Spring Clean Your Mattress

Spring Clean Your Mattress

A home always feels cleaner after it has been aired out a bit after the long winter.

Spring cleaning mattresses is a simple process.  Start by removing all the bedding, including bed skirts and mattress covers… and putting it all into the wash.

Next lift the mattress and box springs off the bed and thoroughly vacuum and dust.  Also wipe down the wall and floorboards behind the bed.

Lay the mattress back into place and make your own special concoction.  You could just use straight baking soda, but we suggest pouring about 1 cup of baking soda into a mason jar and dropping in 4 drops of lavender essential oil.  Put on the lid and shake up the jar.

Spring Clean Your Mattress 2

Using a kitchen strainer sprinkle the baking soda mixture all over the mattress and let it sit.  Leave it for an hour or more, usually the time it takes for you to finish washing all the bedding and press the bed skirt.

Using the hose end of your vacuum and an upholstery attachment, thoroughly vacuum the mattress.  Bye, bye dust mites and other nasty things.  The baking soda helps draw up any moisture and deep dirtiness.  It deodorizes and leaves the mattress smelling fresh and clean.  You will also love the faint scent of lavender left by the essential oil.

The word lavender is derived from the Latin “lavare” meaning to wash… You are in good company with the Ancient Romans in thinking it smells nice and clean.

When you get in bed after a deep clean like this, you will wonder how you ever slept a wink in my dusty bed.  You are pretty much guaranteed to sleep like a baby tonight!

Courtesy of Spring Clean Your Mattress

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist






The level of maintenance provided to a home is a significant factor in maintaining or increasing house value. All homeowners should establish a regular preventive maintenance schedule so potential problems can be fixed in a timely manner.  Left unchecked, minor concerns can quickly grow into more significant problems.

Spring is a particular important time to perform a maintenance inspection.  This Spring Maintenance Checklist can help guide you through the process. It is also important to check any manufacturer maintenance guides for specific instructions on the particular appliances and other equipment or building products that have been installed in your home. The Office of Healthy Homes also has some Tips on Keeping a Healthy Home for you to consider as you do your spring maintenance check.



  •        Check the general condition of driveways, patios and walks.
  •        Check window wells, dry wells and storm drains for blockage.
  •        Check fencing conditions and gate operation.
  •        Check retaining walls for cracks, bulges and leaning.
  •        Check all landscaping; trim all bushes and trees away from the house.
  •        Check that all surfaces drain rainwater away from the foundation.
  •        Check for proper grading and drainage throughout the property.
  •        Check lawn sprinkler system operation.
  •        Check all equipment in preparation for pool opening.


  •        Check all surfaces for gaps, damage or deterioration.
  •        Check joints for the condition of flashings and caulking.
  •        Treat or paint worn or exposed wood components.
  •        Check the condition of masonry chimneys and metal vents.
  •        Check foundation for signs of new settlement, cracking or spalling.


  •        Check for damaged screens or broken glass.
  •        Check weatherstripping, caulking, and window putty.
  •        Check for frame decay or damage, especially at sills.
  •        Clean and install screens.
  •        Check and lubricate locks and hardware.


  •        Check for loose, damaged or missing roofing.
  •        Check fascias and soffits for signs of leaks or moisture build-up.
  •        Check all flashings for fit and seals.
  •        Check television antenna or satellite dish mounting.
  •        Check and clean all gutters (eavestroughs) and downspouts.
  •        Make sure downspouts direct water away roof juncture points and foundation.
  •        Clean fungi or algae from roof surfaces.


  •        Check all wooden components for decay or insects damage.
  •        Check that all guardrail and handrails are secure.
  •        Check flooring and treads for wear or damage.
  •        Apply preservative to wood decking and components.
  •        Seal patios at foundation juncture.


  •        Check for signs of termite, ant or other insect activity.
  •        Check for insect damage.
  •        Arrange for annual servicing, if active contract.
  •        Arrange for a wood-destroying insect inspection in high risk areas.


  •        Check attic, ceilings and walls for evidence of leaks.
  •        Check ventilation openings for nests, or other blockage.
  •        Check condition of all painted or finished walls and trim.
  •        Check carpet and flooring for wear or damage.
  •        Check condition of all stairs and railings.
  •        Check condition and operation of all windows and doors.
  •        Test smoke/fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.


  •        Check for cracks or breaks in wall.
  •        Check for evidence of water infiltration or dampness.
  •        Check for decaying sills and window frames.
  •        Check for changes in framing conditions.
  •        Check crawlspace ventilation, insulation, and vapor retarders.
  •        Clean and test sump pump.


