Essential Housewares & Appliances

Whether you're setting up a home for the first time or you're replacing lost items, this checklist of house essentials can help ensure you're covered for the basics. It can also come in handy when you need ideas for wedding, anniversary, and shower gifts.


Major Appliances

Some major appliances may already be in place in your home, especially if you're renting. New homes usually have no appliances other than heating/cooling equipment and a hot water heater.

  • Refrigerator with freezer
  • Range or cooktop and oven
  • Microwave oven
  • Freezer, chest or upright (optional)
  • Dishwasher (optional)
  • Clothes washer and dryer

Countertop Appliances & Accessories

Most countertop appliances have "manual," or non-electric counterparts. For example, you can opt for a stovetop coffee maker instead of a standard plug-in drip coffee machine.

  • Toaster or toaster oven
  • Mixer (handheld or stand)
  • Blender (standard or stick)
  • Coffeemaker
  • Electric kettle

Cooking Implements

Active home cooks tend to acquire specific and specialty cooking tools over time, based on the type of cooking they do. But a basic set of implements will suffice for most recipes and dishes.

  • 6-, 8-, and 12-inch frying pans
  • 1-, 2-, and 4-quart saucepans with lids
  • Dutch oven or large pot with lid
  • Stockpot (optional)
  • Steamer pot or steamer basket
  • Casserole dish
  • Roasting Pan


Baking tends to be more precise than everyday cooking, so it helps to have the most standard tools, such as a classic 9-inch pie pan, to follow baking recipes without having to make modifications.

  • Heavy baking sheets
  • Cookie sheets
  • 9-inch pie pan
  • Rectangular bakers or baking dishes
  • Rolling pin
  • Metal cooling racks
  • Ramekins or custard cups

Kitchen Utensils & Tools

A well-equipped kitchen feels more like a home kitchen and less like a rental property. Think about the items you most often reach for as well as some cook's favorites that you may not have tried, like a spider strainer.

  • Large- and medium-size mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Canister set (for storing grains, flour, and other dry staples)
  • Kitchen tool holder
  • Spice rack or holder
  • Colander or set of strainers
  • Silicone spatulas
  • Metal spatula or flipper
  • Wooden spoons
  • Spider skimmer
  • Can opener
  • Wisk
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Cheese and vegetable grater
  • Plastic and/or metal serving and cooking utensils, such as large slotted and regular spoons, soup ladle, potato masher, large meat fork, and stirring paddles
  • Knife set, including paring, chef, and serrated knives
  • Steak knives
  • Cutting boards
  • Vegetable cleaning brush
  • Potholders, hot pads, and oven mitts
  • Dishcloths and tea towels
  • Trivets

Tableware & Serving

Dishes and silverware go quickly whether you're cooking a family meal or hosting a dinner party. It's best to have extra settings for the most common items.

  • Flatware settings (dinner fork, salad fork, teaspoon, soup spoon, knife) for eight to 12 people
  • Everyday dish setting (dinner plate, salad plate, soup bowl) for six, or as needed
  • Fruit or dessert dishes
  • Glassware assortment, including 4-, 6-, and 8-ounce glasses
  • Small bowls, such as cereal bowls, if not included in dish set
  • Coffee mugs and teacups
  • Salt and pepper set
  • Cream and sugar bowl
  • Napkin holder
  • Set of serving bowls
  • Teapot (if you don't have an electric kettle)
  • Serving platter

Floor Care & Cleaning Items

There are an endless array cleaning supplies you can buy, but a basic collection will get you through most everyday chores. Even professional house cleaners rely on relatively few supplies.

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Floor mop, scrub pail, scrub brush, and cleaning rags
  • Long bottlebrush
  • Scouring or pot cleaning pads, or brushes
  • Dust Rag
  • Microfiber cleaning cloths (optional)

Linens & Towels

As with dishes, having more sets of towels and bed linens means you won't have to wash items in a hurry because you've run out. It's also nice to have plenty of good linens for house guests.

  • Bath towels
  • Hand towels
  • Washcloths
  • Bed sheets
  • Blankets and bed covers
  • Pillows and pillow covers (include extra for guests)
  • Tablecloths
  • Cloth napkins
  • Placemats

Source: The Spruce


Fireplace Decor for a Warm and Happy Holiday

Lovely Lanterns

Fireplace decor reaches beyond the mantel. Decorating the space around the flames is a great way to add dimension to your display. If you're looking for a festive alternative to your flames, try putting these pretty picks inside for a unique look. 

Richly Red

Why settle for a traditional green garland? Make your mantel pop with this rich red accent.  


A New Necessity

Just like a tablescape, a mantel display needs a focal point. This trendy hand-lettered print outlined by matte paper in a rustic frame will be a staple year after year.

