Spring is the traditional time for getting your house organized, and if you're like us, you never quite get there.  Help is on the way, though!  We visited The Container Store in Bridgeport Village to see what a truly organized closet looks like.  And, before you start tackling your own projects this weekend, we'll show you how to save money on your lighting, get your home ready for sale and make some fresh--and healthy--pasta.  With all this great advice, you may just want to enjoy the nice weather this weekend, and save the organizing for when the rains return!

Don't forget that as of this week, we have moved to our new time on KOIN-6 in Portland, 8:00am.  So start off your Saturday mornings with Fusion, and then turn to KPTV-12 at 8:30am for our sister show, Garden Time.  Thanks for watching!

Staging a Home

With the housing market in a downturn, selling your home can be more difficult, and presenting your house in its best light becomes critical.  We met with Bridget Kiene from Transformations by Design (503-334-9522).  Bridget is an expert in the art and science of "home staging": preparing a house for sale visually, so that every asset in the home appears in its best light.  Since 92 percent of home buyers use the internet when looking for a home, those pictures will be the first impression a prospective buyer gets.

Bridget had four tips for preparing your home for sale:

Tip #1:  Always Stage a Vacant Home.  Buyers need to be able to visualize themselves in your home, and that means  they want to feel like they could live there.  Staging shows them how furniture will fit in a room, and gives them a "homey" feeling.  Bridget helps with furniture plans to make the best use of the furniture that is in a room.

Tip #2:  Create a Neutral Color Pallette.  Use earth-tone based colors that will appeal to buyers, rather than bright or unusual colors that may make a negative impression.  Many paint manufacturers sell paint samples (or have a quart made up) so you can test your color before committing to it.

Tip #3:  Eliminate Clutter.  A prospective buyer will make an impression of your home in as little as 15 seconds.  So, Bridget says that cleaning up clutter is critical.  Since you're moving anyway, make your house look organized by packing unnecessary items and excess furniture before your prospective buyers come for a visit.  One other thing: clutter can be hiding assets, like granite countertops.

Tip #4:  Modernize Your Decor.  Besides freshening up the paint, lighting can also make a big impression.  Lights that are outdated will make a room look outdated.  Another way to update your kitchen or bathroom is to replace the knobs on your cabinets.  This simple and inexpensive fix will make your home feel fresh and new, and help it to sell more quickly.


Energy Efficient Lighting

We all know that the new compact fluorescent lights are the best deal for everyone, right?  Not necessarily.  We talked with Al Thomas from Globe Lighting (503-639-8816), an expert in lighting who said that the right bulbs for you depends on what your needs are.  Al demonstrated four different types of bulbs: incandescent, fluorescent, L.E.D. and halogen in a bulb-to-bulb comparison.

Incandescent: The "old-fashioned" bulbs use the most energy, but they are the most inexpensive to buy.  The "75 watt" bulb in Al's demonstration actually used about 55 watts, and put out around 120 footcandles of light.  The bulbs last approximately 2,000 hours in normal residential use.

Compact Fluorescent: A big energy saver, at 14 watts.  However, the bulbs do take a while to "warm up" to their highest light output, which Al says is lower than what the package may claim.  At their best, their output is about 80 percent of the light of a comparable incandescent bulb.  Another point: While the manufacturer claims the bulbs last 8,000 hours, in common household use (that is, a lot of turning the light off and on), they will last only 4,000 to 5,000 hours. Also, they cannot be used in a dimmer, unless you buy a more expensive version made specifically for dimmers.

L.E.D.: The first thing you notice about L.E.D. lights is that there is a lag from the time you flip the switch to when the light actually comes on, of about three seconds.  However, the light output was immediately brighter than the other two bulbs, at about 164 footcandles.  They also save energy at around 12 watts, and their life is not shortened by turning the light on and off.  Al says the L.E.D. lights last 35,000 to 50,000 hours.  The big disadvantage comes in the price, at $65 to $75 per bulb.