  •        Check condition of incoming service wire and supports.
  •        Test circuit breakers and label all circuits at panel.
  •        Assess the distribution system for overload issues.
  •        Check circuits for over-fusing.
  •        Test arc-fault and ground-fault circuit-interrupters (regularly).
  •        Check all receptacles and switches.
  •        Check operation of exhaust fans vent and/or attic fans.
  •        Check for extension cord overuse / misuse.


  •        Follow manufacturer instructions for HVAC systems maintenance.
  •        Inspect and install room air conditioners, if applicable.
  •        Clean all serviceable elements of the heating system.
  •        Make sure the outdoor cooling coils are clean and unobstructed.
  •        Change or clean heating and cooling system filters (regularly).
  •        Check venting systems for corrosion and leaks.
  •        Clean and de-energize humidifier.
  •        Check attic fan operation.


  •        De-winterize lines and check exterior faucets.
  •        Check water and waste piping for corrosion or leaks.
  •        Check hot water supply temperature setting.
  •        Follow manufacturer instructions for the water heater maintenance.
  •        Check well components.
  •        Check septic tank; pump if required.


  •       Check the condition and operation of all appliances.
  •       Caulk and grout tile at tubs and showers.
  •       Clean aerators and showerheads.
  •       Check and repair all leaking faucets and valves.
  •       Check all toilet flush mechanisms.
  •       Clean or change range fan filters.
  •       Check and flush jetted baths piping.
  •       Look for any signs of excess indoor moisture.


Note: These tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue.

Courtesy of HouseMaster.


35+ DIY Garden Ideas

Spring is here! That means it’s officially gardening season.
Here are some creative DIY ideas that anyone can accomplish.
We give these ideas two green thumbs up!

35+ DIY Garden Ideas

Pallet Wood Garden Walkway

DIY wooden pallet garden walkway

Make An Outdoor Chandelier

DIY outdoor chandelier

Log Planter With Summer Annual Flowers

DIY log planter with annual flowers

Fairy Garden

DIY fairy garden

Hanging Flower Tins

diy hanging flower tins

Dress Up A Fence

diy dress up a fence

Make Attractive Brick Plant Markers

diy Make Attractive Brick Plant Markers

Make a Garden Out of a Old Dresser

diy dresser garden

Hanging Gutter Garden

diy gutter gardenVertical Pallet Garden

diy vertical pallet garden

Tiered Garden

diy tiered garden

Garden Bench Planters

diy Garden Bench Planters

Enticing Garden Path

diy enticing garden path

Living Pallet Table

diy living pallet table

Balcony Gardens

diy Balcony Gardens

Mix Plant Gardens

diy mixed plant gardens

Rooftop Gardening

diy rooftop gardeningdiy rooftop garden 1

Painted Garden Bench

diy painted garden bench

Pallet Garden Tool Organizer

DIY garden storage

Garden Markers

diy garden markers

Cinder Block Garden Bench

diy cinderblock garden bench

Glass Marbles For Your Fence

DIY Glass Marbles For Your Fence

Canning Jar Lights

DIY Canning Jar Lights

Gazing Garden Ball

gazing garden ball

A Hanging Garden

hanging garden

Colored Paint Can Garden Containers

colored paint cans garden containers

Cinder Block Garden

Cinder block garden

More Outdoor Seating

diy outdoor seating

Painted Patio Tiles

painted patio tiles

Rejuvenate Solar Garden Lights with Nail Polish

solar lights

bucket coffee table
fence table

Outdoor Tuna Can Lanterns

outdoor tuna can lanterns

Outdoor Movie Screen

outdoor movie screen

Brick Edging for Your Flower Beds

Brick edging for your flower beds 2

Some great gardening tips:

Bury milk jugs in the bottom of large planters.
Great idea to make the pots lighter to move.
This also saves potting soil.


Arrange stones around your plants to give them a proper border.

diy stone border

Check out our other blog posts at: http://traceysimms.kw.com/blog/.

Ways to Update Your Home on a Budget

Enhance the Entry

First impressions matter. Invest in a new front door or paint your old one, it can dramatically change the look of your home and enhance curb appeal. Try other easy DIY fixes like repainting the exterior trim, replacing the house numbers or installing new outdoor lighting.

Install a New Backsplash


You don’t have to go for the expensive tile backsplash, try something simple and inexpensive like tin ceiling tiles, or wooden bead board, wallpaper, stainless steel, chalkboard or magnetic paint. See more ideas here: 24 Low-Cost DIY Kitchen Backsplash Ideas and Tutorials.

