Organize Your Kitchen Into Work Stations

When you are selling your home keeping things organized for potential home buyers can be overwhelming. But even as you move in, keeping things organized will help you get things done. So follow these steps to organize your kitchen.

The first step to organizing your kitchen is to develop work stations. Having your kitchen organized in this way results in making your kitchen work for you, not against you. When you can take the fewest steps to get to what you need, all the cooking and cleaning becomes much easier… and even can be enjoyable! Let’s take a look at arranging your kitchen stations for the most convenient way to work.

Food Prep Station

Setting up your food prep station next to the sink is most convenient for clean up. In this area you will want to keep your knives, cutting boards, and colanders for rinsing. What else do you need at a food prep station? Paper towels are handy, as well as bowls to put the prepped food in as you go. You may want to put a ‘scrap bowl’ to hold the peelings, rinds, fruit pits in to take out to the compost bin or other wet garbage.

And, remember, you’ll need a good selection of cutting boards. Choose a variety that you can keep track of for use with poultry, meat, produce, and bread and nuts. You need at least four cutting boards to cover these different foods without cross-contamination.

Cooking Station

This is where you will want to keep your pots, pans, spatulas, big spoons, and hot-pads close for easy access while cooking. If your oven has a storage drawer underneath, use that along with the nearest cupboards. If your choices for storage are very limited, look into buying clever organizers specifically designed for cooking equipment. You’ll find storage that hangs or mounts to the wall or inside the cabinets or on the countertop. Also consider a small rolling cart to house your cooking equipment; one that can be rolled out of the way when you no longer need it.

And don’t forget your favorite seasonings and spices need to be handy while cooking. If you have room in a cupboard near the stove, install a ‘Lazy Susan’ organizer. You’ll find inexpensive plastic styles that fit most cabinets. A small rack can easily be installed on a wall near the stove. Also look at shelves that are meant to hold pictures. You can find narrow shelves, sometimes packaged in sets, that would be perfect to store a selection of seasonings. A neatly organized spice rack or cupboard can save you time and aggravation when cooking.

Baking Station

If you like to bake, a baking station is going to be your best friend. Keep your electric mixer, bowls, rolling pin, parchment paper, measuring cups, and spoons all together in a cupboard near your work station. You’ll want to have your mixing spoons, rubber spatulas, and other baking utensils in a canister on the countertop so you can grab them quick when you need to scrape down the mixing bowl.

Go ahead and move the baking powder, baking soda, flour, and sugar from the pantry to your baking station. If you bake a lot, that’s where you’re going to want them. Of course, you’ll want your pie pans, cake pans, cookie sheets, and cooling racks handy, too. Timers are another necessity when it comes to baking. Set up your baking station by filling it with all the things you keep reaching for when rolling out your homemade apple pie or buttermilk biscuits.

Leftover Station

You’ll need a place where you can wrap it all up. After a meal, you will want to grab storage containers to put away all the leftovers. Whether you use plastic containers, plastic bags, or just put the food on plates and cover with plastic wrap or foil, you will want all those items conveniently located somewhere between the dinner table and the sink.

There are many storage bins you can install inside a cupboard or pantry door to stock boxes of storage bags, plastic wrap, and tin foil so it’s easy to access. If you use plastic containers, you’ll want a shelf or bin nearby. You want to grab a container and spoon in the leftovers right from the table before you set the casserole in the sink to soak. Remember, if you can easily move your leftovers from the table to the refrigerator or freezer, the chances of getting the chore done quickly increases.

Wash Up Station

Use the cabinet above your dishwasher to store items such as dishes and glasses, and use the nearest drawer for silverware. If you find you have extra head-space in your cabinets, use kitchen organizer shelves to utilize this extra space for small juice glasses, coffee mugs, or even tiny dessert bowls and such. By keeping the items you use most often close to the sink or dishwasher, you’ll be more likely to get the dishes washed and put away simply because it’s easier. If you have to cross the kitchen with piles of dishes and glasses to put away, chances are you’ll put that chore off until later.

