Top Tips for Keeping Your Garage Neat and Organized

You can’t ignore your messy garage forever; and in fact, spring is an excellent time to clean and organize it. Here are our top tips for organizing your garage so it stays neat and tidy.

The following is a guest post by the Closet Works Inc.

The garage ranks high along with the basement for spaces where families tend to dump things they don’t know what to do with.

It’s easy to store a box you never unpacked, some outdoor equipment or some unused paint in your garage and simply ignore the fact that it’s there when you pull in your car each night.

But the clutter becomes more difficult to ignore when, for example, you’re stuck clearing snow off your car or running out to your driveway during a downpour because you’ve filled your garage with too much stuff.

You can’t ignore your messy garage forever; and in fact, spring is an excellent time to clean and organize it. It’s not too hot, and you’ll probably need to get to items in your garage like lawn and garden equipment and your kids’ outdoor toys.

Here are our top tips for organizing your garage so it stays neat and tidy.

Clean and Sort Everything

Keeping your garage neat and organized

If you actually do park your car in your garage, pull it out into the driveway or, better yet, park it on the street so you’ve got plenty of room to clean out your garage.

Unload everything first, even the boxes that haven’t been emptied since you moved in eight years ago. It might be helpful to lay a few tarps on the ground to protect your goods while you do this. Arranging specific piles of your stuff on tarps is also a helpful way to force yourself to keep a smaller number of items—keep only what you can fit in a given area.

Sort your goods into a few piles—what you want to keep, what you’d like to sell or donate, and what should be thrown out. Importantly, if you’re getting rid of paint, paint thinner, used motor oil or household chemicals, be sure to dispose of them properly.

After the space is organized, you’ll have plenty of room for a garage or yard sale to get rid of those unwanted items at a later date.

Figure Out How You’ll Organize Your Stuff

Keeping your garage neat and organized

Garages typically house a unique mix of car-related items, tools, gardening equipment, bikes, kayaks, fishing gear, snow removal tools, beach items and more. It can be a challenge to figure out how exactly to store everything.

To give things their own place, you might want to consider a custom garage storage solution with options to store a wide range of items.

A design professional can create a plan that affords you enough space to add a workbench with drawers and cabinets for tool or hobby storage. For the gardener in your family, you could also add a potting area with a work surface.

During the cleaning phase, you should inventory any dangerous chemicals to see if they’re still usable. Then you can add locked cabinets to keep those dangerous chemicals and sharp tools safely away from curious kids.

The garage is a prime area for storing sports equipment like bikes and skis and gardening tools like a hose or rake, which can all be stored off the floor with wall racks. You can also add baskets for bulky things like balls, gloves, masks or pads.

Cabinets, both with swing-out and sliding doors (if space is tight when cars are parked), can house many other items you need to store like bottled water, things you buy in bulk or even outdoor furniture accessories.

Find a New Home for These Items

Consider a new home for some items which are best stored in areas other than your garage.

  • Paint should be stored inside where the temperature remains somewhat consistent. Store it out of reach of children and pets in your basement or a closet.
  • Propane tanks shouldn’t be stored in your garage; a spark could ignite the tank. Instead, store the tank upright and outside in a well-ventilated area away from any ignition source.
  • Paper towels, plates, napkins, cardboard and other paper goods are better kept in your pantry if the packages are open. Storing them in your garage could attract bugs. They could also get damaged by moisture.
  • Pet food also belongs inside; storing it in your garage could attract mice, rats, possums and other creatures you probably don’t want hanging out there.

While your initial garage organization effort may not be the most fun chore, you’ll be glad you tackled the clutter and created a better storage system later in the year. Rather than spending precious time searching for your kids’ bikes and skateboards, you’ll be able to easily find them and enjoy yourselves.

If you’re interested in learning more about organizing your garage, reach out to us for a free, in-home consultation.

Keeping your garage neat and organized

Leslie Sells Houses

Keeping your garage neat and organized

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Get ready for the next wind storm coming up .

