10 Items That Will Improve your Porch

Creating an outdoor living space is easier than one may think. The key is to decorate in the same manner as you would an interior. Think furniture with accent pillows, floors (rugs), lighting and accessories. It is important to cover all of the layering basics.

We have a list of things you can place in this area to improve any outdoor living space!

  1. Provide separate seating for relaxing and dining. Many people serve meals outdoors during the spring and summer. It is more comfortable to have a separate place to sit and relax, rather than only having chairs around an outdoor dining table. Do not do this if the available space will not accommodate two seating areas. When space is limited, decide which type of seating you would use more, dining or relaxing. Adding accent tables and a coffee table can serve as a way to accommodate beverages and snacks.
  2. Lighting is important in this area. Hang some string lights to add a romantic outdoor glow to your space.
  3. An outdoor rug with an exciting pop of color or pattern.
  4. A portable fire pit. These are perfect if you do not have one that has been custom built. They can be used to make smores or simply cuddle up by on cool evenings!
  5. Planting flowers and herbs that naturally repel mosquitos are a great way to naturally protect you and guests. Not to mention they look and smell nice. Basil and lemon grass are a few of many mosquito repelling plants.
  6. Music is a perfect way to set the mood. Grab some blue tooth speakers that can easily be transported to and from the porch.
  7. A drink station is very inviting. It can be interchanged with lemonade, tea or even hot cocoa for cool nights.
  8. Hang drapery or add a decorative screen.
  9. Add vintage, glass lanterns with candles inside. This creates glittering accent lighting and adds the finishing touch of accessories.
  10. Decorative solar lights are another way to add a free source of lighting that will enhance landscaping. Plus they never need to be plugged in!

Cleaning Your House Quickly & Efficiently

You are in a rush. You have guests coming over, but do not have time to scrub down your entire home. You have decided to focus on the main elements of your house. You are officially ready to start cleaning, but where do you start? No need to worry because we have the perfect list of what to clean when you have a limited amount of time. 

 

Quick & Efficient Cleaning: 

  • Beds: If you are having overnight guests, cleaning the mattresses can be extremely important. Strip the beds and wash all the linens. While the bed is stripped, vacuum the mattress to remove dirt and dust mites. Now sprinkle the mattress with baking soda and lavender essential oils. Move on to other parts of the home before you vacuum off the baking soda. Lastly, redress the bed with your freshly washed sheets and bedding. 
    • Note: use the scent of lavender since it can encourage a healthy night’s rest. 
  • Dust: To dust your furniture off quickly, place an old sock on your hand. You can run your hand across your furniture to gather any dust particles. Take a duster to clean off your ceiling fans and a dryer sheet to dust off baseboards. 
  • Vacuum: Swiftly run a vacuum through your main rooms and guest bedroom. If you have hardwood floors, you can use a dust mop to collect any left behind dirt and dust. 
  • Windows: Windows can become extremely dirty over time, make sure to wipe down your windows with a glass cleaner to free them of smudges and fingerprints. 
  • Bathrooms: Take a disinfecting wipe to clean off bathroom counters and the toilet seat. Clean out the toilet bowl with toilet bowl cleaner and wipe down any fixtures with disinfecting wipes. If time allows, clean out your bathtub and shower with bathroom cleaner.  
  • Countertops: Wipe down all of your counters with a sponge, dish rag, or disinfecting wipe. Since you may have just vacuumed, make sure to let crumbs and dirt fall into your hands when wiping down the counter. 
  • Mirrors: You can finish up by cleaning off the mirrors in bathrooms and bedrooms with glass cleaner. 

 

Now, your home is clean and ready for guests! Nothing can stop you from having a great night with your family or friends tonight. Enjoy!


How to Remove Chocolate from Carpet

Chocolate is a delicious experience. While enjoying your tasty treat, you accidentally drop some on your well-kept carpet. . . What now? 

 

1. Do not let the stain sit for a long time on the carpet. The key to removing the chocolate effectively is through reacting quickly. 

2. Grab white paper towels to blot the soiled area. It is important to use white paper towels, because colored towels may bleed into the carpet causing an even bigger mess. 

-Make sure to blot the soiled area and not to scrub it. Blotting will help lift the stain whereas scrubbing may deepen the mess. 

-It is important not to scrub because you could damage the nap and twist of the carpet fibers.
3. Continue blotting the area until the paper towel stops picking up residue. 

4. Dissolve the stain with a solution. 

-A list of carpet solution options can be found on this site.

