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Design & Remodel

Here's how to remodel on a budget

Remodeling your home can help boost its value should you decide to sell down the road. Here are a few ideas to help you save in ways that don’t compromise on quality, when a tighter budget is in play.
Think about a partial remodel
 
You can make a room look new while saving money if you stick with some things that were original to the room, and/or replace key elements instead of the whole room. Painting existing walls is a well-known update. For your kitchen or bathroom for instance, consider painting the cabinetry instead of a complete replacement, if the cabinets are still in good shape.
 
Removing and updating handles and knobs for cabinet doors and drawers will help refresh a room. Also, update light fixtures. These types of items can immediately give you a fresh, updated space and cost less than a whole room remodel. Refinishing wood flooring is also a way to reuse existing materials to make an old room like new.
 
Use off-the-shelf dimensions
Save money by avoiding the high costs of custom-built materials. If you can do a little research to see what sizes are common to the things you’d like to change, you can save cash because it doesn’t have to be specially made. Cabinetry typically comes in off-the-shelf, semi-custom, and fully customized price points. However, you may have to relinquish some control over design specifics when choosing off-the-shelf.
 
Use design/build firm
Design/Remodeling firms fully manage remodeling projects from repairs to renovations. They help you save time by managing workers and schedules for you, and help you stay within your budget by giving you cost-effective ideas. 
 
These firms are also able to narrow down material choices for you to choose from that fit within your budget range, so you’re not endlessly searching or choosing outside of your budget. By discussing up front what your budget is, and choosing your priorities, this will help your remodeling team plan your project specifically for your style and your budget needs.
 
Don’t move the big stuff
If your budget is more limited, keeping the same or a similar layout can help reduce costs vs. the more expensive moving of plumbing or load-bearing walls. In many cases it’s possible to plan your remodel within the existing layout. Refreshing with updates can still make a room look dramatically different. You may even be able to upgrade materials, by saving in other areas.
 
Beware of amateurs
While some smaller projects can absolutely be done by watching YouTube instructional videos, some minor and all major home renovations should be completed by professionals who have years of experience and lots of expertise. Projects can be completed in a more timely way when done by those who have lots of experience. It can be emotionally and monetarily tolling to have to go back and re-do something that was done incorrectly the first time. 
 
Good contractors also come with guarantees or warranties, so that things can be fixed later if an issue arises. If you’re still looking to save money, hire the contractor, but find out what services they perform that cost more in order to plan wisely with your specific home or office’s needs. If you come upon an unexpected setback like mold, rot, or degrading pipes, it’s nice to already have knowledgeable professionals on hand to advise you on the most cost-effective solution. This is one corner you do not want to cut, as it could cost you much more later.
 
Make use of your resources
If you don’t have materials for reuse in your house, check out places like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, or even antique or consignment stores for furniture pieces that can be re-purposed into things like a kitchen island or bathroom vanity. Hunting for salvage materials may take more time than you’re able to spend, but it can be less expensive and give you a unique, personalized feature in your home.  Another place to look are builder surplus or overstock stores.
 
As you’re planning your remodel and considering how to budget wisely, remember that saving money in the short term can end up meaning more spent in the long run, if not done the right way. Remodel smartly by spending a few extra dollars to be sure something is done right the first time and know your options to make sure your project stays on budget.
 
 


Sara Bagwell is a designer for Tracy Tesmer Design/Remodeling in Gainesville.








September 2019 column

Don't overlook your home's outdoor space

Football season is in the air and the holidays will be here before we know it, so now is the time to evaluate what kind of space you have for entertaining. Most people just focus on the main area of their home: the living room and kitchen.  But why not think outside the box to other areas that could be used for gathering, like outdoor space.  Fall is the perfect time of year to utilize outdoor space for entertaining. Maybe you have an old deck or patio that is underutilized ... consider updating the space to make it more inviting.
 
Updating your outdoor living area is all the rage these days, including adding grilling and cooking stations, entertainment areas, and fire pits or fireplaces. 
 
There are so many options out there when it comes to updating your outdoor space. Decks tend to be high maintenance, especially in the South. So, if you have a deck that you’re not sure exactly what to do with or that’s in need of some TLC, why not consider converting it into a screened porch or sunroom? The space can be used more time out of the year and provides additional covered living space for when you’re running out of room for guests inside. In addition to providing protection from the elements, an enclosed space also protects your guests from pesky insects, like flies, gnats and mosquitoes.
 
