Change can cause a great deal of stress for many of us; yet, many of us gravitate towards it like a moth to a flame.  Maybe it's because we always want more.  We root ourselves in a philosophy that greater, grander is better.  As our homes slowly become disorganized, messy and outdated, we seek those big home make-overs to achieve the differences we seek.   Most times, all they need are some reasonable modifications, organization and clean-up.  Let's get started.

Focus on one room at a time

Complete each room, then move on.  Once you select your room, decide what you want to accomplish.  Consider what is giving your room a bad vibe?  Below is a list of possible problems:

  • Messy.  The room has recent messes that need to be cleaned up 
  • Disorganized.  The room has no system of organization
  • Cluttered.  There are stacked items, crowded furnishings with limited walking space
  • Hoarded.  Numerous items of no monetary value, trash, outdated materials or food
  • Run down. Needs minor repair, paint and/or flooring updates
  • Outdated. Furnishings and décor don’t fit with today’s styles
  • Dark or dingy.  Needs a fresh new look, brighter décor, paint and window treatments

The key to making each room a successful makeover is to remove, repair, replace, redecorate.  Don't try to work on two rooms at once unless you have a professional home organizer or other helpers.

Get rid of it 

If you have a lot of clutter or items you're not quite ready to pitch, you'll need accessible and organized storage in your home.  This should be the very first place you start. 

Make room in your garage, basement or home storage unit.  Don't put valuable items or items that shouldn't be exposed to moisture in an outdoor shed.  If the only space available is a shed or other high moisture unit, you may need to rent climate controlled storage.  However, it you are on a tight budget, storage rental should be avoided, unless completely necessary. 

Instead, consider suspended shelving as mentioned under "garage" listed below.

Garage: Install shelves, hooks and organizers in order to keep everyday items easily accessible.  Kids should have a space for their stuff so that they can help maintain and organize items like toys, sports equipment and backpacks.  Keep non-kid-friendly items and long-term storage out of reach with suspended ceiling shelving.  A local handyman or contractor can build these and they make an excellent investment in contrast to paying monthly rent for a out of home storage unit.

Basement:  Inspect your basement for moisture, leaks, bugs or rodents that may affect storage.  Designate the driest part of your basement for storage and install appropriate shelving according to your needs.  Anticipate more storage to come as you begin to go through the home making updates and reorganizing. 

You may need to purchase more storage containers. It's important to get storage containers that can be completely sealed with snap on lids.  Cardboard boxes are not recommended.   

Store all other unprotected items off the floor of the basement to avoid damages in the case of an unexpected leak, water heater drainage or sump pump overflow.  You can use several two foot long, two by fours under each container to lift them off the floor.

Storage Closet: A storage closet may seem too small for serious storage.  But with unattached shelving and proper use of the space you can actually fit a great amount of items into a small storage closet.  Stack items on top of one another and consider storing items on their side or even upside down to make them fit. 

Don't just think of the storage unit's square footage, think of the total space floor to ceiling too.  Store large unused items in the back of the unit.  

Get vacuum sealed, space saver storage bags to reduce total space used for out-of-season clothing or linens you do not wish to donate.  Use hooks to hang items high above stored contents. Install undershelf baskets (suspended below the shelf) for small items.  

One room, 3 stacks

Each room will have 3 stacks of stuff for the stuff you remove.   Set the temporary stacks up outside the room you're working on.  Use tarps if needed.  You can utilize the driveway (weather permitting), garage or another large area of your home.     

  • The first is stuff to keep in the room or to store. 
  • The second is stuff you rarely use.  You will keep about 25% of this pile and donate or sell the rest.  
  • The third is trash, broken or unused items.

Trash - Get some trash bags and get to work.  Don't keep more than you pitch.  If it's broken or you don't use it, then you probably don't need it.  Clear away all of the trash first, then dig into things that are rarely used and put them in stack #2 or #3.

Donate - Don't hesitate to look at excess furniture and décor as clutter.  Some of it should go.  If you don't use it, lose it.  Stack #2 should be accumulating nicely.

Sell - Valuable items that you choose to sell instead of donate should also go into stack #2.  

Store - Some things that may be family heirlooms or of some financial or emotional value may be worth saving.   But, it doesn't mean they belong in your most used rooms of your home.  You can stack the items you want to keep for storage in pile #1.   Try to use your new in-home storage shelves for the items you plan to keep and limit storage items to a reasonable amount.  Otherwise, consider selling or donating the items instead of renting expensive storage.

