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Stephanie Villani
REALTOR®, GRI, ABR, SRS
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Articles Tagged "De-clutter"

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Community Guides | 50 Posts
Home Tips | 6 Posts
August
12

Moving Tips: Should You Utilize a Storage Unit?

Lafayette Moving Tips

Moving definitely has its ups and downs. You spend weeks attending Lafayette open houses before finally finding the one. You get all excited to move in and set the home up the way you like. But then your start scheduling your move, and you realize how much there is to do. If you're like most people, you are looking for ways to simplify the process. Renting a storage unit is a good option. Here are some reasons to rent a storage unit during your move.

  • Get Delicate Items Out of the Way
    You might have some delicate items, such as paintings and special china, that you want to move yourself. You don't want these items to end up damaged when you're moving furniture and boxes all around them. Rent a storage unit, and you'll have a safe space to stash them until you're otherwise moved in, and life has calmed down.

  • Store Large Items Until You Know What Will Fit
    Do you have any large sofas, sectionals, or entertainment units that you're not sure will fit in your new home? Instead of selling them, you can store them in your storage unit until you're able to get into the new home and measure. Or, you might move in and realize you don't have space for these large items. Then, you can sell them directly out of the storage unit.

  • Stash Out-of-Season Items
    Chances are, you have some boxes or totes of seasonal items, such as sporting goods or holiday decor. These take up a lot of storage space in any home. If you rent a storage unit, you can move your seasonal items straight into it. You can keep the items there until you need them, at which point you can bring them into your new, freshly organized home.

  • Get a Head Start
    Once you find the perfect place for you among the Lafayette homes for sale, you can't wait to get started with the move. But it may still be a few weeks before you close on the sale and can get into the home. If you rent a storage unit, you can get a head start. Start packing things you use less often into boxes. Then, move them to the storage unit where they're out of the way. When you're ready to move in, you can easily take the boxes from storage to your new home.

  • Declutter
    Moving gives you the perfect opportunity to declutter. And if you are listing your current place for sale, decluttering helps you better stage the space to appeal to buyers. If you decide to rent a storage unit, you can place items you don't immediately need in there. That way, potential buyers won't see all your stuff. Instead, they'll just see a perfectly staged home!

  • Reduce Moving Costs
    Renting a storage unit and moving some of your items into it pre-move means you can get away with renting a smaller moving truck. Or, if you hire movers, they will have less to move. Either way, this approach can help keep your moving costs lower. You can move items from storage to your new home a few at a time in your own vehicle, which is more affordable.

Contact us if you're still looking for the perfect home to purchase. Our Realtors® can help you find a unique and enjoyable space in the New Orleans area.

January
7

New Year's Resolution: How to Make a Cleaning Schedule

Cleaning Schedule

Trying to think of a New Year's resolution for your home? Making a cleaning schedule helps you keep your home extra tidy all year long. Plus, if you are getting ready to sell your home, a cleaning schedule can help ensure your home is ready for any showings. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents to help you set a successful cleaning schedule for 2022. 

  • Make a Master Task List
    Part of the problem with keeping your house clean is forgetting how many things you actually have to do. It's easy to get into a routine of keeping the kitchen clean, and then next thing you know, you've got dust piling up on all your surfaces. Sit down and make a comprehensive list of all the things you need to clean regularly in order to keep your house clean, noting the frequency of each task on the list. If you need to do a deep cleaning of anything, for instance, before your house joins other Lafayette homes for sale, put that on the list too.

  • Pick Your Cleaning Style
    There are a few different approaches to cleaning the house. For instance, are you the type who likes to do a little every day to avoid lengthier cleaning days? Or do you prefer to get it done all at once? One approach to a daily cleaning schedule is to focus on speed cleaning everything lightly every day to prevent the need for deep cleaning. Alternatively, you can set a timer every day for 30, 60, or 90 minutes, and when the timer goes off, you're done for the day. For those who like a more rigid approach, you can actually schedule all of your tasks on a monthly calendar. Or, if you're an all-in-one-day kind of person, pick a day each week or every couple of weeks where you have the time to devote an entire day to cleaning.

