Pillar To Post Newsletter May 2015 https://www.pillartopost.com/img/p2pLogo.png
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The one room in the house that is open for the whole neighborhood to see is often the most unsightly and neglected - the garage. If you are lucky to have one - congratulations; real estate agents claim this is one of the most requested amenities. You can’t beat the convenience and security of having a place to protect one of your largest investments - your vehicle.

However, many people can’t use the garage for its intended purpose because it has become a dumping ground for cast-offs. But there’s hope. All it takes is some weeding out and a simple system that gets your items off the floor and onto the wall.

Here are some steps on how to tackle this project:

1. Set a date. Give yourself a deadline (like a neighborhood garage sale) as an incentive to get the job done. Then write the date on your calendar.

2. Gather your supplies. You’ll need cardboard boxes, heavy-duty trash bags, garbage can, work gloves and, if necessary, a dumpster.

3. Bring in reinforcements. Consider calling in family members, a paid helper or a professional organizer.

4. Divide and conquer. Divide the project into small steps so you can stay on task.

5. Set up the sorting area. Some zones to create outside on the lawn are: ‘donate’, ‘sell’, ‘recycle’, ‘toss’ (dumpster) and ‘keep’. The ‘keep’ area will be subdivided: sporting gear, toys, gardening supplies, etc. Use boxes to sort into categories.

6. Weed out the excess. When we decide to keep it “just in case”, it usually ends up in the garage. As a result, there will be many “no-brainer” items that can be eliminated.

7. No time for visits down memory lane. If you happen to come across any boxes of old mementos that will be time consuming to go through, and perhaps difficult to make decisions on, it’s best to put them aside to deal with later so you don’t get bogged down.

8. Making the tough decisions. If you haven’t used it in years (or ever), can you really justify having it occupy valuable space?

9. Finding homes for your stuff. Now it’s time to put everything back in the garage. Store like things together; this will be easy because you’ve already sorted them in categories.

10. Go vertical or go home. To clear as much floor space as possible so you can park your cars, maximize the vertical space. A no-cost wall storage solution is to nail slats of scrap wood horizontally between the studs of an unfinished garage and store long-handled tools behind them and/or place nails on the wall to hang other supplies. Also for a cost, Rubbermaid has a hook-and-rail system called FastTrack that can be moved around without the use of tools.

The most important step is to begin. Before you know it, your garage will be transformed from a source of embarrassment to a place of pride and a safe home for your vehicle.

Hellen Buttigieg
Certified Professional Organizer, life coach. www.WeOrganizeU.com

Homeowners everywhere are demanding eco-friendly choices.

Enjoying a green home not only helps protect the environment but will also yield you long-term financial benefits. Here are a few environmentally friendly ideas:

1. It’s a Tankless Job - A tankless water heater may cost more initially but you’ll save money in the long run as water’s only heated when it’s needed.

2. Sunny Side Up - Installing solar panels will cut the cost of your electricity bill, and can contribute to the fight against global warming.

3. Breathe Easy - Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted from building materials such as cabinets, carpet and paint and are detrimental to our health. Improve your air quality by using VOC alternatives.

4. Hug a Tree - Cork, reclaimed wood and bamboo are all environmentally friendly flooring options. The carpet industry is also starting to meet the needs of eco-conscious buyers by using recycled materials and natural fibres.

5. Add-Ons - Consider the environmental impact of your choices when adding extra rooms by insulating the walls and strategically placing windows to take advantage of the sun’s heat.

6. Reuse & Repurpose - Using salvaged and reclaimed building materials for your renovations will add unique style and function to your home while saving the planet and your pocketbook.

Buyers are looking for greener alternatives so making these kinds of changes will help down the road when you’re looking to sell.

It is essential to have the right tools if your goal is to do a stellar paint job. Before beginning, make sure the following items are on your list.

1. Aluminum work bench: A sturdy workbench can serve many purposes during painting projects; a ladder, a platform and a seat for time-out. Work benches are durable, lightweight, and can be easily folded and stored away.

2. Painter’s tape: When painting corners and edges, channel your inner-pro and get defined paint lines with a little high-quality painter’s tape. Apply it before painting to protect drywall, wood, metal, glass and trim.

3. Extension pole: Attach an extension pole to your roller will provide leverage and handle twice the painting with half the effort.

4. Application tools: You need a variety of paintbrushes and a few good rollers. Paired with quality paint, the right paint brush is crucial to attain a solid paint job. Having the right tools for a paint job will ensure success and reduce frustration.

The glossier the paint, the more durable it is. Glossy paint also draws the most attention to the surface it is covering. What paint works best where and why?

Camoflage slight surface imperfections. Use flat paint. It’s just right for low-traffic areas like formal living and dining rooms.

Cover minor flaws, yet still gently sponge off dirt. Use eggshell paint. It’s best suited for bedrooms and home offices.

Brighten up a dark space. Use satin paint. It’s best for high-traffic areas like entryways, hallways and family rooms.

Cleanability or durability in high-moisture rooms. Use semi-gloss paint. It’s right for trim, kid’s rooms and bathrooms.

High durability or architectural accents. Use gloss paint. It will enhance decorative molding, doors, cabinets and kitchens.

Older paint contains lead. Over the years, governments have regulated the phasing out of lead in paint entirely. If your house was built before 1960, the paint used during construction would have contained a great deal of lead. Reduction started soon after, with complete elimination by the 1980s. If your house was built after 1978, the paint likely has no lead in it.

So 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.

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.

Encapsulate: The paint on the walls and ceilings are fairly safe because they are not wear surfaces. You can encapsulate these areas using modern paint applied over top.

Replace: Wear surfaces can be replaced rather than encapsulated. For example, you can remove and replace door jams with new wood and refinish.

Remove: 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.

There is a distinct daily rhythm to our energy levels. Here are some fast-acting way to get those energy boosters.

Tired when you wake? Up dopamine with massage. Chronic stress dampens dopamine output and leads to tiredness. Give yourself a three minute scalp massage to stimulate dopamine production.

Tired mid-morning? Boost boron with nuts. Boron is a mineral essential for stimulating morning production of energizing brain waves. Snack on half a cup of boron-rich almonds or raisins two hours after breakfast.

Tired right after lunch? Steady sugar with berries. The pancreas has its own rhythm, and early afternoon could cause a sleep-inducing energy dip. Just eat a cup of berries, rich in phenolics to help blood sugar.

Tired at dinnertime? Control melatonin with music. The miniscule pineal gland may be out of sync with the sun and produce the sleep inducing melatonin at dinnertime. Upbeat music will alert this gland that bedtime is still hours away.

Spring is a time of renewal so why not bring the season’s vitality into your home by making some simple decorating changes. Here are a few ideas that will help you create a fresh spring feel.

Change your window coverings to light sheers or blinds.

Bring nature inside with indoor plants, flowering bulbs and fresh cut flowers.

Switch cushion covers to lighter spring shades such as yellows and purples.

Open the windows and let the sunshine in.

Celebrate spring’s arrival by bringing a breath of fresh air into your home. Just a few simple changes can reflect the season’s sunny, fresh energy.

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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