Conquer bathroom clutter simply and effectively

Conquer Bathroom Clutter Simply and Effectively Bathrooms seem to be notorious for becoming cluttered and unkempt. Between small makeup compacts, medicine bottles, hair accessories, razors and the like, it can be quite easy to lose things in the shuffle. Assess your bathroom and its contents and utilize a few simple ideas and you'll find more space and tranquility as a result. First, take a good look at your medicine cabinets. Ironically, it's probably not a good idea to store medicine in your medicine cabinet, as most bathrooms become hot and humid during showers and baths, and can be detrimental to medication that requires being stored at room temperature. Don't keep medicines past their expiration date, even if you've never opened them or have used them very little. Try storing your medications on a high shelf in your linen closet with a lock-tight lid. This will help lengthen their shelf life as well as keep them out of reach of curious little hands. The same should be done with old makeup. Generally speaking, most makeup will last about 18-24 months, with the exception of mascara, which lasts about three months, and liquid eyeliner, which lasts about three to six months. Nail polish generally only holds up for about a year, so if you have any older than that, get rid of them. And since many makeup products have animal-based ingredients, it's also important to pay attention to how they smell. If they smell like they've gone bad, they probably have, so toss them. Try using a permanent marker to mark the purchase date on the back of the item, so that way you won't have to try to remember just how long it's been since you purchased something. If you take a look in your favorite discount store's home organization aisle, you'll find lots of inexpensive storage containers that can easily be utilized in bathroom drawers, under the sink, and for shower and bathtub areas as well. Since bathrooms are full of small things, they can easily be organized in small bins, baskets or boxes.

Keep your car organized and simplify your life on the go

Keep your Car Organized and Simplify Your Life on the Go American driver spend on average about 15 hours in their car each and every week. With busy hectic schedules, our cars are quickly becoming our home on wheels, so it should be as no surprise that our cars can easily become infested with clutter. And just as we have a system in place at home, so should we in our car. An organized car keeps distractions at bay and essential items within easy reach. Visor CD holders and passenger seat organizers are great items to have to keep your life in the front seat calm, cool and collected at all times. Each of these organizing tools keeps important items within easy reach, such as your water bottle, toll money, or map. If a good portion of your time in the car involves hauling your children back and forth to daycare, on shopping excursions or to weekly activities, it's likely that your backseat is a toy box on wheels. There are simple and affordable mesh nets that can be placed over the back of the front seats so that books, toys, and allowable snacks can be kept within easy reach. Encourage your children to place their items in these organizers when they are getting out of the car, and you'll encourage them to learn how to pick up after themselves in your home as well. Trunk organizers are a great storage tool for keeping those needed items from floating back and forth in the trunk during car rides, and provide a safe haven for your groceries to travel home in. Cargo nets can also be installed in the trunk to accomplish the same secure environment. Lastly, keep your pooch safe and secure in the back by placing a dog divider in the back of your minivan or SUV. This keeps them safely contained in one area during the commute, thereby decreasing the likelihood of him bounding onto your lap and getting in your way during the drive. It also contains him in an enclosed area if he's dirty from playing in the mud or water.