  • Assign Tasks
    Once you've figured out how you'd like to schedule your cleaning, it's simply a matter of assigning tasks to fill in the time. If you're speed cleaning daily or doing timed cleaning, pressing or frequent tasks come first, and other tasks from your master list can be added as time allows. If you're the calendar type, fill in your cleaning calendar with tasks throughout the month according to how often they need to be done to stay on top of a clean house. If you're a one-big-cleaning-day type of person, do the regular tasks first, and fill in with an alternating schedule of less frequent tasks where you have time.

  • Regroup as Needed
    The biggest problem with New Year's resolutions is that people often don't reassess and adjust their original goals. Try out your new cleaning schedule, and if it obviously isn't working, change it! Do you have busy days where you don't have time to clean? Does something need to be cleaned more often? Can something else be cleaned less often to make life easier on you? Change what needs to be changed, and don't be hard on yourself when you don't get something done. Just pick it back up next time.

Most people don't love cleaning, so setting a schedule can help you stay on top of it. If you're planning to sell your house soon, on the other hand, you may need to devote time to a more thorough cleaning. For more information on what should be cleaned to stage your home for sale, contact us today.

September
27

How to Prepare for an Open House

Alexandria Open House

When you list your home for sale, an open house is a traditional activity that boosts the exposure of your home. Before you set a date for your open house, there are some preparation tasks you should know about. Our real estate agents recommend the following tasks to help your home make a lasting impression during your open house.

  1. Clean and Declutter
    An open house is a fantastic opportunity to show off your home to potential buyers, but you only have one chance to make a stellar first impression. Make sure that you've thoroughly decluttered every inch of your home and deep cleaned every room. When you clean, clean in a circle to make sure you don't miss any spaces. You should also clean from the top of the room to the bottom to ensure you don't have to clean any areas more than once. Try to remove half of the things in your home, and store them off-sight in a storage unit or friend's garage. The less stuff you have in your home, the larger it will seem. It's also easier for buyers to take in a home's features when it isn't overwhelmed with too many things. On the day of your open house, stash any personal belongings (like shoes, pocketbooks, backpacks, and coats) out of sight. Vacuum or sweep the floors, and see that all the beds are made. Don't forget the outside spaces! Use your leaf blower to quickly rid your deck, porch, and driveway of dirt and leaves. 
  1. Accomplish Any Maintenance Tasks on Your To-Do List
    Perhaps you've been meaning to refresh your living room paint or fix that noisy faucet. Any repair or maintenance tasks should be completed before your open house. Check that all your lightbulbs work and that your heating and cooling system has a fresh, dust-free air filter. If buyers notice that routine maintenance tasks are past due, they may assume that you haven't properly cared for your home. This leads them to assume that the home needs work and can result in a lower offer price. 
  1. Have a Plan for Your Pets
    Even homebuyers that adore animals tend to view homes with pets as less appealing. Individuals with allergies or high standards for cleaning are even more likely to forgo a home with pets. When it's time for your open house, get your pets out of the house until it's over. You should also remove any obvious pet gear, like litterboxes, toys, beds, and food and water dishes. 
  1. Depersonalize Your Home
    It's hard for potential buyers to envision themselves in a home when personalized items decorate a space. Remove any pictures of your family and friends, and see that you grab any piles of homework or bills lying around.
  1. Embrace the Fresh Air
    Fresh air makes any space feel more inviting. If the weather permits, open the windows to freshen the air in your home. This helps remove odors and "stale" air in rooms that you don't frequently use. 

    Want more info about selling your home and listing it among the other Alexandria homes for sale? Contact us today!

    October
    28

    How to Better Organize Your Kitchen

    Organized Kitchen

    Since the kitchen is known as the heart of the home, making sure it's organized is extra important. A cluttered kitchen not only makes preparing meals a hassle, but it can also turn away potential buyers. 

    Get rid of kitchen clutter by better organizing your space. Our real estate agents encourage you to use these tips to organize your kitchen.

    • Use Pull-Out Cabinet Drawers & Organizers
      Cabinets are often cluttered, preventing you from accessing (or even remembering) what's inside. Organize your cabinets by pulling everything out and installing pull-out drawers and inner-door organizers. These two cheap, yet effective resources make it effortless to retrieve whatever you need.

    • Drawer Dividers
      Like cabinets, drawers are another culprit of clutter. Thankfully, they can also be affordably organized with drawer dividers. While most use them solely for the silverware drawer, integrating different sizes into all of your drawers can help keep them organized. These are especially helpful for "junk drawers" full of miscellaneous items.

