Moving Day: Five Simple Ways to Reduce Waste & Save Green

Tips and tricks to help you stay eco-conscious on moving day

Guest post by Laura McHolm

The start of a new year brings the same old resolutions: get organized, get in shape and eat healthier. What if we all look beyond ourselves and add find new ways to be kinder to Mother Earth to our list? The impact would be pretty fantastic, a re-energized movement to preserve our one and only beautiful earth.

One simple way to fulfill that resolution is to be eco-conscious on moving day. Moving is one of the most wasteful times in a household. We finally get around to cleaning out those over stuffed closets, basements and garages. It’s the time we toss out those old clothes, electronics, magazines, bikes, etc. On top of the major weeding out of our belongings, we use tons of boxes and packing materials; and create piles and piles of waste that contribute to our landfills. Let’s just face the fact: moving time equals major trash time.

The great green news is there are simple steps you can take during a move to reduce your waste. Being eco-conscious on moving day will save you some green in your wallet too!

Follow these 5 steps to make Mother Nature & your wallet proud:

Use Eco-Friendly Moving Supplies

From boxes, packing paper to bubble, there are now green 100% recyclable materials to keep our neighborhoods cleaner and greener. Yep, there is even biodegradable eco-bubble, pop away guilt free.

ECO-BONUS: Save money by asking your moving company for used boxes made of recyclable materials. You can get used boxes at a discount and some moving companies will even give you a refund for returning your used boxes at the end of your move. Pop! Pop! Cha-ching!

It’s Not Just for the Movies

Instead of the foam popcorn and peanuts, use real popcorn to pack fragile items! Just pop and fill the gaps in your boxes to secure and pad fragile items. Cheap and earth friendly!

Give Back

Finally, the garage and closets actually are getting cleaned out. Hurray! Now is the time to get rid of what you don’t really need: the growing collection of tuna and soup cans in the pantry; the many, many sport teams t-shirts; go-go boots; your 10 year old’s toddler clothing, etc. But, don’t just toss them out. Donate unwanted furniture to the Habitat for Humanity Restore and clothing and household items to your local favorite charity such as Goodwill for someone else to enjoy.

ECO-BONUS: Reuse your moving boxes to donate your items. Simply visit GiveBackBox.com to learn how to use your used boxes to ship your donations off to a charity. Lastly, if you have any unopened leftover food on moving day, donate it to Move For Hunger. Don’t forget to keep your moving and donation receipts to save green on your taxes next year!

Be Kind to Your Electronics

You may no longer want your lemon-yellow microwave, but don’t just put it on the curb or throw it in a dump. If you do, it will likely be shipped off to unregulated third world environmental disaster dumping grounds instead of being recycled in facilities that follow U.S. environmental regulations. Contact a domestic e-waste recycler so your old computers, microwaves and other electronics are recycled domestically, under environmental laws, rather than being shipped off to be processed by highly toxic and polluting techniques.

Hire an Eco-Conscious Moving Company

Use your “green” to influence and encourage green habits by hiring companies that use environmental-friendly practices. Make sure your moving company is bright green by asking: Does the staff recycle? Are the offices and warehouse designed to be energy efficient? Do they use biodiesel to run their trucks? Do they use 100 % recyclable materials? Do they sell used boxes? Do they buy them back at the end of the move? Chances are if they care about the earth, they care about their customers too! It’s a great big green win – win!

Pat yourself on the back; you’re making Mother Earth smile and future generations will thank you!

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.

A Beginner’s Guide to Wonderful Wallpaper

Wall coverings serve as a beautiful accent piece in any room and can be as subtle or as fun as you desire. Here’s how to welcome a wonderful wall treatment into your home.

Guest post by Michelle Lee, Houzz

Wallpaper has a longstanding and misunderstood reputation for being obnoxiously bold and a nightmare to apply and remove. However, it has been entirely reinvented with new materials and appropriately renamed as “wall coverings.” You’ll see it popping up again in designs everywhere. Wall coverings serve as a beautiful accent piece in any room and can be as subtle or as fun as you desire. Here’s how to welcome a wonderful wall treatment into your home.

