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11 Key Habits of an Organized Lifestyle

11 Key Habits of an Organized Lifestyle

Organizing Is A Lifestyle

Many say they need to become more organized, especially each January. Some will even call an Organizer. However, those unwilling to adopt new habits will always struggle with clutter. No matter how easy or difficult that initial push to get the home in top shape might be. That is just a start. Without maintenance, that initial organization is just a waste of time and money. Organizing is not a project; it is a lifestyle.

Some Wisdom

So, here are bits and pieces of wise advice. These will make a big difference in your home and how you live when put together.

1. Make The Bed Every Morning

Making your bed makes the room feel in order and makes you feel accomplishment from the time you get up. In addition, this action helps you face the date with a can-do attitude.

2. Keep A Donation Bag In Each Closet

Having a bag for things you no longer need or want allows you to make those decisions when you think about them. You will have a designated place for these items and won’t need to remember to gather them later. When the bag is full, schedule a donation run. The moment you put on a piece of clothing that you feel is no longer suitable or is ripped or screams dated, instead of hanging the clothing back (or God forbid, throw it on the bed or a chair), you will place that item in the bag.

3. Create A Home For Everything In Your House

You will decide where things should go based on their use pattern in the home. The important thing is to assign one specific place to each category of items, preferably. If using an item requires storing it in more than one space, formally set those spaces up. Also, labeling storage areas allows everyone to know where to put things back. Finally, remember that If anything can go anywhere, everything will go everywhere. 

4. Put Things Back In Their Place

To maintain an organized home, everyone must put things back where they belong every time. Hence the importance of labeling spaces until everyone knows the proper place of things. “I will put this here for the moment” does not work. It never has. It never will.

5. Shop Intentionally

The words “free,” “save,” and “discount” act like a drug on the brain. Please don’t fall for it. Before you buy, ask yourself if you need the item and have the space to store it. If not, please walk away. The less you own, the more living area you enjoy in your own home, and the less you have to take care of.

6. Remove Extra Packaging 

When bringing home bags or boxes, remove the contents and strip those items of outer packing as much as possible. That is making the stuff truly yours. It also makes the item(s) ready to be organized within your home. This process is a critical step we follow when organizing a space. You want to have everything as visible and ready to be used as possible. Removing all unnecessary packaging also saves lots of space and makes all items of the same kind look the same. The more homogeneous your collection, the more functional the system is and the prettier your areas look.

7. Discard Trash At Once

Entertained garbage makes up for most of the clutter in every household. If you commit to removing the packaging of what you bring home, then go the distance and trash the garbage instead of allowing all the extra packing to linger around your home until who knows when. 

8. Process Mail Efficiently

Keep a recycle bin, a shredder, and a tray or sorter to process the mail. Preferably have your filing cabinet where you process the mail. Most of the mail you receive is junk. Throw it away before it can clutter your home. Also, be a knowledgeable shredder; only those documents with account numbers, social security numbers, medical information, or bank offers need to be shredded. Having a shredder right where you sort the mail allows you to take care of this immediately. Too often, I find boxes full of documents that need shredding cluttering my clients’ lives. Over concerns about safety compounds the problem. When we do not know what we should destroy, we accumulate more paper over time. Also, it is critical to have a mail sorting and filing system that works for you. This way, you process bills on time, and things needing filing won’t float around the home. Every piece of paper to keep needs a file.

9. Plan Ahead

Take a few minutes to prepare for the next day at the end of each day. Evaluate your “to do” list and set out everything you need to go through your planned errands the next day.

10. Practice Strategic Scheduling 

Scheduling is logistics 101. College business programs include courses on administration and logistics, with algorithms to determine the optimal sequence of events to complete a project or the most efficient routes to get around. Of course, you don’t need to go to such an extent, but you can gain significant efficiency and add more time to each day with some planning ahead.

11. Clean Out Bags Daily

Whether it is your handbag, weekender, kids’ sports bags, or suitcases, emptying the contents of all bags allows you to assess what needs replacement, needs to be washed, trashed, or placed somewhere else. This practice is particularly beneficial in helping you plan for the following day or week. If you are a paper kind of person and love to write little reminders and notes to yourself throughout the day, emptying your bag consistently helps you remember that idea you wanted to pursue. Those reminders might be the start of more significant plans in the scope of your life.

