9 Handy Tips to Help You Compost Like a Pro

composting 101

Whether you do a lot of gardening, want to do more for the environment, or wish you could decrease your food waste, you might have heard the term “composting” floating around here and there. It might sound like an intimidating endeavor, but composting is actually a pretty simple and effective way you can reduce your waste while improving your garden, thanks to a bit of scientific know-how! If you’re trying to figure out how you can compost at home, check out our 9 tips below to help you get started:

First of All, What Is Compost?

The mixture you get when you combine kitchen scraps, yard waste, and other organic materials – that’s called compost. It’s the “black gold” that your garden and its soil crave. Why? Compost is rich in plant-friendly nutrients, which is often a blessing to depleted soil. Thanks to a combination of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, moisture, and helpful microorganisms, the organic materials in your heap will break down over time, creating matter that will boost your soil’s ability to grow and nurture more plants!

The Many Benefits of Composting

Did you know that an estimated 30-40% of the food supply in the United States is wasted? Much of that winds up in municipal landfills when it can be enriching your garden instead. Composting can make that happen! Aside from reducing food waste, here are some more excellent benefits that composting can bring:

  • Controls soil erosion while rejuvenating the soil itself
  • Protects and treats plant disease and nutrient deficiencies
  • Revitalizes and filters local water sources
  • Prevents the use of artificial fertilizers and harsh chemicals
  • Reduces methane emissions caused by food and yard waste
  • Decreases landfill costs
  • Lowers farming production costs
  • Positively affects the environment

Sounds great, right? If you’re ready to get started, here are our 9 tips to help you become a composting pro in no time!

Choose the Right Container

When it comes to composting, there are dozens of ways to do it. You just need to find the right way to get the job done for you! Most of the time, this involves buying a container of some sort (instead of relying on worms or burying your food waste straight into the soil). Some options include:

  • Plastic stationary bins: These are probably the most common composting containers! You simply pile a few new layers of material on top of the others and then mix it up every week or so till it’s good to go.
  • Tumblers: These are great for batch composting. They might be a pricier option, but they can help accelerate the composting process. What might take months can take as little as three weeks, thanks to tumblers!
  • Indoor containers: Of course, you can always keep a small container inside your home. These are often used when you want to donate your heap to a community composting location on a weekly basis.

Find the Right Spot

Take a peek out your window. Where are the driest, shadiest spots in your yard? These places could be ideal for your future compost heap, which needs to have a controlled balance of temperature and moisture. If you’d rather do the dirty work indoors, that’s no problem! We recommend finding a cool, dry place to keep your home smelling fresh.

Compost the Right Materials

Unfortunately, you can’t just compost any old thing! You’ll want to avoid including anything that might harm your plants or attract rodents. This includes pet waste, charcoal ashes, animal products (dairy, meat, etc.), and any yard trimmings that were treated with pesticides. What can you include? Essentially, anything that came from the ground – vegetables, fruits, coffee grounds, tea bags, and possibly even shredded, uncoated paper products.

Let the Water Drain

Remember how we mentioned that your compost heap requires just enough moisture to make the magic happen? You’ll want a way for excess water to exit your compost heap. To keep the environment damp, build a base layer of twigs or straw that’s at least a few inches off the bottom of the pile. The remaining water will drain away instantly. Remember, a compost heap should always be damp – never dry nor saturated!

Be Smart About Layering

All successful compost heaps need carbon and nitrogen to decompose. Carbon derives from dry, tough, fibrous materials (browns) while nitrogen comes from lawn waste, kitchen scraps, tea leaves, and coffee grounds (greens). For an effective mixture, layer with one-part green and three-parts brown. This will help waste break down more quickly while keeping any smells at bay. Additionally, only add just a little bit at a time; you don’t want to overwhelm the heap!

Aeration Is Key

Oxygen is another necessary component that helps decompose organic materials. Introduce plenty of oxygen to your compost heap with regular aeration! Every week or two, take your shovel or pitchfork and turn over the material in your outdoor bin to introduce fresh air to the heap, which will help speed the decomposition process.

Keep Flies Away

Fruit flies are bothersome, especially when they find something they like. Keep them away from your compost bin as much as possible by making or purchasing a fruit fly trap, boiling the food waste (it makes it less appealing to fruit flies), or by spreading out how often you add to the heap.

Show Pests They’re Not Welcome

Maybe one of the bigger reasons you’ve been hesitant to start a compost heap is you’re concerned it might attract rodents and other nocturnal critters like possums or raccoons. You can absolutely avoid that by ensuring your final layer is made with brown materials. And remember: don’t compost animal products – that’s what really attracts pests!

Make Your Plants Happy

Does your compost look like smooth, dark, rich soil? If so, then it should be ready to use on your plants and lawn! You can use it in potted plants, garden beds, mulching material, and even your potting soil. If you’d rather not get your hands dirty, a local farmer or community collection center will happily use your compost! If you’ve been wishing you could begin your compost heap or even branch out by starting a vegetable garden and adding a peaceful deck but you’re short on space, don’t worry! Trust the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties to help you find the home of your dreams. Learn more by calling either (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298, or view our current listings here!