-Make sure not to use too much solution, because it may lead to rapid re-soiling. (Rapid re-soiling occurs when you do not get all the solution out of the carpet and dirt begins to attract to that area faster). 

-Want to keep it Natural? You can also try a home remedy of mixing 1/4 teaspoon of clear dishwashing liquid with one cup of warm water. Never use laundry detergent because it can cause your carpet to change color in that area. 

5. Rinse the stain and solution area with warm water. A little goes a long way; make sure not to drench the spot in water. 

-When blotting the area with water, work from the outside to the center of the stain. This helps the stain not to distribute further. 

6. If the stain does not lift it may need the help of professional carpet cleaners. A difficult stain can sometimes call for professional carpet cleaning, but think of it as an investment! 

 

Now, you can get back to enjoying your delicious box of chocolates without a fear in the world. 


Organizational Tips

An organized life is a happy life. The more clutter your home has, the more frustrated you get. We totally understand! Everything needs a designated spot in your household. When life gets crazy, things can get misplaced. This is because your things never had a designated place in your household. Let us change that: 


2. Doors

Utilize the back of your doors in closets, garages, laundry rooms, etc. Doors hold a lot of storage potential that is easily overlooked. Consider buying a shelving system that hangs over the back of your door. 

 

2.   Pantry

Your pantry’s main job is to hold items, this can get messy quick. Clear containers are a great solution to an overflowing shelf. The clear containers allow you see what’s in them without having to move everything around. A label maker will come in handy if you want to label what product is in each of the containers. Also, this solution will help you when grocery shopping. Wouldn’t it be easy to just glance in the pantry and see what containers are empty? 

 

3.   Beds

Beds have a lot of hidden storage underneath them. This solution is great for storing things you would like out of sight. You can buy bins to store your items underneath your bed or invest in a bed that has a built-in storage system. 

 

4.   Baskets

Baskets are the stylish version of bins. Baskets can be left out while adding to the room’s overall decor. Baskets are great for storing things you need often but do not want to leave out (i.e. blankets). 

 

5.   Hooks

Hooks will help keep your front entrance tidy. Add hooks near the entrance of your home so that your family members can hang their belongings. 

 

6.   Mail Bin

Mail lying around the house can not only be frustrating, but things can get lost. When bills come through the mail, it is important to have a designated spot for your mail. Mail bins are a great place to put your mail in before you can go through it. 

 

7.   Clothing Rods

Some closets have the potential for more space; adding clothing rods can maximize the space offered by a closet. 

 

An organized home is a happy home. Decluttering your home can help make more time for the things you enjoy.


Maximizing Small Spaces with Furniture Choices

Today, people are shifting to a more minimal, simplistic lifestyle. When you have less to maintain, you have more time to enjoy doing the things you love!  Tiny houses are the big rage for the younger generation, and many baby boomers are downsizing to maintain less and enjoy life. Also, urban living in larger cities requires a much smaller footprint than a home in suburbia.

Remember there are no set rules when designing and decorating your living space. There are techniques and choices that lead to creating functional small spaces.

Knowing your floor plan and using a tape measure is critical for purchasing and placing furniture.  Always keep the width, depth, height in the forefront, because this will establish your traffic patterns that contribute to the functionality of the room.  Once you have decided the pieces to use, moving the furniture and standing back is always a tried and true method for furniture placement!

When purchasing and relocating furniture think storage, storage, storage as follows:

 

* Does my bench in the entry way/foyer have storage for shoes, book bags, handbags? 

* Using a sleeper loveseat instead of a full-size sofa is a great way to save space and provide additional bedding.

* Does my living room ottoman double as additional seating that also offers storage space, and an alternative table top for snacks?

* Instead of free standing bookcases, trying hanging floating wall shelves.  Kitchen floating shelves are very popular and functional and do not require the space of kitchen cabinetry.

* For dining space, use a café/bistro table with armless bar stools, or parson chairs that are narrow and do not have arms.

* Platform beds have much-needed space under the bed in the form of drawers, attached nightstands, and headboards for additional storage. Don’t forget the amazing Murphy bed that descends from the wall!

 

Now is the time to downsize, clean out, reorganize and most of all have fun during the process! We welcome your comments and suggestions for maximizing your small spaces.

