Easy Organizing Tips for your home #6

I’ve written several blogs about easy organizing and I hope that my good ideas aren’t falling on deaf ears! Below is an excerpt from an Australian blogger named Marissa Roberts, and she  says a lot of what I’ve told you. Sometimes it’s more memorable if it comes from an exotic source, and Australia is rather exotic, so here goes:

“I’m going to show you the little trick I use to declutter my house simply & effectively.

It has nothing to do with how much time you have or the amount of ‘stuff’ in your home.

It’s all about the emotion behind the activity.

Something I hear over and over from clients is that decluttering is too hard because it takes a long time – but most often, the truth is it takes a long time because it’s hard to decide what you should keep and what you should throw out or give away (don’t worry – I’ll show you how to do this with little stress and heartache).

If you want your home to run smoothly, it needs to be clear and well organised.

You’ll be amazed at what decluttering your house can do for you:

1) Physically: You’ll have space to put things away quickly and easily, making cleaning much easier as well

2) Emotionally: You’ll LOVE living in a house with more room, more space – you’ll truly feel a weight off your shoulders and your home will become your haven.”

In Marissa’s blog, she links emotions to the act of decluttering and the result of decluttering. One of her tips is a technique I’ve used for years, but no one’s heard of me! I collect stuff from, say, the clothes closet, and put it in a bag with a sticker on it, saying the date I bagged the clothes. I keep it in our garage or basement storage or the guest room closet. A few months later, if I haven’t gone looking for any of those clothes, they are HISTORY! If I haven’t wanted to wear something during the appropriate season, i.e. a summer dress during the summer months, then I either don’t like it that much or I’ve gained or lost weight or I have something else I prefer. That bag can be opened quickly to double-check the contents, and then it’s donated to charity.

This works beautifully with books, clothes, shoes, bric-a-brac, and general household items. There is ALWAYS a good charity that can use your donations. Personally, I go back and forth between Cerebral Palsy and my church’s ‘Nearly New Sale’, spring or fall. And if it’s wintery stuff or anything Christmassy, I donate it to my church to sell at the Christmas Bazaar.

This is a common-sense way to clear your home, whether it’s just for daily living that you’d like more space, or because you’re planning to move. For more practical organizing tips, please contact:



Staging your home while you’re living in it – it can be done!


At Elegant Strategies, our specialty is staging occupied homes. I pride myself on my ability to use or ‘redeploy’ as much of the client’s furniture and accessories as possible. This keeps rental costs to a minimum. Rental fees are the charges that really add up. If a client’s furniture and accessories are in good condition, I’ll find a way to use them. “Making the most of your home” is my motto.

First steps: [Read more…]

How to sell a home you’ve lived in for decades, Part 2

I’ve been writing about the strengths and weaknesses you might be faced with when trying to sell an older home. The good: mature neighbourhood, mature trees, proximity to amenities, more space than modern builds. The not-so-good: maintenance and reno issues, tired-looking cabinets, worn-out finishes (flooring, countertops, tile, backsplash)  in areas such as kitchen, baths and powder rooms, a dated feel to key rooms.

Before you panic, let’s consider other aspects of your property, and practical solutions.

Chances are you need a fresh paint job throughout – the good news is that a paint job is the easiest, least expensive home staging task you can undertake. You can do the work [Read more…]

How to sell a home you’ve lived in for decades – Part 1

Most buyers want a move-in ready home. Gleaming hardwood floors, lots of storage space,  and fresh, neutral paint jobs, combined with curb appeal, make a hot commodity. Add skilled home staging, and a knowledgeable listing agent, and these elements will help you sell your home faster and for more money. You already have some great assets in your favour: a well-established neighborhood and mature trees.

IMG_0192People who have owned a home for decades can’t quite believe the value of  property these days. Despite a slight downturn in home market values last year, prices are moving back up, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. Homes in Ottawa that went for $10,000 in the late 1950’s can easily be priced in the $350,000+ range. If you maintained your home carefully over the years, and depending on the size and location of your home, you could be looking in the $400,000+ range. If you’ve upgraded your kitchen and bathrooms in the last 5 years, even likelier.

