How to Organize and Beautify Your Entry Hall in 7 Days

How to Organize and Beautify Your Entry Hall in 7 Days

Take your entry from scuffed up to spiffed up, restoring total cleanliness and order in just a week.

Houzz Contributor, Laura Gaskill

A neat, chic entryway gives visitors a positive first impression and makes coming home a pleasure. But between the daily influx of mail and a household’s worth of coats, shoes and bags, this space is often one of the most challenging to keep clean and clutter free. Give your entryway a fresh start with this weeklong plan to clean and declutter from top to bottom — and learn to maintain a serene space long-term.

Day 1: Address the outside.

Cleaning tasks: The entrance to your home really begins outside your front door, so let’s start here. Sweep your porch or stoop, including the siding, and wash the exterior windows at the front of your home. Using a soft cloth, wipe down your mailbox, doorbell, porch lights and front door.

Decluttering tasks: Remove everything that doesn’t belong on the porch and find another home for it. Toss dead plants and store empty pots elsewhere.

Day 2: Clear the decks.

Decluttering tasks: Think of your entryway as a busy but temporary holding area — like a train station, not a permanent storage area. Scoop up all of the mail, shoes, coats, scarves, cell phone chargers, tote bags and so on, and move them away where you can deal with them more easily.

Find a permanent home for the items you remove from the entry — you should be able to do this for nearly everything, except perhaps your keys. Even if you think you can’t find another place to store that jacket or bag, challenge yourself to find a place … anywhere but the entry!

Cleaning tasks: Once all of the stuff has been removed, cleaning will be much easier. Vacuum and mop the floors, vacuum cobwebs from the corners, clean mirrors and wipe scuff marks off the walls.

Day 3: Bring back the essentials.

Decluttering tasks: Rather than keep all your shoes and coats by the door, try keeping only the one or two you use most often. Store the rest elsewhere.

The same goes for bags, sunglasses and other accessories — if you find this difficult, try taking a picture of your entryway looking fresh and clean with only the absolute minimum amount of stuff in it, and use it as a reminder of why it’s worth the effort.

If your entry has room, your essentials may include a rug, a boot tray or bin to corral shoes, a surface for mail and keys, hooks for coats and bags, a place to sit while putting on and taking off shoes, and adequate lighting.

Day 4: Tackle a problem zone.

Decluttering tasks: If you have a large household, consider adding extra closed storage — piles of coats out in the open look messy, even when the coats are neatly hung on hooks. If you have children, make sure the storage is easily accessible and clearly marked.

Cleaning tasks: The biggest cleaning challenge in the entry is dirt tracked in from outdoors. Rugs are your first line of defense against street dirt, so make sure yours are in good shape. If your area rugs are dirty, launder them; if they are getting worn out, consider buying new ones. Instead of choosing a typical doormat-size rug by default, consider if a larger rug or runner would better suit your space — a larger rug has more dirt-trapping power.

Day 5: Improve the flow.

Decluttering tasks: Step outside your home for a moment and come back in through the front door, taking the time to really notice how you naturally move into the space. Is your furniture arranged in a way that is convenient, or do you nearly bump into something on the way in?

Would it be easier to toss your keys on a floating shelf by the door instead of taking four steps to a bigger table down the hall? Today is the day to try something new.

Day 6: Beautify.

Cleaning tasks: Wipe down surfaces; polish wood furniture.

Decluttering tasks: Pay attention to what is kept out in the open in your entryway and what is behind closed doors. You can choose to keep your cutest rain boots and cheery umbrellas on display, and hide the less attractive gear. Add something fresh and pretty, like a bouquet of flowers, to bring your space to life.

If you don’t have a closet or cupboard for hiding utilitarian items, use baskets. But beware of going overboard and providing too much storage — it will only get filled up and then overfilled.

Sometimes a minimalist setup actually helps reduce clutter, because it forces you to put things away where they actually go instead of plunking them down in the entry. Strike a balance that feels right to you.

Day 7: Master a daily routine.

