Home Selling Tip: The Four D’s

unnamed-2Keeping your home in show-ready condition can be challenging, especially if you have a houseful of kids and pets. What to do? Follow the Four D’s.

Declutter: Most listing agents would agree that clutter confuses buyers. They can’t see the home’s “bones” for all the furniture, toys, and other things. You have to pack up to move, so start dividing your things into three categories – keep, donate, and throw away. For things you want to keep, get a storage unit for out-of-season clothes and holiday dishes that you won’t need for a while.

Depersonalize: While you’re decluttering, store personal items such as photos, albums, figurines and collectibles. Accidents happen, so pack up and store as many breakable items as you can.

Detail: Just as you detail your car to help it hold its beauty and value, you should detail your home with the most vigorous cleaning it’s ever had. When you know you’re home is being shown or to get it ready for an open house, get your helpers to grab a basket and pick up anything that doesn’t belong out, like dirty clothes, wet towels, and tablets and smartphones.

Decamp: It’s harder for buyers to imagine themselves in your home if you’re still there, so take the kids and the dog to the park while your home is being shown. Buyers need to feel free to speak their minds and weigh possibilities.

Get everyone on board to keep things clean and neat, and your showings are much more likely to result in your home being sold.

Click for more information on staging your home or preparing your home for professional photography.

Show You Care: What to Include in a Care Package for a Soldier

Closeup of a soldier holding a Christmas present on a wood table with a Santa hat.

Sometimes, the simplest things make the most difference. Consider a US soldier, stationed thousands of miles away from home. Even the bare necessities, such as food and clothing, would be welcomed. That’s why many people send care packages to our military personnel and veterans all over the world.

Check out this handy list for some of the most useful—and appreciated—items you can send to a soldier.


Clothing:

  • knit hats
  • scarves
  • bandannas
  • gloves
  • colored socks

toysSmall Toys (for soldiers to give to children while deployed overseas):

  • Beanie Babies
  • Webkinz
  • small plush toys

foodfood Food and Drinks:

  • drink mixes
  • instant coffee and tea bags
  • energy bars and granola bars
  • peanut butter and jelly
  • crackers
  • cookies
  • gum
  • trail mix and dried fruit

Toiletries:

  • lip balm and sunblock
  • roll-on deodorant
  • toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • floss and mouthwash
  • individually packaged razors and shaving cream
  • moist towelettes
  • foot powder
  • shampoo and body wash
  • hand sanitizer
  • cotton swabs
  • muscle relief cream

entertainmentEntertainment:

  • travel-sized board games
  • cards
  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • books
  • magazines
  • crossword puzzles

When you decide what to put in your care package, Operation Gratitude will make sure it gets to the troops. For more information on sending care packages to soldiers, including the preferred sizes of the items on their wish list, visit the Operation Gratitude website.

To get more ideas for how you can help veterans, visit www.americanlifestylemag.com/veterans.

A History of the Remembrance Poppy

poppiesYou may or may not have heard of the Remembrance Poppy—but you’ve probably seen it. These red-and-black poppies symbolize those who lost their lives in combat, and it was these same poppies that inspired a profound poem about a lost friend over a century ago that started the Remembrance Poppy movement.


During World War I, Canadian physician and soldier John McCrae discovered these very poppies growing around the burial site of his fallen friend, Alexis Helmer, in Flanders, Belgium. In his grief, McCrae penned the poem “In Flanders Fields”:

John_McCrae,_M.D.In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

The poem was published in the British magazine Punch later that year, on December 8, 1915, and it became very popular: it was republished throughout the world as a way to honor soldiers’ sacrifices during The Great War.

Later, in 1918, Moina Michael, inspired by the poem, developed the idea for the Remembrance Poppy. It took her two years, but in August of 1920 convinced the Georgia Department of the American Legion to adopt the Memorial Poppy as its symbol. One month later, the Memorial Poppy was adopted countrywide as a symbol of remembrance.

Madame Anna Guérin championed the idea of selling artificial poppies and having the proceeds benefit people suffering from the aftereffects of the war. By 1922, the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Australia, and New Zealand had adopted the Remembrance Poppy.


poppywreathNow that you know more about the Remembrance Poppy, go ahead and make your own remembrance poppy wreath to display in honor of our veterans.

For more ways to honor veterans, visit www.americanlifestylemag.com/veterans.