15 Easy Tips to Help You De-Stress Your Living Room

how to de-stress your living room

There’s nothing better than coming home to a relaxing space after a long day on the road, running errands, or putting in some work hours. Your living room – perhaps the first space you enter as you open your front door – should be a sanctuary that exudes tranquility. Unfortunately, a disorganized, chaotic living room can ramp up your anxiety, and you may find it difficult to unwind. Don’t worry: there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your space becomes a wonderful, harmonious place to relax! Here are our top 15 tips to help you de-stress your living room:

Clean Up the Clutter

Before you do anything else, take a look around and straighten up your living room. Those piles of papers? Chuck ‘em. Those tchotchkes from 1972 that are taking up space and collecting dust? Stick them in a box and donate them. Don’t forget cord clutter as well, which is a very common source of stress! Go through and organize your belongings, sort out the ones you want to keep or donate, and only keep the things that soothe or inspire you in that space.

Keep It Clean

A dirty space can make you feel tense and uncomfortable, whether you realize it or not. Now that you’ve kicked out the clutter, it’s time to do a little bit of cleaning (it’s always easiest after de-cluttering!). Grab a dust cloth, bring in the vacuum, and wipe down the windows. Once you’re done, light a lovely candle or diffuser to bring in a calm, refreshing scent.

Organize Your Bookshelves

Got bookshelves in your living room? Make sure everything’s in order! Donate anything you don’t want or haven’t touched in years and organize your books as you like – whether by author, by color, or some other way. If that’s too tough, you can always hide the bookshelves with a chic curtain.

Get Clever With Storage Systems

Those power cords, DVDs, and video games need a home, too! Hide them with a few storage boxes or baskets, or in a chest. You can also use storage ottomans to furtively stow your extra pillows and blankets!

Bring Home a Few Plants

There’s just something about plants that soothes us. Find a few cute houseplants and incorporate them in your décor! Pot a polka dotted plant, hang a spider plant, or place a rubber plant in the corner to bring serenity into your space. Not a fan of plants? Fresh-cut flowers or even artificial plants work just as well!

Choose a Relaxing Color Palette

The walls of your home can greatly influence your mood. If you haven’t already, paint your living room in a soothing color or a calming neutral. White can reflect natural light while grays and light browns can also be relaxing. Truly soothing colors like various shades of blues or greens do a great job in keeping you calm. Thinking about incorporating some art pieces to adorn your walls? Consider something soft and pleasing to the eyes. Watercolor compositions can make you feel lighthearted and at ease!

Upgrade Old Furniture

Outdated or old pieces of furniture can make us feel down or stressed. If your living room furniture has seen better days, take it from us – it’s time for something new! Swap them out for newer, brighter pieces that bring you joy, or go ahead and repair or refurbish your furniture to make it feel new again.

Clean Up Your Coffee Table

A cluttered coffee table can easily cause distress. If yours is covered with bills, notes, or anything else, clean up the mess to feel relaxed once more! At most, you should ideally keep 1 or 2 pretty magazines or cherished books on your table for visual interest.

Consider Your Layout

Sometimes moving the furniture around can solve all your problems, especially if your focal point is less than inspiring. Think about your furniture and your living room’s unique layout. What’s the focal point? Brainstorm a little bit and see what you can come up with – you might be surprised!

Introduce Calming Scents

The right scent can work wonders in lifting your spirits. Create a relaxing atmosphere with traditionally calming scents like lavender, vanilla, lemon, or rosemary. You can also burn candles in your favorite scents to get the same effect!

Keep Work Out of the Space

Have you been working out of your living room during the past year or so? You might have noticed that you’ve had a hard time relaxing there lately. Separating your personal and work life is essential if you want to unwind easily at the end of the day. If you can’t take your work into another space, even changing where you sit after work can make all the difference!

Incorporate a Rug or Two

There’s nothing like walking barefoot on the softest rug imaginable. Introduce supple softness and start feeling relaxed by adding an area rug underfoot. You can also incorporate other soft touches through additional textiles like linens, curtains, and cushions. Think velvet, silk, and brushed cotton!

Light Up Your Room

Don’t underestimate the power of good lighting! First off, throw open your curtains, shutters, or blinds and flood your living room with beautiful natural light. Don’t forget to include a few good lamps, a floor lamp, or even dimmers to help you unwind in comforting lighting after the sun sets.

Reconsider Your Noise Sources

We’re all guilty of leaving Netflix on while we do something else in the living room. Guess what? That background noise can contribute toward your stress levels! Be more mindful of where your sounds are coming from and pay attention to how they make you feel. An easy swap? Turn off the TV and play some calming music. Break out the record player or cue up a relaxing playlist to help you chill out.

