Showing posts sorted by relevance for query clutter. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query clutter. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, July 21, 2018

How to Conquer Clutter by Stephanie Culp – Book Review

The 'clutter' shown in these photos is my house at the present time. My house does not normally look like this ~ this is the result of weeks of sorting and packing to make a major move.  But if your house frequently assume a look such as this, you might be ready for this book by Stephanie Culp titled “How to Conquer Clutter”


Clut`ter To fill with scattered or disordered things that restrict movement or efficiency.  A collection of things lying about in an untidy mass.

Or, as the author says, “all that stuff you've got all over the place that everybody keeps telling you to get rid of." 


Normal Clutter Invasions



(c) Wednesday Elf Sorting & Packing to Move

We all deal with some form of clutter from time to time, no where near as bad as my current chaotic "moving mess". 


  • The children scatter their toys throughout the living room because they want to play where their special adults are instead of in the playroom or their bedrooms. 
  • We get out a project and the dining room table stays cluttered while we are working on it.
  • You get interrupted in the middle of a long-term desk or computer project and would lose your place if you put it away before you were finished with it. 
  • You have a sewing or crafting project that will take several days to complete and putting it away before you are done would be wasted effort. 


The clutter referred to in this, and similar, books refers to the stuff that starts as a small problem and, over time, becomes a very large and overwhelming situation. By that time, we make excuses for not dealing with it. Now the 'clutterbug' handles it by saying “I'll just put it over here 'for now'. But soon 'for now' becomes forever and here  comes that clutter crisis.


Author Stephanie Culp


Stephanie Culp is an organization and time management consultant who has written several books on getting organized. Her organization firm has helped people and small businesses get – and stay – organized since 1982. 


How to Conquer Clutter


Source: Pixabay

In How to Conquer Clutter, Stephanie helps you get yourself organized and reduce or eliminate the clutter that has taken over your life. This book is informative and humorous and will give you simple ways to take back control of your stuff. 


Pack Rat – A large, busy-tailed rodent from the Rocky Mountains that collects and stores food and miscellaneous objects. Just like you!

Available on Amazon
Stephanie includes a “Pack Rat's Excuse Almanac to help you deal with the mess in your life, a 'clutter quiz' to help identify problem areas and 19 'Clutter Checklists” to provide practical ideas for storing everything you cannot live without. She deals with each area of clutter from A to Z, from addresses to ziplock bags and everything in between.  Included are areas inside the house, outside the house and under the house! Culp even tells you how to use this book by defining the worst area of clutter in your life and identifying specific problem areas so you will know where to begin. 

How to Conquer Clutter is a helpful guide to get control of and 'conquer' your clutter!  Having read this book myself (which helped me especially with my admittedly biggest clutter problem area ~ dealing with paper - filing, purging, processing, etc), I am now passing my copy of the book on to my daughter, who is an admitted  'pack rat' just like her dad. 

(c) 2018 by Wednesday Elf












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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Taming the Paper Tiger – Book Review


Just about everyone has – currently or in the past – had clutter in their lives. Many books have been written (with several reviewed here on
ReviewThisReviews) about dealing with that dreaded CLUTTER, including closets stuffed with clothes no longer worn, drawers so full they won't open, and random stacks of 'stuff' that have been in place so long you no longer remember what is in the pile. 


Author Barbara Hemphill, a professional organizer, has written several books dealing with clutter. This one I am reviewing – Taming the Paper Tiger – deals with MY biggest bug-a-boo – PAPER. 


Source: Pixabay

I have managed to keep the majority of unneeded clutter out of my life, but when it comes to paperwork I tend to let days ~ yea, even weeks ~ go by without dealing with it. I can't explain it – I have all sorts of file organizers and notebooks and To-Do Lists, and even a scheduled 'day' each week to deal with it – and I'm always behind because I tend to look at a pile, turn around and walk away. Now I have 'piles' of unsorted papers stacked in several places and in more than one room. Sometimes I move a pile – sometimes I even deal with a few papers from a pile – but I never catch up! Thus, the procurement of this book Taming the Paper Tiger – Organizing the Paper in your Life!


The Book


Available on Amazon
Taming the Paper Tiger deals with ~ simply ~ the 'paper' in your life. This includes bills and tax information, but also keeping track of family records, the memorabilia of your family, your photographs, and your files. There is even a section on cleaning up the files in your computer. 




Key Points


I found several key points that 'spoke' to me when I first began to utilize the tips in this book to get control of my paperwork.


One tip I particularly liked was the reminder to 'forget' about the backlog.  Barbara states that to develop an effective paper management system starts with stop feeling guilty about yesterday's piles. Instead, do something with TODAY'S. In other words, start with today's mail and work backwards. 


