By Jackie Waters
Clutter can take a huge toll on our health, yet many people are unsure of how to go about taking care of it. If you have a busy schedule, a large family, or small spaces in your home that become easily overwhelmed with belongings, it can be a challenge to keep clutter at bay. The good news is that there are several things you can do to address the mess and keep your home looking neat and clean, which will boost your mood and may even help with feelings of depression or anxiety. Getting organized will help immensely, but you must also be willing to part with things that are no longer necessary for your lifestyle. Here are four tips on how to get started.
Hire Some Help
While most decluttering can be DIY projects, you may need some help disposing of larger items like furniture, mattresses, and oversized decor that you no longer want. Most trash pickup services won’t haul away items that don’t fit into the can, but you can hire some help in the form of a junk removal service. Ask about mileage fees as well. If there are items that you are thinking of recycling, make sure your local recycling service will take them; for instance, many facilities won’t accept a mattress unless it is already broken down into manageable parts, but a junk removal service will take it off your hands.
One of the easiest ways to combat clutter is to make some organizational changes around your home. If the kitchen counter is a catch-all for homework, snacks, mail, and backpacks, it might help to give everyone their own space to keep their belongings in. Creating a small area near the door with self-adhesive hooks will allow the kids to hang up their coats and bags after school, whereas investing in a small mail holder will help you keep all the bills and important paperwork together. Not only will this cut down on the clutter, but it will also help everyone get ready a little faster in the mornings, and that can only be a good thing!
Many people have collections of books, records, photos, movies, and video games that take up a lot of space. You don’t have to get rid of these, but you can find ways to condense them or get them organized using apps and other simple tech. Rather than having several bookshelves in the living room, keep one full of some favorites and store the rest of the collection, then switch them out with the seasons. Photos can be scanned onto a computer and digitized; then, they can be moved to an external hard drive or a thumb drive for easy access. If you have a DVD collection, consider storing each one in a paper sleeve and alphabetizing them in a drawer or cabinet so you can pack the cases away; this will save you a ton of space.
Ask Yourself Some Hard Questions
One of the most difficult things about decluttering is figuring out how to let go of some of the things you’ve had for years. Keep in mind that you don’t have to lose sentimental items; these can be stored or given to family members. Other items should be tackled with the general “six-month” rule; if you haven’t used a non-seasonal item in six months, it’s probably time to let it go. Clothing, kitchen items, and furniture should be tackled first, as these tend to take up the most space. You can donate these items or sell them via marketplace apps to earn extra cash.
Decluttering your home is a great way to focus on your health, as it truly affects your mental space and your physical well-being to live in a home that is overwhelmed with belongings. Talk to your family members about how they can help so that everyone can be healthy and happy.
As summer approaches our team has been researching wildfire prevention tips so we can help fortify our own homes and share it with you. Since 1972, California’s annual burned area has increased more than fivefold. Over the past five decades, these summertime forest fires have increased in size by roughly 800 percent. (MEYER)
With this information in mind, we want to raise awareness of things we can do in order to protect our home and family.
Fortify Your Home
- Clear dead leaves routinely during the spring or summer from gutters, roofs, and porches.
- Remove dead vegetation with a 10 food radius of your home.
- Prune trees so the branches have 6-10 feet distance from the ground.
- Enclose exterior vents with metal mesh to prevent embers from traveling into your home.
- Buy a wireless or crank powered radio so you can stay up to date on news if power lines go down.
- Have a grab bag of essentials packed in a closet.
Create An Emergency Plan
- Plan on a safe location you can meet up with your loved ones in case of an emergency as phone lines are often too busy to service calls.
- Develop an emergency evacuation plan for both your home and neighborhood and put it into practice.
- Reach out to your neighbors to make connections and share contact information.
- Contact your local planning or zoning office to see if your area is at high risk for wildfires or if you are not sure if these items apply to you.
What To Do During A Wildfire
- Pack an emergency grab bag in your car with water, food bars etc.
- Move all outside furnishings inside your home or garage as soon as possible including all houseplants and door mats.
- Fill the pool, hot tub, trash cans, tubs, any open vessel with water. Fire Fighters have been known to need to pump water from these places to put out rooftop fires.
-Leave ASAP to a no risk area even before you are advised to evacuate. Once the evacuation orders are released, everyone will be trying to do the same.