Halogen: At 50 watts, the halogen in our demonstration put out 450 footcandles, significantly brighter than any of the other bulbs, so it would take three of the L.E.D.s to match the light output, making the energy used nearly the same.  Each bulb also emits a different "color temperature," that is, the color of the light given off by the bulb.  Some are yellower, some bluer, and that will affect how colors appear in the rooms of your house.

When deciding which bulb to buy, Al recommends "doing the math" to see which light works best for your needs.

Easy Healthy Pasta

Creating a delicious healthy dinner for your family is not that hard. Chef Eric Nelson from Vitality at Wellspring (971-983-5280) made a whole wheat spinach pasta in just a few minutes for us. This pasta is easy to make with just five ingredients. We also found out how to make a quick spinach powder for your pasta. You can just get some fresh spinach leaves and let them dry under low heat in your oven and then run them through your coffee grinder or a food processor. To see the whole recipe click here.


Serving Your Healthy Pasta

Now that you've made your healthy pasta, it's time to eat it!  Chef Eric Nelson from Vitality at Wellspring (971-983-5280) shows us how to serve your healthy pasta, with a fat-free Alfredo sauce, along with a fat-free feta and spinach-stuffed chicken breast.  Because this is fresh pasta, it takes only a few minutes to cook in boiling water, so you'll be ready to eat in no time!


Garlic Gadgets

Stop the (garlic) presses!  Laura at Sur La Table (503-968-8015) showed us some of her favorite garlic gadgets, which make preparing your garlic as easy as 1-2-3.  Besides the garlic pressers, she also showed us a neat garlic roller, which takes the peel off your garlic with just a couple of rolls of a tube.  To learn more about these useful tools, stop by the closest Sur La Table.


Closet Organizing

Are you getting the most use of out your closet space?  Dan Lerma of The Container Store (503-620-5700) in Bridgeport Village showed us how to get the most out of your closets, no matter what size they are.  The first step is to separate your items into two piles: "donate" and "keep."  By getting rid of clothes you seldom use, it will create more space for the items you use regularly.

Dan told us that closet space falls into six different categories: Long-hang, short-hang, shelf space, shoe space, drawer space, and accessories.

Long Hang: Dresses, long coats, pants hanging from the waist or cuffs. 

Short Hang: Blouses, shirts, pants folded over a hanger.  This is what most people will have, and you can do one or two levels of short-hang space.

Shelf Space: Often up above the other areas, this is a great place to store seasonal clothes, tax records or things you don't need access to on a regular basis.

Shoe Storage: Dan demonstrated a rack that holds nine pairs of shoes and glides out for easy access.  If you don't want your shoes out, you can store them on shelves or in clear boxes, which make it easy to find the shoes you want.

Drawer Space: Sweaters, t-shirts, socks, undergarments.  Anything that has a tendency to fall over on a shelf or take up room in a dresser can be neatly contained in a drawer in your closet.

Accessory Space: Purses, hats and jewelry.  Boxes on a shelf work great for this.  Also, there is a "jewelry box" that holds your small accessories and organizes them and makes them easy to access.

The system demonstrated by Dan is interchangeable, and allows you to tailor your closet to fit your needs.  And, while there is no formula for how much of each type of space you should have (it all depends on the makeup of your wardrobe), one thing that will increase your closet space is to use the same type of hanger for all your clothes.

Kitchen Trends

Stoves aren't the only things that are hot in the kitchen these days!  Diane Martin, a designer with Ready for Company (503-974-9694) talked about this year's trends in kitchen design.  While stainless steel is still popular, white appliances and cabinets or very dark (espresso colored) cabinets are becoming more popular, as well as painted cabinets or a combination of painted and stained cabinets.  Another trend is to make the "island" less built-in and more like furniture.  Also in style: granite counter tops.  One way to save money on granite is to use granite tile, which, thanks to new methods, has very thin grout lines and is comparable to a granite slab, but is much less expensive.  This can also make granite a more economical choice than some higher-end porcelain tile.  A nicer touch to the old six-inch backsplash is to use a tile backsplash, which goes up the wall to the cabinets and can use a standard tile with an accent.  Pendant lights over your islands are also very trendy.  The bottom line, though, is to "follow your heart" and make your kitchen suit your own tastes.



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This page last modified
February 12, 2011.