Mix and Match Countertops

Not all surfaces have to be the same. Wood countertops are reasonably priced, easy to install and can add a ton of character. Replace a small standalone prep area or do the whole kitchen.

Create a Couch From Wooden Pallets


This would be a perfect addition to your sunroom, covered porch, or patio.

Add a Drink Cooler to Your Patio Table


Really, what is better than a patio table with a built in cooler! Who really wants to get up to get another drink?

Pallet Inspiration


Install a Bowl Sink


No matter the style, a vessel sink will add a touch of elegance. Vessel sinks — in stone, glass and metal — have come down in price since they first became popular. Smaller bowls are perfect for half bathrooms and powder rooms.

 Swap a Plain Ceiling Light For One That Multitasks


Instead of a traditional overhead fixture that beams straight down, try a more updated approach: an adjustable model that allows you to guide light exactly where you need it. IKEA’s Tived light features half a dozen arms, each with a bulb at the tip that you can aim toward countertops, an island, an eating area or anywhere that suits the task at hand.

 A DIY Coffee Table


You can construct your own unique coffee table and this is assured to be discussed a lot compared to the other things in the living room. The construction of this coffee table utilizes pine boards and the step by step guide is easy to follow. The table incorporates wheels and this makes it easy to manoeuvre. The table looks simple yet it adds character to your living room.

A DIY Song Lyric Wall Art


It is always desirable to have a piece of art hanging on a wall in your living room as it is a beautiful sight for sore eyes. You may make art containing the lyrics to your favorite song and display it on the living room wall. After a simple 10 step process you will have made your own art that looks classy when hanged on a wall. This is something that you can easily do on your own and afterwards it shall add to the character of your living space.

 Make a Mobile Kitchen Island



Are you looking for more storage or workspace in your kitchen but are reluctant to splurge on a custom kitchen island? Check out the link above to view 12 creative islands that sprang up from pieces that were recycled, reused, or rescued from elsewhere in the home. With a little elbow grease, paint, and imagination, you too can create your own unique kitchen island.

Make A DIY Bathroom Vanity



Refinish a flea market find, update an existing stock cabinet, or upgrade a retail table for a personalized vanity you’ll love. Let these stylish ideas for a DIY bathroom vanity be your inspiration.

Turn a Closet Into a Home Office


Unhinge the door and trade hanging rods for shelves—a deep one for the desktop and two shallow ones above for storage.

Turn Upper Cabinets to Instant Shelving


Remove the doors on a bank of upper cabinets, then paint the interiors for instant open shelving.

 Small Space Storage Solution: Look Above the Door




Add a shelf above a doorway, paint it to match the trim, then use it to display pottery, books, knickknacks, etc.

Add Floating Shelves


Add floating wall-mount shelves in place of a bookcase to free up valuable floor real estate. The shelves’ hidden hardware gives them a sleek, airy look.

Add Vintage Sparkle


Swap out a plain powder room doorknob for a vintage glass sparkler. Leave the hallway-facing knob in place for a unified look with the rest of your doors.

Paint Your Cabinets



You can remove the doors and leave your kitchen that way, or paint the doors as well and add new hardware. Voila! You have a new kitchen on a budget!

Create an Impromptu Couch


Because do you really ever have enough seating?

A DIY Fence Table


This is great for BBQs or just another surface to set drinks on.

Why Professional Listing Photos Are Important

Looking to sell your home quick? The photos you post online might
make the difference, so using a professional photographer to help you
sell your home is a must. Digital photos have become their own mode of online and mobile communication. With 92 percent of home buyers
using the Internet as part of their home search, listing photos
are a critical factor in the selling price of your home, how quickly it sells,
and whether it sells at all.

In an internal case study, IMOTO—a company creating real estate
photography for both sellers and REALTORS® – compared 350 listings
using their professional photography against 350 similar listings
in the same ZIP code. Listings using professional photography sold 50% faster and 39% closer  to the original listing price than similar homes
without  professional photos.

Sell Your Home In A Snap

Since professionally photographed homes are more likely to sell
in general, and to sell for more money, it’s not surprising that these
homes also sell faster. Because online searching and browsing is such
a critical part of the home-buying process, it follows that a
better-photographed home will sell faster because more people
are enticed to visit the home and people know what they are getting
before they even set foot in the home. Across all price ranges, homes with professional photos sold faster. In the million dollar range,
professionally photographed homes sold four days faster, and
those in the $400,000 range sold three weeks faster than their
counterparts with amateur photos.

