Pillar To Post Newsletter January 2016 https://www.pillartopost.com/img/p2pLogo.png
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We’re several days into the New Year, and many of us are still basking in the glow of a fresh start. Every year, January brings renewed optimism for change, for a better life, for a better you, and that’s a wonderful thing.

It’s wonderful, because this fresh start gives us a chance to reinvent our lives and ourselves. It allows us to reinvigorate ourselves, to shed the baggage of the previous year and now anything is possible!

That is a gift, my friends, and I suggest we make the most of this gift. Not just by creating and sticking to resolutions but by reinventing the way we live.
Here’s how:

1. Let go.
Many times we are held back by the tangled web of previous failures, commitments, emotions, barriers. We cannot change careers because we’re used to what we’re doing and it’s too hard to change. We cannot find time to get healthy and fit because we have all these other things to do. We cannot find time for our loved ones because we have too many commitments.

A fresh start demands a clean slate. Let everything from the past go. Clear your plate and have a fresh start. Let go of last year - start anew.

2. Decide what matters most today.
Forget about your goals for all of this year. Instead, decide: what do you want to do today? Often the answer is in creating something new or helping other people. Whatever your answer, have it clear in your mind at the beginning of each day.

3. Clear away distractions and focus.
Clear away email, Facebook, Twitter and your favorite blogs, news websites and social forums, clear away the iPhone or Blackberry or Android or cell phone; clear away all the little nagging work and chores and errands that pull at your attention; clear away the clutter that surrounds you (sweep it off to the side to deal with later)

Now, find focus. Even if only for 15 or 20 minutes at first, but preferably for 30-60 minutes. You can take a break and check your email or whatever after you have found focus.

4. Find happiness now.
Don’t look at happiness as something that will come someday. When you push it back until later, it’ll never come. When you learn to be happy now, it’ll always be here. When you’re doing whatever you’re passionate about, whatever you decide is worthy of your time and heart and focus … be happy!

5. Reinvent yourself, every day.
Every day, you are reborn. Reinvent yourself and your life, every day. Do what matters most to you, that day. Here’s to a fresh start every single day - not just on January 1.
And that, my friends, is the best thing ever.

Leo Babauta

In attempting to conserve energy and reduce heating costs, we can sometimes make our homes too air tight. In fact, for a house to be healthy, it needs to “breathe”. It needs to expel moisture and other gases from inside and take in a constant supply of fresh air from outside.

When a fuel-burning appliance in your home does not get enough fresh air and fails to completely burn its fuel, carbon monoxide is produced.
If ventilation is damaged or blocked or if you have a powerful kitchen fan, bathroom fan or open hearth fireplace, then carbon monoxide can be drawn back inside the house.

Exhaust fans can compound the problem.
Be mindful that the air you exhaust from your home has to be replaced. Powerful exhaust fans in bathrooms, kitchens or open hearth wood-burning fireplaces can actually create a negative pressure inside your home, resulting in a backdraft which will draw exhaust fumes from your furnace, hot water heater or other appliances back into the house.

How can you tell if your home is too air tight?
• The air inside your home is usually stuffy or stale.
• Excessive condensation is dripping down your windows.
• The pilot light on your appliance goes out.
• A gas flame burns yellow instead of blue (except for natural gas fireplaces).
• The smell of exhaust gases is present in your home; although you cannot smell carbon monoxide, other exhaust gases do have an odor.

If you notice any of these signs, contact an expert to check your home and correct the problem.

Hoping for a raise? Trying to tame tension at home? Looking for a health boost? Feng shui can help cure what’s ailing you.

If you would like to sell your home quickly, hang a metal wind chime outside your front door to fill your entryway with a welcoming melody. Surrounding the entrance with rocks will also help deflect negative energy.

If you are under the weather, place symbols of the sun and earth - the elements of feng shui for health and well-being - in the center of the rooms you spend most of your time in. Try pretty stones, seashells or a colorful bowl of fresh fruits and vegetables.

If you are not getting along with your neighbors, add window boxes filled with colorful blooms or flowering shrubs on the side of your house that faces theirs. It will help cut tension and encourage harmony.

