The Packing Party

baby-diapers

 

The title, “The Packing Party ” seems fitting for this blog because it is relative when moving from one home to another. But, the Packing Party that I joined a few weeks ago has nothing to do with real estate. It is all about babies. Who doesn’t love a baby? They ask for so little, food, love, warmth, and a dry clean diaper. But some mothers need to choose between food and a diaper. Can you imagine?

I was honored to be able to participate in a Packing Party for Jake’s Diapers, a non profit whose mission is simply to provide the basic need of cloth diapers to babies, children, and adults in extreme poverty whose caregivers have to choose between food & diapers. Sounds rather simple but is so complicated. Jake’s Diapers has provided over thirty thousand diapers to 16 impoverished countries and to parents locally in need. The story of how everything falls into place and the partnerships that the founders of Jake’s Diapers have made to reach mothers and families in need is remarkable.

Many of the recipients of the diapers are orphanages in places such as Haiti and Peru. These organizations struggle daily to provide food and other basic needs for the babies. Jake’s Diapers only sends 2 dozen cloth diapers to each baby. It doesn’t sound like many but these  mothers are used to washing and greatly appreciate what they receive. The gift of diapers actually cuts down on the spreading of disease.

Jake’s Diapers partners with several businesses to provide for the transport and donation of diapers, diaper bags (in which to pack the diapers), and the adjustable rubber pants that grow from newborn to toddler size. Nicki’s Diapers of Madison, WI strongly supports the cause and provides huge donations. Johnson and Johnson also donates and supports Jake’s Diapers. The military also gets involved by transporting and dropping off the diapers.

How can you help? Jake’s Diapers needs cloth diapers. Have your children outgrown their cloth diapers?  Visit their Website to see how you can donate diapers. Monetary donations and your time are welcomed.

I personally never really thought about babies needing diapers. Of course, I knew there were starving babies all over this world but didn’t consciously think about the diaper need. I admire the founders of Jake’s Diapers for seeing a need and establishing a non profit to help diaper the babies. It touched my heart that even for a couple of hours, I could be part of something that provides basic needs both locally and internationally.

Empty Nesting or Building Your Forever Home

empty-birdnest

Your last child prepares to leave home and you embrace the transition with both trepidation and excitement. Your home is yours again to do with as you please. But, as those adorable children aged, so did you and your body. The stairs seem to have gotten steeper, the number of bathrooms to clean have suddenly multiplied, and the extra bedrooms just sit empty. What to do with your family home, the home where you raised those beautiful babies becomes the nagging question.

The number of baby boomers with the desire and need to age in their “forever”home continues to increase each year.Very few homes exist on the market today that fulfill the needs of the empty nester desiring their next home. Thus many soon to be or those already experiencing the empty nest are considering building their last home.

So what should be incorporated into the new empty nest?  Although there are many elements, this article focuses on the top 7 on most everyone’s list.

  1. Easy access- Your new home should be built in an area with easy access to shopping, doctors, and cultural activities that you enjoy. The home should also be built with easy access from the garage to the home with either zero entry or room for a future handrail or ramp.
  2. One floor living. Consider one floor living with as many maintenance free features as possible. Incorporating an open floor plan with enough storage eliminates the need to use the basement stairs as much as possible.
  3. Open floor plans. Open floor plans allow for extending the dining table and adding extra chairs for entertaining. You can easily move furniture around when entertaining family and friends.
  4. Fewer but larger bedrooms that can serve both as an office, sewing room, and guest bedroom with ample storage.
  5. Functional kitchens with good storage and entertaining space. Becoming an empty nester doesn’t mean life stops, it just changes. Entertaining becomes more enjoyable since your family no longer requires large daily meals.Many empty nesters look forward to finally building the kitchen of their dreams with the latest technology
  6. Wider hallways, doors, and walk-in showers. Plan ahead just in case the inevitable happens and a wheelchair or walker is required at one time or another. No one wants the frustration of trying to maneuver equipment in tight spaces.
  7. Convenient laundry rooms. Although downsizing, doing less laundry since the kids are gone, and moving to a ranch home eliminates carrying the laundry up and down stairs; consider locating it off of the master suite. Saving a few steps and being able to put the clothes away straight from the dryer is just another benefit of a well planned home designed for just one or two people.

The above are just a few suggestions for planning and building your next forever home. Finish the lower level with another bedroom or two if you want to encourage your children to visit frequently. We downsized twice in the past 3 years; first from a 5 bedroom 3 1/2 bath 4,000 sq. ft home to a 4 bedroom 3 bath condo with 2 bedrooms in the lower level,and finally settling in a 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath ranch home with an unfinished lower level. Cleaning and maintaining our home is much simpler and easier and our kids still visit comfortably for an extended period of time.

Are you thinking of downsizing or resizing? Let me help you plan and build your empty nest filled with light, well planned spaces, and great storage.

 

 

Laundry Day Drudgery- Singing the Blues!

laundry

Do you dread laundry day! Your room is too small to sort out all of the piles, there is no place to hang it to dry, and forget about the folding station; it is non existent. You don’t need to do the Laundry Day Drudgery Dance with a well designed laundry room. There are 3 important factors to consider when designing a new laundry room.

  1. First of all, assess your actual laundry needs. Do you do laundry for a family or is it just one or two of you? Answering those questions help to determine the size of the machines you need. If you are just one or two people, you might want space saving stackable units. Although  some of the stackable washer and dryers may have a smaller capacity, they can be ordered in regular sizes as well. If stacking the units, make sure that you can easily reach both the top and bottom units. Once you determine the size of washer and dryers you want, then you can continue to design the rest of the room.
  2. Is laundry room storage space important to you? If so, is it just to store the detergent and softener or do you want to store other miscellaneous items in the laundry room? I personally like to store all cleaning products in my laundry room as well as vases and other items. Determining your needs ahead of building the laundry room helps to make sure you have ample storage space.
  3. How else will you use the laundry room? Do you need room for ironing, crafting, folding clothes, air drying, or wrapping gifts? What about that all important utility sink? Is a fold- down ironing board something you covet?  Many people opt to build in a dog washing station just inside the garage door or in the laundry room. A laundry room does not have to just be a laundry room anymore. It can be a catch-all, a wrapping center, or even a homework area for the kids.

Avoiding the laundry room blues makes the task so much easier. Lastly, make sure that you have enough light either from the outside or task lighting. I find dark and dreary laundry rooms makes it harder to see and remove all the stains from clothing. Don’t forget to decorate your laundry room with your favorite paint color, some fresh or artificial plants, and some accessories. Since we can’t avoid the laundry forever, having a pleasant space to do it in makes the task easier.