Thursday, January 28, 2016

Out & About This Weekend: Jan. 29

Has the snow given you Cabin Fever? 

There's LOTS to do this weekend 
in Bucks County PA!   Take a look:

Visit Bucks County (Event Calendar)

Philly Fun Guide (Fun Savers Offers)

Bucks County Alive (Things to Do)

Bucks Happening (Upcoming Events)

Trip Advisor (Activities-Bucks County)

Visit Philly (Bucks County Attractions)

Do you know of or are you hosting an event in Bucks or Montgomery Counties this weekend or in the future? Please let us know in the comments area below.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Organizing: Tackling the Paper Mess Part 1

Paper Problems can rob you of time, energy
and in some cases, money!
It has been said that every piece of paper sitting in a pile represents a decision that was never made.

Looking at  that growing piles of paper on your counter, dresser, dashboard, desk or even dining room table can be frustrating and overwhelming, but breaking the task (and the piles) down into smaller segments will help ease some of the pain, clear some of the clutter and help restore your Stress-Free Space!

Beginning the task is often the hardest part, and I recommend you not focus on all the piles of paper, but on just one reasonably sized pile at a time. Understand that clearing clutter is an emotional task as well as a physical one, and to do it successfully you must be prepared to reduce or eliminate as much distraction as possible, and to possibly do the task over several days or even weeks.

Now, pick a single area  (such as your office/desk or kitchen/counter top) and work in 10-15 minute increments. The shorter duration of the task will help prevent overwhelm and distraction. 

(By the way, it is absolutely reasonable to ask for assistance if you think you might have a hard time deciding what to toss and what to keep. Sometimes a friend, family member or a professional organizer can help take some of the attachment out of the task by focusing only on the information that is important to keep.)

Once you have selected the pile you will start with, (be sure it can be gone through in 10-15 minutes) designate 4 categories in 4 separate piles or containers:

  • magazines, catalogs & books (set aside for now) 
  • papers you no longer need and are tossing (for trash can)
  • papers with personal information (for shredding)
  • papers you will keep to file later (for a box, bin or basket)
For the moment, you will focus first on the sorting &  de-cluttering-we will save the filing and shredding for later.

Pick up your first pile (any pile will do) and go through it-making a decision and placing each paper in its correct container until the pile is gone or your 10-15 minutes are up. (If you are undecided, save it to the end of the pile.)

Now, looking at your bins, you should have the most papers in the "toss/shred" bin, and the least in the "file" bin. If not, go through your "file" bin a second time.

Okay- admit it. That felt good, didn't it?

On to the next pile, following the exact same procedure as above. Stay focused and do not get distracted with the content of the papers. (Example: Love letters from your ex-husband that make you sad/angry that the marriage is over, or cute greeting cards from friends that make you reminisce about old times, etc.)  Stay on course.

Once you have completed two piles, take a second look at what you have left in your "file" pile and see if you can whittle it down further.

Then take a look at your magazines & catalogs and decide what can be tossed (old outdated catalogs-place them in trash) what can be put back on bookshelf or donated (books-put the ones you are keeping back on shelf, and set ones you are donating by front door ) and what you might want to pull a recipe or article out of (magazines-place on bottom of "file" bin under the papers you have placed in there.) 

Some key questions to ask when deciding what to keep and what to toss: 

Do I need it for a specific/legal purpose? (Example: bank statements, tax returns & receipts.)

Is this the most recent/updated copy?    (Example: phone bills, retirement account statements)

Do I have the room for it? 

In part 2, we will discuss in more detail what to do with your sorted piles.

Oh-by the way-if you have a paper shredder, be sure to put those documents with personal information (medical bills, bank statements, etc) through it before you toss them in the trash. If you don't have access to a shredder, there are companies (such as mine) who will come out to your home with a portable shredder and shred them for you. 


To learn more about our organizing services and to schedule your phone or on-site consultation, please visit:  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snow Removal Tips to Save Your Back

only remove as much snow
as you’re comfortable lifting!
So now that we (in Southeastern PA) have our first significant snowstorm under our belts, I thought I would post a few tips for those of us who will be completing the massive snow removal task by hand, using old-fashioned shovels.

Please be careful! Be sure to use good body mechanics (bending at the knees, not lifting too much snow at a time, etc) when shoveling. Dressing properly, using the right tools, staying hydrated and taking frequent breaks will help the task go more smoothly.

In general, you’ve got two choices:

  • Shovel after every few inches of snow that falls or 
  • wait until the storm ends and remove the snow in layers.    
In either case, only remove as much snow as you’re comfortable lifting. We chose the latter, to remove in layers. Jay has been out there for several hours by himself, because one shovel has broken, and the other is on its way out! 

Packed snow is definitely much harder to clear, so try not to walk on, drive on or other wise pack it down before shoveling. 

If you can hire someone with a snowblower, or plow, (or if you have one yourself) do it! I don't have to tell you how much easier it makes the job, especially when removing 2 feet of snow from a very long driveway!

On average, 11,500 injuries related to snow shoveling, and 100 deaths are reported and treated in each year, according to the Center for Injury Research and Policy (Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital.)

One in every three of those injured, suffered lower back injuries along with injuries to the arms, hands, and head. Slipping/falling accounted for one in five shoveling accidents, and about 15%
of the injuries were caused by being struck by a snow shovel.

The following tips are recommended by Nationwide Children's  for preventing injuries when shoveling snow:

  • Warm up with light exercise before you start.
  • Make sure to pace yourself by taking frequent breaks for rest.
  • The best way to clear snow is by pushing it instead of lifting.
  • Ergonomically designed shovels are a great choice to reduce the need for bending and heavy lifting.
  • When possible, avoid large shoveling jobs by clearing snow several times throughout the day.
  • Remember to wear warm (and waterproof) clothing, including a hat, gloves and slip-resistant, high-traction footwear.
More from Nationwide Children's web page: 

"While the majority of snow shovel-related injuries occurred among adults, more than 1,750 children and adolescents under the age of 19 years were injured each year while shoveling snow. Patients in this age group were almost 15 times more likely than those in other age groups to be injured as a result of being struck by a snow shovel, and two-thirds of their injuries were head injuries. “Shoveling snow can be a great outdoor activity for kids; however, it is important for parents to teach children the correct way to shovel snow and remind them that shovels are not toys,” said Dr. Smith, also a professor of pediatrics in The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “Many of the snow shovel-related injuries to children are the result of horseplay or other inappropriate uses of snow shovels.”

On a personal note, you also need to look up! Watch for and safely remove overhanging snow and giant icicles such as these on our porch, pictured at right. I certainly do not want anyone to be under that when it decides to let go!

Bonus Tip: If the snow is sticking to the shovel (or the snow blower’s shoot), give it a quick spray with either silicone or, in a pinch, non-stick cooking spray.

To ensure that your cleared surfaces stay that way, use salt or ice melt on those clear areas. If the sun comes out, like it is today, that helps melt and dry the pavement you have cleared. (Click this link to see a Consumer Reports Product Review article on which ice melts work best and are safest for your pets and your property.)

Stay warm, safe & dry everyone! I hear round #2 is coming on Wednesday!



Friday, January 1, 2016