THE PERMANENT STAYCATION

There’s an undeniable irony to a vacation: you invest so much into your house as a sanctuary, but when it comes time for a holiday - you jump on a plane, sleep in foreign beds, and get jet lag! The staycation (stay + vacation) is the pragmatic family’s answer. If you haven’t heard of this movement before - your house becomes the hotel, and local spots become exciting travel destinations. You switch your mindset, turn off your cell phone, and save a lot of money.

Get Real, Valley is taking it a step further and showing how we turn our houses into a permanent staycation! We take everything you like about hotel rooms and apply it to your own abode. The monthly cost for a hotel room is around $3,000, which isn’t far from the Valley’s average 2018 mortgage payment. The difference is that a hotel room is just one room!

1. Clean It All Up

This is a no-brainer, but take the time to eliminate all clutter. Organize, simplify, and reduce. Your house is a 5-star hotel, so clean it up like one. Most importantly, get rid of everything you don’t need or want. Donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or Out of the Closet. You’ll be doing good for others - and yourself. Remember to get a receipt for everything so you can write off the taxes! Next, consider a cleaning service. The joy of coming home to a clean, tidy house is worth the cost. Studies show that organized houses lead to higher levels of happiness. The SFV is home to many different cleaning services that will fit anyone's budget or lifestyle. Contact us for a recommendation!

Many people have a regular cleaning service, and if you try it a few times, you may just get hooked. There's nothing like spending all day at work to find all the messes have vanished.

2. Get Organized

Invest in organization. Storage these days is fun and attractive. We love these 85 extremely creative ways to organize your house!

You can pick up storage containers at different places, from department stores to your local hardware store. We like dollar stores for smaller containers. Ross is always a solid selection for bargain items. Because saving money is always cool.

You also have more permanent options. Cabinets are king, especially in the garage. You can never have enough cabinets. Once you’re done making them, put more drawers and shelves inside of them. After those are complete, install dividers and put trays on those. It never ends.

With plenty of access to hardware stores, finding the right shelving or cabinets is a breeze. Install them yourself and you can save some money.

If you'd rather save time and effort, there are plenty of contractors in the area. Beware of using in-house contractors - they will always cost more. Many stores will have their own team that can do it for you. But for simplicity and time, you may want to go with a one-stop shop, like Home Depot or Lowe’s.

3. Make it Private

"No Soliciting" signs can be considered the “do not disturb” signs for your home. If that's not working, put up a "Beware of Dog" sign, even if you don't have one. Take it a step further and throw up another sign telling "All Deliveries to Be Placed Around Back." That's one less doorbell ring too!

Next, build up a wall or some hedges to keep excess noise out and your private business in.

If you have a patio, install some curtains. This doubles as an insulator for heat or cold. It is another opportunity to get creative with your decorating as well.

4. It’s Quiet!

Your hotel room is a refuge from the hustle and bustle. Make your home the same.

Invest in windows that keep the noise out - vinyl dual-pane ones. You can even try triple-pane windows. With smart homes on the rise, you can pick up an Amazon Alexa that plays music depending on the time of day or situation. Think upbeat music for cooking, spa music for relaxation, and soft ocean waves for sleep. Look into a white noise machine to buffer against the noise and chaos of the outside world.

You can even find live rainforest sounds or the sound of rain, and pipe them into your home in real-time via the magic of YouTube.

To really tune out the world, get some noise-canceling headphones. Yes, these are $35 - because we love saving money too. You can listen to your music or enjoy the closest possible thing to perfect silence. The goal is always to drown out the entire world.

5. It’s Comfortable!

Your bed is sanctuary. It's a cliche, but you spend the most time in your life sleeping. Why not invest in it? At hotels, you get the crisp sheets, an abundance of pillows, and that fresh linen smell.

Memory foam pads ($50) are a cost-effective solution for your bed, but if you have money to splurge, get a latex mattress. Both of them conform to your body.

Keep your thread counts high for everything. We like Egyptian Cotton threads for their affordability and softness. Your choice in color will also affect your mood, so be conscious of the type of vacation you want to take.