Source: Pixabay

One of my favorite chapter headings is called “Master the 
Art of Wastebasketry”. I can relate to that! I find it quite tempting to throw ALL my piles of paper into the wastebasket right now. But, no – something important and/or valuable would be lost forever.  So – onward in an 'organized' way. 


We all know about sorting into related piles your bills, action papers, reference papers, to read pile and to write pile, family records and – that very difficult to control pile because we (and the kids) never want any of their work thrown away – the children's papers. The author gives us outlines of each of these in this book, which all makes sense as soon as we (I) admit that I am a “Paperholic”. 


Summary


Source: Pixabay

I have purposely kept this review lighthearted, and not gone into a lot of detail as each chapter deals with learning to control your paper and the chapter headings are self-explanatory. But paper management can be a real (and sometimes a really serious) problem for many people. Personally, I DO want (and need) to get the paper in my life under control and bring 'order' to the 'chaos', and am finding that “Taming the Paper Tiger” is helping.  


So, if stacks of papers are encroaching on your space or you frequently move piles of paper from one side of the desk (or room) to the other or you plan to 'sort' everything out as soon as you have some time, than you may find Barbara Hemphill's book Taming the Paper Tiger exactly what you need to read. Her paper management system and strategies are very helpful.


Additionally, Barbara Hemphill has also written other paper organizing books, including 'for the home' and 'for the office' and 'at work', whether you work in an office or from home.  If you need to know what to toss and how to find the rest, she also has a book about that.


Whatever your paper management needs are, Taming the Paper Tiger and Barbara Hemphill's other management system books will prove to be beneficial to anyone, like me, who finds 'dealing with paper' overwhelming.


*Reviewer's Note: The book I own is simply called 'Taming the Paper Tiger'. It is the fourth edition published in 1997. The current book available is called "Taming the Paper Tiger at Home" - Fifth Edition. Same book with expanded title and different cover.


Quick Links to Other Clutter Control Books and Organizing Suggestions Reviewed by our Contributors here on Review This Reviews



For more organizing tips and tricks reviewed here on Review This Reviews, just do a search for 'clutter'


*Taming the Paper Tiger by Barbara Hemphill – book review written by ~

Wednesday Elf






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Three Ways to Hide Clutter

Yep. It's that Time of the Year ... We Look at all our 'Stuff' and Think, "It's Time for a Tidy"

Of course, half the battle is admitting there's a problem! After that it's twenty five percent action and twenty five percent organizational and creative storage solutions.

Even though our clutter is organized, most of the time we're just sick of seeing the neatly stacked piles of life that take away from the overall look of our room.

The solution is equal to the mess you're dealing with: Simple mess, simple solutions, horrendous gut wrenching disaster ... major project.

If you're dealing with a relatively simple mess, here are three ways you can hide clutter:

DECORATIVE ROOM DIVIDERS

Today's room dividers are inventive and artistic. They not only give you a practical way to hide clutter, they also double as art.

When you check out the choices of room dividers available you'll notice the wide range of art scenes featured on them. They come in designs from landscapes to cartoon characters, making them ideal for any room in the home or office.

These are particularly useful in a bedroom that doesn't have a closet. As an example, if you're using a standing hanging rod to hold clothes, put it behind a room divider and it doubles as a place to privately change clothes and it hides the clutter.

A STORAGE BENCH
Storage Bench Featured on Funkthishouse


If your clutter problem is more about the miscellaneous items that never seem to find a home, use a bench as the main gathering place for them.

Whether it's shoes, school books, extra blankets and pillows, seasonal clothing, or photograph albums, a storage bench is a magnificent piece to tuck them away into.

Not only is it a place to hide the mess it's also an extra spot to sit. There are many places you can use a storage bench; the master suite, a child's bedroom, the front foyer, the family room, in your home office or even in the garage.

There are numerous storage bench designs to choose from, so be sure to check them out. You'll find additional styles when you visit the page featuring the above storage bench.


A SECRET PASSAGEWAY BOOKCASE

What? Yes, that's right, they really do exist. Of course this solution is certainly more involved and will require at least intermediate DIY skills, or you'll have to have someone put it in for you ... BUT it's worth it, they're super cool!

They really are as described, an actual bookcase that either swings inwards or outwards leading to a secret room or other space in the home.

If you have a small office in the corner of room and would like to hide important or private papers from prying eyes, then put one of these James Bond creations in .... I mean how many people do you know that have one?

There are a number of designs to choose from. They vary in style, color, features, size and type of wood. You'll see more bookshelf doors when you visit the above featured Hidden Door Bookshelf.