Consistency Is Key

These 11 steps might not seem like much, but when combined and executed consistently, they will show a big difference in your life.

The Grass Is Greener?

The Grass Is Greener?

I think we can all agree we like this picture.

What would this place look like with dirty dishes on the counter, some lights burned out or mixed colors, plastic wraps and carton boxes on chairs, the trashcan is overflown, and toiletry items on the counters? Magic gone!

I like featuring beautiful interiors and exciting buildings on my feed to get my viewers in touch with their aspirational beings.

It does not matter what you own or how expensive your home is. No design or expensive stuff will ever stand out in a dirty and cluttered space.

Who doesn’t like a hotel room? We like hotel rooms because they represent a new place, and the experience is out of our routine. But I’d bet the neatness and simplicity of a hotel room have a lot to do with how we experience that space. That neatness and simplicity is no accident – it is by design.

Think about the magic that a staged model home exerts. Yet, even if you purchased that same model home you liked so much, as soon as those disjointed, mixed-up boxes arrived on moving day, the magic would be gone before you could realize what happened.

The thing is that no matter where you live or what you own, it is possible to have a place that excites you to gasp. You can be in love with your own home! It takes attention and intention.

Yet, many miss this opportunity, taking their own home for granted. They stop paying attention to details; forget to repair broken items; use their home as storage space (instead of living space). When we stop paying attention to our environment and what we keep, clutter creeps up. This happens as a result of living mindlessly. And it is easier to get to that point when we have so much stuff that we can no longer pay attention to anything. Nothing seems unique anymore. Consequently, we turn blind to mess and beauty alike.

That makes me think of family relationships; after some years of marriage, some people start taking their partners for granted, stop trying, get bored, and don’t care. What if we tried to keep the magic alive?

Is the grass greener elsewhere? I don’t think so. So, keep your grass green and enjoy it.

For The Love Of Dogs

For The Love Of Dogs

Let’s discuss some aspects of caring for, living with, and loving a dog that sometimes even dog owners ignore.

If you know me or if we have worked together reclaiming your space, then you know I love animals more than words can express. In particular, I adore dogs.

When working with a new client with dogs, I make sure those little ones have an adequate, clean, and comfy place to sleep (I will celebrate big if I hear they sleep on the bed!).

I will note where they eat and drink, and inquire about (and observe) the type of relationship my clients have with their pups. It’s in my nature to look out for these defenseless, loving beings.

Many never notice when I clean their companions’ bowls and feed them fresh food from their pantry and serve them fresh water. I try to be discrete to avoid my fellow humans from feeling self-conscious.

But today I’d like to address a couple of things about living with dogs. I might ruffle some feathers, but I am not apologizing for that — not this time.

Dogs deserve all our love, compassion, and more! As humans, we owe them big. Dogs, as we know them, did not exist in nature. We created them by domesticating their wild ancestors. We created this type of creature that depends on us. It would be absurd to turn our backs on them by neglecting their complex needs. Dogs are intelligent, sentient, social beings, and many times caring for them with “just the basics” won’t do.

Why do you “own” dogs? If the answer is purely utilitarian, please look for a loving, deserving family for them. Dogs love and need love. They are much better than us at seeing through our intentions and feelings. Dogs know when they are not loved. That can break a dog’s heart and spirit. So, if you have dogs but do not love them — truly love them, do yourself and the dogs a favor and rehome them asap.

Now, continue reading if you have dogs because you truly love and respect them. I have some pointers on behalf of my canine friends that might not be the usual things we think about.

Safety First

Microchip your dog(s) and keep the national registry updated about pertinent changes like moving (duh!). Don’t forget to register them in all possible national registries. This will substantially increase the chances of finding your furry babies if they ever get lost. There is no point in using the technology if you will drop the ball by not keeping their registries up to date.

Create a name tag with your phone number and address (not the vet’s) for the dog’s collar. In case the dog gets lost, it is easier to reunite him with the owners if he has a tag on the collar with the home number, given that the vet’s office is not open 24/7.

It is important to have that tag. Not everyone will be willing or able to take the dog to a place to scan the microchip. And, as I learned the hard way once (happy ending, though!), not all places have scanners that can read all kinds of microchips.

