If you are like me, the colder weather and darker days drives you indoors and causes you to reflect on all those projects you just never got around to doing. Sad thing is, those exact projects have developed a habit of being avoided every year for as long as I can remember. For me it is painting the front door, getting the attic insulated, and finally laying the stair carpet leading down to the basement. None of them are rocket science or require me selling a kidney to pay for it, but still, for whatever reason… it seems I have gone out of my way to NOT do them.

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Do you hear that? That’s the sound of no more comings and goings at all hours, no more pounding music coming from the basement and bedrooms simultaneously, and no more tripping over way too many shoes kicked off at the door. All that frantic, constantly on-the-go noise has been replaced with peace and calm, and you are left with house now whispering in your ear, asking to be re-invented.

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Steps to De-Cluttering and Feeling Darn Good About It

From all directions these days, someone is telling us we should be de-cluttering our homes and reverting to so-called “simple living”. For those of us who are curious and want to have a taste of this liberating style, as suggested in this BBC article, the process of getting there isn’t necessarily as easy or as intuitive as they make it sound.

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Maybe for the first time, you find yourself with the opportunity of becoming a landlord. I say, don’t let those tales of nightmare tenants scare you off. If I can make a success of it, so can you! Over the years, I have fine-tuned an approach which has served me well in finding the right tenants and as a result, maintaining my investment.

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The moment you make the decision to put your house on the market, you are already beginning the process of detachment: you are closing the door to your emotional tie to these four walls and now pondering the change and your next home, with all the exciting newness it brings for you. Once the “For Sale” sign is pitched on the front lawn, you want the buyer to magically appear at the door anxious to sign the contract. Funny how it never seems to happen like that!

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At best, it will be patio furniture, camping equipment and yard tools: items which actually see daylight regularly enough to warrant their storage. But I would guess for most of us, our sheds and barns are choc-a-block with stuff we would struggle to list. THESE kinds of outbuildings are hoarding places and dumping grounds for the things we have gathered over the years and we have convinced ourselves offer great “potential”! Abandoned piles of lumber, a million boxes of screws and nails, the kid’s toys from 20 years ago, broken down mowers, grass trimmers and chain saws, enough opened tins of paint and stain to cover the Lincoln Memorial, not to mention rusty tools, engine parts and plastic plant pots. Then add to all that, years’ worth of cobwebs, mice nests, dead flies and wasps piled at the window…. and maybe a few resident raccoons.

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I like to take full advantage of this period of time. My previous tenants have moved out, and I have given myself a couple of weeks before the move-in date of the new tenants. The contracts I hold require two months’ notice for vacating. This allows me plenty of time to plan what updates, servicing or replacements I wish to do once the property becomes empty. Of course, it is not ideal to have the place empty for too long, as time is most definitely money. The sooner you have the next tenants secured the better, but that small respite between occupants is an ideal opportunity to make some positive changes. Here are a few things I always consider, and a few things I have done before the new tenants arrive:

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To heck with all those self-labeled professional de-clutterers who irritate us with their claims of how unfashionable and unhealthy it is to have an overstuffed and bloated house. Let us reinforce our decade’s long habit and reconsider all the advantages to maintaining a tight grip on our mountainous, ceiling skimming, yet very comforting stuff.

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House Clear-Out Without the Tears

For most of us, at least once in our lifetime, we will find ourselves in this space. The space where we are left to deal with a house full of stuff, following the death of a parent or elderly relative. Often, on the heels of the funeral, comes the sorting and disposing of a lifetime’s worth of personal and household effects.

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If for each project the average installer over orders tile by 5-10%, imagine the volume of leftover tile which finds its way to the landfill. I had been pondering this for years. I can hear you thinking: "what an odd thing to think about". I agree, but some of the tile I have seen thrown away was nothing short of beautiful and therefore such a waste. Here's what I came up with.

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Is it really true that we as a nation go through sofas as we do socks? It would certainly be easy to draw this conclusion, given the number of abandoned sofas seen on street corners and in peoples’ yards, not to mention all of the thrift stores giving up valuable floor space to so many of these hulking upholstered beasts. Most of which will eventually find their way buried in some landfill. Just as my thoughts on the "Tile Graveyards" blog, I was determined to breathe new life into one such unwanted sofa.

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Through Laramie, over to the west and tucked back off the Snowy Range Road lies just shy of half a dozen thousand acres of what me as Brit would call: "The biggest bowl of English strawberries and ice cream" you could ever imagine! In other words, the kind of rare natural magic which makes you stop dead in your tracks. This place steals your breath for sure.

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There are a few who find it easy to just not collect anything. They are able to keep their homes, workplace and even their vehicles clutter free and void of anything which does not deliver a regular use and purpose. These people are rare. For the majority of us, we hate to throw anything away. Be it a gift or something we have paid hard earned money for ourselves, we just need to keep it close and keep it for a long long time. The most obvious down-side to hugging all this stuff is how it turns our environments into places of disorder, untidiness and confusion. And you know what they say: "our homes and workspaces represent our state of mind and attitude towards ourselves".

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