Cleaning tasks: A quick daily sweep will help keep dirt from accumulating in the entry. Storing a broom and dustpan or a small stick vacuum in the closet nearest the door will make things easier.

Decluttering tasks: Get in the habit of opening your mail as soon as you walk in the door, while standing over the recycling bin. At the end of each day, put away anything sitting around in the entry that doesn’t belong.

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What Buying a House Can Do for You:

What Buying a House Can Do for You: Investment Opportunity and Financial Security

Buying a home can be a great way to build wealth and protect your assets. Learn how home ownership can be a great investment decision for your financial security.

Some people may think of buying a home as a stressful experience that comes with an enormous commitment that can burden you for years. However, buying a home can be a great way to build wealth and protect your assets. Learn how homeownership can be a great investment decision that bolsters your financial security.

A Net Worth Boost

Research shows that on average, homeowners’ net worth is far higher than that of a renters’ net worth by up to 36%. And this wealth gap keeps widening every year. One explanation for this gap is the concept of forced savings. This is a situation where a person is essentially forced to save a certain amount of money every month for a significant expense, such as a house or a car.

Paying for a mortgage is a great example of forced savings. Paying for your mortgage month after month forces you to save a portion of your income to help pay off your property, which works towards increasing your home equity and net worth. Renters, on the other hand, increase the net worth of their landlords without building equity or assets.

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Tax Benefits of Homeownership

Buying a house shouldn’t be considered fully as an expense. Homeowners enjoy a variety of tax breaks that you might not know about. Here are some of the tax breaks homeowners may qualify for:

Mortgage Interest Deductions

The monthly mortgage you must pay when you buy a house is split into two parts: one portion goes towards the actual principal amount, and the other portion pays off your interest on the mortgage. In some cases, the mortgage interest on your main and second residence is tax deductible.

To claim the mortgage interest, you must itemize your deductions on a Form 1040 Schedule A, unless you just want to just claim the standard deductions. You should get a 1098 Form from your mortgage lender at the beginning of every year showing the total amount you paid as interest for the previous year that you can claim for tax returns.

Property Taxes

City or state real estate taxes that you pay on your house may be filed as a deductible while itemizing the deductions on a Form 1040 Schedule A.

Mortgage Points

There are two types of mortgage points, and each point represents 1% of your total mortgage. Origination points, which is a fee that you pay to the borrower to compensate for their work that goes into processing a loan, are non-deductible. Discount points, which allow you to get discounted interest rates on your mortgage, are tax deductible.

Some of the interest that you pay on home equity loans are also deductible, along with interest on home improvement loan, and qualified moving expenses.

Using the Power of Leverage for Investing

One advantage of buying property for the purpose of investing is that you can borrow funds to make the purchase, as opposed to other investment opportunities such as stocks and bonds. Another advantage is that when inflation hits and prices increase, sometimes your house value will increase as well. If you borrow with a fixed rate mortgage, you will still be paying the future monthly payments with a currency that’s depreciated in value. As years go by, the equity on your property will increase, and once the principal amount is all paid off, you will have a debt-free asset that will continue to appreciate, depending on market conditions.

Compared to stacking up cash savings in your bank account and watching it lose value to inflation, investing in a property can secure your money in the long-term and act as a hedge against dollar debasement. Whether for diversification of your investment portfolio, or to secure a property where you and your family can grow and build memories, buying a home can be a timeless investment vehicle.

Home Decor Style Tips for Seasonal Transition

Home Decor Style Tips for Seasonal Transition

Embrace fall as a welcome change agent in your home with tips from the seasoned pros at Ethan Allen

The calendar tells us it’s time to prepare for the cooler season inside and out. It’s also time to make some seasonal style changes, according to the design professionals at Ethan Allen.

And they should know; the company has been furnishing beautiful homes for more than 80 years. Ethan Allen designers love fall because it presents so many opportunities for warming things up! Their toolbox is overflowing (fine furniture for every room in the house, art for your walls; rugs for your floors; draperies for your windows; mattresses for sweet dreams; decorative pillows; gorgeous bedding, exquisite accents—the list goes on and on).

