How to Declutter Your Home Office: 7 Career-Saving Tips

By  | Jan 26, 2018

Learning how to declutter your home office is one of those skills that can be a true career saver, particularly in this day and age when 43% of employed Americans spend at least some time working from home. Sure, it’s fabulous when you can type up memos and conduct conference calls remotely while doing a load of laundry. But let’s face it: If your home office is a jumble of papers and lost files, then you aren’t going to get much work done, right?

That’s why, in this latest installment of our Declutter Your Home Guide, we give you some tips (plus pics!) that’ll show you how to declutter your home office and clean up your act.

1. Consider your setup

Photo by Polsky Perlstein Architects

Don’t just toss a few papers or move things around—tackle everything and purge or rearrange ruthlessly! If you reach for it all day long (favorite pen, highlighter, stapler, phone), then it can live on your desktop. Everything else should be placed elsewhere—in drawers, baskets, or shelves. Did you really need that hole punch to be in the middle of your desk? What is a hole punch, anyway? Enough said.

“Shelves on the walls are often overlooked in a home office, so build a few in and you’ll get stuff off your desk and counters,” says J.B. Sassano, president of Mr. Handyman.

The right storage can make all the difference, he adds. “A lack of good office storage will end up wasting your time because you’ll be looking for things rather than being productive.”

2. Dump and sort

Photo by Moya Living

You best bet is to start from scratch, which means removing everything from the drawers and cabinets and putting the items in a box or spreading them on the kitchen counter, suggests Marty Basher, a home organizing expert with Modular Closets.

“Before putting things back or filing papers in folders, decide whether it’s useful and important,” he says. Toss anything that’s out of date or redundant. “You might also invest in a home office shredder so you can feed documents in on a weekly basis to keep the clutter from piling up.”

3. File it right

Photo by Laura Trevey

Streamline your workspace as much as possible with a good filing system, suggests Jacquie Denny, co-founder of Everything but the House. Put the most important info upfront (e.g., keep medical and legal documents in easy reach in case there’s an emergency).

Also, get in the habit of using file systems correctly. “Don’t allow your home desk to become a dumping ground,” says Julie Coraccio, organizing pro at Reawaken Your Brilliance. “Do your filing instantly—clutter represents delayed decisions—so if you commit to those decisions now, your desk will stay organized.”

4. Dig out from paper

Photo by Organised Chaos Ireland

“Paper is the No. 1 item that clutters desks, arriving in the form of bills, envelopes, receipts, sticky notes, printer paper, and more,” points out Maeve Richmond, an organizing pro at Maeve’s Method.

It gets to your desk two ways: You either print it out or bring it in through the front door. “Be as conscious as you can about the paper you bring inside, and be accountable for what you print,” Richmond says.

Control bills and junk mail by enrolling in paperless statements, and consider scanning important documents such as tax returns and business receipts. And strive to sort all the mail as you walk in the house, tossing ads, coupons, circulars, and catalogs in the paper recycling bin.

5. Purge papers and manuals you can access online

Photo by Patrick Brian Jones PLLC

Do you really crack open your computer’s user manual on a weekly basis? Even monthly? Ever? Say goodbye to these space hogs.

“Manuals are bulky and take up a ton of space,” says Coraccio. If you find you need to consult one that you’ve removed from your home office, go to—there’s a good chance you’ll find it here, she adds.

6. Unknot cables

Photo by Cablox Aps

That mess under your desk can give you a headache every time you glance down.

“If your cords and cables are a nightmare, it’s time to order an inexpensive organizing system for the home office,” explains Basher. Or you can go the DIY route and simply tie them together with zip or twist ties.

7. Cash it in

Photo by Jessica Risko Smith Interior Design

Make some moolah by selling old electronics, including desktops, laptops, and printers, on a site like Gazelle, says money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. And if you have old ink cartridges lying around, recycle them at Staples office supply store to earn rewards.


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Fox Island Real Estate

FOX ISLAND 01 27 18

Separated from the Gig Harbor Peninsula by Hales Passage, Fox Island is a beautiful Puget Sound community offering upscale homes and magnificent ocean views.  With a total area of 5.2 square miles, 1.2 square miles of which is covered in water, Fox Island is among the smaller islands in Puget Sound, but a beautiful narrows location with perfect views of the Sound and Mt. Rainier, carefully developed residential areas, and easily afforded access to Gig Harbor and the mainland have put homes for sale here in high demand.    Image result for pictures of fox island

Fox Island Homes for Sale

A number of Fox Island homes and development properties in the $200,000 range can be found, but most property listings for this beautiful area start in the $500,000 range, with values extending well into the millions. Fox Island luxury homes typically feature floor plans of 3,000+ square feet, with private, beautifully landscaped properties, sports courts, and huge patio areas.