Learn the Basics

Wall coverings come in wide range of patterns, styles and materials. In comparison, paint is uniform and very 2D while wallpaper opens the door to a new dimension to play with. A great first step to deciding if it’s right for you is to browse inspirational home photos and save the ones that appeal to you the most.

Just like paint and fabric, you can order swatches of wallpaper to test on your walls before you commit. Full rolls can cost anywhere between $50 for plain paper versions to $300 for custom made or 3D textured options. It’s highly recommended, even by the most experienced DIYers, to hire an experienced professional for the final installation. And unlike its predecessors, many wall coverings use a safe and easy-to-remove adhesive for painless removal.

Know Your Options

There are thousands of different designs in production for wallpaper, so chances are if you have a particular look in mind, you’ll find it. On the slight chance it doesn’t exist already, you can commission a custom-made pattern or make your own. Traditional paper coverings are still made today, but vinyl wall coverings are also available and are great candidates for high-traffic areas since they’re glossier and can easily be wiped down.

The Williams Morris designs are popular for historic or arts and crafts style homes and floral patterns are a timeless classic. Alternatively, mural-style wallpapers are a great choice for modern art connoisseurs. They can be made to resemble an oversized print or photograph, a landscape or a cityscape of your hometown. Wall paneled paper pays homage to industrial style and can be made to resemble a brick, wood or concrete wall. If you want something more in-the-moment, graphic, geometric and ombre designs are very contemporary.

Textured grasscloth and silk wall coverings have a unique look and bring warmth and a sense of luxury to any space. These coverings are often one uniform color for people wanting a subtler look. Consider the tone and vibe you’re going for and how it looks from different angles, rooms and light when you’re shopping for the perfect fit.

Choose a Location

Wallpaper works great in just about every room of the house, but materials should be thoughtfully chosen. For example, vinyl coverings are a great choice for kitchens and bathroom since they are moisture-resistant and can easily be wiped clean of dirt or food stains. If you want to test treatments in a small area, consider a low-traffic area such as a powder room or laundry room. If you don’t want to line an entire wall from floor-to-ceiling, you can install wallpaper above wainscoting for a half-wall look. Just like paint, wall coverings also make eye-catching accent walls.

Other fun places to try it out include the entry, along the stairwell, on the ceiling or in a nook. Wallpaper disguises wall blemishes, sets spaces apart in an open floor plan and, with the right pattern, enlarges small spaces. Wallpaper can also be applied to items other than walls, such as lining the back of a bookcase or shelving unit, a large cabinet, dresser or armoire for a stunning look.

 Spring Selling Checklist

With spring selling season around the corner, it’s time to give your home the boost it needs to meet today’s buyer expectations.

,  COLDWELL BANKER LLC

Guest post by Patti Stern

With the early spring selling season kicking off shortly after the new year, it’s time to give your home the boost it needs to meet today’s buyers’ expectations. Take advantage of being inside during the cold winter months with these quick fixes that will help your property stand out from the competition, boost its value and sell quickly.

Family Room Staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Declutter & Organize

Start tackling one room at a time by packing up anything that will distract buyers from seeing the unique features of your property such as personal collections, family photos, newspapers, books and magazines. Rearrange and remove excessive furniture to simplify and make the room appear larger.

Make Basic Repairs & Updates

Make sure everything is in good working condition. Repair and replace broken light switches, bulbs, ceiling fans, door knobs, leaky faucets, shower heads, windows, thermostats, etc. Update lighting fixtures with contemporary styles and consider replacing older kitchen appliances with sleek, eco-friendly models to capture young buyer interest.

Bedroom Staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Refresh and Brighten With Paint

Remove wallpaper and cover bold wall colors with a fresh coat of neutral paint to set the perfect backdrop for simple, updated styling. Give older style kitchen cabinets or wood vanities an instant facelift by covering with bright white or dark espresso paint. Then pair with knobs and drawer handles in brushed nickel or satin brass for an elegant finishing touch.