    • Use Lazy Susans
      Whether you're working in the cabinets or pantry, a lazy Susan can be an invaluable asset to your organizational needs. From spices and seasonings to sauces, cans, and bottles, a lazy Susan is an easy and efficient way to quickly browse through your kitchen staples.

    • Clear Containers
      Unfortunately, lazy Susans won't solve all of your pantry problems. Many odd-sized items or loose items that come in boxes can be easily contained in another helpful resource: clear storage containers. Clear containers are great for storing a variety of common pantry items. Not only can they keep foods like pasta or cereal fresh, but they can also make it easy to organize and view foods like snacks for kids, exercise supplements and power bars, or single-serve type foods.

    • Group Like Items Together
      Regardless if you use lazy Susans, clear containers, or another form of storage, it's important that you try to organize items into similar groups. Keeping food and supplies contained in groups makes them easy to access and keep organized. Be sure to apply this technique to your appliances and specialty devices as well. For instance, keep your baking supplies together in one area and your barbequing supplies together in another.

    • Arrange Items By Use
      With so much to organize, you must make sure that accessibility is a priority. One challenge to achieving this is ensuring that lesser-used items don't block frequently used items. Place seldom-used items in harder to reach places such as top shelves or bottom cabinets, so your most used items are always at hand.

    • Consider a Handy Cart or Serving Tray
      If you find yourself running out of room in the cabinets or pantry, you can cleverly use carts or serving trays that double as décor and storage options. For example, keeping your baking or barbequing supplies on a wheeled cart keeps them organized and easy to wheel over to the oven or grill when you need them. A tray can provide the same convenience: keeping supplies for coffee, tea, or cocktails on a tray is an attractive counter piece that can be instantly transported from room to room.

    • Ditch Unused Items
      One of the most important tips in kitchen organization is knowing when to toss unused items. Appliances that collect dust, such as cake trays or fondue sets, maybe taking up space despite being unused for years. Know when it's time to remove these items for the things you really need.  

    Are you searching for a house with a kitchen and dining area perfect for entertaining? We can help. Contact us today to tour our spacious Alexandria homes for sale.

    September
    23

    5 Ways to Make Your Move More Organized

    Organized Move

    Being organized takes time and effort. But does it pay off? You bet, and nowhere more than when preparing for a move. 

    If you've listed your house among Baton Rouge homes for sale, you've probably already thought about your move and how to minimize the stress. Take it from our real estate agents good organization is the way to get there.

    To start you off, here are five excellent ways to organize your move.

    1. Make a Moving Schedule
      Create a moving schedule, on a printed document, or on the calendar feature of your phone or computer. This will give you the big picture of your move, as your schedule when you want to hire movers; create a packing schedule (schedule a couple of hours a day to pack, if you're going to do it yourself); note deadlines for getting rid of stuff; note dates for contacting utilities; mark known dates for events pertaining to the sale of your current home or the acquisition of your destination home, and note details about the move itself.

    2. Declutter
      You will be amazed at how much of your stuff you will not want once you move it to your new home. Save money by saying goodbye to a quarter of your stuff before you move. Hold a garage sale; sell items through the app LetGo, on eBay, or on Facebook Marketplace. Offer what you can't sell to friends or co-workers, or give it away. You may have to leave some things on the curb for pickup. 

    3. Create a System
      Make your move organized by using a color-coding system, so you know what box goes in what room. Apply circular, different-colored stickers to boxes; create color-coded cards to match the stickers. Cards should be hung in the doorways to rooms where boxes go. Create a master copy of your moving legend, complete with color codes and instructions. Make more than one copy, to be dispersed throughout the destination home. Finally, create or buy self-adhesive moving labels, on which you list the contents of each box. Stick the stickers on the label and on top of the box.

    4. Gather Packing Supplies
      Get packing supplies from the home store or a moving store. Get boxes in different sizes, but mostly the smaller size boxes where you can pack fewer but heavier items such as books. Get packing tape and a dispenser, wide felt markers and packing material such as bubble wrap.

