With all the cleaning up we are doing in our yards and gardens, it seems appropriate to talk about freshening up the inside of our homes too.
Here are some easy tips to help you clean up inside as well as out:
Put away clutter – think about this in your decorating as well as in your organizing. Consider using one item on a table or shelf. It is amazing how great just one thing can look. Really good accessories deserve to stand on their own and not so good accessories can look great in just the right place. There is a big added benefit here of making your housekeeping chores much simpler too. Less clutter equals less dust and less to keep up with. This does not mean you have to get rid of all your favorite things, just edit them and put away the extras for a little while.
Be sure all of your houseplants are vibrantly healthy. If not, nurse them back to health or replace them with permanent botanicals. Since the weather is mild, now is the time to see if your plants can be revived by a few weeks on the porch. If they don’t start looking better by Memorial Day, you may have to give up!
Remove heavy drapes and/or valances and let simple window coverings hang alone. If you live in a rural area or even in the suburbs, you might be able to leave a window or two bare during spring and summer months as long as you don’t get too much sun and heat.
If you have heavy wool area rugs, remove a few to de-clutter the floor. Consider either leaving your floors bare in rooms where appropriate, or perhaps put down an inexpensive sisal rug for instant vacation
There is nothing like simplification and nature to freshen up your home. Take away a few items and enjoy the lighter and brighter feel.
Sometimes being organized is as simple as having a few systems in place and, of course a place to keep things. Try these easy ideas:
Have an personal organization space for everyone in the family. This should be a spot, near the family entrance, where cell phones, keys, backpacks and mail can be kept upon entering the home. It is also good if it is near a phone where you pick up your messages. Be sure to have a calendar, pen and paper nearby for note taking and maybe even a bulletin board if you like to tack up invitation, photos, etc.
One of the most important aspects of this system is to have an inbox or basket of some sort where all the mail is gathered. You can sort and act on it later, but it is important to have a convenient spot to put everything when you first get home. An added bonus is that you will always know where you left your mail.
If you start to deal with your paperwork at home like you would at the office, you will find it goes much more smoothly. You rarely lose papers at work because you have systems for sorting and storing. Having an inbox and maybe even a file folder or two will make your household paper work much easier to manage.
There are all kind of attractive storage containers these days so if you feel disorganized at home, pick out a nice container up and start using it! Having a depository right at your door will keep you organized and your home less cluttered.
Going green has never looked better, and what better time to go green than on St. Patrick’s Day? Here are a few ways you can go green in style.
Organic fabrics and organic fill for cushions and upholstered furniture – Fabric and furniture companies have been proactive in introducing organic options. Green options are also available to replace the widely used petroleum-based foam and fillers for upholstery projects.
Low energy lighting gives lots of light – Technology has made huge progress in lighting. You can save energy and time using the new screw-in fluorescents. The quality of light from energy efficient bulbs is better as well. Many bulbs are now available in multiple light spectrums, including my favorite, soft white.
Sherwin Williams has come up with new products that that meet or exceed the criteria set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council and they are as follows:
• Harmony Interior Latex Primer provides a low-odor, anti-microbial, interior primer formulated without silica. You can use this product, without typical odor complaints, in occupied areas because of the very low odor during application and drying.
• Duration Home Interior Latex Matte provides long-lasting beauty and washability. It’s also resistant to stains, scuffs, and burnishing. It offers a very smooth and even finish, very low VOC, very low odor, very easy application and is anti-microbial.
Colors in a child’s bedroom should be warm and nurturing. Terracotta, yellows and greens are earthy not bright, and warm beiges are all supportive and will help a child feel secure.
Recently, it has become popular to decorate children’s rooms in bright, primary colors such as bold yellow, fire engine red and royal blue combinations. The idea is that they are stimulating colors, but they are too stimulating for a bedroom. This is the room you want your children to sleep in, wind down and be able to concentrate on reading and homework; if it is too stimulating, it will be hard for the child, especially young ones, to relax.
Another key point is the location of the bed. Try to tuck it into a cozy corner to avoid having the head of the bed exposed to a hallway or too close to the doorway.
Children need images on the walls of things that are important to them. Boys often like sports posters; girls tend to like whatever is popular. Try to have one thing on the wall that is grounding and inspiring.
For study purposes, it is best to have a child sit so that his or her back is to a wall with the desk facing into the room to limit outside distractions. Natural lighting is important as well. Add a lamp that is large enough. So often, tiny little lamps or novelty lamps are the only source of bedside or desk light in a child’s room.