More Than Just a Laundry Room: Upgrades to Maximize Your Space

Most people find doing laundry a drag and they don’t pay any attention to their laundry room. They see it as an extra space that is a necessity for the household, but unimportant as far as rooms go in your humble abode. However, you’re missing out on utilizing your laundry room and maximizing the space for best practice. Here are seven tips to upgrade your laundry room and maximize your space to make doing the laundry more enjoyable.

1. Add a Folding Station
Take a step out of your laundry routine and add a folding station to your laundry room. This will save you time while doing laundry and help minimize wrinkles. Depending on the size of your space, you can get really creative with your folding station. If you’re tight on space create a station that folds into the wall so you save space. Or if you have a front-loading washer and dryer, add a folding station above the machines and hang a fabric skirt to hide the machines for a classic look.

2. Pick the Perfect Paint Color
Treat your laundry room like any other room in your house and decorate it to your personal style. Pick the perfect paint color that will brighten the space to make the task less dreary and more pleasant.

3. Use Hooks for Hanging
Hanging clothes as you take them out of the dryer reduces wrinkles in your clothing. To maximize your space in your laundry room, use hooks to hang your newly dried clothes. Mount hooks to a wall or get creative with this tip and try a cute DIY project where you can hang clothes from!

4. Get Creative with Shelving
Shelving to keep your room organized and maximize your space is absolutely essential for any laundry room. Depending on the size of your laundry room, you’ll have to get creative with shelving and find a way to incorporate it into the space. From wall shelving to movable freestanding shelves, there are plenty of options to choose from when adding storage space to your laundry room.

5. Keep the Design Simple
Don’t go overboard designing your laundry room. Keep the design simple, clean, and most importantly, efficient. You might not spend a lot of time in this room, but you’ll want to make sure the design you choose makes the laundry process easier on you while also being pleasing to the eye.

6. Install Curtains
Bring a sense of order and elegance to your laundry room by installing curtains. Whether it’s a vibrant pop of color or bold pattern, curtains can pull the space together and make your laundry room feel grand. Check out some of these laundry room curtain installations!

7. Add Artwork
Adding artwork to your laundry room will immediately elevate the space making it feel like a living space rather than a utility room. Make sure to decorate to your personal style so that you enjoy walking into your laundry room!

8. Add a Laundry Tub
Having a laundry tub in your laundry room is definitely beneficial and totally maximizes your space and efficiency! Having a laundry tub available is not only convenient, but has plenty of other uses as well and when you move into a Judd Builders home you won’t have to worry about if your able to have a laundry tub! Many Judd homes have the option to add a laundry tub, taking your laundry room to the next level and increasing efficiency.

Kitchen Organizing Tips

Kitchens are one of the busiest places in a house. No matter how hard you try to keep it organized, it somehow still gets messy. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to keep your kitchen organized. Try out these quick tips to help you organize your kitchen and maximize your space.

Use Risers in Every Cabinet
Using risers in every cabinet will give you more surface space to stack and organize your dishes. This is a savvy way to maximize your space and keep you kitchen organized. By optimizing your space, you’ll be able to store more containers and keep track of where everything is located.

Use a Shower Caddy
Shower caddies can have multiple purposes other than storing shower supplies. Instead, use the shower caddy in your kitchen to store an array of items. Find a great place to hang your caddy and get creative about what your caddy will carry. Will you use it to store fresh produce or will you store recipe cards in it? You can choose whatever you want to store in it to help you stay organized!

Use Mason Jars as Storage
This idea is great for everyone who loves fun DIY projects. This craft is fairly easy to make and is quite charming. Once the project is complete, you can store all of your utensils inside. Or you could place flowers in the jars to brighten up the kitchen instead. If you’re interested in this DIY project, click here.

Use a Tension Rod Under the Sink
Many individuals store cleaning supplies and spray bottles in the cabinet under the sink. However, there is a way to maximize the space under the sink and keep it organized. Take a tension rod or shower rod and hang it in the cabinet under the sink. Then hang all of the spray bottles on it. By doing this you’ll create additional space to store other cleaning supplies that can’t hang from the kitchen rod.