Professional Photos(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Still not convinced? Take our listing on 3235 Cedar Church Road as a
real-life  example. It was on the market with another broker/agent from
August 21, 2013 through October 8, 2014. The home was “re-listed” in the
multiple list system on October 8, 2014. On November 8, 2014 the listing expired. During the month before it expired the photos were updated, however most of them had writing across them.

This home was on the market for 418 days!!

When the Sellers re-listed their home with our company we immediately sent out our professional photographer to take new photos. That’s right, you didn’t read that incorrectly. A professional photographer is included in each of our listing agreements.

Below you will see the difference photos can make in your real
estate listing. Fortunately we were also able to convince the Sellers
that a fresh layer of neutral paint would help sell their home and
would look much better online. Please note the home was listed
for the same amount! We listed the home on November 30, 2014,
it promptly went under contract on February 15, 2015, and
settled on April 2, 2015.

As you can see, the professional photos made all the difference in
the world! The home looks larger, brighter, and more inviting.

Compare the previous listing’s photos:



Not bad, but compare them with our professional photos:




They almost look like photos of two completely different houses!

Below you’ll find the previous listing photos vs. the professional photos we provided with our listing:

The previous master bedroom photo:


Compared to the professional master bedroom photo:


The previous photo of the master bedroom walk-in closet:


Compared to the professional photo
(which shows off the shelves):


The previous master bath photo:


Compared to the professional master bath photos:



The previous second bedroom photo:


Compared to professional second bedroom photos (and fresh paint):



The previous third bedroom photo:


Compared to the professional third bedroom photo (and fresh paint):


Compare the previous photos of the dining room
to the professional photos:





Compare the previous kitchen and family room photos
to the professional photos:







The former living room photos… oh wait,
there weren’t any photos of the living room.

The professional photos of the living room:



The previous photo of the patio:


Compared to the professional photo, which shows off
how spacious the patio really is!


The exterior rear of the home:


Compared to the professional photo:


Another previous photo:


Compared to the professional photo:


A shot of the acreage:


Compared to through the lens of a professional photographer:


Isn’t it clear how having good images can attract more potential buyers? Here at Tracey Properties we are always amazed at how most real estate agents refuse to pay for professional photos. The photos sell the home to potential buyers before they ever step foot inside!

As your professional team of REALTORS®, we know how to use your photos to effectively market your home. We know what entices buyers to look at homes in person vs. what they see online, and our goal is to put the best representation of your home on the market to conclude a prompt and successful sale and settlement.




Why You Might Need Professional Photos to Sell Your Home

Look Sharp: Professional Listing Photos Sell For More Money

My Photos Helped Sell a Home in 8 Days After It Was on the Market for 8 Months









20 Kitchen Storage Ideas Under $50 Tracey Properties Blog 1
Let’s face it, we can all appreciate items that make our lives easier on a day-to-day basis. These kitchen organizers do just that!
Bamboo Expandable Kitchen Cabinet Pull Out Shelf

