1. Setting Up Your Home As An AirBnB

    Much like Uber and Lyft encouraging us to share our cars (and our rides), AirBnB has become an increasingly popular way for people to make money by renting out a space they’re not using to travelers and other guests, often at better rats (and higher quality) than a nearby hotel stay.

    Maybe you have a spare bedroom because the kids are at college, or you finally renovated that guest room nobody ever used, and you’re looking for a way to make a little extra money. Using a room as an AirBnB is a great way...but where do you start with getting it ready for your guests? We’re glad you asked:


    • Fix any obvious hazards: Both inside the room you’re renting and any space that will be visible to your guests (entryways, hallways, bathrooms, etc), make sure to repair any visible, obvious damage that could prove harmful. Exposed wiring, loose steps, leaky pipes, and the like.
    • Safeguard valuables: If the room you’re renting is inside your home (as opposed to a vacation space or apartment you’re not currently using), try to keep your valuables and personal possessions safe. Odds are your guests are just going to be some nice twenty somethings on vacation, but it’s better safe than sorry—keep expensive jewelry, family heirlooms, and similar items in a locked safe in an area of the house they can’t access (or in a safe deposit box in a pinch).
    • Declutter for company: Think about your AirBnB customers the way you’d think of a houseguest: you’re going to want to tidy up a little bit first—especially in the room they’ll be staying in, but it’s good to keep in mind for all areas of the house they’ll see during their stay. Try to remember to dust, clear off tables, toss out old magazines, and the like. Again, a good rule of thumb is to pretend that you’re getting ready for company to come over, except they’re paying you to be there.
    • Provide for your guests: Ask yourself: what would you like to see in a hotel when you get there? Now, imagine that hotel is a room in someone’s home—what’s changed? Try to provide the creature comforts you’d expect from staying in what is essentially a guest bedroom, such as bedroom dressers, nightstands, and the like. This sort of thinking could extend to the rest of the house depending on how much room you’re renting out; a little extra living room furniture and bathroom shelving could go a long way towards keeping your guests happy (and willing to drop those 5-star reviews).
    • Safety first: Not unlike leaving your kids alone for the night with a list of emergency numbers, try to make sure your guests can reach you if needed. Leave your contact information in the event of an emergency like lost keys, mark everything with your address and phone number, and make sure things like smoke detectors are up and running.
    • Leave a little extra: If your AirBnB setup is big enough to include a bathroom and kitchen, try to drop some amenities where you can. Soap, toothpaste, hand lotion, condiments in the fridge, and so on—they’ll remember it for next time.


    Have you started renting out part of your home as an AirBnB lately? Leave your tips below!

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  2. How the Professionals Put Clothes Away

    Would you believe some people actually get paid good money to put clothes away?

    It’s true. Depending on the current state of your wardrobe, you’re either currently scheming to find a way to get that job, or trying to budget a way to afford their services, or maybe both.

    But wait! Before you pick up that phone, we’ve got a couple tips here to help you organize your clothes like the experts do, without asking expensive consultants for a second opinion! Before you start scanning Angie’s List for the best (or cheapest) closet organizer, try these tips first:


    Group like with like

    The best place to start keeping things tidy, whether in the closet or the dresser, is to keep like items together. Whatever your space constraints may be, make sure to always group shirts with shirts, pants with pants, and so on. (And if this leaves any empty space, that’s fine—avoiding ‘hybrid spaces’ is going to be better for your overall organization scheme.


    Fold like an expert

    Folding, rolling, getting mad and stuffing it into the drawer like a ball; whatever your preferred way of organizing bedroom dressers is, you’ve surely found yourself running out of space faster than anticipated in your drawers. One good way to prevent this is to learn the “KonMari” method of folding, a method of folding clothing developed by Marie Kondo, a Japanese organization specialist. There’s plenty of videos out there to help you get the gist, but here’s the important steps: 

    • Fold one side of the garment across the center
    • Fold the opposite side the same way, stopping before the edge, to form a rectangle
    • Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise once, then again

     After that, all you have to do is tuck it into a drawer vertically and voila! It’s a good way of quickly finding the top you wanted, all while creating more space in your drawers for everything that needs to go in there.


    Get flexible with your shelving

    Shelving in bedrooms and closets can go a long way towards holding items that either don’t fit in your drawers or simply need a little extra space to be properly arranged, but the shelves themselves may need a little extra arranging. Get some wall mounted shelves, wire shelves, or closet shelves and arrange them according to what you’re storing on them: tall boots should be kept on the bottom with enough room between them and the next shelf to make them easy to access, shelves of folded clothing need to be kept closer together to free up space elsewhere, and so on.


