Pruning and Organizing
While organizing your space may seem like a no-brainer, the decision on where to begin can feel overwhelming. Take a walk through your home and identify rooms that seem to gather the most clutter. If the room is full of clothes you no longer need or love, turn them into cash by taking them to your local consignment store such as Buffalo Exchange. For items like housewares, books and collectibles, consider holding a yard sale or selling them online to generate some extra revenue. Donating items to a thrift store will also garner you a receipt that you can use as a deduction on your taxes.
For the items with which you cannot bear to part, consider cheap ways to update your possessions instead of buying new ones. Could a slipcover brighten the old couch you've had since college? Would a coat of paint help you salvage the beat-up coffee table? Smaller items can be organized; free standing shelves are great for large or heavy items that you want to keep in one place for easy access, such as books, movies and small appliances. Wall shelves, either purchased or made yourself, are the more obvious choice for knickknacks, framed photos and things that you want to have on display. Organizational cubbies are great for keeping oddly-shaped or small items that you need but want tucked away.
Maximizing Natural Light
Want to know how the photos in magazines make a living room look so clean and cozy? One of the best tools in a photographer’s portfolio is the utilization of natural light. Using sunlight in your home can help to make it seem bright and open, and can even help you save a few bucks on utilities by reducing your dependence on electric lighting. Of course it is necessary to cover the windows to preserve privacy, but there's no need to run out and order custom blinds and drapes.
Look around your home to see if window dressings can be swapped to better fit another room. Thrift stores and craft store clearance bins are great resources for sheer fabrics that require only a simple hem to be transformed into beautiful window dressings. Decorative drape hardware is relatively inexpensive and generally requires only a standard household drill to install. Small lamps placed in darker areas are a great alternative to bright overhead lighting and provide a more focused light source to ease eye strain in workspaces.
Our yards, porches and patios are often subject to neglect during the winter. Pruning hedges and sweeping the stoop aren’t top on our agenda when the temperatures are low; these activities are pushed aside in favor of getting ice off the walk and making a hot cup of tea.
For those that live in one-family homes, the task of tidying up the front of your home may seem daunting, but a few quick fixes will have you improving the look of the yard without spending a dime. Trimming unruly hedges and trees unclutters your outdoor space and is quickly accomplished with the help of pruning shears or an electric hedge trimmer. For those that do not have a front yard, making the entrance to your home welcoming is simple: sweep away dust and leaves from the front porch and trash old items such as wreaths and plants that have passed their prime. Swap out your welcome mat or ornaments with a brighter, inexpensive ones.
While you’re pacing around your home, don’t forget to go around back to look at your patio or deck. Feel like you need new patio chairs? Before you rush out to replace them, wash them with soap and water to brighten them. Replace the patio chair cushions if they are overly worn or faded. To spruce up the area, adding a few outdoor plants are a great way to add ambiance without spending a ton of cash.
How are you fixing up your home for spring?