Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mudroom Mayhem

I came home the other day and proceeded to trip over plethora of shoes in our mudroom.   I felt like a child in the ball pit at McDonald's, sinking further toward the bottom as the shoes surrounded me.  There were boots, tennis shoes, sandals, dress shoes and flip flops in multiple styles and sizes.  Seriously!  How many shoes does one family need?? It is definitely time to clean out and declutter.  And not just the mudroom!  If you are like me and need to do some spring cleaning, here are some ideas on decluttering, the environmentally friendly way!

Tennis shoes - recycle those worn out athletic shoes at  Movin' Shoes on Park St.  Movin' Shoes has partnered with Nike and the National Recycling Coalition in the Reuse a Shoe program.

Wine drinker?  Recycle wine corks at Whole Foods Market.

Electronics to dispose of?  Checkout ecycle For Hope  The program takes cell phones, computers, dehumidifiers and more.  They ask that you bring $5 or 5 cans of non-perishable food items to donate to local food pantries.

Wire hangers overtaking your closet?  Klinke's Cleaners locations will take them off your hands!

When in doubt, there's always Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul.  Happy Spring cleaning...I'm going to start now!

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Concessions of a Home Buyer

Ahh, the excitement of looking for a new home!  There is definitely a thrill in the search....until you can't find exactly what you want. Drat!

That's typically when the home buyer begins to make concessions.  Maybe having stainless steel appliances isn't a deal-breaker.  Maybe a one car garage will be enough space.  Perhaps a bath and a half will work instead of two full baths.

I have some buyers who are grappling with those concessions right now.  They want a 4 bedroom house with a family room or rec room near West High School or in the Sunset Village/Sunset Hills neighborhoods.  We have looked at all the possibilities, but haven't been able to find quite the right one.  Now they are starting to change their criteria.  Maybe they can get by with 3 bedrooms instead of four.  Maybe they would be up for a kitchen remodel.

We are still in the early stages of the process and I'm confident they'll be able to find something they love in the coming weeks without sacrificing too many of their "must-haves".  The house they are looking for is out there, we just need to find it...perhaps you know of a house that might work for them??  Drop me a note if you do.  I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trash or Treasure?

One man's trash is another man's treasure, or so the saying goes.  Need to get rid of some junk in your house?  Looking for treasures to add to your collection? Want to support our neighborhood public school?  If you are looking to find that special item, check out the Midvale Rummage Sale sponsored by the Midvale School PTO on Saturday March 24th.

Can't make it?  You can still help out by donating gently used items such as household items, clothing, furniture and kids items on Thursday March 22nd after school or all day on Friday March 23rd - sorry, no TV's, monitors or computers. 

Check it out...who knows, you might find the treasure of a lifetime!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Garden Inspiration

Looking for some spring garden inspiration?  Head over to Olbrich Botanical Gardens for the annual Spring Flower Show.

Wander through the atrium and take in the colorful tulips, daffodils and hyacinths.  This year's show is an explosion of color that offers some interesting ideas.  Glass bottles filled with colored water line a stone wall and a wedding cake display offers some whimsy.  A series of logs topped with pillows provide seating around a stone table set for a meal.  You are sure to find an idea or two to incorporate into your own garden!

Olbrich's Spring Show is open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through March 25th.  A $2 admission donation is suggested.  Proceed benefit Olbrich Gardens.  Select flowers from the show will be available for purchase on Monday March 26th at noon while supplies last.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fix A Leak Week

An American home, on average, can waste more than 10,000 gallons of water a year from leaking fixtures, dripping faucets and running toilets.  Nationwide, more than 1 trillion gallons of water leak from U.S. homes each year.  Why does that matter?  Well,  water is our most precious resource, and there is concern about shortages in the not too distant future.  Many municipalities are working on ways to use less water whenever possible.

Bathrooms are the biggest culprits of water use, accounting for more than half of a families water use in the home.  The EPA is working to nip the drip with a WaterSense program.

WaterSense is an EPA partnership program designed to save water by replacing older, inefficient fixtures with WaterSense models.  Does it work?  Yes!  For instance, a bathroom makeover with WaterSense fixtures can save 7,000 gallons of water a year.  That's enough water to wash six months' worth of laundry!  Pretty cool, huh?

So during Fix a Leak Week, March 12-18th, check your plumbing fixtures.  And fix those leaks!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spring Housing Market Arrives Early

Ahh, warmer weather and longer days!  Now that we have entered the month of March, you can almost feel that spring will arrive soon.

Spring evokes feelings of renewal, growth and new beginnings.  In the housing market, spring is usually the busiest time of year for buying and selling homes.  In Madison, that "spring season" doesn't typically begin until April.

Like the mild-weather, spring has sprung early in the Madison housing market. Buyers are out in droves to view open houses.  Sellers are out there early this year, too.  At a recent open house, I had more than 25 potential buyers view the property. 

So what's the reason for the early activity this year?   I think it's due to a couple of things.  The warm weather has certainly played a role.  The lack of snow has also been an asset for house hunting....no snow mounds to crawl over!  Finally, and this may be the biggest reason, the Capitol is quiet.  Last year at this time, the protests in downtown Madison was national news.  People were nervous.  Rather than make a decision to buy or sell a home, they held tight, which was a decision in itself.

It's still a buyers market, but homes in good condition and a reasonable price are selling quickly.  In fact, there are three homes in the Westmorland/Sunset Village neighborhoods that have sold within 10 days of being on the market.  That's a far cry from the 90-120 days we were seeing last year!

So, the moral of the story is that if you have any inkling that you might be interested in buying or selling a home this year, my advise is to get out there are start looking.  Spring is here early!