The Ole South Blog

Blog Category - Helpful Hints

New meaning to “End of Summer Sale”

Categories: Helpful Hints | Posted: September 12, 2019

It’s the end of summer sale! No, not the one you typically see at department stores. This one is in reference to getting your house ready for the impending placement on the market. While prepping a home for sale has a daunting reputation, it doesn’t have to be that hard with our suggestions!

What’s their first impression?

Consider what is the first impression a buyer will have when they pull up to your address? The outside of your home and yard of course! It’s the first thing people will see when considering your home for their future. Make certain the lawn is well kept, bushes are at bay, and flowers are nicely planted but not overwhelming. In an effort to not break the bank with painting jobs, consider giving the front door a fresh coat (rather than the whole house). Power wash the siding of the house, the driveway, and any sidewalks and paths. Consider changing the porch lights and even buying a new mailbox to spruce it up.

The three D’s: Declutter, Depersonalize, Delight

“Staging” often has a negative connotation – and also can come with a big price tag. But there are a few things you can do on a budget that will immediately enhance the space. Start with Declutter: clean off all counters (kitchen and bathrooms) and tables, only leaving the essentials. Next, tackle closets, cabinets, and drawers. Make it into a fun purging activity for the whole family!  Consider removing or storing some of your excess furniture and large belongings to open the space a bit as well.  

Then Depersonalize: remove most of the personal knick knacks and family photos. While it may feel strange to you, it will actually be helpful to the buyers to see the home as a bare canvas with their own personal items.

Then Delight: add flowers, plants, or fresh fruit on the table to brighten up the spaces. Make the buyers feel cozy and welcome. Why not even bake some fresh cookies right before they arrive! (who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked cookies?)

Whistle while you work 


Some people hate it; others love it. What is it? Cleaning! Whether you do it yourself or hire someone, it’s time for a thorough deep clean of the entire house. Think of a few of the senses in this process:  sight, smell, and touch. Remove all the dust in sight! That includes door frames, fans, baseboards and all the pesky crevices. Focus on the smell of the home with some non-offensive smelling candles or air freshener plug ins. Be wary or pet or food smells that have clung to the walls and carpets over time. 

Pro tip: If you’re living in the home while it’s on the market, cut yourself some slack. It’s not going to stay 100% clean all the time. Just do your best and put as many of our tips into practice as you can.

Of course, if you’re in the process of selling, that means you’re also in the process of buying. Ready to find your new dream home? Call us at 615-219-5644 to start the conversation!

5 Easy Ways to Organize Your Kitchen

Categories: Helpful Hints | Posted: June 26, 2018

Maybe you missed the spring cleaning boat, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start re-organizing your home now. One place in the home that we probably use the most is the kitchen, which should be as efficient and organized as possible for the amount of time spent in it throughout the day. Here are a few easy and low-cost tips to help you organize and love your kitchen space without breaking the bank…

Clean cabinets

Whether your cabinet count is limited or you just want to use the tall cabinet space more efficiently, an idea to consider is purchasing low cost shelves. You can stack plates and bowls without having to constantly move them to reach other ones when you need them.

Dressed up drawers

Most people have a silverware divider either built into their drawers or they purchase one. But other drawers never seem to be held to that standard of organization. No more! You can find custom dividers like this that you can fit to your exact needs. All your drawers, no matter if it’s large cooking utensils or the junk drawer, can have some kind of organization.

Vertical organizers

Stacking pots, pans, and cutting boards in a haphazard mess in cabinets can be terribly annoying. You’re constantly moving them to reach others at the bottom and they never seem to just fit. Think vertical! Consider using a vertical stacking rack (or file organizer you might have laying around) so you can easily grab the handle of the pan you want to use without having to move a bunch of other ones out of the way. Another option is to hang pots and pans on the wall above the stove for an easy to reach solution.