If your animal sleeps in the room with you and the metal sound of their ID plate bothers you, consider following a routine to remove the collar last thing before going to be and putting it back on first thing in the morning.

Adopt, Do Not Buy!

Millions of animals need a good home out there! Don’t pay hundreds of dollars for an animal when so much love dies every day in shelters! Dogs get depressed and heartbroken in those places. They know why they are there. They feel the rejection and void in their hearts. Ironically, these are the most grateful, intelligent, and graceful creatures you will ever find.

Besides, whenever money is involved with animals, inevitably unscrupulous behavior follows at some point. Nothing good ever comes from seeing animals in terms of dollars and cents. If you only knew the horrors these animals go through in places like puppy mills (that supply pet shops), you would absolutely consider adopting instead of buying.

Spay or Neuter

Be a responsible owner and spay or neuter your dogs. Unless you are in the breeding industry (which by now should be banned altogether, given the overpopulation of wonderful dogs in shelters that can’t find a loving home to no fault of their own), your dogs should be sterilized to avoid problems and heartaches when you have to deal with a litter of puppies. Chances are puppies will end up in houses where they are less than cherished, especially if the owners of these puppies did not have to pay a hefty price for them.

Adequate Shelter

If you have chosen to share your home with an animal, then be kind. Animals deserve so much better from us. They did not choose to be your pet. You did.

Do not get a dog and then just ignore him or leave him outside. They have socialization needs, strong feelings, and they too feel the heat and the cold. The “house dog” is okay for cartoons and stories (perhaps) but it does not make the cut in real life.

Kenneling

If you decide to leave your dog(s) kenneled when you are not home, please ensure that the kennel has adequate ventilation and that the dog has access to clean water. There are water bottles for kennels that work with gravity and water demand as the dog drinks. These eliminate the mess.

Keep in mind that the dog will do his best to avoid soiling the kennel, but do not push their limits or abuse their good nature and respect for you. You don’t want their bladder to explode or the dog to be in pain. Keep in mind that you have a dog at home that has been kenneled all day. Either go home at the usual time and allow them to go potty or make arrangements with a neighbor or paid service to walk the dog at some time during your absence.

Ensure the kennel has a soft surface for the dog to rest on. Get a kennel cushion or place a couple of plush (clean) towels inside the kennel.

Find a good location for the kennel. Avoid direct sunlight or dangerous spaces with access to electrical cables, for example. When the kennel is in a space with a fan and/or windows, leave the fan on and leave window blinds or shutters open for the dog to enjoy natural light. It is best not to cover the kennel with towels or blankets. The dog enjoys seeing the surroundings. Maybe leave the tv on or the radio at low volume for entertainment? Consider also leaving a chew toy inside the kennel.

When the dog is very young and/or getting used to living in your home, leave a piece of clothing or bedding with your scent.

By the way, a kennel that is the appropriate size allows the dog to stand upright and move around. Ensure the kennel is the correct size for your dog. Can you imagine spending your days in a cage where you can’t even stretch your legs? That is a form of torture (and even then, the dog still loves you. Dang!)

Cleanliness

Some breeds are supposed to skip bathing (or so I’ve heard — like the puli dog). Even if your dog does not share your bed, please bathe them from time to time, groom them, clip their nails, express their anal glands (yep, that too!). Don’t want to do this yourself? Hire a grooming service. Don’t have the resources for that and don’t want to do it yourself? Don’t have a dog!

I have heard many times “we don’t want the dog inside because he smells”. And who’s fault is that? I bet you would smell ten times worse than any dog if you stop showering for several weeks.

Even when bathing your animals regularly, homes with pets tend to develop strong odors when proper hygiene is not followed. Wash their beds and clean their quarters as often as possible. Make this part of your cleaning routine (as in schedule it!)

Walking The Dog

Smile, for God’s sake! I can’t tell you the many times I have crossed paths with people walking their dogs that look so miserable and act so anti-socially that they don’t even answer a “hello.” Keep in mind that it is your privilege to be in the company of such a magnificent creature and that he loves you! If this thought does not make you smile, read again the seventh paragraph above.