Fox Island residents enjoy a close-knit community where neighbors know each other, and can participate in regular island events and craft fairs at Nichols Community Center. The island also houses a general store, and its own museum.

Browse All Fox Island Homes for Sale

As always, while you browse the Fox Island real estate below, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to click the “Request More Information” button when viewing the details of a property. As Fox Island experts, we can provide you with disclosures, past sales history, plus our objective analysis of the listing price based on recently sold properties nearby!

Take advantage of our industry-leading tools to make your property search as easy as it possible and be sure to   so that you can receive email alerts whenever new Fox Island real estate for sale hits the market.

If you’re seeking to sell your Fox Island property directly for a comprehensive listing analysis and to learn more about the cutting edge marketing strategies we’ll use to sell your home quickly for top dollar.










Image result for pictures of fox island



Fox Island Listings



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NWMLS Copyright Infringement Information

All listings featuring the icon  are provided courtesy of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. The database information herein is provided from and copyrighted by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS). NWMLS data may not be reproduced or redistributed and is only for people viewing this site. All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. The information contained in these listings has not been verified by: Leslie Sells Houses Hawkins Poe Inc and should be verified by the buyer. All properties are subject to prior sale or withdrawal. All rights are reserved by copyright. Property locations as displayed on any map are best approximations only and exact locations should be independently verified.

Listing information last updated on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 4:22 AM PST.All Listings   Fox Island Listings






New Etsy shop will build a detailed Lego model of your home

But it doesn’t come cheap

Everyone knows that Legos are the top toy for architecture lovers, whether you’re looking to build an elaborate replica of Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie or just a tiny retro desk. But a new Lego offering on Etsy is sure to feed the obsession even further. The shop Little Brick Lane will use photos and plans of your home to build a mind-bogglingly detailed replica out of Legos.

Little Brick Lane

The builder of these scale models is Shari Austrian, who was inspired by her 7-year-old twins’ love of the interlocking blocks to start playing with them again. Then, when the family was building their own life-sized home, Austrian decided to celebrate by building a tiny version of their house.

She’s since created four Lego home models—each taking roughly 8 to 10 weeks to build—and launched Little Brick Lane at the end of last year. As for pricing, a custom Lego home with only exterior detailing costs $1,500, while both exterior and interior detailing will set you back $2,500.

In a Q&A with Apartment Therapy, Austrian shared that she recently quit her healthcare job to get into the architecture field, and is building her Lego replicas on the side. Asked about the most difficult part of a home to Lego-build, she answered: “Roof lines and, more specifically, intersecting roof lines. While the LEGO collection is expansive, it still has its limits. LEGO has not yet created some of the slopes or roof pitches often used by architects and builders.”

Do check out the full interview here.

Little Brick Lane

ViaApartment Therapy

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All About Down Payments and Money for You See if You Eligible

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can update your kitchen without the cost or challenge of a major remodel. See step-by-step instructions on how to update old cabinets with paint.

kitchen with green cabinets and white tile backsplash

Painting kitchen cabinets can save you the headache (and expense) of a big remodeling project. Before you start painting kitchen cabinets, it pays to prepare for the job. If possible, take one of your cabinet doors to a local paint retailer and talk with a pro about what kind of material you’re working with and what products will help you achieve the best results. The pros can give specific advice for painting kitchen cabinets if they know more about your project.

Remove adjustable shelves and paint them first so they’ll be dry when you’re ready to reinstall them. If possible, paint them in another room to get them out of your way, and support their edges with nails driven into predrilled holes in the ends. That way, you don’t have to wait for one surface to dry before painting the other one. Be sure to remove the shelf supports before you paint the inside of the cabinet.

You can paint the cabinet doors either on or off the cabinet, but removing them makes painting easier. Remove the hardware from both the cabinet and the doors. If you prefer to leave the doors on, you probably won’t need to paint the interior of the cabinets. If you do, paint them from the inside out. Our how-to guide shows you both painting methods, so pick the one that’s right for your ability and time frame.

Every Thing You Need to Know about Cabinets

Pick Your Paint

Primer: Select a primer and have it tinted to the color of the top coat. This will prevent dark or stained surfaces from showing through the top coat. Be sure the paint you choose is suitable for the wood, metal, or laminate surface you’re working with. Consult with the expert at your local paint store who can help you select the appropriate primer and tint for your project.

Paint: You’ll need to choose between acrylic enamel paint and alkyd paint for cabinets. Acrylic, or water-base, paints are low-fume and clean up easily with water. Alkyd, or oil-base, paints require good ventilation because the paint contains solvents that can irritate your lungs and make you feel sick. Alkyd options require mineral spirits for cleanup, but they provide a hard, durable paint finish. Whichever you use, buy the best-quality paint you can afford for a lasting kitchen cabinet finish.

