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9 Things To Look For When Renting Or Leasing

9 Things To Look For When Renting Or Leasing

This week’s post is a little out of the ordinary.

Due to recent events, I have become inspired to write about important things you need to look out for when moving into a new place.

Sometimes, it can take time to really check all the items we need off a list. However, when the deal is long term, it is important to know your health (and anxiety) are not at stake.


when getting a new house


This one might be a bit obvious, but come on… more often than not we are willing to overlook a few cracks in exchange for the cute overlook onto the garden. No, ma’am. Be sure this sign is not indicating to you that the house is in need of more than a little TLC. Ask questions!


Be sure to take a good look around the backyard (if there is one) and then around the perimeter of the home. Standing water = bugs… and not the fun lady kinds. Mosquitos, flies, etc. Know how much work its going to take you to prevent these pesky critters.


Flush the toilet, run the water in the sink, check the hose outside… be sure you’ve got good pressure. If the pressure is low, there could be a bigger problem i.e. the plumbing, which could lead to bigger problems down the road.


In the Texas springs and summers, we all know how important it is to consistently change the air filters in our homes. Before you move in, be sure you have a place for the filter. Most homes do, but I have recently come across places that have a major air filter problem. Don’t let allergens have the chance to build up without any respite!


Read, read, read, my friends. My current apartment manager was annoyed I took the time to read my lease, but boy am I glad. When I re-signed, he had put in the wrong time frame for my stay; he had me down for an entire year when I only signed on for six months! Don’t let a typo get in the way of you understanding your responsibilities as the tenant or owner. READ THE FINE PRINT and be sure you get a copy.


Negligence is more prominent in the renting and leasing world than I anticipated. Be sure when you move in, that you are getting the first and only set of keys for the locks in your home. You don’t want some “used to be tenant” coming in randomly looking for that really important item they left. Nip it in the bud.


Man, oh, man… be sure you know when the flooring was last replaced and or refurnished. 10 year old carpet most likely means that more people’s skin, hair, nails, and all kinds of other gifts are left right under your feet. Ask questions: How long has it been since the floors have been replaced? What kind of damage are you responsible for if there is a flood or leak that ruins it? 


All of the previous items have come to one critical part of your move in: INSPECTION. I’d like to think that each renter cares about the well-being of his tenants… WRONG! They want money. They want a consistent check from you, and that’s about it. Be sure you are covered if, God forbid, anything major happens during your stay. If things are already in a chaotic state, at least you have paper to prove it.


Get in touch with your insurance company and be sure you are covered. Also be sure your coverage covers YOU and not just the paper pushers “managing” your stay. It’s not a lot and some companies will give you a discount if you already have auto, life, or any other insurance policies with them.


There is an endless list of things to keep on the lookout, but hopefully this provides you with a good start.



8 Things To Get Rid Of Right Now

8 Things To Get Rid Of Right Now

A lot of the clutter in our homes consists of items we don’t notice.


We never actually use them or have too much of the same thing.


Here are 8 things you can get rid of right now.

love letter


What about the time I graduated high school? What about when I had my first baby? While these are great memories, there are other ways to never forget i.e. pictures and other physical items. Plus, you were there! If you cannot bare to part with certain ‘thank you’s’ and ‘congratulations’s’ keep one per occasion and file them away. For the others, time to bring out the recycle bin.



Ok ladies… I’ve seen your bathrooms and I know you don’t want to open ‘that drawer’ so ease your anxiety and take a few minutes to trash all the expired makeup lurking in your bathroom, room, bag & car.



We all have them… we all loathe them each laundry cycle. Bite the bullet and chuck the socks with missing mates! Maybe they’ll find each other elsewhere someday.



We may not even notice, but there is probably expired food in the pantry and fridge that needs to be tossed. Take a few minutes to go through the freezer, fridge & all your dry goods. You might be surprised.



Why do we have an all purpose cleaner, window cleaner, counter cleaner, bathroom cleaner, counter cleaner, car cleaner etc? We only need a few of these items to get the job done. You can take your unused or slightly used chemicals to your city’s recycle and reuse program’s physical location. Here is the one for Austin.

excess of sharpies


“But I never can find one!” I can relate to this sentiment, but even taking a minute to peruse through your personal collection might make your heart skip a beat. Take your favorite few pens and pencils to one (or two) designated locations. Put one in your purse, in the car, in the kitchen, etc. And chuck or donate the rest.



Because of this “hyper-digital” age, a lot of us are watching our favorite shows and movies online. This weekend, go through your movies and books and sell them at Half Price. I had heard horror stories about not getting anything from them for books and movies my friends treasured, but I got almost $50 bucks. It might be worth it for some gas money.

plastic bags


So, I know you Austinites understand our plastic bag policy, but for those of you who still rely on the convenience of taking these guys from the store, it’s time to invest in the reusable bag. Keep some plastic bags for traveling or a pair of dirty shoes at some point, but get rid of the rest; they’re taking up space.


You may even find there are other items you can easily ditch along the way.

Happy decluttering!

DDR Your Life

DDR Your Life

When it comes to home organization, it can be hard to know where to start.


We have a lot of stuff and not enough time.


We want fast results and we want the end result to be pretty.


How about a little DDR?




This is the most important aspect of what I do.

I advertise “creating functional space where everything has a place” and I desire to find the right spot for all of your belongings, but it is important to know that organization that looks good and feels good comes more often when there is less stuff in the way.

