While most aspects of spring are revitalizing, homeowners may find themselves dreading that inevitable spring cleaning.  But tidying up for warmer months doesn’t have to be hard – just look at it as a way to allow your home to breathe.

“The snow is melting away, and the grass is green,” says professional organizer, Nancy McKinney, owner of S.O.S. Solutions, Madison, WI. “It’s just nice to get rid of that extra dust, open the windows, and feel refreshed in your house.”

Breathe in that fresh spring air and follow these expert tips to get your spring cleaning done right; you may never have to gear up for a massive home cleaning again.

RedCircleWithNumberStart with a purge splurge

“Many of us live with items we don’t like and never use that just clutter our homes,” says Annette Besaw, owner of Design Matters, South Burlington, VT. “When you give the items you absolutely love space to breathe, that is when you can finally see and enjoy them.”

But parting with items is a struggle for many.  To decide what stays and goes, Besaw says to honestly answer the following questions:

  • Have I used this item in the last six months? “Excluding holiday decorations, if you haven’t used an item for half a year, chances are you don’t need it,” Besaw says.
  • Do I love it? Do I even like it? “We all have too many excuses to hold on to things – it was a gift, it was expensive, it was my family’s,” she says.  But if disaster struck and you lost all your belongings, would you repurchase it?  “If you wouldn’t, then maybe it is time to say goodbye,” she says.
  • Is it worth the space it takes up? “Figure out what your home costs per square foot each year,” Besaw says. “Now, when you look at an item, ask yourself if the item is worth the space it sits on.”

Once you’ve recycled, donated, or tossed all of your “no” items, you’ll have already conquered a huge part of your task, and the rest of your spring cleaning will be a much lighter load.

RedCircleWithNumberGear up

Before you start scrubbing sinks and polishing wood, make sure your home is stocked up with all necessary cleaning supplies, McKinney says.  “Make sure you’re prepared. If you want to wax the floor, make sure you actually have the wax.”

RedCircleWithNumberClear out cabinets

Shannon Bartley, ASID, interior designer for Rembrandt Interiors, Ferndale, MI, says even after a major purge, cabinets and drawers often get left behind.  “People tend to shove their items out of sight, out of mind,” she says.

Bartley recommends wiping out every drawer and cabinet to ensure you’re truly looking at each item they hold.  And don’t forget the pantry.  “I make a note if an item is going to expire within the month. Take everything out of that deep pantry and deep cabinet.  Wipe it out and put everything back in.”  And remember: Prescriptions and other medications expire, just like food.

RedCircleWithNumberDitch old clothing

Parting with old clothes is one of the biggest challenges homeowners face, especially those who aim to lose weight.  But owning clothing in four different sizes is a bit excessive. “If people really truly believe they’re going to lose weight, then keep a size up and a size down,” Bartley says.

As for the rest of your closet, Bartley offers a helpful hint to figure out what needs to go.  “Turn all of your hangers one way, so the hook of each hanger is facing the same way.  After you’ve worn an item, turn the hanger the other way,” she says. “Then, in six months or a year, look at what you’ve worn.”  If an item hasn’t been used, you know what to do.

RedCircleWithNumberMake it a family affair

“Spring cleaning your home can be fun and can bring a family together,” Besaw says.  Put on some music and get your family together so you can all appreciate the work it takes to keep a clean home.  Afterward, do something fun to celebrate. “Come up with an activity you all love to do as a reward for getting it all done.”

© CTW Features




By. Anna Sachse

There are many benefits to enlisting an expert. Realtors – agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors and who adhere to its Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice – are versed in which homes are a good value in the current market, what locations are most desirable, what characteristics determine resale potential and how real estate law and contracts work. “If a buyer doesn’t have extensive knowledge of all the aspects of a real estate transaction – such as negotiating price terms and conditions of purchase – they can easily be taken advantage of,” says Mark Minnis, a broker/owner and buyer’s agent with InSight Real Estate Portland, Ore. “But a Realtor is obligated by law to protect your interests.”

Retaining a Realtor usually requires no out-of-pocket expense on the part of the buyer, says Brady Moore, a Dallas-based Realtor with Dave Perry-Miller & Associates. An agent’s commission will depend upon the listing and the contract.

