What habits can you improve?

Posted on: September 22nd, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

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Start fresh now that it’s September! What habits can you improve? 

Belle B. Cooper of RescueTime shares her Tips for organizing your calendar.

Check out Tom Popomaronis’ 4 Toxic Habits That Are Poisoning Your Productivity (And How to Break Them).

 

Ask yourself, “How can I be more productive?”

 

A Quote from Marian Wright Edelman

Posted on: September 19th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Mud Rooms

Posted on: September 13th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Cathy MendlerIt’s September already!

As I’m putting together this edition, it is 23C (73F) and I’m out on my deck–even though we’ve already had frost a number of times. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t want summer to end, make sure you get outside and enjoy everything that fall has to offer.

I’m excited that I have become a grandmother! Congratulations to Jason and Amber on the birth of Nash Carter Blaxall on the morning of August 20. He’s adorable! Spending time with Nash has definitely been added to my list of priorities. I just wish they lived closer!

MUD ROOMS 

Let’s talk about mud rooms. This topic piggybacks nicely on last month’s topic of laundry areas. While writing this article, I realized a separate discussion about front/main entryways is needed. Stay tuned!

When I Googled “mud room”, I found over 21,000,000 results–just a few more than expected!

Perhaps you’re one of the many people who wants a “to die for” mud room you’ve seen on Pinterest. Unless you’re building a new home or renovating, it may not be realistic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find some great ideas and inspiration which can be adapted to your home.

While a mud room isn’t usually the main entrance to your home, it’s likely a very high traffic area. If you have a garage, often the door from the garage into the house leads to a mud room.

If you’re thinking about renovating to add/create a mud room, there are many things to consider. What are your expectations?

Take the time to plan your space. Make it as functional as possible. Yes, you want it to look nice, but it needs to function on a day-to-day basis. Nowadays, a main floor laundry is often located in this area. I frequently see clients who find it’s difficult to do laundry in a mud room when there is nowhere to store 15 pairs of shoes. Piles of dirty laundry on the floor often make the entrance impassable.

Unless you’re a designer, consulting a professional for his/her expert advice will be worth the investment.

Make a list of everything you would like to store in your mud room.

  • Outerwear – Sweaters, coats, hats, scarves, mittens/gloves
  • Footwear – Shoes, boots, sandals, flip flops
  • Sports Equipment
  • Backpacks
  • Laundry Supplies – Detergent, fabric softener, stain remover, hamper, laundry basket(s), hangers – (if your laundry is located there)
  • Pet Supplies – Food, water dish, leashes

Unless you have a large room, you will need to limit the number of items that can be stored there. Otherwise, disorganization can still occur.

REMEMBER – No amount of storage space will satisfy you if the people using the space don’t put things away. Designate homes–with LABELS–for everything! If your children don’t hang coats or jackets on hangers, consider adding some hooks. Hooks generally work better for young children. Just remember to hang them at a height they can reach!

Until next month,


Cathy Mendler

Some of MY favourites!

Posted on: September 8th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

If you’re like me, I like to try new recipes. Whether you’re looking for a new salad, side dish, meat and potatoes or dessert, we’ve covered them all. I can’t wait to try these!

Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dresssing

Strawberry Poppy Seed Chicken Salad

Garlic Steak and Potato Foil Packs

Mashed Cauliflower and Spinach

Watermelon Paletas

It’s never too late to make healthier choices!

A Happy Client in Belwood!

Posted on: September 4th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

“Thank you so much for your help, Cathy, both with furniture placement and with finding a new home for my treasures.”
~Wendy Nicholls, Belwood

Thanks for reading…
Cathy Mendler

P.S. To read more testimonials, please Click Here

Is someone heading to College or University?

Posted on: August 29th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

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Do you have a child heading off to college or university this fall? Here are links to Bed Bath & Beyond’s Campus Checklist and Apartment Checklist.

 

6 Summer Productivity Tips!

Posted on: August 21st, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

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Ste
phanie Vozza of Fast Company shares some great ideas in Six Productivity Experts Share How To Actually Get Work Done During The Summer.

Check out this summer reading list from 40+ TED speakers.

 

Ask yourself, “How can I be more productive?”

 

A Quote from Ann Romney

Posted on: August 15th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Introducing… Carolyn Caldwell from Altered Organization

Posted on: August 9th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

 

Carolyn Caldwell

 

 

Organizing colleague Carolyn Caldwell of Altered Organization shares her knowledge.

THE PATH TO AN ORGANIZED GARDEN SHED

If you have a piece of property, chances are you also have a garden of some size and complexity and likely a shed to house the tools. So, along with turning the soil, top-soiling the grass and trimming the roses, why not set up for an organized garden shed as well?

No more looking around for tools you thought you had, can’t remember if you lent out and need for trimming that Euonymus. Here’s a step by step process to get you off on the right path.

Step 1 – Empty the Shed

Start by completely emptying the entire shed if feasible. Once it is empty, you will be able to start with a clean slate. You will also be able to see what you have and inventory your tools and their condition.

Sweep out the cobwebs, mouse droppings and other debris.

Step 2 – Inventory and Assess Your Tools

Review all your tools, shovels, rakes and hoes. Are there any that are broken, rusted or beyond repair? Throw out the irreparable and fix what’s needed. Are there any that are redundant, never used and could use a better home with someone else? Keep only those tools that you know you will use.