Because “cozy and comfortable” are at the top of everyone’s wish list at this time of year, we asked them to help us create a “blueprint” for a gracious, warm, and welcoming home.

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SAY HELLO IN STYLE
No matter your design style, you have only one chance to make a good first impression, so be sure your entryway rocks. It’s both a stage and a place of transition, providing an opportunity to set the bar high for the rest of your home. Choose from Ethan Allen’s diverse lineup—from timeless, traditional, and tony to fresh, fun, and modern—and discover a style that’s all your own. Select a dramatic focal point—like a console with a sweet silhouette—to draw the eye in. Add accents that complement the vignette for balance and a feel-good welcome!

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LIGHTEN THINGS UP
An abundance of pure light is one of the best-kept secrets of fine design. There’s a reason why Ethan Allen’s designers always try to place things “in the best possible light.” And because good interior lighting mimics sunlight, it puts guests at ease in subliminal ways, creating an ambience that feels warm and inviting. It enhances your furnishings, too. For fall—and throughout the year—we recommend lighting that is both quiet and flattering. Think of a room bathed in the glittering lamps of a show-stopping chandelier, or a sophisticated living space lit by versatile clear glass lamps. It’s illumination at its best.

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SIT AWHILE

Don’t you just love it when guests linger at the dinner table? Some say the trick is good wine, good conversation, and a delicious dessert. Ethan Allen’s designers suggest adding comfortable chairs to the mix! Because craftsmanship and quality are of paramount importance when selecting chairs that will get a lot of use, Ethan Allen is a great source. Did you know they still build many pieces by hand, in their own workshops in Vermont and North Carolina? Whatever your dining style, they make it easy to choose refined, well-designed dining chairs for a gracious touch and an eat-in experience that doesn’t get any better—or more beautiful.

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CREATE COMFORT
The look and feel of a guest room can make or break an overnight stay. Furnish yours around an elegant bed (a sheltering sleigh style is nice) to create an effortlessly romantic retreat. A tranquil palette (think mineral blue, white, and taupe) adds elegance. Don’t forget creature comforts: a relaxing chair, roomy chest, night table with good lighting, and sink-in-worthy bedcoverings (Ethan Allen offers all of the above). And remember: Luxury is on the house at Ethan Allen, where professional design services are always free of charge.

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INVITE CONVERSATION
Love the idea of a personal “chat room?” There are many ways to design a room around conversation, but furniture placement is always key. Give sofa and chairs equal time to encourage face-to-face-to-face interaction, but don’t crowd them—and don’t forget to elevate the space with a sophisticated palette. In a hurry to get the conversation started? Ethan Allen’s Custom Quick Ship styles are designed to have your guests kicking back in 30 days or less.*

  • *Delivery times may vary based on your location.

Choosing the Right Window Treatments for your Living Room

An Expert Guide to Choosing the Right Window Treatments for your Living Room

Here’s a bright idea! Find style, privacy & function with these 5 beautiful window treatments.

Guest post by Bali Blinds & Somfy Systems

Installing new window treatments is a quick home improvement project that immediately adds style and personality to bedrooms, living rooms, and beyond. Whether you’re excited about adding color, texture, and volume to a space, or simply rejuvenating a room by playing with the light, the 5 beautiful window treatments below provide plenty of inspiration.

Roman Shades

roman shades

Above: Flat Roman Shades with 6″ Valance and 1″ Teardrop Crystal Bead Trim in Light Gold 202 and Motorized Lift: Damask, Warm Amber 3264, Square Pillows: Dover, Rainy Afternoon 3721

Want to transform your space with the touch of a button? Pair the relaxed folds of a Roman shade with motorized lift. Motorization allows you to use a handheld remote control, wall switch or programmable timer to adjust out-of-the-way window coverings, lower an entire room full of shades to enjoy the last rays of the sunset, or dim the light (and reduce glare) to sharpen the picture of your favorite TV show.

