Archive for the ‘03 “Associate Scoop”’ Category

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.



Introducing Charlotte Ferguson (part 2)

Posted on: July 24th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Charlotte Ferguson

 

THE BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH 

 

A MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL


Whether you’re buying a home or it’s time to renew your mortgage, consider using the services of a Mortgage Professional.

Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • The research is done for you–saving you valuable time
  • Mortgage brokers have a better understanding of what products are available than your bank
  • May find you access to discounted rates
  • Assists you with all of the required paperwork
  • Gives you access to lenders that are otherwise not available to you
  • Services are provided at no cost to you
  • Mortgage brokers are licensed and the industry is monitored by governing bodies

Obtaining a mortgage is no easy task and can be time-consuming. Find an agent that you can trust and partner up with them for maximum advantage.

Charlotte Ferguson is a Mortgage Agent with Dominion Lending Centres in Waterloo. You can contact her at 519-888-7110 or by email. For more information, check out Charlotte’s website



Why you should work with a Real Estate Agent…

Posted on: June 28th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Charlotte Ferguson


THE BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH 

 

A REAL ESTATE AGENT

 

When home buyers and sellers work with an agent, the entire process runs smoother and is a lot less stressful than if buyers or sellers did everything on their own. A real estate agent will help you navigate the legal requirements of buying or selling a home and take care of all the paperwork. Showings of your home are scheduled easily.

Did you know?

  • 87% of buyers bought their home using a real estate agent
  • 88% of buyers would use them again or at least recommend them to someone else
  • 89% of sellers used an agent to sell their home
  • 48% of people selling homes without an agent end up with a lower selling price

Agents:

  • help sell your current home while also finding a future home for you
  • possess a wide selection of available homes not visible to the public
  • are knowledgeable about various neighbourhoods

Let your agent be your liaison, and take advantage of their knowledge and skills. They are the experts, so trust their judgment.

Not only will an agent guide you step by step through the entire process of selling or buying so that nothing is missed or forgotten, but they will also help you understand the requirements and contract terms. Finalizing contract negotiations is another area where an agent’s expertise is beneficial to you as they make sure all the paperwork is completed in a timely manner and all contract points are addressed.

Buying and selling a house is no easy task. Find an agent that you can trust and partner up with them for maximum advantage.

Charlotte Ferguson is a sales representative with Re/Max Solid Gold Realty (II) Ltd. Brokerage in Waterloo. You can contact her at 519-888-7110 or by email. For more information, check out Charlotte’s website.



Introducing… Lynda Schmidt from Staged to Sell

Posted on: May 29th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments
STAGED TO SELL

Staged to Sell 1

As a professional home stager, Lynda Schmidt notes that many homeowners trying to sell their homes often make the same mistakes:

  • too much stuff
  • dated flooring
  • dark rooms, or
  • startling wall colours

Lynda works with homeowners and real estate agents who see untapped potential in homes about to go on the market. “The biggest thing is clutter, too much stuff,” she says, referring to the clutter as “visual noise.”

With rooms filled with collections, family photos, religious icons, furniture and toys, prospective buyers tend to focus on the stuff rather than the room itself. If that first showing proves negative, chances are the buyer will simply move on.

“Every potential buyer only knows what they see, not the potential (of the house).”

Buyers will also zero in on specific items like that defeated old couch in the rec room. “Even though the furniture shouldn’t matter, it does.” Use slip covers or remove the couch all together. Also, think of furniture placement: in a small dining room for example, placing the chairs at two sides of the table rather than on all four sides will provide more space.

It is most important for sellers to “de-personalize” their space by removing all personal items, anything that smacks of the homeowner’s tastes or interests.

“Painting has the biggest impact and is the cheapest,” she says. “And remove old, dated wallpaper.” Removing extra furniture can also make a difference: a small living room with a couch, loveseat and three or four chairs makes the room seem cramped and small.

Lynda suggests having the bedrooms and bathroom appear unused. Remove cleaning products as well as personal items such as shampoos and cosmetics. Kitchens are also an issue, as homeowners tend to keep everything–from coffee makers to spice racks–on the counters. Clear it off. “You’re selling counter space, not the stuff on the counter. “Empty and organize your closets too.”

Repairs should be done before the first showing. Every flaw–from having to remove wallpaper border to updating the kitchen flooring–will give the buyer an excuse to “chip away” at the price. This can mean the seller loses more in the sale than it would cost to do the upgrades.

When she is hired to stage a home, Lynda rents larger items such as furniture. She has her own warehouse filled with everything from candlesticks to art work to give homes some oomph — which could mean the difference between a quick sale and languishing on the market.

“A high percentage will pay more for a property they can move into without doing a thing.”