Spiffy spices

Those pesky spices!! Organizing spices in a useful manner can definitely be the bane of your existence. Consider spice tiered stairs to help you see the labels more easily. These drawers may also be helpful a great space saver for your spices.


Pantries can easily turn to disaster over time. They become a place of haphazard cleaning products, snacks, etc. Try hanging a clear, over-the-door organizer (or even a shoe organizer!) to help you easily find items like tin foil, plastic wrap, zip lock bags, or even snacks.

We hope that these ideas get your kitchen in tip-top shape for summer!

Master Bedroom Must-Haves

Categories: Helpful Hints | Posted: April 26, 2018

You finally got the master bedroom of your dreams. It’s going to be your oasis. Now what do you do with it? Here are some must-have ideas for your master bedroom space.

Invest in comfort

If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to invest in a high quality mattress and linens. Whether you spring for that king-size (or even California king!) or stick with a queen size mattress, this is the time to finally splurge a little for the extra comfort. There is nothing better than new linens, too! Your body will thank you for it later!


This might be silly, but don’t forget to arrange your master bedroom strategically around the outlets. You hate to purchase furniture and have everything set up perfectly only to realize the only outlets for your lamps or cell phones are in an inconvenient location. Take a moment to plan for this.


The experts recommend more neutral colors and decor for the bedroom to incite relaxation and encourage the best possible sleep. Plus, if it’s a huge space, it’s easier to decorate when you have a simple color scheme.

Dual Space

Though you want to be careful not to clutter your bedroom too much, it’s worth considering transforming your master bedroom into a dual space. You could add a small loveseat or comfy chair to a corner to create a mini sitting area: perfect for reading or relaxing. Some people may be interested in creating a small workspace or desk within the bedroom. That might not be ideal for everyone, but it instills the same idea of using the master bedroom as a dual space. An upholstered bench on the end of the bed is also something we love!

Shelving and Storage

Whether you purchase a piece of stand alone furniture or it’s affixed to the wall, shelving is a must-have in your master bedroom. Line the shelves with books or if you have an e-reader preference, fill the shelves with photographs, candles, and other small items will give your space a personalized touch. If you don’t have a big closet for storage, consider multi-functional pieces of furniture, like storage built into the bed frame or hollowed ottomans.

Natural Light

Wake up with the sun in your new master bedroom. Great windows and lighting are a must-have for your space. Natural light is great for your health and helps establish an easy morning routine. Look for master bedrooms that have well-placed windows, and a great view is a plus.


These are just a few must-haves for your new master bedroom. The space should reflect your own style and bring you maximum joy and relaxation.

Connecting With New Neighbors

Categories: Helpful Hints | Posted: June 7, 2017

You just moved into a new neighborhood and you are in your dream home. The last box is finally unpacked. What’s next – connecting with new neighbors! We understand that moving is a big change, so we are sharing 5 secrets to making new friends in the neighborhood.

Say “Hello”

It can be difficult to feel like the new kid on the block. Start by spending time in your yard, or walking your dog. As simple as it seems, saying “hello” can make a world of a difference when making new connections.

Host a Housewarming Party

Whether you know 1 or 100 people, host a housewarming party. Inviting neighbors over for a casual get together is a wonderful way to create lifelong friends. Host a backyard BBQ or bring out drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Here in Middle Tennessee, we call this southern hospitality at its finest!

Join Your HOA

If your new neighborhood has a Homeowners Association, consider joining. As a member, you can meet other residents, assist in shaping the future of your community, and make new friends in the process.

Make Community Connections

Joining a social group is one of the best ways to make new connections in your community. A variety of websites and apps exist to create the connections you need. Meet Up allows you to find or create a meetup to match people with their interests! Also, check in through Next Door. This app will help you connect with neighbors and stay in the know with what is going on in your community and those around you.


To make the most out of your new experience, give back your time and talents. Volunteer Match provides volunteers with local opportunities. Connecting with a local nonprofit such as the Humane Society or Big Brothers Big Sisters of America will help connect you with others that share similar passions.