  1. Clear limbs and trim trees: During a storm, dead tree limbs can gpower-outage-kit   01 06 2019.jpget loose and cause damage to a home’s exterior or even puncture a window. Heavy rain can also cause trees with shallow root systems to pull out of the ground.
  2. Secure fences: Ensure that your fences are properly secured so to help prevent them from being lifted up and thrown against the house by heavy winds.
  3. Secure furniture: Heavy winds can cause items like patio furniture and large toys to damage the exterior of your home. It’s a good idea to anchor outdoor furniture or bring it indoors before a storm hits. You should also move anything in your yard that can become flying debris inside your house or garage.
  4. Check gutters: Help prevent damage inside your house by having downspouts drain away from your home and clear your gutters of any debris.
  5. Protect the critical areas: Wind is a major threat to your roof, windows, doors and garage doors. Either you or a building contractor can build and install temporary protection, such as approved wind shutters or plywood on windows and coverings for patio and entry doors, strengthen and stiffen garage doors, and install heavy-duty door hardware.
  6. Protect your valuables: Protect mementos in waterproof containers and/or take the items with you if you evacuate. Inventory valuables and contents in the home with pictures or video. Note the approximate value of each item and the date of purchase. You can also send an inventory to a family member outside your region for safekeeping. Also, make sure important documents, such as an insurance policy or mortgage papers, are stored in a safe deposit or fire safe box.
  7. Know your policy: It’s critical to read and understand your insurance policy. Then, examine your property to ensure there are no physical or liability hazards.

For more on how to prepare for a variety of severe weather situations, you can also visit the Insurance Institute for Better Homes & Safety website. 

 

Image result for pictures of what to have in a bucket when the power goes out

Related image

 

 

A Mindful Move: Home is Where the Om Is

A “Mindful Move” can alleviate the stress of moving by focusing on giving back and positively impacting others within your old and new community.

Written by NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm

We are all trying to be more mindful. No reason to “try;” instead, relax and be. Easier said than done, right? We all strive to be mindful: aware of emotions, present in the moment, attentive to the needs of others, conscious of our planet and calm. But, in our mindful practice, we tend to let the stressful moments of life knock us off course. And, we all know that one of the most stressful times is moving. Even during your move, you can be mindful which will actually help you relieve the stress.

The goal is to stay present, aware and to not allow the outside turmoil of all your added to-dos for your move dictate your mood. Here’s a proven trick: Flip your mindset from reacting to the moving and packing to-dos, to how your move can impact you and others. By remaining thoughtful throughout the process and using the power of kindness, you can make your move a positive experience. After all, kindness is contagious; so spread it all around on moving day and in your new hood!

Here are simple ways to conduct a Mindful Move:

Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

Moving can be a time of giving. Show your new community and your old community some love by thinking about their needs. Now, take another look at all your stuff and your clutter. Do you really want, or need, all that in your new home? Perhaps, you have clothing, furniture, kitchen items or even food you have been meaning to clear out? No time like the present to give presents to those in need.

This is not just another to-do on your moving list, it’s very simple and the rewards are immense – it’s the ultimate win-win! You assist others and at the same time you receive a clutter free home. And, a clutter free home is a more mindful space, nurturing a clearer mind and calmer life.

  1. Donate Non-Perishable Food:
    • Find your local food bank here.
    • Visit www.MoveForHunger.org, a non-profit organization that will connect you with a local moving company that will deliver your non-perishable food donations to your local food bank for you. Check out their Find a Mover tool
  2. Donate Clothing:
    • Salvation Army
    • Epilepsy Foundation
    • Veteran organizations
    • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
    • Red Cross
    • Check with your local fire department, churches, synagogues and schools, to see if they are hosting clothing donation drop offs
  3. Donate Toys:
    • Local children’s hospitals
    • Local Ronald McDonald House. Find a local Ronald McDonald location or care mobile here.
    • Local Boys & Girls Club
    • Many local shelters or children’s charities accept toy donations. Use this Homeless Shelter Directory to find shelters in your area.
    • Organizations like My Stuff Bags and Stuffed Animals for Emergencies offer children a familiar object in times of crisis.
    • Other places to check include a children’s social services office and even stores often have a donation bin at the front entrance where you can place donations.
  4. Donate Household Goods & Furniture:
    • Habitat for Humanity ReStore
    • Salvation Army
    • Epilepsy Foundation
    • Veteran organizations
    • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
    • Red Cross
  5. Donate Vehicles
    • Habitat for Humanity Cars for Homes
    • Salvation Army
    • Kars 4 Kids
    • Wheels for Wishes
    • Cars Helping Veterans.org

Be Mindful of the Environment

Time to show Mother Earth some love. Moving is the time we finally clean out those closets, junk drawers, spare rooms, attics and garages. Moving time equals major trash time. What if you were more environmentally conscious on moving day? That would be pretty mindful, wouldn’t it?

