The Organization Diet: Cut The Clutter

Declutter Your Home. De-Stress Your Life.

Have you been looking around your house and noticing more and more clutter? Have you been looking around thinking you need to straighten up? If so, decluttering your house might be a great weekend project. Did you know, decluttering can also assist in weightloss? Decluttering can help lower stress levels and increase your overall health.

Living in a cluttered space can make it extremely hard to find things when you need them. This can add additional stress to your life and waste your time. Research has found that being exposed to a cluttered or disorganized area makes you more likely to overindulge on unhealthy or fatty foods- resulting in weight gain. Higher levels of cortisol can be found in those who find their home environment stressful. When your space is stressful, you are more likely to feel depressed and you have a higher risk of poor health.

The noble news is that making some adjustments to declutter your space can make it more tidy, restful, and decreases stress. Check out the below infographic for more information on how clutter can impact your life and simple steps on how to get organized.



Graphic created by Closet Works.


Tips for Turning Your Basement Into A Living Space


When people think about the basement, they immediately imagine a scary place. Decorating the basement can be weird, but that doesn’t have to stop you from turning it into a home living space. Whatever you want and need, there are lots of choices of how to reconsider your basement’s improvement. Give it a chance and make it as stylish as your main-floor living room. With fresh paint, ambient lightning and finishing touches, you will transform it into a cozy space you will actually want to spend time in.


Basement Colors

Start by installing lights that will make the room feel bigger and make up for the lack of windows. Also, table lamps will add style to the room. A TV attached to the wall will create that home-theater effect for movie lovers.

Since many basements don’t have windows, curtains can be used to create a room divider. This is also a great idea for unfinished walls or just an idea for decorating the space. Most basements are dark spaces, so if you want to brighten yours, paint the walls white or very light shades. This will make the room look fresh and airy. To add more light and add continuity choose a flooring material that is the same color as the walls.

Make Sure Your Walls Are Insulated

The basement is one of the most important areas of your home that needs insulation. Basement insulation controls the temperature and keeps the mold out. A bad smell can be a common problem for many people and this usually happens because basements have concrete walls, which absorb moisture and create that bad smell.

Insulation products are optional, but the investment is worth it. Make sure you invest in quality products for insulating the walls and ask for advice from a professional worker. Also, there is an important thing you should know about insulation: many people are using cheap products just because they think basements don’t need that much investment. Being located under the ground, they think they are more protected and sometimes, they start the insulation by themselves. In this case, consider that the insulation really needs to be done correctly, otherwise the space where the insulation touches the wall is empty, mold and moisture will install.

Consider the benefits of closed-cell foam to insulate concrete basement walls. It has excellent moisture resistance: it can fill in all the gaps and it gives you the best protection against mold. It is true that is a lot more expensive but you will save money on energy bills.

Create Storage Solutions

Even though your basement usually serves as a general storage area, you can give it a higher value by decorating it with shelves and furniture. This can help you hide all of your unwanted stuff.

If you use your basement properly, you can add that much-needed storage space to your home. If you have multiple storage boxes, label them so you can choose what you need easily. Walls with labeled baskets are great as well, especially for storing small items that you can’t place anywhere else.

Wine lovers can transform their basement space into a winery. Build a wine rack or buy one that comes in units, each storing more bottles. You can go up to the ceiling if needed.

Add Heating

Adding heat sources to your basement is necessary, but it may not be enough. If it is the only way of keeping your basement warm, unfortunately, this source of heating will be mostly wasted. The best way to add heat to your basement is to extend your heating system already supplying heat to the rest of your house. Click here for tips on how to improve your heating systems.

Insulating the basement walls and floor will help to hold in the heat, preventing its loss through the space that is not protected. Before installing any supplemental heat, make sure you seal all the gaps and insulated the walls that could cause heat loss. Also, you can install a floor heating system and add rugs for a warmer feeling.

You can locate cold spots with a thermal camera. It is highly recommendable to invest in this tool or just rent one from a tool rental center. With a thermal camera, you can view the areas where your energy losses are occurring. There is also a cheaper version available but requires more moving around the room to detect the spots where the energy is lost.

Don’t Forget About Art

The basement has limited natural light and it often needs more attention when it comes to decorating. For the way the basement will look is up to you, but it’s important for it to be consistent with the rest of the home décor and reflect your family vibe. Give the basement space a personal touch and attach family pictures on the wall or different art that you like.

