For almost 5 years I was a participant in a longitudinal study of a medication to reduce the incident of cancer. Before participating, I asked the study nurse what would be the possible side effects of taking the medication. There was a list but no side effect was a threat to life. So, I agreed. During the study, I could have sworn I had those effects. I would report in annually and list off the things I attributed to the medicine. At the same time, I was pretty sure that I would be cancer free during the period because I was taking this new and innovative medicine – and that was the placebo effect. I felt like my condition had improved because of the medicine. In fact, after 4 years of very positive results from this study, the medicine was approved for public distribution and I had my final medical review, only to find out that I had been religiously taking the placebo. The control pill with nothing in it but a bit of sugar. Still, a placebo had made me think positive thoughts.
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000,
Good home staging can be a placebo for buyers. They come into a home. It is clean and fresh. Things are nicely arranged. There are eye catching touches in every room. The overall effect is to please the buyer, hopefully, to the degree of writing an offer. There is a psychological benefit from the home being in ‘show off’ condition. Buyers like the home and Sellers like the sale. If all other homes on the market are the control group on pricing then the Seller wants to find a way to distinguish his or her home. Staging will make that difference. It isn’t about smoke and mirrors. It isn’t about hiding faults. It is about getting a home ready for a sale. It can be about getting the home in a state for a thorough home inspection. Without owning it, the buyer feels like it is their home.
Photo credit: Pills 3
If life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.
This house is a real lemon (meaning defective in someway).
- Drop some lemons into the food garburator to clean it and improve the smell.
- Diluted lemon will help fade stains
- We all know to add lemon to honey when we have a sore throat.
- According to Real Simple, you can shine the interior of a copper cookware by sprinkling a lemon wedge with salt and then scrubbing the interior.
- Every stager knows to include a bowl of lemons in the kitchen, they are real and they last a long time.
- If you cut a lemon in half and then put them in a dish cut side up, the room will smell fresher.
- I always squeeze a lemon over cut fruit so it will not brown. The same is true for potatoes and cauliflower you have prepared and that are sitting in a pot of water, waiting for cooking.
- Don’t forget to use lemons when you make guac – it will stay green longer.
There are a few cats in my neighbourhood who are allowed to roam freely. One of the by-products of these free range cats it that they like to mark or spray ‘their’ territory and that includes my backyard. When the sun heats up the sprayed area, the smell is way beyond pleasant. I like to sit outside and enjoy the summer and there are days when this is not possible because of the cat smell.
I have been doing a search on what can be done to first get rid of the smell and, second, get rid of the cats.
- This week we started to dump the morning coffee grounds in the smelly area. That will, I hope reduce the smell. Perfume sellers often have a jar of coffee beans for customers to inhale between smelling different perfumes. Who knows, this may work and costs nothing.
- We bought something called a CatScat mat (don’t you just love it) from Lee Valley and will be putting it along the top of the fence.
- I discovered that cats are not that fond of citrus. Many people have recommended putting orange peel in the flower beds are around the doors and area that the cats seem to scent. I found a citrus spray called Nature’s Miracle Orange-Oxy Power Just for Cats Stain & Odor Remover that is available at pet stores and on Amazon.ca amazon.com
- On another note and this one more potent smelling, I have mixed white vinegar with water in a spray (LOL) bottle. Some goes on the cat sprayed area and the bottle sits on the patio table waiting for me to use to shoot the cat should it dare enter my area while I am outside.
- Finally, and we are not up to doing this, there are humane traps that we could buy and trap the cats to take to the pound.
It seems I am not suffering alone. My favourite veterinarian columnist, Dr. Bernhard Pukay, wrote an article in the July 3, 2012 Ottawa Citizen about keeping cats out of flowerbeds. According to the article, I am on the right track with all of these efforts.
If you are selling your home, make sure that you do everything possible to eliminate offensive odours – both inside and outside the home.