The great green news is there are simple steps you can take during a move to reduce your waste. Being eco-conscious on moving day will boost your mood and your wallet!

1. Use Eco-Friendly Moving Supplies: From boxes, packing paper to bubble, there are now green 100% recyclable materials to keep our neighborhoods cleaner and greener. Yep, there is even biodegradable eco-bubble, pop away guilt free.
ECO-BONUS: Save money by asking your moving company for used boxes made of recyclable materials. You can get used boxes at a discount and some moving companies will even give you a refund for returning your used boxes at the end of your move. Pop! Pop! Cha-ching!

2. It’s Not Just for the Movies: Instead of the foam popcorn and peanuts, use real popcorn to pack fragile items! Just pop and fill the gaps in your boxes to secure and pad fragile items. Cheap and earth friendly!

3. Be Kind to Your Electronics: Contact a domestic e-waste recycler so your old computers, microwaves, etc. are recycled domestically, under strict environmental laws, rather than being shipped off to be processed by highly toxic and polluting techniques.

4. Don’t Just Toss it out. Upcycle and recycle everything you can. Don’t just send your old stuff to the land fill. See above on how to Donate. Donate. Donate.

5. Hire an Eco-Conscious Moving Company: Use your “green” to influence and encourage green habits by hiring companies that use environmental-friendly practices. Make sure your moving company is bright green by asking: Does the staff recycle? Are the offices and warehouse designed to be energy efficient? Do they use biodiesel to run their trucks? Do they use 100% recyclable materials? Do they sell used boxes? Do they buy them back at the end of the move? Chances are if they care about the earth, they are mindful of their customers too!

By using the power of mindfulness and kindness, you will feel more relaxed and calm during your moving experience. There is no better way to start a new chapter in life than feeling good about giving back, free of clutter and present in your new home! Time to relax and say how good it is to be om.

Leslie Sells Houses

Image result for pictures of moving day

leslie Sells Houses

 

 

Keep Your Home Ice-Free This Winter

home-ice-free-winter-blog.jpg

Seattle saw its first seasonal ‘snow’ this week. Flakes didn’t fall or accumulate everywhere, but temperatures dipped below freezing. Welcome to the season of de-icing.

We all know the feeling: time gets away from you in the morning, you rush outside and almost slip as you finally make it to your car, and it’s coated in an invisible but ridiculously strong layer of ice. You don’t see the ice on your windshield until you get in and it starts fogging up. You grab your scraper and get to work, wait another few minutes for the car to warm up… and finally, you can begin your drive.

De-icing the car is never fun, but it’s necessary if you’re going to safely make it to your destination. But what about your home? Shouldn’t you de-ice that, too? You spend at least half your life in it, so it’s essential to protect it from the elements.

A little home maintenance can go a long way. There are countless ice melting sprays, liquids, etc. Here’s a shortlist of some of the best methods.

Think Ahead for a Clear Driveway

Stop ice before it starts, and pre-treat your walkways and driveway with de-icer before the storm. This makes it easier to place the de-icer on just the pavement. If it’s already snowed, you’ll have to shovel first; ice melt will not work on top of snow. Avoid standard rock salt, which can damage pavement, and try these environmentally friendly options instead:

  • Calcium Magnesium Acetate
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Magnesium Chloride

Tip: mixing sand with your de-icer adds traction and may help prevent falls.

Consider Driveway Heating

Ever thought of installing a radiant heat system under your driveway? If you already have a smart home, this is just an added bonus, and if you ever sell your home, it’s a perk that buyers will appreciate.

Prevent Ice Dams on The Roof

Icicles look cool hanging from the roof, but they’re a telltale sign of an ice dam. Ice dams are extremely damaging and can lead to leaks. Keep snow off the roof as much as possible by using a roof rake. If it’s too late and lingering snow has already frozen into an ice dam, calcium chloride ice melt may do the trick. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to break an ice dam yourself! If all else fails, hire a pro.

