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BRILLIANT STAGING

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Woman cleaning the bathroom while a child sitting on a bathtub is looking at her and smiling.

COVID19 has put a damper on the lives of many people. It is a stressful time, especially for business owners. Although this is a very scary pandemic, we would like to encourage you to use this time wisely. Instead of sitting home and being worried and angry about things we cannot change let’s focus on things we can control! Our mindset is responsible for how we live and spend our time. Although there isn’t much positive about this virus, we can try to think of this as a much-needed break to catch up on things we’ve been laying off for months or even years. We can still be productive during a lockdown! That growing to-do list that never gets done because we, Americans, are overworked and underpaid. It is surprising for me to see so many posts about people dying of boredom at home. Is it boredom you’re suffering from or laziness? ??

These projects may not directly put money in your pocket, but they will make you feel better and help make this time productive. And if you are planning to eventually sell your property it will indeed put money in your pocket!

I suggest starting being productive during a lockdown by making a list (if you don’t already have a daunting to-do list laying in your junk drawer or buried in your notes on your phone) Start with the easier items that you can get out of the way quickly. Items that you have all the necessary supplies for. I also recommend having several different lists. One for home projects and one for business projects and goals, and another for personal/family goals. It is important to not only be productive but also use this time to hang out with our children, build our relationships, etc. In this blog, I will focus on home projects.

Psychologists say that making a list and crossing completed items of this list boosts your confidence and motivation. Dr. David Cohen says that making lists dampens anxiety and the chaos of life, they give us structure, a plan to stick to; and they are proof of what we have achieved. List everything, including silly things like “pick up toys” because getting to cross something off the list plays an important role in your success. 

Here is a generic list of items we can all focus on doing while safe at home. I know it may seem huge and overwhelming. But I wanted to list it all in case we have some overachievers who already did most of these things. Not all of these have to be on YOUR to-do list. But they are great ideas for when you run out of things to do. 

Woman cleaning bookshelves to stay productive during a lockdown.

Organize

NOW is the time to go through and get rid of things you have been hoarding for years. A rule of thumb I use is- if I haven’t used this or worn it in over a year, I probably don’t need it. Or as Marie Kondo “if it doesn’t bring you joy” get rid of it. If you are planning to sell your home this will also make the packing and moving process a lot easier in the future. 

A white drawer organized to stay productive during a lockdown.
  • Organize those junk drawers that have 2-year-old mail and random remnants of items in them. 
  • Organize your closets, fold your clothes neatly. Donate old clothing and shoes that you no longer wear or fit in. 
  • Organize your kitchen drawers. Donate dishes and other items you no longer use or like. Find a better way of storing items so when life gets busy again it would save you time when looking for that Tupperware or travel mug 
  • Organize your children’s toys. Again, donate anything they no longer play with. Toys that are broken etc. Also, use this time to sanitize and clean their sticky toys 
  • Organize your garage. You know that storage unit attached to your home containing items you forgot you had. Donate or discard old stuff you don’t use. Like that box of broken stuff, you have been wanting to fix for 5 years. Or the 3 different strollers you kept because you weren’t sure your kids were old enough to get rid of strollers yet. Find a way to organize things in a manner where you would actually be able to find things. Do you have screws in 5 different places in your home/garage and shed? 
  • Organize your shed- see organize the garage and follow the same protocol
  • Organize your jewelry drawer, makeup drawer/bags/boxes: again, donate or discard anything you don’t use or wear. If you haven’t used that eyeshadow in 5 years you probably don’t need it
  • Organize all your drawers. Fold clothing, towels, blankets, etc. Discard anything you don’t use or need. 
  • Get rid of random clutter throughout the home and put it away in the correct places. As my Grandmother always said “there is a proper place for everything. Find it, label it and keep it that way” she was even more OCD than I am. 

Clean Interior

Our favorite thing to do… Right? Oh, you have a cleaning lady that does that for you? Guess what? She won’t be coming around for a while. Looks like you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself this time. Ha ha! But in all seriousness, this is a great opportunity to take care of things you don’t ever do or even think about. Sure, we do the dishes and pick up toys regularly but what about that deep cleaning? This Stay Home Order is right in time for SPRING CLEANING!! 🙂 Organizing should have taken care of the toys and clothes and random clutter through the house. So now let’s focus on the deeper cleaning. With a crazy virus on the loose, this is also a great time to clean and disinfect your home. 

