Have you ever wanted to unlock your door with a fingerprint? Control the indoor and outdoor lights with your phone? You can do those things and more with a smart home. We show you how to get a home with connected technology and remote-operated devices that are designed to improve and simplify your life. We sift through the many options, including smart appliances, new apps, and smartphone and tablet innovation, and only bring you those that can make your life better. We give you tips and tricks for navigating the new home technologies and help you with buying decisions.See More
Foster a home that's clutter-free and inviting by letting go of items you no longer need or use.
If you keep everything because it has sentimental value and the thought of getting rid of anything makes you feel guilty, then you might have what professional organizer Melissa Picheny calls a curator's organization personality. A great first step to getting organized is to mentally prepare yourself for what lies ahead. Begin by walking into the room you want to organize. Take a mental inventory of what you see, and write down the way this room makes you feel. Then close your eyes and imagine what you want your new space to look like. Write down how the new vision makes you feel. Place this list in a prominent spot as a reminder of what's to come. If you stick to the process, you will reach your goals.
Your entry is a sneak peek into the rest of your home, so it's important to make it a functional space that also makes a statement. A home's entry tends to get cluttered on a daily basis with miscellaneous items and piles of mail. To combat the constant influx, make sure everything has a purpose. Organize it to handle daily in and out items creatively. Paint one wall with blackboard paint so you can leave reminder messages, or add fun hooks, such as a soup ladle, and shelves to keep your keys and other important items at your fingertips.
If your office is chaotic, it's more likely to become a dumping ground than a functional work space. Give your office a "space-lift" and you'll feel the difference immediately. Start by evaluating what you love or don't love about your current office. Next, get rid of furniture and miscellaneous items that are broken or on their last leg. Then, brighten up your space using paint and a colorful rug. Finally, find useful objects -- such as file folders and desk accessories -- that speak to your personality to make even the most mundane tasks a little more fun. Creating an atmosphere that you feel comfortable working in will inspire and motivate you to get more accomplished.
The kitchen can be one of the easiest places to declutter. Start by opening up your pantry and going through your food items. Box up excess food that hasn't been opened and isn't expired, and take it to your local food shelter. Next, go through your tableware, pots and pans, and decorative kitchen accessories. Donate anything you aren't using regularly or don't love to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Giving makes the letting go a lot easier.
Your bedroom should reflect your personal style. If you are using furniture that was passed down to you, make it your own by staining or painting it a new color or swapping out the drawer pulls. Don't let sentimentality bully you into keeping items that are just not you. If your hand-me-downs aren't working for you, then let go of them. Use the newfound space to make room for a piece that really speaks to you.
Organizing your closets is a great opportunity to take stock of how much stuff you own versus what you really use. Pull out all of the items in your bedroom closet and sort them into like categories, such as shirts, shoes, etc. Then pull out similar items stashed under beds, in a spare-bedroom closet, or in off-season storage. Once you have items in a single place, it's hard to ignore excess and duplication. How many pairs of black shoes do you have? How many cream sweaters? Now is the time to pare down what you own to what you need.
Just like food, medicines and cosmetics have a shelf life. Use the expiration dates to remove any emotion from the decision-making process -- toss anything that's past its prime. Sort through your towels while you're at it, discarding rough, torn, or stained ones or repurposing them as rags, to free up storage space for those you prefer to use.
Reign in an overabundance of artwork and memorabilia by setting boundaries. Capture the beauty of artwork in a few inches of space by loading a digital photo frame with images of favorite pieces. Then toss out the originals. Furthermore, create a memory box for each child. When the box is full, it's time to weed out items. This is a great way to let the passage of time make it easier to part with items.
Keep up your motivation for the organization process strong by finding ways to reward yourself for victories big and small. Every time you accomplish a goal, find a way to recognize it -- take a walk, eat a decadent piece of cake, or put money in a jar for a night out. Celebrating every step is a great way to keep moving forward.