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Everything you need to know to clean your home naturally – (the lungs you save may just be your own)

By: Susan Gonzalez, RN

We all want clean happy homes.  But sometimes in wanting “clean” we get “chemically-induced-smells-like-it’s” clean.   And the chemicals that “clean” sometime do so at a cost to you and those living in your house.  Most were formulated for industrial use and are totally unnecessary for day to day cleaning in a home.

I fear that we, as consumers, have been scared into believing that sickness comes from dirt and have all bought into the “anti-microbial” propaganda that conditions our brain to think we need toxic chemicals to rid our homes of bacteria, viruses, and odor when inexpensive ingredients (that we probably have around the house anyway) will do just as good a job.

With hundreds of cleaners on the market all over the world, it is impossible to list them all.  However, here is a list of noted ingredients that you should avoid. You may want to note that companies are not required to list all ingredients on a label.  For example “fragrance” may contain phthalates a known endocrine disruptor (the US EPA is trying to limit phthalates overall) and sometimes you have to go the company’s website to get a complete list of ingredients as only the “active ingredient” is listed.

organic cleaners

The great offenders:

chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) wait…bleach is in pretty much EVERYTHING I use! Yes, that’s right. Because we have been conditioned to believe that bleach does everything and it is GOOD…from getting your clothes white to killing 99.9% of germs on any surface.  Manufacturers know if they have “contains bleach” on the label people will buy it.  In reality, bleach is a corrosive chemical that can cause liver damage with low level exposure.  The “white” you see when you bleach you clothes is the bleach acting on the fibers to optically make things look whiter, but that doesn’t mean it’s cleaner.  Bleach mixed with the following chemicals will produce a toxic gas that can be fatal and can overcome victims in minutes:

phosphoric acid (found in toilet bowl cleaners, mildew and lime removers, bathroom cleaners and dishwashing detergents)

sodium dichloroisocyanurate dihydrate (found in toilet bowl cleaners, deodorizers, dishwashing detergents)

ammonia (found in many various cleaning products and floor cleaners)

vinegar

–Aerosol products: anything that is sprayed from a can needs a “propellant” to make it airborne.  Airborne particles are very small and are easily inhaled deep into the lungs.  Two common propellants are formaldehyde and methylene chloride. Both are known carcinogens.   Other propellants are propane (fuel) and nitrous oxide (laughing gas used as anesthesia at the dentist).   Aerosol products are used by those seeking a quick “high”, but often lead to death instead.  Pump spray dispensers do not use propellants.

-DEA (diethanolamine)  listed as a suspected carcinogen by the state of California you can find this in many many cleaning products. Can be absorbed through skin, and lungs. (also known as TEA lauryl sulfate) “DEA” at the end of anything contains it (even if the word “coconut” appears before it).

Fragrence: “fresh breeze”…”mountain rain”…”field of flowers”…sounds nice, but these added fragrances contain toluene (mthylbenzene) a known reproductive toxin which can damage a developing fetus.  It also is found in breast milk.  US EPA found almost 100% of perfumes contained toluene. Fragrances can also contain phthalates which are endocrine disruptors.  Exposures to phthalates in the workplace showed increased incidence of male breast cancer, testicular cancer, and genital abnormalities in baby boys when mothers were exposed during pregnancy. (reference here) (FYI..phthalates are found widely used in nail polish)

2-butoxyethanol:  a powerful solvent found in window cleaners.  The EPA sets exposure standards for this kidney and liver damager.  But if you are using this cleaner in a poorly ventilated room, you are getting a higher exposure than what the EPA sets.

These are just the biggies.  There are plenty more.  See a complete list of household chemicals here.
organic  safe cleaners


Everything you need to clean your house is probably in your house already

If you have these ingredients, you can make natural cleaners and deodorizers for every corner of your house and save an amazing amount of money.  You can also pat yourself on the back that you are not exposing you or your family to harmful chemicals.  And reusing your containers means you by-pass the recycle bin.