A kitchen with island deep cleaned to be productive during a lockdown..
  • Dusting: Go through the home and wipe down all the surfaces. Tables, bookshelves, mantles, chairs, etc. Getting rid of all this dust will also minimize allergies. 
  • Vacuum your sofas, headboards and other pieces of furniture you don’t usually clean. A lot of dust accumulates on these surfaces and we don’t even notice it until we start trying to clean it. Maybe even use this time to wash your sofa. Follow cleaning instructions for your furniture.
  • Bathrooms: The usual, wash the toilets, sinks, countertops, bathtubs, showers, etc. 
  • Kitchen: The usual, dishes, countertops, sink, etc. But then take it a step further (since you have all the time in the world) and wash the backsplash, appliances, cabinets. We often don’t notice how dirty our cabinets get. Smudges, drips and all sorts of grease and grime accumulate on them. You can use a water/Clorox solution or any of your favorite spray cleaners and a sponge to do this. Go through and carefully wash away all the grime from the front and bottom of your cabinets. If you’re feeling extra ambitious you can even take everything out of the drawers and wash the inside of the cabinets. I like to do this one drawer at a time, so It doesn’t get overwhelming. This should be done in conjunction with your organizing we talked about above. As you organize a drawer- pull everything out and wipe down the inside of it too. 
  • Clean and organize your fridge.
  • Floors: Vacuum, wash, steam, maybe even pull out that carpet spray and carpet steamer you never use. Carpet cleaning is one of those items that could potentially be put off and done professionally when the time comes. But washing your hardwoods or tile floors is essential. This will also disinfect and get rid of potential viruses that have been lurking around. 
  • Windows: Clean the windowsills, frames, and tracks. They get extremely dirty and gunky. You may need to vacuum them out first. And then, of course, wash the window/glass itself. Also, consider wiping down all your blinds. This is certainly something we don’t do often but needs to be done periodically. 
  • Baseboards: one of those items that definitely get forgotten and put off for what seems like years sometimes. Our baseboards collect a lot of dust and grime which can potentially make us feel ill and affect our allergies too. Grab a bucket of water with a little bleach in it, a rag and start crawling around the house scrubbing the grime away. (This is best done once the floors have been vacuumed and cleaned to as hair and dust will keep getting stuck to your rag)
  • Doors: same as the baseboards. I do this all at the same time. Use the same water and rag solution and wash all the doors in your house. (You can use Clorox wipes too, but we all know there is a deficit of these right now. Also, I found you end up going through an entire box washing door so it’s easier to just use Clorox and water instead) It’s crazy how we might not even notice how dirty they really are. Especially if you have children. Next thing you know the doors are sticky, dirty and have some weird substance you don’t even want to know about. When I started paying attention to my doors, I couldn’t wait to get them cleaned. Use this time to wash the doorknobs too. 
  • Walls: What? Wash the walls?? Yup! Unless you are planning to just paint all the walls you can actually wash away some of the spots. You can use the same bucket option above or you can even use a magic eraser if your walls aren’t bad and just have a couple spots. But for people with children, most likely all the walls are really dirty lol. At least in my house, they are. It’s impossible to keep them clean. Dirty little handprints everywhere. I went around and wiped the walls anywhere they were dirty. If it is really bad or has stuff that doesn’t wash off, consider painting instead. 
  • Wash all your bedding, blankets and curtains. You should be doing this at least every couple of weeks. But now is a great time to do it too since you’re on a roll. This should also include any throw blankets you have on your sofas or other places around your home. Takedown dusty curtains and follow cleaning instructions for them as well. Throw your shower curtains in the wash. 
  • Light fixtures: you can remove light fixtures and wash them as well. “Boob” lights (as most people call them ??) Can be opened up and cleaned. You’d be surprised how much is inside there to include dead flies, dust and dirt. Wipe down the table and floor lamps etc. 
  • Wipe down computer/TV screens and any other surfaces through the home
  • Clean your plants: to some of you this might seem silly, but I still remember my mom giving our faux plants a bath once a year. They acquire a lot of dust on the leaves. This includes real plants. You can use a damp cloth, or you can buy a special plant cleaning solution. Many of us don’t think about this but they definitely need cleaning once in a while. 

