A great reason to declutter and organize your home is the possibility of leveraging it to rent or share or swap. Seeing your home through the eyes of guests can motivate you to pare down essential areas, streamline your own living style and in the process and create a more attractive place to live!
House swapping (HomeExchange) is a great way to eliminate lodging cost from a vacation. Short term rentals (AirBnB, VRBO) are a great way for empty nesters to earn some extra income. It can take a lot to get your space prepared to share – even partially – but comes with the added bonus of giving your home a refreshing makeover to make it more livable for you…and your family and friends.
Imagine someone walking into your home and saying, “What a nice place to stay!” You can achieve this effect without turning your house into a hotel. A few improvements can make a huge difference…and inspire you to do more. Here are 3 strategies to make this happen:
1 – Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
On visible surfaces — in the kitchen, the bathroom and the bedroom — clear out everything but the basics
- Excess products put away or discarded
- Clear the nightstand of dusty books and paraphernalia
- Simplify the décor
- Develop systems for managing laundry
- Take care of any outstanding repairs that create safety issues
There’s quite a range from being very clean, neat, usable, but looking very lived in to making it look more like a hotel…very sparse. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but usable. If you are renting you can charge more for a more hotel-like environment.
2 – Create Space for Overflow and Personal Items
- Make the house easily transformable to reduce the hassle of preparing to share. When you want to make it “guest ready” for yourself, for a relative coming to stay, for a party, or for a short term rental or house swap.
- Make space in a closet or part of a room where you can secure your personal or valuable items for things you would put away when someone is using your space. You can even dedicate an extra room for this purpose and have a locking door.
- Make space in cabinets or closets to store overflow items neatly but out of the way.
3 – Making Key Supplies and Info Accessible
- Prepare an “Welcome to Our Home” cheat sheet with key emergency contacts, and basic instructions for things like TV use, internet access, and trash/recycling.
- Make sure you have clean towels and sheets available and visible
- Consider stocking the kitchen with a few basics such as coffee/tea to make guests comfortable
If you’re considering doing short term rentals, there are other considerations re supplies that renters might expect. Places like AirBNB provide convenient list of things you should have stocked in your home
Not sure where to start? An organizing assessment with a Professional Organizer can provide you a punch list of things you could do, give you advice on the viability of sharing and also give you tips on what to tackle first.
Filed under Decluttering, downsizing, Empty Nest, General Organizing, home organizing, Kitchen, Living Room, Memorabilia, middle-age, organizing, Perspective, Strategies
Did you know organizers don’t just organize? Professional organizing comes in all sorts of flavors. Some organizers are more generalists and cover lots of areas; others pick one specialty and stick to that. Have a look at the variety of challenges where professional organizers can help:
- Business development
- Children and teen organizing
- Chronic disorganization
- Closet design and organizing
- Corporate operations
- Digital organizing
- Estate management
- Estate sales
- Event planning
- Feng Shui
- Financial management/Bookkeeping/Bill-paying
- Garage sales
- Hands-on organizing
- Hoarding behavior
- Home inventories
- Home offices
- Home staging
- Household management
- KonMari organizing
- Notary Public
- Online sales
- Paper management
- Personal assistance
- People with disabilities
- Project management
- Psychology involved in organizing/productivity
- Records management
- Relocation and move management
- Social media
- Space planning and design
- Speaking and training
- Storage units
- Task and time management
- Team productivity
- Travel prep
- Virtual organizing
No matter the size or scope of your project, we can help you find an organizer with the specialty you need! Ask us for recommendations or go directly to the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals — NAPO.net.
Filed under ADD/ADHD, artwork, Bathroom, Bay Area Services, Bedroom, Business Organizing, children, Closets, clothing, couples, Decluttering, disorganization, downsizing, Empty Nest, Garage, General Organizing, Holidays, home organizing, Kids, Kitchen, Laundry, Living Room, Memorabilia, Moving, Office, Paper, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, School, Seniors, Storage, Technology, Time Management, Travel, Wedding
Do you find your household paperwork doesn’t have a home? Is your bedroom getting used for stashing unmanaged mail? Do you have papers and mail all over the house? Are you frustrated that your home never looks tidy? Many people use a large portion of their kitchen counter to manage notes and mail…and it spills over from there. But the kitchen counter space often doesn’t provide enough room for a tidy work space.
All these scenarios point to the importance of dedicating a space for a household management center.
The ideal location for a household management center is close to where this work usually gets done. Kitchen, dining room, living room are very common areas. Look where your paper is accumulating and see if you can dedicate a bit of space to make it an “official” work area. Active projects need to be out and accessible where you will really work on them. Where does the work actually get done?