Outdoor kitchens and grilling areas are also gaining in popularity.  On one hand, they provide everything needed for grilling in one convenient place and in easy reach, rather than having to make several trips in and out of the house. And on the other hand, they provide additional gathering area so the grill master doesn’t have to be isolated from the party or guests. A covered outdoor bar or kitchen is a great addition to nearly any backyard.

There are lots of material options out there for this type of space as well; you can either build the kitchen or bar out of brick or stone or there are lines of cabinetry specifically made for outdoors.   When you’re selecting materials like countertops, natural stones or stainless steel both work outside. For flooring, consider materials with a matte or honed finish and some texture to avoid slips. Porcelain tile, stone or brick pavers or even concrete all work well.
 
If you look on home improvement sites, you’ll see an abundance of outdoor fireplace or fire pit pictures. There are so many cool options and designs to bring these elements into your space and make them your own. If you already have a patio, covered porch, or sunroom adding a fireplace is not too difficult at all. 
 
First, decide where you want the structure, making sure not to block any great views or disrupt natural traffic patterns. Depending on your personal style and style of your home, a stone or brick fireplace could add just the rustic or modern touch your space needs. If you have an enclosed space like a sunroom, you have the option to go with gas; but with a patio or open-air deck, you’re best to go with wood-burning so you don’t have to keep re-igniting.
 
Fire pits are certainly a trend right now, and if you love being outdoors, I think it’s a trend with some staying power. When you search fire pit ideas online, you’ll see everything from a primitive hole in the ground lined with some stone and gravel surrounded by chairs to an elaborate recessed stone pit with built-in patio and seating around. Fire pits are a great place for gathering, hanging out on cool evenings or during fall and early winter months here in Georgia. 
 
Who doesn’t love toasted marshmallows or s’mores in the fall? If you’re thinking about re-doing an existing patio or building new, consider adding a fire element into the design for some added warmth and coziness.
 
When it comes to outdoor spaces, the options are endless. I encourage you to think about what you currently use your space for or hope to use the space for and go from there. Most people focus all their energy on the inside of their home but don’t forget about the outside, too. Not only does it give you more space for entertaining and hosting, but also some peaceful space to enjoy yourself. If you’re not sure where to start, start by consulting with a designer or contractor; they can help you come up with some ideas for your specific space.  Now go enjoy the outdoors!


August 2019 column

Now trending: remodeling bathrooms

As a design-build firm, we continue to see lots of clients looking to re-design and remodel bathrooms this year. From timeless materials to new cabinet colors and room layouts, clients are looking to update their bathroom spaces to make them both more beautiful and more functional.
 
One of the trends that we’re continuing to see from fixture manufacturers is matte finishes.  Whether it be matte black or matte gold (yes, gold is back!), these colors help bring a modern elegance to a space. With a light backdrop, stylish black fixtures are sleek and modern; and matte gold, also known as champagne bronze, is a far cry from the shiny brass most people are trying desperately to get away from. If you’re brave enough, you can even mix finishes; black and chrome work great together, while dark bronze and champagne together provide an updated traditional look.
 
Another trend we’re seeing is warmer wood accents. Of course, the most popular place we see this is in cabinetry; a stained finish on a modern door style gives a sleek, updated look. We also see wood accents in the form of teak in showers, including shower seats, stools, or bathmats. You can bring in the wood look in the form of floor tile, as well. With simple modern style on the rise, the preference is moving toward more natural finishes and materials with clean lines.
 
One thing I encourage clients to be open to are unique vanity mirrors and lighting. These items can really make a statement and help define the style of the space. There are practically an infinite number of options out there so look to a design professional to guide you to the correct size and look to balance your space. Gone are the plate-glass, builder-grade mirrors and in are mirrors that make a statement.  Also out are the matchy-matchy mirrors that are the same color as your vanity.
 
In terms of lighting, you don’t have to just stick to above-mirror vanity lights. There are single sconces, as well as pendants that can help frame your vanity area, and if you have a large enough space, don’t be afraid to bring in a small chandelier in the center of the room for something unique.
 
For tile, marble- and concrete-looks continue to be popular.  Marble is not recommended for bathrooms because of its porosity and high maintenance. But manufacturers have created porcelain tile that looks like marble so you can get the same elegant effect.  Porcelain tile manufacturers have also mastered re-creating the concrete look tile, for a more modern or industrial look. Again, these go back to the popularity of nature and incorporating natural, or natural-looking, materials.
 