Create a unique scrapbook with everyday items you already have at home

Create a Unique Scrapbook with Everyday Items You Already Have at Home Scrapbooking has become a popular pastime through the past few years. If you've looked into it, you know that it can easily become an expensive one as well. But with some creativity, you can use the everyday items in your house to create a scrapbook that reflects your individual personality and style. After you've selected your favorite photos and mementos for your scrapbook, take a look around you. You've probably looked at items around your house hundreds of times without considering their scrapbook potential. If you've got photos from a favorite vacation, look around to see what you have around your home that reminds you of that trip. Postcards, souvenirs and even travel brochures that can be cut apart are great ways of building a great vacation page or section. If you're building a school days page, report cards, awards, certificates, ribbons, graded assignments, and even notebook doodles are clever enhancements. Paper clips or crayon wrappers work nicely. Pressed flowers, handwritten poetry, and clippings from magazines can also nicely enhance a wedding or engagement page. Be sure to jot down details of the day you want to be sure you remember. Use the fronts of some of your favorite cards and remnants from saved gift wrap as backgrounds for your photos. Ribbons and gift wrap remnants also work well for baby's page. Be sure to include an announcement card and a copy of baby's footprints. You might also want to tuck in a corner of a baby blanket or a page from a favorite storybook. Even remembrance pages can reflect your own personal memories of your lost loved one. Enhance your favorite photos with a label from a favorite perfume or cologne, food, beverage. Movie ticket stubs, buttons, newspaper articles, handwriting samples and favorite quotes or funny moments jotted down on paper can make your page special. With a fresh look at some ordinary, every day items, your scrapbook can take on a personal and individual flair.

Setting up a home office on a shoestring budget

Setting up a Home Office on a Shoestring Budget Working from home is becoming a more popular option with many in today's workforce. Whether you telecommute or have abandoned the rat race in favor of setting up your own home business, or just simply need a place to land to take care of the bill paying and the home organization chores, a home office has become a necessary space in many homes. Whether you set up a corner office in your kitchen, designate a guest room to double as your office, or set up a location in your basement, it's crucial that your home office include all the elements that contribute to your productivity, efficiency and overall success. But setting up a home office doesn't have to break your bank account. Very few of us can afford the luxury of having a professional organizer devise an office system for us. Don't despair; there are many creative ways to devise your space . Maybe you are able to have a separate room for your office. If so, that's great. You'll have lots of elbow room. But if you don't, there's lots of ways to utilize the space you can carve out for one. Whatever space you choose, make sure it's a space that can be dedicated to your office, and doesn't double as an arts and crafts table for your kids or a workbench for your spouse's do-it-yourself projects on the weekends. Take a look at your space and see what you can do easily and inexpensively to spruce it up and make it conducive to working from home. Sometimes just a fresh coat of paint, some strategically hung pictures or some simple stencil work can brighten up an otherwise dreary corner. Next, look around your house to see what furnishings you already have. If there's a small unused table that could double as a desk, use it. You've probably got a comfortable chair in your dining room that could work fine as an office chair. Look around your home for some useable pieces that can be brought together successfully to create a comfortable and relaxing home office environment. You may also already have book shelves, bins, baskets, boxes and a filing cabinet that could also be incorporated into your office. If you don't already have office supplies available, visit your favorite office supply or discount store and stock up on a few needed items and get your space organized and ready to roll.

Feng shui for health

Feng Shui For Health Feng shui has long been heralded for its ability to increase people's energy level and give them a much healthier life. This may sound unusual to some people but really think about it. Feng shui calls for a clutter-free, well lit area with good air circulation. That by itself can do wonders but when applied with various feng shui techniques, it can make amazing improvements in your state of mind. Nobody likes living in a mess and that can affect you mentally. To maintain a space that is beneficial to your health, there are only three basic needs that have to be met. Fresh air is very important in the modern world. Thousands of years ago there weren't factories and cars all over that seriously diminish air quality. Even in your home there are many pollutants from things like your stove, refrigerator, and animals. The easiest way to help eliminate some of these pollutants and to add something beautiful to your home is to get some air purifying plants. Many types of small palm and fern are renowned for their ability to suck in toxic substances that are in the air. In addition, they put out oxygen which is always a good thing. Lighting is very important also. Light is one of the most powerful forms of energy in the universe. Many of us don't get enough sunlight exposure as we need on a daily basis. Feng shui encourages the use of natural light whenever possible but in areas where that isn't an option, full spectrum lighting is recommended. The last basic need is to stay free of clutter. Get rid of stuff you don't really need and don't be a pack rat. By starting with these three basics, you can learn more and start applying feng shui cures to your home and life.