A Holiday Gathering

Talk about a good-looking holiday gathering! This berry and pinecone arrangement pulls together your holiday decorations. We imagine placing one at either end of the mantel. Where will you place yours?


The Search Is Over

The hunt for the perfect stockings may seem never-ending, that's why we did the searching for you. We love this modern-meets-traditional find of soft velvet and cozy flannel.

A Year-Round Affair


Finally, holiday decor that can last all year! This decorative mirror bursts with joy for the festive season.

A Hint of Tin


A well-put-together display is all about the tiny details. This glowing accent will illuminate your mantel with a cheery Christmas tree cutout. 

A Holiday Staple

Bows are everywhere during the holiday season, so why not spread them around your home! From presents to tree tops and more, this pretty pair is sure to bring the holiday spirit wherever they go. 

We Have a Winner

You can't call it a holiday display without a wreath. We love this one's subdued green hues with a scattering of red berries for a vintage-inspired finish.

Source:Better Homes and Gardens


Moving Checklist and Planner

Two Months Before

  • Sort and purge.Go through every room of your house and decide what you’d like to keep and what you can get rid of. Think about whether any items will require special packing or extra insurance coverage.
  • Research.Start investigating moving company options. Do not rely on a quote over the phone; request an on-site estimate. Get an estimate in writing from each company, and make sure it has a USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) number on it.
  • Create a moving binder.Use this binder to keep track of everything—all your estimates, your receipts, and an inventory of all the items you’re moving.
  • Organize school records.Go to your children’s school and arrange for their records to be transferred to their new school district.

Six Weeks Before

  • Order supplies.Order boxes and other supplies such as tape, Bubble Wrap, and permanent markers. Don’t forget to order specialty containers, such as dish barrels or wardrobe boxes.
  • Use it or lose it.Start using up things that you don’t want to move, like frozen or perishable foods and cleaning supplies.
  • Take measurements.Check room dimensions at your new home, if possible, and make sure larger pieces of furniture will fit through the door.

One Month Before

  • Choose your mover and confirm the arrangements.Select a company and get written confirmation of your moving date, costs, and other details.
  • Begin packing.Start packing the things that you use most infrequently, such as the waffle iron and croquet set. While packing, note items of special value that might require additional insurance from your moving company. Make sure to declare, in writing, any items valued over $100 per pound, such as a computer.
  • Label.Clearly label and number each box with its contents and the room it’s destined for. This will help you to keep an inventory of your belongings. Pack and label “essentials” boxes of items you’ll need right away.
  • Separate valuables.Add items such as jewelry and important files to a safe box that you’ll personally transport to your new home. Make sure to put the mover’s estimate in this box. You’ll need it for reference on moving day.
  • Do a change of address.Go to your local post office and fill out a change-of-address form, or do it online at But in case there are stragglers, it’s always wise to ask a close neighbor to look out for mail after you’ve moved. Check in with him or her two weeks after the move, and again two weeks after that.
  • Notify important parties.Alert the following of your move: banks, brokerage firms, your employer’s human resources department, magazine and newspapers you subscribe to, and credit card, insurance, and utility companies.
  • Forward medical records.Arrange for medical records to be sent to any new health-care providers or obtain copies of them yourself. Ask for referrals.

Two Weeks Before

  • Arrange to be off from work on moving day.Notify your office that you plan to supervise the move and therefore need the day off.
  • Tune up.Take your car to a garage, and ask the mechanic to consider what services might be needed if you’re moving to a new climate.
  • Clean out your safe-deposit box.If you’ll be changing banks, remove the contents of your safe-deposit box and put them in the safe box that you’ll take with you on moving day.
  • Contact the moving company.Reconfirm the arrangements. 

One Week Before

  • Refill prescriptions.Stock up on prescriptions you’ll need during the next couple of weeks.
  • Pack your suitcases.Aim to finish your general packing a few days before your moving date. Then pack suitcases for everyone in the family with enough clothes to wear for a few days.

A Few Days Before

  • Defrost the freezer.If your refrigerator is moving with you, make sure to empty, clean, and defrost it at least 24 hours before moving day.
  • Double-check the details.Reconfirm the moving company’s arrival time and other specifics and make sure you have prepared exact, written directions to your new home for the staff. Include contact information, such as your cell phone number.
  • Plan for the payment.If you haven’t already arranged to pay your mover with a credit card, get a money order, cashier’s check, or cash for payment and tip. If the staff has done a good job, 10 to 15 percent of the total fee is a good tip. If your move was especially difficult, you might tip each mover up to $100. Don’t forget that refreshments are always appreciated.

Moving Day

Source: Real Simple

How to keep your for-sale house clean

No matter how long your house is on the market before being sold, it can be tremendously difficult to keep a home clean and orderly during the showing period, however short.

Aside from correct pricing, the most important steps you can take involve decluttering and making sure your house is kept clean during the showing period, says Eric Tyson, a personal finance expert and coauthor of ''House Selling For Dummies.''