I hope that: I don’t get any catcalls for writing this post; my curiosity will kill the cat (smell;) and, this post will not rub you the wrong way.
Even the smallest things in our lives can occupy considerable time and effort. Have you ever lost your keys? Have you ever found a key in the house and have no idea what it is for? As you get ready to move, you may come across keys in every room. Here are some ideas on what to do with keys.
Always put your keys in the same spot in your purse or briefcase and, when you get home, in the same spot in the house. This will save you months of time over the years that you would normally spend searching for keys.
Tag all the keys in your house. Sometimes we don’t use a key for a couple of years and then are left wondering what the key opens. Especially tag the neighbour’s key and the key to your relatives’ homes so that you can find them in a hurry – should you get the emergency calls.
Many key shops sell fancy metals for their keys. If you have trouble distinguishing keys on your chain, try having them made in leopard print, one in blue and the third one in flowers. Have some fun. My dad used to paint the keys with different nail polish from my mom’s collection. Try anything that helps distinguish one key from another.
Find a small tin can (from biscuits or candy). Label the outside of the tin “Keys”. Here is where you will put all of the keys that you find or own but do not use on a regular basis. Label every key ring with what the keys do. If you don’t know, open a small Ziploc bag and toss in the keys with no home. If, in two years, you have never opened that bag, throw it away. Those are keys from college, from your third last home and from neighbours that have moved. You don’t need them!!!!!
Finally, never leave your whole key ring at the auto repair shop or with a parking valet. Find a key ring where you can remove your car key – or better yet – give them your spare key so that you will be able to keep a car key yourself. You can trust your mechanic but maybe not the security of company keyboard.
Photo credit: Lockless Keys http://www.flickr.com/photos/plenty/5593143750/
There are a myriad of home improvement shows on television. Homes are improved, updated, changed and sold and it all looks so terrific. I recently saw one of these shows and the “paint expert” recommended a Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter HC-172 colour for walls. He said it had a hint of green. I have a lot of green in my home and thought – wow, I could do grey walls that would update my home and still be okay with the furniture and furnishings that I own. Off we went to the paint store and got a small paint chip to take home, reconsidered that this would not be big enough to test and bought that little can of paint and a piece of test board to place around the home depending upon the time of day and the light. Well, it might have been the best bit of money spent in the month of March.
We did a paint sample that is 24″ by 24″. I really wanted this colour to work but it doesn’t. Sad but true. The grey might have a green undertone but it is a blue green and looks even bluer when placed against the mossy greens in the house. We have saved a few hundred dollars in paint and the work of my husband and our painter. I have heard that doing the sample is important but couldn’t really see the value of it. Now, having seen the big sample and how it shows that the colour is wrong, I am an HGTV / Nate Burkus / Cityline believer.
The recommended paint didn’t work but the recommended process did.
Photo credit: Paint Job
When you are selling your home, you want to let the light in and show off your bright and open home. However, if you are living in the home and on a day to day basis people can see right into your home. you may lack privacy. People who live in townhomes, condos, or in high density urban areas are most likely to have homes that are open to neighbours and street traffic. Try walking around the neighbourhood at night and see how easy it is to see into some people’s homes. You could stand on the street and watch the TV without any problem. During the day, you could read the cereal box in the morning and find out the soup flavour that has been chosen for lunch.
I like privacy. I like the ability to walk around my home in my pjs. I would prefer that these people never have the answer to my husband’s boxer or briefs. There has got to be a bit of dignity left in life.
One of the answers to letting in a lot of light but cutting visibility into and out of the home is to apply window wallpaper. This is a fantastic product that can be purchased in a multitude of sizes or by the roll, easily cut to fit a window and applied with water. Yes, water. There is no glue involved.
