Creating a Silver Lining at Your Home During COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders




For most of us, being at home and quarantined is not something that we ever imagined happening to us, and those we care about.  With the signs of spring and increasingly warmer temperatures, the temptation to be outside and surrounded by friends is increasing every day. Spring is also a time that traditionally produces the greatest amount of activity in the real estate market, and as Home Stagers and Redesigners, the BTSH team is itching to get to work.

Since we must stay the course, for the time being, we have found ways to make good use of our time and get a great start on some spring tasks.

Whether you were planning on listing your home and have been delayed in doing so or are at home and looking for productive ways to utilize your time and create a more organized and welcoming space, here are a few of our best tips.


CLEAN With all the news about COVID-19, many of us have become diligent when it comes to cleaning doorknobs and countertops. Now is a great time to take it a step further by cleaning the wall scuffs (often a Magic Eraser is a great solution for this), or the dirt that collects on the light switch covers or the tops of the door frames, and those frequently forgotten corners.

While commercial cleaning solutions can be a commodity at this time, we have a fool-proof grout cleaner that is sure to return your grout to its original lustre, and it uses only a couple of simple ingredients that you probably already have in your home!

Grout Cleaner Recipe: Mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part peroxide – apply to surface, leave for 15 minutes, clean with a brush.

This is also a great time to let the sunshine in!

Here are some tips to help make your windows sparkle:

Clean windows with a solution of water and vinegar (2 parts water to 1 part vinegar) Please Note: Commercial cleaners often leave a wax type film on the windows that can't be removed with vinegar alone. If you have previously cleaned with commercial cleaners, add a 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap to the water and vinegar mixture for the best clean. Use a cotton swab to get into the corners of the windows. When cleaning the exterior of windows, wash first with a squeegee or sponge and a bucket of water/vinegar to get the bulk of the dirt off. Polish with a dry, lint-free cloth to finish.
PRO TIP: To help prevent streaking, wash windows on a cloudy day. Direct sunshine can dry the cleaning solution faster than you can clean it.

Don’t forget to open the windows. There is really no downside to doing so unless you have allergies. Fresh air can be a mood booster and there is no science showing that COVID-19 is carried on a breeze. 


DECLUTTER Being in your home day after day can leave you feeling a bit claustrophobic, but studies have shown that an organized space can provide significant mental relief. This is a great time to sort through a drawer or two or organize your closet - purging as you go. While most donations centres will be closed during the quarantine period, you may wish to store donation items in bags until well after the virus has passed. 

Here are some great areas to tackle and eliminate the clutter:

Go through your kitchen cabinets and pull out anything that you don’t use or don’t need; for example - that plastic storage item with no lid. Dispose, recycle, re-purpose, or put aside for donation. Declutter your “everything” drawer. You know what we’re talking about. Sort through your make up items and throw out those “too old” products; typical shelf life is 6 months to 1 year. Get your bookshelf in order. We will leave it to your to decide what this looks like, whether you sort by colour, alphabetically, or if you want to mix it up by styling your shelves using a mix of books and accessories. Organize your clothes closest; try on clothes as you go if you are not sure if they fit, and keep only those that do and those that make you happy when you wear them.
PRO TIP:  Hang the clothes back in your closet with the hook of the hanger facing in versus out. When you wear an item, hang the hanger as you typically would when returning it to the closet. This is a quick way to visually keep track of those items you use and those you don’t (of course, we don’t recommend trying this until you are back in the day-to-day world – it’s likely that your current standard outfit of sweat pants and hoodies won’t likely help you to effectively gauge what should stay or go in your wardrobe).


SIMPLE REPAIRS AND CURB APPEAL If you are planning to list your home for sale, take advantage of the delay in the marketing listing by getting some simple repairs done, or prepping the exterior of your home that has been buried in snow for the last several months.

Do you have a door hinge that squeaks and needs a drop or two of WD-40?  Do you have a doorknob that needs tightening? How about a light bulb that needs replacing? And what about giving the trim and doors a fresh coat of paint? Painting trim can be a fairly quick and easy task, especially if you approach it one room at a time, and it provides an instant facelift to any space.

PRO TIP: Most trim requires nothing more than a paintbrush and a can of paint. Wrap an elastic around the can from the top to the bottom and use the elastic to wipe the brush, keeping the can edges clean and helping you to avoid unnecessary drips.

Wall dents and dings are common wear and tear in most homes. Take the time to patch these. While repainting may be in your future, you will have made a step in the right direction to get this needed prep work done. 

If you are looking for an excuse to spend some time outside, why not use the time to freshen up your outdoor spaces? Rake up any left-over leaves left last Fall. By giving your lawn a deep rake, you will also remove thatch build-up, dead grass, and lift matted grass blades to allow for new ones to sprout. Also, ensure that the yard (both front and back) are clear of debris and any unnecessary items.  Make the most out of your time sheltering in place. Sweep and/or power wash your deck, put out your patio furniture, sit and enjoy the spring weather and the sunshine. 

Stay safe everyone!