Use Drawer Inserts
Drawer inserts are one of the best organizing tools to use to keep your kitchen clean. You can find drawer inserts at Bed Bath and Beyond or The Container Store. Organize your drawers accordingly and never question where anything is ever again!

Use Over the Sink Cutting Board
Although every Judd Builders home has ample amount of counter space, you can add more by using a sink cutting board, which is not only convenient when cutting up food, but it’s stylish as well! Not only do you get extra counter space by doing this, but any juices from cutting fruit or vegetables will drain straight to the sink, saving you from having to clean your counters. The best part about this organizing tip is that you can make it a fun DIY project if you’re interested! But if you aren’t a DIY type you can easily buy them here.

10 Ways to Declutter Your House

1. Make a Date With Your Space
Decluttering any space, let alone your house, takes a good amount time. So, block off a morning or afternoon and begin organizing. However, don’t expect to get the whole house done in a day. It’ll take time to clean and organize every room!

2. Make a Plan of Attack
Before you start organizing make a plan of attack. What room are you going to start with? How much do you want to achieve in the time you set aside? It’s usually a good idea to start with the area in your house that is the most frustrating. Get this space out of the way and you’ll feel unstoppable.

3. Arm Yourself
It’s smart to get your supplies ready before you start organizing. You’ll need trash bags, for trash and for recyclables, a box for charitable items, and a box for items that don’t belong in that space. Also, it’s a good idea to clean the space while your organizing it. Have cleaning supplies around to wipe down the area once everything is cleared out of the space. Not only will the space be organized, but it will also be clean as well.

4. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
The best way to declutter your house is to focus on one space at a time. It’s nearly impossible to clean the whole house in an entire day. Go room by room and don’t start another room if you’re feeling unfocused. You’ll most likely organize less because you’ll be frustrated and less efficient.

5. Organize First; Buy Second
It’s tempting to buy a bunch of containers to help you organize, but you should always organize before you buy any containers. You never know what containers will function best in your space. So organize first and then assess what you need container-wise.

6. Group Like Items Together
When organizing, a good way to get through a bunch of clutter is to group like items together. Do you have a bunch of black pants that you hardly wear? Keep two or three pairs and donate the rest. The same goes for any other like items as well!

7. Be Honest With Yourself
The hardest part of organizing is being honest with yourself. It’s always hard to let things go, but if you haven’t worn or used an item in a year its best to get rid of it. Don’t try to convince yourself that you’ll use it later down the road. If you haven’t used it already, you won’t use it later.

8. Elevate Items Off The Floor
The easiest and quickest way to make any room look more organized is to elevate items off the floor. Don’t let toys, tools, or clothes sit around on the floor, use shelving to your advantage and get those items off the floor.

9. Complete Each Task Completely
Your house will never be decluttered if you don’t follow through with each task. Never stop in the middle of organizing and leave a room unfinished. You’re more likely to never go back to finish decluttering the room. Instead, go room by room and make sure to complete each task completely before moving on!

10. Your Space Will Get Messy Again — Don’t Worry
Just because you’ve decluttered your house doesn’t mean that it will stay that way. Expect regular upkeep. There are always ingoing and outgoing items that will eventually clutter your home. However, because you’ve organized the house before, it will be easier tidying up when things get a little messy.

Bonus: Get Through Organizing By Having Fun!
How can organizing be fun you ask? Well, there plenty of ways! Make organizing a design challenge. Integrate your personal style into the storage bins you choose and make it a part of the overall room design. Or make it a game! Make a set of rules and goals for yourself and you’ll find that your organize a room quicker!

Tips to Make Spring Cleaning Easier this Year

Example of desk clutter with haphazardly arranged, overstuffed file folders in a rack on a messy desk in a cluttered room. Canon EOS 5DIII, 35mm

Keep only the Essentials

During spring cleaning you’ll likely be throwing out a LOT of useless stuff you never knew you had in your home. For some it’s easy to get rid of clutter, for others, it’s more difficult because “But what if I need this later?” We all understand the hesitation, but still urge you to try to throw away anything that isn’t absolutely essential.