You might also think about investing in microfiber cloths for cleaning. I find that I don’t even need to use anything but water when I use these because the fibers are made to clean grease and oil.  They work great on windows.  You wash these in the washing machine and they come out great. (wash them separately because they tend to collect fiber and lint). Here are the one’s I have, but you can find these anywhere.

Just buy these cheap items the next time you’re out:

  • white vinegar – only white as others might stain. Yes, there is a vinegar smell when it’s wet, but when it dries there is none. For most recipes a bit of lemon juice will cut the smell.
  • lemon juice – fresh is best, but reconstituted in a bottle will do.
  • borax – where has this stuff been all my life!!? I love this stuff! You can do pretty much all your cleaning with just borax.  It’s been around for over 100 years.  Borax has just one safe ingredient (sodium tetraborate decahydrate.  I know it doesn’t sound safe but it is)   The only caution is not to inhale the powder when you’re using it.  My laundry has never smelled so clean!
  • baking soda – you can clean with it, deodorize with it, and even drink it for an upset stomach.  Costco sells it in 13.5 pound bags.  We buy it by the case.
  • liquid castille soap – “castile” soap means it is derived from plant oils and fats. You can purchase this already made (in nice scents like peppermint) and some grocery chains carry it. Or you can make your own.
  • hydrogen peroxide – you can get this at any drug store in the first aid aisle
  • olive oil – low grade cheap will do for cleaning
  • scented essential oils if you wish: lemongrass, cinnamon, lavender, or tea tree – these can be purchased at any health food store.  Make sure you buy essential oil and not “fragrance oil” as essential oils are pure. I get mine here.
  • Coke  – yes, as long as you don’t drink it, this unhealthy American drink has a purpose!

Kitchen

All purpose cleaner: 2 cups water, 1 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup lemon juice. Mix well in a spray bottle. Use on any surface like you would any spray cleaner.

Dishwashing detergent:  Mix equal parts borax and baking soda (slightly more baking soda if you have hard water) and store in a tightly sealed container.  Use 2 tBs per load.  Put vinegar in the rinse dispenser. You may add 1 tsp of lemon juice to the detergent for greasy dishes.

Disinfectant:  1/8 cup borax to 1 liter warm water (one hospital used this formula and it satisfied the hospital’s germicidal requirements) Another solution is: 2 tsp borax 4 tBs vinegar, to 3 cups hot water. Wipe on with damp cloth or use in non-aeresol spray bottle.  You can add 1/4 tsp castile soap if desired.

Drain opener:  Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar and cover drain if possible. Let sit for 5 minutes, then pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain. (don’t use if you have used a chemical drain opener and it’s still in the drain.)  You can use this weekly to prevent clogs.  Throw a piece of lemon peel in the garbage disposal every week to keep it smelling fresh.

Floor cleaner: for all floors including wood: 1 cup of vinegar to a pail (1 1/2 gallons) warm water.  For wood floors, you can also add 1/4 cup castile soap.

Stainless and chrome cleaner:  Dip cloth in undiluted vinegar. Wipe surface.

Scouring powder: 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup borax, 1 cup regular salt. Combine and keep in a tightly sealed container. Use on sinks and tubs.

For burnt-on pans: Pour Coke into pan and boil on stove. The stuck on mess should soften and be easy to clean

home made bathroom natural cleanersNatural toilet cleaners would even work on this guy’s bowl (hmmm I wonder what his urinal looks like?)

Bathroom

Disinfectant: see above

Lime and mineral deposit remover: Soak a rag in vinegar and apply to lime deposits around faucets. Wait 1 hour. deposits will be soft and easily removed.

Shower heads:  Place 1/2 cup undiluted vinegar in a plastic bag and secure bag to shower head with rubber band (I used a large plastic bag and secured it with a zip tie leaving enough room to cut the tie. I found I needed more “bag” on top to keep the shower head immersed without sagging)

Tub and tile cleaner: 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup white vinegar.

