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Monday, February 23 2015
SETTING THE STAGE TO SELL

Last night I was watching the Academy Awards Ceremony a/k/a The Oscars and it got me thinking of the stage.  The stage can be set for homeowners who are looking to sell their homes, as well.  

I am well aware that we are in the midst of the winter season, but, before you know it, Spring will be here and that tends to be the time of year when people are looking to put their home up for sale.  It is a little more complicated than just putting a sign on your lawn.  You need to prepare - and what better time to begin the process than during these cold winter months.  

Over the years, I have helped realtors and home owners alike, "set the stage" to get their home ready to sell. Although there are many aspects to staging your home for sale, I would like to provide you with a quick overview of some areas to focus on.

1. Closets -  If packed tightly, closets will make a home appear to lack closet space.  It is vital that you eliminate the unnecessary clutter in a closet and organize it to maximize the amount of open space you want to show to the potential buyer.  Using matching hangers for clothing will create a nice visual impact, as well.

2.  Bedrooms -  The bed should face towards the doorway and be the focal point of the bedroom.  Eliminating the excess furniture will provide plenty of space in the room for navigation and clear surfaces on end tables and dressers will be pleasing to the eye.  

3.  Bathrooms - Be sure the surfaces are clean and clear.  Remove soap scum and redo any grout that has discolored over time.  A clean bathroom is a great way to stage your bathroom.  Create a functional but relaxing environment, especially in a master bathroom. The display of white or cream colored towels will open up the space in the bathroom and provide a spa-like feel.  

4.  Kitchen - A simple and inexpensive way to update your kitchen is to use a new coat of wood stain or a good sanding and a coat of paint.  Replace the hardware for a fresh new look and, as always, clear your surfaces of clutter.  Lastly, remove area rugs from in front of the sink to open up the visual appearance of the kitchen.  

*On average, most sellers will spend an average of $1950 on their bathroom and kitchen renovations with an ultimate return of approximately $3250, which is about a 65% on their return.  Bathrooms and kitchens are essential spaces in the home and where most buyers are either won over or lost. 

5.  Living Room - Providing plenty of light in this room is a major source of approval by a potential buyer.  Be sure that the shades are open and use lighter colors where possible to give the room a more spaceous look.  Create clear paths to navigate and avoid having the back of a sofa face the main pathway.  You want to open up the room to visitors and not block them off with misplaced furniture.

A few simple steps can increase your home's potential for a higher selling price.  Removing clutter is one of the most important ways to do this.  

If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of staging your home for sale or considering downsizing, don't hesitate to contact me.  I can help you to "set the stage" for sale.  

In the meantime, have a great week!   

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 03:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  10 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 31 2014

Happy New Year!  Are you ready for 2015?

This is a great time of year to not only eliminate clutter and get organized, but incorporate a little Feng Shui into your life and your home.  I dabble in Feng Shui from time to time and use the basic principals when working with my clients in their homes.  

This list was created by Kathryn Weber, Feng Shui Entrepreneur & Nationally Syndicated Columnist.  

Notice that de-cluttering is at the top of the list!  

OUT WITH THE OLD

1. De-clutter
Grab a laundry basket. Next, set a timer and take it with you from room to room. Set it for five minutes. Now, start throwing out old papers, magazines, empty bottles of shampoo from the bathroom, old clothes you know you’ll never wear again! Do it.

Got CDs you never listen to? Throw those out or donate them to charity. Have some old coffee mugs that don’t match or odd drinking glasses still hanging around in your cabinets? Pitch ‘em.

When in doubt, throw it out. Don’t forget to look under the bed, too! And toss that lipstick you haven’t worn in two years! Remember to clean out the pantry, too, and toss that half-empty box of Rice Krispies that’s gone stale.

2. Sweep or vacuum
Get the old energy out by making the floors clean.

3. Do the laundry
Don’t have dirty clothes hanging around. You can throw in a load or two while you declutter. Be sure to fold and put the clean clothes away.

4. Clean the bathroom
Make it sparkle. You don’t want a nasty mess to greet the next year of your life!

5. Empty all trashcans
Don’t want last years’ trash hanging around, do you? Toss, toss, toss.

6. Clean out the refrigerator
Got a half-empty jar of apple butter? Get rid of it. You don’t want to go into the New Year with old food or a moldy science project lurking in the fridge.

7. Clear out visual clutter
Too much stuff everywhere? Clear off the counters in the bathrooms and kitchen. Clear off your desk and dust it. Pitch the sticky notes and papers and things taped everywhere! You can do it. Don’t forget the refrigerator! Make it a blank slate.

Make as much space as possible. You cannot bring in new things if there is no room for it and we want a fantastic year, right? Then make your space “open” for the abundance of the New Year!

8. Yard work
Make sure the yard is picked up and the front door step is swept and clear.

9. Change the sheets and towels
Put clean sheets on all the beds on New Year’s Eve and clean towels in the bathroom and kitchen. New sheets are even better.

10. Clean the car
This is what gets you around during the year. Drive through a car wash, take out the trash and do a quick cleaning.

All done? Wow, doesn’t that feel good! Now you’re ready for the next step.


 

IN WITH THE NEW!

1. Fill your pantry and kitchen
Stock the refrigerator with food and make sure the pantry is also stocked. It is bad feng shui to have an empty refrigerator and pantry. If you have canisters in the pantry or on the countertops, be sure to fill these.

2. Got citrus?
Oranges are excellent symbols for the New Year and the Chinese often celebrate the New Year by rolling oranges (symbols of gold) into the house. Place a big bowl of 8, 9, or 10 (the numbers of prosperity!) oranges in the living room or central location in the house next to dishes of nuts or candies to symbolize an abundant, fruitful home.