Gray continues to be a popular color in 2019. Many lovely tones of gray pair nicely with light bathrooms and matte black accents.  Although, we’ve been seeing some of the colder grays decline, while warmer grays and taupes are on the rise. These warm grays can be used in tile choice, as well as cabinetry or wall color.  
 
More and more designers are including artful sinks in bathroom renovations. These sinks provide unique shapes and designs, adding a striking focal point in a small area, and this includes both vessel and undermount. Just like lighting and tile, there are many more great options for sinks out there. Kohler is especially great at creating beautiful pieces, whether that be a hand-painted vessel sink or a subtly patterned undermount sink. 
 
In addition to material trends, we also are seeing trends in terms of bathing needs. More and more people are removing their bulky garden or jetted tubs from their master bath and replacing them with large, tiled showers. I hear all the time from people who use their large tubs for storage or washing the family dog instead of actual baths. For those that do still enjoy taking a bath, they are replacing the old standard tubs with freestanding soaking tubs or air massage tubs. Air massage technology uses forced air to create a milder jacuzzi effect without the tubes and drainage of the old-style jets for a much more sanitary and easy-to-maintain system.
 
When it comes to a bathroom remodel, everyone’s style and needs are different. Some are looking for simply an updated, but still timeless, look while others need space that’s more functional. It’s ideal to work with a designer or design-build remodeler when re-doing a bathroom to maximize the space you have and come up with ideas that you maybe hadn’t considered.
 


July 2019 column

The importance of hiring the right contractor for your project

Hiring the right contractor can be a difficult task, but if you know the right questions to ask and red flags to look for, you’ll feel better prepared. Finding the best contractor can depend on a lot of factors, like what project you are looking to do, whether it be a large-scale renovation or just some light handyman work. It is also important to consider when you want the project completed and how much you’re willing to spend.
 
Once you decide on the general scope of the project and your budget, it’s time to start searching for and interviewing contractors.  Make sure you really take the time to do some research. Ask local friends and family for recommendations and search online for local professionals. A simple internet search will give you some great results to start with, but also check out sites like Houzz, or even Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram for pictures of projects and/or reviews.  
 
Once you find a contractor or two whose work you like, do more research on their specific companies. First of all, make sure they are licensed and insured. In the slight chance that something goes wrong, you want to make sure you are covered and not liable. Next, look for any accreditation, such as membership to trade organizations like NARI, NAHB, or NKBA, or even to general groups like the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau.  Companies that join groups like these tend to show a higher level of professionalism and higher standard to their work in general.
 
The next step is to meet with the contractor or construction company in person. This initial consultation should be free. During this initial consultation, you will find out more about the company, their processes and standards, as well as what to expect in terms of your specific project and timeline.

This is also a great time to see how you get along with the contractor. This is important, especially if you are planning a large project, because you are going to be spending a considerable amount of time with this contractor or company, and you want to make sure you can work together.
 
One important conversation to have during this initial consultation is to discuss budget. It’s very important to be open and honest about your budget with a potential contractor. This helps determine if your project is feasible based on your budget or if you might need to consider completing your remodel in phases. Once you do decide on a budget and scope of work make sure you get a contract in writing. Never go with a verbal agreement or handshake on something as important as your home.
 
There are two important red flags to look for when hiring a contractor. First, make sure the contractor will pull the proper permits for your project, which also involves having inspections throughout the project. Of course, there are certain circumstances that do not require permitting, such as minor repair work or minor updates. But if your project includes any plumbing, electrical, or mechanical work, permits should be pulled.

The other red flag to look for are contractors who say they can do all the work themselves, especially on a large remodel project. When electrical, plumbing, drywall, painting, cabinets, etc. are all involved in your project, you want experts in each trade to be doing the work. It takes a lot of focus and time to become a specialist, and you want a team of people who really know what they are doing.
 
The final two considerations to make when hiring a contractor are timing and cost. Make sure you plan ahead for your remodeling project and don’t expect to be able to start tomorrow. The best contractors will have a back-log of work, especially in today’s market, so be extremely cautious of anyone who says they can start immediately. Also, when it comes to cost, if you are on a tight budget, try to think of things you may be able to do yourself, like demo or painting.  Remember, you get what you pay for. Be willing to spend a little more for the best quality work and materials.
 
There’s a lot that goes into hiring a contractor. Make sure you do your research; ask friends and family, look online and call around.  Trust me, it’s worth the extra effort to do your homework. Also, when it comes to the interview process, be up-front and don’t be afraid to ask questions about licensing, credentials, timing and budget. The more you do up-front, the smoother your project is likely to go.
 