A self-leveling paint is one that smooths out as it dries, making it perfect for cabinets. However, this type of paint does dry quickly, which can make blending brushstrokes tricky.

Popular Kitchen Cabinet Paint Colors

How to Paint Cabinets with the Doors Off

What You Need

  • Cordless drill or screwdriver
  • Rubber gloves
  • Protective goggles
  • Putty knife
  • Spackling compound or wood filler
  • 120- to 220-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth or rag
  • Deglosser
  • Painters tape
  • Drop cloth
  • Primer
  • Synthetic-fiber paintbrushes: 1.5-inch tapered and 2-inch
  • Microfiber paint rollers, 2-3 inches wide
  • Paint
  • Paint tray and stir sticks

Step 1: Remove Hardware

Before you start to paint cabinets, remove the cabinet doors and drawers from the cabinet boxes, and uninstall hardware. Painting over hinges and handles can affect the way the door functions.

Make a key or use tape to label where the doors and drawers should return for easy reassembly. Use a cordless drill or screwdriver to remove hinges and hardware. Depending on the type of hinge your cabinets have, you may be able to label your cabinet doors where your hinge will be reinstalled and cover it with a small piece of painter’s tape. Don’t forget to remove interior adjustable shelves, too!

Stylish Ideas for Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Step 2: Clean and Prep

rubbing liquid sander deglosser on cabinetsBefore starting, clean the faces of cabinet boxes and drawers and both sides of doors and shelves with a product that removes dirt, grease, and the glossy finish. A deglosser should do the trick for this step. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging, wearing protective goggles and rubber gloves.

On extra-glossy surfaces, sand the cabinet with 120- to 220-grit sandpaper to dull and smooth down the surface. A contoured sander works great for reaching the contours of paneled doors, but if you don’t have that, a small sponge wrapped with sandpaper or a commercial sanding sponge will work. Use a tack cloth or damp rag to remove dust after sanding.

Step 3: Test Paint and Prime

priming cabinet door with paintLay down a drop-cloth to catch any drips and cover your walls and backsplash before painting.

Use a high-density foam roller or a paintbrush to apply a stain-blocking, oil based bonding primer to the cabinets. Let dry according to manufacturer’s directions. If brush strokes are visable, lightly sand away until smooth.

Make sure you have a color you like by testing the new color on the back of a cabinet door. This gives you a chance to make sure that you like the look and, more importantly, that the paint finish you’ve chosen will adhere to the cabinetry and your prep steps will yield a smooth finish.

Next, brush, roll, or spray your cabinets with one coat of paint. Let dry completely before applying the second coat. Most quality paints will level as they dry, so don’t over brush. If your shelves are adjustable and the insides of your cabinets need a fresh coat of paint, now is the time to start painting those, too. If they have never been painted, don’t start now.

Pretty Blue Kitchen Cabinets

Step 4: Reattach Doors and Drawers

spray painting cabinet hingesOnce the kitchen cabinet paint finish has dried completely, it’s time to reattach drawer pulls, screw the hinges onto the doors, and hang the doors on the cabinetry boxes. This is easy if you labeled everything accurately.  If desired, spray-paint hardware and let dry before reattaching. Slide each drawer back in place.

How to Paint Cabinets with the Doors On

What You Need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Paintbrushes
  • Rollers
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint

Step 1: Prep Cabinets

Prepare the cabinets as you would any other surface, cleaning mildewed spots and washing the entire surface to remove dirt and grease. Repair or replace damaged wood and cover any surface you want protected.

Then, since paint won’t stick to glossy surfaces, scuff-sand cabinets with 150-grit sandpaper or use a commercial deglossing agent. To get your sandpaper into all the contours of paneled doors, use a contoured sander, a small sponge wrapped with sandpaper, or a commercial sanding sponge. Apply the deglosser in sections small enough that you can paint them within an hour. Applying paint within an hour after the deglosser will give you better adhesion.

Step 2: Paint Reverse Side

Open the cabinet doors and paint the reverse side with a brush, holding the door open with your free hand. Paint the interior of all the cabinet doors, and leave them open.

Step 3: Paint Doors and Rails

While the inside faces of the doors are drying, paint the front edge of the shelving and the cabinet frame. When the front faces of the doors are dry, close them and paint the stiles and rails of the frame, always painting the longest piece of the structure last to avoid crossed brush strokes.

Step 4: Paint Sides

Paint the sides and other open areas of the cabinets. You can speed this application with a roller, but if you do, back-brush the rolled paint to level it and make its surface consistent with the rest of the unit.