Fresh Flooring

There is nothing that dates a room more that worn, soiled carpeting. Remove and/or replace carpeting to reveal hardwood flooring underneath to instantly brighten and make the room feel more spacious. There are also many budget-friendly, easy to install options on the market now for replacing damaged flooring such as laminate and vinyl that look and feel just like wood.

Mudroom Remodel by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Add Storage Options

Today’s buyers are looking for plenty of storage. Added storage solutions such as built-in bookshelves, window seats with storage underneath, entry storage units, and extra closet hooks and rods are a practical way to attract immediate buyer attention.

Partner With a Pro

Consult with a professional stager who will have an objective eye and knowledge of what appeals to today’s sophisticated buyers. They will provide a range of solutions for enhancing your home showings by recommending everything from furniture placement to wall color to complementary modern accessories to add clean, welcoming style.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

 

Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. Her company has received Houzz 2015, 2016 and 2017 Awards for Customer Service.

Patti has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV.  She is a regular contributor to the National Association of Realtor’s Blog, “Style, Staged and Sold.”

8 Key Elements for a Productive Workspace

Here are 8 essential elements to integrate into your workspace at home to set the foundation for a great year.

Guest post by Michelle Lee, Houzz

A common New Year’s resolution that almost everyone aims for is to increase productivity in their career, personal craft or both. You’re nearly a month into 2018, so it’s time to get started on your quest for success. Here are eight essential elements to integrate into your workspace to set the foundation for a great year.

Choose Your Location Wisely

Having the right setting for a home office can make or break your progress. Dedicating a full room to work is a great setup, preferably away from the main hustle and bustle of the house to cut down on noise pollution and distractions. For those with smaller spaces, you can integrate a workspace into the bedroom, walk-in closet or basement.

 

Look to the Light

After you find a location for your office, draft your ideal layout. Start by situating the desk in front of an expansive window or door to the outside if possible. Basking in the limited daylight or watching the rain or snowfall outdoors can provide a non-invasive, relaxing break for your eyes when you’re feeling overwhelmed or worn out.

When the sun goes down, make sure you have adequate lighting to reduce eye strain. Desk lamps, floor lamps and wall-mounted sconces all provide great task lighting. Use a blue-tinted bulb, since it has been shown to increase alertness.

 

Customize Your Storage Setup

Another popular resolution is to cut clutter and a home office is a great place to organize first. Install floating shelves above the desk to free up valuable space, use file cabinets to hold papers and keep pens and pencils handy with clear glass jars. If space allows, add a refreshments station nearby to limit the number of times you have to get up and wander about.

 

Switch to a Laptop

Some professions require the use of a large monitor, but if you can do without, go for it. Laptops are great space-saving tools for small offices and pack a punch of power and reliability for whatever you’re working on. They also allow you to move around instead of being kept stationary at your desk and give you the satisfaction of symbolically closing the book at the end of a long workday.

 

Sit Pretty

With typical work days of eight hours, your choice of seating can make a big difference for your well-being. Prioritize comfort over style and invest in a sturdy ergonomic office chair that will last for years to come. Alternatively, add a detachable back or headrest to your existing setup or repurpose a plush armchair to use at your desk instead.

 

Create Visual Interest

Having something to occupy a wandering eye can be beneficial to your productivity. Patterns have been shown to promote creative stimulation at work, so look to wallpaper or artwork for interesting designs. Hang paintings at a comfortable eye level above the desk or mount them on peripheral side walls to reduce possible distractions. For a simplified look, paint an accent wall or the ceiling in your favorite hue.

 

Keep Inspiration Nearby

You’re likely all-too-familiar with battling writer’s block at some point and it’s important to learn how to overcome it in the future. Use an oversized bulletin board to pin inspiring photos, jot down fleeting ideas in a journal and assemble a folder of your previous work to look back on when your bank of ideas is running dry. Seeing what you’ve achieved and done so far can be just the boost you need.

