The gifts are all open, the excitement and anxious anticipation for December 25th has come and gone. Any friends/family that did come to visit have already, or are soon to be, returning home and we are left here sitting with the aftermath of Christmas, surrounded by crumpled wrapping paper and half-torn bows. Honestly, after this year, most of us are still holding onto the twinkle of the lights because nobody is quite ready to let the spirit of Christmas go.
Scrolling through the Facebook feed it’s easy to see we are not alone in this feeling and, if you are reading this, you likely aren’t either.
The sudden calm right after Christmas can leave us feeling dazed. It’s a shock to the system when you realize how much post-holiday cleanup there is to complete. Where does one begin when it comes to reorienting your home back to normal and even more so this year because… well… what is normal anymore?
To help you get back on your feet we have 6 ideas for keeping the celebratory spirit rolling well into the New Year and help you with the transition back to some kind of normalcy in your home.
- Throw a virtual 2021 bash for the New Year!
- Make room for the new!
- Donate the old…
- Give to the food bank.
- Throw a touchless regifting party.
- Recycle your tree!
THROW A VIRTUAL 2021 BASH FOR THE NEW YEAR!
Keep the Christmas tree and decorations up! Add 2021 balloons and YES… The answer is, yes girl, buy the dress! It makes you feel good, and even though you are home you are still going to be seen during your virtual party and your posts online. Even better, HELP THE SMALL BUSINESS OWNER DO THE BOOGIE AND BUY THE DRESS LOCAL! Here is a list of some great places on Whidbey Island to find a dress…
- Casual House | 690 SE Pioneer Way, Oak Harbor
- Collections Boutique| 24 Front St., Coupeville
- The Star Store| 201 First St. Langley
- Webb’s Department Store | 1647 E Main St. Freeland
MAKE ROOM FOR THE NEW…
Begin by figuring out what you want to get rid of. Then determine where it should go. Not everything should go in the trash, you can recycle, donate, even regift!
Start by recycling
“Did you know that household waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Years?” (King5)
It is not hard to figure out why this increased waste occurs. However, it does not make the statistic any less startling. To put that in perspective, since the average American produces about 4.5 lbs of waste a day (EPA); Whidbey Island theoretically produces an additional 3,500 TONS of waste every holiday season. If there was ever a stat to make you want to recycle, that should be it! However, to be an effective recycler, you need to know what can and what can’t go in that little blue bin of yours. So, here’s a quick rundown of what can and can’t go in your recycling bin.
- Cardboard boxes
- Plain paper boxes and bags
- Plain wrapping paper
- Holiday cards (without embellishments)
- Tissue paper
- Bubble wrap
- Plastic bags
- Holiday lights
- Foam packaging
DONATE THE OLD
This time of year, your home can feel a bit cramped and cluttered with the addition of all those great new gifts. What better way to start the New Year than with a mini overhaul? Start by getting rid of your junk… BUT, just because you might not have a use for some of your older items doesn’t mean it’s worthless. Help keep useful things out of the landfill this year and DONATE! Once you and your loved ones have decided which items they can bear to part with there are a few choices on where you can donate. Below are some of Whidbey’s second-hand shops and charities that accept lightly used items.
- Island Thrift| 600 SE Barrington Dr, Oak Harbor
- Upscale Resale| 210 SE Pioneer Way, Oak Harbor
- Habitat for Humanity| 280 SE Pioneer Way, Oak Harbor
- The Garage of Blessings| 800 SE Barrington Drive, Oak Harbor
GIVE TO THE FOOD BANK
It is easy to get caught up in buying food for the holidays and during that generous and abundant mood our food banks are typically full. It’s the time immediately after the holidays that can be especially difficult for charities and food banks. The financial exasperation many experience after the holidays can cause an all-out stop to donations for a while but, unfortunately, needs don’t just stop because Christmas is over. Donating to charities and especially food banks is something critical to do throughout the year and not just in November and December. Below are some local food banks who could do a great amount of good with your post-Christmas donations.
THROW A TOUCHLESS REGIFTING PARTY
We all have that one gift (or 5) that we simply did not want or need. Yes, Aunt Kathy meant well, but what on earth are you going to do with a crochet pillow of her cat? Often these gifts are begrudgingly placed deep into the depths of our closets never to be seen again (or at least not for a few years). However, it does not have to be this way! We know you are not a fan of seeing Whisker’s face on a pillow every day, but who is to say your friend Bethany might not LOVE it, or at least cause a chuckle? Unwanted gifts do not need to sit gathering dust in the closet, especially when there’s a simple solution of how to pass that hot potato on to someone else! Ha!
