5 things to remember when planning renovations or maintenance on your home

Regular maintenance of your home is necessary and renovations can be very exciting but preparing for any kind of work to be done on your home can be stressful and a potential minefield.

Here at The Clutter Fairy we help our Clients by supporting them through these difficult projects to ensure they achieve the end result they are looking for with minimal disruption!

Here are our 5 basic steps to consider when undertaking such projects:

  • Ask friends/family for tradesman recommendations, preferably people that you trust and who have the same standards are yourself! It’s always worth popping a note on Social Media to see if anyone in your wider friendship group knows someone locally that they can recommend too.
  • Advertise the job on the various websites available for example, Rated People or Trust a Trader. Don’t forget to read the reviews of the tradesman who respond as there will still be some tradesman registered and pitching for the work who might not have the greatest reviews…
  • Get at least 3 quotes – this gives you the chance to see what price is fair and to look for consistencies in the advice you are given. Remember, cheapest isn’t always best and you need to make sure you are getting someone qualified to do the job!
  • Document your expectations of the job and ask the tradesman in question to review and feedback on your requests so that you can both agree on what is going to happen prior to work starting. Include things like –
    • Measurements
    • Material specifications
    • Timescales
    • Costs
    • Guarantees

Oh and don’t forget to include whether you want the tradesman to clean up after themselves and to take away any rubbish (it’s something that most people forget to ask and can be quite a bind if you have to deal with it yourself).

  • Be realistic and open about your expectations, there is nothing more frustrating for a tradesman to find their Client wants the world on a stick on a very low budget or that they’ve not been doing something quite as expected and haven’t had any feedback to enable them to make the necessary adjustments. Keep the communication channels open but be fair in terms of what you can expect (I refer back to Point 2 here, if this is in place there are less likely to be any ‘miscommunications’).

Citizens Advice also gives more detailed advice around the planning/insurance/contract aspects here that we would recommend reading.

As always if you would like more advice on any aspects of decluttering, organising or home staging please do get in touch via our our Website or Facebook and Twitter.

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What’s the best home improvement you can make?

 

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Ideal Home Show 2014

I had a really interesting day at the Ideal Home Show at Earls Court in London on Friday. I was delighted to be asked to be an expert declutterer in the Anglian Home Advice Centre. I chatted to lots of people about to embark on extensions, big interior design projects, new house builds and so on but over and over again people were admitting to having a real problem with clutter. So, as I looked around at the high tech storage solutions, beds that morph into home offices, furniture designs that promise to ‘ declutter in one step’ (with a cupboard – how does that work?!), I think I could challenge the big players at the show with my offering. A session with the Clutter Fairy is effective, straightforward, efficient and definitely cheaper than an extension!

In a decluttering project, storage and what form it needs to take should be investigated late. All too often I hear of people about to embark on a declutter who first pop off to IKEA to buy extra storage. Not necessary! Declutter first – identify what you are going to keep, gather like with like and then see if you have gaps in your storage. At that point you will know whether or not you need anything, whether it is utility or something more aesthetically appealing, what the dimensions should be and whether it needs to be divided into sections and so on.

Decluttering is a cathartic process – you will never be disappointed; you will always get a great result. Your rooms appear bigger, you have more space, you can find what you need, you save time searching for things you’ve lost, you save money not shopping for things you already have. Need I go on?

All too often, we spend vast amounts of money, time and effort trying to create the perfect space in which to live. Whether you want a storage box or an extra room, if you don’t clear your clutter it will never be enough. Maybe that perfect home is already there; it’s just buried knee deep in stuff you don’t need. So, give it a go, invest in the best home improvement you’ve ever made and allocate time to a declutter or go one step further and ask for expert help to guide you through the process. You know where we are!

 

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Me at the Anglian Home Improvement Advice Centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It took me 6 years to take the plunge to declutter so how did it work out?

This morning I received a testimonial from a client I recently worked with. I have posted it in its entirety – nothing added nothing taken away.

Setting the scene

8 years ago I lost my partner of nearly 30 years. Living – no; existing in a large house, rattling round with rooms that I may visit once a week or month, monthly outgoings humungous. Obviously time to move.

Me – disorganised and de-motivated. My idea of filing – a foot high pile of papers – obviously the old ones are on the bottom – that is until the stack falls over – around the two foot mark if you are interested.

I’m an extremely private person and the house is full of memories, mementos and 30 years of clutter. After several abortive attempts (over 6 years)  to ‘tidy up’ so I can at least see what I have and then think the unthinkable – put the house up for sale – I gave up, took to my bed and said that’s it.

Then I literally realised the path I need – a house doctor – like you see on TV. How to find – the internet.

I interviewed a couple who didn’t feel quite right then Lesley stepped in. I knew immediately she was the one. Why? Very discreet, actually understood the problems. I wanted it done in 2 weeks. She suggested more gradually over 2 months. I ‘gave in’ – why pay a professional and then think you know better than them?

I am so glad I went with my gut feelings. She was right on every count – see below. We decided on a budget, times and terms. Her remit – to have the house ready for the estate agent’s pictures (staging). Obviously there are several stages like de-cluttering, organising and designing the look and feel of the rooms before the end result is attained.

How did it work out?

Lesley arrived complete with bags for recycling another colour for the tip another for paper and collapsible crates. Me – extremely nervous – here is a stranger going through my things. I really could not fault her. She got on with it and nothing fazes her.

The most important aspect was her understanding. Emotional stuff I thought I had dealt with suddenly comes to the surface via the memories unearthed. Anyone who has been bereaved will know what I mean. Suddenly you are in bits. Lesley knew immediately what the problem was and averted the potential disaster.

We worked in short periods of two/three days – which gave me time to recover and do my ‘homework’. The end result is amazing. Not only my view but the estate agents who came to value the property.

Yes it is hard work – this decluttering and organising job – words I’ve never used before but now I have a house fit for a king and I’m proud of it as well.

Briefly
Lesley can organise, declutter and stage superbly – exactly what it says on the box; but she brings other dimensions to the task; empathy and being discreet. She does it with feeling. Not only feelings for the job in hand but more importantly feelings for the client. She really does care and supports the client emotionally throughout. The other aspect she brings is her discreetness and she honours your privacy. Would I use her again. YES! Unreservedly and without question. My only regret. Not finding her 6 years ago.