 

Shake up Your Routine

Break yourself out of creative ruts and jumpstart your success by adopting a new hobby this year. If you’re prone to procrastination, set a timer to work less overall but smarter. With less time, you may be motivated to work harder, faster and generally better. You can also try switching your scenery to collaborate with a friend or at a coworking cafe. When you need a break from your screen, take a brisk walk around the block or exercise indoors to give your brain a much-needed reset.

Want to Buy Smart Home Tech in 2018? Look Out for These Products

Want to Buy Smart Home Tech in 2018? Look Out for These Products

,  COLDWELL BANKER LLC

It’s no surprise that smart home tech adoption is growing. In fact, our annual Smart Home Marketplace Survey unveiled on Monday found that over the past year, the number of consumers with smart home technology grew by 33%! We’re confident that this number will continue to grow as smart home gadgets become more intuitive and connected, but we were curious to see what kinds of products consumers were eager to buy in 2018.

Part of our survey ranked the types of products people were looking to buy in 2018 and found that smart entertainment, smart security, and smart temperature were the three categories consumers are most eager to add to their homes this year. Our team has scoured the CES Smart Home Marketplace (sponsored by Coldwell Banker, of course) and found the smartest – and coolest – products for you to add to your smart home wish lists this year.

Smart Entertainment – LG’s 65 Inch 4K OLED Roll-Up TV

Photo Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET

Yes, you read that right – this TV can roll up like a poster. The original concept for this TV was unveiled two-years ago, but LG has now unveiled a bigger, more sophisticated model for consumers. The concept behind this flexible and portable TV is that it can free up wall space that homeowners might want to open up when the TV isn’t in use. For example, if you are hosting a fancy party, you can roll up the TV and free up 65 inches worth of space which you can use to hang up artwork. And for quality family time, this TV can roll up and create a distraction-free zone! What’s more – this roll-up TV has excellent sound and picture quality, so a win all around.

Photo Credit: Somfy


Smart Security – Somfy Outdoor Cam
Somfy unveiled its new Somfy Outdoor Cam, which was also the winner of this year’s CES Innovation Awards. The Outdoor Cam comes equipped with some sharp features including the ability to intelligently tell the difference between whether the motion detected outside your home is a harmless animal or car, or a sketchy trespasser. What’s more, the camera can actually tell how long an intruder has been lingering outside of your property and can sound a warning siren within a preset amount of time to ward off any trouble! The camera integrates with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit.

Smart Temperature – Microsoft’s Smart Thermostat Powered by Cortana

Photo Credit: Microsoft

Those of us using Windows computers are familiar with Cortana – and now she’s making a foray into smart home products. Microsoft officially unveiled its GLAS smart thermostat powered by Cortana which is a sleek, glass-encased touchscreen thermostat with an OLED display. This thermostat does more than just heat and cool your home – it monitors air quality, checks the weather and it is intuitive enough to learn your routines and preferences. The GLAS thermostat will be available in March 2018 and will retail for $319. Stay tuned for more Blue Matter content coming out of CES and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for exclusive video from the show floor throughout Smart Home Month.

If you’re already affiliated with Coldwell Banker and want to learn more about our Smart Home initiative, visit CB Exchange and search “Smart Home.”

How to Winterize Your Bedroom for Cozy Comfort

Pile on fuzzy textures and transform your bedroom into a snowy sanctuary for naps and lounging.

By Michelle Lee, Houzz

Get ready to cuddle up in bed with your significant other, furry friend or a good book this month. Pile on fuzzy textures and transform your bedroom into a snowy sanctuary for naps and lounging. Stock up on these essentials for the warmest season yet.

Invest in High-Quality Bedding

Your choice of sheets and blankets will really matter in the dead of winter and can dramatically improve your quality of sleep by wrapping you in a warm embrace. Look for ones made of insulating wool, cashmere or flannel to ensure warmth all night long. If your budget allows, splurge on an electric blanket for the room too.

