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Hot Trends Home Improvement_FI

Simplify and Organize: The Hottest Trends in Home Improvement

(ARA) – With the economy remaining uncertain, homeowners are tending to stay in place and upgrade their homes, rather than move up to something newer or larger. Just as economic conditions evolve, however, so does this housing trend. Simplifying and gaining control are now the hot incarnations of the “staying put” trend.

Organizational design expert, TV and radio personality, and author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, Peter Walsh hosts “Extreme Clutter” on the Oprah Winfrey Network and has starred on TLC’s “Clean Sweep.” Walsh offers some advice on how do-it-yourselfers can simplify home improvement, and gain control of their home environment, room by room:

Coping in the Kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of the home, where you spend time as a family, prepare meals and entertain guests. All that activity and use can make it difficult to stay organized in the kitchen, but doing so can save you time and money.

* Maximize cupboard space with easy-to-install sliding racks. These racks make it easy and fast to find items, even in the deepest cupboards.

* Keep cooking utensils and flatware neat and easily accessible with a compartmentalized drawer organizer. You can find them in kitchen and home design stores.

* If you store often-used spices in a cupboard, it’s easy to lose track of what’s in there. You don’t have to give up your cabinet convenience. Just put your most-used spices in a small baking sheet (you can even buy a disposable one) so that when you need something, you can slide the sheet out to make finding it easier.

* Retire your junk drawer – we all have one. It’s the drawer where you deposit receipts, warranties, product manuals and other items. One way to clean up the paper portion of the mess is with an online organizational tool like MyLowe’s on Lowes.com. The free online tool from home improvement retailer Lowe’s allows you to keep track of purchases, warranties and manuals.

“I’m always trying to teach my fans the latest tips and techniques for organizing their homes and simplifying their lives, especially when families are staying in their homes longer in this uncertain economy,” Walsh says. “Keeping track of everything in our homes is now so easy with MyLowe’s, the newest and best way to take home maintenance and planning to a whole new level.”

Cutting Closet Clutter
Whether you have a spacious walk-in closet or a modest single-bar one, keeping your bedroom closet organized can be a challenge. But an organized closet means speedier wardrobe changes and a more harmonious environment.

* “We wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time,” Walsh says. Declutter your closet by getting rid of that 80 percent you don’t wear. At the start of the season, turn all your hangers so that they face back to front. When you take something out and wear it, rehang it the correct way. At the end of the season you’ll be able to see which items you haven’t worn. Those are the ones you can probably live without.

* Reclaim vertical space. Look for creative ways to use the walls, backs of doors and other vertical spaces in your closet. Modular home organization systems can solve most storage challenges.

Taming the Toy Room
Children outgrow toys almost as quickly as clothes. It’s important to regularly sort toys with your children to decide what to discard, what to pass on and what to keep.

* Involve kids in deciding what should stay or go. Arrange toys in piles by type of toy, age appropriateness or length of time the child has had the toy. This will help your kids see the toys as distinct groups and make the task more manageable.

* Bring in space-maximizing organizational products like colorful cubbies with canvas bins or decorative shelving units. MyLowe’s makes it easy to find storage products that will fit in your space. Simply enter your room dimensions and the site helps identify solutions that will fit your needs.

Advice for Every Room
Getting organized is great, but staying organized is even more important. Rather than having to tackle organization tasks in a daunting mass once or twice a year, take steps to stay organized throughout the year. A little organization today means fewer headaches tomorrow.

Keep track of your home improvement and decorating purchases, like the paint colors you use and the creative choices you make with MyLowe’s. You can create a home profile and sort information by room, assign products and wish lists to each room, track purchases, store product manuals/warranties and more.

Organization issues stem from the stuff you have, and not just from the space you have. Anyone struggling with clutter faces the decision to either move to a larger home or learn to make choices and live within the limits of their space. By reducing clutter and increasing organization, everyone can learn to honor and respect the space they have.

zStoring Summer Cloths_FI

Tips for Storing Summer Clothes During the Winter Months

(ARA) – As the hot, sunny weather of summer fades into memory, the crisp autumn nights and falling leaves signal a change of season. For some parts of the country, this change means entertaining outdoors is finally bearable, while in others, people begin to dig out the sweaters and scarves. It takes time to sort through piles of shorts, T-shirts and sandals to find warm, comfy pieces. So, this year put the warm-weather clothes away now and store them safely for use next spring and summer.

Having an organized closet makes life easier – both in the morning rush to get out the door and also when trying to find something fabulous for a special occasion.

Digging through shoes or clothes that are not appropriate for cooler weather hinders efficiency and can be frustrating. Use a second closet or plan to store summer clothing in the garage or attic. Follow a few simple tips to ensure clothing comes out of storage next spring in ready-to-wear shape.

* Before storing an item, make sure you will wear it again next year. If it does not fit, is worn out or has lost its fashion appeal, place the shirt, shorts or other clothing item into a “donate” or “throw-away” pile.

* Look over the pieces that will go into storage. Fix buttons or hem lengths now. Then, wash or dry clean everything – make sure the pockets are empty.

* Inventory all clothing and shoes. This will help determine how many storage bags or containers will be needed. Clear plastic containers make it easy to see what is inside, while space-saving plastic bags that allow excess air to be removed can hold bulkier items. Take advantage of seasonal sales to ensure the best price. More money saved now means more money available to spend on the wardrobe later.
* When storing in containers, place a dryer sheet between clothing items to help keep them smelling fresh when brought out of storage in the spring.

* Be mindful of the garment bags and paper products used to store or wrap up fabrics. Plastic dry cleaner bags do not allow fabric to breathe and some papers are acidic, which can cause your clothing to yellow over time.

* To help clothes retain their shape until next spring, carefully fold each item and stack with the heaviest items on bottom. To prevent unnecessary wrinkling, avoid stuffing the pile into the container.

* Keep bugs from snuggling in for the winter and damaging clothing. When the temperatures are low, we are not the only ones spending more time indoors. Insects make there way into your home through cracks and crevices to ride out the cold. Protect any items placed in storage from these home invaders with Ortho Home Defense MAX Perimeter & Indoor Insect Killer. Apply per directions for use by simply spraying a barrier around the exterior perimeter of the home to help keep pests out. Also apply indoors to the perimeter of any storage areas. Doing so will provide up to 12 months of control indoors for listed insects.

* Mice can also harm stored clothing by shredding and staining fabrics. Place Ortho Home Defense Max No Touch Bait Stations along the walls of the basement, attic or garage to protect belongings from possible mouse infestations. These stations are pre-filled so there’s no need to touch the bait.

Proper storage of clothing during the winter months will lead to fewer headaches when it is time to unpack. Following these simple steps can help avoid the frustration of a wardrobe overhaul due to damaged clothing next spring.