Home & Garden

Home & Garden

Here’s What You Can Get Rid of Today for a More Organized Home Tomorrow

The start of a new year is a good opportunity to make a clean sweep of all those items that you've collected - dare we say hoarded? - over the years. But what really needs to go? This list is a great way to start your January decluttering. Grab some bags, set aside a few hours, and dig in. ...
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Stan Hywet Deck the Halls is Back for Another Season of Holiday Merriment

The fire pit is the place to relax and warm up with refreshments from the Gingerbread Bakeshop, and the Salty Reindeer: hot gingerbread cookies, cocoa, popcorn, beer, wine, Bavarian pretzels and more. Molly's Shop is fully stocked for holiday shopping and the Café is a place to enjoy more substantial fare and holiday treats. ...
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Popular Products That are Made to Last – Do You Have Any to Add to Our List?

With the exception of a Kitchen Aid mixer, I've found every one of these items at a yard sale or thrift store over the past 30 years.  Dad picked up an immaculate set of CutCo knives for me (vintage '70s wooden handles) for $8 at an estate sale. And I'll argue that a good piece of vintage Pyrex beats CorningWare any day. ...
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10 Tips for Shopping at a Farmers’ Market

Local Farmers' Markets are Bursting with Fresh, Flavorful Fruits and Vegetables. Skip the Boring Grocery Store Produce Aisle and Check Out What the Nearby Gardeners are Growing - and Selling - Each Week. We Promise You'll Like What You See. ...
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Thunder and Lightening and Wind – Oh, My! It’s Storm Season

Keep your eye on the sky. Those dark clouds and shifting winds may mean a storm is coming. Are you prepared for spring's unsettled weather? ...
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Buried Under Clutter? Try Death Cleaning

Death cleaning isn't as morbid as it sounds. If you've ever sorted through someone's items after they've died then you already know what it involves. Try doing it now, not later to make the job simpler. ...
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Curate Your Closet

I couldn’t stand my closet. It was overflowing with coats, jackets, work dresses, sundresses, long skirts, short skirts, pants, sweaters, scarves … shoes, boots, sandals. Enough to dress the female population of small country.  

I had clothes for multiple roles mom, exercise enthusiast, media professional, friend, girlfriend and more. Let’s not even talk weight gain and loss. It’s no wonder my closet looked like several women lived there. They did.

Enter Jennifer Marks, a closet curator and stylist by trade, headquartered in St. Louis and Cleveland. She helps clients sort, purge and organize clothing. Marks has a Master’s in Public Health with a focus on social and behavioral sciences, something that has honed her skills for understanding human behavior.

She won me over with a few words:  “My goal is to get to know you and understand your lifestyle to ensure your outer appearance accurately depicts your true inner self.”

A curator of more than 100 closets, she assured me she wouldn’t run screaming into the night when she saw this manifestation of my psyche.  She didn’t.

Instead, she assessed my roles and goals, my aesthetic sensibilities and comfort zone.  Then, we determined who I want to be and what that “me” will wear.

In examining the shadows that shape my closet angst, I saw how my personal history informed my attire. I reflected on how my philosophy, friends, cultural background and daily activities move my fashion decisions.

Freud might suggest the abundance made up for the limitations of Catholic school uniforms. Or, perhaps, I had been trying to find myself after divorce. Or, maybe, I’m more like an actor, choosing completely different costumes for each and every role.

Whatever the case, we pruned my closet to express my unique, powerful self without fracturing into personas and costumes.

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Cut the Clutter – Be Smart About Gift-Giving This Season

We all have friends or relatives on our gift-giving list who are not looking at toy catalogs or the latest kitchen gadget. They are the dear individuals who are gracefully enjoying life and aging in place (code words for those over 60).


• In-home spa service of a facial, massage or mani/pedi

• One month of pet walking twice a week

• Car detailing

• Gourmet dinner prepared by a chef in the home for friends or family

• Fruit of the month club

• Two months of house cleaning — an awesome gift to free up time

• Personal shopper for groceries

• Consultation with a home designer

Many of these gift ideas are readily available in Northeast Ohio. Most businesses will provide a gift certificate or card that explains the details of the gift.


While it’s tempting to give a gift of the services of a professional decluttering and reorganizing company, pause and reconsider.

After the holidays, if you want to address a loved one’s clutter situation, consider what worked for one family and their grandmother who was overrun with too many odds and ends that were difficult for her to part with.

All of the children and grandchildren came over, and the grandmother had each person use small Post-It notes to identify items they wanted after she passed away. The grandmother was able to decide what to pack away to give to charity, friends and others.

The day provided an opportunity for the grandmother to spend time with family, recall memories and ensure that her cherished items would go to family members after her death.


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