Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring is here, and you know what that means? Spring cleaning time! Some of you may have gotten a jump start due to being stuck at home but if you haven’t, or heck even if you have, we have some tips and tricks for you to make the process easier and dare we say fun?

1. Make a Schedule

Start with what areas of your home needs the most work first. These are usually the areas that people refer to as “deep cleaning areas.” When is the last time you moved your fridge or stove, heck even your couch? Do you have a room that you have let pile up with things? Start with those places first and then work your way down your list. This will help make the task of spring cleaning less daunting and overwhelming.

2. De-Clutter

Ever heard of Marie Kondo? Well if not then I suggest you grab her book or watch her show! She is all about getting rid of things that don’t “serve” you, aka de-clutter! Set aside some time to organize your closets and donate clothes you don’t need anymore, dust and organize your office, and look through that dreaded junk drawer and throw things away! You may be surprised how fresh you feel after you eliminate unnecessary items from your life and how much more space you have!

3. Work from Top to Bottom

Start from the ceiling down, this way you force dust and dirt downward which keeps you from having to re-dust or re-clean your space, because no one wants to do that!

4. Walls and Windows Need Love too

This may seem like an obvious tip, but some people tend to forget that walls get dirty, they pick up the day to day, year to year gunk that goes on in your household. Use a damp towel to wipe down walls and blinds, and don’t forget to remove and wipe down the window screens outside.

5. Don’t Forget About Your Air

Clean air is vital for a clean home so replacing furnace and HVAC filters is essential and sadly is one of the most overlooked parts of spring cleaning. Air conditioner ducts build up dust during winter, so upgrading your filters will help catch unwanted particles so they don’t enter your newly cleaned space.

Another way to ensure healthy air in your home is with an air purifier. Do you or someone else in your home suffer from allergies? Adding an air purifier to your bedroom will help immensely!

How to Create a Calm Productive Work from Home Environment

It’s official we are all working from home for the next 3 weeks and for some of us that is a piece of cake, either you have a home office all set up, or the minute this whole pandemic broke out you got to work making one because you knew this might be the inevitable.

Then there are the rest of us, stressing out wondering how we are going to get anything done because we know we aren’t productive at home. We need that separation of work and home. For those of you thinking, yes this is exactly me! Well don’t stress, we are all in this together and we are here to help you create a peaceful productive at home workspace.

Step 1. Find Your Perfect Space

Now this doesn’t mean that you have to find the quietest place in your home, because some of us like to work within the hustle and bustle. This should be a place where you feel most relaxed, maybe at your kitchen table situated so you’re looking out the window, or maybe you have a favorite chair or spot on the couch in your living room that you can pull up a card table to. If you’re one of those people who has a huge walk in closet and wants complete removable from all distractions, that could be your place! Think outside the box, there is no right answer!

Step 3. Find the Perfect Chair

This is a very important step, because if you’re uncomfortable you will hate working, and that will just create a distraction that you don’t need. Your perfect chair doesn’t even need to be a “chair,” it can be your favorite place on the couch, or maybe you have a bench you like to sit on. Want to kill two birds with one stone and have a bosu ball laying around? Try using that as your desk chair, not only will it help with posture but keep your abs engaged, so you’re working-out while working!

Step 3. Declutter

Whether it’s your home office desk or kitchen table, clear it off and organize. What doesn’t need to be in your space goes, and what does, find a designated place for it! Use folders and sticky notes to keep track of different projects. While you’re at it, decluttering the rest of your house will help clear your to do list and put you in a better head space to get to work!

Step 4. Bring in Some Green

Plants can make a huge difference literally and figuratively in bringing some life into a room. Not only that but they add extra oxygen to your environment! Don’t have a plant laying around that you can add to your workspace? Try and see if you can situate yourself near a window, bonus of doing that is getting some extra vitamin D in while being able to look out and escape your four walls for a little bit!

Step 5. Add a Calming Scent

Engaging your scenes is a huge way to not only boost productivity but to create an environment you actually want to work in. Scents can soothe a stressful mind as well as help with any blockages and procrastination, which hopefully will result in increased focus. Want a little health boost with your scents? Essential oils like lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus can give you a great natural boost.

Fun Ways to Be More Productive at Home

Social distancing has now become our everyday life, and for most of us it is really hard to slow down after going 100 miles a minute. But this is the new norm (hopefully not for too long) and we need to figure out ways to not only keep ourselves entertained but hopefully do something productive.

So, we put together a list of things to do while quarantined that will hopefully not only engage your mind but bring some fun into these scary times.

Bring Out Your Art Supplies

For most people art is the hobby that is quickly pushed to the side as we enter adulthood but now is the perfect time to work that side of your brain and create something beautiful in the process. Whether it’s painting, coloring, sewing, knitting, etc. Set up a designated corner in your home (yes, we’re talking your cliché craft corner here people) and get out of your head and into some art!

