November Homeowner’s Checklist

Here are this months tips for keeping your home in shape, and remember, these are just some broader, forgotten items on your list as a homeowner. For smaller and more regular items, see Keeping Up Your Home. And as always, if there’s something I’ve missed that is a November regularity at your house, I’d love to know in the comments below or on social media. Enjoy!

  • Clean and check dryer vents and hoses. This is a huge fire hazard and with static from dry winter air, this is a huge safety precaution. 34% of all house fires are caused by dryers according to the US Fire Administration.
  • Clear debris from air ducts. With your heater kicking up in the cold, debris and gunk can also be a fire hazard, and if anything it just makes your house smell musty and gross. Get out the vacuum hose and get to work on cleaning out your vents. And for goodness sake check your air filters! I check mine every month just to see how they are since we have dogs.
  • Inspect hoses on your washer, dishwasher, and ice maker. This can apply to other hoses as well such as water softener, etc. This is to double check before things start to stay cold that nothing is dry rotted or busted. The last thing you need anytime of the year is a water leak, and it’s a sure fire way to ruin the holidays.
  • Check your sink and toilet plumbing. Most people’s homes are more heavily used in the colder months and during the holidays. You don’t want visiting family members to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, so make sure you’re plumbing is running smoothly. And in case you haven’t noticed, there’s definitely a theme here for the winter with the water and fire, two of the most common causes of home destruction that increase in the winter.
  • Clean out those holiday decorations and donate what you don’t use. This doesn’t protect your home, but it may help your organization. Halloween is coming down, thanksgiving and Christmas are coming out. During this time, I like to go by the rule of thumb that if I haven’t used it in 2 years (aka this year and the year before) then it gets donated. Plus it’s fun to keep your decorations refreshed from year to year!

GO VOTE!

If I asked you if you voted in every election, would you be able to say yes? Did you also know that it’s public record, and that I can quickly look up whether or not your answer is truthful?

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” – Abraham Lincoln

Most people vote in general elections, and many even get fired up for primaries, but in non-presidential years, the numbers drop significantly. In 2014 only 44% of NC voters made it to the polls, whereas 69% of voters voted in the 2016 presidential election (stats on NSBE website).

Why is this so important? Because the president is not the only one that holds authority in our country. The individuals we vote for that hold judicial, commissioner, clerk, sheriff, education, senate, and representative positions impact our daily lives much more than that of the president. These people are responsible for our local rights, rules, holding trials and upholding laws in court, funding for education and public services, police and fire departments, local parks and recreation, public transportation, civil services like water and sewer, taking care of our roads and infrastructure, and so much more. Yes, the laws of our federal government do impact what we can do locally so that’s important too, but if you ignore one and pay attention to the other, you might as well be the person who mops the floor before you vacuum/sweep up all the grit and grime ( yes, I’m aware that many of you probably do that and it’s gross, sorry ’bout it. Makes about as much sense as putting your socks on over your shoes ).

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely.” – FDR

Now that we’ve established how big of an impact local elections actually have on your life, it’s time to register and research. It’s easy to say “I’m a democrat or republican so I’m voting all DEM or REP, or I’m a woman so I’ll vote for any woman on the ballot”…but it wasn’t easy for the founding fathers to create America, so for goodness sake if they fought the Revolutionary War so that we could be free and live a life of equality where we can exercise our fundamental rights, then you can do some research. Not to say we haven’t had some major issues along the way, but we live in a broken world with broken people, so it’s up to us to work hard, keep learning, and do good; in politics but more importantly as an individual member of society. So look up your candidates, talk to other people in your district, reach out to candidates and volunteers to find out more about their vision for our State. And among that, evaluate your beliefs, hopes, and desires for your State, and get to know the beliefs, hopes, and desires of others. In a world where polarization is becoming the popular route, take the route of integrity where you don’t devalue someone else’s belief because you feel that your own is superior. It is possible to disagree, vote differently, and still sit down for lunch together. Who knows, you might learn something that changes your life just by talking to people who are different from you.