3. Buy a new plant
Put a beautiful new plant in the East (health & family relationships) sector of your house or office to symbolize a healthy beginning. You can also display some beautiful flowers here to symbolize your good health in the coming year.

4. Welcome good news
Place a golden bell in the NW corner of your home, office, or bedroom to bring good tidings from helpful people. Like old school bells? If so, place one of these in the NW corner of your yard for good news from helpful people.

5. Hang up new calendars
What better way to greet the New Year than by throwing out the old one? Take down all of last years’ calendars.

6. Fill your wallet
You don’t want to go into the New Year with an empty wallet. Put some money in your wallet — or better yet — go and buy a new wallet (red is the best!) or purse and start your financial off with new energy!

7. Invite a toad to your house
Place an old, broken clay pot upside down next to a water spout so a toad can make its home here. Toads are believed to invite money into the household; they’re especially nice by the door. You can also place figurines of toads by the door.

8. Feed the birds
Birds are excellent feng shui and believed to bring good news. Fill your feeders or put out a feeder for the New Year.

9. Have fun and celebrate
Fun is good feng shui. A happy vibrant home or space is a good space, so plan a party of some kind of happy gathering. Remember, a home or office with good feng shui is easy to spot it’s the one where everyone goes and doesn’t want to leave! Make your space that kind of place!

OR, as I say "Make your place A Better Space!

So, what do you think?  I am not sure about inviting a toad into my house.  I think I will go ceramic, thank you, but a little Feng Shui never hurt anyone!  Go through this list and do the best that you can.  Do one thing at a time to help stay focused and soon, you too will have A Better Space.  

Wishing you a very Happy (and organized) New Year!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, July 30 2014

Even though it's Summertime and we intend to be lazy, it can sometimes be the crazy days of Summer instead.  The kids are out of school, we are running from one activity to another to keep them busy, we are planning and going on day trips or vacations and we just can't find the time to get organized.  

Not to worry.  You don't have to wait until the kids return to school.  You can still do some simple things to get on the road to organization now.  

I have some suggestions that will take five minutes and help you out:

1.  Hang Some Hooks - They take very little time to install and are a quick solution for getting things up off the floor - towels in the bathroom, camp bags in the mudroom,  clothes in the bedroom, etc.

2.  Do A Hanger Purge - Hangers that are laying around are not being put to good use.  Gather the extra wire hangers and give them back to the dry cleaner.  Refuse hangers when making a clothing purchase at the store.  Keep hangers on the rod for clothes that will be returned from the wash to mark the space where they belong.  One hanger per item is all that is needed.  The rest can go!

3.  Eliminate Junk Mail - While bringing in the mail each day, identify the junk mail before it even enters your home.  Keep a recycling bin and paper shredder near the entrance to your home for easy disposal.   

4.  Take It With You -  Whether you are leaving a room in your home to go to another, going upstairs from the first floor or downstairs from the second floor, take something with you that doesn't belong there and put it away.  This applies to your car as well. Before you get out of the car, take your trash or other items that do not belong there.  

5.  Create A Donation Destination - Pick a room where you can have a container for donations.  A great place to keep a donation box is in a closet or the laundry room for clothing that no longer fits or that you no longer like.  Other suggestions are for toys that hte kids outgrow or no longer play with.  Add to the box as you go and when it is full, take it to your local Goodwill or other non-profit charitable organization.  

So, no matter how busy you are, you can still find ways to get and stay organized with just five minutes of your time.  

Which tip did you like the best?  What other ideas do you have for five minutes of organization?  

If you are overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized, I can help.  I have lots of great ideas for you to create A Better Space anywhere in your home. Contact me!  I am here to help.

In the meantime, enjoy your Summer!  

    

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, May 06 2014

Have you taken a look around lately?  All of us have things scattered around the house that can be re-purposed.  There is something in almost every room of the home, in fact.

Today, I want to share with you 10 ideas for items you already have in your home that you can "re-purpose on purpose": 

1.  A CD tower in the bathroom can be used to hold toilet paper, toiletries or small towels.  You can even turn it on its side with the openings upright and hang it on the wall for additional storage.

2.  A tennis ball canister or Pringles canister that has been cut on the bottom can be used to hold paper baking liners for cupcakes and muffins or to hold paper cups.  Hang it on the wall to save space.  It can be used for so many other things too!  

3.  A hard glass case is useful to store your ear buds or other small items in your luggage or handbag.

4.  A muffin pan is a great way to store small items in your drawer in the bathroom or bedroom such as children's hair clips or jewelry.

5.  An upright magazine holder can be used for gift bag storage or sheets of wrapping paper.

6.  A long towel holder with knobs can be mounted on the back of a door or on a wall to organize your jewelry.

7.  Use a business card case to transport your favorite sweetener packets.

8.  Re-use a tissue box to store plastic grocery bags. 

9.  A small shower caddy can be hung on a doorknob in your laundry room to hold detergent, dryer sheets, clothes pins, etc.

10. Use an acrylic napkin holder to organize your bills to be paid, putting them in chronological order to avoid late payment.

Which of these items will you repurpose?  What other ideas do you have for re-purposing your items?  Take a look around and get creative!

If you are simply overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized and don't know where to begin, contact me at A Better Space.  I will be more than happy to help.  Let's "re-purpose on purpose" together!  

    

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:12 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 28 2014

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks.  I beg to differ.  No matter how young or old you are, you can learn how to be organized.  Yes, even a toddler can do it!

Since I work with so many moms, I get this question all the time.  "What chores and responsibilities can my children be expected to do?"  Let's focus today on the youngest organizers, the toddlers.

