Organization for the Disorganized

If you’ve heard of Western Minimalism or Japanese KonMari, you know that these are principles that promote happiness through living with fewer possessions and eliminating clutter. These intentional lifestyles allow only items that make you happy and are useful to live in your home. By eliminating clutter, or things that don’t bring you joy, you’ll experience less stress and have more time and money to spend.

The applications of “less is more” to home ownership and home selling are obvious. With less clutter, your home will be cozier, easier to navigate, show better to homebuyers, easier to keep straight, and easier to pack up when you sell.

The most disorganized areas in your home are typically closets, countertops and drawers. Here are a few tips to make decluttering faster and easier:

  1. Start small, one closet or drawer at a time.
  2. Assign a home for every item in the appropriate room.
  3. Organize so that you can see at a glance what is available in every storage space, from kitchen cabinets to dresser drawers.
  4. Fold sweaters and socks vertically so you can see every item.
  5. Use marked containers for small, miscellaneous or boxed items.
  6. Keep only beautiful, favorite or currently useful items.
  7. Don’t let guilt force you to keep anything you don’t want, such as gifts or expensive items you don’t like. Instead, offer these items to people you know or donate them.
  8. Remove donations and discards from the house the same day.

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Extend the Lifespan of Home Fixtures and Appliances

Something goes wrong with the air conditioner or the toilet clogs when you least expect it. Unless you’re Mr. or Ms. Fixit, you’ll have to go to the expense of calling a plumber, electrician or appliance expert to solve the problem. Unless a part has worn out, pilot error (that’s you or someone in the household) caused the malfunction.

Appliances and fixtures can be temperamental because they’re only designed to work under certain conditions, so take time to learn a little about how each product functions. Even if you don’t think you’re handy, you can do a little preventive maintenance and quick fix to handle minor problems.

To extend the life of your appliances and systems, here are 10 helpful suggestions:

  • Keep all booklets, warranties and operating instructions for every system and appliance in one convenient place.
  • Follow suggested scheduled maintenance, such as bi-annual checkups for air condition systems.
  • Keep supplies on hand – a plunger, drain cleaner, filters, etc.
  • Change heating and air filters once a month.
  • Clothes need room to tumble to get clean, so don’t overload washers.
  • Empty dryer filters with every load.
  • Don’t put potato peelings, fibrous vegetables such as celery, cooking oil or grease down any drain or disposal.
  • Run water before during and after using the disposal.
  • Put a mesh trap in your shower drain to catch hair and soap buildup.
  • Paper towels, Kleenex, baby wipes and cat litter can quickly clog a toilet, even if the box says the contents are safe to flush.

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Top Four Home Design Trends for 2019

An important benefit of homeownership is that you can design and decorate the property to your tastes, but sometimes you need a few ideas to get started.  Should you paint or wallpaper? Should you stay safe with neutrals or go wild with color? The answers may lie in trendspotting for 2019.

Color over neutrals. This is the year to embrace color – reds, blues, greens and yellows in tones that look terrific against a backdrop of black and white. Meanwhile, grays as neutrals have had their day.

Patterns. The global look of Ikat, Morrocan Trellis, and Shibori is giving way to large classical florals with a modern edge, including bohemian abstracts. Consider the lush wallpaper and fabric patterns of Timorous Beasties.

Style-mixing. Mid-century modern and minimalistic décor have been hugely popular over the last few years, but now the styles are looking dated. One reason why is that to be most effective, they’re rarely mixed with other styles making a home look more like a museum. Feel free to mix furniture and accessories of compatible eras.

Comfort. While metal, acrylics and wood furniture look great, don’t be afraid to soften the edges. You’ll see sumptuous fabrics overlaying stuffed chairs and sofas.  Make your bedding inviting with plush duvets filled with lightweight down.

Other trends include one-of-a-kind artisan goods such as bronze sculpture, oil, acrylic and mixed media paintings; lighter than darker wood floors, and accents of brass, pewter and chrome.

Whatever you choose, it’s your home, so enjoy!

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Get A Home Warranty

Whether you’re a homebuyer or seller, a home warranty can give you peace of mind. Also known as a home service contract, the home warranty typically covers mechanical systems and built-in appliances in the home.

Not to be confused with homeowner’s insurance, which covers damage from external forces, home warranties are designed to fill the gap between the original manufacturer’s warranty and normal wear and tear, according to HomeServiceContract.org.

