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Overlooked Spring Cleaning Jobs

by Tucker Robbins

Spring cleaning is a time-honored, worldwide tradition of sorts.  For centuries, humans have been opening their windows and doors when the warm weather returns, allowing the long daylight hours inside, and cleaning everything in sight.  Thankfully, we don’t have to wipe through a Winter’s worth of soot-covered furniture and windows, but for many, deep cleaning is a must this time of year.  Some cleaning jobs are obvious, but there may be a few things to add to your list. 

 

In the Kitchen 

  • - Refrigerator coils can gather lots of dust and pet hair, along with spills from the fridge.  Getting the coils cleaned as much as possible can make a difference in how well your refrigerator motor runs.  Check with your appliance’s manufacturer website for the best way to perform this task. 
     

  • - The dishwasher doesn’t get dirty, because it’s a washer, right? While they clean, dishwashers can have greasy build up. With vinegar, baking soda, and a bit of elbow grease, Wikihow shows us how to get the dishwasher itself to help us get it sparkling clean and smelling sweet. 
     

  • - Herbs and spices are often overlooked while cleaning pantry shelves.  McCormickⓇ reports that whole spices last 3-4 years, 2-3 years for ground spices, and herbs have a shorter life of 1-3 years.  Check the freshness date on the container, and if it’s within that time frame, keep it.  If not, throw it away and restock your spice rack. 
     

  • - Don’t neglect the freezer compartment when you’re wiping down the fridge.  A mixture of equal parts of hot water and white vinegar to wipe down the door, seal and inside will take care of the grime, and help with any lingering food odors.  Before you refill the freezer with food, go through it and toss anything that looks freezer burnt. 

 

The Bathroom 

  • - Give your toothbrushes a good clean.  Pour about an inch of antibacterial mouthwash into a cup and soak the bristles in the mouthwash for about five minutes, and rinse. If you use a toothbrush holder, wash it in warm soapy water and allow to air dry before returning the toothbrushes.
     

  • - Bathroom exhaust fans can collect dust like ceiling fans, and the buildup affects how well it exhausts the humidity warm showers cause.  Danny Lipford of Today’s Homeowner has step-by-step instructions for getting your fan clean and running efficiently. 
     

  • - Many of us don’t think of cleaning hair and makeup brushes.  Remove loose hair from hairbrushes and combs, allow them to soak in warm water with some shampoo mixed in, and use an old toothbrush to scrub hairspray build up and body oils and rinse.  Makeup brushes should be soaked, given a lather, then rinsed in cool water.  Air-dry everything on a hand towel. 

 

The Rest of the House 

  • - Light fixtures get grimy and dusty, so covers should be removed after turning off the circuit breaker and washed in warm soapy water then air dried on a thick towel.
      
     

  • - Remove mattresses, vacuuming both sides, and if possible, prop them in the sunlight for a few hours.  The sun’s rays freshen and can kill some germs. When you replace them on the beds, make sure the mattress is flipped and rotated from its original position.   
     

  • - HVAC registers should be vacuumed, using the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner.   

  • - Curtains and blinds collect a lot of dust, but are usually washable, so check the manufacturer’s information before you toss them in the washer or clean them.   
     

  • - Once your deep clean is complete, take care to wash or clean brooms, mop heads and dusters, as this simple move will help your home stay fresher as you do your regular cleaning. 
     

     

Hopefully, the season of Earth coming back to life will encourage you to get everything in your home spic and span.  Spread it out over a few days or weekends, making lists to stay organized and on task, so the job won’t overwhelm you.  Don’t forget to get the family involved!  Once everything is gleaming, you can enjoy the coming months more, knowing your home is clean, and the job is done for another year. 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins

 

Photo credit: housebeautiful.com

Getting Organized on a Budget for New Castle County, DE

by Tucker Robbins

Your dream closet comes complete with drawers, shoe shelves, a complete vanity and a hefty price tag. Other organizational organizing gadgets and pieces can cost quite a bit as well, but there are a multitude of ways to get organized without spending a lot 

 

Closets 

  • - A chain plant hanger is perfect for hanging shirts and blouses to save valuable room.  Chains also come in a variety of sizes and finishes, and is available year-round at most hardware stores. 

