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Decluttering Before the Holiday Chaos

Ahh, the sweet smell of November. Can you hear those sleigh bells ringing? Or smell that pumpkin spice scent? We sure can. Now that we are that much closer to the two major holidays of the year, we are (inevitably) that much closer to having to make sure our homes are as clean and tidily kept as possible for all those guests and parties. It can seem like a daunting task, so we wanted to let you in on two tips to get you started in decluttering your stuff while still making sure your home is nicely decorated and presentable.


Categorizing your items into seasonal uses is one of the first things you could do in order to minimize which items you still want to leave out on display. Take down any summer-esque decorations, random knick-knacks, or anything that doesn’t fit your fall theme. Thinking about it in terms of what fits the season will make it a bit easier to determine what you should stay and what should get put away (for now).


Once you’ve determined what is staying for the fall and winter seasons, it’s time to put them away. How, you might ask? There are many options you can take when it comes to how you organize things that are not currently in use – you can throw them under the bed, pile them up in the garage, or in the corners of your house and hope that no one asks about it. But is that most effective? Certainly not.

Instead, we suggest investing in a few boxes (very cost effective) that double as decor. You can find these at Target, Walmart, or IKEA to name a few places. Most of the time, you can buy a small shelf to store them in – feel free to mix and match patterns, colors, etc., to also spruce up your space at the same time. We have also included a few of our favorite picks for shelves (on sale)!

If you are wanting a more durable, stylish option, investing in a chest or storage ottoman might be one of the best decisions for you. Easily a statement piece, they can really liven up the appearance of your living room or bedroom, and often times double as a small table/space to place more decor on top. Be sure to check out a few of our picks (that are also on SALE)!


Have any other tips for decluttering your home? Be sure to leave us a comment below!

Bree's Blog

Kid-Proof (and Pet-Proof!) Furniture Finds

If have kids and pets in your home, you know you sometimes need to make some compromises to keep them — and your furniture — safe. When kids and pets are in the mix, certain shapes, textures and even colors are suddenly off limits.

From the living room to the bedroom, these are my five top furniture picks for family-proof living.

click to read more

Bree's Blog

How to deep-clean your kitchen

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Bree here, from Home Zone Furniture.

Whether you’re hosting out-of-towners over the holidays or simply planning a festive cocktail party, one thing’s for certain: A clean kitchen is a must! At our house, the kitchen becomes the gathering place where drinks are poured and dinner is made. If you’ve also got people congregating in the kitchen this season, you’ll want to be sure that it’s spick and span.

While there are many powerful cleaning solutions on the market to make your kitchen shine, I suggest using products you already have on hand at home for a truly safe and effective deep clean! Here’s how I get my annual kitchen deep-clean done.


Instead of using your oven’s self-cleaning setting or cleaning products with strong chemicals to clean your oven, try an easy, non-toxic method with vinegar and baking soda.

Turn off your oven, remove the racks, and make a baking soda paste with 1/4 cup of baking soda and 3 tablespoons of water. Next, coat the oven in the paste and let it sit overnight or for 12 hours. When the time’s up, take a damp cloth and wipe out the paste and the gunk that comes off with it. If there are still clumps of baking soda here and there, spray vinegar in these places, let it fizz, then wipe it out with your damp cloth until it’s gone.


The best way to clean your microwave is to steam-clean it. In a microwave-safe bowl, place 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup vinegar. Put the bowl in the microwave and heat it for 5-10 minutes, depending on how dirty your microwave is. Let the bowl sit for a while to cool off, then take it out with mitts. Next, take a sponge and scrub the inside of the steamy microwave — the mess will come right out!


The kitchen never feels completely clean without a spotless floor. Go beyond the normal sweep or vacuum by mopping with a deep-cleaning deodorizing mixture. There are, of course, many cleaning solutions on the market to get your kitchen tiles shiny and clean, but this simple homemade recipe is my favorite because it’s gentle, non-toxic and easy on kids and pets.

To make the solution, mix a gallon of water with a cup of white vinegar in a bucket and mop normally. It’ll give you that good, clean feeling using products you already have in your arsenal.


Nothing puts a kink in a dinner party more than a kitchen sink that simply won’t drain. Protect against this possible mishap by cleaning out your drain beforehand.

To do so, first flush the drain with a pot of boiling water. Next, add 1/2 cup of baking soda and let it sit for a few minutes. Afterwards, pour in a cup of vinegar to create a fizzing reaction and dislodge any lingering food bits in the drain. Once the drain has bubbled, pour in one more pot of boiling water to completely flush out the sludge, and you’re done!


For a flawless stainless steel or porcelain sink, sprinkle your sink with baking soda, then gently scrub in circular motions with a soft, damp sponge. When you’ve scrubbed the entire sink, rinse the sink with vinegar. The combination of ingredients will create a fizzing reaction that cleans and deodorizes.