To add even more warmth, shop for a goose down duvet or quilt. This fill provides thermal protection against the cold while also being breathable for ultimate comfort. For those with allergies, cotton and microfiber options are comfortable, budget-friendly alternatives.

Gather a bunch of pillows and throws on top of your bedscape. A stack of fluffy pillows provide back support for reading in bed, while layers of throws make heat control easier. Go for fleece or velvet for an irresistible look and use this opportunity to experiment with color and pattern.

Warm up Your Palette

Swap summer blues and autumn reds for creamy neutrals this winter. White is not only a foolproof choice that pairs well with every color on the spectrum, but it also helps reflect and spread the scarce daylight we have this season. Dip your toes into the timeless Scandinavian style trend by testing out a bright white palette in your bedroom. Spring to life in milky white and soft yellow hues or pair pale blue and gray together for a relaxing look.

Accent a neutral palette with warm wood around the room. As seen in this Montreal bedroom, the paneled ceiling and trim lend a cozy cabin vibe amidst the bleak winter landscape outside. You can replicate the look in smaller doses with a wooden nightstand, stool or headboard.

If you’re willing to venture past your color comfort zone, use a bold hue or two sparingly for a much-needed mood and energy booster. Welcome a bright yellow, pink or teal through accessories like decorative pillows, bedside lamps or overhead artwork.

Light it Up

Since the sun now sets hours earlier than it does on long summer nights, we have to substitute the lost hours of daylight all on our own. Invest in a layered lighting plan to illuminate every dark corner and visually enlarge your space. A great combination is having an overhead fixture, such as a statement chandelier or a cluster of pendants, and adding smaller lights where they’re needed, like lamps or wall sconces. Shop for LED bulbs for energy efficiency or incandescents to mimic the sun’s yellow tint. If you’re still in the holiday spirit, you can also hang string lights above the headboard or along a spare wall for an extra homey feel.

Stash the Nightstand

When you’re too comfy in bed to get up and venture to another cold room, look to your nightstand for one or two of your daily essentials. Choose from a humidifier to combat the dry season or an aromatherapy diffuser to set the mood; succulents or fresh flowers for a welcome burst of nature; a small tea or coffee maker for early mornings; and a journal or good book for inspiration. If your bedside table is looking a little worn out, upgrade it now to one with multiple shelves or drawers for year-round storage.

Toss These 5 Things Before You Move For a Fresh New Start

While you’re packing, consider throwing out these household items and give yourself a fresh start in your new home.

,  COLDWELL BANKER LLC

Houzz Contributor, Aly Finkelstein

It’s a great feeling to walk into your new home and know you have a blank space to work with. But making sure your new home stays this fresh, clean and exciting is much harder. Here are five things to consider throwing away before your next move.

1. Old trash cans. Old and used garbage cans and bins can be dirty and in bad shape. And nothing says “yucky” like an old trash can that you’ve used for years.

If your family is anything like mine, you have gum, stains and sticky spots on even the cleanest of indoor and outdoor trash cans. Do yourself a favor and throw out the old bins before you move to your new home. You can buy new trash cans that match, fit the space and are clean. This rule may also apply to recycling bins you have around the house.

If buying all new cans isn’t in your budget, definitely clean your cans before packing them into your moving truck or car. Fill the inside of the can with dish soap and warm water and let it soak. Then scrub. The soak will make scrubbing easier.

2. Toys. Moving is the best time to clean out the things you haven’t used and the things that won’t serve you in your new space. Toys are a major clutter culprit, and often many of them just aren’t being used anymore. My motto: Keep the favorites and toss the rest. Once you’re in your new space, you can buy a special new toy to celebrate the move.

Pro tip: If you feel too guilty about getting rid of your child’s toy, pack up the ones you think your child may miss and leave them in a separate box in the garage. If they don’t ask for them after a certain amount of time, get rid of them.

3. Old paint. Every client I work with has gallons of old paint. Chances are the colors match your old house but not your new one, so this is a great time to clean out all the old cans.

Before disposing of paint, check your town’s rules on recycling or disposing of it.