Thinking in this way can seem scary and overwhelming but it is best to plan beforehand so if this ever happens again you will have ideas of what you need to do in the high stress moments. Bonus is that many of these emergency plans and items can also be used if there are earthquakes. California is only getting hotter and being prepared can put you and your family at ease.
Share this with your friends, neighbors, and family! Let us all get on the same page for this up coming fire season.
5) Support Local Businesses
Local businesses have local connections. When you use and shop local you are supporting independent contractors who often source and partner with other local crafts people in doing their work. Hiring one small business to do a remodel can create a chain of local small business stimulation which not only helps you have greater impact in your community but often a more eco friendly home!
Comment below if you have implemented any of these with your home and share with a friend that could use the tips!
Tables are one of the most space consuming furnishings we have in our homes-- shouldn’t it be a quality piece that is functional and nice to look at? The Team at Thomas Designs has put together a list of tables all created by small producing california furniture designers to inspire you on what could be in your home.
If you saw anything of interest within this article, click here to inquire about our sources. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to share with a friend!
Welcome back! Our team was back at it again discussing some things we are trying to get finished before winter and the holiday season fully arrives:
1. Fertilizing Your Lawn
2. Interior Painting
3. New Moldings & Baseboards
4. Seal the Home
5. Insulate The Attic
6. Roof Check & Cleaning
If after reading this a few more bullet points are added to your todo list and you’re feeling like you need some help accomplishing those tasks-- let us know.
Thank you for reading and sharing with your friends.🍁
Your home should be a reflection of your style. We are surprised by the lack of art in homes when artisans have a bigger platform than ever. We understand how figuring out what scale, color and how much to invest can be overwhelming. Below you can find some of our favorite (many recycled) pieces in 2019 from California artisans.
1. Item: Up-Cycled Bottle Made of Keys
Placement: This would go so well on a hall, entry table or centerpiece.
2. Item: Abstract Paint Pour Art
Placement: This piece is great for a room that needs a pop of color.
3. Item: Recycled Metal Chandelier
Placement: This piece would go well in a kitchen above an island.
4. Item: Hand Dyed Wall Hanging
Placement: perfect for bedrooms, hallways, living rooms and more!
5. Item: Recycled Metal & Crystal Chandelier
Placement: foyer, Kitchen, Dining Room
6. Acrylic & Mosaic Tile from recycled mail
Placement: Living SPace, Bedroom, Hallways
7. Item: Recycled Bottle Light Fixture
Placement: Dining Room, Outdoors.
If you wish to purchase any of these, send us an email here and we can facilitate your request.
The Team at Thomas Designs have been discussing easy ways besides our regular business practices to help create a more eco friendly world. The number one most wasteful places in the home is our beloved kitchens. Most have single use paper towels, plastic packaging, ‘non-stick’ pans and more. Though they seem to be convenient to use in the moment, in the long run that short cut creates much more of a long term impact than we can ever imagine!
We hate how many of those thin plastic vegetable bags we end up taking home from the grocery store. Reusable washable grocery bags are where it is at! Same with purchasing dry goods, keeping mason jars handy is a great way to help out as well! Here are some inexpensive mason Jars. and a link to an Etsy shop that makes beautiful and modern reusable grocery bags.
Nooo, Not our non-stick pans! Trust us, after a quick google search you will be wanting to get rid of every single one you have. Non stick and teflon pans are known to be toxic! It’s basically cooking your food on plastic. There are great alternatives such as ceramic pots and pans as well as cast iron! Here is a great article detailing the best way to dispose of your nonstick pans.
Paper towels are always convenient to have around but they are so wasteful! We use to go through one roll in just a few days until we started using our towel baskets. One is full of clean ones and the other we throw all of dirty towels. We end up washing them every other week and it really helps reduce the paper towels we use! Another option is washable bamboo paper towels that are reusable--Too cool!
Recycle Plastic Utensils
This one goes hand in hand with the non stick pan one. Heating plastic is NEVER a good idea! Replace with cheap and beautiful wooden/metal cooking utensils. You can get super cute personalized ones from Etsy here. FORGET plastic wrap and tin foil. We use beeswax wrap in this studio! This is something you can purchase or make yourself. Here is a blog about how to do that:
Thanks for reading and please share this with your friends. Let’s see how these small changes can help!