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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Hoarders' Daughters Tell Their Stories: Book Reviews

Two Hoarders' Daughters Tell Their Stories 


We've all heard about hoarders or seen documentaries about them on television. Few of us, however, have grown up in a hoarder's house. The children of hoarders have no choice. I'd like to introduce you to two of those children, now adults, who have written their stories.

Hoarders' Daughters Tell Their Stories: Book Reviews
A Hoarder's Living Room Probably Looks More Cluttered than This
By Maschinenjunge [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons


My myLot friend, Lori Moore, wrote The Hoarder's Daughter: Memories of a Life in Chaos. Her mother was not only a hoarder but also an emotional abuser. Lori wrote her book to show others what the life of a hoarder is like and how it often destroys the hoarder's relationship with family and friends. She hopes to help people distinguish between a real hoarder and a messy or really disorganized person that keep a lot of clutter around. She also wanted to finally expose her family secret. She says "Toxic family dysfunction has to be acknowledged before it can be fixed."

Izabelle Winter's father also hoarded his possessions. Izabelle had left home as a young woman to escape the house.When she was married with eight-year-old twin girls and a ten-year-old son, her father fell from a ladder while pruning. He had turned his backyard into a garden all his neighbors admired, but most had never seen the inside of his house.

Izabelle's mother had died nineteen years earlier, after a mental breakdown. Isabelle's brother Ant still lived in the house with his father even though he was long into adulthood. He suffered from learning disabilities that hindered his ability to make decisions and take initiative. Isabelle knew she would have to take charge of getting the house ready for her dad to come home to, probably unable to walk. She wrote Diary of a Hoarder's Daughter to help others who may find themselves in a similar situation.

Lori's Story of Living with Emotional Abuse in a Hoarder's House


Lori writes as an abuse survivor. She dedicates her book to her brother whom she calls "my sibling survivor of the lying, manipulating, stealing, and hoarding person that we un affectionately referred to as 'Mean Mom.'" In the book she calls her mom Louise, though it's not her real name. Louise had so perfected her skills of  intimidation  and inducing guilt that Lori was fifty before she realized she was the abuse victim -- not her mom. Although her brother was also a victim, Lori believes his story is his to tell, not hers, so she tells only her part of it.

Growing Up in a Hoarding House


Lori recalls that the house she grew up in smelled so bad that people almost gagged when they walked in. The house was already full but her mother kept accumulating and the possessions had to go onto the backyard patio. Lori called the junk at the entrance "Mount Trashmore."

There were also health hazards. I won't go into all the horrifying details, but here are a couple to give you an idea. Trash was strewn everywhere. There was an air force of flies and gnats. There were maggots in the toilets and sinks. A stray cat had become part of the household, but no one cleaned the litter box, so the cat stopped using it. I think you've got the picture. It was so bad that Lori's brother, who had inherited the house, had to evict Louise from it after she'd lived there for 19 years.


Trying to Help Louise

After the eviction, Lori and her brother found a low-rent apartment for senior living and Louise didn't even pack since she resisted moving. Lori and her brother had supplied the new residence with clean furnishings and clothing and stocked the apartment with food. Louise had already begun to hoard again a month after she had this chance to start fresh. After four months she had done no cleaning, dishwashing or laundry.

How This Affected Lori

Lori's parents divorced when she was eleven. Her father and brother were now a hundred miles away and she missed them. Her mother neglected her and she was often hungry. This probably is part of what led to Lori's eating disorder. Lori also suffered the lack of love, security, protection, and approval she craved. She believes her mother was incapable of providing it. 

Because of the emotional abuse and the secrecy the hoarding behavior required, Lori was socially isolated. She could not have friends over.  She has been through years of therapy to deal with the abuse she has endured.  

In spite of what she suffered during childhood as a hoarder's emotionally abused daughter who struggled with guilt, lack of parental support, and social isolation, Lori has had a successful adult life. She has four graduate academic degrees and has been an adjunct professor and an upper level manager for large corporations. She has also written several books besides this one. 

Things I Learned from Lori's Book


Besides just telling her story, Lori did a lot of research on hoarding and emotional abuse. She covers some of these areas:  
  • Ways in which emotional abuse and hoarding are related. 
  • Manifestations of Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Symptoms of a Cognitive Disorder
  • Cognitive Symptoms of Depression
As I was reading through the behavior of someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder, something hit me like a bolt of lightning. I believe that's what my daughter suffered from. It may be part of the reason for her suicide as an adult

Izabelle's Efforts to Clear Space in a Hoarder's House


Izabelle Winter, a busy mother with a part-time job, had to completely disrupt her life for over a month to suddenly deal with what she saw as her "personal Everest" that she had to climb -- alone! She even refers to the clutter in her father's house as "The Mountain" whenever she writes about dealing with it. Because she found around sixty pairs of shoes in the clutter she went through, she calls her father Imelda in the book, after Imelda Marcos.

