Cheryl Deschenes' Blog
8 Hill Street, Norfolk, MA 02056
As a homeowner, sometimes you want to change things up about the appearance of your home, and a terrific way to do that is with a slight change to your landscape. Here are a few ways to make a positive, aesthetic impact on your landscape and keep your home fresh and new.
Mix in Mulch
One colorful way to make a significant visual impact, and help provide sustainably healthy soil, is to introduce some new mulch into your garden beds. There are distinct types of mulch that you can use depending on the design, color scheme and types of foliage in your landscape. There is natural bark mulch, chipped cedar or other softwoods, which look great under a more rural-looking scape.
If you have a more modern look to your landscape, you can always go with painted mulch (several brands make varied colors including red, brown and black painted wood chips) that add a great color pop. And of course, you can always go all natural with your mulch, by saving your grass trimmings, fallen leaves and other yard scraps and spread it in garden beds for a nutrient-rich natural mulch.
Try a Rock Garden
Another sustainable way to change up the visual impact of your landscape is to convert a garden bed (or garden beds) into rock gardens. A rock garden is a beautiful, minimal maintenance, easily sustainable option that is also very drought-friendly. You can make a rock garden with several large boulders or stones surrounded by smaller rock, different types of gravel or crushed rock. You may even opt to add a couple of succulents or hearty, drought-tolerant plants (like rosemary or boxwoods), and you’ll have a beautiful landscape that is very water-efficient and low maintenance.
Plant a Tree
A new tree in the yard makes a big addition to your landscape that will last for many years to come. A beautiful, leafy maple or malleable, cypress tree can add variety, color and shade to your yard. With your innovative ideas on sprucing up your landscape, all you need to do is get your gardening gear and get to it! Your family, friends and neighbors will all be sure to notice your new rock garden, mulched beds or new tree next time you have company. And you’ll get that incredible satisfaction that comes along with a visually stimulating addition to your landscape.
The sky's the limit for cloud-based documents and files. Remote working is on the rise. The ranks of independent entrepreneurs are growing. For many, home is a place to live and work.
Here are three elements to consider for your work-from-home space.
1. Choose Your Workspace
Pick a bright spot. Daylight inspires!
Will you be having clients drop in? Aim to choose a spot near an entrance way, apart from your intimate living spaces.
For tax purposes, this spot can be a dedicated room, or a section of a room—as long as there's a clear division between your working and living space. Other storage areas in the home, or partitioned-off space that's fully dedicated to keeping business items, is also square footage to count in the deduction.
Take pictures each year that clearly show the partitions and the business use of the space. Keep your photos with your tax documents.
2. Furnish the Space
Decorate mainly as you would if your work space were in a corporate building. Keep your desk, professional items, and office-appropriate décor in the space. Don't have a playpen (unless your business is daycare) or a dining table in your designated office space.
Bookcases, wall hangings, mirrors, and framed art all look good, and dampen noise from outside your work space. Succulents or crocus bulbs can make excellent office plants and uplift the mood of your work area.
Protect your health while working at home by using an adjustable (sit-stand) desk. Does that sound too industrial for the look you demand at home? Never fear. Gorgeous, adjustable desks that complement your existing furniture do exist on the market. With a little searching, you'll find yours.
3. Declare Your Tax Deduction
Calculate your home office percentage. If your home amounts to 2,000 square feet and your office space covers 500, declare 25% as the percentage. The deduction may not exceed your year's net business profit.
For smaller home office spaces, the IRS has a simplified standard deduction. Take $5 per square foot, up to 300 square feet.
Speak with your tax pro about deducting a home business percentage from your homeowner's insurance, mortgage interest, utilities, and property taxes. Read the instructions, so you know how to plan your tax return.
Putting It All Together
For a tax deduction, your home office must serve as the core of your business affairs, or the place you do the bulk of your work. Whether you already have a home office, or are thinking of creating one, design your space so it fits the IRS tax deduction requirements—even while it uplifts your home, delights your senses, and inspires your best work.
53 Donald Tennant Circle, North Attleboro, MA 02760
If you plan to sell your house in the near future, now may be a great time to host a garage sale. That way, you can get rid of excess items, declutter your house and earn extra cash at the same time.
Ultimately, hosting a successful garage sale can be easy – here are three best practices to help you get ready for a garage sale.
1. Organize Your Inventory
A garage sale provides an excellent opportunity to sell a broad range of items – everything from kitchen appliances to gym equipment. As such, you'll want to sort through your belongings and separate must-keep items from those you can live without.
Organize belongings based on where they go in a home – you'll be glad you did. This will enable you to plan ahead for how you'll showcase various items during your garage sale.
Moreover, if you find some items are no longer usable, you should get rid of them altogether. Dispose of any damaged items, and you can immediately remove clutter from your residence.
2. Price Your Items Competitively
One person's junk is another person's treasure, and if you understand the true value of your belongings, you'll be able to price them competitively during a garage sale.
If you plan to sell electronics, jewelry or other high-end items at your garage sale, it often pays to perform research to learn about the true value of these items. Performing an online search of an item will help you see how various sellers around the globe are pricing the same item. Or, you can always contact local retailers directly for expert pricing insights as well.
In addition, consider the age and condition of an item before you price it. If an item looks brand new and performs great, you may be able to earn a significant profit from it. On the other hand, if an item shows signs of aging, you may want to lower your pricing expectations.
3. Promote Your Garage Sale to the Right Audience
Create flyers that you can post around your neighborhood to promote your garage sale. These flyers should include information about the date, time and location of your garage sale, thereby making it easy for those who see the flyers to find your event.
Don't forget to post details about your garage sale online too. Share information about your garage sale with family members and friends on social networks, and you should no trouble stirring up plenty of interest in your event.
Lastly, if you're planning to sell your house and need help getting your residence show-ready, you may want to consult with a real estate agent.
A real estate agent can offer expert tips to help you declutter your residence and ensure that your house is an attractive option to homebuyers. Furthermore, a real estate agent may even be able to help you prep for a garage sale, increasing the likelihood that you can make this event an instant success.