Find décor that is soothing, and avoid harsh colors or patterns. Dimmer switches let you go from bright to soft with a turn of a knob. We recommend the Philips Hue dimmer, especially with its compatibility with Alexa.

6. Let’s Not Forget That Luxurious Bathroom!

A hotel bathroom always includes super-sized, fluffy towels. A massive, clean robe must accompany it too. Get a tankless water heater for around $2,000 and never be without an instant steamy shower. And don’t forget the most important part - upgrading your shower-head - we like the Moen Two-Function because you can choose between the extremes: a soothing shower or pulsating jet.

While you’re in the shower, make sure you have aromatic scents, to calm your nerves as well as to follow you even after you’re out of the shower. Decorate your bathroom with real plants or faux plants, then accentuate with sea shells. Give your bathroom a jungle feel or a Balinese island vibe. Make every shower into a spa treatment.

While you’re at it, don’t forget all the tools for a fantastic mani-pedi. No appointment necessary!

7. Room Service

Because time and convenience are of the essence, this is how to streamline the meal process.

First, snag one of these affordable folding bed trays so you can eat in bed. Have a stockpile of plastic utensils and plates. It's not good for the environment, but it's good your staycation weekend! The goal is to stay as sedentary as possible - the more you move, the more you lose.

For food, stock your refrigerator frozen food or leftovers. You simply pop these in the microwave or oven for a few minutes, and you have a hot meal. On the other hand, some might be looking for a more exquisite meal.

Download 3 of the biggest food-delivery apps: GrubHub, UberEats, and PostMates. If you don't know these, you can now order food from hundreds of local restaurants. You basically add a $5 fee to each order. In some cases, your selection will be more diverse than room service.

Some people consider cooking exciting, especially with a partner. We recommend Amazon Fresh for same-day delivery. Even better, research exotic or foreign recipes to instill a sense of adventure.

8. In-Room Movies

You’ve already got this one! Just make movie night special with all the goodies.

Treat yourself to a supreme entertainment system to enjoy your favorite flicks. This can get pricey, but do remember that audio and light are the two most important parts of replicating a movie theater.

A competitive surround-sound system will set you back around $1,000. As for lights, just make sure to turn them down. Today’s TV’s are so advanced, you can buy any of them and still enjoy.

The San Fernando Valley has many different choices for creating the in-home movie experience, but we like Fry’s for good deals. The closest two are either in Woodland Hills or Burbank. Best Buy is always competitive, though pricey. They have their in-house Magnolia Home Entertainment store to cater to your needs. And of course, Craigslist offers a plethora of risky deals.

If you don't have the time, most stores offer installation. It's an extra charge, but if you are in the Valley, at least you know there is someone close by who will be able to install and service you promptly. Anything below $300 for a whole installation is great. There is a variety of choices from specialists that do expensive in home theaters or for the cheapest just stick to your local electronics store.

9. Location - Actually Travel!

Don't forget that people travel from all over the world to vacation in Los Angeles. It's a global destination, and although we live here, we shouldn't forget it. The Valley itself is host to a surprising number of entertaining spots.

Most importantly, don't forget to get in the mood of a vacation. Although many of these locations are right around the corner, treat it like an adventure. Some users even claim to take a cab or bus to places, so as to get an exotic feel.

LA Weekly's article alone can keep you busy for several weekends.

We wrote about 10 Best Places to Take Kids here.

If you're feeling adventurous, check our 10 nearby hiking destinations.

10. Invite a Friend From Out of Town

Sometimes just having different company makes you feel like you've gotten away. Seeing an old friend or relative will bring new adventures in a familiar place. Clear out that extra room and make it comfortable for a guest.

Your friend should have all the amenities of a hotel, including towels, new bed sheets, and access to food. While you're prepping their room, do yours too! It'll feel like a hotel, with you having your own room and your friend theirs.

Your friend might even live in the same city as you, but having them sleep over will make it feel like a vacation. Sometimes, it's not about where you are, it's what you make of it. Now go ahead and make that permanent staycation!

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