Pillar To Post Newsletter September 2013 https://www.pillartopost.com/img/p2pLogo.png
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The lazy days of summer are over and it’s time to get the kids organized for the school year. Here are some tips to make getting back to the routine a little easier:

1. Create a family communication center. Choose a location in your home that is used regularly by family members, preferably near a phone. Put up a bulletin board to display messages and the family calendar.

2. End ‘what to wear’ battles. A simple 5-compartment sweater organizer for the closet can tame morning madness. Have your child choose his/her wardrobe in advance for the whole week and store each day’s outfit, including socks and underwear, in one of the five cubbies.

3. School snacks made easy. Pre-package daily portions of cookies or snacks in small zippered plastic bags and keep them in a bin on a designated shelf.

4. Routines make life easier. Post a schedule indicating regular times for repetitive tasks, i.e. homework, bath time and bedtime. Keep in mind that it takes about one month for routines to become part of daily life.

5. Say goodbye to morning TV. Watching TV while getting ready for school is a distraction which can slow down the entire family. Consider listening to music in the mornings instead.

6. Use alarms and timers. We can all lose track of time. In the morning or before important appointments, set a timer or an alarm to signal a 10-minute warning so you and the kids can get out the door in time.

7. Why waste time filling out forms? Every time kids go on a field trip, their parents are asked to fill out a permission slip and emergency medical form for each child. Save time by doing it once and photocopying.

8. Is your family over-scheduled? Spending too much time driving your children all over the city for their extracurricular activities? Consider limiting each child to only one after-school activity at a time. Another option is to encourage activities where the teacher will come to your home i.e. piano or guitar lessons.

9. Keep track of school papers easily. Start the school year off right by purchasing a file box for each child to store all the multitude of school papers that would otherwise end up cluttering your kitchen counter. This acts as a temporary home for exams, assignments and notes that will be referred back to throughout the year.

10. Create a homework center. Create a study space conducive to doing homework. Find a location away from the TV. Designate a cupboard or basket for homework supplies and stock it with items your child will require.

Although the first few weeks of a new school year can be challenging for kids and their parents, getting organized can relieve some of the stress and set everyone up for success.

A certified professional organizer®, life coach
http://www.WeOrganizeU.com

Fall is the best time to get a jump start on the most important cleaning chores around your house. Make your home ready for anything before winter comes and hopefully prevent last minute emergencies.

Kitchen Appliances
Fall and winter are some of the busiest times for cooking and entertaining. Ensure all kitchen appliances are working and ready for the parties.

Carpet Cleaners
Prepare for holiday guests by having your carpets professionally cleaned in the fall. Avoid the stress of dealing with overbooked cleaning companies.

Air Conditioning
Rather than waiting to find out if it will turn on next summer, inspect the air conditioning system and vents in the fall. Make any necessary repairs or replacements now, during the off-season.

Heating Systems
Don’t wait until the first freezing night of winter to discover you no longer have a way to heat your home. Repair companies will also be busier during the colder months.

Humidifier
Make sure to check it is properly functioning in the fall, before you wish to use it.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Fall and winter are the peak seasons for candles, fireplaces and cooking with gas. Inspect for repairs and replace the batteries.

Clean Chimney
Dirty or obstructed fireplaces are dangerous, and send smoke and toxic fumes back into your home. Inspect your chimney once a year.

The best time for spring cleaning is actually in the fall. Chances are, somewhere between holiday parties, muddy boots on stormy days and spilt food during children’s indoor winter play dates, your home will need cleaning. Let’s get started early.

  • Pull large kitchen appliances away from the wall and thoroughly clean behind them.
  • Scrub the inside of your oven, refrigerator and microwave before they will be needed for large holiday dinners.
  • Thoroughly clean carpets and rugs.
  • Clean and treat hardwood flooring to prepare it for mud and water throughout winter.
  • Vacuum drapes and valences with the hose extension of your vacuum cleaner. Opened doors and windows during summer often let in extra amounts of dust and dirt that have since settled on fabric and furniture around your home.
  • Clean blankets, quilts and comforters that will be needed for fall and winter.

Use fall as the perfect time to prepare your home for the coming winter.

