Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn. ~Quoted by Lewis Grizzard in Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You
Now, I DID have a home inspection....but THAT'S for another column...What the inspector didn't look at (!) was the basic maintainence of the home. The HVAC filters not being changed (see pics) in I don't think years, the build up of soap scum on shower doors/tubs/surrounds, some sort of film that caked the windows, damaged screens & frames...(& seriously HOW do you bend a frame on a window screen that you don't have to change/remove?), incompetent caulking in the kitchen & bathrooms...It's been a truly stunning experience...Every time I clean/fix/repair something, it brings up other issues that were either covered up or never addressed. Ex: when all of the flooring needed to be pulled up & replaced, that led to my seeing the all the damage done to the molding & wainscoting from lack of cleaning...seriously, I've done more for Mr Clean Erasers this past month than any ad campaign in the past year!
When I look at purchasing a home, I look at the work in "phases" & their payoff in terms of ROI (return on investment)...i.e. if I just have to upgrade some fixtures, will that get me a higher dollar amount received when I sell the property OR buy a place that needs more updating/repair to get a higher % of return on my investment. This home was to be a "home" & not an investment. One of the reasons I picked it was due to it NOT needing a lot of "fixing up" but rather some updating of fixtures & letting me personalize it...alas, this was not to be the case. Now, what IS a bright spot is that this home was a short-sale (I do NOT recommend this as a purchase option unless you have time & the means to deal with any "unseen" situations that occur) & I negotiated a price WAY BELOW the listed value of the home. So while this is turning out to be a large up-front layout of money right now, I'm still ahead investment dollar-wise....Do you see what I'm talking about here?
But now back to the importance of MAINTENANCE of your home. Your home is one of the largest investments that you will ever make. So it only behooves you to take care of & add value to this investment so it maintains it's value...even in a declining market like we have right now. The market WILL rebound & you want your home to be able to adjust with the market. The investment value aside, one of the things that's part of my design philosophy (Integrative Lifestyle Design), is the ENERGETIC importance of taking care of your home from a physical, mental & emotional health standpoint.
****Your OUTER world is reflection of your INNER world***
From a physical health standpoint, lack of proper maintenance can lead to upper respiratory issues due to breathing in toxins, dust, mold & mildew, & the spreading of disease such as e coli & salmonella. (I truly don't know HOW the previous owners could BREATHE in this house, let alone sleep, eat & live in it). Now, this doesn't mean you have to spend an hour every day cleaning, dusting & vacuuming, however, if you have kids, pets and/or someone in the home who DOES suffer from any health issue, you DO have to take the time to clean more thoroughly than another who can let some things "slide" until they have time. Daily you should be wiping down counters, any spills & washing dishes/putting in dishwasher & taking out garbage. Weekly you should be vacuuming/sweeping the floor, cleaning windows/mirrors, wiping down sinks/fixtures/tub/shower. Monthly look at cleaning walls/doors, vacuuming curtains, dusting blinds/ceiling fans. This is meant only as a guide...adjust for your lifestyle/family/space. Failure to do these simple tasks can lead to mold/mildew build-up in kitchens/bathrooms/windows, dust bunnies multiplying under furniture, in corners & under appliances-which can become a fire hazard!-& a likely large expense in the future due to the deterioration of your appliances, furniture, flooring, counter tops & cabinetry.
From a mental & emotional health standpoint, surrounding yourself in dirt, disarray & clutter (see The Clutter Counselor division for more on this) can affect your goal achievement, life quality & outlook on your future. Remember, your OUTER world is a reflection of your INNER world...i.e. how you see yourself. If you don't feel the need to take care of yourself, why should anyone else? Your home is like another layer of skin or clothing...it protects you from the outer elements & the same care should go into taking care of your space, as you do taking care of your clothing & skin! What you neglect (whether on your home, your clothing or your body) can & WILL manifest into something larger & more invasive & more expense (neglect missing shingles you'll get water damage, which can lead to rotted roof joists, which can lead to mold and/or impaired integrity to the home's structure).
***I will discuss the Feng Shui correlation to lack of maintenance & what Life Area it corresponds to in another posting***
In closing of this post, while the past few weeks have been incredibly stressful & definitely NOT how I was planning on spending my time in my new home & new locale, however, I've been able to expand what I can offer my clients, add to my design portfolio (believe me, this is almost a complete gut job on this home & it will be a showpiece when I finish) & getting great material for the CasaVerde radio show, workshops & this column. So I'm trying to stay positive (everything is an opportunity on some level...ugh), treating myself when I am confronted w/something particularly disgusting (i.e. scrapping mold) or accomplishing something I've never done before (i.e. changing out the cord on the dryer from a 3 to a 4 prong)....Coldstone Creamery & CupCrazed cupcake shop are becoming an almost daily stop!
Here are tips I offer in my workshops (and radio show/column) to help people change "with the seasons":
- Use spring colors to replace the winter color scheme in any accessories (pillows, throws, curtains, accent rugs/carpet tiles-which is a GREAT way to change up a room!). This includes: pastels in greens, blues, yellows & white paired w/any color.
- Centerpieces made of flowers, grasses, baby breath and incorporating fruit (lemons, oranges, apples)
- light weight textiles for curtains, pillows, throws, table linens-think cotton, linen, bamboo, jute, silk.
- Clean the windows & let as much natural light shine in as possible.
- Place mirrors at 45 degree angles to windows-that have a GOOD VIEW-to help disperse light in the space
- Use essential oil Environment Sprays in citrus scents: lemon, orange, grapefruit
New eBooks by DeAnna now available on amazon!...Click here to be taken to her author page...
As always, make sure to check the other tabs for new programs like the Healthy Down-Sizing program w/fellow designer, Linda Hunt. And, make sure to subscribe to the monthly DeeZine which will always have some offer for subscribers. Until next time...D :)