June 2019 column

Moving vs. Remodeling - Deciding which is best for you

There are times when remodeling your home is the best option, and there are other times where moving is the best option to getting your dream home. The decision can be a difficult one so it’s important to consider all the factors.
 
Budget
The first thing you will want to consider is your budget. The money you are willing and able to spend can be a big deciding factor on whether you choose to purchase a new home or decide to remodel your existing home. Remodeling often requires cash, or a home equity or renovation loan requiring a higher down payment. If you don’t have as much money up front, looking for a new home loan may be easier. Make sure to research and evaluate all the options that are available to you when making your decision.
 
Space
Next, you will want to decide if more space or rooms is a priority. If your children are getting older and the home feels cramped, you may need some additional space that a remodel would provide. If you have kids and/or grandkids coming back home for holidays, maybe it’s time to convert a bonus room or unfinished basement into additional living and sleeping spaces. Alternately, if your property allows, you may consider an addition to gain more square footage. If your family is young and growing, moving to a larger home may make more sense so you have plenty of space to grow into without having to worry about the construction process.
 
Timeline
One aspect of this decision that many homeowners often forget to consider is the timeline. A kitchen remodel can mean going without access to important appliances for a few months, while a move can mean living out of boxes or in a temporary home for a time. If you are considering a remodel, make sure you are well prepared for the construction and temporary inconvenience.  If you are able, move to an area in your home away from where the work will be conducted.  If you are looking to move, consider all of the inconveniences this will cause as well, i.e. showing your home, home shopping, packing, and living out of boxes. You will have to decide which option is best for your family and situation.
 
ROI
Before you make your final decision, take the time to consider your return on investment. If you are remodeling for resale, find out how much a remodel can increase curb appeal, add much-needed square footage or updates that will help you sell your home for more.  Know that you will not likely get back a 100 percent return, but the return on the investment is not always monetary. If you are not thinking about moving right away, it is just as important to consider whether the investment will make your home more enjoyable and comfortable for you to live in, as well. Just make sure you are not putting so much money into your home that you are pricing your home out of your neighborhood for the future. If that is the case, moving may be the better option.
 
Real Estate Market
When considering whether to move or remodel, be sure to do research on the real estate market in both the area where you are selling and where you are looking to move. This will help you see what to prepare for, i.e. whether you might need to stay somewhere temporarily before you find your new home or if you can afford two house payments if you find your dream home before your current home sells. If you think it will be difficult to either sell your current home or find the right new home, then remodeling would be a better option.  
 
Emotional attachment
Finally, you will want to consider the relationship you have built with your neighbors, how much your location means to you and how emotionally attached you are to your home. Studies and research estimate that 70 percent of homeowners considering a remodel or move ultimately decide to stay and update their home. Are you willing to give up your property, neighborhood, or view? If not, remodeling is the best option so that the home you already own can become your dream home.
 
Everyone’s situation is different when it comes to whether you should move or remodel. Carefully consider all your options and what fits your family best. It’s also a great idea to get the opinions of a trusted design/build contractor or real estate agent in your area to help with the decision.

May 2019 column

Spring offers perfect opportunity for home improvement

The past couple of months we’ve focused on cleaning and organizing. But now it’s time to talk about updating your home.  When it comes to making updates, there are so many options out there, but which options will have the most impact?
 
Let’s start on the interior of your home. One of the best updates you can make to the interior of your home is new paint. If your home’s walls are tired or dated, freshen them up with a new color.  Color “trends” are typically short-lived, so make sure you pick out a color that is true to your style and personality. Whites and grays are not for everyone, and that’s OK!  There are an infinite number of options out there. I recommend using a premium grade paint, such as Benjamin Moore, PPG, or Sherwin Williams to get the best results. Cost will vary depending on whether you’re willing to do the work yourself or if you prefer to hire a professional. When painting the walls, don’t forget about trim and doors; chipped, yellowed, or dingy trim needs an update too.  This will help your home feeler fresher, brighter, and cleaner.
 
Other updates you can make to the interior of your home are new window and floor coverings.  Spring is a great time to switch out heavy curtains or blinds with something lighter and brighter. Cotton, linen, and silk are all great materials for curtains, and if you’re looking to block out light for sleeping, these can be found with blackout panels, as well. When it comes to floors, hardwoods or other wood-look materials continue to be the most popular.