1 Bamboo-Expandable-Kitchen-Cabinet-Pull-Out-Shelf-99

The perfect solution for customizing your cabinets, without the custom-expense! They can be used in bathrooms, pantries, kitchens, you name it. Make all your cabinetry look and feel custom-created for your home, and keep all your dishes, appliances and toiletries within reach. You can easily double your cabinet space!
2 Boston Warehouse Scroll Metal Accessory Organizer
This organizer doubles the functional space that it takes up, and it’s a beautiful accent to any decor. The top cylinder provides additional storage while the metal construction ensures durability.
  3 Tray Divider
A no-brainer for organizing today’s kitchens, Rev-A-Shelf tray dividers are a practical solution for storing baking sheets, serving dishes, cake pans and more. The 597 Series is available in white or chrome with 12” height options.
Store cans in an easy-to-use way with this durable and attractive organizer. Cans are easier to see and easier to access while taking up less space in your pantry.
5 Scroll Wrap Center
Scroll Wrap Center keeps your kitchen humming along with close-at-hand convenience! It has a spice rack, 2 holders with serrated cutting bars (for foil or wax paper) and a paper towel holder. Metal with painted finish. Includes wall-mount hardware.
6 Spice Rack Storage Organizer- Organizes 12 spice jars
Spice Clip set organizes up to 12 spice jars on wall or inside cabinet door. Provides quick easy-view access. Set of three holds four jars each.
8 Pots and Pans Organizer
Lids organizer holds 7 lids. Pots organizer has adjustable dividers and holds most cookware sizes and brands. Quickly mounts to cabinet floor or fixed shelf using four screws (included).
9 Wire Pantry Door Rack
The ClosetMaid® Deluxe 8-tier Storage Wall Rack is a lightweight ventilated wire rack that is great for the kitchen,  pantry,  laundry or utility room. Mount on any hard wall or door for extra storage. Installation hardware is also included with the rack.
10 Knife Inserts for Kitchen Drawers
Rev-A-Shelf 4WKB Series wood drawer inserts provide 19 slots to store knives, a separate compartment for other utensils and is trimmable for various drawer sizes. Can be trimmed to exact size with table saw.
11 Slim Can and Spice Racks
Get maximum kitchen storage in a minimum amount of space with the wooden Slim Can and Spice Rack. Nearly 3 feet tall, it’s just 3-1/2 inches wide, so it fits in between appliances, cabinets and other narrow spaces. It’s on wheels, so you can use the silver pull handle on the side to access it whenever you need it. Open shelves are made to securely hold soda cans, spice jars and other small items.
12 Rev-A-Shelf - Cut-To-Size Insert Spice Organizer
Keep spices conveniently stored in a drawer by the stove with Rev-A-Shelf’s Universal Spice Trays. With a tiered configuration for total organization and easy access, the Universal Spice Tray is available in a 50” x 20” size that can be trimmed for a perfect fit in any drawer. The ST50 Series is offered in glossy or textured finish and white or almond colors.
13 35 Capacity Coffee Pod Carousel in Black
Keep your K-Cups neatly stored and organized with this 35-Capacity Coffee Pod Carousel in Black. It features a stylish design with a powder-coated finish. This K-Cup storage carousel has a Lazy Susan base that rotates 360 degrees.
15 Focus FUR1824CHSS Stainless Wall Mounted Wall Rack with 20 hooks
Hang your utensils and measuring cups within easy reach with this wall mounted rack. With 20 hooks there is plenty of space to hang whatever you need!
16 Expandable Flatware Tray
Keep your kitchen effortlessly organized with this clever flatware caddy, featuring an expandable design.
17 Lazy Susan
Add a bit of texture and convenience to your dining room table with this bamboo turntable. It has a natural wood finish that complements the design of any type of theme in your living space.
 Metal Mesh Kitchen Cabinet Organizer
 18 Metal Mesh Kitchen Cabinet Organizer
Organize any cabinet with this convenient metal mesh kitchen cabinet organizer. Its extra large storage capacity is great for kitchen wrap and cleaning supplies.
19 Over The Sink Shelf
Save valuable space by freeing up counter space with the Home Basics Over the Sink Shelf. With a space to store your sponge, soap, and other kitchen necessities, this shelf allows you to leave your counter clear.
20 Canister Set
With stripes as bright and cheerful as a Mexican serape, this set of canisters is sure to add a little fiesta to your kitchen. Includes 30-, 40-, 52- and 64-oz. sizes and lids with sealing gaskets. Glazed white ceramic with hand-painted, multicolored horizontal bands. Dishwasher safe.
14 6-Piece Cabinet Organizer Set
Boxed 6-piece cabinet organizer set. Includes 6 of the most popular kitchen organizers: Wrap rack – perfect for boxes of wraps, books, and larger items, mounts on door or wall, 2 shelf spice rack – stores all sizes spice jars, space saver, mount on wall, cabinet helper shelf – perfect for kitchen cabinets – expands storage space, small helper shelf – perfect in kitchen cabinets – smaller size to fit every nook and cranny, medium helper shelf – adds extra space – great for kitchen, bath, or closet, lid/bakeware/plate rack – compact and many uses – perfect for lids, plates, bowls, and bakeware.

Clean the Dirtiest Places in Your Home

It’s hard to find time to clean when you have
a busy schedule. Follow these tips on how to
clean the dirtiest items in your home.

Clean the Dirtiest Places in Your Home Tracey Properties Real Estate 1

Kitchen: Sink Area

Raw meat, raw fish, what’s left of dinner — the sink has plenty of growing bacteria. Give it a scrub with baking soda, then follow up with a white vinegar soak. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar to warm water, or place vinegar-saturated paper towels in the sink for 15 minutes to completely sanitize.

Clean the Dirtiest Places in Your Home Tracey Properties Real Estate 2

Bathroom: Toothbrush

Water alone won’t sanitize months of growing bacteria. Put your toothbrush in the dishwasher, or use a UV cleaner for 10 minutes to get rid of bacteria.