Staged to Sell 2

Lynda Schmidt is the owner of L.B. Schmidt Creative Services and was one of the first Home Staging professionals in Waterloo Region. She has been in the buiness of creative visual presentation for over 25 years. You can contact her at lbschmidt@rogers.com or 519-589-7456.



Parameters

Posted on: April 24th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

linda samuels (125 x 114).jpgLearn One Amazing Secret That Helps You Let Go

Are you ready to learn one of the best ways to facilitate letting go?

Parameters.

Set some boundaries or guidelines around your decision-making before you start the actual process of releasing things. Setting parameters in advance will allow you to move at a faster pace, decrease stress and reduce decision-fatigue.

Here’s one way you might use this concept. Let’s say you have decades worth of health-related newsletters. Some you’ve read and others you haven’t. While you know there’s a lot of interesting information in those pages, the information isn’t current. So instead of reading through every newsletter, you decide to activate a parameter. You choose that for any health newsletter that’s over five years old you’ll recycle it immediately without looking through the pages. By setting this date parameter, you’ll save yourself hours of reading information that isn’t relevant. Instead you can use your decision-making energy for more important choices.

You can use the parameter concept for other areas too. Let’s say your closet is overflowing. It’s a daily challenge to get dressed. There’s no space on the racks or shelves to move things around so you can’t see what’s there. You have an abundance of black pants and bulky sweaters, many of which you don’t wear. So instead of organizing the entire closet, you start with only those two categories. You opt to put some guidelines in place and decide that four pairs of black pants and six bulky sweaters are “enough.” Now it’s a matter of selecting which are your favorites. With your number parameters in place, it makes letting go easier.

Now it’s your turn to choose. Which parameters will make the letting go part of your organizing [project] easier? Remember that the more parameters you establish in advance, the less decision-fatigue you’ll experience, the faster you’ll reach your goals, and the less stress you’ll experience.

Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® is a compassionate, enthusiastic Professional Organizer who is well known for guiding her clients in a supportive, patient and nonjudgmental way. Based in Croton on Hudson, NY, she works with clients throughout the United States. Click here to learn more about Linda and Oh, So Organized!



Be Clear About YOUR Purpose

Posted on: April 3rd, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Linda Ockwell Jenner

 

BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR PURPOSE

If you sometimes have a hard time speaking up because you are not sure how to phrase your message, here are some ideas that may help you.

  • Make your position known and ask for what you want.
  • Present a logical and compelling case for your position.
  • Get your ideas heard in a group.
  • Hold firm to your position when necessary.

Be Proactive and Establish Support

  • Build a strong foundation of trust so that you are an influencer.
  • Encourage others to feel good about your ideas.
  • Build alliances that allow you to work together and offer support to each other.

State Your Observation First

Observations can be seen as facts. Things that can be seen, heard, or taken through your senses. Facts are objective, cannot be argued, and help the other person understand what you are saying.

State Your Thoughts and Feelings

Begin each of your statements with ‘I’ to indicate that they are your own thoughts and your feelings.

State What You Want The Other Person To Do

Make statements about your needs, rather than solutions. Stating needs opens the door to generating alternative solutions. Stating solutions can close that door. For example: “I would like you to be on time for meetings” is a statement of needs. Whereas, “I will call you five minutes before meetings start to make sure you will be on time” states a solution. The first statement naturally leads to a discussion of options on how to meet the need. The second statement closes off discussion of other options and places the responsibility for the problem on you.

When sharing your ideas maintain eye contact, a serious expression, firm voice and moderate rate of speech. Avoid aggressive gestures, or non-verbal gestures that may be interpreted as anger or impatience.

Practice your clear, concise messages before delivering them to others.

Always think clearly, and quietly when you have some alone time, before you decide to deliver your message to others.

Find a Way Where Both Parties, or Groups Achieve a Win/Win Outcome

  • Ensure that your own position does address other peoples’ needs and priorities.
  • Negotiate persuasively.

Listen clearly to the other person’s response to your message. It is important to hear them out. Do not be impatient to offer your point of view, so hear, listen and digest what is being said.

If something upsets you it may be a good idea to ask for a few minutes to take in what has been said, because your emotions may take away from your thought process.

Always ask for feedback. This is a positive request and offers the other person a chance to be completely honest.

Whether you work with a large team or alone, being able to communicate your message is very important. We can become stressed and feel like an outsider if we can’t understand why others do not appear to listen or care about our purpose.

People who speak up may be seen as a trouble maker, or someone who wants to get to the top faster than others. Once again this is an observation, and may not be the true facts of the matter.

Believe in yourself. Stay true to who you are, knowing you work with others and you are thinking about their needs and priorities, as well as your own.

Linda Ockwell-Jenner is truly one of a kind! As a survivor of cancer not just once, but three times, her determination to overcome all kinds of challenges defines her. Linda has put this energy to launching and managing two highly successful businesses. Learn more about Motivational Steps and The Small Business Community Network.