Toilet bowl cleaner:  Pour 1 cup borax and 1/4 cup vinegar in bowl and let sit overnight. Scrub with brush in the morning, or  pour 1 can Coke in toilet.  Let sit for a 1 hour and flush. (This is where Coke belongs :)

Laundry   

Whitening: 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide in bleach dispenser or 1/2 cup borax in with the detergent. (adding borax will also soften clothes)

Fabric softener: 1/2 cup white vinegar, baking soda or borax in the rinse cycle, add a small ball of aluminum foil in the dryer with the clothes to reduce static cling.

Stain remover: 1/4 cup borax, 1/4 cup baking soda in 2 cups cold water.  Soak for 10 minutes or so before laundering. For severe grease stains add 1 can of Coke to washer with your detergent.   Full strength hydrogen peroxide will remove blood stains.   Full strength lemon juice will remove ink spots.

Starch: 2 – 3 tsp cornstarch in 1 pint of water. (you way need to dissolve the cornstarch in a small amount of warm water first, then add that to more water to make 1 pint) Use in refillable spray bottle.

Shoe shine: rub shoes with the inside of a banana peel  or olive oil and buff with paper towel.

House 

Air fresheners:   Mix 1 oz vodka or witchhazel with 20 – 40 drops of essential oil (lemongrass, lavender etc.) and mix that with 6 oz filtered or distilled water.  Put in a spray bottle and spray as often as needed.  Or,  simmer cinnamon or cloves in a saucepan with water on the stove.  Zeolite   is a mineral that safely and naturally absorbs odors and can be purchased commercially.  Most air is stale because of poor ventilation…open windows and run fans to circulate air. (Caveat: Wait till you’re done cleaning to drink the remaining vodka)

Windows and mirrors:  Use plain water and microfiber cloth.  Consumer Reports (1992) found that plain water worked as well as half of the products tested. In addition, the most effective cleaner for oily fingerprints was lemon juice and water.  2 tBs of lemon juice in 1 quart (1 liter) water or 1/2 water 1/2 vinegar poured into a spray bottle.

Carpet deodorizer: Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and leave overnight. Vacuum in the morning.

Dusting:  dust with microfiber cloths or mix 1 tsp olive oil with 1/4 cup vinegar and apply with soft cloth.

General cleaning tips when using cleaners:  These tips are important whether you use chemicals or naturals.

  • Always wear thick gloves.  The skin that you rely on to absorb your favorite hand lotion is the same skin that will absorb phthalates and chemical fragrance in hand soaps.  Most bathroom cleaners are extremely irritating to skin and bay cause chemical burns.    Even if you’re cleaning with alternative cleaners like vinegar, too much exposure can cause skin redness.
  • Never mix cleaners.  Ever hear of chloramine gas?  That’s what you get when you mix ammonia and bleach or bleach.  The gas can overcome you in minutes and do permanent harm to your lungs and eyes.  The gas can render you unconscious in minutes.  (see “bleach” above) Even if the surface was cleaned with one product, the chemical will remain and should not be cleaned with another right on top or gasses may be produced.
  • Always ventilate.  You can never be sure of what will happen or how you will react to a cleaner.  If you are spraying, the particles are in the air that you are breathing.  Make sure you open windows and turn on fans when cleaning.  In most of the reported injuries from gas formation, inadequate ventilation was the reason for poisoning.
  • Rinse everything away.  Never clean without rinsing all the cleaners away from the surfaces that will touch your skin (feet, butt, you get the idea) Don’t ever clean and let dry.

Which brings me to another reason to use naturals:  the water system.  How long can we continue to pour these toxins  down the drains and into the water system and expect clean water to drink and swim in?

So there’s no excuses.  Here’s everything you need to have a TRULY “clean” home.