Young children want to help.  They are eager to be independent and feel that sense of accomplishment.

Here are a few simple suggestions:

1.  They can hang up their own coat.  Put a 3M removable hook on the back of the coat closet door or near a cubby in the mud room which is low enough for them to reach but not have the coat drag on the floor. They can hand up their own coat this way.  The hooks can be raised as they get taller.  

2.  They can wipe down the bathroom countertop.  Get them a small step stool.  When they are brushing their teeth, combing their hair or washing their hands, have them use a damp wash cloth to wipe up any spilled and splashed water from the counter top.

3.  They can make their bed. By age 2-1/2, you child should be able to pull up the sheet and comforter if the side of the bed is not up against a wall.  (It might not be perfect but it's good enough!) 

4.  They can put dirty clothes in a hamper.  Get them a fun hamper that is open at the top.  They can easily put their dirty clothes in every time they change their clothes.  Just ask them to do so to remind them.   

5.  They can put their toys away.  After playing with toys, toddlers should be able return their toys to their proper storage bin or shelf.  Make sure they are in reach and use picture labels to guide them.  Clip art is a great tool for finding the right picture.  Teach them that they need to clean up before moving on to another activity.

By age two or three, although most of these chores will need some type of supervision, you will be teaching them the basics from which they will eventually be able to carry out these tasks, and others, on their own.  You are giving them a good foundation to get started on the road to organization!

If you need some more tools to get yourself and your family organized, please don't hesitate to contact me. Remember, no matter how young or old you are, you can always learn how to get and stay organized.  I can show you how! 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 21 2014

I love using inexpensive solutions to help my clients get organized.  A great tool that I use quite often is a simple basket or plastic shoe box.  They can be used in so many different ways.  Have you considered these ideas?

BEDROOM

1.  Group jewelry in a drawer or on your dresser.

2.  Hold coins found in your pocket.

3.  On your bedside table to hold hand creams, lip balm, etc. 

BATHROOM

1.  Contain eyeglass cleaning accessories or contacts and solution. 

2.  Gather Hair bands or barrettes.

3.  Use to hold make-up and accessories.

4.  Group together nail polish and nail care accessories. 

5.  Hold razors and shaving accessories.

CLOSET -

1.  Compartmentalize hats and gloves for each family member.

2.  Containerize first aid products.

3.  Keep shampoos, body wash and other personal hygiene products in one spot.  

4.  Gather extra toothbrushes, dental floss and toothpaste you get from your dentist.

5.  Use one to store travel size products for quick packing.  

KITCHEN

1.  Hold packets of sauce mixes together.

2.  Group spices together.

3.  Keep your measuring spoons together in your kitchen drawer or cabinet. 

4.  Gather twist ties in one place.

5.  Use to store small sharp knives in a drawer.  

HOME OFFICE

1.  Contain paper clips and binder clips.  

2.  Keep erasers and correction fluid together.

3.  Gather pens, pencils or markers. 

There are so many uses for inexpensive baskets and containers!  Use your imagination and start getting organized.

If you are just too overwhelmed and don't know where to begin, contact me and schedule your free phone consultation.  I can get you started on the road to A Better Space!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:58 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 14 2014

Do you multi-task?  Is it really possible?  This subject is constantly debated.  Some say yes, it is possible.  Some say no.

The truth is, when we think we are multi-tasking, in most instances, we are not.  Yes, we might be doing several things at one time, that is true.  However, we are not saving any time doing so.  We are working on pieces, we are not completely focused on a task and, most importantly, there is no time being saved by doing two, or even three things at a time.  It's all about focus.  If we take the time to focus on one task at at a time, we will get it done more quickly and more efficiently.  That is a fact!  

Now, can we use items in our home for various purposes?  Sure we can!  That's what I call multi-tasking!  Here are some examples:

1.  ICE CUBE TRAY -

     * Gather desk supplies such as thumb tacks and paper clips.

     * Organize sewing items such as buttons, beads and hooks.  

     * Use one in your dresser drawer to organize small earrings or pins.

2.  SHOE ORGANIZER WITH POCKETS 

     * Store art supplies.  A plastic hanging shoe organizer can hold, paints, pens, brushes, glue sticks and stickers.

     * Use one on the back of the bathroom closet door to store small soaps, razors, sample bottles of lotions or nail polish.

     * Place one in your clothes closet to separate pantyhose or pairs of knee high socks.

3.  LAUNDRY BASKET -

     * Protect delicate plants during a rain storm or hail storm by turning the basket upside down on top of them and burying the           edges in the dirt.  

     * Gather garden supplies, including a garden hose.  Coil the hose and stash your sprinkers, nozzles and other attachments in           the middle of the coil.  

     * Take one to the beach filled with beach toys for the kids.  Flip it over to use as a table at lunch time.  

Can you think of other ways to multi-task, besides running around doing two or three things at a time?  Use your imagination and take another look at what you already have in your home that you can use for other purposes.  Be creative!  

Share your ideas!  I would love to hear from you!  

If you are simply overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized, I can help.  I can show you creative ways to use what you already have and repurpose them to help you get and stay organized once and for all!

I am just a phone call (or email) away!  I would love to hear from you!

Happy Organizing! 

   

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:43 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 05 2013

As the Summer ends and Fall begin, this is a time of transition and renewal.  It's also time to evaluate where we are in our lives and what we have. 

We can all agree that having multiples of certain items in your home (for example, toilet paper) or in your office (pens) are helpful and make sense to have.  Since we use these items often, we need to be sure that we can store them in a way that makes it easy to access them. 