Put the brakes on the junk mail express

Put the Brakes on the Junk Mail Express We've all seen how stuffed our mailboxes are each day with junk mail. Advertisements, coupon books, postcards, brochures and the like break the backs of our local postal delivery people each day across the nation. Each year, junk mail costs the environment approximately 80 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water. It also costs about $450 million each year to have it hauled off, incinerated or recycled. On average that means that about 34 pounds of junk mail is produced each year for every man, woman, and child in the United States. And if you factor into this equation that each person will spend approximately eight months out of our lives dealing with junk mail, and you have a huge sum of wasted time, money, and valuable resources. But you shouldn't feel powerless to stop it. There are steps you can take to tame the junk mail beast. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA), the largest list broker in the US, sells your name and address to those wanting to target you for their product. Contact them directly with a postcard that contains the date, your name and address, and sign it. Be sure to include all variations of your name, and your maiden name if you've recently married. Instruct them to remove your name from their mailing lists. Send the postcard to: Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service P. O. Box 643 Carmel, NY 10512 Tel: 1- 212-768-7277 dmaconsumers. org Be careful when you do submit your name and address to anyone, as you can become part of their mailing list which might be sold at a later date, putting you right back at square one. If you're filling out a form such as a warranty, subscription, raffle, customer info card, credit card application, membership for an organization, be sure to instruct them not to sell, rent or trade your name or address. Remember to do this every time you're giving your contact information to a sales representative or customer service associate when you purchase something. And when you receive an unwanted publication in the mail, immediately contact the toll-free number listed on the publication and request to be removed from their mailing list. Businesses and organizations are glad to hear from you if you're not interested in receiving their materials because it saves them advertising revenue.

Laundry room logistics

Laundry Room Logistics All laundry rooms at one time or another have been guilty of massive piles of unsorted dirty clothes, laundry products strewn about, and a feeling of disorganization and chaos. When this feeling sets in, it can make tackling an overrun laundry room an even more difficult chore. But with some work, creativity and commitment from other family members, this room can become an organized oasis. The first step is to develop a routine in your family for making sure their dirty laundry is delivered to the laundry room on a routine basis. If you've established Wednesday and Sunday as laundry day in your home, then laundry needs to be delivered to the laundry room no later than Tuesday and Saturday nights. Each person should be taught to sort laundry into designated hampers in the laundry room. Younger children should be accompanied by a parent or older sibling when the time for this chore comes, but encouraged and assisted in the sorting process. Maintain a laundry basket or bin for each family member. Once clothes are washed, dried and folded, place them into each basket and deliver them to their bedrooms. Older children should be capable of putting laundry into drawers and on hangers themselves. Younger children again will probably need assistance, but their independence should be encouraged. Make it a habit of keeping on top of the laundry supplies. Make sure there are always plenty of soap, stain fighter and fabric softener available. Nothing can be more aggravating than finding no laundry soap available when you have six loads to be done. Make sure your laundry room has a separate and clearly labeled bin for items that need to be dry cleaned. Make sure that this bin is emptied as often as needed and that items are delivered and picked up from the dry cleaners promptly. Have another bin set aside for items that need to be repaired or that need buttons replaced. Tackle this bin at least twice a month so that it does not become overwhelming.

