December 21, 2009

Got the Holidays all wrapped up? Think again . . .

The holidays seem to be the time when people throw in the towel  in just about every area of life. We eat more, exercise less, spend more, ditch budgets, and even waste more than usual.

According to Eco-Chick.com, 25 million tons more waste is created over the holiday period, than a typical period during the rest of the year (in the United States . . . there’s most likely a similar amount per capita here in Canada).  I don’t know about you, but that sounds like an awful lot to me!

Well, if you’d like to avoid contributing to massive amounts of holiday garbage, here are a few alternative ideas for wrapping up your Christmas gifts:

  1. Use cloth gift bags
  2. Invest in re-usable hard-sided gift boxes (one of my favs!)
  3. Re-purpose used materials that you already have around the house (newspapers, fabric)
  4. Hide gifts instead of wrapping them, and send the recipient on a treasure hunt
  5. Make re-usable gift tags for each family member

If you must purchase wrapping paper, keep these points in mind:

  1. Only purchase wrapping paper made from recycled materials
  2. Avoid papers that have non-recyclable content (glitter, metals, coatings)
  3. Save and re-use wrapping paper from year to year
  4. Go easy on other materials like ribbons, tape and other adornments

It’s the small changes that we make with consistency, that end up making the biggest, and most lasting, difference! Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas season.

Filed under: Living green — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:04 pm
December 16, 2009

Tips for Selling your Home over the Holidays

It might not have been your first choice, but here you find yourself on the market during the month of December. But don’t fret! Although there tends to be less buyers at this time, there is also less competition — a real bonus for the serious home seller. In addition, the buyers who are out there shopping also tend to be of the serious kind, making showings a much better opportunity.

 

Another advantage of selling your home during the holidays is that most homes look their best with the added warmth that holiday decor can bring. Just be careful not to over do it. Here are a few more suggestions of how to have your home looking its best for December showings:

First Impressions

Put out a new welcome mat and hang a pretty, but simple, wreath on the door. Make sure that the outside lights are turned on at dusk for that extra sparkle in case an unexpected buyer might drive by. Of course, always turn on the lights when you know a showing is going to happen.

Keep it Simple

It’s definitely okay to decorate for the holidays for your own enjoyment, but be sure to keep it more simple than usual. This means avoiding little knick-knack type “collections” and removing non-seasonal items from rooms to compensate for the additional holiday decorations. We are still aiming for a generally uncluttered look and feel! Consider a monochromatic theme for a simple, but elegant, impression. It is also wise to keep your decorating to just the main rooms only. Oh, and it’s best to forego the big blow-up items in the yard!

Warm and Cozy

 If you are just stepping out for a showing, leave the fireplace on (with a safety screen), and leave the window coverings partially open in the evening so the indoor lights sparkle just that little bit more. This is also a great time of year to take advantage of the smells of the season. Have a pot of apple cider simmering on the stove. Or a batch of fresh gingerbread cooling on the counter. Keep the atmosphere warm and inviting! Emotions run especially high at this time of year–take full advantage!

Stay Flexible

While any buyer will understand your desire to refuse a showing a day or two around the big days of celebration, keep in mind that they wouldn’t be asking for the showing at this time if they were just kicking tires! Remaining flexible may be just the thing that helps cinch a deal.

Filed under: Home Selling — Tags: , , — admin @ 4:34 pm