Keep your appliances in good condition and avoid costly repairs with basic maintenance. Steps to take include:

  • Clean the filter and screens in your dishwasher periodically, and check for clogs, broken glass or food at the bottom of the unit.
  • Check washing machine hoses to be sure they are in good condition.
  • Empty pockets of items before putting in the washing machine.
  • Clean lint filter in dryer after every use.
  • Clean dryer vent, hoses and filters periodically.
  • Vacuum the condenser coils on your refrigerator at least twice per year.
  • Don’t use more laundry detergent than recommended in your washer.
  • Keep bushes trimmed back from your outdoor air conditioning condenser.
  • Protect your air conditioner from direct sunlight.

Damp basements are one of the most common problems that plague homes. This includes old houses and new houses. Many damp basements can be improved simply and inexpensively. It is worth investigating a little yourself before calling in a basement expert.

Surface Water
The common cause of damp basements is improper handling of exterior surface water (rain water). Surface water that saturates the soil immediately next to the home can make its way into the basement.

Condensation
Condensation is a common problem in basements. Condensation looks and smells like basement leakage. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two. There are a few things you can do to improve the situation. First, try reducing the sources of interior moisture. If there is a shower or bathtub in the basement that is used regularly, make sure there is an exhaust vent and that it gets used. Verify that the clothes dryer vents outside. If the basement is clearly colder than the rest of the house, warm it up. This will reduce the relative humidity and reduce the potential for condensation. One of the most common scenarios is an air conditioned home where the basement is colder than the rest of the house. These basements often smell and feel damp. Reduce the flow of cold air to the basement by closing air registers. Consult with a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning technician to investigate the possibility of adding return air registers to the basement. If you see moisture on the surface of the foundation, you can test if it is water seeping through the foundation or if it is condensation. Tape a piece of clear plastic sheet, about one foot square, tight to the foundation wall. After a few days, see if moisture has formed on top or underneath the plastic. If the moisture is on top, you have a condensation problem.

Dehumidifiers
Dehumidifiers sure do work to reduce the moisture in the air and thus tend to dry the basement. However, dehumidifiers use a great deal of energy. Try to deal with the source of the moisture first. Pillar To Post® inspectors have reported seeing many homes with clothes dryers venting gallons of moisture into the basement with dehumidifiers running continuously along side. This is a huge waste of energy!

Basement Floor Drain
Basement floor drains should have water in them. This water is a vapor lock that prevents sewer smells from getting into the house. If your basement has a musty smell, check the floor drains. If the drain is dry, pour a bucket of water down the drain. Check it again an hour later to see if the drain keeps its prime. While some problems can be easily solved some dampness problems are more serious. In these situations, an expert will be required.

In today’s world, it is important to keep your confidence leaning on ‘the bright side of life’. Why not try these encouraging ideas?

1. Study shows that 1,000 mg. of vitamin C before delivering a presentation saw stress levels plunge within 15 minutes making you feel more optimistic.

2. Compliment your reflection. If you pass a mirror, acknowledge something positive about yourself, leading to feeling extra confidence.

3. Beat the odds - wear red. It triggers the brain to that make you more assertive.

4. Hang out with self-assured people. Listen to them talk. Observing their energy and inner strength will inspire and empower you.

After using olive oil in the salad dressing or cooking, keep these other good uses in mind.

1. Polish wood furniture with a teaspoon of oil and a soft rag.

2. Lubricate measuring cups and spoons for easy cleanup of sticky ingredients like honey, grain mustards and syrups.

3. Free a stuck zipper by using a cotton swab to apply olive oil to the teeth of the zipper, and then ease the tab down.

4. Remove paint from your skin by applying olive oil to the area. Rub gently to work olive oil into the cracks of your skin. Then scrub with a dry washcloth.

5. Fix a squeaky door by using a rag or cotton swab to apply olive oil to the top of a problematic hinge.

One good way to investigate dampness is by walking around the home during a rain storm. Check the following:

  • Gutters should be clear and drain properly. Overflowing gutters are a common problem.
  • Downspouts should not flood water next to the house. Add an extension (leader) to discharge the water well away from the home.
  • Downspouts that discharge below grade should be checked very carefully. Make sure water is not leaking into the soil or backing up into the basement through the floor drain. In some cases it is prudent to disconnect downspouts that discharge below grade and redirect the water away from the house instead. Ask a Pillar To Post inspector for advice on this.
  • Land around the house should shed water away from the house for at least six feet.

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