Planning and organizing a successful yard sale

Planning and Organizing a Successful Yard Sale A well-organized and well-planned yard sale is more appealing and makes it easier for shoppers to see what you have for sale. After you've sorted through your belongings and decided what you're going to place in your yard sale, take a moment to sit down and think through how you want to organize your items. Categorize your items, as it demonstrates your hard work and forethought in planning your sale. Keep a close eye on things throughout the course of the day, as you'll need to resort and re-categorize your things as your items sell. You can sort things into boxes when you're doing your initial sorting and purging. Grocery, liquor and discount stores always have plenty of empty freight boxes, and they're usually free for the taking. Make sure you gather several sizes to accommodate different items. As you Take a box with you and survey your house and your belongings, place your unwanted items in the box until it's full. Select a central location or room in your house to coordinate your sale items. Continue with this process until you've sorted through all your belongings in both your home and garage. Be sure to go through places like your drawers, closets, sheds, cupboards and your pantry. Don't forget your attic or basement as well. After you've gathered all your sale items, sort them into categories to group them into for your sale. This can be done either by category or price. Periodically during your sale, move items that haven't sold to another table or re-locate them on the same table. However, don't do this during times when you have lots of traffic. If you notice certain categories of items are not selling as well as others, you might want to adjust your prices accordingly or move them closer to the entrance to your sale so they are more visible to those who drive by to see what goodies you have to offer. After your sale is over, don't take the items back in your house. Contact your local rescue mission or charity thrift store and make arrangements to donate your items. Most places will be happy to arrange a pickup time to come by and haul your things away, and will give you a receipt you can use for a tax write-off.

Organizing your child's bedroom can be fun

Organizing your Child's Bedroom Can Be Fun If you have a child, you know how easily their bedrooms can get out of control. Toys strewn about, clothes out of drawers, books on the floor; it can almost be a hazard sometimes just to enter. But getting your child's room organized can be rewarding and fun, especially if your child is actively involved in the process. Never attempt it without their permission, input and most importantly their active participation. Don't surprise your child and go ahead and organize their room for them. Just as you expect your privacy and possessions to be respected, so should theirs. Teach your child as soon as possible the importance of keeping their room tidy and orderly, so they'll have a strong appreciation for neatness and order as they grow. With a little patience and cooperation, even the youngest can be taught this habit early on, simply by learning how to put toys and other belongings like books and art supplies away after use. When organizing your child's room, make sure it's fun and creative, so they are interested in maintaining it. And as we all know, children grow and change rapidly, so their rooms should have the room to grow with them. Make sure your organizational method has room to grow and change as well. And above all, make sure you get their ideas about what they think will work the best for them. Make sure that all their favorites are well within reach and easy to put away. Place things that they use on an infrequent basis on the top shelves in their closet, and devise a workable system for hanging and organizing clothes and grouping favorite outfits together. When it comes time to put laundry away, ask if they need your help, but try to give them the space when possible to do it themselves, and it will grow into a good habit as they grow older. Hanging storage closet systems are ideal for kids. They are bright and colorful and are able to contain closet items in a way that enhances visibility for a child. Designed with roomy pockets they hold an array of shoes, toys, and clothes, and hang over any standard closet rod. Their front openings make it simple and quick for any child to use. Also consider a desk with drawers or other filing system for your child's school work, art work, awards, report cards, and other papers. There are many brightly-colored and durable storage bins, desks and organizers available for your child's room, so take them shopping with you so you can both select the best option. And most importantly, keep your room neat and organized, and maintain it on a daily basis. Don't expect your child to maintain a nice, tidy room if you're not doing the same. The best teacher is your example.

Help your child learn to organize and prioritize with a chore chart

Chart your Child's Accomplishments with a Chore Chart It can be very frustrating to ask your child over and over again to complete their chores without them ever getting done. Sometimes it's the result of a child not knowing how to organize and prioritize their time. Help your child develop these important skills by implementing a chore chart. Chores might include taking out the garbage, doing the dishes, cleaning their room, yard work or putting laundry in the laundry room. After your child completes each chore, they can put a check mark on the chore chart. At the end of each week, it's very inspiring for both parent and child to look at the chore chart and easily see that each designated job was completed. Just like our to do lists, your child will find great satisfaction in being able to check off each chore as it's completed and take pride knowing they accomplished a set task or list of tasks. Once the child is more adept at completing each task and learns to recognize which ones should be completed first, additional ones can be added to the list. Once you've sat down with your child and discussed and designed a chore chart, it's time to discuss the rewards for accomplishing each task listed. Perhaps at your home you decide you will give a set sum for each task accomplished. If you should decide to grant your child some sort of monetary allowance, make sure it's age appropriate and granted on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is 50 cents per year of age. However, be firm about the allowance being an all or nothing reward. No allowance is given if the items on the list are only partially completed or if they haven't been completed in a quality fashion. Teach your child early to strive to do it right the first time, and learn to save time in the process. By helping your child to develop a sense of organization early on, you'll equip them with an important skill that will help them succeed later in life.