If you have a more remote home office but don’t find yourself staging the mail and active projects there, you might find paper clutter creeping into the living space. It would be appropriate to create an active work station more centrally and store overflow and permanent files in the office. For example, if you find yourself most often sitting on your couch paying bills online, can you create a space there to catch incoming bills?
The Critical Bits:
- Active projects: to-do’s and bills to pay
- Active reference: family schedules and phone lists
- Basic office supplies (stamps, envelopes, paperclips, post its)
- Dedicated containers to get the recycling and shredding out of the way and off the countertop
Nice to Have Nearby:
- Printer – can be hidden or made wireless so it can be stored in a back room or closet
- Main household filing system – including past years taxes and permanent records
- Overstock office supplies
- Kids’ art portfolios
Instead of berating yourself for being messy, embrace the idea that household management needs dedicated space. And give yourself the gift of organization.
Filed under Decluttering, home organizing, homework, Kitchen, Living Room, Office, organizing, Paper, paper organizing, Perspective, Storage, Work
Parting is such sweet sorrow!
We love learning from our clients! On a recent appointment with a client, Dana noticed a mid-sized bag on the floor of the kitchen pantry. She asked what it contained and the client said “Oh, that’s the Bye-Bye Bag!”
This is a great technique for holding her kids accountable for cleaning up their play space. Here how the “Bye-Bye Bag” technique works:
- When it’s time to pickup the playroom give the kids a set time to get the job done.
- If they refuse or the time is coming to a close, remind the kids that any toys they choose not to put away will go into the “Bye-Bye Bag.”
- The Bye-Bye Bag holds toys for 1 week. At any point during the week they can go into it and choose to put a toy away but at the end of the week anything left in the bag gets donated.
Here are 5 keys to making it actually work:
Make cleanup easy (and possible!). Have accessible, simple homes for toys to be put away. It’s hard for kids to cleanup if shelves and bins are stuffed and jumbled.
Make A Routine. Setting a regular time in the day linked to an event that always happens (teeth brushing?) helps create an expectation for children. For example, have toy pickup always be 15 minutes before teeth brushing time.
Be Consistent! You don’t have to break out the bag 100% of the time for cleanups but address the reluctant behavior consistently so kids understand that it’s part of the routine.
Be Firm but Kind. The point of the exercise is to teach responsibility and accountability. Putting away toys is their choice, but there are consequences to the choices they make. This is a very important life lesson! Using the Bye-Bye bag doesn’t have to be threatening or mean, just a simple consequence for their choice.
Follow Through. The power of this technique only stays effective if toys actually do go “bye-bye.” If they aren’t retrieved from the bag in a week’s time, out they go! To ensure prompt follow-through keep the bag somewhere you’ll remember.
Have a question about how to apply this in your home? Or do you have a variation that has worked well for you? Share it here!
Here’s one kind of “closet” that can be made using the PAX system from IKEA. The final product had sliding glass doors. In 2016, this unit cost about $1,700
An armoire is a free-standing closet. If you have minimal closet space or just need more closed storage, an armoire can be a lifesaver. IKEA’s PAX product line is one of the most customizable; it allows you to design the exact kind of storage that you need. Here are 5 useful tips for designing an IKEA PAX armoire:
TIP: Before starting to plan, take an accurate inventory of your clothes. How much hanging space do you need? Are most of your clothes short-hanging (less than 40”) or do you have long robes, gowns or slacks hanging with clips? What kind of folded clothes do you have? Socks, underwear, jammies? Are you going to store shoes in the system or not? At this point you don’t need to know HOW you’re storing everything but you need to know exactly WHAT you’re trying to store.
TIP: Be mindful of prime real estate. When designing your system, know that the prime area of storage is the zone from forehead to hip height. Plan to stow most-used items in this zone.
TIP: You can design the closet yourself using the online planning tool. This tool enables you to drag and drop all the components and features. Is it user friendly? Hmm…you have to be fairly computer-savvy to use it. You can also get help from an IKEA staff person in the store. Some of the staff actually have knowledge of how to build your system.
TIP: These are modular units, but the very first decision you make is what kind of doors you want to use; sliding doors or doors that open out. This is because the basic frame is different for these different door styles. Also, you need to choose the best height for your PAX system. It comes in 2 different heights. Generally, you want to maximize your vertical storage (the taller option) if your room can accommodate it.
TIP: You can save money by going full DIY including pulling all the pieces from the warehouse and assembling yourself (2 people required) or you can get IKEA to help as much as you want. With your design, the IKEA staff can gather the components, deliver it to your house and install it.
* Note: If you are going to purchase their installation, it is important to know that you are responsible for removing the baseboards in the area you want the armoire installed so the IKEA installers can attach it to the wall.