Stick to a Few Easy Rules Every Day

If you want to relax more regularly in your living room, make it your mission to put everything back in its place once the day is done. This includes paperwork, books, bills, toys, dirty clothes, video games, and anything else you might bring in the living room. Another pro-tip: open your curtains or blinds every single day to take advantage of natural lighting!

Remember, Less Is More

You don’t have to go overboard with bringing in an array of relaxing items or rearranging your furniture. Just do what feels natural to you! What matters most is that your living room’s atmosphere feels inviting and relaxing to you. It absolutely doesn’t need to be a showroom! If you’ve found that you can’t find peace in your living room or throughout the rest of your home, no matter what you’ve tried, you don’t have to feel stuck or alone. Let the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties help you find your perfect sanctuary! Call us today at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 or check out our online listings to get started!

Tricks and Tips for Removing Aggressive Weeds

Following a harsh winter season, spring offers such a welcoming change of scenery. That is, of course, until you start finding pesky weeds growing in your yard! A lot of weeds are actually quite alluring so you might not even recognize them as invasive at first. Others tend to be a real eyesore and can be spotted right away. How did they pop up in the first place? Well, they have to be pretty aggressive in order to survive – weeds do fight other forms of plant life for resources after all. Here are a few tricks and tips for removing those aggressive weeds:

Pulling Weeds

It’s crucial that you start plotting the removal of weeds as soon as you locate them. The most common method involves getting your hands dirty and pulling weeds out of the ground. Don’t wait for them to spread across your property, but do wait until after it rains. The weeds’ roots will slide out much easier from wet soil than they will from the dry stuff. Sometimes, however, weeds need to be physically dug up.

Digging Weeds

Remember those old weeds that you pulled up last year? It really looks like they’re now back with a vengeance. That’s because you may have missed all of their roots or didn’t remove them before they spread their seeds. If you missed the roots the last time around, try breaking out a spade or garden trowel to locate their source. After removal, be sure to fill in the patches around your lawn with new dirt and grass seed. If weed seeds are more of an issue, it may be time to start spraying.

Spraying Weeds

One option to stop weeds in their tracks is to spray herbicides. Pre-emergent herbicides work on annual weeds like crabgrass when they are still seedlings. Post-emergent herbicides take out the weeds that have already grown. When using these, it’s important to wear gloves, eye protection, long sleeves and pants, and closed-toe shoes. Follow the instructions on the label to apply the herbicides properly.

Trimming Weeds

There’s a chance that you’d rather just maintain sprouting weeds on a weekly basis, just like how you cut the grass. If that’s the case, then break out the string trimmer and aim for their heads. This prevents the seeds from spreading – as long as you remember to dispose of them properly!

Proper Weed Disposal

After you have pulled up, dug up, or trimmed the weeds, you still need to throw them all out. What’s the best way to go about this? First, you’ll need a rake and a pair of gloves. Collect all of the weeds and place them into a yard waste bag. Inspect the area thoroughly and make sure that you have picked up any that have fallen back to the ground. Finally, check for the date and time of when your neighborhood picks up yard waste and place the bag on the curb accordingly.

When In Doubt, Mulch It Out!

If you’re still unsure about what to do with the weeds growing in your yard, then rely on mulch! Weed seeds can only germinate if they have access to sunlight, which a few layers of mulch can totally prevent. Mulch also provides nutrients so it will make any of the surrounding flowers or trees thankful for the addition, too.

Get Ahead of the Game

Sick of dealing with weeds year after year? Get ahead of the game by utilizing landscaping fabric or sheets of burlap. Before you put down any mulch, prepare the fabric or burlap by cutting holes just big enough for the plants in your garden or flower bed. Lay it down on the ground, pull the plants through, and voila! You now have a base layer that can smother out any weeds. Add the mulch or a layer of rocks last to make everything look nice and pretty.  

Start Fresh with New Landscaping

Maybe this war on weeds is the last straw to a string of other issues relating to your current living situation. If so, then now’s the time to partner with one of the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties. We’ll make sure that your next home checks all of your boxes, including new and improved landscaping! Check out our current listings or call us at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 today.

The 8 Best Places in Your Home to Use Bold Colors

the 8 best places in your home to use bold colors

We love a good eggshell white or slate gray any day of the week, but keeping your home completely neutral can feel a bit too safe and stale. Sometimes you need to shake things up with a fun, eye-catching color that demands visitors’ attention in the best kind of way. If you’re looking to turn your ho-hum home into a visually stunning sanctuary, we’ve got your back! Here are the 8 top spots in your home that bold colors can make the greatest difference:

Pay Attention to the Details

How long has it been since you’ve actually noticed your baseboards or switch plates? We’d guess probably a good long while. Add a subtle yet bold pop of color in unexpected places around your home! You can start small with switch plates and doorknobs or go big with a bright fireplace mantle (or the fireplace itself!). Don’t forget to breathe new life into your home’s exterior as well – outdoor shutters are fabulous places to add a brilliant new shade of bold color!