“A vote is like a rifle, the usefulness depends on the character of it’s user.” – Theodore Roosevelt

There are a million different conversations that could be had about political ideology, controversy, and the good bad and ugly of it all. But this is not the place for that, I’m just here to remind you that to have a voice in our government as a voter is a huge gift that many people around the world have, and still would die for. People actually died so that you could vote, isn’t that wild and humbling? And you can thank their living colleagues every day; they’re called veterans and service members. So go register, do your research, talk to some people different from you, and then make your choices on November 6th and forevermore. I feel like I should say go in peace now…but in case all of this confuses you and you’re thinking “WHAT DO I EVEN DO NOW”, go to the State Board of Elections site below and you’ll find lot’s of helpful information. Check them out, and if you have any thoughts, comments, gripes, praises, facts, or wisdom to offer, please leave them below. You can even reach out personally if you want, I don’t bite. But I do hug, so if I see you in person be prepared. Now you can go in peace.

From my home to yours,

Mary Allison

 

The best source for NC elections? NORTH CAROLINA STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS WEBSITE  Here you can look up how to register, if you’re registered, your polling place, get a sample ballot for your district, and many other helpful resources.

 

Organized bedside from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/20969954501000290/

Nightstand Stand Off

So I’ve been trying to make #bedsidesunday a thing, because I absolutely love a cozy inviting corner of a space. BUT…do you ever look at a picture like that of the cleanest, loveliest, most put together bedroom and think about how your own looks like a hot mess? And no matter how often you clean, it always ends up in the same disarray? Hopefully this post busts some of your doubt of thinking you will never enjoy a clutter free and sanctuary like bedroom, because even for the messiest or busiest people out there, it is achievable. Try abiding by the following rules, not to keep your bedroom picture perfect, but to keep some sanity and peace in the place where you’re supposed to get the best rest:

1. Keep it under 3.

This is a design “rule” that I frequently apply other places (which you’ll find is true about most of these suggestions) because it keeps your spaces from becoming overloaded. Try to keep no more than 3 items on your nightstand. If you’ve got a lamp, that DOES count as 1. Minimizing the number of things in the area makes a huge difference in how put together it feels. Now if you have a super long nightstand, there’s more room for possibility, but don’t view it as having to fill up all the space. Split the length in half and do the “under 3” rule on both sides, fill with larger items, or you can just go 4 items if your really feeling crazy. Y’all may be thinking “but how the hay do I do that, I basically live from the items on my nightstand?” This next point which helps you abide by the “under 3” rule while not losing your important things.

2. Love your basket or bin.

Everything needs a place to go, and let’s be real: you’re gonna have stuff you need and use everyday on your nightstand. Go get some kind of cute container, and THAT is now your designated “stuff” spot. Doesn’t matter what the stuff is, mine contains some books, ear buds, vaseline, medicines, pens, and probably some random junk that got shuffled to the bottom. Point is, your free-for-all space is now contained. Feel better already?

3. Get a stand with some drawers and use them.

Enough said. If your night stand doesn’t have drawers, get creative. You can do another bigger basket underneath. And for all the people who value aesthetics over functionality, I hear you, I feel you, and honestly if you’re that brave you’re probably making it work already. However, the rest of us need some drawers or lower storage space to hide the rest of our junk. Even if you use the item frequently, if it’s not an every. single. night kind of item, put it in the drawers.

4. Make the darn bed.

I know, it’s the most overused statement in housekeeping history. “Didn’t your mother teach you”, “All the most successful people do it”, “That should be the first thing you do when you get up”… all of these are annoying, but all are true. It feels SO good to get into a made bed, and even when it seems like the most begrudging task, try to do it. It will make you feel more put together all day long right up until you settle in for the night. There’s no trick or key to getting this done, just a habit you have to create.

4. Option: Wall sconce over lamps

I put optional here because not everyone likes these or is able to do it. If you own your home, a wall sconce or hanging lamp is a great alternative to a bedside lamp, AND it does double duty by freeing up more space on your nightstand. I’m a huge fan of a pretty wall sconce or hanging light, it’s a fun way to add some character and beauty and still be functional. Anywhere that your objects can do double duty on aesthetic and function, take advantage of it!

 

That’s it! Are there a million other ways that you can improve your space? Yes,  but that’s not the point of this. A comfortable space is achievable for everyone, and you don’t have to be a designer to achieve it. Sometimes all we need is a little organization help and a fresh perspective. If you think this post helps you move a little closer towards having a bedroom sanctuary, let me know in the comments below or anywhere else you can find me (phone, IG, facebook, Home Goods, etc.) Thanks for reading.

