Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today's Favorite Thing: The Battery Store

A big part of creating a more organized life is finding those shops and services that make our life easier.  One of my favorite finds is BatteriesPlus+, or as I call it, The Battery Store.  It all started with a drawer full of wristwatches with dead batteries and little coupon in the mail from BatteriesPlus+ for watch replacement batteries for $3.99.  I was thrilled to find such a bargain.  I had always taken my watch to the jewelry store and paid $20 to $25 for a battery replacement.  The nearest BatteriesPlus+ store was less than a quarter mile from my house, so I gathered up all my watches and trotted right over.  The moment I set foot in the store I felt like Columbus landing in the new world!

In our gadget-filled universe, this store had it all.  Batteries for everything you could imagine from plain old AA's to batteries for cells phones, laptops, appliances, tools, cars, etc, etc, etc.  The sales staff was wonderful and very knowledgeble.  They changed out all of my watch batteries for me and sold me some long lasting AA and AAA batteries at a great price.  Before I left they gave me several coupons for savings on future purchases.

They also provide recycling services for batteries, laptops and cell phones (you know you're not supposed to throw those in the trash, right?).  So, if you're on a mission to clear your clutter, this is a wonderful resource for recycling all that old technology laying around.  But, before you replace that cordless rayzor or power tool whose rechargeable battery is no longer good, call the BatteriesPlus+ store near you or go online to because they sell replacement battery packs for hundreds of products.

Bottomline, BatteriesPlus+ is a terrific, one-stop solution to keeping us powered up and running, and with Christmas right around the corner, you don't want to land on Santa's naughty list for not having plenty of fresh batteries on Christmas morning.

Happy Organizing

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Who's a Lucky Girl?

I'M A LUCKY GIRL!!!  Dear hearts, the Clutter Diva really hit the jackpot this time!  I entered a giveaway contest on my favorite blog, Cote de Texas, and out of 1,000 entries, mine was picked.  The prize?  This fabulous chandelier from Julie Neill of New Orleans.


I cannot express my appreciation to Joni Webb of Cote de Texas and Julie Neill for this amazing giveaway.  I lived in New Orleans for ten of the most wonderful years of my life and Julie's work is such a stunning representation of that city's charm and elegance, with just the right touch of whimsy.  I could not in my wildest dreams have imagined I would have something so exquisite for my own home.  I urge you to go to the Julie Neill Design website at and take a look at her beautiful lighting collection.

In the meantime, I'll continue as an avid devotee of Cote de Texas.  The mere mention of my name on her blog spiked my blog visitors yesterday to well over 400 in the first couple of hours.  Now friends, that is some following!  I tip my Stetson to you, Miss Joni,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Homestaging FAQ

When putting your house on the market it's imperative to have lots of photos of your home, inside and out, to post on the Mutiple Listing Service and the internet.  Homebuyers and their real estate agents begin their search for a new home online, and those listings with few or poor photos will not make the cut!  I am fortunate that my broker employs professional photographers to take photos of our listings, so I make sure my sellers know how to stage their home for photography as well as showing.

These listing photos should include plenty of exterior photos that showcase the home's "curb appeal".  But, how do you get the best exterior photos when the season begins to change from spring/summer to fall/winter?  Exterior photos require a different treatment depending on the time of year.  In the spring/summer months when the lawn is green, flower beds are blooming and the trees are full of leaves, photos should be taken from a wide angle to take in large shade trees and sun-filled patios and lawns.  In the fall/winter months lawns may turn brown, be covered in leaves that fell from those now bare trees,and flower beds are without, well, flowers.  Now what do you do?

First of all, remove any "seasonal" decorations and items from the house and lawn (christmas lights, holiday specific door wreaths, banners/flags, etc.).  Although you may have the scariest Halloween pumpkins or the most Christmas lights on your street, these items rarely photograph well and will serve as a red flag to buyers if your house stays on the market past New Year.  Make sure leaves are raked (or snow filled walks and driveways are cleared) from the lawn and fill your flower beds with new mulch to make them look fresh, even if they don't have any flowers.  A fresh coat of paint on any wood surfaces like siding, shutters and, that all important front door will help your home show better from the street and in photos.  Powerwash driveways, patios and sidewalks so they look clean and fresh as well.  In your backyard, remove any covers from lawn furniture, grills or pools (just long enough for the photos to be taken).  Make sure your pool is sparkling clean and remove all leaves or debris.  Now you are ready for photos.

Keep your photos to a tighter angle...more house, less bare trees, grey sky and the brown lawns of your neighbors.  Include extra photos of architectural details like an attractive front door or patio french doors, decorative fencing, custom garage doors, covered patios, etc.  Also, if you have any good photos of your home's exterior during spring or summer, those can be added to the MLS to give the buyer an idea of how the lawn and trees look when they're green.

Remember, the more photos you and/or your realtor post online, the more time a potential buyer will spend looking at your home, and the better the photos, the better chance you'll have to find a buyer.  There is a lot of competition for buyers in the current homeselling market...great photos will help put your listing ahead of the pack.

Happy Organizing

Monday, November 8, 2010

Let's Rap About Wrap

I realize as I write this blog that this is Halloween weekend, but Christmas is truly right around the corner and it's not too early to offer up my tips for avoiding one of my clutter pet wrapping paper chaos!

Now if you are fortunate enough to have a craft room with paper and ribbons on dowels and in specially designed containers...move on, this blog is not for you.  However, if you are like most people, with a crazy collection of wrapping paper and ribbon from Christmas past stuffed in the closet or up in the attic with your artificial christmas tree, keep reading.  (The gift wrap organizer pictured is from Pottery Barn, and Santa, if you're reading, I would love to find this under my tree!)

Whether or not you love creating beautifully wrapped packages (like I do) or dread wrapping all those holiday gifts, this tip can serve you both.  When choosing your holiday wrapping paper limit yourself to two papers.  Yes, I said TWO.  Preferably one solid color and one complimentary print (if you really want two prints, make sure one is a small print to accomodate small packages).  By keeping your paper choices to two, you can splurge on ribbons and decorations to spruce up your packages, and that's really the fun part of wrapping.  I like using non-traditional holiday colors like purple or teal so I can use the leftover paper for other gifts throughout the year.

During the holidays it's now simple to put your wrapping supplies out of sight.  Put your ribbons and bows, along with the scissors and tape in one container.  This container and the TWO rolls of paper are easy to tuck into a closet or under the bed when company arrives.  No more just closing the door to that spare bedroom that looks like Christmas exploded in.  After the holidays you can add the leftover paper (there shouldn't be much) to your everyday wrapping supplies and the container with holiday package decorations can go up in the attic with the tree until next year.

If you really want to keep it simple, just use plain, brown kraft paper for wrapping. Kraft paper is easy and fun to decorate with twine, pinecones, cinnamon sticks, etc. The kids can color or stamp the packages to make them cute and personal...and you can save on gift tags by writing the recipient's name right on the paper with a marker.  I love to pair the kraft paper with pretty, print paper or dress it up with fancy, plaid ribbons and add stamping with silver and gold ink.

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that I live in a really small house, so my Christmas tree is small as well.  Also, my holiday decorating is kept at a minimum because I have so little space to work with.  When my packages are all wrapped with coordinating paper, they become a decorating accessory in my living room as opposed to a jumbled mess of paper patterns and colors, so the area around my tree looks pretty and pulled together.

I hope this tip helps trim some time and clutter off your holiday preparations.

Happy Organizing