Primp Your Powder Room

Is your small bathroom a bit boring and blasé? Add some visual interest with splashes of your favorite hues! Paint the underside of that clawfoot tub or wall-mounted sink in a bright color for a seamless look. Even a navy bathroom with white fixtures and baseboards can make an elegant statement!

Pack a Visual Punch in the Kitchen

The kitchen is one of our favorite spots for so many reasons. Not only is it the heart of the home where we gather and spend time eating and laughing with one another, but it’s also the perfect place to add some zest to your color scheme! Paint your lower or upper cabinets, add fun barstools in an eye-catching color, or update your backsplash to give your kitchen that much-needed pop!

Take It to the Ceiling

If you’re not ready to paint an entire room one shade, start somewhere a little different instead – the ceiling! This makes a world of difference, especially when your room is painted and decorated in neutrals. If the ceiling still seems a bit too intimidating, try something even smaller by adding a gorgeous accent color to your light fixture or lampshades!

Add Unconventionally-Colored Upholstery

Usually, it’s a smart idea to invest in big-ticket items in neutral shades like cream, beige, or charcoal. If you want to add a punch of color without spending thousands of dollars, bring home upholstery in playful hues! Don’t be afraid to step a little outside of your color scheme to add more visual interest. Maybe, for example, you have ruby red chairs in the dining room; if so, try adding a magenta or fuchsia chair in the adjacent living room!

Crank Up the Color on Case Goods

We’re talking bureaus, bookcases, chests of drawers, and wardrobes! Take that boring oak dresser in your bedroom and give it new life with a bold new color of your choice. Adorn it with some fun new hardware and voila – you made a beautiful statement piece without spending much money!

Accentuate Beautiful Architecture

Why wash out your home’s unique architecture with a stark shade of white? Dress it up with a dazzling color that’ll get everyone talking! If that feels like too much, you can always highlight the window frames to create an interesting focal point.

When in Doubt, Start Small

We totally get it – sometimes you just don’t feel terribly comfortable investing in bright colors and would rather stick with metallic or neutrals. There’s no shame there! Instead, play it safe by making a few small changes around your home. Throw pillows, rugs, vibrant artwork, ottomans, throws and blankets, and lampshades are excellent choices to help create a lively yet harmonious space! You can also spray paint some thrift-store frames to add an inexpensive yet stately pop of color! Which bold colors are you excited to decorate your house with? Navy? Crimson? Peony? Leafy green? Tell us all about your plans in the comments below!

17 Ways You Can Celebrate Earth Day Around Your Home

celebrating Earth Day at home

Earth Day is Thursday, April 22 – are you ready to celebrate our awesome planet? If you’re looking for ways to observe Earth Day and make a difference in the world around you, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 17 ways you can appreciate our beautiful earth and take steps toward making our planet even more beautiful:

Pick Up Litter

Head outside and clean up your neighborhood while you soak up the sun! Take a trash bag along and make sure you wear protective gear like gloves and tennis shoes while you pick up litter. Even just a little bit goes a long way in beautifying your community. Who knows? You may inspire others to take action and join you!

Read Up on Recycling

Do you find yourself absentmindedly tossing cardboard boxes or plastic containers in the trash instead of the recycling bin? Maybe you’re guilty of recycling milk cartons without rinsing them out first. If you recycle, great – but doing it incorrectly can wind up doing more harm than good and can cause tons of recyclables to end up in a landfill. Read up on how to recycle correctly without causing contamination and double-check which items your community accepts.

Go Zero Waste for a Day

Want to really challenge yourself? Try going the entire day without producing any trash! You may be surprised just how much (or how little!) garbage you can create in one day. Treat yourself at the end of the day with a few handy products to help you live a more zero-waste life!

Go Paperless

Are you still receiving all of your bills in the mail? Are you a subscriber to magazines or newspapers you never read? Do you tend to get a lot of junk mail? Celebrate Earth Day by switching to paperless! It won’t just help reduce paper waste – choosing the paperless option for your bills (when you can) allows you to schedule payments as well!

Give Composting a Try

You don’t have to keep throwing those food scraps or used paper towels in the trash anymore – just start a compost pile! It’s a great way to save landfill space and give your soil the nutrients it craves. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out this handy guide!

Plant a Garden

Earth Day is the perfect time to get outside and, well, spend time in the earth! Why not take this day to create a little garden in your backyard? You can either plant fruits and vegetables to harvest for future meals or beautiful plants and wildflowers to give your home some extra curb appeal. Remember to choose native plants and trees whenever possible to help out our pollinators!

Plant a Tree

Make your world a better – and greener – place by planting a tree or two! You can choose to plant a beautiful tree native to your community, or you can make a donation to an organization involved in the global reforestation effort like One Tree Planted. One dollar will plant one tree – and you can choose which continent you can plant it on, too!