Allow your dog to sniff around. What is the purpose of walking your dog if you will be pulling him by the leash, even hurting them, when all they want is to “read the news”? Smells are to a dog like Facebook or Instagram is to you. That is how they know who is around and what is happening. This might be the only socialization the dog will get in his entire day!

Consider using a harness instead of latching the leash to the dog’s collar. When the dog pulls away or if you pull the dog, the collar hurts tender tendons in the neck. This kind of injury can be serious. And speaking of leashes, avoid those retractable ones. So many instances have been documented of those leashes causing severe injuries both to dogs and humans alike!

Food And Water

Your dog’s bowls should be thoroughly cleaned daily with soap and water. It does not matter that you only feed your furry friends dry food. If your dog eats wet or raw food, it is important that you adhere to a schedule, so that you remove and discard leftovers and wash the bowls after every feeding.

When it comes to the water dish, it is not just a matter of replenishing the water. Every time a dog drinks water from a bowl, the saliva goes into it, and mixed with the water, it creates a slimy film in the bowl. Let’s keep those bowls squeaky clean, and grant them constant access to fresh, abundant water.

For medium or large dog breeds, consider a raised feeder for their bowls. It is hard for taller dogs to eat or drink from a bowl on the floor. These raised feeders also help their digestion, given the better way they eat their food.

Avoid human food. Yes, to human-grade food for dogs, but the food should be prepared according to their special needs and calibrated in composition and caloric value. Absolutely no giving dogs your chicken bones and things like that. Some dogs might behave as if they were garbage disposals. Please keep in mind that they are not. Avoid feeding them the family’s leftovers, and much less, the food that has spoiled in your fridge. You and the dog will both pay for awful consequences.

If your pup eats dry food, consider transferring the food to a sealed plastic container and place this container in your pantry (floor level). Food will remain clean and fresh this way. You will easily know when to buy more, and the food will be accessible and easy to serve. Do not keep their dry food open bag in the garage!

Zzzzzz

Hopefully, your dog has a comfortable bed of his own or at least a comfy, cozy corner to sleep in and feel safe. Wash the bed at least every month. If the bed has a removable cover, even easier! If the corner where the dog sleeps is made of blankets or even towels, wash all that stuff regularly. Dogs need a clean place too!

Invest In Training

Better to have a trained dog than to spend the few years he lives with us yelling at the poor creature when he does the wrong thing. Dogs are intelligent creatures. It is us, humans that are inconsistent and impatient with them. How are they supposed to learn when they are not properly shown what is expected of them? (But then again, we all know some people should have taken IQ tests prior to having human children!)

Keep Them Healthy

Vet care

The least you can do for your dog is to ensure that he has an annual checkup with the vet to receive their shots and, at minimum, one thorough dental cleaning per year. Bacteria from the gums can easily affect the heart of a dog.

Of course, every time the dog looks or acts strangely, you should take them to the vet to ensure his wellbeing.

Prevent Heartworms

Do not forget the heartworm medication every single month. It is very sad to see a dog suffering from heartworms when this is easily avoidable.

Treat those fleas!

Can you imagine what the dog goes through living with an infestation of fleas 24/7? Well, don’t treat the fleas, and you won’t have to imagine it for long. Enough said!

Preparing For A New Baby

Put that baby blanket to good use

Before bringing your new baby home, allow the dog to familiarize himself with the baby’s scent. Bring a blanket that has been used by the baby at the hospital and place it in the dog’s kennel or bed. The reception of your baby by your furry friend will be much different.

Don’t break the dog’s heart!

Please do not neglect your dog or feel you have to keep the dog out now that you have a baby. That is a sure way to break a dog’s heart and to create resentment towards your baby. Dogs are (or should be) part of the family. They naturally bond with babies and love caring for them! If you feel you do not have enough love to share now that you have a child, find a loving family that does not feel that way. The dog deserves it!

Engage a trainer early on

Consider engaging a trainer before the baby is born (for the dog, that is!). A trainer can help you and the dog work on walks with a stroller and many other foreseeable situations with the baby you might want to be ready for. This will considerably decrease any stress that might arise from bringing home the newest member of the family. Especially, work on barking at the door and greeting visitors. These are two areas where big challenges arise upon bringing a new baby to a home with dogs.