Vacuum Job

Don’t Forget About the Small Stuff

While we love to focus on rooms and parts of the house as a whole, we often forget about small important places to clean. When you’re in the kitchen cleaning, don’t forget about the fridge. Of course the inside, but also the top of the fridge, along with the crevices behind and to the sides of it. Remember to dust the blades of ceiling fans, along with the inside and outside of lampshades.

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Clean Your Cleaners

Before you start in on the dirt clutter and grime we all have in our houses, it’s important to check that your cleaners are clean! Go through your brooms and make sure their bristles aren’t too dirty or bundled up. Take a look at your vacuum cleaner and ask yourself, “when was the last time that thing was cleaned?” If, like most of us, you can’t think of a time, then now is the time. Empty out that bag, replace it with a new one, clean the filters, even replace if need be. Trim those bristles that have clumped together, or if it’s too far gone, purchase a new one.

Young woman reaching under a sofa to get at some dust

Clean the WHOLE Bed

It may seem daunting but cleaning your whole bed (yes that includes pillows and comforter) but it’s something that usually only needs to be done a few times a year, so why not kick off Spring cleaning with it.

A family's mudroom in winter filled with warm clothing, ice skates, and snow shovel.

Stop Clutter at the Front Door

Putting a shoe rack and hanging rack for shoes and jackets can prevent a lot of clutter from building up in your home. Stopping clutter at the door indirectly cleans the rest of the house for you, and keeps everything you might need in one place.

Easy Kitchen Storage Ideas

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Kitchens are a busy area in the house and can be hard to keep organized with all the food and supplies you store there! Here are some easy kitchen storage ideas to get the best use out of your space:

  1. Use magazine files to keep water bottles in a reachable place without them getting caught up in other kitchen supplies in a drawer or cabinet. Stack one on top of the other in the hard cover files for grab and go accessibility.
  2. Baskets can help organize anything from fruit to utensils to cleaning supplies. Hang  baskets above a sink using a metal rod or adhesive hooks for easy access. Wired baskets allow you to see what your grabbing so you don’t have to dig through everything to get what you need, or remember which items are in which basket.
  3. Store lose Tupperware lids in a wall file to avoid a mess of plastic containers. Hang the wall file on the inside of a cabinet wall, or wherever you feel it can be reached easily, with hooks to separate the lids from the bases and have less trouble finding it all in the future.
  4. Create a pot rack with S hooks. They can be hung from the wall, a ventilation hood above the stove, if you have one, or there are racks you can buy. With this, you can display your cooking pieces in style and they are much easier to find and grab then if they were all in a drawer together.
  5. Organize your cleaning supplies with an over the door metal caddy. A good place for this is the cabinet door below your sink, where they will be ready to use and very easy to access. You can use it to hold bottles of suppers, sponges, gloves, scrubbers, etc.

There are tons of innovative and easy ways to make your kitchen run smoothly. Don’t ever be unorganized again and use this simple tips for all of your kitchen storage!

10 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home

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The idea of living a simplified, uncluttered life with less stuff sounds attractive to many. They have considered the benefits of owning fewer possessions: less to clean, less debt, less to organize, less stress, more money and energy for their greatest passions. They are ready to declutter but some get quickly tripped up by the very next question… where in the world do I begin?

Consider this list of 10 creative ways to declutter your home:

1. Give yourself 5 solid minutes. Leo Babauta at Zen Habits recommends 18 different 5-minute decluttering tips. Pick one today that sounds appealing. Or better yet, pick a random number 1-18, read the specific tip, and commit 5 minutes to completing it.

2. Give away one item each day. Colleen Madsen at 365 Less Things gives away one item each day. Over the past several years, she has experienced quite a transformation simply reducing her stuff one day at a time.

