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

Make This Time Count

Make This Time Count

During this time of social distancing and quarantine, many have a hard time sharing limited space with other household members. In times like these, clutter and lack of systems and productivity seem to hit us harder.

Personally, I have discovered a new joy being around my husband and children. For the most part, we have been able to create a productive and harmonious environment. One of my children even reported being able to understand mathematical concepts she was struggling with and new concepts seem easier to grasp. And I don’t need to mention how ecstatic our dog is with this at-home arrangement.

Thriving under these new conditions might require adjustments of all kind for most of us. Change can be very positive, depending on how we react to it.

Here is a list of things that might help us enjoy this new way of co-existing and making the best of the situation. I have previously discussed some of these ideas in different contexts, like those referring to cleaning and decluttering. But these ideas take center stage now. While cohabitating under one roof, details that seemed menial about our space might seem much bigger now and will bother us much more.

Keep it clutter free and clean

• Strategically place boxes of tissue throughout the house.

• Have antibacterial soap or sanitizer on every sink.

• Wash towels more often than usual. Especially that kitchen towel that everyone uses. Kitchen towels should probably be changed daily, to minimize the spread of germs.

• Handle your incoming mail daily, rapidly, and efficiently. The last thing you need is more paper clutter around your home at this time.

• Take 15 minutes at the beginning of each day to put the house in order. Specifically, these three things will make an enormous difference in how everyone perceives the space: clean counters, vacuum floors/carpets, and open-up shades/curtains to let the sunshine in.

• Gather dirty dishes and utensils inside the dishwasher throughout the day, so counters remain clear. This requires putting away clean dishes every night before bedtime or first thing in the morning, so the day starts with an empty dishwasher.

• Get caught up with your laundry as soon as possible. Laundry is often the nemesis of many households. You don’t need the added clutter right now. If you feel this is a weak point for you, here’s my blog about this topic to help you with this: https://myspacereclaimed.com/2018/01/09/there-should-never-be-any-clothes-in-your-laundry-room-wait-what/

Embrace a positive attitude

• Make beds every day. This gives you a sense of accomplishment to start your day.

• Get dressed as if you were going to work or school. The temptation to stay in your PJs is big, but if you get dressed, this will show in your demeanor on the phone as well as all those FaceTime calls and medical tele-visits we are all having these days.

Enjoy family time

• Go on walks outside with the family.

• Take breaks together, so you can watch a movie or play boardgames as a family (welcome back game nights and movie nights).

• Get to know each other better!

Think health maintenance

• Develop a system for ensuring everyone takes their supplements and medications as they should every day. In the absence of our normal routines, it is easier to forget to take our medications and vitamins regularly. You don’t need ADHD family members unable to focus appropriately or climbing walls when everyone is confined to a limited space.

• Since grocery shopping needs to be strategically planned these days (to avoid exposure to the virus), be equally strategic about what you do with the groceries once you get home.

  1. Plan your menus ahead of time and the amount of food to be prepared each day to avoid over-buying. It is not a good idea to hoard food that won’t get consumed and will go bad.
  2. Dedicate some time to clean, cut, and prepare groceries when returning from the store. This process should include removing the outer packaging.
  3. Clean your fridge, freezer and pantry and discard anything old or forgotten items.
  4. Transfer items to your container or basket system in the pantry, fridge and freezer. (Don’t have a system in place yet? Contact me and I can help you with this by phone or FaceTime – if this is not the absolute perfect moment to deal with this, I don’t know what is!)
  5. Washing, cutting and storing your produce in containers in your fridge provides accessible, healthy choices for snacks and allows easier food preparation. Cooking might become a much more enjoyable activity this way and can turn into a family event.
  6. Remove individually packed snacks from their original containers and place these in baskets in the pantry. This type of item is frequently consumed by many in the home. It pays to make snacks accessible in an organized way, especially when many hands will be reaching for them.
  7. Select a day during the week to cook food staple items. Make a list of what’s available and place this list on the fridge door (and pantry and freezer if applicable). Use translucent containers of the same system to place the various dishes in the fridge or freezer. This will make the food last longer and will keep the space sanitary, looking great, and more functional. Everyone will enjoy nutritious, varied menus by mixing and matching the elements of their meals at will.

• Try going to bed and waking up at the usual times every day and keep your meal schedules as best as possible. This allows the body to keep the routine. As a result, everyone will probably feel better overall

Increase productivity

• Assign spaces for each household member to work or study. These spaces can vary by day, but it is easy to control clutter and increase focus if everyone has a space on their own to work or study each day. Please note this makes it even more necessary to clean up the areas before the day is over. It is easier to start the day if the space is clutter free.