Climbing "Everest"


Izabelle had a deadline to clear enough space in the house for her father and visiting outside help to function. He could not be released from the hospital with a broken back until this was done. Wheelchair or walker access might also be needed.  He needed to be able to get to his bed and an accessible bathroom.

The problem with clearing space in a hoarder's house is that there is no room for sorting. Every available space in Imelda's house was filled with junk from floor to ceiling -- every room, every cupboard, and every path through the house. The kitchen, bathroom, and stairs were also full. None of the items were organized. Junk mail mixed with shoes, clothes, spare parts, broken items, unopened packages of children's clothes, money inside magazines and receipts, trash ... well you get the idea. Izsabelle describes her feelings here:

I felt as though I was at Everest base camp, all  alone, wearing just flip-flops and a woolly hat. I was totally unprepared for the nightmare I faced; totally terrified by it and afraid I'd fall on the way up the mountain. I just wanted to go home and hide. 

Health Issues


To add to Izabelle's problem, she had severe dust allergies and asthma. She sometimes had been unable to breathe when around too much dust. This often sent her to the hospital and she almost died there once. How was she to attack clearing the space Imelda needed?  Even on her visits to him she always talked to him outside in the garden.

After he fell, whenever she entered the house to work she had to wear a dust mask, trousers, and long sleeves. When she started the clearing project, she had to recruit help, often from her brother Ant, to carry boxes of stuff outside so she could sort there.

Helpful People Who Told Comforting Stories


You can just imagine Izabelle's life, caring for her children, working on "The Mountain," and visiting Imelda in the hospital every afternoon just before going to work in the late afternoon. I will leave the details for you to read in the book. She attacked the junk piles methodically and searched through every pile or box before throwing anything from it in a trash bag. Close friends and neighbors often helped her, and they told her stories about her mother from the good years. She appreciated that. She also unearthed diaries her mother had written that showed how the hoarding had affected her.

It's Hard to Cure a Hoarder

This first video is very sad. We watch a woman choose her stuff above her relationships. She just can't let go. But we do get a feel for why some people hoard and why they can't stop even with professional help.


This next video shows us two other hoarders who may be headed for a more normal life. But you can see how hard it is for them to make the changes that are good for them. 



Success?


When Imelda was finally released from the hospital, Izabelle had cleared enough space so he could come home and sleep in his bed and take care of his needs. She and her friends had worked almost nonstop in every spare minute. Later Izabelle and Imelda were approached to participate in a BBC documentary show on hoarding. After much soul searching and discussion with the producers, they decided to participate. Later they did a follow-up episode. Before that episode, professionals came to clear the living room enough to allow Imelda's grandchildren to get to the sofa so they could sit there together to interact. The camera view of the room was clear, even though some stuff still remained outside the camera view.

The idea was that they took everything out and were hoping Imelda wouldn't want to bring it all back in, but he did want to bring most of it back in. Izabelle didn't visit much that first month. She wanted to see if her father would actually clear anything he had said he would.

Six months after the program was filmed, Imelda's stuff was creeping back up the stairs and into other places Izabelle had cleared. She decided it's his house and she would let him live as he chose. It's hard for a hoarder to change -- even with professional help. She accepted he'd never change at 83. Ten months after the fall, at the time the book was written, the house was filling up again.



Contrasting These Memoirs by Hoarding House Survivors


Both books discuss these topics.

  • Some reasons people hoard
  • Broken family relationships due to hoarding
  • Experiences of family members trying to help hoarders
  • Descriptions of hoarder house conditions
  • Health hazards of hoarding and living with a hoarder

Unique Content in The Hoarder's Daughter by Izabelle Winter

Izabelle had a deadline to meet and had to act quickly to meet it. She emphasizes the emotional and physical struggles of clearing rooms without harming her own health. She goes into more detail than Lori about the mess and the clearing strategy she used. Izabelle was less socially isolated than Lori appeared to be in clearing clutter, and her friends and neighbors supported and helped her. Lori and her brother seemed to do most of the work in helping their mother themselves. 

Izabelle goes into much more detail on the thinking process of a hoarder. A hoarder's perception of value is different than that of someone who is just messy and accumulates more clutter than neater people do. Because Izabelle understands the process, she realizes she won't be able to change her father. Since he seems to be able to function in the mess, once he heals, she leaves him be and resigns herself to the condition of the house going back to what it was. 