Pro tip: If you loved some of those colors, add them to a spreadsheet on your computer. Make sure you list the room a paint was used in, for future reference. Make sure to update the spreadsheet as you repaint in your new house too.

4. Paper. As long as you’ve rectified your statements, paid your bills and set aside important documents and receipts, you don’t need to keep all the paper that’s weighing you down. File the things you need to keep, such as tax documents, health insurance paperwork and property records, and get rid of the rest.

I keep three files on my desk at all times: bills to be paid, business receipts to keep and paid bills. Once I see online that the paid bills have been registered as paid, I throw the paper versions out. This keeps the files small and manageable year-round.

Pro tip: In the weeks before you move, carve out five to 10 minutes a week to tackle the paper piles you have around the house. Almost all of the items in these piles can be thrown away if you take the time to go through them.

Read more about which papers to toss and which to keep

5. Storage containers. Do yourself a favor and get fresh storage containers for your new home! The container drawer is often a major source of clutter and frustration for my clients. Your new home will feel even newer with a full set of matching storage containers.

I store my containers with the lids on so they don’t get separated. If for some reason the lid does go missing, I repurpose the bottom or get rid of it. I’m loving glass containers these days because I can microwave, store and eat from them. They can do it all and then go back into the drawer with their matching lids.

Pro tip: Buy storage containers based on your family’s needs. For example, if you cook often and send friends and family home with leftovers, buy inexpensive, disposable containers. If you use your containers weekly for whole meals, buy larger sizes.

How to Hide Unsightly Blemishes Around Your Home

Here are 10 clever ways to disguise your home’s flaws.

,  COLDWELL BANKER LLC

Guest post by Michelle Lee

What makes a house a home? It’s a hard question to answer, but a large part of it is the years of memories you’ve made in it. Oftentimes that includes the blemishes, flaws and dents on the walls and furniture that serve as lasting impressions of cherished moments and fun times. However, whether you’re selling your home or just making it presentable for guests, there are times you’ll want to camouflage them up. Read on for 10 clever ways to disguise your home’s flaws.

Create a Gallery Wall

Put your inner art connoisseur to work to blend random light switches or bulky thermostats into your design. Strategically place similarly sized artwork around switch plates, outlet covers and wall gadgets to distract the eye. If you want to cover it entirely, mount a canvas painting over it or hang art from a swing arm so you can reach behind it when necessary.

 

Hang Long Drapes

Window treatments are generally used for, you guessed it, windows, but they certainly aren’t restricted to other uses. Drape big and breezy curtains above to disguise unsightly wall features or awkward off-center windows. Off-white and cream shades are perfect to use now and throughout winter, such as the one seen in this Swedish bedroom that cleverly conceals the radiator and window when pulled closed.

 

Paint the Wall

This is probably one of the most obvious solutions to drywall chips and paint scratches, but here are some guidelines to help you get it right. Stick to one matte color for the walls, ceiling and trim to downplay the lines between and blend them together. Remember, the glossier the paint finish is, the more it will highlight imperfections.

Consider chalkboard paint for a non-glossy texture and an ever-changing wall feature. You can create your own design and erase it as your style evolves or use it to jot down lists and reminders.

Add wallpaper. Use wallpaper to inject personality and fun into any space. Choose from subtle designs to a dramatic mural or anywhere in between. Keep optical illusions in mind when picking patterns. For example, a striped design can make a small space look taller or wider.

 

Cover it With Clothes

If you have a scratch on your bedroom wall that just won’t go away, play fashionista and move a shop-style clothing rack in front. Showcase some of your most stylish garments or everyday staples on the rack to lighten your closet’s load.

 

Lay Down a Rug

Roll out a gorgeous area rug over all the nicks and notches on your floor from moving furniture or dropping heavy items. Especially great for renters, rugs come in a variety of styles, colors and price points to fit your personal preferences without committing to a permanent change.