3. Fill one trash bag. Early in our journey towards simplicity, one of my favorite decluttering techniques was to grab a simple large trash bag and see how quickly I could fill it. While much of what I collected was trash, this could also be used to fill a bag for Goodwill.

4. Try the Oprah Winfrey Closet Hanger Experiment. While this idea didn’t originate with Oprah, she was the one to help give it notoriety. To identify wardrobe pieces to clear out, hang all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction. After you wear an item, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct direction. After six months, you’ll have a clear picture of which clothes you can easily discard. This experiment could also be applied to a number of clutter areas in your home (cleaners, toys, linens, tools, hobbies and craft items).

5. Make a list. Dana Byers recommends creating a list of places/areas in your home to declutter beginning with the easiest… which doesn’t sound all that creative until she adds this note, “When you’re done with one area, STOP.” This list could be made as easy or difficult as you desire based upon what areas of your home make up the list (drawers/closets/rooms). And could easily fit into any schedule.

6. Take the 12-12-12 Challenge. A simple task of locating 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper home can be a really fun and exciting way to quickly organize 36 things in your house. On more than one occasion, this challenge actually became a quick competition between my wife and me… and your kids don’t have to be too old to participate as well.

7. Change your perspective. Unclutterer offers a powerful approach to decluttering when they offer a number of strategies to help you change your perspective and begin to notice some clutter you may have missed. Among their ideas: take photos of your house, invite over a toddler, or ask the boss to meet in your office. With all of the examples, the hope is to cause you to see your home in a new light.

8. Experiment with numbers. For example, Courtney Carver invented Project 333 to challenge people to wear only 33 articles of clothing for 3 months. If 33 articles of clothing seems too little, adjust the rules as you need by picking a new number. The important thing is to challenge yourself to live with less and see what you learn from the experiment.

9. Use your imagination. Psychology Today recommends using your imagination to help declutter objects that may seem difficult to remove. Try asking yourself unique questions like, “If I was just buying this now, how much would I pay?” These creative techniques may prove to be very helpful for some with difficulties removing unneeded clutter.

10. The Four-Box Method. As we first set out on our journey to minimalism, this was the technique most often used in our home. As I set out to declutter an area, I brought four boxes: trash, give away, keep, or relocate. Each item in every room was placed into one of the four categories. No item was passed over. Each was considered individually. Some projects took an hour… others took days or weeks. But the technique and principles remained the same.

No matter what you choose to help you get started – whether it be one of these ten or one of countless others – the goal is to take your first step with excitement behind it. There is a beautiful world of freedom and fresh breath hiding behind that clutter. How you remove it is up to you.

3 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

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Every year when January rolls around you vow to get in shape, save money or spend more time with family and friends. But what goals do you set for your home?

Here are our three picks for the best home improvement resolutions for the new year and how to achieve them:
1. Work out a weekly system for keeping your house clean

  • Keep all of your cleaners, as well as rubber gloves and spare cleaning cloths – in a portable carryall that moves with you from room to room.
  • Stash cleaning implements such as a toothbrush, scraper, sponge, a few cleaning cloths and plastic bags in a builder’s apron that you wear when you clean. Hook your glass cleaner and all-purpose cleaning spray on the loops to keep your hands free as you work around the room clockwise, cleaning from high (cabinets) to low (floors.)
  • Focus on one type of cleaning at a time. It’s faster, Campbell says. Wipe down fingerprints on all of the cabinets, for instance, before moving on to spraying and wiping counters. Then move on to windows and mirrors and appliances. Once that’s done move on to sweeping and then mopping floors.
  • For optimum efficiency, enlist the help of your family. If you can, divide the jobs among at least three parties: One of you can do the dusting/vacuuming and changing beds, the other can do the bathroom cleanup, leaving only the kitchen and trash emptying for you to handle. The upside? You can get the whole house done in 45 minutes, Campbell says, leaving more time on the weekends for the park or the movies.

2. Streamline the stuff
One of the best and least expensive ways to feel better about your home is to clear it of clutter. Each year most of us acquire a mountain of stuff. Without some regular purging, cabinets and drawers get jam-packed and it becomes hard to find the things you use and enjoy the most.

