Karen Adelson - Barrett Sotheby's International Realty



Posted by Karen Adelson on 5/23/2017

Humans have been thinking about the way they decorate their homes for thousands of years. In ancient India, Vastu shastra (literally, "the science of architecture") has been informing decorating techniques since as early as 6,000 BCE. The more commonly known influence for home decorating, feng shui, has its roots in ancient China where practitioners were inspired by astronomy. In the early 1900s, however, a modern science was founded that attempts to solve some of the problems that arise based on our environments. Environmental psychology is a field that focuses on the interplay between humans and the environments they live and work in. Scientists have studied the way humans (and other animals, like rats) are affected by their environment. Their findings help to inform us of how we can live more relaxed or focused based on how we decorate our home and workplace.

A place to call your own

As society becomes increasingly urbanized, many psychologists are studying the problems that arise from being in constant contact with one another, both physically and in the digital world. One thing that scientists have discovered is that it is important for humans to have a place of sanctuary during their day. Whether this is your cubicle at work, your home office, or your tool shed, everyone needs a place they can be alone. Ask yourself if your home setup provides you with a space that you can go to be alone.

How colors can affect mood

Have you ever been in a school or hospital that was painted an awful color that just made you uncomfortable? Many of us have trained ourselves to adapt and live with environments that aren't ideal for us. For example, the bright red walls of McDonald's or the blinding fluorescent lights in a department store probably aren't conditions we'd pick for our homes. Scientists have discovered that there is a correlation between colors, brightness, and our mood. Try to match the colors of your rooms with their functions. For example, you wouldn't want to paint your bedroom bright red, as your bedroom should be a place you can relax to fall asleep. Instead, go with a less-pronounced color for the bedroom.

The balance between cluttered and sterile

Much of the way we choose to decorate our homes is informed by our childhood. If you learn meticulous cleaning habits from your parents, you might carry on with this into adulthood. As a child, you probably went to a friend's house and marveled at how differently they did things. Part of that lesson is learning that the way someone chooses to decorate and clean their home is part of their personality. But like most things in life, it's important to find a balance. If you find yourself restless or distracted you should ask yourself if the room is too cluttered or messy. Maybe it's the opposite; you could just as easily become distracted or uncomfortable by an environment that is too sterile looking.

Listen to yourself

The most important thing to remember when decorating your home is to follow your intuitions. Decide if you decorated a room a certain way because that's what everyone else does or if it actually makes you feel more at home.





Posted by Karen Adelson on 1/24/2017

If you've ever read a self-improvement book or attended a motivational seminar, you probably felt charged up for about a week or so, but then slipped back into old, self-defeating habits.

Why does that happen? Is it because we're all born a certain way and have no control over the cards we're dealt? While it may sometimes appear that destiny plays a role in the direction of our lives, habits are often the underlying cause of both problems and accomplishments.

Zig Ziglar, a well-known sales trainer and personal development author summed it up perfectly: “People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing – that's why we recommend it daily.”

Here are a few ways that good habits can improve everything from family relationships and health to time management and stress reduction.
  1. Either before you go to bed or the first thing the next morning, write down your objectives for the day. When you commit something to writing and have a visual reminder of what you need to accomplish, there's a much stronger chance it will get done. Whether you prefer to use your iPhone or just old-fashioned written lists, everyone needs some kind of daily system for staying organized and remembering tasks and priorities. As Benjamin Franklin said more than 200 years ago, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
  2. Your attitudes and expectations often become self-fulfilling prophesies. It's easy to fall into the trap of complaining about things like how messy the house always looks or what a daily struggle it is to get the kids to do their homework. If you find yourself going down this negative path, keep in mind a quote from Oprah Winfrey: "What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it." The opposite is also true, so it pays to choose your thoughts and words carefully.
  3. Establishing good, consistent habits in children makes life easier, more productive, and less stressful for the entire family. That can include everything from doing homework and chores to personal hygiene and keeping their bedrooms looking civilized.
  4. Learning to be patient with yourself, your spouse, and your children is easier for some people than others, but when you think of yourself as a "work in progress," you'll have more of a tendency to keep trying and not get discouraged.
Many books, websites, and seminars are based on the premise of improving the conditions of your life by improving the quality of your habits and thoughts. A good starting point for many people is to do a self assessment, write down a list of achievable goals, and then come up with a realistic action plan.





