Archive for July, 2010

Step Into Our Conscience

Here it is! Our list of socially ethical and environmentally responsible ways to Edit Your Life:

*Obviously use city provided bins to recycle paper and containers whenever possible.  For clothing try recycling drop-off boxes – they’re all over your neighbourhood. Call or email the City to find the closest to you

*Donate to Salvation Army/Goodwill/Value Village

*Consignment shops and vintage shops are the prefect way to sell stylish clothing

The Little Guide To Vintage Shopping has brilliant tips!

*Give to local shelters and drop-ins – use 211! Such an amazing resource!

*Sell or give away on Ebay, Kijiji, and Craigslist

*Organize a swapping party – clothing, accessories, condiments, boyfriends, kitchen equipment (anything and everything really)

*Many charitable organizations will come to your place to pick-up clothing, household items, and books

*Contact “Junk Removal” services.  Google your heart out.  They’re not free but what an easy throwaway solution!  Most companies recycle and donate wherever and whenever possible

Most dry cleaning services will take no longer needed metal hangers!

*See here for tips to dispose of electronic equipment

*Be toxic free. Paints, pesticides, propane tanks, batteries, syringes, used motor oil, fluorescent tubes/compact bulbs and many cleaning products are just some examples of household hazardous waste. These items contain toxic ingredients and should be used and disposed of with caution. Do not place out for regular garbage pick-up. Do not pour motor oil, paints or solvents down your drain or into sewers. Take these items to your local Household Hazardous Waste Depot.

*Have a yard sale!

*Join the coolest club in town

*Donate to Dress for Success

*Or simply give away no longer needed items to friends or coworkers.  One’s junk is often another’s treasure.  Yes, we’re aware of how kids today are using the term junk.  Ahem.

July 29, 2010 at 9:06 pm 4 comments

Step Into Our Photo Album

A picture says a thousand words. Or does it? What if it’s lost in a pile of other photographs where no one can see it? What does it say then? We think not much.

Chomsky says we’re hardwired for narrative. If he’s right, photographs are perhaps one of the most effective and enduring examples of our need to tell and consume stories. Because they evoke memories, shared experiences, and a desire to visit the unknown, photos are worth proper preservation. And, we believe, digitally captured moments deserve to be organized and appreciated just as much as their printed counterparts.

Making the most of your photo collection is a snap!

STORAGE:

Old photographs should be stored in cool, dry areas in an acid free photo box.  This will preserve the original, irreplaceable photos.

TIP: If you want to display a photograph but are worried about light/moisture damage, simply make a copy of the original. This can be done anywhere where pictures are printed (including many drug stores and grocery stores)

If physical pictures need to be stored, invest in photo albums. Organize the pictures chronologically or in any method that works best for you. The most important thing is that the pictures are readily available and easily accessible for sharing and perusing.

The Unclutterer suggests storing important documents and keys in a fireproof box.  We’d like to add important pictures and albums to the list!

Worried about forgetting pertinent details? Try dating and explaining the photo (name of person, where the photo was taken, etc …) on the back with an acid free pen. Otherwise, many albums offer a space to write something beside the picture.

If you’re working with digital photography – add information by right clicking on the picture, selecting properties, and choosing the details tab (Thanks Andrew – great tip!).

To create an electronic back up of your existing printed photos simply scan the pictures. You can do this at many internet cafes or commercial stationary stores.

Don’t forget to tag the photos when importing digital pictures. You can also organize the pictures into specific folders.

Creating a back-up is ALWAYS essential. When it comes to your digital photos you can download to an external hard drive, email a copy to yourself (GMAIL offers a good amount of storage space), or use an online source.

SHOWCASING:

There are many different conventional and unconventional frames. If you have too many pictures to display, set a picture rotation schedule.

Always group photographs according to a theme (i.e. travels, family, points of interest, colour, etc…).  Random photo hanging can look messy and, well, random.

Turn photographs into gifts or keepsakes (i.e. mugs, calendars, key chains etc…)

Digital photo frame

Create a photo book through numerous sites such as photobookcanada.com

Or, for MAC users, directly through iPhoto

Customize your computer screensaver with multiple pictures that transition

Create a custom photo collage

Electronic devices are often equipped with photo slideshow capabilities. A number of the new gaming systems and many new televisions have the ability to create photo slide shows (some even set the slideshow to music and provide stylized transitions from one picture to the next). Looking at family vacation photos can be quick and relatively painless.