Affordable no sew curtains for your home

Affordable No Sew Curtains for Your Home If you're looking into adding some fresh decorative touches to your home, a good place to start is with your window treatments. But it can be a bit daunting to your budget to purchase window treatments for an entire room. However, there are many window treatment options available that you can do yourself, and you never even have to pick up a needle or thread a sewing machine. With a little imagination and some simple connectors, any piece of fabric can easily and quickly be transformed into a window treatment. So find a fabric that suits your home dйcor and personal style, and choose something that already has finished edges, such as a vintage linen or printed sheet. Then choose a grommet, clip, hook, or cord to hang it with, and you'll have a beautifully simple and inexpensive window treatment that reflects your personal style and creativity. Grommets, slipped over wall hooks, produce a simple, crisp window treatment. Generally, a hammer and a grommet tool works at least as well for setting just a few grommets. The grommet prevents the hook from tearing through the hole. You can thread rayon cording through grommets and tie behind the grommets to create loops to hang from a wooden dowel or hooks above the window. There are also stylish clips that can be found at flea markets and antique stores that simply latch onto the fabric. Home decorating and import stores also carry clip-on rings to hang curtains from. You can even use buttons on curtains. Simply thread fine wire through the holes and sections of ribbon and simply twist the wire on the back side to create simple ribbon loops to hang the curtain with. Let your creativity be your guide, and you can craft window treatments that reflect your personality and style. You're only limited by your own imagination.

Storage and organization products that will not break the bank

Storage and Organization Products that Will not Break the Bank We've all set a New Year's resolution to be better organized. On second glance though, it can be a daunting task when you try to factor in all the necessary tools you'll need to purchase in order to gain control over the clutter in your home. However, you don't have to break the bank in order to organize your life and tame the clutter beast. If you look around your house, you may even find some ingenious storage and organization tools right under your nose. You need to assess your organizational needs before you go shopping. If your office area is creating chaos in your life, consider investing in a filing cabinet or portable file boxes and a box of hanging file folders and develop a workable filing system for yourself. You can probably even find unused coffee cups for pen and pencil storage, and small baskets or boxes that would neatly tuck inside a desk drawer and hold paperclips, pushpins or rubber bands in your home. If your closet is giving you fits, a second closet rod or shoe or sweater organizer can easily be added to consolidate clothing items and put them within easy reach. Your favorite discount or home store has a large selection of storage bins, drawers, baskets, boxes, and bags available at affordable prices. And though they aren't necessary when you begin your organization product, having durable products that are up to the task of being sorted through, moved and repurposed are smart investments. But probably the best organizational tool you can invest in is a calendar. It can be in planner form, or a desk or wall calendar, as long as it's easily accessible and has plenty of room for you to schedule your organizational projects and household tasks. Make a commitment to maintaining your organized areas on a regular basis, and you'll probably free up time to tackle others around your house or office.