Natural Shades

natural

Above: Standard Bali Roman Natural Shades with Cordless Lift: Highpoint, Brook 35113 with 2″ Edge Banding: Taupe 1007, Room Darkening Liner, and 6″ Standard Valance.

Natural shades bring a rustic look to your windows, playing off of this season’s popular rough hewn wood furniture and accents, as well as other natural fabrics. Taking elements of the landscape inside, natural shades are hand woven with bamboo, jute, grasses, and other sustainable materials, adding an earth-friendly vibe your space.

Solar and Roller Dual Shades

solar shades

Above: Dual Shades with Motorized Lift and Cassette Valance: Roller Shade (Back): Rowland, Slate 20004; Solar Shade (Front): Terrace, Sterling 40233.

Two great shades that go even better together: Sheer solar shades protect your furnishings and rugs from harmful UV rays, while softening natural light. Room darkening or blackout roller shades can block out the sun like you’re flipping a switch.
Put them together in a dual shade and you have ultimate flexibility: either shade can be lowered or raised to match your mood, your activities, or even the time of day.

Wood Blinds with Drapery

wood and drapery

Above: 2″ Wood Blinds with Cord Lift/Wand Tilt and 4-1/2″ Eloquence Valance: Fig 1851, Cloth Tape: Willow Dark Taupe G696 and Bali Custom Drapery: Dresden, Olde Town 3443

Wood blinds offer great light control—adjust the slats just so, to let in as much sunshine as you need. When lowered and tilted closed, these blinds also let you enjoy total privacy. Add drapery panels to accentuate (or create!) long lines, cool contrasts in texture, or to make wall colors pop. Full folds of fabric can both brighten and soften the space.

Sun Up/Sun Down Cellular Shades 

sun up

Above: Cordless Sun Up/Sun Down Cellular Shade in 3/8″ Single Cell Sheer Bliss, Butter Cream 0161 (top) and 3/8″ Double Cell Storm, Lemon Drop 3938 (bottom)

With the Sun Up/Sun Down cellular option, it’s a snap to pair fabrics of different styles, colors, and privacy levels to create the perfect combination shade. The split makes all the difference when you mix sheer and blackout fabrics to let in light through the day and have absolute privacy when you need it.

5 Fantastic Kitchen Staging Ideas for Fall

5 Fantastic Kitchen Staging Ideas for Fall

Wow fall homebuyers with these easy staging ideas from HomeAdvisor

Selling your home in the fall means adding small seasonal elements to make your home feel warm and welcoming. And, what better place to do that than in the kitchen? Here are some ideas to help you make your kitchen — and your home — appeal to fall homebuyers:

Fall counter decor

You should always keep the countertops nearly clear when potential homebuyers are walking through. In fact, you should keep it down to about two to three essentials if you’re living there from day to day. For the fall season, you can add small elements like placemats, fruit and leaf decor (window drapings, vase, etc.).

“Fall odors”

The smell of leaves, apple pie, pumpkin and cinnamon evoke the cozy feelings of fall. Candles are nice and actually baking something “fall-like” before a showing is a sure way to make potential buyers feel more at home during a showing.

Colors of fall

Depending on the current condition of your home, you might consider a fresh coat of paint. What color you decide to use may or may not be influenced by the season. While you should always lean towards neutral colors, you might consider accent walls or cabinets in browns or dark tones of red or green if you think they would work. The cost to paint an interior room is about $380, though prices will vary depending on the size of the room.

Bringing nature in

If there are windows in the kitchen, make sure to keep them clean. Depending on the weather outside during a showing, you might open them and let the fresh air in. It helps to create a flow between nature outside and the atmosphere you’re trying to create in the kitchen. If your budget allows, you might also accent the windows with fall-like window treatments to create an even easier flow. If you don’t have these treatments, a professional home stager can sometimes find them for a reasonable price.