    5. Be Careful with Fragile Items
      You don't want to show up at your new home with boxes of broken items! Boxes should be full, but weigh no more than 50 pounds per box. If packed items don't fill up the box, fill the space with newspaper or bubble wrap or air pillows, so they don't shift around when moved. Mark boxes that contain fragile items. Use arrows on boxes if it's important they stay upright.

    Whether you're leaving Baton Rouge or joining us, our team can help! Contact us today. 

    August
    14

    Decluttering with Kids: 6 Tips for Making it Easier

    Decluttering Tips

    As minimalist living continues to increase in popularity, owners of many of these beautiful New Orleans homes for sale have taken a "less is more" approach to their interior design and lifestyle. However, for many parents, decluttering with kids in the house may seem far beyond the realm of possibility. Luckily, our real estate agents have shared several tips for how you can make decluttering with kids possible today:

    1. Start the Process When the Kids Aren't Around
      When you first start the decluttering process, it's best to begin when the kids are at school or staying with grandma. Decluttering with the kids at home can be highly unproductive as they'll likely have a tough time giving up certain toys, books, or clothing. You'll get the best results if you do the initial sweep on your own.
    2. Avoid Excuses
      Let's face it, it might be tough for you to part with your kid's belongings. After all, many of these items have a tremendous amount of sentimental value. Hanging onto items simply because they were a gift or are connected to good memories is simply going to lead to more clutter. If you're struggling to let things go, just remind yourself of the joy these items can bring to kids in need.
    3. Broken Toys Must Go
      Any toys that are broken, missing a piece, or falling apart should go straight to the trash without a second thought. Do a quick evaluation of all the toys in the house and find the ones that are broken. Your kids may ask for you to fix them, but it's important to resist the urge to hang on to any broken items.
    4. Organize Everything Into Categories
      After the old junk is gone, organize the remaining toys into categories such as stuffed animals, action figures, dolls, or vehicles. You can then store the most commonly used groups of toys in an accessible location in the bedroom while placing the less commonly-used toys in the basement or attic. Kids often forget about the toys that are out of sight.
    5. Don't Hang on to Clothes
      Once the toys are taken care of, it's time to move on to the clothes. It may be tempting to hold onto clothing for sentimental reasons, but you must resist! Comb through drawers and closets and make a pile of items that no longer fit or are never worn. These items can be taken to a local clothing drive. Starting a donation bin is also a great way to declutter overtime. 
    6. Teach Your Kids the Value of Decluttering
      It's important for your kids to understand the value and benefits of decluttering. Teach your kids about the importance of donating unused items so that other children can benefit and find joy in them. By showing your kids the importance of decluttering at a young age, they are more likely to develop positive habits that last a lifetime. 

    Kids can certainly make the decluttering process more challenging, but by establishing some simple guidelines and teaching your kids the value of simplicity and organization, it can be done. Contact us today for more tips on how to declutter your home.

    December
    2

    Here's What to Do if You're Inheriting a House

    Inheriting a House

    Our REALTORS® handle all types of real estate transactions and are experienced in helping those who have inherited a home wade through any potential issues. Our team recommends following these steps in order to ensure a smooth process. 

    Take Care of Business

    Updating the homeowners insurance policy right away is vital. Making sure your coverage is current, and all necessary changes are taken care of ensures your property is protected. If there's a mortgage on the home, contact the lender and stay current with payments. This goes for property taxes as well. 

    Contact all utilities to update account and contact information. You can cancel unnecessary ones but make sure the bills for other utilities are paid on time every month. If you're not around to take care of cutting the grass or yard work, you may want to hire someone to do upkeep until the house is sold or occupied.

    Empty it Out

    When someone passes away, some of the toughest tasks include going through their things, deciding who gets what and getting rid of the things no one wants. If you and your siblings have inherited a home, gather everyone there, and take turns choosing the items you'd like to keep. Let the grandchildren have a turn and include any other relatives that you think are appropriate. Once everyone has had a chance to take what they want, the rest can be sold at an estate sale or donated. Try to take care of it as soon as you can. Although this process can be painful, putting it off can be costly, both financially and emotionally.  

    Decide What to Do

    It's also important to make a decision about whether you want to move into the house, sell it, or keep it as a rental property. There are a few important points to consider when weighing your options. Before you take action, get a home inspection to make sure you're aware of any repairs or needed maintenance. It's also important to find out if local municipalities will reassess the home's value. If so, the property taxes may be much higher, which is an important factor to keep in mind.