  • - Mount a short curtain rod on the inside of the closet door to hang scarves, and use clip-style curtain rings to hang hats and gloves in the Winter. 

  • - Tension rods placed at top and bottom of your closet can extend your hanging space for lighter items, like blouses and shirts. Or add shower curtain hooks to keep purses, scarves or ties handy.  

  • This use of tension rods for shoe storage is awesome and easy! 

  • - A large piece of sturdy wire mesh from a hardware or farm supply store, and even pegboard cut to fit any spare wall space in your closet can be installed virtually flat. S-hooks make perfect hangers awkward-shaped items, and ties and scarves can be stored flat. 

  • - Closet space can vary, and if you’ve already utilized every inch, consider a wardrobe.  Scan online yard sale groups, flea markets and auctions for inexpensive pieces, add some paint to compliment your decor, and you have a custom wardrobe! 

 

In the Kitchen 

  • - A clean egg carton or small muffin tin is perfect for keeping things organized in the catch-all drawer. 

  • - If your cabinets make it hard to find pots and pans that you need, consider hanging them! Pot racks can be made from many things, and if you’re feeling a project coming on, here’s a great DIY pallet rack to try! 

  • - Use inexpensive dollar store baskets in your pantry for pull-out organization of cans, spices and baking items.  The baskets keep them neat, and easy to get to. 

  • - An unused cookie jar is perfect for keeping cooking utensils handy and out of a junky drawer. 

  • - A wall file-holder attached to the inside of a cabinet door is transformed into a plastic container lid holder. 

  • - Mount a long piece of magnetic tape to your backsplash to hold knives and other often-used utensils for easy access. (Make sure the kids can’t reach them, though!) 

 

Bedrooms 

  • - Use a bookshelf as a headboard to create space for books, (obviously), remotes, glasses, morning medicines or display items. 

  • - Under-the-bed storage is essential for seasonal clothes, shoes, toys, old photos--anything you don’t use daily.  Suitcases, old dresser drawers (with adhesive felt or wheels on the bottom), inexpensive plastic storage containers, and vacuum-sealed storage bags make the most of this space. 

  • - Is your makeup kept in a jumbled drawer or cosmetic bag? This DIY magnetic makeup board is a great way to keep it handy and easy to find. 

  • - The kids’ toys can stay better organized by using baskets in bookshelves, open shelving on their level, and benches with storage.  

 

Getting organized is on many New Year resolution lists, and if you’re serious about it, start by decluttering, and using what you can afford or DIY to make it happen.  Putting the home in order can be pretty, practical, and even cheap! 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

Photo credit: care2.com

DIY Home Staging

by Tucker Robbins

You’ve taken the plunge, and put your home on the market.  How do you stage it for potential buyers, and keep it looking great while living your day-to-day? Follow this guide for some practical ideas. 

 

  • 1. Look at your front entry closely. Paint porch rails and columns, and your front door, if necessary. Replace the door, if necessary.  
     

  • 2. Landscaping is extremely important for first impressions--clean out the flowerbeds, put down some new mulch and fresh plants, if the time of year is right. 
     

  • 3. Get rid of clutter and anything that isn’t necessary. Go ahead and pack these things for your potential move so you’ll have one less thing to do when the time comes. 
     

  • 4. Clean out closets, and throw away, give away or store anything that you’re not using or haven’t used in six months. Buyers will look in closets and cabinets to see how much storage is available. 
     

  • 5. Clean, clean, clean.  Your home needs to be spotless, but once it’s done, it’s easy to keep clean for realtor showings.  If you don’t have time, consider hiring a cleaning agency. 
     

  • 6. Using decorative containers to store things that you need while living in your staged home is a great way to hide extra clutter. Totes, benches with storage, and inexpensive shelving with baskets are great ways to hide your can’t-live-without things. 
     

  • 7. Rearranging furniture to make rooms appear larger is a huge plus--even taking out lesser-used pieces makes a big difference in how open your rooms will look.  If you’re unsure of this step, ask your realtor for the name of a decorator who specializes in rearrangement and using what you have to improve the space. 
     

