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I’ve been spending more time than I care to at the chiropractor’s office lately. Turns out the nagging pain in my right shoulder is linked to the weight of my purse. My problems started when I bought an over-sized purse and began to put more and more items in it because there was space. Can you relate?

And it’s not just women that are lugging around too many belongings; how many times have you seen men sitting lopsided on their bulging wallets?

If you are ready to put a stop to the madness and save your sanity and your body, try these tips to get your purse and/or wallet organized quickly and easily.

Organize Your Purse

1. Purge your purse, pare down to essentials. Carry only what you need; you can always keep non-essentials in your car or in your desk.

2. Lighten the load by carrying a smaller purse. Choose a wider purse over a deep one to avoid archaeological digs. Look for one that has pockets for your cell phone, your glasses, etc.

3. Break items down into categories like grooming (lip balm, comb, powder), health (aspirin, antacid, tissues), and office (notepad, pen). Store each category in its own small, clear, zippered bag which can quickly be transferred from purse to purse.

4. Conserve space by carrying travel sizes of items like hand cream and aspirin.

5. Maintain your system. Once a week, clean out your purse by emptying out scraps of paper, abandoned mints, and used tissues. You can do this waiting for appointments.

Organize Your Wallet

1. Purge the excess. Pare down to essentials. Carry some cash, a debit card, a credit card, driver’s license, and perhaps a health card (often, just having the number is enough).

2. Store it elsewhere. Keep discount cards, coupons and gift cards in the glove compartment of your car instead of your wallet. Keep seldom-used credit cards in a secure place at home. Limit the amount of photos you carry.

3. Lighten the load by carrying a smaller wallet. Once you edit out the excess, a smaller wallet will prevent the temptation to accumulate months’ worth of receipts and other scraps of paper.

4. Be prepared. Photocopy all the cards you carry in your wallet and keep a copy at home in case your wallet is ever stolen.

5. Maintain your system. At least once a week, clean out your wallet by emptying out scraps of paper, business cards and other odds and ends. You can do this effortlessly while waiting for appointments. Use a mini accordion file case, a basket or a box to organize and store receipts at home.

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

Research shows that compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. But if you are not using them correctly, those savings could go right out the window. Here is how to get the most of your CFLs to keep the money in your pocket.

  • Stick to the 15-minute rule. Traditional bulbs saved money by turning them off when not in use. With CFLs, it is better to keep the light on if you’re going to need it again within 15 minutes. Frequent turning on and off wastes energy and makes them burn out faster.
  • Make sure they match. Each CFL is specially designed to work in specific types of lighting fixtures. Double check the package to see if it is for dimmer switch, three-way lamp, timer, motion detector or outdoor lighting etc.
  • Give them room to breathe. CFLs are sensitive to extreme temperatures, so place yours in open fixtures - such as lamps with shades rather than globes. Using them in enclosed fixtures can create a hot environment that reduces the lifetime of your bulb.
  • TIP: Avoid breaking a CFL as you install it by holding it only by the white plastic part - never using the glass tubing, which can crack when handled.

Who can resist the charm and character of an older home? Before you buy, here are some common issues that may prevent you from securing insurance.

  • Wiring: Knob and tube wiring, may be considered a fire risk. If a home inspector finds this wiring, the insurance company may require updating the electrical system.
  • Galvanized or Lead Pipes: These older pipes are more susceptible to rust build-up and blockages. Because of the risk of flooding from bursting pipes, you may need to upgrade to modern copper or plastic pipes.
  • Heat source: Details will be required about age, location and condition of oil tanks, often used in older homes for heating
  • Wood Stoves: Often the source of house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, wood stoves will most likely need to be inspected before an insurance policy will be confirmed.

Moving into your first home or downsizing after your children have left the nest? Here are a few ideas for making the most out of your new - smaller space.

THIN IS IN Modern technology has made it easier to get more into small spaces. A flat screen television can hang on the wall, eliminating the need for an entertainment unit.

LAP IT UP Using a laptop instead of a desktop computer allows you to transform any area into a workstation, whether it be the kitchen table or a comfy chair.

IN THE KITCHEN If you have a small kitchen you might have to forego some large appliances. Try a compact French press, rather than a counter-hogging coffee maker. And nix the cumbersome stand mixer for a handheld model.

ON THE DOCK Ditch that giant stereo system for a compact docking station for your MP3 player. You won’t be sacrificing space or sound quality.