To find a licensed broker or real estate agent, your best bet is to start with referrals from friends or family, says Minnis, especially if they are located where you are looking. If new to a city, use the “Find a REALTOR” function at Realtor.org, the website for the NAR. Sometimes new buyers are tempted to find Realtors by calling listing agents for properties they like or stopping by open houses in favorite neighborhoods, but be cautious. Working with an agent who also represents the seller may not be in your best interest. Consider finding a buyer’s agent first and have that person help you pick out properties, Moore says.

SOLDpic            To ensure this process goes as smoothly as possible, the experts agree it’s also important to find someone who is a good personality fit. “Buying a house is probably the biggest financial transaction most people will make in their lives, and it can take a while,” says Moore. “You should do it with someone you can trust [and] enjoy spending time with.”

A good way to gauge if you will get along is by interviewing potential agents in person.Ask about their areas of expertise, the neighborhoods in which the majority of their sales occur, if they own any real estate themselves and how long they’ve been in the business.

Keep in mind that many (not all) agents may require you to sign an exclusive-representation agreement, says Moore, the details of which can vary. In addition to reading over the contract, have a friend who understands real estate also read it over. Keep in mind that a good agent will work hard to meet your needs. They may put in a lot of time helping you search, and they won’t get paid until the sale. When they see that you are committed to working as a team, they know they can dedicate all their effort to your home search.

Area Real Estate Pros

Bridget Gelderman

Davis R. Chant Realtors

Bridget Gelderman, Realtor in Pike & Wayne Counties, PA is known for her innovative use of technology, social media and video in real estate. She uses cutting-edge technology to get homes sold!

e | bridget@geldermangroup.com

c | 570.840.1314

o | 570.226.4518

w | www.sellingwallenpaupack.com


Stephanie Matolyak

Davis R. Chant Realtors

Enthusiastic and very service oriented, Stephanie continues being a top agent as referrals keep rolling in!  Establishing good relationships and cultivating a deep understanding of what her clients need results in a high level of sales.

e | stephaniesfarm@yahoo.com

c | 570.647.5353

o | 570.226.4518


Tim, Heather & Paul Meagher

RE/MAX Wayne & RE/MAX Best

A local family-owned business that has helped thousands of families buy and sell real estate in Wayne & Pike Counties for over 30 years. Honesty, integrity, aggressive & innovative marketing.  Supporting our community and 100% client satisfaction are the core values of our company. Our motto is “To treat everyone we work with as a member of our family.”  These principles help us to continue to be the top-selling real estate team in Wayne County year after year!

e | tim@remaxwayne.com

c | 570.647.5045 Call/Text

w | www.remaxwayne.com


Cindy Wildermuth

Woodland Living Realty, LLC

As a Realtor for over 20 years, Cindy recently established Woodland Living Realty, an independent brokerage, offering knowledgeable customized service.  Cindy specializes in large rural acreages, and recreational opportunities with broad experience ranging from first-time

homebuyers to real estate investments.

e | cindywildermuth@gmail.com

c | 570.470.4055


How will your 2018 Valentine’s Day be remembered? Good, bad, or, worse yet – indifferent!?

Fear not – there is a way of attaining the best outcome this Feb. 14, which is just around the corner.

Abandon old traditions and do something to sweep her off her feet with these five steps:

oneBefore the big day, drive her wild with anticipation by telling her that you have the most amazing surprise for her. This promise will keep her guessing and make her think about your evening.

twoKnow her favorite flowers. If you don’t, don’t panic. You can find out by making a comment, like “I’ve noticed plants blooming early this year …” and steer the conversation from there. In a beautiful vase, arrange an exotic bouquet and hide it somewhere in your home on the special day. She’ll like that you created the presentation.

threeGo to your local chocolate shop and select her favorite kinds of chocolate. Have it boxed and nicely wrapped to prevent her from knowing what it is when you present the chocolates to her.

fourCreate a dish and name it after her. For example, if her name is Anne, you might call the dish “Tournedos Princess Anne.” This step is the most important. I can assure you that after having spent time in some top-notch restaurants, food that is named after a person is a special honor. We all know how women love it when their men do the cooking. What I do is cut and precook the vegetables, and I even make the sauce beforehand to make sure I get it as perfect as I can. Leave everything in the fridge. Then, on Valentine’s Day, I set the table before I start the cooking part. On both plates, place a fresh RED ROSE. The single rose is just part of making her think that is all the flowers she will be getting (but we know differently). When she gets home, make sure to get her to promise you she’ll stay out of the kitchen. Tell her not to spoil the surprise!

fiveWhen everything is ready, plate the food, cover it and take it to the dining table, and then ask her to come and sit. Before you uncover the lid, have her close her eyes. Retrieve the hidden bouquet, place the flowers on the table, and ask her to open her eyes. Pay attention to how she responds. Tell her what you’ve named the dish.