Happy Pet Household

Pets become a part of the family. They provide love, laughs, and happiness to their owners. It is easy to see all the great things your pet brings to the family, but realistically they can be a lot of work. Whether you have a puppy or a full-grown dog, learning how to live with an animal sometimes becomes a series of trial and error. We have provided some tips for providing a happy pet household:

 

Make it washable. Animals have accidents, it may not be often but they do. From your bedding to rugs make sure it is washable (or easily treatable). Puppies especially do not give us a warning when they have to go the bathroom. Be prepared for any accidents with proper cleaning supplies and washable items. Take some time to think about your major household items and how you would treat them. If it can be ruined easily, try to keep it out your pet’s view.

 

Shedding. Unless you have a hypoallergenic pet, there will probably be a lot of shedding. 

Tips: 

  • Invest in a quality vacuum. Realistically you should vacuum every day, it is good for removing the pet hair and the lifespan of your carpet. Pet hair can be a source of dirt and odor, it is imperative to regularly clean and vacuum your home. 
  • Incorporate your pet’s fur color throughout the house. By using the same color as your pet’s hair, it will distract from all of the hair they leave behind. This may sound crazy but look at your pet as your design inspiration. 
  • Give your pet a bath frequently. Do not give them so many baths that it dries out their skin, but bathe them about once a month. 
  • Trimming their nails will help reduce any scratch marks that they may leave behind. This can be a scary responsibility because some pets have dark nails and you cannot see their blood vessel. If you are nervous about cutting their nails, talk to your vet about the actions you should take. It is always better to be safe than sorry in these circumstances. 

 

Provide them with space. If you have room, provide your pet will a space to call their own. You can convert a cabinet into a cat’s room or a window bench into a dog’s haven. There are endless ideas available online. 

 

Keep it natural. Your pet and family’s health is important. Keeping most of your household items natural will ensure safety. Store hazardous products out of reach from children and pets. 

 

Our pets want the best for us so would not we want the same for them? These tips will help keep your pets happy and healthy. Always remember to consult a veterinarian with any questions or concerns. 


Make your Garage Something Special

design center 7It’s easy to end up with a garage that’s a catch-all. When you first move in you may find that extra boxes and other items you don’t know what to do with end up in the garage. Then add in the kids sports equipment, yard supplies and tools, and then other odds and ends. Before you know it, the whole space is a mess.

If you find yourself cringing every time you open your garage door, think about choosing some of these garage options when you design your new Fulton Home. Just a few organizing elements could make a big difference in the look and functionality of your new garage. Let’s take a look at some of these choices.

Cabinetry: Garage cabinetry has a heavy-duty structure designed to hold up to power tools, yard equipment and other larger items. This is perfect storage for the home handyman, and it keeps everything under control. The countertop area is great for small assembly projects or organizing outdoor plantings.

Storage racks: Everything is so much more under control if it stays off the floor. With coordinated storage racks designed to hold yard tools and sports supplies you can easily put your hands on whatever you need whenever you need it. And when you are finished you have just the place for it to go back. And when not in use everything stays in place, out of the way and clean until the next time.

A garage can be a messy catch-all or it can be a great resource for storing things that fit well in that space, well beyond a place to keep your cars. Take advantage of options such as these to make it into a functional addition to your new Fulton Home.

Making the Most of your Walk-In Pantry

wWarner-Groves-at-Morrison-Ranch-053 - CopyIf you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen with a walk-in pantry, you will soon wonder how you ever managed to make meals without one. It can’t be beat for helping you organize your space and make the most of your kitchen. Here are some suggestions to help your pantry really work for you.

Use a FIFO inventory system: FIFO means First In First Out. If you don’t pay close attention to this, it’s easy to let food get lost until it’s out of date. To protect against this, keep like products together and take the time to put the new purchases toward the back.

Use baskets to store small products: Packets of spice mixes or dips will quickly get lost on shelves if you don’t keep them contained. Look for small wicker or plastic bins to hold this type of item.

Store small appliances on lower shelves: It’s easy to have small appliances such as blenders and food processors absorb counter space. Instead, use your lower pantry shelves to store those appliances, keeping them out of the way yet making them easy to grab when you want them.

Use labeled clear airtight bins to store grains and staples: Oxo and other companies make great airtight bins for flour, sugar and cereals. You can use a label maker to print labels or just tape hand-written labels on the fronts of the containers. These are much more efficient in terms of space usage and will keep everything fresher than leaving things in original boxes.

Position a grocery list in your pantry: As you run low on standard pantry items, add them to your list. When you’re ready to go to the store, just add any fresh produce or meat needs and go.

With a little planning, your pantry can be the center of your well-organized and enjoyable kitchen.