Dogs and Kids

Dogs and kids are a great combination only when the children have learned to respect the dog.

Some people think it is quite funny or speaks highly of the dog when their children do all kinds of things to their dog, and the dog does not bite or snarl. This only speaks highly of the person’s stupidity, I’m afraid. They are pushing their dogs’ limits, potentially creating a dangerous situation for both child and dog. The dog is being harmed, abused, or at least disrespected. Adults model a terrible example for their children this way.

Children need to learn, early in life, that dogs need to be respected and cherished, and that is why the dog shares the home with the family. What part of this is funny or should make the dog owner proud? I do not have a frigging idea!

Things We Do That Dogs Hate

Play dress-up with the dog

Think it is so cute and funny to dress up your dog for Halloween or whatever other occasion? Newsflash! they do not share your views on this. Do not do this ridiculous thing! Dogs don’t like the feel, and they do know how stupid they look.

Face to face dog loving

Do not love your dog by placing your face in front of theirs. They hate it! They might tolerate it because it is you, and they love you and do not want to disappoint you. But they do not like this a bit.

Leaving dogs outside

Some dogs are suited for cold climates, but others are not. If it is cold to you and your dog is not a furry snow beast (like our Great Pyrenees), consider getting them a size-appropriate jacket for those moments when there is no other option than going outside. Do not presume that being dogs and having fur is automatic protection. This is one of those moments when your dog won’t be bothered being dressed.

If your dog lives/sleeps outside, unless this is clearly their preference (some breeds are like that), bring them inside! They are part of the family. If you do not think a dog’s place is inside the home, again, DO NOT HAVE A DOG! It is a crime in most states to leave a dog outside when it is too hot or too cold. There is a reason for that — it is an aberrant act of cruelty!

Shaving dogs in the Summer

The dog’s fur not only protects him against the cold but also insulates him in the heat. Some people think they are doing their dog a favor by shaving off the hair when it is too hot out there. This makes the dog lose the protection he naturally has against the heat. Unless the dog is very matted and there is no better solution than to shave off the hair, do not do such a thing!

Final Thoughts

Do not ignore your dog(s). They look for eye contact as a reassurance of your love. Please look at them, smile at them, talk to them. Often. Tomographies taken of the dog’s brain show that when a dog sees his beloved human, the brain lights up in the same manner the human brain behaves in the presence of a loved one.

Whoever abandons an old dog because he has become an inconvenience or no longer as much fun as they used to be, deserves the same treatment by their own children. In neglecting or rejecting an older dog, that is the lesson they are teaching their own children. So, wait for it — Karma is a bitch and is coming for you one of these days.

If you have the privilege of sharing your home with an animal, then honor that. Honor them! Don’t consider that a privilege? Then allow someone else to give those creatures the love, happiness, care, and honor they deserve.

For the love of dogs!

7 Steps To Ease Your Pill Pain

7 Steps To Ease Your Pill Pain

Let’s Simplify Pill Management

Whether you are a caregiver to an elderly person, a parent of a child with health issues, an individual that takes multiple vitamins and supplements to stay healthy, or a mother managing a household full of individuals with diverse conditions, you might find that administering pills can become almost a full-time job. You can consider the job successful if half the time the pills are not forgotten.

I’d like to share what can simplify your process and increase consistency in the taking of meds and supplements for everyone in the home.  The secret is the pillbox!

What You Need

 Here are some tools you might need for this process.

  • Pillboxes with AM, Noon, PM, and Bedtime options (find them at your favorite pharmacy or Amazon). This is a fantastic option!
  • Label maker (optional)
  • Sharpie
  • Medium to large plastic bin or container (these Multi-Purpose bins work wonders, as well as my favorite plastic box ever created).

Devote 30 minutes to this task on a weekly basis. Make it a commitment and calendar this activity!

