Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Room to Spare

What do you do with that extra room in the house? The one that has no real purpose except to collect things? Or you may have an empty room or two when the last of the kids have moved out or gone away to school. We end up with lots of remnants of their lives, but no kids. This room becomes either a shrine with no real purpose or a place to collect all the things we don’t know where to put.

We are so often cluttered with the stuff from grown children that gets left behind as they get established elsewhere on their own. They like to have the unpaid additional storage space in a parent’s home or they just don’t want to make any decision about what to do with their things. So, their things are left taking up lots of precious space, even though the stuff may not be so precious to anyone anymore.

What to do with a spare room:

1. Dump the junk- Don’t waste that spare room with an accumulation of junk. It won’t go away on its own. Make a plan to clear out the clutter and disperse of the goods to people who can better use them. Your home’s square footage is too valuable not to be using it.

2. Guestroom– Create a spa-like retreat for your guests. Include reading materials and brochures for local activities. Have some hotel-like amenities ready to go in a decorative basket so they feel welcome, knowing you have thought of their needs.

3. Craft or hobby room– You finally have a place to do your scrapbooking, sewing, or painting! Let this room be your private studio where creativity flows.

4. Gifting- Have a room just for gift giving. Keep ribbons, gift bags, tags, and wrapping paper in the room along with any items you have purchased ahead of time for gifts. Don’t forget the scissors and tape. So whenever you need a present, it will be a snap to put one together.

5. Exercise room- This does not mean you have to have all the big equipment that you find at a gym, but if the area is designated as a workout space, you are more likely to do your yoga, palates, and strength training. Clear out the room and put your yoga mat, weights, TV, audio equipment and workout DVDs in it.

6. Home office- Instead of letting paper pile up on your coffee table or kitchen counter, set up an area to pay bills and answer mail. Put everything you need for these activities in the room including a desk, stamps, stationary and pens. Create a simple filing system and get a jump on tax preparation for next year.

7. Mediation room– Oh to have some peace and quiet–create it! Don’t allow anything in this area that doesn’t bring you peace and tranquility. Some suggested contents include a water fountain, floor cushions, candles, incense, and chimes. Selected reading and audio materials will also set the mood. A serene start or end to you day, or a quick get away to rejuvenate.

8. Room to spare, room to share– create that media room, music, pool, puzzle, card or board game room and invite friends over for a night of fun and hospitality.

9. Renovators rescue- Use the empty room as the spare room to hold addition furniture, etc. when you are renovating – flooring especially is difficult as you need room to move all your stuff. When all your renovations are complete, rework your spare room into one of the above suggestions.

Often your spare room can be used for several of these purposes. So next time you walk by that room, stop a moment to think about the possibilities. Take the next steps today to give that spare room some real purpose and turn it into a room that will give you a feeling of satisfaction and relaxation.

Colette Robicheau is a consultant, coach, and public speaker with Organize Anything offering corporate, residential, and personal organizing services. Contact Colette at info@organizeanything.com or visit www.organizeanything.com.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Never lose your cell phone again!

Always running around looking for your phone? Do you have to search madly for you cell phone when it rings? Here are some tips to help you never lose your cell phone again:

1) When you are out, always store your cell phone in the same pocket of your coat, purse or briefcase so that way it will be in the same place each time. It sounds simple but deciding on this designated place and sticking to it will save you time, frustration, panic and maybe even money. No one wants to bother with the expense of replacing your phone not to mention the issues associated with losing your phone’s private information.
2) As soon as you get home or at the office place your phone in a cell phone holder so you will know where to grab it when it rings or when you are on the way out the door.
3) Set up your cell phone holder by an outlet which you will always use to charge your phone. The outlet should be visible. Be careful when creating this docking station at home to make sure there is no chance of water reaching your phone. Many homes today have multiple users and the docking area to recharge is scattered around the kitchen, don’t forget that just a few drops of water can sometimes ruin a phone.
Keep your phone in a case with a clip, so you can attach it to your pocket or your purse. This often forces you to keep it in the same place every time and you also are more likely to notice if it is not there.
4) Have you ever lost your phone under the seat in the car? Keeping your phone on silent or vibrate is often a great idea for meetings and at lunch but this causes real havoc if you are trying to locate it. Remember to return your phone to normal mode as soon as possible.
5) Make sure your phone is always well charged. If your phone goes dead you won’t be able to call it. Having an additional charger in the car is a handy way to get the recharging you need and doesn’t leave you stuck without communication on those long road trips.
6) Always check for your cell phone when leaving a public area such as a restaurant or public washroom. And speaking of washrooms many a cell phone as taken an unfortunate dip into the toilet bowl and the results of this voyage are nothing to write home about.