Posted by Karen Adelson on 9/20/2016

When you stop and think about it, there are a lot of aspects of our lives that need continual organizing. The ideal scenario is to set up an organizing system when you first move into a new home, and then maintain it on a daily or weekly basis. Unfortunately, many people wait to organize their closets, pantries, or home offices until those areas are in a state of utter chaos. By then, the clutter has taken on a life of its own! Not only is it difficult to find things you're looking for, but your frustration can spill over into other aspects of your life. Kitchen Organizing Tips Being organized is the bedrock of a well-managed life. While it's far from a panacea, the results of organizing your home and work space can be far reaching. Take your refrigerator, for example. How many times has perfectly good food been wasted because it was pushed back into a corner and forgotten about until it turned into a "science experiment"? Although refrigerators are designed with organization in mind, it's all too easy to throw vegetables in the meat drawer and haphazardly wrap up leftovers without labeling them. As a side note, if you write the current date on the label, you'll be able to keep track of how long it's been in the fridge and whether it's time to throw it away. (Note: The U.S. Department of Agriculture advises that cooked leftovers be used within four days. Its food safety "window" for raw poultry and ground beef is even shorter: only one or two days.) Whether your goal is to organize your refrigerator, kitchen cabinets, bedroom closets, or garage, the benefits are worth the time and energy. Before getting started, though, it's helpful to make a trip to a local office supply outlet, kitchen retailer, or dollar store to pick up an assortment of small containers, canisters, drawer dividers, a marking pen, and labels. The Benefits of Organizing Your Home Getting started is the hardest aspect of home organizing, but there are many sound reasons for taking the initiative:

  • Improving the appearance of your home rewards you with a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of personal satisfaction.
  • When you organize closets, cabinets, or other storage areas, you'll stumble upon things you thought you misplaced or lost, long ago.
  • You'll get rid of miscellaneous junk and clutter, which will free up space for things you want to save, refer to, or use in the near future.
  • Organizing your household supplies, tools, and kitchen accessories will also prevent you from having to buy replacement items that you already have. Knowing where things are will save you time, money, and aggravation!
Maintaining a Semblance of Order Getting your family to clean and organize their own rooms and work spaces is a separate challenge, but setting a positive example is one of the first steps. In the case of children, clear expectations need to be set and daily routines established. When all else fails, bribery has been know to work, too!





Posted by Karen Adelson on 3/8/2016

sixteen girls being fed upWinter can leave everyone feeling a little stir-crazy.  If you find yourself battling a case of cabin fever, then consider these helpful hints to set your mind at ease. 1.  Invest in some board games.  They've come a long way since the days of checkers and chess.  Check out your local toy store, and drop some cash on these tried and true ways to pass the time.  Not only are they good for family time, but they can also be a lifesaver if you find yourself hosting a get-together gone stale. 2.  Get organized.  Spring cleaning is fine, but winter organizing can make your life a lot simpler, while providing you with something to break the monotony.  Go from room to room, and clean from top to bottom.  Organize those junk drawers.  There's really no need to wait for spring! 3.  Cook something fabulous.  Most people have at least one cookbook in their homes, and odds are, that cookbook hasn't done much more than collect dust.  Try your hand at some recipes you've never made before.  A new culinary skill can come in handy when entertaining guests as well. 4.  Make something awesome.  Try your hand at a new craft.  Candle making, terrarium building, and potpourri are all hobbies that are not only fun to try, but can add a touch of personality to your home.  Take a trip to your local craft store, and see if anything catches your interest.  If you become particularly skilled at the craft of your choosing, there's always room to make a little extra money from your endeavors. No matter what you end up trying out, keep in mind that doing something is always better than doing nothing.  Keeping your mind and body active in the winter is not only good for you, it's good for your home as well.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Karen Adelson on 12/23/2014

Buying a home is still one of the best ways to build wealth. If you are looking to add value to your home without breaking the bank there are many projects that will increase your home's value for less than $1,000. One thousand dollars can go a long way when it comes to home improvement projects. If you think and plan smart your profit should outweigh your investment. Here are a few projects that will give you the most bang for your buck. 1. Organize Your Home Declutter your home by organizing closets, cabinets and pantries. Add bookshelves for more storage. Maximize space in the kids’ rooms by installing platform or bunk beds. A neat and organized home is easier to live in and shows better to potential buyers. 2. Make an Entrance Simply updating and replacing your entry door will spruce up your curb appeal. Not only will the new door look great it can also help save money.  Adding a steel door will save on energy. Most of the new steel doors are made to look like wood. A new door will cost approximately $400. 3. Install a Programmable Thermostat. Another way to save money is to switch from a manual to a programmable thermostat. Prices vary greatly on these thermostats but don't expect to pay more than a few hundred dollars for a high end model.  A programmable thermostat can save you $180 a year in energy costs. 4. Update your Cabinets Cabinet hardware makes a huge difference on how new your kitchen looks. Simply update the cabinet hardware by installing new knobs and pulls in more modern metals and looks. Most large hardware store have a large selection of hardware you can usually buy a 10-pack for approximately $20. 5. No more Bathroom Blues Bathrooms can be one of the most expensive updates in a home. You can give a bathroom a quick facelift by replacing old tile. Vinyl tiles are inexpensive and easy to install or with ceramic tile can cost as little as $3 per square foot for material and installation.