Of course, you’ll need a variety of cleaners, soaps, scrubs, and sponges and dishcloths. If you store those under the sink, you will need to install locks on the doors. Otherwise, put those cleaning items in a bin and put it up above the sink in a cupboard or in a utility closet nearby. To keep cleanup convenient, put all the items in one plastic bin with a handle, or a bucket, so you can grab it when you’re ready to do cleanup.

Less Used Items Station

There are items that you may not use every day. Those are the things that you can store in a buffet, china cabinet, or other out of the way place. You may have a collection of nice tablecloths, napkins, and other tableware. You may have some dishes that don’t come out often. Perhaps you have appliances and utensils that are used only a few times a year. Keep those stored somewhere other than the kitchen. If you aren’t cooking and serving with it often, move it.

The Odds and Ends Station

Some stations aren’t part of the cooking, exactly, but many families find their life centers around the kitchen in other ways, and a station needs to be set up. You may want a coffee or tea station if that is your ritual in the morning. Many people also use their kitchen to sort mail and keep the family calendar, or a grocery list, or a to do list, or just to keep messages so they know where everyone is going.

Besides the kitchen sink and dish cleaning area, many kitchens house the other cleaning supplies, such as the mop, broom, buckets, scrub brushes, dusting rags, and all the polishes and other sprays we use. Designate one place to hold everything so you’re not running from room to room just to polish a few mirrors or wipe up a floor. Get a few buckets or carry-all type containers to keep items for specific tasks all together and you’ll be able to grab and go clean without going back and forth.

Depending on the size of your kitchen, you may or may not be able to implement all of these ideas. But, take a look at the basic thoughts. By organizing your kitchen into stations, even if they are small stations, you can make your kitchen work for you. And then if you are selling your home, keeping it neat becomes SOP (standard operating procedure)!

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Owning The Home That Just Won’t Sell

We first need to get some common anxiety issues out of the way. There is no curse on your house. Real estate agents and home buyers are not conspiring against you. If you feel like you are stuck owning the house that won’t sell, there has to be an identifiable reason and you should be able to find out what it is. This is particularly true in the current real estate market.

The single biggest and easiest issue to address is the price of the home. Simply put, are you being reasonable when it comes to price? What are the comparable home sale prices in your area and how does your price compare to the sold houses that most resemble the condition of yours? If you are asking for more than similar houses, finding a buyer is going to be difficult. Remember, the issue is the appraised value, not what you subjectively think your home is worth.

One area where people get into trouble is improving beyond their neighborhoods. This occurs when you pursue home improvements that add substantial value to your home, but can’t be supported by the surrounding houses. For example, assume your home and those around it all appraise in the $250,000 to $285,000 range. If you redo kitchens, bathrooms and add a full second story to the tune of $150,00, your probably think your home should be worth roughly $400,000. This is incorrect. Nobody is going to buy a $400,000 home in a $250,000 neighborhood. In such a situation, your best bet is to hold on to the house and pray the neighborhood appreciates over time.

If price isn’t the issue, you need to objectively evaluate how your house is different from those in the neighborhood. Your realtor should be able to offer suggestions. If all else fails, hire an appraiser to come appraise the house and pay very close attention to the report.

Finally, one of the biggest problems I see with houses on the market is a lack of charm. It may sound superficial, but you want a potential buyer to be able to see themselves in the home, consider consulting with a home stager. But keep in mind that buyers are looking for a nice home, not a sterile environment, they want to envision themselves living there. Sometimes rooms look smaller when they are empty. If your home is vacant, a home stager can help you with furnishing some key rooms to enhance your home and make it more welcoming.

You should also work with your real estate agent to determine who your potential buyers are. This will help in marketing your home. Most of all, be realistic in your expectations.

What Should I Look For When Buying A New Home?