Disclaimer: Always test a small amount of cleaner on the surface you want to clean to see if it will react.  Always keep cleaning products, natural or otherwise away from children and pets.

A very well written article by The Savvy Sister. Click here to visit her website for more healthy living articles.

 

The Better Alternative: Chemical Free Products

By: The Chemical Free Cleaning Network

Scientific technical innovation is moving above and past “green” or “organic” products with progress in technologies that clean without the using of any synthetic chemicals.

Around the earth businesses and individuals are investing in a range of equipment and products that allow non chemical cleaning emerging and inventive methods.

From applying electric current to common water, to using the power of sunshine: new advances in cleaning technologies and strategies are making it simpler to clean chemical free.

A number of the technologies such as Sealed HEPA filtered vacuum cleaners, and hand applicators for liquid ozone and electrolyzed water are cost effective when considering the long term savings on synthetic chemical products.

Adopting a Chemical Free Cleaning plan in your house does not mean the outlay of thousands of dollars in using the latest alternative Chemical Free technologies.

Time-proven cleaning practices have been brought down through the generations could, in many cases, also provide effective cleaning results in the household.

The use of daily attention and natural, organic, chemical free materials located in each household could be mixed, combined, and blended in many ways to accomplish cleaning equivalent to the level of synthetic chemical cleaning liquids. However, keep in mind the even organic, green or natural products are not consistently synthetic chemical free.

There are many ways to help you in your move towards chemical free cleaning in your household.

Begin with reducing the total number of in-house synthetic chemical pollutants, and then check in the back of your kitchen pantry to select which daily products you want to keep for cleaning your home.

Get rid of synthetic chemical cleaners (but make sure that you get rid of them safely and securely).

You could help the environment, save cash and streamline your cleaning chore by changing your current artificial chemical cleaners with a few of the products discussed in this section.

 

The Chemical Free Cleaning Network was established by industry visionary Vince Elliott, B.S., M.H.S., who in his nearly four decades of professional experience in developing innovative cleaning strategies for commercial and industrial applications. He has strived to bring these disparate technologies and strategies under one connected organization to benefit building proprietors, janitorial service managers, homeowners, and our ecosystem as a whole.

The Activeion EXP – How It Works In Our Cleaning Service

The Doctors and Activeion HOM

Household Hints and Tips — Did You Know?

Grocery Shopping: When you go to buy bread in the grocery store, have you ever wondered which is the freshest, so you “squeeze” for freshness or softness? Did you know that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each day has a different color twist tie. They are: Monday = Blue, Tuesday = Green, Thursday = Red, Friday = White and Saturday = Yellow. So if today was Thursday, you would want a red twist tie; not white which is Fridays… almost a week old! The colors go alphabetically by color Blue – Green – Red – White – Yellow. Monday through Saturday. Very easy to remember. I thought this was interesting. I looked in the grocery store and the bread wrappers DO have different twist ties, and even the ones with the plastic clips have different colors. You learn something new everyday! Enjoy fresh bread when you buy bread with the right color on the day you are shopping.

Clothing: Blood stains on clothes? Not to worry! Just pour a little peroxide on a cloth and proceed to wipe off every drop of blood. Works every time!

Stains: Permanent marker on appliances/counter tops (like store receipt ink) use rubbing alcohol on a white paper towel.

Window Cleaning: Use vertical strokes when washing windows outside and horizontal for inside windows. This way you can tell which side has the streaks. Straight vinegar will get outside windows really clean. Don’t wash windows on a sunny day. They will dry too quickly and will probably streak.

Toilet Cleaning: Now look what you can do with Alka Seltzer. Clean a toilet. Drop in two Alka Seltzer tablets wait twenty minutes, brush and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous China.

More Alka Seltzer tips: * Clean a vase. To remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka Seltzer tablets. * Clean a thermos bottle. Fill the bottle with water, drop in four Alka Seltzer tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary). * Unclog a drain. Clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of Heinz White Vinegar. Wait a few minutes, then run the hot water.