Clean the Dirtiest Places in Your Home Tracey Properties Real Estate 3

Kitchen: Refrigerator Handle

Germs can live on refrigerator handles for at least two days. Apply a small amount of dishwashing soap to a damp microfiber cloth to wipe away bacteria. Avoid using bleach or other harsh cleaners to prevent chemicals from getting in your food.

Clean the Dirtiest Places in Your Home Tracey Properties Real Estate 4

Living Room: Remote Control

Everyone touches the remote, often times while snacking. Use a cotton swab dampened with rubbing alcohol to clean germs without damaging delicate buttons. Tip: Use disinfectant wipes to clean the remote in a hotel room.

Clean the Dirtiest Places in Your Home Tracey Properties Real Estate 5

Kitchen: Faucet

The aerator on your faucet, the little screen at the bottom of the spout, is a hotbed of bacteria. Remove and soak it in white vinegar every couple months to get rid of germs and lime buildup.

Clean the Dirtiest Places in Your Home Tracey Properties Real Estate 6

Every Room: Light Switches

Light switches are one of the dirtiest items in your home, which results in an abundance of germs. To clean, spray a cloth with all-purpose cleaner or a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water. Gently wipe the faceplate and switch.

Clean the Dirtiest Places in Your Home Tracey Properties Real Estate 7

Bathroom: Walls

Nobody wants to think about it, but when you flush with the toilet lid open, nearby surfaces get contaminated. Your favorite all-purpose spray or hydrogen peroxide is a simple solution to this nasty problem.

Clean the Dirtiest Places in Your Home Tracey Properties Real Estate 8

Kitchen: Cutting Boards

A clean cutting board is important since you place food directly on it. Using soap can wear down a wooden board, but vinegar will gently disinfect it. Scrub with a baking soda paste and salt for a deep clean.

Clean the Dirtiest Places in Your Home Tracey Properties Real Estate 9

Kitchen: Sponge

If the kitchen sponge smells, that’s proof that it’s harboring bacteria. Place a wet sponge into the microwave for a minute and a half to kill bugs, or run it through the dishwasher (and replace it regularly).

Clean the Dirtiest Places in Your Home Tracey Properties Real Estate 10

Kitchen: Oven Knobs

You touch oven knobs frequently while handling food, but how often do you clean them? Pull the knobs off, and give them a good cleaning with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water. For stubborn stains, let the vinegar sit for at least 10 minutes.

Clean the Dirtiest Places in Your Home Tracey Properties Real Estate 11

Dog Bowls

To clean your pets’ bowls, remove the food and water and run them through the dishwasher. Use vinegar to get rid of lime buildup, and wash with dish soap in between dishwashing cycles.

Clean the Dirtiest Places in Your Home Tracey Properties Real Estate 12

Home Office: Computer Keyboard

You touch your face. You type an email. You reach for your lunch. You type a report. You get the idea. To clean your computer’s keyboard, unplug it first. Next, gently wipe with a 1:1 mixture of rubbing alcohol and water, but make sure not to get your keyboard too wet.

Clean the Dirtiest Places in Your Home Tracey Properties Real Estate 13

Bathroom: Shower Curtain

Getting rid of mold on your shower curtains is easier than you think. Spray plastic shower curtain liners with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water, and run fabric curtains through the washing machine once a month.

Original article can be found here: Clean the Dirtiest Places in Your Home

The Best Closet Makeover Tips

One closet, two lives? It’s a challenge but no impossible feat.
No closet is exactly alike, but there are surefire strategies, tested tools, and foolproof solutions that make organizing a stylish cinch.

Closet Makeover 58 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Use Floor Space Creatively

Shoes aren’t the only things that can live on the floor. Take advantage of basement real estate with clutter-busting catchalls. Her baskets store hair accessories; his compartments keep ties and belts in easy reach.

Closet Makeover 2.0 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Divide and Conquer

Distance can be a good thing; you both need a personal area so your dry cleaning and same-hued clothes don’t merge into one unisex mess. Don’t have built-in boundaries? Create your own zones by hanging damask drapes or decorative beads.

Make Room for Yours, Mine, and Ours

Closed storage keeps the closet well-dressed. Use overhead space for off-season items. Prevent confusion by labeling boxes “his” and “hers.” The “ours” box in the middle? That’s really hers too.