Here are a few pointers for sellers:

Do as much preliminary pre packing as possible.

Vicki Norris, a professional organizer and former real estate agent, knows how hard it can be to keep a house in prime showing shape. It's especially difficult when people are selling against their will — for instance, in the wake of a job loss.

''Sometimes life takes people off track and they get unusually disorganized,'' says Norris, who runs her own consulting firm, Restoring Order.

To limit upkeep demands during the showing period, Norris recommends that sellers clear their clutter in advance of putting their place on the market. Throw away or give away any items you don't intend to keep, and place the remainder in neatly stacked boxes in your garage or other storage area.

''You don't have to remove everything, but reduce the quantity. For example, if you can winnow down an overpacked bookshelf from 200 to 30 books, that would be great,'' Norris says.

Seek to keep your house in good condition every day.

Most people who have their homes up for sale for a lengthy period can't count on hired help to do the daily work necessary to keep their place in tip-top showing condition. Still, they must always be ready for visitors.


Ashley Richardson, a real estate agent affiliated with the Council of Residential Specialists, advises clients to set aside 15 minutes each morning before work to straighten the home.

''At the very minimum, every day you'll need to sweep the kitchen, put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher and hang up any clothes lying around,'' she says.

Ponder the use of a cleaning service.

Are you sloppier than the average homeowner? If so, it might be wise to pay for what real estate agents call a ''super-duper cleaning.''

''If you start with a professional cleaning at the beginning, you'll have an easier time keeping your house tidy all the way through to your sale,'' says Sid Davis, a real estate broker and author of ''A Survival Guide to Selling a Home.''


Though it's likely to cost over $100, he says a single in-depth cleaning could hold you for more than a month before another in-depth cleaning job would be necessary.

Unfortunately, hiring a cleaning crew won't spare you the need for routine upkeep. ''This will be no substitute for keeping your dishes washed and your bathroom toiletries put away. But it's still a big step going forward,'' Davis says.

Try to get everyone in your household to cooperate.

After a home has sat unsold for more than a month, those who live there can easily lose focus and slip back into their bad habits.

"The problem is that keeping your house in show condition is not a relaxed way of living, so people get tired of it,'' Davis says.


According to Richardson, it can be especially tough to ensure that children's rooms are kept orderly and that their toys are put away.

''Often, the kids are protesting the move. So the parents may need to clean their rooms for them. Alternatively, to get the kids to do it themselves, you might need to bribe them with pizza or a dinner out,'' she says.

Realize that the ordeal is temporary.

Donna Goings, a veteran real estate agent, says homeowners who earnestly want to sell should ''keep their houses looking good enough to appear in a magazine.'' But she cautions that even picture-perfect properties that are fairly priced can languish unsold for a lengthy period through no fault of their owners.

''Sometimes, there's no rhyme or reason why a particular house won't sell for a long time. Even if you make the house beautiful and set the price right, it could stay on the market for months,'' Goings says.


Richardson advises her clients to avoid dwelling on critiques of their property.

''Buyers are more candid than they were in the past, and sometimes can be quite blunt in their feedback after a showing,'' Richardson says.

To limit the amount of unfiltered and discouraging negativity that can flow to you about your home, she suggests you tell your listing agent to filter out all pointlessly critical comments about your place.

Source: Chicago Tribune 


6 Reasons Why Selling a House in the Winter May Be the Best Decision Ever

Spring is generally the most popular time of year to sell a house, with hordes of buyers looking to move into a new place before the school year begins. But if you decide to sell your home during the winter, experts say you could reap a reward in cold, hard cash.

“I have personally had my best months in real estate during the holiday season, so the idea that the markets are very tough to sell in the winter might be a myth,” says Emil Hartoonian, managing partner of The Agency in Beverly Hills, CA.

He's not the only one who believes selling in the winter can make you a real estate winner. Read on for the top reasons why you should consider unloading when the temperatures drop.

1. Low inventory = less competition

Since spring is the most popular home-selling season, the housing market is ultracrowded with options at that time of year. And if you paid attention during Econ 101, you understand the law of supply and demand.

“Most sellers still think they need to sell in the spring, but that means there is more competition for buyers' attention,” says Matt Van Winkle, founder of Re/Max Northwest in Seattle.

But in the winter, there are fewer homes for sale. That competition over low inventory can make winter an ideal time to sell your home.

“In the Atlanta market, January is one of the strongest months for homes to go under contract,” says Ally May of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby's.

2. You get to show your home’s winter-readiness

Selling in the winter also gives you the opportunity to show that a home is designed to handle the harsh elements.