Although Izabelle doesn't analyze her father's mental conditions as much as Lori does her mother's, she does mention the ways that her father still treats her like a child. She goes into detail about his selective hearing and not caring about what she and her children have to say to him about everyday things unrelated to the hoarding. She feels dismissed because she is female. She gives examples of conversations that make her point. She doesn't label this as emotional abuse, but Lori probably would have. 

Isabelle's story is primarily about dealing with "The Mountain" and her relationship with her father in that context. While clearing she also unearths her mother's diaries that reveal the effect the hoarding had on her mother's mental health. 

Izabelle seems to have a better relationship with her father than Lori did with her mother, in spite of the past and continuing problems caused by the hoarding that affected her life. Example: Izabelle visits her father and brother often, but she doesn't visit with them in the house because she can't breathe inside the house. I don't know whether her visiting is also primarily because of her brother. She did want her children to have a relationship with their only living grandparent. 

Note: One thing that took some getting used to while reading this were all the uniquely British terms Izabelle used that aren't in American English. Izabelle lives in Wales. 

Unique Content in The Hoarder's Daughter by Lori Moore

Unless Izabelle left out some of the worst details in the hoarding, it would appear that Lori's mother's hoarding was more unsanitary than that of Izabelle's father. Perhaps that is because Ant, an adult child, still lived with him to see that it didn't get to the place where feces -- both human and cat -- were scattered around. Louise's house didn't deteriorate that much until Lori and her brother had moved out and she lived in the house alone. 

Lori shares, as noted above, many of the facts and symptoms of the disorders that turn someone into a hoarder. She points out that secrecy is a factor in both emotional abuse and hoarding. In her research she discovered that hoarding is a distinct genetic subtype of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The best chance for changing the hoarding behavior appears to be Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the hoarder's home. A hoarder needs a lot of help in developing new habits. You can see this process in the videos I shared above. 

Both Lori and Isabella struggled with their duty to their hoarding parents. Lori shares Billy Graham's suggestions for how to honor a parent engaged in such behavior without enabling the behavior itself. Lori alone provides a list of helpful resources and things to read for those who want to dig deeper. 

More Resources

Here are some additional resources if you want to get more information not included in these memoirs. Amazon Prime has several videos on hoarding and helping hoarders. Click here to see the list.  At least some are free for Prime members to watch. 

The product page for the book below has an informative series of clutter rating images by Randy Frost and Gail Steketee, experts in dealing with hoarding. These images can serve as a guide in identifying the difference between normal clutter and a hoarding disorder. 

The books below are aimed at those who fear they may be headed toward hoarding and want to deal with it now, those who want to help a loved one with a clutter problem, and those who want to understand and help those close to them they suspect may have a hoarding problem. The two memoirs I've reviewed here are also included for convenience.



Whether you have a tendency toward hoarding, want to help someone with a severe hoarding problem, or just want a better understanding of hoarding, I hope this post has helped you. If it has, please share it. People who hoard tend to keep it secret. You never know whom you may be helping by giving them this information.


Hoarders' Daughters Tell Their Stories: Book Reviews

The image above is credited as follows: By TheDoctorMo [CC BY-SA 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL
(http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons, modified





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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Dorm Storage Bins Reviewed

Maximize Storage In The Dorm

dorm clutter
Dorm Space Is Limited
image courtesy of pixabay.com
A review of dorm storage bins might come in handy for many as the time for young adults to go off to college approaches. The students who are required to live in a dorm room or opt to continue dorm life will quickly find that storage space is at a minimum.

Small spaces shared with at least one more inhabitant can become crowded and cramped very quickly. The old adage "A place for everything and everything in its place" applies particularly well in a college dorm room. For freshmen students, this will be the first time living away from home. Mom or Dad won't be around to pick up after them. If there is a mess, it will be up to them to clear the clutter they created. 

A great solution is to provide your college student with the option of storing much of their necessaries in storage bins. Of course, we need to understand that they may promise to use them but may not for a while. It might take some time for them to tire of tripping over things left on the floor to see the beauty of those bins you so lovingly provided. A few or maybe many times of not being able to find something they need might be the catalyst for them to use those bins. Well, at least, we can hope! Another adage comes to mind, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." Some will embrace the concept while others will forever wait for someone else to clean up the mess. At least they will have the option if the storage bins are there waiting for them.

A collection of different sized containers in a dorm room can be so very handy. They can be placed under beds, stacked on the floor, placed on shelving units, or just about anywhere to conserve space and add to the storage dilemma. We as parents and grandparents know the value of having containers to help prevent clutter so we can gently remind out young adults of the value as they leave on the adventure of living away from home.

One option that I found appealing was a collection providing medium, large and jumbo sizes. The fabric is a durable bamboo blend and comes in either a gray and brown color or a dark taupe. Nothing flashy just colors that will blend-in nicely. There is also a sturdy rope handle that will allow for easy moving if heavy items are placed inside. 