Organize your move and reduce your stress

Organize your Move and Reduce your Stress Moving can be a very stressful and nerve-wracking experience. But with some careful planning and by thinking ahead a little, you can make the process go a bit smoother. Create a simple record keeping system. Whether it's computer-generated or hand written, be very specific when recording things on this list. You'll probably need many more boxes thank you think, and having enough boxes will make your life easier. If you go through a moving company, keep in mind that any boxes you purchase but don't use can be returned for a credit or refund. Have at least ten boxes set aside to use for last minute items on moving day, such as bedding, clothing, and cleaning supplies. You'll need strong plastic packing tape to close up the boxes securely. Use unprinted newsprint or packing paper or bubble wrap to wrap and cushion household good. Again, you'll need lots more supplies than you think, so get extra. Moving companies will be happy to deliver boxes ahead of your moving day. Designate a color for each room in the new home, such as yellow for kitchen, orange for dining room and so forth. Apply colored stickers on the box near the box number. In your new home, place a matching sticker on the door to each room. This is a simple way for the movers to know where to put everything when they arrive. Insist on keeping things together when you or the movers are packing boxes. Keep bookends with books, light bulbs with lamps, and extension cords with appliances. Small, loose parts can be attached to the item they belong to with tape or placed in small envelopes -- to keep picture hooks with pictures, shelf brackets with a bookcase, a special wrench and bolts with the wall unit. Anything you can pack ahead will save you time on moving day. If it's summer, get your winter clothes out of the way. If you must clean your old place after moving out, put together a kit of basic cleaning supplies and rags. Moving companies will not move cleaning chemicals, so plan to transport those with you in your vehicle or give them to a neighbor or friend.

The feng shui elements

The Feng Shui Elements Feng shui has one main goal: Increase positive energy by creating a place of balance and harmony. How is this balance achieved? By using the five elements of feng shui. The elements all work with each other and have their own characteristics. When balancing the energy in any space, these five elements are used to enhance positive energy as well as counteract negative energy. Wood is connected to the color green. To increase the wood energy in an area, live plants are used and not dead wood that is in chairs and other furniture. In addition to adding wood energy, the plants filter the air and increase oxygen making the atmosphere of your space more healthy. Wood's home is the East of your space. Fire is connected to reds, oranges, and purples. Fire is anything that uses electricity or produces heat. Televisions and lamps are good examples. A lamp that has a red lampshade can greatly increase the fire energy of an area. Fire's home is the South. Earth is connected to tans, browns, and beiges. Brickwork and anything that uses rocks is part of the earth element. Clay pots, tiles, and ceramics also increase the earth energy. Earth is the Northeast. Metal is connected to whites and golds. So much is made of metal, you can pretty much pick and choose what to use to increase your metal energy. A statue or even a bed frame will work great. Metal is in the West. Water is connected to blues and blacks. Representing the winter, water is commonly used in more passive ways due to it's, well, wet nature. Used improperly, water can disturb all the energy in your space. Using aquariums, fountains, or pools are the easiest ways to increase water energy. Water is in the North.

Fun ways to display your favorite photos

Fun Ways to Display your Favorite Photos Photos of family, friends and favorite places add a touch of personality, style, flair, and jazz to any room. Sometimes however it's difficult to think of inventive and creative ways to display your treasured pictures. First you need to take a good look at the photos you want to display. One of your favorite photos might be a large group picture, but it may not actually display well when hanging on a wall. Save that one for the scrapbook and look for pictures that have vibrant images that convey a message or a thought. Older photographs can be brought to live with the advances in photographic reproduction technology. If you have a favorite old photo that's fading, or has been damaged or crinkled through the years, take it to a photo shop to have it restored and reprinted. You might even be able to do this yourself at home with photo imaging software. You might want to consider added a special effect, enlarging or cropping the photo differently to add a new perspective to a familiar photo. Mixing frames of different styles and sizes can be fun, but takes some planning and forethought. Lay the framed photos on a tabletop or the floor and rearrange until you find a workable arrangement, then employ a friend or family member's help when measuring and preparing to mount on the wall. Have your level ready to be sure that a picture that looks straight actually is straight. Photos don't have to be limited to the walls. Tabletops, desktops, bookshelves, and your family entertainment wall unit are all great places to add a picture frame. Even a dressing screen can make a clever and unique backdrop. You can even decoupage photos onto a table lamp base or mirror frame for an added jazzy effect. And by using fabric transfer sheets, you can even transfer a favorite photo onto a pillowcase or wall hanging. Photo collages of friends or family members make great placemats. Simple arrange and laminate. This is also a great way to hang a collage on the wall or corkboard above your desk or in your office. Individual laminated photos can be affixed to magnets to put on the refrigerator and other metal surfaces in your home.