• Avoid distractions by making sure your pets are cared for before you start your business or school day. This includes ensuring they have adequate water and food and they have gone outside (if applicable). Also make sure they have adequate quarters to safely and comfortably rest.

• To boost productivity, try listening to Binaural Beats using headphones while you work or study. Binaural Beats in the Beta pattern may help promote concentration and alertness. Listening to Beta waves helps to increase focus, overall IQ, productivity, critical thinking, decision making, situational awareness and memory. Moreover, Beta waves also help with increasing your energy, sharpening your hearing, and improving your overall happiness and well-being. Here’s an example of Binaural Beats in the Beta pattern.

 

• To take productivity to the next level, combine the binaural beats experience with the diffusion of essential oils that enhance your mood and increase brain activity. Young Living Essential Oils are the purest oils you can find. Among those that can enhance brain function and affect your mood are Vitality, Joy, Awaken, Motivation, Frankincense, Peppermint, Sandalwood, and Lavender.

I believe this time will show us that we can move on in more productive and efficient ways than we ever thought. We will arrive at better place as a society.

The Greatest Pitfall In Home Management

The Greatest Pitfall In Home Management

That laundry basket that does seem to find its way to its right place nor get empty…. Do you know that basket?

Families don’t have time to finish laundry.  Seems like cleaning up the kitchen is another problem for most people.  Laundry, paper and kitchen are the nemeses of so many!

The argument I hear over and over is “there is not enough time to keep the house in order”.   I think the problem here is lack is systems and lack of time management skills.

I started thinking about this the other day when I counted over ten car trips in a single day.  This was not an exception.  I have three children and I never had a chauffer, a maid, a nanny, or a cook.  There was a time in our lives (not that long ago), that I was averaging fourteen car trips a day.  And during most of my children’s lives, I have either worked outside the home or have been developing my business (and working with clients).

But in all these years, my home always looked and felt like the place you want to come to fully rest and recharge your energy.   This is to illustrate that my life is no different than yours in terms of time demands. I have no magic or external help.  What I have is good time management skills and systems. These are things we can all learn if needed or apply to the home if you already master them.

I have detected the most common pitfall of every “household manager” – not acting as a manager at home.  A good number of people do not apply to the home the same skill set that makes them successful at work.  Why not?

If you work outside the home, you have managed to keep your job.  Doing so has required you stay on top of things and not allow things slip through the cracks.  Regardless of the type of work you have, there are specific projects or task that are out of the ordinary, but there are many others that comprise your day to day.  Those tasks comprise the backbone of your job.  Whether you are supervising those tasks or executing them, the responsibility at some level, is yours.  If you stop paying attention, stop ensuring the processes happen and those tasks are thoroughly executed, things will go south rapidly.

Why can’t we all plan and execute like that at home? You might think it is because home is home and you want to rest and not think of chores and duties.  The irony here is that the more you think that way, the more chaotic your home environment will be and the less you are able to have a rest and relax at home.

Whether it is looking for the million things you can’t find in your home and buying duplicates (time, effort and money wasted), forgetting important family affairs, not having family time when you don’t even have a dining room table to gather together around, every single time you neglect your “duties” at home, a new roadblock is created that adds to the environment of chaos.  Not to mention the energetic shift that such chaos brings.  Are you sure your home is where you want to rest and forget about the stress of your job?

The first thing needed to run the home like a well-oiled machine is to schedule what needs to happen.  What get scheduled, gets done.

You would not leave it to chance or leave for “when you have time” to make those appointments with clients at work or write that report for the boss, right? Why not schedule house chores and involve everyone in the household? This way everyone contributes to the household (it is not a hotel, and Mom is not a maid).  Everyone will learn to execute all these domestic tasks.  This knowledge is very important.  Your kids don’t want to go to college to realize they don’t even know how to boil an egg.

The Grass Is Greener….

The Grass Is Greener….

I think we can all agree we like this picture.

How would this picture look with boxes around, dirty dishes on the counter, half of the lights burned out, uncollected trash on chairs, breadcrumbs and all kinds of things belonging to the bathroom on the counters?  The magic is absolutely gone!

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

It really does not matter what you have or how expensive your home is.  If the space is all cluttered and/or dirty, no design in this world will stand out.

Don’t we all love staying in a hotel room? It might be because it is a new place, out of our routine. But I’d bet the neatness and simplicity has a lot to do with how we experience that hotel room.

It is the same magic that a perfectly staged, new model home exerts.  You might even purchase that same model home, but as soon as your big, disjointed, mixed-up moving boxes arrive into the space, the magic is gone as fast as it came.