Sort - The room should be clear of the clutter, trash and oversized furnishings now.  Envision what you want to do with the space.  It's a blank canvas! 

  • Go through pile #1 again and remove any items you don't want to keep.  Put them in the appropriate piles #2 or #3.  Then sort the remaining items from pile #1 you still want to keep and designate for storage or to go back into the room. 
  • Sort stack #2 into a small portion of items to store or put back into the room, a portion for donation and a portion to sell.    List your items on Facebook Marketplace®, Craigslist®, eBay® or have a garage sale within 30 days.  If your items don't sell, donate them. Contact a donation center within 24-48 hours and arrange for pick-up.  Make sure to get a receipt for a tax write-off.
  • Stack #3 is the most liberating!  Pitch it!

Keep and fix

Fix-it- up - Survey for damage.  Look for damage to walls, windows, baseboards, flooring.  

Paint - Do some areas of the walls or molding that need to be touched-up with filler or paint?  Either get a new color or take a chip of paint to the hardware store and get a matching color, paint kit, spackle, wood putty and sand paper.  Prepare your walls by cleaning any loose dust or debris from walls, ledges and molding.  Make repairs, cover furniture with tarps and get painting.

Windows - Get a window cleaning kit that attaches to the hose to clean exterior windows or call in a window cleaning company.  Clean interior windows with a soapy mixture of Dawn® or Palmolive OXY®.  Use wash rags and towels if you don't have a squeegee and never clean windows in high sun or heat (or expect streaks).  Call in a window repairman to fix broken window seals where the panes have fog between the layers.  The cost is usually $100-$200 per window and makes a major difference in the rooms appearance and light source. 

Flooring - Steam clean the carpets, mop or replace with new flooring.  Wash throw rugs in the mega washer at the laundromat.  Lay down thin layered throw rugs on heavy trafficked areas or main seating area atop carpeting (thick rugs are more likely to be a tripping hazard).  This will not only preserve your carpeting, but it will also make worn out, stained carpeting less noticeable and really makes the room feel brand new!  Also, make sure you vacuum under the throw rugs every other time to lift the fibers and remove debris that made it's way under. 

Ceilings - A fresh coat of ceiling paint makes a major difference in brightening up a room.  Clean light fixtures and fan blades with a Swiffer Duster (make sure to lay a tarp down to avoid debris from falling onto furniture or carpeting.  

Organize - Now that you have selected what you want to keep in the room, start organizing.  The best thing you can do that doesn't cost a dime is to reposition the furnishings to make the same room more useful, desirable and trendy. 

Think outside the box and be creative.  Take a look at some home magazines and home décor sites.  Walk through some chic furniture shops or model homes to get ideas of trendy new home design to incorporate into your room makeover. 

Add Improvements and décor 

Furnishings - If your old furnishings are completely past their useful life you may need to buy a replacement.  However, if you're on a tight budget we have some great tricks of the trade.  Common form furniture works well with slipcovers that can be ordered on-line.  They cost less than new furniture, look great and can be laundered.   

Second hand stores and consignment shops are super trendy right now.  They offer gently used furniture that can really update your room without a lot of investment.  If your furniture is a bit outdated but still useable, consider consigning your set or selling on Craigslist.com.   If your furniture is ok, but you want an updated look, then change your throw pillows and add a sofa blanket.

Windows - Use your Swiffer Duster to clean your blinds.  Take down your white or light colored* curtains and soak in Oxy Clean® before washing on gentle, fluff dry - no heat and rehang damp.  This will brighten up the room and cut down on the allergens in your home. *Dark curtains may lighten with Oxy Clean, check the care label first.

Wall Décor  - Use meaningful art and pictures that provide talking points and happy new memories.  Small rooms can benefit from large mirrors.  You can add some shelves for family pictures or collectibles.  Décor TIP: Stain some milk crates and affix to the wall with the open side faced out.  These make great useable space for electronics, under tv shelves and media cases.   Don't overdo it.  Less is more, but meaningful items make the room welcoming and warm.  Useable fixtures make it convenient and organized.

Electronics - Modernize your room by getting rid of the bulky television. Instead opt for a flat screen that can hang on the wall or television shelf.  They are very affordable now and free up a great deal of space.  

Lighting - Keep your lamps and update your shades.  If you still have low lighting try some track lights for the ceiling which for a modest investment can really update the room and focus attention on wall art or specific spaces.  Add new lamps in areas that the lamps will provide effective lighting and ease of use.

-OurDMK.com



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