However, sometimes, multiple items can accumulate and begin to take up valuable space.  We want to be sure not to let those items cause us "double vision". They should not get out of control.

Here are five items that you probably have duplicates of:

1.  Paper shopping bags.  How many have you accumulated from the grocery store?  Although they can be useful for various purposes, if you find that they are accumulating, consider donating them to charities that could benefit from them.  Some charities bag up meals, clothes, supplies or purchases and are always looking for bag donations.  Check with your local charity to see if they are in need of this item.   

2.  Hotel toiletries.  I have talked about this in a previous blog, but I think it is worth repeating.  If you are a frequent traveler, chances are you have come home with travel-size toiletry bottles and packets.  If you find that you are just collecting them and not using them, you can offer them to overnight guests in a basket in the bathroom, use shower caps as food container covers or donate them to a local shelter.  You can even leave them at the hotel and not bring them home at all.  Let others make use of them instead.  

3.  Pens, pencils and markers.  I don't know about you but the pens, pencils and sometimes markers seem to multiply in my house.  How often do you come home with a pen that you borrowed and forgot to return?   I must admit it happens to me from time to time.  When my son was in public school, he "acquired" lots of pens and pencils throughout the school term.  Don't ask!  If you end up with an abundance of pens, pencils or markers, consider donating them instead of holding onto them.  It's impossible to use all of them!  Donate them to your local school or community center or the Pencil Project.

4.  Bedding.  When was the last time you went through your linen closet and eliminated the older sets of sheets or blankets that you no longer use?  We tend to hold onto more sets than we need.  If you change your sheets once a week, you don't need more than two, maybe three sets per bed.  The third set might be a set of flannel sheets.  Are they stained, torn, or don't fit the beds you currently own?  Consider donating them to a local charity if they are in good shape or a local animal shelter.  They are always in dire need of bedding.  

5.  Mugs.  Do you bring home mugs from places that you've traveled or received them as a promotional item at an event?  They can accumulate in your kitchen cabinet over time.  We tend to have our favorites and don't tend to reach for the others.  If you find that you have too many, consider donating them to a local charity in your area or to that college student living in a dorm or apartment.  

So, are you seeing double in your home?  Take a look around and start putting things together that you can donate.  You will gain more space for your important items and help others in the process.

If you need assistance in downsizing your possession, feel free to contact me at A Better Space.  I am here to help.

Until next time, HAPPY ORGANIZING!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 12 2013

Recently I helped a client prepare her home for sale.  She was downsizing from a three-bedroom rancher with a full basement to a two bedroom condo.  I not only helped her de-clutter, I helped organize, downsize and stage her home in preparation for putting it on the market.  

This prompted me to think about some low cost ways you can spruce up your home to make it more attractive to potential buyers (or even for you to continue to live in):  

1.  Landscape - Your home's curb appeal is the first thing that people notice when they drive up to your home.  Keep your lawn mowed and weed-free.  Trim the shrubs low enough to be able to see the front windows.  Put out some colorful hanging baskets of flowers near the front door to create an inviting entrance.   

2.  Paint the interior - A fresh coat of paint or a new color on the walls can change the look of a room very quickly.  If you are painting in order to sell your home, avoid dramatic colors and stick with neutrals.  Save the color for accent pillows, area rugs or other items that are mobile and easily changed out. 

3.  Give the kitchen cabinets and drawers a makeover.  You can refinish the cabinets and drawers with a coat of paint or stain to give them a fresh look.  Updating the hardware on will provide a whole new look.  

4.  Update light fixtures.  If you are currently dining under a chandelier or light fixture that is 20 years old or if you are getting ready each morning under drab lighting in your bathroom, it's time to add some new lighting.  Select tasteful yet simple fixtures and add a dimmer in the dining room for extra appeal.  Use bright, natural lighting in the bathroom.  By cleaning your fixtures, you will be able to provide additional brightness to a room very quickly. 

5.  Maximize storage.  As a professional organizer, I believe that this is very important.  Cramped closets are unattractive to buyers and frustrating to your family members.  Clear out everything from the closet and only put back what you currently need to keep.  Use a closet system that provides plenty of shelving and rods for efficient organization. 

Whether you are putting your house on the market or want to simply spruce up your home for you and your family, utilizing these tips will start you on your way.

After helping my client to stage her home, she was able put it on the market and received an offer within six days.  She is making settlement at the end of the month.

If you need assistance with preparing your home for sale, contact me.  I can help. 

In the meantime, have a great week! 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 02:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, July 07 2013

We are currently in the midst of the Summer season which prompts a lot of people to take vacations.  Vacations can come in many forms but one thing tends to be true.  When you travel, you stay at a hotel.

Those travel-size shampoos, lotions and soaps found in many hotel rooms can easily accumulate when traveling and even easier to become clutter in your home when you return home. 

I am not saying that you should not take them with you when you go home but over time, an overflowing stash of these freebies can outgrow your space or take up room that other important items should be occupying.  

So, in order to avoid this conundrum, I recommend that you repurpose them.  

Here are six suggestions:

1.  Keep them in your purse or handbag. Whether you walk, bike, drive or take public transportation, you tend to have a bag with you.  This is a perfect solution for storing your mini-sized toiletries and having them easily accessible. 

2.  Keep them in your desk at work.  For easy access while on the job, keep a stash in your drawer of your desk and simply grab what you need when heading to the rest room to freshen up.   

3.  Keep them in your car.   Do you spend a lot of time traveling in your car?  Put some lotions, mouthwash or even a sewing kit in your car's glove compartment.

4.  Use them at the gym.  If you regularly shower at the gym after a workout, travel-size toiletries can be very useful and don't take up a lot of room in your gym bag.