Make the most out of your new community. Enjoy the next chapter of your life, and make new connections today!

Trending: Outdoor Patio and Kitchens

Categories: Helpful Hints, Trending | Posted: May 25, 2017

You have seen them pictured all over the most popular home magazines, posted all over social media and advertised in all your major home improvement stores nationwide. The latest trend for your home is: amazing outdoor patios and kitchens.

In the past, large patios and outdoor kitchens were found outside larger, higher end homes, but now there are more affordable options for everyone to choose from. The great thing is the homeowner can personalize the space however they like!

When designing your outdoor space, consider having room for prep, cooking, and serving. This will keep you and your guests from having to go in and out of the house to get something. Rather, you can install an entire outdoor kitchen complete with granite countertops or simply create a grill built in with brick counters. This will allow you to be outside and socialize more with your family and friends. TIP: When picking out materials for your outdoor kitchen, make sure they are weather resistant.

Now that you have added your workspace, do you want to add more amenities? Some outdoor kitchens go as far as under the counter refrigerators, wine chillers and sinks. While refrigerators or wine chillers may be out of your budget, do consider the sink. By adding a sink, you can avoid running in to the house every time you need to clean something or to retrieve water. Are you someone who likes making your own pizza? Why not build your very own brick pizza oven? One good thing about a pizza oven is you can use it for more than just pizza. You can brick fire almost any food and it lends a distinct flavor that will have your friends and family raving at your next cook out.

Now that you have your workspace and your extra amenities, think about whether or not you want to upgrade your grill. Maybe consider a grill that does it all. Gone are the days where a grill simply grills. You can now have a grill that comes with a rotisserie, side burners, griddles and more! The options are almost endless.

Once you have your workspace and appliances laid out, think about coverage? Yes the counters you are purchasing are weather resistant, but how much rain does the state of Tennessee get in the spring? Consider adding a permanent covering to protect, preserve and extend the lifespan of your counters and appliances. When adding a permanent covering, you can also add recessed light, ceiling fan, and a TV!

Whether you choose a high end outdoor kitchen and patio makeover or something on a smaller, do-it-yourself scale, you can enjoy the outdoors even more with an outdoor kitchen and patio.

Gardening Season is Here!

Categories: Gardening Tips, Helpful Hints | Posted: April 24, 2017

Spring has sprung and now is the time to start thinking about gardening. Whether you are wanting a backyard garden or a container garden, there is something for everyone.

In Middle Tennessee, the last frost is usually in the middle of April. Once the last frost has happened you are probably safe to start planting. However, if you are thinking about starting your indoor garden, now is a great time to do so. Some vegetables require a longer germination period than others so make sure you read the seed packet carefully.

There are several plants that love to be sowed indoors then transplanted. Some of these include: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes. There are several ways you can do this, such as purchasing germination terrariums at your local plant supply store. However, it can be as easy as using a plastic cup, potting soil, seeds, and water. Simply fill cup with soil, dig a small hole at the depth according to the seed packet, add the seed, cover, water regularly and make sure they get plenty of sun. Once the plant has begun to grow and has done so for the allotted time in your home then it is time to transfer to your garden.

Some plants such as cherry tomatoes and peppers like to be grown in containers. This is great for people who don’t have a yard or simply only want to grow a few things. Just make sure the container has proper drainage, enough soil to germinate the plant, plenty of water and a little love and care. Many plants do best without being transplanted including, corn, beans, turnips, carrots and most root type vegetables.

A newer trend that has been popping up is to plant vegetables around your house to use as food as well as decorative landscaping. It is very practical and fun to do with the entire family. Plus the satisfaction of growing your own food is an added bonus.

Whatever you decide to plant this season, happy planting!

Spring Into Home Maintenance

Categories: Helpful Hints, Home Maintenance | Posted: April 10, 2017

Step outside and listen to the sweet chirping birds, take in the sight of beautiful blooming flowers, and smell the scent of fresh cut grass. Spring is a time of renewal, as new life can be seen both near and far. Breathe new life into your home, and keep your home feeling brand new.  