Carpets: Fleas in your carpet? 20 Mule Team Borax- sprinkle and let stand for 24 hours.

Homemade Toothpaste

Skip the harmful chemicals in many commercial toothpastes and make your own. This is a simple, inexpensive, odor-eliminating, tooth-whitening, and very effective formula from Organic Body Care Recipes (Storey, 2007) By Stephanie Tourles.

INGREDIENTS
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, finely ground
1 drop peppermint, spearmint, sweet orange, clove, or cinnamon bark essential oil
A few drops tap water

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and mix them thoroughly with a toothbrush, your finger, or a small spoon until a smooth, thick paste forms. The paste shouldn’t be too runny; it has to stay on your toothbrush.

Dip your toothbrush into the paste and use as you would regular commercial toothpaste.

Ideas For A Fully Loaded Laundry Room

Excerpt from: 27 Ideas for a Fully Loaded Laundry Room
By: Lisa Selin Davis, This Old House magazine

Wash, Dry, Repeat

Americans spend more time in the laundry room than in the bathroom: an average of eight hours a week, collectively doing some 35 billion loads of laundry a year. And yet, while bath design has evolved into a discipline of its own, and the space into a bonafide retreat with soothing soaker tubs, the laundry is often relegated to a basement, separated from the life of the home.

Increasingly, though, homeowners are creating laundry rooms that are as integrated as a bath or the kitchen. They can even be in a bath or kitchen. Chalk it up to busier lives and a need to multitask, says designer Dana Jones of Long Beach, California. A first-floor laundry room can serve as a command center—a nook near the family room, where parents can keep an eye on the kids while folding, or off the back door, where it can double as a mudroom, home office, or hobby area. On the second floor, stackable, whisper-quiet front-loaders can tuck into a hall closet, just a balled-up-shirt-toss from the bedroom.

Laundry List

Along with a washer and dryer, consider these elements:

Lighting: Task lighting, such as under-cabinet strips, illuminates specific work zones. Ambient sources, like natural light or a ceiling fixture, brighten the room.

Utility Sink: A utility sink multitasks as a hand-washing station, a place to soak soiled sports gear, even an area to pot plants.

Hanging Racks: Hanging racks provide a place to air-dry delicates and hang shirts straight from the dryer. Choose a steel bar, a retractable clothesline, or a fold-up rack.

Varying Countertop Heights: Counters of varying heights suit different jobs. A raised surface atop front-loaders is perfect for folding, while a 36-inch height is the norm at a sink.

Cabinetry: Cabinetry can hide detergent and cleaning supplies, as well as an ironing board, pull-out hampers, and sliding utility rails.

Open Storage: Open storage above a counter keeps folded linens high and dry. Low cubbies can encourage kids to drop off their dirties and retrieve clean laundry themselves.

Water-Resistant Materials: Water-resistant materials, such as concrete counters and stone floor tiles, are durable and easy to clean. A laminate top and ceramic tile are thrifty alternatives.

Stackable Machines: A front-loading design allows a full-size washer and dryer, such as these from Whirlpool, to squeeze into a narrow passage, leaving room to one side and above for open storage shelves.

Tidy Bins: In addition to dirty clothes, a combination of lidded and open-top woven containers hold cleaning supplies, extra toiletries, and towels.



Clever Cover-Ups: Fitted with “flipper” media cabinet hardware, 30-inch-wide cabinet doors open out into the room, then slide back inside the cabinet to reveal a front-loading washer and dryer. Unlike regular hinged doors, these can remain open without eating up floor space or blocking access to an adjacent doorway.

Overhead Storage: Upper cabinets serve as a linen closet and are deep enough to store small laundry baskets.

Retractable Ironing Board: With little space to prop up a traditional ironing board, the homeowners chose a folding version that fits neatly inside a drawer. The board stretches 3 feet out from behind a false drawer front.