From my home to yours,

Mary Allison

Mythbusters: “I can get you a great deal.”

If you’ve ever heard a realtor tell you that they can get you a deal on a good home, let me go ahead and break the news: you’ve been lied to. In the world of buying and selling real property, there are so many complicated pieces that play into what kind of “deal” you are on the end of as a buyer or a seller, that it’s nearly unethical to tell a client that you can get them the better end of the deal. Here are just a few major factors at play in how much wiggle room you have in selling or buying a home.

The Market Climate

Supply and demand is the age old driving force in pricing and negotiation. Today’s market as you may have heard is a seller’s market. Even though that won’t last forever, it’s rocky seas out there for buyers. Many people have their offers on homes get rejected even when they do put their best foot forward. We as agents are seeing many cash offers, offers that are 20% higher than what the asking price is, and the rejection of perfectly good offers because of minute differences. If you’re looking in the 300,000 range and below, chances are you may encounter this struggle to some degree. If you’re a seller, this is a good season for you because with the right tools it’s likely that you will get top dollar for your home. However, price gougers beware, because even in this market, overpriced listings still sit instead of sell. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, if your agent knows what they’re doing, they will have prepared you for whatever the ever-changing market climate may be.

The Situation

I know it stinks to hear “well it depends on the situation”, but it’s true. Every home is in a different condition, and every seller has different reasons for selling. The situation also varies depending on what price range you’re in. If the seller is extremely “motivated” to sell for whatever reason, chances are there is a little more wiggle room on both sides to get the home under contract. Every home is different, and every individual has different reasons for buying and selling, so one transaction is never the same. That’s one of the best parts of my job as your agent, that it is continually exciting and new and there’s always something to learn.

The Negotiation

Different factors give you more negotiating room, and as with any situation, negotiation requires some skill and tactfulness. You do want an agent with good negotiation skills, but you have to know your limit and your own bottom line. It is your transaction, so the decisions in the purchase belong to you. A good agent will be able to guide you in identifying your limits, and then working from there on putting in an offer or listing your house at the right price.

You’re not buying a pair of shoes here, so if a realtor comes to you like a snake oil salesman telling you how they can get you the best deal in town, beware. You want an agent who will be honest with you about the market and where your buying or selling leverage falls within it. This is one of the biggest transactions you will ever make in your lifetime: if you had to have brain surgery, would your priority be to find the discount surgeon who can do the job for the cheapest? Hopefully not! You’d want a reputable, honest, and skillful professional to do the job, and you deserve the same with making the monumental life change of buying or selling a home.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions on how you can get a fair price on a home in today’s market, and what experiences you’ve had with realtors working with you on the price of a home!

From my home to yours,

Mary Allison

Calendar Girl

New Year means a new start, and I’m determined to stay on task in 2017! I have to admit, I’m not always the most organized person, and to stay ahead of everything on my schedule I really have to spend time planning it all out. One of my favorite ways to do that is calendars! I love the feeling of having all my tasks in front of me on paper so I can figure out how best to tackle them.

Here are a few of my favorite downloadable calendars that I wanted to share with y’all!

Montgomeryfest Minimalist Calendar Free Download

Simple as That Grid Calendar Free Download

Floral Calendar Free Download

Landee’s Banner Calendar Free Download

I always keep one easily accessible for my husband and I to put down things that apply to both of us like weddings, doctors appointments, and when to give our dog his medicine. I also use one for my cleaning schedule (as mentioned in my previous post!) so that my daily planner doesn’t get overwhelmed with every single detail. However, most all my tasks are in my daily planner, which I absolutely cannot live without!

The Rifle Paper Co Planner is the planner I chose for 2017 and I love how simple and clean it is!

Staying organized is no easy task, but writing things down always helps. Doesn’t it feel good to see things checked off a list?

And for those of you who are stressed out by calendars, I completely understand where you’re coming from. If planning becomes stressful and unproductive, there are other ways to get stuff done without driving yourself crazy!

Love hearing from y’all, so if you have fun tips for using planners and calendars or resources that you love, please share! We’ll see how 2017 goes and then maybe 2018 I’ll be organized enough to make a bullet journal (:

From my house to yours,

Mary Allison