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12 winter cleaning ideas
Things can somehow seem messier, dirtier and less organized during the winter months. Here’s how to tackle it in time to leave you feeling fresh for spring.
Get a head start on spring-cleaning
Designer Meredith Heron's Victorian rowhouse.
Make a statement in your space with inspiration from these bold and vibrant interiors.
Designer Meredith Heron's Victorian rowhouse in Toronto is a stylish study in colour, pattern and texture. Tour the entire home here.
An intense wall colour, abstract wallpaper mural and pink sofa helps to create this home's statement living room. Tour the entire home here.
Bursting with character and brimming with charm this home office features a fuchsia rug and rich graphic wallpaper.
With bursts of lavender and chartreuse, this living room's daring palette was paired with boldly patterned fabrics. See the rest of this home's living and dining room here.
From apple to olive green, the vibrant striped wall in this dining room incorporates the various hues used throughout this Miami, Florida, condo. Tour the entire condo here.
With bold blue and white striped walls, a capiz-shell chandelier and lots of colourful toss cushions this kitchen’s sunny eating nook is a carefully curated riot of colour and pattern. Tour the entire condo here.
Bright colours, eclectic furniture and treasured collections transform this old cottage into a cozy family retreat. The pops of green and blue in the family room give this space its one-of-a-kind character. Tour the entire cottage here.
Brave hits of colour and pattern beautifully collide in this living room. From the light blue painted walls, sky blue grasscloth wallpaper on the ceiling, dark rose drapery and splashy area rug this space is bursting with charm. Tour the entire home here.
Bold '50s flair is alive and well in this charming Cape Cod-style cottage. The kitchen features black and white peel-and-stick floor tiles and eye-catching cheery yellow painted cabinets. Tour the entire cottage here.
A navy sectional complements the colourful gallery wall in this townhouse living room. Tour the entire townhouse here.
This stylish boudoir makes a statement with its pink coffered walls, gold chandelier and glamorous accessories. See how this beautiful boudoir was put together on a luxe and little budget here.
Follow these simple tips to keep clutter at bay and keep your home looking effortlessly organized.
Piles of bills on the kitchen counter, DVDs strewn about the living room and a beautiful antique dining room tabletop that's buried under piles of paper. Oh, and you can't find your gym pass either.
Can you relate to the above scenario? If so, you and your loved ones may slowly be drowning in a giant pile of clutter.
Clutter can be a big weight on the state of your mental health. "Clutter is like pollution. It's all-pervasive: It's in your thoughts, in your way, in your space. It robs you of peace of mind and that feeling of being at home," says Kristie Demke, President of Professional Organizers in Canada. "It can also rob you of time," she adds, "because you spend a lot more time moving things to dust, sweep and vacuum around. And, you spend more time looking for things."
Many of us dream of neat and tidy rooms like those showcased in our favourite design magazines like Style at Home. Here are 10 quick and easy ways to start clearing out the clutter in your home.
Credits: Stacey Brandford
1 Identify clutter hot spots
Kitchens attract mail pile-ups, home offices store endless piles of bills. Books and hand cream samples seem to love night tables and the weekend's newspaper becomes a permanent fixture on your living room floor. Once you identify your clutter hot spots, consider purchasing an attractive basket to house items you like to have at your fingertips. But remember, a basket can organize chaos for a while, but will also need a frequent purge a few times a month to avoid pile up.
Purge and do it often. Why are you using up valuable space storing that mixing bowl set you think your niece might want when she leaves for university in a few years? Go through your stuff and think about the last time you used it, why you're keeping it around and if it would be more useful somewhere else. After your first few big purging sessions, you won't need to go at your storage closet so frequently (and ruthlessly).
We all have important keepsakes we don't know what to do with and purging these can be difficult, but don't keep these things buried in the bottom of a box in your garage. Find a space in your home where you can show off its beauty and take good, constant care of it. "There's really no point in owning something if you can't use it," Kristie says.
3 Deal with a little every day
This may be the hardest tip to follow, but it's by far the best. Focusing a mere 15 minutes of your day on clearing clutter will make your life a whole lot easier (and your house a whole lot tidier)! When you're finished your bowl of cereal, put the dish in the dishwasher right away, rather than placing it in the sink. When you get home from work, deal with your mail immediately. File away bills and recycle junk mail then and there. If you have the luxury of half an hour, says Kristie, you can manage to sort through a closet of clothing, determining what you don't need anymore. If you don't let things pile up, your home will be a lot tidier and cleaning up much less of a daunting task.
4 Stay focused
When you're taking on a clutter-busting task, it's important to be energized and focused. Even if you're just spending 15 minutes on cleaning off your desk, ignore the buzz of your Blackberry and the ping of your e-mail inbox. Just focus on the task at hand so you can be done with it once and for all.
5 Look at the big picture
It's hard to decide on the fate of a beloved old sweater when you're looking at it on its own, but when you put it beside all your new ones, you may notice that it's stretched out of shape, faded and really, you wouldn't be caught dead in it in public. Conundrum solved!