    When siblings inherit a home as joint owners, things can get tricky. You'll all need to agree on what to do, or the issue could end up in court. If you want to live there, you can buy your siblings out by mortgaging or refinancing the property. You may also come up with another arrangement, like paying them in monthly installments until they are paid for their share in full. Another way to resolve the issue is to make the house part of your share of the total estate. It's also important to talk to a professional about the income tax implications of each option.

    Whether you decide to occupy the home, rent it out, or listing it among the Lafayette homes for sale, each option has its advantages and drawbacks. Seeking the advice of an experienced real estate agent is an excellent way to find out which choice meets your needs and lifestyle.

    Still, have questions about what to do when inheriting a home? We can help. Contact us to learn more.

    July
    8

    What to Do When It's Jam-Packed with Junk

    Lafayette Donation Centers

    5 Area Donation Centers to Visit on National Give Something Away Day

    In early 2019, Marie Kondo's Netflix series about "tidying up" went viral and sparked a nationwide decluttering trend. In the spirit of KonMari, celebrate National Give Something Away Day on July 15 by finding a new home for unwanted items at one of these donation centers around Lafayette suggested by our REALTORS®.

    1. ARC of Acadiana Thrift Store - 710 S. Union St., Opelousas, LA 70570
      Donations to ARC of Acadiana Thrift Store, located not far from Opelousas homes for sale, provide a two-fold benefit. Proceeds support ARC's mission to improve quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities, and the store itself provides a place for ARC's clients to learn valuable work skills. Hours are 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. every day but Sunday.

    2. Chez Hope - 801 Main St., Franklin, LA 70538
      Chez Hope offers shelter and support services to victims of domestic violence. The organization, founded in 1982, also operates an outreach program to raise public awareness and promote social change. Items needed at Chez Hope include new and used linens, full-size bath, beauty and hair care products, feminine hygiene supplies, trash bags, and disposable tableware. Make an appointment to drop off your donation during a break from viewing Franklin homes for sale

    3. Goodwill Industries - 1811 Rees St., Breaux Bridge, LA 70515
      Over the years, Goodwill Industries has helped so many individuals and families that it ranks in the top five in the most recent Brand World Value Index, which identifies brands that inspire consumers with their mission. The organization has a local donation center and retail store just minutes away from Breaux Bridge homes for sale that accepts clothing and household goods in usable condition. 

    4. Vermilion ARC Resale Clothing Store - 104 N. St. Charles St., Abbeville, LA 70510
      Kids grow out of clothes so quickly they're often barely worn. Recycle wearable items by taking them to the Vermilion ARC Resale Clothing Store. Proceeds from all sales fund ARC's work with developmentally disabled individuals. Hours are 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday, making it convenient to stop by while touring Abbeville homes for sale

    5. Habitat for Humanity ReStore - 3123-1/2 Johnston St., Lafayette, LA 70503
      Homeownership provides a valuable feeling of self-sufficiency, and Habitat for Humanity makes the dream attainable for individuals and families in need. Habitat for Humanity ReStore, close to Lafayette homes for sale, funds the organization's mission through sales of donated building materials, furniture, and selected housewares. Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. If you're pressed for time or items are too bulky to move, contact the store to schedule a pick-up.

    Whether you're buying or selling a home, our friendly and professional REALTORS® can help streamline the process. Contact us to learn more.

    Latter & Blum
    430 Notre Dame St.
    New Orleans, LA 70130
    (866) 794-1022
    Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 12/04/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 12/04/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of Houston Association of Realtors (last updated Sun 12/04/2022 12:32:26 AM EST) or Fort Polk MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:30:06 PM EST) or Greater Southern MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:35:12 PM EST) or Greater Baton Rouge MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:30:40 PM EST) or GSREIN MLS (last updated Sun 12/04/2022 1:09:58 AM EST) or Bayou MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:20:45 PM EST) or Pearl River MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:24:17 PM EST) or GCLAR MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:12:09 PM EST) or MGCMLS (last updated Mon 10/04/2021 9:31:53 AM EST) or Realtor Association of Acadiana (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:22:29 PM EST) or Southwest Mississippi MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:15:23 PM EST) or MLS United (last updated Sun 12/04/2022 1:36:09 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Latter & Blum may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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