But that’s not all – after the meal, take her by the hand, walk her to the living room and sit her down. Bring out the boxed chocolate, go on one knee and tell her, “This is for you,” or, “You make me feel whole,” or, “You are the most beautiful woman in the world and I love you.”

Overkill? – Not at all. Remember, you don’t have to know why this works, but only that it does work.

About Ernest Quansah

Ernest Quansah (www.relationshipadviceforsuccess.com) is a love relationship success expert with more than a decade of experience. He is the president of Relationship Advice for Success, and founder of Online Dating, Relationship, and Marriage School (ODRMS). After much research and experience with heartache – divorce, breakups and the devastating consequences – he has discovered the keys to finding and maintaining meaningful, long-lasting romantic relationships. He is also the author of Do’s and Don’ts of Relationships: Nine Steps to a Deeper, Richer Love Relationship, 2nd edition.


This year’s the year: Organizing your home will help you purge the items you don’t need and locate the ones you do.  And who knows? You may even be able to park a car in that garage.  Image courtesy HouseWall Garage System

This year’s the year: Organizing your home will help you purge the items you don’t need and locate the ones you do. And who knows? You may even be able to park a car in that garage. Image courtesy HouseWall Garage System.

Get a jump on home improvements and decorating changes that will help you enjoy your house throughout the coming year

As you look over your list of New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget what should be at the top, since it may be your biggest asset: your house.  It, too, needs tender-loving care to look and function its best.  We’ve rounded up a baker’s dozen ideas.  But before you get going, heed another one from Kathy Passarette, owner of Creative Home Expressions, Long Island.  “Remove your holiday decorations by the second week in January.  Nobody wants to see icicle lights or reindeer on your lawn, whether they’re your neighbors or prospective buyers.”  Here are others:

  • Get organized. Yup, everyone promises that the New Year will be the year they really do, but this year be sure you do. Before you start, make a list of what needs organizing in every single room in your house, which may include throwing out or giving away.  Jeff Davidson, author of “Breathing Space: Living & Working at a Comfortable Pace in a Sped-Up Society” (Mastermedia, 1999), suggests donating anything you haven’t worn in the past two years.  Don’t forget your garage, which often is a dumping ground but fortunately has become the latest place to spiff up.  HouseWall Garage System, Hialeah, Fla., has developed a software program that sketches your garage and maps out how space can be maximized.
  • Go green. Sustainability is no longer for a small fringe group of architects, builders, contractors, and homeowners. Plus, it’s an easy way to help save our planet.  Danny Seo, eco-stylist, author and host of the TV program “Simply Green,” suggests choosing low-VOC paints, which contain no ozone-depleting chemicals, buying only enough paint for what you need to minimize waste (online paint calculators are a quick resource), choosing green hardwoods like bamboo, and donating reusable building materials to an organization like Habitat for Humanity, so they can be used for new projects.
  • Become more energy conscious. Turn off anything that you’re not using, whether its lights, TVs, or computers, says Don Whaley, CEO of Choice Energy Services Retail, Houston, Texas, an institutional energy brokerage consulting.
  • Make your house safer. October may be National Fire Safety month, and June may be Home Safety month, but there’s no reason not to be safe all year. Among suggestions from the Home Safety Council: Install smoke alarms and test them monthly; stay in the kitchen while you prepare food; post emergency numbers next to every phone; keep your water heater setting at 120 degrees F or less; install four-sided fencing with self-locking and closing gates.
  • Keep your house well. Don’t let your house lock in pollutants and get sick due to super-energy efficient building techniques. Ventilation fans, like Panasonic’s WhisperGreen vent fan, help flush out pollutants and keep indoor air quality at its best.  John Brennan, an environmental consultant in Summit, N.J., advises checking that your house has no asbestos, radon gas, lead or mold.
  • Get more fit. You’ll enjoy your home more if you like how you look. Find a corner or extra room that you can dedicate to a home gym – many treadmills, ellipticals, and bicycles can fit into these spaces, and some fold up for easy storage.
  • Keep everything in good shape. RepairClinic.com’s handy Appliance Maintenance calendar reminds you what to inspect and repair when. Many repairs require less than five minutes.  Example: Improve your refrigerator’s efficiency by cleaning its condenser coils with a condenser cleaning brush and your vacuum cleaner.
  • Add color. Even if you’re not up to repainting your entire house, add color to improve its curb appeal, says James Martin, an architectural color expert and founder of The Color People, a design color firm in Denver. Paint the shutters, front door, and some front-facing flower boxes using a high gloss.  To decide on the color, look to the roof, masonry, and landscaping; use one color for consistency.
  • Have the title checked. With fraud and ineptness, you never know if the title for your home is clean unless you’ve checked. Title-protection companies can offer an inexpensive check through your title’s history to see if there are any defects that could plague you at a later date.  You need a clean title before you sell.
  • Save funds on furnishings. Let your artistic side shine by buying unfinished furniture and decorating it yourself. For tips on decorating and where to find a store, go to the Unfinished Furniture Association’s Web site at www.unfinishedfurniture.org.
  • Create a sleep sanctuary. Homeowners are putting lots more money into their master bathrooms, but how about the room where they sleep? Many bedrooms could use sprucing up, especially since most of us spend one-third of our life sleeping.  Invest in a new bed, mattress, and lighting.
  • Retrofit for the booming boomer generation. More folks want to age in their homes and make them welcoming and safe for fellow boomers. AARP suggests installing handrails on both sides of all steps, securing carpets and area rugs, using brighter bulbs, nightlights and lights in closets, and switching to lever handles.
  • Meet your neighbors. They may become wonderful friends and may help watch your house when you’re away. Before the New Year ends, host an open house and invite everyone over.  They’re likely to ooh and aah over your beautiful, organized home, says April Masini of the column AskApril.com.