Keep Windows Free of Moisture

It’s humid in the Pacific Northwest, and the temperature occasionally falls low enough to form ice on windows. Avoid damaging dampness and increase ventilation with these tips:

  • Use a dehumidifier
  • Turn on exhaust fans every day to expel excess moisture
  • Open curtains and blinds
  • Increase the heat

Image result for Pictures of winterizing your home

Leslie Sells Houses

home-ice-free-winter-blog.jpg

How to Prepare Your Home This Winter for a Successful Spring Sale

Here’s our go-to list of what sellers should be doing now to ensure for a successful sale next spring

Guest post by Patti Stern

If you are planning to sell your home next spring, why not get a jumpstart during the fall /winter season so you have more time and less stress while preparing? An added plus is that your home could potentially be ready to list in time for the early spring selling season at the end of January when the market is less crowded. It’s a win-win! Here’s our go-to list of what sellers should be doing now to ensure for a successful sale next spring.

1. Assess Your Home’s Condition – Inside & Out

The first step is to do a thorough walk-thru with an objective eye. Does it have “move-in ready appeal” that will “wow” young, savvy buyers? Is there chipped paint on moldings and trim? Is the front entry carpet runner worn and could benefit from replacing? Look at your property through the lens of your buyer and determine what needs the most attention so that Millennials with families can immediately connect and envision themselves living there with minimal work to do when they move in.

2. First Impressions Go a Long Way

With the changing seasons, try to tackle exterior repairs and landscaping while you can by keeping gutters clean, lawn raked, shrubs trimmed and driveways/walkways shoveled. For an inviting front porch with curb appeal, maintain a polished look each season with welcoming accents such as potted evergreens or berry branches, a beautiful wreath on the door, glowing lanterns, and a colorful welcome mat.

3. Remove Distractions & Get Organized

Tackle clutter one room at a time and decide whether to keep or purge items based on when you last touched or used it. Remove personal items, collectibles and excessive furniture that distract from the room’s key features as well as its perceived size and flow. Then organize the remaining items with efficient storage solutions such as baskets and containers for closets, drawers and cabinets.

4. Make it Fresh & Bright 

Ask yourself if the color on the walls and cabinets is too dark? Does wallpaper need to be removed? Are window treatments dated and heavy? Does worn carpet need replacing? Do hardwood floors need polishing? Simply adding a fresh coat of neutral “greige” paint to dark walls will brighten the room by creating a backdrop to showcase the other elements in the room, such as the white trim, new carpeting, wall art, and furniture (as shown in library above).

5. Create the “Wow Factor”

Once you’ve invested in the necessary upgrades for move-in ready appeal, buyers still need to emotionally connect by envisioning how their furnishings will look in the space. Staging a home is an investment in getting the property sold and for top dollar. Professional stagers can create the “wow” factor that might be needed after all of the repairs and upgrades are finished. Complete the look with strategically placed modern furniture paired with pops of colorful and inviting accents that will make a lasting impression as pictured in the living room photo above.

Image result for pictures of craftsman style homes

Leslie Sells Houses

Related image

Pacific Northwest homes continue to appreciate. Here’s how Tacoma is doing

Image result for pictures of craftsman style homes

https://www.thenewstribune.com/homes/article217242420.html

Home values kept rising in Washington, Idaho in second quarter 2018

While home appreciation is still rising in the Pacific Northwest, it is starting to slow down in other parts of the U.S., according to a report by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Across the U.S., home values rose 6.5 percent in the past year.

Big jumps in home values continued across Washington state this spring, with Tacoma among the areas posting the largest increases in the U.S.

Home appreciation rose 14.9 percent in the second quarter compared to a year ago for the Tacoma metro area, according to a new report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. That’s the third-highest year-over-year increase among the 245 metro areas listed for that time period.

Updated 2018 06:57 PM

5 Best Crops to Harvest in the Fall

One gardening rule of thumb is to clearly know when to grow what–here are five of the best types of crops to harvest in your garden during the fall season.

Guest post by Olive Dawson.

As the weather begins to cool, you may notice that your tomato plants are looking a droopy, or that your green beans are no longer producing the way they used to. While the first frost spells disaster for some garden crops, there are dozens of other delicious, nutritious vegetables and fruits that you can grow during the autumn months. One gardening rule of thumb is to clearly know when to grow what–here are five of the best types of crops to harvest in your garden during the fall season.