Good question! It’s a good idea to think about what you should look for when you purchase a new home before you actually sign on the dotted line and pay. Buying a new home can be a rewarding experience if you do it right. Just make sure you protect yourself from any surprises down the line. You want to know some of the ways you can? Well, you may want to consider these tips before purchasing your new home:

  • Make sure you select a reputable builder when you purchase your new home! Do your research on the builder to find out about their past work. You can find out the type of work a builder has previously done by getting the names of the home communities established by the builder. Go to those particular communities and ask some of the homeowners if they have had any problems with that particular builder. You can also ask the homeowners what they like about their home builder.
  • Consider getting a home inspection done on your new home by hiring your own independent home inspector. You can find a certified home inspector via the American Society of Home Inspectors(ASHI) If the builder of the new home you’re considering to purchase won’t allow an inspection, then you may want to consider moving on to another home builder that will allow you to do this.
  • Investigate and research any easements that may be on the property you’re considering to purchase. This will save you headaches later on! Make sure the easements don’t affect your enjoyment of your property in the future.
  • Consider having a real estate attorney look over the real estate documents for your new home purchase. Especially your closing purchase documents before you sign them at closing.
  • Purchase title insurance! This will protect you when you purchase your home. Title insurance will provide you with protection if someone challenges you about being the property owner of your new home.
  • You may want to consider not purchasing your first new home in a new community that has been developed. Why should you do this you say? Well, for one thing, it’s a test run and all of the kinks may not be worked out yet. You may get stuck with a lemon! It might be better for you to wait until the builder has developed more communities in order for you to consider making a new home purchase.
  • Find out how long it will take you to travel from your home to work. Can you deal with your commute? If so, that’s great! If not, this may end your quest with that particular builder to purchase a new home with them.

Well, get the idea why it’s so important to think about certain things before you consider a new home purchase? Good, then start looking for your new home now with these tips and information to assist you when you’re in the process of considering making your new home purchase.

5 Useful Tips in Buying a House

Buying a house is a very serious matter that comes in to people’s lives. It is very risky to invest your money in buying just any house you find. You must have some guidelines that can help you decide which house is the best for you. Here are some:

1. Determine your rights

When you are ready to buy your own house, be sure you understand your rights as a homebuyer. Knowing the process of buying a house prevents you from getting scammed. You can personally do your home work or seek the assistance of a real estate agent or a broker. Make sure that the agent you hire is licensed and has a wide knowledge regarding the area.

2. Make sure you can afford it

Your budget is really a big deal in buying your own house. Start with a prequalification letter from your lender to ensure you are realistic in your home search. What you want is different from what you need, so be practical. You don’t really need a big house if you’re just one person that travels everyday, right? Make sure that you make the best for your money. Seek help or ask for suggestions especially from those who have knowledge in real estate prices. If you can’t stay for at least a year, buying a house may not be right for you.

3. Make sure it fits your lifestyle

Make your house a home. Be sure it really fits your way of life and you are comfortable with it. A good example of this is if you’re working in an office, a good place to find is near or in the vicinity of your office. If you love nature, a good place to find is outside the city with clean air, near parks, has a mountain view or near at the beach. Your personality really matters in finding a good house. Make sure to look at its suburbs first and try to gather some information about the area and its surroundings.

4. Consider your future plan

Does the house suit your lifestyle? Do you want a master on the main? You can assume the number of rooms or the home space you need. School districts might be important to you, or future homebuyers, so that might be a consideration for resale. Is the neighborhood in a growing community? While you may be looking for a “forever” home, you still might want to know about the area.

5. Be organized

It is very important to make your document files organized and safe. Because it will prove that you own the house. It will help you a lot especially when it comes in paying your house payments (taxes and amortization).

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7 Steps to a Feng Shui Bedroom

When it comes to Feng Shui in the bedroom, you should arrange the space to support your best rest and connection with your partner and with yourself. The ambience of the bedroom should be inviting, exciting and calming all tied into one. Whether you’re going to be in the room for an afternoon nap, a good night’s sleep or for a round of mad passionate lovemaking, you should get the feeling that the room is pleasurable and fun to be in.