HOLIDAY GOOD-TopPicShoppers flock to the area for holiday browsing in these historic towns.  The sidewalks shine brightly, welcoming residents and visitors to explore and experience all they have to offer.  There are many unique boutiques and novelty shops along luminescent corners specializing in the perfect gift.

There are plenty of other holiday events, festivals, tree lightings, parades, holiday feasts, caroling and other seasonal activities.  So bundle up, gather friends and loved ones, and be sure to keep it local in our beautiful region this holiday season.


HOLIDAY GOOD-MilfordThere is plenty to do throughout December for people of all ages from holiday open houses to train rides.  Shop till you drop and then head to these businesses for festive fun.

*The 26th Annual Holiday Open House at Highlights for Children: December 9th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., complete with treats, entertainment, storytelling, an art show, craft room, puppetry, and more.

*22nd Annual Ornament Hunt: December 9th at 10 a.m.  Children can “hunt” for ornaments for a chance to win prizes.

*Holiday Craft Fair: December 9th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ladore Lodge, Ladore Pavilion and Carousel & Staff Lounge Building in Waymart.  Enjoy handmade items, baked goods, maple products, homemade soaps, jewelry, refreshments, and more.

*Holiday Artisans Market: On December 12th from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., over 30 talented artisans from the Upper Delaware region will showcase unique, handmade gifts, live music.  Hot lunch and snacks.

*Annual Chorus and Band Holiday Concert: On December 19th at 7 p.m., the Honesdale High School Chorus and Band will perform holiday favorites in the high school auditorium on Terrace Street.

*Luminaries on Main: On Christmas Eve, enjoy 300 luminaries lining historic Main Street.

*Throughout the month, Santa Express train rides on the Stourbridge Line will be available.  Kids will receive a present from Santa and candy cane.   Call (570) 470-2697.

For more information about these and more December events, contact the Greater Honesdale Partnership at (570) 253-5492 or visit www.visithonesdalepa.com.


HOLIDAY GOOD-BethanyThe quaint village is three miles north of downtown Honesdale on Route 670.

*Annual Christmas in the Village: This free event, held on December 2nd, features holiday open houses from 2 to 4 p.m. with seasonal food and beverages at the James Manning House, the Bethany Public Library, Bethany United Methodist Church, and the Mansion at Noble Lane.  At the James Manning House, the Honesdale High School Chamber Choir will sing carols, and local author Will Wyckoff will be available for book signings.  The Methodist Church will offer a bake sale and ornament making.

In addition, starting at 2 p.m. at the Bethany Public Library, Mrs. Claus will visit from the North Pole to help children write letters to Santa.  Tours of the library and historical society are from 2 to 4 p.m.  The library will hold a raffle for an antique quilt with the winning ticket drawn at 4 p.m.