What do you think? Would the college student in your life benefit from a storage solution like this for their dorm room?




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Sunday, January 31, 2021

6 Handy Work From Home Office Gizmos and Gadgets

Review of Handy Home Office Accessories & Gadgets

Since many of us are working from home these days, acquiring just the right gadgets and gizmos for our desks can be fun! 

For me, it's fun. Maybe, you're like, "no clutter, please." These six items don't really clutter the office up; they're all useful.

My family tends to give me gifts that fit nicely into my home-office set-up. Since I spend so much time here, I appreciate every little thing I get from them.

Here are six handy items that I've either purchased or received as gifts you may also want to consider.

Handy Home Office Gizmos and Gadgets

1. A Calendar Mousepad

My 2021 calendar mouse pad is on order. Last year, I decided that I needed a handy calendar that didn't have to hang on the wall or be buried in a drawer. The perfect solution was a mouse pad that doubles as a calendar. Sure, you can't write on it, but who cares! If I need to quickly glance at a particular date while viewing the whole year at a glance .... bingo! Problem solved.

Here's My 2020 Mousepad Calendar - 2021 Just Ordered - Waiting for Arrival

I find the calendar mouse pad handy when I travel to my mother's house. I'll work from there, and since the year is displayed in one handy spot, boom, I have a calendar at my fingertips, literally. The best part is I don't have to look at my phone or google a calendar. The mousepad gives me immediate access when working.

I'll end up with a collection of calendar mousepads as the years go by, but how cool is that? After many years of collecting them, God willing, I was considering sticking them in a photo frame for the wall and pinning a small photo in the middle of each year to represent the major event for that year. I guess the covid virus will be the 2020 photo? Um, maybe not. We'll see. 

I would love 2021 to represent something positive about my riddle books, or better yet, my first grand-daughter due in August. There you have it, she gets the 2021 photo billing.

2. HomeMedics Hand-Held Massager

This thing is so darned convenient! This massager is very inexpensive and needs batteries - yah, that part sucks, but honestly, it's worth having on hand. Sitting at my desk can cause tightness and cramps in my thighs and knees. When I'm in the middle of a project and not willing to get up and walk around, I grab that little massager and use it in those painful spots. Works great. 

3. Motivational Words

These can come in many forms. For some, it's a quote on the wall or a plaque on the desk. For me, it's a gift from my grandsons. They gave me three rocks, each printed with a motivational word; "wish, hope, dream." I love these rocks! Here they are:

Wish, Hope, Dream Rocks on My Desk

4. Candles, Yes, Candles, Lots of Candles

Over the holidays, I received three new candles, and I've used two of them completely, and it's only the end of January, lol. These particular candles came in lovely pastel-colored, small glass containers. They fit perfectly on our kitchen window ledge, so I've cleaned them and plan on planting herbs inside in the spring. If fire freaks you out, go for the led battery operated version. The ambient light, no matter which you use, is lovely, and of course, the scent of a real candle can be calming. Lemon, my fave - #anythinglemon.

5. Plants - Plants Are a Must

Plants clean the air. For that reason alone, I include them in a room. Certain plants are ideal for rooms with a lot of electronics, such as Spider Plants. I have one of those plants by our family room TV.

 Fresh flowers are nice and are normally only on my desk when given as a gift. For that reason, I keep plants. I have two plants, one on my desk and one on my credenza: They're easy to keep, they can handle indirect light, and I only water them once a week. I insert a fertilizer stick once a month or so. They're self-sustaining, and the greenery is lovely. This year I plan on adding a floor plant to the room.

Here's the plant on my desk. It's approximately six years old. It was originally at my mom's house, and during her snowbirding days, she'd give her plants to me.

Plant on my Desk - About six years old now - Easy to care for

6. A Portable Heater or Cooler

There's an electric fireplace in my office; however, I prefer the stand-up portable heater. I live in Canada, it's winter, and we're having a cold spell right now. The heater is a gawd-send during the winter months. You can find ones that offer both heating and cooling. However, with central air, the cooling option isn't necessary for us. 

What I like most about the heater is the soothing effects of it at night. When I'm working late, and the room is cold, I pull the heater within one foot of where I'm sitting, and the heat pours over me. When I've had enough, I turn it off. I'm actually turning it on and off all night long. This was a gift that I said I didn't want (since I have a fireplace) - I was wrong. Best gift evah!

I hope your workspace is cozy and filled with encouraging and handy gizmos and gadgets; working from home is much better when it is. Turn your office or desk space into a reflection of yourself.