This year resolve to go room-by-room periodically clearing anything that you don’t use, wear or love and donate it to charity. After that, think twice about what you bring in, says Antoinette Nue, an Atlanta consultant who specializes in helping people simplify and go green.
“Fill your home with the things that raise your energy level and make you feel good, and get rid of the things that drain your energy or are broken,” she says.Stash useful (but not beautiful) items such as DVDs, remotes and those kicked-off shoes in simple woven baskets. Group similar items together on sleek trays, says Stuart McCormick, a designer with Liz Levin Interiors in Washington D.C.

Clear your counters of everything you don’t use on a daily basis. And get ready to breathe a little easier in your own home.
3. Get your place ready for entertaining
Each year most of us vow to spend more time with family and friends. To make you feel like inviting people in, why not give the areas you entertain in a little update?

You don’t have go for broke here and invest in a new kitchen remodel. All it takes to get a fresh new look is a little bit of rearranging and a few updates says designer McCormick.

One easy update that makes your home seem more “finished” is the addition of plants, she says.

“They bring in new energy and help clean the air,” she says. “And it’s a great way to decorate if you’re on a budget.”

A couple of dramatic presentations like a large flowering agapanthus or potted palm in a bright ceramic planter that complements your existing color scheme will do the trick.

Pulling out a new accent color from your existing decor can make the whole room seem fresh. Pick an underused color in the room and add more of it in the form of a new pillow or throw to update your look, McCormick advises. A colorful rug or runner can also help anchor your space.

Lastly, take some time to rearrange your furniture so it is oriented in conversation groups and not just facing the television. That just might up for chances for real conversation and connection in the New Year.

Organizing Tips You Haven’t Tried

WardrobeYou may be bored of the same-old, same-old ideas for organizing your home. Some you may have already tried, while others just don’t seem to be a good fit. Check out these fresh, creative tips to organize your home that are new and different. Don’t let clutter stress you out or drain your energy!

Bare it All

When organizing your clothing drawers, you probably stack items one on top of the other. What good is that? This only forces you to rifle through the stack when you’re looking for something, causing mess and hassle. Try folding your clothes small and tight, storing them in your drawer standing up instead of flat, suggests Real Simple. This way, you can take in everything with one glance, choose what you need, and move on – leaving everything else intact. Bonus: you’ll end up wearing clothing you don’t usually wear because of the extra exposure. When stacking shirts, you may only wear what’s at the top.

Store Like Items Together

By spreading items out over several bins, drawers and baskets, it’s too easy to forget what you own and mistakenly buy more. If you keep all your stationery, pens, stamps and other office supplies in one desk drawer, for instance, you always have a running inventory of what you have and what you need. Plus, it’s easy to find what you need fast.

De-Clutter Your Work Space

Whether you work from home or in an office, you likely have pictures of your dog or your kids on your desk, drawings from your five year old, and other mementos of things your loved ones have given you. Experts say these only serve as distractions, sapping you of your focus and concentration every time you look at them. Hotel rooms have it right: clean, no-fuss work desks with no creativity-draining distractions. So, while the rest of your home may be riddled with family photos (which is great!), your immediate work area should be clutter free.

Write Effective, Concise To-Do Lists

Many people scribble to-do lists and get much satisfaction from crossing off each item as they are done. However, you may feel as though the list is never completely done. The way you’re writing your list may be all wrong. You’re probably being too general. Instead of writing vague, mixed instructions, such as grocery shopping, laundry, gym, get specific so you’re sufficiently motivated.

Write down your short- and long-term goals, then come up with additional to-do lists, separated out by task. For a results-oriented list, go with terms like “work out for 30 minutes,” “resolve fee dispute at bank,” “drink more water today,” and “buy brownie mix for Tommy’s school party.”

Once you feel more organized, you will feel more calm and at ease. Judd Builders has lots of organization tips when it comes to every room of your home. Call us to tap into some creative ideas!