Here’s how it works. If your AC goes out, or your dishwasher breaks, you contact the home service company and describe the problem. The dispatcher will send the appropriate licensed plumber, electrician, or appliance repair specialist to service the call. Expect to pay a service fee of about $50 or higher for each visit.

Remember that home warranties don’t provide blanket service. They don’t cover repairs or replacement for pre-existing conditions or for elderly mechanicals that are beyond their useful lifespan. But they are good for emergencies if your toddler clogs the toilet trying to “wash” his teddy bear.

For home sellers, home service contracts improve the home’s marketability to homebuyers and diminishes liability. For buyers, warranties can absorb the costs of unexpected repairs or replacements. Extended coverage for non-built-ins such as clothes washers, dryers, and stand-alone refrigerators is usually available.

When you think about the wide range of systems and appliances that it takes to operate your home, a home service contract is a bargain at approximately $400 to $500 and could pay for itself with one use.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

Decorating with Red

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Red is the go-to color for drama, but it’s also a preferred color for hospitality. You can literally “roll out the red carpet” to make visitors feel welcome to your home.

From joy (paint the town red) to love (my love is like a red, red rose) to bravery (red badge of courage), red suggests celebration, passion and power. Use red when you want a room to be filled with energy and spirit. Red stimulates conversation and activity, making it a great choice for living and dining areas, bedrooms and kitchens.

Red can be soft as well as bold, depending on the shade, intensity, and percentage of red you decide to use in your decor. Red ranges from light pink to deep burgundy.  Reds and golds are opulent, while red with black is sophisticated. Reds can also be casual, as in country or coastal décor.

How much red should you include in your decorating scheme? The closer the hue is to primary red, the brighter it will be, and the more it will draw attention. Reds play well with neutral greys, taupes, beiges, blues and browns.

To see the true impact of red, grab fabric and paint samples to see how various shades of red interact with other colors. Brown-reds, burgundy-reds, and orange-reds add spice and earthiness to your décor.

Whichever red you choose, have fun with it. Paint an accent wall with red, or buy throw pillows and afghans in red. It can be a warm, happy color.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

Outdoor Lighting for Safety and Beauty

Landscape lighting is one of the best ways to make your home safer and more appealing. You can highlight your home’s best features and light the way to your entry for guests, all while eliminating dark hiding spots for unwelcome visitors.

  • Step back from your home so you can see the whole house and yard in daylight and at night.
  • Do you have elegant brickwork, bay windows or a verandah to showcase?
  • Are there fountains, pools or other features you’d like to show at night?
  • Is your home beautifully landscaped? Are there trees or plantings you’d like to shower with attention?
  • How well-lit are your doors, pathways, steps and parking from the street?

One benefit of pathway lighting is that it can radiate several feet. You can install solar-powered walkway lamps that are attractive and affordable.

Spot lights can be put low on the ground or high on a wall, or they can hang from the eaves of your home to focus on specific features. Each light provides unique shadows and can bring architectural and landscaping features center stage.

On the ground, install flood lights that shoot light up against your home, bushes or trees. Motion detectors can flood the area with light which discourages pests.

Outdoor lighting can make your home more attractive at night, but it can also make your home more attractive to future homebuyers, as a beauty and safety feature. And that’s always a good investment.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

How to handle the holidays

The holidays are here and you’re in the middle of trying to sell your home. Your family is still expecting a big holiday season, so how are you going to sell your home while you do all the extra shopping, cooking, decorating and entertaining?

Remember: No one should expect you to take on so much, so it’s OK to handle what you can and delegate or eliminate what you don’t want to do.

Here’s how you can use the holidays to your advantage:

Decorate just a dot. Put out a few family favorites to show how lovely your home can be for the holidays but box up the remaining decorations for the movers. If you get an offer on your home, you’ll only have a few festive things to take down and pack up.

Delegate the dinner. Someone else can host the big family dinner while you bring a dish instead. You’ll have more time for decluttering and packing and keeping your home tidy for showings.

Dash to a destination. This is the year to take the kids to see their grandparents, go on a ski vacation, or head to the beach for the holidays. Have fun and leave the home selling to your BHHS KC Realty agent.

As you strive to keep everyone happy during the holiday season, take time for yourself, too. Your only job should be to make showings easy for professionals to sell your home. It’s a bonus if you’ve made the holidays easier for your family, too.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!