Make the Most of your Laundry Room Storage

From the Rancho Mirage model in Oasis at Queen Creek.

From the Rancho Mirage model in Oasis at Queen Creek.

It’s easy to let your laundry room become a catch-all for those things you can’t figure out where to put. Holiday decorations, extra hangers, cleaning supplies and other odds and ends find their way into your laundry room cupboards and before you know it they’re full. Instead of this kind of unintentional use, how about turning your laundry room into a resource for specific types of storage? Here are a few suggestions.

Entertainment Central: Vases and other elements for table centerpieces and buffet decorations could find a convenient place in one or more laundry room cabinets. Add a frog, some pebbles or marbles for helping to stabilize flower arrangements and you’re ready for flower arranging or creating an interesting base for a buffet arrangement. You might add some of your favorite serving pieces and table linens for one-stop-shopping before a party.

Clothes Management: Pins, scissors and your sewing kit can be kept in the laundry room when you need to sew a button on tighter or stitch up a hem that’s coming loose. Stain removers, wrinkle release spray and even fusible sewing tape for any quick fixes can really come in handy when that jacket and skirt that you really wanted to wear needs mending.

Roadtrip Supplies: Cool bags, paper plates, disposable silverware, condiments in little packets, favorite road games and activities can be organized in one place ready to grab when you decide to take a weekend trip. Don’t forget a map or two for the kids to use to follow along where you’re going – reducing although not eliminating the cries of “are we there yet!”

Gift Wrap Center: Wrapping paper, ribbon, tape, scissors and a nice collection of gift cards help you be ready for those last-minute gift needs. Instead of searching through the house for everything you need, keep a special set of supplies in one cabinet just for gifts.

These are four quick ideas for ways to make the most of the storage in your laundry room. What other ideas can you come up with to make your laundry room useful for more than laundry?

Attack Closet Clutter

closet_montage_Ironwood-webAre you finding it hard to keep even the most generous closet you’ve ever had under control? Even if your master closet is as spacious as this one from Ironwood Crossing, it may be time for a serious attack on your clothes clutter. Let’s take this step-by-step so you can take back your closet and stop going crazy every time you step into it.

Step 1: Empty your closet. This may seem foolish, overwhelming, or unnecessary, but you need to start this way to truly make a difference. There are several reasons for this. One is you may find that once your closet is empty, it could do with a cleaning. Clothes can hide a multitude of sins. Vacuum the floor and wipe down the shelves and clothes poles. You’ll start feeling better immediately. Pile your clothes on the bed and put shoes, purses and anything else you find in there on the floor.

Step 2: Remove anything that doesn’t belong in your closet from the room. Did you discover where you hid that birthday present for your daughter that you couldn’t find when you wanted to? Maybe your closet has become a catch-all for books, papers or other items you wanted to stash quickly before company came. Whatever it is, if you don’t want it in your finished closet, get it out of the bedroom.

Step 3: Take each clothing item and honestly decide whether it belongs in your wardrobe. You’ll hear people say that if you haven’t worn something in a year, then it should go. Instead, take a look and decide if you feel attractive and comfortable in it. If the answer is yes, it stays. No and it goes. Try on any clothes or shoes you’re not sure about and take the time to look in the mirror. Would you buy each item again if you saw it in the store? If the answer is no, get rid of it. Check the look of purses, scarves or other accessories. Let go of items that are worn, out of style, or that you’re simply tired of wearing.

Step 4: Create a plan before rehanging your clothes. Do you like to have work clothes in one section and weekend clothes in another? Maybe you want to sort by color or type of fabric. Have you been hanging clothes that would do better folded in a drawer? Figure it out and replace accordingly.

Step 5: Use bins and baskets to sort shelves. Keeping smaller things contained by category will make it easier to stay organized. Shop your own home for likely boxes and other containers before rushing off to the store. You may find some solutions that work well and add a decorative touch to your closet.

Step 6: Add some hooks to the door or a free wall. These can be used for clothes you’ve worn once but that aren’t yet ready for laundering. They’re also handy for scarves and belts. Hooks can help you keep everything off the floor, which makes a closet feel more spacious and workable.

Step 7: Pack up the give-away clothes and get them out of the house immediately. Otherwise you may be tempted to dive in and rescue some items later. Don’t let that happen.

Step 8: Step back and admire your handiwork! This has been quite a job but you now have a closet filled with clothes you love. Be sure to reward yourself for your hard work – maybe by going shopping???