To properly downsize, a good chunk of time is needed. When downsizing, there are a few steps:

1. Pick a space.

2. Have three boxes and a trash bag handy, label the boxes: Donate, Sell, Relocate

3. Go through every item in the space: pick it up, hold it, and decide if you want to donate, sell, relocate, or trash the item.

4. Do this with each space in your home you wish to work on.

While this may seem more like organizing, it is much easier to downsize while categorizing than having to go back through each item at a later time.

Application: We have a lot going on. We have kids to feed, appointments to make, phone calls to take, and not enough time in the day. Take a moment to note the most important tasks for the week: “make this appointment”, “call this person”, and schedule “To Do” for each day to spread out your work load.




Now that we have more room to work, it’s time to figure out trouble spots in the home.

One of the easiest ways to determine if an area in your home is a trouble spot is to notice any space that may be visible after downsizing.

You can also walk around your house with a pen and paper to make notes about places you notice that have no defining purpose. A defining purpose can be described as an area that has one function.

Q: Does this area have a defining purpose? 

Yes: Like items are in this area, each item has a designated home

No: Random items are placed together, I put items here when I don’t know what to do with them

If you determine that the area DOES NOT have a defining purpose, make a note and work in this area after your home tour using the mini DDR method. (i.e. go through each item and decide what to do with it right then and there, keep like items in this space and find homes for the other items)

Application: Whether its the random assortment of things in your car console or apps you never use, take a few minutes to consciously get rid of some clutter in your life.




Redesign is my favorite aspect of the Mine Space process.

It is one thing to move an item to a different part of the house, but we don’t often go through our spaces in depth.

Redesigning a space is simply allowing the space to be created organically and figuring out its function. The function of the space may not make itself known until this phase.

The relocation box is attended to at this time until all items are gone through and each one is either donated or given a new home.

We need to know there will be space for the item, and since we have already determined we want to keep it, we know we aren’t just adding more clutter to the house.

Application: Maybe there’s a workout routine you’d like to start or maybe you’d like to make  more meals at home. Whatever your weekly subgoals may be, take note of them this week and watch your productivity soar.


If you have any questions or concerns about your space, please leave a comment below or email me directly.


7 Items To Find A Home For This Weekend And Beyond

7 Items To Find A Home For This Weekend And Beyond

I just had it!


If you catch yourself thinking or saying this aloud, you are not alone.


We are notorious for misplacing that one item we swear we just used.


Using three basic techniques, we can find homes for every item in our homes:


  1. Like with like

  2. Consistency

  3. Permanent placement

keys hanging



We’ve all lost these darn things so many times, if not on a daily basis.

Command hooks or a tack by the door you frequently enter and exit through is a good place to start.

If you don’t like command hooks, you can screw in a metal wall hook or get creative with something else.

You can buy command hooks for a dollar at the Dollar Tree and wall mounted hooks are sold at Walmart and Target.


phone charging



I know most of us have at least two of these for the purpose of being more likely to find one when needed, but let’s discuss home options for these chorded critters.

If you…

Charge your phone next to your bed, keep it there.

Find your phone usually has low battery when you are on your way to work, it may be time to invest in a car charger if you don’t have one.

Travel more often than not, it would be in your best interest to carry one in your work bag permanently, too.

Like to have your phone and charger secure, you can make your own “charging station.”

And if you are on the go, an unused glasses case works great for storing a charger and head phones.

cat licking



I have a big fluffy cat that I love.

She is my precious girl but she is also an unbearably fluffy kitty that sheds nonstop.

Whether you have a cat or a dog, pet hair ends up in places we never thought it could. Under the bed and couch, behind (and on) the TV, and especially on our clothes.

The lint roller is a small sticky gift that is easy to misplace. I found two jumbo rolls for a deal somewhere (Target, maybe?) and since then I keep one in my car (this can be placed in your middle console, side storage in the car, etc.) and in my bathroom for the house.

The mini lint rollers are great to have on the go, so stick one in your purse, too!

three mailboxes



When I say mail, I don’t mean the enormous amount of coupons that come to us, I mean the important documents they are still sending via mail like bills, notices, discount deals at our favorite stores, etc.

I have started trying to deal with mail right after I get it, but sometimes this is not the most timely task.

I like this tutorial from craftandrepeat. They use plastic formula containers, but this could also be done with empty plastic coffee containers.

Just be sure to hang or place this where you deal with your mail and label the container with the items they should contain.




“I have a billion of these everywhere!”

Most people do, but it becomes difficult to find a working pen when it’s needed.

I recently went through all my old pens and pencils and threw away/donated most of them. I kept my favorite working writing utensils and put most of them right on my desk, but I also have a couple pens in a glass jar near my front door, in the console of my car, my work bag, and my purse.

You never know when you or a friend may need a pen.

TV with books



One of the biggest turn offs for relaxation has got to be when the remote is M.I.A.

Side tables are great for remote storage, but we usually have more than one person in our homes using the same TV and the remote tends to disappear.

Wooden jewelry boxes are a stylish storage option that can be placed in the TV console area or on a side table. If you are crafty, you can make your own remote holder for the arm of the couch or buy one at Walmart for $7.

man holding sunglasses



For summer in Texas, having our sunglasses with us on the lake, in the river, or on that commute from work is a necessity, so why are they so easy to lose?

Keeping a pair in your car console or on the dash is the way to go, but that can be hard to remember.

Like with keys, installing a small metal rack or placing a command hook on the wall is an easy fix to a frustrating problem. For the DIY er, here is a cute and fun project for storing all the family’s shades.