5.   Use them on your next trip.  Are you staying at a vacation spot that does not involve a hotel?  Keep a bag in your suitcase or backpack for camping with the other items you use most.  Use a few of those shower caps to pack your shoes next time to keep them away from your clean clothes. 

6.  Donate them.  If you find that you do not have a need for the amount you have collected, donate them to a shelter.  Clean The World accepts unopened or unused bars of soap and shampoo for distribution domestically and internationally.  The Global Soap Project also collects and reprocesses soaps into new bars. 

Of course, you can avoid having to make a decision about what to do with them by leaving them behind during your next hotel stay.  However, just in case you need to know what to do with all of those hotel toiletries, I hope this helps.

 

Safe travels!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 04:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, June 11 2013

As you might know, I am very active on Facebook.  In fact, if you are not already a fan of my Facebook Page, I invite you to join me where I post daily organizing tips.   www.facebook.com/abetterspace

Today, I want to share with you "30 Uses for WD-40".  I recently found these on Facebook and thought "How Cool Is This!" 

This amazing product was created in 1953.  Three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company wanted to find a water displacement compound and with their 40th attempt, WD-40 was created. 

So here we go:

1. Protects silver from tarnishing.

2. Removes road tar and grime from cars.

3. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.

4. Gives floors that "just waxed" sheet without making them slippery.

5. Restores and cleans chalkboards. 

6. Removes lipstick stains.

7. Loosens stubborn zippers.

8. Untangles jewelry chains.

9. Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.

10. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.

11. Keeps ceramic/terracotta garden pots from oxidizing.

12. Removes tomato stains from clothing.

13. Keeps glass show doors free of water spots.

14. Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.

15. Keeps scissors working smoothly. 

16. Lubricates noisy door hinges on both home and vehicle doors. 

17. Removes nasty tar and scuff marks from the kitchen floor without harming the finish. (Be sure to ventilate the area well if using it on a lot of marks.)

18. Removes those nasty Bug guts that eat away the finish on your car.

19. Lubricates gear shifts and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers.

20. Eliminates rocking chair and kid swings of squeaky noises.

21. Lubricates tracks in sticking windows to make them easier to open.  

22. Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicle as well as vinyl bumpers.

23. Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.

24. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.

25. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons and bicycles for easy handling.

26. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.

27. Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades and other tools.

28. Removes grease splatters from stovetops.

29. Removes all traces of duct tape.

30.  Removes crayon from walls.  Just spray it on the marks and wipe with a clean rag. 

There were some others but these were my favorites.  There are ideas here for women and men to use.  Try these out and let me know which are your favorites.  Any other ideas?  Please share.

Until next time, wishing you an organized day.  

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:52 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, June 03 2013

It's very common to add more to our lives by adding something - a bigger home, more clothing, more decorations, more, more, more... 

However, the funny thing is - less is actually more.

Last weekend I decided to declutter and organize my own home.  I had been spending so much time helping others get organized, I was neglecting my own space.  Over time, things built up and it was time to do something about it.

Being a professional organizer, I know all too well that less is more.  When you clear out the clutter in your home and in your head, you clear out the clutter in your life.

Sometimes, our clutter means that we have too many time commitments.  

I decided to commit Memorial Day weekend to my own home and did not commit to any social activities.  I knew that if I committed this block of time to this project, I would be able to enjoy the rest of the Summer.  That was my motivation.  

I systematically went through my home, starting on the second floor and moving down to the first floor, one room at a time; just like what I do when working with my clients when they hire me to organize their homes.  I cleaned, I decluttered, I organized.  I worked 12 hours a day for two days.  It was a lot of work, but, oh, it felt so good!  During this week, I am going to work on my basement and storage room.  Then, my entire home will be organized!

Here are four steps you can take to create more with less:

1.  Enlist an "accountability partner".  Select someone who is committed to supporting you and perhaps creating change in their own life.  This "accountability partner" can be a friend, family member or even a professional organizer like myself to keep you focused and moving forward.

2.  Make a list.  Break down the various areas of your home that you wish to tackle and create a chronological list so you can check them off as you go and get that wonderful sense of accomplishment at the end.  As you think of things you need to do or want to purchase, write them down as well.  This will keep you on track. 

3.  Subtract as you go.  Look closely at what you have and eliminate the excess.  It could be clothing, paperwork, old linens, pantry food items, etc.  Take the time to truly evaluate what you need and will use.   Don't create excuses for keeping something you know you will never use.

4.  Find the additions.  This does not mean that you find more stuff to keep.  It means finding the joy in having less.  Celebrate your successes by inviting people over to see what you have accomplished.  Enjoy your new space and "live" in your home.  Your have now created more space for good things to enter your life.  

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and need assistance in creating a home you enjoy living in and are ready to eliminate your clutter, once and for all, contact me.  I can help you to create a step-by-step system so you can have A Better Space.

In the meantime, have a great week!

 

 

    

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, February 09 2013

Wow!  January was crazy busy for A Better Space.  So many people contacted me to help them get organized.  That is why I did not blog in almost a month!  I believe we can all find a little time in our day to get organized, right? 

If you need to get organized but can't seem to find the time, I have some suggestions for things you can do to at least get started.  They only require about 15 minutes a day!  I am sure you can carve out 15 minutes out of your day to get some organizing done. 

Here are a few suggestions:  

1.  Organize a 15 minute family pick-up.  Get everyone involved to go around the house and gather up items that do not belong in that particular room and put them away. (This can be done on a daily basis to keep the clutter under control.)

2.  Gather your remote controls for the television and gaming devices in your family room and put them into one basket.  If there are similar devices in other rooms, do the same thing.  