If you would like to solve a family dilemma, try adding apple-green accents to your family or living room. A healing color, green encourages growth and strengthens family ties.

If you are hoping to get ahead at work, add plants to the corners of your desk or work space to clear any negative energy that could be blocking your success.

Electric space heaters are a handy way to add a little extra warmth to one corner of your home without turning up the furnace. Improper use of space heaters is one of the leading causes of fires and carbon monoxide exposure in homes and cottages. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and these safety tips to stay safe and warm.

Never use an electrical space heater in a wet area or any area that can be exposed to water.

Make sure extension cords used are the right size and gauge to carry the electrical load.

Never use space heaters to dry flammable items such as clothing or blankets

Keep all flammable objects at least three feet away from space heaters.

Supervise children and pets at all times when a portable space heater is in use.

Never use fuel-burning portable space heaters (such as propane or kerosene) in any enclosed space, as it may lead to deadly carbon monoxide exposure.

A high relative humidity in your home encourages mold growth and dust mites, can make your house smell musty, and can potentially damage your home and your possessions. In simplest terms, “relative humidity” refers to the amount of dampness in the air.

Whole House High Humidity
• Lack of ventilation – newer homes are “tight,” meaning well-sealed, restricting ventilation. Without fresh air circulation, humidity builds up inside your home.

• Oversized central air conditioner – central air conditioning is an excellent dehumidifier. An oversized central air conditioner, however, has on-cycles that are too short to effectively remove humidity. Also, the cold air may actually increase the relative humidity, making your home colder and clammy.

Localized High Humidity
• Overcooling – if an area, such as a basement, gets too much cold air supply, you may create condensation and a high humidity problem. Adjusting the supply registers prior to the cooling season may help.

• Clothes dryer discharging into house – clothes dryers should discharge to the exterior.

• Bathroom fans – showers and baths add a great deal of moisture. Install an exhaust fan.

Basement dampness – before you crank on a dehumidifier, find the moisture culprit and reduce or eliminate it at its source.

A dehumidifier may be your only way to control moisture in a damp area. A dehumidifier removes moisture from the air and drains the liquid into a reservoir or drain. It is designed to work in an environment of 65 degrees F (18 C) or higher.

Buy a dehumidifier sized appropriately to the space. An undersized unit will not achieve desired humidity levels. But be aware that dehumidifiers use the same amount of energy as a small window air conditioner; that is, quite a bit.

Tailoring your organizing strategy to your lifestyle and personality is the easiest way to get rid of clutter long-term.

Overwhelmed? Busy people find clutter accumulates without even realizing it. Instead of tackling the whole thing at once, plan to tackle one hotspot per week.

Worrier? You worry about throwing things away in case you might need them or never feel you have enough. Box unused items. Date the box to discard if not used in six months!.

Sentimentalist? You find it hard to let go of clutter that tugs at your heart. Start a scrapbook. Take photos of sentimental items, then place in a scrapbook and let them go. Then discard or donate.

1. Pick up dust fast. Attach a dryer sheet to a sponge mop and push around the floor; dirt and dust will disappear on the double.

2. Use a “safe” scrubber. Dampen old pantyhose with a paste of baking soda and water. Use it to lightly rub away marks and stains without leaving a scratch.

3. Lift gunk and grime naturally. Add a half cup white vinegar to a bucket of water and mop the ceramic tile floor.

4. Clean stained grout with cola. Pour cola onto the discolored grout and let sit for 10 minutes. Wipe with a damp sponge to lift the grease and dirt without scrubbing.

5. Easily rub out scruff marks. Cut a slit in a tennis ball, place it on the handle of a broom and use it to erase floor marks with ease.

You can measure humidity levels with an inexpensive device that is called a hygrometer, easily obtained at any hardware store. Take a measurement in a few areas to see if the problem is localized, or if the house is humid throughout.

A humidity level of 50% is normal for the summer. In the winter, the ideal indoor humidity depends on the outdoor air temperature and may be 30% or less on colder days.

Too much or too little humidity can create a variety of problems for your family and home.


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