“Sellers in places like Lake Tahoe can show off features like a south-facing driveway to speed up snow melting, how snow will fall off of a roof, a short driveway that will minimize shoveling or plowing, heat tape on the north side of the roof to avoid snow accumulation, and how recently the roof and furnace have been replaced," says Sandy Soli, regional manager at Engel & Völkers in Lake Tahoe, NV.

Plus, during winter months, homes with features like fireplaces and hot tubs are certainly more appealing.

3. New parents may be looking to upgrade

The baby boom in September may lead to more buyers later in the year. According to data from the Center for Health Statistics and the Social Security Administration, there are more birthdays in the month of September than any other time of the year. Therefore, there's likely to be a crop of growing families looking to buy a larger house.

"Once baby is home and settled, these parents may want to start the year in a new, and more spacious, family home,” according to Melissa Temple, real estate adviser and partner at Engel & Völkers in Aspen, CO.

4. Winter brings out the serious buyers

News flash: Not everyone looking at houses intends to make a purchase. Some people are contemplating moving and may just want to see what's on the market. Since more homes tend to go on the market in spring and fall, this is also when window shoppers are likely to be out looking.

However, these looky-loos tend to be scarce during winter months, according to Jennifer Baldinger, licensed associate real estate broker at Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty in Scarsdale, NY.

"When I have buyers looking for homes in January and February, they’re real buyers looking to make a purchase—especially if it’s a great house. They don't want to take the chance of waiting until spring and losing out on the home,” Baldinger says.

“There may be less people at these open houses, but I would rather have 10 real buyers come through than 20 people who are just curious,” she says.

5. Year-end financial bonuses and payouts

As a seller, year-end performance reviews could mean that more people have money to spend on a home.

“End-of-year financial bonuses or workers retiring with large payouts could mean opportunities for these buyers to upgrade their living situations or for first-time buyers to enter the housing market,” according to Temple.

6. Corporate relocation

You could also encounter buyers who are relocating for a job.

“One of the biggest months for corporate relocation is January/February, so those buyers, who need to move quickly, are out in full force looking for new homes,” Baldinger says.

Relocators typically have a limited amount of time to uproot their families and, as a result, don't have the luxury of spending a lot of time looking at properties. The kids need to get settled into school, and dealing with selling their old home can add another level of urgency and stress. So it's likely that once they find a home that meets their requirements, these buyers will be ready to sign on the dotted line.



13 Ways to Keep Up Your Curb Appeal in Winter

Just because the snow is falling and the days are dark and gray, that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up your home a bit. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling your home or you just want your home to look great for the holidays, here are 13 ways to spruce up the outside of your home this winter.

Add a Small Tree

This holiday season, buy an extra small Christmas tree (or two!) to place near the front door. You can wrap the bottom of the tree with some burlap or place it in a basket. If you have and electrical outlet nearby, add a string of lights.

Create a Warm Glow

Exterior lighting not only makes your home safer, it also makes your home look cozy and inviting. Take a walk around the outside of your home to make sure all lights are working properly and check for any bulbs that need to be replaced. Also, check to make sure bulbs are clear of ice and snow. 

Clear the Snow

Nothing makes a home look unkempt in the winter faster than snow that hasn’t been cleared. Take the time to shovel the front walkway and shovel or use the snowblower on the driveway to keep paths clear and safe.

Add Some Plants

Look for some cold-weather plants to add to your front entryway. Think evergreens or plants with colorful berries to add some interest to an otherwise drab space.

Clear Clutter

Make sure all toys, shovels and lawn equipment are put away after use. Leaving items like this laying around is a quick way to give your yard a sloppy look.

Try a Lantern

Hang a lantern on a post near your entryway or set one or two on the steps for a charming, welcoming look. Lanterns can be either hard-wired or battery-operated.

Add Some Color and Shine

Winter can be dark and gloomy so add some shine to up your curb appeal. Pick out some shiny, colorful garden ornaments to add around the front of your home.

Use String Lights

String lights aren’t just for the holidays. Try using them in a clear glass bowl or lantern on your porch for a soft glow or suspend them from a tree for an enchanting look.

Hang a Wreath

Wreaths don’t have to be super-fancy or really large. Think beyond evergreen and choose a wreath with understated elegance.

Attract the Birds

Add a colorful bird feeder in your front yard. A well-placed feeder adds color and life to an otherwise gray landscape.

Get Painting

Break from the expected and go for a bold color on your front door. The pop of color may be just what your home needs during the depths of winter.

Update Your Mailbox

If your mailbox is boring black, brown or white, give it a winter makeover. Try some brightly colored paint to help boost your curb appeal. Just bring it inside to warm up since paint has a hard time adhering to cold surfaces.

Replace House Numbers

Up your home’s curb appeal with some striking new house numbers. Go for a design that makes a statement. Or, find a style that speaks to your home’s character. Just make sure they can easily be spotted from the street. 

Source: Family Handyman 

The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are member’s of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.