The Steps

  1. Place all prescribed and OTC meds and supplements that household members regularly take in the plastic bin or tote. The container size will be determined by the amount and size of the bottles of meds on hand. This step is only followed the first time because this bin will be the new forever home of all ingestible medicines in the home. Use a second plastic tote or bin for all OTC medicines that are NOT taken regularly (like cough syrup, pain killers, allergy medicine, etc.)
  2. With the label maker or sharpie, write each person’s name or initial, and med intake frequency on each bottle lid. For example, “M 1-am/2-pm” indicates that person “M” takes one of those pills in the morning and two in the evening. Repeat this process with all bottles so they are easy to identify by looking at them from the top inside the bin.
  3. With the label maker or sharpie, label each side of each pillbox with the name of the person taking the meds/supplements from that box. Assign a pillbox to each person taking any medicine and/or supplement on a regular basis.
  4. Line all pillboxes on your counter or table and open their lids
  5. Select all bottles pertaining to one person and place in their pillbox all medication and supplements that person takes, according to the timing and dosage needed. Alternatively, you might prefer to work with one product at a time. In this case, distribute that medication into the pillboxes of everyone that takes that product.
  6. Repeat the process for each person (if working by the person) or for each med bottle (if working by the product).
  7. Close pill box lids when all medication is complete on each box.

Where and Why

Ingestible medicines and supplements are best kept in the kitchen, not in the bathroom. The humidity of the bathroom affects their power. It also makes sense to keep medication and supplements in the kitchen because we ingest these usually with water or another beverage. The optimal place for pillboxes once prepared and the bin with all product bottles is a section in the pantry or a cabinet in the kitchen.

On the other hand, things we apply to our skin, hair, teeth, or nails go in the bathroom. Included in this group are things like rubbing alcohol, H2O2, antibiotic creams, muscle pain patches, cotton, gauze, bandages, and the like.

It is simpler to take medications and supplements when we do not need to sort the product, open several bottles, and make the same decisions over and over, several times per day. It makes sense to streamline this process.

When medicines and supplements are in one single place in the home, it is easier to find what we need at any given moment. It also facilitates knowing what should be reordered, and when.  Also, it makes it less probable to have several bottles of the same product open at once, with some of those bottles half empty.

The best thing about this process is its inherent accountability – we can easily see who did not take their supplements or medicines and when just by looking at the pillbox. Thus, this system also increases the consistency with which medications are taken.

Make It Happen

Hopefully, these five steps described above will make it easier for everyone to consistently take their meds and supplements. But to make it happen:

  • Devote 30 minutes to this task on a weekly basis
  • Place this activity on the calendar as a recurrent, weekly activity
  • Make it a commitment

 

Pro-Tip: Consolidate medicine when it arrives at your home. Usually, medication bottles come half empty. There is no reason to have several half-empty bottles of the same product. This includes medication already in use. Oftentimes we have several open bottles of the same product. This takes a lot of space but also leads to expired medication around the home.

Some Clutter Truths

Some Clutter Truths

Imagine a beautiful store window. But then you can’t focus on any particular item in it.

Think of a beautiful And then clutter covers countertops, cabinets are packed to the brim, and there are boxes all over the place.

Visualize a hotel room with a closet full of empty wire hangers, every inch of the walls has some artwork or painting, blankets (with prints of all colors and different types) are folded on the bed, and bathroom cabinets are full of toiletries to last for three months (with daily use).

What if showroom was full of mismatched hangers, many pieces of clothing on top of each other, and store supplies boxes under the clothes?

The above scenarios convey the following truths about clutter:

  • We can’t organize clutter
    • We can’t organize clutter
    • A cluttered place will never look elegant, inviting, organized, or appealing
    • Clutter will ruin the beauty in any space
    • Clear space is to a home what a wide, white mat is to a work of art – It highlights the beauty of its surroundings

We often find it hard to let go of things we no longer need or want. This difficulty might come from something when we need it (if we ever need it). But we often don’t even know what we own and end up buying duplicates anyway!

Other times we think discarding some expensive item is throwing money away. But the money was spent when buying that thing, not when tossing it—keeping expensive things that we no longer want, will not bring the money back. And frequently, keeping those things costs us more money than letting those items go.

In the meantime, the fear of letting go holds us hostage to a cluttered environment – a home in disarray and chaos. Whether we notice it or not, our life energy gets sucked into a tornado of . And the cluttered space prevents us from enjoying the things we do keep. When everything seems unique, then nothing really is.

I invite you to take the plunge and free yourself of useless possessions. Re-evaluate your relationship with things. The less we own, the easier it is to keep up with what we have, and the more we start appreciating everything – material possessions or otherwise.