3.  Go through your sock drawer.  Gather those single socks, ones that are worn out or no longer worn. Old socks sometimes make great handheld dusters.  Only keep a few for this purpose, though.  The rest have to go!   Pair up the rest and put them away.

4.  Match your plastic containers with their lids.  Go into your kitchen and gather all of your plastic containers and plastic lids.  Put the lids on the containers and get rid of the ones that don't have a matching lid.  Reduce the amount that you have if you have too many. With the lids in place, you will never have to find a matching lid again.  

5.  Do a clothing toss.  Go through your closet and quickly eliminate those items you no longer like, you never wear or no longer fit.  Donate the items that are still in good condition.  

6.  Do a medicine cabinet review.  Eliminate old or expired medications.  Only keep the items you still use.  Old medications can be returned to your pharmacist to recycle. 

7.  Organize your bathroom towels.  Go through the linen closet and get rid of the old and worn out towels you no longer use.  Only keep enough on hand for one week's use.  Too many towels means too much clutter.  

8.  Check the back of the fridge.  You probably have items that have gotten pushed to the back of the refrigerator and are no longer useable.  Get rid of them and then organize like items together in the fridge so you can easily find what you need when you need it.  Keep leftovers at the front so they get used up first.  

There are many other ways to get organized in just 15 minutes.  What will you do to get your home organized with just 15 minutes a day?  I would love to hear your ideas and we can share them with others.

In the meantime, have a great week!  

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:37 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, September 26 2012

I'm wondering whether you have duplicates of items that you could donate to help you reduce your clutter.  Having doubles can be trouble!

Granted, having duplicates of certain items in your home, such as plates in your kitchen cabinets or reams of paper in your home office are very helpful.  However, if there are items that we don't use often, it might be difficult for us to find a way to store them.  We just might not have the room.  

We don't want to waste space on things that will take up valuable space in our home.  We want to be sure that we don't let those "every day" items get out of control.  You just might want to donate the excess of which you have duplicates.  Here are some examples:

  • Paper shopping bags.  How many do you have?  They do tend to accumulate and, although they can be useful, too many is too much.  Now that reuseable grocery bags are being recommended, you might find yourself with an influx of old paper shopping bags.  Consider giving them to charities that can use them.  (Some charities bag up meals, clothes, supplies and are looking for bag donations.  Just make sure they are not musty or carry an odor from pets or smoke.

 

  • Hotel toiletries.  If you are a frequent traveler, chances are you return home from a trip with travel-size toiletry items you got for free at the hotel.  If you don't use them when you get home, they can take over your closet, drawer or cabinet shelf.  You can, instead, donate them to a local shelter, or, why not just leave them at the hotel to begin with! 

 

  • Pens, pencils, markers.   I don't know about you, but these items seem to multiply in my drawer!  Do you come home with a pen you borrowed and forgot to return?  Do your kids come home from school with more writing utensils than you sent with them?  I bet that if you take a look around your home, you probably have more pens and markers than you will ever use.  Honestly, it's impossible to use them all, so donating them is a great option.  Be sure to remove the ones that don't work.  Give a bunch to a local school or community center or The Pencil Project.

 

  • Sheets/Bed Linens.  The number of linens you need depends on how often you do laundry.  If you change your sheets every week (or every two weeks), you likely won't need more than two or three sets total (including the one currently on your bed).  I wouldn't be surprised if you have sheets of various sizes that used to fit beds you no longer have.  If they are still in good shape, donate them to a local charity.  Perhaps the sets you have are just worn out.  Consider giving them to your local animal shelter. 

 

  • Coffee Mugs.  They tend to collect on our kitchen cabinet shelves without us even realizing it.  We get them as gifts, we travel somewhere and bring them home as a  souvenir, we get promotional mugs from marketers at events.  When was the last time you took at look at your mugs?  We might have a favorite mug along with the ones that came with our set of dishes.  Check to see which ones you never use and pass them onto someone moving into a new apartment or a college student who lives away from home.  Otherwise, donate them to a local charity. 

You may not realize that you have unused duplicates unless you are actively decluttering.  Check out your storage areas and start gathering like items togther so you can get a true sense of the amount you have.  Pinpoint those items that are good candidates for donation.  You will gain more space for your important items and help others in the process.   Avoid that "Double Trouble".

Let me know what you discover.  

In the meantime, have a great week!  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:41 am   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 20 2012

 

Last time, l spoke about tips to get organized for Daylight Savings Time.  Now that today is the first day of Spring, I thought it would be a good time to provide you with some tips for getting organized for the Spring season.  After all, Spring is the time when we look forward to a fresh clean slate - in our homes and in our ourselves.  Here are some ways to  start off the season with some fresh ideas:    

1. Clear the Cobwebs: We all have mental cobwebs after a long winter. The first thing to do is to clear them out. You can do this by taking a personal day for re-creation. This can be as simple as sitting outside and reading a special book or as elaborate as a day at the spa. The choice is up to you. There are many at-home' spa kits available to give yourself a day of pampering. Arrange with a friend to spend a spa day together. We all lead such busy lives that a day with a friend is a rare treat. Whatever  you choose to do, take the time to clear out the mental cobwebs and get a fresh outlook for Spring.

2. Switch Out: Do you still have winter accessories out and about? Do you have winter accessories that you didn't put out? Before you trade and bring out the warm weather accessories, take time to pack up the items you didn't use for winter and set them aside for donation. You have a good idea of what you actually use, so donating the excess is the perfect thing to do. As you put your spring/summer accessories out, be aware of what you don't put out as it may be something you are ready to donate right away.  