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Sunday, September 30, 2018

An Alternative to a Double Oven when Cooking for a Crowd

Counter-Top Roaster Ovens - "Very handy to have on hand"
Counter-Top Oven Roasters are a Practical and Affordable Solution

If you don't own a double oven it can be tricky to cook for a large crowd. 

For most of our life our homes have had one oven. Our family is quite large and cooking for family events, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas, takes creative planning.

It's certainly possible to plan a large dinner with one oven, but having an extra oven makes the job so much easier. 

For 20 years or more we've owned a counter-top roaster oven. It's stored away for most of the year, but come the Fall the oven gets hauled out and used.

I Didn't Want One!

Not being one for a lot of kitchen appliance clutter, I was against getting another kitchen gadget. Clutter is not my thing.

However, I was absolutely wrong.

Our counter-top oven roaster has been one of the best choices in kitchenware we've ever made. Big family meals would be impossible for me without it now! Don't take my oven-roaster away.

The Brand We Use is 'Nesco'

I've featured a few 18 quart Nesco oven roasters below.

An 18 quart oven roaster typically fits a turkey up to 22 pounds. The non-stick cookwell is also removable which makes it easy to clean. If you use it to cook a large chilli for a party, put the entire oven on the table and keep the temperature on low. You can also remove the cookwell and bring it to the table.

In terms of the temperature gage, it operates like a standard oven. As an example, for our Turkeys, I start cooking the Turkey at 400 and then after about an hour turn it down to 350 to 375.

I'll also put oil and butter on the top of the Turkey and it does brown enough for our taste. However, if the top isn't brown enough for you, just lift the cookwell out and place it in the oven to broil the top to the color you like. The roaster also comes with a rack with handles allowing you to safely remove your Turkey.


It's over 20 years later, and I'm still using our Nesco Oven Roaster. Come to think of it, we've never had one single problem with it. That's rare. Hopefully the newer models last as long as my older model has. As far as my own experience, 'reviewed and recommended'.


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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Do I Really Want to Sell My Home? That is the Question in the Spring Air?

Do You Really Want to Sell Your Home? Or Do You Just
Need a Change? Heart Rug Featured Here
Don't Let Spring Push You Into Selling Your Home Just Because You're Getting that 'Fresh-Air Fresh-Start Itch'

Twenty-five plus years in Real-Estate allowed me to see first hand the many reasons people decide to sell their home. Believe it or not, boredom of environment or needing a change was one of those reasons; especially during spring time when that 'new beginning' feeling hits!

If you've ever sold a home, you've probably received the standard good advice to 'neutralize' your color schemes. The suggestions may have also included, to create a consistent flow between spaces, to repaint with neutral colors, to de-clutter, to remove large furniture in small spaces, and most of all, to limit patterns and prints where possible. Having your home professionally staged may have also been talked about ... good advice.

However, if the only reason you're selling your home is because you're feeling the need for change, then the first thing you should do to Fully Test that urge is to re-arrange a room, and if
Use Scenery Drapes to Create a New Focal Point
They allow you to add color and interest
 without painting - Available at BeddingInn
affordable, change it up by adding MORE color and interest

Pick colors and patterns that you and your family like. Throw out 'the house selling rule book' (to a point!), and decorate in a way that reflects your own personal likes. 

If you've never attempted to work with color and pattern, here you'll see an example of  how to choose a patterned couch with a patterned rug. It also features a handy short video on mixing color with pattern.

When spending a lot of money isn't an option, keep the room changes simple, try these five things first:
  1. Repaint the room
  2. Rearrange the furniture
  3. Create a new focal point
  4. Add accessories
  5. and sorry, clean and de-clutter
Focus on the things you like, but start first with 'the mood' you want to create; airy, fun, electric, cozy, serious ... you get the picture. Even if your existing pieces don't fit into your mood choice, use the things you add to do that task; paint, pillows, blankets, rugs, window coverings, or if you're going all out, furniture.

If you're thinking this is too much work, then think about all the time, expense, and energy it will take to sell your home. When you're just not sure what to do .. to stay or to go .. redo at least one room in the home before you make that larger choice to sell. 

Oh, and if you re-decorate that one room with neutral tones only because you think that's practical for resale, well, you're subconsciously out the door already! So resist that, and decorate that room in your own true funky fashion. Give it your touch.

When you're finally ready to sell, then go neutral-mad. But remember to test yourself with this re-do challenge, and ask yourself, do I really want to sell my home?

By Barbara Tremblay Cipak
Funkthishouse.com



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Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Review of Spring Cleaning Tips

 

Especially Useful Tips for People with Kids

 

Funny Spring Cleaning Saying

Whether you need a way to help de-clutter or clean kids toys, or tips for getting your kids involved in Spring Cleaning, the Review This blog has a few suggestions.