Bring Home a Houseplant

We love houseplants! They provide us with cleaner air, help us feel calmer and happier, and make our spaces even more beautiful. Sneak a spider plant in your bedroom, hang English ivy in your living room, and add an adorable pop of color in your kitchen with some African violets!

Try Collecting Your Rainwater

Want to give those new houseplants a drink while conserving your water? Collect rainwater! You can do this by setting up a large barrel under the spouts off your roof, or you can create your very own rainwater garden.

Make Your Own Cleaning Products

It’s surprisingly easy to make your own cleaning products. In fact, you may already have items in your pantry – namely, vinegar and baking soda – that work just as well as all-purpose cleaners but at a much lower cost! Making DIY house cleaners also reduces the amount of harmful chemicals present in your home. So, grab some spray bottles, a few key ingredients, and maybe a couple of labels, and start making your own green cleaning products!

Install Low-Flow Faucets and Fixtures

If you’re good with tools and have some extra time on your hands, install low-flow fixtures and faucets in your kitchen and bathrooms! Go the extra mile and install a low-flow toilet as well. These new features will help conserve water, lower your water bill, and can make your house even more attractive if you want to sell it!

Open Your Windows

April is a beautiful time of the year. Turn off your thermostat for the day and let some fresh air in! This is especially important if you’re still working from home. Besides, it’ll help you save some money on your energy bill!

Stop Streaming and Read Instead

Speaking of saving electricity, binging Netflix and other online streaming services requires a surprising amount of energy! Switch off your stream for at least part of the day and pick up a riveting book instead. If you still want to watch your favorite shows, you can – just make sure to take breaks and turn off your streaming devices when you’re not using them!

Set Up a Birdfeeder

Birds of all feathers are beginning to migrate back north, so give them the food they need by setting up a birdfeeder! The birds will appreciate it, and you will find a joyful source of entertainment. Place your feeder close to shelter like a tree or shrub, and keep it either very close to (fewer than 3 feet) or much farther away from windows (greater than 10 feet) so they can avoid colliding with your windows. You don’t need anything fancy to enjoy the birds – you can make a simple birdfeeder using basic birdseed and a milk carton or pinecones!

Support Local Farmers and Businesses

Do you know how far your produce has to travel to get to the grocery store? More than likely it’s hundreds of miles. Help cut down on distribution-related emissions by buying your fruits and veggies from your local farmers market! The best part is that you’ll definitely get fresh produce, which tastes so much better than far-away, out-of-season foods. Local businesses are also much less likely to transport their goods very far, so shop locally when you can!

Give Your Car a Break

Save some gas, improve the air quality a bit, and get some exercise by taking a walk or hopping on your bike this Earth Day! This is a great, sustainable way to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Who knows? You may wind up enjoying this new mode of transportation so much that you’ll make a new habit out of it!

Adapt Some New Practices

What better time is there to make healthy, lifelong changes than Earth Day? Think about some small changes you can do to make our world a happier, healthier place and start today. You can purchase a few water tumblers or filters to help eliminate the use of plastic bottles, start recycling more of your goods, or even learn more about shopping sustainably.

How will you celebrate Earth Day this year? Tell us in the comments below!

Planning a Low-Maintenance Garden for Spring

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you hear about gardens? It could be a row of gorgeous flowers, fruits and vegetables growing from the soil, or all of the back-breaking labor that comes with maintaining a garden. While effort is required for this outdoor activity, it doesn’t have to be so difficult. You’re the one who gets to decide what goes where after all. Why not start by planning a low-maintenance garden for spring? Here’s how you can do just that!

Choose Between Mulch and Rock

The best way to avoid having to do more work later on is to start off your garden strong. Sure, you could simply buy plants and stick them anywhere in your backyard. Not covering the ground around them, however, will come back to haunt you when the plants are completely surrounded by weeds. That’s why you should choose either mulch or rock for your gardening spaces. Each has its own pros and cons, but both will be effective at combating weeds from growing.

Purchase Low-Maintenance Plants

If you’re the type of gardener who would rather step out into the sunlight on occasion, then you should find plants that are a breeze to care for. HGTV offers a list of 13 Can’t-Kill Flowers for Beginners so that you can “watch your beginner’s thumb turn green.” This list includes:

  • Sunflowers
  • Marigolds
  • Begonias
  • Daffodils
  • And more!

Looking for plants that are a bit more edible? Sweet bell peppers are the perfect fruits to grow in your backyard. You can even decide if you want green or red ones just by allowing the pepper to mature longer. Raspberry and blackberry bushes are also easy, only requiring a bit of pruning once a year around wintertime – that’s it!

Invest in a Mix of Perennials and Annuals

Did you know that not every flower you plant will need to be replaced each spring? The ones that don’t are called perennials. These flowers tend to bloom once a season for three or more years after remaining dormant throughout the colder months. Annuals, on the other hand, live to the fullest for one season and try to leave as many of their seeds behind as possible. While you may want more perennials so that they’re almost guaranteed to be back the following year, their blooms are shorter than that of annuals. Mix in a combination of both and research deadheading flowers to get the most out of their blooms.

