ASCP Old White
House for sale, kitchens, Moving, Painting

I love how Chalk Paint transformed my kitchen!

Been a bit busy for the past few months. We have been wanting to sell our home and move west of the Mississippi for quite a number of years. FINALLY everything seemed to be coming together to allow us to take the leap and make the change.

But first, I had to sell my townhouse. Whoa. When you’ve owned a home for more than a dozen years, and that includes some years with renters living in it, sometimes you just accept things as they are. Until you put on the eyes of a new buyer. Get out the wallet! Money is going to disappear faster than you will believe.

We were fortunate to have gotten a tax refund and that was my budget. I didn’t want us to spend any additional money on sprucing things up…not only am I the Fix It Diva, I am the Frugal Diva as well. Our kitchen cabinets were the biggest concern: 1984 builder grade cabinets…blech…with the same year laminate countertops that were “supposed” to look like butcher block. Oh my!

I had a few contractors come in and not one of them gave me a quote for under $20,000…cough, choke, gag…are you kidding me? I had already upgraded my appliances to stainless steel – what in the WORLD would cost that much? Most of that cost was labor…and cost for upgrades needed to electrical panel. You see, in good ole Virginia, if a contractor touches your kitchen, then the electrical has to be upgraded…automatically. And that meant more breakers needed than what was in my panel already…and that meant heavy up and a subpanel box created. The electrical work alone was going to be $5,000.

Ok, so what if I do the work myself? I did lots of research and found some great cabinets at a great price. Check! Then I priced out countertops and new flooring (the floors were atrocious…so ugly it was sinful to look at them). Even with doing the work myself, it was way over my budget.

Grrrr. So instead of replacing the cabinets, I decided to paint them. Now let me state that I do NOT like painted cabinets. They are uber shiny and look so “fake”. Usually folks paint them white (I don’t like white cabinets – feel like I’m in a hospital). I did some pinterest searching and kept seeing people with pictures of their painted cabinets. Didn’t like most of what I found until I stumbled upon Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. The pictures of the cabinets (and other objects) painted with ASCP were amazing. Ok. This might work.

Next I went to good ole YouTube. Man I love technology. I watched dozens of videos of people painting their own items with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Could it really be that easy? I took the plunge…no not on my cabinets but on a salvaged nighstand my sister and I picked up at a local thrift store. I was able to buy locally some paint (Duck Egg blue) and within a few hours, this HIDEOUS nightstand transformed into an adorable nightstand! We picked out some white knobs and some red/white drawer liner paper (my sister has such good taste :). POP!! Wow!

I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to get started on the cabinets!

Because our kitchen was in use during the process (breakfast in the mornings and dinner in the evenings), it took me longer than expected – almost 4 weeks – to paint 22 doors and 16 cabinets. What a difference the paint made! The laminate countertop actually looked perfect for the cabinet color (Old White – which really isn’t white but more of a creamy pale manila folder color). We invested money in a new floor, new hardware, new faucet, new light fixture and our kitchen turned out adorable!

I wanted to paint more pieces of furniture but we had to pack and move quickly – our house sold within 48 hours of being on the market. I will begin painting again once we have fully settled into our new apartment…no piece of furniture is safe 🙂

If you are considering painting furniture or kitchen cabinets, please don’t hesitate to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. There’s a Facebook group you can join where folks, like me, post their work and ask questions. It’s a great worldwide community.

Happy painting!

Estate Sale
Decluttering, Moving

To Have A Yard Sale Or To Have An Estate Sale? That is the question.

The Fall is another great time to have yard sales – selling those winter clothing items, holiday decorations, back to school items, and clearing out for the winter. Or are you getting ready to downsize your home and sell it? Wondering if you should instead have an estate sale? YES! There are two factors that determine whether to have a yard sale or an estate sale: are you staying in your property and just want to eliminate some clutter? Or are you downsizing and selling your home?

Staying in the Property:

If you are just de-cluttering, I recommend working with a professional organizer (like me 🙂 to assist you in sorting and purging of items. While we sort, we will identify items for donations and if you want to have a yard sale, we can also mark those items for selling at the yard sale.