1. Leafy Greens

Fall is a great time to cultivate fast-growing leafy greens. Cabbage, kale, spinach, and chard all grow well in the fall. Plus, if you harvest the leaves of these plants as soon as they emerge, they will continue to produce and will taste even better.

These greens can be grown until the first frost, with some types, such as kale, actually tasting better once they’ve succumbed to the cold. Look for heirloom varieties that are designed for fall planting for best results.

2. Brassicas

Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes, and mustard are all in the brassica category and thrive in cold fall temperatures. Plant these crops in a different location every year to help keep pests and diseases at bay, but keep in mind that you can grow multiple batches of these plants. Plant in early spring for slow harvest throughout the summer months, and then replenish in the late summer for a fall harvest. Many people continue to grow brassica crops throughout the winter, using a cold frame or row covers to keep the leaves of the plants protected.

3. Root Vegetables

Beets, carrots, turnips, radishes–what do all of these have in common? They grow well out of sight until the fall, when it’s time to harvest. While these crops can be planted in the spring and harvested during the summer months, fall varieties should be planted at the end of summer and can grow into November or December.

Consider growing alternative varieties or rotations of these crops for the best yield. Purple, white, or yellow carrots are often more adapted to cold weather than their more common orange counterparts. Turnips make a great cover crop and forage species for wildlife, so consider all of these factors when planning out your fall growing season.

4. Nut Trees

Fall is the perfect time to harvest nuts from trees like pecans, hazelnuts, and walnuts, and it’s also the best time to plant these species, too. Nut trees are typically grown as bare-root transplants, meaning they started as seedlings for the first couple years and were transplanted to a new location with the same climate. The tree is dormant in November or December, making the roots more dense when adapting to new soil.

It’s best to harvest tree nuts early in the fall before they drop to the ground and begin to rot on the soil or are eaten by wildlife.

5. Seasonal Fruits

Most people know that, if you live in the north, you can grow apples well into the fall. In fact, apples should be harvested this time of the year. Other fruits, like pomegranates and citrus fruit, produce ripe fruit by mid-winter, but can be harvested early.

When you are organizing a fall planting, remember that timing is everything. Pay attention to your area’s specific hardiness zone and growing season, and plant about ten weeks before the first killing frost. While this can be nearly impossible to predict, late summer is usually a good time to think about planting.  Also, consider planting insect repelling herbs in your garden to make sure you don’t lose your harvest to pests.

With a little bit of forward thinking and a willingness to brave the colder temperatures to harvest crops and tend to weeds, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest even after all of your other plants have completely died back.

Olive Dawson is a gardening and landscape design writer and environmentalist. She is always searching for new ways to reduce waste and grow food organically. She is most proud of her homemade beauty products.

Image result for pictures of fall harvest vegetables

Leslie Sells Houses

 

Image result for pictures of fall harvest vegetables

Image result for pictures of fall harvest vegetables

3 Staging Touches That Up Your Chances of an Offer

Here are some tips to touch up your home staging to increase your chances of an offer.

Guest post by Abigail Sawyer

It takes more than finding a realtor and posting a “For Sale” sign in the front yard for a successful home sale. Getting your house in order is the first step to a quick offer. The secret is to give potential buyers the opportunity to imagine their “stuff” and family living in the home. Plus, you want to put your home’s best foot forward and present it in the best possible light. Here are some tips to touch up your home staging to increase your chances of an offer.

1. Clear Out Your Belongings 

You may be attached to your stuff, but the first rule is to clean it up, clear it out and pack it all away. It can prevent new buyers from imagining the house as their own.

  • Pack away personal items like family photos and kid’s artwork for your new home.
  • Make sure toiletries, clothing, jewelry and accessories are in drawers and out of sight.
  • Eliminate excessive clutter. Display only a few generic items on your shelves and make sure the bathrooms are pristine.

Some rooms are harder to streamline, especially children’s or teens’ bedrooms. Clean them out and clear away as much clutter as your son or daughter will allow. Invest in covered containers that will fit under the bed or in the closet.

2. Make the Rooms Look Bigger

You want to make each room look as spacious as possible. Start with these tricks:

  • Take out some of the furniture. Move it to the basement or storage shed, or sell it if you won’t need it in your new place.
  • Clear off the kitchen counters.
  • Roll up area rugs, which tend to make rooms feel smaller.
  • Arrange furniture in intimate seating groups that encourage conversation and coziness. Don’t line everything up along the wall!

