Pillar To Post Newsletter May 2013 https://www.pillartopost.com/img/p2pLogo.png
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Spring is a perfect time of year to freshen up your home so you can relax and enjoy the lazy days of summer ahead. But sometimes the thought of organizing the whole house can seem overwhelming. If you feel you don’t have the time to organize every nook and cranny, start with these quick and easy steps:

1. Do the five-things dash.
Walk into each room of your home with a box or garbage bag and choose five things you can throw away or donate. Choose duplicates or items that are worn out, outdated or rarely used.

2. Eliminate the expired.
Use a plastic bin to gather up medications, vitamins, and over-the counter drugs. Look at each item’s expiration date. Have a bag nearby to toss the outdated items. Take them to the drugstore for safe disposal. Keep the current medications in the plastic bin, label it and store it in a cool, dark place out of children’s reach.

3. Toss the toiletries.
Just before you brush your teeth every night or jump in the shower every morning, spend just five minutes getting rid of hair products that don’t work, bath products you never use, and skin care products that haven’t lived up to their promise.

4. Clear the counters.
Remove anything you don’t need and don’t use daily from your kitchen counters. Put out an attractive bowl or basket as a catch-all for items that usually lead to clutter. Once you’ve cleared the counters, you’ll have a more relaxed environment for eating and entertaining. Reward your efforts by displaying a vase of fresh flowers or a pot of spring bulbs.

5. Eliminate under-used utensils.
While waiting for water to boil or the oven to preheat, go through your utensil drawer and eliminate items you don’t use. Go through your kitchen “junk drawer” and see what treasures you’ve forgotten about and what trash you can remove.

6. Get the family in gear.
Make a game out of de-cluttering by getting the whole family involved. Give everyone a box, put on some up-beat music, set a timer, and see who can discard the most items from their room. Take the donations to charity. Then choose a token prize for the winner and a reward for the entire family.

7. Do the season-swap.
Now is the time to put away the winter coats, boots, and wool hats and bring out the sun hats, rain jackets and umbrellas. If you don’t have an extra closet, try storing a rolling garment rack in the basement or spare room, or using under-the-bed storage bins.

8. Cut clothing clutter.
Put aside about half an hour to step into your closet and pull out any winter items you didn’t wear this year, while it’s still fresh in your mind. If you didn’t wear it this winter, you likely won’t wear it next, so let it go now rather than storing it for another year.

These tips will help you clean and organize your home in less time, so you can go out and enjoy the summer sooner - guilt-free.

A Certified Professional Organizer®, life coach, TV Host and owner of We Organize U. visit www.WeOrganizeU.com or e-mail info@WeOrganizeU.com

Planting and tending a garden is often an overlooked way to enrich your health and build a positive outlook. “Gardening is a great way to relieve stress, take time for yourself, and unwind,” says gardening expert Denis Flanagan. It allows you to take part in an activity with an end result that you take pride in.

Here are the top 5 reasons to garden this year:

Gardening is good for your health.
It is a natural stress reliever - as well as a natural form of exercise, and it can help release your artistic side. Planting a vegetable garden is a great way to get all the physical health benefits and enjoy the nutrition of home-grown produce.

Gardening helps instill life lessons.
Especially beneficial to children, it can help instill lessons about nurturing, caring, and sharing with others.

Gardening helps foster relationships with neighbors.
Being out in your garden can help break the ice between you and your neighbors. Why not pick a fresh bouquet for the new neighbors up the street or invite the people on your block to a backyard BBQ and serve fresh-grown veggies?

Gardening increases the value of your real estate.
Every homeowner knows that the more you invest in your home, the more its value increases. Adding an updated landscape theme or a beautiful new garden can also give you an increased sense of pride.

Gardening can help the environment.
It is also great for the animals that live around your home. Adding a bird feeder to your garden will bring an added element of wildlife to your yard, and installing a rain barrel or water-conserving fountain will look great, while reusing water.

Happy gardening!

Great looking lawns don’t just happen - they’re created. When your lawn emerges from winter weather with more splat than spring, getting it into shape may feel overwhelming. With a few simple steps, however it gets easier.

Step one: Rake.
Rake on a sunny day when the grass is dry. Be gentle because the roots are still fragile. Raking removes winter debris and dead grass, separates blades matted down by winter, and helps control thatch.

Step two: Check for bald spots, moss and compaction.
These problems indicate the soil needs aeration to increase the amount of air, nutrients, and water reaching it. This strengthens roots and helps prevent thatch.