Renovate

Being locked up in your home is a great time to focus on some updates or renovation projects you can take on. As far as I know, hardware stores are still open. A lot of things can also be ordered online. This is awesome because you can stay home and stay healthy while updating your home. I do understand that most of us are now on a really tight budget and some of this might not be in our budget and that’s ok too. Again, not all of this is for everyone. But here is a generic list of things we can do to help give our home a facelift.

A large white tub next to a window scrubbed to be productive during a lockdown.
  • Touch-ups: For the most part this can be done free of cost or at a very low cost. Most of us should have cans of leftover touch up paint for our homes. I have been doing this the last few days and it is so nice to get it over with. If your touch-ups aren’t huge you can pour some paint into a disposable cup, grab a brush and start touching up. 
  • Touch up the doors and baseboards you just finished washing. These get really beat up- with the vacuum, foot traffic, kids, pets, moving furniture in and out we hit door jams. I also went through and touched up my staircase railings/banisters. I couldn’t believe how bad they got in just a few years. But every time someone is carrying a heavy item up the stairs, they are bound to hit a corner, kids with their toys, etc. My doors, windowsills, and banisters look brand new 🙂 This also includes fireplace mantles and anything else that is painted in this same white millwork paint.
  • Walls- If you tried washing your walls but realize they are beyond washing, try touching them up. If you have the same paint you can just touch up small areas. But beware that if the paint is old or the walls have worn or faded from sunlight you will be able to see the touch-up spots. In these situations, consider painting the whole wall.  This is also a great opportunity to finally get rid of that wall color you hate and have been wanting to update for years. 
  • Paint: besides touch-ups, there are many amazing things we can do with paint to give the home a huge facelift. You can paint old dated cabinets, bathroom vanities, etc. Paint over old dated wall colors, maybe add a cool accent wall. Another awesome trick I tell all my clients is to spray paint brass fireplace inserts. The metal pieces are easily removed from the fireplace and can be spray painted with a black (heat safe) spray paint. It takes all of 10 minutes and people will think you got a new fireplace!
  • Replace light fixtures: Updating light fixtures is a fairly inexpensive way to make a huge, dramatic change. You can take down those old 90s light fixtures and order some cool new modern ones for a dramatic effect. You can replace chandeliers, pendant lights, vanity lights, etc.
  • Replace other fixtures/hardware: Same goes for other fixtures in the home like faucets. If you painted your bathroom vanity you can replace the faucet with a new modern one to give your bathroom an instant makeover. Also adding new hardware (handles/pulls) to cabinets makes a huge impact. I call them the jewelry in the room. Freshly painted cabinets and some new pulls will make your kitchen or bathroom feel brand new. You can also take this time to replace old brass doorknobs and hinges. 
  • If you are more ambitious and have a healthier budget, consider taking on larger projects like a full bathroom/kitchen remodels. Call us for a consultation and help design your new space.
  • Replace old dated carpet/flooring, windows, doors, etc. If your budget allows 

Decorate/Furnish

Once your home is clean and organized you might start to realize how much you don’t like your current decor or a certain piece of furniture. Maybe you went to clean your sofa and realized it is far beyond cleaning. Maybe it’s 10 years old and has holes in it from your pets and children. Now is a good time (If your budget allows) to start looking at updating some of your furniture. If you need help please feel free to give us a call. We are currently booking E-Consultations with clients to help them come up with a design plan and shop for furniture. I have many design clients right now that I am shopping online for, sketching floor plans and helping pick paint colors, etc. The one difficulty with decorating is that most home decor type stores are closed. You may be limited to what you can do but the nice thing is- we can shop online! Here is a list of some things you might consider doing while at home.