Time to Try a New Recipe  

Now that all of us have done the mad run to the grocery store to stock up on food we will need during our quarantined time at home, this is the perfect time to make some recipes you have been putting off like that decadent cake you haven’t had a reason to make? Or maybe throw your family a themed dinner? Maybe even head to Pinterest click on that recipe board you created years ago that you haven’t looked at since, close your eyes and point. Whatever you land on you have to make (baring you have the ingredients) The possibilities are endless, now go get your Martha Stewart on!

Dig into Some DIY

Remember that cool DIY shelf you bought the supplies for that you were going to put over your bed months ago? Or that paint can sitting in your basement meant to be used to give your baseboards a fresh touch up? Well there is no better time than the present to crack into those projects, and you may be surprised how quick they get done, sparking motivation to check off more DIY to dos.

Though these things may seem simple, they can also be easily forgotten as we get sucked into the stress and anxiety that is navigating this situation. So, try one or maybe all three of these things, come up with some new ideas and share with friends. It’s important to find joy in little everyday tasks!

A Message to Our Community

During this uncertain time, we want to update you on the steps Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate, Northern Indiana Real Estate, Tomie Raines REALTORS® and Executive Realty are taking to ensure your health and safety. As part of Real Estate’s Forever Brand, we are committed to helping our clients navigate these unprecedented circumstances in the coming weeks.

Following recommendations from the CDC and the National Association of Realtors, we are taking necessary precautions to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. At this time, we are requiring that all staff who have the capability to do so to work remotely from home, and we have asked all real estate agents to also work remotely when possible. Staff and vendors are taking additional steps when cleaning our offices to eliminate any potential for disease spread.  Please know that the safety and health of our communities is our number one priority. It is our hope that by scaling back the number of people within the offices and continuing our efforts around maintaining a clean environment, we can slow the progression of COVID-19 that is impacting so many people globally.

With that being said, we are still open for business. Our front desk associates and staff related to real estate transactions remain in the office and are here to help you. Our real estate agents are equipped with technology to assist you in almost every element of the home selling and buying process without needing to meet in person. As we have for over 65 years, we will continue to support you in all of your real estate needs, with the same level of trust, integrity, longevity and stability you need in a partner.

You Can Still Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day While Social Distancing

Saint Patrick’s Day hitting during a pandemic is not ideal but there are ways you can still celebrate while social distancing


Sadly, no you won’t be able to go out to pubs or cheers your friends with a pint of Guinness in person, but you can do it virtually and now is a perfect time to try a new Irish drink recipe!

 Here are a few Irish drink recipes you might want to try out:

  • Irish coffee: This one is super easy! Fill a mug with hot coffee, add brown sugar and stir till dissolved, blend in Irish whiskey and top with whipped heavy cream. Or if you have Baileys on hand just toss some of that in your coffee!
  • Irish Breakfast Shot: Irish whiskey mixed with butterscotch liqueur, and for the chaser orange juice + a strip of bacon!
  • The Irish Mule: Fill a copper mug (or other glass) with ice. Pour in whiskey and lime juice, top with ginger beer. Stir to mix, garnish with lime slices and mint sprig.
  • Irish Mint Mojito: Place mint leaves in a cocktail shaker along with lime wedges and syrup, muddle leaves with a wooden spoon. Add Irish whiskey and fill the shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds and pour into prepared glasses. Top with a splash of tonic water or ginger ale. Serve with additional lime wedges if desired.
  • Sport Your Green

    Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean that you can’t wear your best green outfit! Keep up with tradition but in a social distancing way, without warning, facetime your friends if they can’t show you that they are wearing green, make a note and be sure to pinch them the next time you see them.

    Cook Up and Irish Feast or Order out!

    It wouldn’t be Saint Patrick’s Day without some corn beef and cabbage, and it is fairly easy to make, and we found an easy recipe for you to follow: Place brisket, seasoning, brown sugar and bay leaves in a large Dutch oven or stockpot; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 2 hours. Add potatoes and carrots; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, just until beef and vegetables are tender, 30-40 minutes. (If pot is full, remove potatoes and carrots before adding cabbage; reheat before serving.) Add cabbage to pot; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove vegetables and corned beef; keep warm. For Horseradish Sauce, strain and reserve 1-1/2 cups cooking juices; skim fat from reserved juices. Discard remaining juices. Prepare sauces as desired. Cut beef across the grain into slices. Serve with vegetables, Horseradish Sauce and, if desired, Mustard Sauce. Or maybe you don’t have all the ingredients on hand or hey maybe you just don’t feel like cooking! Well good news, a lot of restaurants even though closed are still doing carry out so do a little research or make some calls and find a place to either pick up a traditional Irish meal like corn beef and cabbage or something fun like Irish nachos!

    Netflix and Chill with Some Irish Shows

    Now more than ever is the time to keep ourselves entertained and what better way to do that on Saint Pats Day than to binge a great Irish show you’ve never seen before? Here are three television shows with Irish actors that are available on streaming services in the U.S.

  • Derry Girls (Netflix)
  • Catastrophe (Amazon Prime Video)
  • The Fall (Netflix)