Artwork is a perfect way to add personality to your basement and create that warm and cozy feeling. It is up to you how you want your personal magic space to look like. Choose abstract paintings and hang them on the walls for a realistic look. Take photographs of things that inspire you or bring your old magazines and photos and hang them above your desk. Hang things from the ceiling like sparkly Christmas ornaments, colored lights, your childhood’s favorite tiny stuffed animals or things that have a meaning to you.

Many artists find it hard to create their own little working corners. A negative and cramped space can affect your creativity and make you less productive. Having your own art studio can be inexpensive and easy to set up. Artificial light is important because it gives you control over your studio. It is best if the light comes from the ceiling because it will illuminate more of your work.

Exploring various basement decorating ideas isn’t that hard, so don’t let that space be occupied by loads of unnecessary stuff. You can spend quality time with friends and family in a space that you’d never thought you’d get to bring to life in such a stylish way. You really are a creative person, so be creative with your space too.


5 Ways To Make Your New Home Green(er)

You’ve settled on a new home! Whether you’re building or buying, it’s a time of great excitement and hopes for the future. Acquiring a new home goes hand in hand with the desire to live a better lifestyle than before. For many new homeowners, this includes living more sustainably.


Here are some top picks for eco-friendly improvements that you can incorporate into your new home. Or, if your home already has sustainable features, use them to make it even greener.

1. Insulate the basement.

Most contractors and homeowners now understand the value of wall and attic insulation. However, did you know that up to 40 percent of the heat loss in a building can take place through the basement? Many people, including contractors, are reluctant to insulate basements. This is because in the past, incorrectly installed basement insulation projects created serious moisture and mold issues in many homes. However, by using modern, approved methods for basement insulation, you can avoid these problems. A properly insulated basement not only reduces your energy bills, it also becomes more pleasant, usable space. Just be sure whoever installs your basement insulation is familiar with proper vapor barrier placement and other basement insulation best practices.

2. Make smart landscaping choices.

Good landscaping can make the difference between a good looking home and a stunning one, but it can also affect your eco footprint. Well-placed trees and shrubs can help reduce your energy bills by sheltering your home from summer heat and/or chilling winds. Planting native species that can handle the climate in your area with minimal care can reduce your water bill dramatically, as well as provide food and shelter for native wildlife. Plus, installing water conservation devices such as rain barrels or weather-smart irrigation controllers will also help save water and keep your yard looking great without spending a bundle on water.

3. Choose eco-friendly materials.

Whether you’re building a deck, replacing a floor, or choosing the perfect pavement for your new drive, don’t just choose the first material that strikes your fancy. Do your research and find out what materials may be available that will suit your needs with less impact on the environment. Consider locally made, recycled, reclaimed and natural materials. You may be surprised at how affordable and/or beautiful some of these can be.

4. Lighten your lighting.

Did you know that on average, Americans spend 14 percent of their household electricity dollars on lighting alone?  One of the best ways to shave your lighting costs is to build more daylighting into your home. Skylights and light tubes are easy to install and will pay for themselves over time.  If you are building new, be sure to orient your home and place your windows to take advantage of available sunlight.  Installing LED bulbs is another investment that will save you money over time. Also, be sure to put any exterior lighting on a timer or use motion sensor devices so that the lights will only be on when you need them.

5. Go green with solar.

Yes, it’s a big investment, but nothing displays your commitment to a green lifestyle like solar panels on your roof. A photovoltaic or solar hot water system will pay for itself in a few years. After that, it will provide you with free electricity or hot water for decades. With renewable energy incentives still in place in many areas, and creative financing for solar becoming more common, you might be surprised how affordable it can be, too.

Going green in your new home is not just the right thing to do; eco-friendly choices often are healthier for your family. They can improve your home’s appearance and comfort level, and, smart green choices can save you a lot of money in the long run. Go ahead — make your new home as green as can be.


Ryan McNeill is the president of Renewable Energy Corporation, a Maryland based solar company. 

The Top Items To Add to Make an Excellent Man Cave

Every man desires a room in the house to call their own. They dream of a place where they can unwind, where they can watch some television or a movie. They dream of a place where they can feel like master and commander. That place would be the Man Cave.

This list comprises twelve must-have items in any good Man Cave. These are things that won’t require any reconstruction or rebuilding of the room. These are simply items you can bring in and start enjoying immediately in your new testosterone-fueled clubhouse. Viva la Man!


