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Based on the book: 

The Ides of March

Mid March, the Ides of March, is upon us! Hopefully your yard is complete and waiting a week for the installation of annuals, your windows are showing off the beauty of your yard, and you are ready to finish the common areas of your home. At this point, you are finalizing the organization of each room. Yes, you will still live in these rooms, but you are making sure things are ready to go.

In the living room/family room, make sure fans are clean, any framed pictures are wiped off, and remotes are at the ready. Do you need to write directions to your remotes? We also stop by our cable provider to pick up the latest channel guide, allowing users from other areas to quickly locate the channels they like. Are their coasters in this room to protect your tables? If you have carpeting, do you need to shampoo your rugs? Stick any blankets and pillows from your couches into the laundry on low with a fabric softener square to freshen them. (If your couch throws are washable, this is a good time to do that.)

In the dining room, put away any valuables that you don't want your guests using, such as your silver and any precious and irreplaceable items. (Don't make guests guess.) If you would prefer they not use your fine china, make a small note to place on the china cabinet, encouraging them to use your everyday wear in the kitchen. (Be SURE you have enough every day wear to allow for this!) Clean your chandelier, purchase some battery-operated candles for the table and make placemats and napkins rings available and organized. Is there a way for your guests to play music over dinner? Is every chair clean and stain free? This is a wonderful time to clean out your china cabinet and dust each shelf.

In the kitchen, wash the exterior and interior of your cabinets and drawers. Count your silverware. There is not a year that goes by that I do not purchase silverware as our year of gatherings and sleepovers with children inevitably produce missing pieces. Count and reorder your silverware at this time. Be sure to have an area set up for your guests to have a bar and remember to stock it with easily replaced glassware. They WILL break glassware. Pick inexpensive things and place them together in an area where guests can mix drinks and uncork wine. Be sure you have shakers, wine openers, etc....

In the laundry room, be sure to have plenty of laundry detergent, lightbulbs, rags for shoes, etc.... Where will your housekeeper organize sheets and towels? Are your cleaning supplies organized so your housekeeper can easily work through your home? We create both an upstairs and downstairs caddy, filled with the needed supplies as more than one person cleans our house that week. Are there plenty of trash bags?

This is an excellent time to replace any air filters in your home as you clean these common areas. Don't forget to check the batteries in smoke detectors. We also take this time to walk each room with touch up paint, hitting any areas that have been marked or scuffed by normal wear and tear. Also, be sure that every light has a working lightbulb.

Lastly, call you insurance agent to see if you need to pay the rider fee for your renting week. Our State Farm agency requires a 29.00 rider be paid while the house is being used as an income generating residence. Some insurance policies include this in normal fees but check, as you don't want to be caught up in such a minor oversight.

Have you made arrangements for where you and your pets will stay during that week? Need to order special cookies or cupcakes for your incoming guests? Who will clean for you? Do you need a yard person or pool person? Who is bringing the trash cans back? Watering your plants? Blowing the drive? Do you need to set up newspaper delivery for your guests? Be sure all of these details are done this week.

We are getting ever closer to the date. Three more weeks of preparation and your home will be stunning. But don't leave it until the end. Next week we will be working on planting annuals outdoors and completing the bedrooms, so tackle all of your common areas this week, to allow for two more intensive weeks ahead. It will be worth it when you return to your sparkling home!

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Need help with your rental? Laurie Easterlin is a home stager and professional Masters preparation specialist. She is available for in home visits to walk you through each room with a preparation checklist and purchase suggestions. If you are new to town and need suggestions on what to do to get the biggest return for your investment, contact Laurie before making large purchases or remodeling. There are ways to create more income! If you are a DIY style renter, purchase the book at


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