Enjoy a tree lighting at 3:30 p.m. at the Bethany Village Senior Living Center and a tricky tray with drawings at 4 p.m.  Information for a self-guided walking tour to see Bethany’s historic architecture will also be available.

*On Christmas Eve, luminaries will be lit along Bethany’s streets.

For more information about Christmas in the Village, call Janet at the James Manning House (570) 253-5573.


Hawley#1-1Hawley is decked out in holiday splendor resembling a Victorian town.  Historic inns, bed and breakfasts, candy shops, novelty stores, a historic company playhouse, a yoga studio, boutiques, and antique shops line the streets, beckoning shoppers with the promise of warmth and wonder.

A must-see landmark is the historic Hawley Silk Mill, a large bluestone structure built in the 1800s.  Once an operating silk factory, the Mill is now open to the public featuring a community college, a fitness center, Art on the Edge, the Mill Market with locally sourced produce and other items for sale, art galleries, clothing boutiques, and more.  When visiting the Hawley Silk Mill, be sure to stop in the Cocoon Coffee House situated in front of the building for a steaming beverage and gourmet treats ranging from luscious quiches to mouth-watering muffins.

*19th Annual Hawley Winterfest: December 8-10th.   Get ready for winter and the upcoming holiday with an old-fashioned festival celebrating the pre-holiday season and Hawley’s historic roots.  The town twinkles with holiday cheer, and the cold, fluffy snow provides the perfect backdrop for cookie decorating, holiday theater, horse and carriage rides, author book signings, live musical entertainment, a living nativity, train rides, open houses, holiday feasts, arts and craft shows, historic house tours, a beer tour, and art exhibits.

*For more info, see the full length feature article in this issue and visit www.hawleywinterfest.com.

*Holiday Pop-Up Restaurant: On December 8th in the Boiler Room within the Hawley Silk Mill, people can indulge in a special holiday dining experience.  Seatings are at 6 and 8 p.m.  Call for reservations. (570) 226-1337.


MilfordpicStroll along the streets and alleys and step into antique stores, unique restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries, a historic theater, and specialty shops.  There are also historic architectural structures including Grey Towers, the former home of America’s first forester Gifford Pinchot; and The Columns Museum, where the Pike County Historical Society is with historical artifacts and memorabilia including the famous “Lincoln Flag.”  Both buildings are open to the public.

Other than its historical claims, Milford is considered a destination based on its shopping and dining alone with eateries satisfying every palette from authentic Vietnamese to gourmet French dishes.

*Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony: Milford resembles something out of a picture book as the entire downtown twinkles with lights and the big star on the cliff glows from a distance.  The free event is held December 2nd at 5 p.m. on the lawn of the Community House at the corner of Broad and Harford Streets.  In addition to the tree lighting, people can enjoy a visit from Santa, cookies, and cocoa.

*Craft Store Holiday Open House:  On December 8th, the Pike County Developmental Center hosts an open house from noon to 2 p.m.  Find hand-crafted gifts for all occasions.  Enjoy complimentary refreshments.  The center is at 107 West Ann Street.  For more details, call (570) 296-6319.

*Girls’ Night Out:  December 10th from 5 to 8 p.m., Milford Presents hosts another event with downtown businesses open featuring sales, refreshments, and fun. For more information, visit www.milfordpa.us.

* Holiday Tours at Grey Towers National Historic Site: Beginning December 4th through the 20th.  Guided tours of all three floors with each room beautifully decorated for the holidays are available at 1 and 3 p.m.

*Holiday Art Exhibit and Sale at Grey Towers: In addition to the tours, enjoy plein air paintings and a juried show of photographs, all depicting Grey Towers and the surrounding landscape.  For more information on Grey Towers, visit www.greytowers.org.

*Winter Lights Festival/Celebrating the Arts: This 10th annual event takes place Saturday, January 20th and Sunday, the 21st 2018.  The festival celebrates the beauty of winter, as well as the opening of the ice rink in Ann Street Park for the season.  Some of the highlights include the anticipated Mac-n-Cheese and Chili contest at the Dimmick Inn from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., followed by the featured performance, Merlin Awakens, on ice in the park from 2 to 2:45 p.m. This free ice show will feature skaters, actors, and puppetry.  During intermission, the winners of the Mac-n-Cheese and Chili contest will be announced.  Following the show, the rink will officially be open to the public for free skating and will remain open, weather permitting.  On Sunday, enjoy a repeat of the Merlin Awakens performance.  For additional information and updates, “like” the festival on Facebook.