Careful organization and planning helps preserve your favorite photos

Careful Organization and Planning Helps Preserve your Favorite Photos Photos can be a wonderful way to preserve memories and relive favorite past moments. However, they can also become a cluttered mess without an organized storage plan. Probably the most important tool to have when you begin your photo organization project is a trash can. Statistics show the average person develops one roll of 24 pictures a month but only seven are worth keeping. That being said, you'll probably find many photos in your collection that simply aren't worth keeping. Another tool you'll need during your organization process is several manila envelopes. Do your best to sort the photos by year, and place each group in the envelope with the year clearly marked on it. Place these envelopes in a strong cardboard box or storage bin. You'll probably be able to store a decade's worth of photos in a single container. Collages and shadow boxes are great ways to display several photos from a selected year. Include mementos and keepsakes in the shadowbox to add a unique personality. Special photos should be enlarged and framed to be displayed around your home. Take special care to purchase photo albums that are made with acid-free paper. The acid used in processing everyday paper can be very damaging to photographs over the long haul. Scrapbooking is a growing trend and a clever and creative way to display your photos. Craft stores have an abundance of scrapbook supplies, including stencils, decorative scissors, background papers, rubber stamps and permanent markers. You can also utilize everyday items around your house such as ribbons, magazine clippings, and fabrics. Again, take care to ensure that the paper you use is acid-free or is displayed separately from your favorite photos. Lastly, just in case something should happen to your photos, make sure you have a backup plan to replace them. Store the negatives of your most important and cherished photographs in your safe deposit box to also protect against theft or destruction from elements such as fires or floods.

Organize your holiday and bring joy to your world

Organize Your Holiday and Bring Joy to Your World The holiday season can be a stressful and chaotic time. Between attending holiday parties, shopping, meal planning, baking, gift wrapping, and entertaining, there never seems to be enough time. But if you organize, schedule and plan properly, you might find you even have a little extra time to relax and recharge. The should first sit down with your family at a meeting and find out what activities and parties they are involved in during the season. If there are rehearsals for the church pageant, choir practice, or volunteer work activities, make sure you incorporate them all into your family schedule. Be sure to factor in time off that you've taken during the holiday season so that if they need an extra set of hands to help out at the church's bake sale, you'll know at a glance whether or not you can help out. That being said, the next step is to ensure you're not spreading yourself or your family too thin. Don't commit to more parties than you can attend, or be coaxed into hosting your own holiday event if you simply don't have the time. Once you've established your schedule with your family, do not make any changes, additions, or revisions to it without consulting them first. If you're stretched too thin, chances are they will be as well since you'll be unavailable to them. Successful holiday shopping involves careful and methodical planning. A concise and specific list can save you both time and money. Remember too, the season is about togetherness and the spirit of the season, and not about how much you maxed out your credit cards by. Stick to your list and you'll stick within your budget guidelines as well. Keep your holiday decorating simple and minimal. Ornate displays can quickly consume your valuable time. If you do choose to decorate big this season, make sure you've planned for it in advance and completed it before things kick into high gear such as parties, caroling and shopping. Santa's got his list of who's naughty and who's nice. Organize and plan wisely so that you won't become stressed and end up on the wrong side of Santa's list this year.