Step 5: Paint Back Wall

If you’re painting the back wall under the wall cabinets, cut in the edges first, just as you would any other wall. While the cut-in edges are still wet, fill in the remainder of the wall. You can use a roller here without going to the trouble of back-brushing, but you may find it more convenient to apply the paint with a 7-inch or smaller roller.

Bonus: How to Get an Ultra-Smooth Finish

If brushing and rolling your cabinets looks like too much to tackle, a power sprayer might be the way to go. These tools are easy to use and guarantee a smooth finish. A paint professional can help figure out what tools you need and let you know if there are any rentals you can use instead of buying a new one. This may include an air compressor, sprayer gun, and tubing.

You can also send your cabinet doors and drawers to a professional paint shop or cabinetmaker. For cabinets that look as good as new, ask your paint retailer for a recommendation or search online for painting contractors. However, you won’t be able to send off your cabinet boxes — that, you’ll have to do yourself!

Leslie Sells Houses

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10 Surprising Ways to Find More Space in Your Home

An organized home is a happy home.

By NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm

So real talk…how did your 2017 resolutions go? It’s that time of year again when we break out the running shoes, eat healthier for a couple of weeks and pledge to get our lives more organized. However, how are we supposed to eat healthier if our pantries are over flowing or be inspired to hit the pavement every morning if we are looking at piles of clothes? To lead a more organized and inspired life in 2018 the clutter around you must be cleared. It’s simple, if your home is organized your mindset will be too.

A clean and balanced home is actually a launching pad for all of your other resolutions. So if you are already starting to fail at your self-resolutions try this home resolution – find more space in your home by clearing out the clutter. Follow these ten tips and I promise you it will inspire you to complete your other resolutions and lead you to a more organized, happier year!

1The pantry. Create room by removing the large and awkward food packaging. Purchase clear, air-tight containers, take the box of your food item, and cut out the product name, nutritional facts and expiration date. Tape them to the inside of your clear container and then seal the food.

2. The pantry shelves. Arrange the food on your shelves to help keep your resolutions. Make “first choice” shelves for the food that you want to stay on that diet. Make shelves that are for the kids snacks or foods that you’re just not going to have on a regular basis anymore… You get the idea –some shelves are just for the once a week treat. Some are for every day.

3. The pantry. If you like to buy in bulk, put the bulk of your paper goods in another location, perhaps a closet or the garage, and place only what you need in your pantry— restock as needed.

4. The kitchen. When storing pots, pans and other durable items, stack them on their sides like files. This simple step not only creates more room, it also allows you to see exactly what you need. Caddies or sorters from a shelf or container store are great tools for vertical organizing

5. The dresser. Place clothing in drawers vertically (not the traditional horizontal piles) because it not only maximizes space, it allows you to find items more quickly. You can purchase wooden planks or plastic planks to use as dividers. This way you can see all of your clothes at once when you open the drawer.

6. The closet. If your shoes don’t have a place they end up in a pile taking up valuable space. Place shoes and accessories in clear plastic containers so you can see everything and tape their photo to the inside of their container with photo facing out. This little step gives you triple duty: more space, you can find it easily and better still you can put it away in the exact same spot for next time that hot date rolls around…

7. Use color to keep it straight. Organize your closet and drawers dark to light. It can be great way to find out that you really have way too many black blouses… and you can keep your resolution of being a kinder gentler you by donating the extras!

8. The kids’ rooms. Purchase bed raisers for under-the-bed storage. You can store everything from shoes, laundry basket, books and any bulky items that might otherwise clutter their room.

9. The baby’s closet. Is there room to add another bar? Take advantage of the fact that baby clothing is smaller and if you can, add an additional bar to hang the clothing to maximize space. You can purchase premade closet organizers that you can customize to make the most out of baby’s closet.

10. The best trick to more space in your home, less is more! So if you find you have extra things laying around, throw a reverse housewarming party! You will be starting a new party trend. Set aside your unwanted items and instead of having your friends bring a housewarming gift, they are to pick one of your items and take it home with them. This is a great way to reunite with friends, find your unwanted things a good home, and de-clutter all at the same time!

Now that the clutter around you is cleared your mind will be clearer to meet all those 2018 goals!

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.


Would you be Ready if an Earthquake Struck Today?

Would you be ready if an earthquake struck today?

By Brian Terbush, Earthquake/Volcano Program Coordinator

To put it lightly, it’s been a tough end to a remarkable summer.

Checking the headlines over the past few weeks, a huge hurricane dropped ten more inches of rain than Seattle averages in an entire year on the city of Houston within the span of a week; one of the strongest recorded hurricanes in the Atlantic has already devastated several Islands in the Caribbean, and is now forecasted to place 37 million people in harm’s way; wildfires are burning all across large portions of Oregon, Idaho, California, Washington and Montana, forcing residents to flee their homes; and last night, the strongest recorded earthquake in more than a century struck near the Guatemala-Mexico border, generating a tsunami.

Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by and/or preparing for these events.

Whether these events provided weeks, days, or even only seconds of warning (residents in Mexico City, distant from the epicenter, had tens of seconds of warning to take personal protective actions before the strongest shaking arrived, thanks to a national Earthquake Early Warning system – though those close to the earthquake source had no warning), all of these disasters occurred. The fact that they all happened around the same period of time goes to show that while the probability of these high-consequence events may be low, that doesn’t mean that they won’t happen in your lifetime, or that they won’t happen to you, or that they won’t all happen at once.

These events have provided a grim reminder that disasters can happen to anyone. No one is immune to the disaster.

Washington – a state which no one has ever accused of lacking variety – is also prone to a wide range of disasters, each with a variety of timelines related to the warning they provide, onset time, duration and recovery. It is entirely possible, for instance, that tomorrow, a change in wind direction could push one of the current wildfires towards your home

At any given time, one of Washington’s five active volcanoes could begin showing signs of unrest, which would provide hours, days, weeks, to months of warning before an eruption – or years of stressful unrest and buildup, followed by no activity whatsoever.

A significant windstorm could knock out power to multiple communities, with downed trees blocking access, taking days or weeks for power restoration crews to arrive.

The largest threat to our state, however, will arrive with no warning.  Like in Mexico, an earthquake could strike Washington from the Cascadia Subduction Zone, or from one of Washington’s many surface faults, or from a deep subducting plate causing damage and cascading impacts to communities, from landslides, to flooding, to power outages, road blockages, and many associated obstructions and hazards.

Just to complicate things, Like Harvey was followed by Irma, which may also be followed by Jose, it is just as likely that several of these events could even occur at once, multiplying and significantly worsening the impacts.

While these events have different amounts of warning associated with them, a common theme on the news reports related to Hurricane Irma’s imminent arrival is showing the scenes of empty grocery store shelves, and discussions of how there is not enough fuel for everyone. If one of these events were to happen tomorrow, it is NOT guaranteed that you would be able to get the supplies that you need. The day of, the day after, and even the days immediately before an event are NOT the time to prepare for an event, especially when so many can occur without notice.

Ask yourself, “if I were in that situation, with a hurricane three days out, would I need to be in the long lines stocking up on generators, weather radios, food and water at the last minute? If given an order to evacuate, would all the materials I need be nearby and ready? Do I know enough about the potential effects before, during, and after the disaster to make an informed decision about whether to stay, or to get your family/pets out of harm’s way?

If you are able to take action; now is the time. Act, or you will be forced to react.

Fortunately for you, helping make sure you know how to prepare is a big part of our jobs in Emergency Management. Here are a few key ideas for how you can begin to prepare, and some resources to help guide you.

Be informed –  Get in touch with your county or local emergency management office to understand what is happening in your community, what the potential hazards are, and what can be done to prepare for them. Learn which hazards you will be able to, and/or should ride out, or shelter-in-place in your home, and how to make sure your home or business will stand up to them; and what the hazards are, so that if authorities issue an evacuation recommendation, you can make an informed decision for yourself and your family.

Build kits – In Washington, it is important to be two-weeks ready. Learn more about what you should have in your “grab and go” kit, in case a quick evacuation is needed; and what you should keep in your car kit. We also provide suggestions on how to store two weeks worth of supplies in your house, on any budget. It may seem anywhere from “daunting” to “downright impossible” right now, but start working on it a little bit at a time, and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to become prepared; you will be glad you set those resources aside, even when something smaller happens, like the next time the power goes out.

Get Connected –  In a disaster, as shown time and time again, small communities rely on one another for the first line of help after a disaster. Get to know those around you and discuss your plans. Join efforts such as Map your Neighborhood to learn more about your community’s hazards, the people in your community that may have helpful skills, who may require additional help in a disaster. Become part of a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and learn how you can help out before and after a disaster in your community.

Lastly, in personal preparedness, it is critical to any response in a community that you know how to protect your immediate during little-to-no-notice events, such as the many earthquakes we have in Washington. Practice your “Drop, Cover, and Hold on” skills, with the rest of the state (to get that life-saving reaction to ground shaking into your muscle memory) during the Great ShakeOut on the third Thursday every year. (10:19 on 10/19 this year!)  For more information on earthquakes, how to hold a drill, how to register yourself or organization, and a variety of resources on how to prepare yourself, your home, and your family/business for an earthquake, go to Please join us: “Drop, cover, and Hold on,” and take at least one additional preparedness action.

Washington’s readiness for disasters, and its ability to recover from them ultimately lies with individuals, families, and organizations.  We cannot prevent these disasters from happening, but by being prepared, we can ensure that our recovery, and the long-term impacts to our communities and State as a whole are lessened.