1) A Really Big Television

This is a must have right off the bat. Men love technology and usually it’s the bigger the better, so what better item to procure right away than a huge hulking flat-screen television. Whether watching the game or an 80’s action movie, a good HDTV will make you feel like you’re right in the middle of the action. A new 3D television would be even better, but not completely necessary.

2) A Surround-Sound System

This goes with the television like peanut butter goes with jelly. If you’re going to be immersed in your movie or game, you don’t want tiny, muffled sound to go with it. You want a full on audio experience coupled with your killer visuals. You don’t have to purchase the best surround-sound system there is to get a good experience. A simple setup will do nicely and will go a long way in your manly room.

3) A Fully Stocked Bar

Watching the game makes you thirsty for a cold one. Since you’re watching from the comfort of your Man Cave and not at the actual game, the only other way to get a beer is to go to the kitchen. Not if you set up a full bar complete with kegorator so that a nice cold brew is only a few feet away. Stock it with quality products so that you can play bartender when your friends come over.

4) A Vending Machine

Nothing adds to the coolness factor of a good Man Cave like some retro technology, and a vending machine is just a no-brainer to add in if you already went the full bar route. Stock it packed with salty chips, pretzels or beer nuts to go with those beers and make a little coin off of your friends in the process. It’s a win-win situation for all.

5) Neon Signs

Again, going with the whole bar theme, these just make good sense and guys love them. Grab some neon beer signs or check online for retro ones like gas signs and other cool manly types. The lighting will be reminiscent of an evening at your local favorite watering hole. They look cool shining their neon glow when all the other room’s lights are turned out too. Sometimes these can be expensive so really do some price shopping when grabbing a few of these, but just a couple will go a long way in increasing your Man Cave’s coolness factor.

6) Good Furniture

Men like chairs and couches that are comfortable, but not ones that look at home on “The Golden Girls.” Look for pieces that are more than just functional. Look for conversation starters. These go great in a Man Cave. Try to find funky type furniture made from other manly things, such as couches made from the rear ends of vintage cars, or other pieces of American male culture. Barber chairs work nicely as they are all chrome and usually have colors comparable to those of classic cars. There is no better way to enjoy a game or to watch your friends play billiards than to kick back in a sleek chromed out barbers’ chair.

7) Gaming Tables

Speaking of watching your friends play billiards, every decent Man Cave needs a good pool table. Man Caves are great for hanging out and watching games on television, but sometimes you need some really friendly competition. Throw in some vintage pinball machines or old arcade games to collect even more change from your friends, as well as to give your Man Cave that aged bar/pool hall feel. If you have the room, consider adding in a card table for those evenings spent sitting around playing poker.

8) A Good Humidor

Here’s the deal. Guys like smoking cigars when playing poker. Maybe all the smoke hides their poker face. However, you need some quality cigars to offer your friends as you play hand after hand of cards, and you need to keep those cigars fresh and ready to go. A good humidor allows you to do so and to let your friends know that you’re an expert on quality cigars.

9) A Vintage Jukebox

A great Man Cave needs some awesome tunes playing at all times. A vintage jukebox is a beautiful, manly piece of nostalgia that will make your place really stand out. You don’t need to spend a lot to own a good jukebox. Some name-brand jukeboxes can be purchased for around $500 and up. You can go with a really retro one where you can see the actual record being played and that has that classic look to or one of the newer ones that you can plug your mp3 player into.

Classic Jukebox MP3

10) Sports Memorabilia

Nothing screams Man Cave like sports memorabilia and collections of sports-related items such as ball cards, autographed balls, posters and assorted figurines and kick-knacks adorning shelves upon your wall. These are items which most male children instinctively keep up in their bedrooms, but as those children become adults, they aren’t allowed to do so anymore by their significant others. The Man Cave is the perfect solution to this because you can display your items proudly along with your favorite childhood banners and stickers. You can hang your favorite signed jersey above that comfy sports team recliner in the corner.

11) A Trophy Display

This is the place to display all those victories in your life that no one else seems to care about. Whether it’s from years of high school football or from your killer performance as a member of the local bowling league, you can display these monuments to your success right next to the rack of antlers you got from that hunting trip where you shot that ten-point buck. Some good advice to remember though is if you have a trophy wife, don’t place her photograph here. You will save yourself much heartache and perhaps a trip to the hospital.