So, throw the party! Just get creative in how you do it!
Regifting Parties are basically White Elephants thrown after Christmas with the intention of finding better homes for those unwanted gifts. The concept and rules for the Regifting Game is simple and match White Elephants almost exactly. Invite friends (heck let your friends invite their friends the more the merrier and its virtual so if you don’t like them it’s not really a big deal) give everyone a number and when chosen unwrap your gift to reveal, then deliver, or give everyone an address and drop off your random gift and have fun discovering new treasures! Don’t want to figure out the logistics yourself? Use this easy and free online tool to organize your White Elephant Re-gift Exchange today!
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, ITS TIME TO RECYCLE YOUR TREE
Soon that fresh pine smell is going to leave (if it hasn’t already). If you are like the rest of us who set up our trees a month earlier than normal, your clean floors are beginning to be covered in pine needles. So, start thinking now how you are going to prevent the headache of getting rid of the tree without upsetting your neighbors when your tree is still laying on the side yard in May. I know, it is always sad, especially this year when the time comes to take down the Christmas tree, but like every other year, the end of thousands of needles in your vacuum will come as a relief.
If you live in a house with a wood-burning fireplace it might be a little tempting to chop it up and throw it in, but this is a BAD IDEA. When pine needles catch on fire they do not burn slowly like wood, but instead, spark out in all directions which can be a huge fire hazard in a home. Instead, what you should do is deposit your tree at one of the Island’s Solid Waste drop-off locations where they can be put with other yard waste and recycled properly.
- North Whidbey Solid Waste| 3151 Oak Harbor Road, Oak Harbor
- Coupeville Solid Waste Complex| 20018 State Highway 20, Coupeville
- Bayview Solid Waste| 5790 S Kramer Road, Langley
We hope your transition into 2021 is smooth and peaceful! Please share with us any other ideas you have for easing out of one season and into the next.
Thank you, your Windermere Whidbey Team!
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Ahem… I mean yes, it is an excellent time to sell. However, we don’t want to just tell you our professional opinion. We will show you and we will make it simple.
- Prices keep rising.
- There are not enough available homes for the number of buyers ready to buy.
- Demand will keep prices rising.
Let’s start with point #1: Prices keep rising.
This chart shows the median sales price since the beginning of 2015 for residential homes + condos. Pretty steady upward trend. Would you like another data point telling the same story? Ask and you shall receive…
This chart shows you the median price per square foot since the beginning of 2015 to now. Again, pretty easy to see what’s going on here.
Let’s look at point #2 a little closer: There aren’t enough homes to satisfy all the buyers out there.
As you can see by this graph of the number of homes for sale there are consistent seasonal variations but the overall trend has been a precipitous downward slope.
This is another way to look at the same story but takes into account how many homes are going pending (or being sold). North Whidbey only has 1.2 months of inventory (pending). This means that if homes kept selling at the rate they are and no new listings came on the market it would only take 1.2 months to completely run out of homes. Anything less than 4 months indicates a seller’s market. We’ve been in a seller’s market since 2016 but it just keeps going down and we are now at a dramatic low.
OK now for Point #3: Demand will keep prices rising.
This is just basic supply and demand economics. When demand exceeds supply, prices rise. Until we have less demand, or the supply of homes comes up to meet the demand we will continue to see home prices inch their way up. For homes in good condition, with quality upgrades that have been well maintained and professionally presented, we are seeing a much bigger bump in what buyers are willing to pay.
To see a few examples of recent homes that were expertly staged and prepared for the market to help sellers fetch top dollar check out these beauties…
Keep an eye out for our next post addressing the BIG question on seller’s minds when contemplating taking advantage of this amazing seller’s market…
We will also address the fact that we actually have two markets happening right now. If you are in the lucky position to sell a home under 400k to move into a home over 600k this is the perfect time!
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When it comes to the struggle of entertaining quarantined kids, Windermere moms get it!
Like many of you, we have spent the last few weeks cooped up in our homes with our families and have been trying desperately to keep entertained. Through the weeks our “Windermoms” have discovered their favorite activities to do with their kids and want to share them with you!