After a long, dreary winter, your home requires a number of simple maintenance tasks, which pave the way for a worry-free summer. Today, we are sharing 5 quick tips on how you can spring into home maintenance.


Take A Peek at Your Roof — Treacherous winter weather can damage the exterior of your home, especially your roof. Examine your roof shingles to determine if there are any damaged or lost tiles from the winter storms. Any tiles that are loose, buckled, or damaged should be replaced immediately.


Clean Your Gutters — Regular home maintenance suggests you clean out your gutters at least twice per year. Gutters should also be inspected to verify that downspouts drain away from your home, and will not cause damage to your crawl space or basement.


Trim the Trees — Overgrowth is an unsightly nuisance to homeowners. Properly prune branches that suffered damage during the winter to allow for optimal tree health.


Call Out Your Spring Services — Spring brings about a number of services, which require the help of trained professionals. You should begin by calling out a cooling and heating contractor to service your A/C. They have the ability to clean coils, and ensure your system is in the best shape for the hotter months of spring and summer.

If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, remember to give them a call to activate your sprinkler system for the spring. This quick tune-up will allow you to keep your grass, plants, and trees in the best shape.


Check the Chimney — Check your chimney for any signs of damage from winter storms. Your flue should also be professionally inspected and cleaned by a certified chimney sweep.


Whether this is your first spring in your new home, or you are an established resident, utilize our 5 quick tips to protect your investment for the years to come.  

Out With Winter & In With Spring

Categories: Helpful Hints | Posted: March 16, 2017

Spring is in the air! The temperature is rising and you have already been opening the windows in the house, besides the few days winter decided to come back and visit. It is starting to come to life outside with the flowers and the trees blooming and the grass turning green, but what about the inside of your home? With winter gone, everything seems so dark and dreary. Put winter behind and lighten things up around your home with these tips!

— Plants and flowers always give a spring-like feel to your home. Don’t have a green thumb though? No problem! A tabletop terrarium may be the thing just for you. Once it is all together it is virtually maintenance free. Follow the steps below to build your own

  1. Start with a medium sized clear glass container with an open top.
  2. Fill the bottom with a 1-1/2 or 2 inch layer of small rocks or pebbles – This will help with water drainage.
  3. Then, add a layer of potting soil that is made for cacti and succulents.
  4. Plant your succulents and/or cacti giving them about an inch of space each.
  5. For a dramatic effect, add a thin layer of white or colored sand.
  6. Now all you have to do is place it where it will have some direct sunlight everyday and lightly water every now and then. 

— Brighten up your table setting with spring colors such as pastels or earth tones. Changing your place mats is a great (and pretty cheap) way to bring those spring colors to the table. You can also make a spring centerpiece with antique tins or glass bottles to hold fresh cut flowers, or you can get clear glass containers to hold fresh fruit floating in water. If you are not into Easter but still want a spring like feel, don’t be afraid to use figurines of baby chicks, bunnies etc, after all spring time is about fertility and renewal.

— Love to estate sale shop? Perhaps you have found a lovely telephone table but it doesn’t quite work in your living room. Give it a fresh paint job in a spring color and change out a piece of furniture you currently have in your room for the spring season.

— Freshen up your walls. Give that drab looking room a new face lift with a simple paint job. Many people may not want to go to such drastic measures but even the same color paint can freshen up a room and give a spring-like feel.

— Change out your throw pillows to some that feature spring time themes or colors. 

— Another super easy thing to do, is to change out your wall art to something with a spring-theme. Estate sales and flea markets are great places to find beautiful pictures at great prices.


We hope these tips have helped you figure out a way to bring spring indoors. Share with us some of your favorite spring decor ideas!

Organizing Your Home

Categories: Helpful Hints | Posted: February 22, 2017

Being organized is something that every new homeowner fears they will struggle with to some degree. Here are some tips to help organize your everyday living spaces.