12) Some Cool Posters

Posters are a necessity. As a kid, you covered your walls in them, but as with the sports stuff, your wife will not let you have them up in your bedroom. Decorate your Man Cave with as many movies related, or sports posters as you can. Don’t be tacky with it, pick out some good ones. You don’t want your Man Cave to look like the walls of some trashy wannabe restaurant, but you don’t want naked walls either. Just remember that you aren’t a kid anymore and that this is your Man Cave. Go nuts, but go nuts tastefully. Think along the lines of a retro Star Wars poster or a giant poster of John Riggins breaking through the middle in the Super Bowl, etc.

Last and definitely not least, perhaps the coolest item ever to be added to a man cave:

13) A Urinal

Enough said…

Tips and Ideas when Remodeling Your Basement into a Man Cave

Basements have many purposes: they can function as family entertainment rooms, spare bedrooms, and even separate apartments. However, one of the most time-tested uses for a basement is the coveted man cave, a safe haven for men away from the rest of the home décor. Hidden away underneath the main living space of the rest of the house, the basement offers the perfect location for a man’s sanctuary. These are a few tips to successfully transform a basement into a fully functional man cave.


Install insulation
While insulation is always a good idea in a basement to regulate the temperature and keep the room energy efficient, the insulation in a man cave is doubly important. Many activities in the man cave, such as watching sporting events and playing games, can become very loud. This may disturb the other people living in the home. Consider adding insulation to the ceiling in addition to the walls in order to reduce the amount of sound traveling upstairs to the other residents of the house. Foam insulation is the best type to use in a basement man cave because it will repel moisture and mold while it traps air leaks.

Use durable materials during construction
When building any basement room, it is necessary to use inorganic materials to help discourage mold from forming in the lower level. However, using other indestructible and easily-cleaned materials can also improve a man cave. Try using durable plastic floor tiles in the basement. They look very much like ceramic tile or solid wood planks, but the plastic does not warp or crack, and it never needs to be refinished. Additionally, the plastic is very easy to mop or vacuum clean when snacks and drinks are spilled.

Create a flexible floor plan
The perfect man cave needs a lot of space for activities, and it needs to take into account that those activities may evolve over time. While it may be necessary for a bench press station to be near the recliner now, that recliner may move to the other side of the room in a few months to make room for a new pool table. When more space is open, more options are available to add new activities, such as a dart board, pinball machine, or professional card table. An open floor plan also allows plenty of room for friends to participate in these activities.

Install electrical outlets
Many man cave activities require electrical power. From electric guitars to video games and flat-screen televisions, the basement cave offers many different possibilities for manly fun. It may also be necessary to have enough outlets to engage in several of these activities at one time, especially if there are friends in the man cave. Consider also adding a small dorm-size refrigerator to the basement man cave to keep beverages and snacks nearby and cold. With all of these options, be sure to have more than enough electrical outlets available. Make sure that there are enough circuits in the main service panel to handle all the new outlets too.

Plan the lighting
Depending on the type of ceiling in the man cave, the best type of lighting is to use overhead lights in the ceiling panels. This illumination works best in a suspended ceiling. When planning the lighting system in the basement, take into account any windows that will allow light to shine into the room, and then add accent lighting with lamps and wall-mounted lighting fixtures to increase the brightness of the basement. There should be enough light in the basement to make all activities visible. Consider using multiple switches throughout the room, and try adding dimmer switches to some of the lights. This will allow control of each area to get the best level of lighting for the activity. For example, dimming the lights over the television area will create the best lighting for watching a movie, while brighter lights will be necessary over the pool table.

Provide storage
Man caves without storage and clean-up supplies can very quickly turn into the messy frat house that no one wants to visit. Include a small closet for storing cleaning supplies and storage bins that can help keep the man cave tidy and usable. Have a place to store snacks and beverages, as well as a location to dispose of any trash left over from these refreshments. Keep decks of cards, poker chips, and other gaming accessories stored in an organized location. There is no need to make a big deal about keeping the man cave clean, but have the proper storage containers in place to maintain some sense of order.

Splurge on a basement bathroom
Adding a bathroom to the basement can be a very expensive endeavor, but this feature allows everyone to stay secluded in the man cave for longer periods of time. The bathroom does not need to be large or overly accessorized, but creating a self-contained room with a toilet and sink makes it convenient for anyone spending a prolonged time in the basement without disturbing anyone in the rest of the house. A basement bathroom makes the man cave an island of its own without any interaction with the upstairs world.