As we continue to respond to our fires, and prepare for future disasters, we wish to offer support to those impacted by others. For those wishing to donate to assist those affected by the recent disasters, make sure you’re doing it the right way. The Secretary of State’s Office has tips to avoid charity scams and to help you find the right charity for you.

Leslie Sells Houses

The Good and the Bad of DIY Lawn Care

When you have your own home and are responsible for your lawn care, should you do it yourself?


The Pros

  1. You’ll save money with DIY lawn care, sometimes the extra cost of a professional can be expensive. If you’re on a tight budget, it might not be possible to hire one anyway. In fact, the average price for a single lawn mowing service is $43 per service, according to LawnStarter Lawn Care.
  2. Mowing grass is excellent exercise, and you’ll work up a sweat in no time; especially if you’re using a walk behind mower. Yes, the mower does do a lot of the work, but you still have to hold on to it and guide it. Plus, you have the troublesome spots on the unlevel areas. But it gives you a great workout!
  3. Many homeowners take pride in caring for their lawn themselves. They know where each patch of crabgrass is and where the last dandelion is hiding. They take pride in the beauty of their green yards and interesting gardens that add so much beauty.
  4. It encourages interaction with your neighbors as you discuss the best fertilizer and lawn care products. Plus, saying can you help with my brown spot and do you have moles too?
  5. You will notice more easily things that need your attention. You will find that hole behind a bush that the dog dug trying to escape. Or, whether it’s time to dethatch the lawn or can it wait another week.
  6. If your lawn is thick, it will need dethatching to permit the grass to breathe. Instead of racking your back though you can rent or buy a power dethatcher. This you can do yourself with very little help except for the raking up of the debris.
  7. You have more control over how high you want your to be grass mowed. When the temperature starts to rise, the height of your lawn should too. When you mow too low, then you’re opening up the possibility of weeds because weeds need light to sprout. If you have a kid from down the street mow your lawn, you can’t always control the grass height if it’s their lawn mower.

The Cons

  1. There can be some drawbacks with DIY Ciscoe Morris Master Gardner lawn care such as finding the correct lawn products. Since homeowners don’t usually have the skilled expertise that lawn care companies do or access to commercial grade products, they have to keep on buying different products until they figure out what works the best.
  2. The results of all your hard work may be mediocre as you struggle with crabgrass and dandelions. Or worse, you could have grubs, and without professional help, you may not be able to control them.
  3. There are hidden costs of taking care of the lawn yourself which you may not have factored into it. Without professional input, there are some things you could be missing or doing incorrectly. You could be using incorrect ratios when spreading or spraying your lawn. Or, perhaps misusing a pest control product which could harm the environment, your landscape, hardscape; or even your lawn.
  4. When you do your lawn care, you could have problems storing the containers of product you need for your lawn. You will have to secure weed, lawn, and disease treatments in a place which will be moisture proof and cold weather proof. Plus, if you have children, storing products safely and out of reach can be a big concern.
  5. You might not have the experience to know if the big brown spot if from Fred, your dog, or because you have some type of fungus growing which is slowing killing your grass. You may not be able to treat this without some kind of professional opinion given.
  6. If you really gouge your lawn, the professional that you hire to repair it is going to cost real money.

Whether you do your own lawn care or hire a professional, a great lawn is something everyone wants to have.

Leslie Sells Houses

Jackie Greene is a blogger, gardener, and nutrition enthusiast. She enjoys creating organic meals for family and friends using the fresh ingredients she produces from her backyard homestead.





Tacoma 1890 Boarding House

One of those everyday moments of community and neighborhood. Here’s a posed but comfortable portrait of the residents of a Tacoma boarding house on a summer day in 1890. The actual location is lost to time but the street numbers, in gold leaf, are clear on the transoms above the twin entries. These were the neighbors who received their mail at the same address, the parents who raised their little girls and boys in the sunny rooms and the boarders who kept and eye on them playing in the neat picket fenced yard.

This was a white collar address, probably at the edge of downtown, where clerks, agents and managers hung their varied hats (bowlers, soft rims and silk top hats) and the women could afford fashionable bustled city dresses. The building reflects modern Italianate styling with an accented paint scheme, bowed window boxes and fine lace curtains with roll up shades. There are formal newel posts at the wood plank sidewalks and a sense of compatible well being in the faces and postures of the lodgers. The composition suggests a social balance anchored in the middle by the women and children, weighed on the left by dark suited single men and counterbalanced on the right by the elderly couple on the porch and the two seated sisters in the window, one with her arm on the sill like a railroad locomotive engineer and the other reclined in an angle of relaxation and perhaps control.