[Read more…]

Easy Organizing Tips – #5

Happy New Year! We have another fresh start! So let’s start it as well organized and clutter-free as possible…

Whether you’re selling your home or continuing to dwell there, a tidy place helps enormously. I love to be able to find something the moment I need it. I don’t like to spend tons of time dusting. I like my “stuff” to be in good condition and usable when needed. Maybe I’m just impatient, but this is what works for me, and it’s what will work for you when you’re putting your home on the market.

I read a great article the other day in the community newspaper, Vistas, about recycling.  [Read more…]

What Buyers Want in New Homes

From the Canadian Home-buyer Preference Study (Spring 2015), the top 10 home features and design preferences of home buyers across Canada:

  1.  Walk-in closets: 92.5%
  2. Energy-efficient appliances: 89.9%
  3. Open-concept kitchen: 89.3%
  4. Overall energy-efficient home: 89.2%
  5. Kitchen island: 89.2%
  6. Linen closets: 89.2%
  7. High-efficiency windows: 88.6%
  8. Large windows: 87.4%
  9. Two-car garage: 84.7%
  10. Air-exchange system: 84.7%

According to the study, carried out during 2014 and early 2015 by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association and Avid Ratings Canada Ltd., the survey was sent to over 12,000 homeowners and had a high response rate. Its findings are considered accurate plus or minus 3.1%.

Preferences were ranked as “must have”, “really want”, “might be nice” and “not important”.

In Ottawa, 40% of respondents indicated they’d sacrifice size for a lower house price. Large windows are very desirable; more natural light makes a house look better. Soaker tubs in the master en suite were less sought after in Ottawa and Toronto, perhaps due to a busy lifestyle. Double sinks in the en suite were highly desirable. And, not surprisingly, storage space was the single most wanted feature in the interior space of a property.

So, if you have a home that is not a new property, take these findings into consideration before you put your place on the market. Dealing with a reputable real estate agent and an experienced home stager will help you compete from a stronger position with new builds.

Easy Organizing Tips – #4 – Marie Kondo’s ‘life-changing magic’ – Easy Organizing

Have you read Marie Kondo’s book yet? It’s called “the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing”. It’s taken over the non-fiction best seller lists. It’s a little book, only 206 pages long, but full of interesting ideas; in fact, it’s her whole philosophy for organizing, de-cluttering, and beautifying not just your home, but your state of mind!  Videos about her book are all over YouTube.

She has some great ideas and, of course, I like the ones that back up what I’ve been saying for some time.For instance, in my blog dated 11 Jan/15, I said to take everything out and put back the things you love and the things you use. Marie counsels we take everything and put it on the floor, and put back only the things that give you joy. Pretty close to my approach! [Read more…]

How to sell your home – Part 8 – Clean, clean and clean!

We’re full-tilt into the season for selling homes now, and sale signs are posted down every street, it seems. One thing that can’t be stressed enough is the importance of cleaning your home, and I mean REALLY cleaning it. This means that your normal dust-vacuum-swiffer routine is not enough. It’s a start, but just a start. If you have a regular cleaner, you need to request a deep clean; this should include baseboards, window blinds, windows inside and outside, closet floors, cupboard shelves, inside appliances, inside bathroom vanities – basically, everything. If your regular cleaner declines to take on these extra jobs (for which you should definitely pay extra), then get in an additional cleaner for the specialized tasks. I cannot stress this enough.

I know of a nice townhouse on the market and, due to its’ owners’ inability to grasp the importance of thoroughly cleaning the place, the asking price has been dropped, it’s been on the market months longer than it should have been, and the feedback from every showing is negative because the place is so dirty. I know it’s difficult to keep a place looking brand-new 24/7, but it’s critical to your success in selling your property quickly and for a good price. And if you sell your house faster, you can go back to your more “relaxed” ways that much sooner. (Also, no reputable home stager will come stage your home if it’s dirty.) [Read more…]

Spring home staging sells condo in record time!

Check out the ‘Before’ and ‘After’ videos! Elegant Strategies staged an unoccupied condo in Nepean last week, a one bedroom with a solarium. Generous room sizes and a very well-maintained building in a desirable location were excellent raw material, but the condo was still tired-looking and needed home staging finesse to bring it up to speed. [Read more…]