Organize Your Kitchen

Clutter in the kitchen is no fun. We use our kitchens daily, so keeping them tidy is a constant battle, and it’s so easy to accumulate things you don’t need. Sometimes you just have to get rid of some things to make your kitchen appear cleaner, and make it more efficient for you when prepping meals, serving them, and cleaning up afterwards. Have no fear, we’re here to help! Here are some tips for de-cluttering and organzing your kitchen:

First you have to decide what to keep, sell or donate, store, or toss? You’ll have to ask yourself – “When have I last used it?”

NEVER:  Toss it in the trash, or pile it in the donation pile.

WITHIN THE LAST YEAR: Toss or store it, depending on what it is. If it’s something you only use seasonally, then store it in a separate container and mark it (e.g. “Holiday Cooking Tools.”)

WITHIN THE LAST MONTH: Keep it, but find a place for it.

YESTERDAY: If you use these everyday, you’ll need to put these clean and within reach so there always ready when you need them

Next step, is to end the clutter…

SORT: Decide where the item goes – trash, donate pile, storage, or right back in the drawer or kitchen cabinet.

TOSS: Everything that’s in the trash pile goes bye-bye! If it has no use, then you need to get rid of it

ORGANIZE: Clean the spaces in your shelves, and fridge. Clear away dirt and crumbs. If items are dirty or dusty toss them in the dishwasher or hand clean so they can be returned to their proper place.

PUT AWAY: Put storage items away, donations go in donate pile, and everything else that’s left should be organized so that it can be easily accessible. This might include reorganizing the dishes a little or your silverware so that the items you need most are in front or are at eye-level.

5 Best Places to Donate Your Stuff

Clothes for DonationSummer is the perfect time to declutter your home, getting rid of everything that’s been in your way for years. You could go the yard sale route but who has the time to display, price and sell all that stuff? Not you. Why not just donate those unwanted items to a charity? You can still get a tax write-off and feel good about helping others at the same time.

Here are five places where you can donate your stuff.

1. Goodwill (goodwill.org): If you have large or multiple items that you just can’t transport to a center yourself, Goodwill is a great place to try. If you make an appointment with them, they will stop by your home and pick up your stuff. Alternatively, there are many Goodwill drop-off centers across the country. Check the website for locations. When you gather stuff for Goodwill, make sure the items are in fair condition, with working parts, no recalls, and no stains or rips.

2. The Salvation Army (https://satruck.org/Donate/choose): Got clothing, electronics, or furniture you need to haul away? You can schedule a pickup with the Salvation Army near you just by inputting your zip code. If you have a local surplus store, you can bring your items there directly and receive an itemized receipt for tax purposes. When you donate to the Salvation Army, you’re helping this organization provide disaster relief for those in emergency situations.

3. Computers 4 Kids (c4k.org): This organization will take your old computer and associated hardware, refurbish it, and give it to economically disadvantaged youths nationally and globally. Computers 4 Kids has helped more than 50,000 minority children with a socio-economic status below the poverty line. The goal is to empower children with the knowledge necessary for a successful introduction into the work force.

4. The International Book Project (http://www.intlbookproject.org/): We all have books piled up in our bookcases – far more than we could ever read. If your books are taking over your life, consider donating some of them. This non-profit organization promotes literacy in under-served areas of the world by collecting, sorting and shipping donated books to children and adults who can’t afford them.

5. Donate Stuff (https://donatestuff.com/): This is a nationwide organization dedicated to making a connection between people with good-quality items they don’t use anymore with charities that can benefit from such items. Not only are you making a tax deductible donation, you’re also reducing junk in the landfills. Did you know that Americans throw away about 68 pounds of clothing per year?

There are many other ways to donate, of course. Just look for donation bins around your town. Be careful, though, to read the fine print. Not all of what you throw in there goes to non-profit organizations; some go to for-profits. You can also donate items to your local schools, libraries, fire departments, and even theater groups.

Once you’ve de-cluttered your home, call Judd Builders to start a new phase of your home improvement journey!