Step 3 – Look for Creative Storage and Give Everything a Home

Think vertical and you will find lots more fresh storage space that you may not have realized existed. The rakes, hoes, shovels can be stored on hooks or nails on the walls. This will get them out of the way and make them readily available when you are ready to rake. If you have the funds, many garden or home supply stores sell mountable devices specifically designed for hanging gardening tools such as rakes. If you are looking to organize using limited or no funds, use straight nails for hanging rakes, hoes, shovels and almost everything in the shed. Have some fun seeing how many tools you can actually hang for storage.

Hang one bag on another hook or nail to hold your digging and planting tools and a separate one for your garden gloves. Cloth grocery bags, made from recycled plastic bags and readily available in stores, are a great storage tool. Label with a permanent marker or bright fabric paint. An alternative to hanging gloves and hand tools is to repurpose a wooden winerack as a tool rack.

Items that are used on a daily basis or frequently during the week can be stored near the door on easy hooks or readily accessible shelves. Think secateurs for deadheading roses, trowel for pulling or upending weeds. Keep your garden gloves on the same shelf or hook beside – your tools are easy to grab for a quick 10 minutes of deadheading flowers each day.

Step 4 – Hide the Seeds from Wannabe Snackers!

Rodents and small animals would be delighted if you would just leave all those seeds out where they can help themselves. Let the squirrels find their own nuts and pack up the seeds to limit their scent and make it hard for animals to get access. Seeds that are stored in a plaster or metal box will be out of temptation’s way if rodents are a regular visitor to your shed. This is especially true of grass seed.

Step 5 – Keep Solutions Legal and Out of Reach

Review your solution bottles and know your pesticide by-laws. Many, if not all, jurisdictions have outlawed the use of pesticides. Check with your municipality to see where you can take the pesticides for disposal. Then check out your local garden centre to find an environmentally friendly alternative.

Even environmentally friendly products must be kept out of reach of children. Make sure your organized garden shed includes shelves high enough that curious children can’t get into solutions, anti-fungal products and plant food. Garden shed shelves, like tool hanging devices, can be expensive and fancy or inexpensive and simple. Most home supply stores carry industrial shelving of various sizes and strengths. Make sure to check the weight capacity, usually listed on packaging by individual shelf. If your shed is metal or plastic, you may be limited to commercial standalone shelves. With a wood shed, simple shelves can be constructed between the joists.

Step 6 – Use your Organized Garden Shed

An organized garden shed is easy to use and supports your interests in the garden. Try taking your shed for a test run. Can you easily find the tools you need? Can you just as easily put them away? Are your daily use tools where you can get at them? Are the seeds safely sealed away from intruders? Have you kept only what you use and what you need?

Last step – as always, enjoy the fruits of your labours and the bounty of your garden.

Carolyn Caldwell is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Altered Organization in Toronto, as well as being a mentor for professional organizers. You can contact her at 647-505-2256 or by email.

That Dreaded Word–LAUNDRY!

Posted on: August 9th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Cathy Mendler

Now that the calendar has been flipped over to August, the first day of school is on the horizon.

One chore that goes hand-in-hand with back to school is LAUNDRY. Like it or dislike it, it’s a necessity of life in households.

 

THAT DREADED WORD–L A U N D R Y!

In my experience as a professional organizer, I have found that many clients just can’t seem to keep up with the never-ending pile of laundry. For some people, laundry has become a mountain.

If you struggle to keep up with laundry, try some of the following suggestions.

  • Have a laundry hamper(s) in a central location or each bedroom. Multi-section hampers are available to pre-sort dirty clothes into dark and light colours.
  • Gather all your dirty laundry together before starting.
  • Put each child’s clothing into a mesh bag for washing.
  • Socks won’t disappear if contained in a mesh bag.
  • Use a different colour basket for each family member.
  • Keep your laundry area well stocked with supplies–detergent, fabric softener, stain remover, hangers, etc.
  • Limit the amount of clothing you own.
  • Children grow out of clothes so quickly. Pack up any clothes they have outgrown for your younger children. Or pass them along to a friend or relative or donate them to a thrift store.
  • Store winter/summer clothes in a separate area–if possible.
Laundry Sorter
  • SCHEDULE TIME to do laundry on a daily or weekly basis, so it doesn’t get out of control.
  • Wash one or two loads per day. The number of people in your household will determine how much laundry needs to be done.
  • Put a load in the washer in the morning and transfer it to the dryer once you’re home from work. Or put a load in the washer at night and transfer it to the dryer in the morning.
  • NOTE: For those of us who live in Ontario and are subject to time-of-use hydro (electric or power for our friends in the States) rates, this makes scheduling laundry a bit more of a challenge.
  • Hang up items as soon as they come out of the dryer to avoid wrinkling.
  • Fold and put away laundry after each load is dry.
  • Make it a required chore for each family member to put away their clean clothes. Create good habits in the early years!

When was the last time you cleaned your dryer vent? 

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “Dryer lint caused 16,800 fires last year. These preventable fires caused 15 deaths, 300 injuries and about $88 million US in property damage. There are no comparable statistics available for Canada.” Schedule time to clean your dryer vent regularly. For more information, click here.

Don’t let your laundry get the better of you!

Get started and turn over another leaf!

Until next month,

a new leaf-cathy.png