  • 8. If your decor is bold and bright, go ahead and give the walls a fresh coat of neutral paint colors. 
     
     

  • 9. You don’t need to purchase new furniture once you’ve toned down the wall paint--slipcovers are an inexpensive way to make your pieces look like new. 
     

  • 10. Remove personal artwork/photos from your walls and replace with mirrors, inexpensive prints of landscapes or animals.  

 

Once you’re ready for your realtor to schedule showings, give everyone in the house a responsibility schedule, and stick to it.  Be diligent about keeping furniture dusted, floors vacuumed, countertops wiped off, and dishes stashed in the dishwasher. If you just take out an extra twenty minutes every evening or morning, your home will impress your potential buyers. 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/

Tips for Creating a Perfect Kitchen Pantry

by Tucker Robbins

The typical household kitchen pantry is full of items that are needed and some items that may have been in there way too long that are no longer needed or good for that matter.  Perhaps you have tried in the past to clean out your pantry to make it more efficient to no avail.  Below are a few tips for a perfect kitchen pantry that may help you clean and organize yours once and for all.  

 

  1.  The best way to start organizing your pantry is to clean everything out of it and start from the beginning.  It may make a mess at first when you begin taking all of the items out of your pantry but sometimes you have to make a mess in order to get rid of a mess.   Be sure to look through all of your items throwing out anything that is outdated or spoiled.   

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  1. Another tip for a creating a perfect kitchen pantry is to install shelving that makes it more efficient.  You can purchase shelving for your pantry at most local hardware stores or you can build them yourself out of wood, whichever works best for you.   You can make the shelves stationary or you can choose to make them where they will pull out so that you can get things out a bit easier.   

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  1. Putting all your staples such as flower and sugar into air tight containers then labeling them is a great way to organize your pantry and make it more user friendly.  Once you get all of your staple items into containers you can then more easily organize them.   

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  1. Another good tip for creating a perfect kitchen pantry is to use one shelf for each type of food.  For example you can put cereals together all on one shelf,  spices on one shelf and  items that you use daily on a shelf that is eye level.   

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  1. If your pantry is dull and dreary, you can always paint it a light color to brighten it up after you organize it all.   

 

Once you get your kitchen pantry all organized exactly like you want it you will likely want to spend more time in the kitchen creating fantastic meals for your friends and family.   

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

Fung Shui Ideas for Your New Home

by Tucker Robbins

Decorating a new home is a fun process.  Whether or not you are an experienced decorator,  you can look and feel like a pro with the aid of some fung shui.  Below are a few ideas on how to make it work for your new home.  

 

  1. 1. Many folks like to hang mirrors at their entrance way to make the space look larger and more inviting as well.  Be sure to place your mirror on a side wall as you walk in instead of directly across from the door.  This will help with the flow of things as guests enter your house.  They will be able to see themselves and feel welcomed as they arrive as opposed to feeling like they are being pushed out with their own reflection. 

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  1. 2. Another way to make fung shui work for you  is to keep clutter to a minimum.  This is especially true in the bedroom because a bedroom is a place of rest.  If there is a lot of junk all around the room those who spend time there will likely feel a bit disheveled.  If you feel as if you don’t know enough about this topic to do the job right, you can always higher an expert to help get you started in the right direction.   

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  1. 3. Make sure that if you want to have live plants in your home that you place them in areas where folks will be hanging out and spending quality time together.  Try not  to place live plants in areas where sleep takes place such as the bedroom because you need items that give off restfulness.    

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  1. 4. Leaving the toilet lid closed is a great, easy little trick that will help to make everyone who enters your bathroom feel good about the space.    

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  1. 5. Keeping the flooring all one type in the home helps the energy to flow freely.  Try not to use two different types of flooring butted up against one another if you can help it as this will weaken the energy of the home.   

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  2. 6. Be sure to place your bed across from the door to the bedroom or at least at a spot where the door can be easily seen.  This will enhance the comfort level of the room as opposed to putting the bed on the same wall as the door.   