Pull-Out Hamper: Concealed inside a drawer below the ironing board is a canvas hamper that holds clothes in need of pressing. A matching bin on the other side of the machines keeps dirties out of sight.

Under-Cabinet Light: A halogen strip tucked behind a soffit brightens a quartz counter used for specific tasks: sewing and folding, and attending to stains. Additional, ambient light comes from the windowed door and ceiling fixtures.

Rethink a Home Office: Rather than dedicating a guest room or a portion of the kitchen to bill paying and web surfing, a spacious laundry area becomes host to a handsome home office.

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Professional Home Appraisals

Editor’s Note: Appraiser Mike Brunson explains how serving clients best often means giving them what they need, not always what they want.

Growing Business: Giving Clients What They Need
By Mike Brunson

In this period of economic and social change, clients are looking for professional appraisers to answer questions that until now have not been asked. Price and timing are the hot-button issues. While many appraisers are raging against the downward pressure on fees and the increased pressure for faster turn times, I have instead begun to offer my clients an alternative service. Here’s how.

I have several clients who order valuations for internal asset management. The client typically holds paper on a non-performing loan and needs to determine the best course of action. While bidding a recent land assignment, the client noted that my bids were coming back much higher than they expected. The client wanted to know why this assignment warranted a fee that was so much higher than what they desired/expected to pay.

As we discussed the complexity of the assignment and some potential reductions in scope of work, they said, “We don’t really care how much this thing is worth specifically, we just need to know if it is worth more than $x.” It turned out that the client was in second position behind a sizeable first. They suspected that there was little or no equity in the asset but needed an appraisal in the file. The client was requesting bids for a “full appraisal” because that is what they were accustomed to ordering. However, they had no need for the detailed analysis of a traditional “complete” appraisal that provides a specific value reported in summary format.

Here was an opportunity to serve a good client by giving them what they need instead of what they asked for. At the same time, it provided an opportunity to expand my options with this client regarding the services that I can provide as a professional appraiser. I explained that by definition, an appraisal can be expressed as a “specific amount, as a range of numbers, or as a relationship (e.g., not more than, not less than) to a previous value opinion or numerical benchmark (e.g., assessed value, collateral value).” In this case, the amount of the first trust deed would serve as the benchmark. We also discussed the question they were asking: “Is the property worth more or less than $x?” The client agreed that the majority of a traditional appraisal was extraneous to the question. I also explained that despite the negative connotation of the term “restricted,” in this case, a restricted-use appraisal report is acceptable for the intended use and intended user of this assignment. Honestly, my client was hesitant because, like most clients and many appraisers, they are not familiar with the concept of a limited scope, restricted-use assignment.

I spent some additional time and eventually went in to their office to discuss this and future assignments with a similar intended use. Ultimately the client agreed that a restricted-use appraisal report with a limited scope of work is appropriate for their needs. The next day, I delivered a two-page narrative appraisal (plus a certification page and a few client specific documents) using the amount of the first trust deed as a benchmark for the valuation. After completing my research and analysis, I concluded that the subject market value was less than the defined benchmark. I wrote the narrative report from scratch in less than 30 minutes. Not including the time I spent visiting the client (which I consider marketing) I completed the assignment in about 2.5 hours. The $250 fee for this appraisal is well within the client’s expected range.

Re-printed from www.workingre.com online – serving real estate professionals for over 10 years.

Quick and Easy Decorating Ideas for Home Staging

We all wish we could give our homes an overhaul and completely stage our homes when selling, but most of us either can’t afford it or don’t want to deal with the hassles. Fortunately, there are small changes we can all do that make a big difference. Best of all, these decorating ideas for home staging can be done for very little money.

Hardware

Hardware is like jewelry. Whether it’s on cabinets, furniture or large doors, hardware can have a big impact. Changing an outdated knob to something more decorative can instantly change the look of the room. While you’re at it, install new light switch plates for a similar effect.