3. Lighten Up: Clutter can't be organized, so declutter, declutter, declutter. When your spaces are filled with things, your perception is that rooms are closing in on you. When we lighten up our spaces, they definitely feel brighter. So, pick a room to work on and lighten it up.  The items that you choose to declutter can be donated to a charity or sold at a yard sale!

4. Spring Forward: With the daylight lasting later into the evening, now is a good time to re-organize your work-out routines. It's likely that through the winter you had your workouts restricted to indoors. With the arrival of longer days, it's possible also to shift the time of day you exercise. If mornings are hard for you to fit in a workout, an after-work or after-dinner walk is now a real possibility. Now is the time to change things up a bit and change your schedule with some new scenery and introduce a fresh state of mind for your workouts.

5. Cooking Confusion: Are your recipes and cookbooks in a state of disarray? Now is a good time to breathe new life into your cooking. The first thing to do is to go through your cookbooks and loose recipes and eliminate those you haven't used and don't plan on using. Be realistic about what you will actually try to make. Once you have eliminated those you don't want, make a plan to try a new recipe each week! Also, if you try a recipe and no one likes it--toss it! Look through your cookbooks with a critical eye to which ones you actually use. There are so many recipes available on the Internet now, that it almost makes it unnecessary to own cookbooks at all!

6. Trash Tattered Towels: Have your bath towels seen better days? Take time now to do a bit of Spring organizing and sorting of your towels. Those that are showing their age but are still serviceable can be donated to a local animal shelter like the SPCA. They will appreciate your donation. Take inventory what remains. Replace worn ones with fluffy white towels. These will give your bathroom a fresh spa-like look and feel.

7. Outdoor Organizing:  With warmer weather, many of us are turning our thoughts to the outside of our homes. Spring is a perfect time to plan your garden and yard care tasks. It's also a great time to take a look at the curb appeal of your home. Did the cement or driveway crack over the winter?  Does your house need a new coat of paint?  Organize your gardening tasks and cleanup tasks. Add at least one item to your calendar every weekend.  Now is also a great time to order your seeds and plants for the garden you have planned. That should give you plenty of time to get your seeds started and ready to plant since all danger of frost is now past.

8. Organize Your Refrigerator: I always advise to do this before Thanksgiving but this is also a good time of year to organize the fridge.  Organize your refrigerator for more room and greater efficiency. You can use small baskets or bins to group like items together. [CLEVER CONTAINER has a great line of bin organizers for your fridge and pantry.  Check them out right on this website!  Just look for the CLEVER CONTAINER tab on the home page.  They are on Page 6 of the catalog.]  Use them to put salad dressings in one basket, condiments in another, jams and jellies in another and so on. You can also put in a basket for fruit and another for vegetables. Not only does this free up space in your fridge, but you will also have things organized in such a way that makes it easier to find everything. Being able to find what we need in the refrigerator can be a welcome change!

Get Spring off to a good start but using the tips above and enjoy the season of new beginnings!

If you have any additional tips, we would love to hear from you.  

In the meantime, have a great week!  

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:14 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, September 08 2010

I found two great "Take Back Initiatives" that can help you in the process of decluttering your home. 

One can be used when decluttering your medicine cabinet and the other when decluttering your clothes closet.

These are great incentives for getting those areas organized: 

 

  • The US Drug Enforcement Administration is sponsoring a national take-back initiative to accept unused or expired prescription drugs for safe disposal on Saturday, September 25, 2010. “Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at sites established throughout the country.” Check the DEA site for locations in your community.

 

  • Along similar lines, but with clothing instead of medications, the Men’s Wearhouse is accepting lightly used men’s suits, sports coats, slacks, dress shirts and shoes, business casual clothing, coats, ties, cuff links, and other accessories during the month of September. The Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive gives the suits to local non-profit organizations. Donations can be made at any Men’s Wearhouse.

 

I would love to hear from you about how you made use of these initiatives and how they encouraged you to eliminate your clutter. 

Until next time, have a great week! 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 02:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, January 24 2010

I don't think any of us can disagree that, for the most part, we are a society of abundance.  We take a lot for granted when it comes to our possessions.  We use something and then throw it away.

Have you ever considered reusing something for another purpose?  If not, I have some ideas I have gathered which I would like to share with you.

From the kitchen:

Colander - create a luminaria by placing tealights or votives inside a metal version.  (You don't want to melt the plastic ones!)

Milk carton - keep breakables in tact when you move.  Wrap up your small delicate pieces with bubble wrap and then slid them into their own containers.  (A juice carton works just as well.)

Wine cork - organize your jewelry by poking your stud earrings into a cork and toss it in your travel bag.

From the bathroom:

Antacid tablets - clean your toilet by dropping in two dissolving antacid tablets like Alka-Seltzer into the bowl, wait 20 minutes and then brush.

Cotton swabs - keep your phone charged by using a swab dipped in alcohol to clean the battery contacts on your cell phone, laptop or cordless phone.

Bath mat - when replacing your mat in your bathroom, take the older one and protect your car seats in your car from muddy paws.  The rubber bottom will help the mat stay put on the seat.  No more doggy footprints!

From the bedroom:

Pillow case - use it to store the rest of the set of bed linens so they are kept together in one place and easy to grab when changing your linens.

Tie rack - use it to keep dish towels and pot holders within reach on your kitchen wall or magnetize it and put in on the side of your fridge.  

Plastic pocket shoe organizer - store your art supplies such as paints, pens, brushes, scissors and more.

From the laundry room:

Empty bottles of bleach - use two bottles filled with sand as dumbells in your home gym.