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Fung Shui is fun and interesting and it really does work to help the energy of the home  feel comfortable and welcoming.  

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

Preparing for an Emergency or Natural Disaster

by Tucker Robbins

Nobody enjoys thinking about the possibility of a family emergency or natural disaster, but taking steps to prepare for those possibilities should be a priority.   While not lessening the shock and anguish of an unexpected, tragic situation, being prepared will help you to get your life back in order faster and easier.

One thing to consider is having important paper work organized in an emergency binder .  The binder should contain all the important information about your life.  Think about any paperwork or vital information you would need access to in an emergency, such as:

  • Vital Records
  • copies of birth certificates, adoption records
  • copies of marriage licenses, driver’s licenses and passports
  • copies of all property and auto records – deeds, leases, titles, etc.
  • copies of all property/umbrella insurance policies
  • a list of where off-site and original documents are stored
  • Financial Information
  • list of all bank account numbers
  • copies of front and back of all credit cards
  • list of all investment account numbers
  • list of all retirement/pension account numbers
  • detailed information about current income/benefits
  • detailed information about mortgages/loans
  • Medical Information
  • copies of health/life/disability insurance cards and policies
  • medical history for each family member
  • list of medications and prescriptions, including dose and pharmacy
  • details about any ongoing medical conditions/treatments
  • Contact Information
  • friends and family to reach in case of emergency
  • neighbors who have access to your house
  • financial institutions, insurance companies, legal advisors
  • physicians, specialists, hospitals and other healthcare providers
  • employers and benefit administrators
  • including a family emergency plan in your binder will help you to keep yourself calm and organized during what may be a stressful time

Make sure that your emergency binder is kept in a place where it is easy to get to and that it is easy to carry and that family members are aware of its location.

Secondly, it is a good idea to have a safety deposit box or lock box in which to store your original documents.  This can also be used for storing important computer files and passwords, priceless family photos and valuable jewelry and memorabilia. Include a photo of each member of your family along with fingerprints and dental records.  A home inventory list is also a useful item to have in storage.  Remember that most of the documents in your “Emergency Binder” will be copies.  Originals should be placed in a safety deposit box or lock box for safekeeping.

Whether it’s a family emergency or a natural disaster, tragic events almost always leave people feeling blindsided.  Preparing in advance will help ease the feelings of being overwhelmed and panicked as you put your life back in order.  So, set aside a day to put together your emergency binder to help protect your family now!

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

Organizing Your Home Made Simple

by Tucker Robbins

organizing

As the seasons change many people find that they like to get things around their home organized to make the transition seem smoother.  Organizing your home can be made simple with a few of the following tips. 

  1. One way to organize your home is to get rid of “junk drawers” throughout the house. Many times folks tend to throw things they don’t know what to do with into a drawer that soon becomes a drawer full of junk. While these drawers DO keep the junk out of the eye of those that come to visit, you just never know when someone may open one of them looking for utensils or other useful items and you may be embarrassed by them.  Simple fix…..throw out the junk once and for all and have no more junk drawers in your home!
  2. Another great and simple way to organize your home   is to organize and de-clutter your pantry.  Typically there are items in your pantry that you haven’t used in years and they end up just sitting there taking up space.  This is very true for old canned food items that tend to have a shelf life of forever.   Once you get this simple organizing of your pantry complete, be sure not to let it get messy again by throwing away things you don’t use periodically. 
  3. Yet another simple way to organize your home  is to use all of your closet space for things you will actually use instead of just getting things out of the way.   If you have a lot of games for example why not make a game closet just for the purpose of storing all of your family games.  This type of closet will make it more likely that your family may have a game night once a week because you will know exactly where to go to find the games. 
  4. Keeping all of the books in the house in one spot is another great organization tip.  If you have various bookshelves in your home, you can utilize them for other purposes and keep one for only books.  Organize each shelf for books from each family member if you have a lot of books. 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.

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Photo of Tucker Robbins Real Estate
Tucker Robbins
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
3838 Kennett Pike
Wilmington DE 19807
(302) 777-7744 (direct)