If you want to add some warmth to your wood floors, consider adding or changing out a rug. A rug, along with other accessories, is the best places to bring in “trendy” patterns or colors since they can be changed out easily. You can go with lots of different materials for your rugs as well: wool, polyester, jute, or cotton, and don’t be afraid to mix up textures.
 
Furniture is another item that can use a fresh update in the spring. If your pieces are looking worn or outdated, consider replacing them with new pieces. There are so many great furniture stores out there for all budgets, and many offer sales this time of year. If you love the style and “bones” of your furniture, such as couches and chairs, another option is to have them re-upholstered. Re-upholstering allows you to pick out a new pattern and/or color for your room, but you don’t have to break in anything new.
 
In addition to the interior of your home, there are also many things you can do to update the exterior. Same as inside, painting can give your home a significant facelift. If it’s been 10 years or more since your home was painted last and you like the color, you may just consider a fresh coat.  Otherwise, if it’s time to repaint and you’re tired of the color, now is the time to change it up. Just make sure you get the necessary approvals from your HOA, if applicable. And when you’re painting the exterior, don’t forget the trim, as well. If you have vinyl siding that cannot be painted, a good pressure-washing will help clean and brighten up your home.
 
Changing up your front door can bring a new look to your home and add curb appeal. This could either mean replacing your door with a new one or painting your existing door a new, bold color. If you have trouble deciding what color to go with, talk with a local designer or visit Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams online and you can find recommendations as to what colors will coordinate with your existing color.
 
Lastly, now is the time to clean up your yard before the summer heat hits. New landscaping can help change the look of your home as well as give your home some major curb appeal. If you don’t have the budget for new plants, just weeding your yard, putting out new mulch or pine needles and pruning can have a big impact. You don’t want overgrown trees or bushes covering up your beautiful home.
 
When it comes to updating your home, the sky is the limit. Updates can range from new accessories to new paint to a completely re-designed exterior. Just don’t forget, for more time-consuming work or work beyond your skill set, reach out to a local professional for help.  It will save you both time and money in the long-run.
 


April 2019 column

An organized kitchen reduces stress, makes life easier

Last month, we talked about spring cleaning and organizing your whole home. This month let’s focus on organizing your kitchen.  When I meet with clients who are looking to remodel their kitchen, one of the main complaints I hear is that their kitchen does not have functional storage and is too difficult to organize. They tell me things get lost in the back of cabinets and they just have stacks of cooking and baking items that require constant shuffling and rearranging.
 
Kitchen organization is key to helping reduce stress both in the mornings when you are getting ready for work or getting kids to school and in the evening after a long day and you need to get dinner made quickly. Even if cooking is not your thing, an organized kitchen can still make life easier.  There are many companies out there that offer a plethora of kitchen organization solutions.  Some require going through a certified dealer, but others, like Rev-a-Shelf or The Container Store, sell items direct.
 
Let’s talk about organizing base cabinets. There are so many solutions out there, it’s hard to know where to start, but some of the items I recommend often are roll-out shelves, tray dividers, peg dividers and corner lazy Susan cabinets. Everyone knows the typical base cabinet layout: a deep shelf on the bottom and that short shelf set back about halfway up. 

This layout is not very conducive to small appliances or other larger items. I love replacing this layout with a roll-out shelf mounted on the bottom shelf of the cabinet; with the option of a full-depth adjustable height shelf. The roll-out shelf does exactly as its name implies, it rolls out of the cabinet so that you have full access to everything on the shelf. This allows you to put things like a large stand mixer, Instant Pot, crock-pot, etc. on the roll-out with easy access. If you have extra space above the larger items, that’s where the adjustable shelf can be placed to eliminate wasted space and give you an extra storage spot.
 
Tray and peg dividers are great for keeping items stacked and easy to access without all the contents of the cabinet tumbling out. Tray dividers are wire or wood vertical dividers that can be placed in base cabinets to help organize items like baking sheets, cutting boards, and even pot lids. When these are stored vertically, they are easier to get to and open shelf space for other items. Peg dividers, on the other hand, are used in deep base drawers. They are dowel rods that are placed on a peg board in the bottom of the drawer. They are great for organizing plastic containers and lids by size, as well as everyday plates, bowls, or serving dishes. Most people are fixed on the idea that everyday dishes must go in an upper cabinet but having these in a drawer under the counter makes them easier to access for anyone, including kids and those who are aging and have difficulty getting plates or bowls from above.
 