Natural lighting elements

Lighting is an essential element of home staging, no matter the season. In fall, in particular, it’s all about enhancing the twilight or sunset and complementing of all the fall colors. For lighting in your kitchen, consider accent and track lighting. Or, you could install recessed lighting on a dimmer switch, which will allow you to control the brightness of the kitchen to complement the mood outside.

7 Heavenly Stairways

7 Heavenly Stairways

These architectural delights are so heavenly we wish they never ended.

The most beautiful homes find a way to turn functional architectural elements into showstopping design focal points. Case in point: these 7 stairways are so heavenly we wish they never ended.

While the idea of height in architecture stems back to Medieval Times when there was a need for towers to spot approaching enemies with enough time to close city or palace gates, today it is a way to add living space and make a separation between living quarters and sleeping quarters.

Starry Stairwell

1043 Craigland Court, Knoxville, TN listed by Barbara Apking with Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace, Realtors

This Charles Barber design is reminiscent of a 15th century Tuscan villa with interiors patterned after the Pallazo Davanzati in Florence, Italy. This painted ceiling, circular stair case, large windows and cascading fauna are swoon-worthy. This Knoxville, TN home was originally commissioned in 1926, by John F Craig to showcase the highest quality marbles quarried and imported by his firm, the Candoro Marble Co.

Airy Upstairs

823 Rhode Island Street, San Francisco, CA listed by Dona Crowder with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Accented by a spiral glass and wood stairway, this new modern minimalist home located on the north slope of Potrero Hill, offers views of downtown and the bay.  The floating steps, glass railings and spiral design make the separation between levels almost non-existent.

The Juliet Balcony

607 Upper Pinnacle, Stowe, VT listed by The Smith Macdonald Real Estate Group with Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate

A home with this level of elegance requires a grand entrance of Shakespearean proportions.  Ascend the grand master staircase and call out your goodnights from the magnificent Juliet balcony that runs the length of the foyer.  Reminiscent of a home in the French countryside, this gem is located more than 1,000 ft. above Stowe Village and from virtually all rooms enjoys exceptional panoramic views west to the Green Mountains. 

Opulent Ascent

450 Claremont Road, Bernardsville, NJ listed by Vincenza Montrone with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

This stairwell is reminiscent of a bygone era with the iron railings, pastel paneled walls and stained glass skylight.  Fitting for an iconic mansion that has been beautifully restored and renovated melding the original residence with today’s modern amenities.

Elaborate Escalier

298 Rugby Cove Road, Arnold, MD listed by Day Weitzman of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

The ornately carved railings make this majestic Maryland masterpiece a dreamy delight.  Who wouldn’t want to climb this staircase to plush bedrooms above? Situated on the sought after Severn River, this home was beautifully renovated and tastefully transformed into a warm, inviting home with many original details intact.

Treehouse Climb

14 N 2941 Co Rd, Kremmling, CO listed by Dennis Saffell with Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties

Ever dreamed of sleeping in a treehouse? Well, at this magnificent mountain estate, you can feel as though your swinging from the boughs of the tallest oaks, while snugly tucked into the finest quarters Colorado has to offer. The cut log steps, rustic wooden beams and stone walls make for a stunning stairwell unlike any we’ve ever seen.

Plantation Refinement

1-8563 KAUMUALII Highway, Kekaha, HI listed by Kelly Liberatore with Coldwell Banker Makai Properties

The beautiful craftsmanship of this Hawaiian plantation-style home is evident in the beautiful entryway and staircase.  And indeed, this alluring ocean view property is West Kauai’s best-kept secret: a beautiful plantation custom home and guest house, surrounded by lush tropical gardens, a heated swimming pool and thoughtfully placed garden fountains, complete this private sanctuary. The main home is an indulgence to the senses with its formal entry and wide plank Merbau hardwood floors. As if living in the Hawaiian tropics wasn’t enough, this home gives living in the lap of luxury new meaning

8 Flooring Alternatives that Will Make You Rethink Hardwood

8 Flooring Alternatives that Will Make You Rethink Hardwood

For homeowners looking to give their home a statement update, new flooring can be a great way to make a big impact and add value. Gone are the days where wood or carpet was your only option for this major upgrade, however.