    Arrange items by frequency of use

    This idea has been gaining a lot more traction among organizers recently, although it may take a little extra creativity on your part. Instead of sorting your clothes by color, type, and so on, simply sort them by how often you wear them. Sure, those shoes are mega cute, but how often have you needed them lately? Your daily wear jacket doesn’t quite match your favorite sweater, but if you need to wear them both for work, why not just keep them both right up front? Even if you swear your color/style/size-based organization system already works, try moving them around based upon how often you wear them, or at least how often you’ll need them.


    Set ‘zones’ for everything

    Finally, take stock of some of the stuff in your room and make sure it all has an accessible station for it; gym clothes in this corner, jackets on this closet rail, and so on. This will have the double effect of giving your clothes a distinct home to prevent mess and crossover, and help your brain categorize where everything is to help you better remember where your clothes are and feel less anxiety about getting ready in the morning.


    Do you have any other tips for organizing that you’ve learned from the experts? Drop a comment below!

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  3. It's That Time: Signs You Need to Start Decluttering

    Sometimes when it comes to big decluttering projects, all we need is one good push.

    Maybe you’re waiting for an omen. Maybe you’re holding off until the next time you move. Maybe it doesn’t dawn on you until you find yourself buried under a pile of boxes that fell out of the closet.

    But sometimes it’s the little things. Sometimes it’s the stuff you move a million times a day, that drawer of nice flatware you keep saving for “special occasions”, or that aforementioned closet. Whatever the case, there could be a million small indicators around your house that you should start looking into a big decluttering project, and you might find yourself feeling that much better when it’s done. Here’s a few of the biggest signs that you have ‘too much clutter’:


    Getting stressed about getting dressed

    Most people have more clothes than they’re really going to need, but there’s still such thing as too darn many clothes. Do you find yourself getting anxious in the morning because you’re not sure what to wear, or maybe you’re worried about saving your favorite shirt for ‘just the right occasion’? This can be a sign to clean out your closet, move some things into your bedroom dresser, and get on with your new life—a life of scaled-down clothing options.


    Buried under bags

    We’ve all seen that drawer or cabinet chock full of plastic bags from the grocery store. Who knows when we’re going to need them for lunch or sudden clean-up of a pet mess, right? Go ahead and start throwing those out—it’s not like you’re never going to the grocery store again, and this will be much easier for everyone.


    The case of the un-closing cabinet

    Do you have a kitchen cabinet that just won’t stay shut no matter what you do? (And before you ask, wiseguy, we assume you’ve checked all the hinges and handles.) It’s time to get that stuff organized and moved. Go through your worst cabinets and see what can be tossed out—spoiled food, cups you’ll never use again, that bowl with the crack in it—and keep the rest tidier with the use of cabinet organizers and strategically-placed wall mounted shelves in the kitchen.


    (School) days gone by

    Nostalgia can be a powerful drug, and it can lead to keeping a lot more stuff around the house than we really need to—namely old paperwork from school. Sure, maybe you did really well on that report the first time you saw Citizen Kane, but do you really need to clutter up your filing cabinet with that pleasant memory? Unless it’s something really important like a photo from Grandparents’ Day, don’t be shy about chucking out your old school work to make room.


    Mystery boxes

    Speaking of moving, while some people take that as a good time to declutter, some people take it as a sign to keep even more stuff around. Do you have a few boxes that came with you from your old house that haven’t been opened or touched since you moved? Are you worried they’re going to stay packed until you move again? That’s probably a sign you can start getting rid of whatever’s in those boxes.


    Have you been stuck with a lot of clutter that you were recently inspired to get rid of? Leave a comment below!

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  4. Open vs. Closed Floor Plans: Pros, Cons, & Organization Ideas

    Whether you’re doing some serious remodeling to your own floor plan or looking to move into a home that offers a different one than your own, the choice between open and closed floor plans can be a tough one.

    They both offer their own advantages and disadvantages, and to speak more practically they can both require vastly different ways of organizing and re-arranging to make sure all your stuff can fit safely in them. Whatever way you go with the layout of your home, you might need a little extra help getting everything organized, and even that’s after you decide which one to go with. If you’re looking for some different home layout options, we’ve got the skinny on what each one can offer and how you can make it work for you:


    Open Floor Plans

    An open floor plan is, to put it simply, a type of floor plan that involves fewer rooms with less separation between them and less closed-off areas. For example, imagine your dining room and kitchen becoming one big room without a lot of walls or strict delineation to separate them.