Closet Makeover 32 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Obey the “Two Box” Rule

There is no room for avalanches in any closet, so stick to this trusty rule of thumb: Never stack more than two boxes high so that you are able to hold one storage container while sifting through the other.

Double Your Hanging Space

Squeeze more storage space by adding a double rod if your closet is deep enough. Measure the clothes you’ll be hanging and allow another six inches of clearance.

Closet Makeover 1.3 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Adjustable Shelves

Adjustable shelves evolve with your changing wardrobe.

Closet Makeover 1.4 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 1.6 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Measure Your Space

Only have one foot between the ceiling and shelf? These seven-inch high LINGO boxes from IKEA are the perfect fit. $6 for two, ikea.com for stores.

Closet Makeover 3 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Not Just for Socks!

This drawer organizer works just as well for ties and belts too! $17, containerstore.com.

Closet Makeover 4 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Claim an Open Area

Claim an open middle area for items that you use on a daily basis. Use a shelf for weights and have a hub for perfume and jewelry.

Huggable Hangers

Velvety pads on these super-slim Huggable Hangers keep your clothes in perfect condition and create more space. Check out your local Big Lots store, where you can purchase their brand at just $8 for 20 hangers.

Closet Makeover 64 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms


Hang as Much as You Can

Fold it: Delicate garments, especially those with beading
Fold it: Cashmere (anything)
Hang it: Dresses
Hang it: Skirts
Hang it: Blouses and dress shirts
Hang it: Pants
Jeans: Fold but be sure to align the seams to avoid that ‘80s crease down the middle switch out your winter wardrobes and get that heavy stuff out of your packed closet!

Closet Makeover 12 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 13 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Clear and Present

In over your head with a collection of heels, flats, and flip-flops galore? The answer is finally crystal clear with these see-through shoe drawers. They stack securely with a simple click, and the drawer-like design lets you swap shoes without all the fuss. Crystal Clear oversized shoe drawer, $12, organize.com.

Closet Makeover 14 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Proof is in the Pile

This tool keeps stacks perfect. Acrylic shelf divider, $15, organize.com.

Closet Makeover 6 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Heels on Wheels

A new approach to keeping about 30 pairs in order. Silver shoe wheel, $65, rakkudesigns.com

Closet Makeover 7 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Double Duty

If you need lots of organized space to store your shoes and purses,
invest in a wooden shoe rack that you can place on the floor under
your hanging clothes or stack together to make one big unit.

Closet Makeover 31 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 36Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

In the Bag

Have empty wall space? A bag rack keeps all your accessories in line. (Hang it at eye level.) Timbro expanding coat rack, $14, organize.com.

Closet Makeover 8 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

To Have and to Fold

Cheat with this FlipFOLD Laundry Folder, $20, containerstore.com.

Step 1: Open shirt facedown
Step 2: Start with right shoulder and crease half of the side of the sweater over and bend arm backward to make a V-shape.
Step 3: Repeat the process with left shoulder.
Step 4: Fold from the bottom up to the center once or twice depending on length.

Closet Makeover 9 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Double-Duty Storage

Give an old shoe bag a new purpose: Turn it into a centralized household hub for spare bulbs, batteries, flashlights, and cleaning products. Up top is for heavier necessities like extension cords.

Closet Makeover 37 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Multiple Compartments

Multiple compartments in this over-the-door holder host linen and laundry room essentials. Store stain sticks, dryer sheets, and scissors (the items you grab most often) in the middle area so they’re accessible. To find a similar style, check out stacksandstacks.com.

Closet Makeover 10 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Trend Alert

Lavender is the new cedar. Its longer-lasting aroma leaves a fresh scent while deodorizing the fabric. $8, loccitane.com.

Closet Makeover 11 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms


Storage Solutions

This vacuum-sealed storage solution will protect all your items from dirt, odor, and moisture. It also can triple your storage space. All you need is a vacuum and voilà! Space Bag vacuum-seal storage bags, $9, spacebag.com.

Closet Makeover 15 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Seasonal Swaps
Before putting anything away for the season, make sure they are cleaned and any broken zippers or holes are repaired. The last thing you need when it comes time to wear the winter gear is to pull out a coat and realize some of its buttons are missing.

Closet Cast-Aways

Apply the two-for-one rule: Buy one new blouse; toss two other pieces. Then determine what you’ll do with your unwanted clothes:

Check with local churches, hospitals, and women’s shelters in your area. Or donate to national organizations like Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Dress for Success, and The Glass Slipper project. Make sure to keep your receipts to earn a tax deduction.

