Pillar To Post Newsletter January 2015 https://www.pillartopost.com/img/p2pLogo.png
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How many half-finished projects are hanging around your home, cluttering rooms and taking up valuable storage space?

We all have good intentions when we set aside broken jewelry to fix, clothing to mend, or pictures to add to that scrapbook we’re going to finish… someday.

Have you ever gotten fired up and started a project, only to lose steam after the initial excitement wore off? We all have.

But these unfinished projects not only create physical clutter, they cause mental clutter. They add to your long list of things to do, making you feel overwhelmed and defeated. Perhaps they lead to feelings of guilt anytime you see or think of them because defeating thoughts drift into your mind… thoughts like “I shouldn’t have spent all that money” or “I wasted so much time on that”.

By following my proven formula, you’ll enjoy peace of mind and energy from tackling those abandoned projects:

How to Deal With Your Unfinished Projects Now!

1. Put a limit on it. There’s fantasy (“Someday I’ll find time to work on these”) and there’s reality (“I already have too much to do”). Look at your schedule and determine how much time you can realistically devote to your unfinished projects. Then decide on the maximum number you can take on (perhaps 3-5).

2. Take a tally. Take an inventory of all your unfinished projects. Walk around the house with a pad of paper. Poke inside long-forgotten corners of closets and backs of dresser drawers. List each and every project you have abandoned.

3. Gain clarity. With a thick marker, transfer your list of unfinished projects to individual index cards, one project per card. This step helps you get clear on the volume; it’s the difference between writing a cheque vs. physically counting cash.

4. Narrow it down. Spread out the cards and begin whittling them down to the number you chose in step 1. Once you’ve done that, take a deep breath – and let the rest go. Release all the materials related to those projects by giving them away, recycling them or throwing them out. Give yourself a deadline. Get them out of your house and out of your life as soon as possible.

5. Make time. Finally, block time on your calendar to work on undertaking the projects you have left. Commit to finishing these projects before taking on new ones. This will free you to complete the projects and give you time to truly enjoy working on them.

Once you have a plan to complete your inactive projects, you’ll immediately begin to feel lighter. You’ll make steady progress and, once you complete them, you’ll feel free.

Hellen Buttigieg
Make Time & Space for What Matters Most
Life Coach, Certified Professional Organizer

Keeping warm in winter months can lead to big fat heating bills – unless you slim down using some of these ideas.

Buy a Programmable Thermostat
Every degree you lower your thermostat cuts your energy bill by 3%. Turn down the heat at night or when you leave the house.

Reseal Windows
Weather stripping around windows and doors wear down allowing cold air to blow inside. Seal gaps with self-sticky sponge insulation.

Change the Filters
Replace or clean furnace filters four times a year to help your furnace run at peak efficiency.

Install Door Sweeps
Add sweeps to your exterior doors to help save as much as 5% on your heating bill.

Insulate the Attic
An attic needs at least 12 inches of blown-in insulation to keep the house warm. Your attic also needs to be sealed with a vapor barrier and ventilated so moisture can escape.

Seal the Ducts
Inspect for escaping air by running a hand along the metal ducts while the heating system is on, and bond any breaks with silver metal tape.

Go Tankless
Upgrade from a traditional water heater to a tankless model, which heats water only when you need it, not all the time.

Turn off Exhaust Fans
Leaving kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans on for too long can suck warm air out of the house.

Ever find yourself sneezing, coughing and wheezing when the temperature drops? Airborne particles can trigger these symptoms. Known as “allergens” and “irritants” these particles exist both inside and outside the home.

Here are a few tips to prep your living space this season.

Shut your windows. The first step is to keep your windows closed. This will keep moisture levels between 40 and 50 percent, which will limit dust mites and mold.

Keep it clean. Keep on top of vacuuming and dusting as there are many allergens that are already trapped inside your home, from pet dander to dust mites.

Steam Technology. A new line of washing machines with Steam Technology can remove over 95% of common household allergens. These washers can handle anything you can throw in and will have you breathing easier in the comfort of your own home.