Lampshades

People tend to give a lot of thought to the lamps they put in their rooms, but not to the shades. Just because a particular shades comes with a lamp it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the best one. To give your room a quick update, change the shape or color of your lampshades.

Paint

Nothing says “easy update” like paint. Paint an entire room, an accent wall, kitchen and bathroom cabinets or a piece of furniture. Paint has the power to instantly transform items. Best of all, it’s inexpensive and easy to do. Using white-painted furniture is a tried and true tactic for freshening a room, but don’t forget its opposite. A coat of satiny black paint can revive tired furnishings and lend a chic, dramatic flair to just about any space. Painting an old piece black immediately updates it.

Reupholster

Reupholstering a sofa or large chair can be costly, but recovering chair seats can be done on a budget. Try recovering your dining room chair seats. A bold pattern or color can make a great focal point. You can also purchase affordable slipcovers for the sofa and loveseat at surefit.com.

New Bedding in the Master Bedroom

If you feel like you’re not a designer and you’re not good at pulling together a room, just go to a great bedding store, buy bedding and from the bedding, pull out a paint color and get matching window treatments. It will instantly look like a high-end hotel suite, and it’s a no brainer.

Window Treatments

Lighten up heavy, dated curtains with simple curtain panels that reach the floor and new, sleek curtain rods. Choose curtain rods no bigger than one inch in diameter. The goal is to showcase the curtains, not the rod. The Allen + Roth Sienna rod ($45 at Lowe’s) has the right dimensions, an antiqued finish and cute brackets. If windows are narrow, extend curtain rods a foot or so on each side to suggest width. If your ceilings are low, hang rods at the ceiling line and consider window treatments with vertical stripes to create the illusion of height. Add texture to the space by adding woven wood blinds. Target carries faux wood blinds for under $30 and you can install them yourself (yes you can!). Big bang for your buck. What do you do when the windows look bare but you can’t stand blocking out that gorgeous light? Beautiful sheers do the trick every time. Sheer genius.

Rearrange Furniture

The easiest and cheapest way to update a room — any room — is to rearrange the furniture. Sometimes it’s all you need to give your space a completely updated look that buyers will love. When it comes to easy decorating ideas for home staging it can’t be beat. It’s easy, fun and completely free.

DIY home staging can be fun and rewarding, especially when you get your house sold faster than your competition, but be sure to consult with a professional home stager if you are not absolutely sure that your home looks ready to sell.

Feng Shui Staging Tips
Make Your Front Door Welcoming

Energy enters your home at the front door, so invite it in! Make your door stand out by painting it a color that contrasts with your home, adding a new welcome mat and flanking the door with yellow flowers. Choose plants with rounded leaves as sharp leaves can appear aggressive to buyers.

Create a “Room of First Impression”

Buyers generally decide whether they will buy a home in the first 15 seconds they spend there, so you want them to see the best room first. Create a clear path to this room with a runner rug or with eye-catching art and accessories.

Don’t Let Energy Go Down the Drain

If the first thing buyers see when they enter your home is a bathroom, keep the bathroom door closed. Toilets and drains take energy from a room, so keep the toilet lid down and cover drains while not in use.

Rearrange Furniture to Improve Chi

A furniture arrangement can make or break the flow of energy in the room. If the back of a sofa faces the room’s entrance, energy bounces right out. Facing a comfortable sofa toward the entrance of the room will improve energy flow and make buyers feel welcome.

Provide Support

Large furniture such as beds and sofas need a solid wall of support behind them, so don’t place these pieces in front of a window.

Invigorate the Senses

Stimulate your home’s energy with sound be adding wind chimes to the front right corner of your house. This is the buyer’s area of the home, so this accessory might call in your home’s future owner.

Ann Alderson is a Professional Home Stager and Home Selling Strategist in the Tampa Bay area. Join her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/stagingsouthtampa and follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/annalderson