One of my daughter’s favorite things to do is painting. And she loves to paint anything and everything! So I introduced her to painting rocks! We love to look for painted rocks when we are out and about and she wanted to make some for us to hide when we are at parks and on trails. During this time where parks and trails have been closed, we have enjoyed painting them and talking about all the fun we will have hiding them in the near future. This is an especially great activity for a rainy day. – Rachel Bennett
My family has really enjoyed cooking together. My kids pick a theme, research the recipe they want to make, and they each are responsible for a portion of dinner. It’s been great together time and they are loving being challenged with recipes we’ve never made. – Marissa Evans
I was born and raised in Italy and food has always been a profound part of my life. In everyday life, families gather around the table and enjoy each other’s company over the delicious homemade meals prepared. For most of us, it’s like an art and I find joy when I’m able to recreate for my son those traditional dishes my mom prepared for me when I was little. I always find comfort and relief in cooking, especially baking. The smell of freshly baked bread always brings back memories of me and my mom baking several loaves of bread in our country home. Sliced with homemade olive oil, oregano, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes … yum! Fresh ingredients, colorful dishes, great company, and a bit of wine. What’s not to love? – Simona Groves
Our favorite activity since we’ve been in quarantine has been cooking. We’ve made everything from coffee drinks, pizza, cookies, scones, macaroons and my daughter picked out a recipe and made Teriyaki chicken for dinner. A lot of times we will think of things to make and be like “oh, we do not have time,” well now we’ve found the time to make or try all kinds of different cooking and baking. She FaceTimed a friend who was guiding her through making macaroons. I’ve always loved to cook and bake, so sharing that with her is fun! I feel like cooking together helps her to learn to cook and cooking is an activity the whole family can benefit from. – Kate Hauter
Hatching Chickens and Starting a Garden
During this stay home with my daughters (16 and 19) it’s been such a change for our family with no sports or school. We decided to do something we have always wanted to do but never had the time. Hatching chickens from eggs and starting a huge vegetable garden. The quarantine made the 21 day wait time for babies go quickly and we even decided to do another round. 🐣 Working together to plan and plant our garden was a big and rewarding task! Loving my time with my girls. – Konni Smith
Play Outside! Embracing your inner child during this stressful time can be so uplifting! Jump-rope, laugh, play, kick the ball around, collect rocks, or just go on walks with your kids! Being outside makes it all better; from taking turns doing tricks on the trampoline with photos-ops to just laying on the grass or on the bow of a boat watching cloud formations… it’s all an innocent diversion to the daily stresses of working/schooling from home and the constant bombardment of news. Enjoy! – Jennifer Wynn
I absolutely enjoy outside time with my son! Since he was an itty-bitty infant being outdoors has been an integral part of our relationship. Outdoor space was what brought us to Washington state and Whidbey Island. I wouldn’t give up my son or my lifestyle here for anything. – Anita Johnston
My littles and I are soaking up the sun while running and playing tennis! We especially enjoyed building a backyard fire pit, roasting marshmallows, and backyard camping together. – Kareena Gonzalez
We have created a challenge for our kids to walk every bit of trail in the Fort Ebey/Kettles Trail system. We downloaded and laminated a map for each of them from the Island County Website (CLICK HERE).
They are planning out the day’s walk, learning to navigate, reading a map, collaborating, and getting physical activity. They are also finding new species of plants and trees on their walks and bringing home samples to ID and glue to our big poster board for us to refer too and quiz the kids on. It might sound serious but it’s actually super fun and has been a neat challenge! – Kristen Stavros
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For those buyers who are actively searching for a home be prepared to follow local, state and the National Association of Realtors offers guidelines for looking at homes safely with tips like:
- Buyers wash their hands or use an alcohol-based sanitizer before entering the home and again after leaving.
- Cover shoes with booties.
- Wear facemasks.
- Clean all surfaces prior to entrance and again after.
- Sellers will hopefully open doors and turn on lights prior to potential buyers entering to reduce the need for them to touch surfaces.
These requirements may stay in effect for some time so if you are ready and willing to buy a home with a trusted professional who has your best interest in mind and are taking the lead on this new eras, approach to home buying then let’s connect so we can help you navigate your move through this uncertain time.
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Select one of the following amazing places to discover the world beyond the livingroom. Begin your virtual tour today.