Leave Room for Family, Friends, and Fun

Remember to leave enough room for fun activities that you, your family, and friends can enjoy when placing a garden. The middle of the yard may seem like the best place for your petunias to soak in as much sun as possible, but it will always be in the way. Try your best to find open corners or areas that stretch along the fence, house, or shed. This way, there’s less of a chance you’ll have to eventually move the garden when someone accidentally steps in it.

Don’t Underestimate the Versatility of Potted Plants

Let’s say that you don’t want to pick just one spot for your garden. There’s an easy solution for that – craft an arrangement of potted plants! Ditch the shovel for a hand trowel and purchase soil along with pots that are big enough for as many plants as you want. Place a few near the patio, another out on the old stump you still need to remove, and anywhere else you’d like because, hey, it’s your yard!

New Home, New Garden

Maybe it’s just time to move on from your current home and you’re looking for places that already have the perfect setup for a potential new garden. There’s a decent chance the homeowner could have even recently had the landscaping done for someone like you. You’ll never really know what’s out there without the professional guidance and resources that The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties has to offer.

Check out our current listings or call us (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 today.

11 Easy Ways to Refresh Your Home on a Budget

Have you found yourself itching for some change in your home? Do you feel uninspired looking at the walls that surround you? We’ve all been home a lot more often because of winter and the pandemic, and it’s common to feel restless and frustrated. Freshening up your space a bit – whether to invite the incoming season of spring or to celebrate the impending light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel – can do wonders for your mental health and your home. Best of all, it doesn’t have to cost much of anything or take too much time to do! Fall in love with your home all over again with these 11 easy, budget-friendly tips:

Rearrange the Furniture

If your couch, love seat, and entertainment center haven’t stirred since you’ve moved into your home, now’s the time to shake things up a bit. Try rearranging the furniture in your living room, dining room, and bedrooms to make things feel brand-new again! It costs nothing but a bit of elbow grease and creativity, and it can make you feel much more at home. Who knows? You might wind up liking your new setup!

Swap Out the Throw Pillows

You’d be surprised how much of a difference this one little change can make! Give your space a tiny makeover by simply switching up the pillows that adorn your couches, chairs, and beds. Choose colors that suit your mood or welcome the new season – anything goes!

Paint Old or Dated Items

Tired of looking at those oak cabinets every morning? Instead of spending a lot of money on remodeling or buying all-new furniture, why not give paint a try? Just a little bit of time and effort can breathe new life into unattractive furnishings around your home. Try your hand at regular paint, chalk paint, or even spray paint to get the job done!

Replace the Hardware

If you’re sick of looking at those tarnished bronze door handles or those ho-hum beige outlet plates, then it’s time to jazz it up with some new hardware! The options are nearly endless and quite affordable. Switch out your door handles, cabinet handles, or even the kitchen faucet for a quick and easy fix.

Update the Window Treatments

When’s the last time you splurged on some new curtains? Do you still have those plastic sets of blinds up in the bedrooms? Bid adieu to the old and say hello to some new, beautiful, and chic window treatments! Try pairing sheer curtains with a set of Roman shades or treat yourself to a few sets of bamboo blinds to perfect each room!

Switch Out a Light Fixture

Light fixtures aren’t just there to illuminate the room – they are also an integral part of your home’s décor. If you’ve been feeling unsatisfied with the quality of light in the living room or feel that your dining room is rather lackluster, consider switching out the light fixtures there. This simple change doesn’t have to cost much and can absolutely transform the tone of any room!

Try a Fresh Coat of Paint

We love paint because it makes everything new and exciting again! Grab a can of your favorite color, break out the brushes, and start working on that room you always seem to ignore or dread. Whether you focus on the entire room or create an accent wall, paint can really make your space feel brand-new again!

Change Up Your Bedding

Looking for a super simple makeover for your bedroom? Swapping your bedding could be the answer. It won’t just make your bedroom feel new – it can also help you sleep better and feel more relaxed. Treat yourself to new sheets with a hefty thread count and add a quality comforter or quilt that makes you smile every morning and night.

Do a Bit of Spring Cleaning

Sometimes getting rid of dust and unwanted items is all the change you need to feel satisfied and comfortable in your home again (and also make your space feel bigger!). Roll up your sleeves, break out the trash bags, crank up your favorite playlist, and tackle the dust bunnies and clutter! You’ll feel so much better once it’s all done.

Bring Home a Few Houseplants

If you can’t get outside, bring the outdoors inside with you! Choose a few cute, no-fuss plants to perch on your windowsills or hang out on your desk while you work from home. Caring for plants can boost your mood, alleviate anxiety, and purify the air in your home. All they need is a little water and sunlight. If you’re a beginner, try a snake plant, philodendron, or a beautiful succulent like jade!