It might surprise you to hear that the air inside your home is often dirtier than the air outside. That’s because indoor air is made up of outdoor air plus all the pollutants and allergens generated from cleaning products, pets, dust, smoke, and so on. Fortunately, you can improve indoor air quality in ways that do not cost a small fortune.

Get the Dust Out
Dust – a major irritant – includes lint, bacteria, pollen, plant and mold spores, pet dander, etc. You can reduce dust particles in the air in a number of ways. Here are three:

1. Clean or replace the furnace filter every three months. Pillar To Post® inspectors find that most homeowners do not keep up with this task. Thick-media filters, such as the five- and six-inch pleated type, last longer than regular filters and filter better too. Of course they are more expensive.

2. We all create an invisible dust cloud just walking through our homes. While a high quality furnace filter will reduce dust, frequent cleaning and vacuuming is also necessary, but only if your vacuum cleaner is up to the task.

3. A poor-quality vacuum cleaner can also create dust clouds. Before you give up on vacuuming, however, two solutions can address this problem: either install a central vacuum system with the canister-air discharge piped outside the house, or purchase a high-quality, portable vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filtration system. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air filter. Whichever solution you choose, both will effectively decrease the amount of dust that spews into the air when you vacuum.

Control of Humidity
High humidity levels in your home can significantly contribute to mold and dust mite growth. Dust mites, however, are a fact of life; you cannot eliminate them entirely. But you can decrease their numbers. Dust mites thrive in humidity levels above 50%. Ensuring the humidity in your home is not higher than 50% will diminish dust mite growth. Here are a few ways to address humidity.

1. Buy an inexpensive hygrometer to measure the indoor humidity

2. Ensure that your clothes dryer vents to the outside

3. Bathroom and kitchen fans should direct shower, bath and cooking moisture outside

4. Fix basement leaks and deal with condensation issues

5. Air conditioning systems and dehumidifiers can also remove moisture from the air. Keep in mind that dehumidifiers use a great deal of electricity and don’t provide any cooling. Make sure you deal with obvious sources of moisture first.

More Efficient Air Exchange
Some homes just need more ventilation. Heat-recovery ventilators, or energy-recovery ventilators are both effective ventilation devices. Some do-it-yourself systems exist out there but we strongly suggest an expert consultation. Choosing the right system involves careful consideration of your home and your specific situation.

Improving air quality in the home is a goal that is easily attainable. Start with the little fixes and then undertake the more complex remedies as needed. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to improve the air you breathe.

Feel guilty about surfing the Web, watching TV or playing games? These everyday habits are actually strengthening your brain power.

Chewing gum fires up focus. Pop a piece before a presentation to increase blood flow to the brain by about 25% and be more alert.

Watching TV perfects your “people-reader”. Enhance your ability to read people and increase your emotional intelligence (EQ) by watching sitcoms to view people’s behavior and the results they get.

Surfing the Web makes you a better problem solver. Spend one hour surfing, social networking or reading the news and boost your ability to solve complicated problems.

Texting improves mental sharpness Improve hand-eye coordination. The quick response time trains your brain to think faster.

Don’t throw away that old newspaper until you have made the most use of it.
Try these great uses.

  • Remove fridge odors. Crumble a few pieces of newspaper and place them in the produce bins and the back of your fridge for three days. It will absorb the odors.
  • Dry wet boots. Quickly remove moisture and dampness from you wet boots by stuffing the insides with crumbled newspaper.
  • Clean windows. Dampen your window’s surface and use folded newspaper to rub away spots and leave them streak-free
  • Safely clean up glass. When you shatter a glass after picking up the large pieces, dampen a folded piece of newspaper to blot up smaller shards. They will stick to the paper.
  • Wrap gifts. In place of expensive wrapping paper use the funny pages to wrap children’s birthday gifts. It is a fun way to recycle paper

The chemicals we use in the home contribute significantly to poor indoor air quality.

Here are 4 tips to take control of the chemicals in the air:

1. Get rid of products you no longer need, such as old paint cans and other open and half used toxic chemicals and poisons.

2. Opened bottles and jars of cleaning products should be contained in an airtight bin.

3. Consider using less toxic and more environmentally friendly cleaning products.

4. Dry-cleaned clothing spews chemicals into the air. If possible, remove the plastic and hang the stack of dry-cleaning outside for a few hours before bringing it into the house. Of course this may not be practical and we sincerely hope your clothing does not get stolen.

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