Organize your finances and save your money

Organize your Finances and Save Your Money You carefully plan how to spend your money. But you may have never organized a plan on how to best save your hard-earned money. Shopping the sales, cut corners, conserve energy, and clip coupons are all positive steps in the right direction, but with some careful planning and organized thought, you can make your dollar stretch even further. First of all, pay yourself first. Bill yourself if you have to as a way to keep track. You can even have a portion of your check directly deposited into your savings account so you'll never even miss it. Put part of it into savings for shorter term goals and some into a retirement plan. Compare interest rates at different financial institutions to get the most bang for your saved buck. Pay close attention to where your money is going. Develop a spreadsheet or other method so you can visibly track where your money is going each month. You probably easily remember the bigger bills like the mortgage or the car payment, but it's easy to lose track of the incidental spending you do. You'd probably be surprised how much you spend each month on movies, eating out, video rentals and a little spending money for the kids. This will help you find ways of saving a few dollars here and there, which can quickly add up to a significant savings each month. Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Once you've paid close attention to where your money is going, it will be easy to find where to cut corners and adjust your budget accordingly. With some commitment and a few lifestyle adjustments, it's really quite simple to live within the parameters of a well-planned budget. Look for fun, inexpensive ways to entertain your family. You can usually borrow videos from your local library at little or no cost, and outdoor activities not only promote family togetherness but the fresh air and exercise are good for all involved.

Making the most of your workday

Making the Most of your Workday Chaos and a hectic pace seem to be par for the course in most anyone's workday, and it can turn your workday upside down if you let it. However, with some careful planning, efficient scheduling and well-developed work habits, your workday can smoothly sail along. Planning your workday actually starts the previous evening. Take a few moments before you leave work to jot down important meetings, phone calls that need to be made or returned, ideas or concerns that need to be discussed with your supervisors or co-workers, or other notes to yourself about projects you're working on or clients you're currently working with. That way, it'll be right there for you to see the next morning, and it'll make getting into the swing of things much easier. You should stay on top of your both your desktop and electronic inboxes. Check e-mail when you arrive, and immediately sort each message into an appropriate folder. Even if you don't have time to deal with the contents of a message or even read it fully, sort it for later action. Sort through and organize regular mail and correspondence as well, and organize into piles for later action if necessary. Make sure you come back to these at the end of the day and take any appropriate action or you can at that time. Try to make it a habit of responding promptly to all mail requesting a timely response. Check through these inboxes during the course of the workday as well. Return or make your most urgent and important phone calls early in the day. Like you, most people are more likely to be at their desks during this time. Get in tuned with your personal energy level and schedule. If you have more energy at the beginning of the day, tackle your toughest projects then. If your energy level dips after lunch, take care of filing, e-mailing or other general tasks at this time. At the end of the day, return to your checklist and prepare for tomorrow. Review your checklist and cross off completed items. Move any pending items to tomorrow's to-do list. Utilize both an electronic and wall or desk calendar to keep track of deadlines, meetings, and appointments. If your day allows, try to work on those long-term projects a bit so that as their deadlines approach you won't feel so pressured or rushed. Most importantly, take a break. Don't get into the habit of having your lunch at your desk or cutting your breaks short. A walk during your break and time away from your desk to recharge are probably the most important things you can do for yourself to recharge your battery, clear your mind and prepare to tackle the tasks at hand more productively and efficiently.

Feng shui in the garden

Feng Shui In The Garden A garden can benefit from feng shui and even help change the energy in your home. A properly arranged garden can be a place to be uplifted and energized and also soothed and relaxed. This balance is very necessary but is easy to accomplish by using various plants, flowers, and decorations. The best place to have an entrance to your garden is facing South. The garden will get the maximum amount of sun exposure. You should also use an arch or open space instead of a closed gate. There aren't any specific plants you are supposed to use but you should maintain a good balance between colors. Since hotter and brighter colors increase your energy, you should have them separated from your cooler and mellower colors which will relax you. One of the hardest things to do in a garden is avoid clutter but this is a must in feng shui. When you first plant, everything is pretty small and your garden may look a little barren. This is just fine. You want to make sure that each plant has its own space so you don't end up with a cluttered jungle. It's easy and fun to incorporate the five feng shui elements into your garden. A birdbath can cover water, some lights or torches are fire, and for earth, clay pots and small boulders work wonders. As far as paths in your garden go, you should avoid straight paths and instead opt for curvy, leisurely paths made from rounded tiles. Avoid edges whenever possible in your paths.

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