Next, rub the sink basin down with an orange or lemon peel to further deodorize and create some shine. As the final step, take a paper towel, add a touch of olive oil and buff the sink basin for an even surface with a beautiful shine.


Bree's Blog

Tips for keeping your home neat for holiday guests

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Bree here, from Home Zone Furniture.

Are you entertaining guests in your home this holiday season? Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, hosting guests always comes with a bit of stress. To me, one of the most important hostess duties if getting your home clean before guests arrive and keeping it that way through their stay. A clean home will not only make guests feel welcome, but it will also give you a sense of order and calm, even when your house is bursting at the seams with family and friends.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and the whole house needs to be cleaned, begin with the guest bedroom and bathroom. Start by decluttering the shelves and surfaces as much as you possibly can. Temporarily take away any personal knick knacks to create an inviting hotel vibe and give guests the room to set their things down.

Throw all of the guest room linens and towels into the laundry. If you need to buy new bed linens, towels and washrags for the occasion, go for white because you can always bleach them. Once the linens have been cleaned and the bed is remade, be sure to put out a variety of pillows and extra blankets.

Once you’ve decluttered and completed the laundry, it’s time to clean the guest bedroom and bathroom. Work from the top down wiping surfaces, dusting thoroughly and vacuuming the area. Now’s the time to also clean the ceiling fan and clean under the bed, too.

After you’ve cleaned the bathroom, outfit it with the essentials so your guests don’t have to ask. Leave a stack of towels, a washrag, extra toilet paper, cotton balls and ear swabs. If you really want to go the extra mile, include a small basket of travel-sized toiletries.

Help your guests keep their room clean by making space in the closet for their clothes and opening a folding stand for their luggage to sit on. If your guest is staying for more than a few days, put out a laundry basket for them and offer to run a load for them.

Once the guest room is in good condition, it’s time to tackle the common areas. After you’ve decluttered and cleaned, launder any upholstered furniture and blankets your guests might use.

Ensure the common areas of your home stay clean by organizing before guests arrive. Consider a basket for blankets, a magazine rack, and a charging station to keep all cords and plugs contained. At the end of every night, after your guests go to bed, take an extra five minutes to put everything from the remote control to the pillows back in their designated places so your guests wake up to a clean home.

How do you keep your home neat while entertaining guests?


Bree's Blog

How To Prepare Your Home Before Going On Vacation

Bree here, from Home Zone Furniture.

Are you heading out of town this summer? No matter where your travel plans may take you, be sure to prepare your home before you take off. From common-sense pointers to some lesser-known tips, this checklist will help you save money, reduce mess and eliminate disaster risk while you’re away.

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Electronics not in use continue to pull energy and cost you money. Save a few extra bucks while you’re away by unplugging everything from the coffee pot to the television. Aside from cutting down on energy consumption, unplugging electronics will also help prevent possible small fires caused by a power surge.

Good timing

A quiet, inactive house can be a target for crime. Create the illusion that someone’s home by arranging for your lights to go on and off at various times throughout the day. If you hire a house sitter, have them turn on a different set of lights before they leave so the house appears tended to. If a house sitter isn’t an option, consider putting your lights on timers so they change accordingly. Keep in mind that just as keeping all lights off signifies that no one is home, keeping all lights on can send the same message!

Clean up

Before you leave, clean the house, take out the trash and wash your dishes. As you go room to room cleaning up, don’t forget to clean out the fridge and throw away any produce that might be ripening on your countertop. No one wants to come home to a gallon of spoiled milk or a bowl of rotting fruit! If you’ll be gone for more than three days, I suggest throwing away anything with an expiration date.

Temperature control

Save money while you’re out of town by adjusting the thermostat. Before you leave on summer vacation, bump the temperature of your empty house up to 80 or 85 degrees if you’re going to be gone for three or more days. Sure, it might be a little toasty when you come back, but you’ll be amazed at how much energy you’ll save with this temporary change.

Enlist a neighbor

Sometimes the easiest way to deal with simple home tasks while you’re away is to ask a neighbor to lend a hand. A trusted neighbor can help pick up the mail, put your trash cans out on trash day, and park in your driveway occasionally to show that someone is home. Even if you don’t want to ask someone to perform these housesitting duties, it’s a good idea to let a neighbor know that you’ll be away. If you’ll be gone for longer than a week, consider pausing your mail delivery, and hire a lawn service to mow your yard. A uncharacteristically overgrown yard could signify to thieves you’re away from home.

Lock up

Last but not least, don’t forget to lock all doors and windows before heading out. This may seem like common sense, but it can’t hurt to do a thorough check before you leave. Always remove any lurking hidden keys, too. You might think your hiding place is clever, but the plastic rock near the porch won’t fool everyone.

Once you’ve got the doors locked, the thermometer set and a neighbor alerted, it’s officially vacation time. Bon voyage!