Clothes pins - use them to support vines and climbing plants in your garden by making sure the stems pass through the holes in the center so as not to damage then.

Wire hanger - remove static cling.  Run the long side of the hanger over a skirts or between your skirts and pantyhose or slip.

 

Try out these ideas and let me know what you think.  Come up with other ideas and let us know what they are.

If you need any assistance with getting organized, feel free to contact me at A Better Space.  I will be more than happy to help.

Wishing you an organized week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:19 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, October 24 2009

I love to find stories about getting organized! 

Now, even CoverGirl make-up has jumped on the organizing bandwagon and has developed a numerical system for matching up their various types of make-up. 

They claim to have taken the guesswork out of finding your TRU shade with their TRUblend makeup organized system.  This includes liquid foundation, concealer, pressed powder and blush.  The system is numbered from 1 through 6 (1 being the lightest shade, 6 being the darkest shade). 

For example, if your TRUblend liquid makeup is a 2, then your TRUblend pressed power, concealer and blush are also a 2.  

Organizing can be so beneficial, even when it comes to purchasing  your make-up.  Gotta love that!

Now that that problem is solved, if you have any other organizing issues you would like me to address, please feel free to contact me at A BETTER SPACE.  I will be more than happy to help.

Have a great week!

 

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 02:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, July 08 2009

Now that the kids are out of school and summer is in full swing, we don't have the time or want to take the time to clean the house.  We want to be outside, on vacation, taking day trips and participating in other summer time activities.

But -- we still need to clean the house.  How do we do both?  We "speed clean"!!

I have compiled some Quick Tips for A Better Space which are great time-saving tips and techniques for cleaning your home in less than an hour.  You can do it all at once or select several rooms a day to do a quick cleaning.  By using these techniques, you can be sure that your home will be clean and you will be ready for summer fun.  

Bedroom - Make your bed first thing in the morning, put your clothes in the hamper, straighten up your night stand and bureau surfaces.  Then quickly dust and vaccum.

Bathroom - Wipe down the shower door or tub surround when finished with your shower.  Spray the entire shower and curtain liner with shower mist (the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner works well).  Take a disinfecting wipe and wipe the sink and faucet, counter top and toilet seat and rim.  Vaccum the area rug and wipe the floor with a damp mop.  (I like the Wet Jet system for quick clean-ups.)

Living Room -  Pick up things off the floor and use a handheld vacuum to pick up crumbs and dust bunnies.  Fluff pillows and throws.  Straighten up books and magazines, throwing away newspapers and store ads.  Put away CDs and DVDs after each use.  Dust from top to bottom, saving the vacuuming for last.

Kitchen - Start with the sink and wipe it down after doing the dishes.  Wipe down the stove top and counters.  Wipe the table.  Use a dust mop, Swiffer Sweeper or vacuum to clean up crumbs from the floor.

With these suggestions, you will find that your home will remain clean and organized and you will have more time to spend enjoying the Summer!

If you have any questions about this topic or have any other organizing problems you would like me to address, simply send me an email at info@4abetterspace.com and I will be glad to help.

Have a great week!

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 02:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, November 14 2008

The holidays are quickly approaching and so are those social events.  You want to look your best and you want to make sure that the products you are applying have not expired.  The last thing you want during this busy season is a reaction to a bad/expired product.

Do a quick check in your bathroom and I am sure you will find face cream you never use, the remnants of your favorite powder blush and that tube of lip stick you need to dig out with a lip brush to get anything out of.

Products that are unused or down to the last drop are just taking up shelf space and cluttering your make-up bag which you could be using for the fresh products you want to keep and have readily available.

Unopened products can remain stable for a couple of years at room temperature.  But once you bring home a product and open it, the clock starts running.  Every time you touch the product, you are transferring germs to them and to your face.  Heat and humidity play a roll in promoting the growth of mold and yeast as well. 

Believe it or not, bathrooms are not the ideal spot to store cosmetics, although it tends to be the most convenient.  A cool, dry linen closet is best.

Since labeling regulations in the United States do not require an expiration date on most cosmetics, here are some Quick Tips in deciding what to keep and what to toss: 

Face Makeup - six months for liquids; two years for powders.

Mascara - three months.

Eyeliner and Eye Shadow - three months for liquid eyeliners; six months for cream eye shadows; two years for pencil eyeliners and powder eye shadows.

Lipstick and Lipliner - two years for lipstick and gloss; two years or more for lipliner.

Nail Polish - one to two years depending on when the consistency turns gooey or stringy.  Avoid storing them in the bathroom as they are especially sensitive to temperature extremes.

Skin Care Products include moisterizers, eye creams, cleansers, serums, peels, etc.  Acne creams and other over-the-counter products that contain drugs are FDA regulated and usually carry expiration dates.  However, cosmeceuticals (products claiming to have anti-aging and skin-changing benefits) are not regulated.  Once they are opened, they should not be kept longer than 6 months.  If in a pump bottle, they can last a year.

Sun Screen - six months.

Hair Products - one year.

Fragrance - two years or more.  You will know because it tends to turn dark and has a stronger smell than when it's fresh.

In summary, you should toss your mascara and liquid liner every season, toss your skin-care regimen, sunscreens and liquid foundations every six months, toss your hair products (except hair spray) once a year and toss your powder-based cosmetic (pressed powder and shadows), lipsticks and nail polishes every two years.

Best bet is to date your products with a small sticker when you purchase and open them so you will not have to guess as to when they were purchased, guaranteeing they will always be safe to use. 

If you have any organizing questions or problems you would like me to address, please feel free to contact me at A BETTER SPACE.  I will be glad to help.

Enjoy this wonderful holiday season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:17 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
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