Tacoma was rising fast in 1890 and these were the makers and biographies of the new metropolis. Prosperity was within their grasp, there were gold coins in every pocket, storebought suits and french porcelain dolls for the children. They could read the daily newspapers, write contracts and long letters and imagine a time when Tacoma would be the most important city in the Pacific Northwest. Statehood was only a few months old and three years into the future Tacoma’s ascension would stall. Some of these folks would move on to Seattle and then maybe the Klondike gold fields seeking their fortune. Some would stay but move to more modest lodgings as their income slumped with the economic depression. But some probably kept their address at this mannerly Tacoma boarding house- wherever it was…..



Photograph from the Washington State Historical Society collection: Catalog ID Number: 1990.56.8

Leslie Sells Houses


This site is about the way history, in this case of a city and it’s surrounds, is remembered or recorded in stories and small bits of memory. It’s also about the way images and stories go together, how they inform and enrich each other and how we as thinking people fill in the content between a narrative and a visual document. So here is my city in time past, the way it looked and the people and events that create its character. For more than 20 years I have taught a 5 credit course on the History of Tacoma at the University of Washington Tacoma. With an average of 30 or 40 students a year, each doing a research paper as their primary focus for the course, I have benefited from many paths of inquiry and many researched and assembled stories. Here are some of them in the retelling along with the treasures of photographs and images in the collections of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Public Library, University of Washington Digital Archives, Washington State Archives at the Office of the Secretary of State, Library of Congress, Washington State University, Alaska State Library, and many other archives, libraries and private collections.

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  1. My grandmother ran a boarding house in Tacoma from before my mother was born in 1930 until the early 60’s. It was called “Burton House” and was located at 404 N G in a house that was once
    The “Monarch Club”. It was damaged in a fire and was torn down. I have a stained glass window from the house in my home now. My mother had a very interesting up bringing with lots of fun stories.

    Liked by 1 person

Cheap Curb Appeal Tricks That Offer the Best Home-Selling Returns


Most savvy home sellers know that curb appeal is important to make a great first impression on potential home buyers as they pull up and park at, well, your curb. But if the prospect of painting your whole house or landscaping your yard seems too pricey, never fear: There are plenty of ways to create high-impact curb appeal on the cheap.

Check out these ideas that require little investment time but pay off big-time down the road.

Paint the ugly bits

Not up for painting the whole house? Then one budget-friendly alternative is to repaint just the trim, mailbox, and other small areas. You can also put your brush to better use by covering up unsightly things like the electrical box on the side of the house and any pipes and parts that are connected to it. Match the color to that of your house for a clean, streamlined look.

Bye-bye, dull gray electrical equipment!
Bye-bye, dull gray electrical equipment!Listoic


Update your garage door

Improving this utilitarian spot is one of the easiest ways to give the exterior of your home a face-lift, advises Dan Grandon, president of Closet Factory Franchise Corp.

“First you should consider the purpose of the space. If you use the garage for work, go with a door that features large window inserts as this helps bring more natural light into the space,” he notes.

However, if your garage is mostly used as a dumping ground, you might want to focus on a more energy-efficient design, like an insulated door. And it goes without saying, the garage should be pristine (many buyers will enter the house through this space).

A neat—and therefore spacious-looking—garage is one of the first things a buyer sees from the curb.
A neat—and therefore spacious-looking—garage is one of the first things a buyer sees from the curb.Closet Factory


Create a sitting area

Carol Marcotte, a designer with Form & Function in Raleigh, NC, likes to set up an outdoor spot on the front porch to amplify the first-look attractiveness.

“Stage a place to sit that includes a pair of chairs with a couple of cute outdoor pillows,” she suggests. This idea helps your home look friendly and lets potential buyers envision themselves on your front porch, sitting and waving to the neighbors. Save your pennies by putting out weather-safe indoor furniture you already own.

“If your outdoor porch doesn’t have enough room to accommodate a lot of furniture, just a small bench can make a big difference,” adds Anna Shiwlall, a designer with 27 Diamonds in Los Angeles.

This inviting spot telegraphs a friendly neighborhood.
This inviting spot telegraphs a friendly neighborhood.Catherine Nguyen Photography


Trim the hedges

Of course you’ll make sure your lawn is cut regularly, but don’t forget about the bushes that surround the property. There’s not much worse than blocking the view of the house with overgrown boxwood. Plus, there’s the safety factor, says Marcotte.

“Burglars could hide in those bushes,” she warns. Simple trimming and weeding can help beautify your yard and won’t cost you a dime.


Add small accessories

Small details can raise the wow factor without breaking the bank. For example, hang a colorful birdhouse or two in the prominent trees of your front yard. Or place a couple of cute garden statues or sculptures (a frog, turtle, or other animal) among the flower beds. An arbor or trellis from a garden store makes a nice focal point, especially when placed near the entrance to the backyard or patio.