Following these tips will simplify your high tech life. A little extra thought and planning can save you time later. Now you can actually run out the door without running around looking for your phone first.

About the Author:
Colette Robicheau is a consultant, coach, and public speaker with Organize Anything offering corporate, residential, and personal organizing services. Contact Colette at info@organizeanything.com or visit www.organizeanything.com.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Get Ready to Recycle!

Most people really want to recycle but often find it difficult to make it happen. The first step to organizing your recyclables is to get all the materials you need in one place. Here are some items you should have on hand:

String or twine
Bins, trash cans
Grocery bags
Washing supplies
Paper shredder
Deodorizer, baking soda
Blue or clear bags (if applicable)
Bin liners, boxes for organics (if applicable)

Your recycling should be in a confined area that is easy to get to but out of sight. Think about where each of these activities occurs and select a location for storing your recyclables that is convenient based on where your recyclables come from (kitchen, office, living room, etc.) and where they go (basement, garage, straight to the curb).

Select appropriate sized bins for each type of recyclable and the room they are needed in. Label bins so that household members and guests are clear on where to dispose of items. For those unfamiliar with your city’s recycling system have a list of items that go in each bin and be sure to list things that should not go in (e.g., used tissue). Post this in your recycling area. Try sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of trash cans and recycle bins to keep odours down. Sprinkle some in each time you change the bag and just add hot water when it is time to clean them out.

Select a spot to put bottles that need to be rinsed before recycling and do so at the end of washing you dishes each day. You can also opt to wash things right away. If you don’t have a small green bin for your kitchen, an ice cream or cat litter container are great air tight receptacles to prevent fruit flies and odour. Be sure to empty your bins regularly to prevent the growth of mould.

Have a shelf or container with scissors, string, bags, and bin liners nearby. This will make the recycling process easier. Keep a box of baking soda in your recycling area to keep things fresh. Try to break down boxes right away to save space and store them alongside your bins. Any paper with personal information on it (credit card offers, bank statements, addresses) should be shredded. Put a blue bag right in the shredder receptacle to make emptying it easier.

The most important part of keeping your recyclables organized is to create a routine. Set a time or day where you empty bins, bundle cardboard, empty the green bin, and remove recyclables to their larger holding spot. Be sure to keep track of your next pick up day and alternative pick up dates for holidays.

Recycling can be simplified when you involve the whole family, and everyone knows the systems and sticks to the routine. Encourage children to get started and teach them the recycling routines. You are never too young or old to learn how to reduce waste and practice proper recycling.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Healthier Workplace Leads to Healthy Returns

You know that the key to a long and happy life is good health, but it also makes good business sense. Consider this: Physically fit employees not only take fewer sick days, they also are more productive, and that helps to keep your bottom line healthy too. While you can’t push your employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle, you can encourage and provide them with opportunities to get and stay fit, such as:

- Take stock of your office vending machine. Replace high-fat and high-calorie items like pop and chips with more healthy and nutritious snacks.

- Do you have an office cafeteria? Look at adding health-smart items to the menu.

- When it comes time for a team-building retreat or exercise, why not choose a program or location with physical activity opportunities?

- Reward employees who make healthy choices. For example, sponsor your company’s softball team.

- Office events and parties are great opportunities to promote healthy living while having fun, like a skating party.

- Create a team of executives and employees to look at and promote the benefits of good health in your business.

- Install a water cooler. Drinking more water is essential to losing weight and staying healthy.

- Offer a weekly lunchtime program where employees can learn how to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Make it fun and interactive; have cooking classes with a local chef where employees can learn how to prepare more nutritious meals, and then sample them for lunch.

- Make your office more exercise friendly. Install a shower for employees who bike to work or jog at lunch.

- Because fitness club fees can be expensive, look into corporate rates to give your employees added incentive to get fit.

- Make physical fitness a contest between departments. This is a great way to build team spirit in your company. Start a walking or running club and keep a weekly tally of weight lost or kilometers walked and offer a monthly prize to the team with the best overall performance.

When it comes to changing your employees’ lifestyles and habits, think of it as an investment. It takes considerable time, effort and dedication, but it’s one that will result in significant returns for your employees (an improved quality of life) and for you (improved profitability and profits).

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