For homeowners looking to give their home a statement update, new flooring can be a great way to make a big impact and add value. Gone are the days where wood or carpet was your only option for this major upgrade, however. It seems that every year, a plethora of new options appear on the market and turn the traditional choices into a much harder decision. From tile that looks like wood to carpet that looks like tile, we’ve rounded up some of the newest in flooring options for your home.

1. Bamboo

For an eco-friendly update, bamboo can be a great real-wood alternative to hardwood. Because bamboo grows quite quickly, it is a renewable resource which can add a more modern, streamlined look to your home. And without the hefty price tag that accompanies hardwood, your wallet will feel good as well.

Closeup of Bamboo floor

Image Source: Morguefile/jackiebabe

2. Cork

No longer relegated to the wine cellar, cork, another eco-friendly choice, makes a durable, quiet, and comfortable flooring option that comes in a variety of shades and colors. Easy to install, cork makes a great DIY project and can be found in rolls, planks, or tiles.

3. Porcelain

Before you think 80s eyesore, porcelain is making a real comeback with earthy designs and modern forms like tile planks that simulate wood. This makes porcelain a perfect choice for damp areas of the home, such as bathrooms or kitchens.

Beautiful bathroom with wood-look floor

Image Source: Morguefile/melgil123

4. Vinyl

While wall to wall vinyl is still an economical and practical use, vinyl tile can be a quick update that can even be placed over some current surfaces. Several brands of vinyl tile can even be grouted to add a sophisticated look for a fraction of the price.

5. Concrete

Polished and decorative concrete floors are quickly making their way out of the industrial and into the mainstream for flooring and even countertops. Decorative concrete can be polished to a high sheen which can mimic natural stone and provide a luxe addition to any space.

Closeup of polished concrete floor

Image Source: Flickr/Mr Thinktank

6. Laminate

A good standby, laminate has come a long way in recent years, allowing for easier installation and more durable surfaces. Able to replicate virtually any natural flooring surface, including hand-scraped wood and bamboo, laminate is a quick and easy replacement for areas where time and/or money are a concern.

7. Reclaimed Wood

Even modern homes are dipping into the past for their hardwood it seems, and reclaimed wood fits the need perfectly. Salvaged floors from older homes or barns are reused or recreated into earthy flooring that harkens back to a time of intense craftsmanship and happily shows its age with knots, scratches, and color variations.

8. Carpet Tile

The perfect choice for rooms that get a lot of use, such as rec rooms or play areas, carpet tiles allows you to create a look that is as individual as you, with possibilities that are virtually endless. Durable to the core, carpet tiles can easily be removed and replaced one at a time, so spills and damage are no longer a mammoth concern.

Children

Image Source: Flickr/atravellingmom

With all of the options today, every homeowner can create the space of their dreams, with a little bit of imagination. Adding value to a home is a critical component of upgrades, so ensure your new look will suit the rest of the home before you decide and have a great time choosing the next floor in your home!

20 Egg-cellent Egg Dying Ideas for Easter

20 Creative “Out of the Carton” Easter Egg Ideas

20 Egg-cellent Egg Dying Ideas for Easter

Easter is just a few days away which means it is almost time to dye eggs!

For those who celebrate, I am sure you can remember the good old days of buying thePaas egg kit that came with those little round tablets that you had to drop into vinegar. Somehow your hands always ended up getting stained an odd greenish brown color. I really wish I had known about this GENIUS idea. Today there are so many options! Eggs kits that have glitter, stickers, sparkles and pretty much anything you can think of.

For those who want to skip the kit and think “outside the carton” here are 20 unique ideas for making beautiful Easter eggs. Want to learn how to make these eggs? Simply click the link of the blog where there egg-cellent ideas came from for instructions. 