I can partner with you on this journey!

20 Easy DIY Home Projects to Spruce up Your Space

20 Easy DIY Home Projects to Spruce up Your Space

Is spending so much time inside making you go stir-crazy? Well with life outside seemingly on hold, this may be the perfect opportunity to make a few easy home improvements to transform your house into a nicer and more refreshed place to spend your days. From adding a pop of color to your front door to cleaning out your closet, here are 20 DIY home projects you can tackle to spruce up your space while you’re hunkered down.

green front door - 20 Easy DIY Home Projects to Spruce up Your Space

Put leftover paint to use

Many of us probably have an extra can or two of paint lying around. So why not use it to add some pizzazz and depth to your rooms with these DIY home projects.

1. Give your cabinets a makeover

Painting kitchen cabinets a fresh new color is a fantastic way to completely transform your kitchen. If you tend to be more adventurous when it comes to color, your cabinets are a great place to have some fun. If you already have a lot of color in the room or if the space doesn’t have much light, it’s best to go with white or neutral cabinets.

2. Make your mailbox the star of your front yard

Your mailbox is one of the first things people see when they pull into your driveway, so why not give your visitors a great first impression. Whether you live in a ranch-style house in Phoenix, AZ or you just bought a craftsman style  home in Portland , OR, you can instantly boost your curb appeal by adding a fresh, vivid coat of paint to your mailbox.

3. Add a pop of color to your front door

Changing out your front door can be expensive, so painting your exterior door is an easy way to give the front of your home a makeover and also save some money in the process. Painting the inside of your front door is also a fun way to add a bold pop of color and some character into your home.

4. Give new life to old furniture

If the paint is chipped or wear and tear has gotten the best of some of your older furniture, a quick paint job can give it a new life. Transform a dated (but functional) dresser, nightstand, or bookshelf with this fun DIY project for a fraction of the cost it takes to replace it.

bookshelf - 20 Easy DIY Home Projects to Spruce up Your Space

Clear the clutter

Getting organized can feel like a major undertaking, which is probably why a lot of us tend to put it off, and then put it off again and again. But since you can’t go anywhere, you might as well spend a morning or afternoon tackling the clutter you typically ignore.

5. Maximize the utility of unused corners with shelving

Running out of storage space? It’s time to finally make use of the corners in your rooms. Installing floating shelves is one of many DIY home projects you can try to create more space. It’s a simple way to spruce up your wall decor while adding more storage in your home.

6. Clean closets

Chances are, you’ve opened up your closet and grabbed one of the same few items since spending most of your time indoors lately. Now’s the time to carefully clean out your closet and decide what you really need from those you haven’t touched in a few years. Start by taking every item out, setting aside the items you don’t need, and cleaning the inside of the closet. If you’re organizing a closet full of clothes, sort clothes into piles by season. Put clothes that you’re not currently using in the back of the closet, like that holiday sweater. Keep frequently used items in the front for easy access.

7. Organize photos

In a digital age, it’s likely that most of us have our photos stored online. But for those that still have hundreds of photos stored away in boxes, now’s the time to organize them. Start by grouping photos by date or event. Use leftover flashcards or cut up pieces of printer paper as an easy way to separate groups of photos in boxes. If you already keep your photos organized, think about digitizing them. You can use Google’s PhotoScan app to scan old prints and upload them. Organize your photos online into albums to better keep track of them and finally find that picture of your puppy when someone asks.

8. Rearrange bookshelves

Bookshelves may not initially come to mind when organizing, but they can easily make a space feel brand new. Think about taking some of the books you’ve got hiding away in a back closet and swap them with the current selection on your bookshelf. Wondering what to do with that collectible mug? Add it to your bookshelf for a fresh take on your decor. Best of all, it’s a free way to change up your space.

9. Tackle under-sink storage

The last place you probably think to organize is under your sink. From the bathroom to the kitchen, it’s likely filled with near-empty cleaners, dishwashing soap, or even makeup wipes. Set aside 10 minutes to toss out those old household supplies, instantly freeing up space to make way for all that hand-soap and disinfectant you just bought.