Historic Garden Restoration in Wilmette, IllinoisAdding a statue is an easy garden upgrade. Just keep it classy.


Hide the clutter

We’re talking garbage cans, recycling containers, air conditioners, compost bins, and garden tools. A jumbled pile of hose needs corralling, so coil it and store it inside a large pot or basket. Prefab lattice can be joined together to create a smart-looking fence to hide cans, bins, and that big ol’ AC unit. Not handy enough to make a box? Arrange a few strategically placed potted plants in front or plant a bush to help conceal these items.

Make it sparkle

In addition to picking up the yard, you’ll want to make sure the sidewalk and driveway look their very best, too. But rather than repaving, rent a power washer instead.

“You can do this fairly cheaply,” says Marcotte. “You want to be sure the outside of your home is super clean, because it says ‘well-maintained’ to a potential buyer.”

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How to Spot an Up-And-Coming Neighborhood in Your City

how to learn more about a neighborhood

Ready to take on the challenge of buying in a diamond-in-the-rough neighborhood?

Everyone has seen the neighborhood that’s changed: One day it was on the fringe, and the next it had turned a corner. Suddenly, it was teeming with new businesses, new residents, new life—and newly high property values, to the advantage of those residents who stuck around. First-time buyers, cash-strapped buyers, and “pioneering” buyers alike flock to these next big neighborhoods. But to get in early before it becomes the next big thing is the key to stretching your dollar. How can you tell if a neighborhood is up and coming or down and out? Here are seven questions to ask yourself as you research a new neighborhood, especially if you’re thinking of making an offer on a new home.

  1. 1. Is an organic grocery store moving in?

    When a co-working space, an organic grocery store, or a new pop-up restaurant moves into the neighborhood, it’s a sign that the neighborhood is changing. This is just as true for small boutiques and specialty stores as it is for large businesses that sell the basics with flair. In fact, most larger businesses do a fair amount of economic research and projections before moving into a neighborhood. Watching retail industry moves can be a great way to spot emerging areas with strong fundamentals.

  2. 2. Is it near the subway or bus lines?

    If you live in a densely populated metro area, or an urban setting with intense building restrictions, demand for homes will continue to grow with the population. Older neighborhoods close to employment centers, public transportation, freeways, and bridges tend to be prime for whole-neighborhood remodeling. This is especially true in times of population growth or rapid real estate price hikes in already-prime areas.

  3. 3. How have perspectives on city living changed?

    If there’s one major issue that has caused an area to be less desirable and it’s no longer seen as negative, it could turn the neighborhood around. The addition of a major employer could spark a serious real estate renaissance. But new notions of what’s considered cool or desirable—for example living above a commercial unit—could also affect homebuyer’s perspectives on a neighborhood.

  4. 4. Is there untapped architectural potential?

    Keep an eye out for neighborhoods characterized by a particular type of architecture. Often, neighborhoods that are filled with Tudors, Victorians, Spanish-style homes, or even Mid-Century Moderns will see a surge of revitalization when a fresh generation of homebuyers falls in love with the style and realizes the deals that can be had there unlike in other areas in town.

  5. 5. What’s going on in the local economy?

    From cloud storage data centers in Des Moines to a new light-rail station in Denver, one large-scale employer or infrastructure development can be a very early, very strong sign that an area will see its real estate fortunes rise. With that said, areas dependent on one employer from an industry on the decline can see their fates shift downward as well. Look for industrywide investment in an area, versus a single company’s investment.  Your local neigborhood

  6. 6. Are there many construction trucks in the street?

    When an older area that has not seen much investment in it for years suddenly has a number of ongoing renovations, this can be an early signal of an up-and-coming neighborhood turnaround. It might be worth taking a trip down to the city building permit counter to see whether the staff has seen the same uptick in individual owners’ investment in the area, and if so, what they think the story of the neighborhood might be—or might become. City staffers often have a wealth of information, everything from pending commercial development applications to city projects based on development initiatives.

  7. 7. How many days are houses in the neighborhood spending on the market?

    Ten years ago, I listed a charming, pristine home on a less than ideal street. The location was its fatal flaw, and the place just lagged on the market as a result. Now millennials buying their first homes are salivating over this precise location because of its urban feel, trendy hot spots, and convenience to the subway. Homes that once took 90 days to sell began selling in 45, then eventually they were on the market for only a couple of weeks. This decline in the number of days on market (DOM) occurred much before the home prices themselves increased. A slow, steady decrease in DOM is a smart, early sign that a neighborhood might be on the verge of up-and-coming status. Ask Leslie Sells Houses to help clue you in as to where precisely those areas might be in your area.

Are you looking to move into an up-and-coming neighborhood? If so, what’s your motivation? Share in the comments below.

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