    The Pros: The biggest advantage of open floor plans is that they feel a lot more spacious. Without anything to disconnect or close off a room, you can get a lot more workable space than with closed floor plans, resulting in more layout and furniture options. It can also create a more social atmosphere by allowing easier communication between rooms in the event of a big dinner or party.

    The Cons: Open floor plans tend to be a little costlier when it comes to heat, as you’re trying to warm up a much wider space as opposed to a closed-off area like a bedroom or bathroom. It can also be more difficult to control noise, as the open space and solid walls will reflect sound throughout the house, which can make it hard if someone is trying to watch TV while others cook in the kitchen.

    How to Organize: With open floor plans, the trick is to use whatever home organization you have to divide the space up as you need. For example, if your open plan includes a kitchen and a dining room, you can use kitchen islands to better mark off where the kitchen is, and use them to double as serving trays when dinner is ready. For open living rooms that connect to other spaces, lining the walls with bookcases can be a good way to indicate the ‘use’ of a space without putting up more walls.


    Closed Floor Plans

    On the other hand, closed floor plans are almost a more ‘traditional’ type of home layout. Closed floor plans separate rooms via walls and doorways, and provide more clearly indicated spaces than open plans would by use of cordoned-off sections.

    The Pros: One of the biggest advantages of closed floor plans is the ability to control the design of your home better. Each room can offer its own layout, look, and feel without having to worry about the living room across from the kitchen, and cozier rooms can offer much more privacy and a better at-home feeling.

    The Cons: Closed floor plans can start to feel a little cramped if you’re not careful. Stuff will have a way of building up between each room, and may lead to things looking messier than they are. It also reduces line of sight across the house and makes some rooms less accessible, which could lead to issues if you have pets, kids, or elderly relatives to keep an eye on and/or help get around the house.

    How to Organize: With closed floor plans, every little bit of space counts. Make sure to use all your available vertical space by installing wall shelves or cabinets wherever possible, and try to pick the best storage option for each room—focus on the sort of tables and shelves that each room would benefit from best, as you need to create more ‘assigned’ spaces that reflect their individual uses moreso than you would with open floor plans.


    Got any other tips or advice for either type of floor plan? Drop a comment below!

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  5. Ideas & Uses for Floating Shelves

    Named for their ability to mount seamlessly to the wall and look like they’re, well, floating, floating shelves have been a staple in home decoration for decades.

    Different from standard wall shelves thanks to their lighter profile and range of materials, floating shelves can make a big difference in home organization and storage when used properly.

    Have you been thinking about some floating shelves but just aren’t sure where they will go? Or are you just looking to see how other people use them to see if you want to try them out yourself? Check out a few of these ideas we’ve found and see what one works best for your home or apartment:


    DIY nightstands: Some floating shelves, such as floating ledge shelves are dense enough to be installed low near the bed and used as nightstands! These shelves take up way less space than your average end table and are great for low-profile storage of things like glasses and lamps in areas where there’s not enough room for a whole end table or nightstand.


    Filling in corners: With both standard floating shelves and floating corner shelves, these shelves are a great way to utilize corners for storage needs. Line up two floating shelves in an L-shape to bridge any corner gaps and keep things neatly arranged where you can get to them.


    Open vertical storage: Of course, the goal of any shelf is to let you store things better, and in smaller apartments or homes that lack in closets or shelving, floating shelves are a great low-profile way to add storage space. Particularly in rooms where you need easy access to a lot of small things, like the laundry room, the home office, or even that corner of the basement where your toolboxes all wind up, floating shelves can provide unobstructed access to whatever you need to declutter.


    Opening up the kitchen: Speaking of which, a lot of kitchens are moving towards a more open, ‘door-less’ design using floating shelves to store things like dishes and cooking utensils without the claustrophobic look that cabinets can sometimes provide. Floating shelves can easily replace cabinets, particularly over the oven or the sink, and provide a more dynamic look while keeping everything even easier to reach.


    Converting tight spaces: Small spaces like removed cabinets, gaps in the walls, or even disused medicine cabinets in bathrooms and bedrooms can be easily filled in with floating shelves to provide extra storage in areas that might not have been too useful before. Take some time to find those hard, out-of-the-way spots in your house and put them to work with shelves.

    Do you have floating shelves in your home? Let us know how you use them in a comment below!

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