— We all know that linen closets aren’t the easiest thing to keep organized. You perfectly fold and place items where you desire, but with the slightest movement it becomes a mess again. Using bins, baskets, and small pull out drawers that can be stacked and labeled will give everything a home and keep it in place. No more worrying about the whole stack falling out in to the floor.

            — When labeling storage bins, group them by category. Categorize bedding by sizes, twin, king, queen, etc. When putting away matching sets, you can fold the sheets and extra pillow cases up and place them inside one of the matching cases. Try to refrain from saving every set you have, go through and see if there are stains, holes, or maybe it just doesn’t match your décor now. If so, get rid of them. Keep only what you need, and maybe one extra set.

— We all know that for the most part, the underneath of just about everyone’s kitchen sink a disaster. There are all sorts of cleaning products, half of which you probably don’t know what they are used for, and several different scrubbing brushes, some that probably should have been thrown away a long time ago. Go through and determine what products you really do use and need, dispose of the ones you don’t as well as scrub brushes and pads. Use small/medium sized baskets for those products without a sprayer, and the brushes and pads. Now for those that do have a sprayer, you can place a tension rod below your sink for those products to hang. This will clear up space and allow you to see everything that you have below your sink.

— Paper and mail are two things that we’re all constantly misplacing. If they are left laying around on the counter, they get lost in a pile of other things or even thrown away. What you can do it take an old window shutter, paint it whatever color you’d like, and place somewhere on the wall that’s easy to reach, but not easy enough for a toddler to have a field day with. Place your mail, invitations, to do list, etc. into the slots and viola! You now have your very own mail station!

Knife kit

— Knives are that one thing that we all worry about.  You can’t just leave them laying around in a drawer, and there isn’t always space for a nice knife holders. Magnets are the perfect solution to this problem. Secure them above your counter, out of reach of children, and make sure they are sturdy enough so that nothing falls.

We hope that these few household organizing tips will help you feel a little more organized at home. What are some organizing tips you use around your home?

Preparing Your Home For Warmer Weather

Categories: Helpful Hints, Home Maintenance | Posted: June 7, 2016

Beautiful drawing room with sofa set and two wooden table  and fan which is switched off.

Now that the warmer weather of summer seems to be sticking around, we’ve all gone out and loaded up on our sunblock supply, flipflops, beach towels, and sun hats. But have you thought about preparing your home for the summer? Many folks just flip on their air conditioning once it starts getting uncomfortable inside the home. However, your house may need more than just the AC running to combat the summer heat. Check out a few tips to prepare your home for warmer weather.

Ceiling Fans: Most homeowners turn off their ceiling fans once they turn on their AC. However, your ceiling fans and AC have two different jobs – in fact, your ceiling fans help your AC run more efficiently by taking the hot air that collects at the top of the room and blowing it back down where the AC can cool it more easily. A bonus to keeping your ceiling fans running is it naturally creates a breeze, so you could even set your thermostat a few degrees higher and save on your energy bill!

Humidity Control: Summer usually means high temps, but it also means high humidity. Your AC is built to battle the heat, but not the humidity. Having too high humidity (or even too low) can lead to health and comfort issues in your home. You may want to consider investing in a humidity control system, which will work with your AC unit to remove water from the air allowing you to breath easier.

High efficiency modern AC-heater unit, energy save solution

Preventative Maintenance: It’s easy to forget about something that isn’t broken. There is even the age-old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. As true as that saying may be, having a preventative maintenance scheduled for your AC unit is one of the smartest things you can do. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of summer and having your AC die on you! Get your unit checked at the beginning of the season to make sure everything is running smoothly. This could also save you some big bucks down the road!

Summer is one of the more enjoyable times of year, so stay ahead of the game by using these tips to also allow your home to enjoy the season!

By: Sarah C. Spadavecchia – May 31, 2016