Preparing for Resale/Downsizing:

For those who are downsizing and reselling their home, again I recommend working with a professional organizer (of course me!). One of the first things I ask is, “are there family members who would like any of the items in the home?” A lot of times people haven’t considered asking this question of their children, grandchildren, siblings. Please do so. You would be surprised how each person may have a memory of an item that they would love to continue to have by taking possession of that item. It’s a great way to pass on family memories. We can work together to create boxes of items to go to family members. Plus we will identify a date for them to have picked up their items. Once family has come and taken their items, then its time to start taking pictures and advertising items for an estate sale. I recommend an estate sale for downsizing because this is appropriate when more than 50% of items in a home are being sold.

Once you have had your estate sale, you can then utilize a yard sale for the items that didn’t sell (be sure that your contract with an estate sale firm states that items that do not sell remain YOUR PROPERTY and do not become property of the estate sale company). There are also online tools for helping sell items: Craigslist and Facebook online yard sale groups. After having your yard sale, whatever items remain should be donated. Remember the goal is to downsize!

Congratulations on downsizing or de-cluttering your home! Either process can be daunting, but working with a professional organizer can help speed up the process and keep you on track.

Moving Tips

Help! I’m Moving!

Even though I am not military, I moved 6 times in a period of 17 years. These were full blown moves from single family homes, condos, and townhouses. My first move was the most challenging one – I had NO CLUE HOW TO MOVE OR PACK! Fortunately there wasn’t too much to be moved since the only person who had any furniture was my daughter! A few years later, I had acquired a condo full of furniture (and a spouse) and learned more tips and tricks for an easier move. It wasn’t until my 4th time moving that I had these tips down PAT!

Here are my tips for making a fast and efficient move. Fast means less time for the moving crew (yes, I hire out each time because I want to keep my friends and family happy and keep my back in working order), less questions needed for clarification on where items or boxes go in the new home, and best of all, less time means less cost when hiring movers.

Tip #1: Draw a layout of your new home and assign each room a color based upon the colors you can purchase of post it notes (the regular square size – not the small ones). You will keep this one in a sheet protector and put your name at the top of it – this is your master list.

Tip #2: Assign a color to each major room (example, blue for master bedroom, red for rec room, yellow for kitchen, orange for dining room, purple for living room, pink for one bedroom, etc.)

Tip #3: Using the post it notes and clear packing tape, tape a post it note of the applicable room color to THREE (3) sides of each moving box. NOT ON THE TOP of the box. Remember boxes are STACKED in a moving truck so only the sides are seen. If you tape a post it note on 3 sides, then your likelihood of having the color seen is greater than only two sides. DO NOT RELY on the post it note stickiness itself – it WILL FALL OFF. Use one long piece of packing tape and it will remain on the box forever.

Tip #4: Use the post it notes on the backs of large pieces of furniture as well.

Tip #5: Make two additional copies of the color-coded layout of your new home and put into sheet protectors. Give one copy to the moving company personnel who is in charge of your move on move day. Tape the other copy on the wall or door immediately inside your new home. That way the moving crew just looks at the color on the item or box, can glance at the layout and know which floor and which room to go to.

Tip #6: Put a colored post it note into a sheet protector and stick to the door way of each room in your new home. Again it’s a quick reminder what colored boxes and items go into which room, especially when you have multiple level home and a moving crew of at least 4 people running in and out of your new home.

Tip #7: If you have the opportunity before the actual move in, take a post it note and some scotch tape and tape a post it note onto the wall where furniture placement should be – I usually write down the name of the piece on the note as well. Again, it will make less running around for you on the move day.

Tip #8: This doesn’t involve post it notes, but it does involve furniture placement. Take extension or surge protector cords to your new home and plug into outlets where large furniture will be placed – this way the plug in the wall may be blocked by the furniture but the extension cord or protector will allow you to still have access to it after the piece is in place.

I hope these help and it really does make a difference on move day. Once I implemented these tips myself, I have received many compliments from movers on how easy it was to load and unload. It really will make your moving day flow easier with fewer questions and less time needed for the unloading part of the move. Happy moving!