One major complaint I hear is about the dreaded ‘blind’ corner cabinets. They really are just wasted space that is not accessible. This includes both upper and lower cabinets. Besides the fact that the space is useless, when you have these cabinets in your kitchen, there’s a good chance that cabinet doors and/or drawers collide with each other because of the poor layout. To solve this issue, I love functional corner cabinets, like a lazy Susan base cabinet. This type of cabinet has a door that opens fully to give you access to two shelves that spin for full access to everything in the cabinet. On the lower end, these shelves are made of a sturdy plastic, and on the higher end, they are made from wood to blend in with the interior of the cabinet. If you don’t have the funds to replace your cabinets now and just need to make a blind corner usable, there are also shelves that can be installed that pivot out for full access to the back of the cabinet; you can find these made for both upper and lower cabinets.
 
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ways to organize your kitchen cabinets. If you like your cabinets and the layout of your kitchen, you can look for solutions that can be retro-fitted into existing cabinets. If your kitchen does not have an efficient layout, then it may be time for a remodel. With good planning and design, you can have a beautiful and functional kitchen.


March 2019 column

Yes, it's spring cleaning time again

It’s that time of year again, time for spring cleaning. Some people love it and some hate it, but it really is so important to keep your home fresh and organized. With the rise in popularity of Marie Kondo and her KonMari method of organizing, a lot of people have a new appreciation for decluttering and cleaning their home. It may feel like a daunting task, but there are ways to approach cleaning that can help make the chore easier.
 
Step 1: Declutter
The KonMari method recommends tackling the task of cleaning a little differently. Instead of going room-by-room, she recommends, cleaning based on category, i.e. clothing, books, papers, etc. Start by going through all the clothes in your home, then once that’s finished, mark it off the list and move to the next category. I, personally, like to create piles; one to keep, one to donate, and one to throw away, especially when it comes to things like clothes, kitchen items, and decorations that may not be used often. Keep what you love and use frequently, if it’s still in good shape. That doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all your sentimental items, but take the time to decide what means the most to you and what you can let go.
 
Decluttering is especially important in the kitchen. Cleaning off your countertops will help your kitchen look clean and open, as well as maximize prep space. Go through everything on your countertops and get rid of everything you don’t use or don’t need. This includes stacks of paper or junk mail, that you just haven’t had the time to go through, as well as small appliances or knick-knacks. Next, go through your cabinets and get rid of items that are either worn out or that have never been used, like that punch bowl set you got as a wedding gift years ago but have never taken out of the box.  Another item that’s important to clean out regularly is food. Food can get lost easily in a deep pantry or even in the refrigerator, so make sure you are cleaning out regularly so you have room for new items and don’t have stale or rotten food lurking on the back of shelves.   
 
Step 2: Clean
The next step is cleaning. I know you clean your house throughout the year, but make sure you take this time to deep clean forgotten areas, like your refrigerator, freezer, and oven. Check all HVAC vents and grills to make sure they are clean of dust and debris. Also, make sure you change out your filter in your HVAC unit so it can run efficiently and the air in your home is clean. Wipe down cabinets in your kitchen and bathrooms to make sure they are clean, both inside and out. If you have granite or other natural stone countertops, now is a great time to clean and seal the tops. Spring is also a good time to clean out your laundry room, and make sure you don’t miss the area behind the washer and dryer. You may even find that missing sock!

Step 3: Organize
The final step after decluttering and cleaning is to organize what’s left. Everyone has their own system for getting organized that works for them, but the most important thing is that your storage is efficient and functional. In closets and pantries, I often recommend a shelving system in place of wire shelving. Wire shelving is OK if you are on a tight budget but doesn’t offer any flexibility. A shelving system can give you more options like adjustable shelving, baskets or drawers, and different levels for hanging. This can help you organize by category and make finding things much easier.
 
Another area I recommend focusing on organization is in cabinetry. There are so many stores out there that offer lots of organizing solutions for cabinets in the form of accessories and inserts. You can get drawer inserts to organize spices, utensils, and cutlery; you can even get inserts to help organize your junk drawer! There are hanging pot racks that go inside base cabinets, pull out cutting boards, and roll-out shelves for deep, base cabinets. We’re seeing more solutions for bathroom cabinet organization, as well; inserts for makeup, jewelry, and styling tools are popular on Houzz and Pinterest right now. I’m also incorporating in my designs more hidden outlets for styling tools, charging mobile devices, and small kitchen appliances so your countertops can be clear of messy cords.
 
Spring cleaning can be daunting, but if you set up a system or method before you start, the task will seem less overwhelming.  Happy organizing! 
 
  

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