One of the best ways to be successful with big cleaning chores such as Spring Cleaning is to get the whole family involved.  Kids can clean, whether they believe it or not!  One good hint, for major cleaning or just daily cleaning, is to get a small kitchen timer and have the kids 'clean their room' until the buzzer goes off.  They (and you) will be amazed at how much they can accomplish working against the clock. It becomes a game for them.


Toy Clutter Control



Source: Pixabay


On the Tips From a Typical Mom blog, Annette has a wonderful article of 10 Tips to Make Cleaning Fun for Kids.


Toy Hammocks Save Space

Toy hammocks are wonderful space-saving ways to store toys off the floor, and a quick way to 'pick-up' and 'put-away' those toys.


Handmade Crochet Hammock for Stuffed Animals



Stuffed Animal Storage Hammock on Etsy

Nichole Fuller, a crochet crafter, crochets toy hammocks for all those cute stuffed animals your children collect and keep forever.  Hang it next to their bed, so their special stuffed animals are still close but don't take up the space in their bed any more.  

The hammock is approximately 31 inches long and 35 inches from front to back.  They do stretch a bit and hold more than you think. Currently, they are available in a variety of color choices and can be found in her Etsy Shop called FullerDesigns8.



Green Cleaning Ideas



Source: Pixabay

For those of you who prefer cleaning with environmentally-safe products, HubPages author Chen has an article on Green Spring Cleaning Tips using handy products such as baking soda and white vinegar. Products such as these are safe for even children to use while helping mom clean.











More Simple Cleaning Tips from the Contributors here on Review This!






  • And Bev has also found a telescoping corner broom which is terrific for cleaning those hard to reach those high ceilings and corners. 

 

House Cleaning Tips all in one Place


Available on Amazon

For all of us who live a busy life, house cleaning at any time is a chore.  This book of House Cleaning Tips and Tricks from Amazon has helpful hints and time-saving tips all in one place.  

Getting organized has never been easier.











Spring has arrived!



Putting off Spring Cleaning

Hopefully, this collection of tips and hints will give you a head start with your Spring Cleaning.  Or... you can enjoy putting it off until next year!


(c) Wednesday Elf (4/18/2015)




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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

How to Maximize Space in a Small Bedroom

 

How to maximize space in a small bedroom
Making the best of a small room - reviewed

We have a nice 3 bedroom home with plenty of room. Although, one of the bedrooms happens to be a small 8' x 10' room. This is the room that our granddaughters stay in when they come for a visit.

We had a bookcase full of books and toys, along with a tote full of toys and a full size bed in this small room. This did not leave much room for the girls to play.

Fran decided that it was time for a makeover in this room. First she emptied the bookcase and got rid of it. We needed to make the best of this space so the girls had room to play. For those of you who don't know who Fran is, she is my better half forever.

This small room makeover was all Fran, all I did was assemble all of the furniture and place it where she wanted it. 

Maximize Space in a small room:

Ellen Corner DeskEllen Corner DeskCheck the Price


First Fran wanted a space where the girls could do some projects such as crafts, drawing, coloring, or reading.

We moved the full-sized bed to one corner of the room and placed this corner desk in the opposite diagonal corner of the room.

The corner desk measures 42" across and has a drawer and shelves for storage. 


 

Vanity StoolVanity StoolCheck the Price


Since a desk chair would take up too much space, Fran decided on this vanity stool.

This stool fits perfectly under the desk when it is not in use. When it is pulled out for use there is still plenty of room to get by between the stool and the bed. Did I mention that the cushion top is very comfortable.


 

Storage CubeStorage CubeCheck the Price

Now, it was time to clean up all of that clutter and empty that tote full of small toys, crayons, and makers. Fran picked out this cube storage organizer.

This was a perfect fit next to the desk and along the wall to fill the space to the entrance door of the room.

These storage cubes are a great idea for craft rooms, bedrooms, playrooms, or a small office.

The cube has six storage spaces and each space will hold 60 pounds.


 

Sorbus Foldable Storage CubeSorbus Foldable Storage CubeCheck the Price


To store all of those little things Fran found these colorful foldable storage cubes.

They fit perfectly into the cubes of the storage organizer. These a perfect for games, crayons, makers, and small toys.





Fran hand picked every one of these items for a specific purpose in this small bedroom. She created a comfortable and useable space for our granddaughters. This was an easy project for me, as I said earlier all I had to do was assemble. All of these items were easy to assemble and all had excellent assembly instructions.


Here is a photo of our youngest granddaughter hard at play using their new corner desk. They are very happy with the new changes to their room away from home.

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