Wash Linens Once a Week. You spend a lot of time in bed and your sheets are a hot spot for allergens. Washing linens regularly helps reduce the accumulation of dust.

Kitchen and bathroom counters are the centerpiece of the room. Keep your granite looking good with these care tips.

Use soft cloths and warm water for daily cleaning, and stone soap weekly. Acidic and abrasive products degrade granite’s sealant and soap causes buildup, dulling its shine.

Attend to spills. Acidic food and liquid spills need to blot immediately. Do not wipe.

Use trivets & potholders. Though highly heat-resistant, granite isn’t heat-proof.

Sealing slows the rate at which your granite absorbs liquid. When water no longer beads atop the granite, it’s time to reseal.

The forced-air gas furnace is the most common heating system in North America. It has undergone many improvements over the past few years making them efficient, quiet and reliable.

Efficiency
Most of the heat generated when a gas furnace burns goes into the house, but some of the heat goes up the chimney. Furnace efficiency refers to the amount of heat delivered into the house relative to the total amount of fuel energy used. Another way to look at it: if you burn $1 worth of gas and you get 80 cents worth of heat into the house, your furnace is operating at 80% efficiency. This quotient is often called AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency. Furnaces are classified into three efficiency categories, each correlating to a specific design: conventional, mid, and high efficiency designs.

Conventional
A conventional furnace is the oldest type and is generally 55% to 65% efficient. In other words, a great deal of heat is lost up the chimney during the operation of the furnace. Conventional furnaces are no longer made but many still exist in homes.

Mid
Improvements in design led to the mid-efficiency furnace, operating at around 80% AFUE. The big development, the induced draft fan, sucks the combustion products through the furnace and discharges them into the flue. No longer reliant on natural draft to run, the heat exchanger design was optimized in order to extract more heat before the combustion gasses went up the chimney.

High
Further developments in furnace design led to the modern high-efficiency furnace, operating at an AFUE of 90 to 97%. A high-efficiency furnace has two heat exchangers, the second’s job being to condense the gases, thus extracting most of the heat that would otherwise have been lost up the chimney.
Other benefits of a high-efficiency furnace:
• Does not require a chimney: Since most of the combustion gasses are condensed and trickle down the drain, the remaining (fairly cool) gasses can be vented through a plastic pipe directly through the wall of the house.
• Doesn’t burn house-hold air: Combustion air is drawn directly from the outside.

Maintenance, clean or change the filter: The filter protects the furnace as well as cleaning the air. This is especially important for a high efficiency furnace. The secondary heat exchanger can clog with dirt, preventing air from flowing through the furnace.

Drawing the simplest shapes can do everything from boost your mood to melt stress.

Spark your confidence… write your name. Studies show that we have a natural bias toward anything that bears our name. Just looking at your letters lights up major brain regions and boosts confidence and control.

Improve your mood… sketch spring. Draw a flower, tree or the sun. Nature bounces you back from a blue mood. Since a happy, relaxed brain is more creative, “drawing” on the power of nature helps you think outside the box.

Relax fast… draw super-sized circles. Drawing circles is so calming, it slows down breathing. Gradually draw bigger and bigger circles, feel freer in a few minutes.

That little box of cornstarch has a lot more uses than cooking. Why not give these a try?

Freshen your carpet. Sprinkle cornstarch over your carpet 20 minutes before vacuuming – it’s a natural deodorizer.

Comfy housework. Sprinkle cornstarch inside rubber gloves to make them easier to slip into.

Save your leather. To remove an oil stain from a leather jacket, shoes or furniture, sprinkle the area with cornstarch; let stand overnight to absorb the grease. Brush off with a clean cloth.

Look for leaks: water can leak down into your furnace several ways, ultimately causing failure. If you discover these leaks early it is an easy fix for your furnace technician.

Check for water leaks from the air conditioning evaporator, located in the supply duct on top of the furnace.

Humidifiers can also leak and damage the furnace.

High-efficiency furnaces create a steady stream of condensation (water). If the drain tubes get disconnected, water leaks in and around the furnace. Since this condensate is also slightly acidic, it will corrode steel very fast.

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