A living room filled with furniture and a fire place

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  • Rearrange your furniture and create a different floor plan/layout. This is a fun way to make your home feel different. Perhaps you can put your sofa on a different wall or add a new little seating area in your bedroom. Now is the time to see what has been working and hasn’t in your home. Maybe the office is too crowded and you can remove a couple pieces of furniture to give yourself more room to think in there.
  • Change the accent color. Have you used the same accent color in your home for years? This is a simple fun way to make the home feel fresh and give you a change of scenery. For example, if you had the same red accent pillows on your sofa maybe you can donate them and change them out for blue or green or some other color. (If you are crafty you can even sew new pillowcases for your existing pillows) To go along with your new accent pillows you can add some artwork, decor or other items that have small amounts of that color to tie it in. 
  • Accent pillows! PILLOWS I LOVE PILLOWS!!!! I am lucky I am a stager because I can buy hundreds of pillows and not feel guilty. Accent pillows seriously are like magic. If you don’t already have accent pillows on your sofas and beds-DO IT!!! Pick an accent color that matches your home and go wild. The more textures and patterns you mix the better. I love to mix lots of neutrals and add in some color. For example, you can have pillows with grey, white, beige, black and brown on them and also sprinkle in some blue or yellow or red or whatever color you fancy. Add accent pillows to benches, seating nook and other areas you might want to snuggle up. 
  • Change out your artwork. Do you still have dated artwork from the 90s, 80s or even 70s in your home? Artwork is a simple way to update a home and make it feel modern. It’s surprising to most people when they see their home staged with new furniture and artwork how modern it feels. Choose cool trendy artwork that works with your accent colors. My go-to is abstract art, it is easy to match just about anything and it isn’t too overpowering. Having a large painting of a building, person or flower can be extremely bold and eat up a room. Simple abstract art plays as a good filler without taking attention away from your favorite feature in the room. 
  • Update your lamps. Get some new table lamps and floor lamps that don’t scream the 90s.
  • Update your bedding. Honestly, I’m not sure if there is anything I love more than a new set of fresh bedding and linens. Maybe you currently have a really loud comforter set with bold colors and patterns. It could be a nice change to switch to a nice clean neutral bedspread. Throw in some cute accent pillows to really spruce up your bed.
  • Add some new decor and/or plants to your space. I LOOOOVE plants! Fake or real I don’t care. They add such a nice touch of homey coziness! I put faux plants on bookshelves, coffee tables, desks, etc. If you have a green thumb, by all means, get real plants! 
  • Style your bookshelves and built-ins. To most people, this is actually very challenging. Styling a bookshelf is a work of art. But it’s amazing the impact it makes in a room to have a beautifully styled bookshelf. A bookshelf needs character and dimension. Mix some textures, colors, and items to give it life. You can place smaller artwork on the shelves, faux plants, some books and picture frames, etc. If you need inspiration hit up Pinterest!
  • New area rugs. Our rugs get a lot of use. We walk on them, sit on them, children play on them, cats claw at them, pets have accidents, and shed on them. It is important to change out or wash your rugs regularly. Now maybe the time to get something more modern to really enhance your space and life. 
  • If your budget allows- this is a great time to update your furniture. New sofa, coffee table, new accent chairs, dining table, barstools, new bed, nightstands, etc. I highly recommend scheduling a consultation and getting some help designing your home. You will spend a lot less time and money having a professional help you sketch furniture layouts and tell you exactly what size and style of things to buy. We can help you shop too. 

Exterior Project

We may be stuck at home but that doesn’t mean we can’t go outside and put in some hard work in our yard. Depending on your budget there are many things that can be done to spruce up your home, garden and curb appeal. I am by no means a gardener and cannot give too much advice here but here is a simple list of things that can be done to make a big difference. 

A house that is parked on the side of a road

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  • Pressure wash the house
  • Pressure wash the driveway/patio/Deck/fence
  • Paint the exterior of the home or even just the trim around your doors/windows for a mini facelift
  • Paint your front door: add a little drama and make your home feel and look new again
  • Gardening: pruning, weeding, planting, trimming, etc.
  • Paint or refinish your deck and/or fence
  • Maybe now is the time to build a fence or a deck?
  • Replace old dated light fixtures
  • New sod, bark, rocks, etc. 

I hope that this blog and lists have given you some inspiration and encouragement to use this time we have wisely. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are always happy to help. Please stay safe and healthy!

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