Invest in a New Rug or Two

Perhaps the easiest way to tie up a room’s look is investing in an area rug. It adds warmth and definition to any room and can help the space feel complete and cozy. Try a texture that speaks to you – plush, shag, faux fur, and more – and see how you feel! Your home is your sanctuary and you should always feel relaxed and at peace. If you find that you’ve outgrown your home in one way or another, however, it might be time for a whole new house. Trust the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties to help you find the perfect place for you! Call us at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to get started, or check out our current listings here!

7 Ways to Utilize an Extra Room at Home

Musician's room interior with drum set, guitars and piano.

There’s a good chance that you’ve been home more often than ever before and you’re now wanting to shake things up a bit. As you look around the home, you realize that you’ve already painted the entire place, the furniture has been rearranged more times than you can count, and that backsplash you’ve been dying to install is finally in the kitchen. Now what? Maybe you have an extra room that’s currently just storing all of your junk. Let’s dive right into our 7 ways to better utilize that room!

Create a Home Office

Working from home has been a difficult transition for most people this past year. Your private living quarters used to be just that, but now we’re virtually welcoming co-workers from our living rooms and even bedrooms. While there’s no shame in where you log in, having a special place to work, like a home office, can boost your productivity significantly. All you really need is a desk, chair, and computer. For decorating tips, check out 27 Ways to Create a Stylish Small Home Office.

Incorporate a Craft Room

Speaking of decorating, have you been feeling more creative lately? There are so many artistic hobbies out there to try like painting, scrapbooking, and crocheting. Try having an entire room dedicated to these kinds of activities. Unless you want to become an expert, don’t just limit yourself to one hobby. Make a corner for an art easel, put in a desk so that you can sort through all of your old photos, and add a futon for somewhere comfortable to sit while you attempt to make hats and mittens.

Set Up a Home Gym

Who wants to pay for a gym membership when you have enough room for your own workout equipment? Think about all of the possibilities an extra room brings to your fitness routine. One day it could be a yoga studio and the next it can turn into a space for weight lifting. With all of the virtual, instructor-led classes out there, you can also add a TV to your home gym for an optimal viewing experience.

Soundproof a Music Room

Whether you used to play the drums, guitar, or even piano (or still do), now’s the time to bring in your equipment from the garage to start rocking once again. If you’re worried about interrupting the rest of the household, there are ways to design a music room to avoid that. This would also create a perfect environment for someone in the family who wants to start learning to play an instrument. You’ll especially want to look into soundproofing if that’s the case.

Construct a Home Theatre

Almost every movie ever made can be streamed to your home as of today. With a plethora of film studios joining in on the action, all you need to do is pay for a subscription of your choice. You might enjoy watching a flick from the couch or bed, but imagine what it would be like to have your own private home theatre. This could include installing surround sound, adding reclining chairs, buying a popcorn machine, and plugging in a mini fridge.

Ready a Guest Room

Most of the major holidays have come and gone, and were even held virtually for the first time in history. Setting up a guest room may be the last thing on your mind for now, but there are ways to have the best of both worlds. The first option is to look into Murphy beds, which can fold up and lie out with ease. These help people who always want to have a bed ready for guests just in case. The other option is to store a bed inside of the shed, basement, or garage. Mattress covers are inexpensive and will keep yours clean while it’s tucked away. See above for what you can now do with all of this extra room.

Storage Space

Lastly, you can simply make an extra room into a proper storage space. Wired shelving and customizable organizational systems will help you set yourself up for success by organizing from the ground up. Give yourself some room to walk around freely, especially for when it’s finally time to put all of your winter gear away.

Contact The Massey Team

If you’re experiencing the opposite problem of filling an extra room by not having enough space, reach out to The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties! We’ll help you begin your search for as many rooms as you can possibly want. Call us today at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298.

6 Steps to Help You Get Over the House That Got Away

how to get over the house that got away

It’s finally happened. After a seemingly long house hunt, you’ve found the home of your dreams, the place that seems to check off all your boxes. You’ve begun envisioning where your furniture will go, which paint colors you’ll choose, and the types of future get-togethers you’ll plan with your friends. Then suddenly, the rug is pulled right out from under you. You’ve been outbid, your finances didn’t shake out, or the deal simply fell through. Your heart is shattered, and you don’t know how you can cope. You’re not alone – this happens to countless homebuyers. If you find yourself in this situation, we’ve got your back. Here’s how you can get over the house that got away – and maybe find something even better!

Accept Your Emotions

We get it – you just lost out on your dream home, and you’re feeling all sorts of emotions: anger, regret, sadness, shock. It’s common to feel this way when you’ve had the possibility of what could have been stolen from you. Acknowledge your feelings because they are valid! The trick is to allow yourself to feel your feelings and then begin thinking of ways you can make changes in the future.