Installing curtains and blinds as close to the ceiling as possible draws the eye up and makes the room appear bigger. Panels should skim the floor. In this living room corner, a classic chair and small table before a window suggests to the future homeowner here is place for a morning cup of coffee in a well-lit room.

3. Pay Attention to Your Decor

Highlight your home’s best features and downplay the less-than-perfect areas to create a welcoming space.

Paint is an easy fix. When possible, paint walls in pale, neutral colors like soft grey, beige and off-white. Neutral colors allow the buyer to imagine their own furniture in place. Plus, it screams “move-in ready.”

Don’t overlook the power of the view and the importance of natural light. Window treatments can help solve many issues. Windows without draperies make a room feel empty or undone. Curtains also help absorb sound in rooms with wood floors and they can hide an unsightly view or enhance a lovely one.

If a major selling point is your view – such as the ocean, the mountains or a gorgeous garden – don’t cover it up! Install stationary panel curtains that hang well off the window. If the scene outside is less than stellar (like an alleyway or the building next door), hang sheer draperies that allow the light in but camouflage the view.

As with paint color, choose drapery fabric in neutral colors and traditional patterns. This woven geometric check blends in with the rest of the space and will coordinate with almost any style of furnishings.

After the living room and kitchen, a great master bedroom is high on buyers’ checklists. In addition to natural light and the view, privacy is paramount.

Follow the same rules to make the space look bigger, hang as high as possible and skim the floor. Sheer curtains that can be closed allow light and hide an unappealing view while providing privacy. Keep surfaces clear of personal items and choose plain, neutral bedding. Open up the wall space with minimal artwork and move the excess furniture out. Buyers are looking for large rooms that feel serene and calm.

Don’t forget to spruce up any secondary bedrooms as well. Keep the window treatments simple with Roman shades and valances. If the room needs a touch of color, a classic plaid or small print that works for boys and girls is in order. Temporarily replace superhero bedspreads with coverlets or duvets in solid colors and encourage your kids to keep their room neat and tidy.

Image result for pictures of staging a home for sale living room

Leslie Sells Houses

Image result for pictures of staging a home for sale living room

Autumn Nights Outdoors: How to Enjoy Your Outdoor Space in the Fall

Extend the life of your porch or patio by transforming your favorite summer spot into a cozy retreat that’s perfect for enjoying autumn nights outdoors.

As we welcome cooler temperatures and colorful foliage, many homeowners might be tempted to pack up the outdoor furniture for the year. Not so fast, we say. Extend the life of your porch or patio by transforming your favorite summer spot into a cozy retreat that’s perfect for enjoying autumn nights outdoors.

Keep It Cozy

When the temperatures begin to drop, consider putting away the umbrella for the season. You’ll not only invite more sunlight to your space during the day, but you’ll also clear the view for stargazing during alfresco dinner parties. To bring more warmth to the area once the sun sets, circle a few outdoor chairs around a firepit. Make sure you keep the sparks at bay by picking a fireplace with a mesh lid.

To make things even cozier, layer on comfort with outdoor pillows. Swap out summer’s tropical hues for classic fall colors. Orange, wine and dark green instantly make the space feel autumn-ready. Make sure to complement the pillows with plenty of soft throw blankets. Chunky, knit options are ideal for snuggling up on the outdoor sofa on chilly nights. If you’re entertaining a large crowd, consider bringing a sharable-sized quilt outside.

Get Creative with Lighting

As the sun starts setting earlier and earlier, it’s important to have enough light on your porch for dark nights. A simple porch light does the trick, but creative lighting is a great way to add ambiance to your space. For instance, outdoor string lights bring an enchanting look to the porch or patio. For a soft glow around the perimeter of your yard, wrap a few long strings of white lights around the trees, shrubs or fence posts. Shorter ones are a gorgeous addition to the tabletop. Simply place them over your runner with an autumn leaf garland for ambient lighting during moonlit meals.

If you need more lighting, nothing creates a more romantic glow than candlelight. To give your outdoor table a fall feel, opt for pillar candles in seasonal colors—orange, red and ivory candles in clear glass holders play up the colors of changing leaves. To diffuse the light, go for white candles in textured glass or metal hurricanes. Lanterns look lovely scattered around the porch. Fill a few with birch candles and others with fall botanicals such as pinecones and acorns.

