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We all have some level of attachment to our things. However, many of us feel as though we’re drowning in stuff. Fortunately, there’s been a growing movement toward minimalism, and there are numerous methods that can help. Below are three decluttering philosophies to help you clear out and clean up your home and life.
- Feng Shui — The driving principle behind this Eastern philosophy is to create harmony and balance between an individual and his or her environment. Good feng shui invites prosperity and brings an overall sense of well-being into your space. From the front door to the bathroom, small changes to color, decor and furniture arrangement are believed to promote health, wealth, happiness and good energy.
- The KonMari Method — Famed Japanese organizer Marie Kondo promises that you can drastically improve your life by tidying up. In her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” she explains a two-step approach. First, you take all of your possessions and lay them out categorically (clothes first and sentimental pieces last). Then, you hold each item in your hand and decide whether or not it brings you joy. If it doesn’t, you let it go.
- The 90/90 Rule (Minimalism) — This home organization concept also relies on a two-part process. When implementing the 90/90 rule, assess each belonging based on two simple questions: Have I used it within the last 90 days, and will I use it in the next 90 days? If not, it’s time to say goodbye.
Ultimately, there’s no shortage of ways to declutter and simplify your life. The important thing is to be willing to let go of the items that no longer serve you and make way for new experiences.Read More
Cities all over the United States are experiencing unprecedented population swells. Fueled by a general migration to urban areas, these boomtowns are supported by steady job growth and thriving home markets. Here are four standouts whose numbers are on the rise.
A healthy tech industry seems to be tempering the rain in the Pacific Northwest. The promise of employment in the Seattle-Tacoma area is strong and home price growth is even more robust, and together they help make this soggy city one of America’s fastest-growing regions.
Cape Coral-Fort Myers
Occupying the peak spot in Forbes’ 2017 list of America’s fastest-growing regions is Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida. This area is especially popular among retirees. With the near year-round sunshine, exceedingly low tax rates and virtually nonexistent crime, it’s not hard to see why.
In terms of projected job growth, the DFW area is proving everything is bigger in Texas. The housing market is also solid, which may explain why four out of five of the fastest-growing southern cities are in the Lone Star State. Perhaps not surprisingly, two of them are Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs.
Farther west, Denver takes the prize for highest home price growth. The strong economy and seasonal amenities make this Colorado capital a go-to for savvy real estate investors.
Of course, thanks to a tech economy that’s growing at breakneck speeds, these four cities aren’t the only ones undergoing serious expansion. As tech industries continue to advance, expect to see more parts of the country experience new growth and development.Read More
October isn’t just about pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween celebrations; it’s also Energy Awareness Month. Find out how you can reduce your household’s energy consumption this fall while preparing for the seasons ahead.
Reducing Home Energy Use
The average U.S. household consumes tens of thousands of kilowatt hours of electricity each year, and much of it is completely unnecessary. Making changes as simple as adding a few energy-efficient appliances and turning off gadgets when you’re not using them can save you a significant amount of money while also reducing your carbon footprint.
Don’t fret if new Energy Star-labeled appliances aren’t in the budget. Instead, try working in a few small changes from this Home Energy Checklist to help you save throughout the year. Here are a few more ideas:
- Unplug electronics, gaming consoles and chargers when not in use.
- Insulate your water heater with a blanket and turn the temperature down to at least 120 degrees.
- Replace bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs and turn them off anytime you leave a room.
- Schedule an energy audit and replace your thermostat with a programmable unit.
Prepping Your Home for the Cold
During cooler months you can save additional money and energy with simple, inexpensive fixes like:
- Using insulating drapes to help diffuse winter chill. Just make sure to open any south-facing drapes to take advantage of the sun’s natural heating capabilities.
- Finding and sealing air leaks. Check your windows, doors and pipes, and use weatherstripping or caulk to stop cool air from seeping in.
- Closing fireplace dampers when not in use. You can also have the entire flume completely sealed off if you use your home’s heating system exclusively.
Reducing your energy consumption not only makes a positive contribution to our planet, it also leaves money on the table for fun fall pastimes. With just a few of these small changes, you can get more from your energy budget.Read More