6 Make use of unused space
You can add hooks over your bedroom and bathroom doors, bins and baskets on closet floors, storage bins under your bed, and bulletin boards and file pockets to your office walls. Be creative when looking at unused space and it can become a great new place to store items out of the way.
7 Get your kids involved
"Kids come with a lot of accessories," Kristie says, "so you have to be pretty vigilant to make sure you stay on top of it." Kristie recommends sitting down with your kids for an hour every month to sort through what they have, then storing or donating what is no longer being played with. "And make sure whatever storage you have is at their height and within their ability [to use]," she adds. "Even a toddler can put away soft toys into a bin if it's at the right height."
8 Identify a place for things
So you knit, sew, run, bike ride, cook and have two dogs. Your hobbies require you to actually own stuff, and therefore have created a good deal of clutter. "You really have to identify an amount of space - a place - for things. If you have a dog, make sure the leash and bags are all kept in one area," Kristie advises. In finding a home for your hobbies, you may discover you don't have room for all of them, helping you to identify which ones should be a priority.
9 File things ... now
Kristie says that one of the best organizing investments is a filing cabinet. Just think: All of those piles of papers in your home office can be put away in mere moments. And you won't spend hours of your precious time trying to locate your donation receipts come tax time. Don't worry, not all filing cabinets are of the old, stacked metal variety. You can find ones with classy design elements at places like West Elm, Ikea and Pottery Barn.
10 Give away
Dedicate a specific spot in your house or garage for giveaway items, and place a box there. When you come across something you no longer need or want, you can discard it to the giveaway spot immediately, rather than setting it back down and forgetting about it. Plan a monthly trip to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army drop-off location to get rid of the goods you no longer have room for.
The post-presidential home for Barack Obama and his family.
Take a look inside the multi-million dollar home President Obama and his family will lease once it's time to leave the White House.
This January President Obama and his family will say goodbye to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and lease a 8,200-square-foot mansion in Washington, D.C.'s Kalorama neighbourhood. Owned by Joe Lockhart, a former White House press secretary, the multi-million dollar mansion will cost an estimated $22,000 per month to rent.
Built in the 1920s the Obama family will call this nine bedroom mansion their home for the next two years while their youngest daughter Sasha finishes high school. Located in one of Washington's most desired neighbourhoods the home also features two kitchens, nine bathrooms, a home office and large multimedia room. The home also features a spacious au pair suite which is said to be the perfect place for Michelle's mother (who currently lives with them at the White House).
Take the tour of this beautiful red-brick Tudor home below and check out the full listing here.
Built in the 1920s, this gorgeous Tudor-style home is located in one of Washington's most desired neighbourhoods.
It might not be the North Portico at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue but that doesn't mean this front door is lacking in character. We love the large wrought iron door, wall sconces and the beautiful patina copper awning.
We're certain this grand foyer will be filled with framed family photos and lots of fresh flowers soon enough.
Once inside you can follow the beautiful black and white marble tile floor right into a spacious living room.
With lots of natural light and a walk-out to the backyard this living room is the perfect space for entertaining and relaxing. We can already invision Bo and Sunny (the family's Portuguese Water Dogs) laying comfortably by the large fireplace.
It's no oval office but we're sure President Obama will make good use of this cozy sitting room.
What's not to love about this spacious kitchen. From the Shaker-style cabinetry to the glossy subway tile backsplash and gorgeous hardwood flooring it's a great space for the family to enjoy making meals together (which is one of Michelle's favourite things to do).
We love the look of classic subway tile and marble countertops against the contrasting black window frames in this kitchen. And let's not forget about that glorious 6-burner gas range.
With lots of storage space, a small mini fridge and dishwasher a well organized pantry is sure to help keep this home's kitchen neat and tidy.
We can't help but wonder how the Obama family might redecorate their temporary home. Another large living space means plenty of opportunity to add family photos, keepsakes and artwork.
They might not be hosting state dinners but this dynamic dining room is definitely large enough for entertaining guests.
The home's master bedroom includes a fireplace and sitting area as well as his and hers ensuite bathrooms.
As a style and fashion icon we're certain Michelle will be able to fill every nook of this dressing room.
If there's one thing President Obama and the First Lady don't have to worry about it's sharing a bathroom. The master bedroom has both his and hers bathrooms with Michelle's featuring a luxurious deep-soaker tub and vanity.
It might not be as luxurious, but this bathroom features a spacious walk-in shower.
This guestroom is just one of eight others in the home. Which means there's plenty of options for both Malia and Sasha when choosing a post-White-House bedroom.
Michelle is quite the greenthumb (she's kept a garden at the White House since 2009) which means this large greenspace is bound to be full of fresh flowers, vegetables and herbs in no time.
The home also features a two car garage and parking pad to accomodate up to six other vehicles. Making it the perfect spot the family's Secret Service agents.