 

Rethink the Fifth Wall

This is a bit of a heavier project to take on, but perhaps most rewarding for those left with an infamous popcorn ceiling. Upgrade overhead stucco for a beautiful new feature with paint or paneling. Try white beadboard or wood slats for irresistible rustic charm.

 

Work Around Wall Vents

Air vents are necessary for cooling, heating and any other home circulation systems, but can be quite unattractive. Conceal them with slotted laser-cut screens that add texture and visual interest. In this D.C. living room, the revamped air return works double duty as a display shelf.

 

Choose Your Switches Wisely

Light switches and power outlets are must-haves in every home and there’s often no easy way around them. Wherever possible, especially in the kitchen and bathroom, group your electrical outlets together and shop for new switch plates that complement the existing wall. You can blend them into an existing pattern, as seen here, or make them a fun feature with vibrant colors and textured materials.

Embrace imperfections. After all, they’re what makes your house so special. You can capitalize on the look and help them blend in by investing in distressed furnishings, such as rustic coffee tables or stained wood floors. You won’t have to worry too much about future drops or spills and they instantly add built-in age and character to any space.

10 Surprising Ways to Find More Space in Your Home

An organized home is a happy home.

NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm

So real talk…how did your 2017 resolutions go? 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 in 2018 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

Say Hello to Mother Nature This Winter

Bring life and light indoors to help combat the winter blues. Here are seven easy ways to get started.

, COLDWELL BANKER LLC

By Michelle Lee, Houzz

Many of our gardens have withered and turned barren for the season. The days are darker and we’ll be cuddling up indoors for the next couple months, but it’s essential to bring life and light indoors to help combat the winter blues. Research has shown that exercising your green thumb this month can help boost your mood and health. Here are seven easy ways to get started.

Add houseplants. Houseplants are incredibly versatile and welcome in every room of the house. Even for the most novice gardener, succulents and cacti are very low-maintenance options to start with. Think about proportion, form and texture when choosing plants to complement your existing style and bring it to life.

Start With These Top 10 Houseplants

Buy freshly cut flowers. If you’re looking for a shorter commitment and a burst of color this winter, look no further than your local farmer’s market or grocery store. Roses, lilies and tulips are beautiful in-season options and add a lovely fragrance indoors. Shop for decorative vases for an even brighter display and don’t forget to water them daily. The entryway, dining table and nightstand are great places to showcase their beauty.

Bring in reclaimed or live-edge wood. Add tree bark indoors for a naturalistic look and rustic vibe. Live-edge wood maintains the natural shape of the tree, which results in one-of-a-kind shelves, tables and even countertops. This New York home takes on a stylish and unique approach by implementing a live-edge sliding barn door. You can also incorporate reclaimed wood in your design with furniture or wall and floor treatments.

How to Bring Reclaimed Wood to the Kitchen

Stock up on firewood. ‘Tis the season of long nights spent cozying up around the fire. Capitalize on your fire feature by keeping wooden logs nearby, stacked up in the corner of a room or stored in baskets. If you have a non-functional fireplace, you can still fill it with firewood to create visual interest.

Paint the walls green. If your walls are in need of a revitalizing refresh, choose Mother Nature’s neutral. We’re not talking about bright lime or neon green here, but rather a soothing shade of pale green or deeper olive hues. These shades exhibit calming properties, making them excellent color candidates for any room in the house. Not sure where to start? A Houzz study shows that green is a popular choice for kitchen walls and backsplashes.

Hang a photograph of nature. You can also welcome the outdoors in with a large-scale photograph of your favorite landscape. Blow up a personal picture from your travels or shop for awe-inspiring professional photos. Customize the mood by choosing a sunny field, a dark and mysterious forest or crashing waves on an ocean shore.

Stylish Ceiling Lights to Illuminate Artwork

Carve out a skylight. Natural light has a plethora of positive effects from improving health to boosting productivity. This tip is especially helpful for those suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Installing a skylight or solar tube may be an ambitious task but will soon pay off in a wide variety of ways. If your roof doesn’t allow this configuration, expansive wall-to-wall or floor-to-ceiling windows are great alternatives.