Utilize online sites that allow not only backup storage for your photos, but allow you to share the pictures with a select few or the whole world! Flickr and Photobucket offer a space to create an online community.

Or, start a blog!

July 21, 2010 at 7:41 pm 1 comment

Step Into Our Refrigerator

It’s summer! Time to stock up on yummy local and seasonal produce.  No room? Make some by de-cluttering the refrigerator.  Make it a party!

Condiment Party – These items DO have a shelf life and they also take up space. Whether given as gifts, purchased for one-time events (BBQs, pilot recipes), fad diets (Stevia Syrup anyone?), or just to try (Blueberry Horseradish does sound interesting), we all have crusty jarred, plastic contained condiments we never use. Time to chuck them.

It may sound cheese-whizy but a Condiment Swapping Party is a super fun and easy way to get rid of unused condiments without wasting them.

Come to our Condiment Party! Bring a date and Tums!

Germ Party – bacteria runs rampant in fridges.  Give them a deep, thorough cleaning at least once every six months.  Mold and other non-edible properties live easily in the bottom of trays, fruit & veggie bins, and hidden dairy cases. While cleaning don’t forget to vacuum and scrub behind and underneath the fridge. Some models are equipped with a “dip pan” (not for potato chips) that sits underneath the fridge and collects excess moisture/liquid. This pan should be removed and thoroughly cleaned frequently.

Germs = No Nutritional Value!

Storage Party – Use Tupperware (glass if possible) to store food. Label the Tupperware including the date the food item was made or placed in the container.

Store vegetables in mesh bags for freshness.

Deodorant Party

(Or use a good ‘ol fashioned box of Baking Soda. Coffee grinds work too!)

Some items should be kept out of the fridge because they can ripen other produce (i.e. bananas)

Store berries uncovered and unwashed until you are ready to eat

Proper air circulation is a must. Make sure there’s space between products and leave vents exposed in fridge and freezer

The door of the fridge should only hold non-temperature sensitive items such as condiments

Outside Party – Refrigerators are high traffic areas. Papers, bills, phone numbers, invitations, pictures, post cards, to-do lists – your fridge can act as a short term organizing solution. If it does, (and you’re OK with that), invest in an organizer. Many such items are magnetic and will keep everything in one place.

What does the front of your fridge say about you?

It’s what’s inside that counts!

July 15, 2010 at 12:29 pm 5 comments

Step Into Our Office

Whether used for social networking, “working from home”, studying, surfing, paying bills, or filing, home office spaces are essential. Furthermore, almost everyone in the Western world (except Cheryl and perhaps a few Mennonites) have some form of electronic computing space in their home.   This relatively new yet ubiquitous phenomenon is having an impact on our perceived and fading division of home and work space.  They’re merging.  And we have some rules around how this should look.

  • Carved out – Keep a consistent space like a desk or entire room or den

  • Wireless –  Hide ‘em.  It looks less space-age, cluttered, and overwhelming 

 Unplugging unnecessary wires saves money, power and reduces radiation exposure. Beware of energy vampires!

  • Paperless – File important documents.  Everything should have a home.  The thought of someone desperately searching for a passport an hour before take-off makes us physically ill.  If possible, use your computer to house important information vs. a filing cabinet, drawer, or pile on top of the fridge (just remember to back up this information!).  Have bills sent electronically. This will automatically reduce your incoming mail and allow you to organize your budget/bill payments on your computer. Editing your office will help you edit your wallet. Also, invest in a paper shredder (it can help prevent identity theft and reduces paper clutter).

          

 

  • Clean – Keep your electronic equipment in the best shape possible, as you should with every other space in your home office. While you’re at it, don’t forget to de-clutter your computer desktop and its inner workings.

 

  • Minimize – No need for home office spaces to mirror a cubicle.  Avoid name tags, knickknacks, or fluffy balls with googley-eyes.

It’s also unnecessary to hang onto a million pens, thumbtacks, paper clips, and bottles of corrector fluid just for the sake of having them.  If you’re not using said items – discard!  If you stole them from an actual corporate office – take them back! (Unless they fired you, laid you off, or made you participate in an “Amazing Race” inspired group-building activity in scorching hot weather.)

Neat Ideas:

Create your own green bulletin board

Use a chalkboard, or chalkboard paint

Create multifunctional wall units

Milton's working from home now

July 9, 2010 at 2:57 pm 5 comments


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