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Experts provide tips to save time, space when redoing your home


METRO DETROIT — Whether you want to get an early start on spring cleaning or completely change your home décor, local experts have your back on making things more organized in your abode.

Rochester Hills residents Matthew and Megan Eash, both 28, are renovating their kitchen themselves, a project that they hope to finish in the next several months.

Megan, who works for an architecture firm, and Matthew, who grew up with family members who fixed things on their own, wanted to make their home more comfortable.

The couple started the renovations in mid-January to update their “dated” kitchen.

“Just the layout could have been a little better for us,” he said.

Megan added that they want a kitchen that is more open and transitions better into the living room.

All the deconstruction is done, and they both agree that an undertaking like this requires being thorough and following a schedule.

Megan said it is helpful to think ahead.

“Our kitchen is changing dramatically,” Megan said. “We have to change a lot of the lighting, switches and outlets, and have to think all that through now in the stage (we are in) with no drywall. We have to plan a lot. I’m just excited to see the whole plan come to life; it is a really rewarding experience.”

The end project will result in hardwood floors and a large island in the center of the kitchen topped with wood.

“The new kitchen will be more balanced and functional for us,” Matthew said.

When it comes to decluttering a home either in the middle of a renovation or when it’s ready to be sold, it is all about maximizing space, said Corie Conroy, president of First Impression Home Staging in Bloomfield Hills.

“Part of my job is to give advice on how to declutter their home,” she said. “One of the big items I come across is the bedroom and coat closets. A lot of times, people have … their summer and fall and winter clothes crammed into one space.”

She said that if people don’t have closet space, put clothes away in a storage bin under the bed or in the basement, or in any available space. If that doesn’t work, put the seasonal clothes in a storage facility. If you haven’t worn certain clothes in a year, give them away.

“A lot of times, I recommend to organize clothes by color and sleeve length. Use the same hangers for articles of clothing. I like wooden hangers. It makes it look more uniform,” she said.

From tackling your junk drawer to organizing your clothes and the like with compartment containers, getting organized doesn’t take a whole lot, she added.

Conroy renovated Oak Park resident Joyce Kreger’s home office last year.

“I wanted to update it,” Kreger said.

Before, her office was a bit drab with a corkboard full of papers, knickknacks and cords behind her desk winding every which way.

“I had very ugly old file cabinets; it was the first thing you saw when you walked in. (Conroy) swapped them out and put a beautiful dark bookcase in the corner where the file cabinet was. … When you walk in, you see beauty,” Kreger said. “When I go to work, I feel happy and calmer.”

Instead of a large corkboard behind her desktop, she now has a bulletin board made with a corkboard from Michaels and chair rail trim from the Home Depot. Gold paint and blue fabric provide the bulletin board with color and texture. Patterned curtains, a table lamp, a vanity mirror and flowers were finishing touches, according to Conroy’s website,

“It makes me happy to be in my workspace and makes me want to stay in my workspace,” Kreger said.

Karen Eschebach, a professional organizer, said she has helped commercial offices, churches, schools and the like get organized.

“I think before you can really decorate and get a sense of your style, you have to have a clean palate,” she said. “You have to have no clutter.”

Eschebach added that there is a place for everything, and whether you are redoing your living room, kitchen or dining room, keeping clutter in a separate, neat area can be beneficial.

“You need to find another area in your home, say a library or basement, or even a corner of your bedroom, and that needs to be your space for organizing,” she said of using shelving units or bookcases to keep items stored and ready for use.

She added that finding things that bring you joy and incorporating them into your style also is key.

If you aren’t sure where to get started when it comes to finding your look, Eschebach said to check out magazines or websites like Pinterest or to find what you might like.


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