For example, the en suite bath has a 48″diameter round window that is right across from the back neighbour and street. The window does not open. What a challenge! The first thing was to nail a thick tablecloth around the window until a suitable treatment could be found. This blocked out most of the light. Finally, I found a place that sold frosted window film and purchased enough to cover the window (with a 1/4″ gap around the edges to allow for shifting and application). Much later, I found a wrought iron garden ornament that I installed into the frame. All of this worked, until summer. The room was too hot! As a third layer, I had a company come in and measure and install a roller blind above the window that can be used during the summer to reduce the heat. Whew.
The cling film can be cut up and used on other windows. It is quick to apply and comes off easily because it is held on by water and static. When the house goes on the market of the lease ends, the film can come off and be reused in another home.
Sometimes revealing all is not a good thing.
Buyers want to be able to see themselves or their better selves in a new home. Do you have a cupboard full of chips and chocolate bars, dust on your treadmill and a stack of Harlequin Romances on your night table? Even if the can says cheese, there is none in those tasty little treats.
Clean up your act. Stage it so that Buyers think that your home is for healthy, active and intellectually stimulated people. You know, people who eat brie on an apple slice while doing their cardio on the elliptical machine in front of a television playing the BBC.
It may be an illusion that is worth the effort.
Photo credit: cheese
Yesterday I bought a bird.
We went to the Lansdowne Market. Normally, the market ends in the fall but the Cattle Barn has been let to the local producers for a few Sundays. The guidelines for the market are locally produced goods and food within a 100 mile radius – with the exception of fruit from Niagara. It was a bit of a surprise to see how many crafters have rented booths. It was the best of both worlds – shopping for food and for gifts. There is one more Sunday (December 18th) left to go and get your baking, bread, meat, fall veggies and hand crafted goods.
I found a wonderful booth of wire-made ornaments, wall hangings and free standing birds. I fell in love with a gorgeous little crow. This is the photo of the little guy settling into the bookcase. The artist, Denise Atkinson, said that this was her favourite bird so far, that the irregularity of his wings is true. I had to have him and know that there will never be another identical bird.
I have noticed that we like to decorate with birds. Since the beginning of time, man has used birds in his art – they symbolize energy and freedom. There is significant symbolism for each bird, many that we seem to know intuitively. When I looked around, I found that
- Crows: Intelligence, crafty and omens of change
- Doves: Peace and faith
- Bluebirds: Happiness
- Peacock: Abundance and good luck
- Rooster: Ward off evil (is that why the black rooster is so common in some kitchens?)
- Cranes: Longevity
If you are decorating or staging your home for sale, look at birds as part of the decorations and check what symbolism they reflect.
It is a rare bird who is not attracted to avian decorations.
Halloween comes only once a year.Why would you leave squeaky doors and drafty windows for Buyers to see and experience the other 364 days? If your doors slowly close themselves or don’t close even when you pull them shut, it will look like a haunting. This is likely a level problem and not the intervention of the spirit world. Adjust the doors and seal the frames around the windows. If you think your home has shifted, you may want to get a structural engineer in to take a look and provide an assessment before your home is on the market.
I love homes that are decorated for the seasons. However, when you home is for sale, it may be prudent to reduce your decorations to a door wreath and pumpkins or vases of seasonal greenery. Leave the For Sale sign on your lawn as the most important decoration.
Don’t frighten a Buyer away.
Photo credit: Halloween house
If you have a counter in the bathroom or kitchen that has a lot of little containers, collect them and put them on a tray. Your eye sees many little things such as tissues, cotton ball container and a soap pump as three things BUT if they are on a tray, they look like one item and less cluttered to the eye.
The photo was taken in my kitchen. I put the paper towel holder, the kleenex container (see the black item on the left), salt and pepper grinders, the dogs’ treat bowl and one or two little bags of treats all in that little tray. It has freed up counter space and looks organized. In addition to this tray, I also have three on the kitchen table – one for the condiments and serviettes and one for my husband and me (we put all those little things in them that just seem to float around the house like the mail, receipts, reading glasses, etc.
Collect and organize your clutter.