Bring like-new pieces to consignment shops, sell them at online auctions like ebay.com, or go to quickdrop.com where they can sell your eBay items for you. You can also try your luck on one of the many Facebook groups in your area for buying and trading.

Before bringing any new clothing in, check out online sites like swapstyle.com and freecycle.org which let you refresh your wardrobe by exchanging your items.

Closet Makeover 16 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Style Your Space

There are no rules against applying your sense of decorating to the smallest area of the house. It might not end up looking like this one, but that’s all the more reason to spruce it up.

Closet Makeover 17 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

A Coat of Color

Paint one wall, all of them, or just add some stripes. The closet really deserves a pretty pick-me-up.

Closet Makeover 18 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 23 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Get Hooked

Little touches can make a big impact. Decorative knobs or antique coatracks can add some stylish and chic sensibility.

Closet Makeover 21 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Soften Up

Add a rug for a comfy and fluffy foundation for your feet. Remember to measure the space before you buy to figure out what would be the ideal size for your closet.

Closet Makeover 22 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Let There Be Light

For major wow factor, hang a pendant or chandelier. If you want to keep the elaborate stuff for the dining area, you’ll still need an adequate light source. Consider using low-voltage lighting, which is the most energy efficient option.

Closet Makeover 24 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 27 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 43 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Seeing is Believing

A mirror keeps you from leaving the house looking like fashion roadkill and expands your space. The ideal size is a full-length one, and the optimum place to hang it is on a door or bare wall.

Closet Makeover 29 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 28 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Eco-Friendly Closet

You can go green in the closet too. Seriously. Just put a little more effort and energy into organizing. Here are two ideas to get an organic head start:

Prevent mildew, moisture, and nasty smells with all-natural cedar aroma balls. $7 for set of 40, stacksandstacks.com.

Closet Makeover 30 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms


This colorful hamper controls clothes, chaos, and is totally recyclable. Flip-Flop bins, $135 for set of two, vivaterra.com.

Closet Makeover 40 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 41 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Think Outside the Box

Use an umbrella stand to hold odd items like a yoga mats.

Closet Makeover 39 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Keep folded clothes or accessories neat with shelf dividers, like these from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

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Go Vertical

Use vertical space (both above and below the closet rod) to store more.

Closet Makeover 42 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Who Needs Doors?

If you live in a small space, replace traditional closet doors that swing out with curtains or hanging screens.

Closet Makeover 47 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 46 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

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Closet Makeover 66 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Stackable Baskets

Use stackable laundry baskets for easy sorting, that you can also carry or wheel to the washing machine.

Closet Makeover 48 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 49 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 50 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Down Under

Make more room in your closet by storing out-of-season clothes in boxes up high or under the bed.

Closet Makeover 51 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 52Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 53 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 54 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Roll It Away

A rolling cart with coordinated boxes can be pulled in or out of the closet and used for clothing or office supply storage.

Closet Makeover 55 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 57 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Multi-Purpose Solutions

Use suitcases elsewhere in the house to store out-of-season linens, blankets, or sweaters.

Closet Makeover 60 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 61 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Use Your Door

The inside of your door is a great way to utilize more space for organizing. A multipurpose over the door organizer can be used to make the most of the space, however you see fit. This one is from from West Elm, $79.

Closet Makeover 62 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 56 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms

Closet Makeover 63 Tracey Properties Real Estate Tracey Simms







Here are some great closet organizing resources:

Comfy Closet Organizers – IKEA Wardrobe Ideas

35 Closet Makeover Tricks

20 Ways to Organize Your Bedroom Closet

Keep Your Closet Uncluttered All Year Long

Space-Savers for Small Closets

Creative Under Bed Storage Ideas


Christmas Brunch Casserole

The title says it all — prepare on Christmas Eve and bake on Christmas morning. It might just be the best present under the tree, at least to your tastebuds.

Christmas Brunch Casserole Tracey Properties Tracey Simms Real Estate

Cook time: 45-60 minutes
Serves: 6


1 lb. bacon
1 tbsp. butter
2 onions, chopped
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
4 cups frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 pinch dried parsley
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9×13 in. casserole dish.
  2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain and set aside. In a separate skillet, melt the butter and fry onions and mushrooms until tender.
  3. Place potatoes in bottom of prepared dish. Sprinkle with salt, garlic salt, and pepper. Top with bacon, then onions and mushrooms.
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs with milk and parsley. Pour over casserole. Top with grated cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until set. If preparing and baking the same day, cook for 45 minutes.