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Monday
Jan092012

ARE YOU READY TO MAKE SOME NEW HABITS THIS YEAR?

A resolution to start a good habit is easier to implement than a pledge to break a bad one.  The most successful resolutions have both elements combined.  For example, cut back on evenings at the office and volunteer some time at a local charity.  

Substituting habits works best if the two are incompatible.  One woman decided to lose weight and to walk instead of a snack before dinner.  She bought a pair of sport shoes and resolved to walk 40 blocks home from work each evening.  That gave her regular exercise and also got her home just in time to eat dinner instead of snacking.

Use reminders to keep you on track.  If you’ve decided to read a book a week, post the resolution on your TV.  If your goal is to give up late-night snacks, keep a reminder on the refrigerator. 

Never say never.  If you resolve to not buy any more clothes until you’re out of debt, you’ll only set yourself up for failure when you snap up a sweater at that post Christmas sale.  It’s better to adopt a budget that leaves room for an occasional shopping trip.

 And, don’t strive for the impossible.  Pledging a 50 pound shed by June 1 isn’t practical so instead promise a 6 pound loss by February 1.  The far off goal only invites procrastination.  Even with realistic goals, it’s important  to have a strategy to deal with temptation and backsliding. 

Finally, don’t give up!  Every day is a new beginning.  If you have a bad day and yell at the kids, you don’t have to wait until next January to be cheerful again!

Saturday
Oct012011

FURNITURE NEED A FACELIFT?

If you have a dresser or chest that has short legs on it you might try removing the legs for a low-slung, sleek look.  For older pieces that have attached mirrors, unscrew them and re-hang them at an appropriate height. 

Need a desk?  Look around the house or an antique shop for a vintage “vanity dresser” and give it a new life as a handsome desk by removing the decorative “apron” in the center section to allow for knee room when sitting on a chair suited to the height of the piece.  If the wood is in good condition it may be worthwhile to strip and refinish it.  If not, visit your local paint store for some ideas and options on antiquing or painting the wood. 

If you have tables made of wood that get a lot of use you might want to protect the top with a heavy piece of glass cut to fit.  This also works well for a square flat ottoman to turn it into a coffee table on occasion. 

Feel the need for more occasional tables?  The attic or garage may be housing some unique possibilities, if you find an antique milk can you could top it with a piece of marble salvaged from a demolishing company or old wicker items can be rejuvenated into suitable and attractive tables.   Perhaps the tables you uncover could be useful without much work by just draping them with fabric remnants.  The fabric store remnant bin is also a good place to find accessories.  For example, pieces of quilted fabric can be easily made into throw pillows. 

With a little time and a bit of creativity your whole house can get a needed facelift giving everyone who lives there a new lift too!

Saturday
Oct012011

ATTACK THOSE KILLER CLOTHES CLOSETS!

Fellow Professional Organizer, Stephanie Culp, has authored a book entitled, Organized Closets and Storage for Every Room in the House.  It’s filled with great suggestions to maximize your closet and storage space.

When organizing your wardrobe work from within.  Hang blouses or shirts alongside complementary skirts or pants.  Things that don’t have a companion article should be taken out to be given away. 

Hang belts, scarves, and purses, where you can see them for easy coordination.  You can find special racks for these items, purchase drawer dividers, or simply drive nails in strategic spots along the closet wall or door for easy access.  As the old adage goes, “If the shoe fits, wear it”, can certainly apply to closet cleaning.  However, it needs to be turned around to say, “If the shoes don’t fit, toss it!  Those you do wear should go on a shoe rack-the kind that hangs on the inside of the closet door or one that stands on the closet floor.

How about the plastic wrap the cleaner sends home covering your clothes?  If you have some of that still hanging around in the closet –it’s got to go!  It’s hard to see through it to tell what it’s covering and it can be dangerous to kids and pets.

Hangers are another thing to look over in your closet.  Different types are helpful.  Plastic hangers with swivel head allow you to put the garments on the hanger any way you wish and keep the clothes all hanging the same way in the closet. 

Skirts can be hung on hangers that attach individually to each other for a layered or single effect, thereby grouping garments by category, color, fabric, or casual vs. formal.  Pants hang best on open ended chrome hangers.  Then, when the task is completed the closet will have that spacious look you’ve dreamed about!

Monday
Aug012011

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK TODAY

If you’ve ever wondered what you’d do without a microwave oven and a take-out pizza, computer, printer, cell phone, and the list goes on.  Well, maybe it’s time to rethink how wonderful they really are.  If modern technology was supposed to be so “freeing” then why did our grandmothers and maybe even mothers seem to have more free time and less of these, so called conveniences?  They even had time to hang clothes on the line and bake pies!  What’s the deal?

Well, these labor-saving devices cost a fair bit of money thus if we want them we must have enough income to buy them.   Two pay checks may be needed or lots of extra work by one person, thus time pressure.  Is it really worth it? 

If you’re feeling this kind of pressure lately maybe it’s time to consider some of the following suggestions:  Take a nap.  What?  You’re wondering if you read that right.  Yes, you did.  Believe it or not history records many prominent leaders manage to take time for a naps.  Winston Churchill, for instance, at the peak of World War II, insisted on an afternoon nap.  He once wrote, “I regretted having to send myself to bed like a child every afternoon, but I was rewarded by being able to work through the night until two or even later.” 

Other nappers from history include Napoleon, Anwar Sadat, Thomas Edison, Harry Truman, and… Judy Warmington!  I love naps!  It’s not a waste of time according to sleep researchers who are near consensus that regular naps improve alertness, energy, and mood.  So, I don’t know what you‘re going to do right now, but I have to get going… (yawn)…and get my nap in today….

Friday
Jul012011

WASTE TIME PRODUCTIVELY

Sometimes the best way to finish a project is to stop doing it.  The late Norma Vincent Peale counseled busy people to drop everything and simply walk for half an hour if they’re stuck on a problem.  Peale himself found chores to do or just read mysteries as he waited for solutions to find their way up from his subconscious.   This is called “planned procrastination” and can be a very good use of time!

In our society we tend to look down on “wasting time” that way, when in fact some of the best hours one spends can appear useless at first.  Upon close observation one finds that scientists, artists, and other creative people routinely spend long periods of time idling around, allowing ideas to slowly germinate.

Author, James Michener, claims that the foundation for his successful career was laid in the years he spent foundering before starting to write at age 40.  In his words, “It may well be that the years observers describe as ‘wasted’ will prove to have been the most productive.”

Along with productive so-call “wasted time” we can find and use bits of time that otherwise become truly wasted.  While we can’t control most of life’s dreaded delays; we can control our reaction to them.  By simply changing your perspective you can find and actually enjoy using “bits of time” when standing in line, waiting for a delayed flight, or even being stuck in traffic.  One of Larry Gatlin’s best country songs, “All the gold in California”, was composed during a Los Angeles traffic jam.