been stretched to its limits. While still a hub of utility and comfort, they're now working even harder to meet the demand of a crisis. 

    "With preparing and serving three meals and numerous toddler snacks at home, we are cycling through everything in our kitchen much faster," Kelly Mindell, founder of Studio DIY, says. "That leads to messes piling up quicker if things don't have a designated spot. We've been spending time dividing, organizing, and repurposing other items in our home to make sure everything has somewhere to go." 

    Shea McGee, cofounder of Studio McGee, and Joyce Downing Pickens of JDP Interiors agree. They've also been adjusting to this new reality by examining how their kitchens can be even more functional, from streamlining pantries to corralling tools. Below, Mindell, McGee, and Downing Pickens share the lessons they've learned these last few weeks on how to organize a kitchen on a budget, in the hopes that it makes this hard-working room as efficient as possible. 

    How to Carry Out Your Plan 

    Once you have an organizational plan in place, carry it out with as little headache as possible by moving strategically, cabinet by cabinet. Discard expired items, and consider donating a surplus of canned goods to a local food bank. After shelves are cleaned out, pay close attention to the areas where you spend the most time, including spots that may be overlooked. 

    Organize based on convenience. "Put items that frequent the dishwasher as close to the dishwasher as possible, and put your coffee mugs close to your coffee pot," Mindell says. "Minimizing your need to move around the kitchen, and maximizing the ease of putting items away, will keep things tidy." 

    Divide your drawers. "Big, open drawers create big messes! Everything needs a designated spot," Mindell continues. "Simply use containers you've recycled or collected elsewhere in your home to categorize everything." 

    Use your door space. "Take any baskets you might have and install them onto the inside of your cabinet doors," Downing Pickens says. "This will maximize your space and make for easy grab-and-go access to everyday items." 

    Label spices. "I label the top of all my spices using round stickers and a Sharpie," Downing Pickens says. "It makes it so much easier to know what's what without having to check the label." 

    Repurpose Items for Effortless Storage 

    It's possible to have storage pieces—like glass jars and space dividers—delivered to your door, but all it takes is a little creativity to see how items you likely already have can be reused for this project. Not only will this solution minimize the amount of outside items coming into your home, but it's also a budget-friendly approach at a time when every dollar counts. 

    Strip your old canned goods. "Remove the labels on jars once they are empty and add them to your drawers for small items," Downing Pickens says. "This is especially helpful in your 'junk' drawer for pens, paperclips, rubber bands, and so on." 

    Use the "guest-only" dinnerware. "I've pulled out bowls or cups that I typically only use on special occasions to help me store items," Mindell says. "For instance, we have a piece of colorful glassware that's holding snack bars in our pantry and a serving bowl holding fruit on our counter." 

    Pull out trays. "Whether it's corralling soap and a dish brush next to your kitchen sink, or holding some of your favorite everyday spices, trays can keep spaces feeling collected instead of cluttered," McGee says. 

    Use small baskets for laundry. "If you use reusable cloth instead of paper towels, use baskets from around your home to store them in: one for clean towels, one for dirty," Mindell says. "That way, you can just grab the 'dirty' basket when it's full and dump it right in the wash."

     

    Kelly Dawson is a freelance writer in Los Angeles who has been writing for Dwell since 2015. Follow her on Instagram @atthecrosswalk.

    The 10 Incredibly Useful Rules Every Organized House Follows

    Here are some terrific ideas (rules/habits) for keeping your house in order... many of which I learned from my mom and follow to this day!

    By Amy Howell

    Homes don’t clean themselves. But these easy-peasy rules "wake and make" as they call it, will make you feel like they do.

    Here's the thing you may have noticed about houses: They don't clean themselves.

    Which is unfortunate, because if houses cleaned themselves you could spend less time cleaning yours, and more time doing something fun!

    A few simple daily habits could make it seem like you've got a self-cleaning house.

    Rules like . . .

     

    #1 Dedicate 20 Minutes a Day Every Day

    You don't need to set aside 20 hours one day to get things in order. You only need 20 minutes every day.

    Focus on taking clutter in just one room. You might only pare down a single drawer or shelf, but "it will make you feel accomplished at the end of the day, and at the end of a week, you will see how much you can declutter," says professional organizer Helena Alkhas.

    #2 Follow a "One-Minute" Rule