Step three: Top-dress your lawn.
Top-dressing improves the quality of the soil, making it more breathable and nutrient rich. It also helps with drainage, evens out small bumps, and stimulates new roots.

Step four: Consider over-seeding your lawn.
Grass thins and tires after a few years. Over-seeding encourages thick growth and discourages weeds. Water lightly every day until the seeds germinate.

Time spent admiring your garden is enjoyable indeed, but time spent getting it to look good can be much less fun. Follow these tips to make toiling in the soil more pleasant.

Warm up.
Gardening is exercise, so do some stretching before you get to work.

Dress right.
Wear pale clothing, a hat, gardening gloves, and necessary kneepads. Don’t forget the sunscreen.

Use the right tools for you.
Choose the right length for your height and the right size for your hands.

Take frequent breaks.
Gardening requires a lot of bending, so stand up and take a walk around. You can admire the fruits of your labor while stretching your muscles. Drink water to keep hydrated.

Vary between tasks.
Don’t overwork a set of muscles by doing the same job for extended periods. Working higher than shoulder level is particularly taxing.

Older paint contains lead. Over the years, governments have gradually phased out the use of lead in paint. If your house was built before 1960, the paint used during construction would have contained a great deal of lead.

Reduction started in the 60s, with complete elimination by the 1980s. If your house was built after 1978, the paint likely has no lead in it. What’s wrong with lead based paint? Lead is unhealthy if ingested, and it is surprisingly easy to ingest paint. It has a way of finding its way into our diets, particularly into the diets of toddlers. For instance, painted door-jambs and window sashes create paint dust during use. For toddlers who spend a great deal of time on their hands and knees, and who “test” the world through their mouths, this dust presents a serious health hazard if it contains lead.

Knowing if you have lead based paint is half the battle. The paint can be tested on site by a lead-abatement contractor who has specialized testing equipment provides instant results. The alternative is to send a sample to a lab for testing. Contact the lab first to get directions for obtaining and packaging the sample. Contact your local Pillar To Post® home inspector to see if they can test for lead.

Dealing with Lead Based Paint:
Keep it clean. Lead dust is the problem. Wet mop floors weekly and wipe surfaces to remove the lead dust. Some suggest using special detergents and discarding the mop after use. Information on detergents and cleaning protocols are readily available on the Internet.

The paint on the walls and ceilings is fairly safe because the surfaces typically do not wear. You can protect these areas by applying newer lead-free paint over the top, in a process that builders call encapsulation.

Wear surfaces can be replaced rather than encapsulated. For example, you can remove and replace door-jambs with new wood.

Where encapsulation or wood replacement is not practical, you can remove the paint using chemical strippers. This task is time consuming and expensive and should only be done by an expert lead abatement contractor since proper containment is essential.

Are you curious if you are being told the truth? Here are a few clues that should help you out:

Two P’s: If you hear protestations and passive language, you may not be hearing the truth. Look out for phrases like “I swear to tell the truth” and “kind of”.

Body-language barriers: Liars often cross their arms to create physical distance or turn their torsos to one side to make themselves look smaller.

Eye movements: Eyes shift up and to the left when creating a story, and to the right when accessing memories. Also blinking slows when telling an untruth.

Nose rubbing: Pinnocchio may be fictional, but the effect named for him is real. Lying makes your nose itch. The stress of lying unleashes an adrenaline rush that dries out your nose and releases histamine.

A case of cola is a staple in most homes. Rather than drinking it, here are a few other ways to put that can of cola to use.

Clean Battery Terminals. Clean car battery terminals. The acidic properties will eliminate corrosion. Pour some soda over the battery terminals and let it set. Remove the sticky residue with a wet sponge or rag.

Loosen Rusted Nuts and Bolts. Soak a rag in soda and wrap it around a bolt for several minutes.

Make Cut Flowers Last Longer. Pouring about half a cup of cola and water into a vase. The sugar in the soda will make the blossoms last longer.

Clear Out a Slow Drain. Pour a bottle of cola down the drain to help remove a difficult clog.

  • Lead poisoning does not happen overnight so do not panic.
  • For peace of mind, you can test your children for lead poisoning with a simple blood test done by your family physician.
  • Wash children’s toys often. Toys may collect dust.
  • Wet mop floors and wipe surfaces weekly to minimize the amount of lead dust.
  • Have children wash their hands often, especially before meals.
  • Do not attempt to remove lead based paint yourself as you may create a much bigger problem by spreading lead dust around your house.


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