Monogram Eggs | Lil’ Luna

Monogram Easter Eggs

Natural Dye Colored Eggs | Big Sis Lil Sis

Rubber Band Rainbow Eggs | Inkspired Musings

Watercolor Eggs | Alisa Burke

Flower Pressed Egg | The Magic Onions

String Eggs | Craftberry Bush

Glitter Eggs | Sew and the City

Edible Eggs | Barefoot Witch in the Kitchen

Chalk Eggs | Shelterness

Rhinestone Eggs | Martha Stewart

Metallic Eggs | Think Crafts

Sequin Eggs | Craft Ideas

Sweet Note Eggs | Lil’ Luna

Black and White Easter Eggs | Obviously Sweet

Tissue Paper Eggs | Aunt Peaches 

Waxed Eggs | Magic Onions

Elegant Eggs | Country Living

Punched Eggs | Lolly Chops

10 Surprising Ways to Find More Space in Your Home

10 Surprising Ways to Find More Space in Your Home

An organized home is a happy home.

How are your 2016 resolutions going? It’s that time of year again when we break out the running shoes, eat healthier for a couple of weeks and pledge to get our lives more organized. However, how are we supposed to eat healthier if our pantries are over flowing or be inspired to hit the pavement every morning if we are looking at piles of clothes? To lead a more organized and inspired life the clutter around you must be cleared. It’s simple, if your home is organized your mindset will be too.

A clean and balanced home is actually a launching pad for all of your other resolutions. So if you are already starting to fail at your self-resolutions try this home resolution – find more space in your home by clearing out the clutter. Follow these ten tips and I promise you it will inspire you to complete your other resolutions and lead you to a more organized, happier year!

1The pantry. Create room by removing the large and awkward food packaging. Purchase clear, air-tight containers, take the box of your food item, and cut out the product name, nutritional facts and expiration date. Tape them to the inside of your clear container and then seal the food.

2. The pantry shelves. Arrange the food on your shelves to help keep your resolutions. Make “first choice” shelves for the food that you want to stay on that diet. Make shelves that are for the kids snacks or foods that you’re just not going to have on a regular basis anymore… You get the idea –some shelves are just for the once a week treat. Some are for every day.

3. The pantry. If you like to buy in bulk, put the bulk of your paper goods in another location, perhaps a closet or the garage, and place only what you need in your pantry— restock as needed.

4. The kitchen. When storing pots, pans and other durable items, stack them on their sides like files. This simple step not only creates more room, it also allows you to see exactly what you need. Caddies or sorters from a shelf or container store are great tools for vertical organizing

5. The dresser. Place clothing in drawers vertically (not the traditional horizontal piles) because it not only maximizes space, it allows you to find items more quickly. You can purchase wooden planks or plastic planks to use as dividers. This way you can see all of your clothes at once when you open the drawer.

6. The closet. If your shoes don’t have a place they end up in a pile taking up valuable space. Place shoes and accessories in clear plastic containers so you can see everything and tape their photo to the inside of their container with photo facing out. This little step gives you triple duty: more space, you can find it easily and better still you can put it away in the exact same spot for next time that hot date rolls around…

7. Use color to keep it straight. Organize your closet and drawers dark to light. It can be great way to find out that you really have way too many black blouses… and you can keep your resolution of being a kinder gentler you by donating the extras!

8. The kids’ rooms. Purchase bed raisers for under-the-bed storage. You can store everything from shoes, laundry basket, books and any bulky items that might otherwise clutter their room.

9. The baby’s closet. Is there room to add another bar? Take advantage of the fact that baby clothing is smaller and if you can, add an additional bar to hang the clothing to maximize space. You can purchase premade closet organizers that you can customize to make the most out of baby’s closet.

10. The best trick to more space in your home, less is more! So if you find you have extra things laying around, throw a reverse housewarming party! You will be starting a new party trend. Set aside your unwanted items and instead of having your friends bring a housewarming gift, they are to pick one of your items and take it home with them. This is a great way to reunite with friends, find your unwanted things a good home, and de-clutter all at the same time!