The irony is that no matter where you live, you can have a place that excites you to the point of gasping.  You can absolutely be in love with your own place.

Yet, so many take their own home for granted.  They stop paying attention to details, they forget to repair broken items, they use their homes as storage space instead of living space.  When we stop really seeing our environment and stop keeping track of what we keep and why we keep it, clutter creeps up and disaster follows.

Hmm… that makes me think of relationships; like after some years of marriage, people start taking their partner for granted, stop trying, get bored, and simply don’t care.  What if we should try to keep the magic alive?

The grass is greener elsewhere?  I don’t think so.  Keep your grass green and enjoy it.

A Place For Everything and Everything In Its Place

A Place For Everything and Everything In Its Place

I am not going to give you little “tips and tricks” about how or where to store your things. Instead, I will shed some light on a simple truth that is absolutely obvious, yet it is incredibly overlooked.

We all need certain things handy. I hear it all the time – “oh, this is out here because we use it all the time and we needed it handy”. Let’s consider this for a moment.

If you have already purged everything that does not serve your life anymore, everything else that you keep, by definition, is something that you or your household members need.

If you were to apply the same reasoning of “we need it and use it all the time, therefore it needs to be out here”, everything you own would be “out here”. Add to this all those things you really do not need or use frequently that are still in your home, “out there”, because no one cared to put them back where they belong. Can you see the chaos?

You would be surprised at the amount of unused space or underutilized space I find all the time in clients’ homes. The “we use it all the time, therefore it needs to be out here” reasoning seems to rule.

Sorry to break the news to you, but to stay organized, you need to have a place for everything, and you also need to put everything in its place. That is why we bother to find each item a proper home in the first place.

It does not matter how wonderfully organized a home ends up being; if the everyday effort and discipline do not follow, chaos will reign again.

A couple of things left out of place due to frequent use will soon justify all other things that we use often being left out of place. The mess that drives you crazy will come back.

We do create systems and organization keeping in mind functionality and accessibility of those things we use the most. After all, the idea behind organization is to make life easier.

But there is a fine line between making life easier and making it so easy that all discipline and effort is abandoned. Things still need to go back to where they belong each time, if the home organization is to be maintained. That will be key to easily finding those things again as well.

People have trouble understanding their own state of disorganization. Some want to buy containers and additional storage solutions. Many others go after the latest trend in organizing, devour books related to the topic and try all sorts of method. The result is usually less than satisfactory.

The truth is none of that really matters if you don’t first let go of all the excess in your life, assign a home for everything you own, and put everything back in its designated spot after each use. Those three things are fundamental to maintaining an organized space.

Holiday Décor (Oh Joy!)

Holiday Décor (Oh Joy!)

Few things seem to bring the house chaos to the surface like the holiday season. The gatherings, the cooking, decorations, the cold weather that makes us stay closer inside. The stability of our environment (or lack thereof) is exposed and put to the test like no other time of the year.

Sometimes, I see people living in true chaos preoccupied with seasonal décor and gift-giving and entertaining and baking. I can’t help but wonder if that is just a defense mechanism to avoid seeing the elephant in the room. What sense does it make to decorate a house that is in total disarray? 

Some people might show no signs of being affected by the underlying disorganization of their environment, but this affects us all. At a mental level, clutter affects us consciously and subconsciously. If it is not at the forefront of our thoughts, it is still there like computer RAM. From an energetic point of view, clutter drains our energy.  

Sometimes, we don’t notice the detrimental effects of a chaotic environment, especially when we have not known any better. But if only we could experience a different way, what would happen? How many possibilities would open-up? How much more efficient could we become? How joyful? Our environment is our foundation. If the foundation is not in order, we are on shaky ground.

Rather than being a roadblock in life, your home environment should support you and bring you joy. That joy starts with a commitment to having an organized and optimized space. Then, the whole family can have a great time decorating, sharing, cooking and eating together instead of fighting about not finding the dusty boxes, broken ornaments, or being in a bad mood because the house is a mess. 

Having an “exit strategy” is equally important because the way you choose to close your holiday season will directly impact next year’s celebrations. If holiday decorations were not in order before, this is a good starting point. Decide to mindfully and purposefully store your seasonal décor in a way that they are preserved, honored, and accessible for the following year. Also, commit to putting your home environment in order. You will feel the difference! Stop fighting your environment. Make your environment work for you.

Want to experience a more joyful holiday season? Get your environment in order! Overwhelmed by the task? Call My Space Reclaimed! You don’t have to do this alone. Know when to ask for the help of a professional. Let’s set a time to chat and see how we can walk that road together.

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