Looking for something unexpected? Try decoratively carved pumpkins. While the quintessential smiling jack-o’-lantern works well in October, other designs can add ambiance to the porch beyond Halloween. Carve the shapes of acorns, autumn leaves or abstract patterns into gourds, and place a tea light inside of them to show off your handiwork. The fun doesn’t stop with the carving. Rather than tossing the seeds, roast them on a baking sheet and season with salt, pepper or cinnamon for a delicious treat.

Indulge in Fall Flavors

To take the bite off of chilly fall breezes, warm up with hot drinks. Hot apple cider is a fall favorite. Make your own with fresh apples from your local orchard, and simmer in a stock pot with sugar and spices. Serve in glass mugs, garnish with a cinnamon stick and add your choice of liquor if desired. If you’re short on time, simply keep bottles of hard cider and ice in a beverage tub, and provide pint glasses. For kid-friendly beverages on family night, serve hot chocolate in ceramic mugs by the firepit.

For dinner, make the most out of the grill before winter sets in. Tailgate with hot dogs and burgers for casual meals during football season. If you want a more formal dinner party, grill steak or salmon accompanied by hearty sides made with seasonal ingredients such as squash or sweet potatoes. Plate on leaf-decorated or autumn-toned dishes that coordinate with your outdoor decor.

For dessert, make things more interactive with a build-your-own caramel apple station. Provide bowls of warm caramel or chocolate for coating, with plates of chopped nuts and candy for easy rolling. If you’re hosting a bonfire, s’mores are a must. Provide skewers alongside serving bowls full of large marshmallows, and let your guests roast their own. As a twist on the classic, consider setting out cookies as an alternative to graham crackers.

With just a few changes to your porch, you can continue to entertain outdoors well into autumn. Think about inviting everyone to the backyard for a Halloween party, post-football game dinner or a weekend bonfire before winter arrives.

Image result for pictures of outdoor sitting for fall

 Leslie Sell Houses

Image result for pictures of outdoor sitting for fall

Angie Erickson writes inspirational content for Crate and Barrel. She shares entertaining and interior design advice on lifestyle blogs.

 

Closet Organization Ideas that Are Borderline Genius

If your closet is a clutter, it could be that you just need some closet organization ideas. Closets, no matter the size, tend to be a catchall. But, fret not. Read this blog post to learn some tips to clean up those closets and get some structure.

If your closet is a clutter, it could be that you just need some closet organization ideas. Closets, no matter the size, tend to be a catchall. We often toss in our shoes and handbags, and hang up our garments without any consideration to organization. But, fret not. It’s easy to clean up those closets and establish some structure. Here’s how.

Invest in a Closet System

If you crave more closet space, you don’t have to put your home through a full-scale remodel — just put a closet system in place. The idea with a closet system is to maximize the space your closet already provides. By using hanging bars, drawersAud, shelves, and cubby storage, you can properly organize your clothing and other items. This way, when you open your closet door to put something away or retrieve something, you’ll know exactly where to go.

Put a Pull-Down Bar in Place

This is a good closet organization idea when you want to keep clothes out of the way but still accessible when you need them. Many movable clothing rods are designed with telescoping pull rods to adjust to any closet size. Here’s a good example to learn more about how pull-down bars work in a closet.

Keep Your Shoes at a Slant

Many homeowners are satisfied if their shoes make it onto a storage rack instead of being tossed on the floor. But here’s a smart tip for you: By storing your shoes on slanted shelves, you can better see what you’re grabbing. No need to stand on tippy toes to see the top shelf — one quick glance and you’ll know whether you’re reaching for those strappy black sandals or sassy ankle boots. If you’re storing tall boots (because every Texan should have at least a couple pairs of cowboy boots), look for inserts that help boot shafts stay upright.

Get Creative

When it comes to closet organization, it pays to think outside the box. Want a clever way to keep your scarves from getting into a tangled mess? Grab a paper towel holder from the kitchen and roll your scarf around it. Searching for an orderly way to store your t-shirts? Keep them organized with stacking letter trays from your office. The trays keep the tees separated so when you need one, you won’t disrupt the whole stack.

Leslie Sells Houses

 

Related image