10. Organize your pantry

You may or may not have months’ worth of groceries in your kitchen right now. Before things get too cluttered, take this time to reorganize your pantry – move things around to maximize space, group like items together, and throw away expired items. You may want to break down the work into smaller parts to avoid being overwhelmed. For example, instead of cleaning out the entire pantry, just do one shelf or area at a time. It will be so refreshing to see the pantry all neat and tidy with everything in its place.

light fixtures - 20 Easy DIY Home Projects to Spruce up Your Space

Transform your space with lighting

Nothing can change the look and feel of a room quite like choosing the right lighting. The perfect lighting can lift your spirits and make your home a more comfortable place to spend time.

11. Replace your lightbulbs

If you have a few extra light bulbs lying around, go from room-to-room and replace any that are burned out. You can also completely change the ambiance in your home simply by replacing any harsh white bulbs with calming yellow ones.

12. Switch up lamp shades

Lamps are commonly overlooked in the design of a home, but they add a lot of character and style to a room. So take a look at the shades on each of your lamps. If you have a similar size lamp in another room, swap the shades to give your space a new feel. You can also update a boring old lampshade with a few DIY home projects such as adding fun print or pattern, or a coat of paint.

clean bathroom - 20 Easy DIY Home Projects to Spruce up Your Space

Tackle those forgotten about cleaning projects
Since you’re spending so much time inside, you’re probably noticing all of the overlooked cleaning projects around the house. If you tackle them now, you’ll be rewarded with a living space that feels brighter and refreshed.

13. Restore rugs and carpets

By now, you’ve probably noticed that your carpets and rugs might not be in the same state they were when you moved in or had them replaced. Maybe you don’t even remember the last time they were properly cleaned. Even if you can’t hire a professional to clean your carpets, you can likely rent a carpet cleaner from your local hardware store or carpet cleaning company.

14. Clean under your bed

When was the last time you looked, let alone cleaned under your bed? This is one of those DIY home projects that everyone needs to tackle. The space under your bed is a breeding ground for everything from dust to forgotten items. If you use the space under your bed for storage, like seasonal clothes or extra bedding, make sure you’ve stored those items in vacuum-sealed bags to prevent moisture and mold buildup. Bed skirts also collect dust so throw those in the wash while you’re busy vacuuming underneath.

15. Refresh tile grout

Refresh your entire bathroom by cleaning and brightening your tile grout. Cleaning grout requires two things: a grout brush or sponge and a suitable cleaner. While there are plenty of store-bought grout cleaners available, it is just as easy to do this with ingredients you already have on hand, such as vinegar and baking soda.

16. Pressure wash your home’s exterior

Get some fresh air and restore your home to its former beauty by pressure washing the exterior of your house and hardscape areas. You can even bring back to life patio furniture and cushions.

17. Deep clean the refrigerator

With the extra groceries you’ve probably bought lately, it’s time for a refrigerator clean. First things first, throw out any leftover takeout or expired items. When cleaning your refrigerator, use a surface-safe all-purpose cleaner for the exterior and warmer soapy water for the interior. Be sure to wipe down surfaces before putting your items back inside. Keeping similar items grouped together when refilling your fridge will make finding your favorite condiment or coffee creamer easier to find.

wall art - 20 Easy DIY Home Projects to Spruce up Your Space

Rethink your wall design

Redoing your wall design is a fast way to transform the look of your living room, bedroom, or really any space in your house.

18. Rearrange or hang up a gallery wall

If you’ve always wanted to try to create the perfect gallery wall, this is the time to go for it. If you already have one, change it up to revive the space. Try pieces here and there: a new mix-up might surprise you and showcase your photos and art in an entirely new light.

19. Use empty frames

Go through the house, pull out any empty frames and put them to good use. Dust off those old photographs and display them proudly or find some printable art online. Hang your frames throughout your home or place them on tables, dressers, and desks.

20. Put old fabric swatches to use

When we think of fabric, we usually think of curtains, linens, or pillows, but there are plenty of DIY home projects you can do to turn a basic piece of fabric into a statement piece of wall art. So dig up any fabric swatches that you have laying around the house and put them to use. You can wrap the fabric around a canvas, hang it in a frame, and much more, letting your creativity soar.

Originally published by Redfin