Try Not to Dwell on One Dwelling

Losing out on an amazing home is like your first breakup all over again. You cry, you wonder what you did wrong, and you can’t help scrolling back through all the photos you took of the home, sighing wistfully. As tempting as it can be to daydream about what could have been, it’s time to begin moving on. Delete the listing of the snatched house, erase the photos you took on your phone, and stop driving by the house – you’re only torturing yourself. There are plenty of houses on the market with so many amazing possibilities waiting for you!

Resist Buying a Home as a Rebound

You no doubt might be feeling spurned from losing a home with so much potential. In fact, you might even be feeling pretty tempted to just buy the next house you see, even if it doesn’t meet all your wants or needs. No matter what, don’t settle or purchase the wrong home on the rebound! Doing so may lead you to homebuyer’s remorse. Stay true to your wish list, stick to your budget, and trust your instincts to help you find the right home.

Learn From What Went Wrong

Think back to what happened when you found out you weren’t getting that home you loved. Did you move too slowly in putting down an offer? Was it too far out of your budget? Did a lucky homebuyer outbid you? Analyze what went wrong and turn your loss into a future win. After all, if you learn from defeat, you didn’t actually lose!

Set New Goals for Yourself

Now’s the time to head back to the drawing board and re-evaluate your priorities. Make a list of your wants and needs to help narrow your search (and keep you aligned with your wish list when an attractive house tries to steal your attention). Double-check that your credit score is where it needs to be and that you’re financially prepared to make a down payment in the future. If you can, get pre-qualified before you head back on the hunt. Being ready and knowing exactly what you need and want will really help you narrow your search and score your dream house!

Celebrate Your Current House

In the meantime, take time to appreciate the home that you’re in right now. Spend time in your favorite rooms, add a fresh coat of paint to the kitchen, or spruce it up with a little inexpensive décor. If you’re staying there for a longer time, perhaps consider investing in some landscaping or a remodeling project. It won’t just boost your mood, but it will also add value to your home when it comes time to sell it! Finding the right home is much easier with a knowledgeable real estate agent by your side. If you’re on the hunt for that perfect home, leave it all in the hands of The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties! Call us today at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298, or get started by viewing our amazing listings!

7 Crucial Tips for Staging Your Home in Winter

staging your home in winter

Selling your home in the winter can present its own set of challenges. While you might be at the mercy of Mother Nature more at this time of the year, there are plenty of ways you can turn up the heat on your listing and set it up for success. Check out these 7 easy ways you can stage your home to wow potential homebuyers in winter!

Clear Out the Clutter

Even though you should always aim to keep a streamlined and neat home when you’re trying to sell, the colder months can make it more difficult. Resist the nesting urges that winter often brings and pare down heavily on your personal items. Doing so helps potential homebuyers really imagine themselves living in your house – and it also showcases your home’s strongest features! Place personal belongings in an offsite storage space if possible, and decorate simply with a vase of flowers, chic accessories, and tasteful art.

Let in the Light

There isn’t as much natural light in the winter, so lighting up your home is even more crucial during this time of year. Throw open your curtains and shutters to let the sunlight in, and flood your home with warmer, brighter light bulbs. Layer your lighting with overhead bulbs, table lamps, and modern floor lamps to illuminate every corner. Proper lighting can make all the difference in captivating a homebuyer’s heart!

Create a Cozy Space

Take advantage of the plummeting mercury and howling winds by making your home feel warm and inviting! Drape a textured throw over your favorite armchair. Place a shaggy rug in the bedroom to make it feel extra cozy. Create a comfy reading nook with a stack of books or magazines, a faux-fur throw, and a few choice pillows. These tips can draw buyers in and make them feel right at home!

Focus on the Fireplace

If you have a fireplace, now’s the time to put it in the spotlight! Dress it up with seasonal greenery, a string of white fairy lights, and a few battery-operated candles. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that it’s clean and well-maintained as well!

Set Out Mats for Wet Shoes

The snow, ice, and slush that winter brings can make floors awfully messy in no time. Set up a bench or chair near your home’s entry for guests to take off their shoes before viewing your home. Leave a mat near the door for their wet boots and shoes to dry on while they see what your home has to offer.

Don’t Forget Your Curb Appeal

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – first impressions begin outside, even in the winter. Ensure that all walkways and the driveway are clear of snow and ice at all times, especially before showings. While you’re at it, add a few tasteful winter porch décor pieces. A new doormat, a pinecone or evergreen wreath, and planters with natural, winter-hardy greenery are all inviting touches you can add!

Choose Inviting Scents

It can be challenging to get fresh air in your home during the winter. Instead of reaching for air fresheners, choose to diffuse natural scents like lemon or lime or seasonal ones such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or pine. If you have pets, keep on top of any scents they may leave by washing blankets and bedding and steam-cleaning carpets. When in doubt, whipping up a batch of cookies works wonders!

Thinking of selling your home this winter? Leave it in the hands of the knowledgeable experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties! Give us a call today at either (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to get started! On the hunt for your dream home? Check out our current listings!