Here are seven simple tips to create a Feng Shui bedroom:

  1. Fresh air. If you can’t have your windows open all the time (or live in an area where if they were open you would be inhaling pollutants), invest in an air purifier. Fresh air is important in good Feng Shui energy.
    Note: You should not use any type of plant or flower in your bedroom especially if it’s a small room. If you do choose to use them, make sure they are as far away from your bed as possible.
  2. No electronics or exercise equipment. At some point in time (maybe even right this very minute) you’ve probably had a TV, computer or some piece of exercise equipment in your bedroom. Meaning you know how distracting it is and easy to get lured into checking email one more time or watching the latest episode of Desperate Housewives. The logic behind not having a computer in the bedroom is because it’s often associated with work and your bed is associated with rest. Work and rest are opposite of each other so when it comes to Feng Shui, the energy of these two is incompatible. Having these distractions in your room is the quickest way to destroy Feng Shui energy. So get rid of them…now!
  3. Lighting. Your mood in the bedroom can be affected (either negatively or positively) by the lighting. The best option is candles but make sure you use ones that are toxin free.
  4. The position of your bed. Make sure that you can get in and out of your bed from both sides. Place a nightstand on either side of the bed. And make sure it is not in direct line of the doorway.
  5. Mirrors. If you are going to have mirrors in your bedroom make sure they aren’t near the bed where you can see your face and upper body in the reflection.
  6. Clutter. Just as having a TV, computer or exercise equipment in your bedroom is a distraction, but so is clutter. Keep things neat, picked up and put away. It’s important to clear out anything under your bed, behind a door, etc because these areas get stale and can harbor negative energy.
  7. At night, keep all bedroom doors closed. Make sure that every night you close any doors in your bedroom. That means closet doors, a bathroom door and the bedroom door.

What one person has in mind for their perfect Feng Shui bedroom doesn’t mean another person is going to envision the same thing. However, every Feng Shui bedroom will have one thing in common and that’s the inviting, exciting and calming atmosphere it should give off.

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Nest Thermostat – There’s An App For That

Fall weather can be fickle. It’s cold one day, and not just warm – but hot the next. And it can make maintaining your home a challenge. But there’s an app for that! Nest Thermostat can control your thermostat, smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm from your smartphone.

What is it?

Nest is a wi-fi, self-learning, programmable thermostats that “learns” your schedule to automatically adjust the temperature in your home, even from your smartphone.

How do is it work?

How much will I save?

Click here to visit the Nest Thermostat calculator that will offer an estimate range of how much you can save in one year by using Nest.

Where can I buy it?

You can purchase a Nest Thermostat on their website, Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes and several other locations.

Nest Thermostat App

Apple Store Download Button  Android app

Protective Covenants – Buying A Home

In addition to zoning, some properties have covenants recorded at the courthouse that “run with the land.” These “protective covenants” can put a serious pinch in your plans for a piece of property.

Protective Covenants

A protective covenant remains in effect as the property is sold from owner to owner. The covenants are designed to maintain a certain aspect of the area in question. The covenants may require a particular architectural style or use for the land to mention only a few areas of restriction. As a homebuyer, understanding what these protective covenants can impact your decision. Sometimes these protective covenants are included in HOA documents, possibly as a Declaration of Protective Covenants.

Land in a scenic area may have a protective covenant that prevents certain types of development for the land or properties on it. Importantly, these restrictions may not show up in the zoning laws, so make sure you research the issues before buying. Let’s consider an example of a great buy gone wrong because of a protective covenant.

Investors should be aware that a protective covenant may restrict the number of parcels into which the property can be subdivided. Thus, you could find yourself in a situation in which you buy a one hundred acre parcel with an eye toward subdividing it. Upon researching the issues, you discover the zoning laws allow the parcel to be cut into quarter acre lots. Visions of profit swirl before your eyes. Your development dreams, however, could turn to nightmares if there is a protective covenant.

Assume you go ahead and purchase the parcel. While showing it to a friend, a neighbor from down the road walks up and introduces himself. You excitedly explain your plans for subdividing only to be shocked when he tells you there is a protective covenant that prevents the creation of any lots under ten acres. What if the covenant restricts ANY subdividing of the parcels? That great deal you got on the parcel may not look so hot when the protective covenant is factored in.

So, how should you deal with protective covenants? First, you should ask the seller whether any exists for the property. Second, make sure you buy title insurance as the title company will certainly look for any protective covenants before issuing a policy. Forewarned is forearmed.
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