Now that the clutter around you is cleared your mind will be clearer to meet all those 2016 goals!

Add These 10 Home Updates to Your 2016 To Do List

Add These 10 Home Updates to Your 2016 To Do List

If you and your home are ready to be your best selves for the New Year, these easy DIY home updates are just what you need. Hometalk bloggers have easy and amazing home updates that can help you get your best home this year. Add a few quick improvement goals to your 2016 resolutions, and finally enjoy having the home you’ve always wanted.

Add an under sink organizer

Kitchen Sink Storage

Image:Thea/Time with Thea

Finally make some order in that wasted under sink space, with a quick trip to your local Dollar Store. Pick up a few plastic baskets and mini sets of drawers, to create this clean, organized, and super practical storage space that will save you the headache the next time you need your cleaning supplies. (Directions here)

Put up customized wall storage

DIY Shelf

Image:Kaysi/Keeping It Simple

Solve your chaotic bathroom countertops with a customizable DIY wall organizer. Whether the clutter is his or hers, you can create the perfect receptacle for anything that’s driving you crazy sitting on your countertop. This quick build will help you quell the clutter from now on. (This is how to do it)

Refresh your kitchen backsplash

DIY Marble Backsplash

Image:Heidi/Honeybear Lane

For a smaller, more budget-friendly way to make a huge impact in your kitchen, replace the backsplash with new tiles, real or fake. Retiling a backsplash is easier than you might think, and it will make your kitchen look and feel brand new without a big reno project. (Get the how-to here)

Give boring closet doors an easy update with paint

DIY Closet Doors

Image:Gemma/The Sweetest Digs

Add a quick flash of pizzazz to boring bedrooms or tired spaces, by making flat closet doors look elegant and expensive. Just use paint and painter’s tape to give your door fake trim and get a major update on the cheap. (Here’s how to do it)

Make your own elegant curtains for $5

Curtains

Image:Emily/The Wicker House

Upgrade your windows by adding ultra-elegant long curtains for just $5! The trick? These billowy beauties are actually bed sheets from Walmart, but they just look so good. Follow this tutorial to make all of your windows magazine-worthy. (Get directions here)

Add more storage to your tiny bathroom

Storage in Bathroom

Image: Kaysi/Keeping It Simple

If you have an unused alcove or even a free bathroom wall, you’ve got a chance to get more storage out of your space. Bathroom storage is truly a high commodity, so it’s a worthwhile improvement, and an easy one, too, if you put up DIY floating shelves or try this easy 2 hour build. (Tutorial here)

Create extra pantry space with a hidden cabinet

Can Storage in Kitchen

Image:Mallory & Savannah/Classy Clutter

This year, say goodbye to not having enough pantry space, because this will double your storage. Create a pull out hidden cabinet that has the perfect amount of space for all of your canned food and spices, and can slide cleanly into place beside your refrigerator. (Building directions here)

Upgrade your lighting on the cheap

Ceiling Fan Farmhouse

Image:Tammy/One More Time

Prettier lighting can change the look and feel of your space, and it’s so easy to do. Here you can get creative – you don’t have to buy something new if you can think outside the box. If you don’t want to replace your fixture altogether, this farmhouse style ceiling fan and light fixture upgrade can make a huge difference, too. (This is how)

Frame out your boring bathroom mirror

driftwood frame

Image:Susan/Living Rich on Less

Turn that unfinished slab of mirror in your bathroom into a high-end stunner, by covering the rough edges in an easy wooden frame. Once you have the pieces of your frame ready, you can stick them straight onto your mirror with outdoor mounting tape – no tools needed! (Here’s directions to do it)

Update your baseboards without major renovation

baseboard installation

Image:Karrah/Mrs. Do It Herself

Give your rooms a more stately appearance, by putting in new baseboards. The best part of this improvement? You can put in new baseboards without removing your old ones! This clever design lets you lay new baseboards right over whatever is there already, so that you can update your look without putting a large dent in your week or your wallet. (Get the how to here)