Expert Advice from a Financial Planner

Posted on: December 28th, 2016 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

steve bentley.jpgSMART CHRISTMAS SPENDING

This month Steve Bentley, CFP, of Northern River Financial shares his Smart Christmas Spending blog post.

What’s one thing that people do not want to experience during the Christmas season? Stress! The current commercial buildup to the festive season is so intense that some people get more stressed the closer it gets. The holiday should be about family, friends and thankfulness. Instead it is often one big sales pitch.

Maybe it is the season to start trimming your budget and not just your tree. Canadian Living magazine reported that the average adult plans to spend $766 on holiday gifts in 2016. That’s a huge chunk of change. About 27 percent will spend over $800, while 23 percent will spend $200 or less. This is indicative of the changing public mindset of spending. Consumers with big eyes are now wary of a volatile economy and consequently putting too much of the holiday season on plastic. This means more restricted budgets.

Click to read the rest of Steve’s Smart Christmas Spending post and learn several ways to keep your spending under control this December.

Northern River Financial is an integrated financial life planning firm with over 25 years of building long-term trusting relationships. We partner with some of the largest brokerages and financial services firms in Ontario and have the expertise to accommodate the needs and goals of both aspiring and seasoned clients. Our vision is inspired by our deep-rooted philosophy to enhance and enrich the lives of our clients and their families through diligent life planning, exploring new opportunities, and providing prudent advice and integrated well-managed solutions.

You can contact Steve Bentley by email at info@NorthernRiverFinancial.ca



Expert Advice from an Event Specialist!

Posted on: September 30th, 2016 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

 

karima2 (100 x 100) (120 x 120).jpgWhat is Your Time Worth?

Allow me to introduce myself. I am a cat lover, musician and entrepreneur. I am the owner of Event Depot and Living Life SocialEvents in Cambridge, Ontario. For over a decade, I have been a professional event planner. I am delighted to be a part of Cathy’s newsletter. In many aspects, our businesses complement one another. Cathy helps you organize your space, and in return, this creates calm surroundings. I help you organize your special day, and in turn, this creates a pleasant and problem-free day.

Through my experience, I can tell you the more prepared you are for your special day, the less likely something will go wrong. I realize it may go without saying, but you’d be surprised at how many people are not prepared when their big day finally arrives.

One of my many tasks as an Event Specialist is to keep you organized and use your time wisely!

  1. Make sure to have your checklist: Our team can create one for you and work through the tasks and timelines together.
  2. Budget: Having a budget spreadsheet will not only help you stay within your financial means, it also helps provide an estimate as to how much things cost. At Event Depot, we have built close relationships with our vendors to make sure you are receiving what you desire for the cost you have set aside.
  3. Categorize and File: There are numerous aspects to planning an event: i.e., caterers, DJ, décor, venue, food, photographer, and the list goes on. Therefore, it’s helpful to have categorized files either as hard copies or file folders on your computer. Trust me; it will cut down on your time immensely and will allow you to place your focus on the fun stuff!
  4. Itinerary: It’s crucial that your event planner and vendors have a schedule of the day’s events. Your event planner will make sure everyone is on time and set up accordingly. After all, this is YOUR special day, and it should be problem-free for you and your guests.

These few simple ideas will help you to save time and allow you to have an enjoyable day with your family and friends!

Karima Kassam is an Event Specialist. Event Depot is located at 3 Grand Avenue South in Cambridge, ON. Karima and her team can work with you to keep you organized while staying within your budget. Contact us or call us at (519) 267-7033 for your free consultation. We are happy to provide advice with no obligation.



LAST CHANCE to Get 11 Banner Ads for $40!

Posted on: December 22nd, 2015 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

 

A New Leaf banner ad  GET THE WORD OUT TO OUR SUBSCRIBERS!

  Would you like to see YOUR ad in our next newsletter? For the month of
..December, we’re offering our readers the option to place banner ads in our
..newsletter for all of our 2016 issues. That’s at least 11 issues for the low
..price of $40 for the entire year. We LOVE creating this newsletter for
..you, and we’re proud of our high open rate.
..

Send us an email before the end of December, and we’ll send you the ad specifications and payment details.

 



Time to Get INTO The Monthly Organizer…Literally!

Posted on: November 19th, 2015 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

a-new-leaf-120x240.We usually feature an article by an associate here.

.For the months of November and December, however, we’re offering .our readers the option to place banner ads in our newsletter for all of .our 2016 issues.

.That’s at least 11 issues for the low price of $40 for the entire .year. We LOVE creating this newsletter for you, and we’re proud of .our high open rate.

.Send us an email before the end of December, and we’ll .send you the ad specifications and payment details.