Remodeling your home is an investment of your time and money so considering what you want to focus should be taken seriously. To make it a bit easier, the Team at Thomas Designs came up with a list of the 3 things you can do to your home that will increase its resale value and three things you could put at the bottom of your to-do list.
Kitchens are one of the more complicated and expensive things to renovate in a home but the outcome and future resale value for that effort is shown to be very profitable. We love creating kitchens with innovative storage solutions and energy efficient appliances. Effective kitchens are usually at the top of any potential home buyers list and also great to enjoy before you sell. Who doesn’t love a brand new kitchen?
2. Curb Appeal
Home Buyers are looking for something that gets their heart pounding and the best place to start is before they even step in the home. The power of a fresh coat of paint, strategically placed stepping stones or low maintenance/ drought friendly greenery are quick fixes that could add a lot of value to your home in a rather short amount of time. Working with a designer to pull together an eye grabbing front yard will definitely be worth it in the future for selling purposes.
Everyone wants to have a beautiful and functional bathroom. Taking the time to invest in a classic, crisp/clean design will definitely be a crowd pleaser. Bathrooms are a great opportunity to add eco-conscience plumbing fixtures that will help with the cost of running your household.
If you are concerned about budget and need to keep the list down to a minimum, the cost to benefit ratio for the options below are not so great, so keeping these off your priority list may be a good option:
At Thomas Designs it is our passion to promote and use the most efficient home goods as possible. Today we are going to break down the pros and cons of investing in High Efficiency washers and dryers and if it’s all we hope it is.
Keep in mind, these are general statements about the technology and is not brand specific.
The pros to a high efficiency washer and dryer is that they are better for the environment than typical washer and dryers. The bullet points for the benefits are that they use less water, less energy, and less detergent! The reason behind this is because it spins slower than a typical washer. All these things add up to cleaner clothing and less dirty water to process.
There aren't really cons to the argument but there are things that must be noted. Due to the spin being slower, it takes a bit longer to wash and dry. Due to the slower spin, you actually need to purchase a specialised laundry detergent but these pods are better for the environment and use less soap. Beyond that, they typically cost a bit more than a run of the mill washer but the long term investment of helping out the planet while washing clothing is worth every penny!
After looking at different sites listed below, our opinion is that they are worth the hype! Personally we have used high efficiency washers and dryers and have loved them!
Uses Less Water!
Less energy (by spinning slower)
Less suds = better cleanliness!
Same cost per load
Takes longer to dry items
Cannot dry certain items like water proof items
Must use special detergent
Initially more money than traditional washers but better investment in the long term
1. Fresh Flowers or Suculents
We know that not everyone can spend moolah on new furnishings or has the time to repaint their house, so the first tip on our list is bringing home some fresh flowers from the a place like Trader Joes market. They have the best selection for little dinero. Need a vase? Go check out your local second hand store for unique and sometimes vintage finds! If you don't have a garden of your own take the family or your dog for a walk in one of our beautiful Bay Area neighborhoods and check out what's blooming. Ask your neighbors if you can cut some of their beautiful flowers; maybe you'll make a new friend in the process.
2. Fresh Paint
This one takes a bit more time but can be a huge change to your space! Paint stores can provide "paint brush outs" which are 8.5 x 11 cardboard sheets that you can place around your home to make sure you love the color before you paint the walls. Small cans of paint are sold for under 10 dollars at most paint stores and it is usually perfectly enough to paint an accent wall. Not wanting to paint a wall? Repaint or refinish a piece of your furnishings to add a bit of spunk to the space.
3. New Linens
Our bedrooms should be sanctuaries. Think about the last time you got yourself a new set of sheets? Maybe it’s time to add a new set in to the rotation. We love the this Certified organic fair trade version by our friends at Pact! https://wearpact.com/bedding (they even have crib sheets) Also check out their fun basic 100% cotton clothes; we love to lounge in these babaies! http://tinyurl.com/yxsfce57
4) New Accent Pillows
This last one is applicable for any place that you have accent pillows! Take a look at Homegoods for new pillows at a discount. If you aren’t wanting to add more clutter to your closets, take a trip to the fabric store and find some fabric to make new covers for the pillows you already have! If your not crafty take a look to Etsy. We love to see what hand made treasures they they have! We're loving these beauties http://tinyurl.com/y6ddh8h7